The Tide of Commercialism

Eventually the tide of commercialism as the dominant theme of society will ebb, and the next phase of human development will rise.  It is evident from the force of the movement of commercialism, however, that it is fulfilling some real purpose in Nature’s evolutionary progression, and it retains its dynamism and continues to expand its reach.  It matters little whether the commercialism is founded in capitalism or socialism– they both represent the same principle of turning human life and activity into markers of economic value rather than some higher principle, with capitalism rewarding those who provide the capital or investment primarily, and socialism rewarding those who provide the input of labour primarily.

Even in times of extreme predominance of some principle or another, one can find seeds or small shoots sprouting up that represent the birth of the next principle.  We can see in our world today, an increase of religion, but also of spirituality, where individuals undertake to develop a direct relationship to the Spirit in whatever way, shape or form they happen to conceive of the Spirit, without necessarily wanting the intermediation of a church or religious institution.  This may very well represent a future phase, and given the development of the human being from the perspective of an evolution of consciousness, there is a high likelihood that this is the case, once the physical, vital and mental platform has been fully developed, exploited and solidified as a basis for humanity to move to the next phase.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “The religious spirit is reviving and even the old discouraged religious creeds and forms are recovering a kind of vigour.  In the secular thought of mankind there are signs of an idealism which increasingly admits a spiritual element among its motives.  But all this is as yet slight and superficial; the body of thought and practice, the effective motive, the propelling impulsion remain untouched and unchanged.  That impulsion is still towards the industrialising of the human race and the perfection of the life of society as an economic and productive organism.  Nor is this spirit likely to die as yet by exhaustion, for it has not yet fulfilled itself and is growing, not declining in force.”

With regard to whether labour is able to supplant capital as the factor that dominates the commercial spirit, Sri Aurobindo observes:  “It will be a change from one side of economism to the other, but not a change from economism to the domination of some other and higher motive of human life.  The change itself is likely to be one of the chief factors with which international unification will have to deal and either its greatest aid or its greatest difficulty.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 25, War and the Need of Economic Unity, pp. 218-219

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