Through the Democracies Humanity Speaks

Democracy in the world today is both a cherished ideal and an approach to self-government that is under extreme challenges. Why is it so difficult for a society to create a true democracy? One problem might be that democracy is viewed by many, particularly those who live in the developed western nations, as the one and only form of government suitable for our times. Yet, from the esoteric perspective, democracy is just one of three systems of government which can be appropriate for particular nations and peoples, the other two being the totalitarian and communist systems. The writings of Alice Bailey tell us that totalitarianism is the “erroneous but clear-cut response” to the influence of the spiritual will-to-good. Communism, she wrote, is the ideology which has been created entirely by humanity. And democracy represents the human response to the universality of divine love. All of these systems, esoterically, offer much that is potentially good for particular circumstances; each of them has a contribution to make to the whole; and all are only signposts on the way to a truly spiritually oriented form of government.

Of the three forms of government, democracy seems to be particularly difficult to manifest. Its literal definition is: government by the people, especially the rule of the majority. This can work out as direct governance by the people themselves, or by their elected representatives. Both approaches present considerable obstacles. Perhaps the major requirement for a democracy to function properly is an educated populace. This requires training in the recognition of finer values, a high idealism, a spirit of synthesis or universality, and a desire for cooperative unity. When any one of these components is missing, a democracy cannot function as correctly as needed, and today, we’re told, a true democracy is unknown. The incisive observation of Winston Churchill applies here: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter”, he said.

The key factor in achieving a true democracy seems to hinge on the spiritual role of a group of workers called the Trained Observers. These servers are responsive to the soul of the nations, to the innate qualities and fundamental forces that characterize the people of a particular nation. The Trained Observers are free of the intensely nationalistic view that colors the worldview of most citizens, due to the educational values and parental and group training as well as their nations’ historical record (as taught in their schools). The intransigence of these influences helps us to understand why Alice Bailey wrote that “the problem of the interplay and interaction of the nations is largely a psychological one.” There is a national thoughtform, built up over centuries of experience and conditioning, from which it is incredibly difficult to break free.

The only way to gain freedom from the conditioning of one’s group or nation is to develop an ever-deepening recognition of the one Humanity—of the universality of the human experience, the common bonds of aspiration that are shared by all human beings. It’s clear that the young people of a society are usually the most responsive to this perception, and it’s equally clear that the educational system of a society plays a crucial role. Owing to material and economic concerns, today much emphasis is placed on educational training that will give students job skills and prepare them for gainful employment. Too often overlooked are the more abstract values of critical thinking, development of the power to reason and formulate theories which can be tested out, and—especially important in this age of the internet—learning how to discern truth, facts, and evidence from conspiracy theories and other unsubstantiated claims. Just because we have read something, somewhere, doesn’t make it true—an obvious recognition but too often ignored when one’s motivation is to “make a case” for what one already believes.

It helps to step back from the current glamour and illusion that hold so much of the world in thrall by remembering that the divine Plan unfolds over vast epochs of time and that to be an Observer requires a degree of patience, love, and positivity that keeps the perspective focused on the distant horizon. It helps, also, to remember that we mustn’t let the perfect—the ideal—be the enemy of the good—the present attainment, perhaps flawed but a step forward nevertheless. Much that is coming to light today and causing alarm and a sense of retrogression is actually a beneficial effect of the inpouring energies of a new age, wielded by the Trained Observers for the purpose of breaking up old deceptive thoughtforms and wrong desires. The shock of what’s rising to the surface of life can be met with despair, or it can be viewed as a welcome splash of icy cold water across the face, waking us up to the critical opportunity of this transitional era.

Paying attention to national and world events can be painful, but when viewed from a perspective of detachment and with a fundamental belief that “goodwill is the touchstone that will transform the world”, these words of Alice Bailey serve as an inspiring and motivating force: “It is well to remember that even the members of the Hierarchy profit by the opinions and advice of those disinterested disciples who can be trusted to rightly recognize and interpret the need of the hour.” What a challenging yet encouraging realization this is!

We are also urged never to relinquish “a vital and sure belief in humanity as a whole”. Pessimism about the human condition is a deadening force that can devitalize the most sincere objectives. The old order is passing away, and there should be no doubt of humanity’s capacity to meet the new order, the new age, with creativity and joyous expectancy. The only question is one of timing, and that is largely up to all people of goodwill.



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