“Where there is unity, there is always victory.”–Ancient Roman writer, Publilius Syrus
We generally assume that unity is a social virtue that is used to build a better society, achieve social justice, and benefit humanity. We hear a stirring speech that urges unity among the audience members and we feel “warm fuzzies” and inspiration to move forward with our dreams.
After carefully analyzing the concept of unity, one realizes that unity is values-neutral behavior. Ie. I may join with like-minded citizens in the struggle for our equal rights and responsibilities. Similar unified effort is adopted by our adversaries. The efforts both for and against civil rights are strengthened by unity. In my mind, unity can be used either for uplifting or repressive goals. If my adversaries’ unity enables their victory, their use of unity worked against my hopes and dreams.
Social movements of all varieties are energized by ideals and buzzwords. We are stirred to action by leaders who proclaim the goodness of freedom, justice, overcoming oppression, wisdom, beauty, and unity. At their cores, such words represent positive qualities. However, when tossed into politically inspired word-salad, they become mere slogans and Internet memes. Such slogans are equally useful tools in service of non-violent social movements and groups who rely upon force and violence. Unity has proven to be the most useful tool for organizers of groups of all types.
Unity is held in high esteem by us because we are social creatures. To work in concert with other like-minded people is rewarding and gratifying. In supporting the interest of the group, the individual receives feedback that supports her or his personal interest. Together, the collection of individuals finds it easier to effectively work towards “worthy” ends.
Social groups such as corporations, religions, political parties, activist organizations, and families strive towards unity. The harmonious efforts and beliefs serve to motivate each individual towards completion of a common goal. Organized, unified effort is not only efficient, it is emotionally satisfying to the participants. When we work together with others, we feel a sense of belonging. We are comrades or brothers and sisters fighting the good fight.
Human history demonstrates that unity equals strength. People have overcome adversity when individuals downplay differences and stress the common goals. More often than not, the combined strength has brought about change.
When all things together are considered, the concept of unity is not just a mere buzzword. In its most positive, helpful sense, unity is both a state of mind and a social tool in service of the common good. It behooves us to use discernment when deciding whether or not to join a social group.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Christian apologist writer, Ravi Zacharias. “Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. For example, if I have evil intent and I galvanize that evil intent with many others, the capacity to destroy is immense. Where goodness is the motive, unity is phenomenal and actually has some good issues to it.”