Part 3 – UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Many people find the concept of unity to be surprising in both its simplicity and complexity. It is especially this latter quality, ‘complexity’, which makes unity such an enigma. While unity refers to a state of oneness, it also requires diversity and differences in order to exist.
The human body, with its various organs and systems, demonstrates the truth that unity only works if there is also diversity. We would not be human if we were each just one organ, such as a set of lungs or kidneys or a heart or a brain. Indeed, it is the presence of many different types of cells, organs, and systems that allows a human body to be alive and thrive. The more diverse the elements, the more advanced life becomes. Compare your body and that of an amoeba. The difference between the two is the degree of diversity and complexity of its component parts. Environmental sciences show us how important diversity is to maintaining life. Likewise, the more diverse a society, the greater are its challenges, but also the greater are its resources and sophistication.
Let’s review some examples together:
Example 1: The Human Body
Organs of the body, working together, provide an example of a healthy living process or system. Imagine if the brain decided not to send out signals. All the organs and tissues, including the brain itself, would stop working. If the organs were to be in competition with each other, the result would not be a healthy system. All organs would be adversely affected, the system would break down, and death would be the ultimate result.
As in the body, we can see that human social systems: our families, communities, and societies are also composed of many individuals. Each person is unique, and when our unique thoughts, feelings, talents, and capabilities are brought together, we can accomplish great things. It is through the processes of cooperation and unity that science develops; new technologies are invented; equal, just, free, and prosperous societies are formed; and a civilization of peace is created.
Example 2 : The Art of Cooking
Certain dietary substances such as vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and minerals are essential nutrients necessary for the continuation of life. All people need them: on the biological level, humanity is one. In order to meet our biological needs, these nutritional components must be combined to produce a balanced diet.
At the same time, each cultural group has developed its culinary arts in a unique way, addingsocial and cultural meaning to the basic task of phsical nourishment. This remarkable diversity of approach to both the preparation and consumption of food adds an im
measurable degree of pleasure and meaning to the common act of eating, and makes this human activity one of the most potent examples of creating unity while celebrating diversity.
The concept of “unity in diversity” points to the fact that, at the core of our humanness, we share a common nature; as such, we are in reality “one.” It is also accurate to refer to the uniqueness of each of us. This is the concept of “diversity in unity” which refers to the process of sharing different views, characteristics, needs, and aspirations together as we pursue legitimate objectives within a united and just framework. These two definitions combined—“unity in diversity” and “diversity in unity”—encompass important aspects of the concept of unity.
True unity cannot be established through force, power, authoritarianism, or control.
Some societies have attempted to establish unity by sacrificing diversity and enforcing uniformity by trying to make everyone the same. Other societies have sacrificed unity in order to pursue the perceived benefits of individualism and group diversity. Experience shows that both of these approaches inevitably result in either oppression or chaos—conditions that ultimately result in disunity, conflict, and social breakdown. Greater than the mere tolerance of differences, true unity refers to a conscious desire for the type of richness in life that can only be provided by the unification of diversity into a single greater expression. Unity such as this promotes growth; secures individual and social health; and fosters creativity.
When we fully understand the principle of Unity is Life, Life is Unity, we then eliminate one of the most difficult obstacles to the achievement of peace. We comprehend that creating unity while safeguarding and nurturing the diversity is an essential and undeniable condition for all that exists. The concept of unity in diversity requires a full comprehension and acceptance of the fact that, at the very core of our humanity, we are one and the same, sharing a common nature. In other words, diversity is neither sameness nor preference, but uniqueness in the context of equal opportunities and variations of interest and accomplishment.
For more information on the Law of Unity, visit www.efpinternational.org and click the appropriate link below: