Monday, April 27, 2009

Grand-daughter sacrificed for good harvest in Orissa

Orissa girl sacrificed for good harvest Sify - ‎Bhubaneswar: A 10-year-old girl in an Orissa village was beheaded by her grandfather, who believed that sowing seeds mixed with her blood would yield a ... Report: Indian man beheads grand-daughter to seek harvest Xinhua all 11 news articles »

Saturday, April 25, 2009

He is concerned about working-class women being left to raise children alone

Genuine befuddlement from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko
Milbank has recently taken to claiming that there is something fascist about disconnecting sex and reproduction. See this quasi-interview, for example:

The groups mentioned may not want to shake Milbank’s hand: he opposes gay marriage (”I don’t want to get into the situation where we deny there is something special about being attracted to the opposite sex”).
He says he is concerned about working-class women being left to raise children alone, “in part - alongside economic factors - because of the collapse of the male ethos of supporting the woman”, and has written most stridently in opposition to in vitro fertilisation treatment for single women.
“By supporting the total disjuncture of sex and procreation, the Left is really supporting a new mode of fascism,” Milbank says.

My question is a simple one: what on earth is he talking about? Is “a new mode” doing all the work here, meaning that he gets to define it out of the air, or is there something else going on? Posted in fascism, Milbank

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Affirmative orientalism

Management Education and the Teaching of Ethics: Pedagogy, Practice and the Challenge of a New Initiative
Ananta Kumar Giri Journal of Human Values, Apr 1997; vol. 3: pp. 3 - 19.
...ofAmerica (Durham: Duke University Press, 1990); Ananta Giri, 'The Quest for a Universal Morality: Jurgen Habermas and Sri Aurobindo', The Indian Journal of Social Science, 1994; 'Universities and the Hori- zons of the Future', University News, November... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

From Richness of Body to Richness of Spirit
Journal of Human Values, Oct 1995; vol. 1: pp. 151 - 152.
...liberal education is fos- tering dissipative individualism and calculative selfishness. Therefore, as the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram had observed: 'From the psychic point of view, the rose is more exalted than the human being'. Yet, this is... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book reviews : Chitta R. Goswami, Global Psychology and Counseling. Pondicherry: Human Potential Centre, Undated, xiv + 143 pp, Rs 75
Debashis Chatterjee Journal of Human Values, Oct 1995; vol. 1: pp. 267 - 269.
...on the multidimensionality of the human being. In this the author draws inspiration from the integral psychology of Sri Aurobindo. This part delves into issues such as the 'dilemmas of the age of individual- ism', 'subjectivism and the freedom of... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Tagore and China
Reena Ganguli China Report, Aug 1989; vol. 25: pp. 237 - 248.
...religion. In Indian history, religious leaders like the Buddha, Shankaracharya, Guru Nanak, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo have always been in the forefront of social reforms. Even non-religious leaders like Tagore and Gandhi upheld the spiritual... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Journey beyond Belief'
Roger Walsh Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Apr 1984; vol. 24: pp. 30 - 65.
...Volume 3: Formulations of the person and the social context (pp. 184-256). New York: McGraw-Hill. Satprem. (1968). Sri Aurobindo or the adventure of consciousness. New York: Harper Row. Shapiro, D. (1980). Meditation: Self regulation strategy... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Redemption — The Starting-point of Christian Theology — I
Frances M. Young Expository Times, Jan 1977; vol. 88: pp. 360 - 364.
...politician of his time, nor the greatest saint in a land that has produced many. He was the contemporary of such giants as Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Paramhansa Yogananda, Annie Besant and Rabindranath Tagore. What is it then about... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

The Gandhian Heritage
Debjani Chatterjee Expository Times, Jan 1977; vol. 88: pp. 364 - 368.
...politician of his time, nor the greatest saint in a land that has produced many. He was the contemporary of such giants as Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Paramhansa Yogananda, Annie Besant and Rabindranath Tagore. What is it then about... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : Comparative Religion
W. Weaver Expository Times, Jan 1976; vol. 87: pp. 349.
...brief glance at two twentieth-century Indian thinkers involved in the interaction between Western and Indian thought - Sri Aurobindo and S. Radhakrishnan. L. S. COUSINS LEARNING HEBREW Introductions to foreign languages traditionally claim some novel... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : Indian Philosophy
L.S. Cousins Expository Times, Jan 1976; vol. 87: pp. 349.
...brief glance at two twentieth-century Indian thinkers involved in the interaction between Western and Indian thought - Sri Aurobindo and S. Radhakrishnan. L. S. COUSINS LEARNING HEBREW Introductions to foreign languages traditionally claim some novel... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : Learning Hebrew
John Eaton Expository Times, Jan 1976; vol. 87: pp. 349 - 351.
...brief glance at two twentieth-century Indian thinkers involved in the interaction between Western and Indian thought - Sri Aurobindo and S. Radhakrishnan. L. S. COUSINS LEARNING HEBREW Introductions to foreign languages traditionally claim some novel... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Commentary: By the Editor
Tom Greaning Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Oct 1975; vol. 15: pp. 1 - 2.
...for a complete list to the Institute at 3494 21st Street, San Francisco, California 94110. His books include ones on Sri Aurobindo, voga, and meditation. He was a creative scholar and teacher whose life goal was to reconcile science and religion... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Ceylon
Yasmine Gooneratne The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1973; vol. 8: pp. 98 - 102.
...Book Year, 1 72, was marked by a convention of writers, librarians, publishers, and printers in New Delhi, organized during the World Book Fair which was held in Delhi, 18March- 2 April. The year was also the centenary of Sri Aurobindo's birth; in ... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Modern Indian Politics and Political Thought
Vishwanath Prasad Varma Diogenes, Mar 1964; vol. 12: pp. 143 - 154.
...of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarvodaya, published by Laxmi Narayan Agrawal, Hospital Road, Agra and Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, published by Asia Publishing House, Bombay. 145 Great Britain, based on mutual recognition of dignity and self- respect... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : H.S.R. Kao, D. Sinha and B. Wilpert, eds, Management and Cultural Values. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999, 332 pp. Rs 425
S.K. Chakraborty Journal of Human Values, Oct 1999; vol. 5: pp. 171 - 176.
...otherwise. His vista ranges from the argumentative, discursive engagement in ethics by Habermas to the exalting heights of Sri Aurobindo's works which uplift ethical discourse to a spiritual acme. The author thus initiates, with a fair measure of success... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : Mohandas Nair, Thoughts to Live By. Mumbai: Eeshwar, 1998, 256 pp. Price not mentioned
C. Panduranga Bhatta Journal of Human Values, Oct 1999; vol. 5: pp. 178 - 181.
...organizational work-life. However, it is also necessary to indicate the limitations of the office of reason, to use Sri Aurobindo'ss words. Conviction in ethical matters depends on our 'nischayatmika buddhi' (power of discrim- ination with certitude... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : Tran Tri Vu, Lost Years: My 1, 632 Days in Vietnamese Reeducation Camps. Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkely, 1989. xvi + 381 pp. Paper $ 15.00
Phung Nguyen Journal of Asian and African Studies, Jan 1991; vol. 26: pp. 158 - 160.
...orientalized India into a strength. He was assisted in doing so by Bengali and Bombay experimenters like Besant, Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Tilak, Ranade, and Gokhale. Adopting their concepts of affirmative orientalism, spiritual revolution, reliance on indigenous... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Racial privilege and disadvantage permeates our society in concrete ways

On Changing Raced and Racist Habits
from Per Caritatem by Cynthia R. Nielsen

As a graduate student and an adjunct at a local college, I have the opportunity both to observe how other professors discuss race and gender, and I have the opportunity to discuss these issues directly and indirectly with my students. For example, as a female student, I find it extremely helpful and affirming when a professor uses secondary literature by female authors-particularly in my field, which has traditionally been dominated by (white) males. (Don’t worry, I’m not a white-male-hater; I happen to be married to a wonderful white male).

As a teacher, I purpose to use inclusive language, reference the works of people of color, and in so far as the constraints of what I have to teach (in terms of texts) allow, I try to assign readings or projects that encourage dialogue with different ethnic groups and help expose students to new hermeneutical approaches. What I have found on the whole is that my students appreciate the inclusive language and having to wrestle with different ways of thinking. In private conversations with female, African American, Latino/a, Asian American and others, students have time and again commented on how much they appreciate the ways I have tried to bring traditional subjects and authors in dialogue with contemporary hermeneutical approaches and “non-standard” topics (feminist literature, African American studies, liberation theology, jazz discussions etc.)

There are of course always a few students who spend the whole semester sending me emails about why it is simply ridiculous to use inclusive language when anyone who is educated knows that “man” is a generic term. Thus, by way of principle, the student boldly declares that he is not budging and refuses to use inclusive language in his papers. Interestingly, I never demand that inclusive language be used. I simply use it myself in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We see now what looks like a neocolonial situation in Auroville

Université Intégrale vendredi 10 avril 2009 An Exploration into an Integral Approach to Knowledge From 15 September 2007 to 15 December 2007 a varied group of people (from Auroville and Pondicherry) came together to create a series of workshops for the purpose of clarifying the vision of the University of Human Unity (UHU) and to discover integral approaches to knowledge.The workshops were basically categorized under six approaches to knowledge including; the Linguistic, the Philosophical, the Psychological, the Scientific, the Artistic and the Sociological approach.What follows are brief excerpts from each of these sessions with links to the complete audio files of each.

Auroville, the Villages and Human Unity (A Sociological Approach) Bhavana (18/11)

Why is it that after many highly idealist and egalitarian people came to Auroville and what we see now is what looks like a neocolonial situation in which the outsiders are being served by the indigenous people. It's important to recall how very, very poor it was here when we moved onto the land. It was barren and eroded and professionals said it would not sustain life for another 25 years. Children had extended stomachs and flaky skin, in some houses the women shared a sari between them. So how did the villagers come to us? They would come to us in the morning and say "Any work?" I don't think many of us knew how intentional communities should be formed, with every one committed to the ideals and the work, and we should all experience all the work, …we know these things now. But there was so much work. How could we say No. It took a team of 400 workers to excavate the hole for the Matrimandir. Almost all of the trees were planted by villagers who were paid 4 rupees to dig a 1mx1mx1m hole. The natural division of labor overtook our egalitarian preferences. The people who could dig all day in the soil, and advise us on when to plant, and do all manner of manual tasks did the work and fed their families. So, the first thing we did for the villages was provide employment. It was the most empowering way to deal with poverty. The next thing was education – several schools were set up by Aurovilians for village children.

At a certain point I felt there was a missing dimension. Auroville was not developing a relationship with the villages as communities. I began to look into that with several other people, and eventually with some professional social workers. In the beginning I didn't have this concept but later I understood that in villages all over India, the people who had been responsible for carrying on the culture, managing resources, planning, being artisans, had moved into the urban areas. That's where the opportunities for work and education could be found. Who was left were those who had been born and bred to take orders. It was difficult to find anyone who could take responsibility for settling disputes, for example. We had a hard time finding any leadership, people knowing when the tank needed to be cleaned, or whatever. So we learned about development work – typically known at that time as technology transfer which left out the human element. Handpumps at measured intervals of space in African villages, for example, which were not used or when broken were left unrepaired. In Africa it took a long time before development agencies realized that women did most of the agricultural work. Awareness and techniques for involving the local people and communities came about, especially in India – sophisticated, effective methods were developed for involving people in their own development. ...It struck me that villagers were headed toward what Aurovilians were moving out of; villagers wanted education and prosperity while Aurovilians had had enough of that and wanted to move into a new consciousness with no more need for structure. …

One thing that really helped me in my thinking about this was Sri Aurobindo's description of the four castes. As it has played out in history it has become a hereditary social system with all its faults, but as a conceptual system it is powerfully true. These four levels are in us all, any one person may have a particular level which is more developed, but for integral development we need to develop all four. The first is the Shudra consciousness which is pretty much limited to himself and his immediate family and survival. At a higher level of consciousness in relation to society is called the Vaishya. It's a business mind and its "we" is bigger, it can extend to the clan or tribe. The next step higher is the Kshatriya which can consider large numbers of people and dharma or law, how to organize a large number of people for the future. It considers larger concepts and spans of time. At the top of the system is the Brahmin consciousness, which is conscious of itself, it's seeking truth, teaching and advising the kshatriya. When I began to see it like that it became clear how important every level is to the whole and I began to relax into India's traditional system and our relationship with the villagers.

On top of this understanding I became aware of a system called Spiral Dynamics. …(brief history of Graves' development of the system…Beck and Cowen's development of Spiral Dynamics based on Grave's social psychology…they added color to the hierarchy of value sets or memes: beige – caveman, purple – tribal, red – individual power dominance, blue - laws made by gods/ religion/ science, orange - corporations, nations, green – egalitarian, liberal communities, (like the caste system each level of values and behavior is in us, coexists with the others and can come forward when needed or not needed), yellow – cultural creatives, people who see what needs to be done and just do it (Auroville is their place), turquoise – the integral, intuitive balance, harmony. It's a never ending cultural spiral, we move up and down largely according to circumstances around us…) I find this construct extremely helpful in understanding the villages and Auroville. I roughly put the two systems together, and the similarity is apparent - what the Vedic seers perceived and what Graves discovered through psychological research. Listen to the full audio file at: http://www.universityofhumanunity.org/auroville_villages_and_human_unity_bhavana_18_11_07

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

John Stuart Mill was an out-and-out colonialist; Edmund Burke, quite overtly anti-Semitic

Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity (part 5 of 6) Debashish Tue 07 Apr 2009 12:00 AM PDT Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

The pervasive racism of 19th c. Europe is coming increasingly to the limelight. Homi Bhabha has been at the forefront of demonstrating the conflicted nature of post-Enlightenment colonialism, one the one hand universalist in its belief in "the white man's burden" of civilizing all human beings, on the other hand, invested in the business of maintaining power relations with the colonies through the claim of racial superiority. Individual thinkers/agents within a historical discourse can hardly escape from its internal dialectics.

John Stuart Mill, whom you invoke here, is an important case in point. An out-and-out colonialist, whatever he may have theoretically affirmed for human equality was more than counterbalanced by his conviction that the British were racially superior to the Indians. This is how Uday Mehta puts it, in his influential work Liberalism and Empire:

In India. . . especially following the mutiny of 1857, there was in fact an unmistakable tilt toward the hardening of authoritarian policies and a racializing of political and social attitudes. This was a tilt to which thinkers like J.S. Mill added their prestige and that they justified in their theoretical writings. For example, in Considerations on Representative Government, Mill had made clear that in colonies that were not of Britain’s ‘blood and lineage’ any move toward greater representation was not to be countenanced. (Mehta, 1999, pp 195-96)

As for Edmund Burke, though he espoused a form of liberal pluralism, he was quite overtly anti-Semitic. DB