Programme of Action
Focussed, determined, enlightened public opinion is the most potent force in the world. It has no equal, but has been little used. The gullibility of the average citizen, their willingness to accept what is told them if it is said loudly enough and with sufficient plausible force, and especially if supported by one-sided evidence, is well known. The well-turned phrase of the trained politician, intent on personal selfish purposes, the arguments of the silver-tongued demagogue as he or she exploits some pet theory at the expense of the public, and the rantings of the person with a cause, a theory or an axe to grind, all find an easy audience. Mass psychology and mob determinations have been exploited down the ages, for the unthinking and the emotional are easily swayed in any direction, and hitherto this has been turned to their own advantage by those who do not have the best interests of humanity at heart. It has been used for selfish and evil ends far more often than for good.
But this negative receptivity (which does not deserve the name of public opinion) can be as easily turned to good ends as bad, and to constructive measures as to destructive. Planned direction and a wisely outlined programme with this in view can bring about the needed change and make a sound and intelligent public opinion one of the major factors in bringing in the new age.
The major task of the men and women of goodwill is therefore an educational one. They hold and advocate no miraculous solution of world problems but they know that a spirit of goodwill, particularly if trained and implemented by knowledge, can produce an atmosphere and an attitude that will make the solving of problems possible. When people of goodwill meet, no matter what their political party, nation or religion, there is no problem which they cannot eventually solve, and solve to the satisfaction of the various parties involved. It is the production of this atmospere and the evocation of this attitude which is the principal work of the men and women of goodwill, and not the presentation of some cut and dried solution. This spirit of goodwill can be present even where there is fundamental disagreement between parties.
The service of any man or woman of goodwill can conveniently be considered under three headings.
It is essential for everyone to realise that, as an individual, they are a definite and integral part of the whole, and have therefore a very real sphere of influence. It is impossible to give useful service if we are oppressed by a sense of futility and are not really convinced that what we do makes any real difference. We must next recognise that unless we discipline and train ourselves, we shall fail to take full advantage of the many opportunities for service that will come our way. On the basis of these two recognitions, each man and woman of goodwill can plan a simple but definite programme to increase their usefulness, as follows:--
- Cultivate the spirit of goodwill in themselves and eliminate all attitudes of hate, prejudice, bias, and criticism. Service, unless rightly motivated, is of little value.
- Train the mind to be useful in two directions -- in understanding and interpreting the world of human affairs, and in reaching the world of creative ideas and inspiration. All men and women of goodwill need to be familiar with what is going on in the main fields of human activity. They need a realistic understanding of the major problems that humanity must solve and a recognition of the major trends now shaping the future. The modern world cannot be understood without reference to the underlying causes that have created the present human situation. This calls for conscious planned study, wide reading, and the development especially of a wise discrimination.Similarly the man or woman of goodwill needs to develop the capacity for reflective and meditative thought without which it is impossible to tap that level of consciousness from which come those creative ideas and that intuitive understanding that makes it possible to solve the most difficult human problems.
- Express whatever goodwill and understanding they may possess in service. We can only learn to serve by serving. Without some practical expression our aspirations, intentions and ideas remain purely theoretical. They must be tested out in life, in the light of actual experience.
- Reorganise our lives so that we have time for the needed service. Effective service requires sacrifice and the ability to put first things first. If we really desire to serve and to be useful, we shall need to adjust the patterns of our living so that we make time available for what is really important. Many people quite unconsciously act according to the dictum "Service as convenient". Others see the problem, but do not see how they can find time for what they would like to do. More often than not no solution can be found until the person decides to put a life of service first, no matter what the cost. Once this reversal has been achieved, solutions can be found.
Life of Service
No matter what the individual's circumstances, environment or job may be, it provides many opportunities for the life of service. Service is essentially the spontaneous expression of soul contact. The meeting of human need and the creation of a world understanding within our immediate circle and environment is one of the first responsibilities of each man or woman of goodwill. The following suggestions form the basis of a programme that could be the starting point for a life of expanding usefulness for any individual of goodwill:--
- Discuss your understanding of world affairs and humanity's problems in your home, among your friends and in your environment without fear or favour. Regard such discussions as a service and believe that your interests and enthusiasm cannot fail to have an effect.
- If possible, gather people together to discuss the problems of this transition period and the principles of the coming new age or cooperate with those who are already doing so. Look upon such meetings as a contribution to the moulding of public opinion and as a means of helping to change the content of world thought.
- Study the objectives, methods and techniques of the various groups and organisations interested in world service along many different lines. You may not agree with all of them or with their plans and modes of working, but all are needed. The types of men are many, the races and conditions are varied, and the problems facing humanity call for innumerable ways of working. All can play their part ifbased on real goodwill and if fanaticism is absent. Keep a record of such groups, and establish helpful and friendly relations with them to the best of your ability. Where it is possible to associate yourself wholeheartedly with the objectives and work of a particular organisation, offer your services of time, energy and money for whatever work needs to be done.
- Find and keep a record of the men and women of goodwill in your environment. Be spiritually aggressive in this matter and go out to discover them. When you have found them, be interested in what they are doing, and also endeavour to have them cooperate with you in your lines of activity. Likewise strengthen and develop your contacts with men and women of goodwill in other countries all over the world.
- Pray regularly, and to your prayers add meditation and reflection. Behind the world pattern and structure stands its originator, its planner, its motivating energy, its central will, its living creator. Seek by prayer to reach that central will, thus blending yourself with the sensed divine objective and identifying your will with the divine will.
- Find two other people to work with you. There is a unique potency in this triple relationship. God himself, so say all the world scriptures, works as a trinity of goodness, and the person of goodwill in their own small sphere can do likewise, finding two other people of like mind to form a goodwill triangle of light and spiritual interplay. Each of the two who cooperate can, in their turn, do the same, and thus a great network of goodwill can spread throughout the world.
- No matter what the personality may demand, lay aside whatever money can be spared for work of world service. Lack of money is one of the major hindrances to all goodwill work today.
This is a simple but effective basis for a programme of goodwill action. Many men and women of goodwill are already working along these lines. Their numbers can be rapidly multiplied. In playing our part we should remember the dangers of fanaticism and the need for personal discipline and preparation. It is not difficult to formulate large and unrealistic plans for world progress and betterment and, as many do, seek to impose thcir vision of what the world should become on others. The need today however is for dedicated servers who will cooperate, under impression from the soul, with the divine plan as it seeks to work out.
There is a dearth of effective leadership today in the ranks of people of goodwill. This is well illustrated by the fact that whenever a person of ability and dedication offers their services and time to an organisation, he or she is very quickly given responsibility. Opportunities are as varied as the abilities of those who offer help. Organisers and administrators; teachers, lecturers and discussion group leaders; writers; investigators, information specialists and research workers; and the many people who, though they have no specialist skills, are able to help keep a group alive, creative and forward looking are all needed.
Those who recognise the need for goodwill workers and who train themselves for service, find expanding opportunities open out before them. What begins as a spare time activity can become, if the individual is suitable and the need sufficiently great, an all absorbing life task. Goodwill work, in its many forms, should increasingly provide vocational opportunities for those who are prepared to take the steps and make the sacrifices necessary for a life of world service.
This pamphlet is issued as an act of service by World Goodwill. World Goodwill is a worldwide movement helping to establish right human relations through the constructive power of goodwill.
World Goodwill is an activity of the Lucis Trust, a non-profit, taxexempt, educational corporation founded in 1922.