Ethical Aspirations Are a Seeking for the Eternal

In his magnum opus, The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo discusses ‘the human aspiration’.   There is an impulsion buried within the human being that seeks after ‘God, light, freedom, immortality.’  This impulsion is not a matter of the intelligent reason determining a rational solution to the questions of the meaning of life, but something deeper and more essential to existence, something that acts from the source or wellspring of existence and which permeates the universal creation.

We see in the infrarational stages of life an incredible and secret complex organization that encodes a direction and purpose within each being, in fact, within each aspect of existence, whether it is what we could call ‘life’ or whether it is atomic structures, subatomic particles, or the existence and evolution of the entire universe.  We can only look with wonder on the incredible diversity, interconnectedness and complexity of all creation.

When we review the impulse to knowledge, the impulse to the creation and appreciation of art and beauty, or the impulse to an ethical existence, we can see this deeper connection active and pushing us, driving us onwards to the highest and greatest search we can conceive, the search for a meaning of existence, a search for the source of creation, a search for God.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Therefore it is with the cult of the Good, as with the cult of Beauty and the cult of the spiritual.  Even in its first instincts it is already an obscure seeking after the divine and absolute; it aims at an absolute satisfaction, it finds its highest light and means in something beyond the reason, it is fulfilled only when it finds God, when it creates in man some image of the divine Reality.  Rising from its infrarational beginnings through its intermediate dependence of the reason to a suprarational consummation, the ethical is like the aesthetic and the religious being of man a seeking after the Eternal.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 15,  The Suprarational Good, pg. 154