Sunday, April 27, 2008

A text like A Thousand Plateaus is designed to actualize itself in a variety of ways through different encounters and embeddings

N Pepperell Says: April 26, 2008 at 1:03 am
I’ve been thinking about this discussion for the past couple of days. The post hits some central issues for me, as I spend much of my time trying to unpack Marx’s style in order to make sense of the underlying argument (I agree with traxus that Marx is also needlessly - and deliberately - difficult: the composition of individual sentences and the flow of the text may seem clear enough, but the argumentative structure and textual strategy of a work like Capital is deeply obscurantist). Marx would have defended his presentational style on substantive grounds: he thought this form of presentation was necessary to express what he wanted to express. The consequence, though, was a fairly predictable and understandable set of interpretations of Capital that sit in deep tension with what I take to be Marx’s actual argument. The amount of time it has taken for me to try to make sense of the text - and then the additional time it takes to show other readers why Marx chooses to express this content in that form… it’s deeply frustrating, particularly given that the underlying argument is already complex enough to state in its own right, without having also to take the reader on long tours through the idiosyncracies of Marx’s textual strategy…
The points on transference above echo some things I have thought in relation to parts of Adorno’s work, where he adopts a particular style in order precisely to attempt to undermine a certain relationship of the reader to an authoritative author, by involving the reader in the constitution of the textual constellation: I understand what Adorno is seeking to achieve, and I enjoy his work - but my underlying reaction is that texts are read in very different conditions over time, by readers socialised in different ways - and that the impact of a style, or the attempt to cultivate a particular experience of reading in order to transform the reader, in some sense perhaps relies on the notion that style would always have the same impact over time, as everything else changes around it. There seems to me to be a sort of assumption lurking that the text can control the conditions of its reading - coupled with a notion that particular habits of perception and thought have intrinsic political implications, as though political implications would not be negotiated dynamically with a complex surrounding environment.
Of course texts can be intended as interventions into some very specific situation. But they persist. They fall into different constellations. They become, as a result, different texts. This both leads me to be sympathetic to the sorts of points made in the original post - to be a bit suspicious about whether the advantages that are meant to derive from certain stylistic presentations, really do eventuate. But also to apply this same suspicion reflexively: I sense a value, now, to texts that seek a particular sort of accessible presentation - but I am also intervening into a particular moment - a moment that will eventually transform around the texts I generate myself. This suspicion doesn’t make me less committed to how I want to write; it just reminds me of how reliant is any sort of stylistic commitment, on factors beyond the writer’s control.
All of this says nothing about Sinthome’s other points: that some of what is being discussed is simply “bad writing”, and that certain sorts of communities and attachments seem to coalesce around the reading practices demanded by particular texts. Just associating to some of the side thoughts the post provoked for me…
Alexei Says: April 26, 2008 at 8:49 am
I’m inclined to agree with N, and I’m not sure there’s really anything more to add, save that bad writing isn’t necessarily obscurantist, or ‘difficult’(in the sense of ‘intellectually arduous’). It’s just a nuisance, which has prompted folks to sometimes offer rather Ptolemic interpretations of a thinker in order to make bad writing into a smart insight into the nature of X.
So,with this said, let me just respond to the questions directed to me:
(1) Floyd, the book I mentioned is entitled The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin. It’s a pop-science book that argues something to the effect that String Theory is the biggest detour Physics has ever taken in that if one wants to do physics, or obtain a research grant, one must do string theory even though it has no experimental or predictive facet.
(2) Sinthome, although I don’t know Lacan’s 20th Seminar (I’ve only ever flipped through his Ecrits and, to say something entirely about me, I found it to be rather unhelpful, and largely uninteresting), and it feels like decades have passed since someone has even mentioned Deleuze to me. But this said, and restricting myself to Deleuze’s work, I’m really hard put to say that there is any difference, which makes a difference, between him, Kant, and Badiou at the level of difficulty, ‘good/bad’ writing style, or accessibility.
If there is a difference among them, it’s this: Kant has been around long enough for some of the dust to settle around his work, and for us to see what he was up to. IN his own time, however, Kant was considered to be obscure and difficult (indeed, his prose is still nothing less than Teutonic — impossibly long, convoluted sentences, verging on ungrammaticality — and arguments with missing or implied premises that are only made thematic well after the arguments for which they are needed have been concluded, interlocutors who are mentioned only once (if at all) in his entire work, etc). Some have even argued (eg Blumenberg) that Kant’s work only found an appropriate audience in the 20th Century.
In any event, this picture of Kant does seem similar to the one you have painted of Deleuze. Impossible sentences, missing interlocutors and influences, etc. So I’m completely unconvinced that there’s any substantive difference between the two. We just need more time with Deleuze.
Same with Marx and Badiou: although Marx was a fine writer (and Badiou isn’t), both have moved philosophical problems from a ‘philosophical ground’ onto a ’scientific one:’ Marx moves from ideational philosophy, to an immanent, reflexive description of social and economic phenomena, which are taken (and then shown) to be constitutive of our self-concpetion and social interaction. Badiou moves from a straightforward, transcendental understanding of what Hegel would call ‘Spirit,’ to the hypertrophied formalism of set-theory. The difficulty in reading these thinkers stems from the fact that (a) one needs to readjust one’s naturalized perspective and leave behind some baggage in order to follow them, and (b) one has to be able to follow the ’sciency’ bits. If one can’t accommodate a and b, then their texts are difficult and obscure.
Now, since I don’t want to be completely tangential to this conversation, I take it that the difficulties, charitably read so as to excuse bad grammar etc, is necessary insofar as we can speak of something like progress. Like the distinction you are trying to express, Sinthome, there are times when the available technical resource are insufficient to their task. Hence difficulty.
But then it’s our task to continue to refine the ‘new tools’ in order to get a hold on what our predecessors were trying to fashion. But this implies that Deleuze, for instance, or Badiou don’t get it ‘right,’ don’t express what they needed to, and hence their ‘tools’ need to be refashioned. Hence the need for difficult texts.

larvalsubjects Says: April 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm
Alexei, I think your remarks significantly ignore the role that textual strategy plays in thinkers like Hegel, Adorno, Lacan, Derrida, and Deleuze. In these cases there was a very explicit meditation on the relationship between the form of presentation and the content presented, and a conscious effort to cultivate a particular style of presentation in keeping with the content of presentation. Kant is difficult because the content of what he is attempting to express, but I can’t say that I’ve found a similar meditation or self-conscious cultivation of style in Kant. In the case of Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, and Adorno, there is the self-conscious aim of developing a style that would itself be differential in character, or that would escape the primacy of identity in metaphysics through its very form of expression. This is going to have consequences where textual constructions is concerned. In short, I don’t think the “difficulty” of these works is simply a function of the ideas being “new” and therefore unfamiliar. Rather, there is something closer to the transcendental going on here. Insofar as thought necessarily tends towards the representational and identity– towards “abstraction” or “thing-thinking” in Hegel-speak –such texts will be inherently difficult due to their differential and dialectical nature, regardless of the historical setting in which they’re read (barring, of course, a massive transformation in the nature of cognition and a fundamental shift away from intentionality directed towards identical objects). Jameson does a fairly good job discussing this in Late Marxism: Adorno or the Persistence of the Dialectic. I personally don’t find the same struggle in reading Badiou, who strikes me as giving a rather straightforward presentation of his claims (he’s very programmatic). Badiou explicitly speaks to developing a style that is maximally transmissible as one of his goals. While his claims may be difficult to understand as accounts of the world– if we bend to Floyd’s primacy of “lived experience” (a prison house if ever there were), then we’ll find it very difficult to think being as pure multiplicities of multiplicities without unification or one –but stylistically his specific claims aren’t difficult to pin down. This is very different than the case of a Deleuze or Lacan where it’s not at all clear what is even being claimed. I can say with confidence what Badiou is claiming or arguing even if I have difficulty understanding what it would be like to live in such a world, I cannot say with confidence what Lacan is explicitly claiming.
N.Pepperell, I think this is an interesting observation:
The points on transference above echo some things I have thought in relation to parts of Adorno’s work, where he adopts a particular style in order precisely to attempt to undermine a certain relationship of the reader to an authoritative author, by involving the reader in the constitution of the textual constellation: I understand what Adorno is seeking to achieve, and I enjoy his work - but my underlying reaction is that texts are read in very different conditions over time, by readers socialised in different ways - and that the impact of a style, or the attempt to cultivate a particular experience of reading in order to transform the reader, in some sense perhaps relies on the notion that style would always have the same impact over time, as everything else changes around it. There seems to me to be a sort of assumption lurking that the text can control the conditions of its reading - coupled with a notion that particular habits of perception and thought have intrinsic political implications, as though political implications would not be negotiated dynamically with a complex surrounding environment.
I agree that texts are ecological in the sense that they resonate differently depending on the surroundings in which they’re read (much like one and the same sound can produce very different affects depending on what other notes it’s related to). I wonder, however, whether it’s entirely fair to these thinkers to suggest that they’re trying to control the experience of the reader. In the case of Deleuze, for example, it seems that his works (especially the later ones with Guattari) are designed to do something rather than represent something. That is, they’re designed to function as catalysts of sorts. This would be in close keeping with your ecological discussion of texts resonating differently. A text like A Thousand Plateaus is designed to actualize itself in a variety of ways through different encounters and embeddings. It doesn’t mean or represent something, but instead interacts with the world about it and its readers producing something else. This would be very different than a root-text where authorial intention governs the meaning and sense of the text.
On the other hand, it seems to me that every text has its apparatus of capture, where it simultaneously invites a certain sort of reader and seeks to construct a certain sort of reader. I suppose that if this is the case the question becomes one of investigating the different modes of capture and construction.
Identifying with your captor « An und für sich Says: April 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm
[...] April 26, 2008 I have some reservations about the recent Larval Subjects post about “difficult” books, but I think that, in part, it points toward a real phenomenon — one that I call [...]
parodycenter Says: April 26, 2008 at 5:01 pm
A text like A Thousand Plateaus is designed to actualize itself in a variety of ways through different encounters and embeddings. It doesn’t mean or represent something, but instead interacts with the world about it and its readers producing something else.
Dr Sinthome I think you´re completely right. I recently started the Anti-Oedipus. I had long been put off by the book because of my impression that, following Lacan´s frequent complaint, it wasn´t aware of the way it gets bogged down in metaphors of its own making, to what extent its language was metaphorized I mean, and in this way the book´s attempt to reinterpret Oedipus seemed like a truism to me (you can´t reinterpret metaphors by inventing more metaphors). But then one day while reading the chapter on the Body Without Organs I realized that the book itself is a Body without Organs, generating numerous realities/multiplicities and that that´s the most astonishing thing about it. It seemed like a prequel of blogs and all these other hypertextual creations of the 21st century. The book seemed to me like a portal to parallel realities. That said I find the style often dry, and difficult to follow due to its insistence on a kind of a mathematical tone, for which I don´t quite have the right impression. It really takes an obsessive scholar such as yourself to have the patience and the anal rigor to make sense out of this and translate it to some kind of an understandable Texan drawl. This is why I have faith in your book´s success, even as ´´Difference and Givenness´´, in marketing terms, is a recipe for commercial failure!
parodycenter Says: April 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm
I mean can you imagine Madonna or Britney Spears singing something like ´´difference and givenness´´, and you´ll get my advertising point.
parodycenter Says: April 26, 2008 at 5:41 pm
But on the other hand if you´re pessimistically inclined, you could think that Deleuze and Guattari, whose gayness is inescapable in their sympathies for the female side of the sexuation graph, created just another language grid and in this way have been trapped by language even as they were trying to ´´burn a hole through the silk´´ as in Lynch´s Deleuzian masterpiece INLAND EMPIRE, to expose the Hole, the Light shining through all the blankness, and find creativity in it. I wonder also if this isn´t the same thing that Guy Hocqunghem tried to reach through his asshole only to realize that the obsessive compulsive neurosis didn´t disappear and that the Phallic law wasn´t broken. 6:36 PM 6:59 PM

Monday, April 21, 2008

Man's future awaits an integral development and the expression of an integral consciousness, all-power and all-delight

Sri Aurobindo and the New HumanityPRAPATTI In Mother’s Light FEBRUARY 21 , 2007

A revolutionary and transforming consequence of Sri Aurobindo’s Sadhana and Siddhi is to evolve and establish a new human race and a new society. He has drawn our attention to this sure and inevitable destiny of present humanity by his various analysis and true vision. Humanity at present awaits for a new manifestation and its consequence will be a spiritual as well as a Supramental evolution, as a result of which a new divine humanity, different from the present one in quality and in nature will be founded.

Behind this creation there is a descent, a manifestation and an action of the new Consciousness. Consciousness is the source of creation. By the rejection of the old consciousness and force which is the basic principle of the present world and by a descent and infusion of a new consciousness, eventually there will appear a new world and thus a new creation. In every sphere of life a vast and profound change and transformation will occur. Along with this new manifestation there may also be some kind of calamity and havoc, for there is no new creation without some destruction.

Man has a past and so also a future. His future awaits an integral development and the expression of an integral consciousness, all-power and all-delight. But for this manifestation and action of a new consciousness perfect truth, perfect knowledge, perfect light and perfect bliss are needed. Sri Aurobindo worked for long periods of time for the descent of this great, vast and divine Supramental Force, Light and Consciousness and now it is in action after its manifestation. From various points of view the present time is very important and decisive. Regarding this the Mother has said:

"We are in a decisive hour of the history of the earth, the earth is preparing herself for the coming of Superman and because of that the old manner of living loses its value. One must throw oneself boldly on the way of the future in spite of his new exigencies. The meanness of olden days is more tolerable. One must widen oneself to receive that which should be born."

It is obvious that a new human race is taking birth. In each corner of the world there are some people waiting for this new creation. The Mother speaks again very clearly about this:

"A new world wants to be born based on Truth and refusing the old slavery of falsehood. In all the countries, there are some persons who know it or at least feel it. To these persons we call: ‘Do you want to collaborate?’..."

Those who have accepted this new Truth, this new Light and this new Force, and want to build themselves a new will take part in this manifestation and creation of a new earth and a new human race. Blessed are those who utilise this unique opportunity and so also their successors. (Translated from the original Oriya article)

Science Exhibtion of Sri Aurobindo Purnanga Sikshyakendra, Taharpur, Jajpur
 Edited by Sri Gadadhar Mishra, Published & Owned by New Light Society, Matrubhaban, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Cuttack - 753 013. Kindly send your valuable suggesion to the Editor, In Mother’s Light, at

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One can not reach a particular goal unless one is backed by a group of individuals who are in harmony

GADADHAR MISHRA In Mother’s Light AUGUST 15, 2004

Even with a wide vision, truly inspired knowledge, clarity in thoughts, here on this earth one can not reach a particular goal unless one is backed by a group of individuals who are in harmony and tune not only with one another but with the one who is supposed to work out the programme.
Only for this all the great ones always come with their own "ganas", the inner or the inmost circle around them. They always work with him, as an inseparable part, in the midst of all misunderstandings and misconceptions, that he has to confront. It is said they always exist with him in some planes above the earth. We call them indispensable collaborators.
There are six type of collaborators.

1. There are those who have the same vision, the same consideration of things, the same judgment, the same reaction to circumstances, the same inner feelings and happenings, the same thought - process as you. They have the same source of inspiration and move in perfect harmony with your consciousness. Even their outer expression is also the same. It is as if they are the same person in different bodies. Working with them one’s capacity becomes multiplied, one never wastes time in unnecessary stumbling blocks, the difficulties that take most of the time. This is ideal, but we cannot demand it or pose it as a condition for going about with the work. This becomes possible when the time has come for the thing to be accomplished. We see a vision, take a step and then have to wait an unnecessary length of time for persons around to simply give their support.

2. The second type of collaborators are persons who do not have the vision of things, but they have a lot of faith and confidence in the leader. They never question his way of working and what he declares becomes their own declaration. They really love him and out of their love they feel that their being is linked with him. They are one with the leader in their hearts. Though they do not have the personal vision of things, but in great faith and adoration for the leader they accept the decisions totally. It becomes a responsibility of the leader to work with them because they rely on him. But one is sure of their faithfulness and can safely work with them.

3. The third ones are those who accept a leader with sufficient reasons. What he says they try to find out some cause to accept it. They feel happy when they could satisfy their minds and hearts for accepting him. But one has to be careful in satisfying their reason. If one fails to do so, though they will never become unfaithful, they tend to get depressed and as if thrown into a whirlwind of confusion. Surely, they are assets in the work and one should take care not to lose them.

4. The fourth type of co-workers are person on whom one must keep ones eyes constantly, watching all their movements. One must not fall into their ‘trap’ of support, as this support is purely conditional. If they support, it is because that serves some of their selfish motives. They always try to be in a safe position. If this support brings some difficulties to their personal position, immediately they become indifferent. All ideals, all big missions are nothing in front of their selfish motives. Really, they do not want to take trouble to serve the Ideal. They are intelligently selfish. You can let them work with you without admitting them to your counsel. Even if you try to trust them, they are not trustworthy. Strangely these individuals will never leave you, as something from the depth of their hearts binds them with your personality.

5. The fifth type are persons who openly criticise you, mercilessly examine your activities, utilise all occasions to drag you into difficulties, but wonderfully they never leave you. Something in their nature clings to your being, which their outer personality strongly revolts. Dealing with them you must be very alert and under the constant influence of your soul. Really, these individuals truly help one to go forward as they fulfill their role as monitors of the way.

6. The sixth variety are those who openly revolt and the sole aim of their lives is to trample you down. To tackle them properly it is not sufficient to be only under the influence of one’s soul, but to realise it and in all walks of life maintain this realisation. These people make it imperative for one to remain in this state of constant vigilance.

Edited by Sri Gadadhar Mishra, Published & Owned by New Light Society, Matrubhaban, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Cuttack - 753 013 Kindly send your valuable suggesion to the Editor, In Mother’s Light, at

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The social psychology of Auroville

Current issue Archive copies Auroville Experience February 2008
Auroville: an emerging spiritual township - Carel

Spirituality, according to Sri Aurobindo, is not a high intellectuality, idealism, an ethical turn of the mind, moral purity, religiosity or exalted emotional fervour. ‘Spirituality,' he writes in The Life Divine, ‘is in its essence an awakening to the inner reality of our being, to a spirit, self, soul which is other than our mind, life and body, an inner aspiration to know, to feel, to be that, to enter into contact with the greater Reality pervading the universe which inhabits also our own being, to be in communion with It and union with It, and a turning, a conversion, a transformation of our whole being as a result of the aspiration, the contact, the union, a growth or waking into a new becoming or new being, a new self, a new nature.'
The Mother, in describing the nature of a true Aurovilian, said the first step is ‘the inner discovery by which one learns who one really is behind the social, moral, cultural, racial and hereditary appearances” and finding that “at the centre there is a being, free, wide and knowing, who awaits our discovery and who ought to become the acting centre of our being and our life in Auroville.' For to live in Auroville, ‘one must be the willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.'
Is this awakening to the inner reality happening in Aurovilians? Are Aurovilians inwardly aspiring to contact a greater Reality beyond? Can Auroville be described as an emerging spiritual township?
To find an answer to these difficult questions – for those who have a contact with their inner or higher reality don't usually shout it from the rooftops – Auroville Today spoke to Bindu Mohanty, who is doing a Ph.D. at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, U.S.A on the topic of the social psychology of Auroville. Part of her thesis deals with nascent spirituality in Auroville. Based on the responses of 130 Aurovilians to her research survey, she explains why she considers Auroville to be an emerging spiritual society.

Gauging spirituality
“Spirituality is a very difficult thing to gauge, especially in terms of the Integral Yoga,” says Bindu. “We are not talking about achieving siddhis, we are not talking about showing spiritual powers, but we are talking here about being ‘willing servitors of the divine consciousness'and letting things work out in their own way. That is a very individualistic process which makes it very difficult to speak about how spiritually-engaged people are in Auroville.”
The yardstick Bindu used to gauge the presence of a spiritual society is whether there is a spiritual orientation to the society and its members. This appears to be overwhelmingly present in Auroville. “The vast majority of my respondents mentioned the importance of integral yoga while delineating their path. Asked ‘What do you like about Auroville?', spirituality was the overriding factor in most people's lives and many expressed their belief in the work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother,” says Bindu. Though most Aurovilians do not seem to follow any regular spiritual practices, there is a commonly-accepted view that through their work and by choosing to live in Auroville, Aurovilians participate in the spiritual evolution of humankind.
Faith that through The Mother's Force things will work out in the proper manner and time is widely prevalent. About 50% of the respondents talked about spirituality in a language that indicated that the spiritual was personally experienced. Writes Bindu, “While attitudes towards the Mother vary greatly even amongst those Aurovilians who specifically believe her to be a Divine being, what is common is that individuals, in their own personal ways, seek a relationship with her presence.”
Bindu warned about the shadow side of ‘professed' spirituality, which she terms ‘spiritual bypassing': “When people blindly trust the words of a spiritual leader without it being backed up by direct experience or by an insight arrived at through deep introspection, there is always a danger that people regress into religiosity… Also, by shifting the responsibility for a spiritualised future to a posited divine force, people limit their own ability to participate in the work of the divine reality.” She notes this becomes particularly evident whenever Aurovilians engage in attempts to reorganise the economy or the organisation or the town planning. “The ability to have rational debates on the interpretation of ‘sacred texts' or even on intuited norms of a divine reality is a salient characteristic of constructive modern spirituality. It should be a hallmark of Auroville.”

Spirituality as part of everyday life
Bindu found that spirituality is individually interpreted by Aurovilians, yet with a common nominator: there is an insistence on engagement with daily life – in other words, Aurovilians are mainly involved in karma yoga.
Spiritual search is also directly responsible for the fact that Aurovilians have consciously chosen a lifestyle in Auroville which is considered ‘abnormal' elsewhere – particularly in Western countries. “There is an amazing work-ethos in Auroville which does not depend on earning an income,” says Bindu. “Most people have just enough to get by, but they often work harder than in the West. Respondents among other things, mentioned that all work is for the divine, not for a pay-cheque, and that they are happy to take up whatever work is offered and needs to be done.
Bindu sees this attitude as a sincere attempt to live by Auroville's Charter. “This aspect of attempting to understand the Divine's will and surrendering one's interest to the Divine was surprisingly often mentioned by the respondents,” says Bindu. “They also mentioned the work of the Divine Force in Auroville which puts you in challenging situations and forces you to grow. There is a widely prevalent belief that, when one does not voluntarily surrender to the Divine's will, one gets knocks and blows that teach one to go within and to detach oneself from egotistic motives.”

Auroville's path of spirituality is marked by the freedom of individuals to realize their being in whatever forms are most suitable to them.
Bindu mentions that such freedom, without the discipline of an ordained practice, can lead to unrestricted hedonism of the egoistic self and may even lead to the surfacing of the worst traits of someone's personality. She argues that in this yoga, which aims at integral transformation of the personality, such surfacing of character deformations is necessary so that they can be worked upon rather than suppressed. However, not all Aurovilians underwrite this idea. Bindu quotes one Auroville psychologist who says, “Aurovilians can delude themselves into thinking that they are participating in a collective yoga of transformation when, in reality, they are embedded in psychological pathologies.”

The Matrimandir
“One cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Matrimandir in the collective life of Auroville,” writes Bindu. The Mother described the Matrimandir as ‘the central cohesive force of Auroville' and this is experienced as such by many Aurovilians. “It is not unusual that in the early phases of a community's development, the construction of a building should take on such a symbolic significance,” says Bindu, pointing out that throughout history many religious groups have promoted material symbols, such as specific buildings, to foster commitments and allegiance amongst their members. But the spiritual significance of the Matrimandir was indicated by The Mother herself. Many respondents talked about ‘the experience of concentrating in the Chamber', or described it as ‘a place for individual initiation' or ‘the Matrimandir, being the soul of Auroville, is my home'. Yet, Bindu found that not all Aurovilians regularly concentrate in the Chamber – “a couple of Aurovilians mentioned that they find the atmosphere too sterile and artificial” – which, she says, is no indication that they are not engaged in a spiritual search.

One hallmark of a spiritual society is the way it provides an integral education for children, allowing them to develop and honour all the different dimensions of their being. “Auroville's attempts to provide such an education are common knowledge, even though here Auroville is in a transitional stage,” says Bindu. One of her respondents was born and brought up in Auroville and then went out to Europe for further studies. “She said that because of her upbringing she was a happy person with a positive outlook on life, while many people in Europe she met seemed content to just live, work and go for holidays without ever questioning what life was all about or taking a deeper look into themselves.”
Though Aurovilians haven't yet found an economic structure in accordance with the ideals, which is that one works for the joy of expressing oneself or serving the community and not to earn a living, economic experiments to realize the ideals have been going on for the last decades and show no sign of abating.
“The present capitalistic phase in Auroville,” writes Bindu, “could well be a transitory stage in the evolution of both the human being and society.” Here she refers to Sri Aurobindo who spoke of how capitalism institutionalised the French revolutionary goal of liberty, while communism institutionalised the second goal of equality. But neither of these ideals can be perfectly achieved till the human consciousness truly embodies the third revolutionary aim of fraternity which, wrote Sri Aurobindo, can only ‘exist in the soul and by the soul; it can exist by nothing else.'
To establish such a fraternity is one of the ideals of Auroville. Auroville's social structure, then, is constantly being experimented upon to allow for the embodiment of these ideals where one sees each person as a unique embodiment of the Divine – a realisation that fosters tolerance and acceptance of all people, irrespective of race, nationality or cultural differences.

Aurovilians seek to do away with the need for rigid, organisational structures, believing that the organisational structure of Auroville should be determined by something higher. This is in accordance with the ideal expressed by The Mother where ‘organisation is the expression of a higher consciousness working for the manifestation of the truth of the future' and ‘individuals should unite with the divine consciousness to organise themselves spontaneously without rules.' Bindu, however observes that in direct contradiction to these ideals, Auroville has moved to a more structured society in consequence of the Auroville Foundation Act. “Auroville has developed structures that govern all aspects of collective life such as housing, town planning, economy and entry. Over the years, these structures and governing bodies have become increasingly complex, clumsy and bureaucratic – the shadow of the flexible organisation foreseen by The Mother,” she writes. This, she believes, is a direct outcome of the collective level of consciousness of the Aurovilians.
Sense of community
While quite a few Aurovilians express a spontaneous, inner connection with other individuals, even with those they do not know well, others lament the lack of communal life. It is too early to speak about doing a collective yoga. “If by collective yoga, we understand, as Mother explained, that there is a spiritual experience of the oneness of all, then clearly Auroville is not at this level. As an Aurovilian woman said: if there is at all a collective yoga going on in Auroville it is largely unconscious.” Bindu explains how, for many years, the focus has been on the development of the physical base, taking care of and revitalizing the lands; then came some ‘vital' developments, which started culturally; for the last six to eight years there has been a gradual switch to the mental level, with study programmes becoming widely available. “Some Aurovilians believe that with the completion of the Matrimandir, Auroville will take a giant leap towards expressing a collective spirituality. From my research, I can definitively conclude that Auroville is an emerging spiritual society.”
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Time as an integrative mechanism through which order and purpose are expressed in the world

Sacred and Secular Science - A Unifying Paradigm by Robert E. Wilkinson

According to the "Vedic Hymn of Creation", the universe came into being from a "Golden Embryo" - not a black hole. Contained within this 'embryo' is an ultimate causal principle which exists prior to the creation of the universe; an ordering self-knowledge which all things must obey from literally the first instant of creation. It is like a SEED, which holds within itself the entire unfolding of its predetermined future growth. The Vedic hymns describe this 'seed' or singularity as the source of all creation, and call it

"...the compressed Transcendent, upholding like a pillar the material universe and, by its 'self-law', giving birth to that which was contained and intended in its seed. Without this 'ordering self-knowledge', said Sri Aurobindo the universe would be shifting chaos, leading only to a play of unbounded Chance."

Clearly the most important feature of Vedic cosmology is that it begins with fullness and unity and proceeds from there to establish an integral web of causation. Science, on the other hand, begins with Chaos and disorder and tries [unsuccessfully] to reconstruct a prior principle of order through extrapolation to an earlier time. Their lack of success in this direction has led to the apparent conclusion that there is no underlying order to the universe, only coincidence - a view that has been roundly denounced by some of its more enlightened critics.

"In theoretical physics," writes Peter Plichta, "coincidence has been accorded the status of a demi-god. From the - so apparent - coincidence of all processes in the electron cloud it was rashly inferred that all processes in the universe were caused by coincidence. A comfortable substitute had thus been found for God. From the natural constants to the human mind - everything is a coincidence." - God's Secret Formula, Deciphering the Riddle of the Universe and the Prime Number Code

But there is no coincidence, says Sri Aurobindo,

"...From the beginning the whole development [of the universe] is predetermined in its self-knowledge and at every moment in its self-working - it is and moves to what it must be by its own original Truth, and will be at the end that which was contained and intended in its seed."

All material creation proceeds from this original involved 'seed' as involutionary forms move across the event horizon, extend themselves, multiply, and grow, in accordance with the laws of causation and the principles of time. In the language of scientific cosmology, this point or seed is the 'singularity' from which the universe exploded into being. In Vedic metaphysics it is the sacred syllable "OM", the primordial vibration or sound out of which the creation emerges and has its origin.

Sri Aurobindo's realizations of this Seed and its underlying order formed the lines of a new and integral Yoga which he and the Mother developed over their 36 year collaboration. It represented a revolutionary departure from most extant spiritual systems which conceived the world as a painful illusion from which one should attempt to escape. Their new Yoga envisions a world in which the polarities of Spirit and Matter, Being and Becoming, Time and Eternity are harmonised in an integral vision. If our destiny is prefigured in the seed of things, said Sri Aurobindo, it is by understanding Time and Becoming that we will arrive at an integrating truth and a Life Divine.

Time became an obsession for Sri Aurobindo which he pursued until his passing in 1950. He was seeking the consolidation of a formula which might reconcile the Timeless Infinite and the Time Spirit deploying itself and organizing all things in time. He carried us to the portals of this discovery in his epic text, The Synthesis of Yoga and closed the book with a chapter entitled, Toward the Supramental Time Vision. Although he had unveiled the possibility of a unifying Time vision, he was never able to complete its exposition. It was not until the 1970s that Sri Aurobindo's Time vision could be brought to completion and fully articulated by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet. Her realizations concerning the nature of Time are based upon a direct experience of an objective order which she has extended into a cosmological framework known as The Gnostic Circle.

While Sri Aurobindo gave us a broad overview of the Vedic knowledge, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet takes us into the innermost secrets of Time. Her ability to see with such detail comes about because she has pierced into the most intimate dimension of human consciousness, the 'center' or individual Soul. This realization, known in the Veda as "Swar", yields an immediate awareness of the occult laws and correspondences which exist between the Individual and the Cosmos. Moreover it allows for a verification of these Vedic truths through a profound self-knowledge: "As above so below" said the Rishi. An exquisite correspondence exists between the Macrocosm and Microcosm; a sacred and eternal order is hidden in what appear to be the random cycles of a human life.

In the past, Alchemical or occult knowledge was accomplished through the realization of these correspondences and equivalencies which joined the individual and the macrocosm and extended him horizontally into the world. All emphasis, however, was placed upon the static realization - Being and its external correspondences. Little was known of the vertical realization symbolized by the axis mundi which joined the individual to the higher planes. Being and becoming were thus antithetical because there was no means of alignment and integration with these higher dimensions of consciousness. But the new paradigm is one in which both the being and the becoming are harmonised in a single vision. Sri Aurobindo describes the choice of destiny that faces mankind at this crisis point as an accepting and embracing precisely of the becoming, as the means to attain the ultimate apotheosis, an evolutionary leap to a totally new status:

"The significance of our existence here determines our destiny... If there is a Being that is becoming, a Reality of existence that is unrolling itself in Time, what that being, that reality secretly is is what we have to become, and so to become is our life's significance." The Life Divine, Chapter 28. - Sri Aurobindo

Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's cosmology represents this quantum leap beyond the partial realizations of the past because she has reconciled precisely what they declare cannot be reconciled. She has resolved these age old paradoxes by piercing into the deepest truths of Reality which include the Being as well as the dynamics of the Becoming. "Time," says Norelli-Bachelet, "is the vehicle, the medium for the Absolute or Supreme Consciousness to Be and to Become and it is knowledge of this principle which integrates the Spiritual and Physical dimensions." It is this integral vision, or gnosis, which grants the individual a direct experience of the Divine within the physical manifestation.

Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's discoveries have revolutionary implications for both science and spirituality because, for the first time, they establish a connection between man and the universe he inhabits through the revelation of a common center. Moreover, her cosmology extends that connection into a means of alignment with the higher planes by demonstrating the time harmonies which join the higher with the lower. This new knowledge overturns religion's long-standing perception of Time as 'the destroyer' and offers an entirely new awareness of Time as an integrative mechanism through which order and purpose are expressed in the world.

Her new cosmological vision represents a radical challenge to most traditional religious forms because it posits Self-knowledge as the basis of order and meaning in the universe. Moreover, it proves beyond all doubt that the unveiling of the Individual Soul is the single most important attainment in the lifetime of a human incarnation. This is sure to be a revolutionary if not threatening possibility for those religious traditions which espouse a strategy of believing in God in order to reach 'heaven' after death. And it will be even more disturbing for those esoteric religions who encourage a meditative path which seeks to obliterate Time. . . . For entire article LINK HERE [Lori Tompkins]

Friday, April 04, 2008

Church of west was always against search of God through meditation or yogic actions


Search of God through meditation or yogic actions was considered an action of devil and attracted criticism. Church of west was always against searching God into the inner self by the people as did by Saint Augustine because it could become a danger to the institution of church if they have a sight of luminous and eternal Jesus within their soul. Had people experienced God within their self church would have been deprived of issuing directive in respect of God. Their main objective was to keep people weak and superstitious so that they could be exploited in the name of religion. Today’s Vatican Church is a part to this endeavour, which completely disapproves of Word–Jesus and Dhayan (meditation) and yoga.

Three great mystics of Cappadocia named Basil, Gregory of Nisa and Gregory of Nazianzus said, “Truth can’t be expressed in words, it can only be viewed with the eyes of soul (spirit) by practicing meditation. The essence of God can be known through dogma and Kerygma. Kerygma is the outer from of religion, it is the philosophy which can be explained in words in the churches but dogma is inner spirit of the religion which can only be experienced and the hints of its being can only be obtained in the form of signs. Dogma is not a thing which can be discussed or made to understand and can be effectuated through rituals and ceremonies. They explained it by quoting Plato and Aristotle and stressed that experience of spirit is not possible through the gates of wisdom. These three were under the influence of spiritualism of Greece. Eastern Orthodox Church seems to be influenced by philosophers of Greece and their Knowledge. They advocated for bearing silence to understand secrecies of religion.

Western church believed in oral description of God; its subject was Kerygma and not dogma. Gregory of Nyssa told that any description of God can only be a shadow, a false comparison. It doesn’t reveal the secret of God .We should not develop any conception of God rather we should have faith in it. We should look beyond all kind of knowledge and observe complete silence. This was experienced by Hazrat Moses on mountains of Sinai. When he happened to approach God, instead of finding God there, he was surrounded by a cloud of deep darkness. Indian sage Patanjali termed this experience as Dharammegha Samadhi or clouds’ religion. Swami Vivakananda called it cloud of virtue.

Basil quoting Saint Philo said that God is essence (ousia) the glimpse of which is out of the reach of intellect and he can only be known through his outer expression (energeia). Athanasius had also told Arius that ousia (essence ) of God is beyond human understanding, his hypostasis (outer face) can only be described in words. Essence of a thing represents its inner substance and hypostasis is that which is visible by our eyes. Therefore, only one element resides in Trinity (Father, Son and Holy spirit). When God wants to reveal his Self to people, his outer face is visible. God can’t be given a name, He has three faces; Father who is inaccessible and a source of unlimited light, Son who is in the form of Word (Logos) and creator of whole universe, Holy spirit which is embedded consciousness of the universe, Father is the creator of this universe, He flows outward or inward through the Son and Holy spirit beholds it. This principle of trinity has been called Supermind, Overmind and all-pervading Spirit by Sri Aurobindo.

When spiritual experience becomes so ripened that we feel the presence of God within ourselves and all around, this state exhibits presence of Holy spirit. When this spirit takes the form of matter it is called Aparashakti (illusionary power) and on attaining the form of Supermind it becomes Parashakti (supreme Force). Experience of the saints of Cappadocia exhibits much similarity to primitive Indian divine experience. Describing the experience of trinity in nutshell Gregory of Nazianzas says, “When I feel experience of one, I am filled with the splendor (light) of all the three; when I discriminate between them, I again contract in to one and when I live anyone of these, I find all these three amalgamated unity and my eyes and body becomes full of light.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Mind of Light; Future Evolution of Man by Sri Aurobindo

Books › "Sri Aurobindo"
121. Bases of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback)
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122. Wisdom of the Upanishads (Guidance from Sri Aurobindo) by Sri Aurobindo and Sri M. P. Pandit (Paperback - Nov 1, 1988)
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123. Future Evolution of Man by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback)
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124. L'Idéal de l'unité humaine by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - Feb 1, 1996)
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125. The Upanishads: Texts, Translations, and Commentaries by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - Dec 1992)
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126. Conversations On Yoga by The Mother (Sri Aurobindo Ashram) Edited By Shyam Sunder (Paperback - 1987)
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127. The Mind of Light by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1953)
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128. Vision of India by Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandi, and Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1983)
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129. A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO INTEGRAL YOGA by Sri & The Mother, Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1973)
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130. The Life Divine - 2 Vol. Set by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1973)
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131. La synthèse des Yoga. Le Yoga de la perfection de Soi, tome 3 by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - April 1, 1994)
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132. La synthèse des yoga. Le Yoga des oeuvres, tome 1 by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - April 1, 1994)
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Other Editions: Paperback