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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ahab, a synonym for Aham (‘I’)

To adapt a meme attributed to Whitehead: if European philosophy amounts to a footnoting of Plato, Integral theory may very well amount to a conversation about Aurobindo. (Of Syntheses and Surprises: Toward a Critical Integral Theory
Daniel Gustav Anderson INTEGRAL REVIEW 3, 2006)
To give the devil his due now that the dust has settled, Anderson’s 20 page thesis on the genealogy of Integral Theory is a valiant attempt to push the Sri Aurobindo’s case. The controversial themes he brings in are clearly intended to provoke and if these multiple threads are really debated, then an enlightened opinion on the significance of Sri Aurobindo’s legacy can emerge.

Ahab, said K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar in his 1953 lecture on Moby Dick, is much like the Aham, the ego. Anderson, in taking up Deleuze’s treatment of the theme as an instance of “becoming” in the sense of Sri Aurobindo’s “Knowledge by Identity” or by linking Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” to Sri Aurobindo’s “Transformation,” has attempted to make these concepts accessible to the western audience.

The next century will be Deleuze’s, Foucault once prophesied; and mercifully, this study can help wean those obsessed with Derrida away to Deleuze. Be that as it may, by invoking the Whitehead quote, Andersonhas succeeded in firmly fixing his name to the altar of Sri Aurobindo.


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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