The Life-Power and Its Right and Means of Fulfillment as Part of Human Development

There is frequently a stark dichotomy presented between the life-power and its drive towards fulfillment, satisfaction and enjoyment and the attainment of religious merit, spiritual realisation or the deeper knowledge of existence.  We see religions preaching abandonment of the movements of life, the force of desire and self-aggrandisement as a prerequisite to achieving these other forms of realisation.  They recognize the power and vibrancy of the life energy, as well as the distractions and confusions it can bring to the being who is striving to attain some higher forms of realisation or understanding.  Sri Aurobindo has recognized, however, the essential nature of the life-power and the need, within our comprehensive fulfillment, to achieve its own results.

“…we get to another power of our being which is different from the ethical, aesthetic, rational and religious, — one which, even if we recognise it as lower in the scale, still insists on its own reality and has not only the right to exist but the right to satisfy itself and be fulfilled.  It is indeed the primary power, it is the base of our existence upon earth, it is that which the others take as their starting-point and their foundation.  This is the life-power in us, the vitalistic, the dynamic nature.  Its whole principle and aim is to be. to assert its existence, to increase, to expand, to possess and to enjoy: its native terms are growth of being, pleasure and power.”

“… human life is the human being at labour to impress himself on the material world with the greatest possible force and intensity and extension.  His primary insistent aim must be to live and make for himself a place in the world, for himself and his species, secondly, having made it to possess, produce and enjoy with an ever-widening scope, and finally to spread himself over all the earth-life and dominate it; this is and must be his first practical business.”

“…the struggle is not merely to last and to live, but to increase, enjoy and possess: its method includes and uses not only a principle and instinct of egoism, but a concomitant principle and instinct of association.  Human life is moved by two equally powerful impulses, one of individualistic self-assertion, the other of collective self-assertion; it works by strife, but also by mutual assistance and united effort: it uses two diverse convergent forms of action, two motives which seem to be contradictory but are in fact always coexistent, competitive endeavour and cooperative endeavour.  It is from this character of the dynamism of life that the whole structure of human society has come into being, and it is upon the sustained and vigorous action of this dynamism that the continuance, energy and growth of all human societies depends.  If this life-force in them fails, and these motive-powers lose in vigour, then all begins to languish, stagnate and finally move towards disintegration.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 16,  The Suprarational Ultimate of Life, pp. 156-157

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