The Direction and Challenges Facing the Move Towards Human Unity

There is a persistent pressure for humanity to find a way to collaborate and work together to address issues common to all.  This pressure continues to increase, and the advent of air travel, instantaneous world-wide communication, internet, and broadcast media brings people everywhere together in a way which could not be imagined even 100 or 150 years ago.  At the same time, the unintended consequences of the industrial revolution, including the manufacturing that takes place in the digital age, has created serious issues for the world’s climate, and has built up toxic pollutants in the air, water and land at levels that are clearly impacting the health and well-being of not just all of humanity but of many species of insects, plants and animals.  The issues of population growth and unequal access to food, water and other resources are creating enormous pressures throughout the world.  We are facing a species extinction rate that has not been seen since the time of the last major cataclysms that brought about the prior ice age.  We may then add to this the technological impacts that can devastate vast swaths of humanity through nuclear war (or major nuclear accidents), bio-warfare, as well as other weapons developed as humanity has advanced its technological prowess, without concurrently finding a way to address the forces of greed, prejudice and self-righteousness that fuel division, warfare and hatred among people.

Humanity tends to make progress on the moral and spiritual level when it is challenged, as it is being challenged today.  Therefore we see the signs of development of larger groupings, including regional or continental unions, trade treaties, and the United Nations and its subordinate agencies, all working toward bridging gulfs between people and starting to address the world-level issues that confront everyone.  These are political, economic and outer organisational methods which align with Nature’s process while we have yet to see the true psychological unity fully emerge, although leading voices around the world are working to take down barriers and find common ground with people who practice different religions, and who may have different economic and political systems.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “After sounding as thoroughly as our lights permit the possibility of a political and administrative unification of mankind by political and economic motives and through purely political and administrative means, it has been concluded that it is not only possible, but that the thoughts and tendencies of mankind and the result of current events and existing forces and necessities have turned decisively in this direction.  This is one of the dominant drifts which the World-Nature has thrown up in the flow of human development and it is the logical consequence of the past history of mankind and of our present circumstances.  At the same time nothing justifies us in predicting its painless or rapid development or even its sure and eventual success.”

“We have concluded that the one line it is not likely to take is the ideal, that which justice and the highest expediency and the best thought of mankind demand, that which would ensure it the greatest possibility of an enduring success.  It is not likely to take perfectly, until a probably much later period of our collective evolution, the form of a federation of free and equal nations or adopt as its motive a perfect harmony between the contending principles of nationalism and internationalism.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part One, Chapter 16, The Problem of Uniformity and Liberty, pg. 135

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