Inevitable Progression and Results of an Age of Individualism

As the mental development of humanity begins to take a more active role in the life of individuals and the society, it leads to an age of individualism, as the mental power does not manifest equally among all people concurrently, and thus, there are certain individuals who have a decided advantage in terms of mental development and who can then use it to advance their own perceived interests and achieve their own desired ends in relation to the mass of society.  Once such an age develops and more individuals take on the mental development, a form of competition arises, as more individuals attempt to gain access to the resources and bounty of the society, and this leads to an inevitable progression in human development, as explored and explained by Sri Aurobindo.  We can observe this progression in the world today.

“The individualistic democratic ideal brings us at first in actual practice to the more and more precarious rule of a dominant class in the name of democracy over the ignorant, numerous and less fortunate mass.  Secondly, since the ideal of freedom and equality is abroad and cannot any longer be stifled, it must lead to the increasing effort of the exploited masses to assert their down-trodden right and to turn, if they can, this pseudo-democratic falsehood into the real democratic truth; therefore, to a war of classes.  Thirdly, it develops inevitably as part of its process a perpetual strife of parties, at first few and simple in composition, but afterwards as at the present time an impotent and sterilising chaos of names, labels, programmes, war-cries.  All lift the banner of conflicting ideas or ideals, but all are really fighting out under that flag a battle of conflicting interests.  Finally, individualistic democratic freedom results fatally in an increasing stress of competition which replaces the ordered tyrannies of the infrarational periods of humanity by a sort of ordered conflict.  And this conflict ends in the survival not of the spiritually, rationally or physically fittest, but of the most fortunate and vitally successful.  It is evident enough that, whatever else it may be, this is not a rational order of society; it is not at all the perfection which the individualistic reason of man had contemplated as its ideal or set out to accomplish.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 19, The Curve of the Rational Age, pp. 197-198