The Rationale Behind the Concern for the Loss of Liberty and Vitality in the World-State

After enumerating a number of positive benefits that would flow from the development of a World-State, Sri Aurobindo noted that eventually the creativity, vitality and springs of evolutionary development would dry up under the pressure of the efficiency and mechanization brought about by such a World-State.  This is analogous to the weakening from inside experienced by the Roman Empire in its day, which preceded the fall of that empire.

Sri Aurobindo sets forth his concerns on this issue:  “The conditions of a vigorous life would be lost, liberty, mobile variation and the shock upon each other of freely developing differentiated lives.  It may be said that this will not happen, because the World-State will be a free democratic State, not a liberty-stifling empire or autocracy, and because liberty and progress are the very principle of modern life and no development would be tolerated which went contrary to that principle.  But in all this, there is not really the security that seems to be offered.  For what is now, need not endure under quite different circumstances and the idea that it will is a strange mirage thrown from the actualities of the present on the possibly quite different actualities of the future.  Democracy is by no means a sure preservative of liberty; on the contrary, we see today the democratic system of government march steadily towards such an organized annihilation of individual liberty as could not have been dreamed of in the old aristocratic and monarchical systems.”

“…there is a deprivation of liberty which is more respectable in appearance, more subtle and systematized, ore mild in its method because it has a greater force at its back, but for that very reason more effective and pervading.  The tyranny of the majority has become a familiar phrase and its deadening effects have been depicted with a great force of resentment by certain of the modern intellectuals; but what the future promises us is something more formidable still, the tyranny of the whole, of the self-hypnotized mass over its constituent groups and units.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 27, The Peril of the World-State, pp. 238-239


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