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

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 904

Then we have the quintessential metaphysical argument. This is a fourth kind of argument: quintessential metaphysical argument. What is metaphysics? Metaphysics is a study of the highest reality and also of the meaning of the highest reality. Not only what is ultimately real but also what is ultimately meaningful. This word meaning is very important. You have no metaphysics unless you raise the question of meaning. What is the significance? Meaning. What is the meaning of this class for example? That question is a metaphysical question. Toward the end of the second paragraph you will find an example of a quintessential metaphysical argument. "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." Deliberate view. Deliberate: this word is important. Deliberate means you try to find out the meaning. When you speak deliberately, it means meaningfully. So all sense of meaning is contained in deliberate thinking. Sri Aurobindo says if you take a deliberate view then the same facts will present themselves in a quite new way.

A bird is crying now and you may say it is simply a cry. But if you take a deliberate view – there is a view that all birds have a language and if you understand the crying of the birds you can find out the meaning. It is said, they can tell you all the things that are going to happen tomorrow. In India there is a science to learn the language of the birds. Even in the villages in India they will say that if a crow goes on crying the whole day, it means a guest is coming tomorrow. You may call it a superstition but in any case this is a quintessential metaphysical argument. Because the bird is crying therefore what does it mean? What is the message in it? It means a guest is coming tomorrow. Such a conclusion is a quintessential metaphysical argument. If you know how to read the language you can be sure about it, there is no question. It is like an announcer. When an announcer says that now the drama will start in five minutes time you get ready to watch the drama. It is a quintessential meaning because when an announcer announces there is a meaning in it. It will be fulfilled. So when you see the facts of the world and you ask if there is meaning in these facts, when you try to derive meaning out of the facts it is a quintessential metaphysical argument.

Now–– the last argument. It is the causal argument. Aristotle said that a cause is always related to an effect. That is a first definition of a cause. Cause always produces an effect. It is very simple. Aristotle made no great announcement by saying that every cause is that it causes effect. But what was good, what was wise in his analysis was – he said that in every cause there are four aspects. It is these four aspects which are very important. As a result there are four names which are given to a cause. A cause may be a material cause, may be an efficient cause, a formal cause and a final cause.

If you are a carpenter and you make a chair, the wood is the material cause because the material of the chair is wood. In what sense is the carpenter, the cause of the chair? He is the efficient cause. What is the formal cause? The idea or the form of the chair is the formal cause. And now what is the final cause? The purpose for what you make the chair. It is the final cause. Similarly, for anything that happens in the world, for any effect you should look for these four things. If you take a seed and analyse the four causes in order that a tree may come out. What is the material cause, what is the formal cause, what is the efficient cause, what is the final cause? The seed is the material cause; it is the seed which become the tree. The farmer is the efficient cause. The form of the tree is the formal cause. The fruit of the tree is the final cause.

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