AMERICA, BIRTHPLACE OF A NEW RACE

by Geoffrey Hodson

Published by the Mothers’ Research Group, Theosophical Society in America

The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai. India


One of the Australian broadcasts by Geoffrey Hodson which appeared
in the book Theosophy Answers Some Problems of Life.

 

Chapter CONTENTS Page
     
1 A New Race and a New Age Now Being Born
1
2 The Children of Today are the Citizens of Tomorrow
5
3 Inspired Leaders - How They May be Found and Trained
9
4 Education for Fine Citizenship
13




CHAPTER 1

A NEW RACE AND A NEW AGE NOW BEING BORN



THE FUTURE OF MAN

[Page 1] Has mankind reached the peak of its possible development in modern leaders of men? Is the human race evolving, improving and unfolding greater powers? Will the present civilization decline and fall, as its predecessors have done? These are vital problems. Theosophy makes a valuable contribution towards their solution.


THE COST OF WAR

In the lifetime of most of us, humanity has lived through years of the most diabolical evil the world has ever known. Estimates of the extent of the sufferings of humanity in the recent years of the Second World War are now available. The latest figures tell that forty-two and one-half millions of people have died prematurely in these ten years. Nearly twenty-five millions were civilian and nineteen and one-half millions were military deaths. These forty-two and one-half millions were men, women and children who were starved, tortured, shot, blown to bits, vivisected, frozen and gassed to death. They were deliberately murdered by every conceivable method of fiendish cruelty at the hands of supposedly civilized, cultured and mostly Christian Nations.

Since the end of the Second World War, the Nations have sought unsuccessfully for that international unity and solidarity for which the great majority are longing. Thus far humanity seeks in vain to satisfy its growing hunger for wholeness, its longing for friendship, peace and security. Like twin swords of Damocles, atomic and bacteriological warfare hang over every Race, city and home on earth. In the face of these tragic facts men might well despair, not only of world peace in our time, but of the whole future of the Race.


THE EVOLUTIONARY PLAN

What has Theosophy to offer to mankind at this juncture and in this hour of urgent need? The answer is guiding principles, knowledge of which is all-important, especially for those who aspire to play an effective part [Page 2] in the present world crisis. Theosophy provides that knowledge; for its study mentally lifts one to great heights from which a panoramic view of human life is possible. Theosophy reveals the master plan, one part of which concerns the evolution of the human Race. The total number of major Races is said to be seven, each of which is composed of seven successive sub-races. Five major Races have already appeared on earth, the Aryan peoples belonging to the fifth. Two Root Races lie in the future. Five sub-races of the fifth, the Aryan Race, have already appeared and a sixth is now being born. From this theosophical teaching we learn that we, being in the fifth of the seven Root Races, are rather more than half way through our planet's life.

When considering racial evolution upon earth it should be remembered that the same spiritual individuals, the same human Egos incarnate in the successive races. The Atlanteans, the Egyptians and the other ancient peoples were none other than ourselves. Similarly, the sixth sub-race and the sixth and seventh Root Races will only be new reincarnations of the same family of Egos, ourselves, for whom this earth has been appointed as the evolutionary field.


BIRTHPLACES OF A NEW RACE

What, then, is the place of Australia in this great plan and what is the destiny of its peoples? Simply put, the answer is that the fifth Race is at this time producing a sixth sub-race, and the four countries of North America and Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are the chief places of its birth. The sixth sub-race of the mother Aryan stock is being produced by emigration of European peoples, chiefly British, to the new racial homes. Even now the plan is well advanced. Each of the four countries is already producing its typical variant of the new type. Indeed, the two World Wars may be regarded as both the death throes of an old dispensation and the birth pangs of a new.


THE COMING RACE

What will New Age man look like? Here is the young man. In Australia he is tall, wiry and somewhat slender of form. In New Zealand the build has perhaps been somewhat shorter and stockier up to now, though an increase in the height is said to be occurring. The facial [Page 3] features of the sixth sub-race man, when they do show, are everywhere much the same. They are finely modeled, the nose tends to be long, the chin pointed and the forehead broad, thus making the face somewhat triangular. A certain eagerness, a vivid alertness, is stamped upon the whole face.

The women will especially display the quality of grace. They, too, will be slender and athletic, and the ideal of physical beauty and perfection will make great appeal to them. Again, the face will be triangular, the head pear-shaped, the features becoming clear-cut, regular and more and more refined as the new racial type is established. The texture of the skin will be notably fine and the hands and feet are beautifully formed. So much for apparent physical trends.

What of the outlook? This also must be considered; for, from the point of view of recent world events and the grave danger of a Third World War, the attitude of mind and the outlook of the new racial type are all important. Can we forecast them? Yes. The new psychological characteristics may be discerned by a study of advanced people throughout the world; for this new Race is not to be born in a single place, not to belong to a single Nation. It is the type of the new humanity which will seek unity and co-operation between free individuals and Nations. The very essence of all action in the sixth sub-race will be the union of many to achieve a single object, and not the dominance of one who compels others to his will. To advance together in freedom to a goal that all realize as desirable, will ultimately become the method of attainment. This tendency to unity of action is one of the signs of racial evolution out of dependence upon mental processes, analysis, deduction and logic into the use of direct intuitive perception.



MANKIND'S WILL TO WORLD UNITY



Despite grave difficulties at present appearing, signs are not wanting that this development is actually occurring. Indeed, it is abundantly evident today; for, amid the welter of conflicting peoples and ideologies now evident, there is distinctly discernible a subtle yet powerful change occurring in the outlook of mankind upon the planet - the growth of one dominating idea with tremendous possibilities for the future. This change has been described as "a hunger for wholeness", and it is indeed a revolutionary event. It is almost comparable to a geological cataclysm, like the tilting of the earth's axis or a descent of an ice cap. It must culminate, I suggest, in an irresistible will to world unity.[Page 4]

This recognition of unity and determination to achieve it characteristic of New Age man will not only be physical and racial, but mental and spiritual as well. Also, it will not only be local, but world-wide. Even now, this unifying tendency is discernible in the world and constitutes a definite sign of the emergence of the sixth sub-race of the Fifth, the Aryan Race.

If one is looking for signs that any particular person is beginning to show marks of that sixth sub-race today, such signs may be found in a growing intuitiveness and in a capacity to lead by love, sympathy and comprehension rather than by the dominance of an imperious will; for, to advanced humanity, dominance is anathema, freedom is a veritable religion. A synthesizing spirit will be found in the fore-runners of the sixth sub-race. They will be able to encourage and to unite diversity of opinion and of character, to gather round them the most unlike elements and blend them, whilst still free, into a common whole.


MAN CALLED TO COLLABORATE IN THE TRANSCENDENTAL TASK


Those who at present possess the capacity for taking into themselves diversities and sending them out again as unities, and for utilizing the most different individualities, finding each its place in freedom and welding all together into a strong whole - such people already display New Race characteristics. The ideal, as will be seen, is not a universalized set of conditions and a uniformity of human personality, but full individual development with readiness to combine and to co-operate in the great causes of human happiness and progress.

Theosophy adds to the statement of this far-reaching plan that every individual can participate in the progress of the Race. Each one of us is important; for each of us can help or hinder the historical process. If each one of us will play our constructive part, if we can inspire our young people with the vision of themselves as Nation-builders, then America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will fulfill their present promise of rapid advance to magnificent nationhood.

In the light of such teachings of Theosophy, the truly alarming portents to which I drew attention at the beginning of this Talk assume a less menacing aspect, dangerous though they are. The student of Theosophy need not fear that any futility overshadows man's highest dreams; he need not be afraid that civilization will be allowed up in unheeding, everlasting night; for he is taught that man moves through innumerable ages to ever-in-creasing power, wisdom and glory.[Page 5]



CHAPTER 2

THE CHILDREN OF TODAY ARE THE CITIZENS OF TOMORROW


THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATION

The problem which I am now going to discuss is that of good citizenship and bad citizenship, particularly in the young people of today. Reports and statistics emanating from many countries and sources demonstrate that all is not as it should be with modern youth.

"Poets are born, not made", it is said, but good citizens are made, not born, and the same is true of bad citizens. Moral laxity in youth is largely the result of deficient education at home and at school and of pernicious influences out in the world. In consequence, idealists are visualizing an educational system with the main objectives of developing human character and of producing good citizens of the home, the school, the city, the Nation and the world. Advanced thinkers have long been proclaiming the urgent need for education for character-building, stability and integrity. They seek to imbue young people with a strong moral sense and a vision of excellence. Education for successful living and for useful citizenship, including public service, is now being regarded as both the key to the New World Order and the life blood of civilization.

Education is of two parts — in school and out of school. At present these two influences upon the growing child tend to become divorced. Teachers state that the good they try to do in the school is all too often undone at home and out in the world. In-school and out-of-school education should be co-ordinated, otherwise the one nullifies the other. The home will then widen naturally into the school which in its turn becomes both an extension of the home and a natural gateway to adult life.


MORAL DANGERS

The grave dangers confronting youth after leaving school arise from contact with adult materialism, selfishness, commercialism and vice. Girls and boys go out into life without the necessary guidance and protection against moral danger and insufficiently supported by belief in spiritual and moral principles. In consequence, they are often helpless in the presence of the evils and tendencies to evil which surround them in the world.[Page 6]


RADIO AND CINEMA

Broadcasting is one example of these dangers. The radio penetrates every home. Every child from babyhood is exposed to it. Sensational stories, luring advertisements, moronic crooning and raucous jazz pour out of loudspeakers throughout the Nations. To combat this very serious evil, a due censorship is urgently needed, with the single purpose of producing good citizens.

Advertising may be taken as another example. The newspapers, the hoardings, the handbills, and some of the radio stations of the world are designed for advertising. This almost hypnotic procedure beats upon the consciousness of modern man, influencing thought and word and deed. The adult gradually acquires a self-defense against this perpetual battering. Unfortunately that defense is cynicism. But the child does not know any better and is inevitably affected, deceived, moulded. The predominant motive of commercial advertising is to get, to acquire, to deceive, to persuade, to allure one's fellow men. It is selfish, acquisitive. The child tends to conclude that cleverness in deceit for personal profit wins the world's greatest prizes. He absorbs this attitude towards life, gravely to his detriment, thinking of success in purely worldly terms and material values.

Many children are thus spoilt, marred as potential good citizens. They are sent out into life with a strong desire to advertise themselves, to sell themselves, their education, their scholastic degrees, their highest gifts, for money, power, possessions. Thus the young people of today are being moulded by adults into selfish embodiments of a ravenous passion for getting things. Of religion, of the Divine Presence, they know naught. Their minds are not spiritually moulded. [From Reader’s Digest, USA] A radio announcer's daughter when asked to say grace spoke forth easily: “This food comes to us by courtesy of God Almighty." A story is told of another child who, when shown by her mother her first rainbow, immediately asked: "What is it supposed to advertise?"


UNDUE ACQUISITIVENESS

Excuse me if I seem to over-stress this commercial element. It is, I think, the key to the present deplorable situation. The child, as soon as he is old enough, perceives humanity perpetually advertising itself and its wares, luring, deceiving, setting baits to entrap the unwary. He receives an education which is predominantly [Page 7] materialistic, in which true religion has only a minor part. The child is taught to memorize facts and ideas in order that by repeating them correctly at examinations he will win educational rewards, defeat his fellow pupils and shine over them, and then sell the whole result of education in the market place. Doubtless it was this perversion of the true purpose of education - to draw out inherent faculties rather than only to drive in ideas from without, I suggest - which caused Mark Twain to say: "Education is not so swift as massacre, but it is far more deadly in the long run"!

All this combative, competitive, acquisitive, materialistic education is a crime against the child. It is, therefore, a crime against adults and so a crime against humanity. Excessive commercialization is, I conclude, the greatest single, external cause of the unhappiness of man amidst an excess of this world's goods.

The child has no chance against all this. Unless an advanced Ego and especially fortunate in parents, teachers, companions and employers, he grows up like his fellow men. His character reflects his environment. With numerous individual exceptions, he becomes moulded by both into a self-centered, acquisitive animal, bereft of either spirituality or culture. If to this be added the outbreak and the nature of the two World Wars and the threat of a Third, it is small wonder that so many young people (far from all) grow up into selfish, self-indulgent and materially minded cynics.


SEX EDUCATION

Then there is the other pressing problem of guidance in the exercise of the creative functions of the body. How, where and by whom should this guidance be given? Let me suggest an answer. As soon as they are old enough, that is as soon as they notice the difference in sex and begin to enquire, young people should be wisely given adequate knowledge of the creative functions of their bodies. They should not grow up in ignorance either of the place and purpose of sex in human life or of the grievous effects of its misuse. Especially should they be unmistakably aware of the dangers to both body and soul of sexual indulgence.

How should this guidance be given? It should at first, I submit, be a highly individual and very private instruction, received preferably from one whom the boy or girl loves and trusts. Ideally, I conclude, mothers should guide girls and fathers instruct boys. Primarily this is the responsibility of the parents and of no one else. The wise and sympathetic family doctor or the enlightened minister may, however, assist or even replace [Page 8] the parents should they not feel equal to the task. The right occasions and the right presentation are of supreme importance and the truth must be told, not untruths. In the absence of state clinics founded for the purpose, as in the New Age we hope they will be, and in the absence of experts trained for the task, the parents can and do make or mar their children by their own example and by their fulfillment or neglect of parental responsibility in this most important matter. Thus I submit that a home with a strong moral atmosphere based upon Christ-like love is a form of instruction and guidance for life for which there is no alternative.


CIVILIZATION MARCHES FORWARD ON THE FEET OF LITTLE CHILDREN


The importance of especial care of the youth of the Nation cannot, I submit, be over-estimated. Civilization marches forward on the feet of little children. The post-war world must be a world characterized especially by great advances in education. The New Age must be the age of the child and the freedom-loving Nations will do well to direct their immense resources to the spiritual the moral and the physical welfare of the youth of the world, by whom the New Age must be built. This would involve a world-wide extension of educational facilities for young and old, first and foremost to save mankind from threatened annihilation by atomic weapons and second to produce the finest possible types of human beings, and so of human civilization. [Page 9]



CHAPTER 3

INSPIRED LEADERS - HOW THEY MAY BE FOUND AND TRAINED


HUMANITY ASTRAY


What is the greatest need of the world today? I suppose we might all answer differently. Let me offer an idea. In the critical times through which humanity has passed during the first half of the Twentieth Century it must, I think, be admitted that the great need of mankind today is for inspired leadership. Humanity needs men and women to whom it can give complete and wholehearted respect because of their fine attainments, spiritually, intellectually and culturally, and the splendid human beings they are. During the Second World War, Winston Churchill proved to be just such a leader. He aroused, inspired, encouraged and led the British people through their darkest time, which he called "their finest hour'*. In consequence of Churchill's leadership, those times of trial, did, in fact, become their finest, greatest hours. We should remember, however, that, no less than war, peace also demands leadership.

The urgent necessities of war, the pressing dangers of invasion, death and enslavement, though not entirely banished, are not immediately overshadowing the peoples of the world's democracies. Numerous and far-reaching dangers do, however, still threaten mankind. We are under attack both from within, in the moral sense, and from without as a result of subversive influences and the threat of the outbreak of a third aggressive war. To guide us through these dangers, leaders can prove extremely valuable. Great men and women, alive to the pressing dangers of our times, are amongst us but there are not enough of them. It seems as if the dead weight of apathy, the corroding influence of cynicism, the deliberate undermining of the stability of the Democratic States and the continued excitation to over-indulgences as in sex, alcohol, drugs and gambling, almost nullify the efforts of the all too few spiritual and cultural leaders of the modern world. Therefore the need is urgent for more great men and women in the world.


THE CALL FOR GUIDANCE


Is there any hope of the emergence of leaders? More important, can we ourselves do anything to prepare the way for the birth amongst us of truly great Souls or, as we say theosophically, advanced Egos? If reincarnation be true, can the rebirth of great leaders from the [Page 10] past be hoped for and, if so, what are the conditions which prospective parents should provide? Let me suggest an answer. It is generally agreed that a new and higher type of human being is now appearing in the world. In consequence, there is hope that a new civilization, a new World Order and a new (re-expressed) World Religion will be established on earth. Obviously we are on the threshold of great changes, are at the dawn of a new day in the life of our planet.

By what processes will such advanced men and women come into existence and the new dispensation displace the old? More important still, what can be done to prepare the way for them? The essentials appear to be at least twofold. First, the incarnation of advanced Egos and second, the provision of suitable environment and education, these two being to a considerable extent mutually interdependent. Advanced Egos require both special kinds of bodies and special opportunities for the fulfillment of their mission as world leaders. From this it would appear that the parents and the teachers of today are favored with unique opportunities.


PARENTAL OPPORTUNITIES


What, then, may we assume, is the parental contribution to the birth of the special types of bodies into which advanced Souls may incarnate? First, it is probable that such parents would have a wide and catholic outlook on life. Their interests would extend far beyond the round of domestic, recreational, business or professional life. Where circumstances permit, they would be actively concerned with interests larger than those of their own immediate preoccupations. Such great Causes as the Child Welfare Movements, civic, state and national affairs, and particularly in these days the United Nations Association would be likely to attract them. New Age [For the sense in which this term is used, see Chapter II] parents would naturally have great appreciation of beauty and in many cases be proficient in one of the arts. The love of beauty would be an outstanding characteristic of their natures and show itself in the beauty of their homes and the lives they live.

THE RELIGION OF THE FUTURE

What would be likely to be the religious views of such forward-looking people? Their religion would probably be both mystical and practical. Some form of religious exercises leading to individual experience of[Page 11] union with God would doubtless be employed, thus also keeping open the channels between the Inner Immortal Self and the personal bodily life and consciousness. Extremes of religious belief and practice, and constant changes of philosophic and religious attachment, would naturally be avoided. So much for the probable and desirable parental ideals.

What may we suppose are the more material essentials, especially for the attraction into a family of advanced Souls?


THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL



At this point I wish to dissociate myself from the Theosophical Society and to express a purely personal opinion about pre-natal necessities for the production of first-class physical bodies and brains. After some forty year's study of social problems and of practical work in various reform Movements, I have been forced to the conclusion that abstinence from alcohol is essential in those parents who would give birth to the finest type of children. Alcohol and drugs can bedull the brain and nervous system and, in consequence, shut the Spiritual Self out of the individual's life, particularly as far as intuition and other spiritualizing impulses are concerned. I know that I am presenting ideals which may sound extreme, but the world need is so great at this time that it is worth our while to consider high ideals, especially concerning marriage, parenthood and child training. Procreation and childbirth, for instance, should be recognized as divine acts, sacraments In very truth, since they are human enactments of the great and continuous process of creation [Not of something out of nothing, but rather emanation from a latent to an active state] which is enacted by the one Divine Creator of all.



PREPARATIONS FOR MOTHERHOOD

The period of pre-natal life is of the utmost importance in the production of the finest type of body and the incarnation of the highest type of Ego. Throughout the whole period, the home should be as harmonious as possible and everything should be done to keep the mother healthy and happy. As far as material responsibilities permit, she herself should allow her thoughts to be centered upon ideals of beauty, peace and the service of the world[Page 12]

THE GIFT OF FREEDOM

At this point a word of warning may be useful. Whilst all these external preparations for the child, if wisely made, can be productive of nothing but good, it should never be forgotten that no limitations should be put on the child itself. Mentally and emotionally, no pressure to follow any particular, line of thought or parentally chosen, specific mode of life should be applied to the incarnating Ego. The freedom of the Ego should be at all times most zealously guarded. Parents are rightly concerned with the mental, the emotional and the physical conditions during gestation, at birth and afterwards, but the interior life of the child, the Egoic intention, must ever be respected. This may then be fulfilled unhampered by external pressure. This restriction apart, the joy of attracting an advanced Ego and of producing a healthy and beautiful body, is within reach of reasonably healthy, married people who care to provide the conditions to which I have referred.


CHILDREN OF TODAY THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW



In conclusion, I repeat the conviction that the world suffers today from lack-of wise and inspired leadership. Where, then, are the urgently-needed leaders to be found and trained? Surely the answer is, "Amongst the children now being born and amongst the children now at school." Despite the pressing necessities inseparable from the maintenance of the routine of education, members of the educational profession especially should be on the look-out for leaders, should watch for the spark of genius in every child who comes to them, and should do their utmost to fan it into a flame, and especially the latent genius for leadership.

“Look out for leaders" might well be a guiding principle for both the parents and the educational profession throughout the world. Thus may be found and trained great servants of the Race. Thus, in this period of dire need, there may be given to the world spiritual teachers, statesmen, educators, scientists and artists who will carry humanity through the present dangers into the security and world co-operation essential to the fulfillment of man's dream of world brotherhood and world peace.[Page 13]



CHAPTER 4

EDUCATION FOR FINE CITIZENSHIP


THE CHILD AS A PERSON

How did ancient civilizations produce great men and women, literature, art and engineering achievements without the aid of modern education? What is "the mystery of a person"? (Carlyle). Are "children born persons" or are they just girls and boys? Why did the Christ place so great a value upon "these little ones"? Should children be protected from the tyranny of the adult? Should a child be restricted at all points? Must we be like the mother in Punch; "Go and see what Tommy is doing and tell him he mustn't." Should children be brought up on "do" and "don't"? Are intelligence and industry at school to be decided only by marks? Should corporal punishment be displaced by "the new discipline"?

REPRESSION OR REDIRECTION ?

In offering a reply to the last of these vital questions, I am expressing purely personal, rather than theosophical, opinions concerning one great need of the world today. As I suggested in my first Talk on this subject, one need is for spiritual, intellectual, cultural and political [Politics, the science of State organization] leaders. I have already made suggestions concerning the influence upon the development of the child of parental idealism and the conditions of pre-natal life,

What are the fundamentals in the training of leaders, as indeed of all children? One is, I suggest, that the world outlook, the planetary vision, [This subject receives consideration in Chapter II, Part 4] should be inculcated from the beginning. Another is that all discipline should take the form of a redirection rather than a suppression of the upwelling, and often overflowing, energies of youth.


SPARE THE ROD AND SPARE THE CHILD??


Sir Edmund Gosse, in his enjoyable book Father and Son; A Study in Temperaments, tells of an incident which occurred when he was six years old. He had been [Page 14] guilty of disobedience and his father, after a solemn sermon, chastised him sacrificially by giving him several cuts with a cane. Sir Edmund Gosse writes: "I have to confess with shame that I went about the house for some days with murderous hatred of my father locked within my bosom.

I am aware of the view that a good thrashing does no one any harm, but find myself quite unable to accept it. I know that whilst an immense change is taking place in the theory and practice of child training, as a result of which a spirit of individuality and co-operation pervades the modern class room, masters and mistresses of the old type still hammer their will upon the children in their care. Such teachers are generally themselves insensitive, unsympathetic and uninspired, whilst the children are all too often devitalized. They have been described as "plastic lumps to be crushed into a given mould” the result being "standardization or illiteracy....The cane was the sceptre, symbol of power in an age of mental and emotional torture. Mental torture, for those who were punished knew beforehand of the impending strokes, and the mental suspense was greater pain than the physical shock. Emotional torture, because all self-respect vanishes when one becomes a beaten unit in a fear-ridden group." School became "intermittent warfare.....The odds were on the teacher and all the losses against the child....There was no redress except in cases of extreme brutality and this was, and is, always difficult to establish as a fact." [The Psychology of Punishment, Arthur B Allen]

The effects of such a system, and especially of such punishments, make a lasting impression upon the developing adult. Shocks sustained by the child can become firmly embedded in the subconscious and remain as a hidden and potential adverse influence throughout the whole life. These problems resolve themselves into the queries. When to punish, when not to punish and how to punish?

Consideration of these questions brings me, with many modern educationalists and psychologists, to a strongly held personal conviction. It is that corporal punishment should be unthinkable, not only where new and more sensitive children are concerned, but in the training of all children. Corporal punishment not only does not remedy misconduct, but by the shock which it gives, both to the body and psyche, intensifies the existing causes of difficulty and in addition is most likely to create new ones; for what greater shock could there be to a child than the humiliation and pain of corporal punishment administered by those hitherto trusted and loved?[Page 15]

Right conduct is dependent upon a harmonious relationship between the Spiritual Soul or Inner Self of man, the mind, the emotions and the physical body; for these interact upon each other continually, conditions in one of them being reflected in all of the others. Every physical shock, for example, disturbs the harmonious relationship which normally exists throughout the whole nature of a healthy, happy child.[For a fuller exposition of this subject see Part Four, Chapter I.] It then becomes difficult for the Ego, the Spiritual Self within, to express itself through, and control the actions of, its new vehicles. One imagines that, when the time for rebirth approaches, Egoic prevision of the possibility of corporal punishment, either at home or at school, would cause the advanced Soul to choose a more favorable parentage and environment, if such were within its karma; [The law of cause and effect. See Part Three, Chapter I.] for when a certain stage of development has been reached a considerable measure of freedom is granted to a reincarnating Ego in the choice of the Nation, the family and the conditions into which it will be reborn. Since the world's need for inspired leadership can only be met by the reincarnation of such highly developed human beings, it is important that no unnecessary obstacles should be put in the way of rebirth into an otherwise favorable environment. Nothing, one assumes, would drive a highly evolved, and therefore sensitive, individual away from prospective parents and teachers more than the existence in them of the disrespect and the streak of sadistic brutality from which the infliction of severe corporal punishment arises.

"SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD" AN ERRONEOUS DOCTRINE

Observation of children and adults who have been brought up on the "spare the rod and spoil the child" principle, has shown that many of them have been spiritually arid intellectually deadened, and psychically and physically coarsened, as a result of the frequent infliction of corporal punishment. [For a fuller exposition of this subject see The Psychology of Punishment, Arthur B Allen; and Children as “Persons”, Charlotte M Mason, Parents, National Education Union, 28 Victoria Street, London]

In a broadcast which was also printed in The Broadcaster of West Australia, February 23, 1952, Dr. Ruth Sheffield stated that: "Regulations made under the Education Act in this State impose strict limits on the use of corporal punishment in our schools. The limits are not [Page 16] always observed, it is reported, but the Education Department can and does invoke the regulations to deal with errant teachers reported by parents. The boxing of children's ears is strictly forbidden. So, too, is corporal punishment for girls aged twelve years and over. Corporal punishment for girls below the age of twelve is allowed only in very extreme circumstances. If it is to be inflicted it is to be carried out only by a female teacher. When corporal punishment is inflicted on girls, a statement of the circumstances and a full report must be sent to the district superintendent. Generally, corporal punishment may, as a last resort, be inflicted by the head teacher only and may be employed for offences against morality, gross impertinence or wilful and persistent disobedience. Corporal punishment shall not be inflicted for failure or inability to learn, for trivial breaches of school discipline or for neglect to prepare home lessons."


BAD CITIZENS ARE MADE, NOT BORN

"Juvenile delinquents", continues Dr. Sheffield, "get better treatment than our schoolchildren!” This dawned on me when I learnt from a kindly Children's Court magistrate that 'corporal punishment is out of date now in our Children's Courts', and further, that 'nowadays there is help and sympathy, not a beating, for the youngster who goes too far.'

"This is no preparation for good citizenship. We don't want stunted, fearful or aggressive children who resent or distrust authority and cannot get along happily with their fellow men. But without more intelligent goodwill and wisdom in dealing with children, that is all we are going to reap. Let's face it. Beatings, strappings and other harsh punishments are autocratic measures, worthy only of the dictator state that needs to prove that 'might is right'. They are contrary to the fundamentals of democracy and the United Nations Charter, both of which proclaim the freedom and dignity of the individual, whatever his race, nationality - or age! It's time, therefore that we, the parents of Australia, and trustees for the nation's future, unite in demanding the abolition of corporal punishment in our schools." Such is the expressed opinion of a medical specialist, Dr. Ruth Sheffield.

What is the alternative to smacking and thrashing? I suggest it is a wise, firm, redirection of often unwittingly misdirected energies and interests and a continual appeal to reason.


HYPERSENSITIVITY AND THE MODERN CHILD

This brings me to a rather strange phenomenon [Page 17] of our times. I refer to the growing evidence for the existence and activity of supernormal faculties. This has become so marked that the existence of what has come to be called Extra Sensory Perception in man has been demonstrated after extensive laboratory tests.[For fuller information on this subject see The Reach of the Mind, by Dr. J. B. Rhine.] This hypersensitivity often shows itself quite early. Children display uncanny wisdom and unusual perception at times. Such young people require special care and this poses a difficult problem for parents and teachers. I suggest that when there are psychic powers, these should be treated as quite normal. They should be neither encouraged nor discouraged; rather should they be taken for granted, so that the child may grow up to think of them as perfectly normal. On no occasion should they be made the subject of parade before others.

Parents and teachers should also remember that the psychic child is far more sensitive in every way than the non-psychic. Using always common sense, all treatment should be gentler, kinder and more lenient than is usually given to the robust, objective type of child; for the greater sensitivity produces more intense response to disciplinary correction, and especially to the mental aspects of any punishment which may be deemed necessary. Such children should never be corrected publicly on this account. When they have done wrong, their psychic nature causes them to experience an extreme sense of guilt and humiliation. They tend to brood unduly upon their error and upon any injustice in the treatment meted out to them. This may set up complexes which can later destroy health and happiness, especially since the psychic child is also subject to influences and forces to which non-psychic types are unresponsive. These inevitably affect his conduct and may lead him, if not protected, into errors into which the normal child would not fall.

All these considerations are of especial importance just now; for whilst it is true that the finest types of human beings, the leaders and geniuses of the New Age, will be advanced Egos, there would appear to be in addition very large numbers of children being born at this period who, under right training could develop into wise leaders of men. This presupposes that, as Egos, they have the necessary development and evolutionary experience behind them. If they have and are born under helpful parental, climatic and magnetic conditions, then with the right education they could become powerful influences for good in their community. This is especially true at the present time; for whilst leaders with magnetic personalities generally arise in response to crises and special opportunities, personal and national, the present may justly be regarded as both intensely critical and full of [Page 18] opportunities for the display of those qualities which are the mark of the true leader.



A LEADER OF MEN


What are the chief qualities to be developed in a would-be leader? [For a full exposition of this subject, see Leadership Through the Ages, George MacMunn ] Some of them, I suggest, are: capacity for sublimated selfhood; the sense of a great mission and of having the power to fulfill it; self-confidence; vision and ability and courage to recognize and answer the call when it comes; courage, physical and mental; earnestness; integrity; knowledge of the world; faculty for handling men; camaraderie; enthusiasm and fervor; joy of living; sympathy; health; capacity to be inspired on occasion and to convey that sense of uplift to those who are to be led; knowledge of guiding principles; insight into first causes; humility; an inherent goodliness and godliness; a flair for propaganda; calmness on some occasions and fire on others; oratory.

When practicable, the child should visit foreign countries; for the mental outlook of the leader-to-be must be broad, tolerant and co-operative, and more especially I suggest, concerning non-Christian religions and peoples. The planetary view must continually be inculcated and the child taught to see humanity as a whole, and to realize the interdependence of man upon man and of Nation upon Nation.


EDUCATION MEANS "DRAWING OUT"

In conclusion, it seems to me to be most important that both parents and teachers should have the right attitude to their parental and tutorial offices. They should, for example, be conscious of a profound respect for the Divine Self within every child. They should recognize the laws which govern man's evolutionary development, especially the laws of rebirth and cause and effect. In addition, I suggest, they should have the educative sense, which means they would ever be watching for revelations of the child's own innate qualities, natural power and inherent knowledge brought over from past lives. Perceiving these attributes, they should ever be ready to assist in their fullest and freest expression. [Page 19]

Briefly expressed, these, I believe, are the main principles upon which the treatment of all children should be founded. Where they are applied, a very large percentage of modern children could be changed from ordinary to outstanding types, from mediocrity to genius, from followers to leaders and, I repeat, it is wise and inspired leaders which are so greatly needed in the world today.


Objects of the Mothers' Research Group

To promote a realization of the spiritual aspects of motherhood and family life
To gather together for mutual study those who are interested in work for children and youth
To bring to parents the light shed by the theosophical philosophy on all problems in the home.

 


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