Limitations of the Primary Potential Forms for World Unity

While there is clearly a need for human unity, the forms that seem most likely to manifest each have their own limitations and objections.  These limitations arise from the way humanity tends to organise itself and build societal institutions and the inability of those institutions to balance the need for process and method with the requirement for human individuality and freedom.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “A centralised World-State would signify the triumph of the idea of mechanical unity or rather of uniformity.  It would inevitably mean the undue depression of an indispensable element in the vigour of human life and progress, the free life of the individual, the free variation of the peoples.  It must end, if it becomes permanent and fulfils all its tendencies, either in a death in life, a stagnation, or by the insurgence of some new saving but revolutionary force or principle which would shatter the whole fabric into pieces.  The mechanical tendency is one to which the logical reason of man, itself a precise machine, is easily addicted and its operations are obviously the easiest to manage and the most ready to hand; its full evolution may seem to the reason desirable, necessary, inevitable, but its end is predestined.”

“A centralised socialistic State may be a necessity of the future, once it is founded, but a reaction from it will be equally an eventual necessity of the future.  The greater its pressure, the more certainly will it be met by the spread of the spiritual, the intellectual, the vital and practical principle of Anarchism in revolt against that mechanical pressure.  So, too, a centralised mechanical World-State must rouse in the end a similar force against it and might well terminate in a crumbling up and disintegration, even in the necessity for a repetition of the cycle of humanity ending in a better attempt to solve the problem.  It could be kept in being only if humanity agreed to allow all the rest of its life to be regularised for it for the sake of peace and stability and took refuge for its individual freedom in the spiritual life, as happened once under the Roman Empire.  But even that would be only a temporary solution.”

“A federal system also would tend inevitably to establish one general type for human life, institutions and activities; it would allow only a play of minor variations.  But the need of variation in living Nature could not always rest satisfied with that scanty sustenance.  On the other hand, a looser confederacy might well be open to the objection that it would give too ready a handle for centrifugal forces, were such to arise in new strength.  A loose confederation could not be permanent;  it must turn in one direction or the other, end either in a close and rigid centralisation or at last by a break-up of the loose unity into its original elements.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 35, Summary and Conclusion, pp. 305-306

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