Beyond the Moral Law, Revisited

Humanity developed moral and ethical laws and standards to govern the conduct of individuals in the society in order to help rein in the vital impulses and desires which not only had their own power of action, but had found more powerful ways to achieve their aims with the advent of the mental power to aid along the way.  The desire-soul of the individual was able to seduce, coerce or mislead the mind into supporting its fulfillment.  The technology of the mental power outstripped the innate sense of balance and instinctive control that provided some measure of moderation in the vital world.  The moral and ethical standards thus become necessary at one stage of human evolution, but at another stage they become simply irrelevant to the gnostic individual.

When Nietzsche writes of the superior individual who can disregard the moral and ethical rules, he expresses a “truth”, not of the current state of mental development, but of a future evolutionary status.  The truth he tries to enunciate is not rooted in physical, vital or mental superiority, or the ego-driven belief that one embodies such a superiority.  That way can easily lead to the type of arrogance that manifested the horrors of Nazi Germany, the idea of “manifest destiny” justifying the genocide of an indigenous people, or that one’s own ideas, religious beliefs or technological prowess give someone the right to dominate, control, convert, enslave or destroy others under the banner of that concept.   These ideas and powers of the physical, vital and mental levels do not provide the basis for abandonment of society’s moral and ethical strictures.

The evolution of the gnostic being implies a movement to oneness and harmony that unites, not divides; that is able to express a larger truth of existence because of a knowledge by identity with the divine intention in the evolution.  It is based on truly treating others as oneself, and acting, not from individual assertion of rights and powers but from a sense of a unified expression of the universal Nature working through oneself, as well as all other beings and forms.  In such a status, mentally-developed moral and ethical standards have nothing to add.  This status is not achieved through some idea-set, however deeply held or felt, or some emotional outburst, or some kind of vital or physical power.

Sri Aurobindo observes in The Life Divine:  “On this fact that the Divine Knowledge and Force, the supreme Supernature, would act through the gnostic being with his full participation, is founded the freedom of the gnostic being; it is this unity that give him his liberty.  The freedom from law, including the moral law, so frequently affirmed of the spiritual being, is founded on this unity of its will with the will of the Eternal.  All the mental standards would disappear because all necessity for them would cease; the higher authentic law of identity with the Divine Self and identity with all beings would have replaced them.  There would be no question of selfishness or altruism, of oneself and others, since all are seen and felt as the one self and only what the supreme Truth and Good decided would be done.  There would be in the action a pervasive feeling of a self-existent universal love, sympathy, oneness, but the feeling would penetrate, colour and move in the act, not solely dominate or determine it: it would not stand for itself in opposition to the larger truth of things or dictate a personally impelled departure from the divinely willed true movement.  This opposition and departure can happen in the Ignorance where love or any other strong principle of the nature can be divorced from wisdom even as it can be divorced from power; but in the supermind gnosis all powers are intimate to each other and act as one.  In the gnostic person the Truth-Knowledge would lead and determine and all the other forces of the being concur in the action: there would be no place for disharmony or conflict between the powers of the nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Eight, The Gnostic Being, pg. 118

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