The Ideal of a Living Oneness of Humanity With Freedom and Diversity

The mental consciousness tries to bring about unity through imposition of a common rule for all humanity, through the development of uniformity.  The idea is that if people eat the same foods, wear the same clothes, think the same thoughts, practice the same religion, speak the same language, there will be efficiency in the organisation of the society and peace for mankind.  In this line of thinking, diversity is to be avoided as a force for disharmony and conflict.  Various experiments with imperial rule throughout history have tried to impose peace through uniformity to a certain degree.  Those that succeeded the most, however, tended to bring about a stagnation of human spirit and development, and eventually, having lost the well-springs of progress and development, they were doomed to decline and disintegration.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “The disappearance of national variation into a single uniform human unity, of which the systematic thinker dreams as an ideal and which we have seen to be a substantial possibility and even a likelihood if a certain tendency becomes dominant, might lead to political peace, economic well-being, perfect administration, the solution of a hundred material problems, as did on a lesser scale the Roman unity in old times; but to what eventual good if it leads also to an uncreative sterilisation of the mind and the stagnation of the soul of the race?  In laying this stress on culture, on the things of the mind and the spirit there need be no intention of undervaluing the outward material side of life; it is not at all my purpose to belittle that to which Nature always attaches so insistent an importance.  On the contrary, the inner and the outer depend upon each other.  For we see that in the life of a nation a great period of national culture and vigorous mental and soul life is always part of a general stirring and movement which has its counterpart in the outward political, economic and practical life of the nation.  The cultural brings about or increases the material progress but also it needs it that it may itself flourish with an entirely full and healthy vigour.  The peace, well-being and settled order of the human world is a thing eminently to be desired as a basis for a great world-culture in which all humanity must be united; but neither of these unities, the outward or the inward, ought to be devoid of an element even more important than peace, order and well-being, — freedom and vigour of life, which can only be assured by variation and by the freedom of the group and of the individual.  Not then an uniform unity, not a logically simple, a scientifically rigid, a beautifully neat and mechanical sameness, but a living oneness full of healthy freedom and variation is the ideal which we should keep in view and strive to get realised in man’s future.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 28, Diversity in Oneness, pp. 249-250

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