Nature does not propose to man to work out a higher mental, moral and physical variation-type in the mould of the present human being, - the symbol we are; it proposes to break that general type altogether in order to advance to a new symbol-being which shall be supernatural to present man as present man is to the animal below him. It is doubtful whether in the pure human mould Nature can go much farther than she has gone at present; that she can for instance produce a higher mental type than Newton, Shakespeare, Caesar or Napolean, a higher moral type than Buddha, Christ or St Francis, a higher physical type than the Greek athlete or to give modern examples, a Sandow or a Ramamurti. She may seek to bring about a better combination of mental and moral, or of moral, mental and physical energies; but is she likely to produce anything much above the level of Confucius or Socrates? It is more probable and seems to be true that Nature seeks in this field to generalise a higher level and a better combination. Neither need we believe that, even here, her object is to bring all men to the same level; for that can only be done by leveling downwards. Nothing in Nature is free from inequalities except the forms that are the lowest and least developed. The higher the effort accomplished, the more richly endowed the organism of the species, the greater the chances of inequality. In so high and developed a natural movement as Man, equality of individual opportunity is conceivable, equality of natural powers and accomplishment is a chimera. Nor will the generalisation of powers or the increase of material make any difference to the level of natural attainment.
All the accumulated discoveries and varied information of the modern scientist will not make him mentally the superior of Aristotle or Socrates; he is neither an acuter mind nor a greater mental force. All the varied activities of modern philanthropy will not produce a greater moral type than Buddha or St Francis. The invention of the motor car will not make up for the lost swiftness and endurance nor gymnastics restore the physical capacity of the Negro or the American Indian. We see therefore the limits of Nature’s possibilities in the human symbol, fixed by the character of the symbol itself and recognised by her in her strivings.
It is still a question whether in these limits the chief preoccupation of Nature is the exhaustion of the possibilities of the human symbol. That is rather man’s preoccupation and therefore the direction she takes when human intellect interferes with her normal progression. Left to herself and even utilising human interferences, she seems bent rather on breaking the mould, than on perfecting it, - only indeed in her more advanced individuals and more daring movements and with due regard to the safety of the general human type, but this is always her method when she wishes to advance to a fresh symbol without destroying the anterior species. The more civilised man becomes, the more she plagues him with moral abnormalities, excesses of vice and virtue and confusions of the very type of vice and virtue; the more he intellectualises, the more he insists on rationality as his utmost bourne, the more she becomes dissatisfied and clamours to him to develop rather his instincts and his intuitions; the more he strives after health and hygiene, the more she multiplies diseases and insanities of mind and body. He has triumphed over super-naturalism, he has chained her down to the material, human and rational; immediately she breaks out fiercely into unthought-of revivals and gigantic supernaturalisms. Whatever work she is intent on, she will not be baulked in that work by the limited human reason. Through all her vast being she feels the pulsation of a supernatural power, the workings and strivings of a knowledge superior to material reason. She breaks out, therefore, she compels, she insists. Everywhere we see her striving to break the mental, moral and physical type she has created and to get beyond it to some new processes as yet not clearly discerned. She attacks deliberately the sound healthfulness and equilibrium of our normal type of intellectuality, morality and physical being.
She is stricken also with a mania of colossalism; colossal structures, colossal combinations, colossal heights and speeds, colossal dreams and ambitions outline themselves everywhere more or less clearly, more or less dimly. Unable as yet to do her will in the individual, she works with masses; unable in the mind, with material forms and inventions; unable in actualities, with hopes and dreams; unable to reproduce or produce Napoleons and super-Napoleons, she generalises a greater reach of human capacity from which they may hereafter emerge more easily, and meanwhile she creates instead Dreadnoughts and Super-dreadnoughts, Trusts and mammoth combines, teems with distance destroying inventions and seems eager and furious to trample to pieces the limitations of space and time she herself has created.
Excerpt from the book Essays Divine and Human by Sri Aurobindo