2008 #1 - Cities of the Future
We live in an era of cities. It is easy to be pessimistic about modern cities, with their overstretched, car-clogged infrastructures, their ghettoes, slums and shanty towns, and their architectural and planning follies. Their outer form is that of a gigantic machine, which endlessly transforms raw materials into all the products that human ingenuity can devise. Yet from the inner side, if we could visualise that ingenuity, we might perceive cities as great fiery whorls of creativity, that magnetise science, art and religion. We might see them as pulsating engines of change, that propel new insights into human consciousness. And in a time of international travel and migration, they are certainly crucibles where cultures meet and blend together, synthesising new forms of life. Alice Bailey suggests that we consider cities as inlets of spiritual energies, and identifies certain cities as of particular significance for humanity at present – New York, London, Geneva, Darjeeling and Tokyo. Indeed, she identifies these cities as centres of consciousness within the planet, and proposes the rays (the conditioning qualities) which energise each centre in its lower and higher aspect.1 Reflection on these ideas may prove helpful in understanding the broad direction in which humanity is currently headed, particularly when viewed in the light of the ray make-up of the different nations, a topic addressed in World Goodwill’s 2007 seminar, Evoking the Soul of the Nations.2
There are a number of ways in which cities can and should improve: in social justice, there is the matter of slums and the urban poverty they represent; in sustainability, there is the impact that cities make on the surrounding countryside; and in right relations among citizens, there is the vast issue of how (and by whom) urban design and planning is controlled to benefit all who live and work in the city. In the articles below, we look at groups and individuals who are seeking to tackle all these issues – some with an eye to the immediate need, others with a longer-term vision. All these initiatives need the support of people of goodwill if the urban future is to live up to its potential of nurturing right relations between city-dwellers and the planet.
Finally, a brief update on the previous issue, Custodians of Sustenance. For an insight into the significance of farmers’ work, and their importance at the present time, interested readers may like to consult this online article “World Food Stocks Dwindling Rapidly, UN Warns”, (www.stwr.net/content/view/2533/1/) at the website, Share the World’s Resources.
1. For further information, please see The Destiny of the Nations, Lucis Publishing Companies, 1949.
2. To obtain materials relating to this seminar, please contact us.
An examination of how the planning and building of cities impacts right human relations.
A look at the need for cities to become more sustainable and how they are striving to achieve this.
An examination of inequality in urban settings and a few of the groups who are tackling the problem.
Co-operation with the theme of the annual Seminar, Evoking the Soul of the Nations.