Are We Trapped In a Subjective World Devoid of Objective Reality?

Sri Aurobindo addresses the question that arises from time to time, and which has provided the underpinning for the illusionist theories of existence; namely, that everything is actually a creation of subjective consciousness and that there is no real external objective reality. In this viewpoint, human consciousness creates the universe, and has created–and in some views, destroyed–God. “it is claimed even that God himself was created by man, was a myth of his consciousness, and has now been abolished by man! All these things then may be a sort of myth of the developing consciousness in which it is able to dwell, a captive in its own buildings, and by a kind of realising dynamisation maintain itself in its own imaginations. But pure imaginations they are not, they can only be so treated by us so long as the things they represent, however incorrectly, are not part of our own experience.”

“But if that were so, if a subjective consciousness can thus create worlds and beings, it might well be that the objective world also is a myth of Consciousness or even of our consciousness, or that Consciousness itself is a myth of the original Nescience. Thus, on this line of thinking, we swing back towards a view of the universe in which all things assume a certain hue of unreality except the all-productive Inconscience out of which they are created, the Ignorance whcih creates them and, it may be, a superconscient or inconscient impersonal Being into whose indifference all finally disappears or goes back and ceases there.”

The underlying fallacy of this “subjective reality” viewpoint of course is that it does not answer the question of where the human consciousness derives from and the basis upon which it comes to exist and thereafter “create” its seemingly objective world, nor provide any meaning or purpose to existence. Having previously explored these viewpoints at length in the review of the “refusal of the ascetic” we need only point out that it is always possible for the human mind to trap itself in a “loop” of thought that is apparently self-contained and self-perpetuating. This does not mean that such a viewpoint in fact reflects the ultimate Reality of the manifested Universe or the Consciousness that permeates, creates, sustains and encompasses it. We simply see here the limits of human thought when confronting the ultimate questions of creation, existence and meaning.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds

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Understanding the Occult Influences That Interact With Humanity

Another order of communication, contact and inter-relation can take place with influences that while originating in this world basic on the phyiscal manifestation and evolution of life and mind upon that framework, are nevertheless now subtilised and reside and act elsewhere than purely in the physical world. “There may also be an awareness of influences, presences, beings that do not seem to belong to other worlds beyond us but are here as a hidden element behind the veil in terrestrial nature. As conatct with the supraphysical is possible, a contact can also take place subjective or objective,–or at least objectivised,–between our own consciousness and the consciousness of other once embodied beings who have passed into a supraphysical status in these other regions of existence. It is possible also to pass beyond a subjective contact or a subtle-sense perception and, in certain subliminal states of consciousness, to enter actually into other worlds and know something of their secrets.”

While this type of experience has taken place and been described in remarkably similar terms all around the world throughout human history, it is true that the physical mind has a tendency to try to turn this into some kind of formulation that fits within the limited framework possible for the physical mind; and thus, it takes on popularised but distorted imagery that tends to reduce credible acceptance by those who can see the distortions, but who do not yet have the capacity or willingness to sort through and find the kernals of truth hidden within these sometimes grotesque images.

It is easy therefore for the mind of science to try to dismiss this type of experience out of hand as something illusory or hallucinatory, or to categorise it as “superstition” and thereby dismiss it from thought. However, Sri Aurobindo points out that “It is not possible for anyone who has had these contacts with any intimacy and not only by scattered abnormal accidents, to put them aside as mere superstition or hallucination; for they are too insistent, real, effective, organic in their pressure, too constantly confirmed by their action and results to be so flung aside: an appreciation, an interpretation, a mental organisation of this side of our capacity of experience is indispensable.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds