Archive for September 2007
the vanishing ( a poem part 1)
I vanish in the fog,
a literate man in a video age
a hypertext body dissolved by hydrometers,
a corporeal existence seeped in dense sea stratus;
saturated by images,
pixel shrouded postmodern mist,
a ﬁnal form of deciphered ﬂesh,
deconstructed bits of binary extract,
without even a mote of dust to
impart a corpuscular existence
a mortal gleam in optic strand,
an analog ego surrendered
to the ones and zeros of electric oblation
such disappearances are witnessed only by a digital eye
in the dark night of condensation
as dew drops mix with recombinant dna,
and fall with the weighted sentience of rain,
their vaporous apparitions
washing once more into the pores of the planet,
an osmosis of soul forms within cytoplasm of orb
of crystallizing intelligence archiving an incarnation
etching thought traces in silicon,
before rising again in the cycle of water
before vanishing into a carbon dusk
before the tyranny of entropy overcomes species destiny
as dust and device converge in cybernetic continuum
bound for some promised (virtual) Elysium
Prof. Manoj Das, answering questions from the audience
Posted September 18, 2007on:
From an article, “God and Evolution,” from the October 2007 issue of First Things (ht: Egberto, for sending me the link), written by Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. (author of numerous books, including A History of Apologetics):
The pope was interpreted in some circles as having accepted the neo-Darwinian view that evolution is sufficiently explained by random mutations and natural selection (or “survival of the fittest”) without any kind of governing purpose or finality…
Read the entire piece. Cardinal Schönborn’s book, Chance of Purpose: Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith, will soon be available from Ignatius Press. I’ve not yet seen it, but am looking forward to reading it. On a related note, see Cardinal Schönborn’s article, “Reasonable Science, Reasonable Faith” (First Things, April 2007); other articles on faith, science, and evolution can be found on the Intelligent Project website. And some Ignatius Insight interviews/articles of note:
• The Mythological Conflict Between Christianity and Science | An interview with physicist Dr. Stephen Barr
• The Mystery of Human Origins | Mark Brumley
• Designed Beauty and Evolutionary Theory | Thomas Dubay, S.M.
• The Universe is Meaning-full : An interview with Dr. Benjamin Wiker
What Sri Aurobindo taught, in contrast to all this, was an Integral Spirituality. He wasn’t the first, Ramakrishna did it before him. But so far this Integral Spiritual Practice is limited to the Aurobindonian Integral Yoga community, which with a few admirable exceptions such as AUM (“All USA Meeting”) and an offshoot blog SCIY (“Science, Culture & Integral Yoga”), does not dialogue with the rest of the world. Well, who can blame them? There’s a lot of ignorance out there, and it can be tedious. But this means the collective social transformation (noosphere) is not addressed.
Each is onesided to some extent. The Integral Yoga community in the West is not active in outreach (in India however Sri Aurobindo is very big, and there are important education iniatives in the state of orissa dfor example). While the Integral Movement remains tied to a limited, non-integral, non-world-transforming spirituality.
Ok, but what about Michael Murphy – Integral Transformative Practice – linking Aurobindo and Wilber? Well, I cannot comment here. i get a good vibe from his photo, but does ITP raelly radically go beyond the mental, transcend the ego, transmute the lower desires, enlighten the cells of the body, bring the Divine down to Earth? Or is it just another California lifestyle thing? I can’t tell, because I have no experience with it. but what makes me cynical is that Murphy, like Craig Hamilton (formerly of What is Enlightenment? magazine, and a devotee of Andrew Cohen), while strongly supportive of the AUM 2007 Conference, seem to lack insights in the way that Bhakti and Surrender focused on an enlightened guru (not an intermediate zone one) works. To quote from a report about the AUM. Below is an article written for Auroville Today on the conference
Craig Hamilton (former editor of “What is Enlightenment?” magazine, whose workshop at last year’s AUM brought this question into the open) along with Michael Murphy of Esalen found that their major criticisms (the unquestioning acceptance of Mother and failure of self-reflection that they’d seen in the Ashram and Auroville) were effectively answered by the very fact of the panel itself.
Failure of Self Reflection? Or heart-felt devotion through Bhakti Yoga? A devotion taht transcends the mental faculties. This is not to say taht the mental cannot be employed as well; indeed it should be to avoid the slide into fundamentalism. But one thing I find interesting is that nowhere is there any evidence of Bhakti, or of Surrender to the Supreme, in the entire Integral Movement. This is not surprising, given the over intellectual nature of the whole movement. People with a strong mental nature tend to be weakly developed on the emotional. But unless there is balance between head and heart, then nothing can be achieved.
by the way I do feel this balance at forums like Integral Praxis and Zaadz; but I never see it in Wilber’s obsessive intellectualising. This is obviously one reason why Wilber frequently mentions Sri Aurobindo, but never once ina ll his thousands of pages The Mother.
But balance of head and heart alone are not enough. A third element is needed; transcendence of the rational mind. This, again, I find to be lacking in the (current) Integral Movement.
So where do I go from here? Well, I’ll keep blogging and stirring things up. And finish my books. And help launch a new definition of Integral, which is also teh original definition, which is so far in advance of what is around now (which is not to denegrate, only to speak strongly).
The world is waiting for a new evolutionary consciousness.
Labels: Bhakti, Craig Hamilton, global mindshift, integral, integral movement, Integral Praxis, integral spirituality, Integral Yoga, Ken Wilber, Michael Murphy, practice, Sri Aurobindo, theory, Wilberian posted by m alan kazlev at 2:56 PM
Thoughts and Aphorisms By mahesh
Starting today I shall be sharing an aphorism each from Sri Aurobindo’s book Thoughts and Aphorisms. Going forward I intend to pick quotes from other works, less overtly spiritual perhaps, but still something that, according to me at least, penetrates this tangle and lets a little of meaning to come through.
I utterly claim no expertise or familiarity of Sri Aurobindo or his works. Though a part of me has been smitten by him for the last 15odd years and frail attempts were made to pursue this path, I have perhaps regressed more than anything else.
For those who come with no introduction to Sri Aurobindo, I suggest they search around. This book itself seems to have been written between 1913-1915, according to the Publisher’s note. The language is simplicity itself, as compared to some other works of his, which can easily tax ones CPU if not paying attention. There is Mother’s comments on each of these and available on this site here.
Links to posts in the Thoughts and Aphorisms series
Satprem EVOLUTION II Translated from the French by Michel Danino
After Man, who? But the question is: After Man, how?
Darwin must have more than once felt perplexed when it became increasingly clear to him that Queen Victoria too was unquestionably descended from a she-monkey. And the great Archbishop of Canterbury. It was somewhat “like confessing a murder,” he admitted before embarking on The Origin of Species, and proceeded to become agnostic: our whole Biblical and religious “creationism” was collapsing–a deeper revolution than that of 1789, though the latter did shake Europe, but now it was our four-billion-year-old world that was called into question.
Man’s essential quality is perhaps to ask questions and call everything into question.
His “homocentric” creationism included.
We change our political systems and religions and ideas–indeed we have changed ideas often enough over a few thousand hominoid years. “Mind is like an infinite snake coiling round and round in infinite ways,” Sri Aurobindo said. It can go on for a long time. But do we change into a new man?
Not “change man,” for he does change a great deal, chameleonlike, while remaining a proper chameleon–not too proper lately. But change into a new man, from the species called Homo sapiens into something else, like the little lizard after the fish, and perhaps even more radically? With her ever-present humor, Mother said (about reincarnation), “You hang the assassin, which is all very well, but he carries on in another shirt” (!) Man’s shirt is beginning to be rather old. Assassins, too. Our ideas, too–one more coil round the great snake?
Darwin studied iguanas, turtles and armadillos–they at least lend themselves to study, and fossilize without popes or pomp, without ideology either. But after all, the little fishes too change shirts, and one thing leading to another, or one shirt to another, they end up being proper men
–by divine right? And for ever?
Not so long ago, a “great” American head of state peremptorily proclaimed, “We are the leaders of the world.” But that will also end up as fossil matter, without distinction of ideas or religions–lending itself to study in terms of amount of limestone.
So let us ask the one question that would enable us to become something other than a certain amount of limestone in a certain shirt.
I have always found it surprising, astonishing, at any rate since Lamarck,* who dared to write his Zoological Philosophy the very year Darwin came down into a cradle, that none of those provisional “leaders” of our zoology ever wondered: After Man, who? With so many guns and sapiens, how could that particular shirt be dethroned? Our ancestral and royal she-monkeys would not have “thought” differently, nor hammerhead sharks or tyrannosaurs.
* The French naturalist Lamarck (1744-1829) was the unrecognized founder of modern evolutionism. His painstaking and gigantic work on the classification of plant and animal species, which led him to the notion of “life’s innate tendency to progression” and that “species are descended from other species,” met with vehement criticism, then fell into oblivion until Darwin’s own work established Lamarck’s pioneering genius.