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Saturday, May 30
by Debashish on May 30, 2009 03:38PM (PDT)
With the ascendency to Indian politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a plethora of literature has appeared paying serious attention to the phenomenon of "Neo-Hinduism" in India, and by and large relating it to fascist possibilities. This postcolonial literature, swelling the shelves over the last five years, has piggybacked onto a larger more international body of postmodern writing on nationalism and its dangers that has been growing in stridency ever since the pseudo-religion ... more »
Friday, April 24
by Rich on April 24, 2009 02:08PM (PDT)
Reference: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution
This is the first part of a longer meditation on the future bodies. I have entitled this section “Goodbye To All That” which is the title of Robert Graves autobiography in which he recounts his experiences in the trenches in WWI. What he is saying goodbye to is the passing of an era: of the naive, carefree, class based culture of Edwardian England, which did not survive the war. Sri Aurobindo wrote the passages referenced here at about the time the Edwardian era ended and the great war began. Because our views and valorization of nature are cultural constructions, to appreciate why Sri Aurobindo extrapolates a certain form of naturalism into the future body we must first excavate his conceptions of “what is natural.”
The context of his writing referenced here on evolution and the future body seems to flow naturally out of a post-romantic protestant view of Nature he must have been exposed to growing up in England which lived on well into the Edwardian era. To the British upper classes it was a view of nature as pristine, which they enjoyed in well manicured English country gardens, not yet smeared with the blood of the trenches. Above all nature was clearly distinct from the machinery given to us by culture.
In forming his view of nature Sri Aurobindo took account of Ruskin's, Carlyle's, and Arnold's critique of industrialism. This view of nature was certainly valuable for sacramentalizing nature at a time when the Industrial Revolution was rapidly desecrating it. Today however, the interpenetration of nature by information technologies and genetic engineering has added enough complexity to what it means to be natural/human that we can no longer escape environments which are increasingly mediated by technology. Electricity undergirds much of our phenomenological experience of the world, bio-technology sustains our physical presence in it. In such a brave new world the continuity of the already developed evolutionary form with all its biological naturalism seems to be a reality to which we have already said goodbye
But, what is important for us in Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future body .... more »
Thursday, April 2
by Rich on April 2, 2009 09:24AM (PDT)
As the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origins of Species take place this year, it is easy to overlook the fact that 2009 also marks the 100th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo's first major text on evolution and consciousness. In Process and Evolution and Yoga and Human Evolution (1909) Sri Aurobindo begins to comprehensively articulate his vision of human evolution. Just as Darwin's book became the foundation for a science of evolution, what has been called evolutionary spirituality can be traced back to Sri Aurobindo's work. Many are acknowledging this bi-centennial year of Darwin's birth with a reassessment of his work in light of what we now know about evolution it therefore, also seems to be a good time to reassess Sri Aurobindo's vision of human evolution in terms of our contemporary understanding of the phenomena......
Even though his view of history is essentially cyclic he starts his consideration of evolution by writing in Yoga and Human Evolution (1909) the following:
“Whether we take the modern scientific or the ancient Hindu standpoint the progress of humanity is a fact” (Aurobindo)
However, by the early1940s when he is revising the last chapters of The Life Divine 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 “ (Aurobindo 1949 p832)....
There are six sections in this paper:
I) Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intelligent Design
2) Darwinian Fundamentalism: reductionism, pluralism, play
3) Anticipating Science & Society
4) Complexity and the Dialectics of the Visible and Invisible
5) The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity
6) The Dialectics of Biology and Culture: science, ecology & economics more »
Tuesday, October 7
by Debashish on October 7, 2008 07:04PM (PDT)
This is a fragment constituting a continuation of Debashish Banerji's reflections on Techno-Capitalism as the epistemic regime of modernity and posible post-human futures at the eschatological cusp of history. Here the alignment of Marx and Hegel with the Enlightenment vision/teleology is contemplated and questions asked regarding a comparative alignment with the Neo-Vedantic teleology (if it can be called that) of Sri Aurobindo. more »
Tuesday, August 21
by Ron on August 21, 2007 01:35PM (PDT)
Originally published in Dutch, an English version of Beyond Man was brought out by HarperCollins in 1997. The present edition is an exact (and perhaps photographic) reprint. Some spelling mistakes have been set right. Ten years ago it was very refreshing to read Van Vrekhem’s child-like approach to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The same holds true today as we turn the pages steadily to learn about these two brilliances who brought back the Vedic spirit of exploration to our days with the promise that life on Earth can definitely be transformed into the life divine. ...
As an Aurobindonian poet wrote at that time: “A light is lit in everyone, and those/ emblazon the Living Flame.” The Aurobindonian yoga being a collective yoga, this conclusion is inevitable. Having listed the questions, Beyond Man signs off with the seal of faith: “The Great Change in evolution is happening around us and within us, whether we want it or not.” For a world caught in despair and defeatism, this is nectarean hope. more »
Wednesday, February 7
by Ron on February 7, 2007 02:38PM (PST)
This is Part 1 of a series of quoted passages from the book The Field: the Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, by science journalist Lynn McTaggart. It’s an excellent non-technical explanation about the metaphysical implications of modern quantum theory, especially what’s called the ‘Zero Point Field.’ I hope this can provide a useful vocabulary for our ongoing dialogues re possible relationships between science and spirituality. I’ll say more in future comments to these articles. ~ ron
...The notion of an electromagnetic field is simply a convenient abstraction invented by scientists (and represented by lines of 'force', indicated by direction and shape) to try to make sense of the seemingly remarkable actions of electricity and magnetism and their ability to influence objects at a distance — and, technically, into infinity — with no detectable substance or matter in between. Simply put, a field is a region of influence. As one pair of researchers aptly described it: 'Every time you use your toaster, the fields around it perturb charged particles in the farthest galaxies ever so slightly.' ... In the quantum world, quantum fields are not mediated by forces but by exchange of energy, which is constantly redistributed in a dynamic pattern. This constant exchange is an intrinsic property of particles, so that even 'real' particles are nothing more than a little knot of energy which briefly emerges and disappears back into the underlying field. According to quantum field theory, the individual entity is transient and insubstantial. Particles cannot be separated from the empty space around them. Einstein himself recognized that matter itself was 'extremely intense' — a disturbance, in a sense, of perfect randomness — and that the only fundamental reality was the underlying entity — the field itself. ...
The Zero Point Field is a repository of all fields and all ground energy states and all virtual particles — a field of fields. ...
The existence of the Zero Point Field implied that all matter in the universe was interconnected by waves, which are spread out through time and space and can carry on to infinity, tying one part of the universe to every other part. The idea of the Zero Point Field might just offer a scientific explanation for many metaphysical notions, such as the Chinese belief in the life force, or qi, described in ancient texts as something akin to an energy field. It even echoed the Old Testament's account of God's first dictum: 'Let there be light', out of which matter was created. ... If all subatomic matter in the world is interacting constantly with this ambient ground-state energy field, the subatomic waves of the Zero Point Field are constantly imprinting a record of the shape of everything. As the harbinger and imprinter of all wavelengths and all frequencies, the Zero Point Field is a kind of shadow of the universe for all time, a mirror image and record of everything that ever was. In a sense, the vacuum is the beginning and the end of everything in the universe. ... If that were true, it meant every part of the universe could be in touch with every other part instantaneously. ...
... If matter wasn't stable, but an essential element in an underlying ambient, random sea of energy ... then it should be possible to use this as a blank matrix on which coherent patterns could be written, particularly as the Zero Point Field had imprinted everything that ever happened in the world through wave interference encoding. This kind of information might account for coherent particle and field structures. But there might also be an ascending ladder of other possible information structures, perhaps coherent fields around living organisms, or maybe this acts a a non-biochemical 'memory' in the universe. It might even be possible to organize these fluctuations somehow through an act of will. ... this represented nothing less than a unifying concept of the universe, which showed that everything was in some sort of connection and balance with the rest of the cosmos. The universe's very currency might be learned information, as imprinted upon this fluid, mutable field of information. The Zero Point Field demonstrated that the real currency of the universe — the very reason for its stability — is an exchange of energy. If we were all connected through the Zero Point Field, then it just might be possible to tap into this vast reservoir of energy information and extract information from it. With such a vast energy bank to be harnessed, virtually anything was possible — that is, if human beings had some sort of quantum structure allowing them access to it. But there was the stumbling block. That would require that our bodies operated according to the laws of the quantum world. ... more »
Friday, February 2
by Ron on February 2, 2007 12:50PM (PST)
The following is from a talk by the Mother, dated 22 June 1955. Here she makes some very interesting comments regarding the appearance of the chakras in meditation and so on. This is also related to the concept of the "mental fortress", the idea that we create a subjective mental image of Reality, which we mistake for Reality itself.
If one knows it beforehand, one makes a mental construction and risks greatly living in his mental construction, which is an illusion; because when the mind builds certain conditions and then they are realised, there are many chances of there being mostly pure mental construction which is not the experience itself but its image. So for all these truly spiritual experiences I think it is wiser to have them before knowing them. If one knows them, one imitates them, one doesn't have them, one imagines oneself having them; whereas if one knows nothing - how things are and how they ought to happen, what should happen and how it will come about - if one knows nothing about all this, then by keeping very still and making a kind of inner sorting out within one's being, one can suddenly have the experience, and then later knows what one has had. ... more »
by Ron on February 2, 2007 11:58AM (PST)
How might one know if one has contacted the Supramentalised Consciousness? What marks would this leave on the individual, in their own consciousness, in their relation to others, in their teachings? This is explained in this very important talk by the Mother in 1961:
I can tell you right away that there are two signs - two certain, infallible signs. I know them through personal experience, for they are two things that can ONLY come with the supramental consciousness; without it, one cannot possess them - no yogic effort, no discipline, no tapasya can give them to you, while they come almost automatically with the supramental consciousness. ... more »
Wednesday, January 10
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 »
Tuesday, December 19
by Ron on December 19, 2006 01:43PM (PST)
Announcing an Auroville Conference:
The Collective Yoga of Man: A World in Process
January 12-14, 2007 - Auroville, India
All the ‘knowings’ of the past pale in comparison. A ‘being’ emerges.. borne on the crest of a new wave.. that rises from the oceans of the Infinite. Parameters of convention cease – psychologically speaking. There is no known ‘psychology’ to determine what is happening. It is a veritable adventure into the ‘unknown’. An ‘unknown’ of ‘being’ itself…
What then are the ‘tools’ at our disposal? Are there any tools? Or, is there only the action.. of a movement forward.. into a future of hitherto unknown possibilities.
The seeds, possibly, of a new creation? Creation of a new man – who learns to live in another world? Or, who learns to live in the world in ‘another’ way!
To be, to live, to explore this ‘other’ way becomes the one pursuit of all our seekings. ... more »
Sunday, December 10
by Debashish on December 10, 2006 03:23PM (PST)
The two postings on Techno-Capitalism and Post-Human Destinies (I and II) generated a thread on the relationship between physical instruments of observation and knowledge in the scientific sense (microscopes, telescopes, nuclear accelerators), human organs of observation and knowledge (mind, intelligence, sense organs) in the cognitive / psychological sense and possible mutations of human consciousness in the ontological / phenomenological / epistemological sense (change of being, change of consciousness, change of modalities of knowledge). The last (possibilities of a change of modalities of knowledge) opened up a consideration of Sri Aurobindo’s phenomenology of supramental knowledge and its subsidiary action in human forms and instruments of knowledge – specifically sense-knowledge through the sense organs with the “sixth-sense” of the “sense mind,” manas in the Indian Sankhya formulation behind them at/as their origin and the supramental Samjnana further behind/beyond but with a concealed and subsidiary operation in/through manas. Here we are reproducing the relevant parts of this very fertile thread for focused consideration. more »
Tuesday, November 21
Saturday, October 7
by Debashish on October 7, 2006 11:53PM (PDT)
Detachment in a spiritual sense is the development of another dimension within us, a dimension which coexists with our active personality but is outside of it. It is to find an inner freedom, to discover a part of the being that cannot be touched by external circumstances or by the outer being’s activities – a separation within between what we know as ourselves in the world and something which is intrinsic and connected to an infinite being, a sort of an immutable witnessing. more »
Tuesday, August 8
Integral Transformation: The transmutation of the individual, the transformation of the world, the divinisation of matter.
by Ron on August 8, 2006 12:48PM (PDT)
I had a fun experience with this site. I was reading through it, intrigued by the author's (M. Alan Kazlev) deep experience and knowledge about many different esoteric and spiritual paths. I was attracted by his commitment to the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and his comparisons of their work with other approaches to individual and collective tranformation. So I checked out Alan's recommended links to see if there were any that sounded interesting. (This is where the fun begins.) ... more »
Wednesday, June 7
by Ron on June 7, 2006 03:04PM (PDT)
... This paper identifies the central principle of development and traces its expression in different fields and levels of social advancement. Development is a function of society’s capacity to organize human energies and productive resources to respond to opportunities and challenges. The paper traces the emergence of higher, more complex, more productive levels of social organization through the stages of nomadic hunting, rural agrarian, urban, commercial, industrial and post-industrial societies. It examines the process by which new activities are introduced by pioneers, imitated, resisted, accepted, organized, institutionalized and assimilated into the culture.
Organizational development takes place on a foundation of four levels of infrastructure – physical, social, mental and psychological. Four types of resources contribute to development, of which only the most material are inherently limited in nature. The productivity of resources increases enormously as the level of organization and input of knowledge rises. The theory identifies the human resource as the driving force and primary determinant of development. ... more »
by Ron on June 7, 2006 02:42PM (PDT)
The Mother's Service Society was founded in 1969 in Pondicherry, South India, with a view to studying the basic laws of human development based on the theory of creation propounded by Sri Aurobindo, the sage of Pondicherry, who declared that humanity is not the final goal of creation. Humankind will evolve beyond mind into Supramental being.
This web site includes numerous original essays written over a period of thirty years by members of the Society on a wide range of theoretical and applied subjects including development theory and strategy, economics, business management, literary criticism, science, education and spirituality in life. 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