The Natural Work and Conscious Hope of Man in a Subjective Age

Mankind is seeking, to a great degree blindly, for a way to make sense of life and find some purpose to our existence.  Due to the limitations of our conscious awareness, and the restrictions of the mental consciousness, as well as the impulsions of the vital nature, we exist in a ferment of conflicting ideas, motives, directions, and intentions.  It is difficult, in such a confused welter and chaos, to move directly toward any positive result, and thus, we swing back and forth between knowledge and ignorance, right and wrong, past and future, freedom and bondage, etc.  Yet as the subjective age takes hold, we seek for the truth of life, and for a way to move from today’s confusion and strife to a place of peace and harmony for humanity.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Naturally, this is an ideal law which the imperfect human race has never yet really attained and it may be very long before it can attain to it.  Man, not possessing, but only seeking to find himself, not knowing consciously, obeying only in the rough subconsciously or half-consciously the urge of the law of his own nature with stumblings and hesitations and deviations and a series of violences done to himself and others, has had to advance by a tangle of truth and error, right and wrong, compulsion and revolt and clumsy adjustments, and he has as yet neither the wideness of knowledge nor the flexibility of mind nor the purity of temperament which would enable him to follow the law of liberty and harmony rather than the law of discord and regimentation, compulsion and adjustment and strife.  Still it is the very business of a subjective age when knowledge is increasing and diffusing itself with an unprecedented rapidity, when capacity is generalising itself, when men and nations are drawn close together and partially united though in an inextricable, confused entanglement of chaotic unity, when they are being compelled to know each other and impelled to know more profoundly themselves, mankind, God and the world and when the idea of self-realisation for men and nations is coming consciously to the surface, — it is the natural work and should be the conscious hope of man in such an age to know himself truly, to find the ideal law of his being and his development and, if he cannot even then follow it ideally owing to the difficulties of his egoistic nature, still to hold it before him and find out gradually the way by which it can become more and more the moulding principle of his individual and social existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 7, The Ideal Law of Social Development, pp. 71-72