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Monday, September 21
by Rich on September 21, 2009 01:13PM (PDT)
Although they are very different texts that perhaps address different ranges of consciousness there are certainly some similarities in this story of Jung's Red Book - in which he worked out his inner experiences during his quest for individuation (and at times just for sanity) - and Sri Aurobindo's Record of Yoga, in that the public -and even many followers- were largely unaware of these personal records of inner experiences that seem to have emerged quite unexpectedly long after they were written.
The book tells the story of Jung trying to face down his own demons as they emerged from the shadows. The results are humiliating, sometimes unsavory. In it, Jung travels the land of the dead, falls in love with a woman he later realizes is his sister, gets squeezed by a giant serpent and, in one terrifying moment, eats the liver of a little child. (“I swallow with desperate efforts — it is impossible — once again and once again — I almost faint — it is done.”) At one point, even the devil criticizes Jung as hateful.
He worked on his red book — and he called it just that, the Red Book — on and off for about 16 years, long after his personal crisis had passed, but he never managed to finish it. He actively fretted over it, wondering whether to have it published and face ridicule from his scientifically oriented peers or to put it in a drawer and forget it. Regarding the significance of what the book contained, however, Jung was unequivocal. “All my works, all my creative activity,” he would recall later, “has come from those initial fantasies and dreams.” more »
Wednesday, August 26
by Debashish on August 26, 2009 06:11PM (PDT)
The following is a revised transcript of a talk given by me at the Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco in 2008 and carried in the current edition of Sraddha, a journal of the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.
In this, I bring into dialog the epistemic boundaries of the western academic discipline of Psychology and Sri Aurobindo's formulation of Integral Yoga, so as to reflect on the disciplinary formation of a field of Integral Psychology. What would such a field hold out and how would it impact the existing assumptions of both Psychology and Yoga? The insertion of such a discipline into the academy is not a trivial task. It is a project fraught with danger and possibility, which needs to be carefully negotiated. - db more »
Thursday, July 30
by Rich on July 30, 2009 11:32AM (PDT)
This is part of (midway through) an excellent lecture by Zizek on Fundamentalism. In this particular part of the lecture he considers the differences in how Derrida and Habermas treat the question of "the other" and how in his view they actually compliment each other. In the other parts of the lecture Zizek gives his insight into why, if Max Weber were writing today, he would call his book, "Taoism and the Spirit of Capitalism", (aka why westernized Buddhism or Taoism is the perfect compliment to neo-liberal globalization). Zizek also addresses the differences in fundamentalism between the type practiced by Tibetean Buddhist and Amish versus moral majority Christianity and radical Islam as well as eurocentric tendencies to exoticize the other
About half way through this part of the lecture are some questions raised (that are difficult to hear) but if one listens to the entire lecture (either the series of nine u tube videos or the mp3) one will be richly rewarded, because Zizek is here, at the top of his game wildly speaking to issues of fundamentalism, eurocentrism, orientalism, and otherness.
The link to the utube page with the entire series of nine videos and the mp3 download of the lecture is given in the body of the post.... more »
Friday, July 17
by Debashish on July 17, 2009 10:35AM (PDT)
As globalization strips the veil from the last inviolable topos of earth and real-time surveiilance renders every square unit of the planet physically transaparent in its utilitarian Google Maps and Star War strategies, the sacred plexuses of the earth also multiply in their resistant cultural geographies of surreal uptopia.
Peter Bishop teaches Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of Southern Australia. Bishop's entertaining and erudite analyses of contemporary material culture pry open the spaces where spirituality, imagination, cultural history and material practices intersect. In this first chapter from his book, The Myth of Shangri-La: Tibet, Travel Writing and the Western Creation of Sacred landscape, he presents the makings of a theory of sacred cultural materiality - the spiritual, psychological, aesthetic, cultural, historical, political, economic and geographic transactions which establish the utopian spaces of contemporary spiritual desire. - DB more »
Wednesday, July 8
by Rich on July 8, 2009 12:35PM (PDT)
It seems that many of the attributes of authoritarian regimes, listed above, also define authoritarian cults and cultic and abusive guru movements. The reason is that in both cases there is a highly narcissistic but also fearful and shadow-projecting individual or individuals at the top, who through giving in to adverse entities, acts in a way to supress any creativity, originality, individuality, authentic spirituality or anything else that threatens the ideology, belief-system, personal worldview, or hypersensitive ego of the leader or leadership. more »
Monday, July 6
by Debashish on July 6, 2009 04:17PM (PDT)
Robert Sardello, Ph.D. is a Jungian psychologist and scholar of Gaston Bachelard and Rudolf Steiner. He is a co-founder of The School of Spiritual Psychology, and the author of a number of books, inclusing the recently published Silence. He served as Chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Dallas, head of the Institute of Philosophic studies there, and graduate dean. He is also co-founder and faculty member of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, whichas undertaken the Bachelard Translation project, and through which most of Bachelard's English translations are available.
In November 2002, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture sponsored a conference titled "Matter, Dream, and Thought: A Symposium of the works of Gaston Bachelard." Sardello's contribution to that Symposium dealt with one of the elements which form Bachelard's meditations on the Imagination of Matter - Air. more »
Friday, May 1
by Rich on May 1, 2009 09:57AM (PDT)
Fanaticism is often associated with religious practice and its mystical tendencies. In this article on G.K. Chesterton view of the fanatic, the reviewer notes that Chesterton rather associated fanaticism with a particular logic that is derived from mystical experience and not from mystical experience itself.
Today, we often hear it said that “fanaticism” is the consequence of religion, that science is its alternative. If I understand Chesterton's view of both the scientists and Islam, it is that “fanaticism” stems from both. But it comes not from the original mystical insight but rather from the “logic” that flows from it and subsumes all else in its wake. Scientism denies any place for revelation in its “logic.” Islam's “logic” ends up denying secondary causes or an understanding of the divinity in which diversity in the Godhead and Incarnation are impossible. The subduing of the world to Allah is a conclusion not of the mystical insight but of the logic that follows from it.
In the end, “fanaticism” is not a product of mysticism, but of logic. By looking for its causes in the wrong place, we often reveal our own “fanaticisms.” The “fanatical” concern about the religious cause of “fanaticism” has blinded us to the “fanaticisms” that stem from science itself and has caused us to misunderstand what it is within Islam that often makes it so “fanatical.”... more »
Sunday, April 26
by Rich on April 26, 2009 10:42AM (PDT)
A friend of ours at sciy just had a stroke and is recovering. We wish him a speedy recovery. In honor of him, I am posting this incredible story of a recovering stroke patient and scientist that raises questions on the very nature of consciousness.. more »
Tuesday, March 10
by Rich on March 10, 2009 10:34PM (PDT)
Since the subject of memory, interpretation and the possibility of the truth telling of history has been raised it seems like good time for a supporting reference both from the arts and sciences
Not only this but Lehrer's book, which I just finished is also heartening in that it opens a possibility of a 4th culture.
If C.P. Snow in 1959 proposed a 3rd culture enjoining the arts and sciences to date this 3rd culture has been dominated by scientist examining the arts with causality still being reduced to physical processes.
Third cultural writings are considered those by such authors as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Oliver Sacks, V.S. Ramachandran, Steve Weinberg, Mitchio Kaku. E.O. Wilson et al. Although certainly thought provocative and entertaining the works of the above authors fail to achieve a harmonizing of artistic and scientific cultures because they ultimately privilege science. Lehrer who is equally skilled in science attempts to rebalance the situation in which the Arts are equally as important to the narration of what we call reality.
Proust’s goal in “Remembrance of Things Past” is to anatomize memory. His literary examinations teach him that smell and taste are the most intense of remembered sensations. “When from a long distant past nothing subsists,” he writes, “after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone ... bear unflinchingly ... the vast structure of recollection.” Fast forward some 90 years to 2002, when Rachel Herz, a psychologist at Brown, shows that smell and taste are indeed uniquely potent evokers of memory. This power, she speculates, lies in the direct connection the gustatory and olfactory nerves have to the hippocampus, which Lehrer calls “the center of the brain’s long-term memory. more »
Friday, January 30
by Debashish on January 30, 2009 09:42AM (PST)
This is an edited excerpt from Chapter 22 of Robert Jay Lifton's book,"Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China." Lifton, a psychiatrist and distinguished professor at the City University of New York, has studied the psychology of extremism for decades. He testified at the 1976 bank robbery trial of Patty Hearst about the theory of "coercive persuasion." First published in 1961, his book was reprinted in 1989 by the University of North Carolina Press. Lifton's analysis of "thought-reform" applied to cultic behavior is very instructive in our present space-time. more »
Friday, December 12
by koantum on December 12, 2008 01:01PM (PST)
Kazimierz Dabrowski, a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist, developed the Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) over his lifetime of clinical and academic work:
"Intense psychoneurotic processes are especially characteristic of accelerated development in its course towards the formation of personality....
The person finds a 'cure' for himself, not in the sense of a rehabilitation but rather in the sense of reaching a higher level than the one at which he was prior to disintegration...."
"Through the constant creation of himself, through the development of the inner psychic milieu and development of discriminating power with respect to both the inner and outer milieus - an individual goes through ever higher levels of 'neuroses' and at the same time through ever higher levels of universal development of his personality...." more »
Tuesday, November 11
by Rich on November 11, 2008 01:34PM (PST)
From the beginning of time man has been preoccupied with the phenomenon of Consciousness. His understanding has found its expression in the religious and ritualistic texts.
The Aitareya Brahmana 25. 7 depicts Vedic ritual, agnihotra, as consisting of three priests: hotar, adhvaryu, and udgatar, reciting texts from Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas, corresponding to the three spheres of the Sacrifice: earth, air and heaven, respectively. The fourth one—brahman, who is silent during the performance, observing all the actions as well as listening to all words uttered by the priests. His function is to be a witness of all what is happening and in case of some imperfection in action or in speech to cure and correct it in his mind, praya-citta.... more »
by Rich on November 11, 2008 12:52PM (PST)
This article from the New York review although a bit dated (1981) I find fascinating, not only because its includes a perspective in Indian Psychology that is located in the work of Sri Aurobindo, but because of its continuing relevance for cross cultural studies, ethnography, psychology, especially in the work of Matthijs and the Indian Psychology Institute in Pondicherry.
Some facts stated by the author in the article have surely changed for instance:
“When India gained independence, there were about fifty psychiatrists in the country, many of them army doctors; now the number is estimated at only about 500 for India's 640 million people; others—perhaps too many—leave India to practice abroad. “
“ a seminar led in India by Erik Erikson presents a picture of increasingly prevalent anomie, Eastern-style. In it the associate director of the BM Institute argues that there is an "identity vacuum" for Indians at the present time: values that are appropriate in an uncompetitive agrarian society break down under modern pressures; traditions and established roles are threatened by the mass media.”
No doubt India has changed and the outsourcing of IT jobs makes it no longer so dependent on agrarian economics. It is also certainly much more infiltrated by western medicine and practices of psycho-therapy, but aside for such obvious changes in the society I find much of the article still relevant for the current day.
For example, I would think much of the critique of the article regards the questionable appropriation of Western psychotherapy to Indian society is still valid -although as India accepts many of the urban values of the West, along with its neurosis perhaps that is changing a bit as well-. But it also speaks to such intellectual imperialism of its spiritual tradition by folks like Jeff Kripal who reduce complex Indian spiritual practices and questions of alterity to concerns of Freudian analysis
As an example of just how different psychology is treated in Indian spirituality I will also post a paper from Vladamir in which he considers and quotes extensively from one of my favorite chapters of Sri Aurobino namely, chapter 8 of his commentary on the Kena Upanishads, that demonstrates a radical discontinuity with Western theorizing of the phenomena of Mind. No matter how many times I read this chapter I take away something new. In this reading its last sentence sheds some light on the ontology of the imagination In researching this I also came across a correspondence between Mathiis to a sponsor of his project for a renaissance of Indian psychology in which he draws some interesting conclusions. I will post these as well with some comment I find applicable. rc...
Going to India from the West is like stepping onto another planet; but is having a mental illness in India any different from having it in Manhattan? Is treatment similar—if it is available? Do you get ill as often there, or less, or more? Do poverty and overwork leave any time for mental illness, is it a side effect of affluence—or do the hardships of a poor country provide all the more cause for disintegration? Are there differences in the Indian character structure itself that make mental illness and its treatment take different forms from those in the West? And does a third world country, obviously so much less well equipped with psychiatric and psychotherapeutic services than affluent societies, need more mental health care—or does greater provision for illness conjure up the illness to meet it, as new roads bring out more traffic?....
South to Pondicherry, ceded to India by the French in 1954, home of the Aurobindo ashram. It was here that the distinguished psychiatrist N.C. Surya came when he threw up his job as director of the National Institute of Mental Health at Bangalore. Trained in Europe and the US, formerly a Marxist, he was following an Indian tradition of abandoning the world for spiritual concerns when the moment is right; Aurobindo, founder of the ashram, did the same when he gave up his fight for Indian independence and retreated to Pondicherry. While outside Pondicherry steams in the sun, the ashram library is all greenery, coolness, and hush. Dr. Surya comes out of the library carrying the rolled umbrella (against the sun) that, like an Englishman, he seldom opens. more »
Friday, August 8
by Debashish on August 8, 2008 07:36PM (PDT)
This article attempts to sketch out Sri Aurobindo's contribution to the future of humanity as carried in his major texts. In doing so, it also tries to underline the cross-cultural nature of these texts and the disciplinary redefinitions implicit in them. more »
Friday, March 28
100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Complexity and the Dialectics of the Visible and Invisible (part 4 of 6)
by Rich on March 28, 2008 01:03PM (PDT)
“but all this need not mean that the types developed one from another in an evolutionary series. Other forces than hereditary variation have been at work in bringing about the appearance of new characteristics; there are physical forces such as food, light-rays and others that we are only beginning to know, there are surely others which we do not yet know; there are at work invisible life-forces and obscure psychological forces. For these subtler powers have to be admitted even in the physical evolutionary theory to account for natural selection;”
Although, in the above passage, Sri Aurobindo is referring to these subtle forces as invisible, we should also recall one of the three laws of the future that Arthur C. Clark's has defined, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. This law is so ingrained in us, now that we can fly the globe or surf the web, that Gehm's Corollary to Clarke's Third Law cynically puts it, "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced." or even more to the point Marge Simpson states "We can do anything now that scientists have invented magic,"
We are now able to parse matter almost magically to a degree that would have surpassed the understanding of Sri Aurobindo's age. His work was written before the discovery of the dna molecule. One does not really know how he would assess the biological sciences today. For instance, how would he conceive of evolution in light of genomics and bioinformatics? How would he assess the discovery of the cybernetic process that now govern bio-chemistry? How would he apprehend a paradigm of life not in vitalistic terms but in terms of information? Would he regard the application of precise cybernetic principles to biology as making visible the invisible life forces he was referring to when he wrote the above passage, in the early 1940s, when Shannon, Von Neumann, Wiener and others were just defining the new paradigm of information (cybernetics)? ....
But while keeping in mind his rejection of eugenics in his 1915 essay on Evolution Sri Aurobindo does seem to have enough foresight into history as to extrapolate from what he knew already about bio-technology the possibility that human biological/spiritual evolution may preceded through the intervention of its own sciences; in other words that our minds may operate upon our biology to produce new genetic mutations in organisms: “It has been noted that the human mind has already shown a capacity to aid Nature in the evolution of new types of plant and animal: it as created new forms of environment, developed by knowledge and considerable changes in its mentality. It is not an impossibility that man should aid nature consciously also in its own physical and spiritual evolution and transformation.” (844) more »
Saturday, December 29
by Ron on December 29, 2007 02:35PM (PST)
Here's another excerpt from Michael Talbot's fascinating book The Holographic Universe. I continue to recommend this book.
...Other experiences included the accessing of racial and collective memories. Individuals of Slavic origin experienced what it was like to participate in the conquests of Genghis Khan's Mongolian hordes, to dance in trance with the Kalahari bushmen, to undergo the initiation rites of the Australian aborigines, and to die as sacrificial victims of the Aztecs. And again the descriptions frequently contained obscure historical facts and a degree of knowledge that was often completely at odds with the patient's education, race, and previous exposure to the subject. For instance, one uneducated patient gave a richly detailed account of the techniques involved in the Egyptian practice of embalming and mummification, including the form and meaning of various amulets and sepulchral boxes, a list of the materials used in the fixing of the mummy cloth, the size and shape of the mummy bandages, and other esoteric facets of Egyptian funeral services. Other individuals tuned into the cultures of the Far East and not only gave impressive descriptions of what it was like to have a Japanese, Chinese, or Tibetan psyche, but also related various Taoist or Buddhist teachings.
In fact, there did not seem to be any limit to what Grof's LSD subjects could tap into. They seemed capable of knowing what it was like to be every animal, and even plant, on the tree of evolution. They could experience what it was like to be a blood cell, an atom, a thermonuclear process inside the sun, the consciousness of the entire planet, and even the consciousness of the entire cosmos. More than that, they displayed the ability to transcend space and time, and occasionally they related uncannily accurate precognitive information. In an even stranger vein they sometimes encountered nonhuman intelligences during their cerebral travels, discarnate beings, spirit guides from "higher planes of consciousness," and other suprahuman entities...
Perhaps Grof's most remarkable discovery is that the same phenomena reported by individuals who have taken LSD can also be experienced without resorting to drugs of any kind...The Grofs call their technique holotropic therapy and use only rapid and controlled breathing, evocative music, and massage and body work, to induce altered states of consciousness. To date, thousands of individuals have attended their workshops and report experiences that are every bit as spectacular and emotionally profound as those described by subjects of Grof's previous work on LSD... more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler