Exploring the Development of Real Unities That Exceed the Nation Unit

While we observe that the nation appears in most instances to be a stable form of societal organisation, and that the empire has thus far failed to produce a form that is stable over the long term, it is nevertheless true that if humanity is to achieve a greater formation of human unity, a way must be found either to overpass the nation with a larger form that can succeed while supporting the growth and development of the individual, or to integrate the nation into a wider unity that both harmonises the different nations together while accepting the basic elements of the nation and the needs of the individuals within those nations.   That this is an intended purpose of Nature in evolution can be inferred from the repeated attempts to surpass the nation with the imperial form through human history.  While those past attempts generally failed and broke apart, the repeated and varied attempts represent a striving to achieve that tends to signal a future development that will be able to learn from the experience of the past to achieve the intended result in the future.  This is not to imply that the empire is the actual future form, and during the 20th Century we observed the rise of another potential solution, namely the confederation of independent nation states into a cooperative relationship, first with the failed attempt of the League of Nations, and then later, a renewed attempt which remains active (although also imperfect) today in the United Nations.

Sri Aurobindo observes, in relation to the idea that the empire could replace the nation as the eventual unit for a greater human unity:  “The mere fact that at present not the empire, but the nation is the vital unity can be no bar to a future reversal of the relations.  Obviously, in order that they may be reversed the empire must cease to be a mere political and become rather a psychological entity.”

“Nature has long been in travail of the imperial grouping, long casting about to give it a greater force of permanence, and the emergence of the conscious imperial ideal all over the earth and its attempts, thought still crude, violent and blundering, to substitute itself for the national, may not irrationally be taken as the precursory sign of one of those rapid leaps and transitions by which she so often accomplishes what she has long been gradually and tentatively preparing.”

“Two different ideals and therefore two different possibilities were precipitated much nearer to realisation by the European conflict (n.b. 1st World War);– a federation of free nations and, on the other hand, the distribution of the earth into a few great empires or imperial hegemonies.  A practical combination of the two ideas became the most tangible possibility of the not distant future.  It is necessary to pause and consider whether, one element of this possible combination being already a living unit, the other also could not under certain circumstances be converted into a living unit and the combination, if realised, made the foundation of an enduring new order of things.  Otherwise it could be no more than a transient device without any possibility of a stable permanence.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 5, Nation and Empire: Real and Political Unities, pp. 40-41

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