The age of individualism developed the evolutionary opportunities attendant on becoming self-aware and the ability to distinguish oneself from others. This power was necessary as a transitional stage from the oneness of dull Matter to the full psychological awareness of Oneness in the entire universe by an awakened and enlightened being. For the most part, humanity remains rooted deeply in the habits, customs and thought patterns of the individualistic age, and it is important to recognise and accept this fact when we try to observe and understand the life in the world around us. The first signs of a dawning subjective age are there to see, but it will require much patience and perseverance to see it become the dominant reality.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “men and nations have to act and think egoistically, because in their self-ignorance that is the only life known to them, and to live is their God-given impulse; therefore they must live egoistically rather than not at all, with whatever curb of law, ethics and practical common sense of self-restraint nature and experience have taught them. But subjectivism is in its very nature an attempt at self-knowledge and at living by a true self-knowledge and by an inner strength, and there is no real gain in it if we only repeat the old error in new terms. Therefore we must find out that the true individual is not the ego, but the divine individuality which is through our evolution preparing to emerge in us; its emergence and satisfaction and not the satisfaction of the mere egoistic will-to-live for the sake of one’s lower members is the true object at which a humanity subjectively seeking to know and fulfil its own deepest law and truth should increasingly aim.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 5, True and False Subjectivism, pp. 46-47