Over the long progression of human history, people have joined together into a series of collective social groupings, from the family, to the clan, the tribe, the town or village, the city, and the state. Eventually the nation developed which had the size, the “critical mass” so to speak, to provide for the citizens effectively in their basic needs and general safety requirements, while also having sufficient homogeneity to hold together under pressure. (note: these statements are intended as generalities and are not intended to speak to every conceivable case or circumstance throughout history). Larger groupings have, of course, been attempted, such as empires, or religious spheres of influence, yet they have generally weakened over time and dissolved back to the stable nation basis. When we look to the idea of the unity of the entire human race, it is essential that we take note of the natural and solid foundation provided by the nation form, even as we look toward the development of potentially larger organic unities in the future.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “Thus the nation is a persistent psychological unit which Nature has been busy developing throughout the world in the most various forms and educating into physical and political unity. Political unity is not the essential factor; it may not yet be realised and yet the nation persists and moves inevitably towards its realisation; it may be destroyed and yet the nation persists and travails and suffers but refuses to be annihilated.”
“All modern attempts to destroy by force or break up a nation are foolish and futile, because they ignore this law of the natural evolution. Empires are still perishable political units; the nation is immortal. And so it will remain until a greater living unit can be found into which the nation idea can merge in obedience to a superior attraction.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 5, Nation and Empire: Real and Political Unities, pp. 39-40