Developing the Elements of a Stable Larger Societal Form

The history of the last several thousand years of human civilisation displays a number of different experiments in human societal groupings.  The general trend points towards larger and more complex organisation; however, the experiments in large imperial forms have generally failed as they suppressed the natural vitality and creative energy of the smaller forms in order to achieve their control over the disparate elements within the empire.  We see Nature patiently testing, discarding, rearranging and building within this historical overview.  Recent directions point to a more balanced approach that allows the larger formations to develop, while maintaining the unique character and dynamic force of the smaller sub-entities.

Sri Aurobindo explains:  “The third stage of national life enjoys the advantages of unity and sufficient uniformity created by the second and is able to safely utilise anew the possibilities of regional and city-life saved from entire destruction by the first.  By these gradations of national progress, it has been made increasingly possible for our modern times to envisage, if and where it is willed or needed, the idea of a federated nation or federal empire based securely upon a fundamental and well-realised psychological unity: this indeed was already achieved in a simple type in Germany and in America.  Also we can move now safely, if we will, towards a partial decentralisation through subordinate governments, communes and provincial cities which may help to cure the malady of an excessive metropolitan absorption of the best national energies and facilitate their free circulation through many centres and plexuses.  At the same time, we contemplate the organised use of a State intelligently representative of the whole conscious, active, vitalised nation as a means for the perfection of the life of the individual and the community.  This is the point which the development of the nation-aggregate has reached at the moment when we are again confronted either, according to future trends, with the wider problem of the imperial aggregate or the still vaster problems created by the growing cultural unity and commercial and political interdependence of all mankind.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pp. 102-103