Saturday, August 4, 2007

"Europeanization of the world" is a necessary stage of world culture

Re: Untold Potentialities: India and the Third World. by Richard Hartz (2)
by Rich on Fri 03 Aug 2007 09:32 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
[Mr YS wrote: The Secret In Vedas, Hymns To The Mystic Fire (Agni), The Synthesis Of Yoga etc., appear to my mind, as the unfortunate direct result of ‘his version of the phenomenon of ‘natural decline of the spirituality into intellectuality of the present day post modern times.]
This idea of referring back to a golden era, of former greatness now lost, the decline of spirituality etc, seems to be a common thread in the narratives found in many religious and mythic traditions. And all too often these traditions claim they alone hold the secret key to unlock the glories of the Past Unfortunately, it is an assertion impossible to prove. And therefore its truth claims can not be a platform one can use for an inter-subjective dialog that champions any particular religious perspective.
My own suspicions are that although the world is rapidly becoming exteriorized through the advance of science and technology, and this may account for a lack of intensity in which one pursues an inner life, I suspect that human nature itself has not changed very much over the course of human history, Just look at the Gita it is set within the context of a War! A war now wages in the former garden of Eden.
Although Sri Aurobindo adapts Lamprecht's historical phenomenology and venture that a symbolic age may have given way to a typal to a rational age, and these ages may or may not align with Jean Gebser's vision of an archaic, to magic, to mythic, to rational development, and those like Foucault may have even began a critical excavation of epistemes which sets the constraints of discourse during certain eras, it does not at all follow that any one of these eras demarcated by each of these thinkers/visionaries is closer to what one could call a spiritual age. While there very well may have been a highly developed spirituality among those early Rishis or Saints there is not a shred of evidence that this formed the episteme of the era which set the constraints of the public discourse of the times.
If anything superstitions and the literalization of the sacrifice seemed to govern the socio/religio polity of that era. - much as it does today - According to SA much of the Veda is filled with symbols and metaphor which specifically resisted a general reading. The hermeneutic key was only given to the initiate. So an era in which authentic spirituality was spread out among the general population and the common man/women is a dubious proposition at best. The only thing I believe which can accurately be stated based on the history of war, conquest, and repression is that the one constant throughout history is the expression of power as an instrument of civic polity.
Therefore, I would urge, that although we can dialog, discuss, and argue the present condition of the world or India, that we measure the current era on its own terms and not refer back to the past for a model which we should imitate now. These historical models are so wrought with interpretive risks that they usually prove hazardous to reaching any consensus and generally end in conflict. So if we want to justify a current social, political, or economic stance lets do so based on the evidence that presents itself for it today, and not harp back to the restoration of a Golden era. rc
by Debashish on Fri 03 Aug 2007 10:55 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
On the subject of "theories of history," it is interesting to note that in 'The Human Cycle' Sri Aurobindo validates in relative measure both the spiral cycle of Lamprecht (creatively adapted to the Puranic yugas) and the more strictly anthropological "evolutionary progression" from infrarational to rational before pushing it further to a subjective and spiritual stage. On face value this co-existence may seem contradictory until we realize that these are not rigid structures for Sri Aurobindo and can each have a relative degree of truth without being reduced to an orthodoxy. In the chapter "The Infrarational Age of the Cycle," he says about the stages in an anthropological progression:
"...we must not suppose that they are naturally exclusive and absolute in their nature, or complete in their tendency or fulfilment when they come, or rigidly marked off from each other in their action or their time...Since man as a whole is always a complex being, even man savage or degenarate, he cannot be any of these things exclusively or absolutely, - so long as he has not exceeded himself, has not developed into the superman, has not, that is to say, spiritualized and divinised his whole being..."
That is, irrespective of what may predominate as an "episteme" at a certain civilizational epoch, the human constitution does not fundamentally change until man transits to superman.
Also, when we look carefully at this chapter, it becomes clear that he is proposing that what he has called elsewhere the Symbolic Age of the Vedas is also an infrarational age in the mass, developing its own kind of symbolic spirituality - or rather a high symbolic spirituality imposing itself on the forms and aspirations of an infrarationhal culture. Here also, he sees the necessary development in the mass of an intellectuality and the forms of spirituality more proper to an intellectual age - in the Indian case, stretching from the intuitive writings of the Vedanta to the more rationalistic forumlations of the philosophers following the Buddha.
The coming to the front of the age of reason in the mass as in the present, due to the universalization of the Enlightenment project - what Heidegger called "the Europeanization of the world" - is seen by him as a necessary stage of world culture developing its own futures, which for him hold the potential (not necessity) of a subjective leading to a spiritual age. DB

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