Forerunners


Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Inner sight is simply seeing that which is always present, but not yet fully recognized. You have within you the ability to see yourself and the world around you in a new way with new eyes, so stay with us and together we’ll look at the world and ourselves with inner sight. I’d like to begin with a thought for today: “The present cycle is called the “Stage of the Forerunner.” It is preparatory in nature, testing in its methods and intended to be revelatory in its results.” That’s a thought from the works of Alice Bailey, the founder of the Lucis Trust organization, which sponsors this show Inner Sight. Alice Bailey wrote twenty-four volumes of books and I guess the best way to give a very quick idea of what those books are about is to say they’re about spiritual philosophy and also about discovering who we are and what our potential is. So, as you listen to our show, just be aware that all of the dialogue on this show emanates from the works of Alice Bailey. The writings refer quite often to “forerunners.” What exactly is a forerunner and why is that the theme of our program today? 

Sarah: At this time of year, we have several holidays coming up that are days of honor and recognition of what I would consider forerunners. One is Martin Luther King Day in January and then in February we have, here in America, the Presidents’ Day, which is in honor of two of our past presidents, Lincoln and Washington. So, it seemed appropriate to talk about forerunners today. That’s a theme that comes up in the writings of Alice Bailey and it ties in with a topic that I was taught in grade school — I don’t know if children still are taught it — about the lives of great men and women who have really made a difference in human history; the people who really stand out on the cutting edge, so to speak, of human evolution. These are the forerunners. Martin Luther King would be an example of one who caught a glimpse of what was possible at a time of real crisis in America during the civil rights era, when there was so much discord and a real cleavage within society, between the people who understood the need for civil rights for African Americans and those who were adamantly opposed to it and wanted to preserve the past. He was able, through his own strength of character, to make a bridge, in a sense, between those two world views. He stood utterly for principles; he didn’t compromise, but he didn’t demonize people either. He used to teach about the expulsive power of love. He understood that love is more powerful than hate and that that energy — which it is, that powerful spiritual energy — when really expressed in a mass way, could bring about a correction of a terrible injustice. And it did. Lincoln is another example of a forerunner. 

Dale: Yes, he’s a very good example. He came forth at a time of great need and a time of great crisis in this country, in the United States. And he was able to embody in himself the needs of the country and the people at the time. 

Sarah: The Alice Bailey writings speak of him as embodying the soul of the nation and I find that interesting. There are certain individuals down through history who seem to sum up in themselves the soul of their people. Maybe Gandhi could be another example of someone who expressed the highest potential within the people. These people are not in themselves perfected beings, and nowadays the tendency of historians is to probe some of the more unredeemed aspects of character, and there are problems that you can identify both within Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln. Both of them had less than perfect personal lives because they were human beings, and yet they were in the forefront of what was possible within humanity for their time and in their society. 

Dale: Yes. Forerunners are essentially like pioneers. They bring to light new ideas and new institutions. They establish new patterns of working and ways of looking at the world. They often come at specific times that coincide with the unfolding plan of God. They come forth at a time of need and that’s what’s referred to where it says in the opening thought, “the present cycle is the Stage of the Forerunner.” This simply refers to this present cycle of the great changes that are taking place in the world, and this is largely because of these forerunners coming in now to do their work. 

Sarah: Another interesting word in our opening thought is “revelatory”. This stage is intended to be “revelatory” in its results. What that suggests to me is that these forerunners reveal, or embody, or enact, or express something that is potential within a large portion of humanity. They reveal, they display and express a quality that then the people of goodwill and of intelligence can follow and build upon, because these forerunners have anchored and, in a sense, documented the essence of the change that needs to be made. There were certainly many people that followed upon the work of Doctor King, even though he was assassinated, as was Lincoln. Their work continued because they had cut the furrow to begin with. We haven’t said much about Washington, we should put in a word for George Washington. Why is he a forerunner? Because he was chosen out of all of the great Founding Fathers who were present at the birth of the United States as the most appropriate person to be the first president. He was, as I understand it, completely selfless in his lack of personal ambition. In fact, he wanted to stay on his farm in Virginia and they had to beg him to take the office of president. But he was a born natural leader, and he was able to, along with the other Founding Fathers help the United States to make an appropriate beginning. I don’t think we really appreciate what the Founding Fathers did, but when you think of somebody like Ho Chi Minh, the guerrilla leader I guess you could call him, of Vietnam. I heard once that he was a great student of the US Constitution and wanted very much to see its principles instilled in the Vietnamese political system. So, we shouldn’t underestimate what the Founding Fathers achieved. 

Robert: Have there always been forerunners or is this a fairly modern phenomenon? 

Dale: No, there have always been forerunners. They probably even go back to caveman days — you know the one who discovered fire, let’s say he was a forerunner. (laughter) But no, all down through history, there have been these great beings that have come forth and presented new ideas from Moses to the Buddha, and of course Christ was probably one of the greatest forerunners, as the forerunner for Christianity in the world. And so, no, all down through history there have been many, many forerunners and this is not a modern phenomenon at all. 

Sarah: Quite often they come into prominence at times of crisis, not when everything is going along very smoothly. As the Ageless Wisdom presents history — and I should say for our listeners who haven’t heard that term, the Ageless Wisdom is the strain of spiritual or esoteric teaching that runs throughout all the great religions of the world, and that can be traced back to ancient India and to the Vedas. It’s preserved and runs like a golden thread throughout the religious teachings of the world — this Ageless Wisdom teaches that history runs in cycles of critical points, followed by more stable periods when things are consolidated, followed by more crises. Most of us, I think, are probably bent on avoiding crisis at all costs, but in fact, crises are exactly what the soul of humanity needs to grow and to take the needed steps that bring about change. Forerunners generally are especially prominent at those points in history when humanity, or a portion of humanity, is ready for another step forward in consciousness. Really, what we’re talking about is the change in consciousness that occurs within a people. 

Dale: Yes, and that reminds me of one very well known — I don’t know if he’s well known as a person but certainly what he founded was well known — and that has to do with the founding of the International Red Cross. The founder of the Red Cross was a man by the name of Henry Dunant. He was a Swiss businessman and he lived from 1828 to 1910, and he’s considered to be the father of the International Red Cross. And it came about in rather an interesting way, because we were talking just a moment ago about crisis — well, he was on a business trip to Italy and he was passing through this little town called Solferino, Italy. It’s in northern Italy and this was in 1859, and he didn’t come there to witness a war, but he certainly did. He became involved in a battle that was going on between the French and the Austrian forces against the Italian liberation forces at the time and they had like three hundred thousand troops lined up against each other, and it was a horrific battle and Dunant experienced the aftermath of this battle. There were some forty thousand casualties at the time and there was scant little medical personnel to help with all these casualties. He, being a businessman and very adept at organizing, organized a relief effort right there on the spot, and he got the townspeople together and he paid for bandages and medicines out of his own pocket. Out of this experience, this horrific carnage, this great crisis that he found himself in, a few years later he came to the idea that what the world needed at that time was some relief agency, some independent, neutral, nonpolitical group of volunteers to administer to the wounded in battle. So, he organized an international group of European leaders and dignitaries, and in 1864, they came together in a conference and they drew up a convention of articles which served as the basis for the International Relief Society to take care of the wounded in war time. And out of that organization, out of that meeting, was founded the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is based in Geneva, and Geneva was his hometown. So, here we have a man that out of this crisis, the best that he had to offer and the great vision that he was able to conceive of the international nature and the neutral nature of the Red Cross, this volunteer organization came into being. And that’s just the way these things turn out sometimes. 

Robert: Forerunners seem to be people who make dramatic changes in the routines of humanity. I even was thinking of a business book that I was reading the other day, speaking about people who are in business, who are change agents who effectively change the course of an organization by their innovative ideas. I don’t know if I’m correct in making an analogy to that business book that I read, about a forerunner being a very dynamic change agent, but would you say forerunners are uniquely intuitive or are they more counterintuitive? 

Sarah: Well, I suppose you could say both are true. The intuition is that aspect of the mind that grasps the emerging plan of God that senses the future reality. It’s a capacity that jumps past reason and logic and grasps an idea that’s just on the point of being born. Great scientists are often intuitive. They have to be to be able to register the solutions to problems that previous scientific investigation hasn’t uncovered. But on the other hand, the forerunner also has to be in many cases counterintuitive in the sense that this person is able to go against the prevailing sense of reason and logic and wisdom that says life is such and such, and reality is thus and so. The counterintuitive is able to think against that tendency and come up sometimes with an entirely new and often brilliant perception. I was reading recently in Emerson’s book, Essays on Heroism, and he said that heroism often works in contradiction to the voice of mankind and in contradiction, for a time, to the voice of the great and good. Well, that’s a good way to describe the counterintuitive impulse. It goes against the voice of mankind sometimes and says something totally unexpected is in fact possible. 

Robert: At this time, would you say the nature of the forerunner is changing? 

Dale: I think it is in a way because in the past we’ve had individuals coming forth and presenting their ideas, but nowadays more and more of the forerunners are in the nature of a group. The problems in the world today are really soul-sized in a way. And they’re very complex and it’s more than perhaps a single individual can handle at one time. So, I think the nature of the forerunner is changing. 

Sarah: I think there will always be a place and a need for the really great individuals that chart the course for humanity and something that kind of worries me about present thinking is this tendency to want to level and democratize human achievement. To say that everyone is equal and nobody is better than anybody else kind of goes against the concept of the forerunner and the gift of the forerunner. We’re all precious in the eyes of God, we’re all of value spiritually as souls, but there are people among us who are truly capable of greatness and by their contribution, all of us are able to move forward. But this growth of the group forerunner, you’re right, it is a phenomenon of today. It gives us all hope of being able to contribute our little teaspoon of whatever to a much larger pool of goodness for humanity. We may not be capable of greatness as individuals, but as part of a group, people of intelligence and of goodwill and unselfishness and commitment to a just and right cause can be part of a group forerunner. For example: one group that comes to mind is Doctors Without Borders, which is a group that’s doing great good in the world, to intervene in areas of war and to be free of the political constraints, to be able to serve the needs of the local population that are being victimized without being caught up in the politics of it. That’s an example, I suppose, of a group forerunner. 

Dale: I think also that will be mentioned in this pamphlet we’re giving out on the New Group of World Servers, that this worldwide group is itself a forerunner for the Christ, the Coming One. An unrecognized group, but they’re very definitely in the world and it’s performing a worldwide movement to prepare the way for the Coming One, very shortly. 

Sarah: And I think that the people that are involved in the technological revolution of today are part of this group forerunner. I’m thinking of the people that invented the internet and the tremendous difference that has made in people being able to be in touch with each other and to share their ideas. Not just for conversation and chitchat, but to share knowledge and information, and to have a sense of the network of servers that is literally worldwide, is something that really comes across vividly if you go on the Internet very much and get a sense of the tremendous work being done by so many different groups, some of whom may be aware of each other, some may not, but they are all working along similar lines, and supplementing and strengthening each other’s work. The nongovernmental organizations of the world that do such good in virtually every field of human endeavor, they are part of this group forerunner, and the Internet makes it possible for them to communicate. 

Robert: I remember what you said earlier in the show, Sarah, about crisis. Winston Churchill said something very similar; he said, “crisis breeds genius.” Speaking of genius, are forerunners related to geniuses? 

Sarah: Yes, I think they are. The nature of genius is something that’s not completely understood yet by psychologists. And of course, I think there are geniuses who are not particularly on the cutting edge of human development. They are simply gifted in a particular field. For example, a musical genius or whatever. But there are geniuses who truly have caught some spark of divine inspiration in their consciousness and been able to ground it, express it in their field. And this brings up an aspect of the forerunners that we have to emphasize for our listeners; that these people are able to make a bridge between present human understanding and the divine Plan of God. They are a link between humanity and its higher future potential, which is the Kingdom of the Soul. They bring through ideas related to the Plan that God has for our world and they give them form and shape, and those ideas then inspire others. 

Dale: I think according to the Ageless Wisdom teachings, genius is a quality that’s built up over many lifetimes of experience, along a particular line of experience, like as you mentioned, the great musicians. They’ve had many lifetimes of being musicians and this experience is built upon with each new life and the memory is still there and it’s retained. The same with mathematicians, you also might say. 

Sarah: But in whatever field they work in, these geniuses are able to reveal — there’s our word revelatory again — they can reveal something of divine purpose and divine essence through their art, their science, their understanding of human psychology, their approach to religion, their new ideas about government, or whatever. 

Robert: That’s about all the time we have for our discussion today. You’ve been listening to Inner Sight. Now we would like to close with a world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation.

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)

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