Balthasar goes on to say that "There is no system that fails to furnish him with substantial building material, once he has stripped and emptied it of the poison of its negative aspects" -- including Darwin and evolutionism. Which naturally made me think of Aurobindo, who was floating in just as Soloviev was floating out (Soloviev died in 1900; Aurobindo began his outpouring in about 1912 or so).
So then I'm thinking to mysoph, "maybe this guy already accomplished the Aurobindonization of Christianity (so to speak), so my work here is finished, except that no one knows about him." Hmm.
Balthasar goes on to claim that Soloviev's is "the most universal intellectual construction of modern times," and is "beyond question the most profound vindication and the most comprehensive philosophical statement of Christian totality in modern times." He brings the "whole ethical and theoretical scheme to perfection in a universal theological aesthetic."
Furthermore, "Soloviev's thinking has an urgency attained by no one since Hegel, and it operates on the same level as Hegel's," that is, in the highest reaches of Absolute Spirit. (Of course, many people have compared Hegel and Aurobindo in that regard, at least in broad outline.) So, who wouldn't be curious? I read a little further, and discovered that Soloviev honed in on the ideas of process (anticipating Whitehead) and evolution (anticipating Teilhard), which provide a master key -- both macro- and microcosmically -- in the sense outlined in my book, i.e, Cosmotheosis:
"By this means, the total meaning of the world's evolution is clearly established for the future: the development of humanity and the totality of the world into the cosmic body of Christ, the realization of the eschatological relation of mutuality between the incarnate Word and Sophia" (Balthasar), in a profound marriage of cosmic coonvenience.
Or, put it this way (and this has an obvious Aurobindean flavor, in terms of the divine descent and the divinization of Man): "The theme and content of Soloviev's aesthetic is nothing less than this: the progressive eschatological embodiment of the Divine Idea in worldly reality."
On the one hand, "the Divine Spirit is indeed in and for itself the highest reality, while the material being of the world is in itself no more than indeterminacy, an eternal pressure toward and yearning after the form" (↑).
In turn, "the impress of the limitless fulness and determinacy of God [acts] upon the abyss of cosmic potentiality" (↓). The human state is the conscious meeting place of this metacosmic (↑) and (↓), but only because O took on human form and now dwells in human nature.
So we live in a kind of spiritual whirlpool or dynamic process-structure created by the vertical energies of (↑↓), which in turn have a "purifying" effect, somewhat like the rinse cycle in your washing machine, which baptizes the garments in clean water and spins out the entropic impurities.
from "Seth17279@aol.com" Seth17279@aol.com to email@example.com date 7 Jul 2008 08:40 subject Sri Aurobindo, Stephen Phillips book , Heehs biography
Seth Farber, Ph.D. New York www.sethHfarber.com
I have been reading Sri Aurobindo off and on since 1980 and have been strongly influenced and inspired and en-couraged by his perspective. I did read carefully one chapter by Phillips–his argument against Aurobindo’s theodicy and eschatology.
SP argued that the independence of perspective of the Divine compared to the human implied by Aurobindo’s claim–based on the Vedas-- that the Divine was free to not manifest the universe was inconsistent with Aurobindo’s argument for the inevitability of the divine life on earth. While SP’s argument is persuasive, I think the problem is easily solved-- merely by positing that Brahman–the Absolute-- is NOT “free” not to manifest the universe.
I think pace Phillips that Aurobindo is inconsistent on this issue, but is probably too often (but not always!) inclined to follow the Vedic precedent of asserting divine “freedom” from manifestation, from humanity. What is freedom?
The Eastern Christian author Phillip Sherrard solved this problem nicely I think. God is not compelled to create by anything external to Him/Her self – nothing of course is external to God. Therefore He IS free. But God IS compelled by his inner nature as love to manifest the universe. In the act of creation necessity and freedom coincide. To argue otherwise is to misunderstand the nature of freedom as love.
By making this move, I believe Phillip’s critique of Aurobindo is refuted and Aurobindo’s argument for the inevitability of the divine life on earth is salvaged. Theodicy is salvaged: the Divine is not and cannot be indifferent to the human condition. [...]
This is not an academic question obviously as humanity has seemed to reached the crossroads where we face annihilation, doom, or salvation–eternal joy. And eschatology is the only answer to the problem of “the riddle of the world.” And therefore in it lies our hope–and the impetus for our spiritual endeavors. I am obviously not a professional philosopher but I have a keen interest in metaphysics and eschatology–in salvation. I am a renegade psychologist in the tradition of the radical psychiatrist R D Laing, as you can see from my website.
Have you reviewed Heehs book yet? I just read it with keen interest. What a excellent book. I have a few quibbles.
First he overlooks Savitri which has autobiographical as well as philosophical significance. Obviously judging from Savitri, Aurobindo was a man who had some experience of romantic love–as well as the tragedy of death. One must conclude that this tragedy impinged upon his own life. Can one also not conclude that Aurobindo had “fallen in love” with Mira Richard? How else can the kind of union Aurobindo asserted he had established with the Mother be attained?
And we know that relationship had a profundity greater than mere sexual love and affection about which Aurobindo was dismissive. Aurobindo’s response to Paul Richard which Heehs reports (for the first time, I think) that if the Mother wanted he would marry her (!!!) is indeed provocative. Strange that Heehs leaves it dangling–it is hardly consistent with the usual relationship between guru and disciple–although Heehs' no comment seems to imply (with Aurobindo) that it is. Quite remarkable. Don't you think?
In the light of these omissions it is not surprising, albeit disappointing, that Heehs also omits a discussion of the idea of physical immortality that is connected, I submit, into the idea of romantic love. In the kingdom of death love is doomed. Is this not the meaning of Savitri for modern man/woman? Have you read Vladimir Solovyov whose ideas seem to parallel Savitri?
Aurobindo was correct: an biography of him had to remain strangely incomplete because so much about this enigmatic figure remained below the surface–as even Heehs’ excavations have confirmed.
I look forward to any thoughts you may have on my musings above. Thanks for your website. I hope it is possible and not difficult for you to reestablish the link to SP’s book.
Namaste. Regards, Seth www.sethHfarber.com
It is widely held that Solovyov was Dostoevsky's inspiration for the characters Alyosha Karamazov and Ivan Karamazov from The Brothers Karamazov. Solovyov's influence can also be seen in the writings of the Symbolist and Neo-Idealist of the later Russian Soviet era. His book The Meaning of Love can be seen as one of the philosophical sources of Leo Tolstoy's 1880s works, The Kreutzer Sonata (1889).
He influenced the religious philosophy of Nicolas Berdyaev, Sergey Bulgakov, Pavel Florensky, Nikolai Lossky, Semen L. Frank, the ideas of Rudolf Steiner and also on the poetry and theory of Russian symbolism, viz. Andrei Belyi, Alexander Blok Solovyov's nephew, and others. Hans Urs von Balthasar explores his work as one example of seven lay styles that reveal the glory of God's revelation, in volume III of the The Glory of the Lord (pp. 279-352).