Document Type

Audio File

Publication Date



Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) envisioned the exceeding of human limits in an overmental and supramental being as part of our contemporary destiny. This cosmic and transcendental subjectivity, achievable by transformative praxis, was seen by him not as an escape from mainstream life but as the condition for a new kind of society, that may be thought of as utopian. However, almost 65 years since his passing, what we see more pervasively around us is another kind of Utopianism, that of technocultural transhumanism. The technical intervention infiltrates our contemporary lives to an extent undreamed of, so as to be thought an integral ubiquity, turning us into posthuman subjects through an independent destining, beyond our will. Confronted by this regime, are there any forms of praxis open to us, or is (post)human subjectivity necessarily an adjunct to a global production and consumption desiring machine? Gilbert Simondon (1924-1989) was a French philosopher who theorized the co-constitution and co-evolution of human and technical milieus with relational possibilities that may provide a new language of praxis that engages the trajectory of cosmic individuation through technicity. This talk will revisit the utopian project of Sri Aurobindo in a contemporary technical key by aligning his ideas of subjective evolution and transformative praxis with those of Simondon.


Debashish Banerji, PhD, has a doctoral degree in Indian Art History and served from 1991-2005 as the president of the East-West Cultural Center in Los Angeles, one of the earliest institutions in Southern California responsible for introducing a scholarly perspective on Indian culture and the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. At present, Banerji is Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Indian Studies at the University of Philosophical Research, Los Angeles. He is also an adjunct faculty in art history at the Pasadena City College, Pasadena; and an adjunct faculty in Transformative Inquiry Program at CIIS. Banerji has curated a number of exhibitions of Indian and Japanese art and is the author of two books: The Alternate Nation of Abanindranath Tagore (Sage, 2010) and Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformational Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo (DK Printworld and Nalanda International, 2012).