The Difficult and Convoluted Movement Towards Human Unity

Idealists like to fantasize about the eventual goal of human unity and how humanity, by adhering to the highest principles and values will adopt the ultimate ideal solution.  Legends from the past relate stories of how great minds developed basic rules for living which became the guiding lights under which entire societies were founded.  Unfortunately, these may be nothing more than legends, or at best, partial truths obscured in the difficulties they faced through the passage of time.  The reality is that humanity tends to evolve in what may be called the messy process of trial and error, progress and retrogression, action and reaction, and this tends to obscure, on the other side, the real positive movement being made through all this constant churning and confusion.

Sri Aurobindo observes, with regard to the process of human development towards unity:  “Attempted, as it will be, in very different fashion according to the desires, passions and interests of great masses of men and guided by no better light than the half-enlightened reason of the world’s intellectuals and the empirical opportunism of the world’s statesmen and politicians, it is likely to be done by a succession of confused experiments, recoils and returns, resistances and persistences; it will progress in spite of human unreason in the midst of a clamour of rival ideas and interests, stumble through a war of principles, advance by a clash of vehement parties ending in more or less clumsy compromises.  It may even, as we have said, be managed in the most unideal, though not the most inconvenient method of all, by a certain amount of violence, the domination of a few vast and powerful empires or even the emergence of a single predominant world-empire, a king-state that will be accepted or will impose itself as the arbiter, if not the ruler of mankind.  Not any intelligent principle, but necessity and convenience, not urgent light, but urgent power is likely to be the effective force in any political, administrative and economic unification of the race.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 18, The Ideal Solution — A Free Grouping of Mankind, pg. 157