Towards an age of light
In the first decade of the 19th century, the first electric light flickered into life in the laboratory of Sir Humphrey Davy. Could he and his collaborators have envisaged, over 200 years later, the dynamic cityscape above? Did they know that their efforts would have such a profound global effect? For today, the operation of society is virtually unthinkable without the ubiquitous presence of all the technologies that have grown out of that simple experiment...
Every year, World Goodwill holds a meeting in London, Geneva, and New York, to focus upon a topic of world interest. The aim is to attempt, as far as possible, to view this topic as the outer expression of inner causes, and to see how much light can be shed on the matter as it relates to the wider unfolding of the will-to-good within human affairs. As the higher correspondence of goodwill, the will-to-good is that dynamic loving purpose which energises all who serve humanity, inspiring and directing the application of goodwill in their work. Guest speakers involved in various initiatives are invited to share their thoughts and their experiences of service.
We live in a time of rapid change – change which includes shifts in consciousness, with corresponding new trends and influences. Two important energies which are becoming more available are that of organization and of synthesis. Partly because they are relatively unfamiliar, humanity is still learning to apply these energies, and sometimes the results are less than ideal.
On November 6th 2010, World Goodwill held its annual Seminar/Symposium at its three centres: London, New York and Geneva. The topic was The Spirit of Money and the Divine Circulatory Flow. There are so many angles from which one could approach this topic, so fundamental to modern society, that even with meetings in all three centres, it was only possible to scratch the surface.
In this issue, humanity’s quest for synthesis is approached from a number of angles. In the past, we have seen the tendency of religions to claim that they are the One True Faith, or have access to the One True God. And in the present, it seems that science has taken over this attempt at presenting a comprehensive description of reality, with the quest for the Theory of Everything. But perhaps the picture is both simpler, and more complex, than either approach is willing to admit.
With the rapid growth of global communication systems, social networking sites and the media in general, humanity finds itself with many new challenges. We live on a chattering planet, our senses constantly assailed by information, and much discrimination needs to be applied to the way in which we use our time and energy in communicating with one another. The art of communication is the means of spreading the energy of goodwill around the globe and the age old spiritual lesson of right speech is needed more than ever and applied equally to the keyboards of our computers and text messages as to our mobile phones.
In this issue, we look at the beneficent cycles of the atmosphere, and the human interventions in these cycles that need re-balancing. We also reflect on the electrical nature of the cosmos, and consider its spiritual implications, including the key importance of meditative thought and its possible influence on both the mental and physical climate. Finally, we tak a brief look at the World Goodwill meditation initiative, the Cycle of Conferences.
At present, the human race is faced with a growing realisation of its interdependence with all other forms of life, while also recognising the profound global impact that human activity has on other species. In The Circle of Life and Consciousness, we consider the wide spectrum of relations between humanity and the other kingdoms of nature. Also included are two Book Reviews - one on Rupert Sheldrake's revised classic A New Science of Life, and the other on David Korten's new book, Agenda for a New Economy.
For many years now, the World Goodwill newsletter has featured the service of various groups, under the title of “Transition Activities”. The groups included in this issue represent a spectrum of approaches, from the level of presenting a vision, through training and education programmes, down to actual implementation. Each phase is necessary to carry a high vision of ideals down into practical techniques for improving people’s everyday lives. Thus the work of different groups can be seen to complement and reinforce each others’ efforts.
In November 2008 in London, New York, and Geneva, World Goodwill held its annual seminar/symposium, Human Rights, Spiritual Responsibilities – A Crisis for Democracy? This was intended to support the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2008, and also represented a continuation of the focus on democracy in the newsletter, The Meaning of Democracy (2008 #2). The thought behind the theme for the seminar was that there are now a number of competing pressures on human rights in many democracies, pressures that are building because of world events, and which, if not attended to, could indeed lead to points of crisis. At the same time, there are more and more individuals and groups who recognise the increasing importance of our responsibilities to society. There is a growing sense that democracies are not functioning as they should, and that governments need the support of their citizens not just at the ballot box, but throughout their terms of office. A number of speakers were invited to address this theme from their own perspective, and the results are now available to order as both written transcripts and audio CDs (MP3 files are available to listen to on our website, as is a transcript in French of the Geneva Forum). In this newsletter, we include some extracts and summaries, to give a flavour of the diverse discussions.
THIS ISSUE of the newsletter is a kind of supplement to 2007 No.3, Custodians of Sustenance, in which we examined some of the factors that are conditioning the ongoing food crisis from the perspective of its production and distribution. In this issue, the theme is nourishment, so the focus shifts to what and how human beings consume. We look at community and sharing; rituals of group nourishment; and there is also some news from the network of service.
In this issue, we take a look at the contrast between ideal and reality in the field of urban design and planning; reflect on the sustainability of modern cities; and consider measures to reduce urban inequality.
There is also news of co-workers who cooperated with the theme of the World Goodwill Seminar, Evoking the Soul of the Nations.
In this issue, we examine some of the many factors that influence the work of farmers around the world. We ask whether the pressures of the industrial farming system mean that we must now seek out a new agrarianism. And we look at the complicated issue of trade in food in the context of "food miles".
There is also mention of two service initiatives undertaken by co-workers.
In 1947, Alice Bailey published Problems of Humanity. This global survey identifies six main areas where humanity faces special difficulty: the psychological renewal of nations; children, youth and education; capital, labour and employment; racial minorities; organised religion; and international unity. The principles in Problems of Humanity are timeless; but human societies evolve, and so it is important to keep an eye on how these principles may work out in fresh situations. To that end, World Goodwill publishes a Study Course on the problems which comes in seven sets: an introductory set, and one for each of the problems. In this newsletter, we report on the updating of two of these sets: the psychological renewal of the nations; and capital, labour and employment. Also included is a review of the book Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken, which discusses the almost undetected rise of a great movement that seeks to serve the whole.
This issue focuses on the theme of service and the many service groups active throughout the world. The importance of meditation as a subjective service is also emphasised. The Cycle of Conferences initiative is cited as an example of this kind of subjective work. Also mentioned are the many groups whose activities are inspired by the work of Alice Bailey; and the opportunity to generate thoughtforms of solution through online discussion in the Problems of Humanity Discussion Forums.
What is Death? explores the continuous spiral progress of all souls into form at birth, and out of form at death. Also examined are the analogy between death and sleep, and how technology has changed our way of dying and whether this is always beneficial.
The World Goodwill Newsletter is now being recorded and can be either listened to online or downloaded.
What is Life? considers some of the metaphysical dimensions of the mysterious energy of life, including the mediating factor of soul. Also discussed are the moral issues surrounding human fertility, conception and birth. Finally, there is news of a new outreach initiative in the Middle East.
Windows Media (wma)
Living Synthesis--World Service returns to the theme of world service, and to the nature of the new group of world servers (see also under Key Concepts). A collection of reflections on the use of the energy of synthesis in service is drawn from the meetings held to celebrate the Festival Week of the New Group of World Servers.
Newsletter 2006 #1, Patterns of Meaning, considers the effect of the vast surplus of information that engulfs us in the information era. This issue also reflects on the esoteric implications of 'embedding' intelligence in matter, and discusses the impact of information technology on our sense of identity.