Sri Aurobindo's - 'The Life Divine' - The Human Aspiration - Chapter I

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 008

In any field when you make the study of the Ultimate, you arrive at a philosophical idea of it. There can be a philosophy of society, which is social philosophy. There can be philosophy of politics; the knowledge of ultimate of politics will give political philosophy. What is the ultimate meaning of life; it gives you the philosophy of life. What is the philosophy of human conduct that gives you the ethical philosophy and moral philosophy? But if you ask what is the ultimate of all ultimate’s, that is to say ultimate of not only society, politics and human conduct but ultimate of entirety of the universe, study of entirety of all that can be known, that can be perceived, can be experienced, whatever is ultimately understood in terms of Ontology, the Ultimate Being.

As I said yesterday in philosophical terms there are no assumptions, so even to assume that there is an Ultimate entity even that can be questioned by philosophy. Is there really anything like essence or is it simply a fiction of the mind that is also an Ontological question. The definition of philosophy would be the study of the Ultimate, if such a thing exists. It is not study of the Ultimate because that will be also a kind of dogma. That there is an Ultimate and the study of the Ultimate is Ontology. The study of an Ultimate, if such an Ultimate exists that is the purest definition of philosophy, when you have to study the ultimate, if it exists, Ultimate of what? Ultimate of all the facts, and there are two categories of facts in the world, physical facts and psychological facts.

Philosophy would mean a study of what is the essential significance of all the facts, physical and psychological and their relationship with the Ultimate; if such an Ultimate exists. The relationship between all the facts and the Ultimate, if such an Ultimate exists, gives you a further step in the definition of philosophy. Relationship between facts and the ultimate essence, relationship in technical terms gives you the notion of logic. If you examine the word logic, to many people the word logic as a science gives you a great fright, it’s a real difficult subject.

Basically logic is a very simple thing. If you write an essay in which there are statements made haphazardly and it is presented to you, one sentence belongs to the field of biology, unconnected with it, there is a statement from physics, another statement from psychology, if I say, for example, ” ‘I do not like cheese, moon has arisen’. A statement of this kind, you will immediately say “what is the logic in it?’ in other words, there is no relationship between the two. When you try to establish relationship between ideas and essential relationships, there are many relationships but an essential relationship between things and ideas is what is called logic. There are some relationships which are inevitable.

Wherever there are qualities, there are substances always. No qualities can be hanging, as it were, all qualities are rooted in substance, and therefore, there is an inevitable relationship between substance and quality. There are some other relationships, which may seem to be inevitable but which are not. But the relationship between things and ideas is what is called logic. There are some other relationships which may seem to be inevitable but which are not.

Relationship between uncle and nephew, there can’t be an uncle without a nephew, there can’t be a nephew without an uncle, and the two are inevitably dependent upon each other. But the man called uncle can exist without being an uncle and the nephew can exist without being a nephew. This relationship is not of the first kind, where substance and qualities are interrelated, inevitably. Here there is some kind of relationship but not absolutely binding, existence of uncle as an uncle may require the existence of a nephew as a nephew. Existence of the man called uncle can exist without the existence of the man called nephew.

These are very simple examples to show that there are varieties of relationships, relationships of dependence, relationships of reciprocity, one is related to the other and both are equally related to each other reciprocally. In the relationship of dependence there may not be reciprocal dependence. One may be independent and the other may be dependent. Not that both are dependent upon each other. Therefore, the relationship of dependence is not a reciprocal relationship, but there are other relationships which are reciprocal, there are consistent relationships. Relationships in which the two objects don’t collide with each other, so that are consistent.

You may have many colours, some colours are consistent with each other but some colours are not consistent with each other, they do not gel together. There are contrary relations. There is always a relationship of such a nature, where ‘x’ exists, ‘y’ can’t exist or can exist but a little far distant but not related. It is a contradictory relationship. Relationships are of such a nature that if ‘x’ is true ‘y’ must be false. If you are in Auroville, you can’t be at the same time in Bombay. The two statements, I am in Auroville and I am in Bombay at the same time, are contradictory of each other. One must be true and the other must be false.

A detailed study of various kinds in relationships, their inevitabilities, their various shades of relationships, is fundamentally the study of logic. Law for example, is supposed to be one of the best means of application of logic, because law is a study of ideal relationships and in the field of law the exposition has to be logical in the sense that you start with the highest universal and then go on applying to the minutest details. A good lawyer is one who has got this great logical sense so that he can move from universal to the particular and from the particular to the universal with the right rhythm of relationships.

The study of logic is therefore, regarded as a very important element of philosophy that is because philosophy studies facts physical and psychological facts, not in the way in which science studies them but in search of the significance of these facts. The word significance is very important. Science does not study the significance of the facts; it studies facts as they are. But significance of facts, what is the meaning of facts, what is the importance of the facts, the relative importance of facts? This significance of facts and this significance is very much dependent upon the relationship they may have with the ultimate Reality, if it so exists. 

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