THEOSOPHY, Vol. 88, Issue 3
March-April, 2000
(Pages 126-129; Size: 8K)

CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES
ON THE OBJECTS

[9th article in this series]

Studying the ideas that underlie ancient and modern cultures brings greater appreciation for the way others think and live. Common threads of concern invariably emerge. The following student contribution demonstrates this point:
A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR HUMANITY

IN THE Introductory to the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, HPB observed:

In about nine years hence, the first cycle of the first five millenniums, that began with the great cycle of the Kali-Yuga, will end. And then the last prophecy contained in that book (the first volume of the prophetic record for the Black Age) will be accomplished. We have not long to wait, and many of us will witness the Dawn of the New Cycle, at the end of which not a few accounts will be settled and squared between the races. (SD I, xliv.)
What does this mean? Will men continue to try in vain to settle their accounts on the battlefield, which can only generate further violence; or has he evolved sufficiently to approach the question from a higher point of view?

The mixing of races and cultures in this century has been phenomenal. We have had to learn, in such close proximity to each other, how to accommodate each other, which, in the vernacular, means giving others some space on this planet to live, grow, thrive and learn. Could a way of "settling accounts" be aided by learning about each other's cultures? Recognizing and accepting our obvious differences, and even enjoying them, need be no barrier to our common ideals, goals and humanity. To realize we are all on the same journey, all learning and growing together is an opportunity. For as William Q. Judge once said:

We all differ and must agree to disagree, for it is only by balancing contrary things that equilibrium (harmony) is obtained. Harmony does not come through likeness. (Letters That Have Helped Me, p. 120).
On November 11, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published two articles illustrating the changing attitudes of two differing races -- the Arabic and the Caucasian. One article conveys how Egyptian Muslims feel toward the attitudes of Westerners regarding the Islamic religion and culture. They view Americans as scientifically relying more on technical data to resolve problems. Muslims, on the other hand, see technical data as frequently unreliable and subject to manipulation. The Muslim, in turn, calls on his God, in addition to science, feeling it is essential to have God in the working arena. As an instance, a phrase often used by Egyptians is "Tawakalt ala Allah," a common saying that means literally, "I depend on God." If a Muslim air pilot says in Arabic, "I depend on God," it is the rough equivalent of a Protestant or Catholic saying, "Lord, please help me." To the Westerner, hearing the Muslim calling on their God is associated with terrorism. This kind of cultural misunderstanding raises barriers and creates divisions.

On the Caucasian side, the Germans feel that it is time for the British to stop associating them with the Nazi era. Germany has made great strides towards restructuring their society and we are all indebted to the Germans for their contributions to our current way life. If we cannot learn from mistakes, and cease blaming others, the idea of growth and progress will be but a sham.

In "The Signs of this Cycle," William Q. Judge forewarns that this cycle will be one of unrest. People in general are now more educated and capable of articulating their individual concerns to others. He writes:

As intellectualism is the ruler over this progress in material things, we must next consider the common people, so called, who have escaped from the chains that bound them so long. They are not exempt from the general law, and hence, having been freed, they feel more keenly the grinding of the chains of circumstance, and therefore the next characteristic of the cycle -- among human beings -- is unrest.... The people will rise. For what, who can tell? The statesman who can see for what the uprising will be might take measures to counteract. But all your measures cannot turn back the iron wheel of fate. (Judge Articles I, p. 184.) [Note: A link to the article that this quote was taken from has been placed at the end of this article. --Compiler.]
People today no longer place reliance on their so-called leaders to take the proper measures to ensure the tranquillity and benefit of society. There are growing numbers of people among the masses who can greatly aid in counteracting the flood of destructive effects. Learning to better understand our fellowman, respecting those things which are sacred to differing cultures, accepting everyone into the human family, recognizing our common origin, looking within for signs of bigotry, arrogance and false notions about others, could be a vital contribution towards uniting mankind in a common brotherhood. As long as material gain rules our attitudes, the dire heresy of separateness will keep us apart. The role of Theosophy in the world today, is to awaken the Spirit in all men. It is through the power of the Spirit alone that will enable us to achieve our ideals, which, deep within, are the ideals of everyone.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety, a hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. Try to be at peace with yourself and help others share that peace. If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life. 


--The Dalai Lama



[Note: Here is the link to William Q. Judge's article, entitled "The Signs of this Cycle", that was quoted from in the above article. --Compiler.]

Next article:
CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES ON THE OBJECTS
[10th article in this series]
WORKING IN ASSOCIATION

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