When mind-nature separates itself from the physical and vital preoccupations, it can begin to focus on and develop itself along the lines of the mental force in its native, pure form. This does not, in and of itself, overcome the natural tendencies of the physical and the vital levels of being. There can result several lines of action. One of these develops more or less pure forms of mental activity essentially divorced from life, action and the needs of the physical nature. Another attempts to bring about modifications to the life of the world through what is essentially a process of compromise, whereby mental principles are adapted and watered down such that they can have an influence and positive effect on the energies of life in the material world, while life processes are uplifted and transformed by this new, higher influence.
Sri Aurobindo recognizes the need to bring the mental influence into the world, “…for it is by that effort that he is man and not the animal and without it he cannot find his true satisfaction in living.”
At the same time, he also recognizes that mental nature, in order to fulfill its higher goals and aspirations, needs to begin to follow the principles inherent in mental nature for their own sake, and not solely for the impact they can have on a worldly life. “In other words he passes from the practical pursuit of a serviceable knowledge, morality, aesthesis, force of emotion and will-power,–serviceable for his vital aims, for life as it first is,–to an ideal pursuit of these things and the transformation of life into the image of his ideal.”
Eventually as this pursuit continues, and the higher principles become more clear and defined in their form, their native form and power are unveiled, and it becomes possible to recognize what Sri Aurobindo calls the secret of human life. “There is so a chance of his discovering that as the beauty and irrefragable order of life and matter are due to the joy of the Infinite in life and in matter and the fidelity of the Force here at work to the hidden knowledge and will and idea of the Self and Spirit in them, so there is within his hidden self, his own vast and covert spirit a secret of the Infinite’s self-knowledge, will, joy, love and delight, mastery, right and truth of joy and action by which his own greater life rising above the vital and mental limitations can discover an infinite perfection and beauty and delight in itself and spontaneous irrefragable order.”
Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, Section III, Chapter 16, The Higher Lines of Karma, pp. 144-145, http://www.lotuspress.com/item.php?item=990117