Regimented and Mechanised Social Life Does Not Solve the Evolutionary Crisis

Some societies have attempted to solve the the complex problems humanity is facing through massive attempts to educate and regiment the life of the individuals making up that society. These attempts rely on the idea that by controlling the education the society can create more or less “cogs in a machine”, and they try to develop patterns of living that essentially effaces individual uniqueness or creativity. Massive experiments have been tried. In order to make a “transition” from the “old” pattern of individual variation to the “new” pattern, in some cases massive “re-education” efforts have been undertaken, including the elimination of millions of people who did not “fit” the pattern or could not be made to fit that pattern. The 20th Century saw several attempts in this direction, which might include Stalinist Russia and the Cultural Revolution in China, as well as the development of the modern North Korean state. George Orwell described a nightmarish society that went to great lengths to stamp out individual freedom of thought and development in his classic work “1984”.

These attempts fail, however, to resolve either the evolutionary destiny of humanity, or the complex issues that make up the evolutionary crisis. “Machinery cannot form the soul and life-force into standarised shapes; it can at best coerce them, make soul and mind inert and stationary and regulate the life’s outward action; but if this is to be effectively done, coercion and compression of the mind and life are indispensable and that again spells either unprogressive stability or decadence.”

Sri Aurobindo’s solution: “Man’s true way out is to discover his soul and its self-force and instrumentation and replace by it both the mechanisation of mind and the ignorance and disorder of life-nature. But there would be little room and freedom for such a movement of self-discovery and self-effectuation in a closely regulated and mechanised social existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”, pg. 1058