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
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 ((…)) is
the epistemic space…and 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