The Pragmatic Mind of Will of the Reasoning Intelligence

As the individual moves beyond complete subjection to the sense-mind and its impulsions, the power of the reasoning intelligence begins to make itself felt. First, it takes on the role of focusing and achieving results in the world, a pragmatic intelligence that uses the instruments of life and the opportunities presented by the world, and exercises its intelligent reasoning capacities to enhance the results achieved.

Sri Aurobindo describes this stage: “But the higher reason itself has a first stage of dynamic, pragmatic intellectuality in which creation, action and will are the real motive and thought and knowledge are employed to form basic constructions and suggestinos which are used principally for effectuation. To this pragmatic reason truth is only a formation of the intellect effective for the action of the inner and the outer life. When we cut it away from the still higher reason which seeks impersonally to reflect Truth rather than to create personally effective truth, we find then that this pragmatic reason can originate, progress, enlarge the experience by dynamic knowledge, but it has to depend on the current understanding as a pedestal and base and put its whole weight on life and becoming. It is in itself therefore a mind of the Will to life and action, much more a mind of Will than a mind of knowledge: it does not live in any assured and constant and eternal Truth, but in progressing and changing aspects of Truth which serve the shifting forms of our life and becoming or, at the highest, help life to grow and progress….it lives in the truth of the hour, not in any truth of eternity.”

This pragmatic mind is, however, a powerful aid to the yet higher stages of the reasoning intelligence when it comes to the implementation and effectuation of the determinations made at that higher level: “But when purified of dependence on the customary understanding, it is a great creator and in association with the highest mental reason it becomes a strong channel and bold servant for the effectuation of Truth in life. The value of its work will depend on the value and the power of the highest truth-seeking reason. But by itself it is a sport of Time and a bond-slave of Life.”

The seeker must overpass this stage, just as he has had to overpass the initial stage dependent on the sense-mind. “The seeker of the Silence has to cast it away from him; the seeker of the integral Divinity has to pass beyond it, to replace and transform this thinking mind intent on Life by a greater effectuating spiritual Will, the Truth-Will of the spirit.’

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 7, Purification–Intelligence and Will, pp. 643-644

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