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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blogs and Bloggers

Since a long time (see this post) I am looking for a blog which deals (at least also) with Indian philosophy, that is, not just with texts, but also with contents.
Hence, I started writing a list of the blogs I like more or at least I regularly read. Surprisingly enough, there are hardly blogs written by women among them. I like Birgit Kellner's homepage, but her website is not really a blog (since it is very rarely updated, and the author shows no interest in initiating a relationship with her readers). Evgenija Detsniskaya's one is possibly also interesting, but my Russian is not fluent enough to read it. The situation does not improve in a significant way if I include all blogs I read (which are mainly blogs on Philosophy, Theology, Applied Philosophy, Psychology). Lastly, there is Enrica Garzilli's one, which is quite interesting, but most of all for scholars of Political Sciences and also did not develop into a platform for sharing ideas and getting in touch.
However, outside this sphere, there are plenty of women bloggers. I wonder whether Indian (and Western) philosophy are usually neglected by them because of the lack of systematic efforts to the problem of bridging the gap between theory and life (sorry for the oversimplification). I do not share the idea that women think in a biologically different way, but they historically developed different interests and skills and it would be a pity not to take them into account, since philosophy can only develop through further stimuli –hence, especially external and non-conventional ones.


Anonymous said...

What does it mean that I did not "develop a platform to share ideas and get in touch"? When people comment I answer them.

Re getting in touch, I receive far more mails than I would like to get from people who ask for just anything. Including Skt translations!

Good luck,

Enrica Garzilli

ps even colleagues

elisa freschi said...

Dear Enrica,
I did not want to sound dismissive. I indeed like a lot your work, especially insofar as it bridges Classical South Asian studies and contemporary ones, "Indology" and social/political concerns. I wish I could be able to do something in this direction myself (by the way, I read avidly both the Asiatica journals).
I only noticed that your blog is more a "notice board" (a very interesting one, by the way) than a dialogue-tool. There is nothing wrong with that –I just wrote that it is difficult to find blogs of the latter type among scholars of South Asia and, even more so, among women scholars of South Asia. Why?

michael reidy said...

That blog is here. I look in occasionally and am impressed by your scholarship. My chief interest on the Indian side is Advaita Vedanta which I read in translation and I have been encouraged by finding in seasoned Indian Philosophy Professors who have read Sanskrit all their lives, similar positions to those that I have arrived at independently. In a way it is more difficult for them in that they had to pass through the echo chamber of the ancient commentators. They seem pinned by thousands of tiny threads like Gulliver. The other thing that bemuses and befuddles them is the deficient understanding of analogy that is general in Indian thought. In the West we have the heritage of Aristotle and the Mediaevals, Islamic and Christian as a compass.

In a previous post you raised the issue of yogic perception or a direct and immediate non-discursive perception of truth. Connaturality is the analogous concept in Aristotle but the special training of Raja and Ashtanga Yoga can advance the onset of this state. The mind that is slowed down by meditation can more readily penetrate the condensed wisdom of ancient texts.

elisa freschi said...

Michael, thanks a lot for this encouraging post.
I can figure out the situation you describe, but I don't think that most Sanskritists (me included) are just "pinned by thousands of tiny threads" consisting in the ancient commentators. Rather, we lack a philosophical understanding of what we are reading because we are not philosophically trained. Rather, we focus on textual criticism alone or, as far as I can judge, in the US, on a religious/geographical approach. We just don't read/ponder enough Philosophy.
*Therefore*, I am not sure I understood what you mean. Do you mean that there is not enough elaboration on analogy (upamāna)? If so, please consider that part of the problem lies on the Indian side, too. Indian analogy is just too good to be true and, in fact, it is scarcely employed. I'll come back to yogipratyakṣa.

elisa freschi said...

back to the yogipratyakṣa theme.
Michael, I did not study Aristotle in English and cannot understand what you refer to. Could you tell me if you mean something like "connatural knowledge" or you have a precise (Greek) term in mind?
Beside that, the idea of yogipratyakṣa is exactly that it happens after a long bhāvanā (meditation including visualisation). What the Indian sources do not mention (and you seem to imply) is that meditation on X could enhance the successive intellectual perception of Y.

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