A Change in Human Life Requires a Change in Human Nature

When we review the history of the attempts to perfect human life and human interactions in society, we find that neither religious belief, intellectual attainment, nor technology have succeeded in creating a harmonious and effective human society, nor a perfected human being.  It has not been accomplished with moral or ethical training, with physical culture and discipline, with suppression of vital drives or with acquired learning or rules for living.  There is no doubt that each of these directions has played a role in bringing humanity to its current state, but as we look around, we can see not only the progress, but the failures.  These failures now threaten to destroy the very existence of humanity, as the increase in powers and leverage provided by developments of technology have created far higher risks and dangers than we see in less outwardly developed societies of the past.  The ability of humanity to control and manage the technological powers we have unleashed is clearly not keeping up.

Sri Aurobindo’s view is that real change can only occur when human nature itself can be changed.  This cannot be accomplished, as we have seen through repeated experiences throughout history, by the present configuration of body, life, emotions, and mental framework that we possess.  A new expression of consciousness is required to bring understanding and harmony, as well as to redirect the focus of human existence.  This would be an unattainable solution if we deny such a possibility; yet, the seeds of this new expression of consciousness can be identified and the first clear signs of its development can be observed.

Sri Aurobindo notes in The Life Divine:  “… to hope for a true change of human life without a change of human nature is an irrational and unspiritual proposition; it is to ask for something unnatural and unreal, an impossible miracle.  But what is demanded by this change is not something altogether distant, alien to our existence and radically impossible; for what has to be developed is there in our being and not something outside it: what evolutionary Nature presses for, is an awakening to the knowledge of self, the discovery of Self, the manifestation of the self and spirit within us and the release of its self-knowledge, its self-power, its native self-instrumentation.  It is, besides, a step for which the whole of evolution has been a preparation and which is brought closer at each crisis of human destiny when the mental and vital evolution of the being touches a point where intellect and vital force reach some acme of tension and there is a need either for them to collapse, to sink back into a torpor of defeat or a repose of unprogressive quiescence or to rend their way through the veil against which they are straining.  What is necessary is that there should be a turn in humanity felt by some or many towards the vision of this change, a feeling of its imperative need, the sense of its possibility, the will to make it possible in themselves and to find the way.  That trend is not absent and it must increase with the tension of the crisis in human world-destiny; the need of an escape or a solution, the feeling that there is no other solution than the spiritual cannot but grow and become more imperative under the urgency of critical circumstance.  To that call in the being there must always be some answer in the Divine Reality and in Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Three, The Present Evolutionary Crisis, pp. 37-38

1 thought on “A Change in Human Life Requires a Change in Human Nature

  1. Thank you for this, this very moment. I never needed it more. I got myself out of bed this morning through remembering his voluntary confinement–and his forced confinement in prison–and the incredible body of work he accomplished. I thank you for your obvious perseverance also.


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