Man and Overman
(on the Way to Supermanhood)

by Tommaso Iorco

The conception of the Last Judgment is a popular distortion of a puissant truth.
A truth more actual today than before, that shows that we are living in a moment in which we have touched, as dr. Francis Fukuyama so pregnantly said, the END OF HISTORY.
But it is not at all a question of a Manichean division between the so-called ‘good people’ and the so-called ‘evil people’. Rather, as Sri Aurobindo pointed out, we are all involved in that huge transitory process in which the earth-consciousness is immersed, where man himself play the role of a TRANSITIONAL BEING.
Then, a first basic division occured amidst humanity, between those who are after all satisfied of the world as it is (perhaps hoping some ‘amelioration’ of the malady) and, on the very opposite side, those who have felt the total absurdity and fallacy of the present Human System and, consequently, house in themselves a sincere aspiration for SOMETHING ELSE, incarnating it each in its own way.
So, there are two species in the one human race, that are quite different between them; they represent not only two different degrees of the same human consciousness, but forms two opposed species, with a step of transition between the two. Those who have a pure and divine desire for Truth, Perfection, Love, Power, Beauty, are in the midst of the two; they feel that all human panacea (whether religious, ethical, philosophical, economical, political or others) are a stumbling-block and an illusion of a bygone humanity (bygone but dramatically present in the world of today) which trust exclusively in the cavortings of a dwarf and eyeless half-animal humanity, thinking themselves very civilised, due to this huge technicisation of the world. To say things more properly, they have a deep and unegoistic need to be and to manifest all that we are not yet in our surface consciousness and nature, but that we really are in the secrecy of our real self.

For the moment, there are no exterior signs to distinguish and recognize the two species of man. As always, only the same can recognize the same. But the fact is there — there are, at present, human beings who belongs to the past, and others who belong to the future (with someone which is between the two, having not yet done the supreme choice).

Sri Aurobindo and Mother, having opened the path towards a radical transformation which will bring at last a New Species on earth (called by them the Supramental Being), started the Work by incarnating in the cells and the atoms of their very bodies the supramental consciousness, pulling down the Divine Force into Matter. And, as the passage from Ape to Man was succeded by a series of intermediary beings, so in the same way they indicate the very possibility of a series of intermediary beings between Man and the Supramental Being, the first of which they indicate as a new type of Man (Mother called it in French “le surhomme”, sometimes translated into English as the ‘Overman’), endowed with «a Mind of Light» — that is to say, a Mind which is aware of its affiliation to Supermind, capable of living in the Truth, which will proceed from truth to highest truth and no longer from darkness to lesser darkness.

Man, as it is, is really nothing but an ape with a formidable and (after all) ridiculous brain. The only real aim for him, is to prepare himself to become an overmen — that is to say, a being no more ruled by the ego (which creates in him the sense of separation from the All, and through it the sense of sufferance), but only by the Divine Consciousness (which is his own reality, one with all things and above all, for ever immersed in the divine Bliss that is the supreme foundation of all). The overmen are those who prepare themselves consciously to the supramental transformation, founding the bases for the emergence of the supramental being (“l’être supramental” of which Mother speaks, quite different from “le surhomme”, the Overman).

As Mother herself says on various occasions, one «can open oneself to the supramental Force which is now active on earth and enter a zone of transition where the two influences meet and interpenetrate: where the consciousness is still mental and intellectual in its way of functioning, but sufficiently permeated by the supramental Power and Force to be able to be the instrument of a higher truth.
«At present this state can be realised on earth by those who have prepared themselves to receive the supramental Force that is manifesting. And it is this state — in this state of consciousness — the body can benefit from a condition that is much superior to the condition it was in before. It can be put into direct contact with the essential truth of its being to the extent that, spontaneously, at every moment, it knows instinctively or intuitively what is to be done and that it can do it. As I say, this state can now be realised by all those who take the trouble of preparing themselves to receive the supramental Force, to assimilate it and obey it.
Of course, there is a higher state than this, namely the state Sri Aurobindo speaks of as the ideal to be fulfilled: the divine life in a divine body. But he himself tells us that this will take time, it is an integral transformation that cannot be achieved in a moment. It will even take quite a long time. However, it is no longer only a possibility, it is no longer even only a promise for a far-off future: it is something that is being executed. Already one can not only foresee but feel the moment when the body will be able to repeat integrally the experience of the most spiritual part of the being, as the inner spirit has already done, and will itself be able to stand in its bodily consciousness before the supreme Reality, turn towards it integrally and say in all sincerity, in a total self-giving of all its cells: ‘To be what Thou art, exclusively, perfectly what Thou art, infinitely, eternally — and very simply.
«Anyway, we have now arrived at a certitude, since there is already a beginning of realisation. We have the proof that in certain condition the ordinary state of humanity can be exceeded and a new state of consciousness worked out which enables at the very least a conscious relation between mental and supramental man.
It can be affirmed with certainty that there will be an intermediate specimen between the mental and the supramental being, a kind of overman who will still have the qualities and in part the nature of man, which means that he will still belong in his most external form to the human being of animal origin, but that he will transform his consciousness sufficiently to belong, in his realisation and activity, to a new race, a race of overmen.
«This species may be considered a transitional species, for it is to be foreseen that it will discover the means of producing new beings without going through the old animal method, and it is these beings — who will have a truly spiritual birth — who will constitute the elements of the new race, the supramental race. So we could call overmen those who, because of their origin, still belong to the old method of generation but who, because of their accomplishment, are in conscious and active contact with the new world of supramental realisation.
«It seems — it is even certain — that the very substance that will constitute this intermediate world, which is already being built, is richer, more powerful, more luminous, more durable, with certain new, subtler, more penetrating qualities, and a kind of innate capacity of universality. It is as if its degree of subtlety and refinement allowed the perception of vibrations on a much more extensive, if not altogether total way, and it abolishes the sensation of division one has with the old substance, the ordinary mental substance.
«The change from the human into the supramental being is being achieved through the overman. It may be that there will be some overmen — there are some — who will make the transition possible.
«All those who make an effort to overcome their ordinary nature, all those who try to realise materially the profound experience that has brought them into contact with the divine Truth, all those who, instead of turning to the Hereafter or the On-high, try to realise physically, externally, the change of consciousness they have realised within themselves — all those are apprentice-overmen. Among them, there are countless variations according to the success of their efforts. Each time we try not to be an ordinary man, not to live the ordinary life, to express in our movements, our actions and reactions the divine truth, when we are governed by that Truth instead of being governed by the general ignorance, we are apprentice-overmen, and according to the success of our efforts we are, well, more or less good apprentices, more or less advanced on the way» (various passages mostly form Mother’s Agenda).