John Algeo – USA
When we look around the world, we see — not unity, but disunity — not just diversity, but disharmony. We see aggressive opposition between nations, religions, particular sects of religions, races, ethnic groups, and individuals. Can this apparent disunity be reconciled with the concept of unity?
Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines “unity,” among other ways, as “a condition of harmony” and “a totality of related parts: an entity that is a complex or systematic whole.” Those two senses do not exclude diversity from the concept of “unity”; in fact, they imply it. The opposite of a little truth is a falsehood; the opposite of a big truth is a yet bigger truth. Unity is the biggest truth of all.
In the “Proem” to The Secret Doctrine (1:14–20), Blavatsky writes that “the first fundamental axiom of the Secret Doctrine is . . . one absolute — be-ness. . . . The ‘Manifested Universe’ . . . is pervaded by duality, which is, as it were, the very essence of its EX-istence as ‘manifestation.’ But . . . the opposite poles of subject and object, spirit and matter, are but aspects of the One Unity in which they are synthesized.”
The word “unity” comes, via Old French, from the Latin word “unus,” meaning “one,” which in turn goes back to Indo-European, the ancestor of languages including English and most of those of Europe, as well as many of India. So “unity” is not a modern concept, a johnny-come-lately, but rather an ancient word and idea. Indeed, it is part of and fundamental to the Ancient Wisdom of Theosophy.
That Theosophy Forward should have a section devoted to “Our Unity” is therefore wholly appropriate. Let us as Theosophists move forward in unity with one another and in unity with all peoples everywhere — in the spirit of the universal (that is, one-world) oneness that Theosophy recognizes as the basic concept underlying all existence.