This beautiful Jamaican expression is used as a greeting and as a parting phrase, conveying the basic idea of unity, or oneness, which is so fundamental to the Rastafarian ideology. It links strongly to the concept of 'I and I', with the same insistence on universal, all-embracing love and respect for one's fellow human beings.
The reasoning is simple and timeless: if God is the One and the All, the Source of all multiplicity, then all of Creation that has emanated from God is in essence one.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder . Rastafarians avoid any form of segregation or division, labelling it as 'isms and schisms', and most of all dislike the term 'Rastafarianism', since it undermines the wholesome, unifying essence of the tradition.
The phrase 'One Love' is often extended, to emphasise its all-encompassing significance:
One Love, One World, One Unity
One God, One Christ, One Deity
One Aim, One Goal, One Destiny
One Voice, One Song, One Harmony...
In the Ethiopian language of Amharic, 'One Love' is translated 'Fiqir Bandinet' ('fiqir' meaning 'love', and 'bandinet' being derived from 'ande', 'one').