The Reason is Unable to Effectively Control and Manage Life and Society

Humanity believes that ideas, ideologies, religious dogmas, political or economic systems can bring human life under control and improve the lot of humanity.  Human history is a long tale of various systems attempting to organise and manage human society, and the eventual failure of each of those systems due to the failure to take into account various aspects of human life, needs, desires and aspirations, or due to an inflexible and limited implementation due to the restrictions of the powers of the human intellect.  Intellect is linear and focuses on “either or” thinking; whereas, humanity does not fit into neat and fixed compartmentalized solutions.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “This is the cause why all human systems have failed in the end; for they have never been anything but a partial and confused application of reason to life.  Moreover, even where they have been most clear and rational, these systems have pretended that their ideas were the whole truth of life and tried so to apply them.  This they could not be, and life in the end has broken or undermined them and passed on to its own large incalculable movement.  Mankind, thus using its reason as an aid and justification for its interests and passions, thus obeying the drive of a partial, a mixed and imperfect rationality towards action, thus striving to govern the complex totalities of life by partial truths, has stumbled on from experiment to experiment, always believing that it is about to grasp the crown, always finding that it has fulfilled as yet little or nothing of what it has to accomplish.  Compelled by nature to apply reason to life, yet possessing only a partial rationality limited in itself and confused by the siege of the lower members, it could do nothing else.  For the limited imperfect human reason has no self-sufficient light of its own; it is obliged to proceed by observation, by experiment, by action, through errors and stumblings to a larger experience.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 11,  The Reason as Governor of Life, pp. 108-109

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