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Monday, July 20
by Debashish on July 20, 2009 09:00AM (PDT)
Sri Aurobindo envisaged the goal of human becoming as a transformed society and civilization based on the expressions of an integral consciousness. However, in keeping with the collective dimension of this goal, a transformed society was envisaged by him not merely as the end result of individual transformations, but as the dynamically transforming life-context or field which would allow and facilitate individual transformation. Seen from this standpoint, the social discipline of education, meant to “socialize,” “in-form” and inculcate the cultural, knowledge and epistemological skills of the social habitus for individual engagement takes on a changed meaning related to a new phenomenology, epistemology and teleology of human and social becoming. Integral Education then becomes a socially acknowledged and authorized praxis of the Integral Yoga or at least the pedagogical condition for its social possibility and collective transformation.
Though much has been written and several attempts at implementation made to formulate Integral Education as a form of child education, the higher educational possibilities and ramifications of Integral Education have remained largely untheorized. This paper is an attempt to think through some of these possibilties and implementations. Debashish Banerji is the educational coordinator of The University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles. more »
Friday, July 10
by Rich on July 10, 2009 09:54AM (PDT)
Conference Announcement: Fundamentalism and the Future
Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12, 2009
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
A two-day conference will be held Friday, September 11 and Saturday September 12 on the topic “Fundamentalism and the Future.” The conference will be at the California Institute of Integral studies in San Francisco, hosted by the Department of Asian and Comparative Religions. The conference organizers are Rich Carlson, Debashish Banerji and David Hutchinson. Registration is free. For details on the conference, location, and registration, please see http://fundamentalismandthefuture.com
Tuesday, June 23
by Debashish on June 23, 2009 09:13PM (PDT)
At the core of much of the recent discussion and controversy in the Integral Yoga (IY) online community seems to lay the role of the mind and mental reasoning. Many statements from Sri Aurobindo and Mother could be quoted both praising the essential, enabling contributions of the mind, as well as criticizing the mind’s obstinate, obstructing features and liabilities. This dual nature of their commentary itself may point us in the right direction. It’s the particular use made of the mental faculty in a particular context that determines its helpful or harmful status.
Many quotes could be furnished where Sri Aurobindo and Mother state definitively that their teaching is a living spiritual path and not a set of fixed doctrines or dogmas to be religiously recited and referenced. But especially in documents that pertain to their own practice, in Sri Aurobindo’s case his Record of Yoga, in Mother’s case l'Agenda de Mère, and in other miscellaneous talks and letters by both of them, they exhibit a characteristic attitude and approach to mental formulation. This attitude is marked by a highly flexible and, one could even say, experimental approach to mental formulation of the vast spiritual experiences they passed through.
Considered in this light, the current Heehs controversy is perhaps best seen not as simply a flawed biography by a flawed ashramite who upset many devotees with his academic approach to evaluating Sri Aurobindo’s life. The controversy might also represent a stark and revealing light being cast upon the mental formations and constructions that have hardened among many associated with IY. All should be able to agree that the Mother’s approach is never a static one and she always seeks to propel us toward the future, breaking our comfortable habits of thinking and feeling as need be whenever our advance requires it. “her feet are rapid on the upward way.” more »
Sunday, June 7
by Debashish on June 7, 2009 04:46PM (PDT)
This is an annotated introduction to the first chapter of a recent book Knowledge and Human Liberation by Ananta Kumar Giri of the Madras Institute of Development Studies. The essay tries to engage Jurgen Habermas and Sri Aurobindo in a thought dialog. The potency of Jurgen Habermas (1929 - ) in a postmodern era has sustained itself due to the questions of human liberty, equality, ethics and understanding he has prioritized over those of knowledge, identity or experience. Habermas’ most powerful contribution to contemporary thought has been in the theorization of the “public sphere.” In elaborating its implications, Habermas focuses on what he calls “communicative reason.” Communicative rationality, according to him, is "oriented to achieving, sustaining and reviewing consensus - and indeed a consensus that rests on the intersubjective recognition of criticisable validity claims.” This discipline of intersubjective practice restores the lifeworld from its fragmentation under ideological or economic (commodified) alien consolidations. Thus Habermas’ communicative speech acts operate under an implicit faith in Human universality and its inevitable collective experience as social and individual knowledge, a continuation of the Enlightenment ideal.
A discplined intersubjective praxis of creative communication can very well be seen as a part of the social realization of an integral spiritual ideal in a plural field. Usually this has not been clearly described or prioritized by scholars and practitioners of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Non-Dualism, the emphasis having been directed towards the articulation of a universal (integral) Psychology, in terms taken from Sri Aurobindo’s own writing. But such denotative asocial descriptions have tended to subjugate phenomenological variety and social/cultural/personal experience. As a consequence, the danger of a totalitarian epistemology in the name (nomos) of Integral Theory has asserted itself with its own institutional disciplinary agents, who have increasingly tended to police out (violently if necessary, as the contemporary controversy related to the recent biography, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, alarmingly and overwhelmingly demonstrates) all subjective interpretation of the way to this goal, and thus to the possibility of a plural realization of the Integral Yoga.
Against this background, the comparative and cross-cultural dialog between Habermas and Sri Aurobindo initiated by Ananta Giri is a salutary intervention. Using each to critique the limits and possibilities of the other, Giri shows how the rational assumptions of knowledge in the Enlightenment ideal lead to aporia which have been amply documented by postmodern thinkers, but which receive a higher validation through the transcendental ontology and praxis of Sri Aurobindo; just as the susceptibility to ontotheological abstraction and totalism of Sri Aurobindo’s phenomenology and praxis when reduced to an Integral Psychology, Integral Theory or Integral Religion can be safeguarded for a plural space through disciplines of intersubjective communication as developed by Habermas. more »
Monday, May 18
by Debashish on May 18, 2009 09:43PM (PDT)
Savitra's proposal is formulated in response to the aggressive and illegitimate tactics (whether considered in terms of civil or spiritual society) employed against Peter Heehs in the case pertaining to his recent biography The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, but it is not limited to or exclusively directed at the individuals mentioned in this case. He intends the Principle of this Proposal would apply to all -- regardless of age, gender, culture or nationality -- who violate basic civil and spiritual rights and codes of conduct. more »
Saturday, May 16
Wednesday, May 6
by Debashish on May 6, 2009 02:03PM (PDT)
Two of those involved in allegations and support of censorship, Ranade and Pandey, are invitees to this year’s AUM conference. They have both responded to our letter with justifications of their actions. Ranade has reiterated in his letter a list of his charges against the author and his book. Ranade also continues to stand firmly behind the writ to ban the book.
Sunday, April 19
by Debashish on April 19, 2009 12:18PM (PDT)
Dear SCIY readers,
Because Sraddhalu Ranade and Alok Pandey have been invited to the US for the AUM conference this year, we wish to place certain facts about them before those who may be considering support or sponsorship of these people or their projects. These facts concern their involvement in what we regard as promotion of religious fundamentalism, censorship, distortion of truth, and defiance of Ashram rules and authority carried out by Ranade and Pandey recently, so that you may assess any possible support for them.
To make people aware of the misleading activities of Ranade, Pandey, and others, and to increase awareness of an unfortunate growing trend among some who claim to be followers of Sri Aurobindo, a website has been started website, http://www.iyfundamentalism.info. more »
Tuesday, April 7
by Debashish on April 7, 2009 10:01PM (PDT)
Responses to Sraddhalu's amusing letter keep coming in. This one is from Filio, an ex-student of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram writing on the discussion list of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram International Centre of Education (SAICE). more »
Monday, March 16
by Debashish on March 16, 2009 07:44AM (PDT)
Since Peter’s book got published we have heard voices from both sides. We are of course all too familiar with what the loud and vociferous critics of the book have had to say. But we have also heard people who have liked the book, drawn inspiration from it, got closer to Sri Aurobindo, etc.; in other words appreciated and benefited from it. And many others, the VAST majority, have just not bothered about it and have kept quiet.
Even the website www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com, so strongly recommended by Peter’s critics could not prevent the following poll information (screenshot image of the result is also attached here) from appearing on its website some time last month:.
The Poll indicated: I find the book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” by Peter Heehs to be: .
Offensive – 19 votes - 13% .
Deceptive – 18 votes - 13%
Boring – 10 votes - 7%
Representative – 63 votes - 45%
Useful – 113 votes - 82%
Thursday, March 12
The Soul of a City: The Crystal Cathedral as Organizing Metaphor for (post)Modern Architecture at the Bauhaus
by Debashish on March 12, 2009 10:38PM (PDT)
The Bauhaus, founded in 1919 at Weimar, Germany by Walter Gropius, was arguably the most influential school of design in modern times, set up in the form of a residential creative community of designers, craftsmen, architects and artists. As part of its central ideal, Water Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, envisaged a world made up of creative communities united spiritually in and around a materialized soul, which he likened to "a crystal cathedral." Today, Bauhaus influenced architecture is ubiquitous as the symbol of world modernity, but Gropius' dream is far from fulfilled. This article explores the historical dimensions of this ideal, the causes for its failure and the possible conditions for its postmodern manifestation. more »
Sunday, January 25
by Debashish on January 25, 2009 04:02PM (PST)
In response to the exaggerated outrage of the anti-Lives proponents, Larry Seidlitz had penned his mild-mannered detailed review of the work, which was carried earlier in sciy (An Examination of the Criticism Against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo). Here we field another review which while eschewing the colorful hyperboles of "Mahakali's wrath"-mongers, attempts a nuanced reading sympathetic to the sentiments some of the aggrieved. more »
Monday, January 12
by Debashish on January 12, 2009 09:52AM (PST)
The Heehs biography controversy is unfortunately a symptom of a much deeper crisis in the Integral Yoga community, with future repercussions which are hardly optimistic. In this consideration of some of the larger issues involved, the editors of sciy and other concerned viewers of the phenomenon draw attention to what is at stake for all those interested in the Integral Yoga. These are only a few of the more serious ramifications. Readers are welcome to add their own concerns as comments. more »
Sunday, November 23
by Debashish on November 23, 2008 07:50PM (PST)
What is the post-human destiny to which we are called as humans in contemporary times? In this transcript of a talk given for the AUM conference in Los Angeles in 2003, Debashish Banerji compares Nietzsche's call for the Overman with that announced by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to point to the similarities and differences. How can we pick our way through the maze of choices held up at this end-time of human becoming? Is it by remaining complacent or by using our wills or by surrender to a greater force than ours? And if so, what force - the vitalism of an unconscious Nature-force, the deceptive "universality" of the world market or an unpredictable future which calls our arduous attention? These and similar questions are posed and discussed in this article. more »
Tuesday, October 7
by Debashish on October 7, 2008 07:05PM (PDT)
The concluding section on Techno-Capitalism and Post-Human Destinies by Debashish Banerji continues its second installment's reflections on the Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence presented to us as the emerging destiny of post-Enlightenment Modernity and compares this destination with its appropriation and supercession in the Neo-Vedantic teleology of Sri Aurobindo. What are the differences, dangers and promises of these destinies and what are the conditions for achieving an alternate destination? ... 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