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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 902

Now the second thing we learned was the basis of the illness of mankind: the scepticism. From where does the scepticism come? It comes from contradiction. There is a sense of contradiction in this world. It is this contradiction which comes like a challenge. In the presence of contradiction you cannot rest. As long as a contradiction remains you remain dissatisfied, restless. You want to overcome the contradiction. But you must know what is this contradiction. So Sri Aurobindo defines for us what is this contradiction. The contradiction is the existence of Matter. This existence of Matter which seems to be insensible, unconscious, insentient, which does not feel anything, which has no light in it, no intelligence in it. This is the basic fact of life. Wherever we turn there is insensitivity. And yet we talk of God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. This is the contradiction.

In the world of Matter, whereever you face Matter you face this kind of contradiction. And yet you are breathing for God. This contradiction is the main study of philosophy. If anybody asks you "What is philosophy?" In a word philosophy is dealing with the contradiction. If this contradiction did not exist there would be no need for philosophy at all. There are many contradictions in the world but this is the one big contradiction; the biggest contradiction is existence of Matter and the breathing for Light, God, Freedom and Immortality. Because of this contradiction mankind is moving from one pole towards the other pole. He swings. Is this right or is that right? Towards which shall we move? What shall we embrace so that we feel completely fulfilled? We want to be fulfilled – this is the basic fact. We want harmony. That is why Sri Aurobindo says: "All problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony." Because of the contradiction we feel that there should be harmonization. And thus we begin to understand the details of the world better. The whole world is nothing but a song of harmony. It is a music of harmony. Matter and Life are opposed to each other and yet it is in Matter that Life is to manifest. There is nothing in the world which is alive, which is not in the casing of Matter. All life in the world is in a capsule which consists of Matter and yet both are opposed to each other. And both are harmonized, not fully but sufficiently. Life and Mind are opposed to each other and they are also trying to live together. There is no human thought which is not vibrating in Life. All mental thinking presupposes breathing. One who does not breathe cannot think. Such is the condition in this world. If you don't breathe you cannot think. All thinking implies breathing. Some kind of breathing should be before you can think. So there is a harmonization of Life and the Mind. Therefore we can look for a greater harmony. The imperfections of Matter and Life, imperfections of Life and Mind, can be completely bridged; and that is Supramental existence. The Supermind in Matter is the ideal towards which we are moving. There will be a total, complete harmony. Then the promise will be fulfilled; there will be no problem because harmony will be achieved.

So we learnt first of all, the real breath of human history. Secondly we learnt what is the contradiction in this world which gives rise to philosophy. Then we found out where exactly is this contradiction and how the contradiction is constantly striving to arrive at harmony. And then we found out the fourth thing,; that there is a deeper law in this world of evolution. The whole world is in a process of evolution. It is a new fact which we discovered. The entire fourth paragraph of the first chapter of The Life Divine is devoted to evolution. And Sri Aurobindo, very briefly, gives us – Life in Matter, Mind in Life and Supermind in Mind – the four terms of evolution. This is what we have done so far. All right?

Every statement is a new statement for us. We did not know the whole history of mankind, and in one little paragraph Sri Aurobindo gave us the whole history of mankind. He gave a stethoscope by which we could measure the respiration of mankind. Thus we discovered the contradiction, we then found the urge for harmonization, next we learned of evolution. So we learned four words. Aspiration for God, Light, Freedom and Immortality. The big contradiction, the big movement of harmony and the big movement of evolution. Four terms we learned. But we learned something much more also, we learned the art of philosophy.

As I told you, the first art of philosophizing arises from the fact of contradiction. There is no philosophizing if there is not a fact of contradiction. If you are not confronted with contradiction there is no movement of philosophizing. A contradiction is a challenge which asks you to harmonize. All philosophy is nothing but an attempt to harmonize a contradiction. That is philosophy. Open any book of philosophy; it is nothing but a presentation of some contradictions and philosophers trying to harmonize. So you now know what philosophy is basically. It is the presentation of contradiction and the attempt to harmonize by which contradiction can be resolved.

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