Thursday, March 29, 2012

Compassion, cooperation, and contentment

A Mental View of the Supramental from Auromira Yoga by Dr. Ramesh Bijlani
The process of evolution can be accelerated by us because human beings have the capacity for rising in consciousness. If a sufficient number of persons work for raising their consciousness, they would also contribute to building up the critical mass of people that is necessary for influencing positively the way the world runs. Thus each of us can contribute to ushering in a new world order based on compassion, cooperation and contentment. As the Mother said, “The world is preparing for a big change. Will you help?”
The Nones: a Growing Non-tribe Religion is one of the finest products of the human mind. Its origins are in the yearning of man for knowing the Truth, and organizing his life in light of that Truth. The Truth can be known only by going deep within to a level higher than the mental. The reason is that the Truth is infinite, whereas thoughts and words are finite. Thoughts can deal effectively only with what can be measured, whereas the Truth is immeasurable. The mind trusts only what can be perceived by the senses, whereas senses can perceive only a part of the Reality. But, being mental constructs, religions have a tendency to gravitate to the mental level. That is why, although religions are rooted in spirituality, they settle down for visible symbols, rituals, and dogmas…
In short, what repels in religions are their dogmas and rituals. And what attracts in spirituality is that it does not throw out the baby with the bathwater. It gets rid of the dogmas and rituals, but retains faith in the One Supreme Consciousness that most of us are at least dimly aware of. POSTED BY DR. RAMESH BIJLANI AT 6:33 PM MARCH 21, 2012 Currently he is attached to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, where he gives talks and conducts programs on yoga. VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE

K: This conversation is also only possible at all because of the existing techno-medium. Should we dismantle the medium since it has a certain flattening effect and also serves streaming global markets? The facts being demonstrated seem to me to be just the rather obvious ones that technology serves various ends and can be used in various ways, all mixed up with the various motives and qualities of human nature.
R: The fact a medium makes something possible does not mean it does not fundamentally alter the message transmitted through it. By in large citizens of developed societies live lives today that are engulfed within the medium of ubiquitous technologies. One could argue for scientific studies that note the destruction of deep attention in children and the diminishing of empathic response in young adults, or site the flattening or waning of affect in postmodernity that has been well argued by a number of prominent psychologist, philosophers and cultural theorist but, even so perhaps you would be still be unconvinced that our evolving techno-cultural environment has any impact on human subjectivity.
If so and you believe that the dramatic acceleration of technological mediation (along with its corresponding ideology of consumption) that increasingly pervades our LifeWorld, and which is wholly unprecedented in human history, has had no impact on human subjectivity then you would have to marshal facts to support that thesis.
K: There’s also a global history of mystics writing about their essential experiences across time and culture in which one can observe certain common or repeating features. This might count as some evidence that human essential subjectivity is not entirely a creation of a specific culture at a specific historical time, and that this essence is accessible, although not easily.
R: I agree that there are mystics across time who have written about their internal experience but in my reading they all do so by employing explanatory narratives derived from the mythological and/or spiritual systems they are culturally embedded in. This is why Aurobindo borrows heavily from Vedantic thought and even uses the term Jivatman and by contrast it also explains why Teilhard frames the future through a Christian lens.
It seems to me impossible to prove that there is any essence of human subjectivity, apart from its embededness in culture or that an individual mind can exist apart from a shared group mind. For example, Sri Aurobindo had to be raised in a family of humans to learn language, the language he employs in his discourse is by in large a result of his Cambridge education and the influence of the Zeit Geist he was living within. He became a leader of the Indian independence movement because he was born in India not Ireland. This is the same reason he became interested in the process of yoga namely because it is a practice derived from clusters of spiritual traditions spread across the Subcontinent. Dare I say that if any mystic throughout history had been raised by wolves they would be howling at moon rather than offering confessions or chanting mantras.
I’m not at all committed to the idea that our unprecedented techno-cultural environment has no impact on human subjectivity. My problem is with the utterly opposite idea that the present techno-cultural environment is now determining human subjectivity, and has in fact so radically altered human subjectivity that it can now be divided into two distinct categories: the present techno-cultural subjectivity, and all-the-rest-of-history subjectivity. And that this determination goes so deep that it affects not just ordinary surface psychological movements but also the inner spaces of yoga. Maybe I’m mis-reading DB but it seemed to me these are the things he’s saying.
R: It seems to me impossible to prove that there is any essence of human subjectivity…
K: Right, I granted you that, at least not an inter-subjective proof. I.e. one might be able to prove it to oneself via yogic experience.
R: Dare I say that if any mystic throughout history had been raised by wolves they would be howling at moon rather than offering confessions or chanting mantras.
K: If said mystic realized the Atman, he may indeed express his realization by howling at the moon – but he would still be living in the inner Atman consciousness. Note I’m not saying a wolf man is likely to realize the Atman, or that this is a proof of anything, I’m just carrying on your thought experiment. The obvious cultural embeddedness of various aspects of human subjectivity is not necessarily inconsistent with there also being a non culturally-embedded essence.
I dont interpret D as saying that but what I am saying is the effects of techno-culture upon humans are different than those that preceded it. And I am not just saying all the effects of this emerging culture are negative, if I look at my own kids who have grown up within this techno-culture, they are way smarter and than myself.
I do think however, there is evidence to support the thesis that some of the consequences of the evolving techno-culture have important implications for human relational and affective responses, that I would not categorize as positive.
A non-culturally embedded essence would be very difficult to prove, But even if I am arguing that human subjectivity is fundamentally determined by culture in fact, I see yoga as an important key to achieving freedom from ones culturally determined responses. But that said, this does not take me back to any subjective essence, because yoga itself is a culturally determined practice
I agree with this modest and sober claim. Must “culturally determined” be a binary attribute? Couldn’t some aspects of the phenomenon called yoga be culturally embedded and some not? If there were nothing at all about yoga that escaped cultural determination, that would probably imply there’s no such thing as yoga as we usually conceive of it (i.e. it would be an illusion).
There are in fact inner technologies of transformation and attention spread across multiple world cultures many of which are called other things than yoga. I would say that what they share is that they aim at liberation of the subject and all are culturally embedded to some extent. But that said I do not think that makes the goals aimed at by these practices necessarily illusionary or less profound. I also do not think that denoting an inner technology -such as yoga- as culturally embedded subtracts anything from the liberatory potential it offers the human subject. I would also add that if one is inclined to see the Divine in everything that to see the Divine pervading our cultural practices is not to stretch the imagination.
DB: Again, how completely these things are accomplished is not what I am debating, but pointing to the need to be aware of these forces and developing alternate technologies of consciousness against their grain to aim for another kind of human subjectivity and global fulfillment, one that pertains to a divine life.
K: Okay, I’m with you there.

In this new title, DeLanda proposes a philosophy of emergence by defending what he calls synthetic reason, one that cannot be reduced to deduction and its principles, one that exceeds both the linear, simple mechanisms and the logical operation of the human brain, one that can better be thought by computation and mathematical models. The book, in its modest words, according to DeLanda, is to study the various mechanisms of emergence and its ontological status through computer simulations.

New Book by François Laruelle from An und für sich by Anthony Paul Smith
Today I received Laruelle’s new book, Théorié générale des victimes, which promises to continue work he has done in Future Christ and some soon to be translated texts (like Éthique de l’étranger and the interview bookL’Ultime Honneur des intellectels). I’ve translated the short blurb for our readers below: 
A theory of victims as such still does not exist in philosophy, which is more interested in force, power and domination. Victims have become a privileged object for intellectual who take up their defence, but also of the mass media who actualize them in witnessing them. A little more rigorous theory would assume that the Victim-in-person is the symbolic condition that determines the victimology soaked through with philosophy.
We draw two figures of the intellectual. The media-friendly [médiatique] intellectual under ultimate philosophical dominance, committed to or embedded with power, who is happy to represent the victims, to photograph them whether through speech, writing or images. And the generic intellectual who works under the determining condition of the victim rather than philosophy.
We examine different aspects of the intellectual, his sickness and treachery, according to the victim. Then we examine the victimization as a process of the double punishment inflicted on the victim, the notions of a “weak force” and “strong force” , of the “survivor” and the “resurrected”, the problem of persecution and extermination (why do we kill?).
All of this concerns founding ethics on the victim rather than on philosophical force. Compassion is not the philosophical pity of animals participating in universal life, it is the final living experience, that of the defeated who tethers death and so gives it its meaning. Another idea of man, one we call “generic”.

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