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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 103

You come to the present time. As I said, we are passing through a period of scepticism. And therefore you may find – you may ask where is God in the present world. It is there that Sri Aurobindo writes a very significant sentence for the present times.

"Today we see a humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis of the externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primeval longings." This sentence gives you the study of the present times. Today's humanity has spent centuries in science. One of the greatest gifts of the modern times is science. And what is science? Science is the analysis of Nature: What is Matter, what is Life, what is Mind? – These are the three terms of nature. Matter, Life and Mind. The last four, five centuries, mankind has spent in analyzing Matter, Life and Mind. But science analyses at a certain level. There can be deeper analyses, deepest analyses, but there can also be superficial analyses. There can be external examinations; there can be internal examination.

Now, if you study the science of today, or at least of the last four hundred years, we shall find that humanity has studied or analysed externalities not the depths, the profundities of Nature, only externalities of Nature. It has seen matter from outside; it has not found ways of examining matter from inside. It is only recently that even through that outside analysis, it has gone deeper, deeper, and deeper. Today we speak of quantum physics, physics at the deepest, narrowest atomic level. Even below atomic, sub–atomic level. And when scientists come to that point they find very surprising things, and they feel baffled. The modern physicists are baffled by what they see at the quantum level. It is unundstandable. Modern physics started with this statement: "You should believe only what you can see". Then as they began to go deeper and deeper and they found that these quanta cannot be seen at all. They themselves have agreed now that quanta exist, but they cannot be seen. So, it is a sign that we have now come to a very bottom point as it were, you have reached a bottom point from which you are returning, you cannot sustain yourself there. You are baffled by the mystery. On this subject, we shall return again and again – it is a very important subject – and I think that we should have, at least, six sessions on the subject of the frontiers of knowledge today. We should cover this analysis of the knowledge we have of the modern world, so that we can know quite confidently where we have reached in our analysis of matter. The very concepts which were challenged in the beginning by Physics are being adopted such as only that which you see has to be believed in. Now what you don't see, even that has to be accepted.

I had once spoken of the Law of Contradiction according to which two contradictory attributes cannot be attributed to one thing, in the same place, at the same time, in the same sense. And this is the law that physicists had put forward very strongly. Wherever you find self–contradiction it was not acceptable. Today they find that after going deeper and deeper, the deepest thing is at once a wave and a particle. You can see that particle and wave are opposed to each other, are contradictory of each other. If it is a particle it cannot be a wave, if it is a wave it cannot be a particle. And yet they are obliged to admit, that the bottommost point of matter is at once a particle and a wave. It is also another sign that you have reached the bottom point from where you have to return.

That is why Sri Aurobindo says: "Preparing to return to the primeval longings". Science has been trying to analyse the externalities of nature and having analysed, here is a very beautiful phrase: "humanity is satiated but not satisfied". There is a difference between satiation and satisfaction. Satiated means that you cannot take any more. If you are served with sweets – more and more and more – you may have space to eat more, but yet you say "I am satiated, I cannot take any more". You may not be satisfied, but you are satiated. You cannot take any more. This phrase is so important; it describes exactly, accurately, the state of humanity today. We are satiated, so that we can say– now no more on this line. This doesn't mean we are satisfied to such an extent that we do not want to make further inquiry at all. We want to make further inquiry because we are not satisfied. But on this line we are satiated, because it is enough; we have reached the bottom point. We want to move forward. Move forward to what? ?To the primeval longings. Once again, God is standing there before you and is inviting you to knock at his door. We are now preparing ourselves to return to that. This is our modern mood. This is an accurate statement of whatever is happening today, either people are in the state of satiation but not satisfaction, or having seen this for a long period, they are now trying to wonder where shall we move forward. What will be the field of our enquiry now? And some others have already found the new field of enquiry, and that is why you find mankind today running away from the field of reason, from the field of mind. Even in the field of philosophy, which is the field of the mind proper, there is today the rise of Existentialism. There is emergence of Phenomenalism. There is emergence of Pragmatism. All these movements criticize the role of reason, all of them. They all describe a new call. If you read some of the latest writings from the late Ninetieth and Twentieth Century, some of the most preeminent thinkers have deviated from this quest of the reason. They find Will, not reason, but Will, emphasis is on Will. The emphasis is upon Unreason – discovery of the Unconscious. If you see even the art of the modern times, Picasso and others, you will find the objects seen in the unconscious – you find a half body, crossed by a human head, with violin lying at the back, or a knife being plunged into a part of the body, which seems to be irrelevant. There is no rational exposition. It is reality seen in the unconscious, in which reality is all topsy–turvy. And these are supposed to be some of the miracles of modern art.

It is an evident demonstration that you are satiated but not satisfied, and you want to do something else. A new domain is opening up. So in this way Sri Aurobindo describes: "The earliest preoccupation of man", the constant preoccupation of man, and today's preoccupation of man. And everywhere you find these four words ringing in you. Again and again: God, Light, Freedom, Immortality.

This is all that the first paragraph says. Mankind has always been looking for God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. Even today we are preparing ourselves in the same way and Sri Aurobindo says that "the earliest formula of Wisdom also promises to be the last".

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