Meddling with Others’ Affairs
What is the best attitude? Is it an attitude of intervention or an attitude of non-interference? Which is better?
Ah, that’s just it, to intervene you must be sure that you are right; you must be sure that your vision of things is superior, preferable or truer than the vision of the other person or people. Then it is always wiser not to intervene — people intervene without rhyme or reason, simply because they are in the habit of giving their opinion to others.
Even when you have the vision of the true thing, it is very rarely wise to intervene. It only becomes indispensable when someone wants to do something which will necessarily lead to a catastrophe. Even then, intervention (smiling) is not always very effective.
In fact, intervention is justified only when you are absolutely sure that you have the vision of truth. Not only that, but also a clear vision of the consequences. To intervene in someone else’s actions, one must be a prophet — a prophet. And a prophet with total goodness and compassion. One must even have the vision of the consequences that the intervention will have in the destiny of the other person. People are always giving each other advice: “Do this, don’t do that.” I see it: they have no idea how much confusion they create, how they increase confusion and disorder. And sometimes they impair the normal development of the individual.
I consider that opinions are always dangerous and most often absolutely worthless.
You should not meddle with other people’s affairs, unless first of all you are infinitely wiser than they are — of course, one always thinks that one is wiser! — but I mean in an objective way and not according to your own opinion; unless you see further and better and are yourself above all passions, desires and blind reactions. You must be above all these things yourself to have the right to intervene in someone else’s life — even when he asks you to do so. And when he does not, it is simply meddling with something which is not your business.
Unless your vision is constantly the vision of the Divine in all things, you have not only no right but no capacity to judge the state which others are in. And to pronounce a judgment on someone without having this vision spontaneously, effortlessly, is precisely an example of the mental presumptuousness of which Sri Aurobindo always spoke…. And it so happens that one who has the vision, the consciousness, who is capable of seeing the truth in all things, never feels the need to judge anything whatever. For he understands everything and knows everything. Therefore, once and for all, you must tell yourselves that the moment you begin to judge things, people, circumstances, you are in the most total human ignorance.
In short, one could put it like this: when one understands, one no longer judges and when one judges, it means that one doesn’t know.
Humanity Is Unable to Judge
The conclusion is always the same: the only true attitude is one of humility, of silent respect before what one does not know, and of inner aspiration to come out of one’s ignorance. One of the things which would make humanity progress most would be for it to respect what it does not know, to acknowledge willingly that it does not know and is therefore unable to judge. We constantly do just the opposite. We pass final judgments on things of which we have no knowledge whatsoever, and say in a peremptory manner, “This is possible. That is impossible”, when we do not even know what it is we are speaking of. And we put on superior airs because we doubt things of which we have never had any knowledge.
Men believe that doubt is a sign of superiority, whereas it is really a sign of inferiority.
Scepticism and doubt are two of the greatest obstacles to progress; they add presumptuousness to ignorance.