Issues and Limitations in the Harmonious Integration of the Three Gradations of Mentality

Each human individual has the three gradations of habitual, pragmatic and ideative mentality as a potential capacity, but these are developed to different degrees and have a rather imperfect harmony in their action within that individual.  We can easily recognize the essential characteristics of each one of these mental types.  It is also easy to acknowledge that they do not tend to be integrated and balanced within a single individual.  So the essentially habitual patterns of the physical mentality dealing with the facts of the world find it hard to adapt to changing situations or unfamiliar circumstances where the pragmatic vital intellect will make adjustments.  The purely intellectual and ideative mentality tends to be both somewhat impractical and divorced to a great degree from the physical realities of the world, and this has led to the image of the intellectual locked away in his ivory tower, unable to cope with the world and its facts in any specific and detailed manner.  Each of these capacities has its role to play, and its inevitable limitations.  It would be more ideal if an individual could overcome the predilections of his basic mental constitution to be able to integrate all three powers appropriately into a unified and consistent action, but this remains elusive because of the basic nature of the action of the mentality.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “An accommodation of some kind is made, but the tyranny of the predominant tendency interferes with the wholeness and unity of the thinking being.  Mind fails to be assured master even of its own totality, because the secret of that totality lies beyond it in the free unity of the self, free and therefore capable of an infinite multiplicity and diversity, and in the supramental power that can alone bring out in a natural perfection the organic multiple movement of the self’s unity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 23, The Supramental Instruments — Thought-process , pp. 812-813

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