Of all the live issues before the youth of today the most outstanding is doubtless that of determining upon some seemingly worth while objective in life. Bending one's course thereto, after due stock-taking and deliberation, while important, is a secondary affair, and yet it is no child's play, as we well know. Although paradoxically enough, the child is far nearer to one's ideal achievement or metaphysical goal than might be supposed, or, least of all, recognized. But this is, perhaps, to digress.
The world of today being in the throes of transition, the general situation is a peculiar one, one which is unique and wholly without precedent, where everything seems to be at the parting of the ways. The young man or woman with a view to any particular career as an objective is compelled to do some real thinking, and that without benefit of proxy. There is deep significance in the fact that the youth of today are not so disposed to turn to the older generations for advice as heretofore. And for very good reasons, as they see them. One of which is that their elders appear to be too conservative, too lacking in vision, and hence too nonplussed themselves to be of much help. It is encouragingly true that reflective minds among the younger generation are far nearer to a complete understanding of the causes underlying our chaotic social conditions than are their elders. They know for instance that the present world crisis is but the culmination, the fruit, of generations and generations of striving to achieve what are now seen to be sordid objectives, to say the least. This recognition and understanding of the situation is one of the most, if not the most hopeful sign of the times.
Objective objectives have too long adorned the horizon as popular ideals to be fought for tooth and nail, while heaven alone was left to help the fellow who got in the other's way. It has not been a pretty picture. But it may yet serve as a vivid illustration as to how absolutely ideals have ruled, and will forever continue to rule the world. The reason for this is that there is a law of cause and effect in the affairs of men, one which cannot be set aside. The same law is operative throughout every department of the universe in which we live and move.
Coveted preferments and privileges of exploitation have not been confined wholly to the material resources of the planet during all these years. Nations have been exploited by nations; classes by classes; groups of individuals by other groups, equally opportunist, until today there are the glaring effects everywhere. In addition to want, woe, war and brutality, we have an almost universal negation, suspicion, fear and fevered anxiety, as one after another the ghastly gestures suggesting imminent disaster are thrown upon our screen of time.
Nor has man's emotional nature escaped an equally intensive exploitation. Religious and political charlatans, both great and small, have been intensely active in this field. Volumes might be written on this score alone, and then fall far short of an adequate description of the sorrowful wreckage left in the wake of operations in these mine-strewn waters of life. Conceived in darkness and born in ignorance, the lower man's twin twain of hate and fear have been played upon for centuries, and are even today being utilized to the limit by those, be it noted, who well know what they are about.
What more evidence could one want as to the supreme rulership of ideals in the affairs of men than what we see all about us? But there is what the chemist calls an "end point" in every quantitative analysis, wherever taking place. And during the present process, Nature herself has supervision over the various reactions now under way in her vast laboratory. It is an accepted fact that gold must be tried by fire. And during this present-day trial what is too painfully visible is but the dross being forced to the surface during the process. "Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm; not till then. It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts." (Light on the Path)
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