Humanity: Today & Tomorrow|Aug 31, 2013 4:00 AM| by:

Towards a New Political Synthesis (I)


 The concept of sustainability has now been accepted by all progressive thinkers in environment and development studies.  However, if we may redefine sustainable development as the path which leads to the safe evolution of humanity towards its highest destiny, then sustainability cannot be confined to the ecology of physical Nature or green issues.  There is also something like social, political, psychological and spiritual sustainability.  This article examines the ideal of social sustainability in the light of an integral spiritual vision of human development.

 Towards a New Social Synthesis

 Is there a standard of principles, like the gold standard in economics, which can help us in choosing or shaping the values that can bring social and political sustainability to the collective life of human beings or a community towards its highest destiny? There are certain principles discovered by the higher mind or the collective wisdom of humanity in its progressive evolution.  It is a quaternary: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Progress.  These values are neither Eastern nor Western, modern or ancient.  They are in their essence, as Sri Aurobindo points out “the eternal attributes of the Spirit” in man1, which means intrinsic qualities of the human soul.  However they have an inner as well as an outer dimension.  The modern secular mind of the West has understood these principles in its outer economic, social and political significance.  On the other hand, the spiritual mind of the East laid a much greater emphasis on their inner significance.  For a sustainable evolution of the community, we need a new social and political synthesis which embraces both the inner and outer dimensions of this quaternary of values, but with an emphasis on their inner awakening in the consciousness of people.

However we should not get trapped in the ‘either-or’ syndrome of the human mind.  The inner awakening and outer actualization of these quaternary of values are not mutually exclusive.  The path towards inner awakening requires education and inner discipline based on the principles of Yoga.  The external actualization requires proper organization of the outer life.  Both can be pursued simultaneously in a synergic manner through a triune process.  The first and the most important task is to understand the deeper and inner significance of these values and create an inner awakening in the minds and hearts of people.  The second, as this inner realization proceeds, is to allow it to express itself freely in the outer life from within outwards.  The third is to create an outer organization and environment which felicitates this inner awakening and its outer expression.