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Primary Challenges and Issues Facing Humanity

Jan 01, 2007 07:17 PM
by Bill Meredith

Humanity is faced by a range of seemingly insuperable problems: uncontrolled population growth, diminishing resources, exploitation of one group by another, ancient animosities, passion for revenge, racial antagonism, religious prejudice, territorial ambition, destructive use of the environment, oppression of women, disregard of the rights of others, greed for wealth and power, and so on. In the Theosophical view, all these are secondary or derivative problems -- the symptoms of a disease. The primary, original problem, the cause of the disease, is the illusion of separateness, the notion that we are unconnected, independent beings whose particular welfare can be achieved at the expense of the general good.

The primary challenge facing humanity is therefore to recognize the unity of our species and in turn our ultimate unity with all life in the universe. Despite the superficial cultural and genetic differences that divide humanity, we are a remarkably homogeneous species -- physically, psychologically, intellectually, and spiritually. Biologically, we are a single human gene pool, with only minor local variations. Psychologically and intellectually, we respond to stimuli in fundamentally the same way. Linguistically, behind the surface variations of the world's tongues, our underlying language ability is remarkably uniform. Spiritually, we have a common origin and a common destiny.

Neither is the human species isolated from the rest of life in the universe. We are part and parcel of the totality of existence stretching from this planet Earth to the farthest reaches of the cosmos in every conceivable dimension. When we realize our integral connection with all other human beings, with all other life forms, with the most distant reaches of space, we will realize that we cannot either harm or help another without harming or helping ourselves. We are all one, not as metaphor, but as fact.

Individual Theosophists engage in social, political, and charitable action as they are moved by their consciences and sense of duty to become so engaged. They are urged by the Theosophical tradition to realize the concept of Unity in practical responses to the challenges we face. Collectively and as Theosophists, however, we do not regard it as our special calling to be social, political, or charitable activists. Theosophy addresses the cause rather than the symptoms of the human disease. Theosophy seeks to make humanity aware -- intellectually, affectively, and experientially -- of our unity with one another and with the whole universe. From such awareness will flow naturally and inevitably a respect for differences, a wise use of the environment, the fair treatment of others, a sympathy with the afflictions of our neighbors, and the will to respond to those afflictions helpfully and lovingly.
excerpt from the essay /A Portrait of Theosophy /by John Algeo

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