For much of human history, people lived in ignorance of others living far away, and even those who lived nearby were frequently little impacted by the actions of one group or another, setting aside, of course, the active attempt to control or subjugate neighboring groups through invasion and warfare. The consciousness of humanity was clearly fragmented and divided and did not consciously identify all human beings as being inter-dependent and inter-connected. The age of exploration, during which Europeans went out and tried to understand the planet, the oceans and land masses, and the peoples who resided in those various places, represented a first real awakening to the global scope of humanity and began the process of bringing people together, albeit for a long period of time in a decidedly negative manner of exploitation and domination. During the 20th century, however, a deeper consciousness began to express itself, as the tools of communication, transportation and interchange became powerful enough to bring awareness of one another to people all over the world, and in the late 20th century, a larger awareness was brought forward that the actions of human beings could and did affect the environment, climate, and the earth as a whole, thus making it obvious that all humanity was tied together in an interrelationship with each other and the environment. Science has also gone on to determine that all human beings are in fact descended from one species and thus, we are all one with each other in a very real and vital way in addition to our common needs, and requirements for a life-supporting world.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “…the natural organic unity already exists, a unity of life, of involuntary association, of a closely interdependent existence of the constituent parts in which the life and movements of one affect the life of the others in a way which would have been impossible a hundred years ago. Continent has no longer a separate life from continent; no nation can any longer isolate itself at will and live a separate existence. Science, commerce and rapid communications have produced a state of things in which the disparate masses of humanity, once living to themselves, have been drawn together by a process of subtle unification into a single mass which has already a common vital and is rapidly forming a common mental existence. A great precipitating and transforming shock was needed which should make this subtle organic unity manifest and reveal the necessity and create the will for a closer and organised union, and this shock came with the Great War. The idea of a World-State or world-union has been born not only in the speculating forecasting mind of the thinker, but in the consciousness of humanity out of the very necessity of this new common existence.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 22, World-Union or World-State, pg. 193