For a country to be considered a superpower, it must have prominent import/export trade capacity, command political power in the world (allies), sustain a powerful military, and provide a substantial a high Gross National Product. What is usually overlooked is how the microeconomics is affected in a highly positive manner by the harmonious balance of diversity and unity within the successful countries that are operation so proficiently. The inner-workings and confluence between the cultures of any high ranking country are most probably functioning in a well defined rhythm. If there is a glitch in the smallest cog of the machine of any country it can usually be traced back to unrest in the social balance of diversity and unity, which results in the decline of a country’s economic success. A very crucial balance between unity and diversity within society is not an easy goal to achieve.
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Finding the perfect balance between any two principles can be an extremely difficult task, if not impossible. In this difficult search we look back in history to feudal China, where the philosophy of yin and yang were created. Svebor Hlede, an expert on the history of Chinese philosophy states that “The dual concepts of yin and yang which describe two primal opposing but complementary principles or cosmic forces said to be found in all non-static objects and processes in the universe” (Hlede). This seemingly paradoxical concept is the very nature of unity and diversity. Unity and diversity are two contradictory philosophies which must work in unison to allow a society to stray away from stagnation and stasis. When looking at the yin and yang circle, two parts which will represent unity and diversity are put together in a circle. This circle represents society as a whole, the two parts are contradicting aspects, they fight and interchange each other. Whenever the trend of unity increases, the trend of diversity decreases and so on. (Hlede)
Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, said “United we stand, divided we fall,” he was discussing the north/south cultural differences that brought on the Civil War. This concept of the absolute importance is appropriately valid in modern times to this day. One cannot survive on one’s own; therefore life is based upon and requires unity. Agreeing that unity is a principle building block in the base of a successful nation does not mean that the whole world follows this logic. For some, violence between cultures is such an ingrained tradition that balances between unity and diversity seems an improbable goal. It is the unfortunate truth “that when certain people in power try to promote unity within nations/countries, other certain people in power will do and say something that will cause disunity, which brings about war and all other types of evil things” (Thoughtz). For example, the current president of Iran invites aggravation when he states that the Holocaust did not happen. In another speech he advises the state of Israel should be wiped out. The condition of the Middle East is a proper example of no unity or acceptance of diversity. There is ongoing tension between the Israelis and its surround neighbors the bordering Arab countries. If one tries to promote unity in the Middle East, it is easily pushed aside when such an inflammatory statement is made by the president of Iran; this causes a tremendous uproar because the Holocaust did happen. Even in America there can be seen a sway in the balance of race relation and race unity. Racism is still happening in the US and also discrimination. Although progress has been made in the last half a century that unity can be disrupted when a racist incident occurs like the Jena 6 case. Racism is a leach on the social structure that keeps sucking away whatever unity seems to be gained.
Diversity is just as equally as important as unity in that fact that if diversity is denied, societies are left without positive aspects of an assortment of cultures. Diversity on the other hand can be considered easier to achieve than unity. We have seen the dark side to America’s social structure with the presence of racism still very much alive. But there must be some type of positive action that is being undertaken to allow the United States to be considered a ‘melting pot’ of different races and cultures. The fact of the matter is that people from many different countries come to America every year and this allows for the high amount of diversity found within our country. “More than 1.2 million legal and illegal immigrants combined now settle in the United States each year” (Camarota). With this large influx of traffic coming from all parts of the globe, America is able to absorb and be known as one of the most diverse countries in the entire world.
One of the most important aspects of diversity, is that it develops foreign relations (allies and trade), which allows America to be one of the strongest nations in the world. While third country nations struggle to create a reason for foreigners to contribute to their country through diversity, America is known as ‘land of opportunity,’ which beckons many to take great risks to make the life changing move to America. When showcasing other less fortunate countries such as Darfur in Africa one comes to the question that could this hellish act of genocide been caused by a uneven distribution of unity and diversity? This is a prime example that “those [countries that] cannot maintain a basis for unity drift toward chaos and strife” (Auden). What happens when a country decides that diversity is no longer an option and that the government decides what ideas to realize and what the social norm is? During the time from the 1920’s to the 1940’s Nazi Germany is another principal example of “societies that disallow or tightly constrain diversity may slide toward oppression” (Auden). We can see that with both of these examples, whenever a nation tips the balance of unity and diversity too far to one side the consequences can be drastic.
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“The Sanskrit words in the state motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which has been loosely translated as Unity in Diversity, will no doubt be invoked as Indonesia marks the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of independence this week” (Mariani). Throughout six decades, in spite of all the hardships Indonesia has been through has stayed united. The secret to the success of this country is not very difficult to spot; it is because of its people. The people of Indonesia tend to follow the four goals of pluralism on their objective to the perfect combination of unity and diversity. These are mutual respect, equality, dialog and cooperation. It is these four tasks that allow the Indonesian people to live a peaceful coexistence among different ethnicities, in marriage, villages, and their entire nation. Throughout the history of Indonesia, it has been a country rich in diversity. Many different backgrounds, cultures, and religions have come together to form what the country is today. Through the generosity of its people and their understanding of different traditions and people, has given Indonesia a literal ‘melting pot.’ One of the best examples is the city of Yogyakarta. This city has been known as the center of education and historical relevance. Throughout the years Yogyakarta has greeted and accepted Indonesians from all ethnic groups. Indonesia is one of the few examples where the country is as close as possible to the perfect combination of unity and diversity. While Indonesia has been known for its religions differences between Muslin and Christian fractions, this is still a good example of an effort by the people to accept people for how they are. And with this acknowledgment and acceptance of those of difference lifestyles Indonesia could be a leader in the social movement of complete yin and yang. (Bayuni)
Thinking of countries around the world in the present day, no one country stands out as a perfect example of blending unity and diversity. If a country truly wants to show that all people are accepted without questions, than pluralism is the only suitable target. Most of the conflicts that we have seen in the world has come from the inability of people to overcome their differences, “whether in ideology, religion, race and ethnicity, custom, tradition and language, or social and economic disparity, or a combination of two or more of these factors” (Bayuni) Resorting to the use of force and intimidation, to control and force people to be a certain way or believe in a certain thing, only strikes the flint of the fire of civil unrest. The goal of every single individual is to create a mission that us all, as the human race, can work towards. It may sound like a simple message, but it is an important one. It can be seen from any working machine that if the small gears and bolts that make up the apparatus are in fine tune condition, than the machine can work at optimum efficiency. This can be the same for any country, if differences are set aside and the ultimate goal is the enrichment of our species than the possibilities are endless. (Bayuni)
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