The Cosmic-Terrestrial View of Existence, Part 1

Sri Aurobindo describes the limitations of the supracosmic view with respect to the destiny of the individual: “It may be said that one defect in this view of things is the absence of any fundamental reality of the individual, of any abiding value and significance of his natural or his spiritual activity: but it can be replied that this demand for a permanent personal significance, for a personal eternity, is an error of our ignorant surface consciousness; the individual is a temporary becoming of the Being, and that is a quite sufficient value and significance.” Sri Aurobindo points out that the emphasis on the individual, and individual effort and individual salvation is too great to attribute to it no ultimate significance and this remains a serious defect of the supracosmic view of existence.

The next viewpoint about the nature of existence and its meaning takes a directly opposite tack, and this is the “cosmic-terrestrial” view. This view “considers cosmic existence as real; it goes farther and accepts it as the only reality, and its view is confined, ordinarily, to life in the material universe. God, if God exists, is an eternal Becoming; or if God does not exist, then Nature,–whatever view we may take of Nature, whether we regard it as a play of Force with Matter or a great cosmic Life or even admit a universal impersonal Mind in Life and Matter,–is a perennial becoming. Earth is the field or it is one of the temporary fields, man is the highest possible form or only one of the temporary forms of the Becoming. Man individually may be altogether mortal; mankind also may survive only for a certain short period of earth’s existence; earth itself may bear life only for a rather longer period of its duration in the solar system; that system may itself one day come to an end or at least cease to be an active or productive factor in the Becoming; the universe we live in may itself dissolve or contract again into the seed-state of its Energy: but the principle of Becoming is eternal,–or at least as eternal as anything can be in the obscure ambiguity of existence.”

There is more to be considered in this view, which we shall take up in the next post.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 16, The Integral Knowledge and the Aim of Life; Four Theories of Existence

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