Bennett and a robust materialism for the left?

We have often cited the figure of J.G.Bennett who in mysterious connection with the rogue sufi Gurdjieff (who brought a version of ancient Samkhya into the west) resolved most of the problems, at least in principle, that tend to confuse modern humanists and secularists. The source of this material is not clear but its origins must be in the influence of Samkhya on early christian theology in a remarkable distortion by theists followed by an unknown passage through islamic culture.

For a brief moment, during the composition of The Dramatic Universe (especially Vol. I) in the late forties, fifties and early sixties a new synthesis of philosophy and science with a distant echo of Samkhya, of all things, produced the most obvious exit strategy from the unnecessary dualisms of ‘spiritual/material’ that haunt western thought, and one of whose major collisions is the generation of post-kantian hegelianism/marxism. The result has a curious, almost suspicious resemblance to Schopenhauer’s thinking but without the ‘thing in itself’ and its its relation to the phenomenal. The theme of ‘will’ enters in a realist format and the triad of ‘being, function, will’ elegantly lifts philosophy out of the spiritual/material dualism. The overall result is a universal materialism in the manner of Samkhya, where there the element of being and the factor of ‘will’ make that materialism into a robust model that is not stuck in scientism.

Unfortunately, Bennett introduced a lot of extraneous material into his remarkable foundation and his later works are entangled in the dark world of Gurdjieff with his dangerous occultism and rogue black magic. Bennett hadn’t a clue to all that but ended up being a propagandist for Gurdjieff and wrecked all his later books in that vein.

But if one can proceed with The Dramatic Universe and evade its numerous pitfalls, a resolution beyond idealism/materialism can be achieved and it would be easy to recast this in a practical version. But everyone would then be under the shadow of some dangerous sufis and their meddling into anything that even remotely shows their ‘copyright’.

It is enough to point to the needless confusions of the idealism/materialist debate, and to the way the ancient Samkhya tried to embrace materialism in a new form of yoga. It is a lesson that could be relearned and adapted to an exodus from the futile Hegel/Marx debate/swamp. With a sense of deja vu as to the modern case, Indian Samkhya as such shows signs of a lost earlier antecedent and in the form present in the Hindu world shows a contraction of some vanished tradition.

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