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Upheavals in the Workplace

Unknown to men the social revolution prepares itself, and it is not in the direction they think, for it embraces the world.

– Sri Aurobindo, 1913

In describing these times, the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo ashram said:

“At some periods – special periods – a particular experience becomes almost universal, that is, worldwide, absolutely worldwide. It is the same experience taking place with different names, different labels, different words. And there are old ex­periences on their way to extinction which still persist, altering for a time the appearance and content of some new things. But it's only the tail end of something. The whole new movement is towards a SINGLE experience, which becomes as generalized as possible, because it is only useful when it is general.”

We are seeing so many examples of such universalized experience now as people all over the world respond and adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic, which continues to play its divinely ordained role as a global agent of accelerated transformation. One area I have noted recently in my after-dinner talks with companions here at Youpon Dunes is a general upheaval in the workplace.

“Doing the minimum at work has gone global”, ran a headline in the British newspaper, the Guardian. It is called “quiet quitting”, which is defined as “doing just enough in the office to keep up, then leaving work promptly on time.” A global workplace report showed that only 9% of workers in the UK were “engaged or enthusiastic” about their work. Other surveys in other countries echo the same thing. In China it is called “lying flat”, a rejection of societal pressures to overwork. In America, an NPR report characterized “quiet quitting” as “part of a larger re-evaluation of how work fits into our lives and not the other way around.”

Across the world, people are changing their attitudes and approaches to work. For many, the pandemic has provided a wake-up call about “work-life balance”. It seems to have stimulated a mass exodus of millions of workers dissatisfied with their jobs or careers. Last year a professor in London coined the term “the Great Resignation” for this ongoing worldwide phenomenon. It has also been called a “great rethink”, where people at every level, in every field, are stepping back to evaluate and reconsider their lives and goals. In surveys of those who have changed jobs, one out of three have voluntarily taken a pay cut in exchange for more time at home.

These widely shared experiences signal a fundamental change in the way man relates to materiality. Science, technology, the mastery of matter, which was the West’s divine assignment for thousands of years – all that has now been accomplished. In the future, material mastery and all the accumulated egoic baggage that goes with it – greed, envy, lust for power and domination, miserliness, etc. – will no longer be a preoccupation; it is losing its immense hold on human consciousness. The Mother recognized this more than half a century ago. She saw that what she called “the great movement of the cult of matter” had served its purpose: it had helped raise the consciousness of matter on this plane – a necessary preparation, a needed foundation to support the full manifestation of the divine life, never possible on earth before.

In the coming age, the social design will be very different, because humanity will be very different. Sri Aurobindo’s words, written before World War I, are most timely today: “The scientific, rationalistic, industrial, pseudo-democratic civilization in the West is now in the process of dissolution. It would be a lunatic absurdity for us to build blindly on that sinking foundation.”

In our table-talks, I tell my sahavas guests that materiality is to be the foundation for the new era, for the new life of the New Man. It will be the foundation, but not the focus. You are here to step out of Illusion, to live the eternal, imperishable, everlasting Light in love – here on this plane, walking His sacred earth.

In His Unbounded Love, Murshida


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