Introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s The Ideal of Human Unity

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The Ideal of Human Unity was written by Sri Aurobindo serially during the period from 1915 through 1918, essentially while the world was struggling with the “war to end all wars”, World War I.  Interestingly, he undertook to update the text in the 1930’s during the run up to World War II, and then put a brief update and postscript on it after the conclusion of the second World War.  This subject was therefore of continual focus and interest for Sri Aurobindo.

Some may wonder what relationship the social and political framework of human civilisation has to do with the practice of Yoga.  Sri Aurobindo recognized and described in The Life Divine an “omnipresent reality” that incorporated the individual, the universal and the transcendent aspects of existence.  All existence represents the manifestation of the Divine Will through Time, Space and Circumstance, and thus, the principle of Oneness holds that the individual is not separate from the universal and the universal is not separate from the transcendent.

In The Synthesis of Yoga he described the universal “Yoga of Nature” that systematically evolves levels of consciousness from the involved inconscient of Matter to the highest supramental realms of total awareness of the Divine knowledge and will.  He also described the interchange and interaction between the universal and the individual and the role of each.  The universal play of forces has a constant impact on the spiritual development of any individual and thus, cannot be dismissed.

It is within this general context that the question of human unity arises.  The boundaries set up by the physical manifestation, the aggressive self-aggrandisement of the vital consciousness, and the fragmented view of the mental level ensure that there will be a struggle and disharmony until such time as an integrated, higher perspective can put everything into a coherent whole of mutual interchange.  For the practitioner of Yoga, therefore, working on the inner self-development, at a certain stage, requires the seeker to address the larger questions of harmony and oneness.

In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo indicates that “…all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony.  They arise from the perception of an unsolved discord and the instinct of an undiscovered agreement or unity.”  and he goes on to state “The greater the apparent disorder of the materials offered or the apparent disparateness, even to irreconcilable opposition, of the elements that have to be utilised, the stronger is the spur, and it drives towards a more subtle and puissant order than can normally be the result of a less difficult endeavour.”  (Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 1, pg. 5)

We can see all around us the difficulty of achieving human unity and resolving the apparent contradictions of physical, vital and mental demands and desires.  It may also be seen that the larger concerns of all humanity, as one universal being, such as the integrity of the environment that sustains us, puts added pressure on our attempt to achieve human unity.

It is with this background that we take up the subject of human unity in the systematic way that Sri Aurobindo has viewed it.  It is not isolated from the practice of Yoga, but an essential element of the yogic process.

All chapter numbers and titles are from Sri Aurobindo’s The Ideal of Human Unity.  All individual post titles are independently developed for these posts.  Page numbers referenced are from the USA editions of Sri Aurobindo’s major writings, published by Lotus Press.

 

 

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity

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Sri Aurobindo’s and Related Writings on Apple iTunes for IPhone and IPad:

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Sri Aurobindo’s and Related Writings on Apple iTunes for IPhone and IPad:

We continue to add more titles to this list on an ongoing basis, so please check back regularly for additional titles.  We also supply a large number of titles for Amazon Kindle and Google Play which are listed separately.  Below find the links to the e-book versions available at this time on Apple iTunes:

By Sri Aurobindo:

Bases of Yoga                                      Bases of Yoga

 Essays on the Gita                              Essays on the Gita

 The Mother                                        The Mother

 Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol         Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol

 By The Mother:

 Commentaries on the Dhammapada  Commentaries on the Dhammapada

 By Sri M. P. Pandit:

 An Early Chapter in The Mother’s Life   Early Chapter in The Mother’s Life

 Art of Living                                        Art of Living

 Bases of Tantra Sadhana                   Bases of Tantra Sadhana

 Commentaries on Sri Aurobindo’s Thought, V. 1  Commentaries Sri Aurobindo’s Thought, V. 1

 Dhyana                                               Dhyana

 Heart of Sadhana                               Heart of Sadhana

 How Do I Proceed?                             How Do I Proceed?

 Introducing The Life Divine               Introducing The Life Divine

 Introducing Savitri                             Introducing Savitri

 Japa                                                    Japa

Kundalini Yoga                                   Kundalini Yoga

Readings in Savitri, V. 1                     Readings in Savitri, V. 1

 Readings in Savitri, V. 2                     Readings in Savitri, V. 2

 Readings in Savitri, V. 3                     Readings in Savitri, V. 3

 Readings in Savitri, V. 4                     Readings in Savitri, V. 4

 Readings in Savitri, V. 5                     Readings in Savitri, V. 5

 Readings in Savitri, V. 7                     Readings in Savitri, V. 7

 Readings in Savitri, V. 8                     Readings in Savitri, V. 8

Readings in Savitri, V. 9                     Readings in Savitri, V. 9

 Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga               Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga

 A Summary of Savitri                         A Summary of Savitri

 Talks on The Life Divine, V. 1             Talks on The Life Divine, V. 1

 Teachings of Sri Aurobindo               Teachings of Sri Aurobindo

Thoughts on the Gita                         Thoughts on the Gita

 By Santosh Krinsky:

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Vol. 1  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine,V. 1

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Vol. 2 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine, V. 2

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Vol. 3 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine, V. 3

Readings in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo:               Readings in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Rebirth and Karma:   Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Rebirth &  Karma

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita,V.1 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, V.1

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, V. 2 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, V.2

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, V. 1  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Synthesis of Yoga, V. 1

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, V. 2  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Synthesis of Yoga, V. 2

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, V. 3  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Synthesis of Yoga, V. 3

 By Rand Hicks:

A Savitri Dictionary                            A Savitri Dictionary

Rev. 6/11/17

Sri Aurobindo’s Writings Available as E-Books for Amazon Kindle Readers or App

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The Amazon Kindle is perhaps the most popular e-book reader in the world, and the APP works on desktop computers, laptops, android phones, tablets etc. The APP can be downloaded free from Amazon.com We are systematically making Sri Aurobindo’s writings available for the Kindle App and Readers. Here are a few of them, with more links to be provided soon:

Bhagavad Gita and Its Message Bhagavad Gita and Its Message
Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga (compiled by M P Pandit) Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga
Essays on the Gita Essays on the Gita
The Future Evolution of Man The Future Evolution of Man
Hidden Forces of Life (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Hidden Forces of Life
The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development
The Ideal of Human Unity The Ideal of Human Unity
Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice Integral Yoga
The Life Divine The Life Divine
Looking from Within (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Looking from Within
The Mind of Light The Mind of Light (The Supramental Manifestation on Earth)
The Mother The Mother
Our Many Selves (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Our Many Selves
Powers Within (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Powers Within
The Psychic Being (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Psychic Being
Rebirth and Karma Rebirth and Karma
Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol
Secret of the Veda Secret of the Veda
Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra (compiled by M P Pandit) Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra
The Synthesis of Yoga The Synthesis of Yoga
The Upanishads The Upanishads
Vedic Symbolism (compiled by M P Pandit) Vedic Symbolism
Yoga of Sleep and Dreams (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Yoga of Sleep and Dreams

By Sri M P Pandit:
Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga
Teaching of Sri Aurobindo Teaching of Sri Aurobindo

SRI AUROBINDO’S BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE PLAY AS E-BOOKS:

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The Mother THE MOTHER
Bases of Yoga BASES OF YOGA
Essays on the Gita ESSAYS ON THE GITA
The Human Cycle: Psychology of Social Development The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development
Ideal of Human Unity IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY
The Life Divine THE LIFE DIVINE
The Mind of Light THE MIND OF LIGHT
Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol  Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol
Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra SRI AUROBINDO ON THE TANTRA
The Synthesis of Yoga THE SYNTHESIS OF YOGA

For Android Phones, Tablets, and E-Readers

Sri Aurobindo Studies

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Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga has enormous implications for the time we find ourselves in.  As we systematically destroy the basis of life on the planet, and wall off one another through ultimate fragmentation, we are left with the stark contrast of choosing between survival and destruction, life and death, growth or decline.  Sri Aurobindo recognizes the necessity of the individual within the context of the collectivity, universality and the transcendent consciousness of Oneness.  The individual is the nexus or hub of the evolutionary urge, but not separate from nor at the expense of the life of the cosmic whole.

We also have a daily twitter feed on Sri Aurobindo’s studies at www.twitter.com/santoshk1

We have systematically worked our way through The Life Divine as well as The Mother , Essays on the Gita and Rebirth and Karma.  The newest posts appear near the top.  If you want to start at the beginning, go to the oldest post and roll forward until you reach the final posts in July 2012.

Another option is to “search” for the chapter you would like to study and see all posts relating to that chapter. You may have to ask for “older posts” once you have the search results if you are looking for one of the earlier chapters.

We have separated the posts relating to each book into their own folder as an additional organisational tool.

Similarly you can use the search box to find specific concepts, terms or issues you are interested in. The results will show all posts that address those concepts or terms. You may have to click on “older posts” to find all the references here as well.

The next book we are taking up is The Synthesis of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo, following a similar format to that we have utilised for The Life Divine , The Mother, Essays on the Gita and Rebirth and Karma.

You may also want to visit our information site for Sri Aurobindo at Sri-Aurobindo.Com

Sri Aurobindo’s major writings are published in the US by Lotus Press.

The systematic studies on this blog have also been published as self-standing books by Lotus Press and are available in both printed formats and as e-books. There are 3 volumes encompassing Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, 2 volumes encompassing Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, as well as 1 volume for Readings in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo, and Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Rebirth and Karma., and 1 volume currently for the first section of The Synthesis of Yoga titled Readings In Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, Vol. 1 Introduction and Yoga of Divine Works

Many of the major writings of Sri Aurobindo are now also accessible on the Amazon Kindle Platform as well as Apple itunes, google play, kobo, and Barnes & Noble nook as well.  Kindle e-book reader program is also available for PC, Laptop, iPad, Blackberry, Android, iPhone and many other platforms from Amazon without charge. You can find the current list of titles available by going to http://www.amazon.com , go to the “kindle store” and type in “Aurobindo” New titles are being added as they can be made ready. Many of the major books are already accessible by the Kindle Reader.  You can follow a similar procedure for the other platforms we now support for Sri Aurobindo’s writings, I-tunes, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and KOBO.

The Major Weakness of Empires Built Upon Conquest

When an empire is formed through conquest, there is an inherent bias towards predatory behavior rather than a drive towards unity and mutuality.  While this provides the vital force required to conquer and thereby grow an empire, it has the built-in weakness that eventually, unless it could find a way to transform itself into one that respects, supports and provides equality to all its conquered peoples, it will simply react as a predator to its prey and devour the energy of the conquered people.  This may involve resource allocation, but may also include absorbing the best and highest powers of intellect, mind and creativity into the imperial core at the expense of the extremities.  Eventually, the creativity and dynamism are used up, and the empire weakens and dissolves.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The weakness of the old empire-unities created by conquest was that they tended to destroy the smaller units they assimilated, as did imperial Rome, and to turn them into food for the life of the dominant organ. … In such a method, however, the exhaustion of the life in the subject parts must end by leaving the dominant voracious centre without any source for new storage of energy.  At first the best intellectual force of the conquered provinces flowed to Rome and their vital energy poured into it a great supply of military force and governing ability, but eventually both failed and first the intellectual energy of Rome and then its military and political ability died away in the midst of the general death.  Nor would Roman civilisation have lived even fro so long but for the new ideas and motives it received from the East.  …  When the Roman grasp loosened, the world which it had held so firmly constricted had been for long a huge, decorous, magnificently organised death-in-life incapable of new origination or self-regeneration; vitality could only be restored through the inrush of the vigorous barbarian world from the plains of Germany, the steppes beyond the Danube and the deserts of Arabia.  Dissolution had to precede a movement of sounder construction.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pp. 98-99

Issues of Vital Assimilation in the Development of Larger Societal Aggregates

We can look at the example of the interaction of living beings with one another as a way of approaching the interaction of societal aggregates as they try to grow and unify smaller units.  Life interactions are about an interchange of energy.  In some cases, a being acquires the energy from another being by devouring that being.  The famous Upanishadic dictum “the eater eating is eaten” expresses the relation of all living beings to one another and emphasizes that each being is part of the universal food chain.  But devouring as a form of assimilation of energy is not the only way that beings exchange energy with each other.  There can be energy exchanges on the vital level.  There are also shared interactions, emotional bonding, mutual support to work together as a team, a pack, a herd, a flock, or, in human terms, a family, a clan, a tribe, a village.  The beings who join together through shared interaction all get their needs met without simply devouring one another physically.

Sri Aurobindo describes the principle and the application to the development of larger societal units:  “In unification of life, on the other hand, an assimilation is possible which goes beyond this alternative of either the devouring of one by another or of a continued separate distinctness which limits assimilation to a mutual reception of the energies discharged by one life upon another.  There can be instead an association of units consciously subordinating themselves to a general unity which is developed in the process of their coming together.  Some of these, indeed, are killed and used as material for new elements, but all cannot be so treated, all cannot be devoured by one dominant unit; for in that case there is no unification, no creation of a larger unity, no continued greater life, but only a temporary survival of the devourer by the digestion and utilisation of the energy of the devoured.  In the unification of human aggregates, this then is the problem, how the component units shall be subordinated to a new unity without their death and disappearance.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pp. 97-98

The Development of Larger and More Complex Unities of Societal Development

At each level of development, a somewhat similar process repeats itself, with larger size units and more complexity involved.   Families gathered into clans, clans into tribes, tribes into villages, etc.  Each time there came about eventually, after the physical and vital unification took place, a process of developing a psychological unity, which looked inward toward achieving an internal harmony, and looked outward to see other similarly situated groups outside who were perceived as “outsiders” and potentially hostile to the vital interests of the particular group.  Over time, however, as the drive toward larger unities continued, these “outsiders” became part of a larger community that led to the next larger form of unity, and the process repeated itself, until eventually there were nation-states who are today struggling to find ways to develop some kind of unified response to the challenges that face all of us on a planet-wide basis.  Each level posed the issue of developing an internal psychological unity and finding ways to interface with, coexist with and (eventually) find a way to join with other neighboring units.

Sri Aurobindo explains:  “The contained units are larger and more complex than before, the containing unity is also larger and more complex than before, but the essential position is the same and a similar problem presents itself for solution.  Thus in the beginning there was the phenomenon of city states and regional peoples coexisting as disunited parts of a loose geographical and cultural unity, Italy or Hellas, and there was the problem of creating the Hellenic or Italian nation.  Afterwards there came instead the phenomenon of nation-units formed or in formation coexisting as disunited parts of the loose geographical and cultural unity, first, of Christendom, then, of Europe, and with it the problem of the union of this Christendom or of this Europe which, though more than once conceived by individual statesmen or political thinkers, was never achieved nor even the first steps attempted.  Before its difficulties could be solved, the modern movement with its unifying forces has presented to us the new and more complex phenomenon of a number of nation-units and empire-units embedded in the loose, but growing life-interdependence and commercial close-connection of mankind, and the attendant problem of the unification of mankind already overshadows the unfulfilled dream of the unification of Europe.”

As we have seen, even while the drive towards a larger unification of humanity has been accentuated by the global issues of climate change, weapons of mass destruction, pollution, resource allocation and unequal access to resources (and more), there is still movement on the smaller unities which includes things like the development of the European Union, and the creation of other regional cooperative arrangements and trade or mutual defense alliances.  Multiple different levels are thus active concurrently, each trying to resolve obstacles to the development of a larger unification of mankind.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pg. 97

The Developmental Formation of a Societal Aggregate

Sri Aurobindo draws an analogy to the development of an individual life-form when describing the formative stages of a societal unit.  The individual life-form has a physical body, a vital-nervous sheath, and (to whatever extent the form permits it) a mental power, all organized around the psychological unity, which, when it becomes self-aware can be called ego, or when further refined, can be seen as the soul of the being.

“The administrative, political, economic organisation of mankind in aggregates of smaller or greater size is a work which belongs at its basis to the same order of phenomena as the creation of vital organisms in physical Nature.  It uses, that is to say, primarily external and physical methods governed by the principles of physical life-energy intent on the creation of living forms, although its inner object is to deliver, to manifest and to bring into secure working a supraphysical, a psychological principle latent behind the operations of the life and the body.”

“In this process, as we have seen, first smaller distinct units in a larger loose unity are formed; these have a strong psychological existence and a well-developed body and vital functioning, but in the larger mass the psychological sense and the vital energy are present but unorganised and without power of definite functioning, and the body is a fluid quantity or a half-nebulous or at most a half-fluid, half-solidified mass, a plasm rather than a body.  This has in its turn to be formed and organised; a firm physical shape has to be made for it, a well-defined vital functioning and a clear psychological reality, self-consciousness and mental will-to-be.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pp. 96-97

The Central Weakness of Imperial Overreach

There are a number of examples of the impatient attempt to create an empire before a solid foundation of national unity was achieved.  The vital force which led to the first conquests of local groups drove the conqueror to attempt to subjugate ever-larger territories, thereby incorporating peoples and cultures who were heterogeneous to the core group of the first phase.  The speed of the action, and the complexity of the resultant administrative issues represented a central weakness that eventually led to their dissolution.  Every rapid movement eventually requires a period of consolidation during which issues, potential contradictions or conflicts, and systems and protocols can be worked out and thus, provide a field for the development of a psychological unity.  Where such a consolidation period is missing, the seeds of dissolution are able to germinate and grow.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “One who first founds on a large scale and raplidly, needs always as his successor a man with the talent or the genius for organisation rather than an impetus for expansion.  A Caesar followed by an Augustus meant a work of massive durability; a Philip followed by an Alexander an achievement of great importance to the world by its results, but in itself a mere splendour of short-lived brilliance.

Even the relatively long-lived Roman Empire suffered from the defect of failing to consolidate the Italian nation before trying to assimilate the diverse peoples of the extended empire.  “Therefore she had to face a much more difficult problem of assimilation, that of nation-nebulae and formed or inchoate cultures different from her own, before she had achieved and learned to apply to the new problem the art of complete and absolute unification on a smaller and easier scale, before she had welded into one living national organism, no longer Roman by Italian, the elements of difference and community offered by the Gallic, Latin, Umbrian, Oscan and Graeco-Apulian factors in ancient Italy.  Therefore, although her empire endured for several centuries, it achieved temporary conservation at the cost of energy of vitality and inner vigour; it accomplished neither the nation-unit nor the durable empire-unity, and like other ancient empires it had to collapse and make room for a new era of true nation-building.”

 

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pp. 95-96

The Peril of Attempting Empire-Building Without a Solid and Unified National Foundation

When military conquest is involved in the unification of local small units into a larger societal grouping, there is a tendency for the leadership, whether vested in a powerful personality or a ruling group, to overextend themselves , using their success at one level as a springboard and indicator of success at the next level.  This very normal human tendency to overreach has consequences when there has not been a period of consolidation to firm up the political, economic and psychological unity of the core group; namely, the development of a more complex society, with heterogeneous cultural, language and social groups does not have the cohesiveness required to stay together and eventually the larger imperial unit breaks down and dissolves.

Sri Aurobindo contrasts several instances where an internal unity was achieved by related clans or tribes, with instances where force was used to create the larger unity.  “In Egypt and Judaea it was successfully found even in that ancient cycle of historical evolution; but in the latter instance certainly, in the former probably, the full result came only by the hard discipline of subjection to a foreign yoke.  Where this discipline was lacking, where the nation-unity was in some sort achieved from within,– usually through the conquest of all the rest by one strong clan, city, regional unit such as Rome, Macedon, the mountain clans of Persia,– the new State, instead of waiting to base firmly its achievement and lay the foundations of the national unity deep and strong, proceeded at once to overshoot its immediate necessity and embark on a career of conquest.  Before the psychological roots of the national unity had been driven deep, before the nation was firmly self-conscious, irresistibly possessed of its oneness and invincibly attached to it, the governing State impelled by the military impulsion which had carried it so far attempted immediately to form by the same means a larger empire-aggregate.”

A number of examples in history bear out the eventual weakness of this attempt:  “Assyria, Macedon, Rome, Persia, later on Arabia followed all the same tendency and the same cycle.  The great invasion of Europe and Western Asia by the Gaelic race and the subsequent disunion and decline of Gaul were probably due to the same phenomenon and proceeded from a still more immature and ill-formed unification than the Macedonian.  All became the starting-point of great empire-movements before they had become the keystone of securely built national unities.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pp. 94-95

Factors in the Development Beyond the Smallest Societal Units

The smallest societal groupings were families and clans, consisting of individuals sharing a common ancestry, language, culture and customs.  As the groupings expanded in size, they incorporated extended families and close neighbors, again sharing customs, language and experience.  As these distinct small groups shared a local geographic area with other groups, inevitably interaction occurred, sometimes through rivalry or battle, frequently through intermarriage, and many times through mutual defense, there grew up a commonality of culture, language and custom in an expanded area among various small groups, which provided a foundation for the development of political and economic unities to naturally evolve.  These groups found they had a common self-interest, in addition to their shared language and cultural backgrounds,  in finding ways to join together.  At the same time, the proximity also tended in many instances to accentuate small differences among those with a common general background.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Thus Greece, Italy, Gaul, Egypt, China, Medo-Persia, India, Arabia, Israel, all began with a loose cultural and geographical aggregation which made them separate and distinct culture-units before they could become nation-units.  Within that loose unity the tribe, clan or city or regional states formed in the vague mass so many points of distinct, vigorous and compact unity which felt indeed more and more powerfully the divergence and opposition of their larger cultural oneness to the outside world but could feel also and often much more nearly and acutely their own divergences, contrasts and oppositions.  Where this sense of local distinctness was most acute, there the problem of national unification was necessarily more difficult and its solution, when made, tended to be more illusory.”

 

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 12, The Ancient Cycle of Prenational Empire-Building–The Modern Cycle of Nation-Building, pg. 94