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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 »
Friday, May 29
100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity (part 5 of 6)
by Rich on May 29, 2009 12:43PM (PDT)
... In this context progress can be seen as a social ideology that corresponds to other hijacked evolutionary ideologies reflected in the German Idealism of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, and Herbert Spencer's “progressive evolution”. All the above ideas at one time or another have been utilized by those with couched power agendas for their use value in aligning different races and cultures along a scale of graduated being in which the European was seen to be the most highly evolved. A close reading of Sri Aurobindo however, will show that he had no such agenda. This fact should be understood properly before moving on to consider Sri Aurobindo's view of human progress.
Although in many ways Sri Aurobindo was certainly a visionary in his view of history he did not claim to be a prophet. The impossible burden of proof placed on prophecy is not lost on him. Even the future of poetry it seems can not be anticipated twenty five years years hence:
“ The gods of life and still more the gods of mind are so incalculably self-creative that even when we can distinguish the main lines of which the working runs or has so far run, we are still unable to foresee with any certainty what turn they will take or of what new thing they are the labor. It is therefore impossible to predict what the future poetry will actually be like. We can see where we stand today but we cannot see where we shall stand a quarter century hence” (Sri Aurobindo FP p.1972)
If this be the case with the life gods of poetry how much more is this so with the gods governing human history. Indeed how could one expect him to anticipate the developments in subsequent years when he wrote this optimistic assessment of the future in his 1909 essay Process and Evolution:
It is not likely that the immediate future of the democratic tendency will satisfy the utmost dreams of the lover of liberty who seeks an anarchist freedom, or of the lover of equality who tries to establish a socialistic dead level, or of the lover of fraternity who dreams of a world-embracing communism. But some harmonization of this great ideal is undoubtedly the immediate future of the human race. Once the old forces of despotism, inequality and unbridled competition, after they have been once more overthrown, a process of gradual samyama will be performed by which what has remained of them will be regarded as the disappearing vestiges of a dead reality and without any further violent coercion be transformed slowly and steadily out of existence.”
Of course what followed were the two great wars that almost destroyed civilizations and the partition of his beloved India. It seems like a harmonization in the immediate future was not to be in the cards dealt by history.....
For Sri Aurobindo the question of human progress is, as almost everything he wrote about, complex. While he believes in 1909 that human progress is the agent of change and writes: “ Whether we take the modern scientific or the ancient Hindu standpoint the progress of humanity is a fact.”(Aurobindo 1909) by the early 1940s his view seems to have notably altered and he writes:
“the idea of human progress itself is very probably an illusion, for there is no sign that man, once emerged from the animal stage, has radically progressed during his race-history; at most he has advanced in knowledge of the physical world, in Science, in the handling of his surroundings, in his purely external and utilitarian use of the secret laws of Nature....
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 »
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 »
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 »
Monday, July 23
by Ron on July 23, 2007 01:14PM (PDT)
Primrose School, inaugurated in June 1999 in the former French colony of Pondicherry, is a pioneering effort in India to utilise Dr. Glenn Doman’s teaching methods as the basis for a full program of pre-school, primary and secondary education.
The Mother's Service Society, Pondicherry, has been in the field of social development for a quarter of a century now and has been recognised as a "Scientific and Cultural Research Institution" by the Central Government for three decades. The Society has longed believed that new methods of education can transform India into a leading knowledge society and fulfill Sri Aurobindo's dream of India becoming the Jagat guru of the world. Primrose School was founded for this purpose, and after discovering the wonderful educational insights of Dr. Glenn Doman, they have taken them and creatively adapted them to suit Indian conditions.
Most of us believe that geniuses are a very rare breed and only a few children are born with that potential. The truth is, many children have the potential of developing genius. Every child has far more potential than comes to the surface under normal circumstances. The secret is to create conditions that enable the child to discover and express their full potential.
Dr. Doman has shown decisively that young children have an incredible capacity for learning. They can learn to read multiple languages with ease at a very young age, even before entering school. They can imbibe a wide range of general knowledge just as a form of recreation. Children can learn at least twice as fast as they normally do in traditional schools without homework, cramming or strain of any type. ... -- The Mother's Service Society believes that this method could revolutionalise education in India. ... more »
Friday, July 13
by Ron on July 13, 2007 09:46AM (PDT)
"Michael Murphy very well might be the single most significant spiritual pioneer of our generation, if for no other reason than the extraordinary spaces that he created in which others could transform," Ken Wilber writes in his book 'The Eye of Spirit.' Indeed, ever since Murphy discovered the pioneering work of Sri Aurobindo almost fifty years ago, his passionate interest in the cultivation of human evolutionary potential has continued unabated. Not only did he found, with his friend the late Richard Price, the by-now-historic testing ground of human potential, Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, but he has also written several best-selling books about the relationship between sports and the mystical dimension of life and has, together with his colleague George Leonard, painstakingly mapped out a systematic theory and program of what he calls "Integral Transformative Practice." Integral practice, inspired by Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, is now Murphy's main passion, and its role in our understanding of human evolutionary potential is, in his thinking, absolutely essential. ... more »
Thursday, February 15
'The Doctrine of the Subtle Worlds: Sri Aurobindo's Cosmology, Modern Science, and the Metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead'
by Ron on February 15, 2007 11:11PM (PST)
This is an unusually long article for SCIY. It's copyrighted by Eric M. Weiss, and was his dissertation for his Ph.D. at CIIS, the California Institute of Integral Studies, with a concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness. I'm taking the liberty of posting it here because, in my opinion, it's one of the most thorough and insightful treatments of the core concern of SCIY; the multiple & interpenetrating relationships between science, culture, and consciousness, placed within the contextual framework of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. - Warning: This is challenging material, but I believe working through it and contemplating its implications is well worth the effort. - My deepest appreciation goes to Dr. Eric Weiss for his extraordinary and groundbreaking work. ~ ron
...Here we are, at the dawn of the Twenty First Century, and I have awakened to find myself living in a science fiction novel. If this novel were to be written from the standpoint of the 23rd century, looking back to the beginning of the 21st, it might start something like this:
At that time, the certainties of science had faltered. The great charism of the men in white lab coats had faded. The bastions of materialism had crumbled from within, and the civilization that it had fostered was losing its way.
Meanwhile, three centuries of rapacious assault on the biosphere were, at last, showing decisive results. The globe was poisoned, people were sick, species were being slaughtered by the tens of thousands, global temperatures and global sea levels were both beginning to rise. A civilization was ending, and in its death throes, it was bringing to a close the Cenozoic Era. The Earth was preparing for a fresh creation.
Looking back, too, we can see that the promise of the new civilization had already begun to shine. The iron cage of the material world, in which the species had been trapped for centuries, was starting to dissolve. Here and there, the experiences of the subtle worlds were breaking through. A few intrepid explorers had seen the promise, and had just begun to glimpse the vast freedoms and the limitless horizons that we now enjoy, but the darkness was still thick and Kali was dancing wildly across the face of the globe. This is the story of those early pioneers… more »
Wednesday, December 27
"The Only Journey There Is: An Exploration of Cosmic & Cultural Evolution," Robert Godwin Interview (WIE)
by Ron on December 27, 2006 05:22PM (PST)
Robert Godwin is ... an “outsider” thinker, and a masterful litterateur to boot. In his book "One Cosmos under God," he attempts nothing less than to reenvision the entire story of creation, both scientifically and spiritually, and audaciously and stunningly presents an often poetic, quasi-scriptural rendering of what a new cosmic narrative could be. It’s a book that breaks boundaries, thrills and teases, and ultimately makes very much sense in its Herculean embrace of cosmology, biology, quantum physics, psychology, anthropology, history, mysticism, theology, and more.
A practicing clinical psychologist, Godwin, in his words, became voraciously interested in everything at some point in his mid to late twenties. He also credits himself with having a synthetic versus analytic mind. So in order to make sense of what he was learning, he sought to find relationships and patterns among the truths he had gleaned from disparate fields of study. In short, he wanted to know. To that end, he recognized that the only way to grasp spiritual truths was through direct experience and he became a serious practitioner of Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga. One Cosmos under God is the result of what he discovered as a follower of the Indian sage’s teachings, together with the fruits of his relentless curiosity. ... more »
Friday, December 22
by Vladimir on December 22, 2006 04:53AM (PST)
There are many myths in the Veda which describe the Beginning of Creation from different angles or stages. Some of them start with the description of the Supreme Person, Atman, Self (4), others - of the Impersonal Spirit, Brahman (5), some start from Nothingness or Darkness (6), which they call “night”, ratri-, or apas, apraketam salilam (7), “dark waters”, or sometimes as mrityu (8), “death”, etc., etc. They all refer to different stages of Creation, where Darkness or Nothingness was depicted as our beginning, but not as our Origin. We can easily reconcile these myths, knowing that Darkness was the result of the Fall of the Supreme Light, (Involution): ... 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