Archive for January 2014


Levi Bryant recently called for a cross-blog discussion concerning what he perceives to be the problematic relationship between ethnographic pluralism and ontological realism. His call was instigated by Jeremy Trombley’s post on the so-called “ontological turn” in contemporary anthropology and ethnography. Trombley articulated what might be described as an ontology of the concept, wherein concepts are not representational frames that mirror (or fail to mirror) the world, but participatory interventions that dis- and/or re-assemble our thoughts and practices. Trombley writes:

“a concept or conceptual assemblage – ontology, feminism, queer theory, post-colonial theory, etc. – enables us to understand differently, and in understanding differently, it enables us to also be differently… What the ontological turn does is…[allow] us to reflect not only on the way we represent, but on the way that we exist and the kinds of relations we compose through our practices.”

Before I get into what such…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The seers and sages of the Upanishads consistently tell us that one cannot describe the Reality, the Brahman, the Eternal by any specific mental conception. They warn us “not this, not that” so that we do not limit or circumscribe the reality that goes so far beyond any definition we can provide, or any specific manifestation of forms. If we just look at this statement, however, it is easy to fall into the idea that the Supreme Divine is only to be understood as separate and different from the manifested universe. It is essential that we therefore look at the other Upanishadic statements that modify this concept. We add therefore the idea that the Brahman is “One without a second.” This statement implies an omnipresent Reality, and this concept is further clarified with the statement “All this is the Brahman.”. Putting all three together, we avoid the extremes that lead…

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Nothing to Declare

(Updated on 14 January 2015 with addition of a few new songs)

I was sifting through a lot of new Hindi film songs to create a small dance playlist for my seven year old, based completely on his farmaaish, as my own knowledge in the area is next to nothing. I stopped suddenly—hamari atariya pe aaja re sanwariya dekha dekhi tanik hui jaaye. Is it a film song? From 2013/14?

Yes, it is; from the 2014 movie, Dedh Ishqiya. And thankfully, the voice is familiar. Or let me put it this way—the only voice in today’s Hindi films, that is familiar to me: Rekha Bhardwaj, a sort of enfant terrible of experimentative Hindi film music of today. The composer is Rekha’s husband, Vishal Bhardwaj, a hugely talented composer, who after so many successful film scores, is still, in my mind, best identified as the composer of

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The Gita thus far has focused primarily on the steps required to gain some distance and perspective on the works of Nature, as the entire spiritual teaching depends on the ability to attain a new standpoint of uninvolved detachment from the Gunas, the dualities and the egoistic preoccupations. At the same time, the Gita has continually worked to remind the seeker that abandonment of Nature is not the eventual goal. The detachment is not what is normally understood by this term. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “This is a larger, more living, more perfect spiritual detachment which comes by a vision of the Supreme who is more than Nature and greater than mind and reason. But even this detachment is only the initial secret of freedom and of the clear vision of knowledge, it is not the whole clue to the divine mystery,–for by itself it would leave Nature unexplained…

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Larval Subjects .

dakota-prairie-tornado_127_990x742I owe a great debt of gratitude to Clayton Crockett for recommending Eric Schneider and Dorian Sagan’s Into the Cool:  Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life in response to my recent talk at GCAS, where I sketched the cartography of United States higher education and discussed, among other things, the central place of entropy in my thought.  Throughout their book, Schneider and Sagan explore the role non-equilibrium dynamics play in the production of organization in the universe.  Working on the hypothesis that “nature abhors a gradient”, they try to show how forms of organization ranging from tornadoes to life, cities, societies, and economies arise from the way in which organization arises from the way in which being is drawn toward the production of equilibriums that resolve energetic disequilibriums that exist in the world.  As they write, for example,

A barometric pressure gradient in the atmosphere, the difference between high- and low-pressure…

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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
Aadhaar No. 3628 2075 7337
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.
Savitri Era of those who adore,
Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

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