Moving Towards South Asian Confederation
Ideal of Human Unity - Chapters

Chapter XXIII Part I

Forms of Government

A psychological unity of the human race is the bedrock on which the true unitary consciousness can manifest. However nothing concrete can be erected merely on the basis of psychological unity unless there is effectuated a ‘practicable form of political unity’ (The Ideal of Human Unity, pg 465). Such a political unity can be an expression of psychological unity but it can also be a initiator of psychological unity. As the human psyche yearns for freedom and as the early collectivity was in one sense an anarchy, ‘free and unsocial’, ‘an instinctive animal spontaneity of free and fluid association’ (Ibid, pg 292); it is logical to assume that a final culminative collectivity would represent an enlightened, intuitive spontaneity , a higher order anarchy without any chaos or disharmony. It is in the extension of this thinking that upholds harmony based on the twin principles of freedom of choice and unity in diversity that Sri Aurobindo visualized that a world union of free nations and empires could be ideally achieved on the principle of liberty and free variation. True, that such a world-union would appear to be initially loose and in a flux; it would lack the compactness of a centralised and formalized set-up; it would be too variegated and complex; it would always be more vulnerable to fissures from within than from without though with time, this loose formation could grow close-knit primarily in terms of consciousness rather than through exigencies and externalities.

The truth of human psychology is that one has to bear not only joy but also anguish. Thus the human being loves and yearns for freedom but paradoxically, one is in love with one’s chains. We talk of freedom but we are never used to its catholicity. We are more comfortable to follow experimented, trodden, secure, macadamized pathways in life; our reasonableness functions well when we follow mapped guidelines, we are most secure when we put reigns on our own outrageousness. This is why it is yet Utopian to think of a world-union based on free variation; it would be more rational (and easier) to build a world-union based on the principle of centralisation and uniformity. This is why the State idea is still dominant in human psyche. ‘The State has been the most successful and efficient means of unification and has been able to meet the various needs which the progressive aggregate life of societies has created for itself and is still creating. It is, besides, the expedient to which the human mind at present has grown accustomed, and it is too the most ready means for both its logical and practical reason to work with because it provides it with what our limited intelligence is always tempted to think its best instrument, a clear-cut and precise machinery and stringent method of organization’ (Ibid, 465).

In fact the centripetal trend of the collective formation is so strong that even if the world-union of free nations was ventured, there would be every risk of the centralizing tendency to consolidate itself at the slightest signs of dissidence and mistrust. The world-union of free nations would then be an aborted attempt and give way to the all-powerful State of uniformity, regimentation and inter-relations based not on cultural variations but on formal interests. ‘Therefore it is by no means impossible that, even though beginning with a loose union, the nations may be rapidly moved by the pressure of the many problems which would arise from the ever closer interworking of their needs and interests, to convert it into the more stringent form of a World-State’ (Ibid). The real challenge would be thus to maintain freedom without regimentation, unity without uniformity.

Date of Update: 28-Nov-15

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu