Sunday 23rd of January 2022

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Unity in diversity


2021-10-13 7905

 

(By Deshappriya Nanayakkara)

 

Unity in diversity is used as an expression of harmony and unity between dissimilar individuals or groups. It is a concept of "unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation" that shifts focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches human interactions.

The idea and related phrase is very old and dates back to ancient times in both Western and Eastern Old World cultures. It has applications in many fields, including ecology, cosmology, philosophy, religion and politics. Origins

The concept of unity in diversity can be traced back to Sufi philosopher Ibn al-'Arabi (1165–1240), who advanced the metaphysical concept of the "oneness of being" (wahdat al-wujud), namely, that reality is one, and that God's is the only true existence; all other beings are merely shadows, or reflections of God's qualities. Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī (1366–1424) expanded on Al-'Arabi's work, using it to describe a holistic view of the universe which reflects "unity in diversity and diversity in unity" (al-wahdah fi'l-kathrah wa'l-kathrah fi'l-wahdah).

Leibniz used the phrase as a definition of "harmony" (Harmonia est unitas in varietate) in his Elementa verae pietatis, sive de amore dei 948 I.12/A VI.4.1358. Leibniz glosses the definition Harmonia est cum multa ad quandam unitatem revocantur which means the 'Harmony' is when many [things] are restored to some kind of unity.

 

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