The Sprouting of an Ideal and Its Growth and Development

If we reflect on how humanity develops various ideals, and how these ideals go about getting to be attempted, and then view the results, it becomes possible to recognize a process which Nature, the executive power of the Divine in manifestation, uses to evolve new goals and focus for humanity.  In one of his thoughts and aphorisms, Sri Aurobindo implies that a Yogi dwelling in a cave in the Himalayas dreamed of liberty and subsequently the French Revolution eventually occurred.  This is not so much to imply direct causality, but to point more toward the impulsion of Nature, picked up by the subtle awareness of the Yogi, and eventually making itself known and felt in the wider field of human experience.

In the general operations of Nature, a seed is sown, and if the environment is appropriate, the seed can sprout, take root and grow.  Similarly with ideals within humanity, the seed of an idea is sown, and if humanity is ready to receive it, even to some degree, it begins to take root and grow and reach out to expand its influence.  It is met by resistance in most cases for the established status quo, or by those who have neither the mind nor the inclination to do something different than they have done in the past,  Some of these eventually gain enough stability to become rooted in the community of mankind, and others flower for a time and fade.

With this general background, it is possible to look at the ideal of human unity and its status and opportunities, as described by Sri Aurobindo:  “Today, the ideal of human unity is more or less vaguely making its way to the front of our consciousness.  The emergence of an ideal in human thought is always the sign of an intention in Nature, but not always of an intention to accomplish; sometimes it indicates only an attempt which is predestined to temporary failure.  For nature is slow and patient in her methods.  She takes up ideas and half carries them out, then drops them by the wayside to resume them in some future era with a better combination.  She tempts humanity, her thinking instrument, and tests how far it is ready for the harmony she has imagined; she allows and incites man to attempt and fail, so that he may learn and succeed better another time.  Still the ideal, having once made its way to the front of thought, must certainly be attempted, and this ideal of human unity is likely to figure largely among the determining forces of the future; for the intellectual and material circumstances of the age have prepared and almost impose it, especially the scientific discoveries which have made our earth so small that its vasted kingdoms seem now no more than the provinces of a single country.”

One method Nature uses is to put before humanity a threat to survival that forces new thoughts and directions upon us.  Global climate change, overuse of resources, the accumulation of waste materials that are overwhelming the land, air and oceans, and the increasing threats of utter destruction from the weaponry that has been developed in the last 100 years, all represent an impetus towards development of human unity as a way to ensure survival of the human race.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 1, The Turn towards Unity: Its Necessity and Dangers, pg. 10