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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 801

Has anybody written down the questions that I gave yesterday? Yes! Could you read them out?

What is the theory of evolution today? Why does Sri Aurobindo say that the theory of evolution is only a statement of a phenomenon and not an explanation?

The theory of evolution only states what evolves but does not tell us why it evolves? How it evolves? Therefore it is only a statement of the phenomenon and not an explanation.

What is an explanation? This question has not been asked but let me ask it now. When can we say we have explained? Only when we speak of the meaning, the necessity or the probability of a phenomenon. Only then we can say that it is explained.

How does this unconquerable impulse towards God, Light, Freedom and Immortality fit into the chain by which we can suppose the Supermind will manifest?

Aspiration. This aspiration is a sign that mind is still struggling to manifest something further. So, it is a part of the chain. It is that which causes us to evolve.

"As there, so here, the impulse exists more or less obscurely in her different vessels with an ever ascending series in the power of its will to be; as there, so here, it is gradually evolving and bound fully to evolve the necessary organs and faculties."

"As there, so here…" There is a form of argument which is manifest towards the end of the previous paragraph and which is very much present in this paragraph. I shall give it a name so that you can recognize that form of argument. It is called an analogical argument.

This is also one of the forms of philosophical argument.

We have already seen the: epistemological argument, historical argument, dialectical argument and quintessential philosophical argument and now we have here an analogical argument.

What is an analogical argument? Let us first see what is the meaning of the word analogy. Analogy is comparison between two sets of phenomena. For every analogical argument there should be two sets of phenomena – one set of phenomena compared with another set of phenomena. You then analyse this set as also the other set of phenomena. In literature you often find analogy.

A beautiful face is compared with the moon. Very often you will find such a comparison. Moon is one set of phenomena; a beautiful face is another set of phenomena. Now it is sometimes argued that the beauty of the moon is enhanced by the spot that we see in the moon. We see the spot in the moon, no? If you analyse the moon, one of the prominent features of the moon is that we see a spot. And poets feel that this spot enhances the beauty of the moon. If you now have a face and you evaluate the beauty of that face, then you say: as there so here In any argument where there is "as there so here" you can see that this is an analogical argument. "As there the beauty of the moon is enhanced by the spot, the mole on the lip of the face enhances the beauty of the face. There it is the spot, here it is a mole on the lip of the beautiful face. So you say as there it is a spot that enhances the beauty of the moon, so here it is the mole on the lip of the face that enhances the beauty of the face. The analogy now is perfect. Most good writers perceive their perceptions; compare one with the other, and the comparison seems to be so great that long poems can be written only in comparing the two sets of phenomena.

It is argued that earth is a planet, it is inhabited by people. Mars also is a planet. Can we say that as here so there, if people inhabit this planet there must be inhabitants on Mars. Simply because this is a planet, that also is a planet, you compare. This planet is inhabited by people, therefore, we may argue that Mars must also have been inhabited by people. So when we go to Mars we expect to meet people on Mars. This is an argument which is very often made.

Now let us argue. In order that your argument attains maturity, merely one feature is not enough. When you compare one with the other, you should not rely on only one feature comparable to another feature elsewhere. You should find many features. The greater the number of features in which there is identity or similarity, the greater is the probability of your argument's validity. On the earth, we say, although it is a planet, it is a special kind of planet. Is Mars also that kind of planet? That is the question. What is the specialty of this planet Earth? We have, for example, water on this planet. And water is very conducive to the development of organic life. Without organic life human bodies cannot exist. We are all organisms. So we have to show, if your argument is to be valid, that just as Earth is a planet, Mars is a planet. Just as Earth has water, can we say Mars also has water? If we find that Mars does not have water, then the third characteristic, namely inhabitance by people, will not apply. Merely one or two features agreeing are not sufficient for a proof. You should have many features and then you can say: as there so here.

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