The Ultimate Aim of the Ethical Being of Man

Every aspect of human nature, every power manifested through human development, seeks to realise some type of ultimate form, the highest, best, most powerful, most intelligent, or in the case of the ethical being, the understanding and actions most consistent with the highest possible ethical standards based on the deeper basis upon which all existence is based.  Whether we seek to climb the highest mountain, explore the deepest depths of the sea, swim faster, exhibit gymnastic feats of utmost perfetction and elegance, or achieve the pinnacle of fame or achieve the highest forms of understanding possible to the mind, the nature of humanity is to strive for something better, higher, purer, more perfect.  The ethical impulse follows a similar bent, and when it is under the immediate control of the vital or mental being of man, it can be narrow, judgmental or aggressive in its formations of “what is right”.  Yet eventually it must exceed the limits set upon it by the vital or mental framework and achieve its own ultimate realisation through a process of unifying with the higher and deeper purposes of the universal creation.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “For the ethical being like the rest is a growth and a seeking towards the absolute, the divine, which can only be attained securely in the suprarational.  It seeks after an absolute purity, an absolute right, an absolute truth, an absolute strength, an absolute love and self-giving, and it is most satisfied when it can get them in absolute measure, without limit, curb or compromise, divinely, infinitely, in a sort of godhead and transfiguration of the ethical being.  The reason is chiefly concerned with what it best understands, the apparent process, the machinery, the outward act, its result and effect, its circumstance, occasion and motive; by these it judges the morality of the action and the morality of the doer.  But the developed ethical being knows instinctively that it is an inner something which it seeks and the outward act is only a means of bringing out and manifesting within ourselves by its psychological effects that inner absolute and eternal entity.  The value of our actions lies not so much in their apparent nature and outward result as in their help towards the growth of the Divine within us.  It is difficult, even impossible to justify upon outward grounds the absolute justice, absolute right, absolute purity, love or selflessness of an action or course of action; for action is always relative, it is mixed and uncertain in its results, perplexed in its occasions.  But it is possible to relate the inner being to the eternal and absolute good, to make our sense and will full of it so as to act out of its impulsion or its intuitions and inspirations.  That is what the ethical being labours towards and the higher ethical man increasingly attains to in his inner efforts.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 15,  The Suprarational Good, pg. 153