As long as the evolution that takes place in the material world remains unconscious, based in the Inconscient, the effort of material Nature is to systematically manifest those forms needed to hold and support the current and the immediate next gradations of consciousness. While this process is supported and in fact based in the pressure of the spiritual evolution, this pressure remains for the most part secret, unseen and subliminal. We therefore view an evolution of outer forms for which we have no real reference nor can see any real significance.
Once the evolution reaches the stage of human consciousness, however, we begin to see what Sri Aurobindo terms a “reversal” where the process begins to become conscious and thereby can be aided by the action of the human consciousness turning itself back upon and working upon the material forms and the life energy.
We can see the efforts being made by the application of human intelligence on changing the nature of Matter and through selective breeding and cross-breeding, changing the capacity both of Matter and of Life to meet the perceived needs of the human development. This conscious effort represents the first time that a species in this evolutionary cycle has been able to add its own conscious awareness and focus to the process that otherwise takes place slowly through the working of Nature.
Just as man is already impacting the development of material forms and life forces, it is also possible for man to aid in the development of spiritual consciousness. “The urge to it is already there and partly effective, though still incompletely understood and accepted by the surface mentality; but one day it may understand, go deeper within itself and discover the means, the secret energy, the intended operation of the Consciousness-Force within which is the hidden reality of what we call Nature.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 23, “Man and the Evolution”