People operate with diverse systems of belief and we can live with this incoherence - Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty - Page 118 - Paul W. Kahn - 2011 - Preview - More editions In the postmodern world, the...1 month ago
Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
In view of the fact that multiple anonymous comments in a thread make confusing reading and it becomes difficult to track who is telling what and to whom, only comments bearing some name/pseudonym/identity will appear in future. [TNM 011110 SEOF]
Wednesday 13 December 2006
dilys said... Well, there seem to be people with especially discriminative levels of insight. I don't know the Mother, so have no opinion about her, but none of these taxonomies are impossible. For the degree to which the ecstatics are potential pawns to WhatEver forces, see this in Policy Review:What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him. And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy — a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view — for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability.I think of it as striking a pose, you see it everywhere; and it's the toxic outcome of a certain undisciplined Romanticism. Yet another feature of Bob's approach: his favored sources do not privilege feelings, fee-eee-ee-lings...The spiraling down into grey of the soviet was described (by those who experienced both nazism and communism) as more soul-destroying in its reach, in addition to the murderousness. Partly because of its intellectual-religious devotion to and enforcement of the lie.But either way, Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice...A Frosty piece that should semi-harmonize with Bryan's Buddhist scruples :-) 3/29/2006 03:25:19 PMWill said... Bryan - Some people can perceive metaphysical evil in, as Bob would term it, a vertical manner, that is, perceive it through extra-sensory organs. A person who can't perceive it in such a way, can't say with full justification that such perception doesn't exist, only that they don't experience it. I'm convinced that meta-evil, as a thing in itself, does exist. It is, in some sense, an illusion as Buddhists would contend, in that it is based on ultimately false values, values that "don't work" in promoting health, happiness, community, etc. As I see it, evil is a reversal or out-of-sync-ness, of the natural progressive order. Instead of a sublimation of instinctual energy/primal fire leading to transcendence and union with the One, there is a regressive move back toward the primal fire of Creation, ie. pride, love of power, etc. I don't have any prob believing that there are entities living in the primal fire of Creation and doing so by choice. There is indeed a great energy there, a great force that imbue an entity, human or otherwise with a kind of "supernatural" power. That's why, I think, that evil is often more canny, more crafty, than is the Good. I've heard that some of these drug dealers from S American are particularly charismatic and have great force of personality, even of a certain "charm".Exoteric historians often express a certain amount of bafflement - if they are honest - over how a guy who couldn't raise himself above corporal after 5 years military service in WW1 could end up fifteen years later the Reichsfuhrer of Germany, a truly charismatic figure who commanded a mesmorizing power of persuasion. There does seem to be quite a bit of occult history re the Naziz, Hitler in particular. There appears to have been a group of people who worked with Hitler in stimulating his life-force, his Kundalini, via certain meditational methods, which eventually resulted in the creation of a literally satanic embodiment of evil. This was much more than the "absence of Good". Yhis was a force unto itself, and it really was an example of meta-evil. 3/29/2006 03:56:47 PM Gagdad Bob said... Bryan--For the moment I will have to simply align myself with the sentiments expressed by the gentleman from Illinois. I just received a list of questions for my interview Friday, and I need to clear my mind and ponder them. The topic of the ontological status of evil is an important one. To a certain extent, it can only be illuminated by entering a tradition that talks about it and has a vocabulary for it. In other words, from the scientific viewpoint it's a de facto nonsense question. But so are most other matters of vital importance to human beings. I've read some very good books that attempt to psychoanalyze Hitler--the best one was "The Psychopathic God," by Robert Waite. Still, the evil embodied by Hitler or Satlin or Mao seems to me to be off the map of psychology. A difficult childhood may be necessary but it is insufficient to account for the magnitude of evil we're talking about, any more than the goodness of a saint can be reduced to a happy childhood. When entering this territory we need to rely other maps, but unfortunately, the best maps were developed prior to the scientific revolution, so they are mixed with a lot of psychopathology on the one hand and mythology on the other hand. I'll post more on the topic at a later time. There are a few fairly modern sources that I know of that discuss it in a balanced and credible way. 3/29/2006 04:12:44 PM Tusar N Mohapatra said... It would be more appropriate to look at The Mother's identification of the four Asuras rather than selectively revile political adversaries. 3/29/2006 05:29:19 PM Gagdad Bob said... Tusar--If you don't revile evil, there is something defective in your soul. Respectfully, you sound like one of the fools Aurobindo had to repeatedly correct, those who "have no idea about the world and talk like little children. Hitler is the greatest menace the world has ever met." Defeating Hitler, according to Aurobindo, was not just war, but "a defense of civilization and its highest attained social, cultural and spiritual values and of the whole future of humanity... There cannot be the slightest doubt that if one side wins, there will be an end of all such freedom and hope of light and truth, and the [spiritual] work that has to be done will be subjected to conditions which would make it humanly impossible; there will be a reign of falsehood and darkness, a cruel oppression and degradation for most of the human race such as people in this country do not dream of and cannot yet realize."Sri Aurobindo wanted to burn evil from our midst. What do you want to do, talk about it? 3/29/2006 06:14:27 PM Tusar N Mohapatra said... Thanks for the diatribe. The emotions would be more nuanced once we recognise the perennial nature of the antagonism, best expressed in the Vedic imagery of Vritra, the serpent. The four Asuras represent an evolutionary road-block, they are yet to be annihilated. Only the Supramental Descent can handle that. The Mother simply asks us to collaborate, nothing more, nothing less. 3/29/2006 07:37:47 PM Bryan said... Hi Dilys,I agree with your statement, "It is not necessarily Manichean to locate or even abstract the presence of evil," and with your claim that belief in the Evil One is not inconsistent with the Augustinian definition of evil as a privation of good. I was asserting not that Christian doctrine is Manichean but that the quoted passage from Arthur Machen's "The White People" appeared to be, and I was basing that impression on the statement, "Evil, of course, is wholly positive--only it is on the wrong side." For whatever that's worth...I would be very interested to read the arguments of the contemporary theologians you mention who argue against utilitarianism and consequentialism. It is true that my stance can be characterized as utilitarian although not in a classical sense. The classical utilitarians tended to recognize value only residing in the material plane, whereas I would tend to accept Ken Wilber's Basic Moral Imperative, "Protect the greatest depth for the greatest span," as a foundation for ethics.If a theologian wanted to argue that even that is insufficient and that the hypothesis of metaphysical evil is necessary, then I would ask, given any action, how do we know whether or not it is evil? A theologian might appeal to the will of God, but then I would ask, does God disapprove of certain actions because they are evil, or are those actions evil because God disapproves of them? If the latter, then we are philosophically helpless in the face of the Islamic theocrats who claim to know what God's will is. If the former, then we cannot appeal to God's will to decide whether or not an action is evil; the criteria for its being evil or not cannot be God's will but must be something else altogether.And what are those criteria? "Causes suffering" is one that springs immediately to mind, but I honestly cannot think of any others.If my analysis here is valid, then "evil" is strictly synonymous with "causes suffering" and has absolutely no other meaning.Incidentally, my wisecrack about denunciation of orgasms was probably rather out of place. I do have some disagreements with Christian sexual ethics, but that's a separate discussion. 3/30/2006 09:34:59 AM