A Philosophy of Evolution for The Contemporary Man - Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

Evolutionary Crisis of
Mankind

At a deeper level, we may find that the discontent of the contemporary man is a manifestation of the crisis that mankind is undergoing today. That the present situation of mankind is critical is admitted widely. In gross terms, the threat of thermonuclear weapons to the very survival of mankind and to the ecological condition of the earth is directing leaders of the world, not only in the political field, but in practically every important field, to themes relevant to deeper levels of consciousness, even ethical and spiritual.

It is clearly recognized that science alone cannot save the world or give to it the happiness and fulfilment that it is seeking. There are deeper questionings and explorations; attemps are being made to turn more and more decisively to the dimension of values.

The rationalistic age which began with the Renaissance has enabled man to fathom deep into the possibilities of reason as the governor of life. At the beginning of its journey in modern times, reason had the faith that it would be able, at its highest reaches of fulfilment, to deliver to man true, comprehensive and indubitable knowledge. It is now conclusively realized that reason can at best give only approximations and varying degrees of probability. The only certainty that reason can claim is regarding its concepts of the infinite and the absolute, which, too, can be set aside as conceptual fictions and have even been declared by the positivistic nationalists as meaningless and void of any significance.

Reason erected the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, but is has come to realize that in actualizing the ideal of liberty it is required to suppress the claims of equality, and in actualizing the ideal of equality it is obliged to suppress the claims of liberty. As for the ideal of fraternity, it is acknowledged that it is more a matter of heart and spirit rather than that of reason. It is being realized that reason cannot give to man that knowledge

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Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

He may study history, politics, sociology and economics, and come to ask what defects in the past civilizations have led mankind to the confusion in which it has got engulfed, and how it can build a new glory that cannot fade.

Indeed, as he might review the sum of the past human endeavour, he would find that this past was fashioned overwhelmingly under the influence of the denial of the materialist on the one hand, and of the refusal of the ascetic on the other. Both had their full play in the course of man's history; both proved their utility, but both have finally shown their bankruptcy. It would become clear that no meaningful world can built if the ultimate stuff to which everything returns is the unconscious, insensitive, neutral and indifferent Matter, or else, if Matter and the world built on it were an illusion, they would be rejected as nought by the sole existent Spirit.

It is true, he may find that a number of religions, spiritual philosophies and systems of Yoga have attempted to build some meaningful realationship between the material world and God, whether conceived in deistic, pantheistic, theistic or in some primitive or ultra-modern terms. But all of them stumble when they come to pronounce the real meaning of Matter, precisely when they come to answer questions as to whether it is ultimately acceptable to God. Even the most catholic teachings which preach universal love for men and creatures and plants and all creation, have declared that Matter is not a fit robe for the Spirit; that it is, after all, to be discarded. They have, therefore, asked their adherents to prepare themselves for the life after death, for the Day of Judgement, for some paradise, some supra-terrestrial abode of God or of gods, vaikuntha.

Their concern for material life turns out ultimately to be a temporary compromise, at the most as a school for the 'fallen' soul to be chastened and trained, even under the threat of some eternal punishment, to enable it to return to its original source. None of them explains how the soul, originating from the divine source, or eternally a portion of the Divine, could 'fall' by some mistake or temptation or why, itself being, pure, any chastisement or training is needed at all. If the soul is pure

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Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

and power which can fulfil the dream of a harmonious order of society; it is felt that something else is needed.

A stage has been reached in which the human mind has achieved in certain directions an enormous development while in others it stands arrested and bewildered and can no longer find its way.

We are today in the midst of a multi-sided human experiment in which nations find themselves interdependent, and yet incapable of the required consciousness of co-operation and mutuality. Solutions are being attempted which still repose on the materialistic reason and a unified organization of the economic life. The methods which are being employed tend towards forced compression and imposed unanimity of mind and life and a mechanical organization of the communal existence. These are being countered by powerful movements that demand freedom, variety and decentralization.

Developments in communication and transport have led to the shrinking of the world, and a structure of the external life has been raised by man's ever-active mind and life-will, a structure of unmanageable hugeness and complexity, for the service of his mental, vital, physical claims and urges. Complex political, social, administrative, economic and cultural machinery have been built for his intellectual, sensational, aesthetic and material satisfaction.

It is clear that the system of civilization that the modern man has created is too big for his limited mental capacity and understanding and his still more limited spiritual and moral capacity to utilize and manage; it has become a too dangerous servant of his blundering ego and its appetites.

The issue seems to be that while, on the one hand, the seeking of the basic fullness of life is irreversible, there is, on the other hand, a necessity of the free growth of something that exceeds that basic fullness of life, which can come by opportunities for the increasing and completer pursuit of other and greater aims surpassing material existence, for the discovery of a higher truth and good and beauty, for the discovery of a greater and

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Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

diviner spirit which would intervene and use life for a higher perfection of the being.

An exclusive pursuit of the basic fullness of life would mean, in the context of the egoistic consciousness and dividing mind, a vast pullulation of unaccorded ideas and impulses, a surge of enormous powers and desires, a chaotic mass of unassimilated and intermixed mental, vital and physical material of a larger existence which, in the absence of a creative harmonizing light of the spirit, must welter in a universalized confusion and discord out of which it is impossible to build a greater harmonic life.

On the contrary, given the potencies of the universal force provided by science, there would be increasing hungers and calls for life satisfaction of individuals, classes and nations, a rich fungus of political and social and economic nostrums and notions, a hustling malady of slogans and panaceas for which men are ready to oppress and be oppressed, to kill and be killed, to impose them somehow or other by immense and too formindable means, in the belief that this is man's way into something ideal.

In the past, science had neither brought about the possibility of the intermingling of people on such a large scale as today, nor had it put at the disposal of man such formidable powers as today. Besides, man had created societies based on fixed ideas or fixed customs, a fixed cultural system or an organic life-system, each with its own order. With these props and supports, man was able to arrive at some harmonized life by organized ideation and limitation. But in the contemporary context, where everything is being thrown into the melting pot of a more and more intermingling of life and a pouring in of ever new ideas and motives and facts and possibilities, the methods of the past would no more be available.

It is true that reason and science could attempt to help, but they could only succeed in standardizing and fixing everything into an artificially arranged and mechanized unity of life, which would, in turn, continuously break down under the pressure of the demands and achievements of the free growth of man.

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Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

The situation, therefore, necessarily calls for a new and a greater consciousness to master the increasing potentialities of existence and harmonize them. A superior kind of whole being, whole knowledge and whole power is needed to weld all into a greater unity of whole life.

It has, therefore, been contended that the crisis through which mankind is passing is neither economic, nor social nor political, nor anything else, but evolutionary in character. Having developed all the available faculties and capacities in the normal range of the human type, having created the bewildering situation which is irreversible, and which none the less must be remedied, there is no other alternative for man but to tap the potentialities and capacities of a higher mental and supramental range. This would mean an evolutionary step to transgress the limits of the human species leading eventually to an evolutionary mutation.

There is, indeed, the possibility that the human mind, eager to avoid, on the one hand, a mechanistic idea of life and society, and, on the other, the arduous evolutionary labour involved in the mutation of the human species, may seek refuge in a return to the religious idea and a society governed or sanctioned by religion. But organized religion, though it can provide a means of inner uplift for the individual and preserve in it or behind it a way for his opening to spiritual experience, has not changed human life and society. What is needed is not religion so conceived, but a total spiritual direction given to the whole life and the whole nature.

The conclusion that has therefore been drawn is that it is only the full emergence of the light and power of the spirit and the consequent replacement or transformation and uplifting of our insufficient mental and vital nature by a spiritual and supramental consciousness, force and action that can effect the needed evolutionary miracle.

If it is said that this insistence on a radical change of nature seems to put off all the hope of humanity to a distant evolutionary future, the answer is that to hope for a true

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Evolutionary Crisis of Mankind

change of human life without a change of human nature is an irrational and unspiritual proposition.

At the same time, it is pointed out that what is demanded by this change is not something altogether distant, alien to our existence and radically impossible; for what has to be developed is there in our being and is not something outside it. It is, besides, a step for which the whole of evolution had been a preparation and which is brought closer at each crisis of human destiny. It has been further pointed out that what is necessary is that there should be a turn in humanity felt by some or many towards the vision of this change, a feeling of its imperative need, the sense of its possibility, the will to make it possible and to find the way.

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