Archive for October 2013

Sri Aurobindo Studies

At the stage of human evolution, we see the emergence of a self-consciousness (ego-sense, called ahamkara in the texts) and a discriminating intellect and will, called Buddhi in the Sanskrit literature. The nature of Buddhi indicates the active presence of the quality or mode of sattwa, bringing light and intelligence into the action of the gunas. Tamas and rajas remain active, and in fact, can color the action of the intelligent will by encouraging it to justify whatever desire or line of action happens to occur.

Some people believe that the action of the intelligent, self-conscious intellect gives the human being “free will”. Others point out, as the Gita itself does, that the mixed action of sattva along with rajas and tamas shows that the human being in its normal state is still subject to the Gunas of Nature and thus, does not actually exhibit free will in its ultimate…

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A PDF of this report, which appeared in the October 2013 issue of Auroville Today, is available at this link. The text is also available here.

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Larval Subjects .

Drawing on Latour’s Inquiry into Modes of Existence and Luhmann’s theory of distinctions, we can raise questions such as “what makes a particular form of communication recognizably that form of communication.”  For example, for Latour, in science or religion– and please folks, knock it off with the use of Latour’s abbreviations such as “REP” and “REL” in these discussions!  Open the discussion to readers who haven’t picked up the book yet! –there must be specific “felicity conditions” that render enunciations or speech-acts within these domains recognizable as a “scientific speech-act” or a “religious speech-act”.  In this regard, Latour carries out an implicit critique of some of his earlier work.  Take his writings in science studies.  In those works, he had shown how the supposedly a-political work of science is actually pervaded by all sorts of politics.  The Latour of the Modes, however, notes that many working scientists would reject…

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Larval Subjects .

LeibnizA throw away post, but I have to get this off my chest as the shame is killing me.  I love the moderns.  I even love Descartes, but in particular, I love Spinoza, Leibniz, d’Holbache, and Hume.  Gasp, I even love Kant!  Especially the Kant of the Critique of Practical Reason who raises profound and fundamental questions such as how it is possible for a will to freely determine itself– thus effectively asking how transcendence beyond environment, upbringing, and historical thrownness are possible –but I’m not sure I would know how to think (if I ever manage to think at all) if it weren’t for Kant’s first critique.

If I declare this in the form of a confession, then that’s because I think us Continentalists spend a lot of time vilifying the moderns and the Enlightenment.  We have Latour perpetually speaking as if modernity were the worst thing to ever…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

Confusion may arise when we look at the Gita’s statements about the control that Nature exerts over our actions, and its indication that trying to suppress or coerce the nature is a useless task (like trying to straighten out the curled tail of the dog!). The Gita repeatedly emphasizes this situation in multiple different ways and contexts, the idea being that Nature operates like a machinery of the three qualities (
gunas) and that thereby all human beings are basically determined in their actions and reactions. Sri Aurobindo cites several instances: “The Gita says, indeed, ‘All existences follow their nature and what shall coercing it avail?’ which seems, if we take it by itself, a hopeless absolute assertion of the omnipotence of Nature over the soul; ‘even the man of knowledge acts according to his own nature’ And on this it founds the injunction to follow faithfully in our action…

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Tusar N. Mohapatra

Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
SRA-102-C, Shipra Riviera, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad - 201014 (UP) India + 91 96500-65636
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SELF posits a model of counselling and communicative action as an instrument in order to stimulate the public sphere. The model aims at supplementing the individual’s struggle for a successful social adjustment with more aspirational inputs so as to help one take an informed and balanced attitude towards life as well as society.
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Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

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