Skip to main content

February 2017 – The War and The World, The Wisdom of the Overself, Chapter X

Although the copyright date on this book is 1943, the subject of this chapter is eerily relevant today. War is still manifesting in the world, but PB points out the source lies in the hidden side, the active unseen forces. He has written extensively about the causes and effects of war in several volumes: Volume 9 of the Notebooks, (Human Experience) and Chapter VIII, “The Evil in Our Time” in The Spiritual Crisis of Man are recommended study for a deeper understanding.

In the first para on p. 217 of “The War and the World” PB writes: “The chequered surface of history is largely a tale of tears and chance but its depths are a revelation of evolutionary unfoldment working alongside of karmic readjustment. There is a just logic in the sequence of historic events but it reveals itself only if we examine them by the doctrine of karma.” It goes on to point out that a metaphysical understanding is helpful to unwind the thorny knot.

Page 218: “They must take a different road and seek redemption from their past thinking. If they could get hold of right principles, they could not go far wrong in practical details. Action is but a reflection of attitude. The solutions of all our sociological and economic problems, for example, do not ultimately lie within sociology and economics alone but much more in psychology. Indeed, it may even be affirmed that without a re-education of mankind in meditational practices and philosophic truth – which includes psychology – all reformers labour largely in vain. The roots of our troubles lie in the imperfections of human nature and in the fallibility of human knowledge. Philosophy is not an aimless, useless study: it leads to right thinking, which is one of the most essential precedents of right living. It can offer not only a profound analysis of the past but also sound proposals for the future.”

Page 222: “During the course of our long planetary history, the general moral evolution rises and falls like a series of ascending arcs, but the terminal of each arc is spiral-like on a higher level than the terminal of the preceding one. Consequently, collective humanity always tends to show forth its worse characteristics before it shows forth its better ones. Such a terminal is being passed today and it is the business of the evil powers to make the most of their chance. Those who, through selfish bias, wishful thinking, undeveloped intelligence, or un-awakened intuition cannot understand the deeper significance of the present war will not also understand that the essential forces operating on both sides are far more than merely nationalistic, political or military ones. It is still more of a climacteric war of ideas and ideals of the unseen powers of Light and Darkness.”

This chapter continues with sub-headings of “The Social Crisis” and “The Personal Crisis.” We read on pages 227 and 228: Mankind is emerging from a tradition which once served it but now hampers it. The collapse of a debilitated culture, the break-up of a small-hearted economic order, the disintegration of an effete social order, and the decay of an outworn political order are inevitable historical processes, however excellent and worthy all these orders may have proved themselves in the past. Within the structures of these systems, valuable as they originally were on their own level, a spiritually progressive human life has now become less and less possible for the billions of human beings on this planet. …. A new world will be born out of the old one. This is an event which none can avert. It will be worse in some ways but better in others. To the extent that we plan this world unselfishly to suit worthwhile ideas and ideals, it will be a better one. To the extent that we let the crucial situation selfishly take its own course, it will be a worse one.” We will continue this topic in the next eteaching.