The Right Answer


Reprinted from Y Fforwm Theosofaid (The Welsh Theosophical Forum), January-February 1944.

There are a great number of people who are more or less genuinely interested in the problems of bringing peace, happiness and progress into the collective living of mankind. But as soon as A. expresses his idea of how the change should be brought about, he finds that C., D., and E., all have different ideas of their own. Failing to find a plan agreeable to all, they spend the time in disputing the relative values of their respective schemes and trying to force their own schemes upon the others. Thus they produce in their own little unit, exactly the same conditions they are trying to mend in the general life of mankind. One sees that a community of intelligent, right-thinking people could start off with almost any kind of social or political structure in operation, and would at once start to adapt and amend it in accordance with their own feeling of what is worthy and proper. From the opposite angle, it is reasonable to state that if you could find the system operative in the kingdom of heaven, and apply that system in hell, it would still be a hell of a place to live in.

So I am compelled to come back to the conclusion that the developing of an increased number of intelligent, right-thinking people among the communities of mankind will provide the answer. This certainly seems a rather uninspiring sort of answer, at a time like this, when New World schemes are “ten-a-penny.” It amounts to the same thing as telling an unhealthy person that the way to become healthy is to give up his unhealthy habits of living. Such a person generally prefers to go to the doctor for “something in a bottle.”

I am reminded of a Chinese story. A Chinese village was separated from an adjacent town by a huge, sprawling mountain, so that the villagers had to walk around by a long and dangerous route. All sorts of remedies were proposed and discussed, for years, but the route was not a yard shorter or the least bit less dangerous, as the result. Then it was found that an old villager and his son had already commenced digging a tunnel into the mountain, in their spare time, using their spades and a wheelbarrow.

The story says that the others were so ashamed that they all set to work also. When I am in an optimistic mood, this seems quite a natural and hopeful outcome. Sometimes I almost despair of it. Yet I still know that the answer to the problem is only to be found in such a fashion….