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Education in the New Age - Chapter II - Civilization and Culture
II. The Cultural Unfoldment of the Race

Civilization and Culture

Much emphasis is being laid today upon education - coordinating, relational, psychological, vocational and equipping. To this must be added the old method of memory training and the attempt either to infuse religion into the mind of the child or to omit it with decision and with purpose. Modern education has been primarily competitive, nationalistic and, therefore, separative. It has trained the child to regard the material values as of major importance, to believe that his particular nation is also of major importance and that every other nation is secondary; it has fed pride and fostered the belief that he, his group and his nation are infinitely superior to other people and peoples. He is taught consequently to be a one-sided person with his world values wrongly adjusted and his attitudes to life distinguished by bias and prejudice. The rudiments of the arts are taught him in order to enable him to function with the needed efficiency in a competitive setting and in his particular vocational environment. To read, to write and to be able to add and do elementary arithmetic are regarded as the minimum requirement; to know something of past events - historical, geographical, literary, philosophical and scientific - are likewise added in many countries and for certain classes of people. Some of the literature of the world is also brought to his attention. [39]

The general level of world information is high but usually biased, influenced either by national or religious prejudices, serving thus to make a man a citizen of his own country but not a human being with world relations. World citizenship is not emphasized. The teaching imparted stimulates the latent mass consciousness of the child, and evokes the memory (racial and individual) through the impartation of facts - uncorrelated facts - most of them unrelated to daily living. These facts could serve (if used as seed thoughts in meditation and technically employed) to recover from that race consciousness and racial memory, not only national history but past history as well. I mention this in order to emphasize the danger of such undue emphasis upon the past, for if this were done on a large scale it would prove disastrous; it would put a premium on racial and national ideals and objectives and would lead rapidly to racial crystallization and senility - metaphorically speaking. An example of an effort in this direction was seen going on in Germany, and in a lesser way in Italy; it culminated in the Axis. Fortunately, the tide of life in the youth of any nation can be trusted to swing the thought of the race into a better direction than the evocation of past glory, so-called, and the emphasizing of the things which should be left behind.

I would like here to enlarge somewhat upon the interpretation of the much used words (frequently also misused) : culture and civilization. For it is the production of some form of culture - material or spiritual, or material and spiritual - which is the objective of all education. Education is the major agent in the world.

Civilization is the reaction of humanity to the purpose of any particular world period. In each age, some idea must be expressed in the current racial idealism. In Atlantean times, the idea that predominated was basically sensory religious idealism or mysticism, expressing itself in terms of approach to a felt but unseen deity, an expression of the [40] way of feeling. Yet there were highly sensitive races, composed of nations and groups who labored over the development of the feeling nature, consciously sometimes, but mostly unconsciously. Their attitude to each other, as individuals or nations, was primarily sensitive and emotional - a state of consciousness (I cannot say state of mind) most difficult for the modern Aryan race to grasp, or even intuit, for with us the mind is beginning to function. Their attitude to the deity was equally sensitive, and their religious activities were mystical and devotional, devoid of any mental understanding. They were significantly emotional in reactions to beauty, to the terror evoked by divinity and to the emotional characteristics of God, to the sense of light and to wonder. The mysterious, the sense of awe, the following blindly of some recognized "sensitive" of a higher order than the ordinary human being, and the interpretation of God and nature in terms of feeling-perception - these laid the basis of that ancient civilization and have largely colored our present racial attitudes, at least up until the advent of Christ, Who wrought great changes in the human consciousness and ushered in a new civilization. Children are still largely Atlantean in their consciousness; it is with them a form of recapitulation, analogous to the prenatal stage; the same recapitulation goes forward upon the Path when a man develops the mystical consciousness anew, after he has evoked his mental nature and prior to unfolding true occult awareness or knowledge and the reactions of the higher mind. The problem before Education is to take the Atlantean consciousness of the child and make it Aryan or mental. The Atlanteans had no educational system as we understand the term. The kings and priests intuited; the masses obeyed.

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