Addressing Centrifugal Forces Impacting the Direction and Drive Towards Human Unity

There are centripetal forces which are bringing humanity closer together and beginning to forge the concept of the oneness of the human race as a unifying factor of all peoples and nationalities.  At the same time, there are the centrifugal forces which tend to pull apart the bonds that hold humanity together as one–forces that include various forms of self-interest, as well as differences of language, culture, tradition, religion, economic system, geographical divisions etc.  A unity founded on the amalgamation of these outer differences into a patchwork whole of some sort is bound to be faced by stresses that will tend to dissolve those bonds over time as circumstances change or arise.  The “glue” in the movement towards human unity has to be the recognition that despite all superficial differences, all human beings are one, are bound together into a complex biosphere and ecosphere, and must find common solutions to what are now global issues.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “…since this is a much looser unity, what would prevent the spirit of separativeness and the causes of clash and difference from surviving in so powerful a form as to endanger the endurance of the larger principle of oneness, — even if that spirit and those causes at all allowed it to reach some kind of sufficient fulfilment?  The unitarian ideal, on the contrary, seeks to efface these opposite tendencies in their forms and even in their root cause and by so doing would seem to ensure an enduring union.  But it may be pointed out in answer that, if it is by political ideas and machinery, under the pressure of the political and economic spirit that the unity is brought about, that is to say, by the idea and experience of the material advantages, conveniences, well-being secured by unification, then the unitarian system also could not be sure of durability.  For in the constant mutability of the human mind and earthly circumstances, as long as life is active, new ideas and changes are inevitable.  The suppressed desire to recover the lost element of variability, separateness, independent living might well take advantage of them for what would then be considered as a wholesome and necessary reaction.  The lifeless unity accomplished would dissolve from the pressure of the need of life within, as the Roman unity dissolved by its lifelessness in helpless response to a pressure from without, and once again local, regional, national egoism would reconstitute for itself fresh forms and new centres.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 31, The Conditions of a Free World-Union, pp. 276-277

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