The three philosophical essays in this book were first published in the monthly review Arya in 1915 and 1918. In the title essay “Evolution” Sri Aurobindo deconstructs the materialistic theory of evolution, which had been the keynote of nineteenth century thought. He shows how advanced thinking was moving towards the perception of evolution “by a superconscient Knowledge which reveals things in Matter, Life and Mind out of the unfathomable Inconscient from which they rise”. The other essays are titled “The Inconscient” and “Materialism”.
“The theory of evolution has been the key-note of the thought of the nineteenth century. It has not only affected all its science and its thought-attitude, but powerfully influenced its moral temperament, its politics and its society. Without it there could not have been that entire victory of the materialistic notion of life and the universe which has been the general characteristic of the age that is now passing, – a victory which for a time even claimed to be de?nitive, – nor such important corollary effects of this great change as the failure of the religious spirit and the breaking-up of religious beliefs. In society and politics it has led to the substitution of the evolutionary for the moral idea of progress and the consequent materialisation of social ideas and social progress, the victory of the economic man over the idealist. The scientific dogma of heredity, the theory of the quite recent emergence of the civilised thinking human animal, the popular notion of the all-pervading struggle for life and the aid it has given to an exaggerated development of the competitive instinct, the idea of the social organism and the aid it has given to the contrary development of economic socialism and the increasing victory of the organised State or community over the free individual, – all these are outflowings from the same source.”
Sri Aurobindo, Evolution
SABDA catalog listing for Evolution