Tradition and the Rhetoric of Right: Popular Political Argument in the Aurobindo Movement

Tradition and the Rhetoric of Right: Popular Political Argument in the Aurobindo Movement

Tradition and the Rhetoric of Right: Popular Political Argument in the Aurobindo Movement

Tradition and the Rhetoric of Right: Popular Political Argument in the Aurobindo Movement

Synopsis

"This book examines and establishes the importance of one aspect of popular political arguments - rhetorical features that draw upon tradition as taken-for-granted values, judgments, and calculations. It illustrates how popular political arguments draw upon this "rhetoric of right," unique to each political community, to establish the "correctness" or "rightness" of a policy proposal. It then uses that illustration to argue first that tradition in political arguments is not only present, but important; second, that tradition operates through time in a contextual rather than evolutionary manner, and third, that political theorists must take seriously the presence of tradition in political arguments in both its substance and its formal aspects. The book is based upon a study of political arguments in the Indian religious/political movement that grew up around the Indian mystic Aurobindo Ghose and his collaborator Mirra Richard." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Sightseers in the southeastern Indian coastal town of Pondicherry quickly discover the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and learn about the model city of Auroville. As the legacies of Pondicherry's most-famous modern citizens--the revolutionary-turned-mystic Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950) and his collaborator, Mirra Richard (1878-1973, known as the Mother)--the two institutions dominate the town. the statues of the soldier-statesman Dupliex and Mohatma Gandhi may jointly overpower the seaside, but it is the heritage of Aurobindo and his yogic partner, rather than the town's unique Indo-French history and the nation's collective struggle for independence, that most colors how people view Pondicherry.

The Ashram's voluminous literature depicts it as a spiritual laboratory. It is intended as a place where the practitioners of Aurobindo's yoga can experiment with human evolution. Auroville, meanwhile, is advertised as a new age, transcendent city that will spur and eventually realize humanity's evolutionary goal of unity in diversity. Where the Ashram sits foursquare in Pondicherry, participating in full in the political, economic, and educational establishments of that place, Auroville melds into the surrounding countryside. It is a "city" whose buildings are scattered amid the villages of rural Tamil Nadu state. Auroville has no stoplights and few motor vehicles. It possesses instead a kind of visual and auditory quiet that is an outgrowth of its Aurobindian heritage. Aurovilians, many of them veterans of the Euro-American social upheavals of the 1960s, have dedicated themselves to the attempt . . .

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