Cosmic-Terrestrial View of Existence, Part 2

Sri Aurobindo next explores the role and purpose of the individual within the framework of the cosmic-terrestrial view of existence. The view that an individual psychic entity is able to persist through time as some kind of continous reincarnation is one view that has arisen during mankind’s speculations on this matter. The aim of such a Becoming would be an ever-increasing perfection or some kind of growth towards an ultimate realisation for this Becoming. This view, however, does not lend itself easily to our circumstance as we can identify it, and thus, has not been a major line of approach for those adopting the cosmic-terrestrial view.

Sri Aurobindo then moves on to the next possible direction taken by this view: “In the ordinary view of a sole terrestrial life or a restricted transient passage in the material universe,–for possibly there may be thinking living beings in other planets,–an acceptance of man’s mortality and a passive endurance of it or an active dealing with a limited personal or collective life and life-aims are the only choice possible. The one high and reasonable course for the individual human being,–unless indeed he is satisfied with pursuing his personal purposes or somehow living his life until it passes out of him,–is to study the laws of the Becoming and take the best advantage of them to realise, rationally or intuitionally, inwardly or in the dynamism of life, its potentialities in himself or for himself or in or for the race of which he is a member; his business is to make the most of such actualities as exist and to seize on or to advance towards the highest possibilities that can be developed here or are in the making. Only mankind as a hwole can do this with entire effect, by the mass of individual and collective action, in the process of time, in the evolution of the race-experience: but the individual man can help towards it in his own limits, can do all these things for himself to a certain extent in the brief space of life allotted to him; but expecially, his thought and action can be a contribution towards the present intellectual, moral and vital welfare and the future progress of the race.”

We see in this view, then, aims and directions to focus the life of the individual so that it acquires some meaning and purpose in the individual and the overall progress and welfare of humanity as a whole in its evolutionary growth and development.

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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