The Subjective Viewpoint on Life and Living

Whereas the objective viewpoint looks upon existence as some kind of machinery subject to various laws that we can understand and apply to succeed at life, the subjective viewpoint looks at existence as an organic, growing, self-actualizing reality to be known and grasped, not by the analytical powers of the intellect, but by an inner connection to the totality of our existence.  The reason, as a power of the being, certainly can play a role in the increasing awareness and realisation process, but it is a subsidiary power that has its uses in a practical external sense but is unable to fully contain or grasp the completeness of the being or of our existence.

Sri Aurobindo describes the subjective viewpoint:  “Subjectivism proceeds from within and regards everything from the point of view of a containing and developing self-consciousness.  The law here is within ourselves; life is a self-creating process, a growth and development at first subconscious, then half-conscious and at last more and more fully conscious of that which we are potentially and hold within ourselves; the principle of its progress is an increasing self-recognition, self-realisation and a resultant self-shaping.  Reason and will are only effective movements of the self, reason a process in self-recognition, will a force for self-affirmation and self-shaping.  Moreover, reason and intellectual will are only a part of the means by which we recognise and realise ourselves.  Subjectivism tends to take a large and complex view of our nature and being and to recognise many powers of knowledge, many forces of effectuation.  Even, we see it in its first movement away from the external and objective method discount and belittle the importance of the work of the reason and assert the supremacy of the life-impulse or the essential Will-to-be in opposition to the claims of the intellect or else affirm some deeper power of knowledge, called nowadays the intuition, which sees things in the whole, in their truth, in their profundities and harmonies while intellectual reason breaks up, falsifies, affirms superficial appearances and harmonises only by a mechanical adjustment..  But substantially we can see that what is meant by this intuition is the self-consciousness feeling, perceiving, grasping in its substance and aspects rather than analysing in its mechanism its own truth and nature and powers.  The whole impulse of subjectivism is to get at the self, to live in the self, to see by the self, to live out the truth of the self internally and externally, but always from an internal initiation and centre.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 6, The Objective and Subjective Views of Life, pp. 58-59


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