IPI Workshop on the Study of Subjective Reality
integrated with the Summer School Indian Psychology 2012
Humanity is going through a completely stunning period of progress in our collective understanding and mastery of physical materials and processes. If this is, as it seems to be, a symptom of the coming of the supramental age as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo, there should be the possibility for a similar progress in the field of psychology. Unfortunately, psychology as an academic discipline does not show any signs of such development. The main reason for this seems to be that academic psychology is limiting itself too much to objective, third person methodologies that are unsuitable for in-depth exploration in the psychological domain. The result of this limitation is that some of the best work in the area of psychology tends to happen outside academics. This has its advantages: it allows for example for greater spontaneity and freedom. A major disadvantage is however that it tends to miss out on the self-discipline, the rigour, and the efficient sharing and cumulative progress of science, and that it has little impact on the official, public aspect of our collective existence.
In this workshop we intend to bring together a small group of people who are involved in the inner developments Sri Aurobindo envisaged and who are also well-acquainted with the intellectual rigour that science demands. The idea is to explore together how we actually do it: how we increase our knowledge, how we share it, and how the procesess we use could possibly be integrated with the scientific enterprise.
There are several aspects to this that may deserve special attention. As for the methodology of growing in knowledge, one could think for example of the role of theological, philosophical and conceptual frameworks; the role of language and textual study; the role of inner and outer gurus, guides and environments; the role of explicit "methods"; the role of specific attitudes and inner gestures, of effort, concentration, dilligence, opennes and surrender. In terms of motivation and potential one can think not only of heredity, upbringing and karmic influences, but also of soul-qualities, of svahbhava and svadharma. There is besides the dimension of self and other, of explorations one can only do alone — or rather alone with the Divine — and others that happen while one is "in relation" with other human beings. And finally there is the question whether, and if so how, one can increase the extent to which one's inner and most private discoveries contribute to humanity's collective progress.
Originally we envisaged this workshop as an independent four-day event, but it will now be offered as an integral part of the Summer School Indian Psychology 2012.
The workshop is part of an on-going series of conferences, seminars and workshops on different aspects of Indian Psychology, and the organisation of the present workshop is based on our experience with these earlier events. The first two IPI workshops that were devoted exclusively to knowledge took place in June 2004 and 2007; they resulted in some of the best chapters in Foundations of Indian Psychology. This time again, we expect as outcome not only an increase in our individual and collective understanding but also the publication of the presented papers.
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