Science Investigates Evolution and Heredity

The surface mentality of man begins with the physical world in his investigations. The processes at work in the physical world have been opening up their secrets to the unrelenting review of the scientific mind. Over the past 150+ years, the concepts of evolution, first enunciated by Charles Darwin in a systematic way, and heredity, have been both put forth and developed. The science of genetics has taken this to a greater precision of detail and we can now see and trace much of the physical development that has taken place during the course of evolution.

What is missing from this analysis, however, is any understanding of processes that are outside the purely physical realm, or that may be causative of things we see in the physical world. Unfortunately, the open-minded scientific investigator had put on blinders that only have allowed, for the most part, this spirit of open inquiry to permeate research on the physical plane. Sri Aurobindo discusses this issue: Science…”is determined…to explain every supra-physical phenomenon by some physical fact; psychological process of mind must not exist except as result or rendering of physiological process of body. This set resolution, apparently rational and cautious of ascertainable and firmly tangible truth, but really heroic in its paradoxical temerity, shuts up her chance of rapid discovery, for the present at least, in a fairly narrow circle. It taints too her extensions of physical truth into the psychological field with a pursuing sense of inadequacy. And this inadequacy in extended application is very evident in her theories of heredity and evolution when she forces them beyond their safe ground of physical truth and labours to illumine by them the subtle, complex, elusive phenomena of our psychological being.”

As this research has, however, gone deeper into the issues of consciousness, particularly in the work of researchers such as Jung or the developments in the field of quantum mechanics and even more esoteric views of the universe, it has started to become clear that while evolution and heredity can do a more than adequate job of describing the processes at work in life and physical bodies in the physical world, they do not explain causes, or the consciousness that creates and develops through use of these processes. Some modern scientists have even gone so far as to recognize that matter consists of energy, and that energy consists of consciousness. We reach thereby a frontier where we need to leave physical processes behind and enter the realms of the supra-physical, the realms of consciousness, the realms of the Spirit.

Sri Aurobindo,