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Cosmic Determinants 2


1) Issue:

In this chapter he examines freshly the two major hypotheses about the origin and nature of the universe and two variants of each hypothesis.

a) An inconscient material force is the creator.

i) The action of that force is governed by chance  ii) The action of that force is governed by mechanical necessity.

b) A conscious force is the creator.

i) The force is an extra-cosmic deity  ii) The force is inherent in the world it creates

2) Origin as Indeterminate Infinite:

He has concluded in earlier chapters that a consciousness force inherent in existence is the concealed creator of the world. Here Sri Aurobindo observes several apparent facts about the nature of consciousness and knowledge in the world that seem to contradict his thesis.

a) Consciousness, life and knowledge which he states are everywhere inherent in existence, emerge in this world at infinitesimal points from unconsciousness and ignorance and in tiny quanta of life-forms and life-energy.

b) The knowledge so acquired is of the surface of things

c) The apparent origin of things is an indeterminate infinite - a blank or void original state, out of which a mass of superstructure emerges that is governed by its own set of determinants which do not appear to arise from the original state. From where does it emerge and why?

d) The energy that creates this superstructure according to its own determinates is what we call nature. But we do not know what causes the original indeterminate to give rise to the superstructure or what determines the nature of this structure.

3) Hierarchy of Determinates

a) The world gives rise to an ascending series of determinates, each of which does not seem to be inherently determined by that which came before it.

b) An indeterminate energy gives rise to electric particles with specific characteristics and principles of action.

c) These particles combine to form elements with higher properties and the elements combine to form molecules of still different properties. (Hydrogen + oxygen = water)

d) On this process the entire material universe appears to be constructed and the same principle seems to govern the emergence of plant and animal life forms. (the tree from the seed)

e) Even the mental consciousness of Plato and Shakespeare appears to result from this same original indeterminate. (inheritance of psychological traits through the genes).

f) Our knowledge of this hierarchy describe a process that is pragmatically correct but does not tell us the intrinsic why or how.

g) How can we explain the emergence of higher order determinates? What actually determines  them?

4) Chance and Necessity as the creators

a) One possible explanation is that the universe is the result of an inconscient and inconsequent chance without any determining principle and that what we observe as determinisms are simply the recurring repetitions of that chance that keeps things in existence. This implies the origin is an energy or existence of infinite possibility, infinite since nothing is determined.

b) This explanations of random action of an inconscient energy fails because it does not account for the obvious insistence on order and law, which governs the emergence of possibilities in the universe.

c) This leads to the alternative hypothesis that the original energy is compelled by mechanical necessity to act precisely as it does.

d) But necessity alone which should result in unity and uniformity cannot explain the free play we observe in nature that gives rise to such a rich diversity and multiplicity. Both chance and necessity appear to be active.

e) Neither a blind chance nor a fixed mechanical necessity, explains the emergence of consciousness out of inconscience. How can this higher form of determinate emerge from the lower? What could necessitate its emergence, unless consciousness is itself involved and inherent in inconscience, in which case the hypothesis of an inconscient energy is not correct?

f) If we reject necessity and go back to chance, then how can we explain the emergence of conscious mind, with its need for order, from an energy that lacks any principle of order or law in its character?

5) Consciousness as the Creator

a) The alternative hypothesis is that consciousness is creator of the world - a mind, a will that imagines and organizes the universe behind the veil of an apparently inconscient energy. This would explain the presence of law and order, of intelligence and design, which we see everywhere as well as the principle of variation and individuality which result from a conscious blending of the elements in new ways.

b) But the explanation of an extracosmic divinity does not satisfy because it does not explain the imperfections, ignorance, waste, strife and suffering that characterize the creation.

c) The alternative is to conceive of the creator as a conscious force immanent in all it creates, an infinite casting itself into infinite possibilities of form. By this hypothesis, behind the action of the material energy is a secret consciousness that is emerging through an evolutionary progression in higher forms of life, because it is immanent in that energy.

d) This would explain the emergence of higher determinates in each stage of the evolution, because each would be the manifestation of a will or power or truth of the infinite that is expressing itself in the new form. It would explain the principle of necessity we observe as the working out of that will or power in each thing. It would explain the principle of variation and multiplicity as the freedom of that conscious force from being determined by itself and by the action of higher powers in the field of the lower. It would also explain the emergence of consciousness as a natural process out of the inconscience.

e) All the processes of nature would be explained. As existence is inherent in conscious force, substance would be inherent in energy - the energy a manifestation of the force, the substance a manifestation of the existence.

f) Quantity and number arise from the existence, quality and design from the consciousness. Both manifest by a rhythm and process of substance.

g) The growth of the tree out of the seed results from the real idea indwelling in the consciousness that constitutes the seed.

h) Similarly, the transference of psychological characteristics by the genes would be according to the same principle by which our psychological experience is carried in biological processes, by material elements containing a consciousness within them.

story | by Dr. Radut