Issues Arising from the Complexity of the Mental Nature

The human mind is subject to considerable contradiction, confusion and internal opposition due to various aspects of the being each serving up their demands or desire to be met, needs to be addressed, or insights and ideas to be adopted and implemented.  Despite the tangle that this creates for any individual, there are certain broad principles or concepts which rule even the contradictions in detail.  These overarching ideas are based on the way the human mind works; whichever side of an issue the mind accepts in a particular circumstance, it is governed generally by the framework thus imposed.

Sri Aurobindo describes this in detail:  “All the hostile distinctions, oppositions, antagonisms, struggles, conversions, reversions, perversions of his mentality, all the chaotic war of ideas and impulses and tendencies which perplex his efforts, have arisen from the natural misunderstandings and conflicting claims of his many members.  His reason is a judge who gives conflicting verdicts and is bribed and influenced by the suitors; his intelligent will is an administrator harassed by the conflicts of the different estates of his realm and by the sense of his own partiality and final incompetence.  Still in the midst of it all he has formed certain large ideas of culture and the mental life, and his conflicting notions about them follow certain definite lines determined by the divisions of his nature and shaped into a general system of curves by his many attempts to arrive either at an exclusive standard or an integral harmony.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 9, Civilisation and Culture, pp. 85-86

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