Economic Systems Cannot Solve the Evolutionary Crisis

Sri Aurobindo continues to explore the various proposed methods for effecting positive change in human life and society so as to confront the evolutionary crisis we see before us. Some have proposed that the solution can be found in developing a more perfect economic system, and much effort has gone into developing and implementing a number of economic models which go under names such as capitalism, communism, socialism, etc. None of these models has in fact achieved any real, positive change, and to the extent that they rely either on strict suppression of the individual, or conversion of the individual into a “consumer” whose role is to participate in the society through the obedient exercise of “choice” provided by corporations, they actually remove from society the one potential element of real, positive change, which is based on the freedom and inner growth of the individual.

Sri Aurobindo discusses the limitations of these approaches: “It is through the growth of consciousness that the collective soul and its life can become aware of itself and develop; the free play of mind and life is essential for the growth of consciousness: for mind and life are the soul’s only instrumentation until a higher instrumentation develops; they must not be inhibited in their action or rendered rigid, unplastic and unprogressive. The difficulties or disorders engendered by the growth of the individual mind and life cannot be healthily removed by the suppression of the individual; the true cure can only be achieved by his progression to a greater consciousness in which he is fulfilled and perfected.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”, pg. 1057