A Picture of the Fulfillment of Vital and Physical Existence As the Goal of Life in the Modern Age

We may ask ourselves if the modern attitude that accepts the fulfillment of physical and vital life as the focus and goal of existence is the true answer to the meaning of our existence.  This, at least, is what the modern mind would have us believe.  In such a case, the idea of seeking for God, the search for a deeper significance to life, would be an illusion, a chimerical pursuit.  As we explore this issue, it is useful to first understand the vital and physical fulfillment that constitutes the goal of the present time.

Sri Aurobindo describes it thus:  “Modern society, at any rate in its self-conscious aim, is far enough from any such endeavour; whatever may be the splendour of its achievement, it acknowledges only two gods, life and practical reason organised under the name of science.  Therefore on this great primary thing, this life-power and its manifestations, we must look with especial care to see what it is in its reality as well as what it is in its appearance  Its appearance is familiar enough; for of that is made the very stuff and present form of our everyday life.  Its main ideals are the physical good and vitalistic well-being of the individual and the community, the entire satisfaction of the desire for bodily health, long life, comfort, luxury, wealth, amusement, recreation, a constant and tireless expenditure of the mind and the dynamic life-force in remunerative work and production and, as the higher flame-spires of this restless and devouring energy, creations and conquests of various kinds, wars, invasions, colonisation, discovery, commercial victory, travel, adventure, the full possession and utilisation of the earth.  All this life still takes as its cadre the old existing forms, the family, the society, the nation and it has two impulses, individualistic and collective.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 16,  The Suprarational Ultimate of Life, pg. 159