Spiritual Ideals and Social Psychology of Auroville: A Transdisciplinary Interpretive Inquiry

Mohanty, Bindu (2008) Spiritual Ideals and Social Psychology of Auroville: A Transdisciplinary Interpretive Inquiry. Doctoral thesis, California Institute of Integral Studies.

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This theoretical and qualitative study explores the relationship between spiritual ideals and the social psychology of the tranpersonally-oriented community of Auroville. Located in rural south India, Auroville is a growing international town based on the spiritual vision of the philosopher-sage Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950). Founded in 1968 by Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, the Mother (née Mirra Alfassa), Auroville’s primary mission is to aid the spiritual evolution and transformation of the world by manifesting a spiritual society. This evolutionary vision, which gives the community its transpersonal orientation, comprises a number of spiritual ideals that have inspired people to join Auroville. The dissertation uses interpretive qualitative research methodology to determine the spiritual ideals that are individually held by the residents of Auroville, and the relationship between the spiritual ideals and the following facets of the social psychology of Auroville: the dialectic between the individual and the collective; challenges and inspirations that arise for individuals as they relate to the community; and potential collective shadow issues. A community-wide survey, researcher’s observations, archival data, individual as well as focus-group interviews were the means of data collection. A transdisciplinary approach that engages theoretically with the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, social psychology, and transpersonal psychology was adopted in the analysis and interpretation of data. The analysis reveals how Aurovilians, inspired by their transpersonal ideals, struggle to transcend their personal, socially constructed identity to embrace a wider and more comprehensive sense of self. Research findings indicate that, as an experimental society, Auroville offers an alternative to mainstream society, particularly in the social aspects of work and organization. Both in its ideals and in its development, Auroville is characterized by the evolutionary processes of self-organization, differentiation, unity, and random fluctuations that allow for the emergence of novel structures. By analyzing the positive effect of Auroville’s spiritual ideals on its population, this dissertation demonstrates the power of human imagination in furthering the development of societies. The study concludes that Auroville, despite the numerous social and developmental challenges, is an evolving postsecular and spiritual society.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Collective Organisation > Collective Organisation (General)
Spirituality > Spirituality (General)
Depositing User: Admin User
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2020 11:00
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2020 11:00
URI: http://aurorepo.in/id/eprint/111

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