But whenever there is talk about individual vs universal, i can’t resist putting up a plug from Yoga. So, here’s a relevant and weighty quote from Sri Aurobindo’s work “Synthesis of Yoga”:
“The acceptance of the law of sacrifice is a practical recognition by the ego that it is neither alone in the world nor chief in the world. It is its admission that, even in this much fragmented existence, there is beyond itself and behind that which is not its own egoistic person, something greater and completer, a diviner All which demands from it subordination and service. Indeed, sacrifice is imposed and, where need be, compelled by the universal World-Force; it takes it even from those who do not consciously recognize the law, — inevitably, because this is the intrinsic nature of things. Our ignorance or our false egoistic view of life can make no difference to this eternal bedrock truth of Nature. For this is the truth in Nature, that this ego which thinks itself a seperate independent being and claims to live for itself, is not and cannot be independent nor separate, nor can it live to itself even if it would, but rather all are linked together by a secret Oneness. Each existence is continually giving out perforce from its stock; out of its mental receipts from Nature or its vital and physical assets and acquisitions and belongings, a stream goes to all that is around it. And always again it receives something from its environment gratis or in return for its voluntary or involuntary tribute. For it is only by this giving and receiving that it can effect its own growth while at the same time it helps the sum of things”.
Pretty strong words from the sage of Bengal. To my mind, the massive reallocation of capital away from needless consumption, into social programs and towards environmental sustainability, may be considered as an aspect of Yoga itself. Whether individually and societally we engage in this Yoga, is going to be important in the next few decades, as scientists warn us that we are fast approaching limits to mindless consumption.