A Settled Anarchy, p. 137

Opening Remarks
Life in its early beginnings is still trying to find its hold upon matter. It is a stage of experimentation wherein the life force hidden in matter is struggling to emerge. It has not yet formed or framed the laws and rules that would allow it to affirm itself upon earth. It is a state of anarchy or lawlessness so to say, a lawless state trying to create an order, a new order of living matter that is beginning to emerge upon earth.

A mechanical groping
An inconscient Power groped towards consciousness,
Matter smitten by Matter glimmered to sense,
Blind contacts, slow reactions beat out sparks
Of instinct from a cloaked subliminal bed,
Sensations crowded, dumb substitutes for thought,
Perception answered Nature’s wakening blows
But still was a mechanical response,
A jerk, a leap, a start in Nature’s dream,
And rude unchastened impulses jostling ran
Heedless of every motion but their own
And, darkling, clashed with darker than themselves,
Free in a world of settled anarchy.

Life emerging out of matter submerged in an inert, inconscient state begins to grope for consciousness. The first instruments that emerge are the senses that blindly seek for contacts. Instinct is born as the reflex of an intuitive knowledge that will help life survive and eventually establish itself upon earth. Consciousness is hardly there. The responses are blind and mechanical driven without any fixed form or rule of life but merely by habit and instinct.

The need to exist
The need to exist, the instinct to survive
Engrossed the tense precarious moment’s will
And an unseeing desire felt out for food.

The very first need is the need to survive. It is instinctively ingrained in all living beings and the means that help towards it such as hunger and thirst are given to all creatures. These become then habits inbuilt into all living systems.

Gusts of Nature
The gusts of Nature were the only law,
Force wrestled with force, but no result remained:
Only were achieved a nescient grasp and drive
And feelings and instincts knowing not their source,
Sense-pleasures and sense-pangs soon caught, soon lost,
And the brute motion of unthinking lives.

Slowly these gusts and impulsions of Nature that drive a blind will to live begin to become crystallised as habits and laws. Mechanical movements of feeling and sensations, pleasure and pain begin to arise without any conscious thought.

The labour to become
It was a vain unnecessary world
Whose will to be brought poor and sad results
And meaningless suffering and a grey unease.
Nothing seemed worth the labour to become.

These early beginnings of life may well have been declared as a vain and meaningless by some hypothetical witness who would have wondered at God’s Intelligence that started this game. Looking at the petty forms struggling blindly and mechanically to survive in the void, one would have even wondered whether there is any Intelligence at all that stands at the origin of creation. At this stage life appears like a meaningless and chaotic drift of living matter that has somehow managed to form in a vast tremendous void.

Closing Remarks
Sri Aurobindo reveals to us vividly the early beginnings of life, the birth or rather the evolution of sense contacts, instincts, the seemingly unconscious will to live and survive in a beautiful, enigmatic, dangerous world.

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