Two Basic Facts of Evolutionary Emergence of Surface Consciousness

Sri Aurobindo continues to pursue the origin and solution to the problem of evil, falsehood and suffering that arises from them. Where and how do they arise, on what basis do they continue to persist, and what is the remedy or escape. “Here there are two determining factors,–and it is these that are the efficient cause of the simultaneous emergence of falsehood and evil. First, there is an underlying, a still occult consciousness and power of inherent knowledge, and there is also an overlying layer of what might be called indeterminate or else ill-formed stuff of vital and physical consciousness; through this obscure difficult medium the emerging mentality has to force its way and has to impose itself on it by a constructed and no longer an inherent knowledge, because this stuff is still full of nescience, heavily burdened and enveloped with the inconscience of Matter. Next, the emergence takes place in a separated form of life which has to affirm itself against a principle of inanimate material inertia and a constant pull of that material inertia towards disintegration and a relapse into the original inanimate Inconscience….The result of an emergence of consciousness in these conditions is the growth of a self-affirming vital and physical individual, a construciton of Nature of life and matter with a concealed psychic or spiritual true individual behind it for which Nature is creating this outward means of expression. As mentality increases, this vital and material individual takes the more developed form of a constantly self-affirming mental, vital and physical ego. Our surface consciousness and type of existence, our natural being, has developed its present character under the compulsion of these two initial and basic facts of the evolutionary emergence.”

Thus, the condition of an awakened consciousness trying to manifest itself through the nescience and inconscience associated with the material world; combined with the need of the life-force to create separate individual ego forms that try to affirm and aggrandise themselves, are the two basic facts that underlie our present condition of a being struggling to grow, exist, and evolve in a world that seems to constantly pull it back into a state of dissolution, death and inconscience.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 14, The Origin and Remedy of Falsehood, Error, Wrong and Evil, pp. 611-612


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