Humanity Represents a Continuum in Life’s Development in the World

If we put aside for the moment religious or philosophical dogma and simply look at the world around us and our position within it, we can see that humanity did not simply “appear” without “context”. Sri Aurobindo describes the relationship to the rest of creation thus: “The animal prepares and imperfectly prefigures man and is itself prepared in the plant, as that too is foreseen obscurely by all that precedes it in the terrestrial expansion. Man himself takes up the miraculous play of the electron and atom, draws up through the complex development of the protoplasm the chemical life of subvital beings, perfects the original nervous system of the plant in the physiology of the completed animal being, consummates and repeats rapidly in his embryonic growth the past evolution of the animal form into the human perfection and, once born, rears himself from the earthward and downward animal proneness to the erect figure of the spirit who is already looking up to his farther heavenward evolution. All the terrestrial past of the world is there summarised in man, and not only has Nature given as it were the physical sign that she has formed in him an epitome of her universal forces, but psychologically also he is one in his subconscient being with her obscurer animal life, contains in his mind and nature the animal and rises out of all this substratum into his conscious manhood.”

Not only is there an obvious continuum here which places the human being squarely in the midst of the evolutionary process of the world, but there is also a clearly symbiotic relationship that makes it impossible for the human being to live without the environment and the other beings in the environment to support, nurture and create the conditions needed for our existence. We require oxygen to breathe, and plants create oxygen. We have beneficial bacteria in our intestines that are important to our digestive process. Our skin creates an essential vitamin from sun rays. The entire creation is One and unified and depends on each part to manifest the whole.

Sri Aurobindo,