When the mind attempts to observe and know things objectively, it treats the objects of knowledge, whether outer forms, beings and forces, or internal processes, as separate and independent. It then attempts to understand and analyze “from outside” and draws conclusions based on observation, logical inference and analytical tools. These external forms are thus “known” through a process of built up conclusions, and not through an intimate knowledge by identity.
Sri Aurobindo identifies the unique characteristics of the supramental process of knowing, a combination of an “objective” viewpoint which at the same time incorporates a knowledge by identity, seeing the object as part of the one Self. The supermind does not artificially fragment reality into separate external objects, even when the process of viewing utilizes an objectifying view.
“The knower is in his observation a witness and this relation would seem to imply an otherness and difference, but the point is that it is not an entirely separative difference and does not bring an excluding idea of the thing observed as completely not self, as in the mental seeing of an external object. There is always a basic feeling of oneness with the thing known, for without this oneness there can be no supramental knowledge. The knower carrying the object in his universalised self of consciousness as a thing held before his station of witness vision includes it in his own wider being. The supramental observation is of things with which we are one in the being and consciousness and are capable of knowing them even as we know ourselves by the force of that oneness: the act of observation is a movement towards bringing out the latent knowledge.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 23, The Supramental Instruments — Thought-process , pp. 825-826