As we look behind the material forms and their differences and distinctions, we see that they all partake of certain commonality, as we established in the previous discussion. Sri Aurobindo points out clearly that “All things, even while different, are yet one. For practical purposes plant, animal, man are different existences; yet when we look deeper we see that the plant is only an animal with an insufficient evolution of self-consciousness and dynamic force; the animal is man in the making; man himself is that animal and yet the something more of self-consciousness and dynamic power of consciousness that make him man; and yet again he is the something more which is contained and repressed in his being as the potentiality of the divine,–he is a good in the making.”
The Eternal is there in each stage of this evolution of consciousness into material forms. The individual human being not only represents the personality of that individual, but is also an expression of the universal manikind. There is a truth to the individuality, but also to the commonality. Even the present individual formation is based on the past expressions that led up to this and contain the potential of the future that is attempting to manifest or unfold itself.
This manifestation process implies that there is a truth to the individual form of expression, a truth to the universal that the individual represents, and a truth to the Eternal that is beyond both of these terms.
None of these terms can be understood fully in isolation from the others, so our individuality is dependent on the universality of mankind, as well as the universality of the manifestation of the universe of mind, life and matter into distinct interacting forms and processes; and the universal manifestation nevertheless expresses itself through individualised formations.
Just as each term has a past, and a present, it also has a future. Each level prepares the manifestation of the next one in the series, and thus, mankind is preparing the next evolutionary stage as the next level of consciousness emerges and adapts itself into the world of becoming.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 3, The Eternal and the Individual, pp. 381-382