Archive for December 2012
Our view of the role and importance of man in the grand scheme of things has gone through the entire gamut from the one extreme that holds that human beings are simply specks of dust in a vast mechanical machinery, essentially having little or no ultimate value, to the other extreme that places man at the center of creation as the most important of all beings (and many positions between these two extremes). While we may not be able to say, as some have said that “man is the measure of all things”, we can nevertheless appreciate that there is a real and significant role for a being that provides conscious awareness, self-reflection and an intuition and aspiration for further evolutionary development.
Sri Aurobindo describes this role in the following way: “The will of man is the agent of the Eternal for the unveiling of his secret meaning in the…
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The ongoing debate about free will versus determinism frames much of human history. We instinctively feel like we have free choice and can determine our own destiny, overcoming genetics, upbringing, and societal limitations to achieve success in our lives, and change who and what we are, and what we become. To some degree, however, this “instinct” is similar to our erroneous perception that the sun revolves around the earth rather than the other way around! If we look deeply at the question of free will, we can see various lines of impulsion which have conditioned and in most cases determined our “free” choice. In fact, modern day social scientists, such as Nobel Prize winning author Daniel Kahneman in his recent book Thinking, Fast and Slow has illustrated numerous instances where our “free choice” is conditioned by training, language, background and various propensities.
Sri Aurobindo discusses this issue as follows: “But…
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There are those who hold that the entire existence of the universe, and the apparent intelligence we see within the quantum world of sub-atomic energy, as well as in the interactive relationship of all forms of life existence to create an inter-dependent existence, is purely the work of Chance, a random combination of chemical reactions that yielded the “miracle” of Life.
There are those who would continue this line of understanding to make it a matter of “luck” as to how our lives unfold and whether we are “successful” or “failures” in our actions.
This line of approach is essentially at the other end of the continuum from those who take the opposing viewpoint that everything, down to the smallest detail, is absolutely pre-destined and controlled with no amount of random chance whatsoever.
Sri Aurobindo takes issue with the idea that intelligence and consciousness can arise as a result of…
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It is a common observation that the focus of the West and the focus of the East diverge and are opposed to one another. The West has developed a society based on incredible concentration on the organization and enhancement of the vital force of life in the material sphere. The East meanwhile is noted for its attention on the life of the Spirit, with its signature achievement being the abandonment of the things of this world for the spiritual realization.
Each of these two directions, however, gains support and significance through the perfection of both sides of the equation. They are complementary directions rather than opposites.
The Truth of the spiritual principle encompasses both the transcendent Beyond, and the manifest universe, which is the carrying out into form of the Spirit. Matter, Life and Mind are all principles of spiritual action and when properly understood, must obtain their sustenance from…
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