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: “byebyedarwin.blogspot.com”, in English and Spanish versions, with optional pdf.] Jose Diez Faixat.