August 24, 2013

Sri Aurobindo seems to write in order to explain and not to convert

Apart from talking to him personally, I have the purest form of information available in that I can read the work of Sri Aurobindo in its original language, English, and it is thus not suffering from the possible drawbacks of translations and interpretations. In performing this task I am accepting the social responsibility of presenting and to a degree interpreting the work of Sri Aurobindo. It is therefore my human abilities or lack thereof that will determine the degree of my success. It will be coloured by the depth of the dialogue we can have and by my ability to understand his mystical existential reality… This cosmology of Sri Aurobindo is not totally unique but is embedded in a vast historical movement. It is similar to for instance the approaches of Plotinus and Vivekananda… Was Vivekananda in fact original? In fact, was Plotinus original? … I use the framework of Whitehead for the scholarly inquiry into Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. Where relevant, the thoughts of Bergson and James regarding different states of consciousness, especially intuition, are touched upon… Sri Aurobindo, in exploring the realities of evolution of both the mental and the intuitive faculties, arrives at a parallel solution to that of Bergson… It is clear that both Aurobindo and Bergson accept and acknowledge the importance of the different aspects of consciousness, especially as utilised in the intellectual and the intuitive faculties.

A number of mystic philosophers developed cosmologies along strikingly similar lines to that of Sri Aurobindo. Parmenides, Plotinus, Nicholas of Cusanus, Jacob Böhme and Giordano Bruno immediately come to mind… The similarities between the views of Bruno and the thinking of Sri Aurobindo is not so obvious as far as the structure of his cosmology is concerned, but the terms and meanings that are utilised are very similar… I experience a similarity in the teachings and in the way in which Parmenides and Sri Aurobindo teaches. Both deal with absolute truth, both illuminate their subject with a transcendental enthusiasm and both successfully reach beyond the words that they have to use. Parmenides wrote his truth in verse, millennia ago. Whatever the source of this truth; thought, inspiration, incubation or a Goddess, to this day it awes us… These views of Parmenides relate to the views of Sri Aurobindo regarding the existence of a supramental original absolute and a subsequent yet timeless relative creation… What becomes clear in reading The Life Divine is his intense passion in expressing his thoughts and insights, and his apparent unconcern for acceptance. He writes in a complex way with the intention of conveying his message… We are furthermore presented with the problem of "Truth for whom". From what I have read it appears that Sri Aurobindo seems to write in order to explain and not to convert… The departure point of Sri Aurobindo in his cosmology is not man but the totality of what is. He produced a magnificent and comprehensive panoramic cosmology starting at the very beginning of nothingness, describing a process that eventually incorporated humanity on a very short leg of the overall journey. This is not the journey of humanity, it is the journey of infinity to itself. Wherever man is and whatever he does always has this return journey as telos… 

The cosmology of Sri Aurobindo is arguably one of the most complete I have encountered; he views evolution from a very broad canvas. He holds that Life is already involved in Matter and therefore Life should be able to evolve out of material elements. In essence, Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness, … but to me it seems virtually impossible to ignore what he says. Literally every facet of our normal knowledge about what is, is turned upside down and is reinterpreted in a radical way… Sri Aurobindo, in page after page in his various books, paints pictures that strive to transcend this limitedness of our humanity… Sri Aurobindo presented us with a spectrum of our cosmic potential and the assurance that that potential can be realised. In the process he moved beyond what we normally understand and can comprehend.

In writing books and in teaching his students, it is obvious that Sri Aurobindo wanted his knowledge to be passed on to succeeding generations of evolving humanity… On the face of it this seems to be a religious undertaking. This is not what he intended, Sri Aurobindo decided against the creation of a new religion. In teaching his techniques he made a decision not to form a new religion because it seems that he was not enamoured with the way in which religions tended to become dogmatised and formalised, even during the life of the founder… Should therefore his philosophy not be viewed as a religion? Are we perhaps dealing with a meta-religion, where the intentions are sublime and noble yet doomed to failure in achieving its high aspirations? Perhaps the reality is, as is the case with all other religions, that with some exceptional individuals he will achieve his high esoteric aspirations, but the mass of his followers will be identical to the mass of the adherents of any of the other religions, operating mainly on a superficial level… He did not teach emotionalism or blind acceptance of dogma, but he has made statements that indicate that he is of the conviction that whatever shape or form of either knowledge or inspiration one experiences, should be verified by the intellect and by common sense. But he also contended that, regardless of the merit that the intellect has, it has its limitations… The true reality of what is cannot be understood by analytical means: analysis of what is will destroy the wholeness and create duality.

Here we are not looking at a new religion. But there are still perplexing questions about Sri Aurobindo in this regard. As already mentioned, he stated that he did not wish to establish a new religion. How do his students or followers respond to this wish? What have they made of his philosophy? Has it been changed into a cult and should his every dictate be followed slavishly? Is he viewed as an avatar, not necessarily in name but in fact? Or is he considered a great thinker or perhaps a combination of all three these possibilities? If his disciples follow his philosophy to the letter, either at present or in the future, would that be wrong? The reason for this question is, if they do not operate in this way, can the positive results envisaged by Sri Aurobindo be guaranteed because now it is not a Sri Aurobindo philosophy but the disciple philosophy that is relevant and determinative. Further, if he is to be followed slavishly, can original and thinking minds tolerate such a restrictive environment? As in all religions and philosophical groupings, there are certain latitudes that are operative. The teacher did not cover everything and what he did cover was set out in words which immediately brings into question exactly what his teachings were. Always the teacher speaks from his level and always the student hear from his. Certainly we can see his words but we only see the surface: to what degree can disciples see the depth? … I would argue that his philosophy is comprehensive, profound and of great potential value for humanity… Potentially, it can supply a holistic evolutionary roadmap for humanity to move beyond the problematic physical, spiritual and environmental reality it finds itself in. [THE RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY OF CONSCIOUSNESS OF SRI AUROBINDO by Andries Gustav Barnard, NOVEMBER 2005]

I have long been an admirer of Aurobindo's poetic work, and had some notes on a paper regarding some problems in Aurobindo's poetry and also his theories of time and race… I remain very critical of Aurobindo as a cultural theorist; some of the stuff I have written about on Hegel applies directly to Aurobindo and by extension Wilber, and yes, I did this intentionally. ~Daniel Gustav Anderson (between 30 April and 26 May 2009).

Update: October 7, 2013 
Since the higher knowledge is not an intellectual or mental accomplishment, it cannot be achieved by study, reading, or acquiring of facts and practical skills or capabilities. These things may be part of preliminary steps to prepare the mind and the nature. The Kena Upanishad provides an extensive exposition of the paradox of knowledge: “That which is unexpressed by the word, that by which the word is expressed, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here. That which thinks not by the mind, that by which the mind is thought, know That to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.” (part 1, v. 4-5)

Indian psychology and contemporary research: Part III Posted on October 3, 2013 by Don Salmon The Indo-Tibetan tradition contains many sublime descriptions of knowledge by identity – particularly in the writings of Tibetan Buddhists and the great 11th century Kashmiri philosopher Abhinavagupta. Building upon this tradition, Sri Aurobindo gives some hints as to how intuitive knowledge may contribute to a radically new understanding of matter. Sri Aurobindo’s comments are offered here as scientific hypotheses to be tested.

Traditional Roots of Sri Aurobindo's Integral YogaDebashish Banerji, INTEGRAL REVIEW, September 2013 Vol. 9, No. 3. Abstract: Sri Aurobindo’s teachings on Integral Yoga are couched in a universal and impersonal language, and could be considered an early input to contemporary transpersonal psychology. Yet, while he was writing his principal works in English, he was also keeping a diary of his experiences and understandings in a personal patois that hybridized English and Sanskrit. A hermeneutic perusal of this text, The Record of Yoga, published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, uncovers the semiotics of Indian yoga traditions, showing how Sri Aurobindo utilizes and furthers their discourse, and where he introduces new elements which may be considered “modern.”  

A New Creation on Earth: Death and Transformation in the Yoga of Mother Mirra Alfassa - Stephen Lerner Julich, INTEGRAL REVIEW, September 2013 Vol. 9, No. 3. Abstract: Focused mainly on her discussions of the psychic being and death, it is argued that the Mother remained rooted in her original Western Occult training, and can best be understood if this training, under the guidance of Western Kabbalist and Hermeticist Max Théon, is seen, not as of merely passing interest, but as integral to her development. []

Tweets Peter Heehs ‏@peterheehs 5 Oct Situating Sri Aurobindo: reader with excellent essays by Bose, Chimni & others and intros by me released by OUP India - @gchikermane Hope you like it. You should find many of the essays interesting, e.g. Hartz on Savitri and Chimni on internationalism.

August 19, 2013


'Atlantic Rim': Chomsky v. Zizek The Nation - Aug 15, 2013

All Roads Lead to Jerusalem! - What do Indians Need: A History or the Past – S.N. Balagangadhara February 16, 2012 The ideologues of the Sangh Parivar, in their haste to capture political power, in their utter and total ignorance of the western culture, are pushing a Christian religious theme on to the Indian culture. Reconceptualizing India Studies by Balagangadhara – a new book How to speak for the Indian traditions: an agenda for the future – SN Balagangadhara

What a Secularist can and should be Proud of? - Aravindan Neelakandan Independence Day Special: An Indian secularist should be proud of Hindutva and should be ashamed of pseudo-secularism

Mohanty’s work suggests that we specialists need to think more about topics and less about schools and individual thinkers. Mohanty draws from inter-school debates without regard for niceties of attribution, and flushes out positions for their intrinsic interest apart from historical setting. At the heart of philosophy are, after all, issues, views, and arguments, not persons. Mohanty’s vision is, instead, the revitalization of Indian philosophy through continued work that accepts many uniquely classical Indian assumptions and much of an interlocking scheme of categories while making improvements and refinements. The real possibility for this is connected with, in Mohanty’s view, thought’s ability to transcend culture, or, as he puts it, the life-world. 

Polymorphously Perverse Nature Posted by larvalsubjects August 17, 2013
Nature is auto-constructing without a constructor, not designed. In short, we must build a concept of nature as polymorphously perverse and differential.  The polymorphous, of course, refers to that which is capable of taking on a variety of different forms.  Far from being characterized by ineluctability and necessity, life testifies to the essential plasticity and creativity of nature.  In a Freudian framework, the “perverse” refers to that which deviates from its aim.  For example, the oral drive is “perverse” in that it aims not at sustenance, but at the pleasure of orality. The oral drive, as it were, subverts the teleology of the mouth and tongue.  In this regard, Freud gave us a non-teleological account of sexuality.  Despite all of is problems, the novelty of Freud’s account of sexuality lies in having decoupled the sexual and reproductive.  Within a Freudian framework, we reproduce because of sexuality– as an accidental by-product of sexuality –we do not have sexuality for the sake of reproduction.  Sexuality, in a Freudian framework, is inherently queer; even in heterosexual contexts.
Surprisingly, it was Darwin that taught us to think of life as inherently perverse and queer (although this message is often missed).  Despite the abuses to which evolutionary thought is endlessly subjected by things such as Spencer’s social darwinism and evolutionary biology, Darwin’s first step lay in erasing teleology. Within a Darwinian framework, form does not follow function, but rather function follows form.
Latour tirelessly makes exactly this point. The aim is not to erase signification– as I quite explicitly say in this post –but to challenge that sort of linguistic and semiotic imperialism. Obviously, as Latour points out, assemblages involving humans involve components of power, text, and materiality. They are hybrid. The problem with culturalism is that it only acknowledges the first two, ignoring the third. At any rate, signification/culture is itself a formation of nature. You might look at my work on “wilderness ontology” to see more of what I mean by this.
I hope that my position is nuanced on these issues. It is not a matter of suggesting that we abandon thinkers such as Derrida. It’s a matter of tempering their more imperialistic claims so as to make room for other modes of analysis in addition to the sort of work they do. Certainly I have benefited immeasurably from the thought of Derrida, Lacan, Barthes, Baudrillard, Zizek, etc. I have learned things from these thinkers that pervade everything I do. It’s not a question of abandoning that work but of reworking it in a realist/materialist framework capable of analyzing materiality without reflexively treating it as a discursive or semiotic construction.

Freud was the first to acknowledge the fact that it is not possible to understand the complexities of the psyche, without resorting to multiplicity of structure. He proposed his trinity of the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego. When speaking of Eros, Thanatos or Oedipus, he was also resorting to personifying, which did in fact contribute to the success of his theory. Everybody began to "believe" in Oedipus' complex, in Eros and Thanatos , almost unaware that this is a metaphoric device that gives some vitality to a concept. Yet we should not take these personified concepts more literally than the Ancient Greeks took their divinities.
But Freud, although convinced of the multiplicity of the psyche, and although he occasionally personified his concepts, never admitted that, he was speaking metaphorically and not scientifically. By his exclusive valuing of Science, Freud and today freudians, are heading right back to the same monotheistic ideal that Freud himself had criticised as oppressive. First, he wrote a remarkable analysis of the alienation that comes from rigid religious beliefs, but then he professed an absolute faith in Science. In the name of scientific truth, he transformed his theories into dogmas. Moreover, by his refusal to acknowledge his own subjectivity in the formation of his theories, he was at fault with the scientific method itself. Freud's attitude, called "scientific monotheism” by some critics, also made him act as if he was really the Pope of the psychoanalytic dogma. Consequently, he felt entitled to refuse Adler, Jung and many others, the right to oppose, contradict him in any significant fashion, if they were to stay in the club of wich he was the only, omnipotent God…
It seems that Freud was himself victim to the male judaic obsession with god the father, the very obsession he had denounced. Even his idea of love, which was after all the only domain left to women, was personified by a male divinity. Why did Freud choose Eros, instead of its mother Aphrodite, the great Goddess of libido? Had he chosen to personify love by Aphrodite, instead of Eros, he would certainly not have written that libido is male. Ginette Paris
It is helpful to look at Marx’s notion of scientific methodology. Marx, in this sense an heir to Plato, regards as a minimum necessary condition of any science, that it uncovers the reality behind the veil of appearance that conceals it. He claims that without this basic criterion science would be stripped of its legitimacy, because it would be useless to want to get to know something which is already obvious and known pre-scientifically. If scientists did not lift any veils to show what is concealed behind them, they would do something absolutely different than what science requires. They might engage in what Marx calls with reference to some forms of economics: vulgar science. If we follow Marx in taking astrology as a typical representative of such a "science" this idea becomes more feasible. 2:59 AM  

Amod Lele 20 short bits to sum up the philosophical ideas I currently believe

July 09, 2013

If Philosophy as a discipline is stumbling

Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, February 15, 2013 Fiery intensity may look like fundamentalism

What’s at Stake in Hermetic Reterritorialization? from An und für sich by Jacob Sherman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Joshua Ramey’s The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal is such a rich, provocative, and deliciously inconclusive book

Update: October 7, 2013 Why care about philosophy? by Amod Lele on Sep.29, 2013
Philosophy is an intellectual pleasure for most of us who study it, of course, and it would be transparently false to deny that that’s a main reason for doing so. But it’s not the only one. For me, the continuing value of philosophy is that it alone is able to find truth at the highest and widest level – truth about the basic and fundamental questions which we usually take as settled, but about which we may turn out to be wrong. For truth about many of these questions, people typically turn – rightly – either to natural science or to the traditions we call “religious”, sometimes separately but often enough in some combination.
It is in that combination, I submit, that philosophy really becomes necessary. The traditions we label “religious” have a hard time understanding each other; it is often even harder for natural science to reach any sort of understanding with them. When scientists try to speak with those from traditions we call “religious”, they typically end up talking past each other. But philosophy, at least, is something that both have reason to respect; it is the common ground on which truth can be established between them. So too, “interreligious dialogue” too often winds up in the mode ofmere conflict resolution without getting close to truth: it might stop people from killing each other (certainly a worthy goal), but they remain as convinced as ever that the other is entirely wrong. It is philosophy, especially with a dialectical method, is able to find a deeper understanding that comes closer to the truth.
Philosophy, then, is the way that we can find a truth broader and more universal than the ones from narrower traditions. And yes, that list of “narrower traditions” does include natural science, which must necessarily do a miserable job of explaining value, and likewise cannot answer the epistemological questions about how we can trust empirical evidence and establish natural laws in the first place. 

July 08, 2013

Critical thinking, sensitivity, empathy and moral consciousness

With the increasing emphasis on the pragmatism of life and survival, it is but natural to ask if Philosophy as a discipline is stumbling. The irony, however, is that the very posing of that question is philosophical in nature. In fact, the moment one is engaging in the act of questioning, one is philosophizing already. So, for as long as human beings have the urge to question and the propensity to think and to know, Philosophy will be alive. 

But while, I argue that there exists a natural connect (even if only in its potential form) between any cogitating being and knowledge, Philosophy can also contribute actively in the shaping of our societies. 

We often blame the megastructures for systematic failures in political, social and economic life. Though these structures exert a substantial force on how human beings who constitute this structure act, I believe, that the reverse is also possible. This is to say, that educated (not literate) human beings can propel change and alter structures, and with the right orientation, good change and better structures. 

But what is going to be the nature of this education and how is it going to be imparted? These are difficult questions but one thing is for certain. More than the kind of formal education currently imparted in our schools, we need to find space for the education of the spirit. And Philosophy is the perfect playground for that -- to nurture critical thinking, sensitivity, empathy and moral consciousness.

The 21st century is witness to rapid changes that are constantly attracting and distracting us. What is the place of a philosopher, often imagined as a being of persistence, in this time of instantaneousness. We do not have to ridicule the demand for material gratification -- money, jobs, things etc. We only need to team it up with the kind of spiritual education that will ensure that the voice of conscience navigates us through these demands. 

Individuals possessed of such robust intellectual and moral values, facilitated by 'doing philosophy', may go on to apply these skills in various field, and the shaping of their beings will help the shaping of their life, their work, their society, their country and their world. Silika Mohapatra DNA

Personality: Bilingual writer Manoj Das believes in the sanctity of authentic expression and commitment to true inspiration Manjula Kolanu

The affirmative, life-embracing, evolutionary philosophy saw Das settle at Aurobindo Ashram.
Does his writing reflect his ideology? “I write a lot, so my social writings do reflect my world view, but my creative writing has always been more indirect – they are preoccupied with human beings and not philosophy or ideology.” ... Commenting on the current Indian writers in English, Das says, “They write a lot, their style and proficiency of language are impressive. Of course they are free to pick their themes; but I find them deficient in one aspect - they are not committed to the truth of their inspiration. Each and every creative act is inspired by something, but now writers are distracted from that inspiration by commerce. If they are faithful to their true inspiration, they would be substantially more creative.

It seems that the postmodernist theory that began infecting the academy some 40 years ago has sent sensible students running, screaming. English was hit particularly hard by this nonsense. Where they once emphasized writing, they now turn students into PoMo phrase generators who are of no use to anyone.
“They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that,” Verlyn Klinkenborg says of the students he teaches to write at Ivy League schools. “But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.
“That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language.”
[This work discovers, with surprising accuracy, a hidden spiral pattern of change in the universal dynamics, what confirms and fixes the great intuitions of Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Jean Gebser, Ken Wilber…You can find it in: “”, in English and Spanish versions, with optional pdf.] Jose Diez Faixat.

March 25, 2013

People operate with diverse systems of belief and we can live with this incoherence

Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty - Page 118 - Paul W. Kahn - 2011 - Preview - More editions In the postmodern world, the sources of fundamental belief, the diversity of metaphysical approaches, the conflicts between religious and secular outlooks, and even the conflicts between the biological and physical sciences are just too many and too deep to think that we can offer a single theoretical model to characterize the epoch. Perhaps we should say that we live in a “postepochal” age. We find that people operate with diverse systems of belief, which do not fall into any coherent order. We have discovered that we can live with this incoherence. The center does not hold, but things do not fall apart.

A dissertation that focused only on the thinker himself and not on some amount of contemporary application would not have been nearly as interesting to me; … I wanted it to involve some amount of constructive dialogue between the ideas of Śāntideva and of Martha Nussbaum…
Over the three years I’ve been writing here, possibly the blog’s most enduring concern has been the contrasting worldviews of ascent/descent and intimacy/integrity. I have tried to understand their contrasts fully so that any integration between them can be a synthesis and not merely a compromise – one of the key methodological points that arose at the dissertation’s end. I think the dissertation did a lot to help me spell out this problématique – this set of interrelated questions that animates my blog’s inquiries. So have I figured out any sort of answer or result to those questions? Hell, no. But ask me again in another ten years.

Every scripture, whether sacred or secular, will necessarily contain within it certain Truths or at least aspects of the Truth, which represent part of the universally available experience of mankind. At the same time, the specific circumstances, details, form of language and assumptions made in the expression take on the cloak of the specific period and situation in which it was brought forth. It is important, when trying to obtain any deeper sense or value from any scriptural text, to be able to distinguish between the “eternal” and the “temporal” aspects of the teaching. The eternal portions can have value and provide guidance to people of virtually any period or circumstance, and they tend also to harmonise well with the universal truths expounded in other scriptures. The temporal portions, being necessarily circumscribed and limited, will tend to be less applicable and less able to be understood by others, whether separated by time, space or circumstance…
Sri Aurobindo sets here therefore a measuring rod that takes us beyond the divisions of the mind and the disputes that are engendered by the intellect. It is necessary to find that which originates in higher levels of consciousness and which therefore has the capacity to unify the apparently conflicting aspects we find at the mental level.

Usually some pent-up emotion like love, as we understand usually, grievance against the ruler or society or some unknown love for Nature or the divine or some extraordinary feeling about life and surrounding gives birth to poetry. Good poetry must be a synthetic product of thoughts, ideas, dreams and visions grasped intuitively. Imagery, symbolism, subtle ornaments make the poetry enjoyable; pleasant to hear, beautiful to see. Whatever the force that dominates a poem a unique creation gives ananda. I do not think that efforts to write poetry to make propaganda of any sort, to make loud publicity in favour of religious belief or arguing through gross words make any poetry.
Any sentiment may be expressed through poetry but that must be free from the crude utterances though sometimes apparently crude ideas about love or anger or other violent feelings too may give birth to poetry if the emotion is properly used for the sublime lies in the lap of the crude physical sheath too.

Good Morning Hello It's Sunday , March 24 , 2013
Mantric words of Sri Aurobindo, voice of Dr C.S. Mukherji, Nijantik, 9/1 Lower Rawdon Street, 4.30pm.

Prayers to Sri Annai: Sri Aurobindo Devotees Trust, Sasi Balika Vidya Mandir, R.S. Puram, 9.30 a.m. and Sri Annai Meditation Centre, W7C, Kovaipudur, 4 p.m. 

March 16, 2013

Its ‘noble’ nature makes gold ‘useless’

Anthropologists Approve Ethics Code November 7, 2012 - By Scott Jaschik Inside Higher Ed - As a discipline, anthropology has at times been divided over ethics, with many in the field feeling shame over early work in the field that was used to promote imperialism and with more recent debate over whether it is appropriate for anthropologists to work with the U.S. military… The new code offers seven main principles:
  • Do no harm.
  • Be open and honest regarding your work.
  • Obtain informed consent and necessary permissions.
  • Weigh competing ethical obligations due collaborators and affected parties.
  • Make your results accessible.
  • Protect and preserve your records.
  • Maintain respectful and ethical professional relationships. 
Wealth and Money from Centre Right India by Sonam Agrawal
Barter comes into picture because not everybody is good at everything… Barter also exemplifies the concept of voluntary cooperation. People looking for their own benefit enter into an agreement without the use of force… Gold has high value density… In some sense the uselessness of Gold is one of the qualities that make it useful as money. The fact that gold does not react with anything else makes it non-perishable and so it can be preserved for eternity at very low cost. Its cost is actually only regarding its security. In fact, all of the gold ever mined on this planet remains as gold. Unlike diamond which is pure carbon and can be burnt at sufficiently high temperatures to give carbon di-oxide, gold virtually does not combine with any other element and can be purified from contamination at very low costs (you cannot get back a diamond from carbon di-oxide).Thus, its ‘noble’ nature makes gold ‘useless’ for any productive activity while makes it immensely useful as an eternal preserver of value… This stored or saved money is the ‘Capital’… voluntary cooperation in which two people or entities enter into an agreement to help each other in exchange for money or goods… Legal force might be initiated only if a violation of a voluntary contract occurs.
The other major point to differentiate between wealth and money is that while wealth deteriorates over time, money remains intact. The effect of this is that simply having money cannot give us our standard of living. Wealth has to be created, repaired and serviced. We may end up consuming all of our wealth and we’ll still remain with all our money, but that money would not be of any use; its use is only in enabling our transactions of what we produce. Thus we need to constantly work, if only to maintain our current standard of living.
It’s useful if more and more people work, according to their will, inclination and need. These issues are highly subjective and best left to the individual. But one cannot deny the fact that without working productively no increase in wealth is possible. You can put it anyway you like but at the end of the day it’s only the products and services that matter and enable our living. Of course, we would like to work less and worry less about our daily chores and popular perception would have you believe that we are too materialistic; In fact our material progress is what allows us to enjoy more of our lives and creative pursuits.

Nothing was more total throughout human history than the constant tyranny of daily subsistence.  Socially, this was expressed in human social interactions (“hermit” alternatives were biologically unproductive – those trying it, died out in one generation).  Only in cooperation have humans continued their propagation through the generations.  This requires, as Smith pointed out, the mediation of self-interest (not the ‘dictatorship’ a la Ayn Rand over others) in human contact, as represented by the classic common howlers in the neoclassical misreading of Smith’s “butcher, brewer, baker” example as “Max U” (see Deirdre McCloskey’s” brilliant rebuttal of ‘Max U’ thinking).  To which we can add the almost total unfamiliarity of modern theorists with Smith’s “Moral Sentiments” (how carefully did Polanyi read TMS?). Markets are but one form of social and individual exchange, and not the only one today, nor throughout human history. Smith understood that. 

The greatest mystery - Times Of India Sunil Khilnani Dec 19, 2011
Unfortunately, the power of the scientific method - its satisfying promise of certain knowledge - has emboldened many to see it as a universal method, as applicable to humans as the physical world. Some of the most fundamental forms of human creativity and activity - how we use language, our religious beliefs, economic exchange, morality itself - are increasingly studied by means of statistical models borrowed from a partial understanding of science.
Sometimes, significant patterns and shapes are revealed, while other times what's discovered may be more akin to the face a child detects in a cloud formation than a basic causal connection. One impulse of those who apply the scientific method to human activity is to reduce action, intellection and belief to instrumental functions. Religion and ethics, for instance, are viewed as serving evolutionary aims, the mind is seen as essentially a biological system, and ideas become neurological emanations.
The historical irony is rich. From its origins, human civilisation has been driven by an urge to escape the constraints of nature. The scientific method was a human invention designed to understand nature better, precisely so humans could escape its exigencies and expand the realm of their free action. Yet now, the method's intellectual rampage seeks to imprison us within nature - by telling us that any action we believe to be freely chosen is in fact determined and necessitated by nature's purposes. Thus generalised, scientific method is transformed into scientism: less a predetermined biological reflex than a superstitious, ideological choice about how to see the world.
Consider the discipline of economics - perhaps the most spectacular example of scientism's imperiousness. An obsession with modelling, market efficiency, individual rational expectations, and with pure technical prowess, has populated financial institutions with experts focussed on narrow imperatives. Certain of their ability to master uncertainty, they have in fact massively proliferated it - and as such bear a large responsibility for the crisis of the global economy.
Admittedly, policy economists are today deeply divided over how to get out of the crisis - some advocate severe austerity, others expansionist spending. But very few indeed have felt any need to examine the recent evidence and seriously question the foundations of their discipline. Those economists, and all aspirants to scientism, would do well to reflect on the physicists in pursuit of their fundamental particle. If firmly established, the Higgs boson will confirm extant theories of the nature of the physical universe.
If the CERN experiment disproves its existence, our view of the universe will be thrown into crisis. Physicists don't seem to shy away from that prospect, and some seem to be almost hoping for evidence that may upend the certainties of our world-picture. That openness to new uncertainty is the part of the scientific method that needs to rampage a little wider. The writer is director of the India Institute, King's College, London.

Mar 15-18, 2013 SACAC, New Delhi, an arts, communication and management institute of Sri Aurobindo Society, is organizing a festival of Akira Kurosawa films, titled Kurosawa Retrospective — Experiencing the Genius Akira Kurosawa. All world cinema aficionados are cordially invited. Hall of Divine, SACAC Campus, New Delhi | Integral Education - SACAC

Sri Aurobindo Society Focus Area Indian Culture Glimpses of the Sanskrit Sahityotsav Feb 22-24, 2013 Dussehra Maidan, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Recently, Dr Sampadanand Mishra, Director—Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC),was invited as a special guest speaker at Sanskrit Sahityotsav, a grand Sanskrit Festival organized by the Madhya Pradesh Government in collaboration with Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi; Kalidasa Academy, Ujjain; and Sanskrit Promotion Foundation, New Delhi, to speak on ‘Challenges in the Development of Sanskrit’. The festival took place in Ujjain, the city of Mahakaleshwar in Madhya Pradesh, from 22nd to 24th February 2013. There were nearly 3,000 delegates invited from various parts of India. The Dussehra Maidan of Ujjain was pulsating with all the people communicating in Sanskrit. 

Dilip Datta, Trustee of the Ashram, has been siphoning Ashram funds to benefit his immediate family members. The Ashram Trust holds vast properties in Pondicherry, and since the Trustees keep all Ashram affairs hidden from the Ashram resident Inmates, they can get away with surreptitious sales of the Ashram’s lands and properties. There have been many land scams in the last 15 years in which the Trustees sold off Ashram lands purchased by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (or received by them as gifts) for the Ashram’s needs and future security. Each time Ashram land is sold off over 50% of the sale price is alleged to be received by the Trustees in cash and used for their personal benefits. 

March 12, 2013

Never trust a man who dyes his hair

Tweets 21 hrs - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty [in defending ethical revaluation while ... advocating compassionate giving and the prevention of wrongdoing, Śāntideva remains consistent.] 22 hrs [Latour may be a bit flippant at times, but his point is certainly not to “do everything he can to deny enchantment"] … 22 hrs [By contrast, others’ wrongdoing is beneficial to us, because it can help produce patient endurance.] #Śāntideva … 22 hrs [Property & personal relationships, things we would normally take as goods, are actually harmful to our flourishing, because of attachment.] 22 hrs [Ethical Revaluation in the Thought of Śāntideva - A dissertation by Amod Jayant Lele] … (pdf) - … 23 hrs [Towards a Spiritual Aesthetics of the Environment: Quality, Space, and Being in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, ISLE Vol.18, Issue 2, Spring 2011] 24 hrs [Those who are other-focused are happier... Happier people are more successful — and that’s causal, not correlative.] … Mar 11 - doubtinggaurav @doubtinggaurav Never trust a man who dyes his hair.  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party Mar 11 - Harsh Madhok @hmadhok It is our desire to cling to the past while grabbing at the future which has made the present too complicated.  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  Mar 11 Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty At SELF our slogan is "Be Selfish" ... Judgment failures occur as a result, and our vigil for "Self-interest" skids. … Mar 11 [Smith said humans have the power of reasoning... Self-interest is far more complex than rationality.] -Gavin Kennedy. … Mar 10 [For Heidegger, by contrast, conscience is not God talking to me, but me talking to myself] Simon Critchley 20 July 2009 … -  View summary Mar 10 Racing round the universe riding on a mouse: The meditative mode of blogging - by Tusar N. Mohapatra … Om Sri Aurobindo Mar 9 -Vivek Dehejia @vdehejia To label those opposed to Modi's Wharton visit as "Indian sepoys" does no credit to Rajiv Malhotra nor his arguments.   Retweeted by Savitri Era Party -  View summary - Mar 10 kittu reddy @kitturd  via @wordpressdotcom Sri Aurobindo on ancient indian polity  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View media Mar 10 Sri Aurobindo admits the debt of materialism for making us free from superstitious beliefs … Savitri Era Learning Forum Mar 9 Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Being pushed, willy-nilly, towards Hindutva camp is another danger @RajivMessage either overlooks or underestimates. … Mar 9 Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty [we must first become a nation of individual citizens, multi-hyphenated, yes, but also equal in the eyes of the law.] … - View summary Mar 9 [Confused liberals in India mix up classical liberalism, secularism and nationalism – and end up practising none of them.] @minhazmerchant Mar 9 [Ananthamurthy imposes a misleading mix of existentialism and the Marxist conception of society] -Sandeep Balakrishna … Mar 9 IIT Delhi workshop on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit by Prof John Russon and Prof Shannon Hoff (Canada) on 11th March 2013 (10 am: MS 610) Mar 9 santosh krinsky @santoshk1 Karma Is a Law of Spiritual Evolution  via@wordpressdotcom  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View summary Mar 8 [Sri Aurobindo and Tyagaraja attempt to capture the bliss of spiritual experience & unison.] -Murali Sivaramakrishnan … Mar 8 db Debashish Bose @db_DelAlpha @kshetragnya They are different persons, Aurobindo is a visionary willing to believe and try, Nirad C is a chronicler and commentator  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View conversation Mar 8 Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty [a person who is attuned to Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness just falls in love with his writing style.] by Sandeep … 9 hrs Hostilities between the Israelis and the Palestinians too will be resolved one day through the Savitri Era Religion. … 9 hrs Sri Aurobindo admits the debt of materialism. Postmodernism requires maturity. History-mythology. Auroville to Esalen 

Humans are not isolated in their self alone.  They act in social settings with other people and also have memories.  They live today in settings where the majority of people nearby are anonymous, not relatives or friends. (The ‘company of strangers’ was a great title recently).  In a small hunter/scavenger and gathering band they knew everybody intimately… We share by giving in order to legitimise our expectation of getting at some time in the future… The share motive (so-called altruism) was accompanied by the expectation of reciprocation in due course, and punished by exclusion from sharing in future (witnessed by Dunbar and observed by people today in work situations and, indeed in families). This simple facet of exchange by reciprocation is experienced today in inter-personal relations in the workplace, including university faculties (!) and is an element of behaviour relevant in developing influence among fellow employees. 

“So, my libertarian devotees of evolutionary psychology, you can’t have it both ways.  If feminism is wrong to think we can and/or should resist the dispositions that evolution has given us, then why is it wrong for defenders of the classical liberal order to think we can and/or should resist those dispositions when it comes to our evolved instincts toward the morality of socialism?  Or put the other way around:  if resisting our evolved moral instincts and obeying the rules of just conduct work to generate a civilized, cooperative economic order, why should gender issues be any different?” That is from Steve Horwitz.

Quotation of the Day…  from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux … is from page 190 of Richard Posner’s 1995 volume, Overcoming Law:
“We all have the weaknesses of our strengths.  It is hardly a surprise that people who have powerful intellects tend to have an exaggerated faith in the power of intellect to solve social problems.  It is the same perspectival deformity that leads intellectuals to model democracy as a form of intellectual discussion or to set freedom of thought and debate far above economic freedom.”

(title unknown) from Routledge India Originals's Facebook Wall ~ The Democratic Predicament: Cultural Diversity in Europe and India Edited by: Jyotirmaya Tripathy and Sudarsan Padmanabhan, Rs 895, Pages: 366. Both India and Europe have been undergoing a difficult process of negotiating cultural, religious and ethnic diversity within their democratic frameworks....

It is a quite natural tendency of human nature to fixate on one issue to the exclusion of others. The mind, as a dividing and analyzing instrument, tends toward exclusive concentration. So it is easy to understand that when we once focus on the ethical principle, that it may be viewed as the “categorical imperative” of our human nature.
Sri Aurobindo acknowledges the role of the ethical principle, but he also puts it in context with other aspects of our nature that equally call for fulfillment. There are the seeking for knowledge, the seeking for beauty and harmony, the seeking for Oneness which also represent aspects of our nature.