The Limits of the Human Mental Consciousness in Understanding and Describing the Nature of the Supramental Consciousness

If we were to ask an animal, a dog, or a primate, or any other animal, to describe the abstract reasoning mind and its function and capabilities (and assuming that animal could understand our speech and respond to it), we can be quite assured that it would not be able to provide any realistic description or understanding of a form of mental intelligence that is foreign to its own mental pattern.  When we ask human beings who have not developed the practice of abstract thinking to describe what it is, they are themselves at a loss to do so.  Thus, we can appreciate that using our mental intelligence to describe the nature, action and abilities of the supramental consciousness is going to be necessarily deficient and will distort the reality of that wholly other basis and form of consciousness in action.

Sri Aurobindo observes in The Life Divine:  “The psychic transformation and the first stages of the spiritual transformation are well within our conception; their perfection would be the perfection, wholeness, consummated unity of a knowledge and experience which is already part of things realised, though only by a small number of human beings.  But the supramental change in its process carries us into less explored regions; it initiates a vision of heights of consciousness which have indeed been glimpsed and visited, but have yet to be discovered and mapped in their completeness.  The highest of these peaks or elevated plateaus of consciousness, the supramental, lies far beyond the possibility of any satisfying mental scheme or map of it or any grasp of mental seeing and description.  It would be difficult for the normal unillumined or untransformed mental conception to express or enter into something that is based on so different a consciousness with a radically different awareness of things; even if they were seen or conceived by some enlightenment or opening of vision, another language than the poor abstract counters used by our mind would be needed to translate them into terms by which their reality could become at all seizable by us.  As the summits of human mind are beyond animal perception, so the movements of supermind are beyond the ordinary human mental conception: it is only when we have already had experience of a higher intermediate consciousness that any terms attempting to describe supramental being could convey a true meaning to our intelligence; for then, having experienced something akin to what is described, we could translate an inadequate language into a figure of what we knew.  If the mind cannot enter into the nature of supermind, it can look towards it through these high and luminous approaches and catch some reflected impression of the Truth, the Right, the Vast which is the native kingdom of the free Spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Seven, The Ascent Towards Supermind, pp. 77-78

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