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Education in the New Age - Chapter IV - The Angle of Citizenship
All this is very good and part of the ordained plan. Whether it is the democratic ideal, or the vision of the totalitarian state, or the dream of the communistic devotee, the [104] effect upon the consciousness of humanity as a whole is definitely good. His sense of world awareness is definitely growing, his power to regard himself as part of a whole is rapidly developing and all this is desirable and right and contained within the divine plan.

It is of course entirely true that the process is spoiled and handicapped by methods and motives that are highly undesirable, but human beings have a habit of spoiling that which is beautiful; they have a highly developed capacity of being selfish and material, and because the minds of men are as yet practically untrained and undeveloped, they have little power of discrimination and small ability to differentiate between the old and the new, or between the right and the more right. Having been trained in selfishness and in material attitudes while under parental control and in the educational systems of the day, their trend of thought normally runs along these undesirable lines.

In the Piscean Age which is passing, the youth in every country has been brought up under the influence of three foundational ideas. The result of these ideas might be expressed under the terms of the following questions:

  1. What shall be my vocation in order that I may have as much of the material world as my state in life and my wants permit?
  2. Who are the people who are above me, to whom I must look and whom I must honor, and who are those below me in the social order and how far am I able to mount in the social scale and so better myself?
  3. From childhood I have been taught that my natural inclination is to do wrong, to be naughty, or (if the setting is narrowly orthodox) that I am a miserable sinner and unfit for future happiness. How can I escape the penalties of my natural predilections? [105]

The result of all this is to breed in the race a deep seated sense of material and social ambition and also an inferiority complex which necessarily breaks out into some form of revolt in the individual, in racial explosions or, again speaking individually, in a rabidly self-centered attitude to life. From these distorted tendencies and retrogressive ideals the race must eventually emerge. It is the realization of this which has produced in some nations the over-emphasis on the national or racial good and on the State as an entity. It has led to the undermining of the hierarchical structure of the social order. This hierarchical structure is a basic and eternal reality, but the concept has been so distorted and so misused that it has evoked a revolt in humanity and has produced an almost abnormal reaction to a freedom and a license which are assuming undesirable dimensions.

The widespread demand of the youth of the world today (in some countries) for a good time, their irresponsibility and their refusal to face the real values of life, are all indicative of this. This is to be seen at its worst in the democratic countries. In the totalitarian states it is not permitted on the same scale, as the youth in those states are forced to shoulder responsibility and to dedicate themselves to the larger whole, and not to a life of material vocation and the wasting of their years in what I believe you slangfully call "a good time." This good time is usually had at the expense of others, and takes place in the formative years which inevitably condition and determine the young person's future.

I am not here speaking politically or in defense of any governmental system. A forced activity and then a forced responsibility, relegate the bulk of those so conditioned to the nursery stage or the child state, and humanity should be reaching maturity, with its willingness to shoulder responsibility and its growing sense of the real values of the standards of life. The sense of responsibility is one of the first indications that the soul of the individual is awakened. [106]

The soul of humanity is also at this time awakening en masse, and hence the following indications:

  1. The growth of societies, organizations and mass movements for the betterment of humanity everywhere.
  2. The growing interest of the mass of the people in the common welfare. Hitherto the upper layer of society has been interested, either for selfish, self-protective reasons or because of innate paternalism. The intelligentsia and the professional classes have investigated and studied the public welfare from the angle of mental and scientific interest, based upon a general material basis, and the lower middle class has naturally been involved in the same interest, from the point of view of financial and trade returns. Today this interest has reached down to the depths of the social order and all classes are keenly alive and alert to the general, national, racial or international good. This is very well and a hopeful sign.
  3. Humanitarian and philanthropic effort is at its height, alongside of the cruelties, hatreds and abnormalities which separateness, over-stressed national ideologies, aggressiveness and ambition have engendered in the life of all nations.
  4. Education is rapidly becoming mass effort and the children of all nations from the highest to the lowest are being intellectually equipped as never before. The effort is, of course, largely to enable them to meet material and national conditions, to be of use to the State and no economic drag upon it. The general result is, however, in line with the divine plan and undoubtedly good.
  5. The growing recognition by those in authority that the man in the street is becoming a factor in world affairs. He is reached on all sides by the press and the radio, and is today intelligent enough and [107] interested enough to be making the attempt to form his own opinions and come to his own conclusions. This is embryonic as yet, but the indications of his effort are undoubtedly there; hence the press and radio control which is found in all countries in some form or another, for there can never be any permanent evasion of the hierarchical structure which underlies our planetary life. This control falls into two major categories:

    Financial control, as in the United States.
    Government control, as in Europe and Great Britain.

    The people are told just what is good for them; reservations and secret diplomacy color the relation of the government to the masses, and the helplessness of the man in the street (in the face of authorities in the realm of politics, conditioning decisions such as war or peace, and theological impositions, as well as economic attitudes) is still pitiful, though not so great and so drastic as it was. The soul of humanity is awakening and the present situations may be regarded as temporary.

The purpose of the coming educational systems will be to preserve individual integrity, promote the sense of individual responsibility, encourage a developing group consciousness of basic individual, national and world relationships, meanwhile extroverting and organizing capacity, interest and ability. At the same time there will be an effort to intensify the sense of citizenship, both in the tangible outer world of the physical plane and in the Kingdom of God and of soul relationships.

In order to bring this about, and thus completely change the present world attitudes and wrong emphases, the drastic and catastrophic present planetary situation has been permitted. [108]

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