A Cascade of Crises

If history teaches us anything, it is that we (human beings) have the propensity to make the same or similar mistakes time and again. No doubt this is a familiar pattern in our own lives and one that we can reluctantly conclude in the life of humanity too. It takes wisdom and humility to confront past transgressions. And, from time to time, great thinkers and leaders, and movements in consciousness, have emerged to right the wrongs of previous generations, and to stand for principles that are timeless.

“History will look kindly on me”, Winston Churchill once remarked, “as I intend to write it”. And, whilst, no one would suggest that Churchill was perfect, and free from prejudiced thinking, his grasp of world affairs and dedication to the good of humankind were formidable. The decisions he made, along with others, helped to avert the world plunging into the dark ages, for an indeterminate period. Churchill was able to evoke the soul of a nation, and inspire other democratic world leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, to rally to the colours, and to confront tyranny and oppression on the battlefields of the world. Like few others, Churchill not only wrote about history, but changed its course too. And, whilst, most of us are probably not in a position to write history, let alone to influence it in any significant way, we can perhaps consider history as humanity’s cyclic response: “to some influencing divine energy, to some Avatar, or some inspired leader”.

It is almost impossible to trace the initiating events that are causing such disruption at this time. These events, so spiritual philosophy informs us, took place at such a remote period in human history, that only legends, myths, and the world’s scriptures can give but a glimpse of their origins. Modern academic history is but one page in a vast historical record of many chapters. A complete account of the vast sweep of human evolution is lost in the mists of time. Nonetheless, in our more modern era, the lives and teachings of great Avatars, such as the Christ, the Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, and Zarathustra, are well documented and present us with a picture of their moral and spiritual influence which gave rise to religions, cultures and civilisations, and which remain in part even to this day. But, ordinary mortals, such as ourselves, can too in our own small way, help to gravitate human thinking to the light.

Past and present are inextricably linked. The selfless duty of previous generations made it possible that many millions today have the opportunity to rally to the flags, not of marching armies, but of progressive social movements, in the pursuit of far-reaching and visionary ideas, values and principles. A powerful force for good is mobilising, determined and resolute, but not yet as organised in world affairs, as those who promote selfish and separative agendas. But their time is coming. Standing at the vanguard are the many people of goodwill who are motivated by universal values, truth and decency, and their ranks are growing. A worldwide shift in consciousness is emerging, conditioned by no particular nation, race or religion, but representative of the soul of humanity. It is this momentum in thinking that will eventually propel humanity into a new era. We, each, can have a part to play in this global transformation through right thinking and through practising goodwill in our immediate environments.

The future though lies in the hands of the younger generation. And there is much cause for optimism. But as we look out upon the world today, we cannot but not be alarmed by its turmoil: the crippling injustices, the deprivation and economic despair of countless millions, the grave inequalities, the devastation of climate change, the plight of impoverished people on the move or those languishing in countless refugee camps scattered throughout the world. These and other global issues, such as the recent unfolding tragic events in Afghanistan, only add to the sense of deep concern amongst all right-minded people. A cascade of crises is erupting on the world stage. A clash of ideas, cultures, civilisations and mindsets impacts upon human affairs. A kaleidoscopic array of seemingly intractable problems colours the world stage. Giant tectonic plates of ideologies collide, interact and play out across the planet, causing earthquakes in consciousness and precipitating seismic events.  Crises of immense proportions stalk the world stage. But, perhaps, we can be mindful that behind this outer turmoil lies a clear inner direction. All that takes place is the result of the play of consciousness upon form, of the impression of ideas, good and not so good, upon the human mind, and of the interaction of energy upon force. The outer world is but a distorted and incomplete reflection of the inner pattern of the heavens, “As above, so below”, so Hermetic scriptures inform us.

We might rightly ask: what are the root causes of the problems in the world, and do they have a common lineage? High on the list are extreme nationalism (not to be confused with patriotic nationalism), separatism and selfishness. Rampant and resurgent, they are causing deep ruptures in society and in the world. One example, perhaps, is the rise of populist leaders and politicians, who capitalise on fear and bask in the bygone days of national glory. Another is religious fundamentalism, of whatever persuasion, but all lead to instability and a spiral downwards into the dark void of separatism.

Many of the world’s problems can no doubt be addressed through progressive universal education. Education has the potential to draw out the creative and spiritual faculties of each individual: to teach young people just as much along the lines of what to think as how to think, and to offer guidance on preparing them for adulthood, parenthood and their place in society and in the world. Education should be much more than a process of memory training. Rudolf Steiner, a distinguished twentieth century philosopher and visionary, once commented: “receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom”. It is said that the theme of light underpins the entire science of education, revealing in ever clearer focus, the unfolding panorama of life; its rights and its responsibilities, its challenges and its opportunities, and its measured analysis of the material and its focus on the spiritual. So central is the importance of education in the world today that the destiny of future generations, for better or for worse, lies in its hands.

Life is a journey, at whatever age, a university in the unfoldment of consciousness, so that in time to the light of experience is added the light of understanding. Cause and effect, and the play of the mind upon form, are seen from a higher perspective. Through education, a more complete presentation of life can be offered to all those whose minds are opening and receptive to the higher patterns.

The spiritual sciences inform us that the whole thrust of evolution is towards synthesis, towards a bringing together of many apparently disparate elements for the greater good. And, although cooperation within the great family of nations, at this time, is embryonic in practice, and definitely a work in progress, it is a concept which an increasing number respond to, in the pursuit of world stability, along sound and practical lines. In the past, many countries were emerging out of regional and tribal loyalties, amalgamating with other territories, developing a sense of national identity, and creating the institutions and infrastructure that would serve the needs of the population. In the future, world planning and cooperation will dominate political agendas, to bring about what has been described as “the social organisation of humanity”. The United Nations is the outer symbol of this growing tendency towards fusion rather than fission or separation.

The pursuit of international understanding and cooperation is the prized goal of all enlightened statesmen and women, diplomats, and people of goodwill. A world in which there is not only freedom for each country to express the soul of its nation, but also to accept its responsibility and contribution to the planetary Whole, is still only an aspiration on the distant horizon, but indications of these positive developments are perhaps visible in the world’s response to climate change and to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which have been described as “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”. Likewise the international efforts of NGOs to bring about real change in communities and societies the length and breadth of the world is a testament of goodwill in action.

It is not easy to stand back detached from the cascade of crises that ripples across  the world stage, and to see the causal patterns that underlie the outer unfolding events. The mistakes of the past, of which there are many, and the relentless play of evolution rock humanity to its very core, and precipitate what has been described as “a cyclic crisis in the spiritual life of our planet”. A safe passage through this critical period is fraught with difficulties and challenges. But, it is not beyond the resolve of humanity to safely navigate its way through these turbulent waters with a steady hand at the tiller. Wisdom and vision are required and there is a growing number today who possess these very qualities.

All the three major planetary Centres: the Father’s House, the Kingdom of God, and humanity are, the spiritual sciences conclude, unitedly focused in one direction, towards what has been described as  “an intensification of the Light of the World”. This may mean different things to different people, dependent upon their depth of vision, but to our limited human perspective, perhaps it can be interpreted as a worldwide receptivity to goodwill and right human relations. These energies, we are informed, veil the impending revelation which light will ultimately reveal in the next two millennia. Humanity can move forward, free from the ravages of war and despair, into a golden age, in which human creativity, and the revelation of divinity can unfold, to bring about a new race, a new culture and civilisation, and a new global outlook, changing the dynamic in human and world affairs.

Churchill’s life and historical works were greatly influenced by a world in turmoil: world wars, the play of empires, global economic meltdown, and political instability and revolution. We can only hope that historians of the future will look back upon the history of the twenty-first century,  as not one of warfare, repeated mistakes, discord and rancour, but of a gradual transformation of human consciousness, of a profound turning point, and of a humanity turning its gaze incrementally and unalterably towards God.



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