Thursday, November 27, 2008

We everywhere see a search for masters or gurus

Sexuation 3: The Logic of Jouissance (Cont.)
from Larval Subjects. Thus, when the band of brothers kill the primal father in Totem and Taboo, they institute the law of exchange and the prohibition against having the mother and sister. By contrast, claims Lacan, feminine sexuated subjects have the true love of difference, of the hetero, insofar as “not-all of speaking being is subordinated to the law of castration”.
However, social structures organized in feminine terms encounter their own impasse as well. Masculine social structures can be thought in terms of transcendence and necessity– The transcendence of the leader, the boss, the father, God, the nation, etc., with respect to its subjects and how these subjects relate to the Law. The Law here is understood as transcendent and universal with only one exception to the Law (perhaps this is why the last 26% of Bush supporters are not troubled by the illegalities of his administration). By contrast, feminine social structures can be understood as immanent and contingent. Here the emphasis is decidedly on the formation of relational networks that are ever shifting and changing. Yet while these networks might appear more appealing insofar as the don’t generate the same terrifying bifurcated forms of collective fantasy that caused so much horror in the last century, they do cause a set of other problems.
On the one hand, network based social formations are decidedly more difficult to politically contest as it is not clear where the enemy is. As Žižek liked to joke, it is far easier to protest the totalitarian Oedipal father than the new, sensitive post-modern father. The totalitarian Oedipal father tells you that “you’re going to your grandmother’s whether you like it or not!” In this way a space of freedom is preserved– if only in the Stoic form –insofar as one is permitted to go to one’s grandmother’s without enjoying it, and second, insofar as one can contest the Oedipal command. This holds likewise for protest against the various Oedipal regimes, where the target of resistance is clear... Perhaps more fundamentally, feminine networked society is accompanied by the emergence of a search for phallic masters or gurus of all types.

In The New Spirit of Capitalism, Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello analyze management literature between the 60s and the 90s, demonstrating a fundamental shift from centralized, top-down, master-based models of management during the 60s (Oedipal models of social organization), to de-centralized, network based, non-hierarchical, difference based models of management. In the latter model, the manager is no longer the one running the show, but is rather the guru who has a general Vision of where the corporation is to go and who cedes implementation of this Vision to a series of lower level managers who are largely autonomous. The new structure of management portrays itself as egalitarian and open-ended, without a hierarchy between upper management and lower management.

Boltanski and Chiapello are able to show how capitalism was able to integrate the radical critiques of 60s anti-capitalist theory, turning these critiques into new ways of producing capital. Accompanying this shift from transcendent models of social organization to immanent and egalitarian models of social organization, we everywhere see a search for masters or gurus. Perhaps this is because the new freedom of desire opened up by a networked based society fill subjects with anxiety, as there is no longer a compass that would tell them what to desire.

“I know I desire, but what desire is the right desire for me and what desire will make me desirable?”

This might also account for the rise of fundamentalisms of all sorts, where subjects cleave to hierarchical social models so as to create a space of desire and avoid the empty depressive stance of late capitalism. In short, while preferable in a number of respects, and while premised on the true or real insofar as it recognizes the “not-all” of the symbolic, it cannot be said that feminine sexuation will save us.

However, the point to be borne in mind is that both masculine and feminine sexuation are premised on an order organized around the name-of-the-father and the Oedipus. In other words, while sexuation pertains to the real, there is only masculine and feminine sexuation insofar as the name-of-the-father is the primary modality through which subjectivity is formed. The late Lacan envisioned another possibility. There, in Seminar 23: The Sinthome, Lacan observes that “it is possible to do without the name-of-the-father so long as one makes use of it.” Likewise, the name-of-the-father is pluralized, allowing for a variety of signifying structures to serve its function.

Finally, psychosis becomes generalized to all subjects, such that Oedipal structures organized around the name-of-the-father are one way of tying the borromean knot among others or one way of responding to the inexistence of the big Other (A). Instead, the sinthome comes to tie the three strings of RSI, allowing for a social link that need not be Oedipal in character. Perhaps, then, the borromean clinic provides an alternative way of tying the knot beyond the Oedipus (which Lacan refers to as Freud’s myth) that would generate different formal impasses beyond those of masculine and feminine sexuation.


On Terror... And A New Politics from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik

Perhaps a politics that encourages all our people to earn honest money in completely free markets will gradually wean misguided people away from terrorism. Further, co-operation between the people and the law will also increase. People will have faith in a government that leaves all peaceful trades alone.

Note that our politicos are only making political capital out of this. Theirs is not a politics that seeks to establish a moral consensus among a people. So let this not be an event that results in a stronger State. Rather, let there be a call for a new politics: a politics of morality, of Liberty, of peace and prosperity. And do read my old article: The Purpose of Politics.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Very little time and energy are expended in discussing the constellation of values

Home > Editorials > Time for some meditation by Jyotirmaya Sharma
HT November 23, 2008

Every proponent of Hindu nationalism encouraged and promoted the idea of retaliatory violence, be it Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo or V. Savarkar, in the name of preserving righteousness and a fictional unbroken, centuries-old Hindu tradition. All of them were ensnared by 19th century definitions of religion and attempted to mould their own faith, as they understood it, in ways that were alien to the diverse strands of ‘Hinduism’.

Without exception, all Hindu nationalists from the 19th century onwards argued that religion was the core of Hindu nationalism, and moreover, that it was the only core of nationalism. They further argued that if the former was true, then, nationalism was the only religion. It is this formulation that allows the likes of Vajpayee and Advani to argue, to this day, that Hindutva stands for idealism whereas nationalism is their ideology. They say so in the belief that this linguistic and rhetorical contortion will go unnoticed, and it often does.

It also manifests in contemporary times as Indian middle-class aspirations of envisioning India as an economic and military superpower. Very little time and energy are expended in discussing the constellation of values that will constitute the heart of this putative superpower. Like their 19th century predecessors, the Hindutva votaries are satisfied as long as they can vanquish their real and imagined enemies, at home and abroad, and impose their national socialist understanding of the idea of will to power.

No nation is either entirely tolerant or wholly wedded to violence. Any civilisation is a composite of the pure and the tainted, and from the struggle between the two emerge values that are sublime, civilised and truly human. This struggle is neither a given, nor is it a zero-sum game, and it impels human beings to make choices. Choosing peace, tolerance, civility and truth is not a sign of weakness as the apologists of violence and retribution will make people believe, but a way of sublimating the beast within us... (Jyotirmaya Sharma is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Very natural, even inevitable, for it to take on all the characteristics of a religion

Re: Comments on "Reflections on Sri Aurobindo's THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY" (cont.)
Rod on Sun 29 Oct 2006 01:54 AM PST Profile Permanent Link Here's an argument that Fukuyama aparently gets right, in spite of his political conservatism:

“That the behavior of complex wholes cannot be understood as the aggregated behavior of their parts has been understood in the natural sciences for some time now, and has led to the development of the field of so-called nonlinear or “complex-adaptive” systems, which try to model the emergence of complexity. This approach is, in a way, the opposite of reductionism: it shows that while wholes can be traced back to their simpler antecedent parts, there is no simple predictive model that allows us to move from the parts to the emergent behaviors of the wholes. Being nonlinear, they may be extremely sensitive to small differences in starting conditions and thus may appear chaotic even when their behavior is completely deterministic. (p.163)

“The area in which the inability of a reductionist materialist science to explain observable phenomena is most glaringly evident is the question of human consciousness. (p.166)

Thus one does not have to agree with the pope that god directly inserted a human soul in the course of evolutionary history to acknowledge with him that there was a very important qualitative, if not ontological, leap that occurred at some point in the process. It is this leap from parts to whole that ultimately has to constitute the basis for human dignity; a concept one can believe in if one does not begin from the pope’s religious premises. (p.170)

“No one has ever seen consciousness emerge under experimental conditions, or even posited a theory as to how this might come about. It would be surprising if the process of “emergence” didn’t play an important part in explaining how humans came to be human, but whether that is all there is to the story is something we do not at present know.” (p. 171)

And yet, the next bifurcation, if it is not to be based on biotechnology, or on natural/environmental/human disaster will need to be willed, by a Will with consideraby more force than either scientific or ethical mind has been shown to be capable. This is a kind of reasoning, supported by revelation and text, ie. spiritual authority.

As such it requires faith and practice on the part of those who choose to be heroic. Whether such a teaching was meant to become the basis of a new religion, or not, or whether such religion is desirable or not, does not disqualify it as a religious teaching. Sri Aurobindo said his purpose in writing the Arya was to lay down the metaphysical and religious basis for a new movement in humanity to exceed itself. That basis (foundation) is a categorical belief in the immanence of the supermind in evolution and the innate ability of humans to know it because of the presence in them of the soul. The philosophical pertinence of this idea today when everyone is questioning the origin of consciousness happens to make this teaching current and relevant.

But, What's wrong with admitting both that this teaching requires existential experience to be meaningful and also that it is very natural, even inevitable, for it to take on all the characteristics of a religion, which in fact it has already done? Why should we take this inevitability as a harmful stigma? Do we think postmodernism should have the last word?

by Debashish on Sun 29 Oct 2006 08:29 PM PST Profile Permanent Link

It is true that Sri Aurobindo has used the term "religion" in certain texts to describe his endeavor as in the example from the Arya or in the very chapter heading "The Religion of Humanity" where he is appropriating/revising the "foundations" of the Enlightenment ideal of Humanism. At the same time, it is also true that he (and more so the Mother) have been explicit about the undesirability of turning their teaching "into a religion." This points ot an "aporia" in the cultural psychology of the term "religion", a Janus-faced knot, which some of the instruments in the archive of "postmodernism" or "postcolonialism" can help to articulate (as you have pointed out yourself in your following comment).

The fact that "both this teaching requires existential experience to be meaningful and also that it is very natural, even inevitable, for it to take on all the characteristics of a religion" is not a stigma on the teaching but on its illegitmate social and psychological uses which also critical enquiry can help to illumine.

You ask - "Do we think postmodernism should have the last word?" But "postmodernism", just like "religion", "foundationalism" or "science" for that matter, is not a person, a substantialized subject, nor is it fixed in time. Like the other terms it is a discursive field (occupied by author-functions) under ceaseless revision. Cross-cultural hermeneutics is one of the methods of this revisioning. In fact, "postcolonialism" has drawn itself in opposition to "postmodernism" in certain respects, which itself is a sign of a growth into a larger formation. Discussions like the present one, however insignificant its participation, add their drop to this discursive revisioning of "religion", "foundation" or "postmodern." DB

Socialism has always been about self-interest

Spinoza, Virtue, and American Ideology
from Larval Subjects. One by one, Spinoza challenges the root claims of traditional theology and organized religion, showing how these claims are in contradiction with God’s essence. In developing these arguments he institutes a thorough-going immanent naturalism sans any dimension of transcendence or vertical being.
Spinoza is crafty and devious. What makes his arguments so ingenious and devious is that unlike the materialistic atheist that simply denies the existence of God on materialistic grounds, Spinoza works within the theological tradition, drawing on definitions inherited directly from Aristotle and Medieval Jewish and Christian theology, painstakingly demonstrating that when these definitions and axioms are followed through logically, they entail these conclusions and no others (granting, of course, that his arguments are sound). In other words, Spinoza shows that it is theology itself that leads to these conclusions. As a result, there is something of the uncanny in Spinoza. Just as Freud’s unheimlich is a sort of effect of the heimlich, the homely, the familiar, such that what is familiar suddenly presents itself in a completely unfamiliar way– for example, your image in a mirror begins speaking to you and moving about when you are not –Spinoza takes the familiar concepts of theology, retains them, and completely inverts them in a way that renders them thoroughly unfamiliar, unheimlich, and even a bit terrifying...

However, if there is one thing the free market ideologues in the United States have never understood or admitted, it is that socialism never was and never has been about altruism, but has always been about self-interest. One does not pursue regulated economies, re-distribution of wealth, worker management, collective struggle, unionization, etc., out of some special love or selfless altruism directed at one’s fellow humans, but precisely out of the desire to maximize the conatus or ἀρετή of one’s own being. Nothing is more beneficial to humans than other humans. And through combining my body with the bodies of others, I am able to form a collective assemblage, a common, that enhances both my own power of acting, and our power of acting. My freedom is therefore deepened and enhanced. It is enhanced through a distribution of labor that frees up time for all those involved so that other ends might be pursued. It is enhanced through increased protection from those more powerful than I, who would exploit me and the system to their own benefit. It is enhanced through companionship through which I build with others, explore ideas, and with whom I create.

What Spinoza presents is thus not an altruism, but an enlightened egoism… An egoism that is cognizant of our complex relations to the world and others as both constraints and conditions for our freedom and power. Far from the abolition of individualism and freedom, collective assemblages are the condition for individualism and freedom insofar as the create the space and time whereby it might become possible for me to cultivate and develop myself according to the virtual singularities or tendencies of my own conatus or essence, and by protecting me from my fellow man who might exploit and oppress me. My freedom or power is grounded in an increased mastery of my world around me which can only be achieved collectively through reason. Does it come as any surprise that an ideology like neoliberal economics, that produces a squalorly life for so many and such limited freedom and opportunity for the majority, can only sustain itself by filling the heads of the multitudes with superstitious mythologies, and convincing them that what is in fact in their interest is instead a matter of an implausible altruism that would be contrary to their interest? As Spinoza remarks,

“…he who seeks the true causes of miracles and is eager to understand the works of nature as a scholar, and not just to gape at them like a fool, is universally considered an impious heretic and denounced by those to whom the common people bow down as interpreters of Nature and gods. For these people know that the dispelling of ignorance would entail the disappearance of that sense of aw which is the one and only support for their argument and for the safeguarding of their authority or power” (Part I, Appendix).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The previously unthinkable happened

LRB 14 November 2008 Slavoj Žižek Use Your Illusions Obama’s victory is not just another shift in the eternal parliamentary struggle for a majority, with all the pragmatic calculations and manipulations that involves. It is a sign of something more...

In The Contest of Faculties, Kant asked a simple but difficult question: is there true progress in history? (He meant ethical progress, not just material development.) He concluded that progress cannot be proven, but we can discern signs which indicate that progress is possible. The French Revolution was such a sign, pointing towards the possibility of freedom: the previously unthinkable happened, a whole people fearlessly asserted their freedom and equality.

For Kant, even more important than the – often bloody – reality of what went on on the streets of Paris was the enthusiasm that the events in France gave rise to in the eyes of sympathetic observers all around Europe and in places as far away as Haiti, where it triggered another world-historical event: the first revolt by black slaves. Arguably the most sublime moment of the French Revolution occurred when the delegation from Haiti, led by Toussaint l’Ouverture, visited Paris and were enthusiastically received at the Popular Assembly as equals among equals.

Obama’s victory is a sign of history in the triple Kantian sense of signum rememorativum, demonstrativum, prognosticum. A sign in which the memory of the long past of slavery and the struggle for its abolition reverberates; an event which now demonstrates a change; a hope for future achievements...

Nothing was decided with Obama’s victory, but it widens our freedom and thereby the scope of our decisions. No matter what happens, it will remain a sign of hope in our otherwise dark times, a sign that the last word does not belong to realistic cynics, from the left or the right. Slavoj Žižek is a dialectical-materialist philosopher and psychoanalyst. He also co-directs the International Centre for Humanities at Birkbeck College. The Parallax View appeared last year. elsewhere 12:39 PM

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Libertarianism seems to have little to say about how to bring about political change

Politics Compromises the Libertarian Project
by Matthew Yglesias Reaction Essay November 12th, 2008

Thinkers affiliated with the libertarian movement have had many smart things to say on individual topics, but the overall concept of a state apparatus that simply sits on the sideline watching the free market roll along is impossibly utopian. People are going to try to manipulate the state to advance their own ends.
But of course not all is lost. Much of the world labors under hopelessly corrupt governments, wherein the police and security services are little more than shakedown operations or enforcers for local bigwigs. But elsewhere, justice is administered with a modicum of efficacy. Similarly, there are real alternatives to run-amok corporate dominance of the policy environment. There are better and worse civil services in the world, and even within individual countries some agencies work better than others. There are labor unions and advocacy groups—environmental, human rights, feminist, pro-life, and so forth—that compete with businesses and with each other to influence the direction of policy.
What there aren’t are places where politics just somehow doesn’t happen. The libertarian utopia is no more realistic than the socialist utopia of a perfectly informed and perfectly benevolent central planner.
Meanwhile, putting libertarians themselves third on the list of culprits for inducing confusion between market principles and corporate domination seems both too generous and too kind. The blame, such as it is, ought to land not on vaguely named “libertarians” and certainly not on a set of ideological principles. But at the same time, the predominant cause of people seeing libertarians as shills for business interests is the fact that an awful lot of shilling for business interests does, in fact, take place under the banner of self-described libertarian institutions.
It’s awkward, in these circumstances, to bring up the Cato Institute. And of course Cato engages in many activities that have nothing to do with any corporate interests. And much of this work is exemplary—particularly in the realm of national security where Cato has often been willing to tread on terrain that other mainstream DC policy organizations seem to deem too risky.
That said, it’s striking to me that on what would seem to me to be the simple and straightforward libertarian case that we should make Social Security benefits less generous, Cato has nothing much to say. Instead, it has an elaborate Project on Social Security Choice aimed at restructuring the program into one of mandatory, privately managed savings accounts. It’s not immediately obvious to me what this proposal has to do with libertarianism, but it would seem to offer some prospect of profits for fund managers. Whether monetary contributions from individuals working in the financial services industry, or else a desire to align more closely with the partisan political agenda of the Republican Party (itself largely dominated by the interests of American business rather than free market principles), or some combination of the two motivate the preference is beyond my ability to say.
Similarly, the free-market case for a revenue-neutral carbon pricing scheme seems fairly impeccable to me. But instead of organizing its climate change efforts around seeking to ensure that any future carbon pricing plan be as close to revenue neutral as possible, Cato prefers to steadfastly defend the rights of industry to unload air pollution unimpeded. Or consider the fact that Randal O’Toole is indignant about the prospect of public expenditures on mass transit systems, but appears to have little to say about public funding of highways. This, too, looks more like a case of narrow business interests than sterling free market principles.
That said, the larger problem is that libertarianism, even at its very best, tends to suffer from an impoverished set of ideas about how corporate domination of the public policy space might be prevented. The political left has, by contrast, the tradition of community organizing, a set of public interest advocacy organizations, allies in the trade union movement, efforts to improve the quality and independence of the civil service, and various notions about changing the methods by which campaigns are financed in the United States. This is hardly a perfect toolkit, and it can be enhanced in some ways by drawing on libertarian insights, but it’s something. And libertarians tend to be either indifferent or hostile to it, campaigning against public financing, strong labor unions, and the civil service.
In practice, libertarianism seems to have little to say about how to bring about political change except to work hand-in-hand with business lobbies when the interests of business and free markets are aligned, or else when business interests are masquerading as libertarianism. Print Article Send article cato institute 1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. · Washington D.C. 20001-5403 Phone: (202) 842-0200 · Fax: (202) 842-3490 All Rights Reserved, ©2008 Cato Institute

Friday, November 14, 2008

Necessity and inevitability of world-union

Towards The Rebirth Of India by Aju Mukhopadhyay
More than 60 years have passed from the beginning of our journey as a free nation. We have achieved much; economically, scientifically and technically. Yet what about the spiritual element which has attracted followers throughout the world?

Sri Aurobindo Or The Yogi Of The Life Divine- 9th installment- To Thee Our Infinite Gratitude by Aju Mukhopadhyay
To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee.

Sri Aurobindo Or The Yogi Of The Life Divine. 8th instalment- The Ideal Of Human Unity by Aju Mukhopadhyay
“We may rely, if on nothing else, on the evolutionary urge and, if on no other greater hidden power, on the manifest working and drift of intention in the world Energy we call Nature to carry mankind at least as far as the necessary next step to be taken, a self preserving next step. . . the necessity and inevitability of some kind of world-union.”

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Indian concept of leadership is based on the ‘Rajarshi’ model

The afternoons are occupied with studying selected readings such as Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’s Right Attitude to Work, On Self Perfection, Living Within, Growing Within ...

The Indian concept of leadership is based on the ‘Rajarshi’ model which is a combination of “Raja” and “Rishi”. Rishi (seer, visionary) is the base and Raja (who ensures the happiness of the people) is the superstructure.

Following are the characteristics of a Rishi: a) Gives priority to ‘ROLE’ over ‘SELF’ (e.g. role of Raja in Sri Ram in the Ramayana while banishing Sita). b) Translates cosmic order into social order. Cosmic order has four components: wisdom, power, protection and work. These were translated into – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras.c) Has solitude, silence and sincerity in his character.

The seven-step exercise of Module 1 is supplemented by the following for experiencing a sense of unity:

Imagine radiating from the psychic centre waves of rays of peace, harmony and bliss to everyone, friend or foe; imagining sharing one’s inner serenity with all without exception, particularly those who are antagonistic (pratipaksha bhavana) without any expecta­tion of any sort of return. This concept is taken from Buddhist psychology and linked to Karma Yoga.

imagine the radiant globe within the centre of the chest moving out to the centre of the room, converging with those of all other participants and becoming a unified luminous whole.

imagine the individual luminous cores detaching from the central unity and returning within oneself carrying with each the profound unity experienced with the others. These uses of the dynamic imagination are Prof. Chakraborty’s own creation.

Module 3 takes place after about three months for two successive forenoons, the theme being “Managing Stress, Communication and Counselling.” It emphasises that identifying the causes of stress is the most important factor for managing stress and for this he has emphasised on the following points:

There is a growing feeling in management circles that some amount of stress is good as it can act as a driving force for doing some job or performing some task perfectly. But stress is basically negative and leads to drainage of energy. Thus, those who claim that some amount of stress is necessary probably mean ‘stress’ as ‘challenge’ which acts as a stimulus. Therefore, ‘challenge’ is an energy stimulator whereas ‘stress’ is an energy dissipater.

However, a person who is challenged can also be subjected to stress. But the ideal should be transition from the state of stress to a state of challenge. (Gita Chapter–I Verses 28 and 29: Arjun’s stress at the outset of war. Sri Krishna pulled him up from that state of stress to a state of challenge.)

Theoretical explanation of causes of stress: The Panchakosha tattva or the Five-Sheath Model (taken from the Taittiriya Upanishad) Panchakosha means five concentric outlines of the human frame:1. Annamaya Kosha: The outermost material sheath. 2. Pranamaya Kosha : The vital life force and protected by the Annamaya Kosha. 3. Manomaya kosha: The mental sheath. 4. Vijnanamaya kosha: The wisdom sheath.5. Anandamaya kosha: The sheath of bliss.

Stress belongs to the first three sheaths i.e. from Annamaya to Manomaya kosha. The remaining two i.e. the Vijnanamaya and the Anandamaya koshas are absolutely stress free. Our problem is that we jumble up these five sheaths and thereby stress is produced. The exercise involves concentrating on two sets of imagery for tackling stress after going through the steps described above:

Imagine within the psychic centre the image of a sea which is turbulent on the surface but calm underneath, and seek to identify with the harmony beneath the ever-changing surface, detaching from the chaotic surface.

Imagine praise being poured into one ear and abuse into the other, remaining unmoved in the midst of both, centered in the luminous heart-centre to achieve steady inner poise. Prof. Chakraborty has given this final module an intricate conceptual design:

Vikshepa (Stress) –––– Samatva (Poise) –––– Ananda (Bliss) Duality Equality Unity Torment Equanimity Bliss Secular Sacro-Secular Sacred Executive Self Witness Self Divine Self Objective Reality Subjective Reality All is Reality Leela Nitya Leela — Nitya

These psycho-physical exercises aim to achieve the following goals: purify the nerve channels which interlink the memory base (chitta), the manas (seat of emotions and feelings), discriminating intellect (buddhi), and intuitive wisdom (prajna). They need to be de-contaminated so that the process of transmission to the intellect is not distorted or left incomplete. Concentrating on the intellect is fruitless because it gets its material from elsewhere. Mindful breathing can clean the channels so that prajna can link the individual to the infinite or transcendent consciousness. strengthen will-power; increase the power of penetrating insight; develop the holistic, synthesising, expansive capability;acquire a tranquil inner world; enable the mind to provide its own authentic feedback;pursue ethico-moral fitness; capture the awareness of unity.

As for the principles of communication, these are derived from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother [On Self Perfection parts II, IV and On Work]: “Never utter a word when you are angry”; “outburst of anger or temper means the tongue is projecting bad vibrations into the atmosphere. Nothing is more contagious than the vibration of sound”; “Don’t allow the impulse of speech to assert itself too much or say anything without reflection—speak always with a conscious control”; “if there is gossip about others and harsh criticism, don’t join—they only lower the consciousness from the higher level”; “cultivate the habit not to throw yourself out constantly into spoken words”; “the less one speaks of other—even praise—the better it is. Already it is difficult to know exactly what happens in oneself, how to know then with certainty what is happening in others”; “you must criticise nothing unless you have at the same time a conscious power and an active will in you to dissolve or transform the movements you criticise”; “to discourage is wrong. But false or wrong encouragement is not right. Very often if an inner communication has been established, a silent pressure is more effective than anything else”; "What is needed for success in the outward field is the power to transmit calmly a Force that can change men’s attitude and the circumstances and make any outward action at once the right thing to do and effective”; “one must state only what one wishes to see realized.”

The entire question of Effectiveness is seen as a combination of Values and Skills. The former is the process of Becoming in the inner world through which the Skills for Doing in the external world are processed. That is why honing Skills alone cannot possibly lead to effectiveness. Values themselves can be seen in a two-fold manner; as means (i.e. HOW to act) and ends (i.e. WHAT to aim for, the goals). The experience of management is that most organizations have personnel who are strong in skills and weak in values. Questionnaires administered to a wide spec­trum of practising managers has elicited the same response time and again: they would prefer to have personnel less skilled but with a strong base in the right values because they realize that management devoid of values becomes mere manipulation just as politics bereft of philosophy degenerates into opportunism.

So much stress is laid on Creativity in management literature ignoring the fact that the individual spark of creativity is a part of the Creator himself. Yoga establishes that legitimate contact between the individual spark and its source. Hence the necessity for stressing the right-brain which intuits supra-logically, as against the overwhelming left-brain approach of education which only analyses. It is by quietening the left brain that we allow the right half to come up. In a conversation with Rene Weber, the physicist David Bohm stated that the mathematician’s creative perceptions take place when “The veil of the mind is parted. The mind is caught in things that it takes for granted. The ordinary low-energy mind just goes through things over and over and takes its old assumptions for granted, but this high-energy dissolves the veil so that the mind can function on a new level.”

As Tagore wrote, “keep your flute empty so that the flute player can play his tune through it.”Brain-storming becomes most effective if preceded by brain-stilling.This is the flute of the heart and mind of the individual that Tagore speaks of which has to be cleansed of impurities so that the music of the Creator can flow through it. This is the aim of the exercises described above. Posted by Dr. Pragya bajaj Labels: , , at 12:58 PM

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The petition said certain description of Sri Aurobindo was unacceptable and appealed for a ban on the publication of the book

Orissa HC sets condition for release of Sri Aurobindo's biography
Cuttack, Nov 5 (UNI)

Orissa High Court has directed the publisher of a biography on the life of Sri Aurobindo, penned by Peter Heehs, not to release the book in India without obtaining a no objection certificate from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Union Home Ministry.

Acting on a petition filed by one Geetanjali Devi of Balasore, a division bench of Orissa High Court, comprising Justice I M Quddusi and Justice B P Ray, yesterday instructed Penguin Publishers to get the no objection certificate from the two Ministries before releasing the biography in India.

The biography, published by Colombia University Press, has already been released in the United States while Penguin Publishers is slated to release the book in India this month.

The division bench also directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to examine in detail the contents of the book and submit its report to the court by December 15 on the allegations of certain defamatory comments on the spiritual leader held in high esteem by the people of the country.

The petitioner alleged that the book is blasphemous in nature and the writer has made several aspersions on the life and character of Sri Aurobindo, regarded as philosopher, sage, poet and freedom fighter by the countrymen.

The petition further said the author, who claimed to be a scholar and one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, had also made a certain description of Sri Aurobindo which was unacceptable and appealed for a ban on the publication of the book.

The division bench, while issuing notice to the publishers, has sought affidavit from the two Ministries and fixed December 15 as the next date of hearing. 1:03 PM 9:24 AM 8:57 AM 7:18 AM 1:13 PM Subscribe to Newsletter

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A collective advance towards the light, power, peace, unity, harmony

Sri Aurobindo

Politics, society, economy are in the first form of human life simply an arrangement by which men collectively can live, produce, satisfy their deires, enjoy, progress in bodily, vital and mental efficiency; but the spiritual aim makes them much more than this,

  • first, a framework of life within which man can seek for and grow into his real self and divinity,
  • secondly, an increasing embodiment of the divine law of being in life,
  • thirdly, a collective advance towards the light, power, peace, unity, harmony of the diviner nature of humanity which the race is trying to evolve.

This and nothing more but nothing less, this in all its potentialities, is what we mean by a spiritual culture and the application of spirituality to life.

Those who distrust this ideal or who cannot understand it are still under the sway of the European conception of life which for a time threatened to swamp entirely the Indian spirit. But let us remember that Europe itself is labouring to outgrow the limitations of its own conceptions and precisely by a rapid infusion of the ideas of the East, - naturally, essential ideas and not the mere forms, - which have been first infiltrating and are now more freely streaming into Western thought, poetry, art, ideas of life, not to overturn its culture, but to transform, enlighten and aggrandise its best values and to add new elements which have too long been ignored or forgotten. It will be singular if while Europe is thus intelligently enlarging herself in the new light she has been able to seize and admitting the truths of the spirit and the aim at a divine change in man and his life, we in India are to take up the cast-off clothes of European thought and life and to straggle along in the old rut of her wheels, always taking up today what she had cast off yesterday. We should not allow our cultural independence to be paralysed by the accident that at the moment Europe came in upon us, we were in a state of ebb and weakness, such as comes some day upon all civilisations. That no more proves that our spirituality, our culture, our leading ideas were entirely mistaken and the best we can do is vigorously to Europeanise, rationalise, materialise ourselves in the practical' parts of life, - keeping perhaps some spirituality, religion, Indianism as a graceful decoration in the background, - than the great catastrophe of the war proves that Europe's science, her democracy, her progress were all wrong and she should return to the Middle Ages or imitate the culture of China or Turkey or Tibet. Such generalisations are the facile falsehoods of a hasty and unreflecting ignorance.

We have both made mistakes, faltered in the true application of our ideals, been misled into unhealthy exaggerations. Europe has understood the lesson, she is striving to correct herself; but she does not for this reason forswear science, democracy, progress, but purposes to complete and perfect them, to use them better, to give them a sounder direction. She is admitting the light of the East, but on the basis of her own way of thinking and living, opening herself to truth of the spirit, but not abandoning her own truth of life and science and social ideals. We should be as faithful, as free in our dealings with the Indian spirit and modern influences; correct what went wrong with us; apply our spirituality on broader and freer lines, be if possible not less but more spiritual than were our forefathers; admit Western science, reason, progressiveness, the essential modern ideas, but on the basis of our own way of life and assimilated to our spiritual aim and ideal; open ourselves to the throb of life, the pragmatic activity, the great modem endeavour, but not there- fore abandon our fundamental view of God and man and Nature. There is no real quarrel between them; for rather these two things need each other to fill themselves in, to discover all their own implications, to awaken to their own richest and completest significances. Page-431 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Foundation Of Indian Culture Volume-14 > The Renaissance In India-2

If the majority of Indians had indeed made the whole of their lives religion in the true sense of the word, we should not be where we are now; it was because their public life became most irreligious, egoistic, self-seeking, materialistic that they fell.