Sunday, 18 April 2021

Satkaryavada, Sankara & Whitehead

 “This misapprehension is promoted by the neglect of the principle that, so far as the physical relations are concerned, contemporary events happen in causal independence of each other.” (Chap.II. sec.1 Process and Reality).

This might be what Plotinus called the Plenum or Sankara ‘The Field’ (B.G.Bh ch.13).  Here is the pure satkaryavada of the non-difference of cause and effect.  Here suspended in Being, as it were, is the totality of existence.  The sense of contingency as a rational demand is strong as I dwell on this profound insight of Whitehead’s.

Marc Pugliese’s interesting paper on Sankara and Whitehead stresses the immanence of the cause in the effect held by both of them.

Pugliese on Sankara and Whitehead

Monday, 12 April 2021

Tapaswiji Maharaj and Shivabalayogi

(repost from 2013)

 When Tapaswiji Maharaj met Shivabalayogi for the first time the yogi was 15 years of age and the elder sage 182. Despite the great disparity in age they hit it off but at their first meeting the younger was deep in samadhi and not available for mundane colloquy. Tapaswiji was an adept in the use of rejuvenating herbs and the esoteric branches of ayuravedic medicine combined with kaya kalpa. At the age of 90 he had undergone this course and become a new man. Previously at the age of 55 he had taken up sanyas after an interview with the last Mughal Emperor. The stories he could tell!

When he came back on another visit Shivabalayogi was in everyday consciousness mode
 but due to his long period of sitting in asana his legs had become fixed like the twisting
 of dried cooked spaghetti and he was forced to drag himself about. Using oils and
 massage Tapaswijmade him limber again. He related to him that he was bound 
to do him service as in a previous  incarnation Shivabalayogi had done him service
 during his tapas back in the day. ‘Now’, he said,
 ‘is there anything more I can do for you, to make you comfortable’.

- Well, said the youth, whom it would be recalled had undergone a great deal of
fhardship at  the hands of louts who at one point had thrown his body into the nearby 
canal whilst lost to  the world in samadhi. He sank to the bottom and then
 popped up again like a cork and back on the bank. After this they had
 let him alone.

- Well, there is one thing that is bothering me,that is a great distraction and an impediment
 to my meditation. There is a window at the back there with a loose catch and when the
 wind is in a certain quarter it rattles. Can you get it fixed?
- Done, said Tapaswiji.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Intensive Meditation Danger

 A teacher I encountered in India had large limestone slabs scattered around the ashram set into the ground like tombstones with short messages painted on to them.  On one of them was the short injunction: START EARLY, DRIVE SLOWLY, REACH SAFELY.  The self torture of Goenka style intensive
goenka risks harpers
 10 hours daily for 10 days meditation would not be recommended for the ordinary seeker.  Meditation there was for 10 minutes after evening hymn singing (Bajans)
The recommended way for the serious aspirant in the tradition of sadhana or spiritual practice in Hinduism is to find a spiritual master, a self-realised saint, and sit at his or her’s feet and allow divinity to guide you.  Just the Presence (darshan) is enough.

That Teacher would have endorsed the way of Bhakti (Devotion) for the vast majority of seekers and approve of the Penny Catechism:

Q: Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Trope in the 'Dictionary of Untranslatables'

 This may be the indispensable book.  I have said that poetry is what is lost in translation and that what cannot be translated is not philosophy.  Does dipping into this book cure me as I watch for semantic churning?  There, I have uttered a trope, but not a trope as philosophers know it.  In my naive way I see the polymorphic perversity of the development of it.  Tropein/to turn as in heliotrope, heliotropic, ‘entropy’ - en trope/ a transformation.  A figure of speech by an alteration captures our attention.  In philosophy our head is turned as we attend to a quality, an attribute, and generally instances.  This, in the charming French manner of the faintly invidious, is referred to as Anglo-Saxon philosophy.  Sweet the Anglo-Saxon primer.  Press that bulb 12 times, pull the cord  5 times and  you will chain out ‘quality bits’, ‘individualised forms’, ‘unit properties’, ‘particularised qualities’.  There is more, much more and are we to regret this trope on trope?

“Williams’s initiative, further extended by K. Campbell, is clearly unfortunate and all the more inexplicable in that the word “trope,” n English just as in French, refers to a figure of speech. But today it ould be impossible to go against this usage, given the currency of the expression in the philosophical literature.” (Alain de Libera on ‘Trope’)

My last point is pronunciation:  Is it trope/dope or trope/prop to rhyme.  The second is more Greek and correct by the S.C.R.  Both have possibilities as limerick stuff.

As a prop the book could be carried about with tassel-like post-it notes with question marks on them, ‘quite so’, ‘hmm but’, ‘moral idiot’ (Proust).  Flann O’Brien’s Buchhandlung service has advanced reader notes which might be appropriate but dangerous in the wrong hands.  ‘Dismal sciolism’ in red ink on the margins of a note on theory?  Tricky but not impossible.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Vaccine Repugnance

 Odd things are happening in  the discussion of moral repugnance in relation to the use of vaccines derived from abortion tissue.  The disanalogy which I mentioned before has been mentioned by a philosopher whose speciality is the crafting of complex thought experiments:

"The use of the cell-lines in itself is not innately morally evil (after all, it need not be wrong to transplant an organ from a murder victim).”

vaccine doubt

I hope that he means a murder done to provide an organ which outside China must be extremely rare.falun gong organs

An ordinary murder would not supply any organ probably even if the victim had signed an organ donor card or relatives were willing to allow harvesting.  Autopsy!

This occlusion of nous in one normally extremely punctilious might be caused by fear generated by extraordinary measures such as mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and lockdown. People are unsettled and extremely suggestible and forget that Covid mortality is low and mostly within the elderly co-morbid at an age in which life itself is co-morbidity.

Public Discourse has been promoting the moral licity of covid vaccines derived as they believe in the dim and distant from aborted tissue.   Are those cell lines really immortal or have they to be renewed or improved at long intervals?  Grisly harvesting goes on:

"Every month, Lishan Su receives a small test tube on ice from a company in California. In it is a piece of liver from a human fetus aborted at between 14 and 19 weeks of pregnancy.”  (from ‘Scientific American’ 12/9/15 - ‘The Truth about Fetal Tissue Research’ -


Willing the end requires willing the means if there is no other causal nexus  offered.

Richard Stith in dialogue with Melisa Moschella (Public Discourse article) argues that natural repugnance is a good indicator of moral licity.  What the good man thinks to be good is good was Aristotle’s position in the Nichomachean Ethics.  Repugnance felt by the general population is not reliable, a point which Moschella does not attend to when she offers the disgust felt at miscegenation in the past.

"But because these evils are in the past and are not perpetuated by the current use of HEK 293, moral repugnance at the vaccines themselves is misplaced. My answer would be the same if the cell line were derived from the tissue of someone killed in a Nazi concentration camp.” (Moschella)

No one is claiming that concentration camps continued at a controlled level might yield research useful to humanity.  Lishan Su continues to receive his grams of flesh because the majority believe that there is no other option which is not correct.

You can take the whole article as a exercise in professional casuistry or the occlusion of nous.  Worth a read anyway:

moral repugnance

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Epistocratic Duty

 The concern comes in waves all of the same form.  How are we to explain to the populist hordes the true nature of political reality?  Can we reach them with reasoned argument, persuade them that their fears of rigged elections are unfounded and that wearing a mask is a sovereign remedy against the animalcules that swarm.  It is a difficult duty but as epistocrats  we must accept it.  Low information and misinformation must be countered.  We owe it to our fellow citizens to put them right even though we get no thanks for it, nothing but abuse.

Higher Karenism of this sort is not difficult to counter.  Ignoring it induces complacency and the emollient streams of sweetness and light won’t cease.   My conservative solution is to find positions that we both can agree on.  Does setting fire to things and breaking windows really advance the cause of peace between our two great traditions?  Does the manifest opportunity for the commission of fraud incite fraud?  As in the good old days ought we not  leave our keys in the doors and dispense with hasps and staples ungainly symbols of lack of trust in the respect for private property.  These are serious questions demanding a serious response.   Growth will come in the spring nevertheless it is prudent to cover tiny carrot seeds with boards lest they be washed away.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

John Waters, Gemma O'Doherty, and the Bermuda Triangle of the High Court

 Cases brought to the High Court in Ireland run the risk of costs for the appellants which can be substantial. In cases where the matter to be decided on is deemed to be of public interest those costs are remitted.  John Waters (cf. Give Us Back the Bad Roads

bad roads) and Gemma O’Doherty brought a case questioning the legality of emergency provisions in relation to Covid.  The Wikipedia article on John Waters high court and his career sum up the result of this action:

"On 2 March 2021, the Irish Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Waters and Gemma O'Doherty of the High Court’s refusal to permit them to bring their challenge, and its award of costs of that hearing against them. Counsel for the state in the appeal argued that some of the applicants' submissions were Bermuda Triangle stuff."

All accounts of this result mention the Bermuda Triangle, and there is a generic quality to the reports as though all journalists, in the safety of their homes, were working from the report of a single intrepid member of the Fourth Estate.  Costs were awarded against Waters and O’Doherty.  Estimates put it at a five figure sum which is a severe range of financial pain.

What made John  and Gemma lose their bearings and challenge the world wide consensus that this virus was so supremely dangerous extraordinary measures needed to be taken?  Only one result was possible: disappearing off the radar.

In time this covidology will come to be seen as an amplified version of the Y2K problem that was going to cause massive disruption but didn’t.  The technocratic mind cannot abide uncertainty and wants no truck with negative capability.

"I had not a dispute but a disquisition with Dilke, upon various subjects; several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. (John Keats)

To live with risk is to live a human life.  It was a series of mutations that brought us from the big bang to now. Let’s get on with it. In fact we are getting on with it and doing up a 70‘s bungalow that our son has bought.  New plumbing, wiring, stoves, tiling and no shortage of tradesmen to do the work since the construction sites are closed down.  Don’t tell the government.