The Materialist or Scientific Argument Against A Spiritual Evolution

The basis of the materialistic viewpoint’s argument is that we see an Inconscient, a mechanical energy acting in a mechanical way upon and in Matter, and there is no overt evidence of any directing hand or management of this Energy that would imply a higher Consciousness or a purposive action. Sri Aurobindo addresses this viewpoint: “The scientific or materialist objection cannot maintain its validity if there is a secret Consciousness in or behind the apparently inconscient Energy in Matter. Even in the Inconscient there seems to be at least an urge of inherent necessity producing the evolution of forms and in the forms a developing Consciousness, and it may well be held that this urge is the evolutionary will of a secret Conscious-Being and its push of pregressive manifestation the evidence of an innate intention in the evolution….for the conscious or even the inconscient nisus arises from a truth of conscious-being that has become dynamic and set out to fulfil itself in an automatic process of material Nature; the teleology, the element of purpose in the nisus is the translation of self-operative Truth of Being into terms of self-effective Will-Power of that Being, and, if consciousness is there, such a Will-Power must also be there and the translation is normal and inevitable. Truth of Being inevitably fulfilling itself would be the fundamental fact of the evolution, but Will and its purpose must be there as part of the instrumentation, as an element in the operative principle.”

Thus, the very “facts” that the scientific or materialist viewpoint would use to justify lack of an intelligent, purposive Will for a progressive evolution, are the ones that make such an intelligence absolutely essential! The organisation of the material world, of the manifestation of the Life Force and eventually the Mental development is so detailed, so interactive, and so complex that it requires a secret Consciousness to be able to create it!

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 23, “Man and the Evolution”