Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Avataric Evolutionism as the means for the spiritual liberation of the whole of humankind

Home >List of Issues > Table of Contents > Zygon® Volume 42 Issue 3 Page 715-748, September 2007
Colonial and Post-Colonial Elaborations of Avataric Evolutionism
C. Mackenzie Brown, Professor of Religion at Trinity University, One Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200; e-mail
Avataric evolutionism is the idea that ancient Hindu myths of Vishnu's ten incarnations foreshadowed Darwinian evolution. In a previous essay I examined the late nineteenth-century origins of the theory in the works of Keshub Chunder Sen and Madame Blavatsky. Here I consider two major figures in the history of avataric evolutionism in the early twentieth century, N. B. Pavgee, a Marathi Brahmin deeply involved in the question of Aryan origins, and Aurobindo Ghose, political activist turned mystic.
Pavgee, unlike Keshub, used avataric evolutionism in expounding his nationalistic goals for an independent India. His rationale was bolstered by the idea that India was the fountainhead of all science and civilization. Aurobindo saw in avataric evolutionism a possible key to understanding the involution and evolution of the supreme spirit in the realm of matter as taught in traditional Vedanta. This material-spiritual evolution represented for Aurobindo the necessary knowledge for the true liberation of India, transcending purely political independence. Such knowledge he also saw as the means for the spiritual liberation of the whole of humankind.
The processes of involution and evolution he claimed were not in conflict with modern science, and Western evolutionary thinking seems to have inspired many of his own evolutionary reflections, even though in the end he rejected the Darwinian transmutation of species. I conclude with an overview and assessment of recent, post-colonial Hindu assimilations of avataric evolutionism.

There is a strong evolutionary content in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, and its scope is much bigger than Darwin's

satyarthi BRFite -Trainee Joined: 21 Aug 2006 Posts: 9
Posted: 27 Nov 2007 03:26 am
shiv wrote: Shaurya T - the problem is not just that there is no document pointing us back to the past. There is no document pointing Hindus to the future either. In the absence of that small minds scratch at the visible Macaulay and dhimmitude and try to see what lies underneath. Underneath is past.
The future is invisible. There is no document telling Hindus to head anywhere but individual self realization. I am willing to be corrected on this issue.
Sri Aurobindo has developed his Integral Yoga on an explicitely evolutionary model. He doesn't just talk about the further evolution of humanity but evolution beyond humantiy too, and grounded on hindu thought. Out of the five koshas of upanishads, plants show development upto vital, animals upto lower mental, while ordinary humans show development only upto the mental. There are possibilities beyond the mental level too. Some humans have individually mastered levels higher than mental, but as an evolutionary goal for the life on earth in general, those levels are yet to be mastered. There is a strong evolutionary content in Aurobindo's philosophy, and its scope is much bigger than Darwin's.
And he doesn't just talk about individual liberation or "moksha" or self-realization, but an eventual "siddhi" or mastery. Even the usually discussed "moksha" or mukti or freedom is a multi-layered onion, since there are many levels and kinds of freedoms that can be gained, besides the ultimate one.
Sri Aurobindo, says that "mukti" or liberation is a preparatory stage. The next stage is "siddhi" or accomplishment. Its like you gaining freedom or "mukti" from the local vicious street dog by building yourself a bigger fence or getting the dog pounded. The "siddhi" part comes when you master the dog to such an extent that he rolls over at your command or fetches a tennis ball for you.
"Siddhi" allows a person to apply his spiritual gains into worldly life. The same worldly life which scares an ordinary ascetic so much, becomes putty in the hands of a master to sculpt great visions. Just as when the vicious street dog is mastered, he becomes a good companion and useful aid.

Monday, November 26, 2007

There agenda is to bring back, by force if necessary, via their claims to possess "total truth", the big-daddy patriarchal "god"

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post
Meanwhile the folks at Uncommon Descent and the "discovery" Institute have very close links with all the right wing think tanks that champion capitalism. Capitalism being an "advanced" form of social Darwinism or the war of all against all and everything.
Plus the ID/UD crowd arent really interested in free "discovery". There agenda is to bring back, by force if necessary, via their claims to possess "total truth", the big-daddy patriarchal "god" of entirely this worldly exoteric religiosity.
Another disturbing aspect of their "total truth" claim is that ALL other ways of understanding and being in the world are false and hence their adherents need to be re-"educated".
This fits in with the "only one truth" claims made by a certain right wing christian journal with the initials FT which, surprise surprise, is very much part of the ID "discovery" insitute network. Posted by Anonymous to Feel Philosophy at 3:18 PM, November 26, 2007

The goal of a genuinely new Left should not be to take over the State but to subordinate the State to the general will

It’s now time – well past time, actually – for the Left to finally disarticulate itself from the big State. Zizek’s piece in the current LRB reiterates his opposition to Badiou’s notion of ‘distance from the State’. But being ‘at a distance from the State’ does not mean either abandoning the State or retreating into the private space of affects and diversity which Zizek rightly argues is the perfect complement to neoliberalism’s domination of the State. It means recognizing that the goal of a genuinely new Left should be not be to take over the State but to subordinate the State to the general will. This involves, naturally, resuscitating the very concept of a general will, reviving – and modernising - the idea of a public space that is not reducible to an aggregation of individuals and their interests. The ‘methodological individualism’ of the neoliberal worldview presupposes the philosophy of Max Stirner as much as that of Adam Smith or Hayek in that it regards notions such as the public as ‘spooks’, phantom abstractions devoid of content. All that is real is the individual (and their families).
The symptoms of the failures of this worldview are everywhere – in a disintegrated social sphere in which teenagers shooting each other has become commonplace, in which mental illness and affective disorders of every kind are proliferating at an alarming degree, in which hospitals incubate aggessive Superbugs - what is required is connect effect to structural cause. Far from being isolated, contingent problems, these are all the effects of a single systemic cause: Capital.
Zizek argues that, now, it is the likes of Microsoft which resist State power, but he fails to draw the lesson from this. Like neoliberalism in general, Microsoft has achieved its global domination not so much by occupying the State as by subordinating the machinery of government to its interests. Far from nationalising Microsoft, as Zizek once called for, the Left should hold up Microsoft as the most spectacular example of the way in which capitalist products and companies are at least as shoddy as those turned out by the nationalised industries that neoliberalism has spent three decades demonising. Microsoft’s domination of the market to the point where market conditions no longer obtain, its ability to foist on its customers inferior products that they only buy because everyone else already has them, could not be further from the neoliberal fantasy of the market as an intelligent mechanism super-sensitive to consumer desire. But, far from being an exceptional case, Microsoft is typical of SF Capital’s anti-market.
It is by now clear that neoliberalism does not provide the conditions for a vibrant culture. Exactly to the contrary in fact. As Curtis argues, the interpassive simulation of participation in postmodern media, the network narcissism of MySpace and Facebook, generates content that is repetitive, parasitic and conformist. Ironically, the media class’s refusal to be paternalistic has not produced a bottom-up culture of breathtaking diversity, but one that is increasingly infantalized. The effect of permanent structural instability, the ‘cancellation of the long term’, is invariably stagnation and conservatism rather than innovation. This is not a paradox. As Adam Curtis’ remarks above make clear, the affects that predominate in late capitalism are fear and cynicism. These emotions do not inspire bold thinking or entrepraneurial leaps, they breed conformity and the cult of the minimal variation, the turning out of products which very closely resemble those that are already successful. Meanwhile, films such as Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Stalker - plundered by Hollywood since as far back as Alien and Blade Runner - were produced in the ostensibly moribund conditions of the Brezhnevite State, meaning that the USSR acted as a cultural entrepreneur for SF Capital.
The Left should argue that it can deliver what neoliberalism has signally failed to do: a massive reduction of bureaucracy, a handing back of control of work and life from rhizomaniac bureaucracies to workers. As Deleuze demonstrated in his essay on Control – whose prescience becomes all the more startling the deeper we sink into late capitalism – post-Fordist capital would not eliminate bureaucracy but alter its form. Bureaucracy is no longer the preserve of a centralised State; it has proliferated into a generalised condition of surveillance-without-a-centre performed by distributed para-State bodies or micro-States which increasingly co-opt the so-called individual into doing their work for them. Far from being some aberration that capitalism’s alleged efficiency will eventually eliminate, late capitalist ‘administration’ is a permanent and ineradicable feature of late capitalism. There is no more prospect of administration receding than there was of the Stalinist State ever decreeing its own withering away.
Zizek’s invocation of Chavez in his LRB piece is typical of a nostalgia for the Father – the stern but good Lawgiver who leads his people into the Promised Land by a heroic act of resistance to the global order - that characterises his own work (the ostensibly playful defence of Stalinism is a part of this) and which continues to hold the Left in general back. The Left needs to give up its belief in Fathers, Good and Bad. We all know that Bush is a puppet not a papa, but political strategy needs to reflect this, by no longer appealing to him – or any other Bad Father figure - as if they were capable of granting its wishes. A mature, rational anti-capitalist politics needs to be able to think beyond the phantasms of the family, to imagine an abstract public space not embodied in the figure of a facialized individual. Posted by mark at November 25, 2007 02:45 PM TrackBack

The editor, Ulrich Mohrhoff is a German physicist with apparently a strong quantum mechanics background

The Sri Aurobindo International Center in India Granville Sewell 25 November 2007
The Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education, in Pondicherry, India, has recently launched a new on-line journal Anti-Matters , which naturally has a strong Eastern flavor, but is solidly anti-materialist and anti-Darwinist; it provides further evidence that ID, at least the rejection of Darwinism, is not a uniquely American Christian phenomenon. The editor, Ulrich Mohrhoff is a German physicist with apparently a strong quantum mechanics background. This issue has an article discussing my A Second Look at the Second Law essay, which I believe the editor found from a link here at UD. These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. This entry was posted Sunday, November 25th, 2007 at 10:37 am and is filed under Intelligent Design. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. 3 Responses
1 bornagain77 11/25/2007 2:23 pm
Dr. Sewell, I was wanting to read your essay "A Second Look at the Second Law”, but can’t seem to open it, although I can open the other links on your entry.
2 nullasalus 11/25/2007 3:27 pm
Fantastic link, thank you.
And I recommend the “Dismissing God” article on that site to any UD regulars. I was very pleasantly surprised by it.
3 magnan 11/25/2007 3:31 pm
A little off topic, also in the same issue of Antimatters is a great review of Beauregard and O’Leary’s The Spiritual Brain, at
In the review, about the only disagreement with the book is over the authors’ faith that science can be expanded and transformed to incorporate mystical experience. Mohrhoff says, “I don’t think it’s possible to convince scientists of the authenticity of a genuine mystical experience unless they themselves have had such an experience, and in that case it’s unnecessary….There is no way of being objective about mystical experiences.”
I agree with this. In practice many scientists will actually take the pathological skeptic position, that no such genuine experience is possible, therefore even if they themselves have had such an experience it must be a brain disorder-caused hallucination.

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This site was instantiated following the now classic tit-for-tat online fight, the Wyatt Earp incident, between Ken Wilber(Wyatt Earp) and his reaction to the thoughts of other integral thinkers (many of the writers on this blog). We decided to unite and provide alternative integral perspectives in an interactive format, hence this blog.
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The supra-physical domains he visited on the strength of his forceful Tapasya can not be commented upon

from Gyanchandra to Tusar N. Mohapatra date 25 Nov 2007 23:00 subject Re: [Aurobindo Philosophy] New comment on A literateur par excellence.
One can not comment on Sri Aurobindo. It will be blasphemy. He is too great to be understood by normal intellectual means. He is the greatest mystic of our era, a great Yogi of his own brand. The supra-physical domains he visited on the strength of his forceful Tapasya can not be commented upon by normal rational reasoning. You can adore him and love him but making people understand him by logic or explanations is pure self-regarding ego. He is more than the Vedic Rishi but he is as mysterious as the Veda Richas these days.
He himself said so. "No one can write about me". Still some people show their self-importance and try to elaborate him by their limited vocabulary and fractional knowledge. They are not helpful. Propagation of Sri Aurobindo can only be done by propagating his writings and of course also of the Mother. Write ups and articles on his Integral Yoga is impossible.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Neoconservatism is the only intellectual remedy developed in the last five decades to nullify postmodern philosophy

What Hanson calls the "soft neocons" are really the "utopian neocons", a fair-weather version of neoconservatism, which can only support freedom and democracy when there is no imperfection, no mess, and absolutely no sacrifice present in the process.
You can bet that the Democrats will appropriate neocon ideas the minute they believe those ideas are popular. Then they will proceed to distort them in the same manner they have distorted all the other great ideas of liberalism; and continue to believe that freedom is free and requires nothing but rhetoric to exist in the world.
The neoconservative philosophy has always understood that it takes more than rhetoric to counter the forces that would destroy western civilization; and that the pervasive nihilism of the postmodern infection that has spread throughout the once liberal left and which is now promulgated and promoted by the West's own intellectual elites, only facilitates tyranny.
Neoconservatism is the only intellectual remedy developed in the last five decades to nullify postmodern philosophy and rhetoric and stand up to the forces of de-civilization.

Baudrillard is not so much concerned with the first kiss

Ken said...Well, I'm not sure these count as suggestions, maybe more like "supplements."
1. Regarding 9-11: In the early 90s, Baudrillard writes a series of books that touch on the issue of history, and the related issue of historicity - the qualities that make something historic - and concludes that in the countdown to the year 2000 that the whole situation was almost like going through time backwards, with an intense retrospection rather than a bold looking to the future. I was a tad older than you in the 90s (grin), and I think in most ways he's pretty right about that, though it's actually not important either way. What is important is that as part of this commentary he also notes what he calls an "event strike," a sort of conspiracy of the world to keep the world free of events, where "events" are understood to be some sort of experience not already simulated, anticipated, planned for, and so on.
He cites a lot of examples: the first Gulf War, the actions in Kosovo and Bosnia, alterations in certain financial markets, and so on - and in all of these there was some strange unreality to them, as if we already knew what was going to happen before it happened, and thus the world was no longer able to surprise us. 9-11 was an event in this sense, and the proof would be that it took CNN nearly 4.5 hours to come up with theme music and a graphic. At the same time, though, Baudrillard points out that there has long been the fantasy of terrorist success requiring retribution - just think of films like True Lies, all the Tom Clancy video games, the warplanning, etc. Despite protestations by the government (mostly by Condi Rice) that 9-11 was simply unforseeable, we also know now that a variety of agencies, from FEMA to the FBI and the NSA had actually predicted, theorized, or announced that some sort of terrorist action would hit New York, and might even involve our own planes. So on the one hand, it is certainly an event, and its irruption was certainly a shock to our system of everyday simulation, or "integral reality" as he calls it, but at the same time, we were able to situate it back into that narrative thanks to the long-standing fantasy of morally-deserved vengeance that had been part of our popular culture/mythology for so long. Anyway, his analysis of the whole thing is actually quite nuanced, and I'm hardly doing it justice here, but it's worth noting that 9-11 reality's quotient was not nearly as profound as we might like to think.
I can mention one other bit of proof on this, and that is Mark Heath's video of that day (you can watch it here). Heath was a doctor who rushed in to help people after the tower fell, and yet he felt a simultaneous compulsion to record the whole thing on video (there's a whole paper just waiting to be written about this odd event). Why, we might ask, does his very experience of crisis have to be accompanied by mediation? We should understand that mediation here is not just technological but also temporal, it is a recording of an experience for future generations - but in so doing it is also a necessary remove from experience. Think about family pictures you pose for, where the family gets together for some sort of "action" shot or you stretch the smile on your face for the camera, which is to say, for those who might watch in the future. That a man literally at the foot of the buildings acts in the same manner tells us something about just how pervasive hyper-reality has become.
Before I move on, let me just say that the charge that's implicit in your post, that Baudrillard's somewhat flippant disavowel of the real, hurts people who are really suffering or who have really suffered, has been made against him repeatedly. In the 1991 book about the Gulf War, he argued that fundamentally nothing actually happened, and then in 1994 he had a rather large disagreement with the highly revered Susan Sontag, who had gone over to Sarajevo to produce a version of "Waiting for Godot," which she thought a fitting antibody to all the suffering of the Sarajevans. Baudrillard's complaint against her, which he repeats in different forms in other contexts, is that far too often the suffering of others is touted in its reality because we want it to be real, because we derive some benefit from it. He thinks it serves as a sort of last-ditch and desperate effort to restore our own diminished reality quotient - we find the sufferings of others, announce we must act (!!!) and respond, and then complain about those that question the reality of the suffering we find.
Think about the whole issue of Afghani women under the Taliban, which was touted by the Bush administration as one of the reasons we needed to install a new government there and oust the Taliban, along with the whole terrorist safe haven argument. Well it probably won't surprise you that these women a) had been in the same situation for quite a long time, even before the Taliban, and b) are now in the same situation again, according to most reports. The point is that there suffering was only "real" when it seemed helpful (and here I am guilty of the same - I can use the "real" realness of their suffering to show what a sham the Bush administration is - ah ha!). It gets a bit circular, regressive, and depressing, but it doesn't mean Baudrillard is wrong.
2. The copy without an original. The idea of the simulacrum actually dates back to Plato, though Baudrillard's version varies in some important ways. Nevertheless, in a trilogy of dialogues (Theatetus, The Sophist, The Statesman), though mostly in The Sophist, Plato complains about a simulacral truth, which sophists use to convince others that they know the real truth, which of course they don't, because only philosophers really love knowledge enough to find truth. The truth that sophists offer claims to be a version of the truth, but they never knew the original, so they are not merely simulating what they do not know - they are producing the object they claim to know about and then offering an explanation as evidence or example of it.
If we want to take a more contemporary example, we can think of a clone, of you, let's say. Imagine a second you wandering around, taking pictures about the woes of theory and whatever else. Your initial temptation is to think the clone a copy of you, but this isn't actually the case. The clone replicates your genetic code, which is also the thing that produced you in the first place. The clone could look like you but it wouldn't have your experiences, your memories, the things that you think make you distinct, which is to say that make you, well, you. So the clone copies a model, rather than some original object. The same sort of principle is at work in Epcot, where the various regional areas copy mythic and caricatured versions of France and Japan that they themselves produce in order to be a "copy" of them.
3. Experiencing the Real. Well, this is a tough one. You assert the validity of your experiences and say, "now what?", which of course leaves me at a distinct disadvantage. How can I argue with the authenticity of your own experience? So maybe, as just a thought experiment, we can reverse the burden, and you can attempt to demonstrate that your experiences were real, authentic, and your own. Now let me qualify this a bit. You think in words, in phrases, in concepts that you did not invent, but that were given to you. And despite all the entry-level composition classes telling you there's a difference between denotation and connotation, you've learned by now that the difference really doesn't hold up under questioning.
So when you say you've experienced something - let's say it's your first kiss, which may or may not have happened, who knows - did it take on special meaning because of the singularity of the experience, or because of the antecedent status assigned to the first kiss, which then constitutes the special meaning and singularity of the moment for you. After all, the very fact that we collectively have a name for that sort of thing - the first kiss! - seems to demonstrate that the kiss is never merely our own, since the concepts through which we process our sensations are always already indebted to other people.
Now look, Baudrillard is not so much concerned with the first kiss, and contrary to some readings, he's not just dissing the whole question of reality. If anything, he's trying to figure out a way we can experience the real again (though he's a bit doubtful here). But what does concern him is that a lot of our major cultural moments are already mediated with some future or intermediary expectation that serves to take our experiences and transform them into something else, even if we don't have a good name for it. At some point we run into a problem that Gorgias recognized about 2 and a half thousand years ago, when he declared "being doesn't exist, if it did exist we wouldn't know it, and if we knew it we couldn't communicate it."
4. Keanu. Mock him if you want, but make sure you watch the movie Thumbsucker first. Seriously, his character is minor, but he nails it. October 30, 2007 9:21 PM Kenneth Rufo Transcendental Schmitt Baudrillard - its mind bottling

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sex revolution has almost wiped out the major part of Christian moral principles

Dr. Chitta R. Goswami Ph.D
Am I suggesting that America has to espouse Indian spirituality? By no means. All that I advocate is that at this age of Globalism, it is necessary to open oneself to different models of other cultures. I have made it clear that Indian spiritual tradition emphasizes the ideal of experiencing the truth by an expansion and deepening of one’s consciousness; whereas Semitic religions have given pivotal place to principles of ethics. I am not claiming that all Indians are striving for the realizing the highest truth. Everybody, not excluding the spiritual aspirants, has to follow certain ethical principles.
The West has to realize that ethical commands, however hallowed, may need to change in response to time, space and other factors. It is idle to swear in the name of Christianity while violating the basic tenets of Christian ethics. It is questionable if the leaders of ‘Moral Majority’ do really stick to moral principles. Apparently they appear to be pursuing wealth power and pleasure. Is Pat Robertson, a multi-millioner, who aspired for the Presidency in 1988, a crooked businessman or a dedicated leader of Christian Coalition? As for Christian ethics, In actuality, the sex revolution has almost wiped out the major part of Christian moral principles. Poverty is another Christian principle. At this time and age we need not idealize poverty. What’s about sharing? Is it not a great principle of Christianity?
Helping the poor is another cardinal principle of Semitic religions. Despite these and similar other ideals, most cultures have indulge in imperialism and colonialism. On the other hand, some of the Christian values have contributed indirectly to the removal of imperialism and colonialism. This being the present-day ethical idealism, how can we justify militant Capitalism which aims at making the rich richer by exploiting the poor within the country and without? Just this day (May 21, 205) National news has broadcast that Mr. Bush is going to address the Commencement gathering of Kelvin College in Michigan; one-third of the Faculty members of that Liberal Arts college affiliated with a denomination of Christianity, have signed a protest letter; the letter says that Mr. Bush is conducting an unjust war, doing everything for the rich, he cannot, therefore, count on Christian support. Students have written a separate letter in protest of the President’s visit.
The leaders of Islam, a Semitic religion, have been complaining that the West is immoral since it grants excessive freedom to women. What Islam does in the name of morality is to justify all the restrictions imposed on women. They want to stick to Male chauvinism, a fairly common feature of medieval societies, at the time of history when freedom is considered as the birth-right of every human being. It is, however, encouraging to see that even in the autocratic Muslim countries of the Middle East, women have started gaining a little freedom, except, of course, the women of Saudi Arabia, the citadel of Islam... posted by Dr. Chitta R. Goswami @ 10:56 AM 0 comments
I, Dr. Chitta R. Goswami Ph.D., a retired professor of religion & philosophy, am deeply concerned with human problems, particularly at this age of science, technology and globalism. In my view, religion is suffering from inadequacy to address current problems and issues. But if the code of religion, espescially, hindu philosophical insights could be brought together with modern science - latest findings of subatomic physics and string theory of creation, solutions could be found. About Me Name: Dr. Chitta R. Goswami View my complete profile Links Integral Yoga Literature Matagiri Google News Previous Posts Crossroads Of Religions: Quantum Resolution of Tru... Archives November 2005

We really need more psychic-level clarity in the Integral movement

ned has left a new comment on the post "Evolutionary allies": Hi Alan.
I think it's really important that you get your book published and have a truly esoteric perspective heard, especially given the mess people are making out of Sri Aurobindo's vision. Apparently Ken Wilber is knocking out two new books, called "Overview" and "Superview", names inspired by Sri Aurobindo's "Overmind" and "Supermind".
It's just getting sillier and sillier every day. Have a look at my blog for details. Btw I have read the chapter you sent me, and liked it a lot. I will e-mail you soon with some minor suggestions here and there. In the meantime, keep it up!
We really need more psychic-level clarity in the Integral movement. I really wouldn't care what Ken or anyone else thought, but if they are going to so persistently act like they know what Overmind or Supermind are, or what Sri Aurobindo and Mother were about (when even long-time devotees confess that they feel they have only scratched the surface of their vision), then we have no choice but to call their bluff and let the world know that they don't have a clue what they are talking about. Posted by ned to Integral Transformation at 4:04 PM

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sri Aurobindo hismelf first coined and defined "Integral" in a spiritual evolutionary context

My new essay - "Evolutionary allies - an Integral approach" - has just the other day been posted on Frank's Integral World website, and also given a mention on Integral Praxis. This essay (the title inspired by the AUM 2007 conference) represents a major policy shift for me, as I have already mentioned on Zaadz. My previous work in the Integral Movement as critic and, so to speak, Wilber rival, has, I would like to think, been helpful in furthering a number of goals, among which are:
  • (a) explaining that it was Sri Aurobindo hismelf who first coined and defined "Integral" in a spiritual evolutionary context
  • (b) reclaiming Sri Aurobindo's actual teachings from mainstream Integralist misinterpretations;
  • (c) illustrating the limitations of Wilber's purely mental-intellectual approach (lacking esotericism and gnosis) in explaining the "big questions";
  • (d) showing how the Integral Movement is much larger than just Wilberian ideas or the Integral Institute alone; and
  • (e) contributing to broader definitions of Integralism.

Now, having done all that, and also defined my own position, and hopefully not made too much of a fool of myself in doing so :-) I feel much more enthusiastic about emphasising similarities and working together in cooperation, in bringing about the new world; through dialogue and unity in diversity (and diversity in unity). Especially since I find myself identifying equally strongly with both the Integral Yoga community and the Larger Integral Movement.

Some people may wonder why I bothered to critique Wilber in the first place, since he is not an esoteric thinker. The answer is that as a popular new consciousness writer he plays an influential role in the current paradigm shift and process of global transformation, even if it is "only" on an exoteric level. Because exoteric and esoteric are equally necessary. And the future and currently emerging society or cicvilisation will honour both (as well as the "trans-esoteric" position of the Supramental transformation)
My interest now is in writing my books, in cooperation and friendly dialogue with others who share the same aim of making this a better world, respecting and honouring differences as well as commonalities, and presenting a new worldview inspired both by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's teachings and by esotericism and science in general.
By "esotericism and science" I mean that all esoteric and spiritual knowledge should conform to the empirical discoveries of science on the material level. So on the one hand, no facile New Age pop Quantum physics (you know, what the Bleep, all that stuff). And on the other, no freaking out about evolutionary science. It is no good rejecting Darwinian science because it offends one's religious or philosophical sensibilities! A true esoteric evolutionary integral worldview has to include all these things, both authentic science and authentic esotericism. And evolution, even material evolution, is a mighty spiritual truth, for those who have eyes to see it as such.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

There are quite a lot of good conservatives and free marketeers and so on who think Christianity in particular is servile and irrational

Hitchens enlists the help of world's 'greats' to support argument that God is not Great.
The Associated Press Published: November 19, 2007
NEW YORK: Christopher Hitchens believes it is time to disabuse people of several notions.
Mark Twain did not believe in God, Americans are not uncritically devout and an atheist can be president of the United States.
In fact, the extent of religion's hold on people, the British-born author, journalist and provocateur says, has been vastly exaggerated. Despite polls that suggest differently, people are not as religious as many think, he told The Associated Press in an interview.
"I knew that the zeitgeist of religion was changing — that the parties of God would piss people off in their various forms: Republican or Shiite," Hitchens said.
He was referring, in part, to his book "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," in which he lambasts religion as illogical and dangerous, and blames believers for centuries of war, persecutions and other ills. It has sold briskly since it was published in April, and the letters of support and thanks have poured in, he said.
A new anthology published earlier this month, "The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever," continues to press the case.
The man's success is obvious. Over lunch at hotel in midtown Manhattan last week, Hitchens explained his thinking. He sipped whiskey, comfortable in black tie hours before the reception for the National Book Awards. (He was a finalist in the nonfiction category, but did not win.)
With so many engagements between lunch and dinner he had no time to go back to the hotel and change, and — classic Hitchens — made a big production of a missing button on his shirt as his editor bent over him and struggled mightily to push through a shirt stud.
Fashion emergencies aside, the author will not be distracted from his quest to convince the world that religion just doesn't make sense.
"Just because we are on the winning side of this doesn't mean we can just relax," Hitchens said.
He has enlisted the help of many greats through history in his latest effort.
"The Portable Atheist" presents the writings of philosophers, scientists, writers and thinkers in support of his side of the great God debate. Starting with an introduction he wrote, the anthology includes Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, George Eliot, Anatole France, Mark Twain, Bertrand Russell and some never before published pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
"My dream for it is for it to be the resource book for the embattled person in some case of a small town idiocy, persecution or attempted stultification of children," Hitchens said.
He referred to the federal court ruling in 2005 that banned the Dover, Pennsylvania, public school district from teaching the concept of "intelligent design" as part of a science class. The judge had said that the theory, which argues that an intelligent supernatural force explains the emergence of complex life forms, was creationism in disguise.
"I think we can guarantee now — we can absolutely guarantee — that no American kid is going to be subjected to this anymore," he said.
His statements defy commonly accepted beliefs. Nearly all respondents in U.S. polls on religion consistently say they believe in God and have a poor view of atheists.
But, there's more to the story than polls, the indefatigable Hitchens argued.
His tours through the traditionally religious American South have yielded a few surprises, he claimed. "Many in the South are unbelievers, many more than you think. And many more have doubts." Those teetering on the edge of atheism are not going to tell a pollster they do not believe in God in response to an abrupt question from a stranger, he maintained.
"The Portable Atheist," out since Nov. 5, took a mere few weeks to assemble, though Hitchens notes that "I've been doing this, in a sense ... all my life."
The contributors are many and varied, and part of Hitchens' mission was to break the idea that atheism goes hand-in-hand with liberal politics.
"There are quite a lot of good conservatives and free marketeers and so on who think Christianity in particular is servile and irrational," Hitchens said.
But, Christianity is not his only target.
"We take on Islam head on," he said.
The longest of all the contributions — 61 pages — is an attack against the Quran by Ibn Warraq, a scholarly former Muslims whose true identity is a secret.
"Many people, including humanists and agnostics, in this country are very reluctant to criticize Islam because they think it is the religion of another people, and thus deserves respect on ... cultural terms," Hitchens said. "And this is a sentimentality for which we have no patience."
Hitchens also strives to prove that there is beauty in atheism.
"You often get told that atheism is for arid unbelievers," he said. "And that's really not true."
Mozart, for instance, was almost certainly an atheist, the author noted.
"We may possibly come out with an atheist CD of non-believer musicians," Hitchens said.
He added, as a warning: "I'm only half-joking."

Immanuel Kant extracts brutal revenge upon the noisy church choir down the street

Jon Cogburn's Blog horrible moments in the history of philosophy
411 and 404 B.C.E.- Students of Socrates set about demonstrating their teacher's key claim that the study of philosophy makes one more ethical. First, they destroy religious statues and help the Spartans defeat their own city state of Athens, and then they institute murderous reigns of blood upon the struggling democracy. This is all topped off by establishing violently class-based dictatorships. Sadly, both dictatorships were short-lived in Athens, and it would be over two millenniums before the philosopher king (and student of Plato and Rousseau) Pol Pot was able to finally achieve a lasting society based on Socratic principles.
330 B.C.E.- Aristotle goes to Syracuse, I mean Macedonia. His student, the not yet great Alexander, would go on to wipe up the floor with Socrates' and Plato's students. While defeating the known world, Alexander funds Aristotle's Lyceum, the first philosophical school combining Platonistic a priori speculations with detailed empirical observations. The new Aristotelian scientific methods yield fascinating new data for philosopher/scientists down through the ages to consider, such as Aristotle's discoveries that slaves and women lack souls, women have a different number of teeth than men, the primary function of the brain is to cool blood, and that mice spontaneously generate.
49-62 C.E.- Seneca the Younger pens several successful works of stoic philosophy demonstrating that happiness only arises as a result of a long regime of self-restraint, humility, discipline, and respect for others. Throughout this period, the Young Emperor Nero is such an avid student that Seneca becomes his principle adviser, in the process transitioning from endoo- to enthusiastic ecto-morph, bedding countless married women, and amassing three hundred million sesterces in four years.
525 C.E.- Boethius delivers his last words to Lady Philosophy, "You mean you can't help me out here? Is that what you're saying? After all we've been through, I'm actually on my own with this thing? No. Come on. You really can't do anything? I'm just trying to get clear on this one point, I mean. . . OH JESUS, THAT HURTS!" This passage is inexplicably missing from later editions of the Consolation.
1119 C.E.- Dude! That one guy Abelard? Like these other dudes totally chopped off his family jewels in a fight over this one totally hot chick. Dude, I s*** you not, my man's all bleeding and limping around and he goes off to become a monk, but not the kung-fu kind. They named some tuna after him? Hey man, you want to go get high?
1784 C.E.- Immanuel Kant extracts brutal revenge upon the noisy church choir down the street by using their noon-day practice as an example of a violation of the categorical imperative. In Kant's fevered imagination, this was to lead the choirmaster to say, "Uncle! Uncle!" Alas, it is not to be.
1831 C.E.- Thesis: contaminated cantaloupes; Anti-Thesis: G.W.F. Hegel's digestive tract; Synthesis: heart stopping gastro-intestinal disorder.
1840 C.E.- Arthur Schopenhauer, the first great Wester philosopher to defend Hindu ideas concerning the renunciation of the will, closes his journal and smiles after penning the now immortal words, "Obit anus, abit onus." Unlike the noisy choir that had tormented his philosophical hero Kant, Caroline Marquet never makes an appearance in Schopenhauer's philosophical writings.
1889 C.E.- Friedrich Nietzsche begins to hoard feces in a bedroom drawer. His long suffering and devoted sister Elizabeth explains for the tenth time that he's supposed to be staring into the void, not doing this, this thing that he's doing. But her protestations are to no avail.
1931 C.E.- In a whirlwind tour of Europe, W.V.O. Quine lunches with Polish metaphysician Kotarbinski (who in his writings on Reism entailed that to be was to be the value of a bound variable) and with Rudolph Carnap (who from the Aufbau onwards explicitly argued that the unit of meaning was the language as a whole). They discuss fellow "young turk" A.J. Ayer (who in Language, Truth, and Logic argued for a holistic form of verificationism that allowed one to hold true any proposition come what may). After returning to the United States Quine pens his revolutionary anti-positivist tracts, “On What There Is” and “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” Philosophy is never the same!
1935 C.E.- After going bankrupt from running an ill-conceived boarding school with his now completely estranged second wife, Bertrand Russell recoups his losses by penning several best selling books telling other people how to live their lives.
1952 C.E.- In a public interview Martin Heidegger shamefully refuses to say that in retrospect “Arbeit Macht Frei” was a poor choice for the original opening epigraph of Sein Und Zeit. Supporters and detractors continue to debate its appropriateness.
1962 C.E.- In between purging non-tenured linguists who disagree with the latest iteration of his theory and penning encomiums to fellow wannabe philosopher king Pol Pot, Noam Chomsky makes the bold case in an Austin, Texas ALA meeting that his opponents' pompadours are both grotesquely mistaken and at the same time merely trivial notational variants of his own pompadour. Linguists and philosophers at the meeting initially found such arguments to be compelling.
1966 C.E.- It is the case that the automobile fast approaching down the streets of Blaricum hits L.E.J. Brouwer, or it is not the case that the automobile fast approaching down the streets of Blaricum hits L.E.J. Brouwer.
1994 C.E.- Insert (huh-huh-huh, he said "insert") joke involving Saul Kripke, rigid designation, and Princeton co-eds. Maybe use the word "detumescent." Oh man that's a funny adjective.
circa 1995 C.E.- Jet lag and low blood sugar from forgoing desert on the flight back from Australia combine with the aftereffects of childhood dyslexia to lead David Lewis to misread Hamlet's retort to Horatio as "There are more things dreamed of in your philosophy than in Heaven and Earth." He drops his Shakespeare, leans over a tattered, much abused copy of "On the Plurality of Worlds," and can't quite bring himself to pick it up. [note: this entry plagiarizes Aidan McGlynn.] Posted at 06:16 AM in superfunpack « You're one of them! Main wisdom from Anthony Bourdain » November 09, 2007

Most of the world, for most of its history, has existed without effective governments

Anarchy Unbound, or: Why Self-Governance Works Better than You Think
by Peter T. Leeson Conversation August 6th, 2007
No sane person believes that anarchy generates order. The idea that anarchy could be superior to government in some cases seems even more absurd.[1]
Everyone from Thomas Hobbes to Adam Smith repeats the claim that societies need government to protect property and produce widespread cooperation. Even the most libertarian thinkers believe this is true. As Milton Friedman put it, “government is essential both as a forum for determining the ‘rules of the game’ and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided upon.”[2]
Self-governance, however, might work better than you think. A small cadre of self-described “anarcho-capitalists” reject the anarchy-as-chaos “wisdom.” In the 20th century the most notable of these thinkers have been Murray Rothbard, who grounded his defense of anarchy in natural rights theory, and David Friedman, whose book, The Machinery of Freedom, provided the quintessential consequentialist defense of a purely private society.[3]
Despite the important theoretical arguments in these and other anarcho-capitalist works, even among those familiar with them, most remain unconvinced. On the one hand, natural rights defenses of anarchy do not persuade consequentialists, such as economists, who see significant problems with anarchy’s ability to cope with cheating and violence.
On the other hand, most consequentialist defenses of anarchy are purely speculative. In forging responses to how a stateless society could cope with every conceivable contingency it might confront, anarchists often offer imaginative conjecture, in some cases bordering on science fiction.
Ironically, the case for anarchy derives its strength from empirical evidence, not theory.
Most of the world, for most of its history, has existed without effective governments. As noted economic historian Joel Mokyr points out, “In England,” for example, “there was not even a professional police force to protect private property” until the 19th century.[4]
Large arenas of economic activity in the world remain anarchic, or nearly so, to this day. For example, there is no supranational sovereign with the authority to create formal international laws to regulate countries or to enforce such laws if they existed.[5] Adding to international anarchy is the absence of state-made, supranational commercial law to enforce contracts between private international traders.[6]
In large parts of the developing world governments are too weak or dysfunctional to perform even the most basic tasks, like securing the property rights of their citizens. According to the 2007 Failed States Index, governments in 129 countries are on or nearing the brink of collapse.[7] Somalia has no central government at all.
Even in the developed world pockets of anarchy persist. The costliness of state enforcement, coupled with the fact that the state’s eye cannot be everywhere all the time, means that people cannot in many cases rely on government to protect their property or enforce their contracts even though, officially, a well-functioning state exists.
Despite these significant arenas of anarchy we do not observe perpetual world war in the absence of global government, shriveling international commerce in the absence of supranational commercial law, or even deteriorating standards of living in Somalia. On the contrary, peace overwhelmingly prevails between the world’s countries, international trade is flourishing, and Somali development has improved under statelessness.[8]
If conventional wisdom is right then reality must be wrong. How can this be?
Empirical evidence, past and present, sheds light on how individuals under anarchy develop private institutional solutions to address the problems that statelessness presents. The guiding force behind these solutions is none other than Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” Importantly, Smith’s principle applies not only to individuals’ activities in the context of well-functioning institutions, but also to their activities in the development of institutions themselves.
The Invisible Hook
One of the most striking examples of this comes from 17th and 18th-century pirates.[9] In many ways pirate ships were like floating societies.[10] And, like other societies, pirate ships confronted problems of theft of cheating. Since they were outlaws, pirates did not enjoy state protection. Government did not enforce employment agreements between pirates or other piratical “contracts,” nor did it prevent or punish theft between pirates, etc.
Notably, the anarchic environment that maritime bandits operated in did not lead them to simply throw up their hands and abandon the idea of their criminal enterprise. On the contrary, the prospect of mutual gains from organizing this enterprise provided pirates with the incentive to find private ways of securing cooperation and order.
Even by modern standards the institutions pirates devised for this purpose were remarkably sophisticated. Pirates created one of the earliest forms of written constitutions they called their “articles, which codified many of the rules that governed their ships, as well as punishments for rule breakers. These included rules specifying the division of booty, “laws” against theft, and even workman’s compensation insurance to support crew members injured in battle.
To apply punishments and resolve disputes between crew members, pirates created an office called the “quartermaster.” Crew members controlled quartermasters both through their articles, which prescribed the “laws” quartermasters could apply, and by democratically electing crew members to this office.
The office of the quartermaster allowed pirates to overcome another obstacle anarchy posed for their organization—restraining potentially abusive pirate captains. A captain endowed with unlimited authority would be able to prey on his crew, skimming booty, mistreating crew members, and so on. To check such abuse pirates initiated one of the earliest systems of divided power, which transferred authorities susceptible to captain abuse to the quartermaster instead. In conjunction with also democratically electing their captains, pirate checks and balances overcame the threat of captain predation.
This system of governance was entirely voluntary. Pirates drew up the articles governing their ships before taking voyage and required unanimous consent before sailing. Any prospective crew member who disliked the proposed rules was free to exit before sail was underway.
The pirates’ private system of governance worked extremely well. Inter-pirate conflict was rare, order was well maintained, and pirates regularly successfully cooperated, making them among the most effective organized criminal outfits in history.
Trading with Bandits
A common objection to anarchy is that without government the strong will plunder the weak. Indeed, perhaps the oldest, most well-accepted argument for the state is weaker individuals’ inability to prevent stronger ones from plundering them. How can self-governance alone prevent this?
Many mechanisms of self-governance rely on reputation to secure good conduct.[11] It’s not difficult to see how reputation can in many cases prevent cheating even where government enforcement is not an option...
Parting Remarks
Anarchy, like all political-economic organizations, is riddled with problems. It is not clear that these problems are any more numerous or severe than those that plague governments, however. I have argued that anarchy works better than you think. In the face of obstacles that stand in the way of individuals’ ability to cooperate for mutual gain, individuals develop solutions to overcome these obstacles. This is as true in society ruled by government as one that exists without government. Where the state does not provide law, order, or the institutions required to produce these things, private institutions emerge to perform these roles instead.
My examples from above are not intended to suggest that these particular institutional solutions are generalizable or somehow suggest how other societies without government would evolve. On the contrary, there is no “blueprint” for how anarchy would or does work.[18] This, in fact, is the whole point. Private institutional responses reflect the specific problems, times, places, and other conditions that give rise to them. In a different time and a different place with different people, even the same problem situation may be met differently under anarchy.
The unifying feature of my examples is the incentive individuals have to solve their problems. In this sense, the empirical evidence from anarchy only demonstrates that as long as there are unrealized gains to realize, people will find ways to realize them. Fortunately for anarchists, this “only” is considerable.
by smileya5 on 11/19/2007
Actually this article is complete bullshit and has nothing to do with anarchy at all. Anarchists are fundamentally opposed to capitalism. Every grain of ideology related to capitalism is entirely against principles of anarchism. It makes sense something like this is available in this medium (the internet), because this medium is the ONLY place AT ALL that "anarcho" capitalism exists. It's a total fallacy. Capitalism is incredibly hierarchical, which is the complete opposite of anarchy. Capitalism has been a primary oppositional enemy for anarchists ever since its beginnings. It is only since the dawn of the internet that this tiny insignificant group of worthless capitalists has gotten slightly noticed because they attract attention by falsely calling themselves "anarchists."
If you go to ANY anarchist events ANYWHERE ON EARTH, you will not find a single "anarcho" capitalist, because they don't exist, they are not part of the anarchist movement, this exist on the internet and a book or two that no one's read except insane buisnesspeople. Because of their inadequecy and because they know they're not part of the movement they think they're a part of, they feel the need to come out with articles like this and continually vandalize the Anarchism page on wikipedia to try and convince an internet audience less in-the-know that they are part of something they're not. If you go to any anarchist-related protest, conference, gathering, bookfair (anything at all), you won't find a shred of evidence that "anarcho" capitalism exists in reality. They are not anarchists, they are rejected by anarchism as a whole, they are capitalists, they are the enemy.Now if we are to speak of real anarchism which actually does exist in practice and theory, that would be interesting. Some good anarchist sites are:
by terminal157 on 11/19/2007
Dismissing the philosophy as unpopular does not in any way refute the worth of the philosophy.

Artaud had utilized various, somewhat alarming cries, screams, grunts, onomatopoeia, and glossolalia

To Have Done With the Judgment of god November 19, 2007 by jahsonic Trailer of the dance-theatre piece ‘To have done with the judgement of Artaud [1], inspired by Antonin Artaud’s radiophonic play ‘To Have Done With the Judgment of god‘.
This work was shelved by Wladimir Porché, the director of the French Radio, the day before its scheduled airing on February 2, 1948. The performance was prohibited partially as a result of its scatological, anti-American, and anti-religious references and pronouncements, but also because of its general randomness, with a cacophony of xylophonic sounds mixed with various percussive elements. While remaining true to his Theater of Cruelty and reducing powerful emotions and expressions into audible sounds, Artaud had utilized various, somewhat alarming cries, screams, grunts, onomatopoeia, and glossolalia. Artaud coined the term body without organs in this radio play... Posted in European culture, absurd, anarchism, avant-garde, experimental, irrationalism, modernism, subversion, transgression No Comments »

There is an irrational drive in the German soul as Sri Aurobindo described

Just want to add the documentary Ken Wilber recommended in his review of Deepak Chopras book.This is from the YouTube Poster: Nazis-the occult conspiracy is a documentary about how the Hitler and the Nazis made use of occultism to win the war, and to remind the … all Germans that they were the best humans on the planet, the master-race. There are better documentaries around, but this is a solid documentary. There are many rare pictures from Nazi-Germany to be seen here, and you get to learn more about the religous beliefs of nazi-leaders like: Hitler, Goebbles, GÃ?¶ring, Hess and Himmler. I can`t advice people enough to watch documentaries about Nazi-Germany, because they show how crazy and evil humans can be. Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy part 1 of 2 See here Part 2. Access: Public 3 Comments Print Send views (1,356) Tagged with: Discovery Channel, Occult Conspiracy, Runes, Atlantis, Aryan Race, Himalaya, Bhagavad Gita, Hitler, Goebbels, Himler, Hess, Rosenberg, Swastika, Wagner, Wholy Grail, Parcival print permalink
about 8 hours later ~C4Chaos said
hi Albert, thanks for the heads up on this. will check it out soon. i remember reading the book Beyond the Human Species which also mentioned the Nazi occult conspiracy. on the flip side, it tells the story of how Aurobindo and the Mother countered the dark side using their occult powers. i don't know what to make it of it though. it's interesting but how can we prove such things? you've probably read a lot about this topic so i'm interested to hear your *informed* opinion regarding the occult conspiracy, from an integral perspective of course :)thanks again. keep it flowing…~C print permalink
about 10 hours later Albert said
Well, first I feel the damn thing in my bones and in my life. So reading about it offers some perspektives, options of understanding and especially the demanding and brutally pressing command to transform it finally. No cheap armchair soundbytes and couch potatoe statements are intended from me. its really important to come to an understanding. I had tough experiences and discussions my whole life regarding this theme. And probably will exceed time and space here.
First: I see no occult conspiracy. I did never believe in ANY Conspiracy Theories. Some points: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother certainly achived something. Do not know what. Just see that Winston Churchill achieved the most. Contradicting Gandhi in the point of military action. Even Neville Chamberlain was no simple wip or coward. >He was a clear thinking rational acting politician.
Ken Wilber once said the Churchill agressive fighting intention was natural. It was not! Churchill was a warrior in the heart. Thanks God! Nobody wanted to listen to him in 1938! Even very intelligent European politicians. The Nazis simply followed and galvanized a certain mythology. Drawing symbold from Germanic-teutonic Wotan Cult as much as from Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism. The Wotan symbolism was described already 1936 by C. G. Jung in his famous essay. Basically the belly of the “German spiral” wasnt “blue” enough. But I am very, very careful with such simplifications.
There is an irrational drive in the German soul as Sri Aurobindo described. I posted something about this: here…. While Scandinavia, UK, Netherlands, Belgium are more rational motivated countries Germany has a profound connection to deep subjective realms. Many people, for example Thomas Mann knew this too. Ask American speakers who come to Germany: Ask Tom Peters, Tony Robbins, Andrew Cohen, Brian Tracy and 20 more….they all report similar experiences with German audiences. No special analysis in integral terms is needed. :)
The only integral activist I know who adresses this layer of collective identity explicitly is Don Beck. See the video of his presentation in NL 2006. I posted it- he asked the Dutch to stand up and sing together the Dutch National Anthem. They did it! What would happen when Don asks a German audience??????:)):)):):
So the whole occult thing crashes and ccan be sumarized (for me) in taking deep emotional and symbolic collective mythologies very, very serious. There will never be Integral POlitics if and as long this layer isnt recognized. In fact - as I am now Co Bureau Chief of Integral leadership Review for German speaking countries together with Wendelin Küpers - all this has massive consequences why leadership isnt strongly expressed in Germany. The fear of great visions is now blocking the Geman soul. I wrote about it in WIE Fall/Winter 2002 already. So the first step is simple. To say YES to collective emotions. It happened in German during Fifa World Cup 2006. Nothing occult is necessary. For all who are interested in subtle energies I recommend Excerpt G of Ken Wilbers Cosmos Trilogy. Razorharp discriminative intelligence is needed here. No wonder Ken never dealt directly with Occultism. Thats it for the moment. In his analysis of different popular authors (17 together) on spirituality in “Integral Spirituality” Ken indirectly adresses some of these questions. print permalink
about 10 hours later ~C4Chaos said
wow! thanks for sharing your views Albert. it's good to hear from someone who is much close in proximity to this issue. i'm still watching the documentary. chilling, informative, and it shows that people don't need God to do hideous things. any (badly translated) myths will do.

I've always detected a strain of Western secular utopianism in Sri Aurobindo

Warren said... The circle is squared by traditional (ie, Catholic/Orthodox) Christianity, which I have long seen as the bridge between "this-worldly" Semitic monotheism and "other-wordly" Indic mysticism. All the major world religions contain both of these elements, but only traditional Christianity (I believe) contains them in virtually equal measure. The seeming paradox and tension between these two poles is strongest in Christianity. And as one can see throughout Christian history, there is a perpetual tendency to want to resolve this tension, this paradox, one way or the other. The origin of all heresies is in trying to lean too far to one side or the other.
This is why heresies are always more simple-minded than orthodoxy, which has a clash and a contradiction (symbolized by the cross, not to mention the impossible-but-true doctrine of the Incarnation) right at its heart. Orthodoxy is a strait (yes, I spelled that right) and narrow path between two abysses of heresy. So a properly traditional Christian view contains an evolutionary view of the created world against a backdrop of utterly static eternal Truth.
This is why the Church guards its doctrines with such rigor, sometimes extending even to violence (in the past, at least). Humans - including even some saints and Church Fathers - are not easy with this paradox and are always tending to fall one way or the other. The Church exists to prevent that from happening - because the moment one side or the other ever wins, Christianity is essentially dead, just another "religion".
With regard to Schuon, who influenced me very much, I must say that he ever really "got" Christianity, except maybe in theory. Schuon was essentially a crypto-Vedantist regardless of his outward religious practices, and he saw all the other traditions through that lens. But Christianity contains Vedanta, not (as I long thought) the other way around. Because of this, Christianity can comprehend and criticize Vedanta, but Vedanta cannot really comprehend Christianity in its fullness.
Aurobindo is another genius who influenced me very much. In some ways I think he has more of the truth than Schuon. He clearly saw the limits of monistic Vedanta and Buddhism, and tried to "broaden" them by bringing in crypto-Christian ideas (like the New Creation). But I've always detected a strain of Western secular utopianism in Aurobindo, even though its couched in metaphysical terms (we shouldn't forget his past life as a political revolutionary). As a result, his viewpoint is a bit too Faustian for my tastes. He put himself and the Mother in a place that belongs only to Christ (and His Mother). 11/19/2007 09:42:00 AM
Gagdad Bob said... Warren: Cooncur. 11/19/2007 09:59:00 AM
River Cocytus said... Aurobindo was a brilliant man from what I can see. Were he of a different bent he & the Mother might have had a Constantine/Helena thing going. - which is to say, he might've been considered a saint. But, I can't give a canonical opinion; only my personal one. 11/19/2007 10:05:00 AM

Monday, November 19, 2007

Schuon resolved to not live in the Islamic world because of its stifling cultural milieu, but as a religious form, he fully accepted it

Anonymous said... 11/18/2007 10:42:00 AM
Great post! Very open, and sincere, Bob. I don't think your spiritual research would have to stop once you've entered the Church, if you did. I think we've been "told" by general society that this is the case, and it may appear that way to many people, but if you think of some of the greatest saints and minds in the Church (Augustine or Aquinas, say), they were ones who set about to unpack more of the Truth in their times which had not yet been known in those respects, but which the Church came to recognize because they were true. Like you said, though, there are certains Truths that are non negotiable. But this isn't just a Christian ideal or narrowness, but true of of our universe with regards to mathmatics, physics, etc...

Anonymous said... 11/18/2007 02:34:00 PM

On the question of Schuon's "fitting the major religious traditions into a Procrustean bed to fit his universal theory", this seems to be more of an appropriate critique of Rene Guenon, than Schuon.
Schuon's key idea is that there is an underlying religion, a religio perennis, that is the essence of all the revelations of God. For him, this key idea was fundamental to a deepening coherence of Reality. In other words, how does one account for the clear evidence that there is sanctity, beauty, piety, metaphysical genius, etc. in so many different religions? How can one, in the face of Shankara, Ibn Arabi, Rumi, Sidartha, St. John of the Cross, and on and on, imagine that only one religion (insert here) is authentic? It simply defies credulity. This religio perennis is not an ancient religion, and, in fact, has never been on the planet. Guenon, on the other hand, posited a "primordial tradition" that existed and then transformed into the various religions. Any movement that did not fit his preconceived paradigm was discounted--like Buddhism, for example.
One should not see Schuon's Sufism as clouding his view of Islam. It is one thing to simply disagree with someone, but there is no point to imagining that Schuon was clouded about Islam. He was simply right or wrong. He lived for short times and travelled fairly extensively in Islamic worlds, had native Muslim disciples, etc. He was certainly critical of aspects of manifestations of Islam (as with all religions), but he absolutely understood it inside and out and simply recognized it as salvific. His "Sufism" was simply a question of initiatic possibilities and access. While it is true that most of the Islamic world would consider his views heretical, Islam has no "pope", so it is really a mute point.
If he had become a Catholic for the sake of his initiatic need, that would have been a very different story indeed, as he would have been speedily excommunicated. In fact, he considered Islam useful for his for much of the same reasons Bob suggests embracing Catholicism would place express limits on his quest. Since Islam has no real authoritative body, every person is free (if he can fun fast enough) to interpret his religion however he may. Now, quite clearly, Schuon resolved to not live in the Islamic world because of its stifling cultural milieu, but as a religious form, he fully accepted it, as with all the major religions. Of course, one is free to interpret, reject, accept, etc. any or all of his teachings. One does wonder, though, how could he be so right in so many areas, and, yet, be so wrong about something quite fundamental to his message.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Influencing a creative minority of deep minds or aspiring hearts or a few influential and competent leaders

M.S. Srinivasan
At present, Business and Management is going through an evolutionary transition. Globalisation of business has added new complexities and problems, which require a fresh synthesis. Ethics, values, ecology, quality, customer satisfaction, innovation, balancing the needs of local cultures with the global realities are some of the difficult issues facing multinational business. In the human dimension, an increasing number of people in the corporate world, especially the creative and talented, are seeking for something more than money and careers, for an inner fulfillment in the mental, moral or spiritual spheres. This is the context, which creates the need for a new approach to Management, which can lead to an integral fulfillment of all these trends of the future. To evolve such a new vision of management is one of the aims of our research activities in this field.
But not only Management needs a new approach, the very concept of research can be viewed in a different angle than that of the traditional research methodologies pursued in modern universities. This traditional approach to research is based on collection and analysis of data, arriving at a conclusion, or hypothesis and dissemination of the idea through publications. However, there can be alternative paradigms of research based on more intuitive perceptions.
In this series, we present two interrelated and integrated perspectives: First, an integral approach to Management based on the principles of yoga, and second, an alternative approach to management research based on the spirit of yoga and deeper insight into the ways of thought and mind.
Communicating the Vision
Making the idea and vision is only one aspect of our research in Management. The other more important aspect is to communicate the idea to people. Here again our approach will be very different from that of the traditional models of communication. The main aim of all modern communication theories and practices is to diffuse the idea through the print and electronic media. But in our approach the main aim is to establish the idea as a creative force in the mental atmosphere of humanity and allow the idea to communicate itself invisibly into the minds of the people.
Our approach is based on the perception or insight, which is closely related to what we have discussed so far. We have said that a thought is a force. However, it is not only a force, but a living entity in the mental world. A well-formulated thought is an entity almost independent of its creator, having a life of its own, and spreading its message invisibly into the minds of people. As the Mother points out:
“The mind gives a form to the thoughts. This power of formation forms mental entities whose life is independent of the mind that has formed them… One can form a thought which then travels, goes out to someone, spreads the idea it contains.”1
This happens always unknown to us. We are constantly influenced by a barrage of thoughts and feelings of others in the mental environment. But a well-formulated thought acts more consciously than the ones, which are vague and incoherent. It seeks for receptive minds and enters into them, taking different forms according to the nature, inclination, temperament and occupation of the individual minds. So the moment an idea or thought is clearly formulated it is already “published” in the mental atmosphere of our planet and begins to act in the minds of men.
For example, while reading a book on Management one may come across a thought, which in turn sparks off a new idea in the study of history. One may not pursue the idea further because of not having sufficient scholarship in history to substantiate the idea. But the idea begins to circulate in the mental atmosphere and may enter into the mind of a scholar of history who has sufficient scholarly equipment and data to validate the idea. He may write a book on it, which may initiate a new school of thought in history!
So in our approach, physical publication of the idea does not have as much importance as it has in the traditional models of communication. If we are seeking for name and fame or power and wealth for the individual or the organization or for widespread diffusion of the idea then physical publication is of capital importance. But if our aim is to feed the inner soil of the human mind with a living idea, then outer publication is of secondary importance. What is more important in our approach is to constantly enhance the inner quality and creative force of the idea through high-quality contemplation.
Thus we do not assess our research work by the number of publications. “Publish or perish” is not the formula here. We strive for an inner quality rather than outer quantity. Quality of thought is more important than the quantity of publication. In a still deeper spiritual perspective, the inner quality of the motive or attitude, which actuates thinking, is more important than even the quality of thought itself. Seeking for name and fame or for particular outer results vitiates the spiritual quality of thought.
The impact of an idea on humanity does not depend on whether it is published or not but on the quality and power of thought contained in it. A thought emanating from a deep and powerful mind sitting in meditation in Himalayas may have a much more lasting impact on human consciousness and life than a popular and published book written by a much weaker mind. As Sri Aurobindo said on French Revolution:
“If the French Revolution took place, it was because a soul on the Indian snow dreamed of God as freedom, brotherhood and equality.”2
Great leaders of thought like the Vedic sages, Socrates, Plato and Confucius founded and shaped enduring civilisations and cultures not by writing books but by the power of their ideas. In fact Plato was reported to have told his students that this higher knowledge cannot be transmitted by the written word but only by a direct transfer from the mind of the master to the mind of the student.
This brings us to the question of what those factors are which enhance the inner quality and creative force of the idea? It depends on the quality and amount of creative energy—vital, mental or spiritual—contained in the idea. The inner quality of the creative energy depends on five factors.
  • First is the depth and comprehensiveness or wholeness of truth revealed in the idea;
  • second, disinterestedness or selflessness with which the truth is sought and expressed through the idea;
  • third, the extent to which the truth is lived by the whole being of the creator of the idea, especially in feeling and action;
  • fourth, the quality of spiritual consecration of the act of thinking to the Divine;
  • fifth, the spiritual realization behind the idea.

A thought which is the expression of a spiritual intuition, vision, experience, or realization of a universal truth or the Divine, has the highest power and quality of the creative force because it is closer to the very creative source of the universe. This is the reason why our ancient Indian spiritual tradition held the view that all philosophy and thinking should be based on an authentic spiritual intuition or realization. When all these four factors are there, then the idea becomes a perfect instrument of the Divine power which uses the idea according to an all-knowing Wisdom. The first two factors can be achieved within the human mind. The third and fourth factor requires a spiritual discipline. The fifth factor requires a spiritual accomplishment, Sidhi.

However, our emphasis on the inner quality of the idea does not mean ignoring or neglecting the outer needs of communication. We recognize that the idea should not remain only in the mental world but has to be thrown in the physical environment for collective contemplation. Here comes the utility of physical publication. It provides an outer focal point in the material world for collective contemplation of the idea by others. But here also the results of contemplation depend on the nature of the mind that contemplates.

When a powerful mind like Buddha contemplates on an idea, it multiplies the creative force of the idea manifold. But the same thing done by thousands of ordinary men who do not know how to think or concentrate will only lead to the degeneration and dilution of the idea. So, from the point of communication, influencing a creative minority of deep minds or aspiring hearts or a few influential and competent leaders or decision-makers who can release resources or have the capacity for execution is much more productive and beneficial for humanity than gaining the acceptance of a large majority of the masses. These are perceptions which will not make us popular with the present culture which glorifies what Sri Aurobindo describes as the “democratic cultus of the average man.”3

We may be accused of being elitist. We are not denouncing the modern democratic aspiration for equity. But we believe that true democracy lies not in levelling down the best into the average but lifting the average towards the best and the highest. This requires a creative synthesis of the needs of distribution with that of creation. We may get some clue to this synthesis from the methods of universal Nature in her management of human evolution. When we examine with a discerning eye, the intellectual history of humanity, we will find Nature uses a dual process for establishing a new idea in the consciousness of humanity.

  • First is the concentrated creation, incubation and preservation of the idea in a creative minority and the other is the widespread diffusion of the idea in the average majority. While the first creates and preserves the idea in its purity,
  • the second leads to the dilution or even distortion of the idea as it spreads into the mass-mind. As Swami Vivekananda points out:

“Whenever we see the most humanitarian ideas fall into the hands of the multitude, the first result you note is degradation. It is learning and intellect that help to keep things safe. It is the cultured among a community that are the real custodians of religion.”4

This doesn’t mean the idea should not be diffused. There has to be and will be the diffusion of idea into the masses. Especially in the future, there is likely to be an immense diffusion of the spiritual idea into the consciousness of the masses. This is also one of the methods of Nature and a part of the future destiny of human race. One of the positive results of diffusion is that the idea no longer remains confined to a few but becomes a common property of the mass-mind. But this may lead to a considerable dilution of the idea as it filters into the thick and obscure consciousness of the mass-consciousness, which is always at a much lower level than that of the creative intelligentsia of the community. And precisely because of this dilution, to counteract it, we need centers for preserving the idea in its purity. Diffusing the idea into the masses and preserving the idea in its purity through the creative minority are not two contradictory activities—they are complementing activities of Nature for establishing the idea in the consciousness of the race.

In all human activities it is always better to imitate the methods of Nature. So in our approach to management and communication of the idea, we follow the method of Nature. We try to diffuse the idea through the mass-media, print and electronic, and preserve the idea in its purity through contemplative research. However, as we have already explained, we believe that in preserving and communicating a higher spiritual idea, the path or approach through the creative minority is more important and also more effective than by diffusion through a vast majority. So the main objective of our research and communication activities in management is creative and preservative – to initiate and preserve a higher integral Ideal and Vision in business and management. Our aim is not to reach a large audience but a few discerning minds with a higher aspiration.

Research and Sadhana
In our organization, Research is part of Sadhana pursued for the personal development of the individual. All other aims, like publications, helping humanity, or evolving new systems of thought are secondary and subordinate to the aims of sadhana for personal development.

Research activities, when pursued with the right attitude, can help in the mental, moral and spiritual development of the individual. Mentally it can help in the development of the faculties of knowledge, like for example the capacity for deep thinking, and in deepening and widening the horizons of the mind, provided it is not restricted into a narrow specialization. When it is pursued with disinterestedness in our quest for truth and knowledge, it can lead to a certain amount of moral growth. And when it is done in the spirit of karma yoga it can lead to the spiritual development of the individual.

In our research activities in general, we do not go for narrow specializations in a single subject. For example, someone who is engaged in management research is also a student of Indian culture, sociology, history, yogic psychology, education and futurology. Similarly, the person who pursues research in Sanskrit studies is also a student of related fields like Indian culture, philosophy, literature and religion. For our aim here is not to become a narrow expert but to expand the vistas of mind into a broad and varied rainbow of knowledge. (M.S. Srinivasan is a research associate in Sri Aurobindo Society.)
The Mother, CWM, Vol.15, p.
Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol.17, p.112
Sri Aurobindo, SABCL, Vol.19, p. 1056
Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, Mayavati Memorial Edition, Vol.VI, p.124