We face, in every sphere of human endeavor, a conflict of competing ideas or directions. If we look closely we can see an element of truth in each side, but can also recognise that as long as we are bound by the mind’s limitations and its desire to reduce everything to “either-or”, we cannot harmonise these oppositions.
The gnostic consciousness, acting from a wider, universal standpoint, is able to resolve these contradictions. “As the universalised spiritual individual sheds the limited personality, the ego, as he rises beyond mind to a completer knowledge in Supernature, the conflicting ideals of the mind must fall away from him, but what is true behind them will remain in the life of Supernature. The gnostic consciousness is a consciousness in which all contradictions are cancelled or fused into each other in a higher light of seeing and being, in a unified self-knowledge and world-knowledge. The gnostic being will not accept the mind’s ideals and standards; he will not be moved to live for himself, for his ego, or for humanity or for others or for the community or for the State; for he will be aware of something greater than these half-truths, of the Divine Reality, and it is for that he will live, for its will in himself and in all, in a spirit of large universality, in the light of the will of the Transcendence.”
We see here, then, a unifying, integrating level of consciousness which can find the resolution of all the conflicting principles that drive our lives in the world today. “…there can be no conflict between self-affirmation and altruism in the gnostic life, for the self of the gnostic being is one with the self of all,–no conflict between the ideal of individualism and the collective ideal, for both are terms of a greater Reality and only in so far as either expresses the Reality or their fulfilment serves the will of the Reality, can they have a value for his spirit.”
The gnostic being affirms, hidden within each of these contradictions, “…the affirmation of the Divine in himself and a sense of the Divine in others and the sense of oneness with humanity, with all other beings, with all the world because of the Divine in them….”
“… a lead towards a greater and better affirmation of the growing Reality in them will be part of his life-action.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”, pp. 1064-1065