At the outset man lives in his physical mind which perceives the actual, the physical, the objective and accepts it as fact and this fact as self-evident truth beyond question; whatever is not actual, not physical, not objective it regards as unreal or unrealised, only to be accepted as entirely real when it has succeeded in becoming actual, becoming a physical fact, becoming objective: its own being too it regards as an objective fact, warranted to be real by its existence in a visible and sensible body; all other subjective beings and things it accepts on the same evidence in so far as they can become objects of our external consciousness or acceptable to that part of the reason which builds upon the data supplied by that consciousness and relies upon them as the one solid basis of knowledge.
Physical mind relies solely on the senses
Man lives in his physical mind which relies solely on the senses. Our mind perceives the actual, the physical form, the objective phenomena. What it thus perceives, it accepts it as fact; it accepts it as self-evident truth beyond question. Whatever is not actual, not in physical form, not objective (i.e., not comprehensible by our senses) it regards as unreal or unrealised. Unless something becomes actual, a physical fact, felt by our senses, our mind would not accept it as entirely real.
The mind considers our own being an objective fact because of its existence in a visible and sensible body. There are beings and things which exist beyond the comprehension of our physical senses. Our mind would accept them as real only to that extent they become objects of our external consciousness; or they become acceptable to that part of reason which rely on the data supplied by that consciousness as the one solid basis of knowledge. For example, we do not see or hear radio waves directly by our senses. Yet we receive the data sent via radio waves through our mobile phones which is taken by our reason as a dependable basis of knowledge. As long as we remain under the domain of physical mind our area of functioning remains limited.
Physical Science is a vast extension of this mentality: it corrects the errors of the sense and pushes beyond the first limitations of the sense-mind by discovering means of bringing facts and objects not seizable by our corporeal organs into the field of objectivity; but it has the same standard of reality, the objective, the physical actuality; its test of the real is possibility of verification by positive reason and objective evidence.
Physical science as extension of physical mind
Physical Science is a vast extension of our objective mentality. It corrects the errors of the sense mind. Man thought that the Sun goes around the earth till Science proved him otherwise. Science pushes the sense-mind beyond its first limitations. It discovers various instruments for bringing facts and objects which are beyond the reach of our sense organs into the field of our physical range. It enlarges the domain of our physical mind.
Science accepts something as real only when it has the objective, actual physical existence; possibility of verification by positive reason and objective evidence is its test of reality. Physical science has convinced our mind that what is perceptible by our senses alone is true.
But man also has a life-mind, a vital mentality which is an instrument of desire: this is not satisfied with the actual, it is a dealer in possibilities; it has the passion for novelty and is seeking always to extend the limits of experience for the satisfaction of desire, for enjoyment, for an enlarged self-affirmation and aggrandisement of its terrain of power and profit. It desires, enjoys, possesses actualities, but it hunts also after unrealised possibilities, is ardent to materialise them, to possess and enjoy them also.
Vital mind as an instrument of desire
Apart from the physical mind we have a life-mind too. Our vital mentality is an instrument of desire. It is not satisfied with the actual; it is a dealer in possibilities. It has the passion for novelty, new experiences, adventure. It is always seeking to extend the limit of experience for the satisfaction of desire, for enjoyment. It always strives for enlarged self-affirmation, accumulation of its territory of power and profit.
It desires, enjoys, possesses the actualities. At the same time it does not remain satisfied. It hunts also after unrealised possibilities and is keen to realise them as realities and to possess and enjoy them.
We have seen that man always seeks after new experiences and adventure. He seeks after power and authority in one form or another. A person in an organisation seeks promotion to enjoy more power, authority, to enlarge his ego. The kings were ambitious to enlarge their territory. All these were prompted by the vital mind.
It is not satisfied with the physical and objective only, but seeks too a subjective, an imaginative, a purely emotive satisfaction and pleasure. If there were not this factor, the physical mind of man left to itself would live like the animal, accepting his first actual physical life and its limits as his whole possibility, moving in material Nature’s established order and asking for nothing beyond it.
Vital mind always seeks to go beyond the physical mind
Our vital mind is not satisfied with the physical and objective only. It looks for an imaginative, purely emotive satisfaction and pleasure. All forms of creative art, performing arts are the outcome of the vital mind. A poet’s imagination is not limited to the physical plane alone.
But for this, if the physical mind alone were left to itself man would have lived like an animal. He would not have gone beyond the possibility of his physical mind. He would have limited himself within the material Nature’s established order and asked for nothing more.
But this vital mind, this unquiet life-will comes in with its demands and disturbs this inert or routine satisfaction which lives penned within the bounds of actuality; it enlarges always desire and craving, creates a dissatisfaction, an unrest, a seeking for something more than what life seems able to give it: it brings about a vast enlargement of the field of physical actuality by the actualisation of our unrealised possibilities, but also a constant demand for more and always more, a quest for new worlds to conquer, an incessant drive towards an exceeding of the bounds of circumstance and a self-exceeding.
The vital mind drives the man to exceed his limits
The nature of the vital mind is such that it is marked by the unquiet life-will. It is never at rest. It comes with its demands and disturbs the inert or routine satisfaction we get while living within the boundaries of actuality. It wants some exciting experience. Otherwise, it feels boring. It goes on increasing its desire and craving. As it wants more than what life can give, it creates a dissatisfaction, an unrest.
As a result, the physical actuality is enlarged by the actualisation of our unrealised possibilities. For example, if we take the last hundred years, the world space has expanded in terms of new material inventions, facilities and knowledge. Whatever man had imagined and desired over the period of time has now been actualised. What was once thought to be impossible had now been made possible. This has happened both in the material domain and in the domain of knowledge. This is because of the constant urge of the vital mind.
There is a constant demand for more and always more. We want to have more means of comfort, more means of knowledge. We have a quest for conquering new worlds. We always want to exceed the bounds of circumstances. We want to exceed ourselves, our own limitations. Man has succeeded in establishing his presence on other planets, conquering Nature to some extent. By scaling Everest he had pushed his limits.
To add to this cause of unrest and incertitude there comes in a thinking mind that inquires into everything, questions everything, builds up affirmations and unbuilds them, erects systems of certitude but finally accepts none of them as certain, affirms and questions the evidence of the senses, follows out the conclusions of the reason but undoes them again to arrive at different or quite opposite conclusions, and continues indefinitely if not ad infinitum this process.
We have seen that our vital mind is the cause of unrest and incertitude. Adding to this we have a thinking mind. Its nature is such that it inquires into everything, questions everything. It builds up affirmations and unbuilds them.
It erects systems of absolute certainty but finally accepts none of them as certain. On one hand it affirms the evidence of the senses, on the other hand it questions them. It abides by the conclusions of the reason but undoes them again to arrive at different or quite opposite conclusions. It continues this process indefinitely. There are many conclusions which the physical mind has established, many tentative conclusions which the life-mind arrives at, but the thinking mind brings in its scepticism, subjects them to its analysis and unsettles everything. It even questions the existence of the highest Reality, the Absolute, the Transcendent.
This is the history of human thought and human endeavour, a constant breaking of bounds only to move always in the same spirals enlarged perhaps but following the same or constantly similar curves of direction. The mind of humanity, ever seeking, ever active, never arrives at a firmly settled reality of life’s aims and objects or at a settled reality of its own certitudes and convictions, an established foundation or firm formation of its idea of existence.
Incertitude is the mark of mind of humanity
If we analyse the history of human thought and human endeavour we will see that there is a constant breaking of bounds only to move always in the same spirals. Though the spirals may be enlarged, our human thought follows the same or constantly similar curves of direction.
The mind of humanity is ever seeking, ever active. It never arrives at a firmly settled reality of life’s aims and objects. Or it never arrives at a settled reality of its own certitudes and convictions or firm formation of its idea of existence.