The Theosophical Forum – October 1941

MAKING HISTORY — Hannah Berman

A chance remark, quite carelessly made, sometimes gives the key to very trenchant facts. Such a remark is responsible for the birth of this article.

A public vehicle, loaded with passengers, all engaged in a heated discussion about the latest events — and then the remark: "What thrilling times we are living in! Why we are actually making history!"

One individual was obviously overwhelmed by the importance and greatness of the events happening around him — the big outstanding events, he meant, the things that occupy the front pages of the newspapers, the things that loom large like pillars of fate hiding the light beyond and throwing into shadow other things smaller and seemingly insignificant but strong and persistent and struggling for life.

It is always the case that in times of great cataclysmic happenings human beings are far too close to the events to judge their place in history and their importance in the scheme of evolutionary time.

It is often discovered later on, by those whose business it is to write chronicles of history, that small and seemingly unimportant events have had more far reaching effects than one could imagine. Actually it was the loss of an insignificant nail that was the cause of a kingdom's downfall: but this was only discovered when the historian traced back the big disaster to its first beginnings.

The teacher who had the sorry task of trying to "educate" Thomas Edison looked upon him only as a "nuisance" scholar and had no idea what wonderful miracles were striving for expression in the mind of one who could only be regarded as a very difficult pupil.

It is therefore very foolish and very dangerous to regard superficially events big or small which impinge on our lives today. Here and now humanity is indeed "making history." Regarded from a Theosophical point of view and with some vision, the present age is a wonderful time in the history of humanity. The struggle between black and white forces goes on continually and is slowly but surely reaching a climax. Old standards of values are crashing about us; new ideas and ideals are forcing their way in; there is a general and persistent striving — men hardly know what it all portends; but the urge is there. Great and magnificent issues are bound to be the fruits of the present struggle. We can truly say of today as Wordsworth said of the French Revolution —

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
And to be young were very heaven!

Humanity is adrift today on a stormy and perilous sea, yet there are rafts to which we can cling, have we the perception to see them. Primarily we must take care not to exaggerate the importance, good or bad, of the big events; neither in the same way must we disregard and neglect the small happenings that we see all around us. The Theosophical teachings will assuredly lead us into paths where lie the eternal verities and these we can regard and use as lifelines which will eventually take us to calmer waters and safety. Theosophy helps us to invoke the best that is within us and this means that we are enabled to build a bulwark between ourselves and the disastrous effects of humanity's folly, in the midst of which we are forced to live. But one thing it will have taught us and that is to endeavor to rise above it all and what is still more important — to live above it until an age of sanity returns.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition