Risks Attendant on the Development of Larger Aggregates of Human Society

There is a consistent pressure on humanity to develop larger groupings of humanity.  Family, tribe, community, village, urban center and state or province have all been shown to lack the ability to address the issues of a global community quickly taxing the resources and regeneration capabilities of the planet with an ever-growing population.  We have thus seen the rise of the nation, and the empire, as humanity seeks the right formula for achieving a larger unity that works.  Each of these forms, however, has shown that it has both advantages and disadvantages, as the complexity of bringing together larger masses of people, stemming from in some cases vastly different cultural, religious or philosophical backgrounds, and living within a political or economic framework that has grown up in their unique circumstances and now must be meshed into some new form.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “…let us remember at what cost humanity has gained the larger unities it has already achieved in the past.  The immediate past has actually created for us the nation, the natural homogeneous empire of nations kin in race and culture or united by geographical necessity and mutual attractions, and the artificial heterogeneous empire secured by conquest, maintained by force, by yoke of law, by commercial and military colonisation, but not yet welded into true psychological unities.  Each of these principles of aggregation has given some actual gain or some possibility of progress to mankind at large, but each has brought with it its temporary or inherent disadvantages and inflicted some wound on the complete human ideal.”

The attempts of the past represent tests that have not completely solved the need to balance unity with diversity, or order with liberty.  It is not sufficient to impose an external order on humanity without finding the key to the psychological unity that will allow peace, coexistence, prosperity and harmony for the individuals as well as the smaller groupings that have a natural affinity working for them.   While human unity is the goal, uniformity is not the answer.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part I, Chapter 11, The Small Free Unit and the Larger Concentrated Unity, pg. 87