There are many who accept the idea that the human being with his mental capacity is the ultimate creation, the crown of life, and it is thus man’s destiny to sit atop that mountain and enjoy and master the rest of creation. There are others who accept the idea that humanity may be the peak of life on the earth, but there are beings who may be farther advanced elsewhere in the universe. Even these individuals, however, for the most part tend to frame the advancement as greater powers of mind.
Sri Aurobindo asks us to observe the evolutionary progression over time and thereby gain a clearer understanding of Nature’s process at work. Each new stage, while based upon the prior stage, manifests radically new and different capabilities. Thus, we see the evolution of life in what appeared before to be inanimate matter; or the evolution of mind in what appeared to be mindless life in matter. The question then arises, whether we can see any indications that help us to understand whether there is a next stage of evolution, and if so, of what it consists.
Sri Aurobindo takes up this question: “If Mind is indeed Nature’s highest term, then the entire development of the rational and imaginative intellect and the harmonious satisfaction of the emotions and sensibilities must be to themselves sufficient. But if, on the contrary, man is more than a reasoning and emotional animal, if beyond that which is being evolved, there is something that has to be evolved, then it may well be that the fullness of the mental life, the suppleness, flexibility and wide capacity of the intellect, the ordered richness of emotion and sensibility may be only a passage towards the development of a higher life and of more powerful faculties which are yet to manifest and to take possession of the lower instrument, just as mind itself has so taken possession of the body that the physical being no longer lives only for its own satisfaction but provides the foundation and the materials for a superior activity.”
We may find a clue in Nature’s intention by viewing the enormous changes that have taken place in the last years of the 20th and the early year’s of the 21st century. To be sure the mental development has been a major focus of Nature during this time, but beyond that we see the development of a global interconnectedness that is unparalleled. With the development of television, airplane travel, cellular communications,the world wide web of the internet, social media, and instantaneous information and news from around the world, all of humanity is suddenly being challenged with ideas, viewpoints and issues on a global scale, which have not been part of the general development heretofore. This leads initially to fear and conflict, but concurrently, we see opportunities for both an enhanced understanding and a more global view. This seems to be preparing us for a new form of consciousness which breaks out of the rigidity and narrowness of the mental model and ushers us into an wholistic, harmonising level of consciousness. We also begin to recognise the limitations of the mental organisation of our lives, as the problems we are facing become more complex, while the mental rules and methodology yield only paralysis and gridlock.
The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram had a saying: “When you are conscious of the whole world at the same time, then you can become conscious of the Divine.” It appears the time is coming and we are being prepared for this next future of the evolution of consciousness on the planet.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Introduction: The Conditions of the Synthesis, Chapter 2, The Three Steps of Nature, pg. 11