Phoenix Rising - the Re-birth of Civilisation
The will-to-good of the world knowers is the magnetic seed of the future.
It is often said that we currently live in a time of profound transition. The familiar mores and institutions of societies in every part of the world are being challenged in many ways. We could even say that global civilisation itself is undergoing transformation.
Victor Hugo noted that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Humanity’s difficulty at the present time is that it is faced with an ever-growing torrent of new ideas whose time is coming. This is a direct result of the growth in mental potency in humanity. Partly as a result of the growth of mass education (in itself, the working out of a great philanthropic idea) and partly due to the onward evolution of consciousness, more and more people are becoming mentally focused, and capable of working with ideas. And civilisation itself is the result, the outer material expression, of ideas. As ideas change, so, eventually, do the many forms and institutions, the technologies and the characteristic art-forms, which make up civilisation.
Why do ideas change? An idea, like all else, has a life-cycle. First, it magnetically attracts a body of thinkers, gathering cooperation, and working its way out into active expression. Depending on the vitality of the idea, it then holds this form of expression together for a longer or shorter time. Finally, the hold on form is released, leading to its disintegration. Five hundred years ago, Monarchy held centre stage in the political organisation of most societies. Now, the events surrounding the British Queen’s Diamond Jubilee show that, in the few places it is still present, the idea of Monarchy is realised in largely ceremonial and symbolic terms.
In a number of her writings, Alice Bailey highlights the importance of a key group in this process of the emergence of ideas. The New Group of World Servers is made up of all those who are in the vanguard of transforming the thinking of humanity, through their constant reaching out to contact and bring into manifestation the Ideas of the Divine Plan. This process requires not only those few who can sense the new incoming ideas, but also those who can act as midwives, presenting the new ideas to a wider populace, enabling widespread acceptance. And finally, there are those who are skilled in implementing the ideas as programmes of action. Thus, the widest possible diversity of minds is needed to bring ideas from the levels of high abstraction down to the point where they can be embodied in enduring institutions and practices. And for an institution or practice to endure, care must be taken at every point of the descent of the idea into form.
This process whereby civilisation periodically re-makes itself can be profoundly unsettling for those who live through it. This is especially true now, as the process accelerates. Moreover, people now live longer, and may expect to see many more changes in their life than previous generations. So, as the many changes accumulate, they may even come to feel that the civilisation they were born into is dying, and being replaced by something quite alien. Alice Bailey remarked on this when she noted that, “Dying civilisations are present in their final forms whilst new civilisations are emerging; cycles come and go and in the going overlap”.1
If humanity is to learn to live and work constructively in this period of rapid civilisational change, it may help to see this time as the gradual expression of a high vision of the future - a vision that must not be too rapidly forced into being, but must be carefully and thoroughly worked out, so that all can feel they can make a positive contribution. This patient unfolding is characteristic of the persistent will-to-good, which is deeply concerned with right timing in the evolution of consciousness. Even good ideas can be stillborn if they are forced into being before the public is ready to accept them. The League of Nations was ahead of its time: nevertheless, it provided a prototype upon which the United Nations could build. The purifying effect of austerity has been discussed in a previous World View, and the deep structural problems in the European Union, revealed by the current economic crisis, may lead to a profound re-consideration of the meaning and purpose of the Union itself. Has it always been primarily about securing greater material benefit for its citizens, or is there a deeper dimension of shared history, culture and values that needs to be tapped? And is there some deep lesson which the struggles of the Union is intended to convey?2 While this re-thinking may be a painful process, the fact that the human mind is thereby being led further into the world of meaning, which is where ideas reside, is itself a positive consequence. What distinguishes the work of the New Group is that the motive for contacting and working out ideas is always the good of the whole, so the ideas contacted always contain within them the seed of synthesis. It is also significant that the members of the New Group are predisposed to work constructively in group formation, for it is said that the newer truths can only be grasped by group endeavour.
One of the most ancient world symbols is the Phoenix, the great bird which is periodically consumed through fire and then re-born. In the Ageless Wisdom, fire is often used to symbolise the mind. As we know, fire can be both beneficent and destructive. It is up to all people of goodwill to learn to work constructively with the mind, taking our place somewhere within the many groups which compose the New Group of World Servers, seeking to contact the high vision of a future world where the good of the whole informs every organ of society. Then, the Phoenix of civilisation can be safely re-born, and soar to greater heights.
1. A Treatise on the Seven Rays Vol.V, p.309
2. Alice Bailey remarked in 1935 that “Europe is the field for the educating of the world in the ideas of a true world unity”. (Discipleship in the New Age Vol. 1, p.161)