A Potential Direction for Development of a World-State

Sri Aurobindo explores various potential directions toward which the evolution of a larger societal aggregate for humanity could develop.  The first of these he identifies would involve the growth of several large imperial units along somewhat natural cultural or geographic lines.  The consolidation of hundreds of national units, all competing with one another, into several larger aggregates could act as a simplification and an intermediate step towards a single world government.

“Although unrealisable with the present strength of national egoisms, the growth of ideas and the force of changing circumstances might some day bring about such a creation and this might lead to a closer confederacy.  America seems to be turning dimly towards a better understanding between the increasingly cosmopolitan United States and the Latin republics of Central and South America which may in certain contingencies materialise itself into a confederate inter-American State.  The idea of a confederate Teutonic empire, if Germany and Austria had not been entirely broken by the result of the war, might well have realised itself in the near future; and even though they are now broken it might still realise itself in a more distant future.  Similar aggregates may emerge in the Asiatic world.  Such a distribution of mankind in large natural aggregates would have the advantage of simplifying a number of difficult world-problems and with the growth of peace, mutual understanding and larger ideas might lead to a comparatively painless aggregation in a World-State.”

We can see, in the aftermath of World War II, that large blocs formed which began to take on something of the appearance of the type of imperial or federal structures described here, not all of which, however, have survived intact to this day.  The development of the Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth of Nations, the rise of the European Union, and the strong global reach of the United States and subordinated or aligned powers, along with the rise of China as a world-power, all represent the kind of influential larger aggregations which would fit the description.

This is not to say that this direction will eventually win out, nor that it will turn out to be a benign event if it does.  George Orwell, for instance, posited the existence of three world-encircling empires constantly at war with one another and changing their alliances in his dystopic vision 1984.  Additionally, it was not possible, in the early years of the 20th Century, to foresee the development of technology that would allow the kind of global communication, and manipulation of people and economic forces that has in fact subsequently developed.  The impact of massive computers, mass media, the internet, multi-national corporations and their ability to impact the world-economy,  and the  development of psychological means of manipulation on a mass scale have vastly increased the potential for abuse and misuse of that power.

This direction remains as a possibility, yet it is not the only possible direction.  At the same time, the increasingly urgent needs of common action to forestall the possibilities of a world-cataclysm, climate change impacts, and global pandemics will require some form of international cooperation and coordination far beyond what we currently can envision.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 15, Some Lines of Fulfilment, pp. 131-132

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