May 14, 2015

Systematic study and continued focus is a power of change

Quartz-08-May-2015 Annalisa Merelli - May 8, 2015
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek isn't one to shy away from provocative observations. In a video published on the portal Big Think, he takes ...
“I’m well aware that we should not just walk around and humiliate each other,” says the philosopher. And yet he finds that “there is something so fake about political correctness”—something that, according to him, prevents a true overcoming of prejudice and racism. Žižek explains:
That’s my problem with political correctness. It’s just a form of self discipline which doesn’t really allow you too overcome racism. It’s just oppressed, controlled racism.

Texts are hard

The lecture at Shimer yesterday was very good. One point that Prof. McKenzie kept highlighting is that we in the liberal arts are “overdeployed” in text-oriented activities, while other forms of cultural production are seemingly outside our purview. He gave the example that we all learn to draw in some rudimentary way in grade school, but then that stops early on for most of us — and once we come around to teaching college, we’re lost as to how we would assess a visually-oriented student project. I know I feel pretty out of my depth when it comes to grading creative projects, and I’m not even one to think (as many academics do) that choosing a creative project over a paper is per sea scam to avoid genuine work. Overall, he argued that if we can find ways to help students generate arguments and narratives in media other than text, we’ll be better equipping them for the digital world.
writers have no guarantee that people will actually read their long texts, and readers have no guarantee that they will derive any benefit from a long text. The modes of connecting writers to readers remain primitive and scattershot.

But make no mistake--no human writer, no matter how “superintelligent,” will ever surpass Shakespeare. No musician will surpass Beethoven, or even John Coltrane or Van Morrison, for that matter. No human philosopher will ever surpass Plotinus, or Eckhart, or Aurobindo, or the Upanishads, because knowledge of the ultimate cannot surpass itself, any more than artistic perfection can surpass itself. There is just “perfection.” One either achieves (or approaches) it or one does not...The singularity is already here. So quit complaining and just enjoy it. posted by Gagdad Bob at 7:13 AM

Sri Aurobindo Studies
We have seen the inability of the mental consciousness to solve any of the myriad issues or problems of life and harmony. We can recognize that the complexity of the world goes far beyond the realm of what can be grasped by Mind. Thus, Sri Aurobindo’s solution, the transformative effect of the spiritual consciousness descending into the world and addressing the issues in a comprehensive, global and integrated way, remains the only realistic solution we have found to achieve harmony, peace and balance in the manifested world within which we live and act.
Since the integral Yoga does not have a fixed and invariable routine or set of specific steps to be universally applied, such as are found in various other forms of Yoga, there is a considerable difficulty for the seeker in terms of what needs to be done, and how one knows that the practice is correct and aiming towards the intended conclusion. Sri Aurobindo sets forth several “rules” that can aid the seeker in this Yoga:
Elsewhere Sri Aurobindo describes the “test” for putting away of desire and craving, to be determined by a serene and peaceful equality of soul to all, as well as to every event or situation. The focus of the ego on its own fulfillment, its own ideas, its own wants, needs, desires or satisfactions may lead to outer success, but will not provide the inner basis for the yogic action to progress quickly and effectively. The intention here is not to impose a set of moral principles, rules, requirements or strictures on the outer being, but to effectuate a true inner change of standpoint and basis of response:

thanks for writing. the specific purpose of this blog is to systematically explore, page by page, the writings of Sri Aurobindo. the application of the principles and the teachings is of course for each individual to undertake. since we are studying this material systematically, the specifics of results and applications must be left to the right place and time in the texts where these issues are addressed, as well as to the insight and experience of those who are undertaking the sadhana over time. with respect to “bad people”, the process does not imply elimination of people. that is a mental concept. over time as circumstances change, and as the texture of consciousness on the planet undergoes a change, the responses of people to their environment naturally change, just as the development of the mental consciousness did not, in and of itself, do away with the forms and beings that represented the consciousness of the Life-Force or the world of Matter.

the systematic study allows each individual to gain new insight and opportunity to apply the teaching in a more and more comprehensive way in their own lives. the integral yoga does not have a fixed method that can be applied to all people; but rather, depends on the individual opening to the consciousness that is descending and applying the methodology of aspiration, rejection and surrender to the process that takes place internally. As that occurs, the individual begins to change in terms of the way he/she understands the life, the interactions of life and the world within which the life occurs, and subtle and even at times not so subtle changes begin to occur. The question of then applying this to society at large is more a question of the increasing pressure of this force on more and more individuals and the sum total of those changes. The yoga is not “theoretical’ but requires each individual to find the application within himself and carry it out sincerely. There are numerous posts over the last few years that look at the characteristics that the individual acquires or the “signs of the liberated man” for instance. We spent a lot of time on this in the study of the Essays on the Gita for instance, which preceded the review of the Synthesis of Yoga. Another text that has a lot of practical information is The Mother which was even earlier than the Essays on the Gita review. The point of the study is that the information has been systematically developed in detail, but most of us tend to either miss a lot of this information or are not really aware of what is contained in depth in these texts to help us implement the sadhana. So the idea of going page by page and highlighting the main points seemed to be a reasonable approach. What each individual actually does with this is of course, up to them. We find however that this type of systematic study and turning of the mind towards these subjects, and the aspiration that awakens as a result and gets fired up by continued focus, is itself a power of change for the individual.

as an addendum to the above reply, this is not about “morality” or passing judgment on any individual. each soul needs to confront its issues in its own time and in its own way. the transformation which Sri Aurobindo writes about is not something that gets imposed on individuals from outside, but something that grows up from within through a culturing of consciousness, which develops as a combined action of the aspiration from within meeting the response from above. This is not a matter of some kind of moral law or rule, and comes as an inner awakening and awareness as time goes on. the NEXT chapter we are studying starting tomorrow is Standards of Conduct and Spiritual Freedom and it may be that in that chapter some of your questions will begin to be addressed.

i have tried not to assume anything at all about you, but to respond from my perspective on what this current blog is about. i undertook this study so as to deepen my own insight and understanding and am not trying to teach anyone about anything. people have indicated they find benefit in following the page by page approach that i am pursuing and that is fine with me as it is not “about me” or “for me” in that sense. I agree fully with you that the inner experience is paramount. The turning of the mind in the right direction can assist in that process and certainly helps when it comes to the implementations that the mind needs to assist with. i have not had the opportunity to go to your link as of yet.
:) Ideology and 'aqeedah' goes only so far.
Principles are whims of the mind just as desires are whims of the vital.

[Pondicherry Ashram is a place meant to help you see all that is imperfect, false, distorted, and insincere in you.]

Sri Aurobindo : Neither reason nor experience nor intuition nor imagination bears witness to us of the possibility of a final terminus

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