Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, an integral part of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, serves as a field of experiment and research in education. For years ...
When they announced that there was going to be a Lit Fest in
Pondicherry it was met with some scepticism.
A friend of mine told me that the person who was behind this project had never
done anything like this …
It is a common observation that the focus of the West and the focus of the East diverge and are opposed to one another. The West has developed a society based on incredible concentration on the organization and enhancement of the vital ...
“But it is himself that he makes in it, himself that is the creator and the energy of creation and the cause and the method and the result of the working, the mechanist and the machine, the music and the musician, the poet and the poem, supermind, mind and life and matter, the soul and Nature.” Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 7, Involution and Evolution, pg. 65
That pessimism is ingrained in man is understandable if we consider his nature… the conscious part of his personality is not much more than a few leaves floating on a mud pool. It is the subconscious that determinates his vital being, full of fright, insecurity, egoism, aggression, cruelty. And it is his vital being that predominantly determines his mentalisations and thinking. Add to that a physical body subject to injury, illness and death, subject to a sexual urge that may be unsubduable, confused and insecure, and a life in the company of beings in the same tangled situation – and one has more than sufficient reason for a sort of ineradicable constitutional pessimism. Sri Aurobindo wrote that this condition humaine (human condition) was susceptible to the “downward gravitation”, the easy giving in to the burden and even evil of life, contrary to the upward movement of any idealistic human endeavour and the spiritual effort.
Another factor contributing to the pessimism and negative evaluation of the present period is that the appreciation of its values is in most cases the opinion of the mass, of average man. In our time “elitism” is a dirty word. It is an assumption of postmodernism that “high” and “low” have to be mingled, and therefore that mass culture is what suits our era. It is rather astonishing that many of the cleverest heads of our time, mostly French proponents of what is known as “structuralism”, found pleasure, authority and power in contending that the individual, the subject, is dead. Often quoted words in this context are the very last phrase of Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things: “[If the thesis of this book is correct] then one can certainly wager that man will be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.”10
Structuralism, like all important philosophical movements, was based on a kernel of truth, but, like all important philosophical movements, a truth deformed by its exaggeration and exclusiveness. “By individual we mean normally something that separates itself from everything else and stands apart, though in reality there is no such thing anywhere in existence; it is a figment of our mental conceptions useful and necessary to express a partial and practical truth”, writes Sri Aurobindo. But he adds: “It is necessary to insist, that by the true individual we mean nothing of the kind but a conscious power of being of the Eternal, always existing by unity, always capable of mutuality. It is that being which by self-knowledge enjoys liberation and immortality.”11
Alas – and here we touch again upon the fundamental flaw in the Western world view and the vain groping of its thought for truth, reality, reliable fundamentals – the essential structure of the human being and the manifestation it is part of remain unrecognised, and therefore constitute the enormous underwater part of the iceberg while Western thought and comprehension dance, more and more in desperation, on the surface of its visible top. In contrast to the above, thus forming one of the many apparent contradictions in this transitional time, is the fact that humanity enjoys at present, especially in the West, one of the high seasons, if not the highest ever, of individualism.
… we are living in a time of transition when a certain past is dying and a certain future is being born. The change on all levels of life is so bewildering because the transition is a tremendous one, from the human being to the supramental, divine being. Not only can the period in which we live be called “postmodern”; it can also, and with better justification, be called “presupramental”. It bears repetition that the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is the only one applicable to times like these, because their vision did not originate from human shortsightedness, however philosophical, but from a suprarational avataric knowledge and intention. Whether the world knows it or not, a Force is acting and will not be countermanded. ['Patterns' is a companion volume to 'Overman': 'The Intermediary between the Human and the Supramental Being'. Cf. Preparing for the Miraculous]