Is there an actual a word for the understanding that everything and everyone is one?

  • 2
    I could wish that you had said "the position that" or something similar. Talking about "the understanding that" is a tendentious closing of the question that disallows the view that everything is not one. For example, it would be illegitimate to talk about "attaining the understanding that Tor is a jerk". Because he might not be one.
    – David Pugh
    May 30, 2015 at 6:16

3 Answers 3


Everything and everyone is one strikes me as a philosophical... let's say claim, so a term borrowed from philosophy comes to mind:


  1. The wide definition: a philosophy is monistic if it postulates unity of origin of all things; all existing things go back to a source which is distinct from them.

  2. The restricted definition: this requires not only unity of origin but also unity of substance and essence.

from: Wikipedia.

Whether this works for you is a question of interpreting everything and everyone is one but to me it is an ontological question, so (ontological) monism seems appropriate.

There are many sorts of monism (e.g. substantial, attributive, partial) depending on which sort of unity you want to focus on (it seems a bit contradictory, all is one but there are several aspects of unity? but then our attempts to describe something don't have to be perfect as the thing we are describing). My personal favourite is:

dialectical monism:

an ontological position that holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, distinguishing itself from monism by asserting that this whole necessarily expresses itself in dualistic terms.[1] For the dialectical monist, the essential unity is that of complementary polarities, which, while opposed in the realm of experience and perception, are co-substantial in a transcendent sense.

(from Wikipedia; emphasis mine).


"holistic harmony" comes to mind.

  • holistic - "emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts." TFD
  • harmony - "a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things" MW

A term also used by Confucius, but here I refer to the stoical view of life and death of ancient Greek phylosophers, that we are all part of the universe, we are born from it and when we die we join it again. The earth, and all living beings are only one thing.

  • The universe itself is god and the universal outpouring of its soul; it is this same world's guiding principle, operating in mind and reason, together with the common nature of things and the totality that embraces all existence; then the foreordained might and necessity of the future; then fire and the principle of aether; then those elements whose natural state is one of flux and transition, such as water, earth, and air; then the sun, the moon, the stars; and the universal existence in which all things are contained. —Chrysippus, in Cicero, De Natura Deorum, i.39

  • Everything is subject to the laws of Fate, for the Universe acts according to its own nature, and the nature of the passive matter it governs. The souls of people and animals are emanations from this primordial fire, and are, likewise, subject to Fate: Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the structure of the web. —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, iv. 40 from Wikipedia



Take away the ba- of "bantu", people, where ba- is the plural classifier prefix for person, and you have "ntu". Something of some or other class of things, not necessarily persons. This word "ntu" turns up with other classifier prefixes, singular and plural, to refer to things of other of the Bantu word classes.

"ntu" turns up in philosophical writings associated with the pan-African movement.

  • 1
    And would speakers of English know what "ntu" means? I, for one, wouldn't. Neither can I find it in my dictionary, nor in a general websearch. While this seems like a great word, if it's going to leave readers scratching their heads, is it a good suggestion? :-)
    – A.Ellett
    May 30, 2015 at 4:38
  • Yes, scratching heads is good. (I found it on the Web -- try searching on "ntu pan-african philosophy".)
    – Greg Lee
    May 30, 2015 at 5:41

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