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Responses 3

[These writings were originally posted on a well-known philosophy forum, responses to someone in academia. As the forum rejected the last post I sent, I am reposting the whole series here, including the rejected post.]

2012-08-19 (Original posting date)


Thank you for your reply.

“But, I am not sure about the natural existence of “one’s own traditions” (OOT).”

I suppose that would depend on the degree to which ‘consciousness’ and its products can be considered as falling within the scope of the ‘natural’.
Like ‘human’, the word ‘nature’ is a Latin term, a translation of the Greek concept, physis.
And traditions of philosophy are emergences like any other.

“This is all the more so, when the OOT is mediated by the power of the colonial domination of the TOTO, as can be discerned in the context of our ‘modern’ nations and cultures and their projected (and promoted) philosophies.”

Of course, (OOT) is an ‘outgrowth’ that incorporates ‘otherness’ even as it might seem to exclude it. But the development of a ‘body’ of tradition can encompass much more than the interactions between ‘Same’ and ‘Other’. In terms of the chronological development of Indian traditions, (TOTO) did not exist as a germane factor.
Unless you count the Greeks (Alexander, Bactrian kingdoms) as possible contributors. That might be difficult to establish.
Also, Hinduism is notoriously syncretic. There is perhaps greater variety of doctrinal variance within Hinduism than in any other belief, perhaps even the totality of all other systems of belief. Buddhism is a possible exception, but that is hardly ‘other’ to Indian-Hindu precepts.
If you are referring to the sociopolitical as it is actually instantiated, globally, then that is quite another matter. My ‘tangentialities’, as you call them, point towards this. But that is a global problem for all who inhabit this planet.

“In other words, much of what one considers as OOT is guided and/or moulded by the dominant TOTO.”

Yes, “there is a history of colonial imposition, it can be given perspective”.

As to ‘dominance’, if you feel Indian traditions are not sufficiently represented in Indian universities, this indeed would be a problem.
Indian traditions have been the subject of international scholarship for some centuries, a lot of it very good, as you know.
Indian thought may have suffered misrepresentations, distortions, exotic positionings, etc., but all of that has always taken place over background assumptions of an ‘Wisdom of the East’.

I think it is almost expected that Indian thought come up with new perspectives.

“But, the degree of this relationship can vary, and this is something that must be submitted to serious investigation.  Therefore, it is not a well-formed OOT that is really available to one; it’s bits and pieces of one’s existence into which one has been inserted, and by which one is surrounded.”

You are better placed than myself to judge the extent to which the ‘integrity’ of (OOT) has been compromised, so to speak, by colonial influence.
What would Nagarjuna or Sankara say? I don’t think they would have a problem.

“well-formed OOT” ?
The ‘Absolute’ is beyond ‘form’.
neti neti? You can even use Derrida’s ‘non-site(s?)’, if you like.

“bit and pieces” ?
Are you not free to choose the principles of their configuration?
Or would you prefer someone else to administer them for you?

“Both the TOTO and OOT, assuming such a binary exists, would have to be overcome.”

Every time you think, ‘overcoming’ is accomplished.
If you are conversant with elements of both (OOT) and (TOTO).
You are free to configure your own ‘forms’ of ‘overcoming’, and, dare one say it, transcendence!

Perhaps the following is more amenable to you?

[ ‘Overcoming’? Yes, in a very specific sense, overcoming precedes the formation of these philosophical traditions and the historical sedimentation of their ‘oppositional’ character; this logic of transgression is not a future history of disruptions suffered by pre-existent idealities, rather it is even on the basis of this logic, the logic of ‘overcoming’, that traditions are installed, the arc of each installation playing through possibilities common to all institutional forms; I cannot demonstrate this here, but a history of such arcs, of such institutional developments, stalled in the inertias of their progressive idealisation, would reveal every tradition to be governed by a teleological consideration that is nowhere simply present as an articulated concept or goal, or even as some indeterminate principle of ‘hope’; in such a consideration, a structural opening to a literally interminable  resource looms over all proceedings; it is the production of the problematic as such, before any and all problems, before there are problems, prior to their ontological determination; an anteriority that is not necessarily chronological, though it certainly appears as such, within the problematic.  It is possible to discern, through this anteriority, an economy in which the sign itself, its entire history of determinations, and all institutions built upon these determinations, are effects of the ‘resource’ I mentioned; ‘effects’ whose structured character belongs to the economy of the ‘opening’; a structurality produced by the ‘resource’, but which the ‘resource’ always and everywhere exceeds; infringing, even, the classical logics of production or the production of logics; an excess not limited by any order of significance .
It is in this sense that one can speak of an ‘overcoming’; an ‘overcoming’ that is not present here or there, as in some partial and iniquitous distribution; nowhere present as a contingent localisation that could be absent somewhere else; but an ‘overcoming’ that is always and everywhere at work, in a writing whose very inscriptions are the erasures of what it seeks to install. Hence, the anxious mythologies of  foundation which preoccupy all institutions, such foundations are never finally accomplished, traditions never truly begin, there is never anything to ‘overcome’.
There is perhaps only the inescapable horizon of a tradition-to-come; and its constant and inalienable corollary, an overcoming-to-come… ]

“As I view it, one cannot freely wish to inhabit either the pond or the Pacific. That’s what one means by ‘finding an alternative place,’ a place to tread, if not a tradition, that is other than the given(s).”

When you think, everything is at your disposal.
You inhabit all ‘places’ at once.
It is your choice whether or not to create new places “to tread”.
Or new spaces to fly.


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