East and West - The Destinies of Nations

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Shortcomings the study

Of course, in India, to some extent you find a substitution of western ideals among a certain class of the population. A number of English-educated youths among the Indians have accepted enthusiastically the ideals that are current in the West, but the vast masses of the Indian people are thereby unaffected. Not only the agricultural and artisan population, but the population rich with the culture of eastern thought and literature, remain unaffected. But then we must remember that the affected classes are the most energetic, those with the most power of influencing the activity of the country, if not its thought.

So that they weigh heavier than they count. The numbers are comparatively small, but the weight behind those numbers of power of thought, quick intelligence, keen enthusiasm, these weigh heavily in the scale. In China and Japan things have been somewhat different.

Manifest Destiny

Japan has the advantage England also has, of being an island empire. That enabled her to keep within her own borders, at the same time that she might bring into them anything she chose from western lands. The westernising of Japan at one time appeared almost complete, and it was this triumph of western ideals that made the redressal of the balance absolutely necessary.

For with the complete westernising of Japan would have come a great reaction upon other eastern nations, and Japan, drawing as she did — as was well pointed out by one of her leading writers — all her ideals of life from India, would have been a powerful factor in the westernising of Asia, had she abandoned completely those ideals. China, affected on her seaboards, was not at all affected in her inland parts. There she preserved her old teachings and her old morality, butt there was a question, in the descent of an armed empire on her coasts, whether it would be possible for her to retain that isolation when Europe was practically bordering her country with colonies under European rule.

The time was critical.

American West – Manifest Destiny

Those who guide human destinies saw that the eastern ideals were in danger of being trampled out, and that the West would only listen to lessons enforced by the mailed hand. It was necessary to change the balance, and it is changing under our eyes. Now what are these Eastern ideals regarded as so important by the great Intelligences that guide the destinies of nations? One leading eastern ideal is that the world is under a divine governance, that the destinies of nations are guided from the invisible world.

In eastern lands the unseen worlds always play an immense part in the drama of human life, whether in the form of ancestor-worship so largely prevailing in Japan, or in that same form, one of the great ruling creeds of China; whether in a modified form of that same idea in the daily sacrifices to the Pitrs in India, or in the form of the recognition of non-human Intelligences, such as in the West are spoken of as Angels or Archangels.

There is thus acknowledged to be a most powerful, constant, and directive action playing on the world of men from superhuman Intelligences that do not belong to the human evolution. That belief is universal in the West. It is not a mere lip belief; it is an active, working belief recognised in ordinary life.

If over in the West some public men, discussing some question of public policy, talked about the influences of Angels as one of the things with which politicians had to reckon, you can imagine the kind of comments that would be passed in the journals on the following morning; but in the East that is natural; the work of the Devas, as Indians call the Angels, is part of the recognised work of the world, and every nation has its ruler in the unseen world, guiding the rulers on the physical plane. How utterly different is the attitude to life among peoples who thus regard superhuman Intelligences as constantly intermingling in human affairs.

We find the belief very much, of course, among the Jews of old, where they speak of the Angels of the nations. We find allusions to them in the canonical Scriptures, sometimes veiled under the name of Jehovah, or Elohim — translated into the singular form God, though plural in the Hebrew — the Hebrew not meaning by that at all the supreme God of the universe, but the tribal national Deity, such a one as we should call an Archangel at the present time.

No, a nation’s geography is not its destiny - Reuters

And that this is so is obvious when we find that in the battle fought by Israel against opposing forces, he was able to drive out the inhabitants of the hills but not the inhabitants of the plains, because they had chariots of iron, and the one who was able to conquer the hill-men but not the plain-men was the "Lord"; yet surely it was not the universal Deity who was thwarted in His attempts by the mere possession by His opponents of chariots of iron. And so among the early Christian Fathers, especially in Origen, you will find many allusions to the national Angels that belong to particular peoples and not to the universe at large.

It is true that in modern days in the western world the name of God is very often invoked in national strifes, and each nation claims that help as belonging specially to itself. But I heard the other day of a little boy making a remark that seemed to me to show a truer insight into the relation of God to man than many of the statements made by rulers and by statesmen, when they claim the success of their arms as proofs of the divine favour of the Lord of all.

For, hearing his elders discussing the war now going on, and hearing a difference of opinion as to whether God was on the side of the Japanese or Russians, he struck in with his young voice and said: "I do not think God fights either for the Japanese or Russians; nor do I think He would fight for us if we went to war, although of course we should ask Him to do it; for God is against no nation, but He is for every one.

  • Westward Expansion.
  • Manifest Destiny in 1840s America?
  • Annie Besant.

And that ideal of the invisible worlds mingling ;in the affairs of men was one that had to be saved. This view of a divine governance moulds the eastern idea of human government; it is always thought to be drawn from above and not from below.

The idea that a King rules by the voice of the people rather than by divine authority is only just making its way into eastern thought among nations influenced by western ideas. The result of the view that he who sits upon the throne rules by divine appointment and not by human suffrage has been that all through the East the responsibility of the higher for the welfare of the lower has been a definite, established thought.

You find it through all the literature, although it is perishing now. Confucius, asked by a King why thieves were so prevalent in his land, remarked : "If you, O King, lived honestly and justly, there would be no thieves within your realm". So again, through all the old laws of India, you find the King, the governor, the ruler, right down to the pettiest village official, held responsible for the happiness, health, prosperity, of the people whom they ruled.

Hence the difficulty very, often in the elder days of finding any one who would take office as governor of a district, of a town, or of a village. Strictly held accountable, by the ruling hierarchy right up to the King himself, for the happiness of the ruled, the place was not a bed of roses, and there was less satisfaction to pride than demand on time and industry. For, great as was the power of the King in eastern lands, there was one thing that ever stood behind his throne, administered by invisible rulers.

But I believe the true translation would be the word "Justice," or "Law", rather than "punishment" — Justice regarded as a Deva ruling Kings more sternly than peoples, so that where the King went against Justice, Justice cut him off. So you have the famous warning, that you may read, coming from the lips of a Hindu statesman to a young monarch, where he is warned to dread above all else the cries of the weak. The curse of the weak, the tears of the weak, destroy the throne of the oppressor. The old idea there is , that every national misfortune is the fault of the rulers who have neglected their duty, and not the fault of the ruled.

Such an idea is utterly outside the range of thought of a western thinker or statesman; and yet, for the safety of the Indian Empire, it is necessary to understand the thought of the Indian people, and not merely the thought of the West, and to deal with that thought as it spreads through the minds of the vast masses of the uninstructed population, uninstructed in western ways, but not uninstructed in their own traditions. Let us pass from that view to the next great ideal that we find in the East, growing naturally out of this ideal of the responsibility of the rulers for the ruled: the idea of Duty.

The word "duty" does not carry with it the force of the Samskrt word "Dharma" which means far more than that. It means the law of all his past, whereby the man is incarnated into the place for which his evolution fits him; the law which, placing him there, surrounds him with all the necessary duties, by the discharge of which his next stage in evolution will be made. All that is contained in the Indian word "Dharma". Coming into the world, then, with the past behind us, we are guided into improper environments. In the duties imposed upon a man by that environment lies his best path of evolution.

If he follow them well for the progress of the soul; if he disregard them, progress for him becomes impossible. Hence the social and political ideal of eastern nations is built on duty, to take the narrower word. The ideal here, of course, is "rights". A man has certain rights with which he is born; that idea made the American Revolution, and later the French, and still later became the basic thought of the political and economical writers of the early days of the nineteenth century; but that idea of rights has no existence in the East.

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It has its place in evolution, but it is an ideal of combat, of competition, absolutely necessary, with all its undesirable accompaniments, as a stage in the progress of humanity; but it is the very antithesis of the eastern ideal, which sees a man surrounded by duties and is practically blind to his rights. No man following an eastern ideal says: "It is my right to have so and so". Duty, yes, duty to all around, to inferiors, to equals, and to superiors, but always duty, and no excuse for broken duty because another has broken his duty to oneself.

Hence arises an entirely different attitude towards life; hence the ease of ruling eastern peoples. Now I am not arguing for the one or the other ideal, but only trying to make us all realise the profound difference between the two, and the value to the world of that ideal of duty, that it should not wholly pass away from the minds of men. What it can do embodied in a nation, we have seen in the triumphs of Japan. Out of that ideal, again, grows another thought: the relative character of all morality.

A man born into a certain environment of duty finds his proper morality in the discharge of the duties imposed upon him by his environment. Hence his morality will vary with his position, with his stage in evolution. No eastern sage or thinker dreams of laying down one common moral ideal for all; that is a purely western fancy, and does not on the whole work very well. In the East the fighting caste will have its own set of duties and its own morality; the caste of teachers will have its own, duties and its morality, very different from the humility of the fighter; the merchant caste will have its own duties and its own morality; and the peasant and the artisan will have - their own moral code and duties.

The servant has his special code, with comparatively few duties to be found within it — obedience, honesty, and good service — but those to be thoroughly discharged. Outside that, what would be willed wrong is not regarded as wrong for him. The other parts of moral codes will find their accomplishment in lives yet to be lived. There is no hurry. We need not try to compass universal perfection in a single life — the most impossible of all impossible tasks.

If we learn the duties belonging to our stage and do them well, our progress is secure. Hence the moral code will vary with every stage. I will take a common example. A man out in India surrenders everything, has become what in the West would be called a monk of the most extreme type of poverty. He owns nothing; he has given his life for service of the world, and those who guide the world will direct that life.

His only to give. He has no further care for his own life. With that view of absolute surrender goes also the duty of absolute harmlessness. He must not touch a life sharing the world with him. The venomous snake must go unslain, the tiger go unharmed. He must not use any power of the surrendered life to defend it against the attack of any other creature ; for if the serpent or the tiger come to him and slay, it comes as a messenger from behind the veil to tell him that his service in that body is over.

But the same rule does not apply to the householder, to the man who has children to guard, servants to protect, animals who are part of his household. Hence arises much confusion in the western mind in reading eastern books, because they read, as binding upon all, ideals which in the East are related to their proper stage of evolution — a doctrine that in the West finds small acceptance.

And naturally so, among modern Christian people, because the Sermon on the Mount is thrown broadcast as the moral ideal, but that ideal of non-resistance applied to the ordinary man of the world is impossible, and therefore disregarded. When a man like Tolstoy applies it all round, people say that he is a "crank". Certainly he is very unwise. No State could live on such a foundation, false alike for the citizen and the thief, true only for the Saint.

The late Archbishop of Peterborough said that, a nation founded on the Sermon on the Mount would very soon go to pieces. But then is it not a pity to put the Sermon on the Mount as binding on all Christian men? For the result is that, inasmuch as they know it to be impossible for them, it leads them to profess a belief with the lips which does not guide the life. The view of the relativity of morality, is another of the valuable eastern ideals which then, may have something to do and to say in the West.

The last great ideal of wide spreading importance that I can deal with here is the ideal of what is now called the " simple life," and of voluntary poverty. There must be in a nation some standard of social position. Among most of the western nations, coining down from feudal times, the standard of social position has been a standard of birth. Of late years that has become largely mingled with a standard of money, partly because great wealth often received the title which placed its owner among those whose titles came to them by long descent, and partly because, with the growing luxury of the time, wealth weighed more and more heavily us a social distinction.

The result of that is widely to be seen in the vulgarising of society, in the loss of noble manners, stately and dignified. A man making a vast fortune has not, as a rule, time, leisure,or taste for the culture of the more delicate mental faculties, and those graces that go with a culture that has come down through centuries.

And so gradually, in the western world, a new standard asserts itself against the standard of birth : the standard of great wealth. Society is adapting itself to the new conditions; no future Tennyson will write about :. The manners of the great lady of the past are indeed past, and loud voice, noisy laughter, familiar gestures, have taken the place of the soft tone, the low musical In laughter, the courteous but stately bearing of the leaders of society, when a golden key did not open all doors. And the change means much, for. Manners are not idle, but the fruit Of loyal nature and of noble mind.

An aristocracy should he the custodian of stately manners, dignified bearing, artistic culture, simple or splendid living, according to the seemliness of the occasion, the ever-present example of " good taste ". It is now only too well symbolised by the motorcar, rushing headlong, careless of life and limb, screaming its right of way discordantly, rattling noisily and panting furiously, regardless of all comfort but its own, scattering dust and evil smell on all behind it.

Now in the East, wealth has never been regarded as the standard of social' consideration ; on the contrary, the gathering of wealth was the work of the third caste, not of the second nor of the highest.

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The warrior and the teaching castes had not the duty of gathering and holding wealth. The warrior had to be generous and splendid. You may still find in India an immense display of wealth in rulers and princes on State occasions; but go into their houses when no great ceremony is going on, mingle with them in their domestic life, and you will find there a simple life — splendour for the ceremony of the rank, simplicity for the service in the home. And when from the warrior caste with its public splendour you pass on to the class of learning, then wealth is marked as a disgrace, not as reason for pride.

And social consideration you must remember, has gone to the teacher, not to the millionaire, so that the millionaire and the prince alike bow down at the feet of the half naked but learned man. That gives an entirely different standard of social life, and it works effectively even now, with all the changes that have come over Indian life. The ordinary round of living, so much alike in the different classes, draws these different classes together in a way that is never dreamed of in the West.

You send for a man in India to sell you a shawl. He comes into your room and sits down on a carpet near you. He plays with your children ; he talks with you as friend with friend, until the coolie comes along with the shawls for you to choose from. He would never dream of taking what is here called a liberty; he is too well-mannered. To meet you in that way is not taking a liberty, but the recognition of a common human life.

And so right through; and inasmuch as the clothing and the food are very much alike in the different classes, save where western influence has spread, there is not the same bitterness and jealousy as you find in the West, where the life of the poor is compulsorily simple, and the life of the rich luxurious and complicated. Both alike in their home will wear but a single cloth — finer in one case than in the other, but still the simple common garment worn in similar fashion; both sit down to their meals in similar ways, and the difference of the meals is not so great as you might think.

These forces it is which make the general refinement of the people to be noticed in India. You may meet a man who is but a labourer, but his manners will be the manners of a gentleman. A gentleman gives a play in his house, and any one may walk in from the street and share the amusement; part of the hall is kept for the invited guests; the uninvited crowd outside this, perfectly well-mannered and content.

You find refinement there, because the standard for all is so much alike in those outward things. To live luxuriously means to live in the western way, and among the bulk of the people it is rather a reproach than a praise, although there is a growing desire to imitate, which is threatening largely to corrupt the old simplicity of the Indian life. Now that simplicity of material life which lays stress on knowledge, character, service, instead of on wealth, how well it would be for western nations if that also made its way to some extent among them!

The frightful competition, the multiplication of endless articles of luxury, the crowding of houses with useless furniture, and the heaping on that furniture of still more useless knickknacks, so that when you go into a room it is more like a bazaar than a room — all these things you see on every side do not tend to beauty but only to ostentation.

It is the vulgarising of the whole of the peoples, and the dragging them down to a lower plane of life. It means increasing competition, increasing struggle. It means the growing poorer of the poor, while the wealthy become wealthier; for it means the turning of labour into useless channels, the multiplication of new wants and the devisal of new objects to meet those wants, until all life grows complex and overburdened.

And while I would not ask that every life should be as simple as the best Indian life, I do say that it would be well for England, and well for all the western nations, if those who alone can do it — the wealthy and the highly placed, especially the highly placed, even more than the wealthy — followed a noble simplicity and a dignified beauty of life, which would encourage. Now, to come back to my starting-point. Those ideals of the East were in danger of perishing. Humanity cannot afford to let them die. Western energy, western initiative, western willingness to bear responsibility, are all good for eastern life ; but the West has also much to learn from the East as well as much to teach, and the danger was lest the growing power of the West in the East should kill out those great ideals which change men's attitude to the world and to life as a whole.

And if the balance is being redressed today, if on land and sea an eastern nation is conquering a western, it is because the West will only learn to respect where armed force can hold its own against the West, and eastern ideals have no chance of anything save contempt and despisal until they are lifted on high in a hand that can wield the sword, and show itself as strong on the field of battle as it is in the realm of mind. IN the last lecture I pointed out that certain great ideas, necessary for the evolution of the race, may be said to belong especially to the civilisations of the East, and that those ideas were in danger of being trampled out by the advancing western civilisations.

We saw that that was a danger to humanity at large, the ideals of both eastern and western civilisations being necessary in the future of the world ; and that it became necessary for some definite interference to take place to re-establish the balance of thought. I now want to draw attention to the nature of that interference, to show what lies behind the destinies of nations and what forces guide the current of affairs, so that we may see through the veil of events to the forces that guide them. The great world-drama is not written by the pen of chance, but by the thought of the Logos, guiding His world along the road of evolution.

In the course of that evolution many beings are concerned. We have to look on this world as part of a chain of worlds all closely interlinked, all the inhabitants of these different worlds having something to say in those parts of the drama which are being worked out in each. We are all living in three different worlds, and not only in one; and whether in the physical world, or in the next world, the astral, or in the third, the heaven world, the inhabitants are busy with the general conduct of affairs which affect all three.

Life becomes enormously more interesting when we recognise that it is shaped not only in the physical world but in other worlds as well, and that when we trace the destinies of nations we find that those destinies stretch backward, and that the working out in the present is largely conditioned by the energies of the past. Let us look for a moment on the rough plan of the whole. Let me put it as though it were a great drama written by a divine pen.

The story of the world, and the various parts of the actors on the stage, are all therein written. What is not laid down is who the actors shall be, and with regard to this a large amount of what is called choice comes in. This drama is the manifestation of certain great ideas in the Divine Mind, ideas written, as it were, in the heavens; for it is suggested in very ancient thought that what we call the signs of the Zodiac have a definite connection with the course of human affairs.

Of that, in the broad outline, there is no doubt in the minds of any who have penetrated somewhat behind the veil. The importance of those starry influences cannot be over-estimated; for inasmuch as human beings are related in the composition of their physical and other subtler bodies to the worlds among which they move in space, there must be magnetic relations existing between them and the system of which they form a part, and at certain epochs in the history of evolution there will be one or another dominating influence present in the atmosphere in which men think and act, and they can no more escape that influence than their bodies can escape the influence of the far-off sun.

The great drama, then, is the grand plan of human evolution. It is full of parts which are to be played by the nations, but not necessarily by this or that nation; for the nation qualifies itself to play a certain part which may be offered to more than one nation, and one or another may rise to the height of its great opportunity.

Leaving that for a moment, let us ask a question as to the forces which help to adapt players to parts. They petitioned to join the United States as a slave state. This promised to upset the careful balance that the Missouri Compromise had achieved, and the annexation of Texas and other Mexican territories did not become a political priority until the enthusiastically expansionist cotton planter James K. Polk was elected to the presidency in Thanks to the maneuvering of Polk and his allies, Texas joined the union as a slave state in February ; in June, after negotiations with Great Britain, Oregon joined as a free state.

In , the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War and added more than 1 million square miles, an area larger than the Louisiana Purchase, to the United States. The acquisition of this land re-opened the question that the Missouri Compromise had ostensibly settled: What would be the status of slavery in new American territories? After two years of increasingly volatile debate over the issue, Kentucky Senator Henry Clay proposed another compromise. It had four parts: first, California would enter the Union as a free state; second, the status of slavery in the rest of the Mexican territory would be decided by the people who lived there; third, the slave trade but not slavery would be abolished in Washington , D.

But the larger question remained unanswered. In , Illinois Senator Stephen A.

12. Manifest Destiny

Douglas proposed that two new states, Kansas and Nebraska , be established in the Louisiana Purchase west of Iowa and Missouri. The battle for Kansas and Nebraska became a battle for the soul of the nation. Emigrants from Northern and Southern states tried to influence the vote. For example, thousands of Missourians flooded into Kansas in and to vote fraudulently in favor of slavery. A decade later, the civil war in Kansas over the expansion of slavery was followed by a national civil war over the same issue.

Start your free trial today. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. The Louisiana Purchase of brought into the United States about , square miles of territory from France, thereby doubling the size of the young republic. What was known at the time as the Louisiana Territory stretched from the Mississippi River in the east to the Rocky Lewis chose William Clark as his co-leader for the mission. The excursion lasted over The Oregon Trail was a roughly 2,mile route from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, which was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers in the mids to emigrate west.

The trail was arduous and snaked through Missouri and present-day Kansas, Cowboys played an important role during the era of U. Though they originated in Mexico, American cowboys created a style and reputation all their own. Throughout history, their iconic lifestyle has been glamorized in countless books, movies and television Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in , expressed the philosophy that drove 19th-century U.

East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations
East and West - The Destinies of Nations East and West - The Destinies of Nations

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