An Optimistic View of the Future of Humanity

If we remain embedded in the crises, problems and issues confronting humanity in today’s world, it is quite easy to fall into a pessimistic view of the future; for who can see how these apparently intractable concerns can be resolved?  What is the solution to the competing ideologies that are always willing to go to war with one another?  What answer do we have to the issues of unequal access to resources, global pollution, climate change, and the threats of war with weapons that can annihilate life on earth?  Yet if we survey the past history of the human race, we note that at various points in time, humanity was faced with challenges that turned into major crises, including pandemics, vast inter-continental warfare and imperial ambitions, acts of genocide, and in each case, mankind found a way to face and solve the then current crisis.  It is clear that the crises we face today represent existential threats far beyond those we have witnessed in the past, but we also have to acknowledge that humanity has grown in the interim, gained new understanding, new tools and technologies.  Another important point is that if we attribute some divine purpose to life and the evolution of consciousness, then these issues and obstacles represent not necessarily existential threats but opportunities for new growth and understanding.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Mankind has a habit of surviving the worst catastrophes created by its own errors or by the violent turns of Nature and it must be so if there is any meaning in its existence, if its long history and continuous survival is not the accident of a fortuitously self-organising Chance, which it must be in a purely materialistic view of the nature of the world.  If man is intended to survive and carry forward the evolution of which he is at present the head and, to some extent, a half-conscious leader of its march, he must come out of his present chaotic international life and arrive at a beginning of organised action; some kind of World-State, unitary or federal, or a confederacy or a coalition he must arrive at in the end; no smaller or looser expedient would adequately serve the purpose.  In that case, the general thesis advanced in this book would stand justified and we can foreshadow with some confidence the main line of advance which the course of events is likely to take, at least the main trend of the future history of the human peoples.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, A Postscript Chapter, pg. 315