Archive for May 2015
Man is not a solitary creature; rather he associates in groupings such as family, tribe, team, community, nation, society and civilisation, with numerous sub-groupings based on defined characteristics such as religion, political party, club, and various “affinity” groups. Once this is recognised, the human being modifies his behavior from the pure law of survival and self-aggrandisement to include and take account of the needs, wishes, desires, or norms developed by the social grouping(s) to which he belongs. This represents a widening of perspective and a clear evolutionary advance over the first standard of conduct.
Sri Aurobindo discusses this point: “Man, pressing after the growth of his separate individuality and its fullness and freedom, is unable to satisfy even his own personal needs and desires except in conjunction with other men; he is a whole in himself and yet incomplete without others. This obligation englobes his personal law of conduct in…
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Every human being acts under one code of conduct or another, whether or not they consciously recognise it to be so. Sri Aurobindo has classified these standards under four distinct groupings: “The first is personal need, preference and desire; the second is the law and good of the collectivity; the third is an ideal ethic; the last is the highest divine law of the nature.”
Each of these corresponds to an evolutionary stage in the development of humanity. “Man starts on the long career of his evolution with only the first two of these four to enlighten and lead him; for they constitute the law of his animal and vital existence, and it is as the vital and physical animal man that he begins his progress.”
In this early stage, the human being has no conscious awareness of any deeper purpose of life–it is survive, and acquire the objects of…
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For most people, the moral and ethical standards of the society within which they are raised are fixed and basic principles that govern action. For those who have had the opportunity to travel and meet people from different cultures, it becomes clear that these standards actually vary from one society to another. Similarly a review of the historical role of such standards over time will also reveal the changing nature of these rules even within one social order over time. Things that were immoral 50 years ago may be normal behavior in today’s world.
For the spiritual seeker, this question takes on an entire additional dimension. Whichever standards of conduct we follow based on the society’s moral and ethical code, they represent the framework developed by the mental consciousness attempting to bring about some kind of harmony and balance in the life of the individual within the society. These rules…
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