April 23, 2017

The West is an express train in increasing danger of going off the rails

priyedarshi jetli Apr 22, 2017

I am afraid this is standard stuff I have heard before more or less the way you are putting it. You are not realizing that you are begging the question. Whatever you say about the cosmic consciousness and its being the first cause or final cause of thought and perhaps everything else, could be said of something else like prime matter or strings or spanda or a host of other things. What you are claiming is pure dogma. You need to demonstrate why the conjectiure of a cosmic consciousness as the final cause is an inference to the best explanation. Your stating it and restating it does not make it a reality, I am afraid.

What is the meaning of your statement "if there was not consciousness to begin with, neither there will be our existence.?' How do you support such a statement? You say it follows from what you have said above. I don't see how it follows at all. I could say that if there was not our existence, neither would there be consciousness. But I would not say that either because I have no idea what 'consciousness' the way you are using the word means or is. For me, 'consciousness' is the ordinary usage as a doctor would use, it is the proper functioning of the body.

Surely if parents did not exist then I would not have existed. This is obvious to me. But if there was no consciousness then I would not exist does not make any sense to me.

Further, you make your cosmic consciousness beyond being knowable, then how can you say that there is any such thing to begin with any more than the existence of unicorns or God which are unknowable? Furthermore, is this statement 'cosmic consciousness is not knowable' itself knowable or not. I hope you see the paradox. If it is knowable you will have to provide an explanation of how you know it  If it is not knowable then your initial statement is unsupported, a mere arbitrary conjecture.


Whit Blauvelt Apr 23, 2017
Hi Vinod,

Thank you for this detailed delineation. Certainly there are some in the West who hold that consciousness somehow emerges from the blind clash of symbols, that it is nothing but the workings of language, whether public languages or a somehow innate language of thought.

The identification with language serves social purposes. We want people to mean what they say, and to be trusted for their word. If someone has been to territory we haven't seen, and sells us a guide book, we want the book to be accurate enough that our plans based on it will succeed. So we turn to guide books about consciousness, where the East has produced a broader assortment than the West, historically, hoping to find maps to practical paths we can follow to gain rewards.

In the West, particularly in America, we have a strong pragmatic streak. We also have a tradition of exploration of the world -- the early European immigrants to America were those who self-selected to be explorers. On the West Coast of America, the explorers of the physical world met the wisdom of the East arriving over the Pacific, particularly the influences of Yogananda, Krishnamurti, the San Francisco and Los Angeles Zen Centers, Gary Snyder, Esalen ... and those traditions continue.

Being in New England, a region better known for its pragmatism, rather than among our West Coast citizens with their pursuits on the horizons of wilderness and consciousness, my concern is most with what practical lessons can be learned and shared broadly enough to improve our world's future course. From a pragmatic point of view, I want people to still strive to be true to our words. Yet I'm in a nation which recently elected a leader who is as far from that ideal as possible. His consciousness, such as it is, does not bind his thoughts to objective truth.

On the one hand, I agree with you, Vinod, that consciousness is separable from the thoughts that arise. On the other, is it not important that we bind our consciousness to our thoughts, in order to make those thoughts as true as we can, so that we are good for our word with each other, and put out trustworthy guide books for those who follow us to such places as we have

I understand the desire to bliss out; and suspect the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's people have something real in their claim that more meditators means a better society. Yet, despite the increasing Eastern influences in the West in regards especially to consciousness, the West is an express train in increasing danger of going off the rails. We need both better consciousness and better thinking. I can't help but think that the two, although not the same thing -- as you say -- benefit when they work well together.

So if the goal is, rather than separating consciousness from thought for the sake of bliss, the melding them together for the sake of practical and expressable truth, what do the Eastern wisdom traditions advise?


"Atheism" completely misses this point of view. It borrows the critique of Biblical God & applies it everywhere. Pretty ridiculous in India. https://t.co/n13tyfyS0V
Who cares about the prime mover ? It is just a hypothesis, having no relevance to my life. I care about my conscious experience.
There is no proof that time is linear. If you assume that to be the case, you need a prime mover. Otherwise, you don't need it.
Meaning is ultimately derived from human experience. Idiots do not experience a cognitive state and say that such a state does not exist.
It is also very typical of the arrogant colonial mindset to claim that words and metaphors in other cultures and languages are "gibberish".
Yes. Morons don't see that "cow" has the same etymological root as "gaia". Obvious in Sanskrit. Hence the sacredness
Tagore says that any truth that we possess is ultimately a human truth.
The truth may be glimpsed only partially & in rare moments of clarity.  But if it is not accessible to human consciousness, it is not truth.
Why not "sign" instead of "sine"? :) Sinus (pocket) was a funny mistranslation from Arabic Jiba/Jya, a term borrowed from Sanskrit (chord). https://t.co/RnvNyztvox
If a boulder is falling on my head, I have to calculate how it falls to escape it. Physics is useful. But let's separate dogma from useful. :)
Most of the work that theoretical physicists do is just nitpicking philosophy with no experimental validation. :) It is math cosplay.
We can extend this argument to within the human brain. One may lose the cauliflower of the cortex, but one cannot live without the brainstem

Savitri Era: Artistes are always alone, be loyal to your idea https://t.co/2kjsX609NT @SACACIndia @Ut_patang

April 20, 2017

James wasn’t able to interpret Hegel very well

Robert Wallace
Thank you for reminding me of this wonderful essay of James’s, which I had on my shelf and had read parts of but had completely forgotten. It is certainly highly stimulating as well as, in James’s usual style, highly entertaining. 

I too have a lot of respect for James, but he wasn’t able to interpret Hegel very well because he doesn’t read Hegel’s Logic as a whole or as part of his Encyclopedic “system,” and consequently he doesn’t recognize the background in moral psychology and freedom that’s at work in it. These problems are evident for example in his brief discussion of true and false infinity. He describes infinity as a “mathematical question” (p. 285). But as I mentioned to you earlier, infinity for Hegel is primarily a qualitative issue, and thus is not a topic in mathematics. The chapter is called “Quality,” as opposed to the subsequent “Quantity,” which James doesn’t mention. James’s whole discussion of being, nothing, becoming, and the “other,” fails to focus on the issue, with which Hegel is concerned throughout this development, of how a quality could be determinate Dasein (how it could be being rather than nothing). Hegel isn’t just throwing these concepts around; he is developing an issue, which James hasn’t identified. 

Qualitative “infinity,” when Hegel arrives at it, is a proposed solution to the problem of how a quality can be determinate in itself (an sich) as opposed to through its relation to others (füreinanderes). Hegel explicitly associates infinity with “freedom,” i.e. with self-determination. “False” or spurious infinity is opposed to the finite as its opposite—and is therefore itself finite, limited by its opposition to the finite—just as Plato sometimes (but not always!) describes the soul as flatly opposed to the body, and as conventional theology describes God as opposed to (a separate being from, and thus limited by) the world. True infinity on the other hand is the finite’s surpassing of itself, and therefore isn’t limited by its relation to the finite. In regard to religion, True Infinity is Hegel’s account of what true “transcendence” would be. (Would you agree that God should be in some significant way “transcendent”?) 

I discuss most of this in detail in chapter 3 of my _Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality, Freedom, and God_ (2005). Hegel’s account of “Contradiction,” in the subsequent Doctrine of Essence, has to be understood as a development of True Infinity, as I explain in chapter 4. Finite realities such as you and me are ”contradictory” in that we aim to be what we are virtue of ourselves alone, but (like finite Qualities) we fail in this effort. Hence Hegel’s remarks about “life” as “contradictory.” To take his discussion of “contradiction” at face value as a discussion of the relation between predicates or propositions, as James does, is to miss entirely how it fits into the Logic as a whole.  

I haven’t deciphered all of the connections in Hegel’s Logic, but enough of them to get a pretty good sense of where critiques like James’s miss Hegel’s point. 

Best, Bob 

Bruno Marchal 
Weak materialism might even come from the millions years of brain evolution. It is a simplifying (at the least) hypothesis, very handful to not confuse the prey and the predator, which can make the difference in the "eat or be eaten" game of life.

I am interested in theology/metaphysics, and Aristotle makes clear that he believes that Plato is wrong *on that subject*. Plato is among the first to publicly and explicitly rise doubt on weak-materialism (with the use of another terminology). It is comparable with some of the idealist of the Madyamika school (les idéalistes de l'écome du milieu) researchers, or perhaps Vasubandhu (in his five treatise on only spirit). Pythagorus and Parmenides were less explicit, but can be said to have open that path in occident, notably by inspiring the immaterialist with the rational but immaterial realm of mathematics. Note that Pythagorus brrows his ideas from its travel in orient.

The mathematical reality is not a formal cause only. Most of mathematics is not formal, and some part of it can be proved to be necessarily informal. Notably, it can be proved that if we accept the definition of the knower (or soul) by Theaetetus, and accept to model it by Gödel's provavbility predicate, then machine have a soul which already know that it is not formally definable at all. That is not obvious and use the work of some logicians like Tarski, Kaplan, Montague.

Note also I have a great admiration for Aristotle, and that being refuted (in some theories) does not mean being wrong, and is anyway an honor, as it means he works with the scientific attitude (to be enough clear to be made wrong relatively to some theory). Apology if I looked ad hominem with respect to him. Alas, perhaps due to the fact he was so great, many take his notion of primary matter for granted, especially that it is more intuitive and reassuring than idealism and web of dreams.

Aristotle was not a materialist indeed, but he was the first explicit weak-materialist in theology/metaphysics, and like you say, that is still the current paradigm, which in my opinion is the main roots of the absence of solution of the mind-body problem. Yet, all I say is that such a weak-materialist, non immaterialist, paradigm is in contradiction with Digital Mechanism. It is not obvious, and the result of many years of work. We cannot use validly the speculative existence of primary matter to select some special computations in the set of all computations already realized in arithmetic, without negating the mechanist hypothesis. It is important because many (at least in Occident) believes in both weak-materialism *and* in mechanism. Then, the most rigorous tend  to just eliminate soul and consciousness as spurious notion, to save their weak-materialist assumption. 

It is simpler to explain the illusion of piece of matter to a consciousness, than to explain the illusion of a consciousness to a piece of matter.

Mechanism might be false. The interest relies in that it gives a precise theology which contains a precise (but immaterial) physics so that we can test the hypothesis, and refute it, or perhaps improve it. Up to now, it is close to Plato, Ibn Arabi, Vasubandhu and other idealist or immaterialist.



Consciousness studies is not a field of study for physics perhaps for a good reason. Because it deals with a lot of pseudo problems. After reading what you have written I remain precarious about the hard problem. It accepts a division of subjective experience from objective experience I presuppose. Or 'subjective' is redundant here as experience is just experience of a subject. Partitioning experiences into subjective and non subjective seems arbitrary. Why not partition experiences of vision from hearing and so on? These would also not make sense because experiences are multi-modal sesory inputs leading to certain outputs. I just don't understand what are the elements of experience.


Serge Patlavskiy
My explanation is that to study any object scientifically, the methods (and models) we use must correspond to the nature of the object of study. The methods/models used by Physics are not good for studying consciousness-related phenomenal. These methods/models do not take into consideration the activity of informational factor, and cannot deal with a whole complex system reducing its overall entropic state. A living organism is an example of such a complex system.

Yes, any experience is subjective and the word "subjective" is redundant. As to "objective experience", it is not possible in principle, because every person gets a model of the outer world (or the model of Noumenal Reality) due to activity of own personal consciousness. We -- the group of people -- may only talk about "comprehensive experience" we may receive after solving the problem of intersubjectivity.

It is ill advised to part the physical (sensory) signals receiving from different sense organs because consciousness always deals with cumulative sensory input. In so doing, in case one sense organ deteriorates, the other sense organ(s) exacerbates. The rest of lacking sensory data our consciousness compensates itself by processing the formerly memorized elements of experience (or the elements of knowledge). So, we may be looking at the bare foots behind the curtain in the bathroom, and "seeing" a girl having a shower. However, it may, in fact, be a barefooted plumber repairing a water tap. :-)

No, the very presence of sensory input does not lead to the new elements of experience. The new element of experience (or new knowledge, etc.) is a result of the activity of consciousness. Sometimes, we may be looking at something but seeing nothing. I mean that the physical (sensory) signals sent by sense organs to the brain are available, but our consciousness refuses to process them and transform them into new elements of experience.

However, sometimes, when there are no physical (sensory) signals sent to the brain (to wit, our sense organs do not function), our consciousness may process the formerly memorized elements of experience and create new element of experience, and we call it "illusion", or "imagination", etc.

Experience/knowledge is not continuous -- it is always in a form of some whole distinct pattern. Therefore, when I say "the element of experience" or "the element of knowledge", I mean one fully accomplished act of creation of a new experience/knowledge. Using English, we cannot say "two knowledges", but we may say "two elements of knowledge".

Thanks for your reply,
Serge Patlavskiy

Diego Lucio Rapoport
Dear B M Puri

Thanks for your comments.
Let us start with the claim of the phenomenological dimension two of the Klein Bottle as the basic representation of the somatosensory and visual modes. It is a structure that embodies the relation between the surface and the brain but that is recursively represented as a bauplan of the body surfacelike recursively. [...]

I realized that i forgot to relate to the topic of time. Time as an operator and an ontological loci rather than a parameter is crucial to the ontoepistemology that i elaborated and continue working at. As already stated, you may do the reading of this. Any queries following it, i will do my best to find the time for answering to them and would certainly appreciate them with the provisos already stated.

The Coming

Before the 24th April Darshan it may be helpful to get into the mood and atmosphere of the early days of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival and the earthly lila of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Often this is the simplest way to open one’s heart to Their Love and Compassion and Grace.

https://www.heraldgoa.in › Letters › Lett...
6 hours ago - The Mother (Sri Aurobindo's spiritual collaborator) had said, "Substitute the spirit of rivalry and competition by the good-will of collaboration and mutual understanding." We need to observe with our children how ...

claudearpi.blogspot.com › 2017/04 › fra...
20 hours ago - There is even a candidate, François Asselineau, president of the Union populaire républicaine (Popular Republican Union) who speaks of Sri Aurobindo; unfortunately he does not seem to have grasped the integral ...


April 19, 2017

Hegel’s view seems to be in keeping with Clement, Athanasius, and Augustine

Robert Wallace
I don’t agree that Aristotle is a materialist. Matter is only one of the “four causes” that Aristotle unfolds in his Physics and Metaphysics. Essence, in his view, is form more than matter. And he has a theology that resembles Plato’s. (A good recent book on this Lloyd Gerson’s Aristotle and Other Platonists.)

Materialism was represented in ancient Greece by Democritus and Epicurus, and later by the Stoics, not by the Aristotelians. 

Hegel had high regard for Aristotle, primarily because he thought Aristotle had preserved what was indispensable in Plato and Greek thought in general. I focus on Plato as a way of bringing out this indispensable truth, which tends to get lost in technicalities in Aristotle’s voluminous writings.

Best, Bob W

However, Augustine doesn’t say “knows,” but “is.” There is every reason to think that he is echoing Plotinus (by whom he was inspired, on his route to becoming a Christian), who wrote that the divine One is “in” us (not “knows” us), and clearly intended this as an important fact about us. 

Well, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I have a different view of Hegel from Russell’s. Hegel does not use the word “understanding” as a term of contempt; only as a term for a limited and therefore insufficient version of Reason. He has complete respect for the Understanding; he simply points out its limits. So when Hegel “pretends” that the world is rational and can therefore be understood, he doesn’t mean that what he calls the “understanding” can understand it. Russell’s point seems to be primarily a verbal one.

I have indicated why Hegel’s view seems to me to be in keeping with Clement, Athanasius, and Augustine.

When you say that “there is no real warrant in the Bible for the claim that God is omnipotent,” I would sympathize insofar as I think “omnipotence” as it’s usually understood involves a poor way of understanding God’s “power.” 

Would you be inclined also to object to the notion that God is “infinite”? 

Best, Bob 

Dear Vinod/Ram/Joe:
” Will it also not mean that all the quantum uncertainty of the quantum world is an apparent one as arising out from the observation ?”


If the relativistic inner workings of quantum mechanics are mathematically formulated correctly, the apparent quantum uncertainty can be shown to be arising from measurements in fixed (Newtonian) space-time while the quantum phenomena occurs in relativistic or dilated space-time. The root cause of uncertainty is the mismatch between the two space-times of classical measuring instruments (observer) vs quantum entity. This has been derived mathematically in my book – “The Hidden Factor”.

Best Regards
Avtar Singh, Sc.D.
Alumni, MIT
Author of "The Hidden Factor - An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology, and Universal Reality"


I really do not understand what classical and non-classical logics and their foundations have to do with any of this. non-classical logics are generally extensions of classical logic to begin with so the foundations remain the same. But what I am not sure about is what you mean by 'foundations of logic.' As a historian of logic, to me, the foundations of logic are the rules of inference. Is there anything going on in quantum mechanics that defies the rules of inference? From what I understand is that in quantum uncertainty a classical law of probability is denied, but this is not a denial of any rule of inference of logic.



Yes, I guess we have quite opposed views of what 'logic' is. 'Logic' as an ordinary word has many uses and one cannot discard any use of the word. But my concern is with the history of logic, particularly of formal logic from Aristotle to Leibniz to Boole and Frege and others. When they developed their logics they bracketed, ontology, metaphysics and epistemology. I never claimed that logic has anything to do with epistemology either. Logic is basically the structure of inferential or computational thinking, which is a major component of the human mind, but surely not the only one. To expect to develop ontology or metaphysics or science out of logic is unrealistic. When Leibniz envisioned a universal logic he was after a universal language in which we could understand everything. It does not mean that physics is reduced to logic or that we can develop physics out of logic. 

I also do not know what you mean by dual logic or non dual logic. What does it have to do with logic as a science of inferences?


As you may know, I hold that consciousness can function in its three regimes: sub-conscious regime, normal everyday regime, and ultra-conscious regime. So, we may rely only on knowledge we get when our consciousness functions in its normal everyday regime. But, it is standing to reason that to study own consciousness presumes to study it as functioning in its all three regimes. 

Then, if I want to study my consciousness-as-an-object-of-study while it functions in its ultra-conscious regime (for example, I want to study some altered states of my consciousness), at the same time this same my consciousness-as-a-tool-of-study can no longer keep functioning in its normal everyday regime. In result, I get the indeterminacy in received research data. In so doing, the more my consciousness-as-an-object-of-study "goes" into ultra-conscious (or sub-conscious) spectrum of its functioning, the more indeterminacy in research data I will get. That is why the effect of the "veils of illusion" appears while meditating.

The Principle of Cognitive Indeterminacy is a serious (if not to say unbridgeable) problem on a way of studying consciousness when applying a first-person approach, but I have found a solution to this problem.

Serge Patlavskiy

As for the concept:  the Klein bottle is related to the four ontological loci: objects, image as objects, imaginal-process, and time.  
Concepts appear to be generated by a similar process of reflection about Other as just described at the most elementary stage of introducing the torsion geometry and its Klein bottle logic  

Either object, image-as-object, imagination-as-process and time  become signified  by the concept produced as a relation between them. But in no case the concept is independent of this relation which is  imaginal, and as such sustained by the four ontoloical loci of the Klein Bottle. However, as a representation, it manifests in a myriad of material (and cognitive) structures !

Would this be correct, the Klein Bottle logic does provide a locus  for concept. As for "essence", this impresses me as the noumenal being categorized in terms of Inside and Outside, i.e. dual logic again. Perhaps i am being overtly rash (and rushing at that). My apologies for my ignorance. 

 (But, for the KBL and HKBLs the implicit interiority that essence elicits is phenomenological, rather than explainable and conceiveable as a given, an apriori.) I withdraw at this point.

Thank you for your comments.



Edwards, Jonathan
Dear Vinod,
I see no reason why the absence of non-locality should be relevant to the mathematics or logic of the dynamics. It is simply a matter of all the mathematical relations operating locally, or if you like, no information travelling faster than the rate of propagation required by the parameters of the system.

‘Wave’ and ‘particle’ are lay metaphors that really have nothing much to do with quantum physics. The physics describes modes of excitation or action which are indivisible and therefore by definition UNENVISAGEABLE in familiar terms, because to envisage is always to break down into components. No waves or particles go through slits. Causal connections occur in domains of fields according to the math and the reality of such connections is defined by the potential to determine content of experience for an observer. No stuff and no wavy stuff either.

But the uncertainty of the quantum world is a priori necessary, as understood by Leibniz. If you have a set of rules of dynamic disposition that are continuous and symmetrical in a 3 dimensional space, as both classical and quantum dynamic rules are, and those rules are instantiated by discrete indivisible events or quantised modes, then you have to have randomness. As far as I can see the reason is remarkably simple. In order for the overall dynamic to be symmetrical, you have to ‘share out’ events fairly. And you cannot do that by dividing all the events up because they are indivisible, so you have to have a rule that on average shares fairly but for any given instance adds a new event in a random direction. The only alternative is to have a systematic rule of sequence of events progressing across all directions. However, this creates an infinite mathematical regress so can never be accomplished with truly continuous and symmetrical rules. So, as Leibniz says, the rules of nature will lay down what events are possible, but there will be scope within those rules for random variations. You cannot get the maths to work otherwise as far as I can see.

There is no defined boundary between quantum and classical scales because the distinction is not one of scale at all. A photon going from one galaxy to another has a domain of billions of cubic light years - no way is that small. In fact the photon has no size, only its domain. A nucleus is an aggregate of Fermions, and so does have size (a left side and a right side at different places) and therefore has largely classical dynamics - despite being tiny. Scale is irrelevant. The difference between classical and quantum is again very simple and told us by Leibniz. It is the difference between descriptions of aggregates, which instantiate ‘efficient causes’ and individual indivisibles, which instantiate a form of ‘final cause’. That is why the physics of light has always seemed like quantum theory, right back to Huygens and Newton, because light does not aggregate. It is why indivisible modes of action of large structures, such as the vibration of a violin string, are quantum level phenomena with their own quantum numbers.

Randomness is only required for individual dynamic units. Once you have an aggregate everything is shared fairly and so fits the continuous equations more or less smoothly.

So quantum uncertainty is a priori necessary, nothing to do with ‘measuring devices’.


Dear Jo

I think that is a brilliant argument for inherent randomness in QM.  Where can I find it in Leibniz's works? 

From what I remember hearing about Bohm's interpretation of QM, he at first included a randomising potential but removed it later thinking it was not needed.  He was wrong!  As you have demonstrated, it is essential.

For me,  whatever the equations of quantum field theory describe,  that entity is determining the qualia experienced by particular particles. And the resultant experiences are determining how likely each such particle is to be found at each position in spacetime (which really means the subjective location of its effect within the experience of other particles -another view I think Leibniz would support).

The reason for the randomness is because each one of these particles is free to choose any one of these possible positions at each moment in its private time experience.  And the reason its QFT-determined qualia fixes its probability of being found in a particular small volume element in space at a given time is because each particle does not think or plan where to go. It just freely chooses. And it is consequently twice as likely to choose region A over a similarly-sized region B if the qualia in region A are twice as salient/intense as those in region B.

That is the bare essence of my theory of Position Selecting Interactionism (PSI), to which the explanation for consciousness contained in my book THE BLIND MINDMAKER very clearly leads.  It is as far as I can see the only way of explaining all the facts about human experience that does not invoke any functionalism or other supernatural forces. Since functionalism is totally indefensible in the light of what science has revealed, I am convinced PSI is the correct hypothesis.

Although it would entail some highly complex neurobiology,  I do not think that is any reason to doubt the hypothesis. After all, nature had 100 billion neurons to play with in every human brain. I have absolutely no doubt she can create a pattern of potentials that we experience as different types of qualia (due to differences in the particles that give rise to it rather than in the functions it is adapted for), and that the patterns of 'probability' formed by these potentials are isomorphic with those of the appropriate qualia in our subjective space.

My book identifies selection pressures that would result in just such a pattern of potentials under the mere assumption that it is possible for something in the brain to cause a particle to exist in a spread-out quantum state and then measure its position through random interactions with regularly spaced detectors that are each capable of sending their output signal to a different part of the brain.

However implausible that may seem,  it doesn't require any functionalism - a principle that we have absolutely no scientific reason to believe in. Moreover,  the use of quantum tunneling in our sense of smell and the impressively long-lasting entanglement between electrons in a robin's eye shows that nature can generate the sort of spread-out particle state that my theory requires even within warm and wet biological structures.

Best wishes, 

(C.  S.  Morrison,  author of The Blind Mindmaker: Explaining Consciousness without Magic or Misrepresentation)

Yoga and Indian Psychology
MV Govindaswamy - 2017
... Inauguration Invited Talks Topic 10.00 - 10.45 AM & 15 minutes Discussion Dr. Matthijs Cornelissen, International Center of Education , Aurobindo Ashram , Pondicherry. “Vidya and Avidya”: How the cognitive sciences and the Indian tradition can help each other. ...

The New Indian Express-13-Apr-2017
BENGALURU: I have said that I wish to write of Theosophy in no strain of unreasoning hostility or spirit of vulgar ridicule; yet these essays will be found to be ...

11 hours ago - He was also what we might call an “evolutionary mystic” and kindred soul to other contemporaries of his time like Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo in that he saw the physical world as an outward process of ...

Daily Mail-7 hours ago
The original founders were Sri Aurobindo and his younger brother, Barindra. Both, along with 47 other accused stood trial for the Alipur bomb blast case or the ...

April 17, 2017

My life experience has led me to philosophical mysticism

Julian Baggini interviewed physicist Lawrence Krauss in the Guardian on “Philosophy v. Science: Which Can Answer the Big Questions of Life”.

Baggini suggested that "We have no reason to think that one day science 
will make it unnecessary for us to ask 'why' questions about human action to which things such as love will be the answer." He asked Krauss: "Or is that romantic tosh? Is there no reason why you're bothering to have this conversation, that you are doing it simply because your brain works...
In September, 2010, my wife Kathy and I were in Australia for a conference on “Hegel and Religion” at the University of Sydney. Our friend Sebastian Job sent my paper for the conference to Alan Saunders, the host of the “Philosophers’ Zone,” which is a regular program on ABC Australian National Radio. While we were in Sydney, Saunders taped two interviews with me about Hegel. He’s a skillful interviewer, so the interviews will give listeners an idea both of the variety of opinions that there are...
An ambitious and interesting series of online interviews is taking place currently under the rubric, “Beyond Awakening.” Yesterday my wife Kathy and I heard the host, Terry Patten, interview Jean Houston, the influential writer on human potential and founder of “The Mystery School.” Jean Houston spoke inspiringly about the current widespread interest in spirituality of all kinds, about various stages of mysticism, and about the increasingly active role that women are playing, worldwide, in...
Last weekend (Oct. 22-25, 2009), my wife Kathy and I participated in the first international Science and Nonduality Conference, in San Rafael, California. “Nonduality” is an English word deriving from the Sanskrit “advaita,” which is the distinctive concept of the most influential school of spiritual thought and practice in India, Advaita Vedanta. Originating with Shankara and others around 800AD, Advaita’s central doctrine is that Brahman (or “God”) and Atman (“Soul”) are not, as we might...
Prof. Robert R. Williams has done me the honor of writing an extended review (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Jan. 14, 2006) of my Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality, Freedom, and God (Cambridge University Press, 2005). I’m grateful for the positive comments that Prof. Williams made about my book (“a difficult but important book … original … provocative, challenging”). In what follows, I deal with many of the objections that Prof. Williams raised against aspects of the book’s argument. He raised...
A philosopher named Simon Critchley has an essay about Obama, entitled “The American Void,” in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine. It’s a classic example of the despair, together with incomprehension of ordinary human experience, that are characteristic of a generation of academics who have immersed themselves in Marx, Nietzsche, and their intellectual descendants.

Critchley says that in promoting the idea of a common good, Obama “dreams of a society without power relations, without the...
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour.
(Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”)

People think of the Romantic Poets, together with the German Idealists and the American Transcendentalists, as pursuing an “impossible dream.” There’s support for this judgment in the fact that two leading Romantics, Wordsworth and Coleridge, recanted their youthful views, and others died young and in apparent disarray...
I’ve become increasingly conscious, over the last decade, of the difficulty of combining an interest in politics with an interest in spiritual connectedness. As you can see from my postings, I’m committed to spiritual connection as my primary goal. I think I’ve made it clear that this isn’t just a theory, it’s by far the most rewarding practice, the most rewarding experience that I’ve had in my life. I can see no point in “compromising” it. Sure, I need to make a living and finish raising my...
...For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
How does Love relate to the “deepest kind of thinking” that I described in the previous posting, which leads to inner freedom (the ability to “be oneself”)? Many people suppose that they could have complete personal freedom, inner as well as outer, without treating other people in any particular way. Without necessarily treating them morally (for example), and certainly without loving them. We suppose that tyrants and other villains can be criticized for their immoral actions, but not...

Some of my heroes are Plato, Jelaluddin Rumi, G.W.F. Hegel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Virginia Woolf. These are people who had an inner life that they took pains to share with the world. In fact, they help us to see that our innermost world is inherently shared, so that we’re connected with each other in a profound way that we’re often not aware of. This discovery is what love, God, and ecstasy are about.

Together with a bunch of scholarly articles, I’m the author of
Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality, Freedom and God (Cambridge University Press, 2005), which you can purchase from the publisher, from Amazon.com, etc. This is my account of G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophical mysticism. To sample it, you can download a chapter or more from my “Writings” page. My “Manifesto for Philosophical Mysticism,” on this site, gives an overview of what I think it’s all about. The page on “Internet Resources for Philosophical Mysticism, and Some of Its Opponents” is an essay on God and transcendence and what I think I’ve learned from Plato and Hegel about these subjects (with many links to other people’s sites). Other introductory discussions are in my blog, and in the sermon on Emerson and the chapter from my second book, The God of Love, Science, and Inner Freedom, both in Writings

For details of my academic activities, you can download my c.v. from the Writings page, below. http://www.robertmwallace.com/Site/About_Me.html