Freedom and Responsibility
FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY
The new age worker “ . . . must be taught to focus on constructive activity and to refrain from pulling down the old order of living. He must be set to building for the future, and to thinking along new lines. He must be warned not to waste time in attacking that which is undesirable, but must instead bend all his energies to creating the new temple of the Lord through which the glory may be manifested. In this way public attention will gradually be focused upon the new and beautiful, and the old established creations will fall into decay for lack of attention and so disappear.
“He must be taught that partisanship is in no way a sign of spiritual development. He will not therefore use the words anti this or pro that. Such terms automatically breed hatred and attack, and effort to resist change. They put the user on the defensive. Every class of human beings is a group of brothers.” (A Treatise on White Magic, pp. 420-1)
“Freedom fighters” and “liberation” movements of all kinds for all purposes and of many nationalities have sprung up all over the world. Some are non-violent, some openly proclaim themselves as terrorists, using indiscriminate violence to achieve their ends. Rejection of law, national or international, and a disregard for the rights and freedoms of others, produce not freedom but anarchy. Freedom of action always operates within certain well-defined limits which set a standard of behaviour for all, penalising no individual or group.
Whether violent or non-violent, however, the proclaimed objective of these movements is, in most cases, the liberation of some grouping within the human family which continues to suffer the effects of an imposed limitation of one kind or another. That motives are, at best, mixed, and that political pressures and ambitions distort original principles, are always factors to be considered. Ends do not justify means; but freedom and liberation for those prevented from enjoying the human rights to which all are entitled are matters of justified concern. How, therefore, should we show our concern?
Freedom is a fundamental principle. It is not a concept dreamed up by mankind out of our despair and need as soon as we become conscious of oppression or exploitation. The substance of the world, of which we all partake in equal divinity and with equal rights, is impregnated with certain principles or qualities. These principles are the basic differentiations, the essential qualities or types of energy, upon which all things are built. They give a distinctive quality to all form.
Because freedom is a basic and fundamental “intention” lying within the plan and purpose for life on Earth, it must obviously relate to the working out of divine will; it must depend on the manifestation of pure and selfless love; and it must be expressed through wise and intelligent action. It has been truly said that “freedom brings its own responsibilities.” The real “freedom fighters” of this world, therefore, are those in whom an established and active sense of responsibility is at work, those who have achieved a personal freedom within themselves from restrictive attitudes of mind and heart which limit intelligence and blind the eye of vision.
Free-thinking, free-acting men and women, through a developed and sensitive acceptance of personal responsibility, will choose to act within the realities of whatever situation they may face. We are still living through the transition period between the old age and the new – the Piscean and Aquarian eras. During this period, there is the danger that people may seek to apply Piscean techniques, which, in the extreme, are fanatically idealistic, to Aquarian group-conscious ideas. This can lead to unnecessary conflict and the potential rejection of the much needed Aquarian ideas, simply because the Piscean method of presentation is repugnant to intelligent, forward-thinking people. A classic example of this is the idea of world government. There will surely come a time when such a vision can and must be realised, but it cannot be created by fiat, as some of the more idealistic adherents of this idea seem to think. Instead, it must be painstakingly worked out, step by step, beginning from where humanity is now
The well known Four Freedoms of Franklin D. Roosevelt are still the goals of many within the human family. Freedom from want and from fear and freedom of speech and of worship go to the heart of the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of many millions around the world today. These are freedoms that depend almost entirely upon provision by others – by those in positions of power and authority in government, in religion and in other forms of social institutions. Freedom is therefore relative; there is probably no such thing as absolute freedom in the human kingdom, since few indeed have learned wholly to control their lives and activities in the light of the Plan for humanity, that great design for living which brings mankind into conformity with the divine Will with which he consciously cooperates.
Freedom of the spirit, that inner, subjective ability (which all inherently possess) to liberate consciousness from the effects of control and limitation in the daily life, is a built-in divine asset. It can be nourished and released into active expression to become the agent of a transformed way of life. True freedom, spiritual freedom, works from within out, affecting not only the personal life of the “free soul” but touching with a liberating force the consciousness of all who struggle against the bonds that bind them.
It is becoming an acceptable, and accepted, idea that in an interdependent, united world such as we experience today, no one individual can free himself from his own chains and limited states of consciousness, without at the same time affecting the consciousness of the whole human family. Those basic planetary principles of will, love and intelligent activity infusethe substance of our daily lives, the air we breathe, the work we do, the relationships we establish. They motivate those who are in process of achieving mastery of themselves and their circumstances. They impregnate the atmosphere of world thought, world politics, world communication. They stimulate the tendency to unite and to function in all relationships with goodwill and in good faith. They touch the seeds of divinity in human hearts and minds and increase man's capacity for freedom.
Therefore, while we strive to find solutions to world problems of hunger, aggression, poverty, ignorance and suppression, meeting the immediate needs with food, education, economic stimulation, and a constant effort to cure the causes of war, let us place these in the perspective of mankind as a kingdom in nature, a spiritual part of the divine whole. Meeting the needs of daily life is a worthy act; setting the people of the world free from want and from fear is a basic charge and responsibility of mankind as a whole. But this is only a beginning, a first step in physical and emotional relief which can lead to the opening up of human consciousness towards a realisation of the subtleties and potencies of life itself, spiritual life, awaiting liberation within each human form.
A “free man” in reality is one whose life is Plan-ordered and soul-controlled, responsible and committed, wise and enlightened, loving and intelligent, fully involved in the evolutionary process within this planet of ours, a cooperator in the Aquarian goal of brotherhood, unity, peace and progress for the whole human race.