The serving members of the Working Committee have often turned to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother to understand what they had in mind for the governance or organization of Auroville, about the nature of freedom and anarchy and divine anarchy in the context of Auroville and its polity, and the collective future it must build. Here we share some of them here.
FROM SRI AUROBINDO
Ideal of Human Unity / Forms of Government
Or it might be something like the disguised oligarchy of an international council reposing its rule on the assent, expressed by election or otherwise, of what might be called a semi passive democracy as its first figure. For that is what the modern democracy at present is in fact; the sole democratic elements are public opinion, periodical elections and the power of the people to refuse reelection to those who have displeased it.
The Ideal of Human Unity / The Drive towards Legislative and Social Centralization & Uniformity
Certainly, democracy as it is now practised is not the last or penultimate stage; for it is often merely democratic in appearance and even at the best amounts to the rule of the majority and works by the vicious method of party government, defects the increasing perception of which enters largely into the present day dissatisfaction with parliamentary systems. Even a perfect democracy is not likely to be the last stage of social evolution, but it is still the necessary broad standing ground upon which the self consciousness of the social being can come to its own.
It does not follow that a true democracy must necessarily come into being at some time.
War and Self Determinism
Ancient liberty and democracy meant in Greece the self rule—variegated by periodical orgies of mutual throat cutting—of a smaller number of freemen of all ranks who lived by the labour of a great mass of slaves. In recent times liberty and democracy have been, and still are, a cant assertion which veils under a skilfully moderated plutocratic system the rule of an organised successful bourgeoisie over a proletariate at first submissive, afterwards increasingly dissatisfied and combined for recalcitrant self assertion.
Another illusion was that the growth of democracy would mean the growth of pacifism and the end of war…
Man refuses to learn from that history of whose lessons the wise prate to us; otherwise the story of old democracies ought to have been enough to prevent this particular illusion.
War and Self Determinism
The future does not belong to that hybrid thing, a middleclass democracy infected with the old theory of international relations, however modified by concessions to a new broader spirit of idealism.
The future destined to replace this present is evident enough in some of its main outward tendencies, in society away from plutocracy and middleclass democracy to some completeness of socialism and attempt at a broad and equal commonalty of social living, in the relations of the peoples away from aggressive nationalism and balances of power to some closer international comity.
The Idea of Human Unity / The Peril of the World State
Democracy is by no means a sure preservative of liberty: on the contrary, we see today a democratic system of government march steadily towards an organised annihilation of individual liberty as could not have been dreamed of in the old aristocratic or monarchical system… it revives now only only in periods of revolution and excitement often in the form of mob tyranny or a savage reactionary or revolutionary repression…
Sri Aurobindo / Evening Talks, 1926 / Purani
I am at present speaking against democracy. That does not mean there is no truth behind it – and I know it, yet I speak against democracy because that mentality is against the Truth that is trying to come down.
FROM THE MOTHER
On Thoughts & Aphorisms 341 -343 (Karma)
Democracy was the protest of the human soul against the allied despotisms of autocrat, priest and noble; Socialism is the protest of the human soul against the despotism of a plutocratic democracy; Anarchism is likely to be the protest of the human soul against the tyranny of a bureaucratic Socialism. It is chimerical to enquire which is the better system; it would be difficult to decide which is the worse.
A turbulent and eager march from illusion to illusion and from failure to failure is the image of European progress.
Agenda 10 April 1968
If there is no representative of the supreme Consciousness (which can happen, of course), if there isn’t any, we could perhaps (this would be worth trying) replace him with the government by a small number—we would have to choose between four and eight, something like that: four, seven or eight—a small number having an INTUITIVE intelligence.
All the intermediaries have proved incompetent: theocracy, aristocracy, democracy, plutocracy—all that is a complete failure.
Agenda, August 16, 1969
In an undated note, Mother once wrote: Democracy was necessary and useful a hundred years ago, but now we must go beyond it if we want to take a step forward towards a new creation.
Agenda 27 July, 1968 (conversation)
Satprem: The Press is asking for a few texts to fill blanks in the forthcoming Bulletin.
The Mother: Take from Sri Aurobindo, not from me! Everything from Sri Aurobindo
Satprem proposes the following text:
Sri Aurobindo: Overmind is obliged to respect the freedom of the individual….
Oh, that’s a revelation! I didn’t know that.
Sri Aurobindo: …including his freedom to be perverse, stupid, recalcitrant and slow. Supermind is not merely a step higher than Overmind—it is beyond the line, that is a different consciousness and power beyond the mental limit.”
Do you imply that the Supermind will not be obliged to respect the freedom of the individual?
Sri Aurobindo: Of course I do! It will respect only the Truth of the Divine and the truth of things.
The Mother / On Auroville’s Organization
We want an organization which is the expression of a higher consciousness working to manifest the truth of the future.
Mother’s Agenda, 1966
Scores of people have come for Auroville…. Instead of working, they spend their time talking… They’ve already begun discussing what the city’s political situation will be …And one of them wrote to me yesterday, saying he couldn’t take part in something that wasn’t purely ‘democratic’… So I answered him this: Auroville must be at the service of the Truth, beyond all social, political and religious convictions… but above all…it would be better to build the city first!
Mother’s Agenda, 7 Feb, 1970
The anarchic state is the self government of each individual, and it will be the perfect government only when each one becomes conscious of the inner Divine and will obey only Him and Him alone…
Someone from Auroville wrote to me that he had come here to obey only himself and he found there were rules and laws. And he said: I won’t do it! I am free, I refuse to do it… so I wrote to him..
“One is only free when one is conscious of the Divine…”
Charter of Auroville / The Mother
But to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.