The Analytical Reasoning Power Cannot Comprehend the Depths of Existence

The rational analytical mind is a power that has been of tremendous value in the understanding of the physical world and processes.  The modern world has become very much dependent on the operation of this power.  It has its limitations, however, due to subtlety and complexity at the deeper levels of existence that cannot be accurately or completely understood or codified by this power.  The analytical reason relies first on the limits of the sense perceptions upon which it operates.  Even when the sense data is extended through technology, it remains limited.  Second, the operations of the material world are based on forces and activities on other levels that can only be inferred or interpreted, not directly seen, and thus, error can creep in through failures of understanding or interpretation.  Third, the reason tries to extrapolate from what it thinks it knows to what is unseen or outside of its sphere of knowledge–it cannot possibly therefore understand forces or levels of activity in the universe that may operate on totally different principles than those with which it is familiar in the material world.  There are also issues of perspective such as caused much of humanity to believe that the sun moved around the earth for long millennia.  With the development of quantum physics, the rational approach loses its ability to make any kind of judgment with findings such as that the fact of observation changes the observed event, or that in some cases future events can change the results of the past.  It is clear that principles other than those of the human reason can comprehend are active.  Modern day science is now positing that not only is all matter actually energy, but that all energy is consciousness, bringing it to the edge of the spiritual understanding.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “For in his study of himself and the world he cannot but come face to face with the soul in himself and the soul in the world and find it to be an entity so profound, so complex, so full of hidden secrets and powers that his intellectual reason betrays itself as an insufficient light and a fumbling seeker; it is successfully analytical only of superficialities and of what likes just behind the superficies.  The need of a deeper knowledge must then turn him to the discovery of new powers and means within himself.  He finds that he can only know himself entirely by becoming actively self-conscious and not merely self-critical, by more and more living in his soul and acting out of it rather than floundering on surfaces, by putting himself into conscious harmony with that which lies behind his superficial mentality and psychology and by enlightening his reason and making dynamic his action through this deeper light and power to which he thus opens.  In this process the rationalistic ideal begins to subject itself to the ideal of intuitional knowledge and a deeper self-awareness; the utilitarian standard gives way to the aspiration towards self-consciousness and self-realisation; the rule of living according to the manifest laws of physical Nature is replaced by the effort towards living according to the veiled Law and Will and Power active in the life of the world and in the inner and outer life of humanity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 3, The Coming of the Subjective Age, pg. 29


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