Is Mind Purely a Condition of Material Energy?

The scientists who try to explain life by physical energy also try to explain mind the same way. Somehow a combination of chemicals and electrical impulses created the sonnets of Shakespeare or the higher mathematics of Albert Einstein! Sri Aurobindo takes strong exception to this viewpoint:

“…but no amount of correspondence can show how a physical response can be converted into or amount to or by itself constitute in result a conscious operation, a perception, emotion, thought-concept, or prove that love is a chemical product or that Plato’s theory of ideas or Homer’s Iliad or the cosmic consciousness of the Yogin was only a combination of physiological reactions or a complex of the changes of grey brain matter or a flaming marvel of electrical discharges. It is not only that common sense and imagination boggle at these theories,–that objection may be disregarded,–not only that perception, reason and intuition have to be thrust aside in favour of a forced and too extended inference, but that there is a gulf of difference here between the thing to be explained and the thing by which it is sought to explain it which cannot be filled up, however much we may admit the nervous connections and psycho-physical bridges.”

From a purely logical standpoint, nothing can develop that is not already inherent or involved in the starting point. So, for life and mind to manifest out of physical matter, material energy, they must already be involved therein. When we look closely at Matter, we see that it in fact is made up of highly organized and extremely powerful Energy. Even modern scientists have begun to recognize that Energy is not the ultimate term, but that Energy consists of Consciousness. Since Matter itself is not the starting point, it cannot be the first cause of life and mind! Clearly we are moving toward an understanding that Consciousness is the cause and Matter is the effect, and thus, as Life and Mind begin to manifest out of Matter, they are expressions of Consciousness.

The real work, the real review, therefore must take place at the level of Consciousness, if we are to understand the real nature of our existence.

Sri Aurobindo,