Thursday, July 29, 2010

There are other reasonable alternatives to Heehs' expulsion or suppression of his book

from drraghu@cs.com to tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 29 July 2010 11:31 subject re: Pl. post
More "Auroman" Fallacies!

I would encourage "Auroman" (Why & what is he hiding behind that pseudonym?) not to presume that anyone is asking for his permission in discussing the relevant issues on this forum. Thanks to Mr. Tusar Mohapatra, we have a free forum in this "Savitri Era Open Forum" in which those interested in Aurobindo can discuss a variety of issues and points of view pertaining to his work.

"Auroman"  writes that "What Sri Aurobindo would have done in any given circumstance is anybody's guess."
While I understand the need to project one's own waffling opportunism on to Aurobindo, there are reliable accounts which state that he had a strong moral character and high principles, unlike some of his self-styled followers. I believe it was "The Mother" who once described him as a "true gentleman". So, based on an understanding of his character, his principles, and the examples of his responses or approaches to issues, one can justifiably conclude that he would have acted in a way consistent with that character, those principles, and examples on the same or similar issues.
The main issue is whether Aurobindo would have supported the call for a ban on Heehs' book on the grounds that it diverges, justifiably or unjustifiably, in certain respects from other "official" accounts. We have well-documented examples of Aurobindo's own responses to accounts of his life offered by some of his contemporaries. None of those critical responses hint even vaguely or remotely at censorship or suppression of those accounts he considered erroneous.
Anyone familiar with inductive reasoning would see that one can justifiably infer, from the available record of Aurobindo's own responses to erroneous accounts of his life, that while he might take exception to or correct Heehs' account of certain events, he would never have supported the mean-spirited and abusive personal attacks on Heehs and the ludicrous attempts to ban his book!
"Auroman" stumbles and falls headlong into the FALLACY Of FALSE ALTERNATIVES: Heehs should be expelled or his book must be banned. It requires a serious deviation and deformation of consciousness and reasoning, of the sort which happens to those who get lost in what Aurobindo called the "intermediate zone", to set up this kind of false alternative! It should be obvious that there are other reasonable alternatives to Heehs' expulsion or suppression of his book. It should also be clear by now that neither of the two stated alternatives have any good reasons in their favor.
I have already pointed out that Aurobindo's liberal approach is completely antithetical to the spirit and efforts of the group which has called for a ban on Heehs' book.
I would also say that there is nothing whatsoever in Heehs' book which can support the argument that he deserves to be expelled from the Ashram. I challenge the group thought-locked on the asinine false alternative "expulsion or suppression" to provide me with one feature of his book which would justify the call for his expulsion.

"Govind" attacks a strawman. (By the grace of Allah, I seem to have a harvest of fallacies today!) I did not argue that "anything goes" for Aurobindo because he was a liberal. Obviously, as a liberal, he was opposed to fascism, totalitarianism, communism, and religious fanaticism!!!
What I did argue, if Govind would learn to read my posting carefully and calmly, is that Aurobindo's liberal attitudes were remarkable and quite ahead of his times and that, therefore, we could be quite sure that he would not support the suppression or banning of Heehs' book. Let us not forget that despite his opposition to Nazism and his personal revulsion for Hitler's Mein Kampf, he did NOT call even for that book to be banned!!! It should not impose any undue strain on one's powers of inference to conclude from this that he would not support the call for banning Heehs' book!
Do not presume, Mr. Govind, that I am unaware of life at the Ashram and Auroville. I have been  familiar with both places since 1978!
You also commit the fallacy of false alternatives in the manner of "Auroman" (I hope I am not dealing with "Twin Minds" here!) in thinking that it is a matter of either giving absolute license to someone, or suppressing their work, or expelling them. Consider other available and reasonable alternatives! 

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