All the world over thoughtful persons are concerned about the future. It is one of the darkest periods in the history of the human mind. But hope shines brightest in the darkest moments of one's life. As with the individual so is it with the race itself. The Eternal is the hope of the world in which structures and systems of organisation are transient. While men are clamouring for unity, they are unable to attain it. Not merely are they unable to attain it, they seem to be positively preparing for disunity and disruption, for conflict and competition. With increasing fear man is watching the progress of the disintegrating forces of materialism, economicism and socialism, which are throwing up for his consumption all the helpful, labour saving devices as well as the diabolical inventions of science. The atom and hydrogen bombs have come, casting the shadow of terror on the face of the earth. But these too have a fascination for man, an elemental fascination, destructive and terrifying. The dread of the morrow which the sciences had promised to remove, has deepened. Now it is not only the dread of want of work, starvation and insecurity, but it has also become also the dread of non-being, annihilation, for the human race and life itself, and all that have grown with it. Man has begun to see himself not as an innocent sufferer under the wheel of Nature, not as a triumphant master of Nature either, nor as a paragon of virtue or reason, but indeed as a terrible figure of his own destruction. Science, the product of his reason investigating Nature, has shown up this possibility: his creation has revealed the seeds of his own terror. The joy of creation is tinctured with the dread of its action.
There is in man a self-force or soul force. Of this he had remained oblivious, uninterested. Now that the terror is both individual and collective, and something that cannot be escaped from, the individual has to turn inward and face the dread from within.
The result is revulsion from oneself because of dread from oneself. What is the means to overcome this dread of oneself? The first tendency is to escape from oneself. This of course can happen in many ways. External loyalties could be cultivated to persons or ideals which promise to secure the individual freedom from the contemplation of the dread. Easier ways are the narcotics which drown the discriminating thought. All sets of escape are acts of cowardice which take the shape of courage and loyalty to external persons or individuals or ideals. Such loyalties can engender forgetfulness of the problem of dread, indeed fear of the dread is sought to be overcome by the fearlessness of death for a great ideal or person or community, but the problem of death is different from the dread, for death would be an escape from oneself and the problem itself. Suicide itself is an act of escape from the dread of life. Dread of life is what has to be overcome and death is no solution, nor any other act of heroism or courage which culminates in death. The difference is only one of approach to the problem of dread but the solution is not a solution at all.
Nor can death be got rid of by unity with the community, on the basis of the old proverb that unity is strength and that it can grant security against dread. Though one belongs to the community and is a member thereof, a common dread, that is to say, the dread that each and every individual feels, cannot be abolished by the sharing of the dread in common. A community of individuals in which each is seized with panic will only represent a hysterical solution. But it is possible that this common dread could force that community to struggle towards warding off the danger of devising ways and means. Unity thus got may well prove to be a necessity for all contingent situations and help the individual to a sense of security. But the unity could last only as long as the positive dread is present. The unity of community can however be valuable as a powerful instrument for overcoming threats and dreads from outside. What about the internal dread of oneself; the twofold nature of man, one hankering after security and comforts and the other aware of the terrible catastrophe to which the former leads, and possibly knowing the higher possibilities available to it. It is only when the individual gains the inner peace which is the unity of his internal being, the dread of any outer threat or death ceases to have meaning. It is this inner realisation of the unity within oneself that makes the outer peace possible or stable or even acceptable. Lacking this, the outer peace must be based on enforced virtues of conduct that is preservative of the unity of the whole. External unity must be based on certain virtues, which are socially valuable for the unity.
It would be an inversion in the reading of the psychological situation if it is held that outer unity is the condition of inner peace or growth of unity. Outer dread can be overcome by the unity of the community, and it must always depend upon this consciousness of fear and peril for its continuance. It is a precarious association and can never guarantee inner peace in each individual. Virtues of social life, such as conformity with the best or happiness of the greatest number are so very superficial in respect of this unity of individuals in a community that they demand force for their maintenance and a penal code. Though some important thinkers hold that outer peace is necessary for inner progress or conquest of dread within, we have known that opulence and comfort and peace in the outer lead to degeneration. An active combat with the forces of disruption seems to be better that degeneration. For the only peace that mankind is now seeking is the opulent peace of comfort and material security. The environment can modify the conduct of an individual and even abolish certain ways of reaction or response to it, but that it can ever solve the inner conflict of the soul is questionable. The inner lives of great men argue for the necessity of inner knowledge and inner peace and integration between the two poles of existence, namely the physico-vital and psychical vital.
The problem of the individual is how to bring the two apparently conflicting natures in oneself, one glowering over the other, into unity.
The individual is an organic being. The two parts of his Being are related to each other. The principle of unity between the two cannot be discovered by any abstract objective conception of the nature of matter and the spirit, extension and thought. Useful though that approach is, it is based on the acceptance of their opposition to each other. The process of action is to be explained on the basis of so called parallelism or interactionism, But the problem of knowledge becomes more difficult for explanation. How does the mind know the body, and is the body known in the mind or independent of it, entirely or partially? We arrive at a very difficult stage in our enquiry when we affirm that the body in but an idea in the mind, and what we know is the mind alone and its ideas. This approach therefore does not help us at all. If we make the metaphysical approach we tend to reduce the two items of the organism (or more?) to one. The identity of substance does not explain the bipolarity of the organism or their contradiction. The problem is one of integration of the two rather than the discovery of the original unity or identity.
Some scientists seek to discover the unity of facts in the law. A law unifies facts and thus for a mind confers unity of the diverse facts of experience. Whether we are materialists or idealists we strive to discover the most general law. Materialists discover the law in matter and motion; vitalists seek law in the biological activities of life; idealists in consciousness or law; and mystics seek the law in the Spirit Universal or the Absolute Personality. Multiplicity is the problem of all science, and monism alone is the principle that can overcome the pluralism.
But the consciousness of the individual refuses to get reconciled to these materialist and idealist solutions of the problem of immediate concern to itself. The general law is an objective law. To have reduced both the material and vital parts of one's being on the one hand and the psychical and spiritual parts on the other to the level of Nature and Mind and law or System conceived in general sense leaves no room for one's reality at all. The glamour of the system or the General Law can only be short-lived even like the pleasures of the vital and material. 'The dialectic of opposition' which Hegel discovered and formulated as the apparatus of growth is partial truth. Idealistically interpreted it has some quality but materialistically exploited (even like the applications of the discoveries of pure science to grant comfort and efficiency to life and its needs by applied science) it tended to create a dualism that performs the work not of growth but destruction of all growth, for it weakens the will. To live in the dualism of conflict, perpetual and ever renewing, may be a dynamic task, but it makes qualities of the dialectic or rather its function. A survival is not available even in the synthesis which again is a precarious one. On the other hand if we see along with that luminous Italian Philosopher Benedetto Croce that there is a deeper form and pattern of the dialectic, the dialectic of distincts, which integrates the lower into the higher by rendering meaning and form to the lower by utilising it for the higher purposes, even as in organic evolution, or the evolution and integration of values such as feeling and thought, the practical and the good testified to by History, then the difficulties of cosmic disruption and individual disintegration would be rendered impossible.
Nature provides the pattern of unity in the organism. The tragedy of the genius of Hegel lay in his schematising his conception of progress and History in mechanical-logical terms. The organic was reduced to the level of the mechanical. Croce intuitively recognized the fact that though the dialectic of opposites is patent truth on the level of the mechanical-logical interpretation and may yet be available as the truth of the conflict between the individual and his environment, its truth is limited. A higher form of the dialectic is in the distincts, both in the organic and the ethical realms. The dialectic of opposition is a less general law under the more general formulation of the dialectic of distincts. Hegel missed this truth and Marxism was the result, Unity has been made impossible both theoretically and practically.
The individual then is the focus of reality. To reduce him to a term of the whole or Universal or even theistically of God or substance is to escape from the problem of struggle and dread. Unity sought through law or the universal or the Collective or whole would only give rise to revulsion against such a solution. Idealism and realism then can be no solutions. A Logic of the conceptual or the abstract universal may be true as a consistent and coherent account of the nature of the reality considered conceptually, but is untrue both to the individual who conceptualises or systematises and to the whole which is the goal of the individual towards which he is struggling and cannot help doing so.
Psychology perhaps can solve or help the individual. More correctly perhaps the study of the evolution of the individual can yield better results. Man is a unity of many organic systems, such as the bonal, muscular, circulatory, alimentary, glandular and neural structures. The unity of the organism is an established fact when functionality is considered. A mechanical aggregation is radically different from an organic unity. There is an old doctrine which says that whole is different from the sum of its parts, the avayavi is more than the avayavas taken singly or even collectively because it is a connection of many avayavas and this connection or interrelated-ness is the new factor giving rise to the new function or characteristic of the parts. A living organism is even more so. Growth is the visible sign of a living tissue, and growth includes assimilation and absorption and utilisation of the material received for the organs and organism as whole. The unity of an organism is superior to the unity of units of matter or aggregates held together by the laws of gravitation as in the case of the solar system or inter-atomic structures. A living organism responds to the environment and at a higher stage of its formulation, it develops an inner response to itself and shapes the need for itself, which are known as the sense of values emerging to the levels of consciousness.
A physical unity, a physiological unity, a psycho-physiological unity and finally a spiritual psycho-physiological unity seem to be the steps in the evolution of the ultimate unity of the individual. The Holistic theory of the late F.M.Smuts is a statement of the gradual supercession and maintenance of the less wholes or unities by the higher ones. Holism cannot be organistic because it is evolutionistic.
But there is a point of great importance to be canvassed at this stage. Growth of life seems to be not content with this process regarding the organisation of the unity of the individual, his emergence as a spiritual-psycho-physiological entity. There is seen also the mergence of social units or unities. Simultaneous movements of many units in relation to each other is the phenomenon of group life. Every mob in fact seems to fall into patterns of unity and splits up into individual groups or communities or societies on the basis of some common interest. Even individual in a community is either at unity with another or in opposition to him and in either case there is integrative action in progress. The whole problem of unity then is whether the social unity is to be considered to be Organistic, that is to say, something to be realised on the pattern of the individual evolution of the organism, which is a unity in multiplicity, based on subsumption and assimilation while yet maintaining the general functions of each of the multiplicity, or the goal of the organic unity is the free unity of the Social Order, which is none too perfect at this stage. There can be however another solution possible. The individual organism is not too perfect. The social organisation (the word is of course organistic) is in a terrible condition of strain, unable to decide upon the autonomy of members or their equality and liberty and fraternity, since every order involves precisely a distinct hierarchical arrangement, autonomy within limits but over-rulable under extraordinary conditions, and fraternity is to be realised again subject to the common aspiration of the whole society. The individual and the social organisation must develop a new level of Spiritual consciousness, wherein the individual wills the welfare of the whole and every other, and the Whole will exert itself for the fulfilment of the Will of the individual willing the welfare of the Whole and each other. The emergence of a universal consciousness in each individual, a cosmic supermentality, so to speak, is the condition of the emergence of a New Society.
Taking the first alternative, we know that evolutionistic thinkers like Herbert Spencer conceived the society to be an organism, and on the basis of analogy deduced that the several functions of the Society correspond to the several limbs of the organism. This is but the restatement of the ancient view that the world is the Body of the Lord or God conceived as having the same likeness as the human being (Man is but the image of God), and the several members or rather groups of members were identified with the head, hands, limbs and trunk of the Divine Person. The harmony of the members or rather their unity should be a co-operative unity through division of functions. Accordingly, Herbert Spencer fund that the diversity of the organs and their structural evolutions really proceeded on the basis of an implicit unity of the whole organism underlying their integrative function. A rational society must be based on this inner integrative action of the diverse functions. The heterogeneous oneness moves towrards the realisation of the homogeneous manyness, because the homogeneous one diversified itself into heterogeneity. The two pronged movement in respect of the individual evolution of manifold organs organising their unity and even functional oneness, and the social evolution leading up to the organisation of the society and the State which is the Oneness of the many individuals is the real revelation of the Unity. But we are forced to accept the criticism that all this is based on the similarity of structure emerging at the infra-individual level and at the infra-social level of free individuals. Homology need not be analogy and is a fallacy. Identical structures are capable of being products of diverse functions.
But there is a possibility of realising the unity organistically if we could move away from the problem of similarity of structure in respect of the body-mind, which has ended in a cul de sac, and accept a more functional explanation of the relationship. Criticising the view that body cannot be defined in a functional manner so as to be capable of embracing all types of Ultimate inseparable relationships, Sri Ramanuja defined the body as taht conscious or unconscious entity which a conscient self is capable of sustaining, supporting, utilising and enjoying for its own purposes.
This definition of Sri Ramanuja is capable of being extended to things and persons as it is not limited to the body conceived in a mechanical or biological manner. A sarira is not only that which is capable of disintegration after the soul has departed. Nor is it a thing which is merely an aggregate of muscle, bone and nerves. Nor is it merely a collection of organs in a particular form or pattern. Nor is it necessary that a body should be inconscient or comprise inconscient parts or organs. These definitions are either narrow or too wide. Sri Ramanuja's definition is a functional definition, and as such it permits inconscients as well as conscients being parts or bodies of the conscient Self. It can include every individual as a body of the Social Self, if there is such a social self available or the State. More truly the social self is but an apotheosised expression of the person who can exercise absolute control over the society. Sri Ramanuja points out that the Divine Person alone can be a real Self of all at the same time and no human person or even partial god can be the Self of all.
There is undoubtedly thus gained the concept of Reality as an Organism. The Divine Person is the Self of all both collectively and severally. The Society is as much a body of the Lord as the individual can be. Unity is had in the Divine and through the Divine Lord. The Mystic Vision of Alvars and Rishis, and Swedenborg gets a clarification through this definition of the body (sarira). Peace and liberation are but the attainment of the conscious integration of oneself in the life and being or the All Lord. Even Holism gets a clarification of its series of subsumptions in higher wholes which enrich and intensify the functions of the lesser wholes by this concept. A spiritual organistic doctrine such as that of Sri Ramanuja as an existential proposition survives the criticisms levelled against homologous organism and analogous organism as well as the mathematical physical organism of A.N.Whitehead.
The one criticism that might be levelled against this philosophy of Society is that it is theistic and scholastically worded. But the concept of the individual in his manifold nature as part, as an attribute, as a sarira, as a sesa or dasa, as an ornament, as a power and as a perfect integrated being in all his parts, given by Sri Ramanuja removes the usual criticism of its chief point. I have made this clear in my articles in the Vedanta Kesari on Ramanuja's Philosophy of Society and in the Bimal Charan Law Commemoration volume on the Evolution of the Concept of Sesa in Sri Ramanuja's Philosophy. The multiple relationships between the individuals and Nature are variable whereas the relationship governing each of the modes of the soul in relation to the infinite above mentioned has the general characteristic of invariability and inseparability. Even a fall in the status of the individual through disobedience and unrighteousness does not annul this functional unity with the All Spirit or Brahman. Thus the general Unity of the whole in the Personality of the Brahman is the possibility before the individual.
I have already shown that the second alternative that the pattern of the individual should be loose contractual or corporation of individuals or a college of Souls or soul-bodies canvassed by the idealistic writers like Hegel cannot lead to a fundamental unity, because of the eternal friction of the dialectic of opposites. A mechanical rational dialectic can never be an answer to the real organic dialectic of assimilation and autonomy and transformation of the status of each individual and level of being. The dialectic of opposition appears simple to the mechanical rational mind, and lucid to the materialistic mind. The socialised mind of the individual will be a disrupted unity of the individual, and if Psycho-analysis is successful at the present day it is in its able analysis of the disruption of the individual or rather disintegration, thanks to the Social unity of commandments and laws and regulations, taboos and other practices, ancient or modern.
An integral approach is possible as was affirmed. The evolution of a universal consciousness in the life of each individual would facilitate the emergence of a world unity. The emergence of a real cosmic consciousness willing a unity not only in the individual members of the human organism through a transformation of their nature itself but also in the institutions of the individual is a radical necessity. Thus the universal problem of unity is an individual problem. The individual must transcend his mentality and his mechanical rationality and his vital rationality. At the stage of the human evolution the mind dominated the lower physical and vital, and the physical and vital are geared upto its demands and thus each human individual has a mental soul so to speak. But thanks to the preoccupations of its energies with the environment it had become restricted and is in fact ignorant. The social organisations of these individuals are at the same level. The mental life of the individual is on one side a practical mind with restricted aims of survival in the body and of the body, and an abstract mind which seeks to know the general order and structure of the environment and act on it on the basis of laws discovered by it through observation. Practically the universals of its discovery are partial truths and pragmatically valuable. The organism of the individual must undergo a further evolution, A new force of being must be made active in the human individual, not the abstract universal or general will of the human society based on sentiment and gregarious feeling or vital love, but on a real Cosmic Intelligence, discovery of the Cosmic Self or Supermind and its action within each individual would transform the organic vital and psychical unity into a spiritual or supramental-psychical, vital and physical unity. The Yoga of the Supermind, or the Purushottama Yoga of the Gita intimates this transcendence and transformation of the individual into an instrument of action and enjoyment and knowledge of the Supracosmic Divine Personality. Sri Aurobindo reveals this possibility of the Yoga which is the process of integration of the supracosmic supramental Force of the Divine. Within the organism Supramental evolution is no less organic evolution. It is clear then that the Universe becomes more fully and integrally organic with the Divine existentially and not conceptually. This becomes the fulfilment of the Yoga. The Yoga which an individual is called upon to undertake is the Yoga Union with the All, the Brahman or the Purushottama and results in the realisation of the integral participation in the life of the Universe collectively as well as severally. There is the realisation that all Yoga is yaga or yajna also, and is the means to the realisation of True Society and the True Good.
Thus from the study of the tendencies appearing both in the East and West, and from the interpretation of mystic scholastic thought both ancient and modern, we come to the conclusion that the Organistic Theory does serve as the starting point and as the basis of Unity.