Our Obsession with Unity

Anyone else ever tire of this national obsession with “standing together?”

On the surface, unity seems optimal. I mean, why don’t we all live together in a peaceful, harmonious world? Sounds nice.

But there’s a great flaw in this concept from its start: Unity means we’re in the same place at the same time going in the same direction with the same mind; humanity, however, is not a stable natural force. We’re a constantly moving sandstorm of individual grains who appear to stand together in one moment and, in the next, float disparately across the golden, wind-blown desert.

We raise cries for union and togetherness based on the false expectation of constancy. The moment we identify any human communal shape, it will disappear by the time we can set a government to maintain it. When we get the apparatus to govern that single image of humanity, that shape has already shifted and we have moved on from it.

In other words, the very government we take the time to set in place for a momentary snapshot we have of humanity is already too late for the people we become during its creation.

The people we were is already beyond the government we tailored for it — we’ve become something else.

And beyond government, we are a people of many faces and many dreams. We have variant desires and constantly shifting beliefs. These change from people to place and back again, over and over.

We are a disparate people, terrified of change while living ever in its grip. Instead of embracing change and difference and cultural evolution at the time and pace that culture wishes to evolve, we cling to false ideas of unity, hoping that by being thrust together into a single social concept, one enforced by bureaucracy or other social pressure, we might cast off the uncertainty of a naturally shifting future.

We want to be “together,” but few stop to ask anyone around them if they want to share the same core concept that would define that togetherness. Everyone is different and has different aspirations.

President Obama used this tactic of “hope and change” during his first election to great effect. He offered hope and change and let people individually fill in the blank. But humanity doesn’t need individual leaders to lead this concept; we do it ourselves perfectly well. We interpret world events with limited, individual perspectives and assume others see the world as we do.

After all, “who would see it differently? We see the world the best it could be seen.”

Right?

These conceits are universal to mankind. We assume what we believe is best, and believe our concept of togetherness is best. When someone uses a soft word like unity without defining what unity means — and doesn’t mean — we appropriate our idea of what it means and project it on everyone else.

Once we do that, how could we not want unity when we already “know” how great it will be for everyone?

Because of humanity’s constant variance, stable unity in mass numbers isn’t reasonable to expect or honestly to hope for. There are too many of us to believe mass unity in anything but the rare world war (don’t forget there were 2-3 sides in that one, too).

Instead, we live in a great world where, unlike eons of human history, we are no longer limited to national borders, religions of world leaders or geographic limitations. We can create and define our own communities, cliques, social demographics, unities and togetherness. Whether by computers or simply customizing our own friends in a multicutural world, we aren’t stuck having only the people who share our tiny village — usually family or only shortly removed.

I can be unified with the people I love, admire and share interests with. I don’t need people who live far away to agree with me. I don’t need people even next door. I don’t need to feel togetherness by sports players kneeling/not kneeling, or by politicians promising to believe in my God or share my beliefs. I don’t base my beliefs on other people agreeing with me. I don’t need groupthink to support my lifestyle.

Do you?

If you want unity, find someone who believes what you believe, or help them change how they think by selling the positive merits of your belief system, not by voting or browbeating others into submission. Convince people by proving the value of your beliefs.

After all, wouldn’t you prefer a unity with people who wanted to be together with you?

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