n recent years a new scientific debate has arisen regarding the
phenomenon we call consciousness. Scientists from all over the world are
taking more and more seriously questions like these: What is
consciousness? Will machines ever be conscious? Is consciousness only a
biochemical reaction in our brain or is there much more behind it? Is a
single cell conscious of something? If it is, then of what is it
conscious? Last but not least, does consciousness really exist as an
independent essence or is it only a label that we put on some exterior
material phenomenon stemming from an evolutionary process?
Many different theories are defended by different scientists, but they
can be divided with a certain approximation into two main positions: On
one side there are the material monists, who assert that consciousness
is nothing else than a sophisticated computer algorithm in our brain
circuitry, and any idea of transcendence that goes beyond matter comes
from our more or less unconscious hope for life after death. On the
other side there are the dualists, who dare to propose in front of a
scientific community that mind and consciousness cannot be described
only as a material, biochemical process.
It is interesting to note that these questions, which were previously
considered purely religious or philosophical speculations and which were
(and still are for most scientists) taboo in the scientific community,
are posing themselves with more and more insistence. Is this a sign of
the "subjective age" that Sri Aurobindo foresaw?
t may be indeed that science is becoming more and more aware that the
ultrarationalist position based on the pure intellect is not be the
highest and most evolved tool that man can use in science, and that
something "overintellectual" is slowly but definitively trying to
replace the mind.
Until now, it was thought by every good scientist that any material
phenomenon that is not, in principle, understandable by the intellect is
only an illusion.
It seems, however, as if something is now trying to convince us that the
intellect itself may be the biggest of all self-delusions. Probably
even the dualists, who accept in principle the possibility of a
nonmaterial realm, are not completely conscious of this process and
simply feel that their intellect receives, from time to time, some
intuitive flash, believing that it comes from a subconscious, mental
If a nonmaterial reality exists -- which by its very nature is not
subject to the rules of logic -- then it cannot be understood by mind. A
tool that stands on a higher level is needed.
This has caused many scientists to reconsider their position vis a vis
the mystical experiences reported by many religions (especially
Buddhism), spiritualities, and mystics. Words such as yoga,
transcendental meditation, and cosmic consciousness are becoming common
in some communities.
nfortunately, discoveries of Sri Aurobindo and Mother that may be of
great scientific interest are still almost completely unknown to
scientists. The idea of a mind as an exterior appearance, a mere crust
of something that is much vaster than it (an intuitive mind, overmind,
and supermind) is still not felt as a key in the understanding of the
Scientists speak often of an evolution that produces consciousness and
are seldom aware that the contrary may be true: it is consciousness that
Medicine slowly begins to accept the fact that our health is strongly
conditioned by mental and psychological factors and states. But most of
those who subscribe to the relevance of psychosomatic medicine have
rarely heard of Sri Aurobindo's and Mother's discovery that the body has
a consciousness of its own and the cells a mind (after all, what does
This often creates misconceptions and confusion. Scientists who don't
know anything about esotericism, mysticism, and yoga still confuse mind
with consciousness or feelings with mind, and many are still in quest
about who or what gives rise to the subjective experience of thoughts,
memory, and feelings.
Finally, there are the transhumanists. Transhumanism foresees the advent
of a new race after man, but it hopes to achieve this with the
technological means of the obsolete Homo sapiens. They place their hope
in nanotechnology, brain implantations, and other ultratechnological
devices. But these marvels, if realized, would only change our outer
beings while leaving the real spiritual being in us unchanged.
s a result of e-mail discussions in the online forum Auroconf, a number
of disciples of Mother and Sri Aurobindo have established a Web site
dedicated to development of a gnostic science. We propose a true
transhumanism and a new approach to science.
We believe that if science wants to manage the apparent mystery of the
existence of life, evolution, matter, and consciousness and wants to
attain a knowledge that leads to a real improvement in and out of us, it
must be based on a paradigm that goes beyond reductionist sciences or
pseudoholistic New Age approaches that have been unable to give us
satisfying answers to these questions and needs.
On the Web site, we provide an introduction to the Integral Yoga of Sri
Aurobindo and Mother, placing special emphasis on its evolutionary
aspect and its physical and scientific implications. Descriptions of
higher states of consciousness such as overmind and supermind and the
consequences of cellular yoga and transformation of the body and of
matter are especially considered, given their scientific interest. We
try to show that their discoveries may be useful for medicine,
biological and evolutionary research, psychology, and physics, as well
as generally enhancing the scientific debate about consciousness and
We also present the main ideas of how a gnostic science might develop in
general as well as in specific fields such as psychology, physics,
medicine and biology. We hope to arouse interest in these topics on the
Web site, which is dedicated to scientists who feel that science must
find new means for investigating nature. The Web site is available at http://wwwserv.caiw.nl/~biedel/gs.html.
We are also searching for a designer who can help us with Web editing
and graphics. If you are interested, please send e-mail to Marco Masi,