The Meaning of the Individualistic Age in the Evolutionary Process of Humanity

Whether it be in the field of religion, economics, political science, art, science or any other field of focus within which man attempts to understand and relate to the world and his role in that world, the direction and focus of the individualistic age is to challenge conventional forms and thinking, and discover a living truth that is hidden within those conventions.  This is essentially a process of breaking down the old ways of doing things and finding new directions that speak to the developing need of humanity within the framework of the evolutionary thrust of Nature.  Eventually, any honest search for individual meaning recognises that each individual is part of an interconnected web of life and thus, the search for individual fulfillment eventually must also encompass a balanced and harmonious interaction with the entire system.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The individualistic age is, then, a radical attempt of mankind to discover the truth and law both of the individual being and of the world to which the individual belongs.”

“…from that first step it must proceed to others and in the end to a general questioning of the foundations of thought and practice in all the spheres of human life and action.  A revolutionary reconstruction of religion, philosophy, science, art and society is the last inevitable outcome.  It proceeds at first by the light of the individual mind and reason, by its demand on life and its experience of life; but it must go from the individual to the universal.  For the effort of the individual soon shows him that he cannot securely discover the truth and law of his own being without discovering some universal law and truth to which he can relate it.  Of the universe he is a part; in all but his deepest spirit he is its subject, a small cell in that tremendous organic mass: his substance is drawn from its substance and by the law of its life the law of his life is determined and governed.  From a new view and knowledge of the world must proceed his new view and knowledge of himself, of his power and capacity and limitations, of his claim on existence and the high road and the distant or immediate goal of his individual and social destiny.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 3, The Coming of the Subjective Age, pp. 27-28