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The Externalization of the Hierarchy - Section II - The General World Picture
I. The World Today

What are the causes which have produced present world conditions? What are the underlying pressures which are producing the present chaos or those which can produce eventual order? Before there can be correction, there must be appreciation of error; there must be understanding of the predisposing causes producing the necessity; there must be realization of the general guilt and a shared responsibility for the evil conditions; there must be determination to make restitution, and to cease from evil doing.

The tendency to fasten the war on Hitler and his gang of evil men should not blind us to the causes which have made his evil work possible. He is mainly a precipitating agency, for through him world selfishness and cruelty have been brought to a focus. But, as Christ has said: "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh." (Matthew 18:7.) The causes of this rampant evil are inherent in humanity itself.

Ancient and untrammeled selfishness has ever been a characteristic of man; the desire for power and for possession has ever motivated men and nations; cruelty, lust, and sacrifice of the higher values to the lower have been deeply rooted human habits for ages. Of these ancient habits of thought and behavior all peoples and all nations are guilty. Steadily, [182] as the world grew closer, the lines of cleavage and the antagonism of the nations increased, and thus the present war (beginning in 1914) is the inevitable result of wrong thought, selfish goals and ancient hatreds. Individualistic interest, separative aims and aggressive desire march towards their inevitable finale - war and chaos.

The economic situation also provides a symbol of this condition. The nations divide themselves into the "Haves" and the "Have Nots," and thus bring in the present era of gangsterism. Organized gangs in the United States came into being as an expression of these tendencies in national life. In the international world, three nations are now playing the same part. The allied nations and the United States are recognizing the menace of national and international gangsterism and are endeavoring to crush it. But - and this is the point of importance - these conditions have been made possible by humanity as a whole.

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