Unity in diversity refers to the idea that rather than uniformity, diversity is a unifying principle. Diversity is essentially the underlying principle of life, and the shift towards biology as a prevailing scientific discipline is leading to an increased appreciation of diversity as a necessary measure of the health, vibrance, and success. This is in contrast to older views that valued uniformity and mechanization as measures of human progress, which taken to an extreme tend towards a militaristic and fascist social structure.
Unity in diversity resonates with Gandhi’s principle of satyagraha, or heart unity. As Martin Luther King put it, “I can’t be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can’t be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” At Metta, we speak of “diversity at the surface level, unity at the heart level.” We celebrate the tremendous diversity of humankind in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, beliefs, professions, interests, etc. and understand our shared existence as living beings, and appreciate that outer diversity is part of what holds us together as a culture.