The action of the life-energy has its own principle which is not the rational principle of the mental powers. Life is a field of action, response, reaction, instinct, desire, and impulse. Mind is a field of organization and systematising. Mind can influence the direction of the life-energy, but when it tries to make it over in its own image, it finds that things do not work out as imagined. Experienced gardeners will make it clear that setting up a rule for a watering schedule or amount of sunlight of a plant does not mean that the plant will thrive. The mental rule does not address the specific life-needs of that plant and as a result, it may be stunted or even decay and die. Similarly, when the mind tries to fix strict rules and conforming ideas onto the life energy, the vitality can be sapped and the life-energy, whether of an individual, or a society, can stagnate. It becomes clear that the principle of mind and the principle of life-force are different and cannot be expected to conform to one another. Another power is needed which can treat each aspect of the being according to its own needs and requirements and yet find the harmony that allows them to work together.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “Life cannot be entirely rational, cannot conform entirely to the ethical or the aesthetic or the scientific and philosophic mentality; mind is not the destined archangel of the transformation. All appearances to the contrary are … an intellectual, aesthetic or ethical illusion. Dominated, repressed life may be, but it reserves its right; and though individuals or a class may establish this domination for a time and impose some simulacrum of it upon the society, Life in the end circumvents the intelligence; it gets strong elements in it — for always there are traitor elements at work — to come over to its side and re-establishes its instincts, recovers its field; or if it fails in this, it has its revenge in its own decay which brings about the decay of the society, the disappointment of the perennial hope. So much so, that there are times when mankind perceives this fact and, renouncing the attempt to dominate the life-instinct, determines to use the intelligence for its service and to give it light in its own field instead of enslaving it to a higher but chimerical ideal.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 22, The Necessity of the Spiritual Transformation, pg. 237