Issues and Factors in the Potential Development of a World-State

Sri Aurobindo is systematically exploring the various directions humanity could take in any development towards human unity.  Some of the options may be more feasible than others, and at the same time, may represent downside risks that many would shudder to find coming true.  At the end of the examination of the various options, he can then propose a potential line of solution to achieve an optimal result.  The first direction he explores here is the idea of a “world-state”.

“But a World-State implies a strong central organ of power that would represent or at least stand for the united will of the nations.  A unification of all the necessary powers in the hands of this central and common governing body, at least in their source — powers military, administrative, judicial, economic, legislative, social, educational — would be indispensable.  And as an almost inevitable result there would be an increasing uniformity of human life throughout the world in all these departments, even perhaps to the choice or creation of one common and universal language.  This, indeed, is the dream of a unified world which Utopian thinkers have been more and more moved to place before us.  The difficulties in the way of arriving at this result are at present obvious, but they are perhaps not so great as they seem at first sight and none of them are insoluble.  It is no longer a Utopia that can be put aside as the impracticable dream of the ideal thinker.”

Of course, it must be added that it is idealists who foresee benefits in such a World-State, by virtue of their disregarding, or minimizing,  the opportunity for negative consequences.  Dystopian writers, such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell explored the potential dark consequences of world-power being concentrated in just one or a few places in the world.  It is useful to keep in mind that the efficiency and benefits of a unified system nevertheless have to be weighed against the increase of uniformity and the concentration of power that would simultaneously occur.

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 23, Forms of Government, pp. 195-196