Skip to Content

Subconsicous Social Existence


August 25, 1999

"...the will of the collective and an intention of its own irrespective of the conscious views of some of its constituent members."

Sri Aurobindo's infinite self-conception is the first and the second would be to concede that society is an organism. If both are unacceptable, it is possible to develop a logic of several sequential steps starting at a point where subconscious self-existence is in evidence and to trace it back to the entire society.

1. Sri Aurobindo's postulate is an Infinite, Eternal Absolute has created this universe by its own self-conception for the purposes of delight through self-discovery. If this statement can be conceded, our theory which is an adaptation of His theory of creation can postulate our SOCIETY in the place of the Absolute and attribute self-conception to it. That self-conception is conscious on the surface. As all life is not on the surface; wherever it is unseen, its existence is subconscious. As the conscious has a will, it is admissible that the subconscious too can have a will of its own. It is a known phenomenon in man, society or life in general that the subconscious motives are far more formidable than the conscious intention which can always be only of a part.

2. We know SOCIETY is an organisation. As we find it growing in its constitution and inner content, it is rational to say that it is a live organisation, an organism. An organism is capable of growth by itself. Its whole existence is not conscious. Much of it is subconscious. What we call conscious in the society is the articulated views of the elite or the ruling section or the section of the population that is conscious.

  • At times of revolutions or communal trouble we see the social collective putting up an opposite behaviour to what it had lived by all along. That comes from the subconscious. Its power and range are far more formidable than its conscious intentions.

Two phenomena can be seen in the body, both essentially the same.

  • At times of danger man exhibits convulsive strength which is several times greater than his own strength, in utter disregard of his own conscious thoughts. When man thus saves himself by exercising this greater capacity, he is always unaware of it later; meaning that the capacity and the action issued from the subconscious.
  • In cases of psycho-somatic disease, an ailing part of the body often refuses to respond to drugs. In rare occasions with the increasing doses or continuous treatment, the disease exhibits a tendency to become more aggravated, which is inexplicable medically. At these moments the will of the body or the being acts in contravention to the conscious physiological tendencies of a part of the body.

What is the mind of the collective, if not the sum of the minds of its individual members? This conception is true below the line (in instances in which the collective is an unformed amorphous mass). Above the line (in instances in which the collective has acquired a formed identify and character of its own), the totality is not a sum of the parts, but exceeds it.  The difference between a house and home; population and the nation express the difference. The sum of all the articles in a house may constitute a house, not a home. A home always exceeds it. The house can never fully represent a home.
Infinity is not the sum of its parts. If it were, then when all the parts are taken out, infinity would be empty. This is not the case. What is left over is infinity. In a group discussion, especially when it is creative, members can be seen speaking ideas they are not capable of individually. This capacity comes from an unknown depth which is subconscious. The same phenomenon can be seen in the collective, perhaps more so there.

(1) How does the will of the collective express itself? As long as the collective expresses itself in a predictable way, life is smooth. In times of revolution, the collective behaves in a totally unpredictable manner. After the revolution, its goes back to its normal predictable behaviour under the changed dispensation. The body and vital, being gross and fixed it their ways, needs conditions of abrupt revolution in order to change. Mind, being subtle and therefore more flexible, can avoid revolutions and exhibits the ability to evolve smoothly. The tools of mind are ideas at the height and information at the bottom. The elite is capable of social evolution through ideas, while the masses respond to it through information. If the great ideas of social revolution can be rendered in terms of facts, figures, and information that the masses can directly use in their lives (such as facts related to increased yield and income which promoted Indian farmers to achieve the Green Revolution), then revolution can be replaced by gradual evolution.

  • The will of the collective expresses itself in holding the society together at times of survival.
  • At times of growth the will endorses the social effort and thus energizes it (as it endorsed humble, submissive obedience during the British Raj, Indian society now endorses personal ambition, aggressive self-seeking and bold initiative).
  • The social will resists development in the beginning. When it endorses it, development takes place. No development is possible without the social will conceding it.
  • When the social will decides to change, the response of even a single pioneer can be sufficient to launch a social revolution, since it is the power of the supportive social will the expresses through and responds to the pioneering initiative.
  • When the society is broadly receptive and the social will is widely accepted, it is evolution that follows, not revolution.

(2) What constitutes the collective and distinguishes it from other collectives that are more or less inclusive than it is -- village society, member of a caste, etc.? The relationship between the total collective and other collectives is exactly on a par with the distinctions between individual. The other collectives (village, caste), etc. are 'stronger individuals' (with more well formed, distinct and developed personalities).


1. Point numer 1, Sri

1. Point numer 1, Sri Aurobindo's postulate is - Sri Aurobindo's postulate is that - renders more clarity.

2. Under point number 2, the third bullet point - psychosomatic is not hyphenated.

3. Under How does the collective express itself -  After the revolution it goes back 

4. Same paragraph - The body and the vital, being gross and fixed in their ways

5. Last paragraph -  The relationship between the total collective and the other collectives is exactly on par with the distictions between individual(s).  - Because between is always more than one. 

story | by Dr. Radut