Space, Time and Consciousness, Part 1

Sri Aurobindo makes the connection between the physical reality of matter and the fact that matter is effective energy. This reality was described by Albert Einstein and has become a basic tenet of modern physics. Sri Aurobindo goes further however to ascribe the energy and the subsequent forms of matter as statuses of consciousness. In recent years science has begun to follow this line of understanding and recognize that in fact, consciousness is the reality that creates both energy and matter.

One of the more intriguing modern theories in physics is called string theory, which essentially holds that there are multiple different dimensions of reality (may we say “consciousness”) that each have their own laws of action, which may interact with one another but also maintain their own separate reality.

Sri Aurobindo has anticipated this line of understanding when he says “…there is a different Time and Space for each status of our consciousness and even different movements of Time and Space within each status; but all would be renderings of a fundamental spiritual reality of Time-Space. In fact, when we go behind physical space, we become aware of an extension on which all this movement is based and this extension is spiritual and not material; it is Self or Spirit containing all action of its own Energy.”

The implications of this are enormous because it gives us the insight to see that what we believe to be the inviolable laws of matter are in fact a specific formulation of energy and organisation that can vary depending on different statuses of consciousness and different dimensions of Existence.

The next implication is that consciousness being the primary and ultimate creative force, it exceeds any specific formulation of Time and Space and thus, can modify, change, enhance and develop the manifestation through an evolving awareness.

More next time as this subject is not yet fully explicated.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pg. 361


Time and Space

It must be remembered that Sri Aurobindo wrote the Life Divine in the Middle of the 2nd decade of the 20th Century, between 1914 and 1918 essentially. His discussion of Time and Space in fact foreshadows the debates in modern physics about the nature of matter, energy, time and space that essentially addresses major concepts of both quantum physics and string theory, both at the “state of the art” in modern-day physics.

The general definition is “Space would be Brahman extended for the holding together of forms and objects; Time would be Brahman self-extended for the deployment of the movement of self-power carrying forms and objects; the two would then be a dual aspect of one and the same self-extension of the cosmic Eternal.” (as we discussed in the prior post).

Sri Aurobindo continues however to discuss the nature of Space: “A purely physical Space might be regarded as in itself a property of Matter; but Matter is a creation of Energy in movement. Space therefore in the material world could be either a fundamental self-extension of material Energy or its self-formed existence-field, its representation of the Inconscient Infinity in which it is acting, a figure in which it accomodates the formulas and movements of its own action and self-creation. Time would be itself the course of that movement or else an impression created by it, an impression of something that presents itself to us as regularly successive in its appearance,–a divison or a continuum upholding the continuity of movement and yet marking off its successions…Or else Time could be a dimension of Space necessary for the complete action of the Energy…”

“In any case, if Spirit is the fundamental reality, Time and Space must either be conceptive conditions under which the Spirit sees its own movement of energy or else they must be fundamental conditions of the Spirit itself which assume a different appearance or status according to the status of consciousness.”

We shall continue tomorrow with the discussion about how Space and Time represent extensions of consciousness.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pp. 360-361