Essays by Dr K.Loganathan
[ 1. Phenomenlogy
and Pedagogic Hermeneutics; 2. Disconstruction and Personal Development;
3. Genealogy and Teleology; 4. The Textuality of Understanding and the
Primordiality of Seeing (or Darsana); 5. Texualtiy and Intentionality ]
All over the world we see the human mind being traped into various traditions, the sampradyas with some individuals assuming the position of leadership claiming and arguing that his tradition is the ONLY tradition that contains the TRUTH and hence everyone ought to follow it. I do not see any difference between the Muslims and Christians who believe in absolute authority of the Alcoran and Bible from the claims of the Vedic and Vedantic traditions that do roughly the same. All such claims while lift up the mind in a way they also trap or seek to trap it pushing the mind into preexistent moulds and arresting further intellectual adventures.
There is deep component of Dravidian Philosophical tradition that is AGAINST such imprisoing of the mind and hence continuosly combative towards such attempts. Tolkaappiyam is an expression of this and later the Bakthi revolution. Underlying sucu bold assertions is the notion of Hermeneutic Science, within which is also brought in the religious life. An individuals can reach the HIGHEST state of Being only if he FREES himself from traitions and becomes PURE. The ideal state is that DEEP SILENCE within which is enjoyed Civanajnam, that which founds Metaphysica Universalis. To enjoy this understanding and live by it,we have to ABANDON all srutis and smritis and what not after benefitting from their study .
This movement of the mind is essentially HERMENEUTICAL , in fact the practice of Pedadogic Hermeneutics, that ANYONE can practice without going to the mullahs, brahmanahs and fathers.
I am revisng my earlier studies in this filed and sending them again with the idea of continuing this line of thinking further.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics 1
Phenomenology and Pedagogic Hermeneutics
A passage from ' Phenomenology and Sociology" by Thomas Luckmann (Ed) (Pp8&9)
" Phenomenology describes the constitution of our experiences by
recourse to the most direct evidence available. Its criteria of verification
differ, however, from those used to good purpose in social sciences. In
contrast to the epistemologically naive observations and 'measurements'
of more or less public events that we practice in the social sciences
when we look for 'data', the 'data' of phenomenology are of a more elementary
nature. We find them by inspection of our experiences. By using the methods
of phenomenological 'reduction' we proceed step by step from historically,
biographically, socially and culturally concrete features of everyday experience
to its elementary structures. This is a procedure that differs from the
'inductive' generalizations of empirical sciences. Evidently, the result
of inspection and 'reduction' can be communicated in a further step to
fellow-men. By recourse to evidence of the same kind on their part, they
can be inter subjectively verified. "
This notion "intersubjective verification", communicating and seeking confirmation(?) from fellow-men about the phenomenologically reduced elements of MY experience, creates problems for phenomenology as a science. For the notion of Others, fellow-men just as true and SAME in some ways as myself, exceeds phenomenological reduction unless we invoke the notion of PARALLELISM which in turn presupposes the being-there of others just the same as myself. Also how does the notion of "EVIDENCE" that Husserl mentions in his writings on Phenomenology has applications or meaning in the context of the meaning of verification here? I see the problem in this way. The self, exercising phenomenological reduction or what Husserl called 'eidetic reduction', does not require evidence for itself for in the perception of elementary structures of its consciousness, the 'elementariness' of them is enough for self to be certain. The evidences are required NOT FOR SELF but in the context of communicating to OTHERS who may disagree with them. Here again we come across the being-there of others just like myself as a PRESUPPOSITION of phenomenology. The notion of eidetic reduction and seeking inter subjective verification, the THEY also perceiving elementary structures in THEIR own experiences remains a PRESUPPOSITION that remains irreducible. The Other can protest, combat, disagree , ridicule , comes to blow with me etc. . I CANNOT reduce away such behaviours phenomenologically to elementary structures of my OWN experiences without denying the OTHERNESS of others. If I try to do that, then I become an idealist like the Indian Vedanties, where everything become kaRpitham, my mental construct without any substantial reality or simply REFLECTIONS of one Brahman through different contextualising factors that they call upathies.
In Pedagogic Hermeneutics( or Hermeneutic Science, in the way I have articulated) we overcome this problem by accepting as a TRUTH the plurality of individuals jointly concerned with UNDERSTANDING the world, existence etc. and who MAY GO WRONG in their seeking. This possibility of being wrong, making mistakes etc. is AVOIDED by seeking continuously AGREEMENT with others. The act of communicating is actually an act INSTRUCTING. I learn through my hermeneutic interpretative movements, and UNDERSTANDING that I have gained becomes that which I communicate to an OTHER who MAY NOT agree. But when there is LEARNING that which I communicate and because of which there is agreement, then it becomes possible that I am NOT MISTAKEN, that what I have understood and bold enough to communicate is a TRUTH. Between me and those who agree with me there is SAMENESS of UNDERSTANDING. The possibility of this SAMENESS of understanding between individuals absolutely different and autonomous also makes that which is communicated OBJECTIVELY true, a stuff of the world out there and NOT a fiction of my mind.
What I am saying here is that which is available in the notion of "otta kaadci utti" in the Last sutra of Marabiyal (` 400 B.C.) , one of the most important phrases the origins of which goes back to the school system of the Sumerian times. ( ~ 2000 B.C.) The " utti " (> Sk ukti) here are textual interpretations that will bring about SAMENESS of SEEING and hence agreement. Thus emerges also the notion that TRUTH cannot be idiosynctratic or even the secret held within the closed doors of a bunch priests or recluses. TRUTH allows and sustains PUBLIC AGREEMENT and hence ASSENT by all who are capable of raising themselves to that level of cognitive functioning.
Disconstruction and Personal Development.
Through the empirical studies of many TEXTS including the non-verbal drawings in Access Tests , I rediscovered what Tholkappiyar more than two thousand years ago discovered as an important structural element in every TEXTS viz. sequential organization that he called Athika«ra MuRaimai, an organization quite distinct from the Whole-Part relationship, the pakuthi-thokuthi that has played a central role in Western Hermeneutics. It is this which enabled me to see EPISODIZATION as something that is done by every author , including young children, who would execute a coherent TEXT that is COMPLETED and hence a WHOLE in some sense. But of course this is done UNCONSCIOUSLY but it is there in the TEXTS he brings forth for everybody to see only if they have the eyes to see.
But what is this episodization, the verbalized form of 'episode'?
When X is episodized there is simultaneously the allowing to emerge an Y which is distinct from X and because of which episodization is terminating-initiating, the antam-aati of Meykandar , and hence DISCONSTRUCTION as distinct from Heidegger's destruction and Derrida's deconstruction. And to do this, X has to be seen as a WHOLE for otherwise its LACK cannot be seen and articulated. That which is episodized, the X, has to be seen as TOTALITY in order to see what is still wanting in it, what deficiency lurks within but still remains unnoticed. To episodize is to HIGHLIGHT this LACK and hence to push it down to the PAST, now as something that belongs to HISTORY and allow , in virtue of that, a Y to occupy the presence, be the CURRENT, the żngoing concern. Hence episodization iī 'depresencing', the dethroning the current, the ongoing , the presence as NO MORE so and replace it something NEW. Episodization is inherently revolutionary.
Thus what is episodized is pushed DOWN in the ladder of progress, of development and growth. But it is NOT vaporized , allowed to disappear into a NOTHINGNESS. It is retained in the current, the ongoing etc as that which has been ASSIMILATED, understood and already incorporated into the ongoing positively or negatively or as the Tamil Philosophers would say, as Akam or PuRam, as within the ongoing or exterior to it. Or as Parapakkam or Supakkam in the style AruNandi Sivacariyar, a famous Tamil Philosopher of the 13th cent.A.D. To episodize then, is to allow the presence of another WHOLE, a Gestalt more comprehensive and inclusive than that which has been episodized and pushed down now as belonging to the past. The UNDERSTANDING that remains unepisodizable in this sense is SUPAKKAM, the TRUTH.
The Saiva Siddhanta Metaphysics was given this turn by Meykandar by his understanding that BEING is antam-aati: the Ground disconstrcution and regeneration .
This competence to episodize also noted as a FUNDAMENTAL competence of self, the individual psyche, as its essence as observed by Meykandar who notes this by saying that the psyche in essence is the aintezuttu, the si-va-ya-na-ma, the cognitive demons that enables a psyche to episodize, consciously or unconsciously.
Now because episodization is SEQUENTIAL where the deficiencies in the earlier are made good in the latter, we can note an ABSOLUTE END, the MUKTI as a situation where further episodizations are IMPOSSIBLE. When we arrive psychically at this way of Being, it informs us that that's the END , the CLOSURE, towards which we have been moving all along. But now finally it has ARRIVED, it has come HOME, the Viidu where the episodizing tendency is put t to rest, NOT allowed to show itself from within.
Thus there is STRUCTURE and GENESIS in the Pedagogic Hermeneutics that centres on episodization as the FUNDAMENTAL activity that all psychic entities practice, consciously or unconsciously. There is Global Structure and Local Structure of that which is episodized. The Global Structure puts it as belonging to History , to Tradition as a part of the grand World History. The Local Structure discloses the individual concerns, that with which a finite mind is concerned . In the Historical, there is SEQUENTIAL structure which can be a progress or the converse. Where the deficiencies of that which is episodized , the X, is understood and because of which a Y that does not have that deficiency is allowed to be the PRESENCE, there is sequentiality along with PROGRESS or DEVELOPMENT. Here there is also a GENESIS: Y is generated from an X by the act of episodization. The genetic does not exist within the Local Structure, between X as a whole and its constituent structures., within Whole- Part relationships or as the Tamil philosophers would put it between avayavi and avayavam, the organismic whole and its organs. The Genesis and Development or its converse is noted only within Sequential Organization, the Athikara MuRaimai of Tholkappiyar. The static structuralism does NOT disclose the movement that allows us to recognize Progress and Development or the ABSENCE of it.
And here we see what distinguishes Hermeneutic Counselling from others. In Hermeneutic Counselling we allow, encourage, work for the confused and bewildered individual to EFFECT EPISODIZATION on his OWN UNDERSTANDING on his OWN so that the present understanding that's the source of worries pains , mental sickness etc. is episodized and in its place a new understanding, a Y , comes to prevail and along with it mental health and better clarity. It is NOT a total breakaway from the past but rather a disconstruction, the assimilating what can be into the present and discarding what cannot or should not be and this evaluated on the basis of TRUTH. It is actually a reconstituting self with less of the negative and more of the positive and auspicious.
This applies not only Depth Psychology but also to the whole gamut of Human Sciences.
Let me add here a bit : as far as I know the Vedantic thinking inspired by Sankara and as available in the Tamil philosophical texts such as Tattuvaamirtam, Amirtasaaram of Tattuvarayar (16th cent), the Kaivalya Navaneetam of Tandavaraa a CuvaamikaL, ( 14th or 15th cent ?) , the Vedanta IlakkaNam of I cuur Caccatanatar (19th cent) and so forth DO NOT articulate a metaphysics in terms of this kind of episodiazation or cangkaaram. The Sarva Darsana Cangraha of Vittiyaranya also does NOT understand the Indian philosophical systems in terms of Parapakkam and Suppakkam as is done by AruNandi Civaccariyar, the foremost pupil of Meykandar. While Namazvar does subscribe to this view, the Upaya Vedanta of Ramanuja does not and hence the Sri Vaisnavisam failed to articulate the Camayaatiitam , that of transcending religions and become absolutely universal by becoming metaphysically PURE, something that gets very clearly articulated in KaNNudaiya VaLlal's "ozivil Odukkam ' (13th cent) and the metaphyiscal verses of Thayumanavar ( 18th cent)
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics 3
The Genealogy and Teleology
The genealogical, how ideas originate and develop , in the Nietschean sense of the "Genealogy of Morals" is simultaneously TELEOLOGICAL, a notion that distinguishes the Greek West from the Dravidian East and perhaps along with it the whole of the East. But this, it must be stated immediately, is NOT for the world, for World History but for the episodizing subject. There is NO END as such for the World and towards which it is moving irrevocably , the Spirit is NOT trying to realize itself in World History as Hegel so boldly declared. The Spirit that has some kind of meaning in World History is NOT AT ALL a Spirit for imperfections of whatever kind are inconsistent with the Being of the Spirit.
The Cosmos is the Dance of BEING and that too out of GRACE, a LOVE that is wholly and totally spontaneous, an overflowing that seeks nothing in return for BEING is Perfect, Complete in Himself, the ParipuuraNam.
However there is an END, an ABSOLUTE END as the distant horizon, the NOT-YET but which is a distinct POSSIBILITY for the episodizing self which is the MEANING of its EXISTENCE characterized by a sequential and genealogical structure. The BEING-Present -AS-THE -WORLD, the Enlil of the Sumerians, the Purusha of Purusha Suktam, the VishNu of later times, the Sathaacivam of the Saivas , is not for Itself but for the infinite number of psychic entities ensnared in the historical flux , not knowing how to extricate themselves, i.e.. the notorious Samsara so widely present in the Indian thinking. But BEING (or SIVA) being completely saturated (ParipuuraNam) is not only OUTSIDE the historical flux but also its Ground, the UNMOVED MOVER of Aristotle. This Unmoved Mover moves the world (understood metaphorically as a DANCE) in order to facilitate the psychic entities effect existential episodizations and through that escape from the snares that throws them into eternal historicity. It is this way of being of BEING that the DANCE metaphor of Siva Nadaraja captures. Only THAT which is outside history but nevertheless IS in the world without being-in-it , can facilitate the fettered psychic entities to escape from the endless birth and death fostering historicity, the Samsara i.e.. attain the releasement.
The notion of GENESIS here is NOT simply morphological, biological, phylogenetic etc. as in the purely evolutionary accounts. What is peculiar here is that something NEW emerges because of existential episodization which involves the Destruction of the inherent IGNORANCE, the anjnjaanam, the Avidya . The Y that emerges because of the episodization, is such that there is now LESS Metaphysical Ignorance compared to X, that which is episodized and hence because of that less of ANavam in the interiority of the psychic entity. Because of this the genealogy is PROGRESSIVE and inherently TELEOLOGICAL because it moves towards the absolute destruction of IGNORANCE, of Avidya, of Anjnjaanam etc.
But what kind of Progress that we are talking about here?
The genealogy is not simply of morals but something more fundamental than that. It is inherently PURIFICATIONAL, each episodization makes the self LESS IMPURE and indirectly more ethically sensitive but finally transcending even the bipolar and judgmental disposition ( the IRUVINAI of Saiva Siddhanta), the bondage to Karma as such. As we progress we become less and less IMPURE and looking at the same phenomenon positively, we become more and more Human and finally Spiritual with the divine sparks shining brilliantly as part of the personality. The acts of episodization are then acts of self -cleansing, of absolving from within the delimiting fetters, the chains that imprison one into the interminable Samsara, the historicity. The kind of genealogy that Hermeneutic Counselling emphasizes and promotes TRANSFORMS the person so that he is a BETTER person , a better individual.
Episodizing thus is NOT destruction, a dismantling or even deconstruction , a pure act of wanton dissipation but rather a DISCONSTRUCTION, a restructuring of Consciousness or Understanding that along with assimilating the Truths of the past also embodies something NEW as Gift from BEING, the ARUL of BEING. Thus Disconstruction involves UNFOLDMENT, the attainment of some thing NEW as a GIFT from BEING.
The evolution of the psychic entities , the evolution of the mind, is that of UNDERSTANDING and hence hermeneutical . Only thos e whose understanding is eep and profound and of course an understanding which is also an understanding of TRUTH are the developed. The one who shines in such an understanding, the Civanjnam, is the true Teesikan, the illusrious ., the Brahmanah, who is the the Sattyakaama ( the Truth lover) and who despite being born to a woman who didnot know who his father was ( because she slept with several men ), persists in saying what is true and because of Yajnavalkya called him a Brahmanah (Brihadaranyaaka Upanisad)
A person is Higher only because he/she has a deeper and more profound understanding of Existence , whatever the birth. The UNDERSTADING is the criteria or laksanana that earns him a higher social standing. And this has nothing to with birth or lineage - it is purely a matter of individual achievements.
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics 4
The Textuality of Understanding and the Primordiality of Seeing (or Darsana)
What unites the Phenomenological Movement of the West initiated by Husserl with the Dravidian is the notion of "return to the things themselves" , a constant theme in the name of Iyal neRi, a return to the Natural which really means away from the secondary authorities of all sorts. The Natural World and Existence , the experiences that we have there is that which needs to be studied and understood for redeeming ourselves. All the secrets that will evaporate our existential anguish is there in the world . The scriptures that are unrelated or unrelatable to existence, to the personal and social themes, become purely meaningless mental exrecises.
But in the Dravidian the "things" to which we must return including the experiences are appropriated as TEXTS ( in the extended sense ) and which in turn are products of SEEING. We see this from the Sumerian times itself in their concern with language both the eme-gir, the written AND the eme-sal, ther spoken. Tolkaapiyar continues this in terms of CeyyuL and Vazakkau. The most important thing here is the eme-sal or Vazakku that brings us t to he living stream of life, how things are in the world, as part of the LIVING process . It is the power of living language to make us be in touch with LIVING process as opposed to the fossilized and dead.
And it turns out that the primordial existential structure is seeing, that living is seeing and that there is SEEING only because of a pre-existent SHOWING and whatever thus seen is retained as TEXTS to be further interpreted and understood. The primordial act of seeing, the pratykasa ( , porutu-aksa = Su. ig-tag-ga), even concrete objects such as the trees and hills yonder are NOT seen in themselves but only as we are LED TO SEE and seeing thus fabricated generates an understanding that is retained as TEXTS. Otherwise we cannot explain why the same object is seen differently by different people, as so well sttested in studies of perception.
Such TEXTS constitute our understanding, the consciousness and the continuous production of TEXTS, the movement of understanding , the flow of consciousness. But all such seeing-fabricated TEXTS have DUALITY of structure, the Surface and Deep and because of which they always IMPEL interpretative movements of understanding, the practice of UTTI , throwing one to Hermeneutics in that process. The hermeneutic way of Being is so close to us that only after noting repeated failures to fathom the human mind by other methods that we become self conscious about our hermeneutic bearings.
Our THINKING becomes genuine when a content of our understanding is secured as a TEXT and noting its Surface Structure features, venture through ontopretive movements ( = utti, Note: slightly diffferent from the common interpretive) to locate the elements in the Deep Structure that Agentively determine the the morphology of the Surface Structure. The face of that person who sits in front of me is a TEXT, the swollen eyes tight-lipped mouth etc. are Surface features that point beyond themselves towards his Being as the Deep Structure elements that fabricates his countenance as such that I term in an impressionist way as "sadness" " melancholy"" unhappy" "distressed" etc. But I DO NOT UNDERSTAND him till I locate the elements of Deep Structure that may be unconscious , subconscious or even half-conscious etc. to the individual, the elements that eamin CONCEALED, the Tirobava. He knows he is sad , depressed etc. but is NOT SURE why he is so and even if he knows why he is so , he may NOT UNDERSTAND why he should be so.
It is here that the need for ACCESS TESTS arises and along with all other tests , techniques and dream-like experiences that would disclose even vaguely the structure of the UNCONSCIOUS that contains within itself the agentive elements that remain the causal factors of his distress, melancholy etc.
The Access Tests make visible the primordial SEEING that has on its own generated TEXTS that structure his understanding and through that creates his ways of Being in the world which sometimes happen to be the distress-type. The Counselor locates these D.S elements and makes the person concerned also SEE it and through that GAIN an understanding of the origins of own distress. This deeper understanding is the CURE for the malaise afflicting him Having UNDERSTOOD the real CAUSE of distress and Melancholy , a solution presents itself and which enables him to SEE differently and because of which UNDERSTAND existence differently. Thus Hermeneutic Counselling centres on the notion of Engineering the SEEING, changing the way a person habitually sees and allow him to SEE truthfully so that no falsities enter into his understanding.
Truth is the healer of all malaise and Hermeneutic Counselling is a form counseling that promotes this kind of psychic healing.
We should note here that Indian Darsanas or metaphysical systems and perhaps the whole of the fabrique of philosophic thinking in the East is for the purpose of this kind counseling, the upatesam. The Agamic tradition analyses the praxis of such a system into Tantra Kalai, (the ritual practices) , Mantra Kalai ( the recitation of mantra) nad Upatesa Kalai ( counseling).
We should not fail to note that Bagavat Gita in essence , is actually a text in counseling using for this purpose the metaphysical insights of the very ancient Samkhya System. In order to elimate the doubts and uncertainties in the mind of Arjuna, Counseling is done by Krishana , to CLARIFY his mind and through that make him continue with his course of actions without any uncertainties now.
TEXUALITY AND INTENTIONALITY
We must keep to the notion that untill the very end understanding is TEXTUAL, in an extended sence of the word, and that too with the primordiality of SEEING. The seeing, the darsana, generates an understanding and that in turns generates a TEXT-- short stories poetry, essays , artistic productions, architecture, dance, dramas, in short everything that is produced by man. We are using the notion the TEXT in a very large and extended sense by noting a similarity that prevails between the WRITTEN texts and the nonwritten, the verbal and nonverbal.
Every product of man is a TEXT with its attendant DUALITY of structure. We must also remember that all texts have TWO distinct kinds of organization: the whole-part and the sequential that Tolkappiyar called Pakuthi-vikuthi and Athikaara muRaimai. Now with regard to Whole-Part relationship , it may be possible that the INTENTIONALITY of the author may NOT be available as as element of its structure. But this NOT SO with respect to the sequential. The sequentiality discloses the decisions made by the author consciously or unconsciously and in this DISPLAYS his INTENTIONS. Thus viewed from this perspective all TEXTS are extentional-intentional where the extentional is the REPRESENTATIONAL and intentional disclosive of the mind of the author. Thus through reaching the intentional elements of TEXT, say a letter written by a friend, we reach the mind of the individual and SEE through the extentional what the author really wants.
My understanding of the intentional component of the letter and not say the language or the style of writing or the colour of the ink etc. makes me UNDERSTAND my friend and what kind of fellow he is : concerned, loving, caring, cynical, jealous, rude, cultivated, polite etc. In reading the letter we bypass the language etc. and LEAP towards the INTENTIONAL and thereby the SELF of the person. Thus the intentional component of TEXTS become enormously important for psychology , not the psychology that conceptualise measures and ascertain but for a psychology that SEEKS to UNDERSTAND people -- what they are, how they actually feel respond react etc.
AS tirumular has said long ago: when we see the wood of an woodene elephant, the elephant receds to the background, and when we see the elephant the wood receds and becomes invisible -- it is there but not seen.
The language in the same manner absents itself when the MEANING , the INTENTION is noted and grasped.
Now we must introduce a distinction between personal-intentions and transpersonal-intentions. For the TEXTS in addition to being the normal the ordinary , those that directly related to LIVING as such, there are the SCRIPTURAL , the METAPHYSICAL where the concerns or ordinary life are forsaken for the sake of Mystical , Unconscious or the Metaphysical. Here too the two kinds of organizations are available- the whole-part and sequential. The SivapuraNam of Manikavasagar is NOT ordinary poetry of mundane life. It transcends the mundane and discloses the mystical, that realm of understanding outside the normal and for which reason it is classified as mystical.
But here too there is sequential organization. Whose intentionality is that is shown? There is NOTHING mundane though some may be personal . But the personal is submerged to allow the TRANSPERSONAL to display itself . The transpersonal is the same as BEING, the God . In metaphysical poetry, the individual will is submerged and the Divine Will is allowed to shine forth. Through leaping towards the INTENTIONALITY of such metaphysical TEXTS we reach the DIVINE . Thus each reading of SivapuraNam - not simply reciting it mechanically but understanding it - is simultaneously the experiencing of the DIVINE and for which reason they also become religious. Such texts by their metaphysical qualities serve for us to reach the metaphysical and Divine within us.
This applies to reading and understanding scriptural lore of any kind: they facilitate the submergence of the egoistic individual and enjoy the transpersonal DIVINE.
In such transcendenses are born metaphysical insights and
which later become systematised as coherent philosophies.