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Education in the New Age - Chapter III - The Present Transition Period
It is bridging work which has now to be done - bridging between what is today and what can be in the future. If, during the next 150 years, we develop this technique of bridging the many cleavages found in the human family and in offsetting the racial hatreds and the separate attitudes of nations and people, we shall have succeeded in [90] implementing a world in which war will be impossible and humanity will be realizing itself as one human family and not as a fighting aggregate of many nations and people, competitively engaged in getting the best of each other and successfully fostering prejudices and hatred. This has, as we have seen, been the history of the past. Man has been developed from an isolated animal, prompted only by the instincts of self-preservation, eating, and mating, through the stages of family life, tribal life and national life to the point where today a still broader ideal is grasped by him - international unity or the smooth functioning of the One Humanity. This growing idealism is fighting its way into the forefront of the human consciousness in spite of all separate enmities. It is largely responsible for the present chaos and for the banding together of the United Nations. It has produced the conflicting ideologies which are seeking world expression; it has produced the dramatic emergence of national saviors (so-called), world prophets and world workers, idealists, opportunists, dictators, investigators and humanitarians. These conflicting idealisms are a wholesome sign, whether we agree with them or not. They are definitely exploiting the human demand - urgent and right - for better conditions, for more light and understanding, for greater cooperation, for security and peace and plenty in the place of terror, fear and starvation.

It is difficult for modern man to conceive of a time when there will be no racial, national or separate religious consciousness present in human thinking. It was equally difficult for prehistoric man to conceive of a time when there would be national thinking and this is a good thing for us to bear in mind. The time when humanity will be able to think in universal terms still lies far ahead but the fact that we can speak of it, desire it and plan for it is surely the guarantee that it is not impossible. Humanity has always progressed from stage to stage of enlightenment and from glory to glory. We are today on our way to a far better civilization [91] than the world has ever known and towards conditions which will ensure a much happier humanity and which will see the end of national differences, of class distinctions (whether based on an hereditary or a financial status) and which will ensure a fuller and richer life for everyone.

It will be obvious that very many decades must elapse before such a state of affairs will be actively present - but it will be decades and not centuries, if humanity can learn the lessons of war and if the reactionary and the conservative peoples in every nation can be prevented from swinging civilization back on to the bad old lines. But a beginning can immediately be made. Simplicity should be our watchword for it is simplicity which will kill our old materialistic way of living. Cooperative goodwill is surely the first idea to be presented to the masses and taught in our schools, thereby guaranteeing the new and better civilization. Loving understanding, intelligently applied, should be the hallmark of the cultured and wiser groups, plus effort on their part to relate the world of meaning to the world of outer efforts - for the benefit of the masses. World Citizenship as an expression of both goodwill and understanding should be the goal of the enlightened everywhere and the hallmark of the spiritual man, and in these three, you have right relations established between education, religion and politics.

All the work being done now is definitely transitional work and therefore most difficult. It infers a bridging process between the old and the new, and would present almost insuperable difficulties were it not for the fact that the coming two generations will bring in those types of egos who are competent to deal with the problem. Upon this fact those of you who are concerned with the educational system and situation, and who are bewildered by the presented vision and by the task of approximating the cherished possibilities, must rest back with confidence. Clear thinking, much love and a sense of true compromise (note this phrase) will do much to lay the needed foundations and keep the door of the [92] future wide open. A balancing process is going forward in this interim period, and to it the modern educator should pay due attention.

I can perhaps indicate the nature of this process. I have stated here and elsewhere that the soul anchors itself in the body at two points:

  1. There is a thread of energy, which we call the life or spirit aspect, anchored in the heart. It uses the blood stream, as is well known, as its distributing agency and, through the medium of the blood, life-energy carries regenerating power and coordinating energy to all the physical organisms and keeps the body "whole."
  2. There is a thread of energy, which we call the consciousness aspect or the faculty of soul knowledge, anchored in the center of the head. It controls that response mechanism which we call the brain, and through its medium it directs activity and induces awareness throughout the body by means of the nervous system.

These two energy factors, which are recognized by human beings as life and knowledge, or as living energy and intelligence, are the two poles of a child's being. The task ahead of him is to develop consciously the middle or balancing aspect which is love or group relationship, in order that knowledge should be subordinated to the group need and interests, and that living energy should be turned consciously and with intention into the group whole. In doing this a true balance will be achieved and it will be brought about by the recognition that the Way of Service is a scientific technique for the achieving of this balance. Educators therefore have three things to bear in mind during this present period of transition: [93]

1. To reorient the knowledge, the consciousness aspect or the sense of awareness in the child in such a manner that he realizes from infancy that all that he has been taught or is being taught is with the view to the good of others more than of himself. He will therefore be trained to be definitely forward looking. Information as to the past history of the race will be given to him from the angle of the racial growth in consciousness and not so much from the angle of the facts of material or aggressive achievement as is now the case. As the past, in the child's mind, is correlated with the present, his capacity to correlate, unify and bridge, in the different aspects of his life and on various planes, will be developed.

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