Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 6th, 2007 at 5:44 am We may forget for a moment the whole exchange of views whether Sri Aurobindo qualifies as a guru or not. Let us judge him simply on the basis of his ontology and poetry. For his poem Savitri, he ranks along with Dante, Milton, and Goethe. If one has read Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, or even Habermas, then reading The Life Divine is not at all difficult. The vitalism of Schelling, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Spenser, Bergson, Nietzsche, Freud etc. down to Deleuze of our own times has been a dominant influence in philosophy. In The Life Divine we find the integration of both the streams. The kind of comments we read here is specific to the ontology one believes in. Without reading The Life Divine, one is simply deprived of the Sri Aurobindian integration. I dare say that even Alan is not fully privy to the intricacies of the Sri Aurobindian ontology and hence expresses many discordant opinions. I would disappoint Ray by holding that just like Hegel’s Science of Logic; The Life Divine cannot be paraphrased. As regards verbosity, I can challenge, let anybody take out even a sentence out of the book and show that the meaning is intact. 6:14 PM Greg Desilet Says: May 6th, 2007 at 9:08 am As for Sri Aurobindo, I do not have enough knowledge of his life and actions to make an evaluation worthy of any attention. On the subject of his work, Tusar makes a good point, and one with which Derrida would agree, when cautioning about paraphrasing and taking excerpts out of context. Derrida has been subjected to extraordinary abuse in this regard.
Having said that, it is also extremely important to note that the reading of any author INEVITABLY involves taking his work out of context and recontextualizing it. No matter how much anyone may have read of Aurobindo’s (or any philosopher’s) work, there is still more context to discover and read into the mix (correspondence, conversations, life actions, friendships, etc.). Plus all of this information gets understood and positioned in new contexts of one’s own making. Ultimately, much depends on the care and attitude by which one ventures into texts and the attitude and knowledge of other readers of the same text with whom one enters into dialogue. This blog, for example, appears to be a place where careless opinions and misunderstandings will not survive for long unquestioned. That’s a good thing–one of many useful aspects of blogging (and an improvement over past eras when misunderstandings and narrow interpretations might have survived undetected for years because of the slower pace of communication and fewer opportunities for contact with others with related knowledge). In short, the views expressed help guide better judgment.