Like religion, science has a limited view of life. The former affirms a Spiritual Source, which is wonderful, but denies or is unaware or disinterested in the process of evolution in the details of life. The latter has served society well and produced vast practical results, but has a partial, mechanistic, material-only view of reality that often produces negative outcomes. Any attempt to reconcile these two realms is a movement of integration and harmony, and is eminently helpful for our understanding of life. Many recent deep thinkers, such as Deepak Chopra, have been trying to forge a link, and have made real, substantial progress in this area. If only the two sides would listen!
Recently I visited the new California Academy of Science located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It is two American football fields long and sits parallel to the equally vast and architecturally striking new De Young Museum. One of the CAS exhibits in the hall traces the course of biological evolution on earth as developed by 19th century giant Charles Darwin. While perusing the main scientific principles behind his theory, something on the wall caught my eye. It was a statement that said something to the effect that "Variation is the spur and cause of evolution." It then struck me that this scientific principle could be explained in terms of spiritual laws of life, thereby reconciling spirit and science.
According to Sri Aurobindo, Variation goes to the very essence of the process of creation that enabled a universe to emerge from a Divine Source. He describes how an original immutable and ineffable Reality moved toward creation by first taking to existence, then becoming conscious of its own existence, which in turn released a force that coagulated into the primal Energy that became the source of all forms in creation.
But why would a Divine Reality seek to create this universe in the first place? Sri Aurobindo explains that this original unmanifest Reality extended itself into a Manifest cosmos so that its own Delight and Bliss could be experienced by those forms of force, including we humans. That when we discover our true nature and selves, we experience the same Delight that the Creator experienced when it moved toward being conscious of Its own Self. Thus, when I discover who I truly am, what purpose I truly serve, etc. -- i.e. move to higher consciousness -- I experience that same Delight.
So where does Variation come into the picture? It turns out that though the Delight of the Divine is one of eternal pleasure and bliss -- called Ananda in Indian parlance -- it is of one sort. I.e. it is singular, but static and unchanging. Therefore, according to Sri Aurobindo, the Divine wished to create a universe of forms that also experienced dynamic delight; i.e. where each of us through the process of self-discovery experienced a unique form of that bliss in our own lives. Well, in order to experience that unique form of Delight, we need to be unique individuals, each expressing and manifesting a unique consciousness. In other words, the Divine intended infinite variation for we humans in creation for infinite variety of discovery and bliss. Thus, through cosmic insights into the nature of Reality, Sri Aurobindo has seized on the same conclusion as Darwin. Variation -- whether understood in terms of outer functioning of species as in the case of Darwin, or through Divine purpose and intention through human choice, functioning, and discovery as described by Sri Aurobindo -- is a principle of life both embraced.
To be able to describe the outer forces of life in terms of processes of consciousness is one of the great challenges of the New Age. The dogma and superstition of religious precepts and the narrow-minded, mechanistic, material view of existence are limited, contradictory influences that can only be resolved by such higher understanding. From that vantage point we are able perceive the source and essence of all phenomena; the deepest and most profound influence on the workings of life; and the true nature of our evolution through time.
--Roy Posner 18:09, 23 November 2008 (UTC)