The Complex Play of Forces in the Development and Interactions of Larger Human Aggregates

The interplay of forces in the world today is both complex and multifarious.  There are not only large quasi-imperial groups which maintain the most leverage on world affairs, but also a vast array of nation-states, some large and powerful and possessing world-sway, as well as a number of religious institutions that number adherents in some cases in the billions.  Then there are the multi-national corporate interests who exercise influence across the globe.  There is also the impact of technology and the instantaneous ability to learn about and influence events anywhere in the world, and the rise of the mass media which makes manipulation of information and promulgation of propaganda, alongside legitimate factual reporting, a force in its own right.  There is, thus, no direct line of successful development for any one idea, even a powerful one, since there are now so many competing forces that have the power to modify, deflect, and distort each opposing line of development.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The position would then be for a time… a great criss-cross of heterogeneous, complicated, overlapping and mutually interpenetrating interests, a number of small Powers counting for something but overshadowed and partly coerced by a few great Powers, the great Powers working out the inevitable complications of their allied, divided and contrary interests by whatever means the new world-system provided and using for that purpose whatever support of classes, ideas, tendencies, institutions they could find.  There would be questions of Asiatic, African, American fiefs and markets; struggles of classes starting as national questions becoming international; Socialism, Anarchism and the remainder of the competitive age of humanity struggling together for predominance; clashes of Europeanism, Asiaticism, Americanism.  And from this great tangle some result would have to be worked out.  It might well be by methods very different from those with which history has made us so familiar; war might be eliminated or reduced to a rare phenomenon of civil war in the international commonwealth or confederacy; new forms of coercion, such as the commercial which we now see to be growing in frequency, might ordinarily take its place; other devices might be brought into being of which we have at present no conception.  But the situation would be essentially the same for humanity in general as has confronted lesser unformed aggregates in the past and would have to progress to similar issues of success, modified realisation or failure.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 15, Some Lines of Fulfilment, pp. 130-131

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