Towards Resolving The Conflict Between The Old And The New
TOWARDS RESOLVING THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW
If world affairs are to be transformed in such a way as to lead to the establishment of right human relations, it is essential that the new values emerge into the livingness of humanity. Yet, as these values are emerging into human expression it is evident that they are coming into conflict with the outmoded values which are characteristic of the past.
Where there should be inclusiveness, cooperation, sharing and responsibility for the common good, there is found separation, competition, greed and irresponsibility. Standing amidst the conflict between the old and the new are the people of goodwill throughout the world. Seeking to establish right human relations, they constitute a worldwide group which will be the agent whereby world affairs are transformed. Yet facing this problem, they face a fundamental challenge: how can the conflict between the old and the new be resolved?
A first step towards answering this question is to examine conflict from the perspective of force. Essentially, a conflict is the collision of two opposing forces. In human life, force can take the form of an idea, an aspiration, a desire, or a physical action. Another characteristic of force is the will, intention, or motivation which impels it along a direction. Where forces come together in mental, emotional, or physical form, and their impelling intentions are in opposition to each other, conflict will result.
A look at world affairs from this perspective reveals two great forces struggling for dominance in all areas. There is an evolutionary force seeking to establish right human relations, a new civilisation and a new consciousness: and there is also an involutionary force present in the forms and life conditions which are impeding the evolutionary unfoldment of the human kingdom.
The evolutionary force is the force of divinity itself, striving always for more perfect manifestation in matter. Those who affirm a divine principle in man and the universe should not overlook the implication that this principle must necessarily be unfolding in world affairs. It is ever present in the visions, ideas, values and ideals which are intended to guide humanity towards its next divine achievement during any period of world history.
Today the evolutionary force demonstrates in the vision of the one humanity and a global civilisation based upon unity amidst diversity. It is present in the values of inclusiveness, cooperation, sharing and responsibility for the common good which must now characterise international politics, world economics, race relations, religion – all areas of human life. The evolutionary force manifests through all those actions taken by humanity which are leading it to a spiritual and physical realisation of its unity.
In contrast, the involutionary force takes the form of the entrenched ancient ideals and habits of thought which have served their purpose in bringing the race to its present point of development, but which must now disappear if the new age is to be ushered in as desired. The involutionary force is the inertia of those separative and selfish tendencies which, if they were permitted to dominate, would lead to the imprisonment of the life force and to eventual destruction.
Understanding the basic conflict in world affairs in terms of force, the role of people of goodwill becomes evident: to balance the forces leading to disintegration and destruction by embodying in themselves the forces of integration and construction which will establish the new world order.
The word “embody” holds the key to the understanding of how goodwill can harmonise the conflict between the old and the new in such a way as will contribute to the unfoldment of the divine Plan. Webster's Dictionary defines embody as “to give a body to; to render concrete and definite.” To embody the evolutionary force, men and women of goodwill must give this force form in their own lives through their words, aspirations and actions. In this way they are serving as channels for a force which will create the new world order.
Through the embodiment of the evolutionary force there is a focus upon the building of those forms which will lead to the emergence of the new age, and by means of this focus upon building, attention is drawn away from the attacking of those forms which are hindering progress. Thus, a gradual tendency to stabilisation and harmony results.
The conflict between the old and the new will not be resolved satisfactorily through the attacking of those forms which embody the involutionary force. Attack leads only to greater divisiveness and separation and to greater defensiveness and, therefore, entrenchment of those forms one is seeking to replace. Let the individual “resist not evil, but so organise and mobilise the good and so strengthen the hands of the workers on the side of righteousness and love that evil will find less opportunity.”
The recognition of the principle of nurturing the positive rather than criticising the negative is evident in recent developments in the youth movement and in the work of the United Nations. Commentators on the youth movement have remarked that the relative quiescence of youth during recent years is not due so much to apathy as it is to the recognition that the only realistic way of transforming the world is not by attacking existing conditions as embodied in “the establishment,” but by taking an active part in the positive transformation of those conditions. As one popular slogan has expressed it, “If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Similarly, a significant portion of the United Nations’ efforts is devoted to peace-building, the building of cooperative and interdependent relationships in many areas of human activity which will serve as a foundation for a new world order.
Today, the positive evolutionary force is impending in every area of human life. Men and women of goodwill who recognise that their lives are inextricably interrelated with the whole and that they affect the whole through the force of their ideas, aspirations and actions, need to learn to embody in their lives that force which will lead to the emergence of the new man and new civilisation. This will require learning how to discern both the evolutionary and involutionary forces as they manifest in world affairs.
As men and women throughout the world increasingly take an active part in fostering the evolutionary force of divinity, the balance in world affairs will then shift, leading humanity to its next great achievement.
THE PRINCIPLE OF UNITY
Unity is. Life is one. Scattered throughout the ages, humanity's great intuitives have repeatedly given witness to the unity that underlies the diversity of forms. Today, scientific discoveries are rapidly revealing the unity which embraces all life. With the joy and certainty of this knowledge, men and women of goodwill may go forth to heal cleavages.
“Under heaven, one family.” Confucius said. Today, through the investigation of how different forms of life interact, science has determined that there is a chain of life, extending from the most minute protozoan on to man, composed of interdependent and interrelated ecosystems. Still, man believes the satisfaction of his own selfish needs may warrant interference with and possible destruction of the delicate balance of nature.
Socrates remarked, “When you are asked your country, never reply, 'I am an Athenian' or 'I am a Corinthian,' but say, 'I am a citizen of the world.'” Today individual nations persist in the belief that their national interest is different from that of the one humanity, that the satisfaction of these national interests is of greater importance than whatever injustices may result to the rest of mankind when it “gets in the way” of a nation. Clearly, it is thought that a nation's people are different from the rest of humanity and that the individual unit is more important than the whole.
Nations struggle for military superiority, political advantage, and the satisfaction of inflated economic greed, defiantly asserting their separateness when, in fact, through genetics, science has revealed that there are no genetically separate peoples or races but only the one humanity. The diversity of races is not due to different genes. All races and peoples share a common genetic background. What determines the differences in physical appearance is simply the greater frequency of occurrence of certain genes – genes shared by all humanity. The natural selection of the environment causes the greater frequency of appearance of certain genes just as environment also engenders different cultures. The scientific study of genetics has provided a factual basis for the brotherhood of man, thus affirming St. Paul's declaration that “God hath made of one blood all nations.”
St. Paul also affirmed the unity of life as “the One in Whom we live and move and have our being.” Nuclear physics has reduced all forms of life to one essence pervading the universe – energy. Furthermore, recent developments in the field of psychology have revealed that during the heightened perception of reality in “peak experiences” this world, not another, is seen as an intrinsic unity. Nevertheless, people continue to stress their differences rather than their similarities. They refuse to subordinate their individual selfish wills to the good of the greater whole.
Such selfishness, whether it be national, racial, political, economic, religious or individual, is founded in the “great heresy of separateness.” Separateness is determined by the belief that man by nature is isolated, independent of a non-existent greater whole, and, therefore, bears no responsibility. Besides being a contradiction of the insights of humanity throughout the ages, such a belief is now a direct contradiction of scientific truth. In the words of Barbara Ward in Only One Earth (pub. 1983):
“The astonishing thing about our deepened understanding of reality over the last four or five decades is the degree to which it confirms and reinforces so many of the older moral insights of man. The philosophers told us we were one, part of a greater unity which transcends our local drives and needs. They told us that all living things are held together in a most intricate web of interdependence. They told us that aggression and violence, blindly breaking down the delicate relationships of existence, could lead to destruction and death. These were, if you like, intuitions drawn in the main from the study of human societies and behaviour. What we now learn is that they are factual descriptions of the way in which our universe really works.”
Both ignorance and knowledge have helped divide man against man and nation against nation. On the one hand, humanity cannot help but acknowledge the vast diversity of appearances, customs, cultures and civilisations. And it is almost inevitable that where no deeper understanding exists, such diversity would be conducive to separateness. Furthermore, at a certain point in the evolution of human consciousness, selfishness is a natural expression.
Nevertheless, just as humanity's consciousness has expanded from the family to the tribe, to the community, and to the nation with ever increasing inclusiveness, if humanity is to survive the present era, it is imperative that its consciousness be expanded from the national to the planetary – the one humanity. Global problems now confront humanity, problems which single nations cannot hope to resolve. In addition, the power now given to man through science and technology so enhances the dangers inherent in selfishness and separateness that humanity is as likely to be undermined by its own lack of integrity as it is by external problems. If unity is intrinsic to nature and, therefore, human nature, and if mankind does not conform to natural law and the law of its own being, it is inevitable that humanity will become extinct.
What is needed is the recognition of the one humanity, of unity amidst diversity. It must be realised that the whole of humanity is the essential unit and of greater spiritual importance than any of its parts. Just as the spiritual Hierarchy sees only the one humanity and not the superficial and transient national identities, so too humanity must learn to think in terms of the one humanity which transcends diversity. Diversity must also be recognised for what it is: the uniqueness which each people can offer for the greater wealth and potential of the whole.
Since separateness and selfishness are the root hindrances to the development of the new planetary order, these hindrances can be removed and the new order nurtured through thinking and acting in terms of the one humanity. On every level the individual or unit needs to submerge its own interests in the good of the greater whole.
The individual can further contribute to the emergence of world unity by observing his own life and seeing how he acts separatively. By fostering his own recognition of unity and practising the resulting values of cooperation, sharing, responsibility and serving the common good, his separativeness can be transmuted into inclusiveness. Is the individual being harmless in his mental, emotional and physical expression? Harmlessness is not a passive and negative attitude. It is an active way of life by which the law of love is positively expressed. The individual can also help to create the right mental atmosphere for the emergence of the one humanity through the use of the power of thought in world service, by daily using the Mantram of Unification:
The sons of men are one and I am one with them.
Let pain bring due reward of light and love.
Let vision come and insight.
One can also refuse to cooperate with or give energy to any manifestation of separativeness whether it be mental, emotional or physical. On the other hand, one can actively encourage those inclusive manifestations whose activities are characterised by spiritual values. Thought, aspiration, time and money are all contributions which persons of goodwill can dedicate to the service of the common good.
Every day, in the news, there is a collage of images demonstrating how selfishness and separativeness undermine the greater whole, from the international to the local community. It may be the selfish interests of two nations which could annihilate all humanity in the wake of their conflict. It may be the conflict of the labourer and the capitalist who, each in pursuit of his economic greed, destroys the stability of the very community they both serve. Search for the cause of the problem and it will inevitably be some form of separatism and selfishness.
Unity, peace and security will come through the recognition – intelligently assessed – of the evils which have led to the present world situation, and then through the taking of those wise, compassionate and understanding steps which will lead to the establishing of right human relations, to the substitution of cooperation for the present competitive system, and by the education of the masses in every land as to the nature of true goodwill and its hitherto unused potency.
It is essential that humanity recognise its unity and interdependence. Men and women of goodwill who give living expression to this reality in their daily lives can be the decisive factor in the birth of the one humanity. Then the basis for the new planetary order will be laid and we can proclaim with Schiller: “Joy, divine spark of the Gods.. . .Your magic reunites what custom has sternly parted. All men become brothers, where your gentle wings rest.”