The Possibility of a Great Step Forward Toward the Realisation of a Spiritualised Society

When we look around and see the hostility, the conflict, the antagonism to free exchange and development of ideas, extreme forms of separation, fragmentation and polarization in society, it is hard to see how a truly spiritualised society may be the end result of a process that actually raises up these various forms of opposition; yet, for every advance in human society, there is an established status quo that resists that advance, and the greater the possibility raised up, the greater the opposition to its advancement.  Nature works through this process of dialectic.  Charles Dickens caught a sense of this in the opening of his A Tale of Two Cities, where he declaimed that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”

There is also a long preparatory process in evolution where attempts are made, then a consolidation period or phase may occur, preparing the ground for a further advance.  In other cases, the process may take up one line of development, then appear to drop it while another issues is addressed, only to return later with a more comprehensive result.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “…God works all his miracles by an evolution of secret possibilities which have been long prepared, at least in their elements, and in the end by a rapid bringing of all to a head, a throwing together of the elements so that in their fusion they produce a new form and name of things and reveal a new spirit.  Often the decisive turn is preceded by an apparent emphasising and raising to their extreme of things which seem the very denial, the most uncompromising opposite of the new principle and the new creation.  Such an evolution of the elements of a spiritualised society is that which a subjective age makes at least possible, and if at the same time it raises to the last height of active power things which seem the very denial of such a potentiality, that need be no index of a practical impossibility of the new birth, but on the contrary may be the sign of its approach or at the lowest a strong attempt at achievement.  Certainly, the whole effort of a subjective age may go wrong; but this happens oftenest when by the insufficiency of its materials, a great crudeness of its starting-point and a hasty shallowness or narrow intensity of its inlook into itself and things it is foredoomed to a fundamental error of self-knowledge.  It becomes less likely when the spirit of the age is full of freedom, variety and a many-sided seeking, a persistent effort after knowledge and perfection in all the domains of human activity; that can well convert itself into an intense and yet flexible straining after the infinite and the divine on many sides and in many aspects.  In such circumstances, though a full advance may possibly not be made, a great step forward can be predicted.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 18, The Infrarational Age of the Cycle, pp. 183-184