Spiritual Aspiration & Seeking Survives the Phase of Materialism and Intellectual Pursuits

Even in an extreme period of materialism and reliance on the intellect, we continue to see not only the spiritual aspiration, but an actual growth of interest in spirituality and religious experience. Even the intellectual pursuit of scientific knowledge, as it advances and becomes more focused on the causes and significance of existence and the manifested world, begins to take on metaphysical aspects. For instance, science has over the last 100 years recognized that Matter is a form of Energy, and this was codified by Albert Einstein in his famous equation E = Mc2 . More recently we find scientists admitting that even Energy is not the final answer, and that Energy is actually a form of consciousness. We see the enormous development of Quantum Physics which shows the interaction of Consciousness with material events. We see the development of an understanding that the very fact of “observation” changes results in the material world, with the development of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Sri Aurobindo discusses the implications: “But still evolutionary Nature keeps alive her ulterior intentions in the minds of a few and uses man’s greater mental evolution to raise them to a higher plane and deeper issues. In the present time itself, after an age of triumphant intellectuality and materialism, we can see evidences of this natural process,–a return towards inner self-discovery, an inner seeking and thinking, a new attempt at mystic experience, a groping after the inner self, a reawakening to some sense of the truth and power of the spirit begins to manifest itself; man’s search after his self and soul and a deeper truth of things tends to revive and resume its lost force and to give a fresh life to the old creeds, erect new faiths or develop independently of sectarian religions. The intellect itself, having reached near to the natural limits of the capacity of physical discovery, having touched its bedrock and found that it explains nothing more than the outer process of Nature, has begun, still tentatively and hesitatingly, to direct an eye of research on the deeper secrets of the mind and the life-force and on the domain of the occult which it had rejected a priori, in order to know what there may be in it that is true. Religion itself has shown its power of survival and is undergoing an evolution the final sense of which is still obscure. In this new phase of the mind that we see beginning, however crudely and hesitatingly, there can be detected the possibility of a pressure towards some decisive turn and advance of the spiritual evolution in Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 24, “The Evolution of the Spiritual Man”