A combined edition of social and political writings: the psychological evolution of human society; the possibility of the unification of the human race; the problem of war and the self-determination of nations.
In The Human Cycle, Sri Aurobindo explores the evolution of human society from a psychological perspective and traces its growth through five distinct psychological phases: symbolic, typal, conventional, individualist and subjective.
The outcome of the subjective stage, he suggests, will be a spiritual age in which not only individuals but society itself will be spiritualised - freed from the egoistic standpoint and turned in its aim towards "the revealing and finding of the divine Self in man.
About The Ideal of Human Unity Sri Aurobindo once remarked that he had "taken the present trend of mankind towards a closer unification and tried to appreciate its tendencies and show what is wanting to them in order that real human unity may be achieved." He discusses not only the past efforts of the Greeks, Romans and others at political unification, but the attempts of modern nations - Russia, China, the United States of America, the European countries, etc.
In War and Self-Determination, Sri Aurobindo discusses the problems arising out of the First World War; the obstacles to the elimination of war and violent revolution; the principle of self-determination for individuals and nations; the failings of the League of Nations; the forces of American capitalism and Russian communism; etc.
A spiritualised society would treat in its sociology the individual, from the saint to the criminal, not as units of a social problem to be passed through some skillfully devised machinery and either flattened into the social mould or crushed out of it, but as souls suffering and entangled in a net and to be rescued, souls growing and to be encouraged to grow, souls grown and from whom help and power can be drawn by the lesser spirits who are not yet adult.
The aim of its economics would be not to create a huge engine of production, whether of the competitive or the co-operative kind, but to give to men - not only to some but to all men each in his highest possible measure - the joy of work according to their own nature and free leisure to grow inwardly, as well as a simply rich and beautiful life for all.
In its politics it would not regard the nationswithin the scope of their own internal life as enormous State machines regulated and armoured with man living for the sake of the machine and worshipping it as his God and his larger self, content at the first call to kill others upon its altar and to bleed there himself so that the machine may remain intact and powerful and be made ever larger, more complex, more cumbrous, more mechanically efficent and entire. Neither would it be content to maintain these nations or states in their mutual relations as noxious engines meant to discharge poisonous gas upon each other in peace and to rush in times of clash upon each other's armed hosts and unarmed millions, full of belching shot and men missioned to murder like hostile tanks in a modern battlefield. It would regard the peoples as group-souls, the Divinity concealed and to be self-discovered in its human collectivities, group-souls meant like the individual to grow according to their own nature and by that growth to help each other, to help the whole race in the one common work of humanity. And that work would be to find the divine Self in the individual and the collectivity and to realise spiritually, mentally, vitally, materially its greatest, largest, richest and deepest possibilities in the inner life of all and their outer action and nature. (p.241-42)
- Sri Aurobindo
About the Author:
Sri Aurobindo was an Indian/Hindu nationalist, scholar, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru. After a short political career in which he became one of leaders of the early movement for the freedom of India from British rule, Sri Aurobindo turned to the development and practice of a new spiritual path which he called the "integral yoga," the aim of which was to further the evolution of life on earth by establishing a high level of spiritual consciousness which he called the Supermind that would represent a divine life.
Sri Aurobindo wrote prolifically in English on his spiritual philosophy and practice, on social and political development, on Indian culture including extensive commentaries and translations of ancient Indian scriptures, on literature and poetry including the writing of much spiritual poetry.