The First Glimmerings of the Ideal of Human Unity as a Future Reality for Humanity

Following the general process of Nature identified by Sri Aurobindo, we can identify the first, somewhat vague and amorphous, stirrings of the ideal of human unity and even the first sense of this being a real need that should find a way to work itself out.  Certainly the current organisation of the world’s nations, the political and economic stresses and the inherent narrow view of national rather than global interest shows us that the full expression of this ideal has not yet found either a favorable soil, nor a proper time for its realisation.  Yet the experience of several world wars, the nuclear crisis that overshadowed the “cold war” and the increasing pressure of climate change, environmental degradation and population growth coupled with the past control mechanisms which created vastly unequal access to the world’s resources, has begun to create a dynamic that will inevitably bring about changes that move humanity in the direction of unity.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “There cannot as yet be even a real external unity, far less a psychological oneness.  …  It came to be recognised that it contains in itself some force of eventual reality, and the voice of those who would cry it down as the pet notion of intellectual cranks and faddists had no longer the same volume and confidence, because it was no longer so solidly supported by the common sense of the average man, that short-sighted common sense of the material mind which consists in a strong feeling for immediate actualities and an entire blindness to the possibilities of the future.  But there has as yet been no long intellectual preparation of a more and more dominant thought cast out by the intellectuals of the age to remould the ideas of comman men, nor has there been any such gathering to a head of the growing revolt against present conditions as would make it possible for vast masses of men seized by the passion for an ideal and by the hope of a new happiness for mankind to break up the present basis of things and construct a new scheme of collective life. … No great effective outburst of a massed and dynamic idealism in this direction can be reasonably predicted.  The preparation may have begun, it may have been greatly facilitated and hastened by recent events, but it is still only in its first stages.”

It may be noted that humanity tends to respond to the pressure of events and needs.  We see in the world today an ever-increasing pressure of income inequality, resource limitations, and the changes taking place in the environment which are compounded by fast growing population, and an increasingly powerful technology welding all humanity into a global village of sorts.   The pressure of these forces brings about conflict over resources, mass migrations, and corresponding reactions.  As the pressure increases, the only real solution eventually can only be more and deeper cooperation and understanding.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 14, The Possibility of a First Step towards International Unity – Its Enormous Difficulties, pp. 114-115