The Human Intelligence and the Drive Towards Uniformity in Societal Aggregates

The basic principle of the physical world is one of highly defined order of Matter and the relationships between material objects.   Atoms, molecules, and the material substances created by them tend to act in regular and predictable ways.  This principle of order is automatic, a basic characteristic of Matter when it manifests in our world.

When the life principle enters in, we see an enormous profusion of movements, shapes and actions which are not “orderly” in the sense of the world of matter, and which may seem to the mind’s eye, to be absolutely chaotic.  There is a riot of different shapes, forms, beings, and reactions.  The interactions on the life-plane are fluid, dynamic and to some degree unpredictable, although even here certain basic principles of action apply and can be found out through patient observation and recording of data and assembly of that data into patterned awareness.

When the mental intelligence begins to manifest in human beings, it not only tries to understand Matter and Life, but to rearrange them and bring them into an order of the mind’s choosing.  Confronted with the apparent chaos of the life-force unfolding in the world in a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns and forms, the mind’s first impulse is to try to bring about some form of uniformity, for both the efficiency it yields and to help bring these forces under the mind’s view and control more effectively.  This action of the mental consciousness tries to work on societal organisation as well.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The human intelligence as soon as it begins to order life according to its own fashion and not according to the more instinctively supple and flexible principle or organic order inherent in life, aims necessarily at imitating physical Nature in the fixity of her uniform fundamental principles of arrangement, but tries also to give to them, as much as may be, a uniform application.  It drives at the suppression of all important variations.  it is only when it has enlarged itself and feels more competent to understand and deal with natural complexities that it finds itself at all at ease in managing what the principle of life seems always to demand, the free variation and subtly diverse application of uniform principles.  First of all, in the ordering of a national society, it aims naturally at uniformity in that aspect of it which most nearly concerns the particular need of the centre of order which has been called into existence, its political and military function.  It aims first at a sufficient and then at an absolute unity and uniformity of administration.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 19, The Drive towards Centralisation and Uniformity — Administration and Control of Foreign Affairs, pp. 172-173

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