In the prior post we discussed the need to establish, as the basis for a truly human life, the mental standpoint and focus as the centerpiece. This also provides a platform for the eventual evolutionary growth beyond the mental live and the consequent spiritualisation of life.
Various civilisations and cultures throughout human history have been inspired by this opportunity. Sri Aurobindo specifically points out the classical Greek culture as an example of such an attempt.
In each case in the past, the focus waned and the effort fell back as it was beyond the then current capabilities of the larger mass of humanity to sustain such an intensive effort. “In later times this perception was lost and, when it came back, it returned much diminished, mixed with more turbid elements: the perturbation of a spiritual ideal imperfectly grasped by the understanding and not at all realised in the life’s practice but present with its positive and negative mental and moral influences, and over against it the pressure of a dominant, an inordinate vital urge which could not get its free self-satisfied movement, stood in the way of the sovereignty of the mind and the harmony of life, its realised beauty and balance. An opening to higher ideals, a greater range of life was gained, but the elements of a new idealism were only cast into its action as an influence, could ont dominate and transform it and, finally, the spiritual endeavor, thus ill-understood and unrealised, was thrown aside: its moral effects remained, but, deprived of the sustaining spiritual element, dwindled towards ineffectivity; the vital urge, assisted by an immense development of physical intelligence, became the preoccupation of the race. An imposing increase of a certain kind of knowledge and efficiency was the first result; the most recent outcome has been a perilous spiritual ill-health and a vast disorder.”
We see this spiritual ill-health and disorder all around us in the world today. We have developed knowledge of the intricate atomic details of matter and biological processes of life, and, having lost our balance through the drive for self-aggrandisement and power, we try to effect change with these ill-understood tools and thereby drive the world and our civilisation totally out of all proportion and balance. We are left with massive unintended consequences and imbalanced ecological and social systems that have us all on the brink of massive species die off and potentially planetary desolution and extinction. It is therefore essential that we tackle the necessary changes to establish the spiritual foundation of existence if we are going to survive the current crisis.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 19, “Out of the Sevenfold Ignorance towards the Sevenfold Knowledge.”