Thursday, July 30, 2009

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga on the mountaintop

[Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Yoga, religion, and fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga Community by Lynda Lester
Debashish on Sun 30 Nov 2008 03:42 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Dear Ned, Let me speak for myself. "Inadequacies and flaws" are a given in what is known as "the human condition" and I cannot claim any other kind of condition for myself. But that said, I am not making any claim to stand for "truth" or against "falsehood." What I am standing for here is simply the right of ignorance to struggle for and discover knowledge. What I am standing against are knowledge-claims which try to force themselves on the world... Indeed, this is a judgment call, and I cannot speak for anyone else, only myself. From my sense of the stakes involved in this case, at this time and place, I feel called upon to take this stand. Our growth from "inadequacies and flaws" are not the better achieved on the mountaintop; it is through action that we must grow. (I know Koantum may say it is equally achieved on the mountaintop and I will not argue with that; for me, at least, it is "not better achieved" on the mountaintop). Reply]

[A Chronology of Modern Indian Art and Thematic Considerations By Debashish Banerji
Debashish on Tue 10 Mar 2009 10:25 PM PDT Permanent Link (Click this link to see the Contours of Modernity Picture Gallery) Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
The regime of modernity in India can be said to begin from the turn of the 17th/18th c. with the setting up of trading interests in Calcutta by the British East India Company. The British occupation of India swiftly replaced the indigenous miniature schools with naturalistic Company Painting and institutional forms such as art salons and art schools generated a new breed of Indian elite painters who turned to oils and water colors in a British style, though often with Indian subjects from myth, portraiture or landscape... Rameshwar Broota, on the other hand, distills a bleak essence of the human condition with his hirsute ape-like monumental forms standing blankly in dark landscapes. An unrelieved monotony and stark animality seem like unbreakable chains invisibly tied to this form of self, which is less national or individual than the global anonymous image of dehumanized modernity... While spirituality in the Indian context is justifiably seen by many as a trite buzzword or an essentialized form of cultural economy prioritized by Orientalists and used as a convenient device of modern self-labeling by nationalists, spiritual practices continue to proliferate in a variety of ways throughout the subcontinent and the quest for the liberation of consciousness from every form of subjection continues to be an individual possibility not merely for Indians but as an active discursive field available to the world. Contemporary Indian artists, while they have been wary of exotic or romantic definitions of Indian spirituality, have not kept themselves incubated from the expression of specific ideas, practices and experiences emanating from yogic traditions.]

[Here, he is saying (as per the reviewer since I have not read the book) that Science should make its "pure" seeking for Knowledge subservient to the human condition of suffering. Of course, Science, though it claims its "purity" and "freedom" from social concerns is already tainted by much worse than what the Dalai Lama is calling for, as has been brought home by contemporary philosopher-critics of the Enlightenment. More specifically, Science form the beginning obeys a hidden subservience to the purposes of Power - control, manipulation and exploitation for the possession and enjoyment of the object of scientific attention through Technology. If this is recognized, then "Science" should not find it difficult to uplift is subjection from the "rajasic" or "asuric" to the "sattwic" and "daivic" subservience that the Dalai Lama is suggesting. However, the dialog on compassion is an attempt to translate to a different cultural field the nomos of the Indic field of Knowledge. Here, Knowledge is subservient to the specific practical goal of an ontological transformation which answers to a proposed solution to the human condition. A field of modern subjetive Science can avoid the hubris and lack of the totalistic nomos of western objective Science by founding itself on these practical and dialogic bases. DB Re: "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality" by the Dalai Lama Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Debashish on Sat 18 Nov 2006 04:22 PM PST Profile Permanent Link Reply]

[It's interesting though, that in the genre of portrait painting, I have yet to come across a "subjective" interpretation of Sri Aurobindo or the Mother. It seems here that the closer to reality the painting, the truer to the "divine image." But then, if this "reality" betrays any "physiological blemishes", it is not considered satisfying. If there is anything to these cultural histories of taste, then we have to ask the question as to whether these are unchanging essences and "never the twain shall meet" or whether they can be related or even synthesized? And if the second is possible, is there only one way to relate and synthesize them or many? Contemporary western art practice also grapples with issues of this kind. The mid-19th c. saw a wholesale rejection of "naturalism" in art in favor of "subjectivism." But contemporary practice has come to assert that the "naturalistic" or "illusionistic" is no less subjective than the "expressionistic." The photographic signifier hides and discloses the subjective signified. Our practices of reading have tuned to an objective-subjective taste as a result. This indeed is one kind of synthesis and I find the Lives of Sri Aurobindo very successful in this regard. I find no lack of "spiritual look" in it, just another kind of representation which bridges the eastern and western tropes in one way. Perhaps our friends with the so-called "Indian look" can try to do the same in their own way, instead of this sad rejection and aggressive hostility? DB Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Debashish on Thu 16 Oct 2008 09:24 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link Reply]

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