The Ideal Law of Individual and Community Life and Development

Free development combined with harmonious relations with others represents an ideal law of life for both the individual human being and for the society.  The extreme of egoistic self-indulgence which tries to attain individual success without concern for, or even by the suppression of, other individuals represents a phase in human development which harms the growth and development of everyone.  Western psychologists have identified this truth through the research they have done in what is known as “game theory”.  The best result comes about through collaborative effort rather than an attempt to gain the most for oneself alone at the expense of others.  The same principle also works at the level of the society.  Each nation or community should be encouraged to achieve its own unique self-expression, while concurrently supporting a similar freedom of development of each other nation or community.

Sri Aurobindo describes this in terms of the individual, the nation and for humanity as a whole:  “Thus the law for the individual is to perfect his individuality by free development from within, but to respect and to aid and be aided by the same free development in others.  His law is to harmonise his life with the life of the social aggregate and to pour himself out as a force for growth and perfection on humanity.  The law for the community or nation is equally to perfect its corporate existence by a free development from within, aiding and taking full advantage of that of the individual, but to respect and to aid and be aided by the same free development of other communities and nations.  Its law is to harmonise its life with that of the human aggregate and to pour itself out as a force for growth and perfection on humanity.  The law for humanity is to pursue its upward evolution towards the finding and expression of the Divine in the type of mankind, taking full advantage of the free development and gains of all individuals and nations and groupings of men, to work towards the day when mankind may be really and not only ideally one divine family, but even then, when it has succeeded in unifying itself, to respect, aid and be aided by the free growth and activity of its individuals and constituent aggregates.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 7, The Ideal Law of Social Development, pg. 71

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