Self-determination viewed from the subjective standpoint

Self-determination viewed from this subjective standpoint

carries us back at once towards the old spiritual idea of the Being

within, whose action, once known and self-revealed, is not an

obedience to external and mechanical impulses, but proceeds in

each from the powers of the soul, an action self-determined by

the essential quality and principle of which all our becoming is

the apparent movement, svabha¯va-niyatam˙ karma. But it is only

as we rise higher and higher in ourselves and find out our true

self and its true powers that we can get at the full truth of this

swabhava. Our present existence is at the most a growth towards

it and therefore an imperfection, and its chief imperfection is the

individual’s egoistic idea of self which reappears enlarged in the

collective egoism. Therefore an egoistic self-determination or a

modified individualism, is not the true solution; if that were

all, we could never get beyond a balance and, in progress, a

zigzag of conflict and accommodation. The ego is not the true

circle of the self; the law of mutuality which meets it at every

turn and which it misuses, arises from the truth that there is a

secret unity between our self and the self of others and therefore

between our own lives and the lives of others. The law of our

self-determination has to wed itself to the self-determination

of others and to find the way to enact a real union through this

mutuality. But its basis can only be found within and not through

any mechanical adjustment. It lies in the discovery within by the

being in the course of its self-expansion and self-fulfilment that

these things at every turn depend on the self-expansion and

self-fulfilment of those around us, because we are secretly one

being with them and one life. It is in philosophical language the

recognition of the one self in all who fulfils himself variously

in each; it is the finding of the law of the divine being in each

unifying itself with the law of the divine being in all. At once

the key of the problem is shifted from without to within, from

the visible externalities of social and political adjustment to the

spiritual life and truth which can alone provide its key.

Not that the outer life has to be neglected; on the contrary

the pursual of the principle in one field or on one level, provided

we do not limit or fix ourselves in it, helps its disclosure in

other fields and upon other levels. Still if we have not the unity

within, it is in vain that we shall try to enforce it from without

by law and compulsion or by any assertion in outward forms.

Intellectual assertion too, like the mechanical, is insufficient;

only the spiritual can give it, because it alone has the secure

power of realisation. The ancient truth of the self is the eternal

truth; we have to go back upon it in order to carry it out in newer

and fuller ways for which a past humanity was not ready. The

recognition and fulfilment of the divine being in oneself and in

man, the kingdom of God within and in the race is the basis on

which man must come in the end to the possession of himself as

a free self-determining being and of mankind too in a mutually

possessing self-expansion as a harmoniously self-determining

united existence.

CWSA Vol 25 632 P War and Self-Determination


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