Good and Evil Both Advance Nature’s Evolutionary Goals

Sri Aurobindo’s analysis makes it clear that both what we consider to be “good” and that which we call “evil” are both necessary parts of an evolutionary development of Nature that needs to systematically expand the capacities and overcome the limitations of the Inconscience of the material world. The self-aggrandising vital force acts to affirm the individual entity without taking into account the wider unity and the needs of the other beings that have been created and are part of that wider unity. This brings about the disharmony and discord we have been seeing as the result of the vital impulsion.

Sri Aurobindo explains the role this plays in Nature’s process: “Nature accepts them because they are necessary circumstances of the evolution, necessary for the growth of the divided being; they are products of ignorance, supported by an ignorant consciousness that founds itself on division, by an ignorant will that works through division, by an ignorant delight of existence that takes the joy of division. The evolutionary intention acts through the evil as through the good; it has to utilise all because confinement to a limited good would imprison and check the intended evolution; it uses any available material and does what it can with it: this is the reason why we see evil coming out of what we call good and good coming out of what we call evil; and, if we see even what was thought to be evil coming to be accepted as good, what was thought to be good accepted as evil, it is because our standards of both are evolutionary, limited and mutable.”

Eventually, the sense of good and evil that grows up in mankind, shows us that there is an underlying urge in nature to move beyond these limitations: “it must be there so that man may leave certain things behind him, move towards others, until out of good and evil he can emerge into some Good that is eternal and infinite.”

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

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