In 1947, Alice Bailey published Problems of Humanity. This global survey identifies six main areas where humanity faces special difficulty: the psychological renewal of nations; children, youth and education; capital, labour and employment; racial minorities; organised religion; and international unity. This sixfold division does not imply any hard and fast distinctions – the six areas of challenge are deeply intertwined, and, in tackling one, other areas are also affected. For example, if we tackle the problem of the minorities (racial or cultural) then we will certainly affect the problem of children, youth and education, as minority children often face special challenges in integrating within a majority educational system: challenges of language, of diet, of worship – in short, of culture. So if a minority is well integrated within majority society, the educational opportunities of its children will benefit: and this integration will further contribute to industrial relations; religious harmony; the general psyche of the nation; and its place within the international community. Thus, every one of the six areas will be directly or indirectly affected.
One lesson of the problems is that, where one group holds a near-monopoly of power of any kind, then other groups will often suffer. Why do people crave such power over others? Because of a triple-headed gorgon that still lurks within human consciousness. Its three heads are those of separateness, selfishness, and materialism. And wherever they are found, they lead groups to separate themselves from others, to selfishly acquire power and wealth, and to become engrossed in materialistic pleasures. But fortunately, there are also those who have largely freed themselves from these cravings, and who work to remove them in others, and to fix the unjust and destructive situations which they cause. Usually, it is the latter aspect of their work, the fixing and healing, that gets most attention. But we should not discount the importance of their effect on consciousness, which they achieve by their lobbying, and, perhaps even more, by the power of their enlightened example.
They work in groups of all sizes, from neighbourhood associations to international NGOs. This movement has been given many names. Readers familiar with Alice Bailey’s work will recognise it under the name of the new group of world servers. One of the more common names within the media is civil society. The author and environmentalist Paul Hawken believes that the media uses this label only for the larger and more prominent NGOs, and does not appreciate the full scale of this global movement. He prefers to refer to it simply as the movement with no name. His thinking on the evolution and purpose of this movement can be found in his latest book, Blessed Unrest, which is reviewed in this issue.
The principles in Problems of Humanity are timeless; but human societies evolve, and so it is important to keep an eye on how these principles may work out in fresh situations. To that end, World Goodwill publishes a Study Course on the problems which comes in seven sets: an introductory set, and one for each of the problems. The whole course is regularly updated: in the last few years, the sets on international unity, and children, youth and education were refreshed, and this year, the same has happened for the psychological renewal of the nations, and capital, labour and employment. Articles giving an overview of the content of these two sets are included in this issue. Reflection on these problems is an important prelude to building thought-forms/visions of solution, which is the work that the new group of world servers are engaged in. We invite all people of goodwill to participate in this much-needed work, either by ordering printed study sets, downloading them from our website1, or engaging in discussion in our website forums2.
Goodwill is…the key to global planning for the production of harmonious living.