The Limitations of the Human Individual Standpoint

The experience of the cosmic consciousness is the achievement of the “Divine standpoint” which stands in contrast to what we experience in the normal human state of awareness, which may be called the “human standpoint.”

The human standpoint is characterized by a sense of separateness, of alienation from the rest of life, other beings, Nature and the Divine. The human individual looks upon life in most instances as something of a battle for survival against nature which is hostile or at least not-directly-supportive, in which each individual must struggle to overcome the limitations of mind-life-body and at the same time succeed in the competition for survival against all the other beings who are fighting over the same limited resources. Everything is seen and judged through the lens of this narrow, partial, fragmented and isolated experience.

Sri Aurobindo elaborates: “As individual egos we dwell in the Ignorance and judge everything by a broken, partial and personal standard of knowledge; we experience everything according to the capacity of a limited consciousness and force and are therefore unable to give a divine response or set the true value upon any part of cosmic experience. We experience limitation, weakness, incapacity, grief, pain, struggle and its contradictory emotions or the opposite of these things as opposites in an eternal duality and not in the eternity of an absolute good and happiness. We live by fragments of experience and judge by our fragmentary values each thing and the whole. When we try to arrive at absolute values we only promote some partial view of things to do duty for a totality in the divine workings; we make-believe that our fractions are integers and thrust our one-sided viewpoints into the catholicity of the all-vision of the Divine.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 15, The Cosmic Consciousness, pp. 395-396