Perhaps as long as humans have existed they have pondered questions of where the universe comes from, how did the world and life manifest and what is our purpose in life. These are considered “ultimate” questions for which we have no fixed answers. We reach a boundary line over which we cannot peer. We reach a logical place where we cannot either affix a border nor affirm ongoing continuity.
Western scientists today continue to debate these questions and undertake various measurements and experiments to validate their theoretical understanding. The primary theory that has held sway in the West for much of the last century is known as the “big bang” theory. This theory essentially holds that the universe was created out of a virtually infiinite density called a “singularity” which then expanded from there in a burst of energy.
None of this however fully addresses things such as ‘what was there before the big bang’ and ‘how did it get there’ and ‘is it cyclical in nature’ (implying that universes are created and destroyed through cycles with some kind of universal seed that bursts forth energy repeatedly through these cycles.
Some theories hold that there are multiple dimensions that each interact and vibrate to create the pattern of the universe, and quantum physics advances on some of these theories to point out that both distinct points and waves both exist simultaneously in what is something of a logical paradox.
It is these type of questions which Sri Aurobindo takes up in the chapter we are beginning, Indeterminates, Cosmic Determinations and the Indeterminable. The cosmic determinations, representing those specific possibilities of existence that have taken form and act within the framework of this universe, are nevertheless unexplained at the point that we reach limits beyond which we cannot see, even if we posit the existence of further infinite reality. These are the Indeterminates, which may or may not actually be possible for us to comprehend and thus, may remain Indeterminable.
The exploration of these questions is an extensive one but is necessary if we are to develop an understanding of our role and potential action in this universal existence.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 1, Indeterminates, Cosmic Determinations and the Indeterminable