Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All unnecessary interference with the freedom of man's growth is or can be harmful

The business of the State, so long as it continues to be a necessary element in human life and growth, is to provide all possible facilities for co-operative action, to remove obstacles, to prevent all really harmful waste and friction, - a certain; amount of waste and friction is necessary and useful to all natural action, - and, removing avoidable injustice, to secure for every individual a just and equal chance of self-development and satisfaction to the extent of his powers and in the line of his nature. So far the aim in modem socialism is right and good.

But all unnecessary interference with the freedom of man's growth is or can be harmful. Even co-operative action is injurious if, instead of seeking the good of all compatibly with the necessities of individual growth, - and without individual growth there can be no real and permanent good of all, - it immolates the individual to a communal egoism and prevents so much free room and initiative as is necessary for the flowering of a more perfectly developed humanity. So long as humanity is not full-grown, so long as it needs to grow and is capable of a greater perfectibility, there can be no static good of all independent of the growth of the individuals composing the all. All collectivist ideals which seek unduly to subordinate the individual, really envisage a static condition whether it be a present status or one it soon hopes to establish, after which all attempt at serious change would be regarded as an offence of impatient individualism against the peace, just routine and security of the happily established communal order. Always it is the individual who progresses and compels the rest to progress; the instinct of the collectivity is to stand still in its established order. Progress, growth, realisation of wider being, give his greatest sense of happiness to the individual; status, secure ease, to the collectivity. And so it must be as long as the latter is more a physical and economic entity than a self-conscious collective soul.

It is therefore quite improbable that in the present conditions of the race a healthy unity of mankind can be brought about by State machinery, whether it be by a grouping of powerful and organised States enjoying carefully regulated and legalised relations with each other or by the substitution of a single World- State for the present half chaotic half ordered comity of nations, - be the form of that World-State a single Empire like the Roman or a federated unity. Such an external or administrative unity may be intended in the near future of mankind in order to accustom the race to the idea of a common life, to its habit, to its possibility; but it cannot be really healthy, durable or beneficial over all the true line of human destiny unless some- thing be developed, more profound, internal and real. Other- wise the experience of the ancient world will be repeated on a larger scale and in other circumstances. The experiment will break down and give place to a new reconstructive age of con- fusion and anarchy. Perhaps this experience also is necessary for mankind; yet it ought to be possible for us now to avoid it by subordinating mechanical means to our true development through a moralised and even a spiritualised humanity united in its inner soul and not only in its outward life and body. Page-284 Home Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Social And Political Thought Volume-15 > The Inadequacy Of The State Idea

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