Error Can Be A Stepping-Stone to Truth

Sri Aurobindo points out that error, as opposed to falsehood, can actually play a positive transitional role in the development and expression of consciousness in the surface being. “Error by itself, however, would not amount to falsehood; it would only be an imperfection of truth, a trying, an essay of possibilities: for when we do not know, untried and uncertain possibilities have to be admitted and, even if as a result an imperfect or inapt structure of thought is built, yet it may justify itself by opening to fresh knowledge in unexpected directions and either its dissolution and rebuilding or the discovery of some truth it concealed might increase our cognition or our experience.”

A partial light of knowledge, even expressing itself imperfectly, can provide us a new platform from which to view things, and thereby create opportunities for knowledge to grow, widen and mature. Error, therefore, may be a way-station on the way to our deeper knowledge and understanding and can be appreciated and respected for its role in helping us break out of the inconscience from which we begin our seeking, and providing us opportunities to see the world and its forces from new directions.

Error, then, is both inevitable and understandable in the evolution of consciousness out of inconscience, and as long as we do not become arrogant in our ignorance, but respect the fact that our knowledge is imperfect and subject to modification, it becomes a tool, a stepping-stone to truth.

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

Advertisements