The Human Cycle — The Ideal of Human Unity — War and Self-Determination
The Human Cycle
The Ideal of Human Unity
War and Self-Determination
THE HUMAN CYCLE
THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY
(Sri Aurobindo letter to the Mother, 1915:) “I have begun in the issue of the Arya which is just out a number of articles on the Ideal of Human Unity. I intend to proceed very cautiously and not go very deep at first, but as if I were leading the intelligence of the reader gradually towards the deeper meaning of unity — especially to discourage the idea that mistakes uniformity and mechanical association for unity.”
The seventy-eight footnotes in the present edition of “The Ideal of Human Unity” reflect the complex history of the text. Only three of these can be traced to the “Arya” (two other footnotes found in the “Arya” were deleted during revision). Sri Aurobindo added more than fifty footnotes in his first revision, many of them referring to political developments of the 1930s such as the rise of Fascism. In his second, lighter revision, undertaken more than ten years later, he also made extensive use of footnotes for updating the text.
- Part I
- Part II
WAR AND SELF-DETERMINATION
(Sri Aurobindo:) “The four essays published in this volume [first edition] were not written at one time or conceived with any intentional connection between them in idea or purpose. The first was written in the early months of the [First World] war, two others when it was closing, the last recently during the formation and first operations of that remarkably ill-jointed, stumbling and hesitating machine, the League of Nations. But still they happen to be bound together by a common idea or at least look at four related subjects from a single general standpoint, — the obvious but practically quite forgotten truth that the destiny of the race in this age of crisis and revolution will depend much more on the spirit which we are than on the machinery we shall use. … Great hopes are abroad, high and large ideals fill the view, enormous forces are in the field. It is one of those vast critical moments in the life of the race when all is pressing towards change and reconstitution. The ideals of the future, especially the ideals of freedom, equality, commonalty, unity, are demanding to be brought out from their limited field in the spiritual life or the idealism of the few and to be given some beginning of a true soul of action and bodily shape in the life of the race. But banded against any such fulfilment there are powerful obstacles, and the greatest of them come not from outside but from within. For they are the old continued impulsions and obstinate recalcitrance of mankind’s past nature, the almost total subjection of its normal mind to egoistic, vital and material interests and ambitions which make not for union but for strife and discord, the plausibilities of the practical reason which looks at the possibilities of the day and the morrow and shuts its eyes to the consequences of the day after, the habits of pretence and fiction which impel men and nations to pursue and forward their own interest under the camouflage of a specious idealism, a habit made up only partly of the diplomatic hypocrisy of politicians, but much more of a general half-voluntary self-deception, and, finally, the inrush of blinder unsatisfied forces and crude imperfect idealisms — of such is the creed of Bolshevism — to take advantage of the unrest and dissatisfaction prevalent in such times and lay hold for a while on the life of mankind. It is these things which we see dominant around us and not in the least degree any effort to be of the right spirit and evolve from it the right method.”
Appendix I 685 Appendix II 686
Notes are paraphrased from the “Publisher's Note” and “Note on the Texts”.