Subordinating the Individual to the State Does Not Fulfill the Higher Call of Human Unity

We see a progression in the individual development whereby one successively widens and identifies with an ever larger unity.  The egoism of the individual expands to encompass the family, the tribe, the community, and the sharp edge of that egoism is lost in that widening process.  It is however important to distinguish between this call to achieve the larger human unity through inner growth from the demand of a State to subsume the individual under its total domination.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The call of the State to the individual to immolate himself on its altar and to give up his free activities into an organised collective activity is therefore something quite different from the demand of our higher ideals.  It amounts to the giving up of the present form of individual egoism into another, a collective form, larger but not superior, rather in many ways inferior to the best individual egoism.  The altruistic ideal, the discipline of self-sacrifice, the need of a growing solidarity with our fells and a growing collective soul in humanity are not in dispute.  But the loss of self in the State is not the thing that these high ideals mean, nor is it the way to their fulfilment.  Man must learn not to suppress and mutilate but to fulfil himself in the fulfilment of mankind, even as he must learn not to mutilate or destroy but to complete his ego by expanding it out of its limitations and losing it in something greater which it now tries to represent.  But the deglutition of the free individual by a huge State machine is quite another consummation.  The State is a convenience, and a rather clumsy convenience, for our common development; it ought never to be made an end in itself.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 4, The Inadequacy of the State Idea, pg. 30

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