The Root of the German Error

Our analysis of the rise of German subjectivism and the implications and impacts of the errors made in this development during the early 20th century has shown us the horrific potential consequences of a new evolutionary process when it has not fully appreciate and understood both the purpose and the potential dangers of any misapplication.  In the case of Germany both the internal situation, with the control of the citizenry, the subjection of numerous citizens to arrest, deportation, forced labor or even execution, and the external situation, with the rise or German militarism and its attempt to achieve domination over the world, were due to the misunderstanding of the true role of the individual and the nation in relation to other individuals and other nations.  Evolution is intended to liberate and increase the potential of the individual’s growth, not suppress it in the name of efficiency and organisational process in the society.  Similarly, the unique role and contribution of each nation is not intended to destroy or suppress the other national groupings and their unique contributions to human civilisation.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “But the whole root of the German error lies in its mistaking life and the body for the self.  It has been said that this gospel is simply a reversion to the ancient barbarism of the religion of Odin; but this is not the truth.  It is a new and modern gospel born of the application of a metaphysical logic to the conclusions of materialistic Science, of a philosophic subjectivism to the objective pragmatic positivism of recent thought.  Just as Germany applied the individualistic position to the realisation of her communal subjective existence, so she applied the materialistic and vitalistic thought of recent times and equipped it with a subjective philosophy.  Thus she arrived at a bastard creed, an objective subjectivism which is miles apart from the true goal of a subjective age.  To show the error it is necessary to see wherein lies the true individuality of man and of the nation.  It lies not in its physical, economic, even its cultural life which are only means and adjuncts, but in something deeper whose roots are not in the ego, but in a Self one in difference which relates the good of each, on a footing of equality and not of strife and domination, to the good of the rest of the world.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 5, True and False Subjectivism, pp. 53-54