Characteristics of Knowledge by Direct Contact of Consciousness

Sri Aurobindo continues his exploration of the first development of the powers of separative knowledge as a step away from the power of knowledge by identity. The first step he calls knowledge by direct contact of consciousness with the object. “The power of inclusion of the object in the consciousness, of an enveloping awareness and knowledge is there; but it is the inclusion of a new externalised existence which has to be made an element of our self by an attained or recovered knowledge, by a dwelling of consciousness upon the object, a concentration, a taking possession of it as part of the existence. The power of penetration is there, but it has no natural pervasiveness and does not lead to identity; it gathers what it can, takes what is thus acquired and carries the contents of the object of knowledge to the subject. There can still be a direct and penetrating contact of consciousness with consciousness creating a vivid and intimate knowledge, but it is confined to the points or to the extent of the contact. Ther eis still a direct sense, consciousness-sight, consciousness-feeling which can see and feel what is within the object as well as its outside and surface. There is still a mutual penetration and interchange between being and being, between consciousness and consciousness, waves of thought, of feeling, of energy of all kinds which may be a movement of synpathy and union or of opposition and struggle. There can be an attempt at unification by possession of others or thorugh one’s own acceptance of possession by other consciousness or other being; or there can be a push towards union by reciprocal inclusion, pervasion, mutual possession. Of all this action and interaction the knower by direct contact is aware and it is on this basis that he arranges his relations with the world around him. This is the origin of knowledge by direct contact of consciousness with its object, which is normal to our inner being but foreign or only imperfectly known to our surface nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 10, Knowledge by Identity and Separative Knowledge


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