Second Implication of the German Misidentification of the Ego With the True Self

The total subordination of the individual to an all-powerful controlling State is yet a second implication of the doctrine that identifies the surface ego of the nation as the true Self to be served and supported.  Such a result creates a situation where the internal population of the State are suppressed and indoctrinated to aggrandise the State and its goals.  Revolt or questioning are “inefficient” and thus, not to be permitted.  This all-powerful and brutally efficient State entity is in competition with other similar States and thus, there is a constant state of conflict, whether overt or covert, whether conducted with military weaponry or with tools of diplomacy, economic leverage or any other means the State, which is amoral, deems appropriate to succeed at its goals.

Sri Aurobindo explains:  The State “…has a divine right to the obedience, the unquestioning service and the whole activity of the individual, the service of State and community is the only absolute rule of morality.  Within the State this may include and sanction all other moral rules because there no rebel egoism can be allowed, for the individual ego must be lost in that of the State or become part of it and all condition of covert or overt war must be abrogated in obedience to the collective good as determined by the collective will.”

“But in relation to other States, to other collective egos the general condition, the effective law is still that of war, of strife between sharply divided egoisms each seeking to fulfil itself, each hampered and restricted in its field by the others.  War then is the whole business of the State in its relation to other States, a war of arms, a war of commerce, a war of ideas and cultures, a war of collective personalities each seeking to possess the world or at least to dominate and be first in the world.  Here there can enter no morality except that of success, though the pretense of morality may be a useful stratagem of war.  To serve the State, the German collectivity which is his greater and real self is the business of the German individual whether at home or abroad, and to that end everything which succeeds is justifiable.  Inefficiency, incompetence, failure are the only immorality.  In war every method is justified which leads to the military success of the State, in peace every method which prepares for it; for peace between nations is only a covert state of war.  And as war is the means of physical survival and domination, so commerce is the means of economic survival and domination; it is in fact only another kind of war, another department of the struggle to live, one physical, the other vital.  And the life and the body are, so Science has assured us, the whole of existence.”

Thus we can understand the history of the Third Reich and its preparation for what became the Second World War, and its launching of that war, with the immense catastrophic consequences that we may now look back on.

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 5, True and False Subjectivism, pp. 49-50