The Life Divine – Reading Group, Session #7 (with guest scholar Debashish Banerji) [7/12]

recording

(Douglas Duff) #21

Quick Disclaimer, explanation and thank you:

Only want to make others aware, those unfamiliar with the website and, in particular, with the online discussions (on the forum) vs the Zoom conversations, that anything listed in the threads before the conversation needn’t necessarily be brought into the Zoom conversation. To bring our discussion here into this evening’s discussion, in my opinion, could potentially “infect” the conversation with a preconceived directionality, and this would not be fair to others, especially those that do not participate in the conversations. With that said…I love this discussion right now!

I will speak only for myself: I have read Heidegger’s essay (twice now!), Banerji’s article listed above nearly twice, and listened, thought about, dreamt upon the topic at hand. Yet, being in perpetual catch-up mode with my own mind along with the readings, and, being a novice to philosophical and, well, any discussion, I am unable to discuss at any length with any coherence. We do not have a group like “Bay Area Heideggerians” meeting here in Kentucky any time soon, so I seek my intellectual stimulus here. We are all teachers and students (or both, neither or something else) and welcome thoughtful conversations. “Infinite Conversations is a forum dedicated to cooperative dialogue among intellectual peers.”

I originally posted this question of technology in relation to Aurobindo’s thought (among other questions) to seek confirmation of what I read, where my thoughts travel when reading such material, etc. As a whole, the group can be seen as bringing in our own expertise, some from the field of science, or from spirituality, or from historical analysis; some with a deep knowledge of particular thinkers, some with an endless list of “yeah-I’ve-read-that; you-might-like” responses. Overall, we greatly appreciate the meta-reflexive infusion of various thoughts, thinkers, threads into some sort of cohesion. I personally find this site as a safe place for a nervous novice like me to release my untamed thoughts into the cyber-wilderness after having been caged for an entire lifespan; I need a guide to help me acclimate to this wild new world of intellectual thought. Your contributions are quite welcome here @fmdolan and, now speaking for all, an impertinent tone has not been uttered in your writing, and we (I) thank you kindly for continuing this discussion. If technology allowed, we might be inclined to clone you…how’s that for questioning our Being?!


“God is near,
Yet hard to sieze.
Where there is danger,
The rescue grows as well.”

–opening lines of Hölderlin’s Patmos (translation here)
(“Where there is danger/The rescue grows as well.” (often?) translated as “But where danger is, grows/The saving power also.” in Heidegger’s essay)


I do not know if the reading that follows will answer any questions, or comment directly upon the comments above, but it does add some substance and connective tissue to the discussion.

From Banerji's closing remarks "Utopia or Dystopia?" in "Individuation, Cosmogenesis and Technology: Sri Aurobindo and Gilbert Simondon"

Is this the inexorable future utopia towards which global humanity is moving today with its p2p smart phones and other networked digital prosthetics and bionics? Is the experience of ‘being conscious of the whole world at the same time’, announced by the Mother as the distant goal of an arduous spiritual development just a form of cheap purchase universally bestowed upon humanity through the transindividuation of technology? Was Heidegger’s ontological subjection by the new mode of Being’s disclosure through technology, seen as modernity’s episteme, but a mistaken identification of a passing phase for the noons of the future?

Simondon’s brilliance has been acknowledged by many major thinkers of his and our times. One of his greatest contemporaries, who reviewed his thesis with unreserved praise and borrowed heavily from him in his own work, was Gilles Deleuze, and one of the great philosophers of our times, who continues to be indebted to him and thinks using his concepts of psychic and collective individuation, is Bernard Stiegler. Writing in the 1980s, Deleuze, in his Postscript to Societies of Control, warns about the mutations of capital from the industrial to the postindustrial age. If the ubiquitous presence of the machine extended an era of biopolitics related to the disciplining of human bodies in keeping with the needs of industry in the age of thermodynamic machines, o**ur age of information processing sees a new kind of subjection. The miniaturization and invisibility of the machine hides its versatile and flexible control over human lives. The enhanced flexibility of work and movement, increased plethora of choices and extended reach over time and space present a commodified freedom and happiness, within which capital controls human lives, denying true creative engagement with preindividual being, which would make possible new individuations. Similarly, in our own times, Bernard Stigler has warned about real-time corporate and governmental profiling and targeting, fragmentation of subjectivity through chronic technologies of attention capture and the remaking of public memories through mnemo-technics.**

What Simondon saw as the promise of a new utopian phase of human–machine transduction/ transindividuation leading to an individual and collective cosmogenesis is not a given that will arise automatically through the press of new buttons. Simondon was not oblivious to these dangers. The transindividuation of humans and their co-individuation with machines could move, in his opinion, towards the fulfilment of its positive possibilities, only following the break from conditioning, the habitual structures of the ‘inter-individual’ and the emergence of individuating personal agency. In asserting this, Simondon aligns himself with Nietzsche, drawing on the latter’s rendition of Zarathustra, the prophet who extricates himself from his entanglement with the crowd that has embraced mediocrity, devoid of aspiration, through a period of isolation and silence. This asceticism and the related parable of the funambulist lays the ground for the conditions of subjective agency towards transindividuation, a preparation not dissimilar from that enunciated by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, drawing on the traditions of yoga for their own purposes of planetary unity. Moreover, as articulated by the prophet at the end of the parable, what is further required is the need for a milieu of like individuals available and ready for transindividuation, collective conditions requiring a wresting of the individual from the ubiquitous co-optation of global capital, analogous to the call given by Heidegger in his analysis of modern technology.

Looking at the yoga of Sri Aurobindo, the arduous subjective disciplines necessary for ‘the triple transformation’ also need a milieu dedicated to inner development for its habitus, something less and less possible in our present age globally networked for corporate interests of production, seduction and consumption. Yet, to speak about an expansion or integration of consciousness without recourse to an engagement with technology is a romanticism that wills its self-exile and eventual obsolescence in the face of a globalizing technical milieu. New experimental collective environments are required for the development of subjective technologies (technics) freed from conditioning and rendered creative to co-individuate alongside distributed ensembles of information processing. Simondon’s techno-aesthetic milieu and Sri Aurobindo’s expansion of consciousness through yoga need creative engagement with a world culture made available through new forms of McLuhan’s ‘global village’ dedicated to perpetual cosmogenetic individuation. In this regard, it may be noted that McLuhan’s play with the quasi-agency of media—‘the media is the message/massage’—opens the bivalent potentia of technology theorized by Simondon. As the ‘massage’, technological media make us over, subjecting us to the technocapitalist Empire, but as the ‘message’, technical objects are themselves the content mediating transindividuation. For this, enhanced subjective disciplines of psychisization and cosmisization as per Sri Aurobindo, or psychic and collective individuation as per Simondon, moving towards the self-making of new subjects ‘conscious of the whole world at the same time’ must arise as the subjective correlate of co-individuating technical ensembles under experimental conditions of the collective life. This is the promise of the future but it needs relational posthuman agency and a subjectivity that can measure itself against the objective materialization of the cosmos in the form of global technology.

(Click the arrow image above to reveal “hidden” text; note: bold/italicized phrases in Baneji’s text are mine)

"what is further required is the need for a milieu of like individuals available and ready for transindividuation, collective conditions requiring a wresting of the individual from the ubiquitous co-optation of global capital, analogous to the call given by Heidegger in his analysis of modern technology. " – I think this phrase sums up what we often experience here on Infinite Conversations, in the communities that @Don_Salmon mentioned in a previous discussion (of how Asheville, NC and other communities are “awakening” and producing "like individuals available and ready for transindividuation) and in various other locals, whether online or physically tangible. Guess we just need to keep going…


(Don Salmon) #22

I love this wild creative slap-dash mad dash into the wilds, back and forth, hither and yon.

Marco wrote: Could ‘Supermind’ (or ‘supramental consciousness’) use technology for its own cosmic end of Sachchidananda? IS what we call ‘technology’ none other than Sachichananda in its instrumental, rationalizing, utilizing form? In what sense is a critique of technology possible from the perspective of the Infinite

I thought these thoughts might provide fertilizer for tonight’s discussion. Debashish, having written a book on Sri Aurobindo’s “paranormal” experiments - might have some interesting thoughts on this.

Marco, it’s my understanding that, according to Sri Aurobindo, what we call “paranormal” is actually normal for the fully realized supramental consciousness - though only after the complete transformation of the body.

So to take one of the established facts of current scientific research, psychokinesis is a human ability, but very very poorly, minimally realized.

For the supramental being with a fully transformed body, there would be essentially no limits for psychokinetic abilities, which I would imagine would negate the necessity of any kind of technology. Telepathy and remote viewing would negate the need for any kind of mobile phones; psychokinesis would provide all physical needs (as it already does in the subtle worlds; we would simply transfer (transfer and include:>))) those abilities to the physical (jagrat, waking state) plane.

I think somewhere in the first few chapters of the Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo alludes to this - that as our technology becomes subtler and subtler - it is reflecting the reality that ALL the capacities that technology provides us are merely reflections of what Consciousness does spontaneously, organically, naturally. Our technology is merely that of the Kali Yuga - a reflection of our deficient alienated, rational consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother give hints throughout their writings that they accept the ancient legends of Atlantis as potentially reflecting an earthly, not merely “mythic” reality - that there may have been civilizations on earth 10,000 (10 million!!!???) years ago which used subliminal (not supramental) abilities to harness the physical energies of the earth plane, but being Trump-like (or worse, Cheney-like) they misused these powers and brought about their downfall. The wisdom of the Vedas is allegedly a recovery of lost wisdom from millennia prior.

For Geoffrey - since at least 40% of physicists believe that psi is impossible, some 55 to 60% of biologists think it is impossible, and in my profession of psychology, nearly 70% (because, as they love to say, they’re smarter about the ways the human mind can fool itself) of psychologists believe it’s smarter (it’s amazing how much psychologists think of themselves when their research is so abysmally poor in terms of replicability!!) - I would say that at least this aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s views is quite at odds with modern science. I would go as far to say for someone who writes, “The world is real PRECISELY because ti exists only in Consciousness” could be said, at least “in a certain sense” to be writing virtually every word in profound opposition to the underlying assumptions of science from Galileo to the present day, quantum physicists notwithstanding (Ulrich Mohrhoff, who has taught physics in the Ashram school for over 30 years and has been published in quite highly respected physics journals, is passionate in his view that quantum physics, whether the “uncertainty” principle or observer or any allegedly “mystical” sounding idea, tells us NOTHING directly about life or mind, much less “supermind” or beyond that, the Divine. On the other hand, he says, if you know how to look at a rock, a stream, a blade of grass, it can tell you infinitely more than any abstract formula. In a conversation I had with internationally renowned nuclear physicist Arthur Zajonc, he basically agreed with Ulrich, though he also acknowledged that his anthroposophical friends had not yet come up with a credible alternative.

And just to continue to be ornery, though virtually everyone I know (most of whom know infinitely more about physics than I do) disagrees with me, I would think with the fully realized supramental consciousness and its paranormal abilities made normal, in a fully supra mentally transformed supramental body, it would not need any of the equations, models, maps, structures, formula, or technology of the physicist as it would have the capacity to simply identity with the Consciousness (Chit Shakti) which is actively forming whatever phenomenon it wishes to study, and hence there would be no need for anything resembling physics, biology, neuroscience or any other thing we think of today as ‘science.’ (which is not really science in the ancient or medieval sense, involving real understanding, but rather, techne - playing with forms and formula with no understanding of what is involved or at stake)

There, now I’ve managed to annoy everybody so I’ll keep quiet until tonight:>))))))))))))))))

Let us count to 12 and then remain silent. Pablo Neruda


(Don Salmon) #23

ah! so much for Silence. I forget this one quotation. regarding science’s current understanding of consciousness, this quote is over 10 years old, but i still find it the best single summary of the current state of knowledge, from philosopher Jerry Fodor:

(here is Fodor’s comment contextualized by Terence Deacon, from a ridiculous article he wrote warning us not to think that “mysticism” is a legitimate alternative!!)

In a 1992 issue of The Times Literary Supplement, the philosopher Jerry Fodor famously complained that: “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious.” In 2011, despite two decades of explosive advances in brain research and cognitive science, Fodor’s assessment still rings true."


And I would add, in 2018 it still rings true - that that “nobody” should be amended to "nobody within the usual world of cognitive science, which as far as I know, still doesn’t even know what “intelligence” is, and if Daniel Siegel is to be believed, mostly has incoherent notions of what “mind” is (when you add to that that most scientists have no idea what “matter” or “energy” or “space” or “time” or "physical’ mean, it seems like some counterpoint to the Icarus complex of the deficient mental structure is greatly needed.

hmmm, i guess the tornado took over again. Oh well, back to silence!


(Ed Mahood) #24

Not to get off topic, but I couldn’t resist … oh, how I love translations from the German. A literal translation, using the same wording (i.e., number of words per line) as Hölderlin, we get:

“Near is
and hard to grasp, G-d.
Where however danger is grows
That which saves as well.”

My edition of his poems includes some fragments to a later version of the poem, which reads (as before):

“Is full of goodness; no one however grasps
Only G-d.
Where however danger is, grows
That which saves as well.”

Whereby, the German word for “goodness” can also be “kindness”, “benevolence”, “beneficence”, and a number of other connotations.

Just a thought.


(Frederick Dolan) #25

(“Where there is danger/The rescue grows as well.” (often?) translated as “But where danger is, grows/The saving power also.” in Heidegger’s essay)

Notoriously difficult to translate this (“Das Rettende”). “Saving power” could be misleading if it suggests “salvation” as something provided by God in the Christian sense. (Though Heidegger famously said “Only a god can save us now” – but a god, not God.) “Rescue” is perhaps more literal. But “Rettung” can also mean “hope,” and to me that makes most sense because the idea that wherever there is danger, it follows or entails that there must be safety or rescue, just doesn’t make sense: surely there are dangers that simply can’t be got round. It seems more reasonable to think that where there’s danger there must be hope. So: “But where danger is, hope also grows.”


(Ed Mahood) #26

Since we’re being playful …

Nobody “officially” believes it’s possible, but that doesn’t stop both institutions (e.g., the Department of Defense) and private individuals (was is Mr. McDonnell or was it Mr. Douglas – of former McDonnell Douglas (Aircraft) fame) from investing triple-digit millions into paranormal research (in this case, psi and remote viewing). Somebody thinks there’s something to be found.

In the early 90s, I, my wife, and a number of “weird friends” of ours were all at Stanford Research Institute one evening for a screening. They were looking for subjects for a remote viewing research project that had just been funded (a double-digit million project as I recall). None of our group made the cut (I’m really bad at stuff like that), but I can assure you there was a whole lot of interest from the front of the room.

Just thought I’d throw that in here.


(Don Salmon) #27

Ed, I can tell you how to succeed:

  1. Learn to maintain awareness from waking into dreaming.
  2. Do this consistently for several months, then sustain awareness in the dream long enough to maintain awareness into deep sleep.
  3. When you return from deep sleep, maintain the same awareness you had in deep sleep

When you can sustain that awareness, with a completely thought-free yet fully awake mind for at least 4 hours, any time you wish, your psi abilities should blossom! (or at least, according to 6th century Theravadin Buddhagosha, they should)

See? Easy:>))

(and you’re right - it’s amazing what scientists will tell you when they think nobody else is watching - but then there’s the former chair of the biology dept from a northeastern university. I sent him a draft of 3 pages on the possibility of intelligence as a causal factor in evolution. The thesis was the on the sole basis of evidence available, it is at least as plausible that intelligence is a causal factor as that it is not. we made a special point of mentioning “intelligent design” and speculating whether it was worse in terms of theology and philosophy or as a pseudo-scientific theory. We concluded by saying that we emphatically rejected intelligent design theory. It was only 3 pages, a quick read. he wrote back saying, “I hate these despicable intelligence design people and when you write something supporting it, i can only say you’re being entirely unscientific.”) sigh. this is why we’re switching to videos instead of writing more books. nobody reads any more.

“Since we’re being playful here…”

2 stories _ I can’t recall, maybe I told both, but I have several psych evals to write, none of which i wish to do and this is more fun so…

Nineteen Ninety Two: Lucid dreaming workshop led by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Just before it starts, i turn to Ed, a sleep physiologist, and we’re chatting away. For some reason, we both start, almost talking simultaneously, saying how important lucid dream ability will be for developing sustainable psi ability. At one point, I said, "Here’s my fantasy psi experiment. We get two lucid dreaming experts, put one of them in New York with Richard Wiseman (a noted psi debunker) and one in San Francisco with Ray Hyman (another psi debunking fanatic). Wiseman tells his lucid dreamer something , the lucid dreamer goes into a shared lucid dream and tells his lucid dreaming friend in San Francisco what Wiseman said, then the SF dreamer wakes up and tells Hyman, and they replicate this flawlessly hundreds of times. Hyman and Wiseman literally “eat their hats,” as previously agreed upon.

Ed turns to his wife, tells her what I just said, and she says, “Wow, you were just telling me about that exact same experiment last night!” (debunkers and locations changed, but otherwise the same)


Psi fun experiment #2:

It’s fall 1997, I’m with 3 other psychology interns at the East orange VA hospital where we are sitting through an excruciatingly boring safety seminar before starting our year long internship. At one point, I turn to one of my interns and say, "Hey, I wonder if i can guess some things about your family background. " She seems game, so we start. At this point, I know she is 29 years old, was raised in a fairly wealthy northern NJ suburb, and has an Italian surname. When I tell her that both of her paternal grandparents were first generation Italian immigrants, and her maternal grandmother was of English background, and maternal grandfather was of German background, she and the other interns listening are intrigued, but nothing much beyond that.

Then - ignoring a LOUD warning voice inside me - I went on, feeling a bit overly adventurous - the previous facts were easily analyzed or due to long years of looking at facial features and guessing cultural backgrounds - I have no idea where the following came from - I said, “and you have a brother. He’s 3 years older than you and is working in finance. he recently moved to England with his wife for his job, and will be there for a year. And she recently became pregnant.”

Big mistake. This pretty much freaked out the neuropsychology interns, who were devoted fundamaterialists. This is why people dont’ talk too much about psi (also because of a vague subliminal sense that psi may actually be real, and human beings will have to be a LOT more mature before it can be a widespread reality - if you want to really ruin your day, imagine DJT with advanced psychokinetic abilities).


(Douglas Duff) #28

Any personal experience with this Don? I am seriously interested in this, though not that serious (yet…). I’ve been thinking about “retreating” to a dark cave for a good, long hibernation…(and my deepest inclination imagines hibernation as the tool that saves the world…), but kids and family first.


(Marco V Morelli) #29

Pretty amazing articulation of what I feel is at stake in our reading on a deeper level. But in order not to “infect” the Life Divine focused conversation tonight, which I agree, Doug, should not require having read this thread or the philosophers mentioned, how about we discuss Banerji’s essay specifically on Tuesday’s Cosmos Café, where the only thing impertinent is the (metaphorical) coffee?

@fmdolan & @Don_Salmon (and anyone one else interested in the topic) : If you can make it on July 17, 2018 11:00 AM (America: Los Angeles), July 17, 2018 2:00 PM (America: New York), July 17, 2018 7:00 PM (Europe: London), July 17, 2018 8:00 PM (Europe: Berlin) — you can join us to talk. (It’s a weekly meeting, with rotating topics.)

Me: I am interested in the politics of supramental self-realization with transindividual agency. Although, what this means in practice is a work in progress.

@Don_Salmon, you write:

I love the speculative aspect of this, but I’m missing the pragmatic. How does the aspiration toward (non-technological) spiritual powers inform the current (real) battles for our time, energy, attention, and life force—and the earth’s natural resources—in service of maximizing profit and investor return? You’ve mentioned elsewhere a politics of ‘open-heartedness,’ with which I resonate. It’s the simple things and minor gestures which often count for the most. But I have to agree with Banerji when he writes:

Yet, to speak about an expansion or integration of consciousness without recourse to an engagement with technology is a romanticism that wills its self-exile and eventual obsolescence in the face of a globalizing technical milieu.

Which I think argues for engaging with the technological…and political (and for that matter, the scientific) on their own terms, even while aspiring to higher planes of being. I am really attracted to psi and lucid dreaming, though, and maybe there is something deeply pragmatic in that, which would change my mind about the above.


(Ed Mahood) #30

Excellent points. I especially like your bringing in of the “hope” option,

Contrary to everyday usage (and I know this is a poem), Hölderlin just doesn’t say Gott, he uses the phrase “der Gott” (Nah ist/Und schwer zu fassen der Gott), which is a bit unusual as well. German article usage is also a challenge for translators, of course.


(Don Salmon) #31

Marco, it’s not speculative (I got into this “debate” with Stephen Phillips about 10 years ago; he wrote a thesis on “Sri Aurobindo’s Theory of the Brahman” - i told him it wasn’t a theory, and supported that by saying he was not working from the mind but rather “seeing.” Phillips replied that in academia, it was completely irrelevant how the person arrived at the words; what mattered is the perception by the academic that the words were a theory." We went back and forth and it resulted in nothing. This is why I thank the Goddess every day that I never had to make a living as a professor!)

I know, I’m getting more and more dogmatic. but I’m sorry, it just makes no sense to look at Sri Aurobindo as speculating. And i would say the same about Rilke, Rumi, Ravel, Rohr (well, maybe Rohr).

The Mother, in the Agenda, repeatedly tells Satprem that perhaps the single most important thing for the transformation of the body is the stubborn, persistent refusal to believe in laws of nature.

Just this morning, there was an op-ed in the Times about depression. In the same endless litany of fundamaterailism, several doctors insisted that the way to destigmatize it was to insist it is only a brain disease, and not a “mental illness.”

Perhaps the most profound, or one of the most profound, ways to “engage” with technology is, instead of writing about it and discussing it, to maintain unflaggingly the practical (not merely speculative) vision that nothing is fixed, there are no “laws,” all habits of nature can be changed, and what we now know as technology is a haphazard way station in the adventure of consciousness.

it is for this reason that in the conclusion of every evaluation I write, I list 4 of the most solidly scientific ways of improving mental health - and medication (our “technology”) in all studies comes out last. it’s my little way of fighting fundamaterialism. This is one of a number of ways I engage with the collective psychosis of our time.

I just heard a "fat activist’ who made a point of taking graduate studies in statistics and research methods state flat out false materialist/positivist views on health and weight loss, the common factor being that the human being is a cipher less helpless pawn against purely material factors.

As Owen Barfield once said, if you look for materialistic evolutionism, you can find its influence virtually everywhere. There are opportunities every second to engage with the insanity of technocentrism, and ultimately, it’s only by fostering in whatever way we can an awakening to the profoundly “other” (but infinitely more tangible, visceral, concrete, edible, joyful, ecstatic, earthy, dirty, fleshy Consciousness which is not other but ONLY) will we get past the deficient, left mode (in McGilchrist’s sense) asuric horror of the psychosis strangling the Delight of the infinite which is al there is (so, no strangling and no tortured cat, but there is a tortured cat too. As Ram Dass said, everything is perfect as it is and it’s all gotta change now.)


(Marco V Morelli) #32

Don, thanks. I love your response and totally agree and am with you especially in…

But these words—

are speculative, no? Unless you can point me to an existing “supramental being with a fully transformed body.” Yes, such a being would have no limits, and I’m not saying not to aspire to become, and work on becoming, such a being—and it sounds like ‘subject permanence’ (aka conscious awareness through dreaming and deep sleep) is a great place to start—but what about the bodies we already have, the technologies (and their powers that be) working on us currently?

The “fully transformed body” could easily fit within a materialist transhumanist narrative. Why not embrace both the quantum bio-nanotech cyborg-based vision of post-humanity AND the spiritual, supramental, siddhi-based one—if we’re going to speculate?


(Don Salmon) #33

Marco - great stuff, and we’re getting very deep into the heart of things here, with regard to the Life Divine, what it is about, how it is written and what it is telling us.

More on “speculation” and what it means - what kind of consciousness it implies, but first, if by “materialist” you’re referring to any kind of physicalism - whether reductionist or the “supervening” kind or any other kind, you’re essentially talking about something that can exist entirely independent of Consciousness. This is literally inconceivable (because as soon as it is conceived of it is being conceptualized in relation to consciousness - mental, but still, consciousness).

it is impossible to establish the existence of such a thing; this concept is absolutely unnecessary for virtually any kind of science (whether methodological naturalism or ontologically speaking). It is the single greatest impediment to the progress of science, and no possible escape for our deficient mental structure is possible as long as we believe in this non empirical faith.

It reflects in “what about the bodies we already have.” In a certain sense, the supramental body “could” be said to be already here - in the sense Sri Aurobindo means when he speaks of the "three times’ as co-existing (past present and future, but NOT physical time - as such time is non existent - rather, it is the movement of Consciousness). So unless anyone can establish even a single reason to believe in materialism, there’s no reason to speak of a materialist transhumanist narrative because by believing in something that not only doesn’t exist, but couldn’t possibly exist, it is, as Huston Smith’s psychiatrist friend pointed out, from a strict DSM-V perspective, a symptom of a psychotic disorder!

Now as to speculation:

I thought this would be troubling, so here’s a few more examples of what I understand of it.

Tonight, when you start the zoom meeting, if you see me on the computer screen coming in and sitting down and say “folks, Don’s arrived.” You’re not speculating, right? You’re describing something of which you have a direct perception. You could be wrong - I might be playing a trick and playing a video of me entering the room, but either way, what you’re saying doesn’t involve the mental process we usually describe as “speculating.”

Similarly assuming the validity of what Sri Aurobindo wrote in the Record of Yoga (we can ask Debashish about this if we wish), his “seeing” of the supramentla body is not a speculation. he may be stark raving mad; i have no problem with that, but clearly, “speculating” is not the mental process he is employing. “The materialist transhumanist narrative,” on the other hand, is clearly a speculation, though to save it, I suppose there may be some genuine intuitive seeing somewhere within it.

I have another example. Go back to the experience I had talking about my sister intern’s family background.

I had such a vivid experience of shifting from one mental process to another, it has stayed with me these 21 years.

In the first part, I was quite clearly analyzing - “speculating” if you wish, but based on reasonable empirical assumptions. It didn’t quite happen this way because it was largely (though not wholly) nonverbal, but it more or less went something like this: "She’s 29, born in 1967, and assuming her parents were at least 20 at the time, they were born in at least as far back as 1947, and assuming her father’s parents were at least or around 20, they would have been born some time in the 1920s. Since her father, with his Italian surname, most likely had at least an Italian-American father, it was a quite reasonable assumption that an Italian American man in the 1920s would most likely have married an Italian American woman. So that was all speculation.

Now, I could quite viscerally feel something shift as I started looking intently at her face. I “saw” first, a kind of roundish quality which for some reason (you can check me on this, Ed!:>) I associated with something “German” - but it was not a conscious association and it didn’t happen that linearly. As i gazed, i just “knew” or “saw” (but it wasn’t an image or a phenomenological perception - it was a different kind of knowing - as i I was entering into her past) “German” and “English.” Now, the next step could easily be seen by skeptics as a 50/50 guess. "German grandmother or grandfather; English grandmother or grandfather.? But I "saw/knew/became. Or rather, it was less and less “me” but something or Something knowing, or Knowing. But there was still a sense of something "here’ and the knowing “there.”

At this point, it really has nothing to do with speculation.

Then, when “something” else took over, “I” was gone altogether. It could almost be described as her brother (but we’re not talking about people or things or places or time and space any more - now it is a vibration, if you will - one vibration across the universe, at this point taking shape as the knowing-of-her-brother-3-years-older-in-finance-living-in-England-for-one-year-with-his-newly-pregnant-wife - the hyphenation indicating it is all a Unity.

Now, all of this is staggeringly primitive and simplistic and nothing compared to Sri Aurobindo’s “Seeing” of the “already accomplished” supramental body" (“already accomplished” as Krishna spoke to Arjuna of not being concerned about slaying the enemy because “they have already been slain by Me” - though not in a deterministic sense!!!)

and this still doesn’t mean that Sri Aurobindo was/is right. he could be wrong and could be a raving mad man. Just that whatever it was, it was not a speculation.


this all may help to explain why I have a problem with Ken Wilber’s description of meditation. I couldn’t figure out over the course of reading his first two books what was off about it, but i think it was in “Transformations of Consciousness” where he first explained why no meditator ever discovered the “structures’ or “levels” of consciousness, because you can’t 'see” levels in meditation.

I didn’t quite know how to articulate the problem with this until I formally studied phenomenological philosophy and phenomenological psychology at west georgia college in the early 1990s. I realized, as one of my professors quite directly told me, that the view there is that there is no “noumenon” - which of course, as Sri Aurobindo said (the world is real precisely because it exists only in consciousness) if that were the case, there could be no phenomenon!

So Wilber’s idea about meditation (I saw this repeated again in his latest’ The religion of tomorrow’ is that it’s primarily a witnessing of phenomena - mental, vital, sensory phenomena. But that isn’t what meditation is at all, even remotely!

So this is an area that requires us to go very very very very very deep into what it means to have a deficient mental consciousness because it seems to me it takes at least a lifetime to even get a glimpse of how deeply we’re embedded in it. It’s worthwhile, it seems to me, to start iwht an assumption that virtually every single belief we have - about the taste of that hummus we’re eating, about desire, about science, about philosophy, about Third Rock from the Sun, about gender, about books, about Michael Jordan, about Michael Jackson, about lawyers, about Trump, about the word “about,” about flowers, swimmers, suns, big bangs, little bangs, guns, rifles, assault weapons, abortions, well, you know, everything - could be wrong.

Or, just be silent and relax and let the Silence come over us and be open to it utterly destroying every infinitesimal assumption we’ve ever had about everything and anything under and over and through and within the sun.


(Frederick Dolan) #34

Don:

if by “materialist” you’re referring to any kind of physicalism - whether reductionist or the “supervening” kind or any other kind, you’re essentially talking about something that can exist entirely independent of Consciousness. This is literally inconceivable (because as soon as it is conceived of it is being conceptualized in relation to consciousness - mental, but still, consciousness).

I’m going to have to disagree a little with this. There’s nothing inconceivable about physical reality or the existence of something independent of consciousness. We’re conceiving such a thing now, in talking about it – that’s true even, indeed especially, if one’s aim is to refute the proposition that something exists independently of consciousness. It just doesn’t follow, from the fact that concepts are mind-dependent, that the objects of concepts are mind-dependent (which I suspect is the confusion here).

In fact, the objects of most of our concepts are mind-independent. We commonly conceive of the things we encounter as existing independently of us. It would be difficult to make sense of the mental entity we call a “belief” (or a proposition or assertion) without the concept of mind-independent things. By its nature, a belief is defeasible: it can be true or false, and what makes it true is that the truth-conditions specified in the belief obtain in the world, i.e. that the facts of the matter correspond to the truth-conditions. If facts didn’t exist independently of beliefs about them, then the latter couldn’t be true or false – and clearly they can be.

To really get at the issues we’d have to introduce some distinctions and specifications. Is the claim that mind-independent things don’t exist, simpliciter? Or is it that facts about mind-independent things don’t exist, that facts are necessarily mind-dependent? With respect to either version of the thesis, does “mind-independent” refer to the human mind, or to any mind?

Now it may be that the concept of physical reality is incoherent or that the concept has not been fully analyzed, but that’s true of a great many concepts in common use, so the concept of physical reality is no worse off in that respect than many other concepts. In any case, that a concept of something is less than fully coherent doesn’t entail that that thing is inconceivable.

Of course, we can form concepts of things only in terms of categories and cognitions that are available to us. Concepts are certainly mind-dependent. What follows from that? A very long discussion… But here’s a thought: the premise that there are mind-independent things suggests the inference that inconceivable things exist. That’s because, being mind-independent, reality can assume whatever form it likes, so to speak. So far as I can tell, we have no conclusive reason to think that what exists is in any way limited by our cognitive abilities. And this suggests that at some fundamental level we really have no idea who, where, or what we are. This opens up a “gap” which we can bridge, if we like, with speculation, though of course many – most? – won’t see the point in speculating about a reality we cannot possibly understand.


(Lauren Unger) #35

On that thread Marco and Don, I agree that we can speculate, of course. But I fear the transhumanist movement is not the kind of transformation that would actually be beneficial to us and life on earth. Transhumanism is not an evolution, in my opinion. Perhaps we can learn from some of these technologies, but there’s a point in which I think we could go too far replacing our material bodies with foreign technologies and loose our biological and spiritual bodies, like a transgression. I believe we have all the potential for the kind of evolution that Aurobindo talks about hidden within us. Like a coconut, it has everything it needs to sprout and grow, in case it washes up on a rocky beach with no nutrients in the soil. It’s about timing, but the potential is there within all of us.

Luna Red-Tailed Hawk
(aka: Lauren Unger)

UCSC B.A. in Eco-Philosophy

CIIS M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, & Consciousness, w/ emphasis in Integral Ecology

Live the life you love,

Love the life you live

···

On Jul 12, 2018, at 11:36 AM, Marco V Morelli infiniteconversations@discoursemail.com wrote:

Don, thanks. I love your response and totally agree and am with you especially in…

Don_Salmon:

awakening to the profoundly “other” (but infinitely more tangible, visceral, concrete, edible, joyful, ecstatic, earthy, dirty, fleshy Consciousness which is not other but ONLY)

But these words—

Don_Salmon:

For the supramental being with a fully transformed body, there would be essentially no limits

are speculative, no? Unless you can point me to an existing “supramental being with a fully transformed body.” Yes, such a being would have no limits, and I’m not saying not to aspire to become, and work on becoming, such a being—and it sounds like ‘subject permanence’ (aka conscious awareness through dreaming and deep sleep) is a great place to start—but what about the bodies we already have, the technologies (and their powers that be) working on us currently?

The “fully transformed body” could easily fit within a materialist transhumanist narrative. Why not embrace both the material bio-nanotech cyborg-based vision of post-humanity AND the spiritual, supramental, siddhi-based one—if we’re going to speculate?


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(Don Salmon) #36

Fred:

I don’t understand. I’ve never encountered anything independent of Consciousness (Chit-Shakti). I’ve never heard any reason to believe in such a thing.

Provide me one simple empirical fact - not reasoning - something empirical, that would provide me with even the slightest reason to prove such things exist.

otherwise, I don’t see any more reason for believing in such a thing than the flying spaghetti monster.

To be clear, most of the universe is ‘mind-independent’ - but I’m using the traditional Indian philosophical distinction between mind and Consciousness.

···

On Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 6:10 PM, Frederick Dolan infiniteconversations@discoursemail.com wrote:

Don:

if by “materialist” you’re referring to any kind of physicalism - whether reductionist or the “supervening” kind or any other kind, you’re essentially talking about something that can exist entirely independent of Consciousness. This is literally inconceivable (because as soon as it is conceived of it is being conceptualized in relation to consciousness - mental, but still, consciousness).

I’m going to have to disagree a little with this. There’s nothing inconceivable about physical reality or the existence of something independent of consciousness. We’re conceiving such a thing now, in talking about it – that’s true even, indeed especially, if one’s aim is to refute the proposition that something exists independently of consciousness. It just doesn’t follow, from the fact that concepts are mind-dependent, that the objects of concepts are mind-dependent (which I suspect is the confusion here).

In fact, the objects of most of our concepts are mind-independent. We commonly conceive of the things we encounter as existing independently of us. It would be difficult to make sense of the mental entity we call a “belief” (or a proposition or assertion) without the concept of mind-independent things. By its nature, a belief is defeasible: it can be true or false, and what makes it true is that the truth-conditions specified in the belief obtain in the world, i.e. that the facts of the matter correspond to the truth-conditions. If facts didn’t exist independently of beliefs about them, then the latter couldn’t be true or false – and clearly they can be.

To really get at the issues we’d have to introduce some distinctions and specifications. Is the claim that mind-independent things don’t exist, simpliciter? Or is it that facts about mind-independent things don’t exist, that facts are necessarily mind-dependent? With respect to either version of the thesis, does “mind-independent” refer to the human mind, or to any mind?

Now it may be that the concept of physical reality is incoherent or that the concept has not been fully analyzed, but that’s true of a great many concepts in common use, so the concept of physical reality is no worse off in that respect than many other concepts. In. any case, that a concept of something is less than fully coherent doesn’t entail that that thing is inconceivable.

Of course, we can form concepts of things only in terms of categories and cognitions that are available to us. Concepts are certainly mind-dependent. What follows from that? A very long discussion… But here’s a thought: the very fact that we can conceive of things only in terms furnished by our cognitive and perceptual faculties suggests that we have no warrant to conclude that nothing inconceivable exists. That’s because, being mind-independent, reality can assume whatever form it likes, so to speak. So far as I can tell, we have no conclusive reason to think that what exists is in any way limited by our cognitive abilities. And this suggests that at some fundamental level we really have no idea who, where, or what we are. This opens up a “gap” which we can bridge, if we like, with speculation, though of course many – most? – won’t see the point in speculating about a reality we cannot possibly understand.

Previous Replies

Marco - great stuff, and we’re getting very deep into the heart of things here, with regard to the Life Divine, what it is about, how it is written and what it is telling us.

More on “speculation” and what it means - what kind of consciousness it implies, but first, if by “materialist” you’re referring to any kind of physicalism - whether reductionist or the “supervening” kind or any other kind, you’re essentially talking about something that can exist entirely independent of Consciousness. This is literally inconceivable (because as soon as it is conceived of it is being conceptualized in relation to consciousness - mental, but still, consciousness).

it is impossible to establish the existence of such a thing; this concept is absolutely unnecessary for virtually any kind of science (whether methodological naturalism or ontologically speaking). It is the single greatest impediment to the progress of science, and no possible escape for our deficient mental structure is possible as long as we believe in this non empirical faith.

It reflects in “what about the bodies we already have.” In a certain sense, the supramental body “could” be said to be already here - in the sense Sri Aurobindo means when he speaks of the "three times’ as co-existing (past present and future, but NOT physical time - as such time is non existent - rather, it is the movement of Consciousness). So unless anyone can establish even a single reason to believe in materialism, there’s no reason to speak of a materialist transhumanist narrative because by believing in something that not only doesn’t exist, but couldn’t possibly exist, it is, as Huston Smith’s psychiatrist friend pointed out, from a strict DSM-V perspective, a symptom of a psychotic disorder!

Now as to speculation:

I thought this would be troubling, so here’s a few more examples of what I understand of it.

Tonight, when you start the zoom meeting, if you see me on the computer screen coming in and sitting down and say “folks, Don’s arrived.” You’re not speculating, right? You’re describing something of which you have a direct perception. You could be wrong - I might be playing a trick and playing a video of me entering the room, but either way, what you’re saying doesn’t involve the mental process we usually describe as “speculating.”

Similarly assuming the validity of what Sri Aurobindo wrote in the Record of Yoga (we can ask Debashish about this if we wish), his “seeing” of the supramentla body is not a speculation. he may be stark raving mad; i have no problem with that, but clearly, “speculating” is not the mental process he is employing. “The materialist transhumanist narrative,” on the other hand, is clearly a speculation, though to save it, I suppose there may be some genuine intuitive seeing somewhere within it.

I have another example. Go back to the experience I had talking about my sister intern’s family background.

I had such a vivid experience of shifting from one mental process to another, it has stayed with me these 21 years.

In the first part, I was quite clearly analyzing - “speculating” if you wish, but based on reasonable empirical assumptions. It didn’t quite happen this way because it was largely (though not wholly) nonverbal, but it more or less went something like this: "She’s 29, born in 1967, and assuming her parents were at least 20 at the time, they were born in at least as far back as 1947, and assuming her father’s parents were at least or around 20, they would have been born some time in the 1920s. Since her father, with his Italian surname, most likely had at least an Italian-American father, it was a quite reasonable assumption that an Italian American man in the 1920s would most likely have married an Italian American woman. So that was all speculation.

Now, I could quite viscerally feel something shift as I started looking intently at her face. I “saw” first, a kind of roundish quality which for some reason (you can check me on this, Ed!:>) I associated with something “German” - but it was not a conscious association and it didn’t happen that linearly. As i gazed, i just “knew” or “saw” (but it wasn’t an image or a phenomenological perception - it was a different kind of knowing - as i I was entering into her past) “German” and “English.” Now, the next step could easily be seen by skeptics as a 50/50 guess. "German grandmother or grandfather; English grandmother or grandfather.? But I "saw/knew/became. Or rather, it was less and less “me” but something or Something knowing, or Knowing. But there was still a sense of something "here’ and the knowing “there.”

At this point, it really has nothing to do with speculation.

Then, when “something” else took over, “I” was gone altogether. It could almost be described as her brother (but we’re not talking about people or things or places or time and space any more - now it is a vibration, if you will - one vibration across the universe, at this point taking shape as the knowing-of-her-brother-3-years-older-in-finance-living-in-England-for-one-year-with-his-newly-pregnant-wife - the hyphenation indicating it is all a Unity.

Now, all of this is staggeringly primitive and simplistic and nothing compared to Sri Aurobindo’s “Seeing” of the “already accomplished” supramental body" (“already accomplished” as Krishna spoke to Arjuna of not being concerned about slaying the enemy because “they have already been slain by Me” - though not in a deterministic sense!!!)

and this still doesn’t mean that Sri Aurobindo was/is right. he could be wrong and could be a raving mad man. Just that whatever it was, it was not a speculation.


this all may help to explain why I have a problem with Ken Wilber’s description of meditation. I couldn’t figure out over the course of reading his first two books what was off about it, but i think it was in “Transformations of Consciousness” where he first explained why no meditator ever discovered the “structures’ or “levels” of consciousness, because you can’t 'see” levels in meditation.

I didn’t quite know how to articulate the problem with this until I formally studied phenomenological philosophy and phenomenological psychology at west georgia college in the early 1990s. I realized, as one of my professors quite directly told me, that the view there is that there is no “noumenon” - which of course, as Sri Aurobindo said (the world is real precisely because it exists only in consciousness) if that were the case, there could be no phenomenon!

So Wilber’s idea about meditation (I saw this repeated again in his latest’ The religion of tomorrow’ is that it’s primarily a witnessing of phenomena - mental, vital, sensory phenomena. But that isn’t what meditation is at all, even remotely!

So this is an area that requires us to go very very very very very deep into what it means to have a deficient mental consciousness because it seems to me it takes at least a lifetime to even get a glimpse of how deeply we’re embedded in it. It’s worthwhile, it seems to me, to start iwht an assumption that virtually every single belief we have - about the taste of that hummus we’re eating, about desire, about science, about philosophy, about Third Rock from the Sun, about gender, about books, about Michael Jordan, about Michael Jackson, about lawyers, about Trump, about the word “about,” about flowers, swimmers, suns, big bangs, little bangs, guns, rifles, assault weapons, abortions, well, you know, everything - could be wrong.

Or, just be silent and relax and let the Silence come over us and be open to it utterly destroying every infinitesimal assumption we’ve ever had about everything and anything under and over and through and within the sun.

Posted by Don_Salmon on 07/12/2018


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(Don Salmon) #37

i think this is worth staying with until it is directly addressed, as it is essential, I believe, for approaching the Life Divine, the entirety of which is based on the statement, "The world is real precisely because it exists only in Consciousness’ (not ‘mind’).

I don’t see anything in the reasoning you’ve offered for me to take any more time with this speculation about Consciuosness-independent “stuff” (which so far nobody can even define - which means it seems nothing more than a tautology - something which is not Consciousness exists apart from Consciousness) - than with flying spaghetti monsters or Zeus.

in fact, the evidence for what Zeus stands for is almost unimpeachable, whereas i repeat, though I’d be happy to be proven wrong, it is virtually impossible to present empirical evidence for what you’re claiming. I agree there’s some very complex and interesting reasoning presented for this belief, but I don’t believe it’s possible to present empirical evidence for it.


(Don Salmon) #38

I see another way I expressed myself very clumsily, and it stems from not making the distinction between mind and Consciousness.

I’ll put it another way:

It’s impossible to conceive of something as actually existent that is utterly independent of Consciousness of any kind.

(of course, then we have to try to understand what Sri Aurobindo means by Consciousness, but we have 5 more months to do that:>))!!!

···

On Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 6:10 PM, Frederick Dolan infiniteconversations@discoursemail.com wrote:

Don:

if by “materialist” you’re referring to any kind of physicalism - whether reductionist or the “supervening” kind or any other kind, you’re essentially talking about something that can exist entirely independent of Consciousness. This is literally inconceivable (because as soon as it is conceived of it is being conceptualized in relation to consciousness - mental, but still, consciousness).

I’m going to have to disagree a little with this. There’s nothing inconceivable about physical reality or the existence of something independent of consciousness. We’re conceiving such a thing now, in talking about it – that’s true even, indeed especially, if one’s aim is to refute the proposition that something exists independently of consciousness. It just doesn’t follow, from the fact that concepts are mind-dependent, that the objects of concepts are mind-dependent (which I suspect is the confusion here).

In fact, the objects of most of our concepts are mind-independent. We commonly conceive of the things we encounter as existing independently of us. It would be difficult to make sense of the mental entity we call a “belief” (or a proposition or assertion) without the concept of mind-independent things. By its nature, a belief is defeasible: it can be true or false, and what makes it true is that the truth-conditions specified in the belief obtain in the world, i.e. that the facts of the matter correspond to the truth-conditions. If facts didn’t exist independently of beliefs about them, then the latter couldn’t be true or false – and clearly they can be.

To really get at the issues we’d have to introduce some distinctions and specifications. Is the claim that mind-independent things don’t exist, simpliciter? Or is it that facts about mind-independent things don’t exist, that facts are necessarily mind-dependent? With respect to either version of the thesis, does “mind-independent” refer to the human mind, or to any mind?

Now it may be that the concept of physical reality is incoherent or that the concept has not been fully analyzed, but that’s true of a great many concepts in common use, so the concept of physical reality is no worse off in that respect than many other concepts. In. any case, that a concept of something is less than fully coherent doesn’t entail that that thing is inconceivable.

Of course, we can form concepts of things only in terms of categories and cognitions that are available to us. Concepts are certainly mind-dependent. What follows from that? A very long discussion… But here’s a thought: the very fact that we can conceive of things only in terms furnished by our cognitive and perceptual faculties suggests that we have no warrant to conclude that nothing inconceivable exists. That’s because, being mind-independent, reality can assume whatever form it likes, so to speak. So far as I can tell, we have no conclusive reason to think that what exists is in any way limited by our cognitive abilities. And this suggests that at some fundamental level we really have no idea who, where, or what we are. This opens up a “gap” which we can bridge, if we like, with speculation, though of course many – most? – won’t see the point in speculating about a reality we cannot possibly understand.

Previous Replies

Marco - great stuff, and we’re getting very deep into the heart of things here, with regard to the Life Divine, what it is about, how it is written and what it is telling us.

More on “speculation” and what it means - what kind of consciousness it implies, but first, if by “materialist” you’re referring to any kind of physicalism - whether reductionist or the “supervening” kind or any other kind, you’re essentially talking about something that can exist entirely independent of Consciousness. This is literally inconceivable (because as soon as it is conceived of it is being conceptualized in relation to consciousness - mental, but still, consciousness).

it is impossible to establish the existence of such a thing; this concept is absolutely unnecessary for virtually any kind of science (whether methodological naturalism or ontologically speaking). It is the single greatest impediment to the progress of science, and no possible escape for our deficient mental structure is possible as long as we believe in this non empirical faith.

It reflects in “what about the bodies we already have.” In a certain sense, the supramental body “could” be said to be already here - in the sense Sri Aurobindo means when he speaks of the "three times’ as co-existing (past present and future, but NOT physical time - as such time is non existent - rather, it is the movement of Consciousness). So unless anyone can establish even a single reason to believe in materialism, there’s no reason to speak of a materialist transhumanist narrative because by believing in something that not only doesn’t exist, but couldn’t possibly exist, it is, as Huston Smith’s psychiatrist friend pointed out, from a strict DSM-V perspective, a symptom of a psychotic disorder!

Now as to speculation:

I thought this would be troubling, so here’s a few more examples of what I understand of it.

Tonight, when you start the zoom meeting, if you see me on the computer screen coming in and sitting down and say “folks, Don’s arrived.” You’re not speculating, right? You’re describing something of which you have a direct perception. You could be wrong - I might be playing a trick and playing a video of me entering the room, but either way, what you’re saying doesn’t involve the mental process we usually describe as “speculating.”

Similarly assuming the validity of what Sri Aurobindo wrote in the Record of Yoga (we can ask Debashish about this if we wish), his “seeing” of the supramentla body is not a speculation. he may be stark raving mad; i have no problem with that, but clearly, “speculating” is not the mental process he is employing. “The materialist transhumanist narrative,” on the other hand, is clearly a speculation, though to save it, I suppose there may be some genuine intuitive seeing somewhere within it.

I have another example. Go back to the experience I had talking about my sister intern’s family background.

I had such a vivid experience of shifting from one mental process to another, it has stayed with me these 21 years.

In the first part, I was quite clearly analyzing - “speculating” if you wish, but based on reasonable empirical assumptions. It didn’t quite happen this way because it was largely (though not wholly) nonverbal, but it more or less went something like this: "She’s 29, born in 1967, and assuming her parents were at least 20 at the time, they were born in at least as far back as 1947, and assuming her father’s parents were at least or around 20, they would have been born some time in the 1920s. Since her father, with his Italian surname, most likely had at least an Italian-American father, it was a quite reasonable assumption that an Italian American man in the 1920s would most likely have married an Italian American woman. So that was all speculation.

Now, I could quite viscerally feel something shift as I started looking intently at her face. I “saw” first, a kind of roundish quality which for some reason (you can check me on this, Ed!:>) I associated with something “German” - but it was not a conscious association and it didn’t happen that linearly. As i gazed, i just “knew” or “saw” (but it wasn’t an image or a phenomenological perception - it was a different kind of knowing - as i I was entering into her past) “German” and “English.” Now, the next step could easily be seen by skeptics as a 50/50 guess. "German grandmother or grandfather; English grandmother or grandfather.? But I "saw/knew/became. Or rather, it was less and less “me” but something or Something knowing, or Knowing. But there was still a sense of something "here’ and the knowing “there.”

At this point, it really has nothing to do with speculation.

Then, when “something” else took over, “I” was gone altogether. It could almost be described as her brother (but we’re not talking about people or things or places or time and space any more - now it is a vibration, if you will - one vibration across the universe, at this point taking shape as the knowing-of-her-brother-3-years-older-in-finance-living-in-England-for-one-year-with-his-newly-pregnant-wife - the hyphenation indicating it is all a Unity.

Now, all of this is staggeringly primitive and simplistic and nothing compared to Sri Aurobindo’s “Seeing” of the “already accomplished” supramental body" (“already accomplished” as Krishna spoke to Arjuna of not being concerned about slaying the enemy because “they have already been slain by Me” - though not in a deterministic sense!!!)

and this still doesn’t mean that Sri Aurobindo was/is right. he could be wrong and could be a raving mad man. Just that whatever it was, it was not a speculation.


this all may help to explain why I have a problem with Ken Wilber’s description of meditation. I couldn’t figure out over the course of reading his first two books what was off about it, but i think it was in “Transformations of Consciousness” where he first explained why no meditator ever discovered the “structures’ or “levels” of consciousness, because you can’t 'see” levels in meditation.

I didn’t quite know how to articulate the problem with this until I formally studied phenomenological philosophy and phenomenological psychology at west georgia college in the early 1990s. I realized, as one of my professors quite directly told me, that the view there is that there is no “noumenon” - which of course, as Sri Aurobindo said (the world is real precisely because it exists only in consciousness) if that were the case, there could be no phenomenon!

So Wilber’s idea about meditation (I saw this repeated again in his latest’ The religion of tomorrow’ is that it’s primarily a witnessing of phenomena - mental, vital, sensory phenomena. But that isn’t what meditation is at all, even remotely!

So this is an area that requires us to go very very very very very deep into what it means to have a deficient mental consciousness because it seems to me it takes at least a lifetime to even get a glimpse of how deeply we’re embedded in it. It’s worthwhile, it seems to me, to start iwht an assumption that virtually every single belief we have - about the taste of that hummus we’re eating, about desire, about science, about philosophy, about Third Rock from the Sun, about gender, about books, about Michael Jordan, about Michael Jackson, about lawyers, about Trump, about the word “about,” about flowers, swimmers, suns, big bangs, little bangs, guns, rifles, assault weapons, abortions, well, you know, everything - could be wrong.

Or, just be silent and relax and let the Silence come over us and be open to it utterly destroying every infinitesimal assumption we’ve ever had about everything and anything under and over and through and within the sun.

Posted by Don_Salmon on 07/12/2018


Visit Message or reply to this email to respond to supermind (22), madrush.

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(Lauren Unger) #39

Even the smallest most fundamental particles that make up the universe are in a constant state of flux between particle and wave/vibration (or we could say conscious) forms. Is this not an example of Aurobindo’s involution? Or that consciousness is fundamental to all?

While material objects appear to be separate from us, they are not. If we want to make distinctions we can say that certain objects and biological life forms are of different densities and different vibrational frequencies. So to say consciousness is separate from material forms is not accurate. Infinitely free of time, consciousness is involving itself as a material particle. To experience it is like a leap into time-freedom. In our mental consciousness this involution is happening in a way in which the physical formations in the visible spectrum are all we see. But as we evolve it seems that we will be able to integrate more and more of Consciousness and experience an expansion of our reality and capabilities (Without the need for technologies that lead to transhumanist agendas).

Luna Red-Tailed Hawk
(aka: Lauren Unger)

UCSC B.A. in Eco-Philosophy

CIIS M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, & Consciousness, w/ emphasis in Integral Ecology

Live the life you love,

Love the life you live

···

On Jul 12, 2018, at 4:22 PM, Don Salmon infiniteconversations@discoursemail.com wrote:

I’m gong to stick with this until i hear this actually addressed because it is essential, I believe, for approaching the Life Divine, the entirety of which is based on the statement, "The world is real precisely because it exists only in Consciousness’ (not ‘mind’)


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(Frederick Dolan) #40

I see that you’re using Consciousness as a term of art (Chit-Shakti), and I have no idea what that means, so I don’t know what it means for you to say you’ve never encountered anything independent of Consciousness and clearly have no standing to debate that! So before going further I’ll try to understand the distinction between “mind” and “Consciousness” (Chit-Shakti).

But in ordinary terms, I’ve encountered plenty of things independent of consciousness and so has everyone else. An empirical example would be the desk I’m sitting at right now. All my experience tells me that it exists independently of consciousness. I can’t think of anything better proven, empirically, except perhaps the fact of consciousness itself.

But again, I’m talking about ordinary consciousness.

On tautology: the way you put it (“something which is not Consciousness exists apart from Consciousness”) is indeed tautological so far as “not Consciousness” means the same as “apart from Consciousness.” But that way of putting it doesn’t capture the claim that there are things that are independent of consciousness or that there are things that are inconceivable by consciousness (again, I’m using “consciousness” in the ordinary sense, so this whole point may be an equivocation). These are existential claims, i.e. claims that X (however defined) exists – so whether or not the definition is tautological is irrelevant. All bachelors are unmarried men is tautological, but there’s still the question of whether they – bachelors or unmarried men, whatever we want to call them – exist.