Complexities in the Integration of the Individual and the Smaller and Larger Groupings of Humanity

The individual is born into or joins various groupings of humanity, which start with the family unit, but which may encompass yet larger groupings such as clan, tribe, community, town, village, state, country, region, but which may also include groupings based on affinity, such as teams, companies, religions, clubs, movements, etc.  All of these, and other forms of collectivity, are stages in the development of wider opening of the individual to the universal.  Each one creates an initial opportunity for growth through embracing the needs and opportunities posed by each wider group.  At the same time, a tremendous amount of complexity is generated as there is not a straight line development from smaller to larger, whereby the individual leaves the smaller groupings behind; rather, the individual may be called upon to respond to the needs of multiple different groups that may, in some cases, have conflicting goals or objectives.  Thus the issue is not simply one of the individual fitting into the whole of humanity, but one in which the individual and the various groups all have to find their right place in the whole and develop the complex harmony that allows them to live together and achieve their mutual objectives in a multifarious mix of creeds, ideals, needs and wants.

Sri Aurobindo elaborates:  “For the obstacles of space, the difficulties of organisation and the limitations of the human heart and brain have necessitated the formation first of small, then of larger and yet larger aggregates so that he may be gradually trained by a progressive approach till he is ready for the final universality.”

“…at every step humanity is confronted with various problems which arise not only from the difficulty of accord between the interests of the individual and those of the immediate aggregate, the community, but between the needs and interests of the smaller integralities and the growth of that larger whole which is to ensphere them all.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 2, The Imperfection of Past Aggregates, pp. 15-16

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