Comprehension of Unity as a Paradoxical Dynamic
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 7 Jan 2019
Metaphors Reframing Problematic Engagement with Otherness
7 Dec 2019 – The continuing quest for some form of unity is evident in many domains. It is however striking that enthusiasm for unity in any one domain typically precludes any consideration for that of another. The relation between the domains tends to be problematic, if not characterized by deprecation and condemnation. This may extend to recommendations that the other be eradicated as a threat to achieving a more appropriate form of unity.
Obvious examples include the unity associated with divinity as the primary aspiration of any religion — in long-standing conflict with other such religions, possibly specifically framed as “evil”. Science may aspire to another form of unity, whether explicitly or by inference. Science and religion typically deprecate the limitations and mistaken assumption of each other’s approach. Politicians, notably as expressed by their national leadership, frequently call for unity — possibly as a feature of “being great again”. This may well imply that those opposing a particular strategic agenda should cease their opposition. This typically extends to total condemnation of those proposing alternatives, notably extremists of any kind — with discourse justifying their suppression and eradication by some means.
The realm of economics and finance tends to frame unity through forms of development and globalization and the integration to which these lead — irrespective of the progressive control of resources by the few and possibly to the questionable point of framing their role as essential to unity. Technology pursues increasing unity through the integration of infrastructure, most notably through information and control systems — whether understood as the internet of things or emergence of a global brain. The military frame unity through effort towards full spectrum dominance facilitated by development of intelligence and surveillance capacity — forms of coherence typically enabled by the framing of threat from elsewhere.
As indicated, the quest for unity in any domain is associated with condemnation of any undertaking which is perceived as a threat to the preferred condition. The condemnation tends to take dynamic form, whether in a continuing process of vituperative discourse and invective (typically evident in parliamentary assemblies), or in strategic efforts to undermine and disparage any initiative by the other. History offers many instances of violent suppression of the other. This process of condemnation and marginalization takes other forms between the sciences — seemingly just as handicapped in reframing their processes in order to elicit a higher order of unity from that dynamic. Each cultivates a worldview in which the absence of the other would be a significant characteristic of unity — as best to be understood. Failing some such eradication, the emphasis is placed on the desirability that any other should agree to the promoted worldview and desist from a posture of disagreement. Agreement is a kind of surrogate for unity — an implication that it has been achieved in some measure, or a precondition for the quest for any unity of a higher order.
The question here is whether there are more meaningful clues in the increasingly desperate quest unity — one dynamically understood such as to subsume less fruitful forms of agreement and disagreement, each being necessarily perceived as having its limitations. Or is unity, as currently promoted, best recognized as an illusion — a mirage indicative of intuitive insights for which an adequate articulation has yet to be found?
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