Alternatives to the Centralised Control of a World-State

While the unification of humanity is inevitable, and the power of the World-State idea based on principles of external organisation and efficiency is predominant, it is not absolutely certain that this idea will eventually control human development, as there can be alternative directions taken, particularly if the principle underlying the great civilisations of Asia is able to gain momentum as a solution to the need for unification.  While the concept of the “nation” developed in the West and, through its efforts at colonial empire-building, and the World Wars that Western civilisation thrust upon the entire world,  was able to disseminate itself across the world, it is still possible that Asia may find a different path forward that could bring about unity without the centralisation and uniformity of a monolithic World-State.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “This result can only be avoided if an opposite force interposes and puts in its veto, as happened in Asia where the State idea, although strongly affirmed within its limits, could never go in its realisation beyond a certain point, because the fundamental principle of the national life was opposed to its full intolerant development.  The races of Asia, even the most organised, have always been peoples rather than nations in the modern sense.  Or they were nations only in the sense of having a common soul-life, a common culture, a common social organisation, a common political head, but not nation-States.  The State machine existed only for a restricted and superficial action; the real life of the people was determined by other powers with which it could not meddle.  Its principle function was to preserve and protect the national culture and to maintain sufficient political, social and administrative order — as far as possible an immutable order — for the real life of the people to function undisturbed in its own way and according to its own innate tendencies.  Some such unity for the human race is possible in the place of an organised World-State, if the nations of mankind succeed in preserving their developed instinct of nationalism intact and strong enough to resist the domination of the State idea.  The result would then be not a single nation of mankind and a World-State, but a single human people with a free association of its nation-units.  Or, it may be, the nation as we know it might disappear, but there would be some other new kind of group-units, assured by some sufficient machinery of international order in the peaceful and natural functioning of their social, economic and cultural relations.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 27, The Peril of the World-State, pg.  236