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"Negotiating modernity:
Habermas and the international township of Auroville"
by Stuart R. Leard

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The Auroville socio-economy

The maelstrom
Life anywhere is the attempt to be oneself in the maelstrom of other people's systems, their needs and desires, their mental and emotional dispositions. This life situation often becomes tragic in its consequences when a person or a group's disposition comes to control resources and then holds others to ransom in order to survive. One has to conform in order to work, eat and/or fulfill the need for belonging and sense of togetherness. Life history presents this pattern often in the form of religion, on one hand, and political & economic ideology on the other.

Unique perspective
Auroville in this way is not distinct: religion, political and economic ideologies are common pursuits here. Auroville is exceptional in that no person or group's disposition has come to hold sway over the body of Auroville. Those who are 'self' selected are the body of Auroville. In Auroville, if one persists, one may eat, work and play without conforming to any other person's behaviour patterns or mentality, the self becoming one with the body. It is a choice that will not solicit effective sanction from others. This makes Auroville, from a sociological perspective, unique, and from a historical perspective a return to the most ancient of times, when the human heart was larger than all the manifest universe, and man and woman walked freely over the land with goodwill for all, without fear or condemnation.

In all its confusion, Auroville continues to resist and survive the maelstrom. The Mother's victory.


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