When the mind reflects on the concept of freedom, the normal reaction, based on the ego-consciousness, is to separate the individual from everyone else and focus on the satisfaction of the person’s own drives, needs, desires or aspirations. Freedom, then, represents the individual essentially at odds with everyone and everything else. This fantasy of the ego denies the inter-relationship of all nature and tries to achieve some type of predominance over the opposition of others. In the universal creation, however, if we step back, we see the absolute interdependence of all existence. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, which makes them fully interdependent with human beings. Looking at the intricate detailed relationships in Nature, we can easily see how the entire web of life is fitted together as a unified whole. Thus, we must find a solution to the apparently conflicting drives for freedom, and for unity.
Sri Aurobindo explains: “The spiritual life is the flower not of a featureless but a conscious and diversified oneness. Each man has to grow into the Divine Reality within himself through his own individual being, therefore is a certain growing measure of freedom a necessity of the being as it develops and perfect freedom the sign and the condition of the perfect life. But also, the Divine whom he thus sees in himself, he sees equally in all others and as the same Spirit in all. Therefore too is a growing inner unity with others a necessity of his being and perfect unity the sign and condition of the perfect life. Not only to see and find the Divine in oneself, but to see and find the Divine in all, not only to seek one’s own individual liberation or perfection, but to seek the liberation and perfection of others is the complete law of the spiritual being. If the divinity sought were a separate godhead within oneself and not the one Divine, or if one sought God for oneself alone, then indeed the result might be a grandiose egoism … or it might be the isolated self-knowledge or asceticism of the ivory tower … . But he who sees God in all, will serve freely God in all with the service of love. He will, that is to say, seek not only his own freedom, but the freedom of all, not only his own perfection, but the perfection of all. He will not feel his individuality perfect except in the largest universality, nor his own life to be full life except as it is one with the universal life. He will not live either for himself or for the State and society, for the individual ego or the collective ego, but for something much greater, for God in himself and for the Divine in the universe.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 23, Conditions for the Coming of a Spiritual Age, pp. 259-260