The Obstacles to Human Unity and World Peace.


In “The Ideal of Human Unity” Sri Aurobindo approached the root causes of large-scale organized violence and what it will take to eliminate war.

Sri Aurobindo Studies

Sri Aurobindo analyzes the issues that stand in the way of development of a larger societal formation that would work to eliminate strife and bring humanity together for its collective benefit in a peaceful regime.  Without a radical change in the human psychology, all the outer methods and systems fall short of achieving a total solution.

“The mind of the race has not as yet the necessary experience; the intellect of its ruling classes has not acquired the needed minimum of wisdom and foresight; the temperament of the peoples has not developed the indispensable instincts and sentiments.  Whatever arrangement is made will proceed on the old basis of national egoisms, hungers, cupidities, self-assertions and will simply endeavour to regulate them just enough to prevent too disastrous collisions.  The first means tried will necessarily be insufficient because too much respect will be paid to those very egoisms which it is sought…

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10 thoughts on “The Obstacles to Human Unity and World Peace.

  1. Quote: “Without a radical change in the human psychology, all the outer methods and systems fall short of achieving a total solution.”
    A proper approach would be, firstly, to admit that everything done so far to achieve global peace among people has been an abject failure. Secondly and obviously then, it would be to reject all those efforts that have so ignominiously failed, including the most popular religions and their gurus and divinities. Thirdly, however seemingly impossible; however quick people are at condemning a “new” idea as utopian, there is one thing, and only one, that could accomplish what this article hints at and that is, for every Earthian to decide, for no better reason than it being the only choice left, to interact compassionately towards one another. That is a very difficult thing to get into, much misunderstood. It would mean spending some serious time pondering what compassion actually is in order to discover it is not a “virtue” nor a feeling and certainly not an emotion but a potent self-empowering force. Well, good luck with that!

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    1. Sha’Tara,
      Of course, any discussion of these ultimate reality focused questions requires willingness to walk upon the, shall we say, “road less traveled”. Perhaps we could walk further … Our guess is the basis or foundational philosophical view accounting for the term “interact compassionately towards one another” came to the awareness through exposure to writings which asserted “all is sacred”, “all is God”, “all my relations”, and/or other recorded (metaphysical, ontological, cosmological, etc.) concepts commonly referred to as sacred writings. Would that be an accurate assessment, or guess? 🙂 If so, and walking further on the road less traveled, one arrives eventually, after extensive seeking or perhaps many lifetimes, at the point where actually knowing all is sacred or all is God allows contact or total awareness of ultimate reality.

      Some call it Nirvana, some enlightenment, and others use various terms for describing the inescapable evolutionary growth trajectory shared by each and every soul. Billions of words have been written on these matters associated with ultimate reality, and you might share the experience of having moments feeling like “how many more billions of words is it going to take?” :). Yet, human beings through the centuries have achieved extraordinary levels of consciousness. Gandhi, when asked about his spiritual energy by people unaware Gandhi hadn’t “invented” spiritual power, responded with “this wisdom is as old as the hills”. In an effort to “cut to the chase”, or sprint to the finish line on the road less traveled, a knowing that human beings are not bodies with a soul but souls with a body – and that souls are eternal or infinite, changes absolutely everything. Universal awareness, as contrasted to individual-scale knowing of ultimate reality, is what Sri Aurobindo (and others through history) tried to accomplish. Here endeth the “sermon” for today. 🙂

      Thank you.

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      1. Quote: “human beings through the centuries have achieved extraordinary levels of consciousness. Gandhi, when asked about his spiritual energy by people unaware Gandhi hadn’t “invented” spiritual power, responded with “this wisdom is as old as the hills”.

        I would say that some, mostly few, human being have achieved extraordinary levels of consciousness, and I think I would be correct in stating that fact.

        Gandhi may have said, ‘this wisdom is an old as the hills’ and the same reply comes to mind: only for those so inclined, and they are the very few indeed.

        Being of those annoying personalities who will not accept solutions based on tried and failed methods or models, nor accept that a few “special” people actually indicate the state of the global “union,” I find myself essentially alone in seeking solutions to man’s glaring social and environmental problems through processes known by many but never seriously considered, much less applied. Such processes, or process, must of necessity be simple, uncomplicated, not open to either religious, political or monetary corruption. It has to be independent of educational levels, age, gender, race, status or social position. It has to be something that any individual can choose to activate without the need of teachers, gurus, courses, the reading of self-help books. It must be available to all and sundry, regardless of where they find themselves.

        I know of one if taken on by individuals, will change their lives and their surrounding world. It heals, teaches, educates, raises awareness and expands the mind exponentially. I call it compassion, as already mentioned. Not love nor any of its derivatives. Just compassion, an energy, an intelligent force, not a feeling and certainly not emotions. Food for thought.

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        1. We would agree in assessing far too few have reached very high consciousness, the reason being the simple fact it’s not easy, possibly the most difficult goal for a human being to accomplish. Then there’s the concept of reincarnation, which may explain why some people are stricken with physical or mental disabilities, pass away young, in “stupid” wars, or “naturally” at 80 or 90 years, are born into extremely wealthy families or extreme poverty, or go all the way from birth to transition in a condition where these comments are “Greek”.

          Mr. Gandhi might agree with you on compassion – “a good idea” 🙂 ; the reason we diverge a little on education is it seems a good percentage of those reaching high consciousness learned through exposure to sacred or universal truth teachings, sacred and universal truth being qualifiers, whether orally, or books or otherwise (disciplined meditation etc.). There is no argument against the idea of original thought, as who knows what is yet undiscovered while seemingly every field of human endeavor has been explored fully. For example, forward movements are being reported in the potentially paradigm-shifting exploratory effort to discover connection between science and spirit, and then there are NDEs… So it goes, my friend.

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    1. Rosaliene,
      Likely the phrase “it all depends on what happens” was coined well before this observer spoke it, but there are quite a few people who’ve talked about a speeding up of evolution, so (from our rose-colored glasses perspective 🙂 ) achieving the required collective wisdom to end war may be closer in time than commonly perceived. It may sound adolescent, but a campaign initiative under the banner of “War is Stupid”, “Nuclear Weapons are Stupid” or some similar creative push utilizing common-sense simple truth could really accelerate the evolutionary process – backed up by available forms of Aurobindo-style wisdom of course.
      Thank you.

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    2. I’d like to comment something deep, passionate, meaningful, life-changing here… so maybe silence would be best… I’m not good at silence. “We have a long way to go in achieving the collective wisdom required for changing our self-destructive behavior.” Dare I say it’s the other way around, that we’ve gone too far, way too far in that direction? All of our “good” positive achievements have come from reaction to unbearable evils and each of those achievements have degenerated into similar great and unbearable evils, and here we are, this far along the way to… no one knows… being crushed once again under great and unbearable evils spewing out of our human rights, democracies, racial integration, feminism, wars to end all wars. We are the stupids, not war, not weaponry, not all the horrors we inflict upon the world – these are but the results of our stupidity. It is said, you can’t fix stupid. Stupid doesn’t learn. Stupid is as stupid does my momma always said – Forrest Gump.

      Yes, you can change stupid, but only the individual can do that. Choice. The antidote to stupid is within everyone, not within collectives. Only the individual can “see” how her/his attitude and character affects everything. Only the individual can reach deeper into that Pandora’s box called the mind and pull out something never used before, so busy was stupid chasing the evils s/he let loose long ago. Down in the bottom, sleeping, waiting, is the most powerful force unknown to man: compassion.
      “Oh, but wait… if we became compassionate, wouldn’t that destroy our entire civilization?”
      “Well, yes it would. Do you have a problem with that?”
      “Now that you ask, since it doesn’t work, I guess not. To hell with civilization.”

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      1. Sha’Tara,
        The points raised are certainly valid, and understandable given the enormity of it all. The sentence in quotes, “…wouldn’t that destry our civilization?” reminded of Gandhi’s response (pretty sure it was Gandhi) when asked “What do you think of civilization?”, and he responded “I think it’s a good idea.” 🙂 But, yes, surely any good moral growth must start within each person; higher consciousness cannot be attained in any other manner but through the “inside work”. Here we find an explanation as to why the most profound spiritual wisdom ever articulated comes from thousands of years ago, most notably from the times when human beings experienced no distractions like TV, radio, computers, IPhones, etc..

        It’s not unreasonable to suggest that people of the pre-industrialized times were effectively in states of deep meditation 24/7/365 … for the entirety of one’s lifespan. Nowadays, meditation or quiet time is extremely under-rated, unappreciated and under-discussed when compared to ancient times, and explains why there’s a correlation between advancement in technological knowledge on the one hand and increased wars and violence on the other: less meditation. It’s to the paradoxical point where a significant segment of the population “goes nuts” if faced with silence in spaces where nothing is blaring – when silence is the greatest medicine of all for body, mind and spirit.

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        1. Agree. I remember well our teenage discussions about the rat race and how our societal “speeding up” was an attack upon everything we consider as being “good”. Collectively we certainly were not silent, going from one very loud demonstration to another against whatever we considered “the Establishment.” I wonder, if we had kept quiet and really learned to meditate silently if things would be different? What we might have come to realize, to “see” that our noisy responses made sure we would never? It’s hard to keep quiet and still when you’re a teen and haven’t experienced much of life. By now though we should certainly know better, but where are we? We should be in your closing line: “…silence is the greatest medicine of all for body, mind and spirit.” Thank you Jerry, and Rosaliene, for helping me to think about those things that matter.

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          1. Allocating time in a way which creates a healthy balance between silence/inaction and activity/conversation/work etc. shouldn’t be difficult for anyone. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean equal time for both; spending as little as thirty minutes each day (15 in the morning and 15 at night) is suggested by people experienced in meditation. With regard to young people at loud demonstrations or activism (action) generally, the odds for success are much higher if done for good reasons, without any ego influence, nor concern over possible rewards – acting without focus on the “fruit” according to the Bhagavad Gita.

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