Current society, quite understandably so, has a fear of imposed conformity in the name of unity. History has repeatedly given examples of oppressive systems under the disguise of unity – feudalism, castes, communism, fascism, theocracy, nationalism, and authoritarianism. This legitimate fear has resulted in the populous back-lashing against government and order – manifested as distrust of organized religion, distrust of social systems such as medicine and academics, distrust of most economic and legal regulations, distrust of any position of power – leading to an ungovernable condition. Appeals to social harmony and unity today are met with such resistance and suspicion. (Ironically, current society also embraces very uniformed practices in economics, education, health care, agriculture, and governance, to name a few).
Promotion of unity, therefore, cannot take a superficial approach, lest it be criticized by historically informed and socially conscious observers as, at best, hopelessly naive and unrealistically idealistic; and at worst, threatening, dangerous, and oppressive – claiming it to be a suffocation of diversity, a silencing of thought, and a violation of freedoms and rights.
To intelligently promote oneness, conceptions of unity must increasingly become related to and coherent with the principle of justice, which necessitates the preservation of diversity. Diversity is a source of strength; while uniformity, even the replication of something correct, is always weak. The purpose of justice is achieving unity, and unity can only be sustained through the power of justice. Unity is the governing dynamic of reality, and justice is the means of its expression through social reality.
What are the questions we can ask that help guide us towards achieving this coherence?