PHILOSOPHY OF UNITY: LOVE AS AN ULTIMATE UNIFIER
“While boundary and division are mostly creation from humanity’s greed and hatred for another, love is a bridge that brings every being together. In love there’s no boundary and division”—Michael Eneyo
Humans, by their nature are meant to be in association with one another. Their self-realization largely depends on the ability to study and understand how different things operate in their uniqueness and at the same time, to master how they operate in their unity in all living conditions in search for the attainment of the overall goal of life. Such knowledge is expected to help human beings on how to live in mutual and complementary manner in any society. It was on this desire to master the operational patterning of beings in this complex universe and also to know what causes them to be the way they are that human persons were motivated in different historical periods to embark on cosmological researches. These researches were also to unravel the mystery behind creation and the kind of being(s) or element(s) that could be responsible for the world. This curiosity to know the totality of things, their sources, nature, workings, their constituents and that which is responsible for the unity in the universe, necessitated what is now known as Philosophy.
Attempts to get to the root of this knowledge become the primary aim of Philosophy and it is indeed the fundamental worry of Philosophers of all ages. What then is the term philosophy? It is a systematic study of everything that exists for the purpose of knowing the truth about them and how this truth can be used in solving human existential problems. When Georg Hegel, the prominent German idealist, tried to put pieces of history together, he reasoned that the goal of Philosophy is to achieve a unified and a systematic understanding of everything in the world. For him: “to apprehend what is, is the task of philosophy. Because what is, is reason” (Hegel, 1820). This quest for the knowledge of every existing being also endeared scholars of all facets of life into the study of both physical and metaphysical realms of reality within their specific fields of research. The explanations offered by these scholars on what constitutes the workings of the universe are noteworthy, as these have exposed us to the existence of natural relationship amongst different individual beings in the world and the need to working hard to use it as means of providing solutions to people’s daily problems.
Critical evaluation of the studies from history carried out by different scholars so far, reveals that the apparent separate entities and distinct events in existence are not actually separate in the real sense of the word: that they are somewhat related, they are both unique in themselves, and at the same time connected to each other. This chain of unity has already registered in our sub-conscious such that we frequently make references to events that are not clearly linked. For example: two similar events can occur in different historical periods from two disharmonious backgrounds, but this inter-connectedness of things compels human persons, by the level of judgment, to make comparative references to these separate events. Also, we can see, in our houses we have many compartments: toilet, seating room, and bedroom, each with its peculiar functions and purposes, but all these different compartments jointly constitute a house.
Again, we are challenged with the apparent warring opposites of things in the universe: Hot/cold, water/fire, black/white, short/tall, man/woman and none of these can independently and sufficiently survive without the existence of its opposite part. Even as we look around, there are so many objects and elements surrounding us: when we pick a book to read, we are faced with different stories about different things, all these draw us closer to concluding that the universe is made up of fragmentations and multiplicity of things. Even with these phenomena of fragmentations and multiplicity, the world is known as universe and not multiverse. This further informs us of the inherent unity that is natural to every existent irrespective of their apparent external differences. Aren’t there things that can serve as unifiers of the multiplicity of things in the universe? Isn’t it worthy to really understand the source of this natural unity in the world?
The puzzle about the unification of the multiplicity of things in the universe is somewhat connected to the age-long quest for the ultimate reality that was common among the earliest Greek Philosophers. The ancient philosophers had occupied themselves with the desire to know the basic cause(s) of things in the world and try to prove that this basic cause is also responsible for the unity and the separation of the things in it. In this work, we intend to take some steps further by not only trying to know the ultimate cause of things, but most importantly, to make effort to unravel the unifiers (the things that caused the unity) of these fragments; thus, appreciating the unity of these fragmentations as the means through which humankind can achieve peace in the contemporary society. In the course of doing this, we shall refute any attempt to promote the idea of absolute separation, disassociation or division among different entities, their species notwithstanding; instead, we shall work hard to demonstrate critically that the idea of absolute separation is an illusion; that everything is naturally connected to everything else. Also, we shall in the course of doing this, try to establish that without the ultimate unifier; there wouldn’t have been perfect and enduring connections in the universe. This therefore can amount to saying that without love which we have identified in this book as an ultimate unifier; the world would be like soup without salt. Thus, love adds flavor and taste to existence and it is also a bridge which makes everything to naturally connect such that any attempt to negate or deny any part of existent, becomes an attempt to negate or deny the whole of it (in a subtle manner).
The first chapter of the book begins with the definition of the scope of our enquiry so as to make the ideation behind the topic of the book more precise and clear. Hence, universe (cosmos) is the scope of the discursive fray. In making universe our scope, we shall, among other definitions, give a short summary of what we shall consider the meaning of universe, that is; a family of all beings. Thus, the book is primarily concerned with the development of workable methodologies on how unity of all beings in the universe can be achieved. In advancing our discourses on the above expanding research territory, we shall be focusing on the concepts of university and universal to explain the roles of beings within the context of connectivity. However, we shall adopt some transcendental and metaphysical analogous concepts when necessary to elucidate any part of our discourses where such is imperative.
Chapter Two deals with intensive analysis of the meaning of unity as well as knowing the categories of beings that need unity. It is within the context of this enquiry that we shall come to know that all beings need unity. This unity is for their individual self-realizations as well as in the move to making a better society or a community of living organisms. Here, the concept of unifiers shall be equally discussed to bring out the point that we are all unifiers of some sorts. Every being has the potentiality of uniting different kinds of beings. To buttress the above thesis, some selected forms of unifiers shall be briefly discussed and then summed up with a summary of the chapter.
The unifier and the notion of ultimate reality in the ancient period is inserted in chapter Three to draw us back to the earliest researches carried out by some western ancient philosophers on cosmogony and cosmology to know how the world was made and what is responsible for the unity and the separation of things in it. This is not to mean that the cosmological studies started with the philosophers in view. Before and during this time, some anonymous thinkers other than Philosophers we are going to discuss have enquired into the compositions and the originating cause of things in the world and how these things work. Though their ideas were lovely and promising, the lack of documentations and the fact of the unknown sources of such philosophies diminished their chances for commendations and inclusion in the theoretical and historical records. Efforts shall be made to critically analyze the reflections of some of the philosophers who offered unique explanations, the ultimate cause of things and that which holds all things together.
In successive manner, the earliest thinkers had speculated that water, apeiron, and air respectively are responsible for the workings of the things in the universe. The positions of these first (known) thinkers, however, gave birth to many other schools of thought whose aims were: To attempt either a total destruction of the foundations of these thinkers, or to refute some of these opinions as pseudo (false) or at most, to build on them for a better understanding. This attempt for a better understanding of the universe and what should have been its operational methodology ushered in Philosophers like: Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, etc. The pluralists were also pregnant with ideas about the make-up of the universe. Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus front the position of the pluralists from different backgrounds which we shall carefully discuss in this work. The reason for this historical reflection is not just to know their power of rhetoric; rather, it is for the purpose of having foundational ideas on the natural unity characterizing the world. This historical reflection will also help us to know how useful these early postulations are to this work, as it will help us evaluate the different paths they took in search for that ultimate reality and the extent of its connections with the ideation of unity articulated in this book.
Chapter Four focuses on the problems of disunity which have affected all fabrics of the society globally. The factors and the causes of disunity in human society shall also be discussed; thus, exposing the havoc caused by our acts of disunity and division anytime we want to make meaningful progress in life.
In Chapter Five we are going to identify the phenomena fear as one of the major impediments to inclusive unity. A brief historical account of Fearism/Fearlessness Movement will form part of our discussion in this chapter. The chapter insists that a proper fear education can assist us to know the method(s) to be applied in our attempt to overcoming fear problems in the present world order.
In chapter Six, we intend to look at the challenges or impediments in an attempt to bring unity in any group or gathering, especially when such unity involves beings of contrasting opposites.
In addition to the foregoing, the chapter also examines the theory of opposites to re-affirm our stance that opposite does not mean faction or division in the strict sense of the word, but a reminder of strength if the different categories of beings are brought together. In the theory of opposites, there are always struggles; but these struggles are always targeting at surmounting or fusing the interests of their contrasting units.
Love has been identified in chapter Seven as an absolute instance for unification; hence, becoming the ultimate unifiers of all categories of beings. The chapter has logically, explanatorily, and demonstratively defined love in three different historical dispensations; the amoral, moral and immoral, while also giving insights on how the idea of law came into human society. Selected world religions have been briefly discussed. The classical types of love shall be equally discussed and then coalesced into two major categories: pleasant (positive) and unpleasant (negative) through which every other kind of love can be explained.
In Chapter Eight, we explore the African (Efik) episteme as a model for the impact of love in communal unity and tolerance. The chapter defines love in the light of communal unity in Efik kingdom. The idea driving this exploration is to put the result of our findings into critical and pragmatic scrutiny to know how relevant our research shall be to the people in the 21st century and beyond.
In the Ninth Chapter, there is a strong emphasis on the illusion of thinking that we are completely separate from every other being. A call has been made for the need for all beings to unite as one and see themselves as a part that is independently insufficient unless in union with other existents. The concepts of nationalism within Nigeria territory and the internationalism have been employed to capture the gamut of ideas on unity of all human beings. The chapter argues that anytime we try to destroy any human persons or beings; that we are indirectly working toward our own destruction on the premise that we are the parts that make up the whole.
The final chapter explains how love is capable of uniting all parts of beings. In all, the book sets out to argue that the universe is a “Uni Bi-centric” as well as “Uni Multi-centric”(that is: one and opposite and also one and many). Things are naturally unique in themselves and also naturally connected to everything else. Again, that these natural connections also have their respective connectors. Among these different connectors, there is an ultimate connector of which every other connector relies on and that, love is that ultimate connector. In this book, we use the term “unifiers” to mean these connectors and “ultimate unifier” to mean the ultimate connector. From the analysis and explanation given herein, love is believed to have the ability to bring all beings together. As a supreme paradigm for unification, love is the most needed norm if a healthy and harmonious society is to be built.