All Subjects Are Connected to Metaphysics and Ethics (which Transcend the World of Ordinary Science): If They Are Not True, They Inevitably Lead to Disaster

“All subjects, no matter how specialized, are connected with a centre; they are like rays emanating from a sun. The centre is constituted by our most basic convictions, by those ideas which really have the power to move us. In other words, the centre consists of metaphysics and ethics, of ideas that — whether we like it or not — transcend the world of facts. Because they transcend the world of facts, they cannot be proved or disproved by ordinary scientific method. But that does not mean that they are purely ‘subjective’ or ‘relative’ or mere arbitrary conventions. They must be true to reality, although they transcend the world of facts — an apparent paradox to our positivistic thinkers. If they are not true to reality, the adherence to such a set of ideas must inevitably lead to disaster.” (Ernst Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful, pp. 94-95; emphasis added)

XIXth-Century Great Ideas Deny or Obliterate the Hierarchy of Levels in the Universe

“While the nineteenth-century ideas deny or obliterate the hierarchy of levels in the universe, the notion of an hierarchical order is an indispensable instrument of understanding. Without the recognition of ‘Levels of Being’ or ‘Grades of Significance’ we cannot make the world intelligible (…) Maybe it is man’s task — or simply, if you like, man’s happiness — to attain a higher degree of realization of his potentialities, a higher level of being or ‘grade of significance’ than that which comes to him ‘naturally’: we cannot even study this possibility except by re-cognizing the existence of a hierarchical structure. To the extent that we interpret the world through the great, vital ideas of the nineteenth century, we are blind to these differences of level, because we have been blinded.” (Ernst Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful, pp. 95-96; emphasis added)

Exoteric Creeds Generate Opression and Struggle. It Is Esoteric Philosophy Alone that Can Bring Mediate State and Finally Lead to the Alleviation of Human Suffering

“Under the dominion and sway of exoteric creeds, the grotesque and tortured shadows of Theosophical realities, there must ever be the same oppression of the weak and the poor and the same typhonic struggle of the wealthy and the might among themselves … It is esoteric philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature, that, by revealing fundamental truths, can bring that much disered mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism, and finally lead to the alleviation of human suffering.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 157; link and emphasis added)

Only Object to Be Striven for: the Spread of Truth Suited to the Various Stages of His Development and of the Country He Inhabits and Belongs to

“The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and of the country he inhabits and belongs to. TRUTH has no ear-mark and does not suffer from the name under which it is promulgated — if the said object is attained.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p. 399; emphasis added)

Esoteric Truths Are of the Highest Spiritual Importance, at Once Profound and Practical: They Have to Prove Both Destructive and Constructive — Destructive in the Pernicious Errors of the Past; But Constructive of New Institutions of a Genuine, Practical Brotherhood of Humanity

“The truths and mysteries of occultism constitute, indeed, a body of the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical for the world at large. Yet, it is not as a mere addition to the tangled mass of theory or speculation in the world of science that they are being given to you, but for their practical bearing on the interests of mankind. (…) They have to prove both destructive and constructive — destructive in the pernicious errors of the past, in the old creeds and superstitions which suffocate in their poisonous embrace like the Mexican weed nigh all mankind; but constructive of new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all will become co-workers of nature (…).” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 6, p. 23; links and emphasis added)

Purpose We Have All at Heart: Dissemination of TRUTH Conveyed by Whatever Religious Channel

“This is not the desire alone of either of us two, known to Mr. Sinnett, or of both, but the express wish of the Chohan Himself. [Note: The Lord Maha-Choan] Mrs. Kingsford’s (Dr Anna Kingsford) election is not a matter of personal feeling between ourselves and that lady but rests entirely on the advisability of having at the head of the Society, in a place like London, a person well suited to the standard and aspirations of the (so far) ignorant (of esoteric truths) and therefore, malicious public. (…) a question whether the said lady is fitted for the purpose we have all at heart, namely the dissemination of TRUTH through Esoteric doctrines, conveyed by whatever religious channel, and the effacement of crass materialism and blind prejudices and skepticism. (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p 398; links and emphasis added)

Secret of the Spiritual Failure and Unconscious Egotism of this Age: Lack of a Universal Moral Law or Principle

The philantropy you Western thinkers boast of, having no character of universality; i.e. never having been established on the firm footing of a moral, universal principle; never having risen higher than theorethical talk; (…) is but a mere accidental manifestation but no recognised LAW. (…) This, I think is, the secret of the spiritual failure and unconscious egotism of this age.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 28, p. 215; link and emphasis added)

Universal Brotherhood Is a Law in Nature, Not Only an Aspiration

Brotherhood, then, in its full meaning, is a law in nature. Stress has more than once been laid on this in our meetings, but not too much stress has thereon been laid. For it is the very object, the desire, of our work that brotherhood shall become practical in society, and it will never become practical until men understand that it is a law, and not only an aspiration. It is a common experience that when men have discovered a law of nature they no longer fight against it. They at once accomodate themselves to the new knowledge. They at once adapt themselves to the newly understood conditions, and in that very way we have preached brotherhood. And yet brotherhood is but so little known in our world.” (Annie Besant. The Spiritual Life, Vol. II, p. 160; links and emphasis added)

Universal Brotherhood: It Is the Only Secure Foundation for Universal Morality

“The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. (…) It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 4, p. 17; link and emphasis added)

The Principle or Law of Universal Brotherhood is Very Little Understood: It Is the One Essential of Doctrine and of Life of Both Buddhism and Christianity

“How little this principle of Universal Brotherhood is understood by the masses of mankind, how seldom its transcendent importance is recognized, may be seen in the diversity of opinions and fictitious interpretations regarding the Theosophical Society. This Society was organized on this one principle, the essential Brotherhood of Man, as herein briefly outlined and imperfectly set forth. It has been assailed as Buddhistic and anti-Christian, as though it could be both these together, when both Buddhism and Christianity, as set forth by their inspired founders, make brotherhood the one essential of doctrine and of life.” (Helena Blavatsky, quoting J.D. Buck, in The Key to Theosophy, p. 18; link and emphasis added)

Faith That Is Without Understanding Is Credulity

“True it is ‘faith that saves,’ but the faith that is without understanding is not faith, but credulity.” (Edward Maitland. Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)

The Interpretation of Your Bibles

“That which you need on Earth is the interpretation of your Bibles, and of all the Scriptures which contain the hidden wisdom, the mystery of which St. Paul so often speaks as existing from the foundation of the world. [As in Romans 16:25]” (A Message to Earth. Edited by Edward Maitland, p. 69. Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)

Two Things About the Christian Religion

“At the present moment there are two things about the Christian religion which must be obvious to every percipient person; one, that men cannot do without it; the other, that they cannot do with it as it is.” (Matthew Arnold, quoted in The Perfect Way. See Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)

Christianity and Buddhism Are Parts of One Continuous, Harmonious Whole

“Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way, pp. 250-251; emphasis added)

Of the Union of Buddha and Christ Will Be Born the World’s Coming Redemption

“Of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world’s coming redemption.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way, p. 252; emphasis added)

Reincarnation and Karma, in Other Words, Hope and Responsibility, Will Bring Better Days

“(…) if the doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of new generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer and are outcast.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. XI, p. 202)

Universal Brotherhood Under the Law of Reincarnation and Karma Will Solve Many of the Problems

But to understand Brotherhood, we must remember that evolution proceeds by reincarnation under the law of the karma.(…) Now most of you believe these two great teachings and in your individual lives they play a mighty part. Why do you not apply them to nations as well as to individuals, to social problems as well as to the helping of your own personal development? As the ideas of reincarnation and karma make their way in the western world, which has the habit of applying principles to practice, I think we shall find this Principle of Universal Brotherhood under the law of reincarnation and karma will solve many of the problems under which the western world is groaning, in our time.” (Annie Besant. The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 21; links and emphasis added)

Brotherhood of All Souls Is Like to the Relation Within a Family

“It is necessary to understand that this Brotherhood of all souls is like the relation of brotherhood within a family; brothers are not all of the same age, though they are of the same parents..” (C. Jinarajadasa. Practical Theosophy, p. 63; links and emphasis added)

Idea That Will Guide State Administration, Above All, Will Be the Principle or Law of Universal Brotherhood

“Since a man is a unit of a social organization, the value which any ethical teaching may have for the individual is inseparable from its application to the community of which he is a part. Just as an understanding of certain simple truths modifies a man’s conception of himself, so too the conception of what constitutes the true state, when viewed in the light of the Esoteric [or Perennial] Philosophy, profoundly modifies a man’s attitude to his life among his fellow men. (…)

The individuals who compose the state are Souls, immortal egos in earthly bodies; they are the members of the State in order to evolve to an ideal of perfection. As souls, and as all partaking of one Divine Nature, all within the State are brothers; whether rich or poor, cultured or ignorant, law-abiding or law-breaking, all are brothers, and nothing one soul does can modify that fact of nature.

The educated or the proud may refuse to see an identity of nature with the ignorant and the lowly; the weak and the criminally minded may show more attributes of the brute than that of the God. Yet is there in high and low alike the one nature of the Divine Life, and nothing a man does can weaken the bond of brotherhood between him and all the others.

But this Brotherhood of all souls is like the relation of brotherhood within a family; brothers are not all of the same age, though they are of the same parents. So too, among the souls that compose a state, there are elder souls and younger souls; it is just this difference of spiritual age and capacity which makes possible the functions of the real State.

The age of the soul is seen in the response to ideals of altruism and co-operation; he is the elder soul who springs forward to help in the welfare of others, and that soul is the younger who thinks of self-interest first and follows its needs in preference to self-sacrifice on behalf of others.

The divisions which we now have in a state’s life of rank and of wealth are no true distinctions which divide the elder souls from the younger souls; one man born into a high class or caste may yet be a very young soul, while another whose birth is ignoble, according to the world’s conventions, may be far advanced as a soul.

There being in each state elder souls and younger souls, the Law of Brotherhood requires that the elder shall be more self-sacrificing, on behalf of the younger, than the younger should be towards the elder. Since life through long ages has given more to the elder souls than to the younger, more is required from the elder, both of self-sacrifice and of responsibility.

By the natural order of events, the direction of a state’s affairs will fall inevitably on the elder souls. (…) when the state begins to perform its true functions, the direction of its affairs is by an aristocracy, by the best souls, that is, the elder and more capable souls. (…)

The great principle to guide them in their administration is that in all the state’s affairs the principle of Brotherhood shall dominate in all things. This will mean the clear recognition that any preventable suffering or ignorance or backwardness of even one citizen is to the detriment of the welfare of all citizens; since the destiny of each is inseparable from the destiny of all, as rises one so rise all, and as falls one so fall all; that there must be no shadow of exploitation of one man by another, of one class or caste by another. Since, too, all men are souls and, even the least developed, Gods in the making, it becomes the duty of the administrator in all laws and institutions continually to appeal to the hidden Divinity in man. (…)

When there comes in the state the recognition of this hidden God in man, a complete revolution will take place in our attitude to and in our treatment of the criminal. First and foremost, whatever he does, he is our brother. He is a younger brother truly to those of us who are the elders and give implicit and willing obedience to the laws of the state; but though he falls a thousand times, he is our brother even after the thousandth time.” (C. Jinarajadasa, Practical Theosophy, pp. 61-66; links and most emphasis added)

Note from the website’s manager: This quote by C. Jinarajadasa evidences the relevance of the aspects of Unity and Diversity within the principle or Law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, as well as reveals some of its most important practical applications. Unfortunately, as already mentioned and quoted, the importance of the Unity and Diversity aspects are not well recognized both in theoretical terms and, consequently, in practical terms.

Influence and Responsibility of the Leaders of Thought

“(…) this our generation seems to evince but a very rudimentary spiritual grasp while apparently developed in intellect to the utmost extent possible. It is, indeed, a hard, materialistic age: a fragment of sparkling quartz is its appropriate symbol. And yet of what ‘age’ and ‘generation’ do we speak? Not of that of the masses, for they change but little from generation to generation: no, but of the educated class, the leaders of thought, the controllers and stimulators of the opinions of that great middle social group lying between the highly cultured and the brutishly ignorant. They are the skeptics of today who are as incapable of rising to the sublimity of Vedanta or Buddhist philosophy as a tortoise to soar like an eagle.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. III, p. 104; emphasis added)

Great Mission of True Altruism Is the Working Out of Clear Ethic Ideas and Duties, and the Modelling of Their Institutions

“The problem of true Theosophy [Note: Altruism or Divine Wisdom] and its great mission is the working out of clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy most and best the altruistic and right feelings in us; and the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where they may be applied with most equitableness . . . Such is the common work in view for all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task and will require strenuous and persevering exertion, but it must lead you insensibly to progress and leave no room for any selfish aspiration outside the limits traced.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 158; note and emphasis added)

Fundamental Principles of Humanitarianism

“As a doctrine, or as a social-political philosophy, Humanitarianism is based on only five large principles that, despite its apparent simplicity, encompass a whole metaphysical vision that, synthetically and allegorically, is supported by two master columns that are the motto of Humanitarianism: UNITY IN DIVERSITY. These two central aspects constitute the essence of the Universal Brotherhood Law which, applied to humanity, is the first and most important principle of Humanitarianism. As we will try to demonstrate in this work, this metaphysical perspective and these principles are of fundamental importance for the welfare of humanity. These five principles are:

1 – All human beings constitute an UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD (understood as a universal law of Nature, here applied to humanity as a whole);

2 – All human beings have the same origin and the same essential nature and, therefore, the SAME ESSENCIAL VALUE;

3 – Notwithstanding the original unity, and the same essential value, the human beings present DIFFERENT CAPACITIES;

4 – As a consequence of these first three principles, the rule that should guide the justice and the harmony which is possible among the human beings is the EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITIES, in order to better promote the development of the different levels and types of individual capacities;

5 – The ethical principle of ELITE RESPONSIBILITY, from which also depends the advent of the new social institutions.” (Arnaldo Sisson Filho. What Is Wrong with Politics? Bases for a True Democracy)

The Universal Brotherhood As a Law: the Only Object

The principle or law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity actually encompasses the other four principles presented above. These additional principles are important because they specify the fundamental aspects of the great principle or law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity. Therefore, in reality, the sole objective of HUMANITARISM as a social movement, is the dissemination and practical application of the principle or law of the Brotherhood of all human beings, as long as it is properly understood.” (Arnaldo Sisson Filho. What Is Wrong with Politics? Bases for a True Democracy. Chapter 1, Introduction; links added]

Chapter 8 of the book: What is Wrong with Politics? Bases for a True Democracy


Requirements for a Competent Alternative Model

Democracy of the Future: Cascade or Inverted Tree Representation

Freedom Is Guaranteed

A Process with Equal Opportunities

The Harmony Between Functions and Capabilities

The Creation of the Necessary Power

An Example for the Nations Is Needed

Complementary Quotations

Requirements for a Competent Alternative Model

In the previous chapters we made it clear the failure of the currently dominant models and why they will never be able to ensure a just and competent social order, especially with regard to the problem of the huge wealth difference existing between rich and poor countries (where two thirds of the world’s population live). In other words, we seek to clarify that such models (which today are generally seen as successful examples to be followed) will never be able to solve the challenge of overcoming the situation of exclusion and extreme poverty of so many millions that we see today. Therefore, we have now reached the moment when we must point out at least some general guidelines as to what an alternative political model would look like, which at least had the chance to substantially change this scenario.

We have already seen that the premise, that is, the vision of human being and humanity that underlies this new model, must be that which shows humanity as a universal brotherhood, which implies the recognition of the essential unity of human beings, as well as of large differences in capabilities.

What, then, would be the main characteristics of a new model of political organization, which would meet the needs previously exposed for a just and competent process for the selection of government officials, as well as the need to provide these rulers with sufficient coercive power?

As we saw earlier, the essential requirements that must exist simultaneously for a competent process of choosing leaders are: 1) freedom; 2) equal opportunities (or conditions) in political disputes; and 3) a good match between responsibility (which is always linked to the degree of difficulty of the functions) and the characteristics of the different levels of consciousness of the population (of different levels of capability, or of conceptual grasp). With regard to the generation of the necessary coercive power by the system (so that the governors can regulate and harmonize the actions of big organizations), the necessary requirement is that the political model promotes a cohesive organization of the entire population.

In view, above all, of the characteristics of the different levels of consciousness of the population and of the simultaneous need for the freedom of choice to be preserved, as well as for the guarantee of equal opportunities in the political dispute, the first conclusion is that of the total unfeasibility of direct elections involving large populations.

It is a total unfeasibility because these large mass elections, while preserving freedom, always result in a preservation of a kind of freedom like “fox in the henhouse”. In other words, a freedom in which there is no equality of conditions in the political dispute, neither a harmony between the levels of conceptual grasp and the levels of responsibility in selection process. The consequence of this is a total surrender of the process (so fundamental and decisive) of the choices of the most responsible positions in the hands of the economic-financial power (pluto), and in the hands of demagogy. In fact, the current so-called democratic models – centrally characterized by the elections of big populations (masses) – are not true democracies, but plutodemagogicracies. A truly democratic system means the government of the people, by the people and to the people, while in the present forms of Liberal democracies the government is of the people, by the people, but it never arrives to become to the people; the present forms of Liberal democracies are always in favor of economic power and demagogy.

Democracy of the Future: Cascade or Inverted Tree Representation

At first sight, apparently, we find ourselves in a blind alley, that is, how to preserve freedom without direct elections by large populations (mass), together with equal opportunities in political-electoral disputes, and still maintaining harmony between levels of consciousness and levels of responsibility at different levels of political representation?

In reality, a little more reflection shows us that there is a consistent solution to this apparent paradox. It is a model that contemplates elections that are much less direct, and that ensures that these elections never imply processes of selection directly involving large masses, while preserving freedom and a strict proportionality between the various small, medium, and large electoral circumscriptions (districts).

Thus, this system would be based on small electoral districts (circumscriptions), such as small towns (villages), neighborhoods, small districts or small municipalities, preferably never exceeding a very human dimension, in which personal knowledge among individuals was not impossible or even very difficult to occur.

What number of people would we be approximately (roughly) referring to? This number may vary significantly in the case of rural or urban areas, since in urban areas of high population concentration the physical distances between a significant number of people are relatively small. In urban areas there may be large buildings, etc., and in these conditions of easier interpersonal communication, the number of voters in this first political-electoral circumscription could be significantly greater than in rural areas of great population dispersion, where people have much greater difficulties in establishing face-to-face contacts.

These differences of number of people at this first electoral level are of no great importance, since there will always be a rigorous proportionality between representatives and represented. If, for example, the coefficient is 50 to 1 at that first level, then, if there are 1,000 voters in a circumscription, there would be twenty (20) representatives of the first level. If another base district has only 200 voters, it will elect only four (4) representatives of the first level, and so on. The rigorous proportionality being an obvious requirement for equal opportunities.

The model of successive representations would gradually narrow like a pyramid, through the levels of Base Districts, Municipalities, Micro-regions, States (or Provinces), and from there to the National Congress, which would choose a cabinet with an executive chief, such as a Prime Minister in a parliamentary system. It should be noted, however, that this system resembles the traditional parliamentary system only at the top of the pyramid, the whole process of choice and selection being completely different from the direct suffrage of large populations, since the different electoral districts (circumscriptions) are articulated at various levels until it reaches the level of the National Congress.

If we consider the enormous advantages of this system in relation to the current ones, it becomes difficult to accept that such a system has not been seriously tried anywhere, as far as we have knowledge. Let us examine these advantages a little more in comparison with the present dominant systems: Liberal democracies and Marxist one party systems.

Freedom Is Guaranteed

In relation to Marxist totalitarian regimes, the great advantage of this new model of participatory democracy is that freedom is absolutely preserved, whereas in so-called dictatorships of the proletariat, freedom is sacrificed. In this context, there is only equal opportunities for party members. In other words, there is no full freedom and, therefore, there is no equal opportunity in Marxist totalitarian systems, while in the democracy of the future this essential requirement is preserved.

As for the other aspects, participatory democracy does not lose anything to the Marxist model. Marxist systems have their strength in the balance between functions and capabilities and in the cohesive organization of a large part of the population. Now, these points are equally strong in the participatory democracy of the future, since it is similar in these particular aspect to the Marxist models, being, in reality, superior to the Marxist totalitarian systems, since these exclude many intelligent and capable people from the selection (electoral) process, only because they do not belong to the communist party or similar (as we can see, for example, in the model currently existing in continental China).

A Process with Equal Opportunities

What about, then, the comparison of the democracy of the future with the system that is hegemonic in the world today, which is called Liberal democracy? The freedom that is the strong point of Liberal democracies is also fully preserved in this participatory democracy of the future.

In some ways, in fact, there is even more freedom in this participatory democracy than in the current models of Liberal democracies. First, because in democratic-liberal systems sometimes voting is mandatory, while in this participatory democracy of the future, voting is free. Second, because in Liberal systems candidates generally must be affiliated with some party, while in the democracy of the future candidates may or may not be affiliated with any party, depending on their free choices. In Liberal systems to be a candidate, the individual almost always depends on the choice of parties, but in this democracy of the future it depends only on his own decision. We see, therefore, that even under this aspect that is the strength of Liberal democracies, this new model of democracy owes nothing to it.

As for all other aspects, this participatory democracy of the future is far superior to Liberal systems. It guarantees immense equality of opportunity in electoral processes, while in Liberal pseudo-democracies only the materially privileged, the communicators and those who have professions linked to mass communication, in addition to demagogues in general, are the ones who have a chance to be elected to the positions of greater responsibility.

The Harmony Between Functions and Capabilities

As for the adequacy between functions and capabilities, there is almost no need for comments, such are the advantages of the suggested model in relation to the mass suffrage of Liberal systems.

In this participatory democracy of the future there is a gradual qualification of the voters, who are those who were elected at the level immediately below. At each level of representation, a qualification occurs naturally (as to the increase in conceptual levels, or levels of social awareness), as these are those who were freely chosen as the most qualified representatives to defend the interests of their respective area or electoral circumscription.

The comparison is almost ridiculous, but what would be the percentage of those who would elect representatives to the National Congress in this new model who would not even be able to say what a Constituent Assembly is? Certainly this percentage would be practically zero, that is, none of the representatives of this high level would be unaware of such an elementary issue! Compare this with the 70.5% who, as we saw earlier, in Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul) did not know how to answer this very basic question, but who composed the very electorate to choose the constituents in 1986! Would there be a need for other comparisons? Is there any doubt that in this participatory democracy of the future we would have an extraordinarily more qualified National Congress?

The Creation of the Necessary Power

Finally, also in terms of the ability to generate enough power in the hands of the freely chosen leaders, the model advocated here is far superior to Liberal systems. The proposed model organizes the population in a much more cohesive way, not in a loose and atomized way as in Liberal pseudo-democracies.

It is almost impossible to violently repress such a system. If, by chance, a military force prevented the National Congress from functioning, the entire population would remain politically organized, in a cascade (or inverted tree) of small assemblies, in most cases so small that they could meet in a large living room. How to suppress such an organization? It is an almost impossible mission.

All of this without mentioning the evident fact that perhaps the greatest political force in this participatory democracy of the future is the great, or at least much greater, qualification of its highest leaders (in comparison with those elected in the Liberal pseudo-democracies), which would guarantee, only considering this aspect, a much greater popular support than that devoted to the current rulers.

How different would be the qualification of these leaders when compared to recent examples of Brazilian politics, where we see cases and more cases of corruption, incompetence, demagogy, generalized unpreparedness for the exercise of the highest positions, of the terrible example for the population who has a very low concept as to the character of politicians. This was demonstrated in data previously presented, but in view of its immense importance we will repeat here:

The table below, regarding the credibility of politicians, is very clear about the results of this process of selecting political leaders in the present forms of Liberal democracies. These data are about the credibility deserved by those who should be the best that a nation has, as they occupy the positions of the greatest responsibility. The survey is by Ibope (institute) and was published in Zero Hora, (newspaper) on 08/09/87. Needless to say, the Brazilian situation in 2020 does not look any better, with so many corruption scandals in the nation’s highest offices! The question asked was as follows:

– “Do you agree or disagree with the statements below used to describe the actions of politicians? The tabulation presents percentages.


Agree Disagree Does not know/
did not answer
They are in politics only due to personal interests

80 %

17 %

3 %

They are concerned with the people well-being




Even the most honest end being corrupted




They do not act as they promised




They only defend who helped them to be elected




They enjoy too much benefits




They only remember voters before elections




This disheartening picture is already a clear statement about the incompetence, injustice and corruption that characterizes this system of selecting political leaders.

An Example for Nations Is Needed

The country that first succeeds in adopting the model of political organization of this participatory democracy of the future will thus be serving the highest interests of its own people and will also be setting an example that will certainly help and inspire other countries. Especially those countries that are today poorer, generally subject to a neocolonialist dependency and with a past of centuries of colonial exploitation. This is because in this system there will be, in fact, a real chance for the necessary wisdom (intellectual and technical qualification, along with altruistic character) to reach the most powerful positions, and of the greatest responsibility.

In fact, this organizational change will only reach its truly democratic character (of the people, by the people and for the people), if it is preceded by a genuine great ideational reform at the level of the elites, that is, that part of the population possessing the minds of greater conceptual grasp. This aspect is not that easy to understand and, for this reason, it will be addressed in the set of quotations added at the end of this chapter, as well as in the texts that we will add, as annexes, to this book.

In view of the previous analysis, it seems unnecessary to further compare this model with those presently dominant worldwide. In all aspects analyzed, it is a much more efficient and fair model than the current ones, both in terms of the competence of the process of selecting the governors, and in terms of generating a much greater power in the hands of the leaders, so that they can regulate and harmonize the activities of the gigantic organizations. This is because, as we have seen, this new model, in addition to enabling much more qualified leaders to exercise their immense responsibilities, organizes the entire population of any society in a much more cohesive way.

Both the difference in the qualification of the governors, and in the organizational cohesion of the entire population, should substantially change the situation of conflicts and permanent injustices of all kinds that we have today. And this is something whose importance is difficult to exaggerate, especially for poor nations, which today have no hope, within the current models, whether Liberal or Marxist, of overcoming the vicious circle of extreme poverty and the so-called underdevelopment, in the same way that makes possible consistent solutions to the great problems that today afflict humanity as a whole, as in the concrete example previously chosen linked to the destruction of the natural environment.

In conclusion, there follows a set of quotations that aim to corroborate the ideational perspective presented in this work, above all to assist in understanding the decisive role of elites and their corresponding responsibility for the general well-being, not only of the human family (either organized in national societies, or in the collectivity of the world as a whole), but of all life and the natural environment of the planet:


Politics Involves the Welfare of All and Demands the Best Heads With Disinterested Spirit

Politics, which involves the welfare and progress of all who constitute the State and affects other States, is a serious business which calls for the best heads with a disinterested spirit, and should not be a game of power played with the stakes of personal and group interests.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 82; emphasis added)

Universal Brotherhood Is a Law in Nature, Not Only an Aspiration

“Brotherhood, then, in its full meaning, is a law in nature. Stress has more than once been laid on this in our meetings, but not too much stress has thereon been laid. For it is the very object, the desire, of our work that brotherhood shall become practical in society, and it will never become practical until men understand that it is a law, and not only an aspiration. It is a common experience that when men have discovered a law of nature they no longer fight against it. They at once accommodate themselves to the new knowledge. They at once adapt themselves to the newly understood conditions, and in that very way we have preached brotherhood. And yet brotherhood is but so little known in our world.” (Annie Besant. The Spiritual Life, Vol. II, p. 160; emphasis added)

Out of these Differences Grows Up All the Possibilities of an Ordered Society

“That great principle (or Law) of Reincarnation must ever go hand in hand with the principle (or Law) of Brotherhood if Brotherhood is to be applied, if it is to be made a working principle of ordinary life. For it is out of these differences of age that grows up all the possibilities of an ordered and happy society amongst ourselves.” (Annie Besant. The Changing World, p. 80; emphasis added)

How to Find the Best, That Is the Problem: To Solve It We Must Realise the Hopelessness of the Present Systems of Government

The Ideal is that the best should rule; but how to find them, that is the problem. Every one of us who studies must try to solve this problem, and the suggestions I am here making may perhaps give some hints for the solving. But you will not try to solve it, until you realise the hopelessness of the present line of rulingor not rulingand accept the Ideal that the best should govern.” (Annie Besant. The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 30; emphasis added)

The Fetish of Mass Suffrage Without Any Qualification Whatsoever

Undoubtedly each man is competent in his own sphere, to say what he wants for his town or village and who will serve best it among those he knows. But when it comes to a question of deciding intricate issues of national and international import, it is but common sense that only those should exercise a vote who have some knowledge of what the issues are. Therefore it was that Dr. Annie Besant urged consistently, while she was concerned with these matters in Indian politics, that India should not, in shaping her Constitution, adhere to the fetish of mass suffrage without any qualification whatsoever. (…)

She did not think that the rule ‘one man, one vote’ was good for any country, at least of all did she favour it for India.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 81; emphasis added)

There Has to Be Skill and Wisdom in Dealing with the Outer Differences

It is not enough to realize our underlying brotherhood, but there has to be skill and wisdom in dealing with the outer differences, the inequalities of development and circumstances.” (N. Sri Ram. Thoughts for Aspirants, 2nd Series, p. 122; emphasis added)

India Should Evolve a New Model of Democracy

“If India can evolve a form of democracy in which there is some chance for the needed wisdom to come to the top, she will thereby be serving the best interests of her own people, as well as setting an example that might help and inspire other peoples.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 82; emphasis added)

Proposal of a System in Harmony with the Law of the Universal Brotherhood (Annie Besant, N. Sri Ram and Jai Prakash Narain)

“Some time ago Pandit Nehru, in one of his speeches, threw out rather vaguely the idea that some day, instead of the present manner of elections to the Indian Parliament, some system, less direct and more suited to conditions in India, might be considered.

Since then, Mr. Jai Prakash Narain (…) has more definitely proposed, in the place of the present form of Democracy in India, a system somewhat similar to that proposed by Dr. Annie Besant in the days of her agitation for Indias Freedom.

She did not think that the rule one man, one vote’ was good for any country, and least of all did she favour it for India. Therefore she outlined, in her The Commonwealth of India Bill [1925], a system which would be broad-based at the village (and corresponding town) level, with adult suffrage and a very large measure of autonomy, and then gradually taper like a pyramid through the District and State (or Province) levels, up to the Central Government. The franchise for the Councils at these higher levels was to be based on increasingly higher qualifications of service, experience, education, etc.

Her scheme, if it had been backed up by the other political leaders of the time, particularly by the Congress party, would have been acceptable to the people of India as a whole. The principle of a reasonable qualification for the vote and for membership of the Councils would have been firmly established. But her pleadings went in vain. Mr. Gandhi stood for mass suffrage, and that decided the question.

Mr. Jai Prakash Narain also envisages a strong and practically self-sufficient village base to consist of Village Councils, village meaning also a town, ward or borough, but indirect elections from these Councils to District Councils, from the latter to State or Provincial Legislatures, and from these to the Parliament of all India.

Mr. Jai Prakash Narains is as yet a lonely voice in the wilderness of the present political conditions in India. The description of them as a wilderness may seem an exaggeration but when one looks at the various sectional interests which are so clamant and the variety of councils on different matters to which it utterance is given, one cannot but feel the truth of Dr. Besants description of democracy in its present form as government by multi-headed ignorance.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 86; emphasis added)

Participatory Democracy (or Democracy of the Future), in the Vision of Professor C.B. Macpherson

“Let me turn finally to the question of how a participatory democracy might be run if we did achieve the prerequisites. How participatory could it be, given that at any level beyond the neighbourhood it would have to be an indirect or representative system rather than face-do-face direct democracy?

If one looks at the question first in general terms, setting aside for the present both the weight of tradition and the actual circumstances that might prevail in any country when the prerequisites had been sufficiently met, the simplest model that could properly be called a participatory democracy would be a pyramidal system with direct democracy at the base and delegate democracy at every level above that. Thus one would start with direct democracy at the neighbourhood (…) – actual face-to-face discussion and decision by consensus or majority, and election of delegates who would make up a council at the next more inclusive level, say a city borough or a ward or township. (…)

So it would go on up to the top level, which would be a national council for matters of national concern, and local and regional councils for matters of less than national concern. At whatever level beyond the smallest primary one the final decisions on different matters were made, the issues would certainly have to be formulated by a committee of the council. (…)

This may seem a far cry from democratic control. But I think it is the best we can do. What is needed at every stage, to make the system democratic, is that the decision-makers and issue-formulators elected from below be held responsible to those below subject to re-election or even recall. (pp. 108-109) (…)

To sum up the discussion so far of the process of a pyramidal councils system as a model of participatory democracy, we may say that in the measure that the prerequisite conditions for transition to a participatory system had been achieved in any Western country, the most obvious impediments to a pyramidal councils scheme being genuinely democratic would not be present, and, therefore, a pyramidal system might work. (…)

It is much more likely that any such move will be made under the leadership of a popular front or a coalition of social-democratic and socialist parties. (…) The real question then is, whether there is some way of combining a pyramidal council structure with a competivie party system.

The combination of pyramidal direct/indirect democratic machinery with a continuing party system seems essential. Nothing but a pyramidal system will incorporate any direct democracy into a nation-wide structure of government, and some significant amount of direct democracy is required for anything that can be called participatory democracy. At the same time, competitive political parties must be assumed to be in existence, parties whose claims cannot, consistently with anything that could be called Liberal democracy, be overridden.

Not only is the combination of pyramid and parties probably unavoidable: it may be positively desirable. (pp. 111-112) (…)

One question remains: can this model of participatory democracy be called a model of Liberal democracy? I think it can. It is clearly not dictatorial or totalitarian. The guarantee of this is not the existence of alternative parties (…). The guarantee is rather in the presumption that no version of the model of participatory democracy could come into existence or remain in existence without a strong and widespread sense of the value of that Liberal-democratic ethical principle (which is the heart of its main models): – the equal right of every man and woman to the full development and use of his or her capabilities. (…)

As long as there remained a strong sense of the high value of the equal right of self-development, the model of participatory democracy would be in the best tradition of Liberal democracy. (C.B. Macpherson. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy, pp. 108-115; emphasis added)

The Relation Between Religion and Social Organization

[Second part of the sixth chapter of the book A Roda e a Cruz: Uma Introdução ao Cristianismo Budista (The Wheel and the Cross: An Introduction to Buddhist Christianity)]

VIVIANE: What is the link between religion and the organization of society?

ARNALDO: Although today there is a tendency to consider religion and sociopolitical organization as relatively separate things, for a long time they were almost one and the same, walking together. This is because one decisively influences the other throughout history.

What we have today as the so-called Christianity, as I said, is this materialized and idolatrous interpretation of the teachings of Jesus. That interpretation is what is at the base of our cruel civilization model. Of course, we are not ignoring the Greco-Roman or Jewish tradition. However, these traditions were modified by a given dominant interpretation of Jesus’ teachings. This is what constitutes what the world calls Christianity. And it is this set that is at the base of Western civilization and its main institutions of sociopolitical organization.

With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, throughout the Middle Ages, it was monasteries and then the first universities that exerted this basic civilizing influence. Throughout this period, religion had an evidently dominant cultural role. Then, little by little, this domain was weakened, with all the transformations that marked the advent of the so-called Modern Age, until the Protestant Reforms took place, and what we call Modern Science began to develop. But the basis of thought still has its origins in this twisted religious tradition. In the Modern and Contemporary Age, the religious tradition was changing; now it is merged and, to a great extent, is in conflict and being overwhelmed by so-called scientific thinking.

In fact, it was precisely the materialization, the religious idolatry – be it so-called Catholic or so-called Protestant – that generated this type of science that is dominant today. One thing is the daughter of another. The basis, the matrix of this whole civilization remains that main religion of the West, which is what the world calls Christianity.

Only in the Modern and Contemporary Ages, this influence became less explicit and more indirect, with the intermediation of secular thought. But still the dominant religion in the West is Christianity, what is called Christianity. Many call this the Judeo-Christian tradition – and in fact it is, both Jewish and Greco-Latin and Christian. And, if we are also talking about Jewish tradition and Greco-Latin tradition, we are talking about those traditions that influenced Judaism and Greco-Roman culture. We arrived then in the cultures of Mesopotamia and Old Egypt.

All of this is at the foundation of Western civilization, which is largely dominating the world, as it is so clear.

“THE Christian Faith is the direct heir of the old Roman faith. Rome was the heir of Greece, and Greece of Egypt, whence the Mosaic dispensation and Hebrew ritual sprang.
Egypt was but the focus of a light whose true fountain and centre was the Orient in general – Ex Oriente Lux. For the East, in every sense, geographically, astronomically, and spiritually, is ever the source of light.
But although originally derived from the East, the Church of our day and country is modelled immediately upon the Greco-Roman mythology, and draws thence all its rites, doctrines, ceremonies, sacraments, and festivals. (…)
Drawing its life-blood directly from the pagan faith of the old Occidental world, Christianity more nearly resembles its immediate father and mother than its remote ancestors, and will, therefore, be better expounded by reference to Greek and Roman sources than to their Brahminical and Vedic parallels.” (Anna Kingsford. The Credo of Christendom, pp. 94-95)

It was this Western civilization – with all these influences, plus modern secular scientific thought – that resulted in Liberalism and Marxism, which to this day are the main and dominant social philosophies and which, therefore, are the main matrices of models of sociopolitical organization.

These philosophies, materialistic and materialized, created a new “Ecclesiasticism”, which to some extent combats and dominates, as I said, religious Ecclesiasticism.

We know, unequivocally, that they are dominant because they are the ones who are shaping the institutions, the main institutions that organize the sociopolitical life of the main countries, that is, the countries that dominate most of the world. All of this, as I said, is based on this degeneration of the true Christian religion, which is fundamentally linked to Buddhism, as well as the teachings of Pythagoras.

Christianity as it stands today – dominated by the literalist idolatry of Ecclesiasticism – with the civilization model influenced by it, with the growing violence between humans and animals, with the destruction of important elements of the natural environment, is taking the world straight to the collision with the iceberg of environmental and social catastrophes, which may start with pandemics that, even according to scientific reports, may occur in the not-too-distant future.

We have come to this point because this false Christianity, with its Ecclesiasticism, literalism, superficiality and idolatry of the Holy Scriptures directly or indirectly generated, and continues to support, institutions unable to organize the world in a satisfactory, balanced and fair way.

So, there is an urgent need for a re-interpretation, a rescue of true Christianity, which, according to Dr. Anna Kingsford, is a continuation and makes up a unity, a harmonious whole, based on the sacred teachings that preceded it, especially, I repeat, with the genuine and correctly interpreted teachings of Gautama Buddha and Pythagoras.

Admitting this last statement as true, we will necessarily have to rescue, to restore the true religiosity of this united tradition, as all the possibilities of new institutions, of new instruments of sociopolitical organization that would allow us to avoid and overcome the approaching iceberg would depend on this restoration, if this is still possible; if it is possible, after so much cruelty, to avoid that collision.

But, even if this is no longer possible, we still have the duty and the need to prepare for the day after, the next day. Because everything will continue after the iceberg, and we have to work for much awaited better days, with or without collision with the iceberg. We have to, whether we like it or not, sow the good seeds for before, during and after, it doesn’t matter, the catastrophes, which today seem almost inevitable, sooner or later. But when prophets speak these things, who listens to them? And it is precisely this deafness that makes catastrophes so inevitable. Patience and prayer…

Again, and trying to summarize, to improve the foundations of Western civilization we need to improve the Christianity that is there. We need to rescue, we need to restore, as Kingsford and Maitland did, the true Christianity, which, according to these prophets, composes a totality with Buddhism and with the teachings of Pythagoras.

With this rescue we will be able to have a true vision of God, a true metaphical vision of the human being, of the spiritual path and of ethical values. And as we externalize this vision in our way of living, individually and collectively, it will become new social institutions: legal, political, educational, economic, and so on. From this, according to the prophets Kingsford and Maitland, “of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world’s coming redemption.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way, p. 252; emphasis added)

VIVIANE: The East seems to have a tradition more linked to symbols than the West. We see, for example, Indian dance, which is all symbolic. Orientals apparently have this greater connection with religious symbolism. Does this greater contact with symbols make their understanding easier?

ARNALDO: I believe that most Eastern people, when they interpret symbols, do not do it well, including their own symbols. That’s why Eastern religion is as we see it. What happens is that they accept more – not that they understand more – because that’s part of their rigidly stratified culture.

I would like to point out that rigid stratification is different from simple, natural scaling. In human society, this rigid stratification is not beneficial, in the sense of imposing that the person who is here cannot reach any further, as occurs in the degenerated Indian castes. In this culture, whoever is of a caste must live and die in that caste.

This is a degeneration of a sacred principle, of a true law, and a law of the greatest importance, which is the teaching that gave rise to the castes, but which have been degenerated for so long. This social scaling is no longer understood as a reflection of the character, the evolutionary levels of the Souls, but, in the current degeneration, it is determined by the caste in which the person was born. In fact, the inner value, the character, must determine the scaling; it is from the inside out and ideally depends on the Soul’s maturity level. And not rigidly determined by the social grouping in which the human being was born.

I Ching: 10 – Lu (Conduct and the Level’s Differences)

Heaven above, the lake below:

The image of CONDUCT.

Thus the superior man discriminates between high and low,

And thus strengthens the minds of the people.

The sky and the lake show a difference in altitude inherent to the essence of the two, which, therefore, does not arouse envy.

So, among men, there are necessarily differences in level. It is impossible to achieve universal equality. However, what matters is that the differences in level in society are not arbitrary and unfair, because in that case envy and class struggle would inevitably follow.

If, on the contrary, the differences in external level correspond to differences in internal capacity, and the internal value is the criterion for determining the external hierarchy, tranquility will reign between men and society will find order.” (Richard Wilheim. I Ching: Book of Changes, p. 56; emphasis added)

This view is present in virtually all major religious traditions, although even within those traditions it has been corrupted in countless ways, such as the caste system of Hinduism, or the stratified order of Christianity-related feudalism, among so many other examples.

VIVIANE: It seems difficult for human beings, with the knowledge they have, in the way they see the world, to make this distinction, to determine the external, social level, starting from the internal, of the character of individuals.

ARNALDO: It is really difficult, but its importance is decisive if we want a just social order with chances of overcoming the immense problems that are there, as the possibility of a good choice of leaders depends on that, without which there is no possibility of a harmonious social order.

In Humanitarianism, the system we have proposed, called Participatory Democracy of the Future, is logically derived from a reasonable Buddhist-Christian philosophical and religious basis, that is, catholic (in the sense of universal), we solve this problem of excessive stratification, or excessive egalitarianism, by accepting a scale without rigidity, showing that they can be freely defined levels, through elections, as, to some extent, the Russian soviets did – only in a more satisfactory, more dignified way, more coherent with human dignity, because there was no freedom there and our proposal is based on freedom. Not in a false absolute freedom, not in the freedom of the “fox in the chicken coop” type, but in the freedom associated with fraternity, which implies a harmonious scaling of freedom and responsibility, in a proportional and pertinent way.

How is this possible, that is, to create a harmonic order, without ignoring the existence of staggering and without excessive egalitarianism? Giving people freedom to choose their representatives, only in small social groups, from small populations, or from a micro-district basis. In this way, people can get to know each other in person and a first college of representatives is created with freedom, equality of opportunity and adequacy between capacities and levels of responsibility.

In this way, these first micro-district representatives will choose their municipal representatives (small municipalities); these representatives from the small municipalities will choose the representatives from the micro-regions; from there, those from regions (or states) are similarly chosen, thus arriving at the National Assemblies and, in the future, even a World Government.

In such a system, you first adjust to the Soul maturity framework, building a tier, but not despotically. People choose freely, within different staggered levels. Among other crucial factors, this is the only way to preserve equality of opportunity, as much as possible, in our world of so many limitations.

VIVIANE: Who determines who is at what level?

ARNALDO: The population itself, the individuals themselves, by freely choosing their representatives, at each level of social scale, as we briefly describe.

VIVIANE: Do people themselves qualify?

ARNALDO: Of course, there will be electoral rules relevant to this new model for choosing representatives. What is decisive is to understand the fundamental importance of small human groups and the absurdity of the choices of large human masses.

When a small social group freely chooses its representatives – for example, representatives of a small micro-district, where individuals can get to know each other in person without much difficulty – it chooses the people it considers most capable of representing it, to represent their needs, and to select higher representatives, etc.

When working with a large electoral population, with many thousands or even millions, it becomes immoral, it is unfair and incompetent, because equality of opportunity disappears, among other problems. Injustice is installed within the social order. Harmony is no longer achieved between the internal level of maturity and the external level in social ladder. From there it’s just conflict, corruption, violence, bad examples, bad decisions. There is no longer a possible solution, the conflict inevitably ensues, as in the quoted passage from the ancient I Ching. Just look at our society, at our country. Or to the world.

VIVIANE: To elect this type of representative, the group chooses between “x” people who declared themselves capable of such a role. But this individual declaration does not prevent someone not able to be a candidate and elected, even without being able. Do you think that the human being has the capacity to make this scale?

ARNALDO: It certainly has this capacity, as long as there is justice, that is, freedom and equality of opportunity in the process of choice. That’s why it’s human, that’s why freedom of choice is a fundamental value. Humanitarianism, as the root of the word itself indicates, is an affirmation of trust in the human. True humanity is divinely inspired, for it was made in the image and likeness of God.

Humanitarianism is concerned, before any other question of sociopolitical organization, with offering a correct and fair process for choosing representatives. Yes, humanity has this capacity, I repeat, as long as the process is fair, that is, as long as freedom, equality of opportunity and the adequacy between levels of capacity and levels of choice or social responsibility are preserved.

The gradient of consciousness is something like a pyramid. And at the top of humanity are souls very close to divinity, truth and love. And that top is also part of the human family. Thus, as the very old I Ching already said – which is considered to be perhaps the oldest known book – the question is the harmony between external power and internal capacities.

The heart of the political problem, the first problem in order of importance, is how to choose the representatives well, and the solution of this crucial problem, as Humanitarianism explains, as the ancient I Ching also explained, among so many other divinely inspired Scriptures, it necessarily depends on the existence of a dignified step that does not offend the divine dignity of the human being. A true religion must inspire the solution of this first and most important political problem. For on that the collective well-being depends vitally.

The second main political problem is how to endow these representatives with sufficient power to make and sustain the necessary decisions. We may have a good ruler and he may not have the necessary power in his hands. Or to have someone with a lot of power who is a despot, who is not a good ruler. The main objective, the first and most important question of sociopolitical organization is, as we said, to choose our representatives well. And, after that, to endow these representatives, chosen with justice and competence, with the necessary power to support their decisions.

VIVIANE: How to do this?

ARNALDO: We have already said that the first step is to guarantee freedom. Without freedom people look and rightly question themselves: “Who chose this?” Freedom is essential. Even a child needs to be given a good deal of freedom – but it cannot be absolute freedom. This seems to be the crux of the whole question of sociopolitical organization: freedom must be adapted to one’s level of consciousness. And this is impossible without decent and fair grades, levels or echelons. Without that, everything else is corrupted, there is no possible solution.

Secondly, as has also been said, we need to have equal opportunities. Without equal opportunities, it is as if in an exam one candidate received feedback from the answers and the others did not. If there is no equality of opportunity, the process is flawed, it is unfair, it is corrupt and corrupting, as in the case of our sociopolitical system based on the mistaken principles of Liberalism, or those systems based on Marxism.

And last but not least, there has to be a match between the level of choice and the level of understanding of that population. For example: in 1993 there was a plebiscite to choose between presidential and parliamentary systems of government. At that time, half of the Brazilian electoral population could not distinguish between one and the other. So, it makes no sense to make use of a decision process of this type, even more so with mandatory voting.

The people were not able to decide directly on that macro-social issue. But he was and is prepared to know, in his small community, who can represent him to defend his interests in his neighborhood, or micro-district. The entire life of the sociopolitical organization, necessarily, must start there, in a natural way, adapted to the levels of conscience, in a dignified, fair and competent way.

If not, you can prepare the “lifeboat”, as the collision with the “iceberg” will be inevitable. It is “simple, sweet and logical”, as in the phrase attributed to Gautama Buddha. But our elites, our brothers of greater intellectual power, seem to prefer, so to speak, injustice, cruelty and delusion. This happens, as we have seen, because their minds are dominated by Ecclesiasticisms, whether the so-called religious ecclesiasticism or the so-called scientific “ecclesiasticism”.

It is much easier, logical and fair to be able to choose in a small community who are the individuals who have the capacity to better represent the necessities of our small district. If even that is not possible, much less will it be possible to decide on much broader issues. It’s so obvious and logical. It is, of course, a much better process for choosing representatives than those which are today present in the world. And maybe it’s the best we can do in our time.

Returning to a religious image, we can read in the Book of Job that: “In the elderly is wisdom, and in the breadth of days the understanding”. In other words, wisdom is with the “older ones” – with those who have greater “age”, and thus greater capacity of the Soul. (Job, 12:12) Of course, it is an allegory to those of greater inner maturity, or of the Soul, and not to the mere chronological age of the body, as we can read in the Book of Wisdom: “Venerable old age is not longevity, nor is measured by the number of years; the gray hairs of man are intelligence, and old age an immaculate life”. (Wisdom, 4:8-9)

But this can only be judged in a dignified, fair and competent way by the community if there is the necessary freedom and the necessary equality of opportunity. Other than that, where can we find dignity and justice? And without dignity and justice, we can forget about harmony and peace. In the Bible, among other passages, this is also implicit in the teaching of the Perennial Philosophy contained in the passage that says: “Seek therefore, first, his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew, 6:33) Of course, this phrase has many levels of meaning, but it also applies to the fundamental conditions of social organization, the political organization of societies and, therefore, of a fair process of how to choose the leaders.

In this process, I repeat, it is important to consider that the electoral college needs to be small – if it is large, the money, goods and material power, the electoral machine, the mass communication, and their private material gains will always speak louder.

The electoral college must not harm the justice of equal opportunities and must be adapted to the level of conscience of the people, that is, the problems and issues to be examined and decided must not go beyond the scope of the level of understanding or the scope of the consciences of that electoral college. And this cannot be achieved outside of small and gradually scaled electoral colleges, where this adequacy can be maintained, along with freedom and equality of opportunity. Apart from that, that is, without justice, we can forget about social harmony.

If I may, I will repeat, because it is so important, this point that, in practice, each of the colleges of representatives will choose the representatives of the higher level – all political life starting, of course, at the most basic level, at the level of what we can call electoral micro-districts.

All the levels (grades or echelons) of the political electoral system start with a micro-district, such as a set of blocks in a city, where individuals can get to know each other in person without electoral machines and such perversions. From there, it goes to the level of a small municipality, from there it goes to the level that does not exist in our country (Brazil), but is extremely important for public administration, which is the micro-regional level. In other words, the base, the levels at the base of the pyramid of sociopolitical echelons are the micro-districts, small municipalities, and micro-regions.

In economically more advanced countries, there is this political-administrative level after the municipality, which is called, in the case of the USA, county. An intermediate political-administrative level between the municipality and the states. In France, just to cite another example, between the municipality and the country there are départements – and the size of France is not very different from the size of the brazilian state of São Paulo, for example.

This entire process naturally qualifies the representatives and creates a system that is logical, fair, that does not mortally harm equality of opportunity, and that follows the levels that are inherent to the differences in the ages of human Souls. As we have already said, it is a sine qua non condition for justice that there is equality of opportunity in the choice of representatives – equality of opportunity in electoral disputes.

There is another extremely important complementary aspect – which many do not clearly understand – which is the consideration of this system in relation to the power of the large corporations that dominate the world today, as they dominate the main countries of the world.

This power of large corporations is simply overwhelming today. If we examine, for example, the Gross Domestic Product, the GDPs of the 100 largest countries and compare it with the Product generated by the largest economic corporations, we will see that there are many corporations in the world with Products greater than many of these countries, which would appear in this list of the 100 larger. This, of course, means enormous power to influence, especially in such an unfair system that privileges money and electoral machines.

In this system, of the so-called liberal “democracies” of today, the large corporations have an enormous power, and the National State becomes an organization at the mercy of these large corporations. The countries, that is, the National State organizations, nowadays, cannot balance and regulate the power of those big corporations, which of course defend private interests, not public ones, not the well-being of all the population.

The system proposed by Humanitarianism has the property of organizing the entire population in a way that, for example, can hardly be repressed. As the system stands today, if military corporations supported by large private economic organizations want to intervene with coups d’etat, there is no defense against it, as has been seen in so many examples.

The population is poorly organized, fragmented, loose, as the distance from the electoral colleges is immense. There is a huge gap between the people and the national representatives, not to mention the quality of the leaders. In other words, in addition to choosing the representatives very poorly, which is its biggest flaw and weakness, this system, by leaving the population so distant from the representatives, generates a weakness in relation, above all, to the large corporations.

In the system proposed here, there is no such emptiness, this vacuum. The assemblies are small, they can practically meet in a room; the representatives and the represented are always close and, thus, a social cohesion is created, a sociopolitical force that is capable of confronting, balancing and regulating the power of large corporations.

Again, it’s so simple and logical. At least we should understand that if this system proposed by Humanitarianism is not capable of selecting competent leaders, and of generating vigor, sufficient political force to regulate the power of large corporations, much less will the current unfair, incompetent and weak system be able to do that.

VIVIANE: The way you draw the picture, we see that the reigning policy is that of economic power. You believe that in the current system it is difficult for the people to defend themselves, for the rulers to defend themselves. Couldn’t I somehow adapt this situation?

ARNALDO: The way countries are organized today, the world has no possibility of avoiding great catastrophes, of overcoming the immorality and violence in which we live. The great world problems do not have consistent solutions and the rulers are servants of the great corporations. The world today is, I have said, like a Titanic, proud of its undeniable scientific and technical advances, yet heading steadily towards the iceberg of catastrophes, and we don’t even have the organizational tools to prevent it. This is the situation in the world today.

In this proposed system, which is the logical derivation of all these philosophical-religious principles, there is an outline of a social instrument, of social institutions capable of generating consistent solutions to major problems.

I don’t know if we will be able to prevent the outcome of great catastrophes, because human beings often need to hit rock bottom and then seek their regeneration. The fact, however, is that today there is no consistent solution to the big problems, and the clear trend is that these will increase, until we reach catastrophic situations.

Thus, we need to improve, rescue the true philosophical-religious basis, because this religious basis that prevails today is greatly corrupted by idolatry and the materialism of Ecclesiasticisms, whether religious properly or so-called scientific.

The current state of the religions does not allow for the advent of just institutions and consequent consistent solutions; they are idolaters and have materialized the sacred symbols. They take a phrase like that of Jesus “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John, 14:6) and personalize it, saying that that being who lived in Palestine is the only way, the only truth and the only true life. They don’t understand that these teachings are about much larger issues. They do not understand, as St. Paul said, that “the letter kills” (Corinthians, 3:6) – it kills first spiritually, then physically, because it generates institutions that lead to death like those that dominate and shape the world of our days. We are, in short, heading towards major crises, due to the fact that we are sowing pain, violence and destruction. And there is no chance, within the current framework, of avoiding these consequences.

The world is dominated today by large corporations and they fight each other for private gains. When the situation becomes difficult, they form an alliance: it is the law of profit, of the strongest, it is the law of the jungle. And who can fight it today? Nobody.

These organizations are the strongest on the planet. That is why it is essential that we create the conditions for the birth of decent, fair, dignified and competent social institutions, which can discipline the macro-agents that currently dominate, and with the dominant value of private material gains. We need new institutions that reflect and defend the values ​​of the well-being of humanity collectively considered, that is, humanitarian institutions, because that word – humanitarianism – means that, concern with the well-being of all, even in the dictionary.

VIVIANE: You talk about equal opportunities and the need to take into account the Souls’ maturity level. How is this differentiation made?

ARNALDO: The inability of the world today to do this, which is not such a complicated thing after all, rests on misinterpretations, on the misinterpretations of its symbols and religious and philosophical allegories.

The matrix, the basis of our main problems is precisely this lack of correct interpretations of these main symbols and allegories. This difficulty exists because we don’t see humanity as it really is.

We do not perceive the human family with its different levels of maturity of Souls, as in Jacob’s ladder dream allegory. We do not perceive, in short, neither the diversity of capacities nor the underlying Divine Unity. And without that there are no consistent solutions possible.

It’s so simple, but perhaps to see this simplicity clearly requires a certain depth, a certain elevation in vision. Therefore, with no such elevation of vision, as it is the case today, we have the dominance of idolatrous or materialistic ecclesiasticisms. It seems that few manage to understand the decisive importance of these simple and fundamental aspects, such as those that are represented in Jacob’s dream, that is: “Unity in Diversity”.

Jacob’s Dream

Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.

Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it; above the ladder was the Lord.” (Genesis, 28:10-13; emphasis added)

Another example, among many others, of this fundamental decisive simplicity is in that parable, already mentioned here, of the master who was going to travel, called his servants and gave each one talents (money, resources, power etc.), to each one, says the parable, according to his abilities (capacities, maturity etc.). (Matthew, 25:14-29) When he returned, he charged each one according to his Soul conquests, according to his capacities.

We do not see clearly, in the symbols of religions, this differentiation, these differences, with the necessary underlying Unity. Ecclesiasticisms, whether religious or scientific, has so far been victorious in the struggle against the prophets, as they were at that time against Christ Jesus. They have been victorious thus far, though, it seems, their dark days are drawing to a close.

To this day, however, materialism has been dominant. And in religion the dominance has been of the literal and idolatrous misrepresentation of sacred symbols, and in its sermons it has given the same false advice to everyone as in the dominant materialist egalitarianism.

In Greek mythology we have the story of Procrustes, which illustrates this same aspect. He received pilgrims in his inn and after feeding them, he invited them to sleep in a bed, where only those who were exactly the same length could lay down. Those smaller than the bed of Procrustes were stretched out by the legs and arms; the larger ones had the ends cut to be the same size. This is a very good representation of the dominant ideas in our current moment of civilization. We see this behavior reproduced in religions, science, politics and education, which demand the same ability from people. It’s as cruel as it is real.

The awareness of this differentiation begins with the correct interpretation of philosophical-religious symbols. For true religion is the connection with the High, with the Center, with the Buddha and the Christ in us, or, if you like, it is the connection with the High and the Deep, which is the same as God.

The basis of Buddhist teaching, at least within Buddhist Christianity – since it should clearly deal with Karma and Reincarnation, which are the two columns that explain the different levels of maturity of Souls – should fulfill this fundamental purpose, as to interpretation of sacred symbols in this tradition, which is both Buddhist and Christian. Christendom, as we have seen, needs to restore its original true form, which is of the greatest relevance, since it is the religion at the base of Western civilization, which today dominates the world, for better or for worse.

VIVIANE: Are Karma and Reincarnation the answer to this unknown, the differentiation of the levels of Souls?

ARNALDO: Exactly. This is the foundation of true Christianity, Christianity that is united in the same stream with Buddhism. That he can thus correctly interpret the Sermon on the Mount, the allegories of Genesis, the Prophets, the New Testament, the Letters and the Revelation. It takes the foundation of Buddhism to understand the language of the prophets, from Genesis to Revelation. Without the philosophical foundation of Buddhism, it is not possible to satisfactorily understand the Christian Scriptures. And without this complement of Christianity, this tradition is incomplete. It lacks, above all, the teachings about the Mysteries and Initiations, which are like bridges that unite, in a reasonable and logical way, the final stages of the evolution of Souls, until the conscious fusion with the Divine Reality, or, with the Kingdom of God. For these reasons, we begin this work with a quote from the prophets who were Dr. Kingsford and Maitland, a quote that tells us, in its simplicity, that: Of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world’s coming redemption.” (The Perfect Way, p. 252; emphasis added)

VIVIANE: Without that complement, everything is very literal.

ARNALDO: And if it stays literal, as Saint Paul teaches, “the letter kills”.

VIVIANE: Do you think globalization makes it easier for people to understand this Buddhist-Christian connection? A while ago it seems that it was more difficult.

ARNALDO: As an instrument, as a tool, globalization must make it easier. Things are not by chance – everything has its moment. But I’m not saying, like the materialists, that because of globalization understanding can happen. Globalization is generating means, instruments, tools, so to speak. And like any tool, it can either help or hinder.

The more powerful the tool, the more dangerous it is. And as globalization is a process that is generating very powerful tools – it can either help a lot or hurt a lot. Isn’t that what we can observe in our day?”
[Arnaldo Sisson Filho; with Viviane Pereira. Second part of the sixth chapter of the book A Roda e a Cruz: Uma Introdução ao Cristianismo Budista (The Wheel and the Cross: An Introduction to Buddhist Christianity), pp. 217-239]

Brotherhood Applied to Social Conditions

Friends: I wish to deal to-night with the question of the principle of Brotherhood as applied to human life; how we may use it to solve some of the problems that we find around us at the present day, how we may use it to make possible the transition from one stage of civilisation to another, so that the transition may come in peace and goodwill, and thereby may last, rather than in anger and revolution, which can only mean a brief period of the new order, and then another struggle, prolonged ill-will, and misery. But if Brotherhood is to be applied to the solution of our difficulties, the first thing that is necessary is to try to understand what is meant by Brotherhood, and what it implies. Now, Brotherhood by no means implies what is called equality, for just as you do find Brotherhood in nature, so do you not find equality; in fact, the very name Brotherhood carries our thoughts to the constitution of the family, implies at once the inequality of elder and younger, of wiser and more ignorant, of those who guide and those who obey; so that if man is to aim at a society in which equality is to be the watchword, then the principle of [p. 76] Brotherhood must be entirely thrown on one side. The disadvantage of taking the war-cry of equality in trying to make a social system, or even to fight a social battle, is that natural law is against you, and that you are dealing with a fiction, not with a fact. There is nothing more obvious throughout the whole realm of nature than the inequalities of which natural order consists; and if you turn aside from the vaster order of the various grades of living things, and confine yourselves only to the study of man, there the same principle of inequality is perpetually asserting itself. It is not only the difference of age which always comes in, in the question of a family; it is the difference of capacity, of power, of characteristics, of qualifications. What sort of equality is possible between the strong and healthy man and the cripple or the invalid? what sort of equality between the man with eyes and the blind? between the man who is dowered with genius and the man who is weighted by dulness and stupidity? Inequality is the law of nature, not equality; and it is of no use to try to build a social system on that which is only a fiction, thought out in the study of doctrinaires, but breaking down the very moment it comes to be applied to human life. That famous declaration of the American Republic: “Man is born free,” and on that freedom basing equality, is denied by every fact of human life. Man is born a babe, helpless and dependent; and if the babe were left to the enjoyment of freedom, he would have very little chance of growing into youth and maturity. A babe is not born free, but dependent on all those around him for the possible continuance of his life; and if it were not that [p. 77] he is born into a system of affection and obligation, there would be no chance for the human babe to survive the first hours of his infancy.

It is a remarkable fact, one full of significance, that the two societies in the world which recognise Universal Brotherhood both also recognise a hierarchical order. Take the great fraternity of Masons. They lay down the principle of Universal Brotherhood over the whole surface of the globe, but there is nothing more rigid in its order and in the authority committed to the officers than a Masonic Lodge. Hierarchy is there recognised as the very condition of liberty. If you turn from that proclamation of Universal Brotherhood to the Theosophical Society, exactly the same thing is seen. You have there the recognition of a hierarchy that guides the destinies of humanity, and presides over the evolving growth of man — a mighty hierarchy, where wisdom only gives the right to rule, and where the commands of wisdom are gladly carried out by the less wise, who recognise the authority of those wiser than themselves. And that, in truth, is the condition of liberty. For without that hierarchical order, where wisdom rules and ignorance obeys, there is no possibility of anything that is worthy to be called by the name of liberty. As I shall want to put to you at the close of what I have to say to-night, we have never yet seen liberty upon earth outside the ranks of that great human hierarchy; we have only seen the rule of different classes, the rule of one group over another; but never have we seen liberty, for man is not yet sufficiently evolved to understand the conditions under which alone liberty can exist. [p. 78]

In looking at this strange fact, that the only two societies that proclaim Universal Brotherhood also admit a hierarchical order, let us see how far in the great Brotherhood of man there are any foundations on which a hierarchy can be based. I am coming, now, away from that great occult hierarchy of which I spoke into the ordinary humanity known to us all. In the family, where the principle of Brotherhood is recognised, and where duty and responsibility go with age and knowledge, there we have, as it were, a rough outline as to what a State should be. But how does the principle of age come in as regards mankind? For unless there be something in the human race which bears an analogy, at least, to the principle of age within a family, we shall find it difficult to vindicate Brotherhood, much less to make it the foundation-stone of society in the centuries to come. Now, it is as true of humanity as it is true of the members of a family that there is a difference of age. Exactly on the same lines by which the members of a family are born one after the other, and in all those different ages make up the family circle, so is it with the great family of man. The human and intelligent Spirits that make up that vast family are not of the same age, have not all been born into individual existence at the same time. Side by side with the idea of Brotherhood comes out the natural law of reincarnation — that there is a difference of age in the individualised human Spirits, and that there are elders and youngers in the great human family. These differences of age do not go necessarily with any of the distinctions of castes or classes that you find in modern society, although the great caste system [p. 79] of India was founded upon this principle of the different ages of the reincarnating Egos. Long ago, however, has that passed away, and you have not now manifest on earth that same definite order as in the earlier days of our Aryan ancestors in India. Still, you can tell the younger or the older soul by examining the characteristics that the man or the woman brings into the world at birth; by looking at the character, the marks of the being older or younger leap into sight. The younger soul, unable to acquire any large amount of knowledge, with very little moral faculty showing itself, very selfish and desirous to grasp the pleasure of the moment without any care for what may be the result of grasping it in the time that follows, the trivial, shallow, easy-going way of life, the being carried away by the ever-changing fancy, and with no strong underlying thought or principle or will on which you can reckon, very changeable, very frivolous, easily carried away by every passing whim of the moment — those are marked out as the younger souls, who have little experience of life behind them in which character has been builded, in which will has been evolved. And when you come across those of calm judgment, great capacity for acquiring knowledge, power to turn knowledge into wisdom, steadfast in will, steadfast in principle ready to look to the future beyond the passing attractions of the moment, ready to sacrifice a temporary gain for a larger happiness — in such men and women you have the marks of the older souls, whose past experiences have gradually developed capacities, and who have brought with them into the world the fruits of long-reaped harvests. That great principle of Reincarnation must ever [p. 80] go hand in hand with Brotherhood if Brotherhood is to be applied, if it is to be made a working principle of ordinary life. For it is out of these differences of age between us that grow up all the possibilities of an ordered and happy society amongst ourselves. When the young souls come into places of power and wealth, then ill is it for the nation, for then children rule instead of men. But well is it for a people where wisdom is the test of weight and authority, where the wise and the thoughtful and the learned are those who are held to have the greatest claim to social distinction, where knowledge and power go hand in hand, and where experience is the guide of righteousness, the standard of honour. Only as those facts are recognised—and they grow out of the knowledge of reincarnation — only on that stable law in nature can you build securely and strongly the society that shall endure.

But it is sometimes said: If you are going to build a society on these great principles, then you have to change human nature, because human nature is selfish, superficial, readily swayed, and you cannot build a society which is truly great out of trivial and superficial people. The wise are always in the minority; how, then, will you gain for them the right and the power to rule? It is true that human nature will have to change very much from what it is to-day, but then it is changing all the time — it is no new thing to change human nature. Human nature is perpetually changing as century succeeds century and civilisation succeeds civilisation; and when we once understand the law of life, and realise the mighty power of thought in the building of character, [p. 81] and understand that law of inviolable sequence which Theosophists call karma, working in every department of human life and not only in non-intelligent nature, when we realise the time that reincarnation gives us, and the certainty that that law of inviolable sequence gives us, then we begin to understand that human nature is a very malleable thing; and just in proportion as we understand the law, so shall be the rapidity of the changing. Do you think that human thought is weak as a force to change human nature? Is it not rather true that thought is the power which brings about all mighty changes? — first the ideal, then the action. Let me give you two striking examples of the only two nations in Europe that have attained national unity during our own lifetime; one Italy, the other Germany. I only take them as examples of nations that out of many States and warring interests have reached unity as a nation; and how was it done? It was done by the holding up of the ideal in both cases, the ideal of national unity. Not until German poets had sung of the German Fatherland for many and many a long year, not until that ideal of the Fatherland rose strongly and clearly in the minds of the young, not until the poet had made the ideal was it possible for the soldier to come forward with the statesman and build those States into one. And so also with Italy. Long before there was any talk of revolution or war, long before there was any idea of appealing to the sword, Italian thinkers had spoken of Italian unity, Italian patriots had held up the ideal of a united Italy; and it was only when the ideal had fired the hearts of the young that there was strength enough for the self-sacrifice [p. 82] that followed the sword of Garibaldi, and made it possible for Italy to become a united people. For it is out of the ideal that enthusiasm grows, out of the ideal and the longing to realise it that the power of self-sacrifice is generated. What we need to do, then, to change human nature, is to hold up great ideals before the young of our time, and those ideals shall fire their hearts to passionate enthusiasm, until self-sacrifice shall be a joy and not a sacrifice at all, in order that the ideal they worship may become realised upon earth. Along those lines human nature will change; for, never forget that Human Nature is divine, not devilish; that a God is at the heart of every man, unfolding the power of divinity; hence the power of the ideal to fire and the power of thought to mould the lines of character.

Let us pass on from principles to practice, and see which of the social problems shows good hope of resolution by applying this principle of Brotherhood, with its corollaries of reincarnation and karma. Evidently our first tool is education. In the plastic bodies and brains of the young there lies the greatest possibility of a speedy upbuilding of a noble social feeling. As I pointed out in the first of this course of lectures, the attempt that is being made in many directions now to separate religion and morals, and to give an education from which religion shall be excluded — that, for the reasons which I then gave you, and need not repeat, is foredoomed to failure. Now, it is quite clear why politicians and the public, impatient of the quarrels of many sectarians and denominations, want to throw religion aside altogether, and not bring religious controversies into the [p. 83] schools. But if you apply the principle of Brotherhood to religion, it surely is not too much to hope that in a country where the vast majority are at least nominally Christian, some sort of agreement might be come to on essentials for the teaching of the young. In India you have sectarian religions as you have here, great divisions in the schools of religious thought; and it was said some dozen years ago in India, quite as strongly as you hear it sad now in England: It is impossible to teach religion to Indian boys and girls, for the strife of sects makes unity impossible, and how should you teach the children without deciding on what to teach them? That seemed, as it seems over here, a great obstacle in the way of religious teaching, and yet in four or five years that question was solved in India so far as concerns Hindūism, the religion of the enormous majority of the people. What was done? The principle of Brotherhood was applied. Some of us, in concert with some theosophical Hindūs, gathered together a small committee to mark out what were the essential doctrines of Hindūism, and what were unessential and sectarian. After that sketch had been made, we set to work to get scholars to collect from Indian scriptures passages which bore upon these doctrines characteristic of Hindūism, and, with that material gathered together, a Theosophist sat down and wrote a text-book of Hindūism. Having written it, a hundred copies were drawn in proof, and sent to the heads of all the great Hindū sects and schools of philosophy. They were asked to read it through, to strike out anything they objected to, to mark in anything they thought essential; and when these books had [p. 84] travelled round in that way the whole circle of the quarrelling Hindū sects, they came back again into our hands with all the emendations and suggestions. Once more we sat round the book, examined the criticisms, adopted the widely supported suggestions, with such success that, when the elementary and the advanced text-books on Hindūism were issued, they were taken up by all the sects over India and adopted as a fair presentment of the fundamental doctrines of Hindūism. They have been taken up in school after school, adopted by prince after prince, so that when the great Mussulmān ruler of Hyderabad in the Deccan wanted to give his Hindū subjects Hindū education in the whole of the State schools, he simply took these books and placed them in every school, so that the Hindūs among his people might be instructed in their own faith. The same thing was done by the English Government in the Princes’ College in Rājputāna, because they found that secular education made princes who were immoral and unfit to rule. During the last eight years these books have spread everywhere, everywhere accepted and everywhere used. Do you mean to tell me that the divisions among Christians are so much deeper that they cannot do what the Hindūs have done, or that you have not more on which you agree than on which you disagree; and that you could not teach the children that in which you are united, and leave them in their manhood or their womanhood to add the sectarian parts of the doctrines for themselves? In India, to show you the effect of this, one of the directors of public education asked me: “Cannot you write, Mrs. Besant, a text-book [p. 85] for the Christians?” My answer was: “Yes, I could write it, but I don’t think they would use it.” It must come from so recognised Christian authority. I quite grant that a Theosophist would do it better than anybody else, because the Theosophist has no quarrel with any form of religious belief, and because the whole of his study leads him along the lines of recognising the points of union rather than the points of divergence; but it need not be done by a Theosophist, only by some one with the spirit of Theosophy in him, and that only means the spirit of the Divine Wisdom, of which every separate religion is an expression, so that there ought to be no quarrel with any.

Supposing that to be done for the whole of the Empire wherever Christians are found, see how enormous would be the gain; and it would not be so difficult. There are certain doctrines you all accept if you are Christian at all: you would only have to put those into a rational, intelligible form, and then gather from your own Scriptures the verses which support and give them authority to all who look on those Scriptures as authoritative. I have had in my mind an idea that may possibly be carried out, of trying whether it would not be possible to write a Universal Text-Book of Religion and Morals, with texts from every Scripture of the great religions, from all the Bibles of mankind, drawing the authority in support of the universal doctrine, and in that way making a book that Christian and Hindū, Parsī, Buddhist and Mussulmān could use; for all their Scriptures might be quoted in support of the general doctrine, and each might then add its own specific teachings to that great [p. 86] broad foundation, showing the real Brotherhood of faiths. That is a dream, but I think it may become a reality.

Along that line, then, in our education we must have religious teaching, in order that we may have a firm foundation for morals. With regard to other teaching, what would grow out of the principle of the State being a great family, with children of many ages and varying capacities that ought to be equally trained? There would grow up a system of education in which one broad common basis would be given to every child alike up to about the age of ten or eleven years, and then there would come a differentiation according to the capacities of the children. You would no longer, when a child has musical capacity, insist that that child shall get a smattering of three or four other arts, so that he is not good in any one, but only superficial in all. If you saw musical ability you would let the other points go, and music would form the predominant part of the education of such a child. If you found power of colour, power of form, then along the plastic or the painting art the child would have developed his natural capacity; and slowly and gradually you would learn that the power of art must pass into the handicrafts of the nation, and that large numbers of your boys and girls should be trained to the handicraft as against the machine-made product; because there you have the possibility of general beauty coming back to life, and there alone will the sense of beauty be cultivated throughout the nation. Where you see the tendency is literary, there you should not insist, especially as you do with girls still, that they should all play a little music, and all do a little drawing, and all [p. 87] learn a little singing; you would let all that go, and you would cultivate the literary faculty where you found it, and make that the special point of this more specialised education. Where you found the scientific faculty, there you would make that the most important part of the educational curriculum, remembering only that you must add to scientific training something of literature and the ideal, otherwise your science will tend to produce vulgarity and lack of the wider understanding of human life. Where you find mechanical power, there you will cultivate that especially, always remembering that no boy should leave school until he has learned some method of being useful to the State while earning his own livelihood. Unskilled labour should be a thing of the past in every department of human life. It is necessary that you specialise at an age which is early enough to enable a boy to learn effectively that which is to be his livelihood in later life. A good deal of mistake is being made in the education of the day, where, when the boy has to earn his livelihood along some line of manual work, too much of the literary is given to the sacrifice of manual dexterity. You want far more practical training in your schools than you have to-day, and the continual pointing-out that one form of human activity is not inherently nobler than any other form; that the man who uses his hands well is as honourable in the use of them as the man who uses his brain well. What is dishonourable is that either brain work or manual work should be badly done. Your really destructive spirit along all these lines is: “Oh, it is good enough; it will do.” There is nothing that will do unless it is done as well as you [p. 88] are able to do it; otherwise it is slop work, and degrading in itself. It is not the kind of work you do that makes you either honourable or dishonourable; it is the spirit in which you do it, and the quality of the work that you turn out. Until you can get that through the nation, as it is not to-day — until you can give back to the workman the dignity of the artist, and not want every carpenter to educate his boy superficially so that he may be a clerk instead of a handicraftsman, spoiling your crafts and overloading your offices — until you can bring back that balance of human duty and human labour, there is little hope of a sane and healthy society amongst you.

Pass, again, from that to another thing that is badly wanted in education; but I think that is learned more in the playground than in the classroom — discipline, the sense of duty to a larger life. That may sound rather a grand sort of description to give of the effect of a game on a boy, but it is true. Where a boy is a member of a team — cricket, football, hockey, what you like — that boy will never be a success unless he learns to think of his side and not of himself, and that is a larger self than his own personal claims. It is in the playground that the boys and girls learn many a lesson which makes them better citizens in later life — the sense of order, the sense of discipline, the doing your work in your place, wherever you are put in the field. You may have one place or another in the cricket field or the football field, but the test of the boy is that he does his work well in the place where he is, and does not want to be somewhere else when his captain has placed him there. That moral discipline of the playground is more valuable than the [p. 89] discipline of the classroom, for it is voluntary, gladly obeyed, and it is stimulated by an ideal, unalloyed by fear. Hence the value of the playground, and the value of teaching boys really to play. For the greatest danger of these so-called democratic nations is that they have no sense of discipline, no sense of order, no sense of obedience; without these no nation can be great. When you get, as you sometimes do get, a thing that happened last time I was in Australia, that an apprentice boy at a mine, because he was reproved for not doing his work rightly, at once left work, and then the whole mine struck in order to defend this young scamp’s liberty — there is not much chance of building a nation out of materials like that; you have only got a heap of marbles with no cohesion, with no binding sense of duty nor sense of responsibility, and out of those materials you can never make a State. Without discipline, order, obedience, no possibility of greatness. But all that has to grow out of the education definitely based on these ideas of Brotherhood, of reincarnation, and law.

Pass from that department of life, and turn to a very important question—Penology, the treatment of criminals. What is the criminal? Criminals fall into two great classes: one class of young souls, and they need to be educated; another class of souls whose development has been lopsided, so that the intellect has grown, but the conscience has not developed side by side with it — by far the more dangerous criminals those, and far more difficult to deal with. Now, the young soul is very largely a savage, the man at so low a stage of human [p. 90] evolution that earlier in the evolution of our race he would have been guided into some savage tribe in some island or desert, where the rough discipline of that savage life would have begun the hewing of him into shape — rough, hard, cruel, but gradually building up that young soul into a sense of duty to his tribe. Now, as things have changed, and human evolution has gone forward rapidly, there are not places enough in the world where those conditions are available for the gradual training of these younger souls. The civilised nations, as we call them, have been spreading everywhere over the world’s surface, have been driving these miserable people out of their possessions, have taken their lands, largely murdered them, have appropriated the land and dispossessed the earlier possessors into the next world. What has become of all those? They have got to come back, and they tend by natural law to come to the nations who have been most active in sending them out of their possessions. It is quite natural, if you think that we live under law, not by chance; and it is not, perhaps, if I may say it with all respect, very wonderful that the people of Great Britain have a rather extra share of those unfortunate savages to look after. They come into the slum, and there they are born really savages. If you look at them you call them congenital criminals. But they are really young souls, without morality, without much brains, with a certain craft and cunning and cleverness, but fundamentally young. Then you find others who have come out of that lowest condition of savagery, but who are not yet at the point where the restraints of the society that suits the older [p. 91] souls are tolerable to them. And so you get a great crop of occasional criminals, with the tendency to turn them into habitual criminals. Then you have that other class I spoke of, the lopsided people, whom I said were the most difficult to deal with; men who are really clever, but turn their cleverness to plundering their fellows instead of using it within the limitations of the law. That is a large class. Sometimes they just go over the edge of the law, sometimes they just keep within it, but from the social standpoint, remember, there are many social criminals who always keep on what is sometimes called the street-side of the law—that is, they do not go within the jail — such a man as one I spoke of the other day, who had wrecked the railway system of a whole district in order that out of that wreckage he might build himself up an enormous fortune. He is not a burglar from the technical standpoint, he is not a thief that a policeman might catch hold of, but in the sight of karma, and in the sight of the eternal justice, that man who by legal means has robbed thousands of others of their means of livelihood is a worse thief than the one who has picked a pocket and is thrown into jail. There are a good many things in a civilised country which lie very nearly along the line of legal or illegal theft, a good deal of which goes by the name of company-promoting, where it is just a toss-up whether there is really fraud that can be proved; but with the remarkable fact that while the companies always perish, and the people who took shares are beggared, the company-promoter comes out at the top, and becomes quite a successful person. Now all that, [p. 92] from the social standpoint, is utterly immoral, but we cannot call them criminals in the technical sense, although now and then they go a little too far, and then the criminal law catches them.

How should those be dealt with who are really the young souls? how shall we avoid turning them into habitual criminals as we do now? — for is there anything more miserable and more shameful than that a man should go back time after time till fifty, sixty convictions are registered against him in the police court, and the sentence grows longer and longer because he is a habitual criminal? He has been manufactured into that. You ought not to treat a man who has committed a crime against your legal system by consigning him to prison for seven days, or a month, or a year, growing longer and longer and longer after every return to temporary freedom. You don’t use people who are ill like that; you never find a doctor committing a small-pox patient to a hospital for seven days, nor a fever-stricken one for a month; they are committed until they are cured, and that is the way in which you should deal with anyone of marked criminal propensities. You should not punish, you should only help; and you should take that child-soul and train him into decency of living. For one thing, you should never have in your prisons any form of useless labour as a punishment. The criminal who is really a savage always dislikes labour; he is always idle — that is part of his youth; and if you give him a form of labour that is punitive and not useful, you only increase his natural disgust for every kind of labour, and make him hate it more thoroughly when he [p. 93] comes out of jail than he did when he went in. Taking up shot and carrying it to one side of the prison yard, and then carrying it back again, or the useless torture of the treadmill, these make criminals, they do not cure them. [1] You want, when the criminal comes into your power, to take him in hand as you would take a younger brother who does not know how to guide himself, and it is your duty as the elder to guide him; you need to train him in some honest trade whereby he might gain a livelihood; you need to discipline him, not cruelly, but firmly and steadily; you need to lay down the very wholesome law that if a man will not work neither shall he eat, and teach him in the prison to earn his dinner before he enjoys it. You need to set him to work at trades whereby he may earn his own living within the walls of the jail; and if, after you have taught him a trade so that he can earn his living, and outside the jail have found him an opportunity of decent livelihood—if then he refuses to work, and comes back again into your hands, then you should keep that discipline upon him until he really is cured, even though it be for many and many a year, for you are training him into better character. You might make the prison life less of a disgrace than it is now; give him rational amusement, amusement that will cultivate, instead of having him deadened by the continual feeling of disgrace within the prison walls. You may restrain him — that may be necessary for the welfare of society; but you should treat him as a younger one in the national household, to [p. 94] be gradually trained up into decent living; let the willingness to live the decent life be the only key to the door of the jail.

But you may do much before there is any need to send them to prison at all. There is a system which is just beginning here, called the Probation System, one that has been worked in America with very great success, and one that a late member of our Society, Miss Lucy Bartlett, has had the immense privilege of introducing into Italy, so that it has been made the law of the land. Now what is that system? When a young boy or girl commits a first offence, he is not sent to jail if someone, a good citizen, of decent standing and good life, will come forward in the court and say: “I will take charge of that boy or girl, or young man or young woman. I will be his friend and look after him.” Then the sentence is not one of imprisonment; it is a sentence which is over the lad’s head for a time; and if he will not be helped, then it is allowed to take effect. But, as a matter of fact, that is very seldom the case. This man or woman coming forward out of the more leisured classes of society, and becoming a friend to that younger brother or sister, is, in the great majority of cases, a means of redeeming that younger one from evil into good; the older makes a friend of him, takes him out sometimes, talks with him, trusts him really as a brother or a sister, and great is the redeeming power of human love in restoring self-respect, and great the desire for approval. Those are the motives that are brought to bear on one who has only just set his feet on the path of criminality, and that in most cases brings him back to virtue; and the friendship [p. 95] that began in the probation goes on through the rest of life, strengthening, helping, teaching both the helper and the helped. The system has been in operation for some time now in America, long enough to test it; in Italy only for some two or three years, too short a time; man after man and woman after woman of the leisured classes has come forward to act as friend and helper of the one who has come within the grip of the law. Surely no better application of Brotherhood to criminal treatment could be found than that; it is the realisation of the duty of those who are beyond the temptation to vice to their youngers who have fallen under its power.

I can hardly leave this subject without saying a word on Capital Punishment. That, of course, cannot find defence from anyone who realises the principle of Brotherhood. Some of you may remember the saying of a witty Frenchman: “Que messieurs les assassins commencent”; but it is not from the lower that reforms begin, but from the higher. You cannot expect your murderer to respect human life if you have taught him by your criminal legislation that the right penalty for murder is to murder again. True, one comes from passion and the other from the law; but if the law does not teach respect for human life, how should the passions of the criminal honour that sacredness? It is not only from that general principle that you make human life cheap by destroying it, but from another even more important. You cannot get rid of that murderer of yours; you can only get rid of his body, and his body is the most convenient prison in which you can keep him. [p. 96] You can lock up his body and prevent him from committing any further murders, but you cannot lock him up when you have driven him out of his body by the hangman’s noose; you have not killed him, you cannot kill him, you have only killed his body; and you have driven him out into that next world which interpenetrates this world, and whose inhabitants are with us all the time; you have sent him out into that other world hating, cursing, full of anger and revenge against those who have cut short his life. He acts as the instigator of other murders; he stimulates other criminals into the last possibility of crime. Have you ever noticed that a brutal murder is sometimes repeated over and over again in the same community until you get a cycle of murders of one particular kind? I know, of course, that the Press, in reporting every detail of those horrors, adds the forces of imagination to the power of temptation which comes from the man you have sent to the other side. In a civilised country no such details of brutal crime should ever be given; people should understand that that stimulates the faculty of imitation, and so makes repetition of the crime more likely. Another reason why you should never send a man out like that is, that when the criminal is in your hands, remembering the lives that lie in front of him, you should try to give him something to take with him into the other world which he can turn into capacity and moral sense; you should remember he will come back again to a physical body, and it is your duty to make that next birth of his as much an improvement on the present as it is possible for human thought and human love to make it. We have a duty to these young souls around us in order that they [p. 97] may profit by our civilisation, and not suffer from it as they too often do today.

When you turn to economics, what will be the result of Brotherhood there? The detailed working out of that problem will certainly need the keenest intellects in order to devise some scheme of production and distribution which shall make human life less burdened on the one side, less full of useless luxury on the other. But not along the rough-and-ready lines of the Socialism of the streets are these great and difficult problems rightly to be solved. You need to solve them by the most careful consideration of all the problems which are interlinked the one with the other. Some system of general co-operation, of general profit-sharing, or something along those lines, will be the principle on which the changed conditions will go; but while you will make the lot of the toilers far lighter and happier, you will never give to the ignorant the control over that on which their food supply depends; for that means ruin. Let me give you one illustration to show you what I mean. There have been a large number of strikes in this country for years and years past, and there is no doubt that many of those were brought about by the greed of the employing class, and by the unfair treatment of the workers; but none the less they have in more than one case — in fact, in many cases — reduced the workers to a lower condition than they were in before. I was up at Tyneside the other day. Newcastle with its adjoining ports, Sunderland, and the whole coast along there, was once one of the great shipbuilding centres in England. Strike after strike made shipbuilding impossible to carry on, because [p. 98] the men could not pay their way. The result is that it has ceased to be a great shipbuilding district; that the trade has largely gone away from the Tyneside, and that those parts are falling into decay. You cannot blame the men who struck; they tried to get better conditions for themselves; they did not understand the difficulties of all these large commercial firms, and that they might readily make shipbuilding impossible for the shipbuilder by pressing for a particular rate of wage which was not too much for them, but more than at the time the exigencies of the trade enabled the shipbuilder to pay. And so on and on in endless cases. Careful thought and deliberate judgment are wanted. Many proposals have been made by the trades unions themselves — a sliding scale of wages, arbitration boards, and so on — all steps in the right direction. But your difficulty with arbitration boards is that their decision is not always accepted. When people go to arbitration they hope to get a decision on their own side; when it does not come out, they are not always willing to submit. When I was in New Zealand last year there had been a great struggle between employers and men; at last both applied to the arbitration court, but when the decision was given against the men, the men refused to go back to work. You cannot play that way with these great economic questions; no one trade should ever decide entirely for itself what should be the rate of wage that it is possible for the employers to pay, for the question is complicated by many considerations; it is not one trade, but it is the balance of all trades on which the ultimate decision has to turn. Hence the need of ability, of power to understand, [p. 99] of wide study of economic questions which no handiworker is able to give. There is where the difficulty comes in, and where there is need on both sides of a spirit which shall seek the common good; otherwise at the end there is only more trouble than before, and the trade vanishes where the conditions for carrying it on are made impossible. Exactly the same thing is going on now in Australia. The men who know conditions of mining and things of that sort are laying down the wages which shipping companies must pay to their sailors. When a P. and O. boat, for instance, goes within the waters of Australia, they will soon be compelled to pay their men at the particular rate of pay which has been fixed on economic conditions in Australia. What will be the result? The P. and O. boats will not go; they cannot ruin themselves to please the Australian working-men; hence the means of communication will be very largely cut off; and when the harm is done, it is too late then to cry out for the remedy. Those are the kind of things that are going on in every direction with the coming of manual workers into power, because the attempt to rule has come before the conditions of rule have been understood.

It is very much the same when you come to deal with all questions of Woman’s Labour. Woman claims the right to labour, but very often she has forgotten that employers can play upon certain characteristics of the woman that nothing can alter, because they are fundamental and natural. When a woman has taken up the trade of the wife and the mother, and then goes out to work in the mill, leaving the children behind and the [p. 100] baby uncared for save by hired care, then wages are driven down because she is willing to work for lower wages, knowing the misery of the children she has left at home; then comes the playing-off of the wife against the husband, of the woman against the man; the children are the sufferers from the taking away of the mother to work in the mill, and the man is turned out to walk the streets because cheaper female labour has taken his place. These are some of the complicated difficulties that arise out of what seems the simple thing of allowing a woman to sell her labour. Women and men can never be equal in the labour market, because the woman is the childbearer, and there comes in the difference, and the question of the nation’s health and vigour. She can never command the same wage as the man, because, as I once heard brutally said when I was complaining about the starvation wage of some match-girls: “There is always another way the woman has to increase her income.” That is true, pitifully true; but it puts her at a disadvantage in the struggle of the labour market. That which seemed so promising at first has only increased the stress of economic conditions, has turned the man out into the streets while the woman is trying to do the double work of the mill and the home. That is an impossible condition of things, for which a remedy will have to be found.

And so to deal with these economic questions we want the best brains and the best hearts, the widest knowledge and the deepest sympathy. Those, and those only, can solve these terrible economic problems of the time. You cannot solve them by any rough-and-ready means, nor by [p. 101] any quick and sudden means. You must solve them by wisdom and by love, and by realising the nation’s interest is a common interest, not of class against class, but of union of all for the common good of the community.

But then it is said: What about politics? On the detail of that, frankly, I have naught to say, for I am concerned only with principles. But one thing I would like to put to you, coming back to that point of liberty with which I started. People have supposed that liberty means a vote. You could not have a bigger blunder. Liberty and the vote have practically nothing in common. The vote gives you the power to make laws, to coerce other people; it by no means gives you necessarily liberty for yourself. We have never yet had, as I said, liberty upon earth. We have had class legislation of every kind in England, but liberty never. Go back in history and you find the Kings ruling, and that built up the one nation of England. Then the Barons ruled, and they did not on the whole do so badly, for England was called Merrie England then, and certainly no one would dream of applying that name to it now. Then there came the England of Parliaments, getting duller and duller, deader and deader; then the England of Commercialism. And who is our ruler now? Neither King nor Lords nor Parliament altogether, but on the one side King Purse, and King Mob on the other. Neither of those is a ruler who is likely to make this nation great. Liberty is a great celestial Goddess, strong, beneficent, and austere, and she can never descend upon a nation by the shouting of crowds, nor by the arguments of unbridled passion, nor by hatred of class against class. [p. 102] Liberty will never descend upon earth in outer matters until she has first descended into the hearts of men, and until the higher Spirit which is free has dominated the lower nature, the nature of passions and strong desires, and the will to hold for oneself and to trample upon others. You can only have a free nation when you have free men to build it out of — free men and women both; but no man is free and no woman is free who is under the dominance of appetite, or vice, or drunkenness, or any form of evil which he is unable to control. Self-control is the foundation on which alone freedom can be built. Without that you have anarchy, not freedom; and every increase of the present anarchy is paid for by the price of happiness, which is given in exchange. But when Freedom comes, she will come down to a nation in which every man and every woman will have learned self-control and self-mastery; and then, and then only, out of such men who are free, out of such women who are free, strong, righteous, ruling their own nature and training it to the noblest ends — of such only can you build up political freedom, which is the result of the freedom of the individual, and not the outcome of the warring passions of men.

In: The Changing World and Lectures to Theosophical Students
Fifteen Lectures delivered in London during May, June, and July 1909
by Annie Besant (President of the Theosophical Society)

Chicago, Ill. The Theosophical Book Concern
Room 426, 26 Van Buren Street
London, Eng.: The Theosophical Publishing Society