Sri Aurobindo on the role of the State
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 cooperative 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 modern socialism is right and good. But
302 The Ideal of Human Unity
all unnecessary interference with the freedom of man’s growth
is or can be harmful. Even cooperative 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 fullgrown,
so long as it needs to grow and is capable of a greater
perfectibility, there can be no static good of all; nor can there
be any progressive 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.
CWSA Vol 25 P 302-303


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