Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 302

Personality of the logical, aesthetic and ethical mind

 Psychic being in us today is in the cold place. It is there but our outer being has first of all no knowledge of it, no interest in it, no feeling about it, no perception of it. If somebody talks about it, it makes no impression, it is only a passing phenomenon and for a long time the awareness of the psychic being remains in the cold place. Most of the human beings pass their whole life without ever allowing the psychic being to come to the hot place. What is in the hot place for most of the human beings normally is the needs of the body and of life relationships; relationships where our life is intertwined: the home relationships, family relationships, social relationships, professional relationships. These relationships and the needs of the body, occupy basically our hot place. For some human beings the interests of the mind gradually begin to become more and more important. The activities of ideation, of conception, elements of ideas, systematic relationship of ideas with ideas, perceptions through these systems of ideas, visions of things, activities of analysis, activities of synthesis of ideas, debates, discussions, subtleties of ideas, complexities of ideas, these things begin to occupy the human mind and they come into the hot place. A small minority of humanity is interested in these mental objects and they are hot as far as the mind is concerned. So you might say they are converted from normal day to day activities to some more ideative activities. But to sustain these mental activities is normally quite difficult. Even the thinkers, whose main food stuff is ideas very largely, fall into the hot place, which is rooted in the relationships – life relationships, the vital impulses. It is only by strenuous effort that one can remain sustained in the mental world. But some people do it. Their whole life is nothing but a life of thinking, of reflection. Some great mathematicians, some great scientists, some philosophers, theologians, their whole life is centred on mental ideas.

Correspondingly therefore, there are basically three types of personalities: the physical personality, the vital personality and the mental personality. And most of the human beings have some kind of physical and vital personality developed, a rudimentary mental personality developed and the whole life is a struggle between these three personalities. Even these three personalities are not homogeneous, they are heterogeneous, they quarrel among themselves. What the body demands, the vital does not demand or does not like. What the vital wants, the physical does not want and vice versa. What the mind likes, the vital does not like and vice versa.

In the mind also there are three kinds of personalities. There is the personality of the logical mind, the personality of the aesthetic mind, and the personality of the ethical mind. These are the three major personalities of those who live in the mind.

Those who are tuned to logical mind, their main interest is consistency of thought. They would like their own ideas to be consistent with each other and to arrive at an arrangement of ideas in which no idea contradicts the other. To remove all contradictions, to enlarge ideas and to make them as subtle as possible, as complex as possible is the fundamental need of the logical mind. The aesthetic mind is turned to the object of art, pursuit of beauty. Just as the logical mind pursues truth, artistic mind pursues beauty and expression of beauty through various instruments, through line and colour, through rock and plastic material, or through tunes and music, or various other kinds of artistry.

The ethical mind is very much concerned with the pursuit of the good. What is right and what is wrong? What is ideal? What is the standard? It constantly tries to find out if there are norms of action and whether one's actions fit in with those norms or not and strives to arrive at perfection of arriving at those norms.

And these three minds also are in quarrel with each other. Very often what is logical may not be artistic, and what is artistic may not be ethical. What is ethical may not be artistic. In fact, the quarrel between the artistic and the good is very pronounced. Very often artists tend to live a life which is not ethical, and ethical people begin to abhor all that in the name of art is so called licence of life. They do not like licentious life which many artists live. And in the same human being these three tendencies exist, some more developed, some others less developed, but they all exist. And because they coexist there is a quarrel among them, and this quarrel is very often mitigated by preponderance of one or the other; one simply suppresses the warring elements and prefers to allow only one part of the being to predominate. Therefore, some thinkers for example have no sense of beauty. You go to a thinker's house and you find things lying all in a pell-mell condition, there is no tidiness, there is no beauty.

Similarly ethical minds are very wary of purely logical minds; they do not like philosophical discussions, debates on various kinds of ideas. They simply want to confine to one thing: what is right and what is wrong.

So there is a quarrel between the physical, the vital, the ethical mind, the logical mind and the aesthetic mind. These are the five quarrelling elements in every human being normally and most of the people do not even try to recognise this quarrel; they are moved by impulses of the moment and they act according to the predominant impulse of the moment. At a little more advanced state people begin to become aware of this internal conflict, and when this awareness comes, then with it also comes the necessity to repair the conflict, and one does not know how to repair it. And many human beings just go on wasting time in search of some kind of a solution to the inner conflicts. It is only some kind of mental beings that succeeds to some extent in finding some kind of a solution to this conflict. The mind has an idea of harmony. The vital and physical do not have normally an idea of harmony, or a feeling for harmony is such, but the mind has a very clear perception of harmony and by the help of this idea of harmony it imposes it upon the vital and the physical and establishes a kind of a harmony.