Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘Debashish Banerji’

Individuation, Cosmogenesis and Technology: Sri Aurobindo and Gilbert Simondon

Debashish Banerji

Abstract: The turn of the 19th/20th centuries saw a number of philosophers of conscious evolution emerging from different cultural backgrounds. This paper argues that this phenomenon, which has sometimes been seen as a philosophical consequence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory in the life sciences, is more importantly related to the enhanced scope of human subjectivity made possible by technology at this time. Yet technology remains the “unthought within the thought” of its times, an ambiguous presence, derided for its alienating effects and praised for its enhancement of human capacities and comforts. A later generation of thinkers, belonging to the post World War II era renews the thought of conscious evolution, now in engagement with new technologies of a planet spanning scope. This essay considers the ideas of these two generations of thinkers, focusing on Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) from the earlier generation and Gilbert Simondon (1924-1989) from the more recent era, questioning the consequences of contemporary technology in their thoughts, goals and practices. In developing the historical continuity of ideas, it tracks the question of technology from the earlier to the later generation, highlighting the understanding of both its promise and its ills and engaging with it the possibilities of conscious evolution.

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Traditional Roots of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga

Debashish Banerji

Abstract: Sri Aurobindo’s teachings on Integral Yoga are couched in a universal and impersonal language, and could be considered an early input to contemporary transpersonal psychology. Yet, while he was writing his principal works in English, he was also keeping a diary of his experiences and understandings in a personal patois that hybridized English and Sanskrit. A hermeneutic perusal of this text, The Record of Yoga, published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, uncovers the semiotics of Indian yoga traditions, showing how Sri Aurobindo utilizes and furthers their discourse, and where he introduces new elements which may be considered “modern.” This essay takes a psycho-biographical approach to the life of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), tracing his encounters with texts and situated traditions of Indian yoga from the period of his return to India from England (1893) till his settlement in Pondicherry (1910), to excavate the traditional roots and modern ruptures of his own yoga practice, which goes to inform his non-sectarian yoga teachings.

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Structure and Process: Integral Philosophy and the Triple Transformation

Debashish Banerji

Abstract: This paper looks at the ongoing debate between perennialism and pluralism in religious studies and considers the category of the integral, as described by Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) in the context of this debate. After exploring the case for perennialism vis-à-vis pluralism, it compares the contemporary taxonomy of a perennial core to mystical experience developed by Robert K. C. Forman with the idea of the “triple transformation” developed by Sri Aurobindo as a way to the realization of an “integral consciousness.” Through this consideration, it indicates the aporetic nature of an integralism which can simultaneously uphold the concerns of perennialism and pluralism non-reductively. Such an aporetic goal challenges the epistemological assumptions of the modern knowledge academy and is shown to make sense only as an ever deferred processual ontology as against the knowledge academy’s telos of a totalistic structuralism.

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