December 29, 2014

Brand new fabric that rapidly changing present is weaving

Unique Nationalist & Nonpartisan comments on current affairs in the light of Sri Aurobindo's insights at Savitri Era:
[Dear @searchforlight please help us reach this message to larger public through a RT: Who harassed whom?]
[are we willing to help build a better tomorrow or bent on tearing the brand new fabric that rapidly changing present is weaving around us?]
[Sri Aurobindo took some of his ideas and critical terms from Arnold, Coleridge and Keats - by VK Dwivedi]
[Sri Aurobindo’s literary judgments matched Coleridge’s and Heine’s in their “piercing and instantaneous insight."]
[Sri Aurobindo talks about both Sanskrit and Tamil (being) derivations of a still more ancient and original language]
[recovering spiritual significance of Vedas is one of the original contributions of Sri Aurobindo to Indian culture.]
[Sayana’s work was a great stumbling block for a true understanding of Vedas. Vedic scholar Kapali Shastriar sums up]
[Suhrawardi, Abhinavagupta and the light by Templeton, Kirk, Ph.D., CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL STUDIES, 2013]
[It shows the real Sri Aurobindo, a powerful and striking figure, not at all dreamy and idealised Christ-like figure]
[Kashmir Shaivism differs from Neoplatonism in that it is based on a Monistic rather than a Dualistic perspective] AK
[Kabalah and Sufism have the view that Being manifests - similar to neoplatonic philosophy - each real and objective on its own level.]
Sri Aurobindo on the Hindu-Mulsim problem. An extract from A Vision of United India via @kitturd
@AJuglall Sri Aurobindo's 1st dream suggests  new South Asian alignment for unity in subcontinent. Time to move to South Asian Confederation
@AJuglall : time to take stock of Sri Aurobindo's 1st dream; if Hindu Muslim problem was not resolved, there was danger of division again
The Need For Freedom To Develop New Approaches In the Integral Yoga
The Three Stages of the Integral Yoga
Correspondences by Arjava with Sri Aurobindo’s Comment
Baji Prabhu by Shri Aurobindo via @wordpressdotcom #Shivaji
Condemn Vedic aeronautics in science meeting- because condemning something before hearing it out is what science is.
We're always late, argumentative & treat bosses like mai-baap. Expat CEOs on Indian work culture:
Market failures and public policy by Jean Tirole: - thoughts?
[Dewey frequently sounds in advance like Merleau-Ponty.]
[parables, metaphors and stories, mythologies make the members of the group identify with the ideology at core level]
Have you read Friedman on India? Friedman’s critiques on the policies of central planning:
Re-visiting ancient civilisational wisdom via @TheDailyPioneer
Charles Darwin was baffled by the speed with which flowers evolved and spread.
Civilisation is boring, says @GeorgeMonbiot. To live a full life, we must embrace the wild -
The man who implemented Mandal VP Singh deserves Bharat Ratna more than ... - Firstpost  #Yugvani
"Hobby Lobby and the question for religious freedom" — Andrew Koppelman on how law copes with religion: #SCOTUS
"Modernity as a hermeneutic problem" — Thomas Pfau responds to the commentary on Minding the Modern:
Pfau: "My reading challenges recent attempts to claim Hobbes as a precursor of modern liberalism and individualism."
Babasaheb #Ambedkar also goes further and reveals his deep knowledge of the Rig Veda … via
[What do I obtain if I refrain from eating onion (and so on)? - In the case of the Śyena and the Agnīṣomīya rituals,]
Sri Elst's  understanding of Hindu psyche is deeper than that of many Hindus
For the no of responses rec'vd on religion from Left and Right Two Pieces on "Religion"
Dalits who converted to Buddhism, when is VHP doing their #GharWapsi
Under the present dispensation, discriminatory practices against the most vulnerable people may flourish even more
"Hyperboles, half-truths & undeliverable promises hv built a castle of dreams in 2014. 2015 cld be the yr of awakening":
Modi has maintained a stoic silence on the dangerous pronouncements, actions of BJP ideologues
[not meant for the really big guys, chaps like Vivekananda Tilak Gokhale or Sri Aurobindo. We need a different type.]
Dear @SavitriEraParty please help us reach this message to larger public through a RT: Who harassed whom?
5 Lessons You Can Learn From Failure
#Gender equality in india: my wish list for #2015 - excellent post by @mizarcle
Read more on this noxious but oft repeated view here:
Indian Express on the conclave @sarkar_swati 
This is why lack of sleep is destroying your brain
Patriarchy is a dual system, a system in which men oppress women, and in which men oppress themselves and each other.
[men’s patriarchal competition with each other makes use of women as symbols of success, as mediators, as refuges, and as an underclass.]
[others often think he is gay because he is a dancer. The patriarchal connection: if you are not trying to kill other men, you must be gay.]
@Lutyenspundit MEN’S POWER WITH OTHER MEN By Joseph Pleck, PhD males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual & amp; assume its mutual !!
@firstpostin carries an excerpt from Ajaz Ashraf's 'The Hour before Dawn':
Good take on a government running on acronyms and alliterations by Ajaz Ashraf via
Much-needed balanced perspective on the unfair, unnecessary, unjustified accusations against Sri Aurobindo Ashram:
[Honouring a personality is not necessarily an endorsement of all of his politics, or being blind to his failures and shortcomings.] ~Hindu
K.Balachander, the Director who created women led cinema before it became a trend:
How movies embraced Hinduism (without you even noticing)
Anuradha Goyal: The Score of my life by Zubin Mehta @anuradhagoyal
The history of religion: "When people begin new religions they pick & choose from materials in available religions"
The Divinisation of Matter- Lurianic Kabbalah, Sri Aurobindo, and the New Physics:  The Divinisation Of Matter...
Misinformed, misguided anti-Ashram protests #FellowshipOfTheAshram
Kancha Ilaiah’s  hatred of the #BhagavadGita exposed.
What writers love about the @womensweb community:
Systems and Methods in the Practice of Yoga
Jean-François Noubel presented in French: "Pioneering Humanity: from the I to the We".
Pioneering Humanity. Listen at:  -
Matrimandir Book Release. Listen at: -
Welcome to Radio Koraput. As you enter the little village of Duruguda in Koraput block, a Bell made of Iron...
Le Corbusier, the original starchitect, is blamed for modernism’s ills. Much of the vitriol is deserved...
Explore the Religion/Ethics page of the BBC - and wander why is Ethics bundled up with religion...
Since the start of the Arab Spring, atheism has become a growing social phenomenon in the region. In his timely...
No reason to claim Jesus existed as it seems there is no mention of him in historical texts
No Meek Messiah: Christianity's, Laws and Legacy
5 reasons to suspect Jesus never existed
Movement against reservation - MAR #MAR #Reservation

December 26, 2014

Conceptual weakness of Liberalism & Social Darwinism

The Fantastic Mr. Hobbes

Thomas Pfau at The Immanent Frame 
Some readers of *Minding the Modern* have been surprised to find my account so firmly critical of Thomas Hobbes on will and personhood. Now, it is both incidental and inevitable that my reading challenges recent attempts to claim Hobbes as a precursor of modern liberalism and individualism. Long before me, of course, a wide and diverse array of thinkers (Hannah Arendt, Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, John Milbank, Louis Dupré, Michael Oakeshott) had probed the conceptual weakness of modern Liberalism, particularly its propensity to expire in an omnipresent state, putatively enli...more »

Evolution, Religion and the Unknown God by Georges van Vrekhem (kindle ebook)

Auro e-Books at Auro e-Books
This book narrates the relevant events in the history of ‘Darwinism’ and the resulting Social Darwinism and Sociobiology. It also stresses the antagonism of the scientific materialism at its basis and the religious teachings of the origin and evolution of life on our planet. It is this antagonism that has inevitably resulted in the ongoing controversies between creationism, the positivist scientific view of evolution, and ‘intelligent design’.

December 15, 2014

Human agency—will, person, judgment, action

Exordium: Modernity’s Gaze

The young man’s forlorn, abstracted, and blank gaze suggests disorientation and incipient melancholy: we cannot meet his eyes, and they will not meet ours. Indeed, the beholder of Lorenzo Lotto’s canvas may feel somewhat flustered, as though he or she had accidentally intruded on a scene of intensely personal, albeit ineffable anguish. For Lotto’s young man, whose identity remains unknown, seems...

Part I: Prolegomena

read more

Chapter 1: Frameworks or Tools?: On the Status of Concepts in Humanistic Inquiry

This is a study of two closely related concepts—“will” and “person”— which have proven indispensable to Western humanistic inquiry and its ongoing, albeit enormously diverse, attempts to develop a satisfactory account of human agency. More implicitly, what follows is also a study of our changed relationship to concepts and, hence, to the nature, purpose, and responsibility of thinking and...
read more

Chapter 2: Forgetting by Remembering: Historicism and the Limits of Modern Knowledge

To return once more to Heidegger’s notion of the modern Weltbild, it appears that yet another change wrought by the age of the “world picture” concerns a thoroughgoing shift in the form, function, and scope of narrative. The structure of narrative mutates from the mnemonic to the emancipatory, from the genre of epic to that of utopia, and from an evolving, deepening, and transformative engagement...
read more

Chapter 3: “A large mental field”: Intellectual Traditions and Responsible Knowledge after Newman

Leo Strauss’s critique leaves us with the impression of modern historicism as above all a distancing technique, driven by modernity’s visceral fear of the unknown and its consequent resistance to any transcendent or otherwise heteronymous authority. Echoing and elaborating Strauss’s view, Hans-Georg Gadamer was to argue that “our usual relationship to the past is not characterized by distancing...

Part II: Rational Appetite: An Emergent Conceptual Tradition

read more

Chapter 4: Beginnings: Desire, Judgment, and Action in Aristotle and the Stoics

If there is a single aspect of modernity that sets it apart from classical and Scholastic thought, it is the supposition that the spheres of human knowledge and human action, theoretical and practical rationality, are fundamentally distinct and possibly altogether unrelated. Such a partitioning of the order of fact from that of value and of cognition from willing, which eventually finds its consummate...
read more

Chapter 5: Consolidation: St. Augustine on Choice, Sin, and the Divided Will

To understand the adaptation of ancient philosophical concepts to changed social and intellectual purposes, what Hans Blumenberg calls their “reoccupation,” one has to be mindful of how intricately that history is enmeshed with issues of translation. In the case of the will, translation holds particular significance because it is only by transposing and reconfiguring hekousionboulēsiseph’hemin, and prohairesis...
read more

Chapter 6: Rational Appetite and Good Sense: Will and Intellect in Aquinas

The intellectual dimension so prevalent in Aristotle’s account of “choice”— yet crucially fused with Augustine’s metaphysics of grace—was to find its consummate articulation in Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae, particularly in his discussion of the will in the so-called “Treatise on Man” and at the beginning of the Prima Secundae. Unlike in Aristotle’s ethics, the will now presents itself in the two distinct...
read more

Chapter 7: Rational Claims, Irrational Consequences: Ockham Disaggregates Will and Reason

If analogical predication is perceived to be an unacceptable constraint on human cognition by Aquinas’s successors, this is because they operate with a fundamentally weakened sense of obligation and responsibility that the knowledge bears to its objects of inquiry. Already in Duns Scotus’s mystical speculations about the “univocity of Being,” it is palpable how “talk of analogy … became marginal rather than...

Part III: Progressive Amnesia: Will and the Crisis of Reason

read more

Chapter 8: Impoverished Modernity: Will, Action, and Person in Hobbes’s Leviathan

At times a terror, Leviathan has always been an enigma on account of an innate tendency of instrumental reason to turn into its other, rather in the spirit of William Blake’s dictum that “Opposition is true friendship.” Embodying those very terrors of irrational strife that it had been designed to keep at bay, the Hobbesian state thus peremptorily seizes all possible venues from which it might be materially...
read more

Chapter 9: The Path toward Non-Cognitivism: Locke’sDesire and Shaftesbury’s Sentiment

Beginning with the early Enlightenment, particularly in the writings of Locke, Mandeville, and Montesquieu, and culminating in the hybridization of moral and economic theory in Francis Hutcheson, Smith, Ferguson, John Millar, and James Steuart, we can observe a strategic shift in social theory that promises, if not to remedy, then at least to contain the apparent irrationality of the Hobbesian will. As...
read more

Chapter 10: From Naturalism to Reductionism: Mandeville’s Passion and Hutcheson’s Moral Sense

Before exploring how Shaftesbury’s “moral sense” theory is consolidated by Francis Hutcheson and, eventually, critiqued in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, some consideration will have to be given to Mandeville’s revival of Locke’s anti-metaphysical conception of the will, viz., as a strictly empirical and unrelentingly hedonistic “passion.” First published in 1714, his Fable of the Bees greatly...
read more

Chapter 11: Mindless Desires and Contentless Minds: Hume’s Enigma of Reason

What Hutcheson is unable to do is to imagine how the self might advance from a strictly apperceptive relation to countless instances of affection to a reasoned and continuous sense of moral agency. To be sure, on Hutcheson’s account the self knows itself to be experiencing specific types of affect at specific moments in time, but it no longer appears to know anything else. The gap between the certitude of the...
read more

Chapter 12: Virtue without Agency: Sentiment, Behavior, and Habituation in A. Smith

Throughout the Theory of Moral Sentiments, there is a marked reversal of emphasis, away from the drama of volatile and non-cognitive passions and toward reaffirming the continuity of a different type of affect. The course correction here takes the form of retranslating the passions—not back into a metaphysics of the will, to be sure—but into a firmly empirical, at times seemingly actuarial understanding...
read more

Chapter 13: After Sentimentalism: Liberalism and the Discontents of Modern Autonomy

Two major problems now begin to emerge, both of acute concern for the Romantics and, uniquely so, for the later Coleridge. First, it is apparent that, far from being an ontology and “source” of meaning, reason by the late eighteenth century is separating from the interiorist framework that, since St. Augustine, had revolved around a rich pallet of human intentionality that includes notions of will, deliberation...

Part IV: Retrieving the Human: Coleridge on Will, Person, and Conscience

read more

Chapter 14: Good or Commodity?: Modern Knowledge and the Loss of Eudaimonia

The strain of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary and philosophical narrative briefly indexed here reveals a metaphysical deficit intrinsic to modern liberalism—a deficit certainly unacknowledged, if not outright repressed, and hence steadily more pressing and crippling for the modern individual. The writings in question show the Enlightenment unable to grasp the challenge posed by...
read more

Chapter 15: The Persistence of Gnosis: Freedom and “Error” in Philosophical Modernity

Coleridge’s imaginative tabulation of the “costs of modernity,” already on display in some of his poetry but much more expansively in his prose writings beginning with The Friend (1808), marks the beginning of a turn, in both philosophy and poetics, away from instrumental and pragmatic models of rationality and toward the (mostly negative) knowledge of history as one all-pervading miscarriage....
read more

Chapter 16: Beyond Voluntarism and Deontology: Coleridge’s Notion of the Responsible Will

At this point, we can begin to delve into some of Coleridge’s late prose in order to draw out a number of related conceptual shifts for which the Mariner’s defining act of skepticism furnishes an early and vivid dramatization. Central to this discussion are the concepts of will, person, and conscience—all of them profoundly inter-related in Coleridge’s late writings. Beginning around 1804, Coleridge posits as...
read more

Chapter 17: Existence before Substance: The Idea of “Person” in Humanistic Inquiry

Few terms call more urgently for a deep-historical archeology and for patient “desynonymization” (to use Coleridge’s term of art) from “subject,” self,” or “individual” than that of “person.” To embark on tracing the term’s genesis and progressive clarification is to encounter a vivid example of what John Henry Newman would subsequently conceptualize as the “development” of an idea—a process of...
read more

Chapter 18: Existence as Reality and Act: Person, Relationality, and Incommunicability

If one searches back for the moment where rationality of this more-than-calculative kind first enters the definition of the human person, an early and seminal text turns out to be a tract by Boethius (A.D. 480–524), directed against the symmetrical fallacies of monophysitism and dophysitism.Against Eutyches and Nestorius did much to resolve the perplexities over the relation between person and nature that...
read more

Chapter 19: “Consciousness has the appearance of another”: On Relationality as Love

There are at least three discrete models that Samuel Taylor Coleridge develops by way of articulating the intrinsic relatedness of the human person. A first has to do with the love between human beings and the question of whether the insistence of (potentially unilateral) desire negates or is compatible with personhood. A notebook entry of October 1820 frames the question as follows: “Is true genuine...
read more

Chapter 20: “Faith is fidelity … to the conscience”: Coleridge’s Ontology

Like most of those who, since late antiquity, participated in the ongoing clarification of person as an ontological idea, Coleridge emphasizes that the reality of the human being depends on an act of “recognition.” Beginning with his sharply worded, though always carefully reasoned arguments against the practice of slavery, Coleridge had understood “recognition” not merely as some abstract metaphysical...

Works Cited


read more

About the Author, Praise

Thomas Pfau is the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English and professor of German at Duke University, with a secondary appointment on the Duke Divinity School faculty. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1790–1840.

Minding the Modern

Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions, and Responsible Knowledge

December 13, 2014

Sri Aurobindo as a poet, scholar, and thinker

How to benefit from Sri Aurobindo

Tusar Nath Mohapatra at Savitri Era 
Left or Right, Centre or Subaltern; Sri Aurobindo is the most sought after voice to cut through theoretical confusion 1. How to benefit from Sri Aurobindo is a complex topic but a few tips can be of help to those with open mind and tons of curiosity to learn. 2. The basic requirement is to be aware about Sri Aurobindo's life history in brief and remember the names of major books authored by him. 3. To look at Sri Aurobindo as a poet, scholar, and thinker at the outset is more profitable than as a Freedom fighter or Spiritual teacher. 4. Synthesising ancient and mo... more »

Ontology is a moot point if you are a theist

elisa freschi at The Indian Philosophy Blog 
A philosopher might end up having a double affiliation, to the philosophical standpoints shared by one’s fellow philosophers, and to the religious program of one’s faith. This can lead to difficult reinterpretations (such as that of Christ with the Neoplatonic Continue reading →

Sri Aurobindo and Yogi Vishnu Bhaskar Lele

Jitendra Sharma at Savitri Era Devotees 
(Sri Aurobindo and yogi Lele shut themselves away in house of  Khaserao Jarvi not letting anybody know it. [January 1908,  Baroda] Lele said to Sri Aurobindo to silent down his mind and  doing this Sri Aurobindo got realisation of silent Brahman.) (Here, in January 1908, Sri Aurobindo got fundamental  realisation of silent Brahman.)

December 11, 2014

Sri Aurobindo, Maslow, Foucault, and Deleuze

Concerned Leftists Rediscover Michel Foucault Might Not Have Been As Anti-Market as They'd Like

Shimer College in the Guardian

Remember the West?
[reimagining how we construct our courses — so that Machiavelli can talk with Sun Tzu and Lenin without any presumption of “influence.”] ~AK

Here's a nice article on the pedagogy of New Age channeling:

Pre-print of my new article on Denominations, Differentiation, and Evolution now in Current Anthropology (w/o wall!).

I just uploaded 'Shults, "Iconoclastic Theology" & Barber, "Deleuze and the Naming of God" (Book...' to @academia!


Once More on Laissez-Faire and Adam Smith by Gavin Kennedy via Adam Smiths Lost Legacy (blog)

Mandeville and Smith: Adam Smith's Lost Legacy


@jborocz  Touche. Here is broad brush take on the decline of Europe, originally published in an Indian journal.

A game of world domination between five players (Japan, China, Russia, Europe, US) is becoming competitive.

Towards a human economy. Interview with Keith Hart in India's Economic & Political Weekly

Manifesto for a human economy The Memory Bank » Blog Archive

Paperback for Deleuze and the Naming of God

Lead: Confronting the right wing #RSS #BJP #Modi #Politics

Is secularism itself, its historical antecedents notwithstanding, a manifestation of the Christian worldview?

@ShashiTharoor on why caste won't disappear from India

Gandhi's challenge to India and America

@neha_aks @blog_supplement [5. Tell us some personal anecdotes about Shri Bagha Jatin]

Vivek Dehejia (@vdehejia) on the delusions of economists

The Siege Within : Hear it? Indian secularism is both enduring & audible:

7 things we need to change about Indian society:

News Analysis: Why ‘#Gita’ as Rashtriya Granth is problematic

भगवद् गीता राष्ट्रीय ग्रंथ कैसे बनेगी?

Seed of Grandeur On Poems of Sri Aurobindo

Conditions For a Synthesis of the Various Yogic Paths

The Philosophy of Religion by Rod Hemsell Reply w/ #AmazonCart for a free sample via @amazonIN

The Philosophy of Evolution by Rod Hemsell Reply w/ #AmazonCart for a free sample via @amazonIN

Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga Psychology & A. Maslow's Humanistic/transpersonal Psychology by Joseph Vrinte @amazonIN

#DCOpinion - The Gita doesn’t need government boost -

9th Dec.1950: Sri Aurobindo's physical sheath was laid to rest in Samadhi-vault #SriAurobindo -

Shant Prakash 'Jatav': Movement against reservation Movement Against Reservation - MAR

Essay on the Gita Diary 2015

November 21, 2014

Conscious union with the Invisible

People everywhere have aspired for a better world, but we are still far from the rosy visions of a utopian life. As the search for better systems and models continues, it is becoming clear that the lofty ideals rooted in religion, morality and ethics have been unsuccessful in the struggle to make the planet a better place. But what if it is not the systems and models themselves but something more fundamental that needs to be investigated? There is a growing awareness that the panacea to the problems ravaging our world is in a paradigm shift to spirituality. However, a fundamental confusion persists that equates spirituality with morality, idealism and religion.
It is therefore of topical importance that Dr. A. S. Dalal has chosen this moment to bring out a compilation titled Morality, Idealism, Religion and Yoga: The Meaning of Spirituality.
For skeptics, hesitant beginners, or muddled seekers to whom these might sound as empty words devoid of real-world experience, Sri Aurobindo assures us that “yoga is not a matter of theory or dogma…but a matter of experience. Its experience is that of a conscient universal and supracosmic Being with whom it brings us into union, and this conscious experience of union with the Invisible, always renewable and verifiable, is as valid as our conscious experience of a physical world and of visible bodies with whose invisible minds we daily communicate.” — Gautam Chatterjee

Clearly neither Capra nor Heisenberg anywhere had mentioned that the celebrated uncertainty principle was based on Vedas and Upanishads. So with no uncertainty, one can say that the minister is in the wrong, if he claimed that the Uncertainty Principle was based on Vedic or Upanishadic wisdom. But the name Heisenberg should bring more serious issues into the concern of people who frame the science curriculum. The way pre-Christian Greek philosophical traditions have influenced the development of modern physics in the West cannot be overstated. It was Werner Heisenberg who pointed out this continuity —  Aravindan Neelakandan

Daya Krishna’s “Creative Encounters with Texts” —  Posted on 17 November 2014 by elisa freschi 
Daya Krishna was an Indian philosopher, a rationalist and iconoclast, who constantly tried to question and scrutinise acquired “truths”. The main place for such investigations was for him a saṃvāda ‘dialogue’. That’s why he also strived to organise structured samvāda Continue reading →
Shail Mayaram, in the introduction of a book dedicated to Daya Krisna and Ramchandra Gandhi, Philosophy as Samvad and Svaraj adds some interesting information about the samvādas 

Beatrice Bruteau —  Cynthia Bourgeault  Nov. 21, 2014 
Those who had the privilege of working with her directly speak of the clarity and precision of her mind, the luminosity of her vision, and the down-to-earth practicality of her contemplative practice. 
Rigorously trained, she held two degrees in mathematics and a doctorate in philosophy from Fordham University. In addition to her highly articulate Christianity, she was also a longtime student of Vedanta and one of the early pioneers of East-West dialogue. She wrote books on Sri Aurobindo and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and was one of the founders of the American Teilhard Association in 1967. Her most important works include Radical Optimism (1993), The Easter Mysteries (1995), What We Can Learn from the East (1995), and God's Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World (1997). In all of these works, she brought her deep understanding of non-dual states of consciousness as well as her scientific training and rigor to the mysticism of the West.
Her passion was the study of evolutionary consciousness, and over the course of her long teaching career, she lived to see this passion come into its own as one of the most significant spiritual movements of our times. 

October 18, 2014

Pfau places Coleridge at the center

Imagine that you’ve been invited to play a game of cards with Thomas Pfau and his cards are called Justice, Reason, Beauty, Humanism, Purpose, and Value, while yours are called Interest, Materialism, Naturalism, Historicism, Value-Neutrality, attributes of a World without Grace and without Narrative. Who wins? But why should you let Pfau have all those cards, especially with names like Justice, Reason, and Beauty, or the names he adds later—“free choice, conscience, person, teleology…judgment…and, for that matter, art”; and why are you stuck with Interest and Materialism? This is a ... more »

Thomas Pfau’s book *Minding the Modern* is a book of immense scope. About half the work (parts II and III) consists of an ambitious historical genealogy. The other half (the prolegomena and part IV) presents a sustained philosophical argument about human personhood and moral agency. Although Pfau places the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge at the center of his examination of modernity, the conceptual protagonist of the book is Thomas Aquinas, whose theory of moral agency is seen to afford a robust account of human freedom that is grounded in *rational* volition: free decisions based ... more »

Inchoate thought emerging from ongoing discussions I’ve had with my friend Duane Rousselle over the last couple of years. It seems to me that anarchist/communist political thought– at least as I conceive it (I could be completely misguided as to what both anarchism and communism are) –pull in two distinct directions, one normative and the […]

All theory takes place within an ecology of debates, theoretical frameworks, and concepts to which it responds and engages; as well as the historical situation, social system, institutions, etc., in which it is articulated. Yet while theory is always embedded in a set of relations in which it emerges, theoretical machines are peculiar sorts of […]

One of the key debates in Indian philosophy is what counts as a pramāna: an instrument of knowledge, a “reliable warrant”, a means of knowledge reliable enough that one can be reasonably confident to take its conclusions as true. What →

Anand Vaidya on 3 October 2014 at 12:40 am said: Hi Elisa,
Thanks for the comments. I will look into the aspects of classical Indian philosophy that you mention. I am very appreciative of any direction on this issue. As for your general question, I have a small comment on that one.
It looks to me as if one could argue that St. Anselm had no interest in the epistemology of modality. Some would even argue that he simply used the term ‘inconceivable’ to mean ‘logically impossible’ and as a consequence was not interested in how the mental operation of conceiving might relate to what is objectively possible or impossible. However, with Descartes and with Hume and Kant I think it is much harder to make the claim that they did not see themselves as interested in the primary questions in the epistemology of modality. Descartes, Arnauld, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Berkeley, Reid, and Mill all discuss a conceivability to possibility thesis, its role in metaphysics, and whether or not it is reliable. Many even suggest deep points that make it the case that the 20th century debate, at least in my opinion, has not gone beyond what they say.

In the spirit of Darwinian evolution, Henri Bergson, with this volume, makes the philosophical argument that morality and religion are the “natural” and necessary products of man’s evolution. With a look which extends back some 2,400 years to the ancient Greek philosophers, Bergson traces the evolution of man’s instinct, intelligence and intuition and shows how necessary their interactions were in the development of human societies, morality and religion and he looks ahead to the shapes they must take if man is to survive himself.

Sri Aurobindo’s multifaceted engagements will continue to occupy scholars in different fields. As one who belongs to a country that has begotten eminent theoreticians in the fields of literature, arts, linguistics, and aesthetics, Sri Aurobindo’s contribution deserves a dispassionate assessment. Volume 27 of the Complete Works contains his “Letters on Poetry and Art” which can be examined for the potential for a theory of poetry. As letters, they are informal responses. However, they are also responses to specific and thoughtfully worded questions from individuals who have engaged Sri Aurobindo in serious discussions on the issues concerning poetry and the arts. An Indian academic is forged in a system of education that is more Western, in character, than Indian. Hence, the present concern to explore the potential for a theory of poetry among Indian scholars and theoreticians.

July 31, 2014

World's absurdity - human history is going nowhere

Schopenhauer's originality does not reside in his characterization of the world as Will, or as act — for we encounter this position in Fichte's philosophy — but in the conception of Will as being devoid of rationality or intellect.

An inspiration for Schopenhauer's view that ideas are like inert objects is George Berkeley, A primary inspiration for Schopenhauer's double-aspect view of the universe is Baruch Spinoza. A subsequent, but often highlighted inspiration is from the Upanishads, Schopenhauer's particular characterization of the world as Will, is nonetheless novel and daring. It is also frightening and pandemonic: there is no God to be comprehended, and the world is conceived of as being meaningless. 

Schopenhauer's influence has been strong among literary figures, which include poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists and historians such as Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, ... these authors were inspired by Schopenhauer's sense of the world's absurdity, either regarded in a more nihilistic and gloomy manner, or regarded in a more lighthearted, absurdist and comic manner.

Schopenhauer's ideas about the importance of instinctual urges at the core of daily life also reappeared in Freud's surrealism-inspiring psychoanalytic thought, and his conviction that human history is going nowhere, became keynotes within 20th century French philosophy, after two World Wars put a damper on the 19th century anticipations of continual progress that had captured the hearts of thinkers such as Hegel and Marx. [Stanford]

Hartmann credits Kant for having discovered the unconscious, but blames him for both not fully developing its consequences, and not fully appreciating its primacy in the working of the mind. In Hartmann’s mind this undervaluation of the unconscious is a constant in the history of western philosophy. In fact, Hartmann claims, that it is only Arthur Schopenhauer who began to fully appreciate the unconscious’ fundamental importance, that is, the predominance of what he called ‘will’. However, Arthur Schopenhauer, Hartmann claims, was blinded by his Eastern influences from fully comprehending how the unconscious functioned in the human realm.

Hartmann rejects Arthur Schopenhauer’s famous claim that this is the worst of possible worlds. His position, in fact, is closer to Leibniz’s, who claimed that this was the best of possible world. The difference between Hartmann and Leibniz, was that Hartmann despite viewing this world as the best possible one, nonetheless claimed that it was full of suffering and devoid of happiness. Moreover, Hartmann rejected Leibniz’s claim that evil is a privation, claiming instead that it is evil, which is manifest in the world. What’s more, Hartmann believed that this manifestation of evil is part of the world’s teleological trajectory, and consequently, he held that the world will end in total annihilation. For Hartmann, unlike Arthur Schopenhauer, this ultimate end is not properly tragic, as it is the almost calculated culmination of the crusade of the unconscious, embodied in the entirety of the human race. In fact, the ultimate self-annihilating end of the world is, Hartmann claimed, the highest expression of the unconscious. [EGS]

The object of his philosophy was to unite the “idea” of Hegel with the “will” of Schopenhauer in his doctrine of the Absolute Spirit, or, as he preferred to characterize it, spiritual monism. [IEP]

All in all, the earlier work expresses a sunnier hope for human possibilities, the sense that Emerson and his contemporaries were poised for a great step forward and upward; and the later work, still hopeful and assured, operates under a weight or burden, a stronger sense of the dumb resistance of the world... 
Cavell considers Emerson's anticipations of existentialism, and in these and other works he explores Emerson's affinities with Nietzsche and Heidegger. [Stanford]

Sri Aurobindo's Independence Day message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947 over AIR, Tiruchirapalli #FiveDreams

July 25, 2014

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo on ordinary life

Sandeep on How to rise above the ordinary life…
Related Posts:
Signs of readiness for spiritual life
Why bad things happen to good people?
Are earthquakes due to Divine retribution?
Karma can be changed. Your destiny is in your hands
Gita Chapter 18, Verse 60-61: The illusion of free-will
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Astrology
The occult spirits which influence our actions
How to make the right choice when faced with a serious decision
Jnana Yoga : the ego blocks that have to be dissolved
Is fear and awe of God necessary?
The Aurobindonian model of Karma

Savitri Era - Goldmine:
Sai religion should go separate
Sri Aurobindo gives the example of the monkey
Sri Aurobindo alone is the answer
Role of culture in Sri Aurobindo's Yoga
Marx and Macaulay, Hegel or Whitehead
Sri Aurobindo's Yoga and the elderly
Sri Aurobindo torpedoed his neatly knit Metaphysic...
Indians demand genuine Democracy
The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have gifted us thousand...
No better guide than Sri Aurobindo
Development needs appropriate Ontology
Sri Aurobindo overcomes the average
Yoga of Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo and the history of ideas
Sri Aurobindo's paradigm
Sri Aurobindo fuses the past and the future

Helen Longino:

Thanks, Anand. I could not agree more: yes, we need philosophy, science, and religion to provide a full account of this phenomenon we call human existence and/or experience. But surely you don’t mean to suggest that the picture we get from each has equal standing when it comes to making truth claims. Nor, I hope, do you take these classical philosophical traditions (Western, Indian, Chinese, etc.) to be offering a complete and unrevisable picture of the phenomenon.