Sunrise Magazine Online

The Practice of Brotherhood

By Clifton Meek

Between the lines of recorded history, in the ruins of ancient civilizations, the tragic story of the human race is written. Nations and civilizations flourish and decay, leaving but crumbling ruins in their wake to commemorate their former glory and excite the curiosity and speculative theories of future generations. The monumental relics of antiquity, which have withstood the ravages of time and elements and the destructive vandalism of barbarous hordes and religious fanaticism, stand as mute evidence that civilizations greater than our own, having reached the zenith of material and even intellectual progress, crashed for the want of a most necessary counterbalance — the practice of brotherhood among mankind.

In these days when the thought atmosphere of the world is so impregnated with fear of wars, crime-waves, and economic uncertainty, man is painfully learning that the 'bread and circus' philosophy of life — the glorified materialism which has been dressed in all the glamor human ingenuity could devise — will never satisfy his innate hunger for spiritual light and knowledge. It will not even carry him across the chasm of material difficulties to which it has brought him.

The idea of brotherhood among mankind is nothing new; every age has talked of it, but none has brought it to a reality in the external conditions of life. Quite to the contrary, the race clings to the great illusion of human selfishness, which hangs like a pall over mankind and which time and time again has been the undoing of individuals, nations, and civilizations, as one age repeats the errors of the preceding one. Each age has looked upon the idea of universal brotherhood as a Utopian ideal, an experiment to be tried out by some future generation. To many it is the fantastical dream of impractical idealists, and is as odious to the twentieth century materialist as it was to the decadent and brutal Romans two thousand years ago. Man persists in climbing over man, nation over nation, and race over race, and unbrotherliness is the insanity of the age.

Brotherhood has been the keynote of every religion worthy of the name. It was proclaimed by the great teachers of the race before the pyramids were built, and alone will be the ideal of an enlightened humanity after they have resolved into impalpable dust.

It was the basic teaching of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Lao-Tse, Confucius, and the host of others who have sought to show mankind the way to a happier existence on earth; and it will become a living reality when the creeds and dogmas of their followers are forgotten; for it is the only fundamental religious teaching upon which it is possible for all men to agree. Articles of faith, man-made dogmas, and theological speculations can never successfully be substituted for a love of collective humanity, regardless of race, color, or creed. The former are the fields in which human misunderstanding, strife, and separateness flourish, while the latter sweeps before it all class-hatreds and their resultant train of evils.

Universal brotherhood is the only panacea for the evils of every age, but the one which really never has been tried. Man rides roughshod over his own kind in defiance of the wisest teachings of all ages; the bitter experiences of the past, the obvious fact that mankind is working out a common destiny, and the stupidity of human selfishness are marvelous to behold. When one-half the world doesn't care how the other half lives, or worse still, when it doesn't want it to live, human progress cannot be expected to pursue an even tenor.

Why not dedicate ourselves to the work of awakening in the hearts and minds of men the realization of the spiritual unity of all, and when once this great truth of Nature is understood by the thinking and intelligent people of our age, the external difficulties confronting mankind will automatically be corrected to a very great degree. In the last analysis, these problems have their origin in the minds of men — wrong thinking, wrong ideals, and primarily human selfishness. It is in the psychological complex of human nature with its present lack of understanding, due to the absence of a permanent and satisfying philosophy of life, that the difficulty lies, and it is there alone that a lasting remedy is to be effected.

Any other, principally those of a political or economic nature, regardless of how worthy they may be in themselves, are merely palliative and temporary, rather than regenerative and permanent.


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