Eyes open, mind closed
Since RH has invoked the fertility of RC’s questions concerning the post-human, the avatar and the evolutionary process, which of course, was never “taken care of”, and proposed his own answer, I would like to reopen the issue with a set of questions of my own based on RH’s response. Since the comment trail has grown too large, I am posting this as a new article with the relevant portions from RH’s comment.
The “sacrifice of the purusha” (Sri Aurobindo) is the “beginning’ (Heidegger), the “Origin” (Gebser), the “arche” before logos and legein (Derrida), and it is ever-present and on-going.
During a twelve week course in vedic structure last Jan. it was revealed experientially – albeit through textual rendering – that the sacrifice of the purusha is the vedic structure: invocation / surrender / affirmation, and it is duplicated as SA says in the Synthesis in every act of yogic concentration; it is the Will of Purusha that enters into this holocaust of Prakriti and drives its evolutionary processes, as Sri Aurobindo has discovered, by a pressure of descending spiritual force, without which the scientific knowledge of disequilibrium near chaos and the resulting novel bifurcations would neither exist nor be known. This complex has not been created either by the adhara of Aurobindo Ghose and Mirra Alfassa, nor by their avataric manifestations, and it is not an “other type of evolution” but is the source movement of Will driving this manifestation (through selection and adaptation of suffering geno- and pheno- types), into which the integral being may attune itself for an evolutionary transformation. (Eyes open, mind closed if you please.)
The knowledge and processes of evolution in the threefold world of ignorance are not invalidated by the avataric phenomenon – which unfortunately tends to be reified into a religious faith and dogma – but are in fact its outer nature: the sacrifice of the purusha is the holocaust of prakriti, to be made self-aware through an autopoiesis of self-being in the individual and collective jivatma. The progressive transformation through sacrifice of kshara, akshara, and parampurusha constitutes the leverage that must be used to bring the structures of the lower manifestation of body-life-mind (prakriti) into resonance with the higher descending supramental force (paraprakriti). This does not require either metaphysical or scientific terminology, which as the Mother said, are in fact useless to this process.
My questions (for anyone on this forum) are:
1) Is the sacrifice of Purusha a Divine Will that is constantly streaming into the Avidya and driving the evolutionary process? Or is the sacrifice the “beginning,” an Involution and the expectation of a “Return” or an entry by miracle but not a continuing entry?
2) Is the Vedic structure a dependence on the pressure of a descending spiritual force or an ascent to a higher consciousness and a return with its power?
3) when talking of an evolutionary process in the world (not just an indiviual process of yoga) Sri Aurobindo seems to suggest that Nature through the involved power of Spirit within her and a secret pressure from above (not an entry) prepares approximations of each higher stage of consciousness at which point there is an intenser pressure leading to a descent of the Shakti of that plane of consciousness and the manifestation of forms proper to it. If this is the case, then the pressure of a descending force of consciousness must be a discontinuous entry or has in fact the will of the supramental purusha been constantly entering into the ignorant creation?
4) If my first premise in the avove question is right – i.e. entry of the consciousness-will of supramental Purusha is a recent phenomenon, then how recent? How did it come about? By direct intervention from its own plane of consiousness? By human individual power of yoga? By partial avataric intervention preparing its entry as a descending consciousness? By complete avataric inervention housing its power in a body and making it active as a participating transformative power in Nature? Any other possibility?
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Posted November 22, 2006 at 4:10 am | PermalinkRH:
“This complex has not been created either by the adhara of Aurobindo Ghose and Mirra Alfassa, nor by their avataric manifestations, and it is not an “other type of evolution” but is the source movement of Will driving this manifestation”
the source movement of Will is the Erasure, and the Avatar is the Trace,
Posted November 22, 2006 at 5:04 am | PermalinkMy question is asked strictly from the Avdya’s experience of Time (other than which I and the evolving earth movement have no access to the Becoming as of present). And since this temporality is also eternally inherent in the supermind, it cannot also but make sense “of a kind” (along with other kinds) to the Supermind. In Record of Yoga, what passes under Trikaladrishti by Sri Aurobindo are predictions of events in historical time.
Posted November 22, 2006 at 5:13 am | PermalinkAlso, please note that my attempt to establish temporality is neither necessarily the search for a date nor motivated by a “hope to confine the actions of the supramental Purusha according to any teleological determinism.” The “touchdown” of the Event need not be tied to a teleology for it to become historical.
Posted November 22, 2006 at 1:05 pm | PermalinkAnother notion that needs correction here is the one that “Supramental Purusha exists in a non-temporal world” where “questions concerning time are essentially meaningless.” This description would more properly fit Satchidananda, not Supermind. The Mother has a very nice explanation of this, which for lack of materials, I cannot reproduce but woud encourage anyone who recognizes what I am talking about to post.
Supermind is the “causal consciousness” (kaarana) and hence originates causality. It terms of Time, exists in 4 simultaneous poises – one Eernal and outside of Time, one where Time is a function of Space (three times staticallypresent), one in which this triple time consciousness becomes dynamic and a last instrumental one where it becomes causal. Thus it can transcend causality but creates and deploys it for the evolution. (_Please refer to the last chapter of the Synthesis of Yoga).
The problem with earth experience is related in a very real sense with the Sacrifice of Purusha which has created Avidya and made this conciousness and knowledge unavailale to us. Hence for us the liberated causalities of Supermind are “ignorantly” established as onto-theologies from which error there can be two solutions: (1) erase all notions of teleology and wait at the borders for the unexpected rupture; (2) rise into the Supermind to acquire its time-Sense. But this discussion concerns the future – l’avenir. As regards the past, recognition of its historicity centers us in the Avidya as an evolving Ignorance and relates us to the Vidya as the Real-Idea behind the evolution.
Posted November 22, 2006 at 4:33 pm | PermalinkAlthough your responses here are great, I am not sure that they solve the problem from a purely philosophical perspective.
I mean if there is a supramental Purusha who is both dynamic and casual and in fact sparks casualty in this temporal world, well how could it be constrained by any assertions we wish to make about it from a subordinate position of time bound consciousness?
Pardon me but it seems that Mother and Sri Aurobindo introduce a whole set of metaphysical contortions to accomplish this feat. e.g. time existing in 4 simultaneous poises.
So if we even buy into the idea of a supramental purusha we would do so based on the narrative of Sri Aurobindo and the assertions he and Mother make, which in relation to its evolutionary unfolding are dependent on the Vedic mythologeme of a Lila.
As I say, based on faith I dont have a problem with this, however, from a purely logical ( and here I know we are dealing with something which is supra-logical) it certainly would be contradictory to accept that we could impose limits on a supra-temporal entity by constraining its actions
to sequential (temporal) processes, conceived by us
under the limitations of our ignorance.
Again bottom line is wither we accept the assertions made by SA/M and their contextualize of the evolution of consciousness within the Lila of the Divine which compels us to accept the magic date of 2/29/56 as a first in the evolution of consciousness, or we do not,
Posted November 22, 2006 at 5:40 pm | PermalinkThe illogicality of combining atemporality and temporality in One Being is of course well understandable but so is a variety of other contradictions Supermind combines in its experience. But this is the only condition under which Ignorance and Knowledge can be bridged in an Integral Experience – otherwise we are left with the Ascetic Denial (Advaita, Buddhism)/Materialist Refusal divide. This is also one of the reasons why Sri Aurobindo has not become that well accepted as Buddha (Ron’s question). His answer is “logical” to its problem but its reality is “illogical” to our experience. So we have to take its experience or existence on faith and ask whether indeed he or the Mother are making this up or are stating the dimensions of their experience. Sri Aurobindo’s assertion is the latter. The 4 poises of the Supramental Time-Being is nit a contortion of mentality but a fact of his (and its) experience, This assertion opens up the possibility for practice – but yes, bsed on faith, intuition and growing experience on our part.
However, this is not why I am interested in the temporality of ruptures. As part of an evolving Ignorance, our access to Being is a temporal one, in fact changing according to the disclosures of Being in Time. Hence, it is important for us to know if indeed this access has changed, and if so, when and how. Is what is available to us as practice the same as what was available to the Vedas? Is the statement of practice in the Synthesis of Yoga the same as its statement in the Letters on Yoga or in the Mother’s talks or beyond their words, or have new possibilites, emphases, directions of practice emerged? If so, how, why and what can we do about it?
Posted November 22, 2006 at 10:06 pm | PermalinkThe four dimensional poises of time may certainly be an experience of Sri Aurobindo however, to formulate this experience into our mental topography of nouns and verbs it certainly presents itself as a metaphysical contortion when argued philosophically, which by the way, is also the problem with positing a historical rupture by a meta-historical phenomena. The reduction of the actions of a timeless being to a specific juncture, month, date, year, will IMO always retain the same problematic as would a narrative of Satori. Our languaging of it, in terms of organizing our experience, into subjects, objects and the grammar of duality will always be prohibitive. (Although certainly language may evolve, which will be more transparent to “IT”, than we have currently) Therefore, once again, an invitation to co-consider the challenges of a cross-epochal hermeneutics.
As for different realization at different historical junctures well we have Gebser’s account of Archaic, Magic, Mythic, Mental, and Sri Aurobindo who refers to Lamprecht’s Symbolic, Typal, Conventional, Individualist, Subjective, stages of civilization, as corresponding to certain spectrums of consciousness. Or for that matter even Foucault’s epistemes remind us that we require appropriate archaeologies to excavate consciousness from its embeddedness in Historicity. So yes, it goes to figure that different periods of history will reveal differing patterns of realizations and one would be sensitive new possibilities, emphases, directions of practice, accordingly. But unless one can deploy a phenomenology of trikaladristi, it may be impossible to satisfactorily consider the rupture and bifurcation of historical consciousness, and the entirety of its implications.
Posted November 23, 2006 at 12:11 am | PermalinkThe language problem you have raised is endemic to the Ignorance. Nor does one have to name it the Ignorance (though again it can be so named in a “tradition” of practice where its name has been verified in collective experience and new epistemologies and phenomenologies are being built on it – partly why if the transition is to be via yoga, the renewal of and participation in the discursive tradition of Indic spirituality is so useful and part of a cross-cultural enlargement) for this problem to be phenomenologically endemic. Logical statements may be “at home” in the house of “human” language (a static humanism) but Being is not at home in it either without aporetic violence or mantric implosion. (T.S. Eliot likened the overt language of poetry to the bone the thief throws through the window to occupy the watch-dog before he enters to do his hidden work). Aporia are the staple of a transitional being and any aporetic statement is only as contorted as its receipient’s distance in consciousness from it. This is why Zen teachers encourage novices to mediate on the absurdity of the koan, which seems like nonsense but turns out to be profound in experience. Given this fact of disjuncture between language and the paradoxical transitionality of the human, we can either remark on the need for a new language (which would be incomprehesible to us until we rise into its consciousness) and sit silent in the meantime or accept human language as it is – a vehicle of transition (and transformation through practice) like the human body for the birth of a consciousness for which it does not have adequate systems, but towards which it stretches (or contorts) its resources. Felicity or infelicity of language to express aporia is however not an absolute function of language (in spite of its grammatology) but of consciousness which experiences the expression. The contortion may turn out to be the perfect asana once the consciousness which it facilitates is intuited. Hence it is better to state your experience as yours (or some specific others’ whose experience you may be privy to). I can say for myself that I experience no infelicity or contortion in Sri Aurobindo’s languaging of the Time-Body of the Supermind.
Collective use of the language of “a” transition alows it to become phenomenolgically effective to a habitus, tradition or field. As an “episteme” gathers weight languaging also becomes more effective phenomenologically. Vocabularies and grammars of aporia are inevitable in a time of evolutionary transition. We may expect a bankruptcy (or transformation) in the language of science just as we have seen in the language of philosophy. Or else specialized vocabularies and grammars of practice will bifurcate and once grown more adequate to their own transitional needs, be assimilated into a common transformed language.
My own interest in the questions re. the historicty of rupture belong to such a (sub)culture of practice and the need for an accumulation of collective objectivity and subjectivity (or objective subjectivity) there. As mentioned earlier, for me it is important to sort these things out for the Integral Yoga community – that accepts the transition spelt out by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and are involved in the process of validating it (to whatever degree and in whatever way) in their lives. Otherwise a big mishmash and confusion will characterize this field in the name of the uselessness of language and terminology. Apart from this these matters are of practical concern to a community of practice, because they are keys to our progress. And I am not referring to a “date” such as 2/29/56. Sri Aurobindo was talking in his letters to disciples about dependence on a descending Shakti long before that. What is he talking about here? What relation does this have to the will of the supramental purusha? Does he highlight it in the Synthesis of Yoga? Is it a universal phenomenon? Is it available to us now? Is something more or other available to us since then? Does this add to, modify or enlarge earlier formulations of an Integral Yoga?
Posted November 23, 2006 at 1:28 am | Permalink1) Is the sacrifice of Purusha a Divine Will that is constantly
streaming into the Avidya and driving the evolutionary process? Or is the
sacrifice the “beginning,” an Involution and the expectation of a “Return”
or an entry by miracle but not a continuing entry?
I would like to understand your question better before I can answer it. To whom is it Avidya?? What do you mean by
Why does the Divine do this sacrifice? what is the purpose of it? From the Life Divine we have learnt that it is for the delight that the Divine does all this. He wants to give
infinite possibilities in his infinite being to take form and shape.
what happens during the sacrifice of the purusha? The purusha forgets himself and prakruti dominates. In Avidya
the purusha becomes only a spectator of prakruti and
helplessly sanctioning her play.
All nature is working for the manifestion of Divine will and to give an oppurtunity to infinite possibilities to take shape.
The transcendental Being willed for the creation of the worlds for delight and pregnant nature within him manifested
and created all the worlds by progressive sacrifice of purusha till matter. All this must have taken a long time to happen. For whom is it time??? Delight drives everything.
For Delight the soul came into matter. The interesting
thing is the soul is never apart from the transcendetal being. So the underlying reality( transcental being) for delight becomes these multiple souls as if separate but
Sacrifice is necessary for the manifestion to remain in form without dissolution. Continuous sacrifice is the necessary condition. Without sacrifice manifestion will dissolve into transcendtal being. All the worlds are created by forgetting himself by sacrifice. If there is no continues sacrifice only the transcendtal being will remain like a bright sun in the sky.
thats what I think…..I donot know….
Posted November 23, 2006 at 1:39 am | PermalinkDear Debashish,
your interest and concern about the latest development of language and its metaphysical and linguistic crises generated some thoughts on metaphysics and its approach to knowledge, which i would like to share. It looks to me like a wakeup call.
What is striking from the first glance, comparing the Western and Eastern Metaphysics, especially Vedic, is that they considerably differ in their approach to knowledge. If Western metaphysics from Plato onwards can be described as logocentric (Derrida), the Vedic approach can be described as anthropo-morpho-centric (centered on man himself).
The Vedic Philosophy was never purely logocentric. It was always open to the synthetic experience of all the members of consciousness of man. The knowledge itself was only a means to reach to a higher state of consciousness and not a thing in itself.
In the West the approach to knowledge and cognition was defined by the mind, which eventually reduced and excluded everyone else from the possibility of influencing its own pure process of knowing; and, having become the sovereign lord, it created its own logocentric reality, the reality based on thoughts, worshipping thoughts and ideas, trusting them more than reality itself.
In India it was founded on all the faculties of consciousness including senses, mind, life and even body, etc., and how they constitute one conscious being. Man was the center of research, and not only his mind. Such anthropomorphism of Vedic Philosophy saved it from falling into purely mental approach to reality.
Sri Aurobindo writes in the Synthesis of Yoga:
“The thought, since it is not the highest or strongest part of Nature, not even the sole or deepest index to Truth, ought not to follow its own exclusive satisfaction or take that for the sign of its attainment to the supreme Knowledge. It is here as the guide, up to a certain point, of the heart, the life and the other members, but it cannot be a substitute for them; it has to see not only what is its own ultimate satisfaction but whether there is not an ultimate satisfaction intended also for these other members. An exclusive path of abstract thought would be justified, only if the object of the Supreme Will in the universe has been nothing more than a descent into the activity of the ignorance operated by the mind as blinding instrument and jailor through false idea and sensation and an ascent into the quiescence of knowledge equally operated by the mind through correct thought as enlightening instrument and saviour. But the chances are that there is an aim in the world less absurd and aimless, an impulse towards the Absolute less dry and abstract, a truth of the world more large and complex, a more richly infinite height of the Infinite. Certainly, an abstract logic must always arrive, as the old systems arrived, at an infinite empty Negation or an infinite equally vacant Affirmation; for, abstract it moves towards an absolute abstraction and these are the only two abstractions that are absolutely absolute. But a concrete ever deepening wisdom waiting on more and more riches of infinite experience and not the confident abstract logic of the narrow and incompetent human mind is likely to be the key to a divine suprahuman knowledge. The heart, the will, the life and even the body, no less than the thought, are forms of a divine Conscious-Being and indices of great significance. These too have powers by which the soul can return to its complete self-awareness or means by which it can enjoy it. The object of the Supreme Will may well be a culmination in which the whole being is intended to receive its divine satisfaction, the heights enlightening the depths, the material Inconscient revealed to itself as the Divine by the touch of the supreme Superconscience.”
Posted November 23, 2006 at 1:56 am | PermalinkThank you, Rakesh for your intuitive understanding.
There is a reason why Sri Aurobindo speaks of Brahman-Maya, Purusha-Prakriti and Ishvara-Shakti in one succession. Though being one reality of Brahman they have some distinct features pointing us to the three different events in the Evolution of Consciousness, three major Manifestations (Involutions) or Creations. The first was the manifestation of the habitat for the future creatures to come, a layout, so to say, a gradation from the highest to the lowest, from the absolute light to the absolute darkness, as it were, the reality of the Infinite Being, knowing itself at the heights and not knowing itself at the bottom; the second was the manifestation of the Conscious Soul, the Purusha, the reality of Self-Knowledge, the inhabitant of these worlds, the Supreme Sense perceiving them from within and from above, with the gods as senses, or rather principles behind the senses, “the guardians of the worlds” representing the Purusha, as the faculties of One Consciousness within the grades of this Infinite Being.
There is a constant contradiction, tension and fight between the representatives of the Conscious Soul and of the Inconscient Being, the gods and asuras on the battlefield of our consciousness, senses, mind, life and body. Purusha and Prakriti also reflect this duality where former is consciously Divine and the latter is unconscious of its divinity. It will be solved by the very process of Evolution, where Purusha gradually will take charge of Prakriti more and more, becoming an Ishvara, and Prakriti will gradually reveal her essential character of Shakti. In this double process of the evolution the Psychic being, the individual conscious soul will be formed and come forward, and the body, life and mind will be developed as its instrumentation.
The Psychic being is the descendant of the Universal Purusha into the Darkness of Inconscient, a prince Satyavan, a son of the Lord of Knowledge, Dyumatsena, who got into a grip of Death and is destined to die within a circle of Time, if Shakti, the Divine Mother, Savitri, would not descend and save him; and that is what the third and final manifestation is about: the Supramental Manifestation. It is then only that the contradiction between the Conscious Soul and Unconscious Being will be solved, for both will evolve, change and prepare for another and much greater manifestation of the Supreme (sa annena atirohati). The Unconscious Being will bring forth the perfect instruments of body, life and mind for the soul, and the individually evolved soul, the psychic being, will become completely universalised and transcendentalised Supreme Individual, different from its origin of the unborn and transcendental Self which projected it into the realm of Death.
For there was another secret motive in this process of double creation, and that is the Supreme Individual. It was the initial Intent of the Supreme, to become many, bahu syam, manifestation.
Posted November 23, 2006 at 11:50 am | PermalinkDeb
you are certainly right this would be important questions to a community of practice, and to the extent that language will be a vehicle of transition, and necessitate aporia, one must remain vigilant, because aporia becomes fragile when plasticity of consciousness (interpretation) calcifies into intellectual categorical imperatives, in which poetics succumb to systematic formulations and becomes the grist for new dogmas; to which communities of practice often fall prey.
So the language problem is significant and although collective use of language, as you say, allows it to becomes phenomenologically effective to habitus (under transformation), the habitus itself still requires continuous interrogation to discern if the new languaging poets a transition or heralds a new doxa. which is the sole reason I am being so rigorous here,
But whether we comprehend what is revealed to us as a metaphysical contortion or a “vector feeling tone complimentary to and inseperable from Being’s resonance”
will ultimately depend on how well can open up the horizon of our own being to the descending Grace.
But, that is not my concern here rather, once again I am fetishing the language problem, and wondering if we may not someday improvise a speech in which as Ornette says: the same note (words) can be played night after night but differently each time. Although I do not wish to sound too out to lunch here, maybe to some extent whats required within the (sub) culture can be referred to as: jazz hermeneutics
Posted November 23, 2006 at 12:55 pm | Permalinkand speaking of a language which interpenetrates spiritual experience while resisting easy calcification, what are we to make of the Record of Yoga?
Posted November 23, 2006 at 5:03 pm | PermalinkRakesh,
Thanks for attempting to answer part of the question and (as V has already mentioned) with an intuitive felicity and orientation to the truth.
To whom is it Avidya? It is Avidya to me at the least and if I may say so, to the geo-centric evolving Ignorance, its consciousness of itself. The sacrifice of Purusha is the birth of the Avidya. By power of his self-Maya, the Presence appears as the Absence, Omnipotence abjects itself to the Will-to-Forget and the One “dis-members” itself into the Many and goes to sleep within the automatic instrumentation of Prakriti. This is the Involution. Then begins the reverse sacrifice, the lighting of the evolutionary flame in the heart of the Avidya and all its constituents and the beginning of the re-constitution process of the Infinity that finds itself divided from its Oneness. Prakriti begins the process of re-membering the dis-membered One in its constituents. This “re-membering” (against the opposite will-to-forget) can be called the time-structure of Avidya. The entire operation is held by a specific self-concentration by the Supreme Purusha on the idea of forgetting and remembering achieved through chit-tapas of Paraprakriti in the Supermind and as a result given a separate(d) reality in and through Overmind.
What do I mean by continuous entry of the “Divine Will”? I mean the continuous streaming in of the trascendental Shakti, not discontinuous interruptions of the time-structure of Avidya which would lead to jumps in the process of “re-membering.” The continuous entry would imply a different time-structure, one no longer of re-membering but of continuous transformation and self-transcendence. This would differentiate an evolution in the Knowledge from an evolution in the Ignorance.
If we see the Avidya as a time-structure of forgetting and remembering held in place by a specific act of Divine concentration, we could say that so long as this structure lasts, this Sacrifice is being performed in its every moment. But I do not see this as the continuous streaming of Divne Will or descending Paraprakriti driving the evolutionary process. By concentraion, the Avidya is given a separate(d) reality and the Divine Will involved in it (aided by a pressure from above) is driving the evolutonary approximations of the re-membering. But this is constantly challenged by the Forgetting and the Will to Forgetting (Asuric Will) so it cannot arrive without help from above at its Integral Image. At appropriate and critical points in this process, there is an intensified pressure from above leading to accelarated evolutionary jumps. This “pressure from above” may remain an occult influence on the conscousness of the Avidya, may guide certain personalities from behind (vibhutis) or at critical points, may send new principles of consciousness (Life or Mind in Matter) to establish higher possibilities of evolutionary manifestation. These last are discontinuous entries. Further, discontinuius entries may take the form of “incarnations” (avatars) who embody in the Ignorance some new principle of consciousness and work its establishment out actively (intersubjectively). This is how I understand what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have had to say about this matter. This idea of discontinuous entries would also account for the notion of punctuated equilibrium proposed by Stephen Jay Gould in evolutionary biology.
The continuously descending Paraprakriti on the other hand woud inauguarte a new time-structure even in the Ignorance – a time-structure of much nore unpredictable and rapid evolution and self-transformation/trascendence by the constiuents. Autopoeisis if invoked must be seen in a modified way, because the closure of Avidya seen as a “living system” is now ruptued by a true infinity within (freedom of constituents) and without (freedom of cosmos). These are some aspects of the questions asked as I understand them
Posted November 23, 2006 at 5:13 pm | PermalinkVladimir,
Thanks for this very fine meditation on the process and purpose of Involution/Evolution.
Posted November 23, 2006 at 5:40 pm | PermalinkRich,
I agree with all of the above and I particularly like jazz hermeneuics. Communities of practice (to invoke Heidegger’s hermeneutic circle and to play Ornette’s same note twice) are truly so in practices of community – i.e. in cultural acts of creative intersubjectivity. Thus I see the catalysis of the participatory expansion of such a culture to be the antidote to the fossilization of language in orthodoxy and the accumulation of an objective subjectivity as the antidote to bad jazz, confused heterodoxy.
These are some positive ways. The “continuous interrogation” of the habitus is also necessary, but with a caution. The term “interrogation” immediately invokes the thought-police, the revere acts of the Inquisition. It is here that one of our post-aum ideas may come in handy – that of an “affective intersubjectivity.” This is also why Derrida calls for acts of deconstruction to be “acts of love.”
Posted November 23, 2006 at 5:59 pm | PermalinkVladimir,
Thanks for this wonderful insight into cross-cultural or comparative philosophy. The logos in irs true sense is the Word, the Meaningfulness of Reality, its Integral Intelligence. Its home, like that of all other divine principles is in the Supermind as an aspect of its integral Reality. But as part of the Ignorance it becomes separated as/into a truth-in-itself and in mind, it translates itself as rationality. (”Logic” is an adjectival form of “logos,” its essential attribute which dominates its meaning in mind).
In the Indic context, I would like to suggest a modification to anthropo-morpho-centric. Anthropomorphic implies transformations into the key of the human, modifications of non-human ideas/realities to human form. I feel the Indic idea is a mapping of the totality of human being (Purusha/Prakriti) to a form of transcendence. Hence, my suggestion is the coinage of the term anthropo-eschato-centric for this ideologeme.
Posted November 23, 2006 at 6:17 pm | PermalinkTrue, this also is necessary, the hermetic polarity, where language protects itself through concealment, refuses participation but supports the mutable becoming as a pressure and an influence.
Posted November 24, 2006 at 12:11 am | PermalinkCertainly “acts of love” invoke a warmer and fuzzier feel than “acts of terror” as many calcified academics understand it . But certainly one must take great care in ones deconstructive approach.
But one must also consider the language which one’s own cultural/historical habitus necessitates and in George Bush’s America I find interrogation a necessary tool to pierce the pervading onto-theologies and texas bullshit.
As for post-Aum affective inter-subjectivity, although I can still imagine it, I kinda lost faith in that post-EWCC.
Posted November 24, 2006 at 1:04 am | PermalinkOk, “acts of love” are not that easy to achieve and maybe in some cases they are indistinguishable from “acts of terror” and yes, the post-EWCC loss of post-AUM faith in “affective intersubjectivity” seems justified by the circumstances but it also points to the fragility of love and fraternity (the only god of the threesome of modernity born in the holocaust of the French Revolution which can “save us” as per Sri Aurobindo, because the only one with the key to psychic unity). I may not be in the best position to speak about it right now but that does not stop me from waiting at the margins with openness for its coming and new wilingness to give it what I got if/when it does:
The high gods look on man and watch and choose
Today’s impossibles for the future’s base. (Savitri, Book III, Canto 4).
And here’s from T.S. Eliot on the descent, love, terror and the post-human:
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre for pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
(T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets, Little Gidding).
Posted November 24, 2006 at 1:41 pm | PermalinkDeb,
The fascinating thing on the Heidegger article is that he sets the coming of the god as three hundred years. Hmmm where have I heard that before? makes you think twice when he and Mother come up with similar dates for coming of the Other.
so let me post a few lines from Holderlin, one of Heidegger’s favorites and a huge influence on his thinking:
The bold spirit like an eagle,
Before the tempest, flies
In the path of his advancing gods
Posted November 24, 2006 at 2:36 pm | PermalinkYes, it is remarkable. Yet note how truth and ignorance/falsehood is braided even at this point in his prediction. The new “post-technological” thinking (that which transcends through overcoming the essence of technology) must come from the homeland of the technological age, from Germany – it cannot come from America which is pragmatic-positivist in its thinking and it cannot come from France, which does not have the same “inner relationship” to the Greek language and certainly it cannot come from from Asia. But if he were to see as Sri Aurobindo did, that Pre-Socratic Greek thinking is much closer in “inner relationship” to Vedantic thinking, that “German thinking” itself could be said to be a long engagement with “Indian thinking” and that the technological age of modernty, as per his own prediction, was destined to become “the world picture,” then his parochialism may have been more open to other possibilities for the origin of ontological transformation (not merely Indian but at least Indian). But German hubris was rooted in German thought (and culture) from at least the early years of modernity in the 17th c. and had become a “tradition” through continuity, so that by this time in Heidegger it is a doxa which he cannot objectify sufficiently to see its arbitrariness.
Posted November 24, 2006 at 5:43 pm | PermalinkThe quote from Holderlin is very nice. Heidegger seems to think that Holderlin is not a poet like other poets, candidate for academic literary analysis or aesthetic enjoyment. In other words, he is a “seer/teller of the truth,” kavih, rishi, satyasrutah. He feels engagement with Hoderlin’s seer-verse (or “seeing word”, pashyanti vak, to adapt from Sri Aurobindo’s adaptation from Tantric theory) will orient us in the direction of the transformation of “the essence of technology” in the modern age.
Posted November 25, 2006 at 8:02 am | PermalinkThere must be a purpose that this Avidya is being maintained in the cosmos. Nature is exploring the many possibilities in the divine to manifest in the evolutionary process on earth. This
includes diversifing the instruments of nature, improving the instruments of nature in individuals and establishing higher consciousness and power in them.
The root cause for diversity is this tendency in nature to manifest new possibilities latent in the divine being.
If Avidya or evolution in ignorance is helping or giving more opportunity for this diversity to manifest then the divine shall use it.
Why should supramental force interfere when the work is being done in the ignorance unless few individuals understand the purpose of the work that is being done in ignorance
And use supramental force to speed up the process of the divine work on earth?
Continuous or discontinuous entry of supramental force is dependent on the individuals who aspirate to divinize earth. They must be show plasticity and will to manifest in themselves new possibilities of nature.
How plastic is the human being now? He is very rigid in his mentality. That makes it
even more difficult for the supramental force to act.
Posted November 25, 2006 at 12:46 pm | PermalinkYou are right about the “diversifing (of) the instruments of nature, improving the instruments of nature in individuals and establishing higher consciousness and power in them” but this can also happen in the Knowledge (Vidya) through power of Aajnana (not Ajnana). It does not seem to me that Avidya has any advantage in this matter (Rakesh: “Avidya or evolution in ignorance is helping or giving more opportunity for this diversity to manifest.”). Manifestation of One in Many and infinite evolution of powers of the One in the many and play of these individualities and powers of the One in the Many (lila) are all aspects of a supramental manifestation which does not need the Avidya for its existence. The purpose of Avidya seems to me to be only for the experience of joy of recovery and the full measure (value) of the consciousness, power, love, knowledge of the Infinite which the divine cannot have unless a Zero and a negative gravitation are first manifested.
Regarding discontinuous descent, the intervention of higher powers are a part of the process of evolution, as the Mother has brought out in her talks. It does not need human will. Matter evolves Life by this means and Life evolves Mind by this means. Manifestation of Supermind could completely bypass the mental creature (human) by this means. The Mother says that whether we wish to participate or not is up to us. In that case, (if we participate) an intermediate being can be formed out of us, what she has called surhomme. But as per Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the discontinuous entry has occurred. By what process? Through what stages? And does it imply anything new for our practice? I am not so much interested in these questions so as to deify Mother and Sri Aurobindo or create a religion or a teleology based on a calendar date but for a completer and more accurate knowledge of the possibilities involved in such processes and what it offers to the practice of the IY.
Posted November 25, 2006 at 2:08 pm | PermalinkDB:
Yet note how truth and ignorance/falsehood is braided even at this point in his prediction. The new “post-technological” thinking (that which transcends through overcoming the essence of technology) must come from the homeland of the technological age, from Germany – it cannot come from America which is pragmatic-positivist in its thinking and it cannot come from France, which does not have the same “inner relationship” to the Greek language and certainly it cannot come from from Asia. But if he were to see as Sri Aurobindo did, that Pre-Socratic Greek thinking is much closer in “inner relationship” to Vedantic thinking, that “German thinking” itself could be said to be a long engagement with “Indian thinking” and that the technological age of modernty, as per his own prediction, was destined to become “the world picture,” then his parochialism may have been more open to other possibilities for the origin of ontological transformation (not merely Indian but at least Indian). But German hubris was rooted in German thought (and culture) from at least the early years of modernity in the 17th c. and had become a “tradition” through continuity, so that by this time in Heidegger it is a doxa which he cannot objectify sufficiently to see its arbitrariness. <
Yes it is quite a remarkable similarity of vision. And you are certainly right about Heidegger’s blinders and his parochialism, I also think this provides an insight on the tragic mistakes he made in the 1930s in his idealization of an Organic German Folk.
Here also you rightly point out the absolute essential step of distancing oneself from, and then the deconstruction of, doxa which defines ones habitus, especially when one (the philosopher/, sage) is involved in intuiting revelations of the future, and imparting them to the wider body of community. But how possible is this?
For example, if we put this critique to a Heideggarian scholar, how would we respond, if he/she were to exclaim: Well, certainly Heidegger poets the coming of the god in the garb of his own intellectual tradition, but the poeting of the Supramental manifestation is rooted in Vedantic tradition is it not? And since it is cloth in the language of avatars, shakti, purusha at el, and many followers believe that the advent of Supermind is destine to occur on sacred Indian soil (e.g. Auroville) isn’t this also a type of parochialism? Moreover, certainly Heidegger is harkening back to the ancient Greeks for his vision of the coming deity, but isn’t Sri Aurobindo doing the same in instancing the Vedantic tradition for his revelation of the future?
And moreover, are not some folks taking Sri Aurobindo’s grand vision and creating a chauvinistic account of Indian nationalism and the purity of Hinduism, in a manner not too distant from those who in the 1930’s may have taken Heidegger’s writing to support a vision of a pure Germanic nationalism ?
( I should add, the I realize, that posing these questions would be looked upon with disdain from the Aurobindian orthodoxy, but to tell you the truth, for me, clarifying these matters as a deconstruction of doxa, does not shake my faith in the vision of SA/M but rather it tends to sharpen my understanding and authenticate my true belief in their revelation. )
Posted November 25, 2006 at 3:20 pm | PermalinkWhich is all to say that this deconstruction is not at the level of the Vision itself, (the vision is a Pres”a”nce which our languaging of differance -pehaps by design- can not penetrate)
(And its certainly not a Heidegger/Aurobindo comparison! I stated earlier it would take a Heidegger who acted as a Dietrich Banhoffer even to begin to approach the stature of Sri Aurobindo)
But, the questions posed – over this conversation thread – involve the communication of Their vision to Us! What happens to the languaging of revelation or the poetics of presencing over generations or epistemes? How do cross-cultural hermeneutics evolve over time to maintain an interpenetration, of the culture whose language poets the revelation with a universal or global understanding, which is integral to the Vision? How is the intactness of the vision preserved, in a poetics of the present and future?
Posted November 25, 2006 at 4:56 pm | PermalinkI appreciate your stand in this problem. For myself, too, critical distancing of doxa is an ongoing process and there is much hidden danger there. But one way to do it is through cross-cultural hermeneutics – something Sri Aurobindo was no stranger to. Sri Aurobindo was in a state to see the value of Pre-Socratic Greek philosophy and put it into a comparative frame with Vedantic thinking. Does Heidegger even attempt the reverse? But that does not prevent him from mking pronouncements about where the transformative overcoming will originate. Moreover, I see no harm in clothing one’s poeting in one’s tradition, so long as it is not an indictment through ignorance of other traditions. And where has Sri Aurobindo (or the Mother) said that his work is dependent on the Vedanta? His interpreting the Veda, the Vedanta and the Gita does not make his work dependent on these. Where possible, he has also coined a new language. The Life Divine does not mention avatar or the sacrifice of the Purusha (as far as I know). If other works do, we must take it that these concepts are handy to express what is important to his experience and woul have taken many more volumes of words otherwise. Again, the essence of “incarnation” as understood in Christianity does not find any representation in the Indic idea of avatarhood. But Sri Aurobindo sees some truth in the idea and brings it out in Savitri. It is deatable whether his work can be called Vedantic at all (particularly if one was to take the Mother’s formulation of it). If however, one sees it (as I do) as extending the discourse of Vedanta, then too it is hardly a parochial Vedanta without awareness of the history of spirituality in other cultures. An Indian thinker does not have the privilege of ignoring western thought if s/he wishes to be heard internationally while the western thinker can remain happily esconsed in his/her doxic tradition. And as regards the supramental manifestation in Auroville, obviously Sri Aurobindo could not say this, the Mother did not say it either. In one of the conversations with Nirodbaran, where he asks Sri Aurobindo whether he expects the supramental manifestation to occur in the ashram, Sri Aurobindo says a few hundred people at the ashram are not going to bring about the supramental manifestation. Thousands testing the yoga out in different world circumstances would be required for that.
Regarding the use of Sri Aurobindo by fundamentalisms of various kinds, this of course is a concern, but partly why it can happen is because “the followers” have not taken enough troube to create a field of accurate and critical understanding where the lines of his teaching are brought into engagement with social and psychological experience and made living in the sangha through this.
Posted November 25, 2006 at 5:14 pm | PermalinkOver generation or epistemes the languaging of revelation or the poetics of presencing may be kept alive through a continuity of practice and discursive engagement. Cross-cultural or cross-epochal hermeneutics evolve in the same way. Sri Aurobindo could use Vedantic language in the 20th c. because there was still a practice of Vedantic revelation and a discourse around that practice (however it may have deviated). Now it is for others to maintain continuity through engagement and expression with this renewed discourse.
Posted November 26, 2006 at 1:28 am | PermalinkDeb,
To poet one’s revelation in a language of one tradition is perhaps the most authentic way to present it, and certainly one must valorize the particular expression just as much as the universal articulation. In fact, to subsume the particular expression in favor of universal understanding would be to tyrannize the revelation out of existence. One deploys language with which one can best make meaning and certainly there is much to be said here for a mother tongue and embodied cognition of how one’s tradition’s religio/cultural metaphors correspond to one’s own experiences. So yes, it is quite right to validate (and quite possibly the only way) one’s yogic experience through the language of yogic or darshanic discourse. And certainly if nothing else Sri Aurobindo writing can be seen as furthering the discourse of yoga.
And of course to utilize this mode of discourse within a community of yogic practice is only logical, but the level we are considering here in not whether this language fails to communicate an appropriate or even universal understanding, but rather as you say the concern is how “to create a field of accurate and critical understanding where the lines of his teaching are brought into engagement with social and psychological experience and made living in the sangha through this”.
This involves becoming aware of how our thoughts organize the unitive world into alienating dualities, and reify psychological experiences into the veneration of idols.
And of course this involves praxis, and honing those yogic skills which replace thought with vision and indirect or separative contact with intimate direct contact or knowledge by identity.
But the level here of this deconstruction does not involve praxis, but concerns the continuous engagement with social and psychological experience and the necessity of creating a shared language or interpretive framework to facilitate cross-cultural understanding. To do the latter, IMO requires a common space of communicative action which may require the translation of culturally specific vocabularies into a language, which all can agree contributes to a shared system of communicative competencies. Such competencies may include critical and self-reflective scrutiny, skills in reasoning, democratic sensibilities oriented to equality and even affective-intersubjectivity.
Perhaps a post-modern cosmology is required which includes both deconstructive techniques to resist power discourses as well as a reconstructive ethos which seeks to affirm heterogeneous wellbeing, as well as sustainable engagement with one another and the planet.
The deconstructive languaging has already begun to be cultivated by Derrida, Bourdrieu, Foucault, Turner and others as discussed in prior posts. A reconstructive language IMO may introduce the languaging of complexity theory, symbiotic biology and quantum physics which not only provides a non-reductive account of the phenomena and the universe, but also a state of the art account of scientific knowing and description (for all its drawbacks in accounting for phenomenological experience, science still is the closest thing we have to a universal language, albeit a language in the third person) But then again other mediums of expression may also become just as necessary to achieve a cross-cultural Communitas, such as music, dance, and art
But again, I wish to emphasize that here I am only instancing this deconstructive/reconstructive idiom as a possible vehicle of translating the original speech of revelation -along with its unique metaphors- into a language which can be more easily comprehended in the global commons. The problem of renewing social and psychological engagement with the spirit of their teachings which can co-evolve in a living sangha with the passing of generations and epistemes is still another issue.
Posted November 26, 2006 at 1:58 am | PermalinkI knew that the descent of supermind is inevitable. I was
referring to Avidya as it is now in our present state of the world
and possibility of rapid changes in our mentality soon.
I wanted to ask you what you mean by zero gravitation?
Sri Aurobindo states in his letters on yoga that his teachings are
Vedanta and tantra together.
Posted November 26, 2006 at 4:16 am | PermalinkYes, this necessiy for a language of deconstruction/reconstruction for translation into a “global commons” I agree with and feel strongly the need for mysef. I see this need in terms of an engagement of the specialized formation of every theoretical discourse – philosophical, psychological, social, cultural, scientific – with the Aurobindonian logos. But this is also a matter of engagement and renewal of whatever world-languages we use at present, themselves evolving and in need often of stretching/rupturing/transfoming through that engagement. Contemporary Science may certainly give us “a” helpful language here (so long as it is not an Esperanto, for which, coming from India, I anticipate race-riots). But to my sensibility, hybrid practices of language (which we are already engaged in here and in this, too, Sri Aurobindo is himself the predecessor) side by side with a growing archive of flexible translations would be nice.
Posted November 26, 2006 at 4:31 am | PermalinkYes, for rapid changes one or more “strong forerunner(s)” (like Aswapathy) is/are needed. And recognition of the new possibilities opened up by those who follow. There is a place where the Mother talks of preparing our receptivity and making it constant. She says that we shoud wake up wih the thought, live our day with the thought and go to sleep with the thought that a new force is here and we are at a special time in the earth’s history which demands our openness. Again, none of this is “a requirement,” but if we want to believe it and make the most of it.
It was not “zero gravitation” I was talking about but “manifestation of a Zero and a negative gravitation.” The Zero is the forgetting, the disappearance of consciousness in Matter, the negative graviation is Falsehood, the Will-to-Forget, withiut which the evolution woul not have been a struggle but a smooth wake-up. The two together “measure” the conciousess, knowledge, power and delight of the Divine. If there is only One, it has no sense of value, same if there is only infinity. For infinity to be measured through unending finites, the Infinite One must pass through the Zero. This is why Sri Aurobindo calls Maya “the Measurer.”