Diversity in Unity: An Essential Principle of Nature

Sri Aurobindo examines the processes of Nature to identify certain principles or natural laws by which Nature carries out its secret intentions.  “She starts from the visible manifestation of the one and the many, from the totality and its constituent units and creates intermediary unities between the two without which there can be no full development either of the totality or of the units.”

He identifies this principle in the creation of “…the three terms of genus, species and individual.”   The evolutionary stage of the animal creation does not go beyond this, but when Nature reaches the human stage of development, the pressure increases to find and develop the unity of all subgroups and individuals of humanity.  “Man’s communities are formed not so much by the instinctive herding together of a number of individuals of the same genus  or species as by local association, community of interests and community of ideas; and these limits tend always to be overcome in the widening of human thoughts and sympathies brought about by the closer intermingling of races, nations, interests, ideas, cultures.”

He observes, however, that the increasing force of unity at the level of the totality does not mean the obliteration of the separate sub-groupings of humanity and their role to create diversity and the resultant developmental process achieved through the inter-relationships of these separate sub-groups.  “Therefore it would seem that the ideal or ultimate aim of Nature must be to develop the individual and all individuals to their full capacity, to develop the community and all communities to the full expression of that many-sided existence and potentiality which their differences were created to express, and to evolve the united life of mankind to its full common capacity and satisfaction, not by suppression of the fullness of life of the individual or the smaller commonality, but by full advantage taken of the diversity which they develop.  This would seem the soundest way to increase the total riches of mankind and throw them into a fund of common possession and enjoyment.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 17, Nature’s Law in our Progress — Unity in Diversity, Law and Liberty, pp. 151-152