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Problems of Humanity - Chapter II - The Problem of the Children of the World
This is a drastic generalization but it is basically correct in its main implications, though incorrect where individuals are concerned. For this sad and dire situation (entirely of humanity's own making) we pay the penalty of war. Neither the churches nor our educational systems have been sound enough in their presentation of truth to offset this materialistic tendency. The tragedy is that the children of the world have paid and are paying the price of our wrongdoing. War has its roots in greed; material ambition has motivated all the nations without exception; all our planning has been [39] directed to the organization of the national life so that material possession, competitive supremacy and individual and national selfish interests would control. All nations, in their own way and degree, have contributed to this; none has clean hands and hence war. Humanity has the habit of selfishness and an inherent love of material possessions. This has produced our modern civilization and, for this reason, it is being changed.

The cultural factor in any civilization is its preservation and consideration of all the best the past has given, and its evaluation and study of the arts, the literature, the music and the creative life of all nations - past and present. It concerns the refining influence of these factors upon a nation and upon those individuals in a nation who are so situated (usually financially) that they can profit from them and appreciate them. The knowledge and understanding thus gained enable the man of culture to relate the world of meaning (as inherited from the past) to the world of appearances in which he lives and to regard them as one world, but one existing primarily for his individual benefit. When, however, to an appreciation of our planetary and racial inheritance, both creative and historical, he adds an understanding of the spiritual and moral values, then we have an approximation to what the truly spiritual man is intended to be. In relation to the total population of the planet, such men are few and far between, but they guarantee to the rest of humanity a genuine possibility.

Will cultured people realize their opportunity? Will our civilized citizens embrace the chance to build afresh - not a material civilization this time but a world of beauty and of right human relations, a world in which children can indeed grow into the likeness of the One Father and in which man can return to the simplicity of the spiritual values of beauty, truth and goodness? [40]

Yet, facing the worldwide reconstruction demanded and the well-nigh impossible task of salvaging the children and youth of the world, them are those today who are engaged in raising funds to rebuild stone churches and restore ancient buildings, thus demanding money which is sorely needed to restore broken bodies, to heal psychological wounds and to produce the warmth of love and understanding among those who believe that such qualities do not exist!

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