Thanks for the A2A.
First, it seems as though it would be most beneficial to ask V.S. Ramachandran what he meant by that phrase in the context that he spoke it. That said, here are a few ideas (many of which have been bantered about for centuries) that may resonate with the generalized current of those particular words....
1) We want relief from suffering, and we assume (rightly or wrongly) that "transcendence" will aid us in that relief.
2) We intuit an aspect of our being that seems much vaster than the sum of our perception-cognition, and we reflexively want to deepen that awareness and connection.
4) We have the felt experience that we have been separated from a unitive state of existence, and we want to return to that unitive state.
5) We have been touched by the flame of Divine Love, and it has inspired us to be entirely consumed in that fire.
6) We have had ineffable and remarkable peak experiences that have challenged our previous sense of self, offering a very different identity and orientation to the Universe and all the forms of consciousness within it, so that we "know" (in the gnostic sense) that our previous conceptions are inadequate or even false, and wish to reclaim the perspective we glimpsed in those peak experiences so that we may operate with integrity.
7) We are unsatisfied with the perceived limitations of our existence, and fervently wish to believe there is "something more."
8.) If our imagination has no boundaries and our ability to learn is likewise ongoing, but we recognize that our current understanding is finite and incomplete, then the resulting tension can only be resolved through broadening our experience and expanding our understanding.
Now we could still ask why any of these tendencies or experiences occur and, upon answering this "why," we could drill down further to a deeper, more fundamental "why," and keep doing this...perhaps endlessly. Some of the underlying explanations for "why" we have this seemingly natural tendency (again bantered about for centuries) might include the following:
1) A fragment of the Divine Spark resides in us and naturally yearns to be reunited with the Divine.
2) The potential for liberation underlies all existence, and although our minds tend to keep distracting us from it, we can still apprehend hints of that liberation and a possibility that we just need to remove a few obstacles in order to enter this alternate, more transparently accurate mind stream.
3) In our own willfulness and ignorance we have turned away from the Light through which all things came into being, but the Light patiently awaits our return if we can embrace its gracious lovingkindness.
4) The individual self is an illusion.
5) We have forgotten who we really are, why we are here, and the nature of all spiritual existence...but the Universe keeps prompting us to remember.
6) In the process of Creation, matter was alienated from spirit, but since we humans consist of both, we are constantly trying to reconcile the two.
7) There is an ongoing evolution of spirit and matter - or of an unmanifest continually manifesting itself - and we are part of that evolution.
8.) The inquisitive seat of our consciousness has evolved to improve the survival fitness of our species, and its yearning fora greater, more complete knowledge and understanding has consistently improved that fitness.
I feel like I'm forgetting something...some angle on this question that I've encountered before...so if I remember it later I will add it in the comments to my answer here.
I hope this was helpful and please feel free to follow up.
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