The Vital Man Does Not Recognise the Need for International Unity

The question of human unity is an abstraction for most people.  It does not have the compelling force of addressing personal or family needs for food, shelter, health care and an affordable circumstance of life.   People are mainly concerned with how issues affect them personally, and the issues that push humanity towards unity are much more remote, and in some cases, issues that only will impinge directly in any major way on future generations.  The fear of global climate change and the implications of that for the future, as also concerns about global pandemics, mass migrations caused by war, societal instability due to unequal access to necessary life resources, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, all concerns which are very much in the conscious awareness of those who are seeking a solution to achieve world unity, are unfortunately very much out of mind for the vast mass of humanity.  Of course, if an event impacts an individual directly, such as exposure to a deadly disease vector, or facing the dislocations caused by mass migration, then it becomes important, but only to the extent that some kind of mitigating response can be achieved in the near term.

Sri Aurobindo observes, with respect to the development of international unity:  “What is the compelling necessity behind it?  If we look at outward things only, the necessity is much less direct and much less compelling than any that preceded it.  There is here no vital necessity; mankind as a whole can get on well enough without international unity, so far as mere living goes; it will not be at all a perfect, rational or ideal collective living of the race, — but after all where is there yet any element in human life or society which is perfect, rational or ideal?  As yet at least, none; still we get on somehow with life, because the vital man in us, who is the dominant element in our instincts and in our actions, cares for none of these things and is quite satisfied with any just tolerable or any precariously or partly agreeable form of living, because that is all to which he is accustomed and all therefore that he feels to be necessary.  The men who are not satisfied, the thinkers, the idealists, are always a minority and in the end an ineffectual minority, because though always in the end they do get their way partly, their victory yet turns into a defeat; for the vital man remains still the majority and degrades the apparent success into a pitiful parody of their rational hope, their clear-sighted ideal or their strong counsel of perfection.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 33, Internationalism and Human Unity, pp. 285-286