The Need for Humanity to Unify in its Inner Soul Not Just its Outward Life and Body

Throughout history, mankind has attempted to create larger socio-economic units with external means, whether through conquest, economic domination or through some type of political system or form of amalgamation derived through mutual consent of some sort.  Such formations, however, have, at some point, broken down and disintegrated.  The experiment gave humanity the opportunity to test various forms of unity and discover both their strengths and their weaknesses.  One of the more recent experiments, that of the formation of the United States, has had its serious limitations.  The attempt was made to develop a Constitution that would provide checks and balances to prevent one small group from gaining absolute power and thereby re-creating the form of monarchy or empire, both of which the founders were trying to avoid.  After a little more than 200 years, however, the changes wrought by technology, economic changes, and external pressures in the world have brought the governmental system devised by the founders to a state of near paralysis in many ways, and the advent of mass media and corporatism have subverted the checks and balances.  We may learn from this the lesson that attempting to bring about human unity through external political, economic and military means, is likely doomed to failure, and even if such a unity were to arise, it would tend to suppress individual growth, lead to stagnation and eventual collapse under its own weight.

Sri Aurobindo elaborates:  “It is therefore quite improbable that in the present conditions of the race a healthy unity of mankind can be brought about by State machinery, whether it be by a grouping of powerful and organised States enjoying carefully regulated and legalised relations with each other or by the substitution of a single World-State for the present half chaotic half ordered comity of nations,– be the form of that World-State a single empire like the Roman or a federated unity.  Such an external or administrative unity may be intended in the near future of mankind in order to accustom the race to the idea of a common life, to its habit, to its possibility, but it cannot be really healthy, durable or beneficial over all the true line of human destiny unless something be developed more profound, internal and real.  Otherwise the experience of the ancient world will be repeated on a larger scale and in other circumstances.  The experiment will break down and give place to a new reconstructive age of confusion and anarchy.  Perhaps this experience also is necessary for mankind; yet it ought to be possible for us now to avoid it by subordinating mechanical means to our true development through a moralised and even a spiritualised humanity united in its inner soul and not only in its outward life and body.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 4, The Inadequacy of the State Idea, pp. 32-33