By James A. Long

We have heard many voices crying out that the world is doomed and that civilization is headed towards destruction. We do not think so; we do not feel inclined to be alarmed when the tides seem to be running on the ebb, when human affairs that confront us from day to day seem not to appear as a golden age. Perhaps we are doing nothing ourselves about it except bemoaning the fact that the world is not in a better position.

Why haven't we done anything about it ourselves? It is easy to say: I am just one lone individual, one little citizen in this whole hodgepodge of humanity, what can I do to affect a world situation? Think over what it means when one begins self-consciously to realize that he is the master of his own destiny, the ruler of his own fate, and completely so. We can control every circumstance and our reaction to it by the proper use of our inherent basic spiritual faculties. We individually can bring about by our own efforts a glorious sunrise in our own lives through a process of character building self-consciously conducted from day to day that will contribute a great deal -- a very great deal -- to the progress of humanity as a whole.

This will not come about quickly, and in the process of its development there will be, as before, rising and falling tides in the affairs of men. But just as that spark of divinity can be unfolded in the life of a single individual, that same possibility resides in the whole of humankind; and even though it may take time, every effort that you and I and our fellowmen make to bring this about is an effort toward the realization of that golden age. Then mankind will begin to find itself on the pathway originally intended for it when, as in the Garden of Eden story, it was cast out on its own responsibility to become self-consciously a spark of divinity.

(From Sunrise magazine, October/November 1999; copyright © 1999 Theosophical University Press)

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