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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 404

Now comes Sri Aurobindo answer to this argument. In the history of thought this formulation is a very original formulation to this question. So we should study very carefully these two lines because there are very important. "But if we take a more deliberate view of the world's workings, that direct opposition appears rather as part of Nature's profoundest method and the seal of her completest sanction." It is a very difficult sentence. So we shall dwell a little on these lines. The last lines of the paragraph are very very important lines.

What we mean by philosophical argument is illustrated in these particular lines. What is the nature of philosophical argument? You remember we spoke of logical argument, of epistemological argument; we spoke of historical argument, of dialectical argument and now we have another form of argument. We might say the most essential philosophical argument. The argument which is the heart of all philosophy. You remember that while defining philosophy we had underlined one very important word: philosophy is a quest …

"Philosophy is a quest for knowledge pertaining to all domains, including the quest for perfection both individual and collective, which results in the formulation of an idea/ideas pertaining to the totality which includes all that we see and experience or think of, and beyond that which may, may not exist, in search of the presence or absence of the meaning of all, beyond all and all particulars."

In the last phrase there is a very important word: the meaning. There are all kind of quests in the world. If there is one quest which distinguishes itself from all others it is the quest for meaning. No other domain looks for meaning as much as philosophy. It is the heart of philosophy. Philosophy starts with the quest which would embrace all domains of knowledge, all facts can be put together. But even if you have all the facts before you it will still not be philosophy if you miss out the question: what is the meaning of all this. You may know all the facts but if you have not enquired into what is the meaning it is not philosophy. Science can give you all the facts, each science may give you knowledge of a given domain but if you put all the sciences together you may still not get the meaning of all the facts. This requires a very special quest.

Philosophy points out that the human being is not satisfied merely with the quest of knowledge of facts; there is something in human beings which looks for something else. And that is the quest of meaning. Of course philosophy even questions this: there may be meaning, there may not be meaning. But you can announce there is no meaning only after making an enquiry into meaning. You cannot at the outset say there is no meaning and there is no question of discovering the meaning. It is only when you enquire whether there is a meaning, that you may come to the conclusion there is no meaning. You may say that everything is idiotic in the world but only after enquiring whether it is really idiotic? Therefore the most essential philosophical argument is connected with what we may call a decision to enquire with the assumption that there is a meaning. Just grant that there is a meaning, afterward you may come to the conclusion there is no meaning. So real philosophical argument starts by stating that there may be a meaning in all that you are seeing. Sri Aurobindo uses the words: "But if we take a more deliberate view…" the word deliberate is very important … "but if we take a more deliberate view of [nature's] world's workings" you are enquiring as to whether there is any meaning. You take a deliberate view, is there any meaning why nature is producing contradictions. We saw last time that the highest dialectical arguments present to you thesis, antithesis and a synthesis which again produces thesis, antithesis and so on.

Having stated it you should ask the question why does it happen? Is there a meaning in this kind of movement? Why is there an opposition at all between the actual and the ideal? Why is the ideal not the actual? Is there any sense in it? Is there any meaning in it? Sri Aurobindo says that if you take a deliberate view of the world's workings then you will find "that direct opposition appears rather as part of Nature's profoundest method and the seal of her completest sanction." This opposition that you find is a part of Nature's method, and its profoundest method. Nature is so omnipotent, it has such a tremendous capacity that it can hide its Truth completely, not abolish it because that is impossible – Nature can never abolish the Truth but it can hide it and hide it completely. Nature has many methods of manifesting but one of the profoundest way by which Nature can manifest is to hide itself completely. Whatever Truth, whatever Light is there in the world in the Life and the Supreme, that Light it can hide completely and it can manifest after all kinds of oppositions. Therefore the world is full of a manifestation that appears to have a lot of contraries, oppositions and contradictions. So whenever you see contradiction do not withdraw. Mere presence of contradiction – if you declare therefore invalid, mark of an invalidity you are making a mistake. If you know how Nature is working in the world where you find an opposition be aware that there is something, some message to be taken out of it. If you really look for a meaning, it has a meaning.

And if somebody opposes you very much do not be worried, do not be afraid. There is something ringing there all the time which wants to awaken you, there is some light in it which is hidden and it is an invitation to uncover it. 

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