=1 "=1 history"
=1 made its first appearance at the beginning of 1964, when three of us were asked to prepare an exhibition which would show the deep unity underlying and sustaining the world and its evolution. The title we gave to the exhibition was "Unity a Fact", and the symbol of the exhibition was =1.
As we worked on the subject, we discovered that after fifteen years in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, meditating, working, and learning to look at beings and events as parts and processes of an activated evolution, we had a lot to say.
At the end of the same year we were given the opportunity to take over the editorship of the magazine, "World Union", which we then called "World = 1", and the following year simply "=1".
- "The first issue of the bi-monthly magazine WORLD UNION edited by (Miss) Marguerite Lidchi and Jay Smith appeared in June 1961. Soon after, negotiations started with World Goodwill Bulletin of London, New York and Geneva to probe the possibility of co-sponsoring the journal. Early in 1962, Ian Gordon-Brown of World Goodwill came to Pondicherry and it was agreed that, as the aims and ideals of World Union and World Goodwill were similar, they should jointly operate the journal. Consequently in April 1962 the name of the magazine was changed to WORLD UNION-GOODWILL; Miss Marguerite Lidchi and Ian Gordon-Brown became its editors, in June 1964 Ian Gordon-Brown retired as an editor and World Goodwill ceased to be a co-partner in publishing the journal owing to the distance and the time involved in editorial consultation between England and India, but our collaboration continues.
Marguerite Lidchi retired as General Secretary of World Union and as editor of the journal in October 1964. Medhananda and (Mrs.) Maude Smith took her place as editors. The name of the journal was changed from WORLD UNION GOODWILL to EQUALS ONE in January 1966. In January 1968 EQUALS ONE was taken over by Auroville and WORLD UNION Journal reappeared with Manoj Das and A. B. Patel as editors."
Our first issue in February 1965, was named Focus = 1. It explained our symbol, =1, derived from mathematical notation to express man’s new understanding of himself and his universe. The sign ‘=’ in mathematical logic has become a noun and means ‘identity’. ‘1’ stands for the whole.
In this initial number our dominant theme was reality as a single continuum, a total resonance of each elemental particle with every other, a constant interpenetration of all in all, and the recurrent convergence of all movements and energies into a single manifestation of the One. And even this, our earliest issue, contained such stories as "Computer Theology", "Space Traveller", and our first yoga-fiction story "H2O". So =1 was born, rooted in the oneness, sustained by a fundamental optimism, joyfully committed to a futurotropism without precendent in the history of journalism.
Our second issue, in April 1965, which is now also out of print, was structured around the second preoccupation of an =1 consciousness, Education. We started to anticipate the coming golden age of education by writing on "The Role of Education", and "Identification in the Learning Process". Our third issue, in June 1965, treated another recurrent theme of =1, Psychology — the knowledge of oneself, the spirituality of tomorrow, the Weltanschauung of an enlightened space age.
In 1968 the Sri Aurobindo Society, sponsor of the 1964 exhibition, agreed to take over the publication of =1 as the journal of Auroville, the prenatal town to be born in South India. This meant that =1 was offered an integral field of activity in which its vision of a progressive world union could assume experimental form. In fact, one of us had already been commissioned to conceive and create the conditions for an educational environment in which a new society and a new humanity could become conscious of itself. Although most of this is still in the planning stage, we are already experimenting. If you visit us at =1, you will find a small operative educational centre where the future educators of Auroville are becoming conscious of themselves and their roles as teacher-companions of the child of tomorrow.
=1 is not seven years old. We wish you, =1, many more fruitful years.