Sri Aurobindo provides in this chapter a wonderful summary of the role and position of the individual, the society, and humanity within the scope of the manifestation of the Reality of which they are all various forms. Each of these has its own purpose and role, and thus, a balance needs to be achieved whereby each can manifest its destiny action.
The goal is “to achieve the most perfect manifestation of it” is “the secret of perfection whether of individual or communal being.”
The individual must therefore have the capabiity to develop, grow, evolve and express his growth. The society also must be able to express its destiny, as also the larger grouping which we call humanity.
Sri Aurobindo points out that the Reality is not bound by any of these 3 terms, and in fact, the individual has at one point had a less than human past and will have a more than human future. Each society has also its own past, and future, and there are other societies with other destinies within which human beings grow and express themselves. While the society has its importance, it should not consume 100% of the focus of the individuals in the society, so that they have their time and freedom to pursue their individual development within the framework of supporting the society within which they live. Humanity itself is neither the first nor the last term of evolutionary consciousness.
The key to understanding and achieving a balance between these different terms is to put in context the underlying intention of the Reality to manifest an evolving consciousness in the universe, which has been a Material consciousness, evolving a Vital or Life consciousness, developing a Mental Consciousness and eventually realising the expression of a Supramental Consciousness. This is not limited to humanity nor bounded by humanity. Human beings represent a transitional phase in this process with a spiritual drive or aspiration that helps to move us beyond the strict limits of Matter, Life and Mind.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”