The world has seen a number of experiments aimed at uplifting the education level of individuals and at finding ways to upgrade the relationship of people in society. While there have clearly been advantages and benefits garnered from these attempts, it has become abundantly clear that neither of these approaches actually address the core issues. Self-dealing, self-aggrandisement, greed, lust, hunger for power and the exercise of power over others all are not only essentially unchanged, but utilize the enhanced powers that education and societal systems provide to enlarge the impact of individual actions, thus increasing the “success” of the greed, lust or power-hunger rather than tamping down on them.
We thus see highly educated people attaining success in the world, accumulating many billions of dollars, while their employees in many cases have trouble making ends meet or retiring at the end of their working life with sufficient income to live comfortably. We see educated individuals using the tools to exploit the environment and harm the balance and thereby the health and well-being of people world-wide while enriching themselves or working to increase their own personal wealth or success. We see highly educated people implementing social systems that include manipulation of data, highly targeted messaging and propaganda, and manipulation of emotions to get and maintain control over others, to enforce regimentation and structure on people to make them easier to control, and thus, reduce the value of human life to that of an economic cog or a consumer whose role is to purchase products and services, with little other concern arising for the development of their spiritual, mental, emotional, vital and physical needs and concerns, or for the development and maintenance of a balance in the interaction of the society with the world environment.
Sri Aurobindo notes in The Life Divine: “But it has not been found in experience, whatever might have once been hoped, that education and intellectual training by itself can change man; it only provides the human individual and collective ego with better information and a more efficient machinery for its self-affirmation, but leaves it the same unchanged human ego. Nor can human mind and life be cut into perfection, — even into what is thought to be perfection, a constructed substitute, — by any kind of social machinery; matter can be so cut, thought can be so cut, but in our human existence matter and thought are only instruments for the soul and the life-force. Machinery cannot form the soul and life-force into standardised shapes; it can at best coerce them, make soul and mind inert and stationary and regulate the life’s outward action; but if this is to be effectively done, coercion and compression of the mind and life are indispensable and that again spells either unprogressive stability or decadence.”