The Growth of the Living Idea or Religion of Humanity

Humanity is bound up in “isms”, and people tend to label themselves according to the particular “isms” into which they have been born or adopted.   We express a sense of patriotism by adhering ourselves to a particular nation or group and setting it up in opposition to other nations or groups.  We adhere ourselves to certain religions and against others.  We are part of certain traditions and against others.  Thus, each group, culture, society, or nation has grown up and gained its sense of “self”, and its own standing in the world.  Yet, at a certain point in time, all of these divisions and fragmentations of humanity become obstacles and must be surpassed as we grow and expand beyond the framework and the need for binding ourselves to these rigid distinctions and fearing or opposing those who follow a different cultural, religious, linguistic economic or political framework.  The process of historical development shows us that humanity has the capacity to expand beyond the framework of its small initial groupings to embrace ever-larger aggregations.  The family admitted the clan.  The clan, the tribe.  The tribe the community.  The community the state, or the city-state.  The state, the nation. and the nation, the empire.  At some point, therefore, we can foresee the breaking of the bonds of the ‘nation’ to embrace the oneness of all humanity.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “…in a free world-union, though originally starting from the national basis, the national idea might be expected to undergo a radical transformation; it might even disappear into a new and less strenuously compact form and idea of group-aggregation which would not be separative in spirit, yet would preserve the necessary elements of independence and variation needed by both individual and grouping for their full satisfaction and their healthy existence.  Moreover, by emphasising the psychological quite as much as the political and mechanical idea and basis, it would give a freer and less artificial form and opportunity for the secure development of the necessary intellectual and psychological change; for such an inner change could alone give some chance of durability to the unification.  That change would be the growth of the living idea or religion of humanity; for only so could there come the psychological modification of life and feeling and outlook which would accustom both individual and group to live in their common humanity first and most, subduing their individual and group egoism, yet losing nothing of their individual or group power to develop and express in its own way the divinity of man which, once the race was assured of its material existence, would emerge as the true object of human existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 31, The Conditions of a Free World-Union, pg. 277