It Is Not Enough …

When we observe the state of humanity and the world, it becomes clear that some substantial change needs to take place as we face what appears to be a  serious  existential crisis.  Recent reporting shows that as many as a million species are facing extinction as changes in climate, habitat and human interaction with the natural world are wreaking havoc on balances of Nature.  Climate change is exacerbating pressures caused by rapid population growth and the pressure that it places on fresh water, food and the ability of the planet to sustain that growth.  Warfare and mass migration are the result of these imbalances and the historical divisions among human groupings.  Add to this the pressure caused by the attempt to fulfill desires stirred up and created through media manipulation solely for corporate profits.  Looking at this, a change in human focus and motivation toward a spiritual direction seems like it would be a welcome relief.  And there is no doubt that such a change would represent real progress.  But Sri Aurobindo shows us why this is simply “not enough”:

“If a subjective age, the last sector of a social cycle, is to find its outlet and fruition in a spiritualised society and the emergence of mankind on a higher evolutionary level, it is not enough that certain ideas favourable to that turn of human life should take hold of the general mind of the race, permeate the ordinary motives of its thought, art, ethics, political ideals, social effort, or even get well into its inner way of thinking and feeling.  It is not enough even that the idea of the kingdom of God on earth, a reign of spirituality, freedom and unity, a real and inner equality and harmony — and not merely an outward and mechanical equalisation and association — should become definitely an ideal of life; it is not enough that this ideal should be actively held as possible, desirable, to be sought and striven after, it is not enough even that it should come forward as a governing preoccupation of the human mind.  That would evidently be a very great step forward, — considering what the ideals of mankind now are, an enormous step.  It would be the necessary beginning, the indispensable mental environment for a living renovation of human society in a higher type.  But by itself it might only bring about a half-hearted or else a strong but only partially and temporarily successful attempt to bring something of the manifest spirit into human life and its institutions.  That is all that mankind has ever attempted on this line in the past.  It has never attempted to work out thoroughly even that little, except in the limits of a religious order or a peculiar community, and even there with such serious defects and under such drastic limitations as to make the experiment nugatory and without any bearing on human life.  If we do not get beyond the mere holding of the ideal and its general influence in human life, this little is all that mankind will attempt in the future.  More is needed; a general spiritual awakening and aspiration in mankind is indeed the large necessary motive-power, but the effective power must be something greater.  There must be a dynamic re-creating of individual manhood in the spiritual type.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 24, The Advent and Progress of the Spiritual Age, pp. 261-262

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