The reaction to the materialistic age and its failures, its mind-numbing, soul-killing attempt to satiate vital desire and physical comfort at the expense of any higher values, are beginning to become clear, as we observe more people turning to spirituality, yoga, mystical religion, vision quests, etc. There is an aspiration for something deeper, truer and higher which cannot be satisfied by more material goods or more vital entertainment. Past attempts to achieve a higher realisation simply did not go far enough and thus, led to either one-sided attempts that denied the reality of the world as an important aspect of the fulfillment to be sought, or tried to compromise with the insistence of the vital being and thereby achieved less than the ultimate possible realisation.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “The solution lies, we have said, in an awakening to our real, because our highest self and nature, — that hidden self which we are not yet, but have to become and which is not the strong and enlightened vital Will hymned by Nietzsche, but a spiritual self and spiritual nature that will use the mental being which we already are, but the mental being spiritualised, and transform by a spiritual ideality the aim and action of our vital and physical nature. For this is the formula of man in his highest potentiality, and safety lies in tending towards our highest and not in resting content with an inferior potentiality. To follow after the highest in us may seem to be to live dangerously, to use again one of Nietzsche’s inspired expressions, but by that danger comes victory and security. To rest in or follow after an inferior potentiality may seem safe, rational, comfortable, easy, but it ends badly, in some futility or in a mere circling, down the abyss or in a stagnant morass. Our right and natural road is towards the summits.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 22, The Necessity of the Spiritual Transformation, pp. 238-239