Yoga as Presence: Discovering the Global Power of Yoga (Live Video Conference)
Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy
Ashok Gangadean is a Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College (Haverford, PA) where he has taught for the past thirty nine years. He was the first Director of the Margaret Gest Center for Cross-Cultural Study of Religion at Haverford, and has participated in numerous professional conferences on inter-religious dialogue and East-West comparative philosophy. His primary concern throughout his career has been to clarify the universal logos or common ground at the heart of human reason and rational life. He is Founder-Director of the Global Dialogue Institute which seeks to embody the dialogical powers of global reason in all aspects of cultural life. His book, Meditative Reason: Toward Universal Grammar(Peter Lang, Revisioning Philosophy Series, l993) attempts to open the way to global reason, and a companion volume,Between Worlds: The Emergence of Global Reason (Peter Lang, l997) explores the dialogical common ground between diverse worlds. His forthcoming book, The Awakening of the Global Mind further develops these themes for the general reader.
Professor Gangadean has focused over the past four decades on tapping and clarifying the deeper common ground between diverse cultural, religious and ideological worlds. In his many published essays and public lectures he has attempted to demonstrate that human reason is essentially global, dialogical, holistic and intercultural. In his books he has attempted to demonstrate that there is a fundamental Logos or Universal Grammar underlying all cultures, religions, philosophies and ideologies. This discovery and clarification of the fundamental Logos in human cultures, experience and life has important implications for effectively addressing the most pressing practical problems humans face today. His Global Dialogue Institute has developed a powerful “Whole Child Education” Pilot Project that has been supported by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Indonesia. This integral approach to education and teacher training uses the power of Deep Dialogue to renovate the teaching and learning ecology of education.
While his earlier books attempt to demonstrate that human reason is essentially grounded in the fundamental Logos that is the common ground between diverse worlds, the Awakening attempts to communicate these findings to everyday people who have no background in philosophy and who urgently need to understand and cope with the profound changes we now face in the globalization of our cultures. He is Co-Convenor of the recently formed World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality which brings eminent world leaders together in sustained deep dialogue to cultivate global vision and wisdom for the new millennium. This high level Commission has been supported generously by the Breuninger Foundation and has held annual retreats in the past three years at their Wasan Island Retreat.
Dr. Gangadean has appeared in television interviews in the Philadelphia Region, and appeared in the national television series Thinking Allowed with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove. These two interviews on his forthcoming book The Awakening of the Global Mind continues to air in repeating cycles on the national scene. More recently he was featured in the forthcoming series –A Parliament of Minds – produced by Michael Tobias and Patrick Fitzgerald. This series arose from the recent World Congress of Philosophy in Boston (August l998) at which Dr. Gangadean helped convene and inaugurate the newly formed World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality. He appears in a half-hour interview on his work and participated in a one-hour dialogue with Karan Singh, Robert Muller and Ewert Cousins. He is also Co-Chair of the newly formed World Wisdom Council. Gangadean became the host of the Emmy Nominated “Philly Live: Your International Connection” on WYBE TV Public Television (Philadelphia, Ch 35) which recently evolved into the prize winning “Global Lens.” This television show seeks to cultivate global dialogue and a global perspective on vital issues of international interest.
Gangadean recently formed his ((Awakening)) Productions to begin work on producing a six-part series for television on the narrative of his forthcoming book The Awakening of the Global Mind Also, his book Meditations on Global First Philosophy: The Quest for the Missing Grammar of Logos has just been accepted for publication by SUNY Press and will appear next year.
Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy
Reflection on the Evolution of my Research, Scholarship and Teaching: Setting the Context for my Work
Four decades ago my early focus began in the areas of Logic, Ontology and the Philosophy of Language. My primary concern over the years has been to seek to advance the perennial search for the fundamental grammars of thought (logic of consciousness), the grammars of reality (formal ontology) and the deep structures of language and discourse (logic of natural reason). This quest has continued over the past forty years and has taken me on a remarkable journey across widely divergent philosophical traditions, east and west and other, on a global scale. My encounter with the profound transformative dynamics of meditative intelligence expanded my quest dramatically and over three decades culminated in my twin volumes presenting my findings in Meditative Reason.
Very briefly, as I explored the rational dynamics of consciousness across and between widely diverse worldviews and philosophical grammars it became clear that there is and must be a fundamental Unifying Force that is the generative source and resource of all worldviews, cultural forms, ideologies, religious forms of life, philosophical narratives, disciplinary grammars and human perspectives. It was also clear in this global context across worldviews that striking patterns in the evolution of consciousness became clear. One remarkable finding is an emergent consensus across global traditions that how we humans use our minds, how we process our experience and our world makes all the difference to our living realities: we are as we mind.
And a dramatic finding through the ages is that when we conduct our thinking in egocentic or monocentric patterns devastating consequences ensue. In particular, it is found that such egocentric patterns of world making generate fragmentation, polarities, artificial dualities and divisions, which are harmful, even devastating to our human condition at the personal and collective dimensions. So the technology of minding, or mental processing of our selves and our world is all-important and decisive in the living realities we co-create.
And equally striking is the finding that diverse philosophical and spiritual traditions, east and west have sought to diagnose these harmful effects of monocentric thinking and to prescribe alternative methods and technologies of minding which mature into more integral, holistic, non dualizing, dialogic patterns of human reason. In this light, the most dramatic concern in philosophical discourse – the quest for the deep dynamics of Natural Reason-centers precisely here on the dynamics and technologies of how we conduct our minding. And over the years in my research and teaching I found it natural, even inevitable, to introduce some simple yet potent notational devices to mark explicitly when we are minding in the patterns of egocentric thinking, and by contrast, when we cross over into the more coherent and integral patterns of holistic natural reason:
I use “single brackets”- “/…/” to mark any word, term, concept, utterance, phenomenon, etc that is processed through /egocentric/ thinking: /X/
And I use “double brackets”- ((…)) to mark any word, term, concept, utterance, phenomenon, etc that is being processed in and through ((integral reason)): ((X))
So it becomes of the utmost importance in the conduct of our discourse, our hermeneutical practices, our world making, our experience processing to be critically and reflectively aware of whether we are /minding/ or ((minding)). And in a real sense, the evolution of global thought may be seen as focusing precisely here on the life and death contrast between /minding/ vs ((minding)): and a dramatic finding in that /egocentric discourse/ is not the long sought for ((space of natural reason)). Thus, whenever we are using our minds, using language, critical, reflective and mindful rationality requires us to be keenly aware of whether we are minding is the /egocentric spaces/ of “consciousness” or in the ((integral patterns)) of Reason.
Perhaps the main drive in my four decades of research, scholarship and teaching has been to bring this fundamental finding out in the most potent way: that /egocentric minding/ is not to be con-fused with the ((space of natural reason)). And I have suggested in my work that there is a fundamental ((Logos))- a hitherto eclipsed((Universal Grammar of Language, Thought, Reality))- that is the generative source of any possible worldview, perspective, culture, disciplinary narrative, religion or form of life. My work has sought to show precisely how and why the hitherto dominant forces of /egocentric cultures/ have distorted, deformed, suppressed or eclipsed the clear disclosure of this fundamental global ((Logos)).
And when we cross into this ((integral space of natural reason)) there is a dramatic ((inversion)) in our orientation through this ((global lens)). In the ((Space of Integral Reason)) we see that what is often fragmented or artificially /divided/ in discourse dominated by /egocentric patterns/ is found to be profoundly inter-connected and ((dialogically inseparable)). Thus, the ((fields)) of ((Logic)), ((Ontology)), ((Logic of Language)), ((Phenomenology)), ((Ethics)), ((Epistemology)) ((Hermeneutical Philosophy))…all ((converge)) in profound ways that we could not ((see)) or ((experience)) within the /egocentric lens/..
So over the decades as my Research and Teaching matured into the Integral, Hologistic, Non-dual and Dialogic dynamics of ((Global Reason)) I found that it was increasingly /artificial/ to /categorize/ or /classify/ my research and teaching into the /rubrics/ that seem to dominate the fields of philosophy. Accordingly, my courses in philosophy gradually matured into explorations in the ((Global Context of Natural Reason)) where diverse worldviews, paradigms, philosophical narratives and alternative grammatical forms co-originate, co-arise and find their ((dialogical common ground)). For example, the investigation of “Logic” requires primary attention to the issue of ((logistic)) or the ((technology of minding)). Again, the inquiry into “Being” or “Reality” likewise calls for reflection attention to ((dynamics)) of ((natural reason)) through the ((global lens)), since any exploration of “Reality” is a function of our ((hermeneutical praxis)), our ((minding)) praxis. Indeed, we begin to see that the depth of ((Ethics)) focuses precisely on this transformation into ((dialogic consciousness)) and the ((conduct of mind)). So too with the fundamental issues of ((Epistemology)), since ((É)) is the epistemic spaceÉand so on.
Thus, in this ((Global Space of Logos)) there is a profound renovation in the classical “labels” and “rubrics” of the field of “philosophy”, and all of my courses have taken on this ((signature)) of critical explorations in this ((Global Context)): “Buddhist Thought in Global Context”; “Metaphysics: The Philosophy of Reality and Worldviews in Global Context”; “Global Ethics”, “Global Wisdom”, “Philosophy of Logic and Language in Global Context”, “Hindu Thought in Global Context”, “Topics in the Philosophy of Language: Meaning & Metaphor” and so on. This ((Global Context)) expands the challenge of critical thinking across and between diverse worldviews, paradigms, traditions and perspectives in the cultivation the deep dialogic dimensions of global rationality.
In sum, I feel that my journey over these past decades has taken me into the new frontier of ((Global Philosophy)) and ((Global Reason)) and this would be the best “designation” of my area of “specialization” and the ((context)) of my teaching and my courses..
Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy
Sedona Yoga Festival