Humanity tends to fixate its attention on the way things have been done in the past. Change, however, can only take place when humanity breaks out of the ruts of the past and attempts some new direction. Historically, human groupings have taken on new size and complexity through local competition and cooperation, and in the larger groupings very much as a result of conquest and imperial development. The largest groupings, spanning a number of different nations, peoples and cultures, were the result of empire-building, whether it was that of Alexander and his Macedonians consolidating the lands of Persia and the Middle East all the way up to India; or the Roman Empire consolidating peoples across Europe and the Middle East; or more recently the Moghul Empire which conquered much of India, the Russian Empire which consolidated northern Europe and northern Asia in one immense entity, or the British Empire and its world-wide control of colonies through the power of her navy. It is thus not simple to imagine that larger consolidation of humanity into a unified whole can take place through a process other than imperialistic domination and control.
Sri Aurobindo brings us another vision. It is said that the vision is the precursor of the act. Thus, humanity has the opportunity to adopt a more harmonious and positive way forward that relies on the higher capacities of humanity rather than on brute force. Some pressure of imperialistic action may be present at various stages, but eventually they must give way.
“For the final end is a common world-culture in which each national culture should be, not merged into or fused with some other culture differing from it in principle or temperament, but evolved to its full power and could then profit to that end by all the others as as give its gains and influences to them, all serving by their separateness and their interaction the common aim and idea of human perfection. This would best be served, not by separateness and isolation, of which there would be no danger, but yet by a certain distinctness and independence of life not subordinated to the mechanising force of an artificial unity. Even within the independent nation itself, there might be with advantage a tendency towards greater local freedom of development and variation, a sort of return to the vivid local and regional life of ancient Greece and India and mediaeval Italy; for the disadvantages of strife, political weakness and precariousness of the nation’s independence would no longer exist in a condition of things from which the old terms of physical conflict had been excluded, while all the cultural and psychological advantages might be recovered. A world secure of its peace and freedom might freely devote itself to the intensification of its real human powers of life by the full encouragement and flowering of the individual, local, regional, national mind and power in the firm frame of a united humanity.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 31, The Conditions of a Free World-Union, pg. 275