The Impulse in Nature for an Evolution of Consciousness

We can observe a striving, an aspiration in humanity for growth of consciousness, as evidenced in our striving for knowledge, including self-knowledge, our drive towards ideals and our attempts to achieve ever higher levels of perfection and accomplishment.  If we look carefully we can see a similar striving, albeit non-verbal and non-self-aware, in life-forms and even in matter.  It seems there is a built-in impulse that permeates the entire created world for an evolution of ever-more-complex forms and ever-higher consciousness within those forms.

Sri Aurobindo observes in The Life Divine:  “…the unconquerable impulse of man towards God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality presents itself in its right place in the chain as simply the imperative impulse by which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind, and appears to be as natural, true and just as the impulse towards Life which she has planted in certain forms of Matter or the impulse towards Mind which she has planted in certain forms of Life.  As there, so here, the impulse exists more or less obscurely in her different vessels with an ever-ascending series in the power of its will-to-be; as there, so here, it is gradually evolving and bound fully to evolve the necessary organs and faculties.  As the impulse towards Mind ranges from the more sensitive reactions of Life in the metal and the plant up to its full organisation in man, so in man himself there is the same ascending series, the preparation, if nothing more, of a higher and divine life.  The animal is a living laboratory in which Nature has, it is said, worked out man.  Man himself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whom and with whose conscious co-operation she wills to work out the superman, the god.  Or shall we not say, rather, to manifest God?  For if evolution is the progressive manifestation by Nature of that which slept or worked in her, involved, it is also the overt realisation of that which she secretly is.  We cannot, then, bid her pause at a given stage of her evolution, nor have we the right to condemn with the religionist as perverse and presumptuous or with the rationalist as a disease or hallucination any intention she may evince or effort she may make to go beyond.  If it be true that Spirit is involved in Matter and apparent Nature is secret God, then the manifestation of the divine himself and the realisation of God within and without are the highest and most legitimate aim possible to man upon earth.”

“Thus the eternal paradox and eternal truth of a divine life in an animal body, an immortal aspiration or reality inhabiting a mortal tenement, a single and universal consciousness representing itself in limited minds and divided egos, a transcendent, indefinable, timeless and spaceless Being who alone renders time and space and cosmos possible, and in all these the higher truth realisable by the lower term, justify themselves to the deliberate reason as well as to the persistent instinct or intuition of mankind.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter One, The Human Aspiration, pp. 1-4

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