In the article that I given you, I have given one quotation from his politics. He has made a good study of various constitutions because what is politics basically? It's a science and art of organising society that is politics. One supreme problem of society is how to keep people together, this is the central problem of human life. How to keep a family intact, how to keep a group intact, how to keep an army intact, how do you keep social workers together, hold the people of the country together, hold the people of the world together,− this is the supreme problem of politics. Therefore, human beings have tried to find different forms; monarchy is form by which you can keep the people together, aristocracy, oligarchy and democracy are other forms and beyond democracy of which Sri Aurobindo has spoken and which we are trying here.
But you cannot know, unless all over the world history have tried their best to keep society together and evolved different forms and each form that is being evolved has merit but also a defect. Aristotle in the fourth century BC examined all the different forms, which is very interesting. He as it were anticipated various kinds of forms of organisation and he has criticised every form and has suggested how you can combine the defects and the merits of all the forms and can keep them together, which is a great alchemy.
Until now, nobody has been able to do it, how to keep all the different forms together, to take their merits and eliminating the demerits and put them together. This is a great science by itself. His book on politics even today people read it and nobody is regarded in the West as a good student of politics, unless he has done Aristotle. Even until today, when many theories have developed and many other things have developed but unless you founded in Aristotle you are not a good student of politics at all. Nobody will pass you even in B.A. if you do not know what Aristotle has said in politics.
Ethics is another subject; his ethics is one of the most famous books on the subject. What is ethics? Ethics is the science and art of ideal conduct. When can you say that your conduct is ideal, is the best, highest, when can you say you have acted in the best possible manner? How do you judge it? It's a very difficult subject and he wrote on this subject and he came to the conclusion that there are many human beings, who are good from time to time, they are ideal from time to time but he said you should not give them the label of virtuous, those who are good and virtues from time to time, don't call them virtuous. He said virtue is a habit, unless every time the action is ideal, which emerges from you automatically all the time as a habit, only then you're virtuous. Like breathing, for example, you breathe automatically, effortlessly, like a habit. Only when the ideal action proceeds from you and what is ideal action, it is the ‘mean’ between two extremes.
It is a very difficult art; it is easy to be excessive on one side and excessive on the other side. You can be excessively generous and people say he's virtuous but he said: ‘no, you can be excessively miserly and you say it is a vice but no, can you combine miserliness with generosity together. Avarice and generosity you combine together, when you can combine together that is the mean arrived that is ideal conduct. So, his theory was the mean, virtue is a mean, which should become a habit with you. These two words are to be remembered in ethics, ‘habit’ and ‘mean’ that which is average between the two excesses. This is a very difficult art, you can be one excessive or another excessive it is easy. It is easy to be excessively generous; it is very easy to be excessively miserly but to be miserly at the right moment and to be generous at the right moment, in the right measure, in the right proportion that is the most difficult thing,− that is his definition. You may agree and you may not agree; today there is a lot of debate on this subject but Aristotle has ruled the idea of ethics for how many thousands of years.
You can see, I've counted so many subjects in which his supremacy has been recognised. You cannot understand Western thought, unless you understand Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. And Aristotle cannot be understood unless you understand Plato, Plato cannot be understood unless you understand Socrates this is the interconnection of the three. That is why I started with Socrates with you and I spent a good deal of time with you on Socrates because Socrates’ life itself is a great lesson.
So, when you feel necessary, when you feel inclined, I shall be happy to discuss Aristotle with you but I'm giving you my lesson. Keep it with you as a gift and you're free to study on your own, in a No School system, this is Super School but it is also No School system. Study it, whenever you feel like and if you have difficulties and you have questions, when I come here, let us have a session on it.
The second paper that I'm giving to you is Sankhya. Why have I chosen this particular subject, Sankhya? I have already given you something of the Veda and something of Dharma. But neither Veda is philosophy, nor is Dharma a philosophy, they belong to a different domain. If you at all want to give any label, you can say Veda is Knowledge and it is a science of living, Veda is, if you want to give a label. The most difficult science in the world is the science of living, people don't sufficiently recognise it.
There is a word, which is called the ‘art of living’, which is easier, science of living is much more difficult. Art can be a partial expression but science has to be comprehensive. You can be fashionable, even without being profound this is a normal experience of life. You can curl your hair in a particular fashion, you can put on your dress in a particular fashion, you can walk in a particular style, you can behave in a particular style, all that is art of living. But science of living takes you to the profundities of living of what is life; you enter into the entire process of life. You cannot have science of living; unless you know the beginning of life and the end of life otherwise it’s not a science. Science is a complete, comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of life and then only you can develop a science.