Archive for October 2014
Posted October 31, 2014on:
Normally when we think of “yoga” we consider it to be some specific set of specialised practices used by an individual for achieving benefits for physical health, stress reduction or spiritual development. Sri Aurobindo, however, asks us to take a step back to look at yoga in its broader and more general sense, with the following definition: “…a methodised effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the potentialities latent in the being and a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent Existence we see partially expressed in man and in the Cosmos.”
This very broad definition implies that all life, the entire evolutionary development of Nature, is in fact a process which can be called “the yoga of Nature”. The development through successive stages of Matter, then into the evolution of plant and then animal life, represents this process, which accelerates and becomes “self-conscious” when it enters…
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Is it necessary to be a little mad inorder to be creative? In an interesting article in Economist, “In Praise of Misfits,” the columnist Schumpeter examines the question, “Why business needs people with Asperger’s, attention-deficit-disorder and dyslexia.” Schumpeter cites William Whyte who argues in his book “Organisation Man” that companies looking for “well-rounded executives” are making a big mistake because they are missing out on creatives who tend to be a little imbalanced. Recent studies and research outlined by Schumpeter seem to indicate that many successful and creative entrepreneurs and employees in the corporate world have some form of psychological maladies like Asperger’s syndrome, autism, attention-deficit disorders and dyslexia. As a result of these new studies, many companies are moving towards the other extreme. As Schumpeter points out: “Today many suffer from the opposite prejudice. Software firms gobble up anti-social geeks. Hedge funds hoover up equally oddball quants. Hollywood bends…
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Posted October 22, 2014on:
Harman credits Whitehead for being one of the few daring philosophers “to venture beyond the human sphere” (Guerrilla Metaphysics, 190). Both thinkers share a commitment to anthrodecentrism. They de-center the human by insisting upon a flat ontology, a theory of Being wherein every being exemplifies the same set of metaphysical categories, whether that being be God, or human, or “the most trivial puff of existence in far-off empty space” (Process and Reality, 18). There are no special exceptions in ontology, no “highest being” exempt from reality’s rules (or from reality’s unruliness). Whitehead was already explicit about the need to avoid paying metaphysical compliments to an ontologically exceptional being. Similarly, he sought to untwist the Kantian reversal that made the special cognitive and perceptual modes of access typical of conscious human beings into the transcendental condition underlying relations of all types. On Whitehead’s reading, Kant privileged perception in the mode of “presentational immediacy” and ignored…
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It is a great first step to achieve equality regarding the results of one’s efforts, the fruits of action. The Gita makes it clear, however, that for its goal of a transition from the human to the divine standpoint in the consciousness, this is not the complete solution. The second step is to recognise that in fact, the nexus of the ego-personality is not the true actor; rather, it is Nature acting under the impulsion of the divine Spirit through each individual form, including through the ego-personality that each person possesses.
Sri Aurobindo describes this crucial second step: “Cease to regard your works as your own; as you have abandoned the fruits of your work, so you must surrender the work also to the Lord of action and sacrifice. Recognise that your nature determines your action; your nature rules the immediate motion of your Swabhava and decides the expressive turn…
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All theory takes place within an ecology of debates, theoretical frameworks, and concepts to which it responds and engages; as well as the historical situation, social system, institutions, etc., in which it is articulated. Yet while theory is always embedded in a set of relations in which it emerges, theoretical machines are peculiar sorts of machines in that they also exceed all relations within which they arise. This is the power of writing as a material machine, as a type of object. While functioning as a mnemonic machine, writing is nonetheless a strange sort of memory machine. It is a machine that forgets its origins of inscription– or, more prudently, that always harbors the power of forgetting origins –erasing contexts and circumstances of inscription. Unlike voice which issues from mouth and is therefore embedded in a interlocutory circumstance– though increasingly this is changing with recording technologies –writing always harbors the…
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R.Y. Deshpande’s new books “Running Through Savitri”, “Sanatana Dharma: An Aurobindonian Perspective” and “An Atrocious Biography”.
Posted October 16, 2014on:
Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,
On the auspicious day of Gandhi Jayanti and Durga Asthami, I am happy to announce that three new books authored by Shri R. Y. Deshpande are now available at Overman Foundation.
Savitri is the Yoga of Transformation—that is the entire significance and content, the strength of yogic Savitri. Savitri is the veritable Yoga of Transformation even as it embodies in it experiences of the Master Yogi. Intensely also these are the experiences of the Mother. The Mother has said: “Savitri is an exact description—not literature, not poetry (although the form is very poetical)—an exact description, step by step, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. … The realism of it is astounding.” Running Through Savitri is a compilation of all eight-line sentences in Savitri along with extensive commentaries on the prophetic possibilities that open out for the very Soul of the Divine in…
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Steven Shaviro’s new book The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism arrived on my doorstep a few days ago courtesy of the University of Minnesota Press. I’m going to provide a bit of context in this post before diving into a review of the text in subsequent posts.
The press release U of M included in the package describes the book as “an up-to-the-moment critique of a recent turn in philosophical thought.” “Up-to-the-moment” it is not, since Shaviro has been testing much of the book’s content on his blog and at conferences since at least 2010. There will always be an important place for books in academic philosophy, but the principle procedural lesson of Speculative Realism (leaving aside its conceptual contributions for now) is that blogs must be an essential ingredient in any future
academic philosophy hopes to carve out for itself. I strike out “academic” here because it is as yet unclear…
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