An Integral Approach to management and human development based on the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with an emphasis on its application to various domains of knowledge and life.
[Published in Next Future, Aug 2007.]
The New Matter
We were discussing so far transformation and destiny of the body, the earthly matter within each human being. But what is the destiny of terrestrial matter as a whole? Will there be a similar or corresponding transformation in the terrestrial matter outside our body? If yes, what will the nature of this transformation or in other words, nature of New Matter?
As we have discussed earlier, the spiritual source of matter is an indivisible unity of substance. There is an underlying unity which connects all matter. This is also one of the major discoveries of the New Physics. It is because of this law of unity all transformations are contagious; what happens in a part or a centre of the whole spreads quickly into all other centres or parts. So the spiritual awakening and transformation of the bodily matter will induce a similar awakening and transformation in all earthly matter. This awakening will be reinforced and speeded up by the increasing pressure and manifestation of the supramental consciousness in the terrestrial atmosphere. There will be not only a growing manifestation of the supramental light and power but also the supramental substance with all the characteristics of the New Matter. Thus, not only our human mental consciousness will be transformed or replaced by supramental consciousness, but also the very substance of our earthly matter will be transformed or replaced by a supramental substance. And the Mother says, “that substance is at present almost universally diffused in the earth atmosphere.”1
What are or will be the qualities of this new substance or new matter? The first quality which we have already mentioned is Consciousness. Under the increasing pressure of the supramental consciousness terrestrial matter as a whole will become more and more conscious and responsive to the spirit and consciousness in man. This applies not only to matter in physical Nature like the stone or plant, but also to man-made matter like machines. This is not something which is entirely futuristic. The presence of a responsive consciousness or intelligence in “dump” living matter is perceived by sensitive and intuitive people all over the world. It is now recognized that plants respond positively to the conscious care and attention of men. What is not equally recognized or studied is that not only plants but also material organisms like a watch or a car has a consciousness which responds to care and attention of human consciousness. For example if a watch or car is taken care of with loving attention, as if it is a living thing, it lasts longer, with less repair, not easily lost or even when it is lost, quickly found again; if a car, breaks down while running, it stops near a repair shop! These are not mere fables but actual experiences of many people; but these experiences are not yet studied or researched in a scientific and systematic way. In the future we will probably be witnessing more and more of these experiences which reveal the consciousness hidden in Matter. But what is now covert will become overt. As the content, quality and force of consciousness in Matter grows rapidly with the increasing manifestation of the Supermind, the consciousness in Matter will no longer be hidden, but come to the surface, perceptible, initially to an intuitive spiritual consciousness or to the spiritually awakened body but finally to the consciousness of the human race as a whole. The enlightened and awakened body will be, probably, the first to perceive this growing consciousness in matter because the consciousness in our bodily matter is closer to the consciousness in terrestrial matter.
This phenomenon of conscious Matter will open new vistas in science, engineering and technology. We will have scientists, engineers and technologist conversing with the electron, the cell or the machine they are studying or working on, like with other human beings. The scientific quest will be no longer the activity of the human mind hunting after the “secrets” of Matter or Nature. It will be the other way round. The conscious Matter will reveal its secrets and tell its story to the silent receptive consciousness of the inner being or body of the scientist with an inner light within Matter. For conscious matter will not be a dark and dump mass as it is now; it will probably become self-luminous with an inner light of consciousness. This is, in fact, one of the interesting discoveries of the Mother on the nature of new Matter. “It was as if” said the Mother, “the light that illuminates were within instead of being above the object — instead of being a projected light, the object has its own light” and explaining further how she made this discovery, Mother added, “And I started to become conscious of one thing or another…. And all of a sudden I saw in the cupboard this phenomenon of a bottle becoming utterly clear…with an inner life…obviously, it’s the preparation for a vision through inner light instead of a projected light…. Everything is seen at the same time, not only colour and form, but the character of the vibration.”2
The second major characteristic of new Matter is its Indivisibility. The present structure of matter is based on the principle of atomic division of substance. But the structure of new Matter will be based on the indivisible unity of substance.
The third quality of new Matter will be its subtle Plasticity and Flexibility. The present Matter is rigid, impenetrable and gross. But the new Matter will be something refined, subtle, flexible and plastic, with an ability to respond instantly to the impulsion of the Spirit or consciousness within it, or expand into the universal vastness. As the Mother explains some of the qualities of new Matter:
“It seems – it is even certain – that the very substance which will constitute this intermediate world that is already being built up, is richer, more powerful, more luminous, more resistant, with certain subtler, more penetrating new qualities and a kind of innate capacity of universality, as if the degree of subtlety and refinement allowed the perception of vibration in a much wider, if not altogether total way, and it removes the sensation of division one has with the old substance, the ordinary mental substance. There is a subtlety of vibration which makes global, universal perception a spontaneous and natural thing. The sense of division, of separation, disappears quite naturally and spontaneously with that substance.”3
The new Matter will not have the impenetrable hardness of the present matter. It will be so infinitely permeable, plastic and flexible, no hard material object like for example, a bullet can hurt or destroy it; it will simply pass through without doing any harm or injury. The pain or the destructive force of a bullet comes from two factors: first is the resistance offered by the object to the bullet and the pressure exerted by the speeding bullet. According to modern mechanics pressure is Force per unit area. For example, a sharp needle gives more pain than a blunt object because in the prick of a needle the force per unit area is more. So when a bullet hits a body made of new Matter it will simply expand into the universal vastness without offering any resistance. This reduces the destructive pressure of the bullet to near zero.
These qualities of new Matter will make our bodies transcend the barriers of space. Many bodies can mingle, inter-penetrate or fuse together in a small volume of space. Bodies separated by vast distances will be able to communicate directly with each other without an intermediary instrument, even at the material level, using all the senses.
The qualities of New Matter which we were discussing so far may give the impression that it is something immaterial or ethereal. But the new Matter is still Matter; it will be something physical and material and not supraphysical. The Mother said new Matter will be denser than the present matter. But how can a substance be at once dense and subtle? To answer this question we have to consider two more qualities of new Matter, which may be much more difficult to comprehend by our conditioned mind. We may have to stretch our imaginative faculties to the utmost. However let us make the attempt.
The consciousness of the Spirit unifies and integrates. Spiritual transformation of the inner being leads to the unification of dualities and reconciles opposites, ideas and feelings, of our thinking and emotional being in a higher synthesis. Spiritual transformation of Matter may also bring about a similar synthesis in Matter. Sri Aurobindo said in one of his conversations with his disciples that supramental matter will be at once hard like diamond and fluid like a gas. This means, spiritually transformed Matter, like the spiritually transformed consciousness, will synthesise all states of matter including those which are contraries like heat and cold or hardness and fluidity, in a single substance. Interestingly, ancient Indian theory of Matter throws some suggestive hints on the possibility of such a state of matter.
According to ancient Indian thought, Matter is made of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether. In other words, Matter is made of five states of energy or substance, solid, fluid, fiery, gaseous and ethereal. Every form or state of Matter is made of all these five elements. But a particular element may predominate and give the unique quality to that state of matter. For example, Fire is made of all the five elements but the fiery element predominates and gives the burning quality. This Indian theory implies that Matter is in its essence a substance made of all the five elements coexisting in a state of fusion or synthesis. The other interesting aspect of the Indian theory of Matter is that each element is associated with a sense organ – earth with smell, water with taste, fire with vision and air with touch. This concept deepens our perception of Matter to the psychological or subjective dimension. The concept implies each state of matter is or gives a unique sensation. For our experience of Matter is nothing but what our senses report to our Mind or the brain. And the essential Matter is perhaps a fusion or synthesis of all sensation. As Mother describes:
“a kind of perception in which there’s no longer any differentiation between organs. And it is a perception…yes, which is total, at once vision, hearing and knowledge.”4
This brings us to the experiential dimension of New Matter. The New Matter will not only be a new substance but also a new consciousness of Matter. There will be a complete transformation in our very experience of Matter. Our present experience of Matter is objective, externalized, projected outwards, feeling it as something external to our consciousness. The experience of our bodily matter may be much more subjective, feeling it as a part of our being, but still, we feel our body as something different from our consciousness. The ultimate transformation of Matter happens when this externalized and objective experience of Matter is either eliminated or transformed into a more subjective experience of Matter as a form and substance of our own consciousness. As we have discussed a little earlier, even now our experience of Matter is essentially subjective; it is the report of our senses which is part of our consciousness. But the experience is projected outside, giving a sense of sharp objectivity, division, separation and externalization. And the final act of transformation of Matter will be the withdrawing of this outward projection back into our consciousness.
We may recall here our earlier discussion on the origin of Matter. We have said that the act of objectification in the original creative act of the Supreme is the source of the objective experience of Matter. This creative act is the beginning of a cycle of cosmic or terrestrial evolution. And finally when the creation returns back to the Supreme at the end of a cycle of evolution, this objective projection is also withdrawn into the creative consciousness of the Supreme and again everything is held within the Supreme in a state of subjective identity and unity. Something similar may happen when Matter returns to its spiritual source at the end of this cycle of evolution. This doesn’t mean Matter and forms of Matter are annulled in a state of immaterial and ethereal formlessness. The spiritual truth or the essence of Matter and its forms and its sensuous qualities like vision, colour, line, contours, touch, taste, smell, beauty and sweetness, will be felt inwardly with a subjective identity and synthesis of experience, in an inner extension of space, rather than projected outward with a sharp sense of division and externalization. In other words, Matter and its forms will be inwardly sensed as a phenomena of our own substance of consciousness rather than perceived externally as something other than our self.
A certain type of dream may give some hint or glimpse of this new experience of Matter. For example the author had the following dream. He was walking in a street with rows of small houses on either side of the street. A young woman with a pleasant face was coming at a distance. But none of this was seen objectively; it was felt subjectively. He did not see a woman, or her face, but felt clearly the pretty contours of her face. Here there is no sense of identity and it had all the vague incoherence and the nebulous and fluid immateriality or illusoriness of a dream experience. Now imagine this dream experience with a tremendous spiritual and material concreteness, clarity and a sense of identity of a spiritual experience in the body but with the same sense of inwardness—that might give the reader some idea of the new experience of Matter. Here are some passages and statements of the Mother where she tries to describe an experience which cannot be described by the language of our conditioned mind.
“…two or three times, I had moments, absolutely marvelous and unique moments – indescribable. Scenes of construction, huge cities under construction. Yes, the future world being built. I no longer heard, no longer saw, no longer spoke. I was in that all the time, night and day. A body without a mind or a vital – just those perception…. And it wasn’t “seen” as one sees a picture; its BEING IN IT, being in a certain place. I have never seen or felt anything as beautiful as that, and it wasn’t “felt”. I don’t know how to explain it. The body felt almost porous amid this – porous without resistance, as if it all went through.”5
“I can’t say it is as “image”; it is knowledge, I can’t say it is knowledge it is… something that is EVERYTHING at once… something very simple, very complete, in that all the senses operate at the same time, something very intimate with everything. Before, each thing was separate divided, without any connection to other things, and very superficial – it was very precise, like a needle point. That’s not all the case any more. And above all there is a feeling of intimacy, that is to say, there is no distance, no difference not that something that sees and something that is seen… it is above vision.”6
“It is a perception or a sensation or impression that is totally peculiar and new.”
1. MCW, Vol.9, p. 316
2. Satprem, Mother or The New Species, p. 400
3. MCW, Vol.9, p. 316
4. Satprem, Mind of the Cells, p. 154
5. Satprem, Mother or the New Species, p. 401
6. Satprem, Mind of the Cells, p. 150