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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter III - Humanity Today - The World Situation
First, the ignorant masses: These, through poverty, lack of employment, illiteracy, hunger, distress and no leisure or means for cultural advantages, are in an inflamed condition. They are developed just enough to respond to the mental control and suggestion of slightly more advanced people. They can be easily regimented, influenced, standardized and swept into a collective activity by leaders of any school of thought which is clever enough and emotional enough to appeal to material desires, to love of country, and to hatred of those who possess more than they do. They can be controlled by fear, and thus aroused to action by emotional appeal.

Knowing no better and suffering so much, they are easily swept by the fires of hatred and fanaticism, and so they constitute one of the greatest and most innocent menaces of the present time. They are the playthings of the better informed and are helpless in the hands of those who seek to use them for any purpose whatsoever. They can be reached most easily by emotional appeals and by promises, whereas ideas can make but little impact upon their consciousness, for they are not yet developed enough to do their own thinking. The bulk of them are young souls, though there are exceptions, naturally. It is not the idealism of the leaders and demagogues which impresses them and impels them into action (usually of a violent nature), but the desire to retaliate, the longing to possess in the material sense, and the determination to be what is colloquially called the "top dog." They embody mob psychology, mob rule, and mob violence. They are helpless, exploited and - because they are an unthinking, unreasonable mass of human beings, - they present a very real problem, as we all well know and as all governments realize. Blind, unthinking violence has hitherto been met by armed force. Such [634] is the case today. The masses fight and die on the urge of inflammatory speeches and seldom know what it is all about. Their conditions must be bettered, but not through bloodshed and exploitation.

Secondly, the middle classes, so called, both higher and lower. These are the bulk of the nations, the bourgeoisie - intelligent, diligent, enquiring, narrow-minded, essentially religious, though frequently repudiating the forms of religion. They are torn and devastated by the economic conflict, and are, without exception, the most powerful element in any nation, because of their capacity to read, to discuss, to think, to spend money, and to take sides. They form the bulk of the partisans in the world, the fighters for a cause, and are formed into great groups, either for or against this, that, or the other party. They love to recognize and choose a leader, and are ready to die for a cause, and to make endless sacrifices for their ideals, based upon the ideas presented to them by their chosen leaders.

I am not differentiating the so-called aristocracy into a group, because that is entirely a class distinction, based largely on heredity and capital, and the modern adjustments in nations are rapidly fusing them into the large middle class. We are dealing with basic matters, with the groupings which are founded on major attitudes, and not on divisions which emerge when material resources are under consideration. The bourgeois mind is today slowly and steadily permeating the masses, the proletariat, and it is also penetrating into that circle which has hitherto been called the upper classes. It is found existing as a state of consciousness in the aristocracy of any nation and absorbing them under the great present leveling process. Because of this leveling which is everywhere going on, the spiritual aristocracy can now emerge, - an aristocracy based on a realization of divine origin and goal, which knows no [635] class distinction, no barriers in religion, and no separating differences. We are therefore dealing with human divisions and not class distinctions.

This second group is the most fruitful field from which the new leaders and organizers are being drawn. They constitute an intermediate group between the world thinkers, the intelligentsia, and the masses of men. In the last analysis, they are the determining factor in world affairs. The masses suffer from world conditions and from the situations brought about through the activity of this second group as it responds in some way or another to the new influences, the new ideals, and the new controlling factors in the modern world. This great second group itself suffers at the hands of those who seek to impose the new rhythms upon the peoples, - the political groups, the religious idealists and fanatics, and the protagonists of the new social order and economic regimes (as interpreted to them rightly or wrongly by their leaders).

Because of their intelligence, due to the improving educational facilities, the ability to read, and the impact of the new methods of propaganda, the press and the radio, they provide the most powerful group in the world in each nation, and it is to them that the leaders make their appeal, and it is their backing and their partisanship which is demanded, and which means success to any leader. They are the ones who have the controlling vote in national affairs. They are today swept by uncertainty, by questioning, by deep seated fears, and by the desire to see justice done and the new order of things established. Above everything else they desire peace, stable economic conditions, and an orderly world. For this they are ready to fight, and are today fighting in every party, every group, and for every kind of political, nationalistic, religious, economic and social ideals. If they are not literally fighting, [636] in the physical sense, they are fighting with words, speeches and books.

Thirdly, the thinkers of the world: These are the intelligent and highly educated men and women, who sense ideas and formulate them into ideals. These people speak the words, write the articles and books, and utilize all the known methods to reach and educate the general public, and thus stir up the bourgeoisie to activity, and arouse, through them, the masses. Their function and the part they play is of supreme importance. From their ranks come those who are steadily influencing the trend of world affairs, sometimes for good and sometimes for selfish ends. They play upon the human mind as a musician plays upon his instrument, and the power of the press, of the radio, and of the public platforms is in their hands. Their responsibility is enormous. Some few, more perhaps than might appear, are working selflessly under the inspiration of the new era. They are dedicated to the amelioration of human conditions, and the betterment of world affairs along certain lines which seem to them (rightly or wrongly) to have in them the hope of the future, and the uplift of humanity. They are found in every government, party, society, and organization, and in every Church and religious grouping. They constitute the most influential unit today, because it is through them that the large middle class is reached, swayed and organized for political, religious and social ends. Their ideas and utterances percolate down through the upper and middle classes and finally reach the ears of the more advanced of the undeveloped masses.

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