World-Empire by a Predominant Nation is Unlikely to Succeed in the Modern World

Nature continues to strive to find a way to unify humanity in a supra-national formation; however, the concept of a nation gaining such ascendancy in the modern world as to create a world-empire is less likely as an outcome.  It does not appear to be the intention of Nature to recreate the conditions such as those enjoyed by the Roman Empire, that could lead to such an event.

Such an empire would require not only an overwhelming military dominance, but also a technological and economic power that could essentially dictate the terms of relationship to the rest of the world.  There are however multiple power bases in the world today which would tend to offset or challenge the dominance of any one nation.

Sri Aurobindo notes that it would take some unparalleled progress in a technological direction to even provide the potential for such a result:  “For success, therefore, we should have to suppose the development by the ambitious nation or empire of a new science or new discoveries not shared by the rest which would place it in something like the position of superiority over greater numbers which Cortez and Pizarro enjoyed over the Aztecs and Peruvians.  The superiority of discipline and organisation which gave the advantage to the ancient Romans or to the Europeans in India is no longer sufficient for so vast a purpose.”

Sri Aurobindo acknowledges that some concatenation of events may actually create the ripe conditions for the rise of such a world-empire, but he points out that such a step will not only be difficult in the extreme, but also face the instability of conditions of the modern world:  “But even if it were to come about, the empire so created would have so many forces to contend with that its maintenance would be more difficult than its creation, and either its early collapse would bring the whole problem again into the field for a better solution or else it would have, by stripping itself of the elements of force and domination which inspired its attempt, to contradict the essential aim of its great effort.”

“At present we may say that if the gradual unification of the world by the growth of great heterogeneous empires forming true psychological unities is only a vague and nascent possibility, its unification by a single forceful imperial domination has passed or is passing out of the range of possibilities and can only come about by a new development of the unexpected out of the infinite surprises of Nature.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 9, The Possibility of a World-Empire, pp. 70-73

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