This volume comprises three works by Sri Aurobindo on social and political philosophy.
In The Human Cycle he explores the evolution of human society from a psychological perspective and traces its growth through five distinct psychological phases. The outcome of the last stage will be a spiritual age in which not only individuals but society itself will be spiritualised.
In The Ideal of Human Unity he studies the trend of mankind towards a closer unification through a review of past efforts by the Greeks, Romans, and others as well as more recent attempts by some modern nations – Russia, China, the United States of America, and the European countries. While a political unity can be constructed through administrative means, the unity of the human race can only be made real if the highest shared ideal of humanity spiritualises itself and becomes the inner law of life.
In War and Self-Determination Sri Aurobindo looks at 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, and the forces of American capitalism and Russian communism.
“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.”
– Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, War and Self-Determination, p.241-242
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