Insufficiencies of the Power of the Intellectual Reason

The intellect is a great power for human life, yet it has its limitations as well.  When it attempts to take charge of the life energy, it does so through attempts at developing rules of living, working from abstraction and attempting to overlay them over the life force, creating limitations and guidelines and suppressing wayward actions of the life energy as it tries to burst out and expand.  The intellect also has difficulty in perceiving and accepting the wider and deeper forces that are operative within the evolution of consciousness, as they fall in many cases outside the range and scope of the reason.

Sri Aurobindo observes that some hold the innate urge to express itself that exists in Life as the force that must be ascendant and the intellect should become a servant of this “Will to Life”.  “…the intelligence is only useful in so far as it serves that and that Life must not be repressed, minimised and mechanised by the arbitrary control of reason.  Life has greater powers in it which must be given a freer play; for it is they alone that evolve and create.  On the other hand, it is felt that reason is too analytical, too arbitrary, that it falsifies life by its distinctions and set classifications and the fixed rules based upon them and that there is some profounder and larger power of knowledge, intuition or another, which is more deeply in the secrets of existence.  This larger intimate power is more one with the depths and sources of existence and more able to give us the indivisible truths of life, its root realities and to work them out, not in an artificial and mechanical spirit but with a divination of the secret Will in existence and in a free harmony with its large, subtle and infinite methods.  In fact, what the growing subjectivism of the human mind is beginning obscurely to see is that the one sovereign godhead is the soul itself which may use reason for one of its ministers, but cannot subject itself to its own intellectuality without limiting its potentialities and artificialising its conduct of existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 11,  The Reason as Governor of Life, pg. 106