A great part of the tragedy of unemployment lies in the enforced departure from the wonted patterns of human life. The father of the family sees himself dethroned from his honorable position as provider, helpless where he was once the mainstay, his skill perhaps blunted by disuse, his heart heavy. The mother sees every housewifely activity stripped to naked necessity, without the assurance that even necessity can be met. The parents see their children run the risk of every ill that follows upon lack of what in better times it was their joy to supply. Small wonder is it if confusion of mind prevails in the "distressed areas." That it is not more general is a notable fact; for that there should be the poise of mind that renders vision possible is hardly to be expected in the trying conditions of life among the jobless.
But, in addition to those whose lack of vision can thus be accounted for, there are many others, living in what must seem to the unemployed not only enviable security, but peace and plenty, who, nevertheless, largely by their own will, if not by their ignorance, are cut off from any view of the pattern of human destiny. By their failure, for whatever reason, to avail themselves of companionship and intimacy with the permanent, vastly experienced inner man or woman, they suffer from the disuse of faculties whose function it is to illumine, to reveal the significance of, every event that befalls. Never to discover these higher faculties, never to transcend the functions of the brain-mind, is to fail to find the direction of the stream of human progress. It is to belong to "the spiritually unemployed.'
The future of man is a vital concern of thinkers today. All feel that an old age is dying; the intuitive feel that a new age is being born. No longer is man regarded as an accident or an interloper in the cosmic scheme. It is being found impossible to separate man's fate from the structure and the history of the universe. It is becoming reasonable to suppose that the future of humanity will be woven of individual threads of human effort — effort actuated by what if not the very thoughts and aspirations that we as human beings have today? The pattern is indeed set by cosmic law, but the details of the part played in weaving the tapestry remain a matter of man's free will.
One notes with interest the trend of thought toward the discovery and practical application of spiritual resources in man in building a future (not in Heaven but here on Earth) in which recognised unity and interdependence, free creative power, and the sense of victory that comes from understanding the universe, are the keynotes.
Dean Gauss of Princeton University in A Primer for Tomorrow says that our age is one that looks, not back to the great achievements of the past so much as forward to "a free future," his part in which man does not yet fully understand; but a future in which the tendency will be to form larger united groups than were developed in the past, in which new creative energies will be liberated. He asserts that our institutions are not yet based upon the deepest human instincts, and he stresses "the new world of spirit."
Erwin Schrodinger in Science and the Human Temperament writes of "the free unfolding of noble powers which remain available, beyond utilitarian activities."
In a book review by Basil de Selincourt we read that life today is like a boat-race in a storm, in which the aim is not to outstrip one's competitors but to reach the goal with them, the prize being the gaining of understanding.
Aldous Huxley in a recent novel has a modern hero beginning to realise that he is not separate from his fellow-beings, but "united at the depths with other lives, with the rest of being."
In Return to Philosophy, Dr. C. E. M. Joad writes of a time in the future when man shall have assimilated both the facts gathered by scientific research and the wisdom of the philosophers, and shall have viewed these in the light of his own experience. He postulates a "jump" to a new level of insight into the meaning of things, a new understanding of the order of the universe. He suggests that this wider field of consciousness, now experienced by the artist, the musician, and the mystic, may become common to the human race.
The urgent need today is for a new framework of thought concerning man and the universe, one inclusive of all the possibilities for humanity that have been intuited by these writers. The shining inner building-blocks for this glorious structure are to be found in the Seven Jewels of the Ancient Wisdom, as presented by Theosophy.
They are: (1) Reimbodiment, the teaching that everything from an atom to a galaxy reimbodies itself in successive periods of manifestation; (2) Karman, that man is and has just what he has made for himself in these lives on Earth, that he can thus build as he will; (3) Hierarchies, that all beings, seeds of divinity, "united at the depths," and interdependent, mount in a graduated scale of life towards realization of the inner divinity; (4) Swabhava, the doctrine that all beings have a seed of deathless individuality in varying degrees of unfoldment, their unique contribution to the cosmic system in which they are manifesting; (5) Evolution, the gradual unfolding from within of this inner potency, in man reaching the stage when self-directed evolution may be carried on; (6) Amrita-Yana, the Path of Immortality, the Law of Compassion, the truth that only by helping those lower in the scale of being does one mount to the higher reaches of conscious Divinity; (7) Atma-Vidya, the perfect knowledge of that Divine Self that is the root of all, the individual dewdrop of consciousness being, not absorbed in the Ocean of Universal Divine Consciousness, but, becoming that Ocean.
In a cyclic crisis like the present, one is wilfully blind to refuse to take into consideration philosophy that supplies the building-material for a new mental framework of the destiny of man. One is short-sighted to refuse to avail oneself of the spiritual resources of the inner, enduring principles of human nature, those which endure throughout the whole long cycle of man's pilgrimage as a soul, even as during one life on Earth there is something that persists from birth to death; for, in this deeper Self, lies the power to catch gleams of distant goals. One is mentally a coward never to accept the challenge to adventure in ideals, never to take part in aiding to bring the new age to birth but stupidly seek to keep rather than to grow and deeply live.
So to distrust or deny human possibilities, so to hold back from the Quest of Self-Knowledge, is to belong to the self-deprived class of the spiritually unemployed.
The Theosophical ForumTHEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE