Dialogs on Habits of Mind of Prof Antonio T. de Nicholas

 

Compiled by Dr K.Loganthan , 2004

 

 

 

 

In a message dated 06/01/2004 21:34:04 Eastern Standard Time, subas@p

c.jaring.my writes:

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-1

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-1

 

Dear Prof Antonio

 

I begin now a dialogue on your very impressive and interesting Habits of Mind that challenges the ethos of higher education (in America?) with a plea for the resuscitation of the ancient Clinical Philosophy of the Greeks.  While I am extremely sympathetic towards such a program, but I have my doubts about the efficacy of the Greek Model you propose. In this series of dialogues, I want to bring the insights if have gained through my studies of the Dravidian Culture which as you are aware, I trace from the Sumerian. It may be possible that the culture of Academia such as that of Plato and that of the Tamils, which was also academic in a different way, have their origins in the Sumerian culture, which was academic. It was they who created the institution of the school for children, the e-dub-ba (Ta. il tuppu: tablet house) and similar kinds of academic institutions for the adults and so forth. But despite this possible common origin, the Greek and Dravidian cultures seems to have developed differently and it is this DIFFERENCE that I want to bring out  so that some kind of RETHIBNKING takes place, assuming here that there is some truth in what I say.

 

Whether European, American, Chinese, Japanese, African, Dravidian, Polynesian, the Human ESSENCE is the same and where philosophical culture differs it may only mean that we have NOT gone to very bottom of the human essence. It is with this kind of presuppositions that  Iinitiate this dialogue so that scholars all over the world can participate and contribute whatever they can to bring more clarity in to this issue.

 

With these preliminaries, let me take up what Maria says in her introduction to this marvelous book

 

 

 

 

 

Habits of Mind, by Antonio T. de Nicholas : Introduction

 

Conclusion: Why habits of mind?

 

The system of education proposed by Plato in his Seventh Letter and Dialogues is not exotic. It has been the cornerstone of all civilization because it is epistemologically grounded upon our most basic human ori­gins: our biology. The difference however between this model and all oth­ers is that this education is not a dogmatic training or specialty; it is a methodological training, and it requires educating by EXERCISING ALL THE OTHER HUMAN INTELLIGENCES AS A PREREQUISITE TO ITS DEVELOPMENT. This is a training that requires individuals who are pre­pared, to create cultures that are great, or even to see the greatness of other cultures or individuals outside our own sphere. But for reasons elaborated upon in Part one, the mistakes we, as modern readers make of this philos­ophy and these writings is to read them as “theory”; in other words, to apply Aristotle’s methodology of inspection to these works and not see them for what they actually are: a description of a separate intelligence system with an entirely different neural circuitry. 15

 

We return now to the questions posed in Part One about the problem of applying the methodology of philosophy to physical substances, espe­cially to HUMANS as physical substances. In short, the conclusions drawn from neurobiological research necessitate a serious reevaluation of our


use of Aristotle’s formal cause16, especially as it relates to humans for the following reasons. The nurture and cultural imperatives make it impossi­ble for anyone to extract accurate generalizations of humans from the out­side NO MATTER HOW MANY PARTICULAR CASES ARE STUDIED

because the nurture imperative conditions an individual’s intelligence network by creating an ARCHITECTURALLY UNIQUE nature imperative once an individual’s biocultural development has been com­pleted. Thus the entire intelligence network, the sine qua non of human distinction, is fundamentally asystematic. So where then is the “human blueprint” besides the realm of name? Shall consensus of NAME now serve as our principle of Natural affinity?

The alternative to this method-the Pythagorean/Platonic model, and the one reconstructed in Habits of Mind-offers a solution to this impasse of better understanding human behavior/culture through the methodol­ogy of philosophical exercises in the classroom, as a self reflection based ~ on the development of the heart-prefrontal cortex circuitry as preliminary criterion for examining the world, rather than relying upon the indoctri­nation of others on the individual through imposing outside theoretical structures which exercise only the left hemisphere of the neocortex, thereby immediately disengaging the human from him/herself and his/her other intelligence systems.17 The philosophical methodology of training the prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, first trains individuals to see their own particular conditioning, by examination their actions and the moti­~ vation for their ACTIONS, thereby allowing them to remove the imperial­istic constraints of their perspective from their preliminary world view. It is only in DOING this exercise first, that one may then approach the notion of seeing the other for who he/she is. But to view the world this way first requires a radical reinstitution of PHILOSOPHICAL METHODOLOGY a la Plato and Pythagoras based on the exercises of a


plurality of habits of mind as part and parcel of the public sector in edu­cation, for there is no better method for learning about oneself or other humans/cultures that continues to stand up to scientific scrutiny than the exercise of philosophy as outlined by Pythagoras/Plato and repeated in Habits of Mind. With the conclusions drawn from current research in child development and neurobiology, the use of Aristotle’s hybrid methodology of studying humans disintegrates thoroughly, and with it too, should the demise of the entire field of the social sciences follow.

Why Habits of Mind NOW? Because this is the only exercise humans have as individuals, and as a species that guarantees renewal in innovation and continuity, and that, despite any social or political coercion, provides internal freedom, and perhaps even, immortality.

 

Maria M. Colavito Ph.D.

President

The Biocultural Research Institute, Inc.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

What puzzles me is the recommendation of reflection of the neural circuitry, see their own biological conditioning and understand the genesis of the motivational dynamics that impel them to action and so forth.  While I do not deny the neural foundation and hence the evolutionary determinants of our modes of thinking and acting, including the metaphysical, my question is: Will an understanding of this be sufficient to make a person UNCONDITION himself from the various kinds of determinants and become FREE?

 

I doubt very much and I want propose TWO alternative methods.

 

The First is:

 

Without worrying too much at the beginning, there must be an inquiry into the MEANINGS that make people ACT and struggle. Everyone wants to BECOME some kind of a person and which he or she sees as his/her own possibility and with an  innate right to be so. For e.g. to become a political leader is a Way of Being-in-the -World and hence belongs to the question of Being. This is the PoruL of Tolkaappiyar, not the substances, concrete or abstract but rather the MEANING for Existence that sustains one’s basic way of sojourning in the world. This was the question of Suruppak, the Sumerian Sage of Neri (c. 3000 BC) and which led to notion of the Purusharttas - aRam poRuL Inbam and Viidu : ethics, economic well-being, Happiness and Moksa. This is NOT just Dravidian or Hindu but rather that which is ALREADY THERE in the bosom of all but only that it remains half-acknowledged and hence NOT fully understood.  The unthinking is very confused about such MEANINGS and the function of Clinical Philosophy would be to devise a program where a person understands what he really wants, what is the MEANING that founds his life and what other meanings there are there in stock for him. Of utmost importance would to ALERT the possibility of Moksa as the most Powerful MEANING and which on surfacing can make other meanings powerless or no more interesting.

 

Such a program need not involve any reflection of the neural network of the brain but only investigations into MEANINGS that sustains the EXISTENCE of people. Hence what may be necessary is Existential Analytics perhaps such as that of Tolkaappiyar.

 

My Second is:

 

A life of Ritual Action where we progress from the concrete type and finally end with the philosophical. What I have in mind is the Model set up the Agamic/Tantric Hinduism and which is TEMPLE centered. This is the continuation of the Sumerian by the Dravidians to this day and I believe the Greeks, before they became Christianized were Tantrics in this sense worshiping many gods and goddesses installed in the temples.

 

A Ritual Act is an action that makes a person remain in the presence of BEING, and very often in the form of a deity and sometimes even just an Icon such as those installed in the temples. Such Ritual acts are classified into Cariyai Kriyai Yoga and Njana and it is in Njana that Philosophical activities are said to be the core Way of Being. The Cariyai are Social-Rituals, the kinds of things that one does for the public good and social welfare. The Kriyai are the Personal-Rituals that makes a person do things like mantra recital and so forth so that he is in the PRESENCE of a deity. The Yoga is Bodily-Actions where through various forms Body Languages, the hidden and concealed metaphysical realms are accessed. Then comes the Njanam, the Metaphysical-Actions where philosophical discourses become the Way of Life with deconstruction as the primary philosophical impulse.

 

In these ritual actions there is ORDER and LOGIC - the person has to move from Social- Ritual and in stages to the final Metaphysical-Rituals. There is an EVOLUTIONARY ORDER in such a development, regulated by LOGIC of its own. The common core of all these rituals actions is the SAME, the Njanam, the Civanjanam, the Absolute Understanding that lights up all, makes the MEANING for existence as that of attaining Moksa and which on attaining destroys the ALIENATION that has been there always through installing Pure Love.

 

 

In the exercise of Social-Rituals we have a global and an intuitive understanding of the Njanam and which becomes more and more clear and differentiated as we go to Personal-Rituals, Body-Rituals and so forth. At the stage of Metaphysical-Rituals we take the different metaphysical systems that are there and seek to DECONSTRUCT all of them so that only what is true, the Siddhantam stands out. It is assumed that what cannot be deconstructed and thrown away, has to be the TRUTH, the truths as objective realities cannot be denied being-there and hence deconstructed and throw away.

 

Note: I have not read the whole book (though had a glance from the beginning to the end) and only going now chapter by chapter and quite meticulously.  If there are already these ideas somewhere in the book, I hope I am corrected by Prof Antonio and his associates.

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <meykandar@yahoogroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-1

Date: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 9:59 PM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

I thank Dr. Loganathan for his enormous effort to start this dialogue on

Habits of Mind. I feel honored but I also feel the enormous responsability not to

mislead anyone with easy answers or sterotypes. So I will begin by clarifying

the presuppositions of the email below "on which we are now working, and are

part of what Habits of Mind is about."

 

You start with the following:

"I begin now a dialogue on your very impressive and interesting Habits of

Mind that challenges the ethos of higher education (in America?) with a plea for

the resuscitation of the ancient Clinical Philosophy of the Greeks.  While I

am extremely sympathetic towards such a program, but I have my doubts about the

efficacy of the Greek Model you propose."

 

My response:

If you read correctly  I do not propose to return to the Greek Model, I

propose to return to Plato as a stepping stone to earlier models, inner

technologies in India etc, for as I say: " Plato is a footnote to earlier cultures..."

 

You write:

 "It may be possible that the culture of Academia such as that of Plato and

that of the Tamils, which was also academic in a different way, have their

origins in the Sumerian culture, which was academic"

 

My response:

If you can bring this historical fact to the table it will certainly be the

greatest contribution. One of the reasons we know so little about the Sumerians

is because they came to us through the Akkedians, in translation and

different. Can you prove this? Fortunately for us we can read the Sumerians inside  of

us if we share with them their habits of mind, neurobiology is also history,

though hidden most of the time.

 

You write:

"Whether European, American, Chinese, Japanese, African, Dravidian,

Polynesian, the Human ESSENCE is the same and where philosophical culture differs it

may only mean that we have NOT gone to the very bottom of the human essence. It

is with this kind of presuppositions that  I initiate this dialogue so that

scholars all over the world can participate and contribute whatever they can to

bring more clarity in to this issue."

 

My response:

 

Your words European, American, Chinese etc.. are universals covering a

multitude of individual differences within each one of those universals. And your

other universal Human essence is as ineffective as the others. What each one of

us "is" is to be found in dialogue, interaction etc., not presupposed by a

habit of mind of using universals to cover the differences and manipulate the

groups. The individual as opposed to the universal is also misleading for that

would make philosophy impossible. Individuality is based in our discussion on

acts performed internally and categorized according to this performance as the

neorobiology of humans as developed through the interaction nurture/nature. Of

the five brain we humans have or may use, due to the nurture/nature

imperative, one brain takes over the others or becomes the pilot brain for each one of

us. Several predominant brains can come together and form communities and

cultures and these are biologically grounded, not theoretically grounded. So let

us not talk ahead of our own exercise and start both now. This is the reason I

do not comment on Dr. Loga's comments of Dr. Maria's Introduction.

 

Concludinng remarks and recomendations for now:

I would like Dr. Loga to be short and to the point and not force a dialogue

that includes only himself and myself.

Second, there is no human action that does not involve the neural

circuitry...unless the human in question is catatonic. So, please avoid

speculation...This is also part of Habits of Mind , and finally remember,

that what we describe and appears to be out there is really inside each one

of us in our neural circuitry... we are talking about our own inner development

and inner cultural progress. What we do not understand and reject is our own

loss, literally.

Om and Shanti

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you for your clarifications and additional points. I shall continue this dialogue as I think it will clarify many issues in philosophy and human sciences that will be  cherished not only by me but also many who happen to read them.

 

1.

 

>>>>>>>>>>

 

Now I am glad that you have pointed “If you read correctly  I do not propose to return to the Greek Model, I

propose to return to Plato as a stepping stone to earlier models, inner

technologies in India etc, for as I say: " Plato is a footnote to earlier cultures..."

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

This is very interesting for so far I have not come across European philosophers arguing for the need to go back to pre-Plato philosophies and that too towards the inner technologies of India and so forth.( May be this because of limited reading of the relevant literature)  Let me also mention here that these pre-Plato (and Pre-Socratic) philosophies may be something related to the Sumerian as till the 500 BC there were Sumerian scholars around there. Furthermore many scholars now talk about the Black Athenians who probably  talked a language related to Tamil. I have pointed out in an earlier posting that many Greek gods and goddesses had Tamil names. The Jewish calendar also bears many Tamil names. Furthermore the language of Linear A script (c. 1800 BC) of Minoans appears to be a kind of Tamil. Admittedly most of these are still very blur. But considering the presence of the worship of SivaliGkam (with a snake crawling over it) among the ancient Greeks, whatever their ethnic and linguistic make up, it appears to me that Tantrism of a kind was the religion of the Pre-Christian Greeks as it is with Tamil and other Saivites.

 

2.

 

My next response is with respect to your following comments:

 

>>>>>>>>

 

Your words European, American, Chinese etc.. are universals covering a

multitude of individual differences within each one of those universals. And your

other universal Human essence is as ineffective as the others. What each one of

us "is" is to be found in dialogue, interaction etc., not presupposed by a

habit of mind of using universals to cover the differences and manipulate the

groups. The individual as opposed to the universal is also misleading for that

would make philosophy impossible. Individuality is based in our discussion on

acts performed internally and categorized according to this performance as the

neorobiology of humans as developed through the interaction nurture/nature. Of

the five brain we humans have or may use, due to the nurture/nature

imperative, one brain takes over the others or becomes the pilot brain for each one of

us. Several predominant brains can come together and form communities and

cultures and these are biologically grounded, not theoretically grounded. So let

us not talk ahead of our own exercise and start both now.

 

>>>>>>>>>>

 

My response.

 

By ‘universal’ what I mean is the COMMON, the SAME that lurks at the DEPTHS and beneath the surface level differences. The categories of American African and so forth are surface level and national cultural ethnic kinds of classifications. I believe that already born a human being there is a COMMONALITY, the Human Essence,  that is presupposed by all human beings and towards the CLEAR understanding of which the philosophical culture is instituted. Here I think in terms of Surface Structure (SS) and Deep Structure (DS) features of Pedagogic Hermeneutics and where while at the level of SS there are differences,  at the level of DS or the Absolute DS (ADS) there may not be. Now there may be neurobiological correlates of this- into our nervous system it may already been woven as integral parts of it but of which we may not be aware under ordinary circumstances. It is here that metaphysical excursions into the depths of one’s own self  become relevant. At the level ADS, we shall discover the commonality ALREADY THERE and hence such an understanding may come as the product of philosophical culture or Clinical Philosophy’ ( I like this term very much because of its suggestion of psychology)

 

But how to make sense of it all?

 

We can point out the presence common pushes rather than philosophies and SEXUALITY offers itself quite admirably for this. For it is COMMON to all mankind and hence a deeper  understanding we unearth about sexuality will also adumbrate the COMMONNESS that is already there among human beings ( leaving alone the nonhuman creatures for the time being). Now within sexuality there is also the dimension of being free of it and which though the  accomplishments of only some selected individuals (but from all over the world) but alerts us to a COMMON POSSIBLITY that is there in all but only some who have realized.

 

Related to this is DEATH (and  birth)  and which is common to all. And hence unraveling of the hidden mysteries surrounding the phenomenon of DEATH will also unravel the COMMON among all. This will also bring in the desire such as that Gilgames to conquer DEATH, a desire with which any one can be assailed with once the notion of DEATH grips us in metaphysical vein.

 

3.

 

Next I want say something briefly about the following:

 

\>>>>>>>>>

 

there is no human action that does not involve the neural

circuitry...unless the human in question is catatonic. So, please avoid

speculation...This is also part of Habits of Mind , and finally remember,

that what we describe and appears to be out there is really inside each one

of us in our neural circuitry... we are talking about our own inner development

and inner cultural progress. What we do not understand and reject is our own

loss, literally.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

While the involvement of the neural circuitry (and also the bodily limbs the different mental modules and an ecological context for action)) are undeniable, but can there be actions without a person doing it and hence the presence of INTENTIONALITY? And if intentionality is there as that which regulates the brain processes so that a focused action that is consistent with the desires of the person become real and the meaning of actions, how come there are such intentionalities and actions as expressions of these intentions?

 

I am raising these questions only to show that the language of nervous circuitry is NOT the end but rather another beginning towards understanding the presence of various kinds of celestial powers that are there in the actions we do.

 

Having clarified these and without hoping that there will be ready agreement and so forth, I hope to pursue the dialogue by moving on to the next chapters.

 

Loga

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <Abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>; <ontological.Ethics@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@yahoogroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-1

Date: Friday, January 09, 2004 6:23 AM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

We have already traveled a long way even before we get started.

As you can see even at the very start I am avoiding any "universals" like the

Greeks, I usually write and speak about one philosopher, Plato, one book, the

Rg Veda (10 mandalas) to avoid the temptation to generalize. Habits of Mind

point out directly to neurobiology (neurons carrying information etc.,

clustering, forming intelligence centers)

When I refer to the individual I mean, as we shall soon see the use of one

intelligence center as our "pilot brain", and though there may be many people

that are communal in the use of  that brain as primary, as their pilot, there

are also many more individual decisions  that are part of other primary brains;

for uses are individual and not the same, and these are the subject of our

study. What is common in these studies is that we all share the nature/nurture

common ground that is activated the one over the other depending on the

relationship they both had in stimulating one another form the moment of conception.

It is neither nature nor nurture but how one opens and conditions the other.

And you have touched the crux of the matter: INTENTIONALITY. As you can

already surmise from the above this is conditioned and dependent on the "pilot

brain." And this will be the most important point of our discussion. There is an

intentionality within each primary brain and within each human decision. How

humans came about deciding will be the question. Westerners are mostly

compliant, since their will is a prisoner of the ideology ruling the market place.

Decision making is mostly an Eastern skill, how from among the possible options we

will be able to choose the best one by habit (dharma).

And so on.

We are not wasting time taking our time to start. Each clarification will

make us focus sharper.

Om and Shanti

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 

Dear Dr.Loga,

 

Great insights and I am most interested in those Tamil contributions.The "pilot brains" is a refrasking in modern neurobiology of the Indic insights of the "gunas": rajas, tamas and sattva plus turya, the fourth, as the reptilian. limbic, visual-neocortex. In the Indic traditions and in Plato these "intentionalities" are the whole range of human development plus the fifth (the experience of the Good, truth, the divine) of course, how can one know the forth without the fifth? Or only those with a taste of the fifth will know if those behind the fire leading the masses or educating or  talking the lingo of the forth have the fifth, or they are blaffing. In Western tradition we only function with the three,(names, definitions, ideologies) rajas, tamas, sattva. My contention is that neither Plato's program of education has entered the Academy nor can it be understood without Indic texts and practices to back it up.The company Westerneers have besides Indic texts are those texts from the mystics in Western traditions.

From this angle of INTENTIONALITIES notice how cultures divide into two large groups:

 

those in search of knowledge and those in search of the right decisions in every situation (dharma). Those in search of knowledge only, reduce all complexity into veridical simplicity: true, false, right, wrong, black, white, guilty, innocent. Those in search of the right decisions in complex situations (the tree of life) are looking for the education of the will, memory and imagination. The first has the Savior as the only solution to the absense of knowledge since the species is already flawed by original sin ( a woman, Eve, contaminated the species with her tasting of the apple from the tree of knowledge. How come the arrival and incarnation of the God Jesus did not make the species divine?Those priests are not very smart!). The second, by focusing on the development of the whole human, the whole range of brains, has as a model and produces the Avatara, the complete human, at least up to the point of his/her liberation (Moksha). Within these two inentionalities men and woman make their lives in the hope of bringuing them together through opening the frontal lobes and the heart

 

(that most powerful brain with 60 to 75 times more electromagnetic power than the neocortex.

With all this as abackgroud, let us start through Habits of Mind  one chapter at a time and see how the West thinks how the East decides and how both may be reconciled within the heart and brains of every individual.

OM and Shanti

  

   

 

 

 

 

In a message dated 08/01/2004 20:30:22 Eastern Standard Time, subas@pc.jaring.my writes:

Dear Prof

 

It may be possible that our dialogue goes in circles but it does not really matter as even this way of talking will bring about some clarities and which is what we are after. Before I take up other chapters (I am moving chapter by chapter) let me react briefly towards your statement :

 

>>>>>>>>

 

When I refer to the individual I mean, as we shall soon see the use of one intelligence center as our "pilot brain", and though there may be many people that are communal in the use of  that brain as primary, as their pilot, there are also many more individual decisions  that are part of other primary brains; for uses are individual and not the same, and these are the subject of our study.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Let me mention here very briefly that there are a number of treatises written by the Tamil Siddhas with notions quite similar to yours where you use the term 'pilot brain" by which presumably you mean something AGENTIVE in its presence and function.  Now the Siddhas use the term 'naadi' both in the sense of nerves (where the pulses beats have been analyzed in great details to diagnose the diseases) and as that which brings about 'naaddam" , the various kinds of INTENTIONALITIES and which has been puzzling to me for sometime. I can understand their - Idakalai Pingkalai SuziMunai and Guru Nadi and which they relate to the presence of Natam Bindu and so forth.  But what is the connection between INTENTIONALITIES as such as the structure of the brain and nervous system? Now on top of that they seem to think that the Nervous System itself is a phenomenal expressions of INTENTIONALITIES as objectively present as a fabric of the cosmos itself.  BEING Himself is seen to present  the WILL ( the aaNai) and which creates various of MEANINGS that found these Four Nadies  and in which the Guru Nadi, the Fundamental Intentionality  is Moksa related.

 

While these are still quite puzzling to me , I can see that they may have some bearings of your notion of 'pilot brain" . Meanwhile let me struggle a bit with these texts and bring to bear their contents upon the issues in the Habits of Mind.

 

Loga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-2

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

Let me say at the very outset that I am in favor of the recommendations Prof Antonio  here and which should also be studied carefully even by Indians and others. For the issues are the main goals of education and MECHANIZATION of education that is being talked about here is not only peculiar to the Americans but also the Asians. There is dehumanization of education even among the Indians and towards which I was trying to draw attention of the people by saying that Hinduism is dead Saivism is dead and so forth.  The lamentations over dehumanization of education in America should also apply to brahmanization of Hindu thinking where any form of thinking other than Brahmanical is NOT sanctioned as Hindu and because of which there are movements where they want start a NEW religions-  Shiva dharma by Maharastrians and earlier Saivism by the Tamils. I have been part of the Tamil movement and was not fully happy with it though I remain sympathetic to this day to revive the Agamic Hinduism with its temple centeredness and caste free sociology.

 

But first let us look at two passages from the first chapter of Habits of Mind called “Higher Education Today”

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

ours is not a scientific culture, but rather a culture which uses scientific principles to solve the problems of everyday living—at home, abroad, understanding the past, projecting the future. We adopted a technological culture, but this culture, as it became entrenched in our educational program, brought with it original flaws of conception that make any reform in education problematic if not impossible. The critics of education have not even addressed the problem, much less tried to solve the encroachment of technology on education. The confusion of the critics on this point is shared by most faculty; and we are less than honest in placing blame on the students when they show their own confusion.

 

To assume that we are dealing in the universities with two cultures, that of science and that of the humanities, is not only wrong but reinforces the false division. The humanities are identifiable as the repository of our backgrounds, our original images of tradition, and the tradition of those images. Though the tradition of the humanities may be expressed in prose,


poetry, music, or painting, the primary identifiable criterion for the humanities is that they store our images, and the main exercises of the humanities are to keep those images alive and teach the creation and recreation of images so that we may remain alive as a culture and as a species. The operations of science, on the other hand, are concepts, and systems of con­cepts expressible only as concepts. Now technology as used in education inverts the roles, giving images to science and ex­pressing the humanities only in concepts. It is a dedicated effort to subvert the classical role of education as we under­stand it or presume it, giving images where they are not needed, and removing them where they are an absolute neces­sity. This reinterpretation of the world for the expansion of the new culture of technology has become an ideology, rather than a rational, scientific, or humanistic enterprise. It is no surprise that the critics are clamoring for a return to the humanities, a return that is impossible unless the habits of mind imprinted by technology on the young are changed by other habits that make room for both science and the humanities. American education has surrendered to the dictates of a hybrid ideology which, in the name of science, has found a place in our univer­sities because we already had habits of mind hospitable to its presence. But this type of education can only be imparted if students surrender their freedom and dignity.

 

Prof Antonio De Nicholas Habits of Mind pp 16-17



What is obviously needed is a complete philosophical reflec­tion that carries the criticism of education to the roots of the soul. We must analyze those acts we perform to become edu­cated and not stop short by imposing certain habits of mind we have inherited, and thus act against the education of the young. We need to define our society, our culture, our nation, as what it is rather than as what it is not. We are not Romans, Germans, or English primarily, but we are those and also Greeks, Orien­tals, and all of them at once. As a culture we are neither scientific nor humanistic, but we have adopted a hybrid called technology. Technology, for Americans, is the instrumentaliza­tion of both science and humanities, and as such is our univer­sal culture and our philosophy, against which we view both past and future. The fact that it is insufficient should increase our urgency to fill the gaps, direct our training to figure the alter­natives, or focus on training that would reestablish the actual practice of doing science and doing humanities. It is because we have accepted the culture of technology, that what the critics see as an aberration of reason is from the viewpoint of tech­nological culture, seen as the outcome of a fully legitimate culture. From an ontological point of view this is not only legitimate but true. Absolute claims are possible only in logical or human isolation.

 

 

Ibid p.12

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Well it would follow that Western culture is NOT really a scientific culture but rather a technological culture, which DENIES certain possibilities of the Mind and where even humanities are mechanized, made the field of positive sciences where whatever that does not conform to the norms of such sciences are rejected and so forth. Of utmost importance to me is the claim that the breaking down the academic world into humanities and sciences is not only WRONG but also false and which must be wiped out to create an education that does not sustain this dichotomy. This TRUE education must bring out that we are UNIVERSAL, not just American etc but also all.

 

This is quite surprising to me but at the same time very valid and something that applies not only to the Americans but also to all.

 

Why surprising?

 

Looking at the enormous production of NEW knowledge of the WEST and the SUPPORT they give for such a production, it comes as a surprise to learn that there DEFECTS even in this. For I have been marveling at the way the Europeans explore the outer space, deep seas, unexplored corners of world, technological adventures in which they invent machines after machines and with which they perform medical miracles, scientific discoveries and so forth. The world is a village now not because of religions and philosophies but because of technological adventures, perhaps as unintended consequences of the scientific advances. Even in thinking the West has produced so many brilliant thinkers - Descartes, Hume, Kant, Leibniz, Marx, Russell, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer and so forth who have shaken the world and shown new political cultures. Against this the Indians have been spinning out thought systems not at all influential not only at the global level but also at Indian level. The Indian thinking is sickeningly caste-bound, stereotyped where the same age old stuff is regurgitated ad nauseam and with astrological fantasia added to mystify everything. Sickened at this I have recommending Westernization by way of liberating Indian Thinking from caste prisons and camouflaged racialism. But perhaps words are ineffective and political actions are the way - a mental revolution through political action is the way out.

 

But such is NOT the situation in the West where what is proposed is a change in the philosophy of education so that a culture that sees the division of Science and Humanities is seen also as false. In other words there is a demand here to broaden and extent the notion of RATIONALITY so that it is NOT exclusively identified with Science alone but also extended to the humanities. In poems arts dance music and so forth there is also an expression of RATIONALITY and which because they deal with the soul, if neglected will lead to spiritual decadence of man and hence make all the technological advances quite useless really.

 

Here I concur but I just want to raise some questions.

 

Is it being recommended here that the notion of science, not that it should be discarded but instead be broadened as Hermeneutic Science that sees both the sciences and humanities just as the different expressions of the SAME human rationality? Here by Hermeneutic Science I mean the interpretive science where everything investigated is a TEXT with DUALITY of structure, the Surface Structure (SS) and Deep Structure(DS) and where rationality is shown by locating that element of DS that is agentively linked with that feature of SS that becomes problematic and hence a matter for investigations. The object taken can be a physical object like stones, a living creature  like fish 2000 meters below the sea-level, the masks the Kathakkali dancers wear, the gestures of the hands of a Barata Natyam Dancer, the Icons that fill the temples, the metaphors that add elegance to poetry and so forth. They all have MEANINGS and there is a RATIONAL WAY of getting at the meanings and with that enjoy TRUTH-EXPERIENCES. Since this is the  ONLY way both the technology oriented sciences and poetry oriented arts can be brought together as different fields of Hermeneutic Sciences (as it has been among the Tantrics or at least the Tamils since the days of Tolkaappiyam), it appears to me that what Prof Antonio is recommending is this Hermeneutic Science.

 

 

From: "Dr. K.Loganathan" <subas@pc.jaring.my>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@yahoogroups.com>; "Abhinavagupta" <Abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>; <ontological.Ethics@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-2

Date: Monday, January 12, 2004 8:37 AM

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you very much. I am beginning to understand you and believe that what you are proposing is essentially Hermeneutic Science and NOT simply Philosophical Hermeneutics of Heidegger Gadamer and  so forth. I am fully sympathetic with that and feel that this is the only way not only to diffuse the artificial barrier between the  sciences and humanities but also the cultural and religious differences across the world.

 

The human mind (also animal?)  is wired to respond to TRUTH and as long we move in the direction of TRUTH, the MeyneRittu of Tolkaappiyar, our differences will naturally dissove  or fizzle out.  Just simply who can deny truths?

 

Let me add that the SumeroTamil studies may also play an important role in this. As I pour through the SumeroTamil literature, I can seen the beginnings of these notions as would any one if they approach them with a background knowledge of Tamil. The words of Suruppak where he implores one must study the events around so that one learns the truths ( me-kal-kal) must be carved in gold for it is this spirit that has sustained Agamic Hinduism and continues to sustain it ( when activated) Perhaps it is also the secret of the survival of SumeroiTamil culture to this day.

 

This whole story remains to be told to the world and I will be obliged if you also as a scholar of Sumerian literature do something in this direction as well.

 

I have just finished reading the Third Chapter of Habits and I will adumbrate more on such things and which will be just simply providing more arguments for your proposals.

 

Loga

  ----- Original Message -----

  From: diotima245@aol.com

  To: agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com

  Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 7:14 AM

  Subject: Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-2

 

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends,

 

If every reader would have the depth of training and insight of Dr. Loga the world would be a better place for all of us. Extraodinary beginning, not only critical but positive in understanding and suggestions. Way to go!

Thanks

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 

Dear Raja

 

I have written quite extensively on Hermeneutics and you can read them at the following website:

 

http://ulagank.tripod.com/hermscience.htm

 

 

From the account of my students, the best and really effective is the paper I wrote on literary Hermeneutics of Tolkaappiyar where the sutra begins interestingly  enough with “ottak kaadci utti” i.e. the Utties, the movement of the mind that bring the same vision (kaadci) as the author (otta kaadci) so that there can be agreement, (ottal- to agree). This is available at the following address:

 

http://arutkural.tripod.com/tolcampus/utti-32.html

 

At global level there are many traditions that go by the name of Hermeneutics and even in the West, beginning with the protestant Exegetical Hermeneutics of Martin Luther it has moved into a variety of Hermeneutics including now that of Philosophical Hermeneutics such as that Heidegger Gadamer Ricouver and so forth. All of them have a family resemblance in having INTERPRETATION of TEXTS as the common point. In Tamil, as I have already said, in Marabiyal it begins as Literary Hermeneutics (also shared by Kaudilya of Artha Sastra) but moves to a general methodological principle in the main body of Tolkaappiyam itself. I am studying now Meyppaaddiyal, the study of Meyppaadu, feelings and emotions and posting them even to Abhinavagupta.  You can see the elements of Hermeneutic Science there that Tol.  calls Nuul NeRi (The way of becoming CLEAR ) where he also says it has as its goal the contemplation of Nannyap PoruL, the essences of objects, including the MEANINGS that determine the behavior of people. The whole of PoruLatikaaram, the massive third book is about PoruL, the MEANINGS that constitutes the EXISTENCE of man and how they come to be as such.

 

In the world outside Tamizakam, and even outside the Saiva Tradition, Hermeneutics existed essentially as Exegetical Hermeneutics such as Biblical Hermeneutics of the Christians, the Islamic hermeneutics  such as that of Imam Gazali in his Uhya Illumudin, the non-vedantic Sri VaishaNava philosophy of the exegetics of Tiruvaymozi of Namazvar maintained by Idu tradition the summaries of which are available in such books as Acarya Hridayam ( MaaRanin Manam) and so forth. In a way even the Vedantic tradition can be considered as belonging to this tradition but confined to Badarayana’s Vedanta Sutras. After all it is as commentaries to these sutras that Sankara Ramanuja Madhava and so forth worked out their Vedantic philosophies.

 

It is against this tradition that we have to see the revolution in Philosophy that Meykandar effects: he generalizes the notion of TEXT to the WORLD as a WHOLE and this being the most inclusive TEXT where the production of scriptures and so forth is part of it, founds Philosophy as the most Fundamental Hermeneutic Science. Now as you explore the metaphysical visions unfolded in Botham (see Lessons on Botham for an ongoing attempt at this) you will realize that our mind or specially the self is already equipped for its metaphysical journey and towards Moksa.  Tirumular elaborates on this magnificently. BEING is not only in the world but also in the mind or self and that we can RECOGNISE His presence there by going deeper and deeper into the workings of our mind or self itself.

 

The phrase “alaiyaatu njanattai munnuNarntu naadil” that Meykandar uses to establish the anma as a fundamental substance, clarifies this issue. This phrase really means: there is a pre-understanding of Njanam and there is something seeking that despite a sequence of deaths and rebirths and without being lost (alaiyaatu) in all these. Thus the self is there as both sat-self and asat-self and its metaphysical journey, the asat-self drops off and the sat-self survives to enjoy Moksa.

 

Also you can see Tirumular Appar Punitavati Poykaiyar, those whom I am studying now, are essentially practicing Hermeneutic Sciences for they are boldly exploring the Metaphysical World and articulating in moving poetry their encounters of the depths in the form of icons, mythical themes and so forth and where they also seek out the MEANINGS of all.  For example in several places Punitavati seeks out the MEANING of the presence of the snake, the presence of Moon but always as a Crescent Moon and so forth and hints at the meanings she sees and which I bring out in my commentaries. This science I have called Hermeneutic Semiotics as it is seeking out meanings of mythical and related themes.

 

I may not have answered all your questions but I will keep them in mind and in my dialogues on Habits I hope to bring appropriate responses and at the appropriate places.

 

Now finally one thing: yes you are right in saying that your Tamil upbringing in Malaysia did not alert you with respect to the essences of Tamil traditions I am articulating. The study of Saiva Siddhanta is lost, the Saiva Tradition is DEAD and even in India and Sri Lanka it survives only among a small minority of scholars and that too is dwindling. This is part of the DECLINE of Tamil and Tamil scholarship- gone are the days of Somasundara Nayakkar, MaRaimalai AdikaL, Kalyana Sundrar and so forth.

 

I am trying to revive it all in my humble way or at least keep it alive because of its enormous depth and usefulness.

 

Loga

 

 

 

From: "Raja Mylvaganam" <mylvahana@yahoo.com>

To: <Abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: [Abhinavagupta] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-2

Date: Monday, January 12, 2004 8:50 PM

 

Dr. Loganthan has written:

 

The human mind (also animal?)  is wired to respond to TRUTH and as long we move in the direction of TRUTH, the MeyneRittu of Tolkaappiyar, our differences will naturally dissolve  or fizzle out.  Just simply who can deny truths?

 

 

This is a very tightly packed statement and requires help in understanding. First, the assertions contained therein seem to rely entirely on the authority of the Tolkaapiyar. It is reminiscent of claims of inerrancy for their scriptural texts by some sects among Christians.  The belief in the inerrancy of scriptural texts and the challenges to the beliefs are matter of history. Nevertheless, Hermeneutics [The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles dates the word at 1737 and describes it as, "The art or science of interpretation, especially of Scripture. Commonly distinguished from exegesis or practical exposition."] is hardly a done deal. On the contrary the subject is taught to beginning students as a means of thawing the grip of 'ancient truths which have become uncouth'. Any claims by Hermeneuts to know the TRUTH as an objective reality or even assert there is a universally applicable TRUTH (out-there or in-here) has to be reconsidered in the light of

 Hermeneutics itself. I confess that my background in Hermeneutics is rudimentary and I am sure that Dr. Loganathan among others can better inform us on the range and differences in the contributions by Dilthey, Gadamer, Heidegger, Ricouer etc, on the subject.

 

Second, Dr. Loganathan's assertion that "the human mind is wired to respond to TRUTH," requires more explanation. I am not sure if the intention was to mean 'brain' instead of 'mind'. Neither case, however, has been sufficiently accepted by the wider scientific, philosophical or psychological community to warrant such an assertion. Sufficiently accepted at least to recommend to the governments of the world that the education systems in place should be discarded. Philosophically it is my understanding that it is still not acceptable to deduce 'value' from a 'fact'(Hume). The anatomical structure of the brain is a fact. Truth is a value. Are there underlying reasons for the search to find a biological basis for the manifestations of Psyche? I first noticed this  this quest in the debate over whether "addiction is a moral problem or a disease?" Whatever the outcome of the debate it has generally been accepted that both religious and scientific (medical) support is necessary for

 recovery. This view has been accepted even by insurance companies who are rapidly becoming the final decision makers on health care delivery in the USA. It was never clear, however, whether it was the non-scientifically trained professionals who were seeking greater power to heal in the predominantly scientifically propelled medical industry, or the psychiatrists who wanted to use more and more pharmaceuticals to treat mental illness that made the better case. The choices were determined as much by financial resources as anything else. Since my Tamil upbringing in Malaysia did not make quite the same distinction between MIND and BODY I thought the whole debate was quite unnecessary in the context of treatment for addicts except in deciding who got the bigger slice of the budget. None of this is to suggest that Science has provided us with the all-encompassing method by which Facts are to be established. The same can be said for Philosophy and Truth. Philosophy after all is a Friend

 of Truth and not Truth itself. And certainly seminal studies such as Habits of Mind should be pursued. I read the posts and derive much from them and hope they will continue but I do hope that you will include the effects of Capitalism on the degradation of values in your deliberations.

 

I would like to offer two suggestions. As a merely curious lay reader it would be useful to be kept aware and reminded of the limitations of the arguments presented. Second it would be beneficial, again to the non-expert, if some direct correlation to Abhinavagupta's work could be made, again only so that the non-professional reader like myself may benefit.I do not for one moment imply that these questions and difficulties are not in your thoughts.Let me reiterate my deepest respect for Dr. Loga's and Professor Antonio's contributions to these pages. 

 

 

 

M. Thurairaja

Nordre Frihavnsgade 15A

2100 Křbenhavn

Denmark

 

---------------------------------

Do you Yahoo!?

Yahoo! Hotjobs: Enter the "Signing Bonus" Sweepstakes

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <meykandar@yahoogroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: Fw: [Abhinavagupta] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-2

Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 1:15 AM

 

Raja Mylvaganam and friends,

 

Your concerns and questions are not only legitimate but also most insightful.

And you are right. You might however be aware by now that Dr, Loga is most

eager to find a legitimate path for Tamil literature to find its place in world

literature. At this time, however, in relation with Habits of Mind I am not

surprised you find his conclusions premature. I am more interested at this time

to establish facts, rather than hermeneutics, but we will need them when we

come to the descriptions of the different habits, or rather the differents acts

the different brains perform and how they all come together and all are

needed. From a philosophical perpective it is most urgent for us to establish the

facts that create a clear and legitimate epistemology so we may proceed in our

quest. The beginnings we are speaking about are only the realization that a new

culture has emerged, that was not present before, with such global

consequences in the American Academy, and this is the culture of technology. Technology

is not humanities, and it is not science. It is a hybrid new habit of mind

based on the interpreter module of the left brain of the neo-cortex. Though it

seems to proceed by the way of science it does not. It borrows from science

methods, words, dogmatism and establishes itself as a legitimate and overriding

culture. Unfortunately it imposes itself on human habits and by becoming

embodied, it creates a culture, a human culture with enormous consequences to those

using this culture uncritically. All the so called social sciences are the

culprits and perpetrators and it is this culture that it's overriding the

humanities, establishing itself as the only culture humans should embody. This is

evident in the classroom and this is the "laboratory" of our inquiry in Habits of

Mind. Though this habitt of mind is examined in the American classroom, Dr,

Loga is right in generalizing it to humanity at large. Abhinavagupta and Indic

texts together with Plato and the recovery of the human ground through memory

and imagination is what we expect to come to at the end and for which we will

need not only the Indic texts we know, Rg Veda, Upanishads, Gita, but also

those we do not know, like Tamil literature.

 

My interest is to add them as a return to our complete human origins, at the

end of the book. The reason why this needs to be done is simple, the program

of education of Plato never entered the Academy and the reason is that the

Medievals, on the shoulders of Aristotle and their interpretation of him, made it

so that to this date we have no resources in Western philosophy to take care

of the "self", individual or otherwise. You see, our model of doing philosophy

in the West started by acknowledging that God created the world, but we cannot

know Him. He created the world, known as Nature, and therefore knowing Nature

we can know God indirectly. Regardless of the methods we used to study

Nature, the deductive, (the supremacy of universal) the inductive  ( the

accumulation of single facts) or the transcendental ( the knowledge of our own (single)

mind) in the end all we could do was to superimpose those models and

discoveries on humans, our individual body, our self, a sinner, a machine, a robot etc...

And there we are stuck in that model and not able to communicate with those

other cultures that acted through the memories and imaginings of the right

neocortex, where the self, or the witness are central. What we call Western

culture is just that, an overriding of the discoveries of one brain over all the

others. It is time to give legitimacy to the other brains and see how in the

harmony of all of them we may become more fully human, on the model of the

Avatara. 

 

We have a long way to go but the journey should be interesting. 

Om and Shanti

 

Antonio de Nicolas, or Nitin Bhai as they called me in Gujarat.

Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus

State University of New York at Stony Brook

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-3

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

I believe there is something very important that our Nitin Bhai( Antonio) is proposing and which may be something that he learned by comparing the Indian with the Western philosophical traditions.  Whatever the genesis of this form of thinking, it is something very valid and timely. Let us hold firmly in our mind that what he wants is the dissolution of the false dichotomy of the arts and sciences and which form of thinking also extends to alienating people as American, Oriental, African and so forth. We can add here also the Indian Brahmanical Thinking that pigeonholes human beings into Brahmin Ksattriyas Vaisyas and Sudras and in which while the social alienation is validated (by the gimmick of sastra sanctions) but NOT the social equality. In VarNasrama Dharma there is NO RECOGNITION of the SAMENESS of all human beings but only  hierarchical differences and tied to BIRTH and hence something made IMPOSSIBLE to annul. The fact that all human beings can rise to be SAME despite differences in birth is something BEYOND Brahmanism.

 

Thus the proposal of our Nitin Bhai bears similarities with the Ati-VarNasrama Dharma of the Saivites, the sociology of going BEYOND the VarNa differences and see the SAMNESS in all human beings and which became the central sociological impulse of the Bakti movement where people from all walks of life felt the SAME and as the adiyars, the humble servers of BEING and despite all kinds of differences. I believe there is this striking similarity because the Tamil culture has been Hermeneutic Scientific in essence and thanks to the magnificent accomplishments of Tolkaappiyar and the body of scholars who cultivated it and fed him. I also believe that our Nitin Bhai is also struggling to say something similar but perhaps not relating it to the notion of Hermeneutic Science that I am reading in his words , very justifiably, I think.

 

With this let us come to the following passage from the second chapter of Habits of Mind.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>

The social sciences have emptied the classroom of any spir­itual images, substituting in their place masses of numbers and facts, mountains of information that make image making diffi­cult, if not impossible. Facts, figures, and platitudes are no substitute for philosophy. Experts now take the place of the earlier priests, and they advise the educated and the super-

stitious about all facets of their lives, from belief in God to sexual behavior. The expert appears routinely around every corner where opinions or knowledge are needed, in foreign policy, in the press, in how to take care of a toothache. Indeci­sion and confusion seem to appear all around us, and we have taught it.

 

Nor are only the students and the superstitious affected by the new trend. Whole departments of philosophy await the results of experiments by the social scientists to pronounce on matters of philosophy. Positivism and language analysis do not take a new step without the aid of the social sciences. And even then they express themselves in the subjunctive mood and no longer in straight, declarative sentences: “If it were the case that such an x existed . . .“

 

The old metaphysics, the assertion of how things are, is dead for most philosophers and the few adhering to such an antiquated philosophical style are affected by the new fashions from the social sciences. Where once the categories of thought were abstracted from the internal structure of thought itself, now any external structures, provided they are general enough, will serve as the architectonics of all thought. In such systems of metaphysics everything, even the foundation, be­comes a category, and thus nobody flinches when “experience” is proposed as such an abstract category. But how would any­one flinch when almost everyone accepts the definition of epistemology as a theory of knowledge, regardless of the fact that cultures including our own are testimony to the contrary: epistemologies are historically many and none is a theory, but ~ rather a concrete set of rules and presuppositions that make knowledge possible.

 

Prof Antonio De. T. Nicholas, Habits of Mind, pp 24-25

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Here the key phrase is an understanding ‘how things are? is dead” and such pursuits have become backgrounded, antiquated and all because the social sciences have invaded the field with their statistical analysis, number games etc.  Clearly what Nitin Bhai is proposing is a reinstatement of Ontology - the understanding what things are there and how they stand etc. This is how I understand ontology, the Tattuvanjanam as they say in India. The ‘tattuvam’ is what is there and the njaanam is a clear understanding of what is there and which in its course leads to the investigations of Fundamental Ontology, the Anati PoruLaayvu, as they say in Tamil.

 

In this Nitin Bhai also provides an analysis of the malady: the INVASION of THEORETIC thinking and where only hypothesis are possible but not firm convictions or decisions. There are only epistemologies but not personal UNDERSTANDING and culture produces only artful theoreticians but NOT the wise with an UNDERSTANDING and who can stand FIRM in a certain decision only because they UNDERSTAND faultlessly the events and so forth. Lost in this theoretical thinking is also the PERSON- it is the mass of statistical data that speaks but NOT the experience of truth of a person, the illuminating INSIGHTS he has gained and has made him not only wiser but also FIRM in his decisions and judgments.

 

Thus the Theoretic Thinking that spins out epistemologies, hypothesis to be only refuted, while may be successful in the physical sciences, but inapplicable to the Human Sciences. Men do not operate only with hypothesis - they have CONVICTIONS based in their UNDERSTANDING and such convictions should become the matter of the Human Sciences.

 

Now this call for freeing of humanities from the encroachment of Theoretic Thinking also points out to me that Nitin Bhai is in fact calling for the Hermeneutic Sciences again. For as I have already said, there is NO Theoretic Thinking in the Hermeneutic Sciences but only Ontological explorations and EXPERIENCING deeper and deeper metaphysical realities ALREADY THERE ensuring that such ontological or metaphysical experiences are TRUTH-EXPERINCES and not otherwise, the fancies and imaginative. The truth-experiences are visions of what are already there and hence not at all  theoretic postulates, conceptual inventions and what not. In truth-experiences one experiences what is there already and which is NOT refuting or confirming a hypothesis.

 

The fact is in Hermeneutic Sciences there is NO Theoretic Thinking at all but only ontological explorations, the deepening of experience by accessing deeper and deeper ONTOLOGICAL or metaphysical realms. It is an odyssey, a journey but guided by Logical Thinking of the Hermeneutic Logic type and hence immensely rational. The Hermeneutic Logic operative DISALLOWS the false and imaginative enter the understanding and distort it. When a dancer dances with total absorption, he GAINS access into metaphysical realms already there but which has remained beyond his access so far. Through dancing he is accessing realms blocked off from his understanding by an inner darkness. His dancing is a way of VIOLATING his intrinsic BLINDNESS and therefore as valid as space explorations and so forth. Where such experiencing through dancing turns out to be experiencing what is already there and NOT fictions and fancies, they become truth-experiences, the MeyyuNarvu.

 

Thus it would appear that the Theoretic Thinking enshrined now in the Western Academia as the only valid intellectual life is in fact SUFFOCATING the deepening of experience through fostering rational explorations into metaphysical realms that come along with Ontological thinking, thinking in terms of what is there that I have NOT seen experienced and so forth. Thus it perpetuates unwittingly IGNORANCE and not UNDERSTANDING.

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@egroups.com>

Cc: <abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@yahoogroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-3

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 6:02 AM

 

Dear Loga and friends:

First of all thanks for letting Nitin Bhai come back to life. Second, Dr.

Loga has made an admirable summary of the hopes hiding in this research. Yes we

are all human and differences of varna as cast are as antiquated in Hinduism as

tracial profiles are in the West. Our differences of conditioning and biases

rest on the "pilot brains" we use , on the relationship of nature/nurture

mutual fecundation within the windows of malleability periods, not on birth

conditions based on cast. This new focusing of the neorosciences make Hermeneutical

Sciences a perfect match for the future of human development. Except that in

between a new brain/culture has established itself as dominant. And this is the

"interpreter module", that brain attached to the left hemysphere and with

access only to the left neocortex. This brain is territorial, searches for

instant results, lives of names upon names without relations, structures not aware

of consequences. This is the brain that has made technology (writing, reading,

the writtent word, fear\, territoriality) a culture. This is the offspring of

the social sciences, the manipulation of education through universals, and 

statistical probabilities. The subjects are lost, invisible, not able to decide.

At most they can only comply.Living for others ( a technology) for there is

no individual will left.

I am leaving for later the differences between fantasy and imagination, the

first centered on a subject the other not, when the time comes.

Meanwhile, thanks to you all for the great company we share.

 

OM and Shanti

Nitin Bhai

Antonio de Nicolas 

 

From: "Dr. K.Loganathan" <subas@pc.jaring.my>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@yahoogroups.com>; <kalaivani@yahoogroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-3

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 9:26 AM

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you. I am glad you see that the new neurosciences make perfect matches with the Hermeneutic Sciences.  I am reading now carefully the Third Chapter where you are discussing the real meanings of Habits of Mind. I shall write the next in this series focusing on that. Let me mention that there is something very important in all these and interestingly enough something I have felt the world needs for quite some time. I as one who been an academic man  for 25 saw the slow decline of universities into training centers for business skills and with no professor standing up for REAL Education.  I also encountered great opposition to my Agamic Psychology, a filed of Hermeneutic Science, despite the fact that they were very popular with the students as the course really led to UNDERSTAND themselves.  The opposition arose mainly because it was quite original - not following the standard psychologies from the West and  made officially acceptable. This reluctance and refusal to face something different had led me think deeply about it all and I am beginning to understand the origins such attitudes through reading  Habits of Mind. The West exists in the EAST in the form of University Education that is modeled on the West and which has mechanized thinking as well.

 

Let me say that this great project must be pursued and pushed to the fore for I think this is what the world needs. Even if I do not fully understood you ( my Habits of Mind are very Tamilian!) feel free to counter my suggestions so that very exciting developments in thinking follows.

 

Loga

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-4

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

Now I propose to raise some questions in relation to the main theme of this book - a change in Habits of Mind in order to recapture the ontological explorations and which is the essence of the Humanities and again which would diffuse the false dichotomies and alienations the Theoretic Thinking fosters. What OUGHT to be the essence of genuine education is the destruction of such alienations and dichotomies and which is something BEYOND Theoretic Thinking- thinking in terms of  certain invented concepts and categories and fixating the understanding of things and people to such a way of relating self to them.  There is a UNITY in the arts  and sciences, among people of different nationalities and cultures,  of different castes and cults. The Theoretic Thinking that Western science fosters perpetuates a blindness with the respect to the SAMENESS across all these just as the VarNasrama Dharma  Thinking perpetuates or seeks to perpetuate a BLINDNESS towards the sameness of all people. The social sciences that follow the Habits of Mind of the positive sciences have driven away or seeks to drive away the ONTOLOGICAL turn the classics enjoyed and it is this tendency of the social sciences that  has to be combated.

 

But how? Our Nitin Bhai proposes a CHANGE in the Habits of Mind and which is the main theme of this book. But this suggestion needs further clarifications and so with this in mind let us look at what he says below:

 

 

Students are creatures of habit, with education primarily an exercise to bring out (educere, educate) these habits. From an educational point of view, the history of education is the history of the formation and implementation of these habits of mind. But habits of mind are not only the forming of ideas; they include a whole range of operations that act through the human body to the point of total transparency to the subjects using them. The philosophy of education is, or ought to be, primarily concerned with the formation of these habits in the students before it proceeds to any other projects. A habit of mind is the technological lifeline of the human body. Through these technologies the human body stretches to reach the past and the future while sensitizing itself individually. What we call the objective world is shaped by these subjective structures of human knowing, and knowledge is impossible without them. They are also the sensual life of the body, and since the body abhors a vacuum they must be kept in exercise at all times. Habits can only be changed by other habits, and the history of education is the best reminder of such a struggle for certain habits to dominate over others. The more radical and trans­parent the habit, the more radical and difficult the change, and the deeper the concentration and dedication needed for the implementation and development of the new habit. Habits of thought are the most difficult to change. Other thoughts, true or false, sublime or stupid, only reinforce the already existing habit of thought. Nor will psychologizing or sermonizing about thought help. Education alone will do if it understands its mission as the concerted effort and ability to bring out all those habits of mind that make up the whole human ground of the culture and of the individual mind and soul.

 

 

Prof Antonio De T. Nicholas , Habits of Mind pp 32-33

 

 

 

Education installs certain habits of mind and which are technologies of the Human Body and which are also the sensual lives of the body. Such habits are not simply thoughts but something deeper and hence quite recalcitrant to change but which have to be changed nevertheless and through the proper education.

 

 

But the key point here with which I shall be concerned is the claim that habits can be changed only by other habits and the proposed new kind of education should have as its mission “the concerted effort and ability to bring out all those habits of mind that make up the whole human ground of the culture and of the individual mind and soul”

 

I hope in recapitulating thus I am not committing any errors in understanding.

 

A change in Habits of Mind is called for knowing very well that it is rather difficult.  And though the DIRECTION is towards reinstating ONTOLOGICAL excursions  and hence bringing back that kind of Habits of Mind that would foster it.    But what kind of Education and can studies of Plato Pre-Plato do the trick?

 

 

I believe that what is ABSENT in the present Habits of Mind fostered by scientism with it’s Theoretic Thinking are the Habits of Mind that can be called self-deconstructive and which can emerge only within a philosophic culture where philosophies are understood as to what they are and then deconstructed so that falsities are destroyed and truths are made to hold the stage. This kind deconstruction is NOT that of Derrida which is simply DISPERSAL of thoughts so that no thoughts are made to sustain themselves but made to flow and flow. The Derridian-type of deconstruction lets there be only FLOW (if I have understood correctly) and which if allowed to develop further may end up with a metaphysics of momentary particulars such as that of Dignata Dharmakiirtti and so forth, the Buddhist Logicians who flourished in Kancipuram and whose metaphysics was challenged by Appar Sambantar and so forth. Everything is a flow of momentary particulars, a flux of photon-like phantoms with NOTHING sustaining itself as a substance (such as the anma, BEING and so forth)

 

Certainly our Nitin Bhai is NOT proposing this kind disruptive deconstruction but rather a change in the Habits that would encourage ontological excursions of the mind and in that also SEE the Depths and in seeing thus also SEE the UNITY that is there.

 

So I believe again IMLICIT in the program proposed by Antonio is another dimension of Hermeneutic Science : the truth-deconstructions as opposed to the disruptive deconstruction of Derrida (and modern Hermeneutics of the West). The Saiva deconstruction as enshrined in Civanjana Botam of Meykandar and more clearly in the massive Sivanjana Siddhyar, we do not have the clever and skillful mental exercises of dispersing and dissolving anything that is substantial so that there is only FLOW and nothing else. Every deconstruction CLARIFIES thinking, CHANGES the Habits of Mind so that it moves in a terrain or ecology where there is LESS FALSITY and more truth. Then such a desconstruction is reapplied on this NEW and with removing the falsities and prejudices there, move ahead into another HIGHER terrain where there is Less Falsity than earlier and so forth. In this movement of Habits of Mind, which is also an ascendance, there is a LIMIT, the terrain where NOTHING false exists and whatever enjoyed are only truth-experiences and something absolutely there, as something solid that cannot dispersed with disruptive deconstruction.

 

The Tamil Saivites call this the Supakkam- the terrain of only clear light in comparison with which all else is Parapakkam, the alien grounds.

 

The understanding can be erroneous because of the PREJUDICES, (the Vinai of Tolkaappiyar) and philosophic desconstruction is the METHOD of freeing the mind form such prejudices so that the understanding shines forth as that which illuminates all as to what they are in themselves, i.e. the Vinaiyin niiGki viLaGkum aRivu of Tol (c.300 BC)

 

We should also note here that such a habit of Philosophical deconstruction when becomes the habits of self-deconstruction also leads to ACCESSING deeper and deeper layers of the brain and the nervous system so that Ways of Being and Habits of Mind that were not there come to be enjoyed. We can see such developments amply in the History of Dravidian Philosophy, which became more and more body-centered. Tirumular that I am studying now still remains the most outstanding in all such developments.

 

 

Dear Prof

 

 

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-4

Date: Friday, January 16, 2004 6:08 AM

 

Dear Dr, Loga and friends:

 

I just came from class and it is curious that my American students asked me

the same question Dr. Loga has just asked: Can we change our habits of mind?

Can we change so much so that we can speak of conversion? Is conversion

neurobiologically possible?

 

It is difficult to change our habits, more so if we have only one habit of

mind, let's say thinking. No amount of education will change that mind...It will

ad, perhaps, more facts, more arguments, but if it is thinking all we know

how to do then thinking will be reinforced, but not changed by more thinking. 

Changing one's mind means simply changing from one intelligence center to

another, either because of education, or crisis or just going to sleep, which means

that we move at will ( Oh who has a will these days?) from one brain to

another, from the reptilian,  to the limbic,  or the right neo-cortex,  or the

left-neocortex, interpreter module, executive brains (the frontal lobes), the heart

etc. and keep doing it when needed, as the dharma facing us dictates. We must

we aware of this change in possibilities, that is this is the only recourse we

have as humans to overcome crisis, or repetation or simply lack of sensation.

This ability of changing them is essential when a habit in one brain cancels

the others and we need to move the center of focusing from one brain and its

technologies to another and its technologies. It is primarily important to use

education --humanities-- to exercise imagination and memory. Only then the

habits of the left neocortex will be infused with more experience and knowledge

that this brain will try to interpret and translate the others for others. You

can see the growth in students when the right neocortex is activated , the way

they speak, stand, participate in the conversation. The left brain will let us

know how well the students are educated and if they are educated. But this

will be in proportion to how much the right brains are exercised,

simultenously with the sophistication educated into the left brain to interpret experience

correctly.

 

I am enclosing a chart with the description of the "pilot brains" in case it

helps.

 

OM and SHANTI

 

Nitin Bhai

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 The Biocultural Paradigm

(APPENDIX ONE)

 

The Biocultural Paradigm
(APPENDIX ONE)

 Bioculture

  Nature Imperative

  Nuture Imperative

  Cultural Imperative

 Primary Sense

 Form of Knowledge

 MAIA

reptilian, amygdala/septal regions of limbic 

 prenatal conditioning, mother/ child bonding, (autonomic nervous system threshold)

 athletics
dance
ritual
asceticism

 kinesthesia

 memory of "body states" control of autonomic function

 MYTHOS

 limbic system (hippocampus), prefrontal cortex

 name-thing exploration in "nest" environment (pleasure conditioning circuitry)

 live story telling, dance, unstructured play , music appreciation

 auditory, visual (geometric)

 working memory, discrimination of rhythm, pitch,volume, and melody perception, visuo/spacial acuity

 R. BRAIN  MIMETIC

 right hemisphere, visual cortex

 name-thing exploration outside nest environment (fear conditioning circuitry)

 visual artsdramapuppetry, role playing games,organized athletic games

 visual ( imagistic)

 self development and discrimination, scanning, screening,depth and distance acuity, color discrimination, and 3D spacial perception

 L. BRAIN* 
 MIMETIC

 left hemisphere of neocortex

 conformity to societal proscriptions ( ie. laws, organized religions)

 reading
arithmetic
grammar
logic

 visual (conceptual)

 comprehension of "objectivity" "universals", values based ideals, ethics, conceptual differentiation, theory making

 LOGOS* 

 left hemisphere "interpreter module", amygdala

reliance on expert authority, knowledge through external data collection, rules, infallible dogma  

 technological proficiency (ie. use of instrumentation) rhetoric,astronomy

 digital (kinesthesia+ visual/ conceptual)

 BELIEFS
opinion formation, ideology, fundamentalism, agnosticism

  MYTHOS* 

 prefrontal cortex, heart

 communal living, conflict resolution, stress management, homeostasis

 dialectics, spiritual exercises, communal rites of passage , music, geometry

 empathy (working memory+ group homeostasis)

 heart intelligence, intuition

* secondary biocultures (adult only)

Copyright 1999 - Dr. Maria Colavito. All Rights Reserved.

 

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

Thank-you and thank you also for the chart from  Dr. Maria Colavito and which all sound quite close to the ideas in Tantrism where I believe they have also gone considerably further in some areas. The neurosciences of Siddhas can very well incorporate the modern mappings of the brain centers without damaging their essential insights. For example Tirumular speaks of Tenpotu as that region of the brain where Siva executes His DANCE with Uma and which Tirumular understands in terms of dance of mantras and all different differentiation of the LOGOS that Maria is also mentioning but is identified by Tirumular as the AUM, shared by all Tantrics.

 

Certainly the main problem is making  sense of what can be called ‘self-conversion” and which can be seen as something that correlates with the different brain centers and ‘pilot-brains” .  While it is true that new Habits of Mind will come to prevail as the different parts of the brain are activated, the question remains :How to do this? And on what scientific basis?  The Indian Tantrics have recommended several sadhanas of which the closest to the neurobiological view will be the Vaciyoga, the Yoga of Breath Control where the breathing through the left and right nostrils and so forth are practiced by way of ACTIVATING the right and left hemispheres so that mental functions hitherto unavailable become available.

 

However even this is NOT without problems. If this were true then man can attain great heights in understanding just with Breath Yoga or some kind of Yoga and without any reference to ETHICS. This contradicts the fact that attaining and enjoying higher reaches in personality is also a kind of ethical development. The higher person is also a morally higher person , someone who can serve as a model for the less developed in matters that are moral.

 

There is also another issue - the more developed a person is more LOVING he is also and which is instrumental in diffusing the tendency to ALIENATE and pigeonhole them into classes -nationalities, ethnic groups, varNas, jatis, social classes such as bourgeois, proletariat and so forth. This is one of the main concerns of Antonio that should not be left sight. The LOVE that comes to prevail diffuses such ways of Theoretic Thinking and installs another where this alienating tendency would be eliminated.

 

Yes in a way it can be attributed to ‘pilot brains” . But isn’t this just another way of putting the notions such as ‘deities’ ‘sakties’ ‘mantra-complexes’ and so forth?

 

May be and I propose to take up such issues later.

 

Loga

 

 From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-4

Date: Saturday, January 17, 2004 3:26 AM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friend,

 

As usual Dr. Loga is on target and it proves to me that once you have it

inside it is easy to remember it through reading and then use the readings for

footnotes and clarification. Knowledge is either inside or almost impossible to

find. And so to the "pilot brains". Yes, this is the tantric neural map and you

will see as we proceed how close the two maps are, the neurobiological and

the tantric.

 

I know there are different techniques to stimulate the different Intelligence

centers, but it is essential that the one guiding the apprentice makes sure

first that those intelligence centers are operable or in place. It could do

harm to the initiate otherwise. So the primary exercise of Habits of Mind is to

make sure that the brains in place in each student are exercise through

decision making in the actual classroom, and not reduce his/her participation to the

enlargement of the left brain by absorbing only left brain conceptual

exercises.

 

There is a whole chapter on this in Habits of Mind and we will get to the

rest of this point at the end. I love to see the way Dr. Loga already anticipates

what is coming. A sure sign that it is there.

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

 

 

In a message dated 1/15/2004 10:19:49 PM Eastern Standard Time,

ulagankmy@yahoo.com writes:

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-5

 

Dear Prof and  Friends

 

As the dialogue proceeds and I see more and more what our Nitin Bhai is trying to get at, I see more and more similarities between the Tamil Tantric Thinking and what the Habits of Mind proposes. I am not qualified to extend this observation to the whole of Hinduism or even Indian Tantrism, as I am not familiar with the literature. However noting that Temple Worship is central to Hinduism as such, and since I believe that such a culture presupposes an UNDERSTANDING such as the one being proposed, in a way we can see that what Nitin Bhai is proposing is akin to what the Hinduism of common man lives with certainly with a naďve understanding. Anyone who soaks in the spirit and implicit philosophy of Temple Culture would naturally tend to agree with Nitin Bhai and which is the case with me.

 

Now in the course of thinking further the notion of Habits of Mind and the  need to change them, I noted, from my knowledge of Tamil Saivism that what he proposes resembles the notion of deconstruction such as MeykaNdar and that the philosophic deconstruction of the Saivites which ensures the destruction of falsities and the installation of only truths also bounces back towards the inner world and because of which we have also self-deconstruction. This expression appears to me now very useful to understand further the proposals of Antonio and also the MEANING of the Indian mythological theme related to Muruka and GaNesha, both the ‘sons’ of Siva-Parvati.

 

This is related to the notion of INTENTIONALITIES - a change in the Habits of Mind requires a change in the founding intentionalities. So with this in mind, let us look at what Nitin Bhai says below, again from the Third Chapter.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>

Language, as much through its internal as its external tokens, is a technology. It not only creates the visible and the intelligible aspects of human life but also sensitizes individuals to those aspects of the visible and intelligible that it can reach. In this creation of the visible and intelligible, language and technology become coextensive. The visible and intelligible adapt to the language used, so that language determines the shape of the visible and intelligible. The mere act of teaching, the act of speaking to students, determines the shape of their education, regardless of what the teacher says. A language attached to the purely deductive habit of thought assumes a human power attributable only to a divine intellect. Those defending the inductive habit of thought assume a human impotence attributable only to our complete dependence on the givenness of objective events, and those using the transcen­dental or critical habit of thought assume that their categoriz­ing mind and its data are the only measures of the real.

 

But neither the conceptual system, nor the habit of mind accompanying the use of such a system, assert anything about reality. A conceptual system and the accompanying habit of thought are only the preconditions for meaning or asserting anything about reality. Conceptual systems take on existential import when the system as a whole is used to refer to what is not in the mind or the senses, though having a system to refer to presupposes having a meaningful notion of knowledge or reality. Neither the contents of a conceptual system nor their counterparts—the organic states of the sensory system—are in their own right significant or intentional. They only signify or represent a state of affairs (itself experienced) because we take them to do so. The natural intentionality and disposition of the mind can be committed to a knowledge and a reality which are constructed so by us in response to an already-committed way of viewing the world. Thus, reinforcing the students to per­form only certain mental acts to favor certain ontologies is not only fallacious but noneducational. In education, more than anywhere else, there is perplexity about how to decide what ontology to adopt, and the answer ‘is: e~tuca~non ‘r~th~ti ~ indoctrination.

 

Judgments, opinions, or values cannot be taught to the students if those judgments, opinions, or values are not shown as being part of the system of concepts to which the student or teacher belong. For they are not factors in our conscious expe­rience but rather a presupposition of our conscious experience.

 

It is this lack of correspondence between our teaching and the background through which our teaching is done that is mainly responsible for the present crisis in education. The answer is that we must focus on the background from which our teaching is done so that education, rather than indoctrina­tion, is made possible.

 

Prof Antonio De T. Nicholas ; “habitd of Mind” pp 34-35

 

 

This view of Antonio about language is quite similar to that of Gadamer of ‘Truth and Method” though he would speak of “prejudices’ in the positive sense - languages impose upon the mind of the speakers by withdrawing itself into background but leaving behind the concepts images and so forth. Understanding is LINGUISTICAL and man cannot escape from being so. There can be only effective history constituted by fusion of horizons.  But Antonio seems to differ with Gadamer and as he says above, this language mediated knowledge cannot be right on their own and truly related to the ‘natural intentionality”. So perpetuating a certain linguistic habit is not only fallacious but also non-educational and which carries the implication that such Linguistic Habits of Mind must be destroyed and replaced with others in the interest of healthy education. This view would go against that of Gadamer who seems to assert the HISTORICITY of understanding and that it is condemned to be so inescapably.

 

A Tantrics would certainly welcome Antonio and perhaps quote the often  repeated words of the Siddhas ‘vaartaiyaal onRumillai” - there is nothing really useful with words. The words must be TRANCENDED; one must go beyond the realms of discursive language in order to ACCESS deeper metaphysical realms that are more authentic.

 

Let me here mention that this view of the Siddhas comes with what can be called a Hierarchal view of Language, that  languages have an organization in terms of Surface Structure (SS) and Deep Structure (DS) and that the mind must FREE itself from the SS and access the DS and so forth.

 

All languages have the Hierarchical Organization of the sort: Vaikari Paisyanti Mattimai, Cuukkumai and Ati Cuukkumai and in which the later form is the DS of the former e.g. the conceptual and auditory Vaikari has as its DS the pre-speech Paisyanti and so forth and with the Ongkaram, the Ati Cuukkumai,  the Tantric’s Logos constituting the Absolute Deep Structure (ADS)

 

Thus the mind can MOVE from the Vaikari to Paisyanti and in that also ACCESS deeper metaphysical realms, relating and reorganizing understanding by bringing together BOTH the conceptual understanding of Vaikari and pre conceptual understanding of Paisyanti and so forth. In this movement the LIMIT comes when everything is integratively understood in terms of AUM and which breaks into understanding everything in terms of the mantras Si-Vaa-Ya-Na-Ma and which resolves into the tri-syllable A-U-M.

 

Accompanying such shifts in languages is not only UNDERSTANDING but also INTENTIONALITY, what the person SEEKS out. Just to give an example - a person who has accessed the Cuukkumai form of language would seek to understand EVERYTHING in terms of the working of the AKSARAS, fifty-one or so and would contemplate everything- words, concepts images etc - as manifestations of akkara-cakras, complexes formed out of these aksaras. With this we have the science of  MANTRAYANA presenting itself as MORE AUTHENTIC than the language of concepts and so forth, the Vaikari form of language.

 

In this translation of INTENTIONALITIES we finally come to what can be called the Fundamental Intentionality, that of seeking Moksa.  Antonio knows quite well this notion and so I suspect that the ’natural intentionality’ he talks about is this Fundamental Intentionality and which is a UNIVERSAL, something already there in the soul of all.

 

Let me also point out this may be  the essence of Dr Maria Colavito in suggesting the biocultural centers of Maia, Mythos Right Brain Memetics Left Brain Memetics Logos and so forth.  The Saivites would also see all these in terms of fundamental Siva Tatvas Natam and Bindu and which has a resemblance with Yin and Yang of Taoism, the Anima and Animus of Jung and so forth.

 

Let me also point out that such developments of man where he is finally taken to be mumuksu, the one who desires Moksa are the functions of Muruka and GaNesha, the two sons of Siva-Parvati. Muruka as the embodiment of the Fire that emerges from the forehead of Siva is the deity of philosophical desconstruction, the deity that illuminates the WORLD as a whole and helps to appropriate it as a beautiful PEACOCK, an aesthetic wonder that pleases the soul immensely. In contrast to this GaNesha is the deity of self-deconstruction and which leads a person to become a Mumuksu, the Moksa Smith. Both have to work together for unless the INTENTIONALIIES are deepened NEW visions of the world are impossible and unless the vision is held as dear to oneself, the intentionality underlying it cannot be exposed and thus deconstructed.

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-5

Date: Sunday, January 18, 2004 11:39 PM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

The email below by Dr. Loga confirms once more that the recognition of

certain embodied structures in human cognition is possible only when those in

dialogue already have them embodied and not just trying to discover them through

reading, history or study. Dr. Loga agrees not with my statements but with the

recognition of a deeper reality that we share through inner geometries common to

humans and that these structured geometries were silenced or bypassed when

writing and the technology of the left neo cortex took over overriding those

structures and intentionalities. It is to me overwhelming to suddenly share in

the recognition that my effort has not been a lonely one and that others who

were already there out of Plato's cave and admiring the sun have returned to the

cave and can join those in front of the fire and be recognized by those who

have those structures of knowing already embodied in themselves. Talk is cheap,

embodiment is the difficult task of education.

History started when writing was imposed on all, and because of the

technologies accompanying it it also overrode those other bio-cultures previous to it:

the oral world, memory, imagining, decision making, educating the will, the

plurality of bodies according to the plurality of bio-cultural embodiments. A

society had to be built on creation and sacrifice for there was always an

eternal geometry sustaining all forms: Asat, Sat, Yajna and Rta were the structures

of those languages, as in the original Rg Veda. When history cancelled those

worlds it also cancelled human movement, for the self had to be fixed in order

to study the variations of history.The West has no legitimate studies for

studying or liberating the self. The bio-cultural paradigm is the revelation made

possible because of the new discoveries in neurobiology, and these made

possible because of the realities in the neurobiology already present in humans. We

humans do not divide by external tokens of race, cast, geography or

universals, but by the individual realities of bio-cultural invariances.

And this distinction is what distinguishes the Avatara from the Savior. The

totality of human development against the human impotence that needs an outside

divine intervention to gain immortality. Except that at the base of the

historical arrival of the Savior for the sake of one dominant brain, they

proclaimed a historical incarnation of God as human that is neorubiological heresy. If

Eve, a mere woman infected the whole human species with original sin (that is

affected the whole neurobiology of humans) how is it possible that God would

become human and not affect the whole species in the same way, i.e., making it

divine, in fact destroying it?.  

It is time to start regathering the human fragments lost in the imperialism

and stupidity of the left neocortex and renew a dialogue that so far has never

taken place between East and West where all the bio-cultures are included and

mediated by an open heart and open frontal lobes.

Infinite gratitude to all.

OM and SHATI

 

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

This is related to the notion of INTENTIONALITIES - a change in the Habits of

Mind requires a change in the founding intentionalities. So with this mind,

let us look at what Nitin Bhai says below, again from the Third Chapter.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>

Language, as much through its internal as its external tokens, is a

technology. It not only creates the visible and the intelligible aspects of human life

but also sensitizes individuals to those aspects of the visible and

intelligible that it can reach. In this creation of the visible and intelligible,

language and technology become coextensive. The visible and intelligible adapt to

the language used, so that language determines the shape of the visible and

intelligible. The mere act of teaching, the act of speaking to students,

determines the shape of their education, regardless of what the teacher says. A

language attached to the purely deductive habit of thought assumes a human power

attributable only to a divine intellect. Those defending the inductive habit of

thought assume a human impotence attributable only to our complete dependence on

the givenness of objective events, and those using the transcen­dental or

critical habit of thought assume that their categoriz­ing mind and its data are

the only measures of the real.

 

But neither the conceptual system, nor the habit of mind accompanying the use

of such a system, assert anything about reality. A conceptual system and the

accompanying habit of thought are only the preconditions for meaning or

asserting anything about reality. Conceptual systems take on existential import when

the system as a whole is used to refer to what is not in the mind or the

senses, though having a system to refer to presupposes having a meaningful notion

of knowledge or reality. Neither the contents of a conceptual system nor their

counterparts—the organic states of the sensory system—are in their own right

significant or intentional. They only signify or represent a state of affairs

(itself experienced) because we take them to do so. The natural

intentionality and disposition of the mind can be committed to a knowledge and a reality

which are constructed so by us in response to an already-committed way of

viewing the world. Thus, reinforcing the students to per­form only certain mental

acts to favor certain ontologies is not only fallacious but noneducational. In

education, more than anywhere else, there is perplexity about how to decide

what ontology to adopt, and the answer ‘is: e~ducation rather than indoctrination.

 

Judgments, opinions, or values cannot be taught to the students if those

judgments, opinions, or values are not shown as being part of the system of

concepts to which the student or teacher belong. For they are not factors in our

conscious expe­rience but rather a presupposition of our conscious experience.

 

It is this lack of correspondence between our teaching and the background

through which our teaching is done that is mainly responsible for the present

crisis in education. The answer is that we must focus on the background from

which our teaching is done so that education, rather than indoctrina­tion, is made

possible.

 

Prof Antonio De T. Nicholas ; “habitd of Mind” pp 34-35

 

 

 

 

 

From: "K. Loganathan" <ulagankmy@yahoo.com>

To: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <agamicpsychology@egroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-5

Date: Monday, January 19, 2004 8:54 AM

 

Dear Prof

 

Yes you are right. It has been possible to AGREE with you only because you are saying what is already within me and which is also within all. This is the substance of the essence of the Dravidian Culture which is characterized by an OPENNESS, an OPENNESS quite different but not entirely unrelated to the OPENNESS of the Protestant Christians who founded the American culture. What you are proposing is to OPEN UP further  this already existent OPENNESS of the America culture so that the UNIVERSAL comes to prevail and the new education incorporates this as part of the Academic Culture.

 

How can I , or for that matter anyone, disagree with this?

 

The language of neurobiology that you are fond of using provides the first access towards an objective metaphysics that is ALREADY within all of us. I noted this in my decades long study of SivaNjana Botham and was immensely perplexed but pleased to note MeykaNdar saying  that the Njanam is "anRe iruppatu", the Absolute Understanding that lights up all is already there in the bosom of all. So when we see similarities in metaphysical thinking we should NOT always jump to the conclusion that it is all because of acculturation, cultural diffusion and so forth. It is here I find Jung's notion of Collective Unconscious quite useful. We have similarities only because we have a COMMON metaphysical ground and living in it cannot help speaking and feeling the way we do and which shows a sameness.

 

 

I am glad to note that you see this dialog as a dialog between the East and West. You are an Easternized Westerner and I a Westernized Easterner. Though I more disagree than agree I find the Western thinkers from Descartes to Derrida quite fascinating as thinkers with whom I partly agree and disagree in essence. In my next posting that will be on  Plato you can see more of this.

 

I notice that this dialog also helps  me to understand why I cannot agree wholly with such great thinkers.

 

I believe that this dialog will bring out that what is common to all is a JOURNEY, that we are all already MOVING in the direction of Moksa and it is the Ego of man that tries to block  off and FREEZE this movement and that once we free man to MOVE and DANCE then he will discover the COMMONALITY that he shares with all.

 

Loga

 

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-6

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

  I begin now the sixth dialogue and which is concerned with the Philosophy of Plato, and which is advocated by Nitin Bhai as a way of recovering authentic University Education. What struck me again is the similarity with Tamil Tantrism, at least as it has developed since the days of Tolkaappiyam. The commonality appears to be Ecological Thinking which started in pre Tol days as geographical ecology but which became INNER ECOLOGIES on the discovery of SEXUALITY as the COMMON element in all human beings but varying in many ways and all  because different inner ecologies become dominant at different times contributing to the differences in behavior.

 

There is Ecological Thinking in Plato as well and which can easily be seen in  neurobiological terms as it has been seen by Antonio and a host of Tamil Siddhas including Tirumular, the greatest and the most scientific of them all. Well let us look at the following view of Nitin Bhai on Plato to contemplate further on such issues.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

As the narrative of the Republic unfolds we find that Socrates agrees to the initial “robbery” of his own person by the young men and that he uses this opportunity to form a “community” in search of those technologies (training) that would make justice visible to all. While a lot of talk goes on for five long chapters in a search for what appears to be a definition of justice, we are made aware of a number of spaces-—the house of Polemarchus, the Cave, the region of Er, the desolate region of the dead. Within each of these spaces, different intellectual acts, using different communications media, intelligible and visible, are performed. All acts performed during the whole narrative of the Republic concide with those acts which Plato! Socrates divides with his famous “divided line.” And each space demands a different language, a different inner technology for its use and participation in the community. Each use demands a different embodiment from the practitioner. The totality of these embodiments is the criteria for an educated young per­son to be able to recognize in society what he or she inwardly recognizes: the need for justice inside to bring justice outside. Thus the Republic includes the quality of a number of acts to be performed, and also the partial narratives of each space of discourse. No universal narrative from one space takes over the narratives from any other—there is no universal philosophy.

 

In appearance the prose of the Republic leads the listener along a smooth path. There are changes of direction and delays in the journey, but all in all there appears to be a progressive development, an intimation that the listener is nearing home. But suddenly Socrates takes over and intro­duces sudden shocks and abrupt discontinuities, setting the familiar expectations on their head. At the end of Book Six of the Republic he introduces the divided line, followed by the Cave, and the narrative of Er.

The divided line ought to be a simple exercise in reading (509b—5 lie). How difficult could it be to divide a line into two unequal segments? One, according to Socrates, must be larger than the other; one must be labeled intelligible, the other visible. Which one is which? (Depending on which habit of mind educators use, they will name the two parts differently, but this is not in the Republic.) Are images abstracted from empirical objects, opinions, objects of art and science, visible or intelligi­ble? Is the larger portion (which Plato in the Sophist 236b and 264c divides into icons, or good images, and simulacra, sem­blances without likeness, or bad images) visible or intelligible? Educators feel that they must make a decision as to which part is which. If they decide a priori which is which, the result will be disastrous to their teaching, closer to indoctrination than actual teaching. If they do not decide on which part is which, then they will have to settle for a program of exercises in the hope that the students will be able to discern by themselves the visible and the intelligible. Plato’s answer to this problem is to give no answer at all, for in no place in the Republic does he settle the question of which part is which. All Plato does is to describe the acts that through performance prepare the stu~ dent always to choose the best from among the possible. Be­sides, a commitment to either side of the divided line or to any one of the narratives from either side would ruin the educa­tional project.

 

Plato’s whole educational enterprise is concerned with de­veloping quality in the performance of our inner acts. It is in relation to this quality of performance that he is able to sort out different worlds and the claims of the members of his com­munity. These inner acts performed through education and training rely on their similarity to an original, invisible form. Yes, Plato demands that we accept models. It is in view of these models of acts internally performed (if they are good acts) that will make the invisible visible. The only criterion for judging their validity is how good are the effects produced, for the better the effect the closer the acts performed internally were to the invisible model. The life of the Cave is the image of a life where the intelligibles predominate as simulacra (bad images) because they negate the need and existence of original, invisible models. Er appears in the Republic as the journey of memory to keep alive those dead by recreating the acts that made them immortal. Er is the reminder that education is an exercise in bringing to life what has already happened, the activating of memory and imagining in such a way that we, the living, keep the whole story of the culture or the species alive. Memory, in this exercise, turns to images which turn the past into new life.

 


Antonio T. De Nicholas Habits of Mind pp. 40-41

 

>>>>>>>>>>>

 

The dialogue proceeds on different Ecological regions- spaces: the House Polemarchus, the CAVE, the region of Er and so forth with each demanding its own styles of communication inner praxis and so forth. There is no universal philosophy but only MOVEMENT or performance or inner praxis marking this journey across these realms.  The basic question that sustains this journey is seeking out the meaning of Virtue and enjoying the GOOD. As one moves along there are qualitative developments of the praxis itself especially the inner and which OUGHT to be the goal of Authentic Education. Now into this journey is introduced the question of the DIVIDED LINE where the larger is the INTELIGIBLE and the other VISIBLE. The students are required to contemplate and decide for themselves and any attempt to compel the students to choose one over and above the other would ruin the real goal of authentic education

 

Any one familiar with the philosophic tradition of the Tamils would recognize a fundamental similarity as well as difference here.

 

First of all,  the ecologies here resemble the TiNai of Tolkaappiyar where he notes that all human behavior - both verbal and nonverbal -can be understood as arising from SEVEN Inner Ecologies of KuRinjci Mullai Marutam, Neytal, Paalai, KaikkiLai and PeruntiNai. Here too we find a LINE being drawn - the first FIVE are acceptable, normal and so forth and the last two are Unacceptable and which parallels the Er (< Su. eri, Ta. eri, eer? light) and the Cave. However we notice a DIFFERENCE, perhaps historically a crucial one: while Tol uses the sexual impulses for not only identifying these inner ecologies but also for DIVIDING them into the normal and abnormal,  it is NOT so with Plato or Socrates., The first five are different intensities of SEXUAL love, strongest in KuRinjci, the realms of hills with luxuriant vegetation and almost dried up in Paalai, the desolate realms of the desert and which make one DEPART from the familial surroundings and seek out victory in all kinds of combats including the philosophical. These are ACCEPTABLE for sex that dominates here is on MUTUAL agreement and LOVE based. In contrast to this we have KaikkiLai, the unreciprocated one-sided love and PeruntiNai, the abnormal love like seeking to seduce a child etc. Now another interesting thing about this kind of Ecological Thinking is that the Er realms, the first FIVE realms are ecologies pervaded by DEITIES - Murukan Tirumaal Indra VaruNa and KoRRavai and which are also understood as local transformations of the ONE, the Paal, the Brilliant. As noted in Cilappatikaaram, just as the different ecologies are transmutations of the initial and primordial DESERT,  the Fire-Land, so are the different deities - all are different transmutations of the same Paal, the Brilliant One,  the Fire, the BEING.

 

I have already pointed out that it is this Ecological Thinking that became transformed into the Six Padai Viidu, the battlefronts of Muruka and with led to the ICON of Kanta VeeL, the integrated polycephalic Deity with SIX faces and which was also seen later as the phenomenal manifestation of the Noumenal Cataaciva with His six faces. In all these developments, the Ecological Thinking slowly but definitely becomes metaphysical expressing itself on the way in various kinds ICONS mythical tales and so forth.

 

However the most important in all these and which relates to neurobiology is the notion of Atara Cakras and which finds the most ancient expression on Tirumular (6th-7th cent AD) and subsequent to which it became the bed rock of Siddha Science. Though these cakras are located in the body from the groin or  the Muulam onwards, we can see that indirectly they refer to the different BRAIN CENTRES, the region where the spinal cord meets the brain proper as the Muulam and so forth. Into this is woven also the TRANSMUTATION of sexuality - as one ascends from the Muulam to the Aknja, there is a qualitative difference introduced in the nature of SEXUALITY and as Tirumular explains the matter, the normal progeny producing sexuality is transmuted into TRANSGRESSIVE SEXUALITY of enjoying the Golden Body and without seeking immortality though species regeneration, the animal instinct. (Please see the series : The Metaphysical Gynecology of Tirumular for details)

 

I can go on but sufficient has been said to raise an important point in relation to the Philosophy of Plato: While Tamil Tantrism is also MOVEMENT based and promoted a culture of movement( and DANCE) of the mind into different inner ecologies and UNDERSTANDING all to become ILLUMINATED, but they did not choose VIRTUE or the notion of the GOOD but rather the transmutation of the  instinctual sexuality thereby giving the whole culture a psychoanalytic orientation.  Plato ( and Greeks as a whole) seems to have overlooked this and by focusing on virtue, the good and so forth gave perhaps an AESTHETIC turn and that too PHYSICAL AESTHETIC through Gymansiusm and NOT Spiritual Aesthetics as the Indian. A scientific understanding of sexuality, the existence founding impulse of man was probably given  only a peripheral attention leading to it’s NEGLECT in the whole of Western Culture. When this problem surfaced to the fore with Freudian Psychoanalysis, it was unfortunately only as something that causes mental abnormalities and hence a devilish force etc. The view that SEXUALITY is DIVINE as already hinted at by Tolkaappiyar himself has never taken root in Western Culture.

 

Could it be that it is so for the reasons I have outlined here? And if I am right, what implications it has for the program of Authentic Education that our Nitin Bhai is proposing?

 

And could it be that the West became predominantly instrumental and technological as Antonio observes correctly, mainly because it failed to cultivate  the science of sexuality even during the times of Plato (who seems to have favored homosexuality).

 

And again can this be because, as Antonio observes, the NEGLECT of the right hemispherical functioning of the brain where, according to the Siddhas is located the Bindu, the Tatva of sex and love?

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-6

Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 9:07 PM

 

Dear Loga and friends:

 

It is in the program of education ( Plato, Indic texts) to proceed one step

at a time and not jump to the conclusion and superimpose it on the journey. The

names of the GOOD and VIRTUE are just that names at this stage. Nowhere are

they defined or imposed instead of other names, like sexuality etc. The search

at this time is for a perfection in every internal act performed...This act

will in turn produce its effect as the good, not so good, virtuous or not so

virtuous, i.e., the perfect act produces the perfect effect. Theories about

sexuality, goodness and the rest are not part of this dialogue. If one wants to

know more about love and sex one would have to be in a different context like the

Symposium and listen to Diotima speak, meanwhile let us concentrate on the

perfection of inner acts...

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

Thank-you. It Looks as though we have reached a point where there may be a DIFFERENCE but with considerable sameness and about which I am happy.  What is a dialogue such as ours if some differences do not emerge and we seek to find out the sources of difference, if it is true and resolve it? You say that: The search at this time is for a perfection in every internal act performed...This act will in turn produce its effect as the good, not so good, virtuous or not so virtuous, i.e., the perfect act produces the perfect effect.

 

Now when I pondered about this I am not sure whether I can make sense of the claim that the perfect act produces a perfect effect. How do we make sense of the notion of ‘perfect act’ and ‘perfect effect”? Are there such things?

 

Let us recall that we AGREE that the new education should bring about a change so that the artificial dichotomies between the arts and sciences as well the human beings are diffused so that the underlying UNITY is recognized and our actions accommodate this unity. Both of us are  united on this and have no disagreement at all.  We do not also have disagreements to the essentials of  the Model of Plato that I see, from the descriptions you have given, presupposes Ecological Thinking and in which MOVEMENT, the JOURNEY is emphasized. The mind should be made to move instead of being fixated and only then will there  be a healthy mind and authentic education should do this.

 

But does this philosophy of Plato involve the notions of prefect act and perfect effect?  I doubt very much and if it does then, I believe, something impossible.

 

The difference between Tol. and Plato emerges NOT in the general orientation towards Ecological Thinking but rather at the level of the notions they choose to demarcate them. Tol. takes sexuality while Plato/Socrates does not as far as I can see. If he does elsewhere, I will be happy to know and change my views.

 

Let me elaborate a bit further to explain as to why it is important. Tol not only divides ALL kinds of behaviors as having as the originating grounds the tiNai or inner ecological regions but also all these seven into Akam, the domestic and PuRam, the public or political. And on top of that every PuRam type of behavior, like a king invading another country, is a SOCIAL expression of the sexual Akam, here the KuRinjci. Thus both the social and political praxis are seen ultimately as expressions of the sexual and hence the importance of sexuality also in Ecological Thinking. Whether domestic (akam) or public (puRam) all are equally sexuality related. Here we also see the presence of Hermeneutic Science for sexuality is identified as the DEEP Structure that agentively determines the shapes of Surface Structure- the observable and experiential domestic and public behavior. These are psychological realties and are NOT mental constructions, which are disallowed in Hermeneutic Sciences.

 

Within this how can we understand the notion of Perfect Act and which sounds so mathematical just as in the thinking of Descartes Husserl and so forth where they took the numbers and geometries as the models of the perfect?

 

There is a way however (and which you have hinted at in your other writings) and this non mathematical notion of Perfect Act is that of acts based on non-alienating Universal Love. One can see this as the Nishkama Karma of Gita or Arutceyal of the Saivites.  But here too there is a problem: such acts as Nishkama Karma DO NOT have any expectations, the Perfect Effect for simply TRUE LOVE prompts spontaneous acts and also comes along with NO expectations whatsoever - it just expresses itself and finds fulfillment in that expression.

 

It is here that sexuality becomes relevant - the non-alienating LOVE, that which gives the eyes to see all as the SAME over and above the differences results by TRANSMUTING the animal sexuality into Divine Sexuality and then transcending even that towards absolutely Pure Love.

 

I believe that a program for new education, and with which I am in total agreement should involve activities that transmute the inherent animal sexuality into DIVINE and which is part of the function of dance music and so forth i.e. the humanities as a whole. While the positive sciences may unearth the physics and physiology of sex but it remains IMPOTENT in transmuting it into the higher shapes and which the human sciences, if taught properly would do.

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <"To:akand"@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-6

Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 9:44 PM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

I find your DIFFERENCE most instructive since this kind of difference is the

ones that either guarantees a dialogue or starts a war.

If you remember correctly Plato starts the Republic with these enigmatic

words: "Yesterday I went down to Peiraeus..." I have been to both Athens and

Peiraeus, and Athens is physically up and Peiraeus is down... Also remember that

Trasymachus, the analytic philosopher, is excluded from the dialogue in the

Republic. And so here comes the explanation and you will see how much closer we

are than it looks. It is true that the reptilian brain is the first brain humans

develop and that this brain is the seat of sexuality, safety, fear,

territoriality, absence/presence, violence...The main reason is that at this beginning

stage this pilot brain is linked to the amydala and the memories of the mother

to which the child has no access. Immediately afterwards ( after the first

year) the child starts developing the limbic brain, affectivity, community,

company etc...and later on the visual neocortex as the three dimensional presence

of the vibrations of the previous two... Now, we have also discussed that

depending on the influence of the mother on the child, that is the  nurture part

of child development, the child may become limbic dominant as "pilot brain",

his guide and his filter. And furthermore imagine that this is the commuinity

that Plato gathers together in the house of Polemarchus to start his Republic,

the inner and outer organization of the soul... Before they set on their

journey, this group of primarily

limbic brain dominant community, and before they can proceed they must "go

down" to Peiraeus, that is descend to the regions of the reptilian brain to

start their journey in search of wisdom. And so you are right, the reptilian,

sexual origins of humans are the first to be investigated and it is for this

reason the Greeks had their initiation mysteries...As you see the diologue takes

place after the festival of Bendix, a celebration of the Mysteries. And so for a

community, like the one Plato had or was about to form, the descend to

Peiraeus is equivalent to the descent to the ground base of sexuality and the

reptilian brain.

 

The second point is about the perfect act. Mathematics is not the rule in

Plato. He places the act performed within a community of choices (frontal lobes).

If one is equipped with the right act, the right effect will follow, but

within the contexts of those choices available and of those possible choices only,

choosing by habit the one that is best; that is, if one is equipped to do so.

Just as dharma would prescribe.

 

Thanks for the oportunity to clarify.

 

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you. Yes there are more agreements than disagreements between us and this may be because Tantrism is part of what the neural networks feed into our understanding. So not just you and me but anyone who seeks understanding along these lines will have a striking similarity in the philosophies they advocate. And I am sure this is the essence of Clinical Philosophy you are proposing.

 

There are many areas where even traditional Tantrism can benefit from new studies on brain physiology coming from the West and as results of the use of sophisticated technologies. There is considerable amount of inexactitude among the Siddhas and such inexactitudes can be corrected by incorporating the new findings in brain physiology of modern science and without doing any damage to their essential philosophical insights.

 

For example in Lessons on Botham 4-13 which summarizes a huge amount of date on consciousness, MeykaNdar mentions the groin (Muulam) Navel (unti) heart, throat and the forehead as the centers of the different states of consciousness. I believe there is double talk here. In talking about body parts such as the above he is in fact talking about the different brain centers that regulate these body parts. The Muulam may be amydala that you mention and regressing into the groin area may in fact be the self traveling in the realm of neural network and coming to this amydala and becoming consciousness of how behavior is shaped by the inputs from this area of the brain.

 

Having said this I must also mention that they have analyzed the function of these brain centers in terms of the working of mantras and the Siva Tatvas Natam and Bindu and which parallels the Taoist Yin and Yang and the Jungian Anima and Animus. So to understand fully the way the brain works we have to also bring the Mantrayana and the Siva Tatvas.

 

I hope as we continue this dialogue there will be opportunities for us to discuss these matters and if relevant then incorporate them into the notion of New Education that you are proposing.

 

Thank-you again for kind words and understanding which encourages me considerably to continue this dialogue and bring it a happy conclusion.

 

Loga

 

 

 

From: "Raja Mylvaganam" <mylvahana@yahoo.com>

To: <Abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: [Abhinavagupta] [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-6

Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 6:24 PM

 

Dr. Loga:

You are at your best in this last post. It appears to this reader at least that you really excel when you apply the Tol. and make comparisons with Plato and other Western  philosophers. Perhaps you are a better pragmatist (C.S. Peirce) than I allowed. In any case it is a style with which I am most comfortable. Thank you. I do have a question though regarding the understanding of sexuality in Tamil culture as derived from Tol.You write:

 

And on top of that every PuRam type of behavior, like a king invading another country, is a SOCIAL expression of the sexual Akam, here the KuRinjci. Thus both the social and political praxis are seen ultimately as expressions of the sexual and hence the importance of sexuality also in Ecological Thinking. Whether domestic (akam) or public (puRam) all are equally sexuality related. Here we also see the presence of Hermeneutic Science for sexuality is identified as the DEEP Structure that agentively determines the shapes of Surface Structure- the observable and experiential domestic and public behavior. These are psychological realties and are NOT mental constructions, which are disallowed in Hermeneutic Sciences.

 

Are you suggesting that sexuality is the underlying motivation for war-mongering in all instances? I say all because in indvidual cases this may well be true and difficult to prove one way or another. And it is possible to have a general rule of thumb about sexuality from which to make exceptions but once the exceptions outnumber the instances of the rule then we have to re-consider.

 

Raja

 

 

 

M. Thurairaja

Nordre Frihavnsgade 15A

2100 Křbenhavn

Denmark

 

 

 

Dear Raja

 

Thank-you very much for the kind words (that I don’t get that often!) Let me mention that I am NOT a pragmatist in the sense of the American Pragmatism for I just don’t go along with their Theory of Truth where they hold that anything that works (roughly) is truth. But I can understand why you call me a pragmatist - I practice Natural Metaphysics and as a Hermeneutic Scientist always go back to the WORLD and EXISTENCE to explore the DEEPER realms buried underneath them. In this I follow the best of the Dravidian tradition and a very ancient one. Even Suruppak (c. 3000) has said that if you study what happens around( nig-e kal-kal-in) then you will learn the great truths (me-kal-kal). I suspect that it is this Natural Metaphysics that is the secret of the survival of Dravidian with unbroken continuity from those ancient times.

 

With this  remark let me come to point you have raised and  which I really appreciate. In Tantrism sexuality is fundamental and that it is by transmuting this basic sexuality into higher forms that greatness in personality is achieved and who are called the Munivar, Siddha the Civanjani and so forth. Such a view of personal excellence frees people from VarNasrama Dharma Thinking which ties such higher reaches of personality to birth and which is pure nonsense, notions which only highly bigoted individuals can maintain and that too only in a community of unthinking fools.

 

Sexual desires, as Tirumular has observed, is part of the Uyir Muuccu, the very impulse to LIVE as such is founded by sexuality as the URpatti KaaNdam of Kanta PuraNam would disclose. Only when Siva looks lovingly at Parvati, there is sexuality in the world among the creatures and hence meaningful living for them.

 

Let us see how this theme is present in Tolkaappiyam and how it is also the basis for the aggressive behavior of man.

 

I shall  take only  two of the TiNais to bring out the point.

 

First of all we have the kuRinjci, the Interior landscape of strong sexual urges and ordained by Muruka and which along with Mullai Marutam and Neytal give rise to speech acts and behavior that are expressive of sexual desires like lamenting separation, expressing anger and frustration on meeting obstacles for meeting and enjoying sexual unions and so forth.

Now this Akam has its PuRam reflex the Vedci and which is war behavior in which the cattle of the enemies are stolen and brought home and which has  14 different phases to it.

 

Now contrast this with Paalai and which is the inner realm that promotes SEPARATION and DEPARTURE for various reasons -higher studies, trade warfare and so forth.  This Akam has as its puRam, the Vaakait TiNai and which is understood as the general behavior where man tries EXCELL others and seeks to RISE above all. And this applies to ALL kinds of men - the kings, warriors, scholar’s yogis’ philosophers and so forth and hence a UNIVERSAL.

 

While KuRinjci is vegetative luxuriance, the Paalai is desert landscape of desiccation and burning where no vegetation thrives at all. And while the  former establishes acquisition through invasion  the wealth of the neighboring lands, this is NOT so with Paalai. This Paalai dissociates all ties of Love that makes possible DEAPARTURE from the FAMILY, the nexus of love relationships, the ties of Paacam. And in the sociopolitical reflex, it leads to pressure for SOCIAL ASCENDANCE though ACTS that establishes one as ABOVE all others.

 

The question is why this DIFFERENCE between KuRinjci-Vedci and Paalai-Vaakai?

 

You can see in the latter there is DESICCATION of sexuality and the  nexus of familial relationships it establishes while in the former it is present very intensely,  metaphorically implicated by the luxuriance of vegetation which will NOT be true unless species reproductive processes are strongly present and hence sexuality. While a man with this inner ecology also undertakes a warfare in which he STEALS in fact the cattle (at that time the real wealth) of the neighboring tribes, a man with Vaakai will seek ways and means to RISE above others by showing his excellence.

 

Tol. also notes these differences are to be attributed to the workings of the deities Muruka for the first and KoRRavai (or Sun God) for the second.  However in between we can see the presence of a Depth Psychological structure - one of strong sexuality (STS) and that of its absence through desiccation but with a strong Ascendance Desire (ASD). Perhaps we can incorporate Antonio’s interesting notion of ‘pilot-brains’ here.

 

So to answer your question: There is greedy acquisitive warfare prompted by STS which also prompts possessive kind of sexuality where the woman (or man) one marries is also treated as a property, ones own POSSESION and hence made to serve only one self. The excessive love for the properties of others and willingness to wage wars for acquiring them are also functions of this STS.

 

Now warfare can also issue forth as part of Vaakai, the realms of ASD and which will vary according to the professional interest of the people. The philosophers, the aRivars, will enter into intellectual combats to emerge victorious over others.  However it is also mentioned that real battle is with one’s own sexuality (kaamam niitta paaL) and along with it disengaging one self with all the paacas, the bondages that bind a person to the worldly.

 

So we can see TWO kinds of warfare: the first is prompted by strong sexual desires and which prompts also a warfare of wealth stealing and second, battling with this sexuality itself and trying to emerge victorious (and become the Mahavira?) and be a FREE and LIBERATED individual. Whether positively or negatively SEXUALITY is there in the depths as the foundation of both kinds of warfare.

 

You can see now how these ideas have developed further and further and became the substance of the metaphysical studies of Tirumular and a host of others.

 

I know I have NOT touched on all aspects of this interesting matter but I hope in the course of this Dialogue on Habits of Mind,  I can bring them out later.

 

Loga

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-7

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

 

With apologies I begin the seventh dialogue again with the Plato of our Nitin Bhai. Here I am really amazed how close Plato is to Dravidian Culture as founded by Tolkaappiyam and in which the Bakti streams of Saivism and VaishNavism are simply products of deeper journeys in the same direction. It appears to me it is Tol. that established firmly the basis of Hermeneutic Science that enabled the Tamil philosophers to combat the idealistic Buddhism and Vedanta and established the tradition of Siddhanta, that of hermeneutic science part of which is Ati VarNasra Dharma, going beyond sociology of discriminations based on birth.

 

Using these insights I have developed Agamic Psychology and in which I have worked a notion of LEARNING, which is neither behavioral nor cognitive, but Depth Psychological. It appears to me that this concept of LEARNING is also an integral part of the philosophy of Plato as seen by Antonio as much as Tamil Saivism

 

With this in mind let us look at the following words of Antonio, again from the Third Chapter, which appears to be the most crucial chapter in the whole book.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Plato’s whole educational enterprise is concerned with de­veloping quality in the performance of our inner acts. It is in relation to this quality of performance that he is able to sort out different worlds and the claims of the members of his com­munity. These inner acts performed through education and training rely on their similarity to an original, invisible form. Yes, Plato demands that we accept models. It is in view of these models of acts internally performed (if they are good acts) that will make the invisible visible. The only criterion for judging their validity is how good are the effects produced, for the better the effect the closer the acts performed internally were to the invisible model. The life of the Cave is the image of a life where the intelligibles predominate as simulacra (bad images) because they negate the need and existence of original, invisible models. Er appears in the Republic as the journey of memory to keep alive those dead by recreating the acts that made them immortal. Er is the reminder that education is an exercise in bringing to life what has already happened, the activating of memory and imagining in such a way that we, the living, keep the whole story of the culture or the species alive. Memory, in this exercise, turns to images which turn the past into new life.

 

Plato’s journey of education acknowledges the body as the primary vehicle (inter-text) of those acts humans performed in the past which serve us as models to perform on our own, to preserve ourselves in innovation and continuity. As human


are neurophysiologically connected to one another and to a common enterprise: the fitting of our souls to the good, while discarding all those external goods that are not permanent. This “fitting of the soul” is the primary task of education, is coextensive with habits of mind found in our human past, and therefore is historical. For this reason remembering texts and inter-texts in the present is also the building of our history. (This remembering of acts to be performed has little to do with the remembering of information by heart—but without the heart that created it in the first place.)

 

By the end of Book Six of the Republic the house of Pot­emarchus is transformed into the Cave. The sun is now up and the Cave is down. In between there is the mid-region of the fire where the intelligible forms and the teachers are seen as being the cause of the shadows on the walls, and how these shadows are the guiding light of the prisoners. Prisoners and teachers live under the power of these shadows, are sensitized by them, and feel their own human emptiness. The region of the sun is obviously “the solitary region” and different technologies are needed from those of the shadows to allow the prisoners to reach there. Human life is always in the Cave and education should bring the technologies of seeing the sun into the class­room. For the Cave gives birth to simulacra, ideology, the repetition of one single human habit of mind and its narratives of liberation. The enemy is within the classroom. The nega­tivity of the Cave is exactly the power it has to negate, the power to negate models, and the substitution for non-centered view­points of the speaker.

 

AntonioT.de Nicolas, Habits of Mind pp44-45

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Plato talks about models, images icons and so forth and there is a journey of memory or remembrances, which turn the past into a NEW life. However the most important notion here is that of the inner acts that change the quality of understanding by making the invisible visible. So it immediately follows that Plato is talking of memory remembrance etc in a peculiar sense - certainly NOT in the sense in which modern cognitive psychologists talk about RECALLING RECOGNISING and so forth and which are just lapses of memory of things already learned and stored in the Long Term Memory store.

 

This notion of making the ‘invisible visible” can also be put in terms of: making the unconscious conscious, bringing the hidden into the open, wrest out the concealed and make it appear, destroy IGNORANCE and let there be illuminations and so forth. In the understanding there are many things already there but invisible to the person and the function of inner acts and hence education as a whole is to destroy this invisibleness and making them be VISIBLE and hence open up the eyes make the person SEE the hidden and with that  illuminate further his consciousness!

 

This is precisely the whole program of Saiva Siddhanta and Agamic Psychology and hence my thrill. For based on the concepts of Njanam (understanding) as Paacanjaanam (the understanding of physical realties) Paacanjaanam (the understanding about the anmas, the psychic entities) and Patinjaanam (the understanding of BEING) I proposed THREE types of LEARNING where this learning is understood as DESTRUCTION of IGORANCE. It is presupposed that we are in the DARK, in IGNORANCE as the given essence of ourselves and we as human beings have ascended to a way of Being-in-the-World, already neurologically imprinted so that we UNDERSTAND some but still largely in IGNORANCE about many.  Existence is for destroying this pre-existent IGNORANCE and every meaningful act is an act of learning, of destroying this ignorance. Thus we can define LEARNING as K.c 2 - Kc.-1 = Non Empty where K.c means the compliment of existent knowledge and hence the IGNORANCE. When the later state of ignorance compared to the former is non-empty and because of a certain act, that act is a LEARNING ACT.

 

Thus learning understood here is an act that makes the invisible visible and so forth and NOT something that binds the anma to variety of stimuli in the external and internal world because of various schedules of reinforcement as advocated by the Pavlovian Classical Conditioning or the Skinnerian Operant Conditioning. It is also NOT the cognitive theory of learning where it is equaled with being able to recall or recognize something from the Long Term memory (and which is tested by exams with forced choice of responses)

 

In Agamic Psychology the whole of learning understood as thus is said to begin with Alpha-type learning, progress towards the Beta-type and finally end up the Gamma-type. The alpha-learning is reducing ignorance through the exercises of the senses and their instrumental extensions such as the telescopes, microscopes and so forth. In such a learning our ignorance about PHYSICAL world is reduced. Now somewhere as we progresses in this kind of learning, there is a change in the GAZE and interest - the learner himself becomes the object of learning - the physicist seeking out to understand why he is a physicist and so forth. With this begins beta-type learning where the focus is self and the fields of studies are the humanities. Now as one progresses in this kind of learning, the configured nature of the self becomes intelligible and which initiates a search for the deeper forces within self that configure its essence UNKNOWN to itself. This search brings about the Gamma-type of learning and which is the same as the metaphysical.

 

It appears to me that when education is understood as something that brings a person from the CAVE to Er with region of the shadows in between, something like a movement from Alpha-learning to Beta-learning and then to Gamma-learning is proposed. Generally it is movement of understanding by acts of learning where there is MORE Light and LESS the Darkness of IGNORANCE, a person must be educated so that from being physicist he should evolve into being a humanist and then into a metaphysician or religious person.

 

This is a truth and which also restores the notion of ABSOLUTE elusive within the physicalistic glances. While learning as binding the creatures to various stimuli can be endless and can go one endlessly, this is NOT so with destruction of IGNORANCE. There is an absolute LIMIT - the absence of any darkness whatsoever and the self being illuminated with Njanam, that understanding that drives away all shadows, all patches of DARKNESS. Let us also not that this Njanam remains there always as the Absolutely Deep Structure of everyone’s understating (according to Tirumular he cikaaram that is part of life breath of every creature) and hence all are EQUAL in this. Standing as the deepest concealed presence it prompts all learning till the Njaanam is attained and which is Moksa itself.

 

There is the other issue of images in Plato mentioned here and which bears some resemblance to what I have called Icon Thinking and which I propose to take up in the next dialog.

 

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>

Subject: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-7

Date: Friday, January 23, 2004 10:24 PM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends,

 

It is exemplary the way Dr. Loga puts insides of two traditions together. The

benefit for the Western raised thinker is that there are human spaces kept

hidden for him/her in the Western Philosophical Tradition ( memory,

imagination, will). The benefit for the Eastern thinker is that a "rational" path and a

language ( common epistemology, ontology, metaphysics) is open where both

traditions can meet in friendly and benevolent discourse so that their

"translations" of the inner human life they live may be enriched in this dialogue. There

is a common path for both where the possibility of the Avatara is available

for every human.

Thank you with

OM and SHANTI

 

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you. Your comment surprise me further by its objectivity and fairness. Under the present circumstances I doubt very much any Indian would react positively the way you do (and which is very surprising). On top of that the suggestion of working towards a common epistemology ontology metaphysics and so forth is very exciting and very close to my heart. You see I am an inheritor of the Tamil tradition who had a poet who sang more than two thousand years ago “yaatum uuree yaavaruG keeLir” (Every city is my own and every people are my kinsmen). Perhaps this is because of the intellectual maturity born of a very ancient civilization and about which they were aware. The Tamils even two thousand years ago claimed that their civilization existed even before the stones became earth! It may be poetic exaggeration but there is considerable truth in it when we see it against the SumeroDravidian beginnings of it and the immense continuity in language and culture. On top of that they were sure of the Way -the WAY of TRUTH as exclaimed by Sulgi  unmeyodu uu uuziya see ( ume-da u-ulli-a se): In TRUTH till the end of time.

 

Nowadays and even by Tamils, I am made very uncomfortable when I talk of the great Dravidian civilization and culture and all based upon the Hermeneutic Science at least from the days of Tolkaappiyam. This is how rationality expressed itself in Tamil culture and which spearheaded similar movements in India through Nyaya Sastra and so forth.

 

The common framework that you are suggesting can only come by opening up further the OPENNESS already available in Western Culture. I cannot imagine holding an OPEN DIALOG where I even dare to be different with a Muslim scholar or a typical Christian theologian or a Brahmin. The Muslim scholar would immediately shut my mouth by saying that AL Koran is the authority and Prophet Mohamed is final Prophet and because of that I am a Kafir (so would be Plato who proposes the contemplation of images and icons). The Christian would banish me to Hell because I don’t accept Jesus as my Savior. The Brahmin would thrust his VEDAS claiming anything contradictory to Vedas cannot be truth and I as a Sudra can never debate with him. I must sit beneath his feet with folded arms and cherish the bits of spiritual gems that are thrown at me.

 

Against all such madness I really value the works of Christian missionaries like Bishop Caldwell, G.U.Pope and so forth. I cannot also forget Father Heras and his students for their study of CaGkam classics. In those dark days when the Tamils were not sufficiently modernized it was the missionaries who popularized Tamil literature but which unfortunately did not catch on with the Western World.

 

This neglect of Tamil literature and excessive focus on Sanskrit has been very costly for Indology for it led to the failure to UNDERSTAND the real spirit of Hinduism and which consists in Temple worship and the associated philosophies and which comes Sumerian( and Indus) times.

 

Let me mention to you that I think that your suggestion for a common metaphysics and so forth is excellent and I will pursue it but I shall be doing it with reference to the Tamil and SumeroTamil literature and culture.  This for no other reason than that the TRUTH is there and the truths cannot be peculiar to any race, culture and language.

 

Loga

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________-

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <akandabaratam@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <abhinavagupta@egroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-7

Date: Sunday, January 25, 2004 12:34 AM

 

Dear Dr. Loga and friends:

 

I would like to remove the surprise at my decision from Dr. Loga's heart and

brains. Yes, Dr. Loga, you are ready to carry out an enterprise so much needed

in Indic studies and in humanity at large. Yours is the task of bringing

together east and west not with censorship but with the integration of the whole

human range of expressions and none as evident as your understanding of

HERMENEUTICAL SCIENCE. In this new discipline you bring together east and west,

science and humanities, right brain/left brain. By using hermeneutics you unfold

the skills of the humanities in all their force (the skills of all the brains)

and by using science you bring the rigor of discipline needed to uncover a self

that interferes with the measure of the world, and is already embodied in the 

research.. You bring image and reason, frontal lobes and discrete analysis,

harmony (heart) and separation (left brain) in the harmony of discourse and

synthesis. But mostly, by bringing science together with hermeneutics you bring

in the only science that includes both at the human level: neurobiology, or

bio-cultures, that is, embodied epistemologies in individual subjects, or groups

of subjects, as in the family, or bio-cultures.

 

It is in this synthesis of hermeneutics and science that truths and TRUTH in

Indic texts will appear as will the stops on the way, like karma, dharma,

contextual rather than universal aprioris asking for decision making in complex

situations rather than compliance according to apriori rules, as you know so

well from psychology.

 

I would love to have the works of  Tolkaappiyam published in English here in

America. I would love to help in this event. The lose of this tradition has

been tragic for both sides but more so for Indian themselves for they have no

mirror on which to look at their own trajectory in the company of other

trajectories.

 

The Western Inquisition differs from the brahmin one in that where the West

had one only, the brahmin has as many as there are brahmins and the only one

thing they agree on is that revelation is only for brahmins.  Of course they are

not able to quote the source of this

Gift or what is there in the revelation itself. However they train young

people and this could be a possible benefit to them or the opposite. Are they

opening the right hemispheres of the neocortex to receive revelation if and when

it comes or are they flooding the brains with the fears of the amygdala and the

logorrhea of words.

 

However none of this will do anyone any good unless we do it, and we do it

within the professional walls of academic integrity and scholarship... This has

been in the West the only criterion for vanishing official inquisitions and

priestshoods. Obviously inquisitions appear constantly even within the walls of

the Academy but this is our task to fight them from inside. We could not do

the same in the past for they (the priests) held the Academy in their power.

Education is liberation. Inner skills and those embodied are the most fearful

weapons to inquisitors. And this is what we do in education and Plato dreamt for

all. Let's continue the tradition.

 

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

 

Dear Prof

 

Really beautiful and thank-you so much for it. I did not realize the implications that you are drawing out for Hermeneutic Science though I can see now the enormous role it can play in bringing together not only the East and West but also the entire world. There is a magic in the notion of science which makes it ACCEPTABLE to all but in this the positive scinces meet with less resistance than Hermeneutic Sciences. The reasons are also quite obvious - the Hermeneutic Sciences require SELF-DECONSTRUTION but in the form of LEARNING and in the sense, as I see it now, of making the invisible visible as Plato has said more than two thousand years ago and which is the same as Reduction of Ignorance. This require ego bashing and that’s what most people are reluctant to do and would resist at any cost.

 

As you correctly observed and as I explained the matter to my colleagues in Universiti Sains Malaysia where I taught Educational Psychology for more than 20 years, Hermeneutic Science is the science buried in the Humanities but which does NOT reject the positive sciences but appropriates them as belonging to the alpha-type learning, the Paaca Njanam of the Saivites but which is NOT conscious of itself as so and because of which they extend it, quite illegitimately, to the social sciences, with which you are so unhappy and rightly so.

 

And I agree with you when you:

 

It is in this synthesis of hermeneutics and science that truths and TRUTH in

Indic texts will appear as will the stops on the way, like karma, dharma,

contextual rather than universal aprioris asking for decision making in complex

situations rather than compliance according to apriori rules, as you know so

well from psychology.

 

All human beings or at least the leading ones must become Hermeneutic Scientists and explore their own interiority moving across different metaphysical ecologies within and become ILLUMINATED in that Yaattirai, the Pilgrimage and reach the realms of Er as mentioned by Plato. This word fascinates me for it seems to be same in phonetic shape and meaning with Sumerian, eri, ri and Tamil eri, eer etc.

 

However daunting this task may be, we have already made a beginning. Your Habits of Mind already accomplishes most of it and when I bring the elements of Dravidian culture, it serves only to adumbrate as well as confirm the main thesis. I think your biocultural institute that brings also the neural network into psychology and philosophy should be credited with such revolutionary break in thinking that holds the possibility of bringing the whole of the thinking mankind into a meaningful dialog where they can recognize an underlying commonness. Perhaps a few centuries later this may turn out to be the best American contribution to World Culture.

 

And thank-you so much for your interest in Tolkaappiyam, that marvelous achievement of Tamil genius that should count also as one of the greatest intellectual accomplishments of mankind itself. I am also translating this massive text and I hope in due course, I will be able to complete it. Then perhaps you can do something to publish it in America.

 

Let me conclude this brief note by saying that if I call for a Neo Dravidian Movement, it is NOT to glorify the Dravidian as against Brahmanism and other cultures and as exercises in ego glorifications. I call for this to make Dravidian Culture attain a VISIBLE presence not alone in Indian Culture but also the World Culture. Tamil language and Culture has been neglected for centuries and this neglect must not be allowed to continue any further. Tamil mind has been an OPEN Mind, it has learned from Jainism Buddhism and so forth in the past and more recently from Islam and Christianity. But in all these it has maintained its identity and orientation of MeypporuL kaaNpatu aRivu (it is mark of intelligence to seek out TRUTH) as said by TiruvaLLuvar about two thousand years ago and which is the essence of Hermeneutic Science. The way Tolkaappiyar TiruvaLLuvar Tirumular, Appar Sambantar Namazvar, Meykandar AruNandi Tayumanavar (just to name the most prominent) think is already a great achievement in the direction of forging an ontology metaphysics and so forth that may also describe something already there among all human beings woven into their neural networks.

 

Standing on the shoulders of such giants this task that you recommend may become something we can accomplish.

 

Loga

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-8

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

It is through the cracks of the mighty citadel of positive sciences that the Hermeneutic Sciences are emerging and which in due course will erect a new citadel where along with the  positive sciences there will be the human sciences well demarcated so that the imperialism of the positive mind does not over reach itself and eliminate the human sciences in the name of social sciences. This is the program proposed by our Nitin Bhai’s Habits of Mind given more teeth to bite by the notion of Hermeneutic Science implicit already in essence in the original program of Plato as much as Tolkaappiyar who lived, interestingly enough, about the same time as Plato and with perhaps with no contact whatsoever. Both seem to have favored what I call Icon Thinking, developed in Tol. within the framework of Ecological Thinking where the Icons of Tirumaal, Muruka VaruNa Indra and Paal (the Sun or KoRRavai) are said to be the deities that reign over these inner and outer ecologies and serve as the spiritual powers that give structure and function to them. The same idea seems to have emerged in a different way in Plato with the Paal of Tol. resembling the Er of Plato to a remarkable extend.

 

Let us see some passages from the Habits of Mind of Prof.Antonio where these ideas show themselves up.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Plato introduces imagining as the foundation of education— not the imagining that we attribute to our selfish acts of fantasy where the act starts and ends for the benefit of the performer, nor those acts of imagining that we perform by abstracting images from objects already present in the world. Plato would have education build in the student the technologies of in­vention by making visible what is absent, the sun as it sets over Athens in the Republic, or Love as found in the earlier Sym­posium by tracing its genealogy. Love is the offspring of Poros (abundance) and Penia (scarcity) (Symp. 203c—204a). Conse­quently love lives in midair, in a region as vast as it is endless, in a homeless land (Symp. 203c—d). Love is never entirely full, never entirely empty (Symp. 203e). It rests somewhere between


complete wisdom and complete ignorance as the eternal medi­ator between heaven and hell (Symp. 202e) and must remain in midair: a move too close to either side would be the demise of love. Since love has no home it is only in loving (repeating the act) that love makes a home. Of itself it has no nature but finds itself only in the acts of love performed. It gives birth to goodness (Symp. 206b) and through these acts prolongs itself into immortality (Symp. 207a). It is in the creation of goodness and beauty that we become rid of the indeterminateness of the mid-region, the homeless ground, and become one with the immortal (Symp. 207a).

 

How does a mortal perform this fantastic transformation? In Symposium 21 Oa—2 12a, Plato discards as proper to this goal but not to be absent from education the technologies of logic, rhetoric, acts of logic, and acts of thinking. He proposes in­stead technologies closer to initiation exercises into mystery religions than to Aristotle, Hegel, or Marx. in Symposium 109a— 2 lOa he identifies these technologies with acts of imagining of the kind we might call creative imagining. For this imagining is not an abstraction from objects empirically given to the senses, but rather an imagining that begins to act only when the senses, all information coming from the outside, and all images are canceled. As in the Republic, one enters this world by drinking of the “milk of forgetfulness.” Here Plato is specific: “[This imagining] will not take the form of a face, or of a hand, or of anything that is of the flesh. It will neither be words, nor knowledge, nor something that exists in something else, such as a creature, or the earth, or the heavens, or anything that is.

(Symposium 210a—21 la).” In the Phaedo he gives us the positive clues:

 

the real earth. . . is multicolored and marked out by different colors, of which the colors we know here are only limited imitations. . . there, the whole earth is made up of such colors and many others far brighter and purer still.

 

For in this world of imagining, colors are sharper, mountains and stones smoother and even transparent, better than the precious stones our senses know empirically (Phaedo 11 Oc—e).

But it is in the Republic that Plato summarizes for us the technologies of imagining (Republic, 508e—5 lie; 532a—534e):

 

 

1)  the soul must be turned into an opposite direction;

 

2) a different faculty must be used than the ones we use to create opinion, images, thinking, theorizing;

 

3) different objects and different reading signs must be created;

 

4) a different kind of knowledge is created in the whole composite of body and soul, thus

 

5) enabling us to choose from among the possible the best.

 

Plato repeats these criteria for imagining in the Phaedo 67c—d and in 79e—8 1 a, as the exercise for creating “experience after death,” or of achieving experience “through practicing death,” by accustoming the soul to “withdraw from all contact with the body and concentrate itself on itself. . . alone by itself.”

 

In short, Plato understands education as a unique concern and a unique motivation for the quality of all the acts it per­forms to educate. Quality of performance concerns itself with directing the will to select and sort out those acts that are historically capable of being remembered and thus repeated. Distinctions and divisions leading to those acts are to be found in the quality itself of the acts performed, not in the external property of objects and their external relations. For it is in these internal acts, without intimation from the outside, that human freedom resides. Divisions, in Plato’s scheme of education, are made for the sake of establishing an inner genealogy that separates the pure from the impure, the authentic from the inauthentic, but in no way is it concerned with any classification through genus and species. Plato establishes things and images, originals and copies, models and simulacra. And this can equally hold when sorting out gold, as in the Republic, or when sorting out claims, as in the Statesman, the Phaedrus, or the Symposium, “I am the shepherd of men,” “I am the possessed,” “I am the lover.”

 

 

Antonio T. de Nicholas Habits of Mind pp. 44-45

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Thus the underlined words make it clear that Plato is recommending what I call Icon Thinking for such a form thinking is NOT thinking of fantasies or images formed by abstracting from our empirical objects and so forth.  The ICON ( or Muurtti) in the special sense we use the word here, are graphic structures that emerge on their own from the Depths, the CAVE and seizing hold of the soul forces various kinds of metaphysical interrogations that on the whole have the function of ILLUMINATIONG the mind by informing some deeper truths. Thus this phenomenon of possession by icons from the depths with an inescapable metaphysical thinking is Educational or Pedagogic and is designed to bring about what I have called Njaanam, being in the world of Light and which appears to be the same as the Er of Plato. The Icon Thinking that issues forth in such moments of icon possession leads NOT to categorical thinking such as Aristotle but rather within the framework of LOVE (or Bakti) to interpretive acts in which the MEANING of the icon is sought after and the individual effects METAPHYSICAL LEARNING. So these are the inner acts that bring about a qualitative change in personality and not just new connections in the synapses of the neural network. The person is led to die and reassume birth but as a DIFFERENT person so that she is NO MORE what she was before - she is wiser, better illuminated and hence truly educated. Such learning has to be effected by the person herself perhaps with a help of a guru but which is not a must. This kind of metaphysical learning can be and should be done by the person herself and the whole of education must individual centered with the individual always encouraged to allow himself to be possessed by such ICONS and led to be thinking metaphysically as dictated by the ICONS themselves.

 

A guru or teacher who interferes and disrupts with this process of NATURAL LEARNING with his own egoistic inventions of ideologies,  sastras to which he addicted and rituals as the religionists do, will be doing disservice to the essence AUTHENTIC EDUCATION.

 

Let us see a concrete example of this Icon Thinking from Punitavati who seems to have lived the philosophy of Plato even though it is very unlikely she knew Plato.

 

27.

 

aravamonRu aakattu nii nayantu puuNeel

paravit tozutu irantoom pannaaL  - muraNaziya

onnaar tam muuveyilum eytaanee

poonnaaram maRRonRu puuN

 

Meaning:

 

For many days we worshipped and requested  you just one  thing : don’t wear on your chest the Snake that arouses the sexual desires  in the heart of the creatures and make  them suffer immensely because of it. Instead we implore you that you wear  the golden chain that arouses Pure Love (that’s above sexuality). For you who singed to ashes with a single arrow the THREE castles of your enemies, this should not be impossible at all.

 

Here Siva emerging in the form of an ICON where He wears the SNAKE on His Neck becomes the object of Hermeneutic Semiotics, the interpretive understanding of the MEANING of such an ICON and in particular the snake where there is also the interpretive understanding that the natural snake has as its meaning the sexual libido. She requests that Siva wears a golden chain rather than a natural one and which is a request to transmute the ordinary sexuality into Pure Love and something He certainly can do as He is also the one who burnt to ashes the citadels of the ignorance.

 

In such a self-education,  Punitavati is venturing on HER OWN, is NOT listening to the Guru Makasannidhanams, does not quote profusely from the scriptures, pay abeyance to the Mullahs Brahmanahs and Padres and so forth. There is genuine LEARNING only because Punitavati has thrown out aside all these textual understanding , sastric mental loads as useless (nuulaRivu peeci nuzaivillaar tirika), has asserted her autonomy and independence and LEARNS with Icon Thinking and under the loving guidance of BEING Himself.

 

Isn’t this what Plato is advocating? I think so. And it leads to the  region of Er, the realm of Njanam, the Light, the Supreme Radiance, the Cooti where there is no shadow of IGNORANCE at all. So sings Punitavati too:

 

17.

kaaNpaarkkuG kaaNalaan tanmaiyanee kaitozutu
kaaBpaarrkuG kaaNalaam kaatalaaR -  kaaNpaarkkuc
cootiyaayc cintaiyuLee toonRumee tollulakuk(ku)
aatiyaay ninRa aran

Meaning:

BEING, the Primordial Cause for this ancient world,  can be witnessed directly for those Yogis who have managed to  see the concealed world by opening their Third Eye of transductive perceptions. BEING is also seeable for those who have become the humble  servants who tirelessly involve themselves in selfless service for humanity  always praising BEING with true Bakti. But among these for those who, out of Deep Love for BEING and with a heart that melts in sincere LOVE, He discloses Himself as the Pure Light that purifies the soul and relieves them of all pains.

 

There must be LOVE and worship as part of Icon thinking where the icons are magical - are made available for vision or withdrawn from it. But for those who are engraced with such visions and learning from within that,   BEING finally discloses Himself as a Cooti, the Pure Light disclosing that this is also His Primordial Form for this ancient world.

 

Thus the inner acts that lead the student away from the CAVE into the realm of LIGHT, the Er is in fact the kinds of Hermeneutic Semiotics Punitavati practices and which lead her to enjoy presence of BEING as Pure Radiance.

 

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <akandabaratam@egroups.com.aagamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>; <Abhinavagupta@yahoogroups.com>; <ontologicalethics@egroups.com>; <NavyaShastra@yahoogroups.com>

Subject: [Abhinavagupta] Re: [agamicpsychology] Dialogues on Habits of Mind-8

Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 12:42 AM

 

Dear Loga and friends,

I was totally touched by the similarities in the stories of the passages of

the soul both in Plato and Tamil literature. Icon thinking is another way of

putting together what thinking by itself cannot accomplish. These are two

different brains and their technologies differ. From the Rg Veda down the

imagination is activated through acts of "dismemberment." That is, applying one sense at

a time to the image to be made. Sight, sound, touch, smell, movement are

attached separatedly to the image being made out of nothing. In this way sensation

is lent to that image in the making and the image returns sensation to the

initiate. These are the signs of the soul. And reading them needs someone else

with experience besides the meditator to decipher them. It is a long journey

made easier because others traveled the same path before us.

I am enclosing a short description of this acts using a Western mystic,

Ignatius de Loyola, to better follow this thread. It is this tradition and not the

tradition of theology that links East and West. It is based on neurobiology

not primarily on history. History is secondary.

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

==============

 

Meditation: The Making of Images

By Antonio T. de Nicolas, PhD

 

Introduction

 

From the Rig Veda to Plato the act of imagining is the secret technology of

the mystics. While most people use fantasy to achieve the results they

fantasize for the sake of the subject, and theologians use concepts to claim knowledge

and revelation, imagining has been always the technology of a few souls, from

East and West, in their effort to repeat the divine act of creation

uncontaminated by human faculties. For this reason and to describe what this technology

is based on I have chosen to write this paper following the clear

descriptions of this act as found in the writings of Ignatius de Loyola and as he used

them in the making of his Spiritual Exercises. The reason for this choice is the

radical need of presenting how images are made, rather than borrowed in

meditation. It is my contention that this tradition of making images in meditation

is present wherever meditation is practiced. It is common in Hinduism, from

the Rig Veda down, in Buddhism, and in Christianity, as well as in other

religions. The aim of such presentation is to show that in religious practice no

image may be borrowed.

 

Meditation

 

Ignatius is convinced that meditation is the road to that inner space that

may be revealed, opened, touched, uncovered by that unique act of creation,

unique to meditation, and by no other creature, object or sensation. Only God, he

believes, owns the human center (Exer. 316, 322, 329, 330).But this center is

covered by a communications system, a natural attitude, a self indulgence,

that impedes human access to it. Ignatius' initiation into this mystery is a

definite effort at breaking down this communication system and building a new one

through which the soul and God may communicate. Since the external

communications system has also, through language and its repetition, through the use of

the faculties and the repetition of this use, sensitized the subject into a

series of body sensations and their habitual comfort, the new system of

communications will aim precisely at destroying, suspending, this habituation. The

exercises start in the human body and end in the transformation of this same human

body. The body is the primary text and primary technology, while the

discourse about the experience is the "secondary text" and "secondary technology."

Through the exercises a new language is given the retreatant, a new memory and a

new imagination. Through this retraining a new will might emerge in harmony

with the Will of God.

 

Language and the Will

 

The first week of the exercises is one of trial and training. It is a time of

testing the will of the retreatant and the body of that will. Not everyone's

body is ready for meditation at the particular time chosen for the exercises.

Ignatius wants to single out those who might continue and those who should

proceed no further. Though the exercises carry so much promise they could also be

dangerous to one's health if not done under the best physical conditions.

Ignatius says of "those with poco suiecto (little temperament, lack of stamina

and preparation) that "they should not proceed any further" (Exer. 18).

This first week is one of violence to the body habits of the retreatant. He

is asked to search for a "place" (Exer. 20) away from the ordinary place to

which he/she is normally accustomed: the cave of Manresa, a lonely room, a

different room from the one usually inhabited, a different house, a monastery in the

country, an unaccustomed place, a place where the retreatant has to invent

new body habits and where outside communications systems do not reach. The

retreatant is also instructed about lights: less in the first and third weeks, more

in the second and fourth (Exer. 79). The retreatant's body is subjected to

new and calculated positions: kneeling, prostrating oneself face down, standing

with the head bent down, pacing, walking, sitting rigidly (Exer. 74, 75, 76,

77) lowering the eyes, raising the eyes, closing out sounds, listening to

special rhythms as the meditation dictates (Exer. 81, 258). The whole body of the

retreatant must be reeducated until it becomes like a repellent to the external

communications system and habits he/she was familiar with. All gestures,

facial expressions, bodily movements, bodily expression must be painstakingly gone

over as if in slow motion so that the body becomes impervious to the outside

and begins to learn the technologies of facing and gathering within.

 

The will of the retreatant is now used as a surgical knife to cut some

openings into the interior world. The whole attention of the retreatant is now away

from the outer world even if in order to achieve this he/she must cut to

pieces, one by one, the different lived moments of his/her life, the different

moments of a day, of a prayer, of a meditation, of an examination of conscience,

of an act, a look, a thought (Exer. 24, 25, 26, 27, 33, 34, 38, 42, 43). But on

the trail of these acts of the will a language is being formed: "intense pain

and tears," ugliness and evil...of sin" (Exer. 57), compare God's attributes

to yours, wisdom and ignorance, omnipotence and weakness, justice and

inequity, goodness and selfishness (Exer. 59), "esclamacion admirative con crescido

afecto" (shout with amazement and filled with a growing emotion) (Exer. 60);

self-pity, gratitude, amazement, disgust, consolation, desolation (Exer. 62) are

the signs of this language the will has started to create by turning the

entire life and every minute of it into an interior timetable where only the chimes

of eternity are heard. By the time the will becomes habituated to those

exercises there will no longer be room for external and familiar languages. The

clock of the "solitary region" is now running. The interior timetable now

determines one's waking (Exer. 74), the kind of prayer, examinations of conscience

(Exer. 43) and meditations one makes and what conversations one will bring to

the guide of the exercise. The prayer may take various forms; it may be light

and relax the emotions (Exer. 238), or it may focus on the seven deadly sins

(Exer. 244), or on the three powers of the soul (Exer. 246). It may become a

meditation which considers every word pronounced (Exer. 249), or which

concentrates only on those points of meditation "where I felt the most intense spiritual

feeling" (Exer. 62). And, of course, we must not forget, a new diet has to be

included (Exer. 84), and one should sleep with less comfort than one is used

to and cause sensible pain to the body (Exer. 85). Even while going to sleep

there is no stopping this clock; one should prepare oneself for the coming day

by going over the memory-points of the meditation one is going to make in the

morning (Exer. 73). Upon awakening, one should bring to mind what one is about

to meditate on. The clock of the "solitary region" does not allow any external

language to come in; there are no cracks between exercises: "no dando lugar a

unos pensamientos ni a otros" (not to make room for this kind of thoughts or

any other) (Exer. 74).

Spiritual exercises, however, do not compare to any army "boot camp."

Ignatius is very sensitive to that: "If the one giving the exercises sees that he who

makes them is in desolation or temptation, he should not be harsh or severe

with him, but rather gentle and soft..." (Exer.17). And if at times Ignatius

recommends acting against natural inclinations (agere contra, do the opposite

Exer. 13, 16), as when one feels like not going the length of a whole hour in

meditation, one should therefore at once decide to go for one hour and a half.

He also makes the exercitant aware that all those things he/she is trained to

do are only means to an end. One should use, therefore, those things only

"tanto... cuanto" (as much as) (Exer. 23) one needs to in order to achieve those

ends. For in the end the exercises are for the soul to get ready to receive the

Will of God, not suggestions from the guide of the exercises, or confessors,

or friends, or enemies: ...it is much better, in searching for the divine Will,

to let Our Creator and Lord communicate Himself to the devoted soul..."

(Exer.15).

The exercises of the will and the hint of the language that emerges builds

around the inner space of the retreatant a scaffolding of inner habits ready to

sustain the new emerging body of meditation. But then the drama unfolds. While

the retreatant experiences the excitement of the new, he/she also experiences

the bereavement of the familiar. The retreatant is not guaranteed that the

divinity may enter the solitary space, while the familiar will no longer feel

the same. The retreatant can never anticipate what is about to happen or even if

it will happen. One needs to give up everything and, yet, one cannot

anticipate that the empty spaces are going to be filled. This journey needs raw human

faith, the exercises themselves that keep opening horizons of language, and

memory along with its predictability. The exercise now is memory.

 

Memory and Predictability

 

The origin of Christianity in particular and Religion in general, is an

experience that has already happened. It originates outside of time with the

Trinity and enters time in the Second Person of the Trinity through the mysteries

of the Incarnation and Redemption. It is precisely because of the fact that

this experience has already happened that for every. Christian to know is to

remember. Memory makes of Christians communities and religion; it is the common

ground of memories, on which all stand, that joins them as community. Without

memory Christianity could not be articulated. Christ had already set down the

internal law of the community: "Do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22, 19) And

even when the Father will send, in Christ's name, the Comforter, the Spirit,

He will do it to "bring all things to your remembrance" (John 14, 25). To be a

Christian is primarily to live on memory, to turn memory around, to store

memories, to turn every sign, whatever its origin, into a memory-point, to

articulate those memories so that memory remains active. Those memories are the

remembrance of the Will of God in operation. They are the memory of a past

actively present and therefore, being God's Will, with a future. It is a memory that

predictably organizes the future. But not without human effort and

participation. Strictly speaking, the Spiritual Exercises are a string of memories, of

memory-points. Even the exercises as written are not to be read for information

or edification or content. Each and every word is slowly and carefully

chiseled out so that it becomes a memory-point for action, or for making memory.

The journey of the retreatant's will dividing his/her life into the search

for sins, the day divided into exercises of the will to discover flaws, to

remove flaws, these exercises are primarily exercises in memory: memories that

travel back and forth, up and down, within the perimeters of a human life.

Meditation begins by "bringing to memory" the first sin of the angels (Exer. 50); "by

bringing to memory" the sin of Adam and Eve (Exer. 51); "by bringing to

memory" our sins (Exer. 52), all the sins of my lifetime (Exer. 56), year by year,

place by place, looking at the places I have lived, conversations I have had,

work done (Exer. ibid.); bring to memory to instruct the intellect in it: "so

that the intellect, without meandering, may reason with concentration going

over the reminiscences (memories) of the things contemplated in past

exercises..." (Exer. 64). Ignatius literally means, through the Exercises, "to bring all

things into remembrance." In order to bring all things into remembrance,

however, demands from us certain shifts in technologies. In every case human effort

is needed.

 

Ignatius de Loyola shared with the other mystics of his time habits of

reading different from ours. Early in his Autobiography (Autobiography 6 and 7) he

lets us know how he used reading in order to fix memory points and visualize

the things the Saints did and that he could also do. With these memories he

would then dream of doing greater things for the service of God. In this manner

Ignatius kept his mind well occupied. Ignatius' knowledge came through the

experience of meditation, not through reasoning out the mysteries of Christianity.

It is true that the Exercises use the three potencies or faculties of the

soul, but it is through memory that they are held together, or by turning all

things into remembrance. The flight of the soul will eventually take place through

imagining.

 

Turning all things into remembrance is not an easy task, however. The

memories of Christianity are not factual history, are not deeds humans caused on

humans or nature. In order to turn all things into remembrance one must perform a

radical hermeneutical act. How does one remember "the souls in hell" or the

Trinity before Creation, or angels sinning, or how Christ used his five senses,

or even one's own sins without a radical reinterpretation of those cognitive

ciphers in view of the experience that already happened? Those are living

memories to a Christian and therefore recoverable. To recall them is to call them,

and therefore, they may be articulated in language. They are the language in

which imagining takes place. On these memory units imagining will act. This

memory bank is the only security the retreatant has that the system works; it is

the language of Christianity, its communications system. It is in this sense,

of memory in use, that memory acts with an element of predictability in the

system. Memory, by turning back, vivifies the retreatant and guarantees the

future. Memory mediates all human action: it is language and it is divine human

life.

Imagining as Individual Dismemberment

 

Language, in order not to be a dead language, must be used, spoken, written

down. Memories would become dead if not activated through acts of imagining.

Contrary to contemporary practices in psychology, where imagining is guided

so that individuals and groups share the same image and are guided in imagining

it, or where archetypal images are the object, goal, and the identity of

imagining, Ignatius, astonishingly enough, leaves the retreatant entirely to

his/her "own abilities" (Exer.18) when guiding him/her in the act of imagining.

Ignatius provides memory points, describes how to imagine, but the images of

imagining are absent from the Exercises . Actual imagining is the retreatant's

exercise. This may be understood because Ignatius cannot draw on any existing

reservoir of images in order to correct mistaken identities. He cannot draw from

any subjective field of images with which the subject may be more or less

familiar, because through some of those images individuals have already

experienced transformations, even creations. Ignatius displaces the retreatant from any

subjective or objective pools of images and vigorously transplants him/her to

an imageless field where the absence of images will force the exercise of

creating them. This kind of imagining is the more powerful because it does not

rest on images anyone ever before created. Neither the exercitant nor the world

has the images of the exercises of imagining. The images to be born are of a

sheer power of imagining which includes not only the act of imagining, but the

act of creating the images.

 

This strategy of Ignatius is so demanding that it rests more on the actual

technologies of imagining than on any images. Thus his insistence on the

technology of concentration in order to bring out the pure image, the uncontaminated

image, the image in perfect solitude, the original image, the divine image.

The image created in meditation is the only image that will gain currency in

meditation. One cannot borrow it, one must create it. In this creation all other

images are automatically excluded. The whole technology developed in the

Exercises has one aim: the perfect image, for it is in it and through it that God's

signs will appear. The image will turn to language and return to the public

domain.

The pure image, the original image, will penetrate the public domain if first

it penetrates the material body of the retreatant. This material body is

always set facing the scene, the image, to be imagined. But this material body is

a fluid body through imagining: a slave in the Nativity, a knight in the Two

Kingdoms, a sinner facing the Cross; or it may change sizes if compared to

other men, the angels, God (Exer. 58); it may become a vermin worth "many hells"

(Exer. 60); or the temple, image of God, animated by God, sensitized by Him

(Exer. 235).

Technically, however, this material fluid body of the retreatant, becomes

dismembered through the act of imagining. Ignatius conceives imagining as an act

of dismembering the senses by running them in isolation, one by one, through

the image being made.

The retreatant is placed in front of a scene and asked to make his/her own

"contemplacion viendo el lugar" (contemplation seeing the place). With

exhausting detail, he/she is asked to make up the scene; the road: how long, wide, flat

running through valleys or hills; the cave: how big, small, how high, how

low, how furnished (Exer.112). Imagine hell, the width and depth and length

(Exer. 65), or imagine the synagogue, villages and castles (Exer. 91), or the Three

Divine Persons (Exer.102), or Mary riding a donkey or Joseph pulling an ox

(Exer.110). But for Ignatius the image alone is not the source of signs. The

image on recall is to call it to memory. The actual birth of the signs or the

system of signs does not take place until the retreatant proceeds, through

imagining, to "read" the image through his own dismembered sensorium. The perfect

image, the solitary image, the divine image is set into motion through the

sensuous motion of the retreatant's senses as he or she runs them, one at a time,

through the image. It takes the "reading" of the image by each sense so that it

becomes a mediation of signs. The efficacy of the image is made possible on

condition that the subject be kept elusively absent, as a fixed unity, in the

act of imagining. What he or she is asked to do instead is to lend sight,

sound, smell, touch, movement to the image. The image must be filled through the

reading of each sense on the image. He or she vitalizes the image through his or

her dismembered sensorium. Each sense must read the image separately; each

sense must sensitize the image separately; each sense must read/write its

separate movement on the image separately. What is done through visualization must

be repeated through hearing, smelling, touching, moving. This applies to the

exercises on hell, the Nativity, the Cross, Resurrection, in short, to any

exercises where images are to be imagined.

 

It is the exercise of imagining that makes the appearance of signs and the

articulation of both as a language possible. Images of themselves, do nothing.

The retreatant must exercise them by reading/writing sensation on them. In its

preparatory stage imagining is a technology that if performed in all its

purity will return signs and articulate itself into a language. It will also force

the sensible signs to appear in the act of sensitizing the image of

meditation. As a consequence and because it is an embodied technology, it will also

desensitize the subjects to their original unities and attachments while

sensitizing them to the new and fresh sensations. Imagining, therefore, with its

preliminary organization of daily acts, memories and sensitizing of images, is the

primary technology through which a language/text appears and may be

articulated. Without this primary text written in the human body, this technology of

habituation, signs will not appear nor the language of their articulation. The

primary technology thus is the causal origin of the signs, the diacritical

systems of signs, that are to be read. The reading of those signs will have several

readers: the retreatant, his director or confessor, his spiritual guide,

whoever is trained to read such a text. The reader must know the primary technology

and the primary text and be an expert in reading the signs. He/she must be

able to read them even if he/she is not the author of the primary text or the

reader/writer of the primary technology. It is on this condition that the

primary text and primary technology produce not only a language but also the

possibility of its articulation, either as a private articulation to a spiritual

guide, or as a public articulation for the public domain.

 

Conclusion

Though this hermeneutical task is unfinished, it should be suggestive enough

to encourage all those interested in deeper unities than theological

civilities to search for a way of making possible inter-religious communities where

serious, dedicated forms of meditation are made available to all.

Human technologies divide into two groups: one follows the image of the

sinner-Savior model where the individual has hardly any room to do anything on

his/her own, for he/she is always at the mercy of "compliance" with an ethical

code dictated by this model.

 

On the other hand, there is the Avatara-mystical model, the individual uses

technologies that infuse all his/her brains with knowledge and allows him or

her to embody the human paradigm as it moves along. Heart Ethics is the guide

here, and the training is geared to be able to chose from among the possible

(dharma) facing you, the best, by habit, as Plato and Indic texts proposed before

him and is found in the mystical literature of the Spiritual Exercises of

Ignatius and other mystics.

 

Before Ignatius wrote his Exercises Indic Tradition had already imprinted the

paradigm in the human species with the practices of the yogas of the Bhagavad

Gita. Krisna moves by the neural pathways of the left brain to gain distance

from Arjuna's trauma, and on to the communities of the right brain practices,

embodying them as he moves to the point when in chapter eleven he shows the

bewildered Arjuna his geometries without the forms Arjuna so loved or feared, or

with the forms already destroyed. Kalo'smi: I am Time, Krisna proclaims, I am

all a man can be, now…And so can you if you learn to make decisions. Of

course, Indic Tradition does not have to deal with the sinner-Savior model for in

this Tradition, from the Rig Veda down, all the gods are "this side of

Creation," as the Rig Veda proclaims, and manas (the mind) is not a faculty but one

more of the senses.

 

And so, in the end, make sure your exercises correspond to your available

neural connections and brain centers, restrain your fantasy, cancel out your left

brain until you leave meditation and translate whatever happened there into

ordinary prose or poetry or simple power of decision making. There are two

roads, make sure you find the one leading to the technologies of the heart.

Bibliography

de Nicolas, A.T. (1986) Powers of Imagining: Ignatius de Loyola, State

University of

New York Press, Albany N.Y

(1976,8,2003) Meditations Through the Rig Veda, Shambhala, Boulder- London,

Nicolas-Hays, iUniverse.com.

(1990) The Bhagavad Gita, Nicolas-Hays, York Beach, Maine

(1989,1996) St. John of the Cross; Alchemist of the soul. Nicolas-Hays, York

Beach, Maine

(1976) Avatara: The Humanization of Philosophy. Nicolas-Hays, Maine and New

York .

Note: Meditations and Avatara are ready at iuniverse.com andcan be read on

line by going to the bookstore and writing down my name or the name of the books.

 

 

 

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

A very fascinating article where I felt, on reading it, that I was reading a report on the spiritual experiences of the Nayanmars and Azwars, the only mystics I can understand quite intimately because of the language ( and which is my personal limitation). Also Nitin Bhai’s observations forces to me think more and more the body, the neural networks and so forth and how important they are in accounting for  such spiritual experiences as Icon Thinking, which appears to me quite central. I was particularly attracted to the following passage (among many):

 

It is the exercise of imagining that makes the appearance of signs and the

articulation of both as a language possible. Images of themselves, do nothing.

The retreatant must exercise them by reading/writing sensation on them. In its

preparatory stage imagining is a technology that if performed in all its

purity will return signs and articulate itself into a language. It will also force

the sensible signs to appear in the act of sensitizing the image of

meditation. As a consequence and because it is an embodied technology, it will also

desensitize the subjects to their original unities and attachments while

sensitizing them to the new and fresh sensations. Imagining, therefore, with its

preliminary organization of daily acts, memories and sensitizing of images, is the

primary technology through which a language/text appears and may be

articulated. Without this primary text written in the human body, this technology of

habituation, signs will not appear nor the language of their articulation. The

primary technology thus is the causal origin of the signs, the diacritical

systems of signs, that are to be read. The reading of those signs will have several

readers: the retreatant, his director or confessor, his spiritual guide,

whoever is trained to read such a text. The reader must know the primary technology

and the primary text and be an expert in reading the signs. He/she must be

able to read them even if he/she is not the author of the primary text or the

reader/writer of the primary technology. It is on this condition that the

primary text and primary technology produce not only a language but also the

possibility of its articulation, either as a private articulation to a spiritual

guide, or as a public articulation for the public domain.

 

What Antonio is calling the technology of Imagining is actually the holding up the ICONS that emerge as if on their own and when the mind is adequately prepared. The beholder must actually READ (hermeneutically interpret?) the icons and bring them to be meaningful for existence (writing sensations?). Here however I feel that it may not be right to say, “images do nothing”. The ICONS are something like ghosts- they fascinate, capture the thinking and POSSESS the individual so that his thinking and feeling is channeled in a certain direction and because of which MEANINGS emerge that restructure Memory or as I would say, UNDERTANDING. The ICONS also seem to PROMPT interpretive movements of the mind, as we gather from the spiritual experiences such as that of Punitavati ( which is NOT true of all the Nayamars and Azwars!)

 

What is also interesting  here is the notion that there is primary text already written in the human body and when Ignatius says this he is saying something that Tirmular has been saying in the Tamil country where he declares that the human body can be elevated to a TEMPLE (uun udambu aalayam) in the sense that it can be fine-tuned as source of spiritual insights. I still remain puzzled by such claims but the challenges that are offered by Habits of Mind where I see both similarities and differences make me slowly understand why Tirumular places great importance to the BODY in the spiritual quest of man and which makes the serious students FREE THEMSELVES from scriptures. The truths are NOT only  in the scriptures  but in the body, in the neural networks there and which require the activation for experiencing the depths and the ICONS there. It may possible what is thus present in the body is MORE AUTHENTIC than in the scriptures as all the scriptures come to existence in a human language and which may filter out what cannot said in language.

 

I will stop here as I hope to discuss such issues in my dialogs to follow.

 

Loga

 

 

Dear Loga and friends:

 

I was suspecting that the experiences of the mystics, East and West, are much closer to each other than the theories about cultures or religion East and West. I wish to remind all that the predominance of the body is a mystical demand as in the Gita: Yoga 11, verse 7:  "Behold today the entire world of the moving and the unmoving

Standing in unity here in my body, O Gudakesa."

and in Yoga 13 v.1:

"The body, O son of Kunti, is called the field,

And he who knows it,

Those who know, call the knower of the field."

2. Know me, O Bharata, to be the knower of the field in all fields;

The knowledge of the field and of the knower of the field:

This I hold to be (real) knowledge.

 

Remember that the whole enterprise of the Gita is to know the field of dharma and the field of Kuru in Yoga 1, verse 1.

 

What I am trying to show is the way of writing these insights down  in a disciplined Western academic language so that it becomes part of the discipline of philosophy and not a footnote for esoteric searchers.

 

As to the reference to Plato's causality, please do not mix it up with Aristotle's causality and categories. Aristotle's are external causes while in Plato all causality refers to inner acts and the classification according to their pedegree in their quality as measured by the results. The same with his classification of the souls as four states of metals, from gold to iron. We are dealing in Plato with qualities of the soul, not external cast systems, with the creation of the soul not the Republic. This transformation of the internal into the external categorizing already happened in Indic texts with the arrival of writing. The oral criteria by which the texts were originally composed -music, sound, all the senses listening with their eyes, ears, touch, smell, movement- were changed for the external criteria of hearing, touching,  smelling, moving, by the criteria of sight only.

In short: Plato's causality can be summarized by saying that the cause is in the effect.

 

OM and SHANTI

 

Antonio de Nicolas

Nitin Bhai

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-9

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

Let us not overlook the fact that Antonio is advocating the opening up further the OPENNESS that exists in the American society. But here immediately we have to note also that he is NOT recommending anarchism, where anything goes and where any movement to censure anarchy is seen as an infringement on human freedom and so forth. Both Platonism and Saivism promote FREEDOM but which is the habit of mind that is NOT anarchy.  So the Platonic Openness has its own essence and in this it also shares sameness with Tamil Culture and because of which it remains violently opposed to VarNasrama Dharma.

 

Antonio mentions this in many places and the following is just one of them:

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>

In short, Plato understands education as a unique concern and a unique motivation for the quality of all the acts it per­forms to educate. Quality of performance concerns itself with directing the will to select and sort out those acts that are historically capable of being remembered and thus repeated. Distinctions and divisions leading to those acts are to be found in the quality itself of the acts performed, not in the external property of objects and their external relations. For it is in these internal acts, without intimation from the outside, that human freedom resides. Divisions, in Plato’s scheme of education, are made for the sake of establishing an inner genealogy that separates the pure from the impure, the authentic from the inauthentic, but in no way is it concerned with any classification through genus and species. Plato establishes things and images, originals and copies, models and simulacra. And this can equally hold when sorting out gold, as in the Republic, or when sorting out claims, as in the Statesman, the Phaedrus, or the Symposium, “I am the shepherd of men,” “I am the possessed,” “I am the lover.”

 

 

Antonio T. de Nicholas Habits of Mind pp. 44-45

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Please note here there is directing the will to sort and select some acts that bring about a qualitative improvement in the learner and so forth. And the real freedom of the human spirit resides in these internal acts and NOT in those, which are forced externally (by virtue of tradition, cult affiliation and so forth). There is an inner journey where a genealogy is experienced and where the PURE is distinguished from the IMPURE and kept in memory to inform and reform understanding. This reforming understanding is dying to the past and enjoying a rebirth continuously and having a development or evolutionary history, a genealogy etc. A person is NOT fixated by virtue of birth alone to the dwija status - a movement of the soul is recognized and in which movement there is continuous UPLIFTMENT in personality as more and more the PURE forms are kept in understanding and this possible for anyone.

 

All these are almost identical with Saivism which also emphasizes a developmental view of the personality where a person can evolve into the highest by LEARNING, i.e. the reducing the DARKNESS within so that the concealed and hidden become available for Darsana or as Plato would say, the invisible become visible.

 

However this notion of PURE and IMPURE, the models and the misleading simulacra seems to correspond with many concepts in Saivism - Cuttam-Acuttam, Cattu- Acattu, Cittu-Aciitu and so forth. While Cuttam-Acuttam (pure - Impure) serves the foundation for ETHICS, our sense of right and wrong, with Cuttam as right and Acuttam as wrong, that Cattu-Acattu is HERMENEUTICAL where the understanding is judged with respect to it being in TRUTH or UNTRUTH. The Pure-Impure translates into Truth-Untruth in a way. But here there is a special meaning to all these and which should not be overlooked.

 

From the days of Tirumular Saivism has recognized that the anma is Cat-Acat i.e. that it is something capable of BOTH, the Absolutely True and the not so. The Acat is not the false but rather the nonabsolute truths, the truths that can be subverted and displaced. The Acat remains the TRUTH for the person till it is subverted and replaced with another but always there in the memory and hence recoverable. The Cat distinguishes itself from such an Acat as something that CAN NEVER be displaced as such. The Cat remains there solidly unaffected by all the antics of the hermeneutic mind and which on becoming available for understanding dismisses all others just as darkness would be displaced by the onset of the sun.

 

Thus the movement of the mind is towards the Cat, the will has to be directed towards this Cat and in which movement it recognizes as Acat all that is different from this Cat.

 

Thus the FREEDOM here is NOT anarchy but rather something constrained in its movement - it has to move towards the Cat and moving AWAY from it would  count as DEVIANT, something inconsistent with genuine Education. But this is NOT indoctrinating or anything like that. It is simply DIRECTING towards the Cat, the Pure and which is GOOD for the person and where all these are already present within his understanding that he can always choose to IGNORE and go on his own way but only to suffer. In this movement there is ETHICAL REGULATION over and above the hermeneutical and which is implicit also in Plato’s notions of Pure-Impure (I think). Once this orientation towards Cat is firmly established there can be freedom and OPENNESS and which is NOT anarchy. There is a fundamental INTENTIONALITY that we can call the Moksa-Intention or Cat-Intention and once this is well entrenched in the mind, then a person can be given all the freedom he wants for then somehow he will be LEARNING and reducing IGNORANCE in his OWN way and in the end realize his moksa-intention and so forth.

 

This is the kind of FREEDOM that Namazvar( among so many others)  recommends in the following verse:

 

avaravar tamatamatu aRivu aRi vakaivakai
avaravar iRaivar ena adi adaivarkaL
avaravar iRaiyavar kuRaivu ilar; iRaiyavar
avaravar vitivazi adaiya ninRanaree 

BEING discloses Himself in numerous archetypal forms to accommodate the different capacities for understanding of the people. And the people too will assume that that particular presentation of BEING is BEING itself and worship and attain Him thus.  And because each archetypal presentation is of the SAME BEING, there is nothing wrong in any of these forms. Each individual is destined to attain BEING in his own way no matter what kind of archetypal presentation he may choose to worship.

avaravar tamatamatu aRivu aRi vakaivakai: each in accordance with their own capacity for understanding 

avaravar iRaivar ena adi adaivarkaL: will worship BEING in the archetypal form presented to them and attain Him 

avaravar iRaiyavar kuRaivu ilar: there is nothing wrong in the different archetypal presentations of BEING 

iRaiyavar avaravar vitivazi adaiya ninRanaree: each in his own way worships the deity he chooses and will finally attain BEING 


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Technologies Of Transformation: From Mysticism to Recovery
By Antonio T. de Nicolas, PhD

Introduction

The present paper is an attempt to clarify certain technologies that have come down to us as mystical and yet are the conditions for any creative human act. In these acts we include those needed by people in recovery, and what we name mystical. By mystical experience we refer particularly to an experience which has come to us historically – early Christians, John of the Cross, Ignatius de Loyola, Teresa de Avila, etc. – rather than contemporary "oceanic" experiences not yet historical or verifiable. And what is true of Christianity applies equally to Hinduism and Buddhism, that claim as their origin an experience which is strictly out of time

The strategy I will follow in this clarification will focus primarily on Images, language, and the technologies by which ordinary experience is transformed into extraordinary or mystical experience. To simplify, I will concentrate on Christianity and use as a reference point the model of "creation out of nothing" to clarify the role of creativity and experience; secondly, I will try to make sense of the different uses of imagination in this tradition in relation both to mystical experience and to the "imago Dei" to which human kind before the fall resembled; and finally, the particular epistemologies and their technologies of the two states we humans may choose in order to know: the imaginative and the technologies proper to it and the cognitive and the technologies proper to it.

As a reference point I will summarize the argument of this paper in what I consider the epigram of Christianity: John of the Cross.

John of the Cross

John of the Cross, somehow, seems to have come to this world to offer us in his own life and body an epigram of Christianity. Though he wrote theology for the Inquisition of his time, he disclaimed any direct connection between the theology he was writing and his experience by stating at the beginning of his writings in prose that he would be most willing to write something else if the Inquisition so desired or ordered him. Experience was his pursuit – the kind of experience that originated Christianity itself, the experience of the will of God creating a new world, or transforming a world already created. For this purpose John of the Cross rejected all cognitive skills, all sensuous imaginings, all tangible apprehension and chose to walk "in the dark." He rejected understanding, memory, and will in the manner of their "cognitive" operation and proclaimed his method as the method that makes experience empty of all these skills. But this experience has to be understood as a total bodily experience and not just an intellectual intuition. For John pursued and prayed that his senses be empty of all normal and ordinary sensing and sensitization. He literally turned his method into desensitizing his own body from the habits of sensation and opened it to new habits through new technologies. His Superiors and the world around collaborated, for he was not persecuted by the world or Islam but suffered abuse and imprisonment at the hands of the priests of his own Order and fathers of the Church. His body suffered the effects of corruption; it became full of abscesses and sores, it stunk, and it was full of pus. Yet at the moment of his death, this same body underwent a transformation; it became clear, clean, and let out a sweet smell that would communicate to those that touched him as if they "had been handling flowers." The experience of union John experienced did not only involve some form of technologies and habits of the transformation of experience from ordinary to mystical, but it also involved some form of transformation of the flesh and the world.

The public domain of this experience cannot be found in his prose writings; he disclaims this transformation there. These prose writings are the public domain of the theology of the times, of cognitive skills, and of repetitions of a theoretical world his experience denied. The public domain of his writings, originated by his mystical experience, are to be found in his poetry and above all, in his own technologies, his path, that transformed, when repeated, his ordinary life into that of an epigram of Christianity.

Let me now give you another story, this time not of an individual but a group in pursuit of the same transformation: the early Christians.

The Early Christians

History, of course, is the best therapy for pessimism. What is wrong is usually our own choosing and it is also what we have decided to forget. In this case the forgetfulness lies in the fact that experience and the public domain are originally autonomous; we could say they are opposed to each other.

When the first disciples of Christ decided to write the Gospels and put down their experience of Jesus, they could do no better than reduce this experience to the linguistic habits of the Jewish audience. Matthew relived the experience of Jesus in his ministries as a verification of the Jewish Scriptures, of all that had been prophesied about Jesus the Messiah. Mark and Luke stretched this narration to cover the childhood of Jesus, making this childhood coincide with the Old Testament stories and expectations. When John, or his community, wrote the fourth Gospel, the audience and the linguistic habits were different and so was the Gospel: a gospel that begins before time in the experience of the Trinity itself. The physicality of Jesus disappears and the language of his Image (and technology), and through this mediation the experience is made to reach beyond the physical Jesus, the Patriarchs to the Trinity, the second Person, Christ, who was from the beginning the origin of an experience that has already happened.3 Paul, who never saw Jesus, proclaims his own vision of Jesus on a par with that of the Apostles who saw Him. Neither Paul's nor that of the Apostles' was an experience originated on external physical perceptions of images abstracted from those perceptions. Theirs was an inner revelation, an inner transformation from the inside out and not vice versa. This transformation affected not only the public domain but transformed the flesh and the world: "It is not I that lives any longer, but Christ lives in me," ("Vivo autem, iam not ego, sed Christus vivit in me"), in the words of St. Paul. A Christianity without this experience would have been unimaginable to the early Christians. But an experience that cannot transcend into the public domain and transform it would have made Christianity impossible.

Creation and Transformation

What separated Christianity form the many mystery religions, moral reformers, freelance worshippers, and groups that followed specific rites was the Will of God, the epistemology of the Will of God. T his epistemology did imply that the world was and, therefore, could be created out of nothing or, conversely, that the act of creation, human or divine, required as a first step the cancellation of the existing world, that of God or that of wo/man. This Will of God had so limited itself in the act of creation that it gave free will to the humans it created. While the original state of the created wo/man was God's Image and was seen by God to be good, the subsequent choice of knowing differently by wo/man introduced in the world rift and division in the act of knowing itself: it introduced the fall. This was a different and lower form of knowing dependent of wo/men criteria for rational principles and cultural usage's, dependent on wo/men away from God. While the knowledge of the original Image is unitary, the knowledge of the fall is diverse, multiple, and stands on human abstractions, not God's Will as its ground. Historically, both grounds of knowing are in opposition; their first historical reconciliation is the death of Christ at the Cross. The second historical reconciliation is the Way of the mystics and the technologies they devised for the passage from the way of knowing through cognitive skills and ideologies humans invented, to the way of knowing identical or close to the original Image of God's creation itself and the technologies derived from the model of the original act of creation.

The history of Christianity is a mixed account of public failures and individual or community successes in bringing about the redemption of humans. The individual successes are these we are clarifying as the mystic experience, while the public failures are mostly the lack of a public Christian domain or philosophy or Christian culture. Nothing like that has ever happened.

The public domain has always been a philosophy from below, a way of knowing through principles of logic, belief and opinion, and ideology where the Will of God is absent or forgotten or even antagonistic. Christians, even Fathers of the Church are guilty. Augustine, more Roman in inner technological skills than Christian, was the first one to introduce ideology in the Will of God by equating the Trinity to the normal faculties of cognition inherited from the Sophist Greeks and Roman epistemologies. Greek sophism  and Roman “piety”  have shaped the Christian public domain even more than Judaism, as much for Christians as for Communists. The history of the public domain is in fact the Roman technologies to vindicate and glorify the State, the Father, morality according to rational order, obedience, the Law, the book, time, strife, and the masculine way of knowing we are all so familiar with. (6) The mystics, on the other hand, offer faith as the most exact and immediate way of knowing, the texts, the mother, origins, feelings, sacrifice, continuity, creation, and the feminine. In their reconciliation we have our future and salvation.

 

The Technologies of Transformation

Human experience divides into the experience of I and not-I. The experience of I involves always a subject as the beginning, middle, and end of such experience The technologies to reinforce and habitualize this I experience are those of cognitive skills, fantasy, and sensuous imagining. The different epistemologies of the history of philosophy are primarily built for the reinforcement of these kinds of technologies. These technologies are so called, since Plato (who has yet to enter the Academy) and Aristotle, because their repetitions not only create habits in humans but eventually reduce human capacity to those technologies. The human body is the repository and witness of these technologies, for it operates on the assumption that by repeating those technologies on itself, it is guaranteed identity, permanence, and continuity till crisis, death, or corruption overcome it.

Fantasy and its technologies is linked to the sense of I in so far as it starts, moves, and ends always in a subject. It lives and dies within the story of that subject.

Imagining in so far as it is practiced for the sake of a subject, is pure fantasy. Also, in so far as it originates as an abstraction from the senses, imagining, as Kant already stated, is only a sensuous synthesis that makes judgments of fact and their repetition possible.

Creative imagining and the technologies accompanying it are of a different kind. Technically, these technologies are a revolution against nothing. Or more explicitly, the first act of these technologies is the cancellation of the other technologies of the sense of I to lead to the experience of the not-I or, in our case, of the Will of God.9

Why these technologies have not been part of Western History of philosophy or for that matter of Theology? The public domain has been in the hands of the technologies and epistemologies of nature. Since Aristotle, and its Medieval version, through Kant and Husserl, nature was the foundation of public discourse and inquiry. It controlled the public domain since the only language available was a translation into the language of nature of any and all kinds of experiences and findings. This language grounded private as well as public inquiry from theology to astro travel, from any organism to personal, human life. The Inquisition of the XVIth Century, and all the other inquisitions following and previous to it, relied on this epistemology to proclaim truths of logic to which all experience had to be conformed, at least in speech.

The veil of the epistemology of nature over the epistemology of the Will of God ( or the human will able to live only in compliance) has been so complete that individuals find it almost impossible to talk of anything that is not natural, and, vice versa, what is not natural is either heretic or private or irrational and better left unsaid. (Where is the self to be found, and where the criteria for deciding?)

On the other hand, imagining at the origin is an experience of the world, the not-I. Its origin, middle and end, its unity is always the world, an immediate, witnessed, exciting, consuming, total world. How to make sense of this experience? We will proceed as we started, by focusing on the technologies that make it be. The Zen master Yasutani Roshi, instructing his disciples, identified for us the threshold of these transformation technologies. He said: "Your enemy is your discursive thought which leads you to differentiate yourself on one side of an imaginary line from what is not you on the other side of this non-existing line." The first exercises or technologies are, therefore, directed to cancel discursive thought, at least momentarily, and the worlds and sensations it carries with it. The reason for this strategy is simple. The early Christians and the XVIth Century mystics would only accept a world originated and resting in the Will of God, not in the will and intelligence of humans; or they would transform the ordinary world to make it a myriad of memory-points of the will, presence, and original act of creation of God Himself. But this transformation, from an epistemology of nature to that of the will of God, is not a transformation of conceptual schemes; it is, on the contrary, a complete transformation of the world and primarily of the experience of that world as the living presence of the Image made flesh. In other words, it is not sufficient to think about it. A whole resensitization process of the human experiencer is needed, and the exercises and technologies for that human transformation is what the epistemology of the will of God and the mystical legacy has left us as a larger possibility of human-experiencing.

Technically speaking, however, we may take our example from the philosophy of nature of Classical Physics. While on the one hand it started the beginning of our gigantic external technological progress, on the other it was done at the expense of a dramatic reductionism in human capacities. It developed sophisticated technologies to verify itself in the world, while at the same time it used those same technologies to atrophy the inner capacities – inner spaces – of the humans of that world. Through external technology Classical Physics established itself and its world, but when this same technology is reversed on the humans of that world, the inner activities of those humans became totally dependent on the externality of facts achieved through the same technology of Classical Physics. In time the only sources of knowledge for the humans of that world were external facts and their data (empiricism), while education (positivism) became the gathering of these facts in memory or in figuring out how to order them in imagination. In summary, cognitive skills were at the top of the hierarchical ladder where memory and imagination were placed below and subservient to cognitive skills. Human capacity was thus rendered (officially) impotent to create and became reduced to an inner technology of dependence on external sensations of an already established world which hid its fixity by the speed it could turn out more and more objects (facts) without changing the world and the dependence of people on this technology.

How then may we cancel (or momentarily suspend) these technologies by which and through which we are normally sensitized and develop the original technologies of the Image, the will of God, the original creation?

Give me your will, and I will give you as many ideologies as you need to justify such an irrational gift.

We must return to the will. But the return is not theoretical; it involves exercises, technologies, autonomous and independent from those of cognition. Eastern tradition, the first on the block and the origin of our soul-matrix, in particular those of Hinduism and Buddism, may serve us here as a guide. Samkhya Philosophy and Yoga, for example, on which Hinduism is grounded and Buddhism derives in its earlier stages, do not even have a cognitive faculty the way we understand cognition. Cognition for these traditions is one more sense (manas), which with the other five collaborate to make up the experience of the sense of "I". The faculty Hinduism and Buddhism accept as the only faculty for human development or freedom is the imagination/will (buddhi). This imagination, moreover, is not dependent for its exercise on external objects but rather on an inner space (antah karana) that activates memory and imagination the way Plato used recollection and the mystics used the mysteries of Christianity and the life of Christ to regather the frames of the past in order to build the original experience, the original Image-experience from which the whole culture originated. Since every philosophy becomes eventually human flesh through the technologies of interiorization, linguistic behavior, and systematic use of the faculties, every technology creates habits in our human body that cannot be displaced except through the use of different technologies that instill new habits and, therefore, provide certain mobility within technologies – that is, have as an effect a certain detachment from the fruits of action. This correction of physical stillness, this preparation for inner and outer mobility, this plurality of body habits on stale body habits, and the ensuing mobility of such exercises is the task of the inner technologic of transformation these cultures from the East and Christian mysticism left us.12 These exercises and their repetition, hence the power of their habit formation, are a deliberate effort to open wide the inner resources and spaces of the imagination by learning how to frame its possibilities on the memory-points of the past. The past is simply the left over residue of the habits and traces left in our sensations by theories that lived and died through earlier human bodies (the karma of history). While the end of the exercises of the imagination is that every living point of the world in front of us becomes to our experience, at times at least, a living memory of the original Image, a unity of experience where body, Image, and world share the same boundaries and demarcations. In this experience there is no room for identities or perspectives. It may be called the experience of not-I, some have called it God, others the experience of no-thing, and in most cases this experience has served as the model for immortality here and now. In the sense that there is an experience that lasts outside and without the assistance of my identity, though, I feel it as more real than any other kind of experience. I may witness what has no sense whatsoever of mine or I.

The Text of Meditation

In the following detailed analysis of technologies used in meditation, our first move is to link the image to language. The originating image and those that mediate in meditation, be they mandalas or mysteries, are languages in the sense that they can be articulated, are intentional, and carry meaning – that is, have organizing value for experience. The fact that they appear only as large images is as inconsequential as the fact that ordinary semiotics makes of every object an abstract sign. Both kinds of languages function with different criteria and by different technologies. Furthermore, the language of images, or images as language, point to a human space that is originally an Image of the creator, be it God, culture, or simply the origin of human experiencing. In other words, this is the true inner space that may be revealed, opened, touched, uncovered by the unique, original act of creation and by no other creature or object or sensation. The mystic's task in meditation is a movement through memory-points to steal the 14 imagination's horizon: to become that experience origin of human experiencing. The text of meditation as language has its own signs (feelings) original to the image or the background, and their decoding needs as much accuracy and dedication as any signs in any semiotic text, only that in this case not only theories or logical truths but also lives are at stake. And finally the text of meditation, contrary to cognition, is better understood if moved entirely to the transformation in the human body, its sensory appetites. The human body of the meditator comes to the meditation in an apparent false unity of sensation and the habits of sensation. These texts when done as meditation, as exercises, not just read, are a systematic dismemberment of this original false unity of the meditator until his will and body coincide with the large will and body of the original image, the creative horizon, the Trinity, in the case of Christian mystics; Krsna, the original Sacrifice, in the case of Hinduism; the experience of no-thing, Nirvana, in the case of the Buddhist.

To proceed with some semblance of unity I will generalize these technologies following the XVIth century mystics, John of the Cross and Ignatius de Loyola.

Dismemberment, Meditation, Death, Transformation

I will, at this time, leave aside the techniques used as preparation to meditation, like finding a place, body positions, concentration, etc.., and focus primarily on the activities or exercises proper that turn meditation into transforming technologies. For clarity's sake I will divide this discussion into four kinds of exercises corresponding more or less with the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius de Loyola15 and summarize in general the four stages through which ordinary experience is transformed into mystical and which is common to practitioners of East and Christian West.

The first state is that of dismemberment.16 Ignatius places two frames facing each other at the beginning of the first week of the Exercises: On the one hand, he places the body of the mediator that comes to the meditation in a false unity and identity, with a bundle of habits of sensing directed mostly or exclusively to the satisfaction and unity of his/her own will; on the other, Ignatius places the Trinity, the Creator and His Will. The whole course of the exercises is to make both wills coincide in that of the Trinity, the Creator. Needless to say, since will, emotion, and experience go hand in hand, the coincidence or approximation of both wills gives as a result of such approximation and or coincidence, an experience which is out of the ordinary, for it carries in this journey of approximation or coincidence a body and a different sensitization each time it experiences to the point where body/ experience/will form a unity.

But this journey of coincidence or approximation is not done without a continuous violence. This violence is what we name here dismemberment.

The exercises of the first week already set in motion the pattern of exercises that follow. The meditator's body, his senses are systematically dismembered in order to be sensitized to new kinds of sensations. The new sensations are images proposed to the meditator that mediate between his starting self and that larger frame of the Trinity. These images mediate between the two original frames by developing in the body/image of the meditator sensations, emotions, feelings appropriate to the objects they present, like shame, sorrow, guilt, gratitude, even some love. These images of mediation are those of Creation, the fall of the angels, of sin, hell, humans, Redemption.17 What separates the technologies of meditation from those of fantasy or cognition is that in these meditations the meditator is not a unity present in any one of those images, but rather he is a dismembered sensorium that lends sight, smell, sound, touch, and movement to the frame of the images and the contents of the frame, one sense at a time. The meditator lends his senses to the frames, not his unified self. Two types of emotions develop: On the one hand, the meditator is sensitized to these images; on the other, he is slowly becoming desensitized to the original sensations with which he entered the exercises. Will exercises, like examination of conscience, and discernment of the movements of the will are also introduced at this early stage; more about these later.

Meditation and the images of the life of Christ

The same technologies apply to the second week. The only difference is that now the images are imaginings from the life of Christ. It is obvious that in the mystic's intention Jesus' life is the mediation to the Trinity. The Trinity remains through the whole Exercises a constant frame as the absolute background.

The meditation on the mysteries follows the same exercises of dismemberment by lending sight, sound, smell, ear, touch, and movement to the images of meditation. The results are similar to the first week; there is a stronger sensitization to the frames and contents of these images and less attachment or more distance from the objects and images to which the meditator was habitually sensitized when he entered the exercises. The inner signs of the will require a more technical reading as the depth of experience deepens and broadens. Ignatius de Loyola would use these inner signs in the meditator at this early stage to make decisions by learning how to use them. Others, like Teresa de Avila, would follow those signs without any hesitation, while John of the Cross would strive for not paying them any attention and continue meditating. From a theological point of view, it is interesting how these mystics center Christianity on the Trinity, the experience of the Trinity, and not on Christ. Christ on earth is the mediator to Christ the Second Person of the Trinity: the experience that already happened.

Death

There is a moment, as the exercises of the third week indicate, where all the striving in meditation ends in death, the death of all the habits of sensing of the past to the new sensitizations of the exercises. This is the most demanding and violent act of the whole power of these technologies and where most people stop short. Complete death to the original unity, to any unity, and a new life begins that is sensitized from the inside out rather than from the outside in as was at the beginning of the exercises. This is the passage through the dark night, the bereavement of the past habits and securities, in dawn of a new life we are not yet sure it will continue to rise and if it will reappear outside of these exercises, or even in the next sensation. The fight between the soul that wants the new way and the new way is a continuous fight between two loves that at last have recognized the common origin. While the meditator has been busy building frames and mediations for new sensitization, what starts as imagining very soon turns into experience, and signs that lead to new experiences; the background becomes alive and imagination stops where new life begins. This power of transformation is the power of imagining as the mystics from East and West practiced and willed to us.

The Fourth Week of the Exercises of Loyola is just the confirmation of this whole transformation. He calls it "Meditations to gain Love." This is the stage John of the Cross immortalized with his poems "The Spiritual Canticle" and "Love's Living Flame," as he had already immortalized the third week with his poem of the "Dark Night" and the First Week with his poem on "Creation."

The mobility of the imagination is faster and has more power than any mobility induced by ideology. Ideology travels by abstraction, but the imagination travels by embodiment. The passage of the imagination is always a living tissue of what we call our lives. The imagination moves with images, and the images are of the same tissue of the imagination. The ability to discover those primal images is the guarantee that we are not dying of strangulation by having become the victims of only one ideological image.

Furthermore, the passage from image to image, or object to object, or sense to sense within the frame of one image is filled with signs, with experiences. Ignatius de Loyola could not understand the one without the other. If his Spiritual Diary is any guide there, he lists these signs, as he kept this remarkable diary for a year using these signs as a guide to make an important decision for the Society he was founding. These signs include tears – in the first forty days of the diary he has tears over one hundred and twenty-five times, an average of four times a day, twenty-six times with intense sobbing; he mentions joy and spiritual rest; intense consolation; rising of the mind; divine impressions and illuminations; intensification of faith, hope, and charity; spiritual flavor and relish; sightings and spiritual visitations; loved surrender; spiritual dialogue; voices and sounds from the inside; touching sensations, memories and memory transformation; understanding and clarity without previous cause; increased love; joy for the things of the spirit; peace and rest of the soul in the Creator; knowledge and divine inspiration, etc.

But perhaps it is John of the Cross who best and most memorably summarized the whole transformation in his poem: "Love's Living Flame" (my own translation):

Love's Living Flame

Songs that the soul sings in the intimate union with God, her beloved Bridegroom.

  1. O Love's living flame,
    tenderly you wound
    my soul's deepest center!
    Since you no longer evade me
    will you please at last conclude:
    rend the veil of this sweet encounter!
  2. Oh cautery so tender!
    Oh pampered wound!
    Oh soft hand!
    Oh touch so delicately strange
    tasting of eternal life and canceling all debts!
    Killing, death into life you change!
  3. Oh lamps of fiery lure
    in whose shining transparence
    the deep cavern of the senses,
    that was blind and obscure,
    warmth and light,
    with strange flares gives next to the lover's caresses!
  4. Now tame and loving
    your memory rises in my breast,
    where secretly only you live
    and in your fragrant breathing,
    full of goodness and grace,
    how delicately in love you make me feel!

Conclusion

These concluding remarks do not intend to conclude anything. We have hardly begun. They are meant, rather, as an encouragement to every individual to use the way of the mystics as an accessible way to the making of our own lives. Living is for everyone. Other peoples' lives are not ours to make. Our own life needs the originality each one of us only can give it to be ours. But to be originals, our lives need to coincide with the original images that originally sensitized them. We cannot borrow those images from the public domain. The public domain is the domain of the fall, ideologies, theories, distances from living, living by inertia. It is in fact the multiplicity of worlds that need the corrective of the original images for creation to continue. Nor can we borrow our images from the epistemologies of human nature. The rhetoric covers up the fact that human nature is only a theory for the control of living, not any nature we originally carry within us. The decisions of history about nature itself are s sufficient proof of our lack of any nature. Living begins as an image of a creator, and this is the radical decision that Western History has managed to cover up. The corrective of this oversight, of this impasse, the corrective of everything we feel is wrong with our lives is only one memory-point away in the history of our own background.

As a model, the image of the origin – be it named Creator or not – has been creating not only originally – the image and the human species are a potential unity linked from the start of the species- but it has bee manifesting itself collectively in the different primordial images of the different cultures; and even more significantly, it has acted distributively on each life to the degree that they appear as the embodiment of a cultural primordial image. The manifestation of these images culturally and distributively is what makes possible the kind of public articulation vie are involved in here. It also explains the unity of the firsts acts of wo/man – Adam and Eve – etc., as involving not only them but also the whole species. It is this image of the primordial act of creation that has acted even unconsciously in every act of human creation. These primordial images are encoded in our brain and tissues in such a manner that conscious and guided imagining involves always a transformation that is holographic or holo-moving in power. These primordial images not only sensitize us to their information but also our lives – worlds – are as large as the total holo-movement. The total sensation of the total image is not only contained in each of its parts, but each of the parts of the imagining living body is also sensitized to the total image. What the original image contains in potentiality, each individual may attain distributively through the use and application of the technologies we have described above. Conversely, the distributive form in which the image appears in the mystics through history gives us a more accurate picture of the total power of the images of origin and the technologies of transformation. Ultimately this is what tile original image really is: a generative power of an experience out of time that becomes time in the imagination and transforms time by infiltrating the secondary images of wo/man's fall through technologies that transform worlds and bodysensations into a continuation of the original act of creation. Tile mystic experience and the technologies used to reach it is a model of human creating whose time has already conic. Human history, as a model of human possibilities, may yet succeed where the computer and the rat have failed as universal models of the same possibilities. But these technologies depend for their use on the decision of individuals; they – we – hold in our power the ultimate modulation. It is up to each individual to decide. Hopefully, he/she will find a community to share the darkness and joy of the journey.

Notes and Bibliography

1. The philosophical lineage of this article falls in line with contemporary interests in phenomenology and hermeneutics or interpretation of cultural activities. From Husserl I am interested in his claim that reality may be bracketed, (Husserl 1931, p.110 and 1970) but I am forced to go beyond the fixity of his "eidos" or essences and join authors of this tradition like Heidegger and more closely Ortega y Gasset. These two authors take the interpretation of texts as the radical activity and context of human decision making. Ortega, further more, establishes the text as the primary unit of instrumental interpretation – embodiment – of theories and cultures. He further implied that a text once interpreted would open up a systematic domain of concepts and values necessary in the interpretation of culture and in the establishing of a native background before objects appear as objects for us. I will clarify, as we go along, the different ways the word text is used in the paper.

Husserl, E. (1931) Ideas London: Allen and Unwin. (1970) Logical Investigations: London,Routledge and Kegan Paul. (1970a) The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Philosophy~Evanston:North western University Press. Heidegger, ld (1962) Being and Time.New York:Harper and Row. Ortega y Gasset, J.(-1946) Obras Completas, Madrid: Revista de Occidente.

2. San Juan do la Cruz (1960) Vida y Obras de San Juan de la Cruz Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos. Brenan,C. (1973) St. John of the Cross.Cambridge:University Press.(See in particular pages 82-83) De Nicolas (1989 and 1996) Samuel Weiser, Inc, York Maine.

3. See in this respect the work of Raymond E. Brown, in particular the following: Brown, Raymond E. (1977) The Birth of the Messiah.New York: Image Books, Doubleday.

4. See in this respect the work of Charles Williams. Williams,Cl1. (1941) Withcraft.London: Faber and Faber. (1939) Descent of the Dove.Michigan:William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

5. St. Augustine in his work De Trinitate, Book XIV, Introduces Chapter 4 with the following thesis "The Image of Cod is to he sought in the immortality of the rational soul. How a Trinity is demonstrated in the mind." This is the thesis we oppose here.

6. From the beginnings of Western Philosophy with the Greek Sophists and Aristotle, later on with Augustine, Aquinas, Galileo, Spinoza and in our time Einstein there has been the belief that Nature is a Book written from the start in its complete and final form and that science, be that the science of theology or now natural science, is the actual form of that reading. But with the fixity of Nature other values were also fixed and held supreme, the State, the Father, the rational order, morality, the Law, the book, time, in a word the masculine way of knowing. But Nature is not a Book written in final form, it is rather a text generated to respond to a human form of inquiry linked more closely to cultural interests than natural ones. The so called natural interests depend more on the time and place and cultural interests of the scientific group than on the natural interests of the same group. In fact one could say, in view of the history of natural science, that there are no natural interests per se, but only cultural ones.

See in this respect the work of Patrick A. Heelan: Heelan P.A.(1982) Space-perception and the Philosophy of Science.Berkley and Los Angeles:University of California Press. (1983) "Natural Science as a hermeneutic of Instrumentation." Philosophy of Science, 50,pp.181-204.

7. For discussions of "techne" one needs only read Plato's Gorgias and Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics. See in this respect the summary work of de Romilly, J.(1975) Magic and Rhetoric in Ancient Greece Cambridge Ma. and London:Harvard University Press.

Technologies involve two kinds of texts: a primary text that allows us to read. This is primary because it is the condition of possibility of the others. This is, in this notation called 'text1', There is a secondary text that includes signs or such like material and equals some form of information. The primary text, 'text1' is not only interpretative but it is also causal in the sense that it not only creates the conditions of possibility for reading but it also shapes the signs and objects that appear causally. The causal character of this 'text1' is derived from a radical embodiment of the humans using it and the technologies involved. This human embodiment of'text1' is completely transparent to those using it or adept in using it. But this causality is not on a par with physical causality where the effect is proportionate to the cause. It is rather a causality more similar to biological causality where an effect may he disproportionate to its cause, as when the prick of the spur on the flank of the horse produces an exuberant jump totally disproportionate to the cause. And vice versa no matter how much a horse is pricked by the spur sometimes it does not move.

These two texts, a primary one 'text1' and a secondary one 'text2' are the texts we will be referring to throughout this paper. The primary text,'text1', has to do with the embodiment of certain acts needed to create; the secondary text, 'text2', refers to the signs originated by the primary text in the acts of its exercise and repetitions, like consolations, tears, visions, etc.,as we point out later in the paper. It is also obvious how texts derived from imaginative embodiments differ radically from texts derived from cognitive embodiments and why through history they have been antagonistic or subservient to one another. It is also obvious why plurality of texts is a radical necessity and why theoretical uniformity is a crime against humanity.

8. Works on the imagination are not many but the interest of philosophers seems to move, suddenly, in this direction: Casey, E. (1976) Imagining:A phenomenological Study. Bloomington and London: lndiana University Press. Neville, R.C.(1981) Reconstruction of Thinking.Albany: State University Press.(See especially the last four chapters.) Hohler,T.(1982) Imagination and Reflection: Intersubjectivity,Fichtes Grundlage of 1794. Hague, Boston/London : Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

9. As a preparation for understanding these technologies at work in several cultures see my work: de Nicolas, A.T.(1976) Meditations through the Rg Veda Maine: Nicolas Hays, Inc. de Nicolas,A.T.(L976) Avatara: The humanization of Philosophy through the Bhagavad-Gita. Maine: Nicolas Hays, Inc. de Nicolas .A.T. (1982) "Audial and literary cultures: The Bhagavad Gita as a case study." Journal of Social and Biological Structures. 5,269-288.

10. This kind of inquisition is always present even in circles of contemporary philosophical styles like phenomenology and hermeneutics where one would expect such presence would not be welcome. Philosophers like Heidegger, Ricoeur, Merleau-Ponty and even Husserl take as legitimate the manipulative control over people and things that scientific models have. They take for granted the pragmatic goals of science as being the control of natural phenomena and therefore this end justifies the means of a fictive – non historical – reconstruction of nature according to model systems of science that make the achievement of such a goal possible. This is a far cry from the understanding and application of phenomenology and hermeneutics Ortega practiced as the "sport of transmigration," or the ability to get at the roots of the activity itself of doing philosophy historically. Our human acts are originally cultural and therefore our journey should be to the roots. But instead we have seen a whole tradition jump on the waves of theories and carry with it a whole people.

The image of dismemberment is as old as the Rg. Veda, 2.500 B.C. The Dragon Vrtra is dismembered again and again for creation to take place. The dragon never dies. Meditations through the Rg Veda (1976) (ibid) See Chapter 4.

11. Plato needs to be studied anew in reference to the dialectic, or transformation of knowing through reason and abstraction and knowing through the experience of the Forms. The dialectics I refer to imply these four moves: a) Turning the soul in a new and opposite direction; by using a different faculty; c) finding different objects, that is experientially different, as light to shadows; d) producing a different kind of knowledge. These four moves are from the Republic 508-511, and 532,1-534e.

In the Phoedo 67c c1, also 79e-81a Plato describes knowledge as equaling the experience of the Forms and being independent from the normal knowledge derived from body sensations. The Forms may be known only "after death" or by "practicing death," by accustoming the soul to "withdraw from all contact with the body and concentrate itself on itself ... alone by itself." But Plato, of course, was an adept in the Mystery religions of his time and a great footnote to the practices of previous cultures.

12. See in particular Chapter six of Avatara (Ibid) (1976).

13. See Meditations through the Rg Veda, chapter 6:The Language of Images (Ibid.) (1976)

14. It should be clear we are dealing here with the primary text,'text1' where embodiment is the prerequisite for experience, just like reading is made possible by embodying the skills proper to it before meaning appears.

15. I am at this time finishing an edition of Ignatius' collected spiritual writings under the title Powers of Imagining for the State University of New York Press.

16.---See Meditations Through the Rg Veda, ibid.

17. The function of the gods in Hinduism has the same mediating property as we describe here. The mandala of the god or goddess is the same mediating imagining to lead to the original experience, as the structure of the Gita leads Arjuna, chapter by chapter as a mediation to reach the original experience. See my book Avatara (1976) (ibid) in particular chapter six.

Dear Friends

 

I am reading the article Prof Antonio was kind enough to send me. As I pursue it, I get the impression that mystics all over the world and from ancient times speak the SAME language and communicate almost the same as in Tantrism - that of transmuting the body of the flesh into that of gold. In Saivism we have the notion of Ponmeeni, the golden body that also has a sweet fragrance about that the Siddhas can enjoy. Such Yogies are also called Teesikan, the Luminous called thus because of  a special brightness that comes to prevail about their body. Earlier we have Tol. vinaiyin niiGki viLaGkiya aRivin munaivan where the Munaivan also means the resplendent (mul> mun> min: to shine brightly, lightning).

 

In more ancient times in the Indian culture we have the terms  Sramanah and Bramanah derived again from Ta. Suramanah and Ta. Paramanah where both the roots ‘sur’ and ‘par’ means the sun, something bright and resplendent. The Jain ‘samanah” could have evolved from Ta. sumanah where the ‘su’ in Sumerian also means something bright and resplendent. It has become Ta. koo meaning divine also a mening of ‘su”

 

Tirumular also notes that each metaphysical illumination a person gains spreads across his whole body especially the roots of the hair and changes the very texture of the body in addition to transmuting the sexuality into love.

 

I have extracted the following part of Antonio’s article for your special attention and comments. It appears to be that the experience of metaphysical TRUTH not only affects the mind but also the BODY, that the very condition of the BODY also constitutes an EVIDENCE for the TRUTH of metaphysical realms , that mind and body cannot be separated when it comes to metaphysical expericnes.

 

I would appreciate further comments this understanding has philosophy, metaphysics and religion.

 

It also appears to me that this is what Dr Rajaram is trying to communicate with his notion of ENERGIZATION as part of what he calls sivaamsom.

 

Loga

 

John of the Cross

John of the Cross, somehow, seems to have come to this world to offer us in his own life and body an epigram of Christianity. Though he wrote theology for the Inquisition of his time, he disclaimed any direct connection between the theology he was writing and his experience by stating at the beginning of his writings in prose that he would be most willing to write something else if the Inquisition so desired or ordered him. Experience was his pursuit – the kind of experience that originated Christianity itself, the experience of the will of God creating a new world, or transforming a world already created. For this purpose John of the Cross rejected all cognitive skills, all sensuous imaginings, all tangible apprehension and chose to walk "in the dark." He rejected understanding, memory, and will in the manner of their "cognitive" operation and proclaimed his method as the method that makes experience empty of all these skills. But this experience has to be understood as a total bodily experience and not just an intellectual intuition. For John pursued and prayed that his senses be empty of all normal and ordinary sensing and sensitization. He literally turned his method into desensitizing his own body from the habits of sensation and opened it to new habits through new technologies. His Superiors and the world around collaborated, for he was not persecuted by the world or Islam but suffered abuse and imprisonment at the hands of the priests of his own Order and fathers of the Church. His body suffered the effects of corruption; it became full of abscesses and sores, it stunk, and it was full of pus. Yet at the moment of his death, this same body underwent a transformation; it became clear, clean, and let out a sweet smell that would communicate to those that touched him as if they "had been handling flowers." The experience of union John experienced did not only involve some form of technologies and habits of the transformation of experience from ordinary to mystical, but it also involved some form of transformation of the flesh and the world.

From:

 

Technologies Of Transformation: From Mysticism to Recovery
By Antonio T. de Nicolas, Phd

 

 

Creation and Transformation: Saivism and Christianity

 

Dear Prof

 

I am again attracted to the following view of early Christianity and how it differs from many other similar movements  that existed at that time. What is interesting also is the talk of the WILL of God and which is also spoken of in Saivism but called aaNai by Meykandar. He locates the presence of aaNai or the WILL of God and in terms of which the creatures enjoy existential repetitions but as regulated by iruvinai, the good and evil actions they do. This carries the implication that creatures are capable of both good and evil and depending how much good or PuNNiyam they do, they would EVOLVE into higher forms. The evils  have a regressive effects- they cause the FALL and which is looked upon in Saivism as falling from the GRACE of BEING

 

The Second Sutra

avaiyee taaneeyaai iruvinaiyin
pookku varavu puriya aaNaiyin
niikkam inRi niRkumanRe

 Meaning:

The creatures act as if they are BEING itself, get into the existential circulation of births and deaths as determined by the MORAL LAW, the basis of which is the undying DECREE of BEING, who stands always with them never departing or absenting HIMSELF even for a moment.

General Intention: What is intended to disclose is the truth of the continuous resurrection of individuals and the existence of moral law regulating it.

We note a difference here. While Christianity seems to think that the choice to understand differently from the pre-existent original constitutes the FALL, in Saivism the possibility of FALL is seen as always there and it was also at the beginning itself. The act of creation or expression of the WILL of BEING is a violation of the prevailing DARKNESS caused to be there  by aaNavam, the AntiBEING just unconfigured as BEING Himself.  The lower forms of knowing - misunderstandings, distorted perceptions, delusions, illusions and so forth are attributed to Mummalam, the Maayai Kanmam and aaNavam of which the root cause and the unconfigured is aaNavam.

 

Let us now look at the notions of FREEDOM and INDIVIDUALISM they imply and which seems to be the same but which was not developed or allowed to develop by the Romans and Church Fathers.

 

 The FALLEN way of seeing is always there as the anmas remain INFECTED by these Mummalam and which carries the implication that a True Understanding is possible when the anma extricates itself from these defilers of vision and see with the Grace of BEING and which is also always possible. When a person chooses to see with the Grace of BEING (i.e. arudkaN) the seeing cannot be wrong and the  person FREES himself from the fallen way of seeing. So to be in TRUTH always one has to be  with BEING or specially with the WILL of BEING and which is possible only if one kills one’s own will, one’s own EGO.

 

What the public and political figures DISALLOW is this kind  knowing by the Grace of BEING alone and in this they seek  displace BEING and emplace themselves as the authority figures- the Pope, the Jagadacariya, the Atheenams, Messiahs and what not.  The ordinary fellows trapped by this takes the scriptures like the Vedas, Bible . Al Koran and so forth as absolutely authoritative and in that making Being-with-BEING quite irrelevant. Appar was defiant and declared that he is subject to NO ONE (naam yaarkkum kudi allom) but only because he follows the WILL of Siva who appears in the Ardhanari form.

 

What we can say is that there is a natural pedagogy where BEING shows and creatures see and LEARN. Where the creature seeing is such that the seeing sees exactly as shown by BEING then there is learning a truth. But where the creatures, because of their  own ego choose to see differently from what is shown, then there is FALL, a deviant way of seeing. This carries the implication that we have to tune ourselves to see exactly as shown by BEING to see TRUTH and remain steadfast in that determination and which is simultaneously AVOIDING the fallen way of knowing.

 

Technologies Of Transformation: From Mysticism to Recovery
By Antonio T. de Nicolas, PhD

 

Creation and Transformation

What separated Christianity form the many mystery religions, moral reformers, freelance worshippers, and groups that followed specific rites was the Will of God, the epistemology of the Will of God. This epistemology did imply that the world was and, therefore, could be created out of nothing or, conversely, that the act of creation, human or divine, required as a first step the cancellation of the existing world, that of God or that of wo/man. This Will of God had so limited itself in the act of creation that it gave free will to the humans it created. While the original state of the created wo/man was God's Image and was seen by God to be good, the subsequent choice of knowing differently by wo/man introduced in the world rift and division in the act of knowing itself: it introduced the fall. This was a different and lower form of knowing dependent of wo/men criteria for rational principles and cultural usage's, dependent on wo/men away from God. While the knowledge of the original Image is unitary, the knowledge of the fall is diverse, multiple, and stands on human abstractions, not God's Will as its ground. Historically, both grounds of knowing are in opposition; their first historical reconciliation is the death of Christ at the Cross. The second historical reconciliation is the Way of the mystics and the technologies they devised for the passage from the way of knowing through cognitive skills and ideologies humans invented, to the way of knowing identical or close to the original Image of God's creation itself and the technologies derived from the model of the original act of creation.

The history of Christianity is a mixed account of public failures and individual or community successes in bringing about the redemption of humans. The individual successes are these we are clarifying as the mystic experience, while the public failures are mostly the lack of a public Christian domain or philosophy or Christian culture. Nothing like that has ever happened.

The public domain has always been a philosophy from below, a way of knowing through principles of logic, belief and opinion, and ideology where the Will of God is absent or forgotten or even antagonistic. Christians, even Fathers of the Church are guilty. Augustine, more Roman in inner technological skills than Christian, was the first one to introduce ideology in the Will of God by equating the Trinity to the normal faculties of cognition inherited from the Sophist Greeks and Roman epistemologies. Greek sophism  and Roman “piety”  have shaped the Christian public domain even more than Judaism, as much for Christians as for Communists. The history of the public domain is in fact the Roman technologies to vindicate and glorify the State, the Father, morality according to rational order, obedience, the Law, the book, time, strife, and the masculine way of knowing we are all so familiar with. (6) The mystics, on the other hand, offer faith as the most exact and immediate way of knowing, the texts, the mother, origins, feelings, sacrifice, continuity, creation, and the feminine. In their reconciliation we have our future and salvation.

 

From: <diotima245@aol.com>

To: <agamicpsychology@yahoogroups.com>

Cc: <akandabaratam@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [agamicpsychology] Creation and Transformation: Saivism and Christianity

Date: Sunday, February 08, 2004 11:13 PM

 

In a message dated 2/7/2004 11:44:11 PM Eastern Standard Time,

ulagankmy@yahoo.com writes:

Creation and Transformation: Saivism and Christianity

 

Dear Prof

 

I am again attracted to the following view of early Christianity and how it

differs from many other similar movements  that existed at that time. What is

interesting also is the talk of the WILL of God and which is also spoken of in

Saivism but called aaNai by Meykandar. He locates the presence of aaNai or the

WILL of God and in terms of which the creatures enjoy existential repetitions

but as regulated by iruvinai, the good and evil actions they do. This carries

the implication that creatures are capable of both good and evil and

depending how much good or PuNNiyam they do, they would EVOLVE into higher forms. The

evils  have a regressive effects- they cause the FALL and which is looked upon

in Saivism as falling from the GRACE of BEING

 

Dear Dr. Loga:

 

It would be of particular interest to the members of this forum, perhaps, to

read Plato's Myth of Er. I make comments on it in Habits of Mind, but I would

be surprised if the readers would not find themselves at home. It is important

that we separate theology from philosophy as Plato does so that we focus on

inner acts first, decisions, rather than interpretations.

 

Best and OM and SHANTY

Antonio de Nicolas

 

The Myth of Er, from the Republic, (Habits of mind, pp127)

 

Plato

 

[Socrates is speaking to Glaucon.]

These, then, are the prizes and rewards and gifts which are bestowed upon the

just by gods and men in this present life, in addition to the other good

things which justice of herself provides.

 

Yes, he said; and they are fair and lasting.

 

And yet, I said, all these are as nothing, either in number or greatness in

comparison with those other recompenses which await both just and unjust after

death. And you ought to hear them, and then both just and unjust will have

received from us a full payment of the debt which the argument owes to them.

Speak, he said; there are few things which I would more gladly hear. Well, I

said, I will tell you a tale; not one of the tales which Odysseus tells to the

hero Alcinous, yet this too is a tale of a hero, Er the son of Armenius, a

Pamphylian by birth. He was slain in battle, and ten days afterwards, when the

bodies of the dead were taken up already in a state of corruption, his body was

found unaffected by decay, and carried away home to be buried. And on the

twelfth day, as he was lying on the funeral pile, he returned to life and told

them what he had seen in the other world. He said that when his soul left the

body he went on a journey with a great company, and that they came to a

mysterious place at which there were two openings in the earth; they were near

together, and over against them were two other openings in the heaven above. In the

intermediate space there were judges seated, who commanded the just, after they

had given judgment on them and had bound their sentences in front of them, to

ascend by the heavenly way on the right hand; and in like manner the unjust

were bidden by them to descend by the lower way on the left hand; these also

bore the symbols of their deeds, but fastened on their backs. He drew near, and

they told him that he was to be the messenger who would carry the report of

the other world to men, and they bade him hear and see all that was to be heard

and seen in that place. Then he beheld and saw on one side the souls departing

at either opening of heaven and earth when sentence had been given on them;

and at the two other openings other souls, some ascending out of the earth

dusty and worn with travel, some descending out of heaven clean and bright. And

arriving ever and anon they seemed to have come from a long journey, and they

went forth with gladness into the meadow, where they encamped as at a festival;

and those who knewone another embraced and conversed, the souls which came from earth curiously

enquiring about the things above, and the souls which came from heaven about

the things beneath. And they told one another of what had happened by the way,

those from below weeping and sorrow­ing at the remembrance of the things

which they had endured and seen in their journey beneath the earth (now the

journey lasted a thousand years), while those from above were describing heavenly

delights and visions of inconceivable beauty. The story, Glaucon, would take too

long to tell; but the sum was this:-He said that for every wrong which they

had done to any one they suffered tenfold; or once in a hundred years­such

being reckoned to be the length of man's life, and the penalty being thus paid ten

times in a thousand years. If, for example, there were any who had been the

cause of` many deaths, or had betrayed or enslaved cities or armies, or been

guilty of any other evil behaviour, for each and all of their offences they

received punishment ten times over, and the rewards of beneficence and justice and

holiness were in the same pro­portion. I need hardly repeat what he said

concerning young children dying almost as soon as they were born. Of piety and

impiety to gods and parents, and of murderers, there were retributions other and

greater far which he described. He mentioned that he was present when one of

the spirits asked another, `Where is Ardiaeus the Greatr' (Now this Ardiaeus

lived a thousand years before the time of Er: he had been the tyrant of some

city of Pamphylia, and had murdered his aged father and his elder brother, and

was said to have committed many other abominable crimes.) The answer of the

other spirit was: `He comes not hither and will never come. And this,' said he,

`was one of the dreadful sights which we ourselves witnessed. We were at the

mouth of the cavern, and, having completed all our experiences, were about to

reascend, when of a sud­den Ardiaeus appeared and several others, most of whom

were tyrants; and there were also besides the tyrants private individuals who

had been great criminals: they were just, as they fancied, about to return into

the upper world, but the mouth, instead of admitting them, gave a roar,

whenever any of these incurable sinners or some one who had not been sufficiently

punished tried to ascend; and then wild men of fiery aspect, who were standing

by and heard the sound, seized and carried them off; and Ardiaeus and others

they bound head and foot and hand, and threw them down and flayed them with

scourges, and dragged them along the road at the side, carding them on thorns like

wool, and declaring to the passers-by what were their crimes, and that they

were being taken away to be cast into hell.' And of all the many terrors which

they had endured, he said that there was none like the terror which each of

them felt at that moment, lest they should hear the voice; and when there was

silence, one by one they ascended with exceeding joy. These, said Er, were the

penalties and retributions, and there were blessings as great.

 

Now when the spirits which were in the meadow had tarried seven days, on the

eighth they were obliged to proceed on their journey, and, on the fourth day

after, he said that they came to a place where they could see from above a line

of light, straight as a column, extending right through the whole heaven and

through the earth, in colour resembling the rainbow, only brighter and purer;

another day's journey brought them to the place, and there, in the midst of

the light, they saw the ends of the chains of heaven let down from above: for

this light is the belt of heaven, and holds together the circle of the universe,

like the under­girders of a trireme. From these ends is extended the spindle

of Neces­sity, on which all the revolutions turn. The shaft and hook of this

spindle are made of steel, and the whorl is made partly of steel and also

partly of other materials. Now the whorl is in form like the whorl used on earth;

and the description of it implied that there is one large hollow whorl which is

quite scooped out, and into this is fitted another lesser one, and another,

and another, and another, and four others, making eight in all, like vessels

which fit into one another; the whorls show their edges on the upper side, and

on their lower side all together form one continuous whorl. This is pierced by

the spindle, which is driven home through the centre of the eighth. "The first

and outermost whorl has the rim broadest, and the seven inner whorls are

narrower, in the following proportions­the sixth is next to the first in size, the

fourth next to the sixth; then comes the eighth; the seventh is fifth, the

fifth is sixth, the third is seventh, last and eighth comes the second. The

largest [or fixed stars] is spangled, and the seventh for sun] is brightest; the

eighth [or moon] coloured by the reflected light of the seventh; the second and

fifth [Saturn and Mercury] are in colour like one another, and yellower than

the preceding; the third [Venus] has the whitest light; the fourth [Mars] is

reddish; the sixth [Jupiter] is in whiteness second. Now the whole spindle has

the same motion; but, as the whole revolves in one direction, the seven inner

circles move slowly in the other, and of these the swiftest is the eighth;

next in swiftness are the seventh, sixth, and fifth, which move together; third

in swiftness appeared to move according to the law of this reversed motion the

fourth; the third appeared fourth and the second fifth. The spindle turns on

the knees of Necessity; and on the upper surface of each circle is a siren, who

goes round with them, hymning a single tone or note. The eight together form

one harmony; and round about, at equal intervals, there is another band, three

in number, each sitting upon her throne: these are the Fates, daughters of

Necessity, who are clothed in white robes and have chaplets upon their heads,

Lachesis and Clotho and Atropos, who accompany with their voices the harmony of

the sirens-Lachesis singing of the past, Clotho of the present, Atropos of the

future; Clotho from time to time assisting with a touch of her right hand the

revolution of the outer circle of the

whorl or spindle, and Atropos with her left hand touching and guiding the

inner ones, and Lachesis laying hold of either in turn, first with one hand and

then with the other.

 

When Er and the spirits arrived, their duty was to go at once to Lachesis;

but first of all there came a prophet who arranged them in order; then he took

from the knees of Lachesis lots and samples of lives, and having mounted a high

pulpit, spoke as follows: `Hear the word of Lachesis, the daughter of

Necessity. Mortal souls, behold a new cycle of life and mortality. Your genius will

not be allotted to you, but you will choose your genius; and let him who draws

the first lot have the first choice, and the life which he chooses shall be

his destiny. Virtue is free, and as a man honours or dishonours her he will have

more or less of her; the responsibility is with the chooser-God is

justified.' When the Inter­preter had thus spoken he scattered lots indifferently among

them all, and each of them took up the lot which fell near him, all but Er

himself (he was not allowed), and each as he took his lot perceived the number

which he had obtained. Then the Interpreter placed on the ground before them the

samples of lives; and there were many more lives than the souls present, and

they were of all sorts. There were lives of every animal and of man in every

condition. And there were tyrannies among them, some lasting out the tyrant's

life, others which broke off in the middle and came to an end in poverty and

exile and beggary; and there were lives of famous men, some who were famous for

their form and beauty as well as for their strength and success in games, or,

again, for their birth and the qualities of their ancestors; and some who were

the reverse of famous for the opposite qualities. And of' women likewise;

there was not, however, any definite character in them, because the soul, when

choosing a new life, must of necessity become different. But there was every

other quality, and they all mingled with one another, and also with elements of

wealth and poverty, and disease and health; and there were mean states also.

And here, my dear Glaucon, is the supreme peril of our human state; and

therefore the utmost care should be taken. Let each one of us leave every other kind

of knowledge and seek and follow one thing only, if peradventure he may be able

to learn and may find some one who will make him able to learn and discern

between good and evil, and so to choose always and everywhere the better life as

he has opportunity. He should consider the bearing of all these things which

have been mentioned severally and collectively upon virtue; he should know

what the effect of beauty is when combined with poverty or wealth in a particular

soul, and what are the good and evil consequences of noble and humble birth,

of private and public station, of strength and weakness, of cleverness and

dullness, and of all the natural and acquired gifts of the soul, and the

operation of them when conjoined; he will then look at the nature of the soul, and

from the consideration of all these

qualities he will be able to determine which is the better and which is the

worse; and so he will choose, giving the name of evil to the life which will

make his soul more unjust, and good to the life which will make his soul more

just; all else he will disregard. For we have seen and know that this is the

best choice both in life and after death. A man must take with him into the world

below an adamantine faith in truth and right, that there too he may be

undazzled by the desire of wealth or the other allurements of evil, lest, coming

upon tyrannies and similar villainies, he do irre­mediable wrongs to others and

suffer yet worse himself; but let him know how to choose the mean and avoid the

extremes on either side, as far as possible, not only in this life but in all

that which is to come. For this is the way of happiness.

 

And according to the report of the messenger from the other world this was

what the prophet said at the time: `Even for the last comer, if he chooses

wisely and will live diligently, there is appointed a happy and not undesirable

existence. Let not him who chooses first be careless, and let not the last

despair.' And when he had spoken, he who had the first choice came forward and in a

moment chose the greatest tyranny; his mind having been darkened by folly and

sensuality, he had not thought out the whole matter before he chose, and did

not at first sight perceive that he was fated, among other evils, to devour his

own children. But when he had time to reflect, and saw what was in the lot,

he bagan to beat his breast and lament over his choice, forgetting the

proclamation of the prophet; for, instead of throwing the blame of his misfortune on

him­self, he accused chance and the gods, and everything rather than him­self.

Now he was one of those who came from heaven, and in a former life had dwelt

in a well-ordered State, but his virtue was a matter of habit only, and he had

no philosophy. And it was true of others who were similarly overtaken, that

the greater number of them came from heaven and therefore they had never been

schooled by trial, whereas the pil­grims who came from earth having themselves

suffered and seen others suffer were not in a hurry to choose. And owing to

this inexperience of theirs, and also because the lot was a chance, many of the

souls ex­changed a good destiny for an evil or an evil for a good. For if a man

had always on his arrival in this world dedicated himself from the first to

sound philosophy, and had been moderately fortunate in the number of the lot,

he might, as the messenger reported, be happy here, and also his journey to

another life and return to this, instead of being rough and underground, would be

smooth and heavenly. Most curious, he said, was the spectacle-sad and

laughable and strange: for the choice of the souls was in most cases based on their

experience of a previous life. There he saw the soul which had once been

Orpheus choosing the life of a swan out of enmity to the race of women, hating to be

born of a woman because they had been his murderers; he beheld also the soul

of

Thamyras choosing the life of a nightingale; birds, on the other hand, like

the swan and other musicians, wanting to be men. The soul which obtained the

twentieth lot chose the life of a lion, and this was the soul of Ajax the son of

Telamon, who would not be a man, remembering the injustice which was done him

in the judgment about the arms. The next was Agamemnon, who took the life of

an eagle, because, like Ajax, he hated human nature by reason of his

sufferings. About the middle came the lot of Atalanta; she, seeing the great fame of an

athlete, was unable to resist the temptation: and after her there followed

the soul of Epeus the son of Panopeus passing into the nature of a woman cunning

in the arts; and far away among the last who chose, the soul of the jester

Thersites was putting on the form of a monkey. There came also the soul of

Odysseus having yet to make a choice, and his lot happened to be the last of them

all. Now the recollection of former toils had disenchanted him of ambition, and

he went about for a considerable time in search of the life of a private man

who had no cares; he had some difficulty in finding this, which was lying

about and had been neglected by everybody else; and when he saw it, he said that

he would have done the same had his lot been first instead of last, and that

lie was delighted to have it. And not only did men pass into animals, but I must

also mention that there were animals tame and wild who changed into one

another and into corre­sponding human natures-the good into the gentle and the evil

into the savage, in all sorts of combinations.

 

All the souls had now chosen their lives, and they went in the order of their

choice to Lachesis, who sent with them the genius whom they had severally

chosen, to be the guardian of their lives and the fulfiller of the choice: this

genius led the souls first to Clotho, and drew them within the revolution of

the spindle impelled by her hand, thus ratifying the des­tiny of each; and then,

when they were fastened to this, carried them to Atropos, who spun the

threads and made them irreversible, whence without turning round they passed beneath

the throne of Necessity; and when they had all passed, they marched on in a

scorching heat to the plain of Forgetfulness, which was a barren waste

destitute of trees and verdure; and then towards evening they encamped by the river of

Unmindfulness, whose water no vessel can hold; of this they were all obliged

to drink a certain quantity, and those who were not saved by wisdom drank more

than was necessary; and each one as he drank forgot all things. Now after

they had gone to rest, about the middle of the night there was a thunderstorm and

earthquake, and then in an instant they were driven upwards in all manner of

ways to their birth, like stars shooting. He himself was hindered from

drinking the water. But in what manner or by what means he returned to the body he

could not say; only, in the morning, awaking suddenly, he found himself lying on

the pyre.

 

And thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will

save us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely over the

river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled. Wherefore my counsel

is that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and

virtue always, considering that the soul is immor­tal and able to endure every

sort of good and every sort of evil. Thus shall we live dear to one another and

to the gods, both while remaining here and when, like conquerors in the games

who go round to gather gifts, we receive our reward. And it shall be well with

us both in this life and in the pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have

been describ­ing.

 

TR. BENJAMIN JOWETT

 

 

From: "K. Loganathan" <ulagankmy@yahoo.com>

To: <akandabaratam@yahoogroups.com>; <agamicpsychology@egroups.com>; <meykandar@egroups.com>; <ene@egroups.com>; <kalaivani@egroups.com>

Subject: Re: [akandabaratam] Re: [agamicpsychology] Creation and Transformation: Saivism and Christianity

Date: Monday, February 09, 2004 8:38 AM

 

Dear Prof

 

Thank-you and I will read again the Myth of Er of Plato and have a better  understanding of it. Meanwhile I believe that while there are many striking similarities between  Early Christianity and Saivism, there is a DIFFERENCE also in relation to the ETHICS both these metaphysical tradtions propose. While Saivism proposes what can be called Evolutionary Ethics - that by acts that are Good or PuNNiyam one can ascent the evolutionary ladder and then TRANCEND even ethics by becoming fullly LOVE dominated, this view seems to be absent in Christianity. I have noticed this even in Chritian Theology.

 

Jung also draws attention to this. See below:

 

 

Question 5:  If my reading of your views correct, I should judge that you think evil to be a far more active force than traditional theological views have allowed for. You appear unable to interpret the condition of the world today unless this is so.  Am I correct in this ? If so, is it really necessary to expect to find the dark in the Deity? And if you believe that Satan completes the quarternity does this not mean that the Diey would be amoral?

 Victor White in his "God and the Unconscious" writes at the end of his footnote on page 76:" On the other hand , we are unable to find any intelligible, let alone desirable, meaning in such fundamental Jungian conception as the 'assimilation of the shadow' if they are not to be understood as the supplying of some absent good(e.g., consciousness) to what is essentially valuable and of itself good.' "

 

Jung:   I am indeed convinced  that evil is as positive a factor as good. Quite apart from everyday experience it would be extremely illogical to assume that one can state a quality without its opposite. If something is god, then there must needs be something that is evil or bad. The statement that something is good would not be  f one could not discriminate it from something else. Even if one says that something exists, such a statement is only possible alongside the other statement that something does not exists. Thus when the Church doctrine declares the evil is not or is a mere shadow, then the good is equally illusory, as its statement make no sense……….. The identification of good with OUSIA is a fallacy, because a man who is thoroughly evil does not disappear at all when he has lost his last good. But even if he has 1 per cent of his good, his body and soul and his whole existence are still thoroughly   good ; for, according to the doctrine, evil is simply identical with

 non-existence. This is such a horrible syllogism that there must be a very strong motive for its construction. The reason is obvious: it is a desperate attempt to save the Christian Faith from dualism. According to this theory [of the PRIVATIO BONI ] even the devil, the incarnate evil, must be good, because he exists, but inasmuch as he is thoroughly bad, he does not exist.  This is a clear attempt to annihilate dualism in flagrant contradiction to the dogma that the devil is eternal and damnation a very real thing…………

…. Certainly the God of Old Testament is good and evil. He is Father or Creator of Satan as well as of Christ.  Certainly if God the Father were nothing else than a loving Father, Christ's cruel sacrificial death would be thoroughly superfluous.

 

Loga:   Here it is clear that while Jung is right in saying that EVIL is real and not simply the deprivation or absence of good, his view that God is the source of both good and evil is totally wrong. God cannot be both the creator of Christ and Satan. The Satan which is only a metaphorical statement of the workings of something that we are led to recognize  as evil HAS TO BE AN AUTONOMOUS REALITY always in battle with God.  This is what in Saivism is called aNu or aNavam  just as uncreated and eternal as God and the countless number of souls.  Saivism agrees with Jung that evil is real  but disagrees with him when he says that God is both good and evil.

 

 

 

                Chapter 1: Nihilism and the Way Out

 

  Now begins an interrogation of Meykandar of a profound kind in which Arunandi takes to task

  Meykandar's central notion 'an-n-iyaminmai' or absence of  Otherness as the limiting condition of

  Being-in the-World of the anmas that he outlined in his magnificent Civajnana

  BOtham(henceforth C.B) and which  is said to have been bestowed by BEING itself and no other.

  This is also the notion of ParaMukti, the absolute liberation that provides the meaning for

  Existence, that for which existence is.  The interrogation and the dialectics brings out the

  impossibility of making sense of this notion of Paramukti within absolute hetereology that always

  maintains an alienness, an Other. Having brought out  the numerous impasses and hence nihilism

  of a kind as the only possibility, he makes it come out from the mouth of Meykandar the solutions

  to these dillemmas that hark back to the words of Appar and Thirunjaanasambanthar.

 

   kaNNakan nyaalaththuk kathiravan thaanena

   veNNaith thOnRiya meykaNta thEva!

   kaaraa kirukak kali aazvEnai n-in

   pEra inpaththu iruththiya peruma!

   vinaval aanaathutaiyEn  enathuLam

   n-Ingkaa n-ilaimai Ungkum uLaiyaal

   aRivinmai malam piRivinmai enin

   oraalinai uNarththum viraay n-inRanaiyEl

   thippiyam an-thO poyppakai aakaay

 

   Oh Meydanda Theva, who hast come down like the brilliant sun that dispels the

  DARKNESS of the wide world, and residing in VeNNai  Nallur, has established me

  in everlasting bliss by destroying my inclinations towards the Dark, I am desirous of

  posing some  (fundamental metaphysical) questions (in the light of what you have

  already said)

 

   If Thou as the BEING, has been all along with me never departing at all,

  standing as the SAME, then how is that I am infected with DARKNESS OF

  IGNORANCE?

   If it is said, it is so because the MALAM remains non-alienated and separated , it

  would mean that Thou standeth aloof and apart. But if this is denied and is said that

  BEING as such remains WITH all nonalienly, then not only it is incredible but also

  that Thou art NOT the foe of the false and illusory.

 

   chuththan amalan chOthi n-aayakan

   muththan paramparan enumpeyar mutiyaa

 

   And if so, then such descriptions of Thee as the Absolutely Pure, the Supremely

  Faultless, the Totally Illuminant, the Eternally Liberated, the Absolutely

  Transhistorical will be inapplicable.

 

   vERu n-inRuNarththin viyaapaka minRaayp

   pERum inRaakum emakku em peruma!

 

   Now in order to avoid such difficulties, if it is said that Thou standeth as an Other

  and instructs the creatures, then that would mean that Thou art not universally

  pervasive and immanent. And furthermore it would also mean Being-absolutely-one-

  with- Thee   and  hence the SAME as Thee will be impossible for me.

 

   irun-ilan- thIn-Ir iyamaanan kaalenum

   perun-ilaith thaaNtavam perumaaRku ilathaakalin

   vERO utanO viLampal vENtum

   chIRi yaruLal chiRumai yutaiththaal

 

   And furthermore as a Reality totally transcendent and above,

  Being-one-with-the-Physical- World of Fire, Air, Water, Earth and Space  and

  agitating them as a whole  (to instruct me) does not anymore belong to Thee. So

  explain to me whether Thou art one-with-me or not without loosing patience that is

  unbecoming.

 

 

   aRiyaathu kURinai apakkuva pakkuvak

   kuRi paarththu aruLinam kurumuthalaay enin

   apakkuvam aruLinum aRiyEn; mikaththakum

   pakkuvam vENtiR payanilai n-innaal

 

   Now if Thou repliest that I have posed these questions out of ignorance and that

  the world process is pedagogical in nature in which through the intermediaries of  a

  GURU, I in fact instruct each according to his own cognitive maturity or

  developmental attainment, we are not free of problems. For I am absolutely certain

  that even instructed, if I am not sufficiently matured for it, I will not be able to

  understand it at all. The instructions will be completely beyond my grasp. Now if a

  readiness for comprehension is required as a precondition, then  Thy instructions

  become redundant.

 

   pakkuvam athanaaR payan n-I varinE

   n-innaip paruvam n-ikazththaathu annO

   than oppaar ili enpathuvum thakumE

 

   Now if Being-one-with-Thee results as if spontaneously because of a state of

  readiness (and through direct revelation), then it is not something that happens in

  the course of the developmental progress of  an individual. And because of this

  uninvolvement, Thou  becometh the Supremely  Incomparable, the Wholly Other.

 

   

   mummalanj chatam aNu mUppu iLamaiyil n-I

   n-inmalan paruvam n-ikazththiyathu aarkkO?

 

   Now if Thou art not only the Wholly Other (but also involved in the pedagogical

  processes), and standeth as the Absolutely Pure, who or what is instructed by Thee?

  For the    three fold malas ( the ANavam, kanmam and maayeeyam) are insentient

  (and hence  incapable of learning); the finite self being a metaphysical reality does

  not age or remain youthful (i.e. does experience the historical processes of growth

  and decay). And since Thou art already the Absolutely Pure, it cannot also be as a

  way of realizing Thyself.

 

   uNarvezu n-Ikkaththai Othiyethu eninE

   iNaiyili aayinai enpathai aRiyEn

   yaanE n-Ikkinum thaanE n-Ingkinum

   kOnE vENtaa kURal vENtum.

 

   Now in order to overcome these difficulties if Thou assert that these changes are

  brought about in the UNDERSTANDING and not in the nature of the Metaphysical

  Being of  the selves, then it becomes incomprehensible how thou art the Wholly

  Other,  and the  Incomparable. Whether it is I who removes the finitizing factors of

  the understanding or it leaves on its own accord, Thy presence seems to be

  unwanted. Please illuminate me  and  enlighten me with respect to these questions.

 

   kaaNpaar yaarkol kaattaakkaal enum

   maaNpurai uNarn-thilai manRa paaNtiyan

   kEtpak kiLakkum meynyaanaththin aRiyE

 

   (Meykandar replies:) You raise all these questions only because you are ignorant of

  what has already been articulated (by Appar wherein he says:) You cannot SEE

  anything unless SHOWN as such by BEING. Furthermore you are also ignorant of

  the reply given by Thirujnaanasambanthar when the Pandian king queried him viz.

  BEING  discloses to each according to his own merits in a manner befitting his

  hermeneutic capabilities and because of which the modes of disclosures are really

  infinite,  uncountable.   

 

More available at :

 

http://ulagank.tripod.com/jung5-1.htm

 

Loga

 

diotima245@aol.com wrote:

 

In a message dated 2/7/2004 11:44:11 PM Eastern Standard Time, ulagankmy@yahoo.com writes:

 

Creation and Transformation: Saivism and Christianity

 

 

 

Dear Prof

 

 

 

I am again attracted to the following view of early Christianity and how it differs from many other similar movements  that existed at that time. What is interesting also is the talk of the WILL of God and which is also spoken of in Saivism but called aaNai by Meykandar. He locates the presence of aaNai or the WILL of God and in terms of which the creatures enjoy existential repetitions but as regulated by iruvinai, the good and evil actions they do. This carries the implication that creatures are capable of both good and evil and depending how much good or PuNNiyam they do, they would EVOLVE into higher forms. The evils  have a regressive effects- they cause the FALL and which is looked upon in Saivism as falling from the GRACE of BEING

 

 

 

Dear Dr. Loga:

 

It would be of particular interest to the members of this forum, perhaps, to read Plato's Myth of Er. I make comments on it in Habits of Mind, but I would be surprised if the readers would not find themselves at home. It is important that we separate theology from philosophy as Plato does so that we focus on inner acts first, decisions, rather than intepretations.

Best and OM and SHANTY

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 

 

Dear Loga,

 

Your question is most pertinent. St. Augustine and the theologians that followed failed. The Gnostics believed in two separate entities and were excommunicated. It was Augustine who not being a philosopher, nor able to use the imagination, but a rhetoritian, decided that evil was the absence of good, the same way the Greeks mentioned evil as being off the mark. There is another tradition in Christianity, however, the mystics, and they follow the overcoming of evil through love. I have written on it in my book Powers of Imagining (SUNY Press) still in print. If you wish I will send you a copy. Send me your address again. If you also wish I will send you St. John of Cross, Alchemist of the soul. This is closer to your heart than any of the others, but the doctrinal and hermeneutic part is better than and more complete in Powers of Imagining.

 

OM and SHANTI

Antonio de Nicolas

 

 

 

Dialogues on Habits of Mind-10

 

 

Nudity and Education

 

Dear Prof and Friends

 

This will be my final dialogue, before I move on,  on the very important Third Chapter of Prof Antonio’s Habits of Mind where he deals with Plato’s Educational Philosophy. Let us keep in mind that what is proposed is the dissolution of the artificial boundaries between the sciences and humanities and the transformation of culture itself into a culture of technology that dehumanizes person itself. Also the hold of science is so overpowering  that the humanities are being swept away by the encroachment of the social sciences but which do not empower a person to make DECISIONS and so forth. We can see that the students, in being trained to be THEORETIC in thinking are also deprived an anchor that they can hold onto firmly and allow for changes but within a certain firm intellectual orientation.  For our Nitin Bhai Plato’s Myth of Er provides the essential model that would serve to educate the students the right way and so forth.

 

I have pointed out that this is quite agreeable to Saivism and that the inner acts consistent with the movement from the various ecologies to realms of Er are in facts acts of LEARNING, understood here not in the behavioral sense of conditioning behavior or in the cognitive sense of transferring information acquired to Long Term Memory and so forth. Learning is the destruction of INNATE IGNORANCE and Plato’s ‘inner acts”, the qualitatively  GOOD ones can in fact be the LEARNING acts for it is such destructions of the inner darkness that can lead one to the realms of Er of Birilliance.

 

Now against this I am puzzled why the Greeks fostered Gymnasium where the focus was the building of the Physical Body and where both men and women wrestled with each other even in total NUDITY.

 

Please see:

 

Like the modern university, the Republic unfolds in Peiraeus, “the land beyond,” the land beyond the limits, a place not in Athens and “yet within the defensive walls of Athens” (Bremer, 1984, p.3). “Peiraeus,” like the modern university, is both in and not in Athens; it is the place that gives common interests to the assembled speakers, the young men from Athens ready to take on the responsibility of running the republic. And this is as close as we come to any resemblance between the model Greek university and ours. The Greeks never had a university to develop and cultivate the mind. They had gymnasia, universities for the body, where men and women would gather together naked for the sake of exercise. Strength, agility, and character were to be developed through the physical exercises of racing, jumping, boxing, throwing the discus and the javelin, swim­ming, wrestling (“Men and women should wrestle naked in the gymnasium,” asserted Socrates).

Greek language, law, medicine, and science were native— they did not borrow them from anyone. “Are you a Greek or a barbarian?” simply meant, are you original or a borrower? For this reason they never relied on authority, but instead practiced philosophy as an exercise in intrinsic achievement. A single Greek philosopher could, for this very reason, synthesize in himself a whole university, as the Republic. All the acts that created the sciences and philosophies, as well as the people who were the creators, were at the tip of the philosopher’s tongue. Since the philosopher was the synthesizer of the culture, it was from him alone that the students could learn whatever was necessary for them to know in the field of public affairs.

 

 

Prof Antonio T. de Nicholas Habits of Mind p.49

 

The juxtaposition of focus on Piraeus, Gymnasium, the practice of philosophy as an exercise in intrinsic achievement and so forth, is perhaps meaningful.  I want to raise the question: Is there an underlying unity in all these?

 

We notice that the celebration of NUDITY, where both men and women were UNCLAD and had PHYSICAL contacts in wrestling and so forth, is very unusual. On top of that the concern was building up the body, making it more agile fit and so forth. Certainly there are Indian parallels. We have seen that the Digambara Jains celebrated nudity and both men and women went around clad only with sky. But their concern was spiritual and I suspect that they were modeling the AFTER WORLD, the Netherworld of the Sumerians where the Goddess of Realm of the Dead, Ninazu lies down in total nudity. Thus this Jain practice along with pulling out one by one the hair may be a way of reminding the ordinary individuals lost in the worldly pursuits the presence of DEATH and which then would serve to severe their ties with the worldly life. The thought and acknowledgement of DEATH, that event that one can never avoid but can be forgetful,  will have the effect of REMINDING them of the fact and with that FREEING man from the bondages to the physical that also make him remain BLIND to the metaphysical.

 

Thus Jain nudity has social pedagogy built into it - that of reminding the unwary and troubled ordinary individuals that there is the  Other World, the World of the Dead where none of these worldly pleasures and problems would exist. Thus it is a way of stretching out  not just ordinary thinking and imagination but the Metaphysical Thinking so that they acknowledge the facticity of DEATH and another kind of Life after Death. We can see the connection with this social pedagogy and the notion of Nirvana, which literally means NUDITY but perhaps given a different meaning by the later Buddhists.

 

We also notice that the Gymnasium as such is neither  a Yoga Center nor  a center for the practice of martial arts.  And compared to the Greek Gym ,while there is a common concern with the tuning up of the body, I also think there is aDIFFERENCE, and NOT an unimportant one.

 

While Yoga and Indian (Asian) martial arts traditions are conscious of the presence of SEXUAL LIBIDO, the KuNdalini and also the awareness that it is this KuNdalini, the COILED POWER that must be tamed harnessed, TRANSMUTED and redirected towards the HIGHER reaches, the Greeks appear to have been unaware of the presence of Coiled Power and its presence as human sexuality. The unisex view of the Greek Gym also betrays an INDIFFERENCE towards sexual difference, which we note, is heightened in Indian cultures. The feminine through conditioning of social behavior, dress habits, modes of decoration, forms of speech and so forth is ACCENTUATED and not minimized so that the sexual attraction is also made more intense and deeper.

 

Could it be that it is this INDIFFERENCE towards cultivating KuNdalini and which hinges on recognizing the reality of SEXUALITY that we can see in the Gym that also has acted upon the whole of Western Culture so that it developed as a culture without Yoga and Martial Arts?

 

 

 

 

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