Opportunities for a Civilisation Based Primarily on the Infrarational Principle

It is possible to have a civilisation primarily based on the infrarational stage of human development achieve and show very positive characteristics, even while recognising that the rational and suprarational elements are held largely in abeyance.  There are theories that civilisation traces a cyclical route upwards and thus, can revisit what appear to be earlier stages in the evolutionary process, but at a higher level of overall development.  Other theories actually hold that phases of civilisation change with ages that go through transitions and can actually degenerate, thus implying that today’s primitives are the descendants of yesterday’s advanced societies!  Either way, we can find patterns that indicate that the infrarational phase does in fact become predominant from time to time.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “At a higher stage of development or of a return towards a fuller evolution, — for the actual savage in humanity is perhaps not the original primitive man, but a relapse and reversion towards primitiveness, — the infrarational stage of society may arrive at a very lofty order of civilisation.  It may have great intuitions of the meaning or general intention of life, admirable ideas of the arrangement of life, a harmonious, well-adapted, durable and serviceable social system, an imposing religion which will not be without its profundities, but in which symbol and ceremonial will form the largest portion and for the mass of man will be almost the whole of religion.  In this stage pure reason and pure spirituality will not govern the society or move large bodies of men, but will be represented, if at all, by individuals at first few, but growing in number as these two powers increase in their purity and vigour and attract more and more votaries.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 18, The Infrarational Age of the Cycle, pg. 186