A Potential Model for the Unity of the Human Race

Sri Aurobindo explores the possibilities of a wider supra-national unity existing between diverse cultures such as existed between Britain and India in the early to mid-part of the 20th Century.  While acknowledging the obstacles to such a successful development, he utilizes the possibility as a way to explore the eventual movement towards the unity of the entire human race.  The goal would be to find a method to allow multiple cultures and lifeways to coexist while working together on the organisation of the physical, commercial and political structures needed by all people to live in harmony with each other and within the resource capabilities of Nature.

“The possibilities might be, first, a firm political unity secured by common interests; secondly, a sound commercial interchange and mutual industrial helpfulness on healthy lines; thirdly, a new cultural relation of the two most important sections of humanity, Europe and Asia, in which they could exchange all that is great and valuable in either as equal members of one human household; and finally, it might be hoped, in place of the common past associations of political and economic development and military glory which have chiefly helped in building up the nation-unit, the greater glory of association and close partnership in the building of a new, rich and various culture for the life of a nobler humanity.  For such, surely, should be the type of the supra-national unit which is the possible next step in the progressive aggregation of humanity.”

“It is evident that this next step would have no reason or value except as a stage which would make possible by practical demonstration and the creation of new habits of sentiment, mental attitude and common life the unity of the whole human race in a single family.  The mere creation of a big empire-unit would be a vulgar and even reactionary phenomenon if it had not this greater issue beyond it.”

“If at all, therefore, this kind of development is destined, … then it must be as such a half-way house and with this ideal before us that ti can be accepted by the lovers of humanity who are not bound by the limitations of the old local patriotism of nation against nation.  Always provided that the political and administrative means are those which are to lead us to the unity of the human race….”

“This much could be said for it that if such a combination of two so disparate peoples and cultures proved to be possible, the greater question of a world-union would begin to bear a less remote appearance.”

This possible outcome of the breakup of the British Empire and the independence of India and Pakistan, obviously did not come about.  Sri Aurobindo had noted the unlikely character of this option, but he clearly points out the direction and goal of Nature towards the larger aggregation that will bring about a true world-union based on mutual respect and equality.


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 8, The Problem of a Federated Heterogeneous Empire, pp. 65-66