History of the World, Part 1
In previous posts, we read about various fragmented and incoherent conceptions of the individual and her or his relationship to society. We also looked at an example of the evolution of conceptions of the individual over a historical perspective. The concept of the oneness of humanity, woven throughout our earlier posts, has helped illuminate our understanding about the nature of social relationships. Drawing on the analogy of the human body has helped us avoid fragmented conceptions of social reality. As we delve deeper into the metaphor, refine our understanding of the relationship between cells, tissues, organs, and systems of the human body, we behold a rich model materializing before us of how to avoid extremes of unfettered individualism and suffocating collectivism – a topic of heated contention in western political theory.
Oneness is our foundational principle, which we use as the context to understand our interconnected and collective life on the planet. It is through the lens of this principle that we analyze and interpret human history. The next few posts will provide a perspective of history that is consistent with a conception of global and temporal human oneness.
The first point we consider, is that all things are on a path, evolving and developing towards maturity. This is true of plants obviously: the progression from seed to sapling to fruit-bearing tree. It is true of the human being: from embryo to infancy and childhood to youth and adulthood. And it is even applicable to a conception of society and the path of human civilization: from family to tribe, to city to nation-state, and to planetary civilization. Each stage betokens requirements and characteristics, each stage expresses powers and limitations, each stage engenders conditions that the subsequent stage supersedes. From stage to stage, new capacities are trained and awakened, new limitations wax and old ones wane, and novel challenges are confronted. The progression is not linear, but rather goes through cycles, characterized by ebbs and flows of tragedies and triumphs, of crisis superseded by victory.