Thus death of an individual could be countered by producing offspring; if there was no immortality for the individual, there was immortality for the species. But this needs a movement that proceeds from aggregation and culminates in the phenomenon of association.
The association of individuals for their progeny does not only involves an exchange of elemental constituents of the physical body but also an exchange of psychological and cultural components –‘our subtler vital being, our life-energy, our desire-energy, our powers, strivings, passions’ (ibid, pg.216). These interchange occurs not only during the drive for reproduction but throughout life as all organisms reside in a common matrix of life-energy. There is a communication with energies that outgrow life-spans of individuals like a musician who can aspire and communicate with Beethoven’s musical energy that exists in a celestial sphere of consciousness.
We are in the midst of a continuous interchange of energies: ‘our life energies while we live are continually mixing with the energies of other beings. A similar law governs the mutual relations of our mental life with the mental life of other thinking creatures. There is a constant dissolution and dispersion and a reconstruction effected by the shock of mind upon mind with a constant interchange and fusion of elements. Interchange, intermixture and fusion of being with being, is the very process of life, a law of its existence’ (Ibid).
Separatism and association
We are thus confronted with two principles: the separate and unique individual form that pivots around a separative principle (the ego) and the compulsion to fuse itself with others.
In the physical world, the uniqueness of separate forms was a very difficult endeavour by Nature for how such stable and independent forms were created from an undefined ‘flux and motion of Energy’(Ibid) operating in an indeterminate and all-pervading ethereal unity is still a scientific puzzle unless we assume a subconscient will operating even in the Inconscience. ‘In the atomic life therefore the individual form persists as the basis and secures by its aggregation with others the more or less prolonged existence of aggregate forms which shall be the basis of vital and mental individualizations’ (Ibid).
When Nature secured a certain amount of stability both with unique forms and with aggregations, she reversed the process and brought in the principle of death; ‘the individual form perishes and the aggregate life profits by the elements of the form that is thus dissolved’ (Ibid).
This however is not a final state of affairs not the penultimate stage; ‘that can only be reached when the individual is able to persist in the consciousness of his individuality and yet fuse himself with others without disturbance of preservative equilibrium and interruption of survival’ (Ibid).
The emergence of the Mind-principle
The problem is how to ensure a ‘persistence’ of individual and aggregate life. This cannot be effectuated either in physical life or in vitality. While the physical life cannot ensure the continued persistence of individual forms, in vitality without the regulation of ‘conscious mind’, there can be only ‘a temporary unstable equilibrium, ending in the death of the body, the dissolution of the individual and the dispersal of its elements in universality’ (Ibid, pg.216-217).
The element of ‘persistence’ can only be ensured by the introduction of the Mind-principle which can not only formulate and cognize but also with the help of the power of memory can link the past to the future in a stream of continuity. The Mind by itself cannot achieve this, it needs the support of the secret soul, ‘the psychic nodus’ (Ibid, pg.217) which alone can align with the Eternal Spirit. The continuity of characteristics of individual and aggregate life is studied by Science as heredity, but behind this phenomenon is the truth of the developing soul expressed as ‘the persistent personality’. ‘The mental being expressive of this soul-consciousness is therefore the nodus of the persistent individual and the persistent aggregate life; in him their union and harmony becomes possible’ (Ibid).
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- By Dr. Soumitra Basu