The Intellectual Reason Is a Power That Can Defend Both Good and Evil in Action

The intellectual reason, while an important power for humanity, is basically a power that can either build or destroy, depending on the controlling influence.  If it is put under the control of the vital nature it can be used to justify all kinds of perversity and injustice, as we have seen in the battles fought over ideas throughout history.  It can create “miracle cures” for infectious diseases, or it can create weapons that can destroy the world many times over, and it can justify itself in the development and use of either the cure or the power of destruction it can unleash.

It is thus, not in the province of the intellectual reason that we can find a principle that can guide humanity in the way of harmony, cooperation and balance in the world, with the environment and the other species who inhabit the earth, and even within the various groupings of mankind.  For every position taken, an opposite position can be upheld and adhered to by those who are under the mastery of the forces that dominate that particular line of development.

There is a proverb that fire can either cook your food or burn down your house.  The intellectual reason has a similar role.  It can lead one forward to higher principles of living, or it can plunge one into the depths of hatred, misogyny, Chauvinism, bigotry and fanaticism.

Sri Aurobindo explains in The Human Cycle:  With regard to the intellect “… the truths it discovers or the ideas it promulgates become, the moment they are applied to life, the plaything of forces over which the reason has little control.  Science pursuing its cold and even way has made discoveries which have served on one side a practical humanitarianism, on the other supplied monstrous weapons to egoism and mutual destruction; it has made possible a gigantic efficiency of organisation which has been used on one side for the economic and social amelioration of the nations and on the other for turning each into a colossal battering-ram of aggression, ruin and slaughter.  It has given rise on the one side to a large rationalistic and altruistic humanitarianism, on the other it has justified a godless egoism, vitalism, vulgar will to power and success.  It has drawn mankind together and given it a new hope and at the same time crushed it with the burden of a monstrous commercialism.  Nor is this due, as is so often asserted, to its divorce from religion or to any lack of idealism.  Idealistic philosophy has been equally at the service of the powers of good and evil and provided an intellectual conviction both for reaction and for progress.  Organised religion itself has often enough in the past hounded men to crime and massacre and justified obscurantism and oppression.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Three, The Present Evolutionary Crisis, pp. 15-16

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