Moving Towards South Asian Confederation
Ideal of Human Unity - Chapters

A Postscript Chapter, Part VIII

The culmination of human unity

Between 25 April and 26 June, 1945, delegates of 50 nations met at San Francisco to unanimously agree upon the Charter of the United Nations and the statute of the new international court of Justice. It was the largest international conference that had taken place up to that date with 850 delegates who with their advisors and secretarial staff brought the number to 3500. In addition there were another 2500 media persons and observers. A great deal of background work had to be made and every part of the Charter had to be passed by a two thirds majority. With great enthusiasm this monumental work was worked out exactly in two months. Sri Aurobindo hailed this as "the great initiation at San Francisco" and a "decisive step" towards "the establishment of a true world-unity". (The Ideal of Human Unity, pg.593) He hoped that despite apprehensions of "colossal conflicts" (Ibid), it would be unwise to be pessimistic about a great future. At the same breath he warned that it was the compulsion of the zeitgeist to establish world-unity or face annihilation of the human race.

"The thesis we have undertaken to establish of the drive of Nature towards larger agglomerations and the final establishment of the largest of all and the ultimate union of the world's peoples still remains unaltered: this is evidently the line which the future of the human race demands and which conflicts and perturbations, however immense, may delay, even as they may modify greatly the forms it now promises to take, but are not likely to prevent; for a general destruction would be the only alternative destiny of mankind." (Ibid)

Would the destructive idea of the human race, bolstered by scientific maneuvers, be realistic or as chimerical as the idea of global peace? Sri Aurobindo, not only a born optimist but a visionary seer is confident that the evolutionary urge in the human psyche would lead the consciousness to greater and vaster realms, overriding all attempts of destabilization. For he believes that the human being is not merely a trans-phenomenal being but actually a transitional being capable of evolving into progressively higher models till a higher race of Gnostic beings embodying the highest supramental consciousness manifests in the earthly habitat. "We may rely, if on nothing else, on the evolutionary urge and, if on no other hidden greater Power, on the manifest working and drift or intention in the World-Energy we call Nature to carry mankind at least as far as the necessary next step to be taken, a self-preserving next step: for the necessity is there, at least some general recognition of it has been achieved and of the thing to which it must eventually lead the idea has been born and the body of it is already calling for its creation... The rest will depend on the intellectual and moral capacity of humanity to carry out what is evidently now the one thing needful". (Ibid, pg.594)

Modalities of World-Union

The Time-Spirit presses for some kind of world-union as an inevitable future need of humanity. The modalities of the world-unity would be worked out with an "impartial consideration of the forces that work" (Ibid). Sri Aurobindo envisages that a formation of a World-State could take either of two forms (Ibid):

(a) A Federation of free nationalities

(b) A Confederacy

Which of the two would be more desirable? In a confederacy the membership of the member States would be voluntary unlike a federation. The central authority in a confederation is usually a weak body appointed by member States while that of a federation is a federal government governing the member States. A confederacy would therefore be more susceptible to disruptive pressures. While a confederation would focus on joint foreign policy and defense matters, it could not enforce anything. In contrast, a federation would abide by a constitution and would have more control over diplomatic, military, economic and legal matters. Sri Aurobindo seems to have more faith on the federal order. Whether there would be one such single federation of free nationalities or two or three such federations in mutual harmony is best left to the unborn future.

"The ultimate result must be the formation of a World-State and the most desirable form of it would be a federation of free nationalities in which all subjection or forced inequality and subordination of one to another would have disappeared and, though some might preserve a greater natural influence, all would have an equal status. A confederacy would give the greatest freedom to the nations constituting the World-State, but this might give too much room for fissiparous or centrifugal tendencies to operate; a federal order would then be the most desirable. All else would be determined by the course of events and by general agreement or the shape given by the ideas and necessities that may grow up in the future. A world-union of this kind would have the greatest chances of long survival or permanent existence."

Would not such a development be challenged or defeated as the collective ego has its own idiosyncrasies! Sri Aurobindo admits that in a mutable world there could be an upsurge of revolutionary ideas in consonance with the zeitgeist but even then an essential step would have been taken. A preliminary consolidation of the forces behind world-unity could not be usurped if that was the need of the hour. A message to outgrow all unsolved needs and huge and sanguinary world-wide conflicts would have been delivered. "The ideal of human unity would be no longer an unfulfilled ideal but an accomplished fact and its preservation given into the charge of the united human peoples". (Ibid, pg.595)

Indian spirituality posits that the human race has been projected by the Supreme Reality - - Sachchidananda or the triune of Existence-Consciousness-Force-Bliss. If that projection had a meaning, the continued existence of the human race would have a divine sanction. That is what Sri Aurobindo alludes to in his metaphorical comment: "Its future destiny would lie on the knees of the gods and, if the gods have a use for the continued existence of the race, may be left to lie there safe". (Ibid)

Unless man himself decides in his folly to upset the apple-cart:

"Thus wagged on the surreal world, until
A scientist played with atoms and blew out
The universe before God had time to shout."
(Sri Aurobindo, A Dream of Surreal Science)


Date of Update: 17-Jun-21

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu