Friday, July 27, 2007

A totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism

Spiritual poverty of contemporary secular humanism
Spring / Summer 2007, Vol 15, No. 1
Boston University 621 Commonwealth Boston, MA 02215PH: 617-353-6480FAX: 617-353-5905 Contact Arion Advertise With Arion US Bookstores Carrying Arion EDITOR IN CHIEF Herbert Golder
Religion and the Arts in America CAMILLE PAGLIA
At this moment in America, religion and politics are at a flash point. Conservative Christians deplore the left-wing bias of the mainstream media and the saturation of popular culture by sex and violence and are promoting strategies such as faith-based home-schooling to protect children from the chaotic moral relativism of a secular society. Liberals in turn condemn the meddling by Christian fundamentalists in politics, notably in regard to abortion and gay civil rights or the Mideast, where biblical assumptions, it is claimed, have shaped US policy. There is vicious mutual recrimination, with believers caricatured as paranoid, apocalyptic crusaders who view America's global mission as divinely inspired, while liberals are portrayed as narcissistic hedonists and godless elitists, relics of the unpatriotic, permissive 1960s.
A primary arena for the conservative-liberal wars has been the arts. While leading conservative voices defend the traditional Anglo-American literary canon, which has been under challenge and in flux for forty years, American conservatives on the whole, outside of the New Criterion magazine, have shown little interest in the arts, except to promulgate a didactic theory of art as moral improvement that was discarded with the Victorian era at the birth of modernism. Liberals, on the other hand, have been too content with the high visibility of the arts in metropolitan centers, which comprise only a fraction of America. Furthermore, liberals have been complacent about the viability of secular humanism as a sustaining creed for the young. And liberals have done little to reverse the scandalous decline in urban public education or to protest the crazed system of our grotesquely overpriced, cafeteria-style higher education, which for thirty years was infested by sterile and now fading poststructuralism and postmodernism. The state of the humanities in the US can be measured by present achievement: would anyone seriously argue that the fine arts or even popular culture is enjoying a period of high originality and creativity? American genius currently resides in technology and design. The younger generation, with its mastery of video games and its facility for ever-evolving gadgetry like video cell phones and iPods, has massively shifted to the Web for information and entertainment.
I would argue that the route to a renaissance of the American fine arts lies through religion. Let me make my premises clear: I am a professed atheist and a pro-choice libertarian Democrat. But based on my college experiences in the 1960s, when interest in Hinduism and Buddhism was intense, I have been calling for nearly two decades for massive educational reform that would put the study of comparative religion at the center of the university curriculum. Though I shared the exasperation of my generation with the moralism and prudery of organized religion, I view each world religion, including Judeo-Christianity and Islam, as a complex symbol system, a metaphysical lens through which we can see the vastness and sublimity of the universe. Knowledge of the Bible, one of the West's foundational texts, is dangerously waning among aspiring young artists and writers. When a society becomes all-consumed in the provincial minutiae of partisan politics (as has happened in the US over the past twenty years), all perspective is lost. Great art can be made out of love for religion as well as rebellion against it. But a totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism and self-absorption and gradually goes slack, without leaving an artistic legacy...10:58 PM

The theories of anti-colonialism and anti-racism are really solely the product of the west

tabula rasa the subject of postcolonial thought Materialism Today
It seems timely to start this theory blog after attending the recent ‘Materialism Today‘ conference in London. The event, if nothing else, was another provocation to the contemporary doxa of academic left-liberal thinking and democratic politics. Organized under Birbeck College’s Institute of Humanities banner the conference’s principal catalyst was the irrepressible Slavoj Zizek. Similar to the earlier conference, ‘Is The Politics of Truth Still Possible?’ in 2005, this gathering essentially brought together disciples of Lacan (and Zizek), with the followers of the French philosopher, Alain Badiou. In both conferences, while one could discern a tension between this these two orientations in terms of their theoretical priorities, they shared a common commitment to expounding a universalist politics through a philosophy of truth. While it was undoubtedly the manic drive of Zizek that gave both events an unique feeling of a public seminar, religious gathering and pub comedy evening in equal measure, (the comic sight of Zizek running in all directions around the hall with the mic undermined all those critiques which position Zizek as some sort of absolute master), it was Badiou’s challenging philosophical system that provided the matrix for the contributions at both conferences.
The non-appearance of Alan Badiou this time created a (Badiouian) void that produced a set of unanswered critiques of the absent master’s system. To take Badiou’s own conceptual terminology further, there was a strong fidelity to the event of Badiou writings, even when there were significant differences. This fidelity is one of the productive elements of this collective thinking project. The commitment to an uncompromising prescriptive ontological praxis is without doubt a necessary wager in times where the interminable, hermetic academic debates of a (de)constructionist epistemology seem inadequate to challenge the modality of contemporary geo-power. The Badiou-Zizek tendency, whatever ones critique, (and I have many), is one of the only sustained politicised thought emanating from western philosophy at present. Whether it can be developed in a radically global, anti-imperialist direction, in spite of the assertive claims to universality, needs to be rigorously tested. tabla rasa sets out to be a sort of postcolonial thought-laboratory for this form of incisive dissection…at once inside and outside the assemblage of philosophy as it practiced in the overdeveloped west. Its not about adding another voice to the debate in some ineffectual attempt to pluralize academic thinking, or even to deconstruct the conceptual frameworks but to try and re-orient the very conditions in which this philosophical thought is being conducted. Nothing else has any political purchase.
In this initial post, I won’t go into a comprehensive or rigorous overview of the conference or undertake detailed elaborations upon the increasing body of literature on Badiou’s work, which has become a potentially productive space for my own rethinking of anti-racism, culture and geo-politics. Or elaborate on Zizek’s recent attempts to engage with Badiou’s militancy, but to use the conference to outline some interesting problematics that repeatedly appeared in quite unsystematic and unresolved ways during the event. I will hopefully work through these in more detail as my thinking develops:
The relationship between materialism and idealism was configured, unsurprisingly, partially through an interrogation of the theological register, especially Christianity. What for me needs to be immediately addressed are the implications of the elevation of Christianity as the only universalist religion and hence paradigmatic model for a militant atheism. At the conference two speakers, John Milbank and Creston Davies, presented the theological Christian view (and not a model) as the political solution to the failures of liberal democracy itself. These were very strange presentations - Milbank, especially with his disconcerting assertive mode, critiqued democracy from what could be rightly called Christian authoritarianism. The unapologetic, near fascism of this undemocratic position raised explicitly the potential problems of the logical construction of a militant politics inside the prescriptive contours of a reworked Marxism through Christianity. The narrow formulation of these still euro-centred Christian polemics also indicated clearly for me how the claim to universality in philosophy is still enunciated in a narrowly western register, where a straight linear line is drawn from ancient Greek philosophy, through Christianity, modernity and global word order with little reference to the constitutive role of ‘Afro-Asiatic’ history and thought in the very formation of Europe as the West.
The place of Maoism in Badiou and Zizek’s thinking could be seen as an exception to this historicism - while there is much to be gained evaluating Maoism and I welcome the critical attention - doesn’t this risk another version of post-68 ‘western Maoism’- an abstracted appropriation of Maoism as a signifier of Otherness of European militancy totally de-linked from its material situation? Why no serious engagement with the ‘really existing Maoism’- in Nepal, India, Philippines or Peru? Is it when faced with the ‘real thing’ even the militant western philosopher recoils from the brutality of its implications? Is it enough to make these theoretical assertions without facing the violent consequences?
It was only Ali Alizadeh’s attempt to formulate the Iranian revolution as an Event, that began to challenge the rather comfortable presumptions of a Christian hegemony that has become orthodox in these materialist philosophical circles. It was shame, but maybe significant, that there was so little discussion of Islam or the Iranian example. It seemed, in spite of Alizadeh’s assertions, that the Islamic revolution was not the sort of event that the radical white Europeans could commit to. The underlying presumption remains that Christianity, and not Islam or any other religion, provides the basis for a true, modern universality. I am not actually claiming at present that the Iranian revolution should be named as an Event in terms of Badiou’s truth procedure, but what does the lack of engagement with the ‘non-European’ situations say about the philosophy and production of truth. As Alizadeh pointed out even the exhortations of Foucault in Iran are reduced to a mistake, an aberration, a seduction. For Foucault also, couldn’t go all the way and embrace the revolution as a modern political Event.
If Mao is somewhat polemically proclaimed by Zizek as the poster boy of a new philosophical militancy, is the more substantial turn to Leninism the fundamental basis for the theorist’s renewed leftism. Lenin’s Materialism and Empiriocriticism century in 2008, provided the basis for this conference and has been the subject of many of Zizek’s recent writings. Is Zizek serious about his Leninism or does it remain at the order of a posturing of ‘reactionary orthodoxy’ in the face of the ‘liberal multiculturalist academia’ that Zizek is so fond of baiting? While I will be examining more carefully Zizek’s writings, especially in relation to his critique of difference and politics of identity, here I would just mention it is the field of Cultural Studies, especially in its British neo-Gramscian orientation , that is the real target of Zizek and some of the others. It was the New Left that broke with Leninism, and led to the rise of social and cultural struggles across race, gender, sexuality. It is against this ‘culturalist Marxism’ that Lenin, Mao and Badiou become Zizek’s fellow travelers. While this theoretical-political axis converges on the centrality of a revolutionary act or event, as opposed to the idea of reformist struggles, there is some divergence in terms of how this is to be achieved. For Badiou, politics is an act of subtraction from the state of the situation. Badiou in-spite of his recent attempts to slightly soften his absolute anti-statism remains committed to singular social change outside of the norms of society. For Zizek, while he speaks of subtractive politics remains essentially within an ideological critique of the dominant order. Here Zizek, with his theory of ideology, more than Badiou with his mathematical ontology, is attentive to how culture operates in neo-liberal capitalism. While there remains a dismissal of culture as a site of politics, it remains unclear to me how any form of social uprising is possible, unless one is committed to some sort of vangardism and a ‘politics of the few’ or to an anarchic libertarianism or commutaranism. This I suspect is the implication of this political theorisation if there is no notion such as hegemony to conceptualise the formations of new social and political blocs.
It is true to say that any opposition to global capitalism has to be organised through a class analysis, but why assume that class is structured outside the realms of race, gender, sexuality? There is no pure singular class that is also not working through social differences. This is the very logic of late capitalism. No opposition to capitalism can be effective without this entangled social and cultural politics. One does not have to advocate a post-Marxist equivalences of particularities or the singularity of the multitude to create this new revolutionary class based subject, what is being suggested is a reworking and extension of Marxist thought for the new millennium. There have been numerous examples of this in anti-colonial, anti-racist and feminist struggles. For example in the writings of figures such as CLR James or Frantz Fanon - one only needs to read a few pages of The Wretched of the Earth to appreciate that Marxist thought is necessary but not adequate to producing a new world after the shattering event of colonialism.
The conference rightfully asked if materialism is always on the side of progressive politics. It gave no clear answers. It did provide a set of interventions that outlined some of elements of a necessary materialist thinking. In particular, Alberto Toscano, Bruno Bosteels and Peter Hallward were impressive in their encyclopedia way of disseminating and working with Badiou’s corpus. Whether their arguments can be reconciled with Zizek’s position is questionable. In the end it was Zizek who stole the show. He was literally the embodiment of the figure of comedy that was presented by Robert Pfaller - where materialist comedy, in the form of a paganism, was opposed to the tragedy of an idealist Christianity, with the pathetic, sad figure of Jesus at the heart of its cosmology. While I wouldn’t totally go along with Pfaller’s binarisms it did call into question the primacy of a European rooted theology as the only universal project. As Hallward said materialism is essentially a theoretical question. We need to ask the right questions or at least do more comedy. Isn’t this the appeal of Zizek - the comic fool that tells through (theoretical) fictions the material truth?
~ by tabularasa on July 1, 2007. 3 Responses to “Materialism Today”
Your critique of Christianity seems like it rests on the same problematic that identity politics rests on; it supposes that when we talk we must speak from everywhere (lest we are politically incorrect) and yet paradoxically we therefore cannot speak from anywhere. Why? Simply because the dogma of postcolonialism is that we must speak from a reified “people” that really only continues to exist via the imperialism of post-colonialism that remains with us in academica. It is the worst kind of violence. By contrast, at least the work of Milbank (not sure about the other guy?) is not afraid of speaking from a concrete place–afterall the Greeks remain with us (as does Islam and Judiasm) even if our bourgeois tastes may not like them at the moment. Until we get beyond the violence and imperialism that remains within post-colonialism (which really is a Euro-centric reasoning of the worst possible sort) a real politics will not be actualized. In the end, Christianity may give us this possibility in that it finally gets us beyond the banality of identity politics (ruled by the middle-class theory-heads that don’t give a damn about the poor and can only remain viable within the safety of their offices)!
Jill Hetzel said this on July 4th, 2007 at 3:17 pm
I do not present a general critique of Christianity, or even of a Christiainity that is enunciated from a European positionality, but of the positions that presented Christian particularity as the universal at the conference. If this is not a good example of identity politics I don’t know what is. In fact, there could be an interesting debate here about the question of universalism and history, but instead in a rather typical and dismissive way you accuse me of practicising some sort of political evil called ‘identity politics’ and ‘postcolonialism’. It is a shame that you did not engage in what I actually wrote in relation to the concrete event of the conference, but instead provide a rather tiresome caricature of a position which you attribute to me. All I will say is that anyone with any serious knowledge of the field would be aware that there has been a long debate about the limits of the politics of identity or postcolonialism. One has to only look at the excellent book by Robert Young ‘Postcolonialism’ - someone who is identified as an important figure in the field - to appreciate the contested and radical history that underpins postcolonial theoretical and political discourses.It gets rather desperate when the only criticism left is to accuse the position as being effectively Eurocentric and middle-class. One of the features of Eurocentrism is to claim that all knowledge is produced by the west and the racially white subject. It would surprise many to be told that the theories of anti-colonialism and anti-racism, as practiced in the west and its institutions, are really solely the product of the west or that the ‘poor’ somehow don’t have identities or that they don’t inhabit academic institutions and do not produce theory. You clearly are not from my neck of the woods - believe it or not we have ‘poor’ working class, black folks teaching ‘western philosophy’ to working class black students!
tabularasa said this on July 5th, 2007 at 4:49 pm
[…] the rest here. […]
Materialism Today « Larval Subjects . said this on July 27th, 2007 at 1:34 pm

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The brochure is the product of several months of meetings and discussions

UHU Forum > General > General Discussion > On the development of UHU
Pages: [1] « previous next » Author Topic: On the development of UHU (Read 33 times)
NewbiePosts: 3

On the development of UHU
« on: June 15, 2007, 04:20:49 pm »
Waiting for someone to say something about that to kick it off..and i don't think it should be me, as i'm probably the most ill-informed.

NewbiePosts: 7

Re: On the development of UHU
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2007, 10:29:18 am »
Well, the brochure is the product of several months of meetings and discussions. There were a few preliminary documents that someone should probably post. I'll try to do that soon. Very recently, the wonderful and miraculous website by Grace has gotten up and ...leaping. The world is waiting...
NewbiePosts: 3

Re: On the development of UHU
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 02:15:35 pm »
And so am i..thanks, Rod.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

They preserved the embattled message and kept the traditions alive

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 Teilhard and the Ascent of God
One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin
The fundamental evil that besets us... is our incapacity to see the whole. --Teilhard de Chardin
An anonymous commenter yesterday criticized me for lowering myself to the level of a mainstream, "exoteric" Christian, N.T. Wright.
First, I hardly consider myself superior to those with a more traditional view. In fact, of the two of us, they are the more important, because they preserve the embattled vertical message through the ravages of horizontal time. Without them, it is very unlikely that we'd be here talking about the Christian vision. The same is especially true of Judaism. Imagine the moral courage of the many generations of Jews who kept the traditions alive and in tact, so that they can be studied esoterically.
Secondly, I thought my larger point was obvious -- that mainstream Christianity is an esoterism; in fact, as Schuon has remarked, it is an esoterism masquerading as an exoterism. In the absence of the "esoteric key," it scarcely makes any sense at all. My point is that it is not as if the esoterism is "hidden" or "secret." Rather, it is right out in the open...
From the spiritual perspective, evolution can only be evolution toward divinity. In fact, that is the title of a book by Beatrice Bruteau which outlines the parallels between Teilhard de Chardin's "Christian evolutionism" and Sri Aurobindo's neo-Vedantic view. Interestingly, in his own lifetime, Teilhard was unaware of the parallels, and even thought that his thology was incompatible with the latter.
Bruteau writes that one of the purposes of her book was "to point out the irony of this situation by refuting Teilhard's criticisms and by showing how, on the contrary," the Vedantic contribution to world thought "could have been most advantageous to him if he had studied it with care." Evidently, Teilhard's slight knowledge of Vedanta caused him to characterize it as "a simplistic monism in which all multiplicity disappeared without leaving a trace." ...posted by Gagdad Bob at 7/24/2007 07:59:00 AM

Monday, July 23, 2007

The present genration of Indians do not have any feelings of the burden of the baggage of culture

drmsprasad Says: July 16th, 2007 at 11:57 pm Mr Marko, I enjoyed discussions with you. Thank you, and let me tell you I am a deep admirer of European culture, especially the archtecture & arts- the classics I mean. I consider the rennaisance European Architecture as the ultimate in its expression and beauty which is quite satisfying sensually. I really get the most satisfying and pleasurable moments when I see and handle things European. All my operating room equipment -by choice- are from Germany!! I am a passionate Anglophile also!
drmsprasad Says: July 19th, 2007 at 12:07 am Yeah Mr Marko you are right that under the fast growing western influence there is an identity crisis among other cultures. Its quite acute in islamic countries where they are taught and indoctrinated in the Islamic supremacy, which strikingly and sadly (for them) contrasts with the every day reality.The believers find this difficult to fathom and accept the reality. Hence their struggle for the proclaimed dar-ul-islam ( islamic whole world) for their alleged islamic just world.
This identity crisis is faced not only by them but also by other cultures . But its the Japanese who have seamlessly integated the western culture into their own and yet they remained traditional and have not lost their true identity. There is a lot for us, the other Asian nations, to learn from them.
We in India also face these problems to some extent but fortunately Hinduism is an inclusive religion and it considers all- living and non living things - the manifestation of God, and there are many ways to reach the God, religion being one of the ways!!! The other ways are knowledge ( gnan marg), yoga, meditatation etc. So we don not find modern things and living or for that matter the other religions in conflict with us. All are after all various ways of God’s expression.
Thats why our society accepted English education with elan and all our elders consider that one can create wealth only through proper education. With strong family commitments it is an obsession for parents in India to see their children take to higher education for which they(parents) save sacrificing their own personal pleasures!!!
And thats why you hear lots of Indians migrating to Europe and USA for higher education, though its costly for us. The present genration of Indians- read the Hindus and Christians- mostly do not have any feelings of the burden of the baggage of culture. They are fully ingrated such that they are tarditional at home in food and cultural events, and local in their work place.
Americans have created a Frankenstein’s monster in Afganistan and its on the prowl now. Its their nurturing that has led to opening up of terrorist cells in Pakistan by the dozens like MNCs with elaborate corporate like approach for Global jihad. Open Integral

Sunday, July 22, 2007

To realize aspirations as expressed in the RigVeda and highlighted by Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo

by Yeshwant Sane on Sat 21 Jul 2007 07:42 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
I would only briefly enlist a few major achievements. The negative aspects have been highlighted quite often. The effort is to indicate its quality in acquiring, maintaining, nurturing and developing Spiritual Evolutionary knowledge to be carried into future living societies. This effort and its motivations cannot be belittled. This society, it claims, has provided the first resources of spirituality to the entire world.
(1) There is in existence a stream of continuous life as a specific Human society living on Indian Soil, largely identified as 'Hindus'. It has the claim of indicating the Vedic and Upanishadic knowledge. It prides in it. It strives to preserves its special Epistemology, and undertakes its continuous interpretation and wisdom for application in life, the latest example being Sri Aurobindo's book," The secret in Vedas".
(2) This 'Vedic knowledge and light' did not have Human Language as a Mode of communication. It involves an inherent difficulty of communication and transmission between the Spiritual Supreme Truth eternally existing in an unmanifest form to be transmitted to a new human life, Mortal in nature and manifestly born in this world. Its secret source is however provided in the Human form. This is also a discovery. Thereafter, a unique, unparalleled and totally sacrificial effort is on the record of the annals of this world. It is known as a meticulous preservation of the Vedic Shrutis by an elaborate rigid and foolproof system. This realized knowledge or Darshan is stored in a sort of Audio, Swara bound and Sanskrit Textual system carried over meticulously over the generations of the stream of Hindu life on this sacred soil.
(3) It also had developed appropriate Interpretatative Models of the said Esoteric Spiritual Knowledge such as Yajna, Yoga, Tantra, Mantra, Yantra, and Spanda Shastra and Bhakti for right psychological state etc. Supported by Yajurvedic, Atharva and Samavedic Vedic Mantra system and Symbolistic Rituals skillfully incorporated in the daily social Life.
(4) Consistent with the theory of rebirth of the Jivatma (Individual soul) and the desirable continuity of the acquired esoteric Transcendental knowledge possessed by the 'Group Soul', it had developed a scheme of 16 Sanskars to be imparted to every new born life on this soil (a scheme restored from the Vedas at the efforts of Swami Dayananda, Arya Samaj)
(5) The Vedas represents an 'Apourusheya' knowledge, a first cause of Human Knowledge, translated and based on intuitive interpretation, but its intellectual rendering has been done by this specific Human society and preserved in about six well known Darshanas (Charvak, Sankhya, Nyaya, and vaishshic, Buddha, Vedanta, Advaita and its sub varieties). Aurobindo has given us its new integrated Darshana, which is its continuation and improvement, in "the Life Divine". It may be, however, noted that the source and carrying social instrument is the same.
(6) There are innumerable institutions spread over the whole of India for preserving, maintaining, educating this esoteric knowledge. But the unique feature of the Hindu System is that the Institutions involve the participation of parcels of Land like the 51 Shakti Sthalaa like Kamakshi, Trees like Ashwattha, Nyagrodha, Palas etc described as ten Spiritual Brahmin trees in the Vedas, the famous Bodhi Vriksha of Goutam Buddha, several Temples in enabling specific sadhana, Sculptures like Ajuntha, Rivers like Ganga, Yamuna Saraswati, Mountains, the stars like the sun, the moon and many others etc.all are actively involved and invoked by the medium of Mantra Shastra to participate in this process of transmitting and imparting the esoteric Spiritual knowledge in some measure to the continuing and living Hindu societies. This is not poetry but an actual practice. Even Sri. Aurobindo employed his perception of poetry and by using a story in Hindu mythology, gave to us in the terms of the Mother the fifth Vedas in " Savitri".
I could go on endlessly, but I felt that as a specimen some evidence was needed to be posed before the critics. One may wonder about the comprehensive effort and the structures, which have been created by a specific society on this soil. We are hunting a suitable social instrument. Should we, therefore, only highlight some 'blind spots' observed intellectually, allowing some prejudices and ignorance to poison our minds, and overlook the gigantic comprehensive Human struggle ever undertaken to win the Spiritual secrets and ensure its propagation this knowledge to the future generations in order to realize its aspirations as expressed in the RigVeda and highlighted by Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo.
Lastly, I agree with the observation of Shri. Debashish Banerji, "thus, Sri. Aurobindo’s thought and practice need to be located in an Indian philosophical Tradition, whose epistemological basis are different from those of the West". The same or similar mindset may be indicated in refusing to see a universal Spiritual movement in "Hindutva", incidentally growing by an unknown cosmic Spiritual choice located on the Indians soil. This is like taking sides in the intellectually enticing issue of debating the aspects of beauty and aesthetics on the ontology of ‘a Rose’ and ‘a Lotus’; and object the claims of a Lotus, because it is adopted as an Indian National flower, which also happens to have been chosen as a spiritual Symbol. 7/21/07
(Yeshwant Sane) Mr. Yeshwant Ramchandra Sane, B.E. (Civil), FIV, FIS, RICS (Lond)Retd. Estate Manager Bombay Port Trust, Visiting Faculty Member, Sardar Patel University, and Dr. Ambedkar University, Ahemdabad, Gujrat State, India Trustee Granthali (Mumbai), and Brahman Shikhan Mandal, Thane, Vice President Thane Nagar Wachan Mandir Library (160 yrs Old), A founder member of the Madhyamik Shiknottar Mandal, Thane Trustee, Thane Film Society, Thane President Spiritual Science Centre, Thane, Res: Sonal Appt. Agiary Lane, near Saraswat Bank, PC 400601 Res Tel: -91-022-25368450 MBL: 9892046539 E-mail:

Andrew Cohen’s “evolutionary enlightenment” is a watered-down and trite version of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy

the stumbling mystic God shall grow up . . . while the wise men talk and sleep.
I have always had mixed feelings about the What is Enlightenment? magazine created by spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen, partly because of Cohen’s own questionable enlightenment (many allegations of authoritarian behavior have been made against him by former students and even his own mother, Luna Tarlo), and partly because the content of the magazine — some good, common sense spirituality that nevertheless seems to be seeking validation from science and even from pop culture — indicates a lack of authentic spiritual presence in the Cohen community (the same lack one senses in the Wilberian movement).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a regular subscriber to WIE, but I do make it a point to purchase issues that look interesting, and there’s no doubt that many are of a very high quality. Two of their most brilliant issues — one on the evolution debate, and the other on utopian thought in human history — were remarkably well-produced, balanced, and contained numerous excellent references and book reviews. I’ve also really appreciated some of the multimedia interviews they’ve provided online at WIE Unbound. All in all, it’s a great effort and brings together some remarkable minds, and the fact that WIE is fostering more dialogue between science and spirituality is very positive (they have interviews with people like Robert Wright, David Sloan Wilson, Eric Chaisson, and many other great scientists available).
That said, it’s obviously not like Sri Aurobindo’s Arya, which primarily consisted of intellectual formulations of authentic spiritual realizations, nor even like Pir Zia’s Elixir, which is an esoteric-intellectual journal. Sri Aurobindo himself notes about the aims of Arya:
We had not in view at any time a review or magazine in the ordinary sense of the word, that is to say, a popular presentation or criticism of current information and current thought on philosophical questions. Nor was it, as in some philosophical and religious magazines in India, the restatement of an existing school or position of philosophical thought cut out in its lines and needing only to be popularised and supported. Our idea was the thinking out of a synthetic philosophy which might be a contribution to the thought of the new age that is coming upon us.
Given the obvious difference in their aims, I’m not trying to read WIE the same way I would read Arya. It’s not meant to be that sort of journal, and to my knowledge does not claim to be presenting a set of spiritual realizations either (except, I suppose, for the articles by Andrew Cohen himself) — fair enough. Still, if Cohen really wants to live up to the “guru” title, he’ll have to do better than produce a magazine that’s this head-centered and that seems to unnecessarily pander to both popular science and popular culture in a way that I can only describe as indulgent. If Cohen made no claims to enlightenment, if he was presenting himself as just a normal person who may even have had an awakening or two, but was not liberated fully from the ego, and if he just claimed to be creating a forum for an exchange of views rather than some sort of evolutionary “leading edge”, I’d be much less critical. But of course once you’ve slapped on the “guru” label, be prepared for public scrutiny.
By far the most annoying (and at times veering into obnoxious) part of the magazine is The Guru and the Pandit dialogues between Andrew Cohen (the guru) and Ken Wilber (the pandit). Yes, there are often great nuggets of gold in these dialogues, but the overall tone is very paternalistic, authoritarian, and often full of sweeping generalizations. Sometimes it’s just pretentious twaddle, frankly, such as one dialogue in which Cohen is talking about how he’s trying to create and stabilize a new psychological “structure” among his students (I got particularly irritated by how he seemed to think he was “personally” responsible for any such thing happening). He and Ken Wilber do this a lot: talk about these psychological structures in an abstract mental way, but since they seem to consider metaphysics to be a dirty word, we never really find out “what” exactly these higher structures are.
On the whole, Andrew Cohen’s “evolutionary enlightenment” is a really watered-down and trite version of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. He often appropriates Aurobindonian terms such as “Supermind” and “Delight” and redefines them in a way that usually lacks the insight I’ve come to expect from Sri Aurobindo’s work. And I at least have never seen either Cohen or Wilber produce the sort of detailed and even precise descriptions of spiritual experiences and realizations that you find in Sri Aurobindo’s Record of Yoga or in Mother’s Agenda.
Because the truth is that when you actually start to have such experiences and start becoming established in them, there’s very little in those realizations that either secular science or postmodern deconstructionists will appreciate, and so you better lose the need to want to appease either camp! I think Cohen and Wilber pretty much bury themselves by talking from a purely psychological viewpoint divorced from metaphysics and occultism — secular science will never accept them anyway, and by denying metaphysics they’ll be ignored by most serious esotericists as well. In any event, it makes me question whether either of them has managed to sustain an authentic spiritual realization at all.
Now I don’t know Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber personally, so what I’m saying is based on what I have read of their writings. On that basis, my personal assessment is that Ken Wilber hasn’t really gone beyond the rational-mental level at all (to his credit he doesn’t claim he is a spiritual guru, only that he is a theoretician), whereas Cohen comes across as someone who has had a partial inner awakening that’s been hijacked by the ego (stealing a phrase M. Alan Kazlev uses).
In reality, though, you have to really share someone’s presence and have a relationship with them to truly understand where they are coming from (the Mother, who is the best example of the possibilities available here, reports that she could literally become identified with people who were receptive, and so could experience them as herself). So I would be open to revising my opinion about Cohen and Wilber, but for now they don’t seem to be saying or doing anything very different from what I’ve seen so far. I don’t say their work is not playing a useful or even an important role — indeed it is probably even necessary in the intellectual environment of the West — but this is not spiritual enlightenment as I’ve understood it. Posted by ned on July 21, 2007. Filed under Notes and Speculations.
One Response to “Cohen’s What is Enlightenment?” >>>>Sri Aurobindo :>>”…thought of the new age that is coming upon us.”>> Sri Aurobindo’s usage of the phrase ‘new age’ made me feel as if he knew that’s what all spiritual endeavors will be classified under in the modern era. This god in human form has examined every thought, every impulse, every element of human existence, and has definitively known the origin, the place and the fate of each of these elements. Chandresh said this on July 22nd, 2007 at 12:37 am

Saturday, July 21, 2007

His strength is his great writing skills in presenting (romanticised) history

Marko Says: July 19th, 2007 at 1:47 am The link to the above article is:
drmsprasad Says: July 19th, 2007 at 6:47 am I always saw William Dalrymple as a sort of left liberal with a natural inclination to accommodate the islamic excesses and willingness to go to ridiculous lengths to rationalise their activities after all but a natural reaction to the alleged acts of ommissions/commissions by other religious/ cultural groups to the cause of Islamists.
He has romanced a lot with things Islamic and had gone on to write a highly romanticised version of the last days of an old and incompetent Mughal Emperor to the point of being an apologist. His strength is his great writing skills in presenting (romanticised) history which is lucid and cunningly convincing to a first time reader. And that man writing this article, which seems a slap in the face of islamists, is almost unbelievable.
Thanks Marko for publishing it. Its a crystal clear analysis of the role of Saudis and this article did not disappoint me when he finally concludes with a blame placed at the doorstep of the West. Thats Dalrymple-
drmsprasad Says: July 21st, 2007 at 12:34 am Purity means more piousness, and othodox religious people are expected to be more God fearing and therefore should turn out to be more righteous. But in reality, here we face a funny situation where in the name of purity the believers indulge in violence to impose their beliefs on others. That is the reason for conflict

Three chief political substitutes for religion: Democracy, Socialism, and Nationalism

Vox Nova Friday, July 20, 2007 Displacement of the Almighty By Jonathan
Christopher Dawson: "Every living creature must possess some spiritual dynamic, which provides the energy necessary for that sustained social effort which is civilization. Normally this dynamic is supplied by a religion, but in exceptional circumstances the religious impulse may disguise itself under philosophical or political forms." (Progress and Religion)
He thought the three chief political substitutes for religion in the 20th Century were: Democracy, Socialism, and Nationalism.
"Democracy bases its appeal on the sacredness of the People – the consecration of Folk; socialism on the sacredness of Labor – the consecration of Work; and nationalism on the sacredness of the Fatherland – the consecration of Place. These concepts still arouse transcendent religious values or sanctions. It is religious emotion divorced from religious belief." (Prevision in Religion)
Russell Kirk, author and convert to the Church: "Although Church and State stand separate, the political order cannot be renewed without theological virtues working upon it...Although human beings live in time, there exists a timeless ground of being, with which our little lives and our mundane institutions are interwoven...The myths and symbols through which the truths about order are conveyed grow dim with the passage of world-time and many disrupting events. When those symbols have become opaque at best, restless men seek to erect new symbols of their own creation, and to establish a new order in which the revolutionaries exercise total power. But this denial and inversion of the symbols of transcendence does not bring forth a new heavan and a new earth: instead, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse bring fire and slaughter." (Rights and Duties)
The religious impulse, I think, cannot be suppressed. Without the fully God and fully human Christ, the source and summit of this impulse (ideally fulfilled in the Eucharist), we fill the void not with Love but with our false, empty notions of freedom. John Paul teaches us in Veritatis Splendor: Patterned on God's freedom, man's freedom is not negated by his obedience to the divine law; indeed, only through this obedience does it abide in the truth and conform to human dignity. This is clearly stated by the Council:
"Human dignity requires man to act through conscious and free choice, as motivated and prompted personally from within, and not through blind internal impulse or merely external pressure. Man achieves such dignity when he frees himself from all subservience to his feelings, and in a free choice of the good, pursues his own end by effectively and assiduously marshalling the appropriate means".
In his journey towards God, the One who "alone is good", man must freely do good and avoid evil. But in order to accomplish this he must be able to distinguish good from evil. And this takes place above all thanks to the light of natural reason, the reflection in man of the splendour of God's countenance. Thus Saint Thomas, commenting on a verse of Psalm 4, writes:
"After saying: Offer right sacrifices (Ps 4:5), as if some had then asked him what right works were, the Psalmist adds: There are many who say: Who will make us see good? And in reply to the question he says: The light of your face, Lord, is signed upon us, thereby implying that the light of natural reason whereby we discern good from evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else but an imprint on us of the divine light".
It also becomes clear why this law is called the natural law: it receives this name not because it refers to the nature of irrational beings but because the reason which promulgates it is proper to human nature. Posted by Jonathan at 9:17 AM Labels: , Comments (3) Trackback

Friday, July 20, 2007

And we think ourselves more as doers than as thinkers

Articles From The Classical Teacher In Defense of Classical Education
Tracy Lee Simmons Classical Teacher, Summer 2005
Readers of English novels or American biography have often noticed the peculiar spectacle of young innocents getting carted off to school only to be cast into the thorny thicket of two ancient and difficult tongues, Greek and Latin. By threat of stinging rod, they were made to memorize the words and rules of two languages they would never speak. It was a curious affair. What was the point of it all?
Latin and Greek discipline and form the mind, but they can do far more. Taught with an aim to cultivate and humanize, they can render something more and greater to the intelligent, talented, and patient. While a classical education (defined by Latin and Greek language study) is not the only one worth having, its passing from schools and colleges has impoverished our culture and, incidentally, degraded our politics. The classical languages can shape and enhance one’s intellectual and aesthetic nature, shaping both the mind and heart.
The American soil, however, is not naturally fertile for classics, whose seed falls on hard clay. As another man of letters told us nearly eighty years ago, we as a nation possess a “weakness for new gospels,” a vital but hazardous trait, as we stand in danger of discarding both the good and useful in a quest for the dubious and untried. We pride ourselves on our capacity to reach far and entertain the fantastic idea. And we think ourselves more as doers than as thinkers. While others waxed about going to the moon, we went. We are forever on the move.
But this restless drive, which Americans are wont to think unique to us, also fuels the rest of the frenetic world, particularly in the West where – despite some multi-culturist claims - our civilization supplies the model most peoples around the globe wish to emulate. We spell Progress with a capital. Here the new is always better, the old worse; the new is always rich and relevant; the old threadbare and obsolete. Ours is the “shining city on a hill,” in John Winthrop’s memorable coinage, a city that could begin afresh because it had no past. We could start from scratch and travel lightly.
Yet having crossed the millennium, we feel a few spiritual tremors. Impetuosity does not reflect. The super-annuated, ever-changing mind cannot speak to the whole of life. It cannot contemplate; it cannot assign value. It can drive us to build new roads but it cannot explain where we want to go. It can build rockets to Mars and beyond, but it cannot tell us whether it’s wise to go there. It cannot answer questions it long ago lost the wisdom to ask. The life of the minds and souls it leaves are bereft of standards, those talking points of judgment, which are acquired only with time and patient effort...Tracy Lee Simmons is the director of the Dow Journalism program at Hillsdale College and holds a masters degree in classics from Oxford University. This article is an excerpt from his Climbing Parnassus, published by ISI ( [ from The Daily Goose by Matthew]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Interpretation is already an abstraction

Indistinct Union: Christianity, Integral Philosophy, and Politics Exploration of Unity Consciousness, Christian Life, Integral Thought, and the Future of Politics in a Post-Postmodern World Friday, July 13, 2007 integral biblical theology Chris Dierkes
Started some background work and thinking on how to apply some of the post-metaphysical questions to Biblical studies.--One strain that comes out strongly (surprised me actually) is how strongly this dovetails with the notion of Nonduality Christian "Kabbalah" as it were, that the mystical theology laid out. Namely, a perspectival account forces us to deal inherently with the relation of God-Creation and humans to each other before anything else. This quotation is particularly central to what I'm pursuing (from Wilber's Excerpt C):
On the other hand, if we do try to say that the world is composed of feelings, or awareness, or prehension, or dynamic webs of mutual interaction, or consciousness, dharmas, things, events, processes, and so on—as if those existed apart from the relations of sentient beings—then that is already a series of low-order abstractions that violate the richness of indigenous perspectives and, having abstracted away from their embodied being, flatten the Kosmos into the cosmos, a pervasive series of low-order abstractions which are then subconsciously mistaken for pregiven realities.
(Even the postmodernists are caught in this prior low-order abstraction that hands them a violated cosmos that they then attempt to repair with an emphasis on pluralism and interpretation, which only further hides, and exacerbates, the prior problem. Postmodernism emphasizes that perceptions are always interpreted, but both perceptions and interpretations are actually perspectives before any of that happens. Postmodernism has caught only a glimmer of a much deeper secret. That is, even postmodernism is caught in low-order metaphysics, a metaphysics that it has otherwise labored nobly to move beyond, as we saw in Excerpt C. The "crime" of metaphysics is not that it postulates non-material levels of reality, which may or may not exist, but that it postulates levels that are not always already perspectives, and thus are abstract in all the wrong ways.)
The key phrase there (for me) is relation of sentient beings. For example postmodern biblical studies (liberation, feminist, reader-response, 3rd world theologies, deconstructive & Foucaultian readings, etc.) all acknowledge how important interpretation is to the Biblical text. They have moved away from a notion held by say strict Biblicists that the Bible is truth as some object from without, some standard given from above against which all else is judged.
But what they miss is that, as Wilber says, interpretation is already an abstraction. Method, praxis, community of reading practices, political consequences of any set of Biblical readings (the readings themselves and/or current readings of those texts) those are prior to their content, relations of sentient beings. Perspectives in short. Choices as I like to say--whether conscious or otherwise.
The content of any of those are not covered by perspectives. That doesn't mean the world is some solipsism of your own creation/manipulation, but it is a philosophical vision that foregrounds "relationship". This to me is the fit with the notion of the Biblical narrative: God calls Abraham to journey to another land and the two become bonded. And something happens between them that is not reducible to the sum of the two individual parts.
The journey (from the Nondual pov) is the journey of Godhead through the forms of God, humanity, and creation, and the Divinely Revealed Text. And that following the Hebrew tradition is not simply lila or play. But rather exile and the desire for the liberation of all beings, all forms, and all of Creation itself. The Divine is in Exile.
God calls us into Exile like Abraham, like the Jews in the Wilderness, like Jesus into death and hell. That is where we must go to seek the Divine. Exile from this fallen nature. Only to realize through the search, that the search as such was unnecessary (sahaj, eyes open samadhi) but the journey for the purpose of Creation.
Just as Wilber talks about post-metaphysical Kosmic picture as akin to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity when applied to flat space-time curvature giving Newtonian physics, so I think minus the built-in messed up ontologies of previous Biblical critical schools/modes, I think the same basic pattern could be articulated:
Namely when the coordinates/parameters are set, we see the rise of say a liberation reading of a text. Or the fundamentalist mode of thinking and its use of its own "logic" concerning harmonizing apparent differences in key Biblical texts. All of those can be generated and one can see how they arise, without having to buy into them, to put it crudely.
The Bible therefore does not exist separately from perspectives. From the perspectives of humans throughout time and space. It is a phenomenology of this relationship: Eros and Agape (Human and Divine, Free Will and Grace) that is what I am after.
In the process, again following in a basic thread of Wilber's, there is a reverse engineering of the structure of the Kosmos/Created Matrix (such as can be reconstructed by humans as it is and for humans that is) that allows all these different readings, practices, communities, and schools to come into being in the first place. posted by CJ Smith @ 2:01 PM 0 comments Post a Comment <<> About Me Name: Chris Dierkes View my complete profile Previous Posts Century of the Self Cohen on Spiritual Inquiry

The three waves of liberalism: Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson

June 09, 2007 The forgotten man
Anyone seriously trying to understand American politics must reckon with what Charles Kesler has called "the three waves of liberalism," beginning with Woodrow Wilson. As a Progressive academic steeped in the Hegelian dialectic, Wilson laid the intellectual groundwork for the assault on limited government. He hated the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which he frankly condemned as obsolete in his academic writings. Paul and I sketched an outline of Wilson's intellectual assault on the Constitution in "From Hegel to Wilson and Breyer," based on Ronald J. Pestritto's ground-breaking 2005 book Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism.
Franklin Roosevelt gave us Kesler's second wave of liberalism. He picked up the torch from Wilson and declared "a new order of things" in his second inaugural address. "We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fasioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world." Thus the New Deal and the new constitutional law that dissolved in the face of the onslaught. (You might detect that Hillary Clinton stands poised to deliver the fourth wave of liberalism.) Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. celebrated Rooseveltian liberalism in the books that provide the standard history of the period.
LBJ's Great Society gave us Kesler's third wave of liberalism. Johnson's expansion of administrative government and entitlement programs is the legacy that set the stage for Ronald Reagan. In The Age of Reagan, 1964-1980: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, Steve Hayward consciously provides a counter to Schlesinger's celebration of "the liberal order."
If Pestritto and Hayward have filled in our understanding of the first and third waves of American liberalism, we have been awaiting the arrival of a historian with the audacity to confront the received understanding of the New Deal directly. That is what Amity Shlaes has now done in The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, published next Tuesday. It's an important book that helps to revise our understanding of the New Deal. Along with Andrew Ferguson's Land of Lincoln, it is this year's must reading.
Shlaes frames the book around Roosevelt's invocation of "the forgotten man" on behalf of his expansion of the government and government power. In an act of intellectual recovery that is itself a revelation, Shlaes shows that Roosevelt borrowed (and twisted) the phrase from the Yale philosopher William Graham Sumner. Here Shlaes quotes Sumner and elaborates on the passage:
"As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose tp get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law proposes to determine...what A, B, and C shall do for X." But what about C? There was nothing wrong with A and B helping X. What was wrong was the law, and the indenturing of C to the cause. C was the forgotten man, the man who paid, "the man who is never thought of." Shlaes explains:
In 1931, a member of Roosevelt's brain trust, Ray Moley, recalled the phrase, although not its provenance. He inserted it into the candidate's first great speech. If elected, Roosevelt promised, he would act in the name of "the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid." Whereas C had been Sumner's forgotten man, the New Deal made X the forgotten man -- the poor man, the old man, labor, or any other recipient of government help. I've been reading a bound galley of the book provided by the author and asked Amity to provide a brief account of it for Power Line readers. She has graciously responded:
Candidates from John Edwards to Mitt Romney are reluctant to address the central problem of domestic policy – the reform of entitlements. Our inaction guarantees that our children and grandchildren will confront extra taxes. Part of the reason for this reluctance is affection for the New Deal, which gave rise to the modern entitlement system. The general view of the New Deal is a blurry, affectionate one. Franklin Roosevelt, we learned, may have made a few mistakes, but was protecting us from something worse. The “bold persistent experimentation” that FDR practiced was more or less excusable in the emergency context of the Depression. There was always the impression that the New Dealers were morally superior to their opponents in the private sector. This was the late historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s view – he and I discussed it. If you opposed this view, you were considered inhumane.
But looking into it all to write The Forgotten Man, I found several things. One was that Roosevelt truly was an inspiring figure -- this book doesn't hate him. The other is that both Hoover and he did terrible damage to the economy, and in fact made the Depression worse. The argument that Roosevelt protected the country from extremism – Father Coughlin, Huey Long – is exaggerated. Americans in the 1930s, even homeless or hungry, were fairly conservative. The damage of uncertainty caused by FDR’s back-and-forth experimentation is what most of us had overlooked in our studies. The 1930s were not a period in which godly government, men, more virtuous than their counterparts in business, tried valiantly to right a sinking ship. The Thirties were the period of a power struggle between the public sector and the private sector in which the public sector won a decisive victory.
The reason going back to this period is important is that our nostalgia is stopping us from, say, rewriting Social Security. The nostalgia is getting in the way of giving our children the chances we had. The great Forgotten Man of today is the younger generation. To comment on this post, go here. Posted by Scott at 07:10 AM

Saturday, July 14, 2007

But this guy stood his ground and politely pointed out the fundamental errors in my thinking

One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin
As I mentioned yesterday, my wife's grandmother died in 1994, and we attended the funeral in New York. Afterwards there was a reception at the house, which is where I ran into the conservative Jewish mystic I mentioned yesterday. David must have been about ten years older than I. I don't even remember what connection he had to my wife's grandmother, but we initially got to talking about politics. Again, at that point in my life, I was still an unconscious moonbat, to such an extent that I was exactly like contemporary moonbats who feel completely free to attack President Bush in a public setting, obliviously confident that everyone feels the same way.
The details aren't important, but David calmly but firmly stood up to all my blather. Usually I prevailed in an argument by simply overpowering the other person, but this guy stood his ground and politely pointed out the fundamental errors in my thinking, even though I wasn't ready to hear them and reflexively held my ground.
But then we got to talking about my dissertation and some of the papers I'd written, and he took a deep interest. Rarely did I meet someone who shared my passion for cosmic wholeness, or who was familiar with the ideas and authors I was drawn to, but he was. He asked me to send him some of my material, so I did. A couple of months later he wrote back that he had read my papers, but
"not enough times to grasp every nuance; they are challenging reads inasmuch as we use different nomenclature to describe the same phenomena.... What struck me most about the articles was the conspicuous absence of the 'G-word,' as if this implicate-explicate phenomenon simply floated in existence without some type of origin, anchor or glue. For this reason, I don't regard Freud's secular 'deeper reality' as adequately deep, especially as it fails to encompass a separate intelligence partially ordering some brain functions. The strange thing is, I agree with many of your basic assumptions; however, it felt to me like reading a description of a large, grey quadruped with a trunk by someone determined not to say, 'elephant.'"
This was a good insight, for I suppose I was attempting to be a "rational" or "naturalistic" mystic. I didn't just have the "Jesus willies," but the "religion willies," and even "God willies." Therefore, he was right. It was as if I were writing about God and religion in the absence of God and religion. He continued:
".... I am going to break one of my rules and offer unsolicited personal advice. I do so because a subtext emerged from your writing: your own spiritual quest. I know you are eager to experience spiritual enlightenment and I think I might be able to share a handy tip or two."
"Your powerful intelligence has already taken you close to illumination, further than most will ever go. However, these same powers of reason, analysis and skepticism, which feel so appropriate and natural, still seem to me to block your direct experience and integration of the non-rational, or implicate, if you prefer. (I base this presumption not only on your writing, but our conversation in which you expressed agnostic sentiments and used deprecating adjectives such as 'just' and 'only' to refer to the Creator of existence.) You have already made a conscious attempt to balance ego and intuition. Nonetheless, the ego still has further subordination to undergo to get it out of the way and allow the light of illumination to break into awareness." posted by Gagdad Bob at 7/11/2007 09:41:00 AM

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Only a rare few dare to read and study those analysts who challenge the hegemony of the West

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: July 8th, 2007 at 8:30 am
[Only a rare few dare to read and study those analysts who challenge the hegemony of the West. Increasingly technology will be forced to comprehend and copy ecology. Even still the Freemasonic elite plan is to survive and prosper from apocalypse by living in space colonies and in FEMA underground cities. The greatest loss from Freemasonic technology is the supposed separation of humans from the aura-spirit realm in natural resonance with ecology (for a quantum mechanics attempt to return to this aura-realm see physicist Dr. Fred Alan Wolf’s book Space-Time and Beyond and the work of Dr. Fritz Alfred Popp and Dr. Mae-Wan Ho). Some of my favorite Freemasonic conspiracy books are:
Transparency and Conspiracy (Duke University Press, 2003), Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (UC Press, 1998), Warrant for Genocide by professor Norman Cohn; The Last Alchemist: Count Calgliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason by Iain McCalman (2003); The Medjugorje Deception by E. Michael Jones (1998), Conspiracies, Cover-ups and Crimes by Jonathan Vankin (1992), Ecstatic Religion by anthropology professor I.M. Lewis, The Movement of the Free Spirit by Raul Vaneigem (1999, Zone Books distributed by M.I.T.), The Electric Connection by astrophysicist Michael Shallis and the book The religions of the oppressed: A study of modern messianic cults by Vittorio Lanternari.
When the Mothership Lands: Secrets of the CIA’s Psi-Plasma Vortex
By Drew Hempel, MA Anti-Copyright Fall, 2007

Centrality of music as the pivot point between emotions and math

Chapter Five: Secret of the Snake: The Nine and Kepler
Did you know that Kepler’s mom was prosecuted as a witch, that Kepler murdered Tycho Brahe, his mentor, and that Kepler was surrounded by Rosicrucians obsessed with the secret meaning of 666? As 2:3 the number 666 is at the center of the Pythagorean Tetrad and creates a free energy vortex through the full-lotus pyramid power.
My argument is that the conspiratorial nature of science is exposed if we understand the centrality of music as the pivot point between emotions and math. This special role of music has been the topic of analysis before, specifically the books of NY Times critic Edward Rothstein: Visions of Utopia (2004) and Emblems of Mind: The inner life of mathematics and music (1996) and more recently This is Your Brain on Music by Dr. Daniel Levitin. In contrast to Rothstein, my focus is on global music as a transcultural phenomenon that traditionally has been a unifying principle of harmony. Western natural science limited global music into a method of axiomatic deduction based on technological imperialism. This transcultural analysis has been similarly formulated by music professor Ernest McClain and then by a related scholar, philosophy of scienceprofessor Oliver L. Reiser.

I would not consider even him to be an integral realizer of the caliber of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Traditionalism: A romantic movement that arose in reaction to modernity that largely hearkens back to an imagined theocratic, authoritarian “golden age”. Traditionalists advocate a perennial philosophy underlying all the religions of the world, with the main exponents Frithjof Schuon and Rene Geuenon being converts to Islam (seeing it as the best expression of the perennial philosophy). Politically, Traditionalists tend to be quite conservative, and some, such as Julius Evola, were also associated with right-wing neo-fascism due to his (in my opinion) very flawed metaphysics. Although Traditionalists reject modernity, science and evolution (which I disagree with quite emphatically), I’ve found them to be useful when studying the importance of metaphysics, gnosis, and the creation of an esoteric science. Frithjof Schuon seems to be the only one with genuine mystical consciousness, though, and I would not consider even him to be an integral realizer of the caliber of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
A metaphysical view of evolution: Well, to be honest I’m waiting for my friend M. Alan Kazlev, to write a book integrating the Darwinian and spiritual paradigms of evolution! He’s already developed some interesting preliminary models of such a synthesis, being the paeleontology and metaphysics buff that he is. But I’d like to do some of my own research on this as well, time permitting. An annotated bibliography for an eco-holistic view of evolution is already found online at Natural Genesis. A more occult and metaphysical perspective would be great. Posted by ned on July 8, 2007. Filed under Notes and Speculations. the stumbling mystic God shall grow up . . . while the wise men talk and sleep.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

It’s simply racist to claim that there is a ‘Western’ imperialism

Much is made of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment as defining moments in the creation of ‘Western’ civilization, but as we all know these periods simply marked the rediscovery of Classical Eastern culture. Nor was it the Europeans that kept the flame of Eastern civilization alive. It was Islam. When the Christians had gained control of the Western Roman empire they attempted to extinguish the flame of Eastern civilzation. Emperor Justinian closed the philosophical schools and the Christians went on an orgy of book burning and violence to suppress all heretical and ‘pagan’ beliefs. The Classical tradition reappeared in the Christian world after European travellers encountered Arabic translations of Greek works, particularly in Islamic Spain.
There really is no ‘Western’ civilization, so why use the term? As far as I’m concerned it’s used by the intellectually lazy and those with a political agenda, particularly a leftist, anti-imperialist agenda. One of the false impressions the post-colonial critique gives, particularly in the hands of those who see themselves as victims of ‘Western’ colonialism, is that imperialism and colonialism is the fault of ‘white’ Europeans. It isn’t. Imperialism and colonialism occurs as a result of state expansion. The history of China is the history of such expansion with several emperors attempting to gain control of regional competitors, first within China and then in neighbouring cultures. If you travel throughout Asia, through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc, to Korea and Japan you easily see the influence of Chinese culture on the region, in architecture, in astrology, in clothing. Japan essentially borrowed Chinese culture almost in total.
Indian culture expanded into Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and down to Indonesia. The island of Bali is the last remaining Hindu culture in the region, the invading Muslim culture almost wiped out the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms of SE Asia.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Use another word to convey the meaning

Re: Hindutva by Rich on Thu 05 Jul 2007 12:08 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Dear YS, Although I applaud your re-visionist definition of the term Hinduvta and agree with how you construct the Sanatan Dharma espoused by Sri Aurobindo, my suggestion would be to use and advocate the use of another word to convey the meaning you wish.
The term Hinduvta is now so historically laden with ideological overtones and implications that defer to the radical policies of the Shiv Sena, the destruction of the Mosque in Ayodhya, ignoring the cries of the Muslim population in Gujarat when they were being slaughtered by Hindu Nationalist in the riots in 2002, the military occupation of Kashmir, the distorting of history text books to reflect their own ideological bias, that I fear even a wholisitic revisioning of the term (which includes ecological and integral spirituality) would fall on deaf ears. rich

There are times when one has to speak out strongly and boldly

An update on my book in progress. m alan kazlev
Currently the manuscript is being reorganised. I've renamed it Integral Metaphysics and Transformation. Some of the material in the early chapters has been moved to other chapters. There will be less stuff on the Wilberian (current mainstream) Integral Movement, which basically I have to say is just another exoteric philosophy and intellectual new age religious movement, and more on my own unique Integral Vision. Rather than just reacting to and writing within the context of the current Integral Movement, which I find to be very limiting (because of its exoteric religious and overly mental nature), I'm presenting a more active and unique worldview based on gnosis and practical transformation.
This will be a new definition of "Integral", going back to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the real founders. Also I'm making the language a bit snappier and more provocative; the previous drafts were rather too tame. I was trying to hard to be polite, and a think a lot was lost as a result. There are times when one has to speak out strongly and boldly.
Labels: , , , , , , , , posted by m alan kazlev at 6:12 PM Integral Transformation The transmutation of the individual, the transformation of the world, the divinisation of matter. Thursday, July 05, 2007 Book update

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Kant, like Hume accepts “inheritance” and opens the door to Whitehead’s “theory of feelings”

Time and space, the inner and outer forms of intuition, are modes of feeling before they are conditions for understanding. This follows from Kant’s very definition of sensibility as “the capacity (a receptivity) to acquire presentations as a result of the way we are affected by objects”; Kant goes on to say that this is how “objects are given to us” (1996, 72). Whitehead retains a number of things from this formulation.
First, there is Kant’s insistence upon the sheer givennness of the external world, and upon the receptivity with which we encounter it. This parallels Whitehead’s (1929/1978) own insistence upon “stubborn fact which cannot be evaded” (43), and “which at once limits and provides opportunity for the actual occasion” (129).
Then, there is the fact that Kant phrases his account in terms of actual “objects,” rather than in terms of sensa (Hume’s bare sense impressions). This accords with Whitehead’s appeal to “actual entities,” or res verae, as the ultimate constituents of reality, and his insistence that the “ideas” of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empiricism always already (despite the empiricists’ mentalist presuppositions) refer to “exterior things” (55), or are “ ‘determined’ to particular existents” (138).
Finally, there is Kant’s implicit acknowledgement that these objects affect us, prior to any knowledge of them on our part, or to any formal process of cause and effect (since Kant only accounts for, or accepts, causality at a latter stage, in his “deduction” of the Categories of understanding). This means that Kant, like Hume before him, implicitly (and in contradiction to his own premises) accepts the existence of relations of “inheritance” and influence, connecting entities one to another according to what Whitehead calls the mode of “causal efficacy” (168-183). In all these ways, Kant opens the door to Whitehead’s “theory of feelings” (219-235).
Through his analysis of “subjective form,” Whitehead privileges feeling over understanding, and offers an account of experience that is affective rather than cognitive. Even if we restrict our focus, as Kant did, to “sensa” (qualia, the basic atoms of sense-perception in the mode of “presentational immediacy”), the “main characteristic” of these sensa “is their enormous emotional significance” (1933/1967, 215). Every experience of perception involves an “affective tone” (176), and this tone precedes, and both determines and exceeds, cognition. We do not first perceive what is before us, and then respond emotionally to these perceptions. Whitehead says that the order is rather the reverse. For “the direct information to be derived from sense-perception wholly concerns the functionings of the animal body” (215).
Perception is first a matter of being-affected bodily. Contact with the outside world strengthens or weakens the body, stimulates it or inhibits it, furthers or impairs its various functions. Every perception or prehension thus provokes the body into “adversion or aversion” – and this is already the “subjective form” of the prehension (1929/1978, 184). It is only later that (in “high-grade” organisms such as ourselves, at least) “the qualitative characters of affective tones inherent in the bodily functionings are transmuted into the characters of regions” in space (1933/1967, 215), so that sensa can be taken to qualify (or to give us information about) objects of knowledge in the external world. We respond to things in the first place by feeling them; it is only afterwards that we identify, and cognize, what it is we feel. Whitehead’s account of perception as feeling is a refinement, and an extension, of William James’ (1983) theory of the emotions. Steven Shaviro The Pinocchio Theory