When we observe our human life, we find that the essentials of our consciousness and powers of action are present within us at all times, but that they manifest through the procession of Time as we grow, mature, focus and train our powers of knowledge and action. Similarly, if we look at the procession through geological Time we find that the first manifestation was pure Matter and Energy, the material foundation from which Life arises, and eventually from which Mind manifests. Once again we see a procession through Time, although the elements of an innate Intelligence are clearly existent within even the apparent Inconscience of Matter.
What we see and experience today is a snapshot of a single point in time, and it cannot possibly reflect the status of our past, nor the possibilities and developments of our future. To therefore presume that what we are “today” is the limit of what we shall become “tomorrow” is therefore what Sri Aurobindo calls our “ignorance of Time”. We are not static beings, and therefore subject to growth, change and development. Following the pattern of Matter to Life and Life to Mind, we can easily understand and extrapolate further sequences in the evolution of consciousness in our future. That is why Sri Aurobindo calls man a “transitional being”.
Sri Aurobindo writes: “If the emergence and growth of consciousness is the central motive of the evolution and the key to its secret purpose, then by the very nature of that evolution this growth must involve not only a wider and wider extent of its capacities, but also an ascent to a higher and higher level till it reaches the highest possible. For it starts from a nethermost level of involution in the Inconscience which we see at work in Matter creating the material universe; it proceeds by an Ignorance which is yet ever developing knowledge and reaching out to an ever greater light and ever greater organisation and efficacy of the will and harmonisation of all its own inherent and emerging powers; it must at last reach a point where it develops of acquires the complete fullness of its capacity, and that must be a state or action in which there is no longer an ignorance seeking for knowledge but Knowledge self-possessed, inherent in the being, master of its own truths and working them out with a natural vision and force that is not afflicted by limitation or error. Or if there is a limitation, it must be a self-imposed veil behind which it would keep truth back from manifestation in Time but draw it out at will and without any need of search or acquisition in the order of a right perception of things or in the just succession of that which has to be manifested in obedience to the call of Time.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pp. 39-40