The Life Divine – Reading Group, Session #3 [6/14]


(john davis) #107

Interesting, Durwin. I am very drawn to the ‘invisible architecture’, that can be brought to our attention, with a more subtle awareness of field dynamics and creative questions. Shared attention, like love, is a skill. Being able to listen to the song of that nightingale, with Keats, and his negative capability, is a way to wake up to that ever present origin.

(Durwin Foster) #108

I am not convinced I can ethically participate on this site right now, given my background as a therapist. Growing up in a spiritual commune, my boundaries are different, much more fluid, and I could easily cross someone’s boundaries in the interests of truth-telling (as I see it). And my anxiety gets raised, and I am not sure it is worth it either.

(john davis) #109

I appreciate that, Durwin, and the anxiety can run high as we live in a world with nefarious strangers. And yet you love your children and will take risks if the next world can be a little bit better for them than it was for us. I take lots of risks for the little ones, for those that I shall never meet, who will never know my name. And like, Emily Dickinson, I tell the truth but tell it slant. Good luck, Durwin, you are a good man, and may the force go with you.

(Durwin Foster) #110

I can’t find anything by Almaas on politics, my focus for today. If you are aware of anything, @johnnydavis54, kindly point me to it.

(john davis) #111

Sorry, Durwin, I cant think of anything right off the bat. I have been away from Almaas for awhile. I read most of his books back in the 90s and he made a big impression but I dont remember much about his politics. My guess is he is probably a pretty liberal kind of guy. I have yet to read his most recent book which sits upon an unread pile. Someone around here should know.

(Ed Mahood) #112

While I think I know what you’re saying, I say, “no risk, no fun.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time in Germany, it’s that a little (well, even a lot of) directness never hurt anyone.

(Durwin Foster) #113

I tend to be diplomatic in service of making connections between people. That said, the shadow of that is becoming chameleon like, which isn’t so healthy. Thanks for ur input.

(Don Salmon) #114

Durwin, sorry to see you go. Hope you return for one of the future conversations.

(Don Salmon) #115

Hi folks: I still wish I could find some way to make what I’m saying clearer.

I’ve posted below Ken Wilber’s latest clarification of what he means by “Supermind.” rather than taking what I’m saying as a “judgment” of Ken, maybe this is a better way of saying it: Based on my understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s use of the word he coined, (Supermind), what ken is saying really has nothing to do with it, and in many ways, is either the opposite or at least in contradiction.

One perhaps simple of way of conveying this - according to SrI Aurobindo (I hasten to repeat - he may be wrong and he may be insane - I’m only trying to convey what I understand him to be saying) what we see as “laws of nature” or constants in the universe are reflections of the intelligence of the supramental consciousness; it appears again as instincts in animals and intuition in humans. As far as I know, this is something recognized in Vedic, Buddhist, Plotinian, Kabbalistic and many other contemplative traditions.

Keeping that in mind, here is the clarification from Ken:

The difference between supermind and Big Mind (if we take Big Mind to mean the state experience of nondual Suchness, or turiyatita) is that Big Mind can be experienced or recognized at virtually any lower level or rung. Magic to Integral. In fact, one can be at, say, the Pluralistic stage, and experience several core characteristics of the entire sequence of state-stages (gross to subtle to causal to Witnessing to Nondual), although, of course, the entire sequence, including nondual Suchness, will be interpreted in Pluralistic terms. This is unfortunate in many ways—interpreting Dharma in merely Pluralistic terms (or Mythic terms, or Rational, and so on)—because it is so ultimately reductionistic; but it happens all the time, given the relative independence of states and structures at 1st and 2nd tier.

Supermind, on the other hand, as a basic structure-rung (conjoined with nondual Suchness) can only be experienced once all the previous junior levels have emerged and developed, and as in all structure development, stages cannot be skipped. Therefore, unlike Big Mind, supermind can only be experienced after all 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-tier junior stages have been passed through. While, as Genpo Roshi has abundantly demonstrated, Big Mind state experience is available to virtually anybody at almost any age (and will be interpreted according to the View of their current stage), supermind is an extremely rare recognition. Supermind, as the highest structure-rung to date, has access to all previous structures, all the way back to Archaic—and the Archaic itself, of course, has transcended and included, and now embraces, every major structural evolution going all the way back to the Big Bang. (A human being literally enfolds and embraces all the major transformative unfoldings of the entire Kosmic history—strings to quarks to subatomic particles to atoms to molecules to cells, all the way through the Tree of Life up to its latest evolutionary emergent, the triune brain, the most complex structure in the known natural world.) Supermind, in any given individual, is experienced as a type of “omniscience”—the supermind, since it transcends and includes all of the previous structure-rungs, and inherently is conjoined with the highest nondual Suchness state, has a full and complete knowledge of all of the potentials in that person. It literally “knows all,” at least for the individual.”

(Durwin Foster) #116

I feel confident that I ended up doing the right thing yesterday, AND thanks for the invitation to return.

(Marco V Morelli) #117

Hi everyone, I’m noticing a few discreet themes have come up here, and I’m wondering if it would be helpful to separate these out into distinct topics, such as:

  • Supermind and the Brain (or neuroscience / scientific materialism in general)
  • Wilber and Aurobindo
  • Integral Yoga and Stages of Development
  • Aurobindo and Post/modernism
  • Critiques of Aurobindo

Perhaps as topics arise and pick up some traction on event-based topic, we can split off specific topics for more focused consideration? Then the event topics serve more of a generative function, and readers interested in specific discussions can find those more easily? Let me know if that would be OK with you and I’ll work on teasing apart what I can.

(Durwin Foster) #118

My Thursday task was preparing to speak with this fellow, Adam Jacoby, doing THIS work for pro-democracy forces in India. I am hoping Aurobindo would have approved!

(Ed Mahood) #119

Only today did I get a chance to listen to the recording, which I found delightfully informative. There are, of course, a couple of thoughts I had, and since I couldn’t take part in the discussion, I thought it best to just drop them in here in case they are of interest to anyone after the fact.

At many points in the discussion, the image of Sri Aurobindo’s “argument” was used. I found this a somewhat quirky way of describing what he is doing in his text, for I don’t see him advancing an argument at all. I’m sure he can be read as if he were attempting to build some sort of system or forging an hermeneutic framework for understanding our human predicament, analogous, say, to what Gebser does in The Ever-present Origin. But, whereas Gebser had a flash of insight, as he described it, and then went about gathering detailed, “physical” evidence that lent credence to that insight. In doing so, he recognized that the “driver” underlying the process was, for lack of a better word at the moment, spiritual at core. Given the “tradition” in which Gebser found himself, this was, at least to my mind, a wise decision, but it enables anyone who is, let us say, less spiritually inclined, to (even) “overlook” that small detail and engage more or less the framework itself, which it turns out is a very helpful one in the end.

From what little I know about Sri Aurobindo, he was well versed in that tradition, but he had another, his native one, if you will, which he could fall back on to help explicate his own insight. He does so, I believe, with great attention to detail and with a view to “defining his terms” which we “moderns” love so well, but given the scope of his “vision” (and I’m using that term not in the sense of what he “imagined”, but rather in the sense of what he “saw”) this is a very necessary approach. In other words, my feeling is that he is describing and then “explaining” (making intelligible) what it is he is describing. The scope of what he is describing is, however, immense.

Whereas Gebser is telling us how we humans got from A to B, Aurobindo is telling us, “And by the way, a similar process obtains with everything else”. His scope is, one could say, Steinerian, for Rudolf Steiner is also concerned with describing what he “saw” and, like Aurobindo, it includes everything else. We humans are one particular manifestation, a very specific and effective (in the sense that we cause lots of effects, not all of which are beneficial or even intended) manifestation, and – and here Gebser is back on board – we are the result of a very long development that isn’t close to being over, provided we don’t do ourselves in in the (cosmically considered) short-term.

Now – and I hope no one takes what I’m about to say the wrong way – I don’t see that what he is saying is new or novel. What is worth noting and what is truly worthy of our admiration and respect is that he has attempted say (again) what others were (have been) saying single-handedly, and he is doing so in a way that – regardless of how difficult it is to follow the text in detail – is accessible to we human beings in the 20th/21st century. The notion of involution-evolution is an ancient one. For the longest time, it was the only one … it was a given that we humans (upon whom we can focus because it speaks to us so directly) were descended from the gods, if you will, and we have the obligation to find our way back, so to speak. This is a universal, not specifically “Eastern” or “Western”, notion.

With the materialist turn in science, we ignored the involution side of the curve for materialistically there is nothing to involve. Our up-from-the-big-bang also fit well with the arrow-of-time we accepted as the sole model of temporal truth. Alternate ways of knowing were, for myriad reasons (few of them truly sound, however), suppressed, and could only be found “underground” in the ancient mystery schools and in Hermeticism, and the esoteric expressions of mainstream religion, such as Gnosticism (which in general wrapped itself around its own axle) and Kabbalah. Most recently these have been making something of a comeback as we have recognized the harsh limitations that a materialistic inclination imposes on the search for a more satisfying and comprehensive understanding of Reality itself.

For my part, I agree wholeheartedly with @Matteo and @Don_Salmon that trying to read this text with any kind of an analytical inclination (or habit) will make it much tougher going. I’m not convinced that one need “understand” the text, as it were, to my mind, grokking may be a more applicable approach: read it with the heart first, you can always read it with your head later.

(Frederick Dolan) #120

If postmodernists believe that the great modernist philosophers tried to create intellectual systems that take into account all of reality, they’re dead wrong! A, maybe the, central theme of modern philosophy from Descartes and Kant on is the attempt to appreciate and establish the limits of cognition and knowledge. There are of course honorable exceptions but this is what unites rationalists like Kant with empiricists like Locke and Hume (one could also include in this line Schopenhauer and Nietzsche). Skepticism, it seems to me – is this controversial? – is the characteristic attitude of modernity.