Intellectual Abstraction or Mystical Vision

As we have seen in many of these issues, one of the biggest problems we face is trying to adequately describe and understand “the logic of the Infinite” using the tools of the finite mind. We continue to create oppositions when they should be complements. We set up “either or” when in fact it should be ‘both and”.

Sri Aurobindo takes this point further “A certain difficulty arises for our mind in reconciling these different faces or fronts of the One Self and Spirit, because we are obliged to use abstract conceptions and defining words and ideas for something that is not abstract, something that is spiritually living and intensely real.”

Seekers throughout the ages have come across this difficulty and tried to stretch the conceptual language, or moved into the realm of poetic expression or imagery to try to more closely convey the living reality of the experience they had. “The impersonal truth of things can be rendered into the abstract formulas of the pure reason, but there is another side of truth which belongs to the spiritual or mystic vision and without that inner vision of realities the abstract formulation of them is insufficiently alive, incomplete. The mystery of things is the true truth of things; the intellectual presentation is only truth in representation, in abstract symbols, as if in a cubist art of thought-speech, in geometric figure. It is necessary in a philosophic inquiry to confine oneself mostly to this intellectual presentation, but it is as well to remember that this is only the abstraction of the Truth and to seize it completely or express it completely there is needed a concrete experience and a more living and full-bodied language.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pg. 357