Three Difficulties for the Unification of Mankind

When we reflect on the question of human unity, we can recognize that there is no simple or perfect solution yet visible to us.  We view the existing forms of collectivity, and see both the benefits and the limitations of each successively larger formation.  In today’s world, we see the political and economic life of humanity managed through a series of interacting nations.  Within each nation there are smaller, more local forms of collectivity–states, counties, districts, municipalities, precincts, etc.  In many cases, these nations consist of a relatively uniform citizenry of homogeneous cultural or ethnic groups, although there are clearly examples where a heterogeneous citizenry is in evidence.  Taking this complexity as the basis, Sri Aurobindo identifies three issues that must be resolved in order to achieve the eventual unification of the largest grouping, the unity of all of humanity.

Sri Aurobindo first observes:  “There is the doubt whether the collective egoisms of humanity can at this time be sufficiently modified or abolished and whether even an external unity in some effective form can be securely established.  And there is the doubt whether, even if any such external unity can be established, it will not be at the price of crushing both the free life of the individual and the free play of the various collective units already created in which there is a real and active life and substituting a State organisation which will mechanise human existence.  Apart from these two uncertainties there is a third doubt whether a really living unity can be achieved by a mere economic, political and administrative unification and whether it ought not to be preceded by at least the strong beginnings of a moral and spiritual oneness.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 5, Nation and Empire: Real and Political Unities, pg. 34

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