The Nature of the Physical Mind

The first foundation of mentality in the human being is the “physical mind”. Sri Aurobindo describes it as follows: it “perceives the actual, the physical, the objective and accepts it as fact and this fact as self-evident truth beyond question; whatever is not actual, not physical, not objective it regards as unreal or unrealised, only to be accepted as entirely real when it has succeeded in becoming actual, becoming a physical fact, becoming objective: its own being too it regards as an objective fact, warranted to be real by its existence in a visible and sensible body; all other subjective beings and things it accepts on the same evidence in so far as they can become objects of our external consciousness or acceptable to that part of the reason which builds upon the data supplied by that consciousness and relies upon them as the one solid basis of knowledge.”

Physical science represents an extension of this form of mentality and utilizes the same standard of valuation: if it is palpable and able to be grasped by the senses, including the extended senses provided by the tools of physical science, then it is real. Physical science adds the advantage that because it can build tools to perceive and measure that are far more sensitive than the physical senses of the human body, it is able to both extend the accepted reality and correct errors of perception thereby helping the physical mind widen its base of knowledge.

There is of course a serious limitation in that anything that is beyond the framework that the physical mind can perceive or grasp is simply overlooked, or denied, and this does not then provide for the fact that there are levels of perception outside the physical range which evidence a much vaster and more powerful Reality than the physical mind is ready to admit. And this means that the physical mind also tends to deny powers of mind that go beyond its own limited faculties.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 5, The Cosmic Illusion; Mind, Dream and Hallucination, pg. 413


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