November 24, 2019

Urvasie is a brilliant symbolic love poem

[PDF] Discourse of Love and Beauty in Selected Poems of Sri Aurobindo

PK Jha
Sri Aurobindo is a great Indian poet and philosopher. His" Urvasie" is a brilliant symbolic love poem. Urvasie is the companion nymph of Pururavus. She is a manifestation of splendour. She and Pururavus are two physical emanations in …

Genius: Standing on the Shoulders of Social Networks

S Restivo - Einstein's Brain, 2020
… and Western philosophy and a defense of intuition, faith, spiritual experience, and the testimony of scriptures in theological language as “necessary for knowledge and life.” For contemporary perspectives in this tradition, see …

Experimental Metaphysics

by larvalsubjects

In place of the conspiracy theories of classical metaphysics, Adam Miller, following Latour, proposes an experimental metaphysics.  According to Miller, what is the cardinal sin of classical metaphysics?  On the one hand, it is reductive.  When we are in the grips of a theory, we believe we have mastered the phenomena.  Our metaphysics is based on a distinction between appearance and reality, where appearances are the buzzing confusion of all things that exist in the world and reality is the finite set of principles or laws that both explain those phenomena and that are the grounds of the phenomena.  Here I cannot resist a hackneyed reference to The Matrix.  What is it that distinguishes Neo from everyone else?  Unlike the rest of us that see only appearances-- the steak that we are eating, the clothing we are wearing, the car we're driving in, other people, etc --Neo sees the reality that governs the appearances.  He sees the code that governs appearances.  Neo is the Platonic hero par excellence.  Where everyone else sees shadows on the cave wall taking them to be true reality, Neo has escaped the cave, seen the true reality, and now knows the combinatorial laws that govern all the appearances.  It is this that allows him to perform such extraordinary feats, for like the scientist that has unlocked the secrets of nature, he can manipulate that code to his advantage.

This is the fantasy of classical metaphysics and is what Miller refers to as a conspiracy theory.  The classical metaphysician believes he has unliked the code that governs the appearances and, for this reason, no longer has to attend to the appearances.  Alfred Korzybski famously said "the map is not the territory".  The classical metaphysician is like a person who gets a map and thinks that because they have a map they have mastered the territory; so much so that they don't have to consult the territory at all.  In this instance, the map, the model, comes to replace the territory altogether.  The map becomes the reality and the territory itself, such that the territory no longer enters the picture.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons people often find philosophers so frustrating.  We have our models, we have our metaphysics, and we debate back and forth about the finer points of these respective maps, yet the territory doesn't enter the picture.  The map has become more real than the territory (isn't this what Lauruelle is diagnosing in his non-philosophy:  the manner in which the philosophy posits its own reality).

The only ontology that exists is the subjective ontology, i.e. consciousness. Everything else are ideas in consciousness. I think that science should state clearly its goals to the students in schools and universities: "Science is about trying to guess the behavior of nature, and building models that help us build technology. But at all times we should not forget that all these are models built in consciousness, consciousness being the foundation of reality.". Instead, children are thrown into ideas that their unprepared mind takes them as being about how nature really is. Because of my desire to understand reality and the insincere way in which science is promoted in schools, I ended up studying physics at university, only to realize on my own during the studies that consciousness is the true reality and physics just an idea invented by consciousness to describe the regularities that it sees in its experiences. Now I'm a philosopher of consciousness. Such a waste of time to have to go through physics to realize these things on my own, when I could have gone the right way from the beginning if the educational system would have been honest.

Dear  Cosmin,

Namaste. While it is true that modern science has completely ignored consciousness in its attempt to focus purely on the objects of consciousness in the form of Nature (conceived as material and mechanistic) it is not true that consciousness is the only reality. Modern science, with the development of quantum theory, is recognizing that it has made a mistake in its one-sided attitude and approach. [Of course, there are always those scientists who will never admit such a thing.] However, we must not make the mistake of thinking that consciousness is the only reality in which the object of consciousness is to be ignored. This would be as one-sided (and abstract) as the current idea of modern science, ant not concrete. Concrete would mean the contradiction of two opposing sides [thesis and its antithesis] is accounted for and not simply neglected due to failure to understand their dialectical relation [synthesis].

Consciousness is essentially a subject/object relationship. As Hegel has clearly enunciated, the Absolute truth is grasped as a whole, as both subject as much as  substance. The problem that abstract idealism faces,which seems to be the view you are holding, is that it is abstract, i.e. not admitting the antithesis. This error is also held by Deepak Chopra and others who embrace the abstract monist philosophy or abstract advaitins. 

There are the true advaitins who understand the negation that is involved in the a-dvaita conception. This negation means that there is both the positive and its negation involved in the concrete idea of advaita. 

Although consciousness determines the objects of consciousness in terms of what they are, it does not create them or produce their being. Likewise if you think that everything is consciousness then you must accept that the objects of consciousness are also conscious, and that means they can also effect or determine the consciousness that you one-sidedly hold to determine them. This clearly is inconsistent.

While ultimately in the Absolute subject and substance are identical as well as different, the difference is not eliminated despite the identity. The objects of consciousness are conscious as much as the subjects, but the difference is never eliminated. This is due to the structure of consciousness as a duality that is overcome yet preserved in order to maintain itself as a concrete actuality.

This may be difficult to understand but it is essential if the interest of science in consciousness is not to take the turn from abstract substance to abstract subject. One would be  as fallacious as the other. It will be due to a failure to understand the principle of the identity-of-identity-and-difference, as the German philosopher Hegel has so successfully demonstrated, and as explained over five hundred years ago in India in Chaitanya's teachings.

With humble and sincere regards,
B Madhava Puri

Dear Cosmin,

Namaste. It seems to me that You! are the one who is proposing in your previous message that

>The only ontology that exists is the subjective ontology, i.e. consciousness.

Because you claimed this, I replied

>if you think that everything is consciousness then you must accept that the objects of consciousness are also conscious 

In other words, if you think that consciousness is the only ontology then you must accept that objects such as tables must be conscious. You claimed that objects are ideas in consciousness, but what are ideas made of if they exist only in consciousness? 

I hope you understand that if you are claiming the only ontology is consciousness, it seems to imply that tables and everything else are conscious. Am I misunderstanding you?

With humble and sincere regards,
B Madhava Puri

Disengaged Buddhism article is published

by Amod Lele

It's been a long time in the making, but my article on disengaged Buddhism is finally published. It's at the free online Journal of Buddhist Ethics, so you can go read it for yourself.

I'll say a bit here about what you can expect to find. Some of the article goes over territory I've already covered on Love of All Wisdom and the IPB: I discuss Aśvaghoṣa's worries about severityŚāntideva's rejection of external goodsthe Cakkavatti Sīhanāda Sutta's detached attitude to time. The article does this in more detail than the blogs have, and I also show similar ideas in other suttas and jātakas and from Candrakīrti.

The article also responds more directly to existing engaged Buddhist scholarship. Engaged Buddhist scholars have, so far, been the people actually doing constructive Buddhist ethics. They are not merely describing what Buddhists happen to believe but prescribing a Buddhist way of life, and that much is something I think we need more of. What I don't think they do nearly enough is think about or respond to the points made by the likes of Śāntideva and Aśvaghoṣa. The article explains why they should.

So the article isn't itself a work of constructive Buddhist ethics; I'm not taking a position on engagement or disengagement there. What I am doing is reminding other people doing constructive Buddhist ethics about a large body of ideas that they ignore or silence, and urging them to take those ideas more seriously. My own constructive position on these questions is complicated. I've started to take some of it up on the blog – for example, I think there is some empirical confirmation for the Disengaged Buddhists' psychological claims. That isn't the whole story, though, and you can expect to hear more about my constructive views in the years to come. I am proud of the article as a starting point.

Cross-posted at the Indian Philosophy Blog.

Amod Lele | November 18, 2019 

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