How peace leads to war
Understanding the paradox of how the desire for peace leads to conflict and war
We are often asked why the world is in such a terrible state, with conflicts raging in different places, and what can be done to prevent them. In this article and the accompanying commentary 'the delusions of material science', we hope to answer these questions and discover the reason for these conflicts.
Ever since the end of the Second World War, conflict has gone on in several parts of the world. Because of this constant threat of these local conflicts involving mankind in a Third World conflagration, thinking seekers after Truth are searching for a reason. This search for the cause is particularly apposite as the only wish of the masses in every country is peacefully to pursue their own lives without interference. They have no desire for war until their passions are inflamed by artificial means or righteous anger; although they long for peace they cannot stop the inevitable approach of war with all its attendant horrors and depredations.
In order to understand this paradox we need to look more closely at the desire for peace on the part of the individuals forming the national units involved in the various conflicts that rage across the world. We then make a surprising discovery. We find that this desire for 'peace' is the root cause leading to the differences which ultimately manifest in war. The 'peace' desired is rooted in indifference, not in positive striving.
To make this clear we must examine the character and activities, in peace-time, of this individual who, collectively, makes up the bulk of the population of the warring nations. We find that his aims are no higher than to accumulate sufficient worldly goods to make him physically comfortable. His aspirations are glued to the material plane and his immediate proximity. He does not really mind if others go short, so long as he is comfortable. He is sorry for those who do suffer, but "it is every man for himself these days" and he has "got his living to earn". Anyway, it is not his responsibility; that's what governments are for, "they should do something!"
The proud product of Western Civilisation
This is the average modern individual, the proud product of Western Civilisation. He has no ideal or sanction which can impel him to go to some lengths to right wrongs, and no feeling of belonging to an organic whole. He has only one life to live and he is going to make the best of it by acquiring as much worldly wealth as circumstances allow and using it to buy himself and his immediate circle as much worldly comfort and amusement as it will procure.
For him God is a shadow in the background, with no connection with everyday life. If God enters his mind at all, it is only occasionally and to be put aside because he is too busy struggling to make money and spend it, or keeping body and soul together to worry about such matters. Heaven and Hell, or their equivalents, no longer exist for him. So there is no reason why he should do more than necessary to assure his own comfort in this life.
That is the average outlook of men and women today and thus we see that their desire for 'peace' is no more than a desire to be left alone to pursue their own petty, material, selfish lives, unworried by such interruptions as war, other people's troubles, or the eternal truths.
Now this is where tragedy creeps in, because social institutions and governments are in a large degree the reflection of the wishes of the majority of those governed (this applies to dictatorships as well as democracies). So a nation or state consists of individuals agglomerated into different bodies representing various 'interests' and these 'interests' partake of the nature and outlook of the individuals comprising them. These agglomerations struggle to get the largest slice of wealth, as representative of well-being for their adherents. Only one thing overrides and tends to resolve the differences between these interests, and that is the threat by another group of agglomerations to curtail the wealth for which they are struggling. In other words, a threat of war. And even in the case of war, it is the same process but larger units are involved and the means used are more naked.
The next step is to ask how this dire state of affairs came about. We find that the roots of the matter go a long way back and are closely concerned with religion and the social institutions man forms around religion.
If we forget the present for a time and look back over the long bloody vista of striving which extends to the advent of Christ, we find a True Teacher who was in touch with the divine realities. He came in a time such as we are now experiencing; a time of failing perverted religions, materialism and the threatened dissolution of a culture. But he was a son of the Light and shone like a beacon in the murky waters of the clashing interests of those times. He brought hope to those who wished to find the light but were prevented by the perversion and worldliness that was then, as now, rampant. He could give the individual an ideal and a sanction that would put material gain and worldly pleasures in their correct proportion. He gave the individual that sense of unity with mankind which made it his duty to help his fellow man, even at some cost to himself. Consequently a great following grew up around the name of Christ.
As no concourse of human beings can exist long without organisation the gathering which grew up around Christ's name needed to be organised. However spiritual the aims, the organisation takes place on the physical plane. Now, an organised concourse of human beings becomes a power in any land. Tyrants and those who wield temporal power are always looking for ways to maintain and increase their worldly dominion. So, when Christianity became a power in the land it became a potential instrument to the hands of those who sought temporal power. This potentiality could be realised if Christianity could be diverted (perverted is perhaps a better word) to use in the secular field. Thus, seekers after secular and political power began to take an interest in this new organisation and became associated with it.
Diverting Christianity to political use
The process of diverting Christianity to political use culminated in the 4th Century AD when Constantine (the Great?) adopted it as a state religion (whatever the association of those two words may mean). Then, through the long centuries what light and truth remained in the Christian Church was slowly eclipsed and the Church was made to serve the ends of political expediency. Now, politics and statecraft are concerned merely with the distribution (equitable or otherwise) of the common wealth of the community. Thus, the Church had to think and act more in terms of worldly, material things than those of the spirit. In addition, it began to not only countenance but take part in the suppression of views and opinions for political reasons whether they were based on ultimate truth or not.
In the 10th Century came the concept of the Holy Roman Empire and the Church pursuing a course which was unashamedly political, excommunicating recalcitrant princes and kings for reasons obviously political but thinly veiled with Church dogma. Finally in the 14th Century, mankind is treated with the spectacle of two Popes (Urban VI and Clement VII) each claiming to be God's sole Regent on earth and excommunicating and cursing the adherents of the other. In the course of its degeneracy the Church used all the time honoured methods of tyrannical authority including the rack and the stake and even invented and introduced new ones of its own, such as the cruel torture of 'waterboarding' we now hear so much about in the media.
These brutal physical means together with treachery and false promises were a supplement to the transcendental powers the Church wielded over the superstitious minds it had created over the centuries and which it did nothing to enlighten. Ultimately it was doing all it possibly could to suppress and obliterate any who were honestly and faithfully searching for the fundamental realities should they go beyond the gloomy and almost opaque curtains of dogma with which it enshrouded the Light. These subjects of its oppression included not only those who were searching for truth by transcendental means but, if their discoveries were opposed to Church dogma, those who followed the same quest on the material plane.
The use of transcendental means for material ends is frankly Black Magic. We therefore get the amazing paradox of this great vehicle of Divine Truth ultimately being used by the Powers of Darkness. The transcendental power the Church exercised over the black superstition it had created was used for the complete suppression of the search for truth, for the glorification of worldly pomp, and for the acquisition of wealth and material power.
But in the eternal dialectic of light and darkness the very efforts made by the Church to repress the search for truth, combined with the worldly outlook it had fostered, forged a weapon which was to be its own undoing. The only field in which the search for truth could be pursued without interference was that of matter, pure and simple, and many of those inspired by the Divine urge to know turned their attention in this direction. Because of the attitude of the Church, their enquiries were forced in a direction which dealt with matter as inert, lifeless and divorced from spirit. It should be emphasised here that, in spite of charlatans, the fabric of science, particularly in the early stages, has been built up by honest men and women searching for truth. However, as they had been forced to work from the premise that matter was inert and lifeless, it is not surprising that they could not dispense with it as their researches advanced. Indeed, for a long period they were forced to retain it by the attitude of the Church. But with the growth of science its findings began to encroach more and more on the ground occupied by the very authority which forced them to adopt those premises.
Church versus Science
At last there came a day when scientists found their field so circumscribed by Church dogma that they had either to fight or abandon their quest. So they fought.
Whenever human institutions are prepared for war the broad tolerance of the honest enquirer disappears and is replaced by narrow dogmatism. Owing to its success in the material field, the restricted premises within which science had to work tended to be forgotten. The Church with its now intolerably narrow dogma and internal schisms and disruptions was in no state to combat this new force. Thus the scientific viewpoint based on materialism, although itself narrow, carried more conviction. Thus we enter on the modern period with a dogmatic form of materialistic science in the ascendant.
The application of this science to the material needs of the community has been a complete success. Its ability to multiply wealth, and with it, power, to an almost unlimited degree has won for it the support of an absolute majority in the materialistic atmosphere which now prevails throughout the world. The Church can give little help to the heavily-laden. Its priests can no longer say "This is so, because I know, I have seen and heard and experienced, and you can know if you live as I live"; they can merely say; "it is so because it says so in this ancient book". And so, against its new antagonist, who is apparently giving so much to the mankind, the outcome is defeat. The outcome is decay and senescence of that which was once the vehicle of truth, brought about by its own use as a suppressor of that truth.
But what can the victor tell us? Science, owing to the materialistic premises from which it started and as a result of the hardening of its dogmas in the long struggle with the Church has a very bleak outlook. It can merely tell us that Man, the Kosmos and the Universe are fortuitous concourses of atoms achieving their shape, size and characteristics by the chance operation of blind forces. Some scientists, such as Rupert Sheldrake and others, are today moving away from this outlook and beginning to approach nearer to the truths long known to occult science, although it seems, it will take a long time for them to arrive.
Nevertheless it is on this uninspiring outlook together with the fact that the Church's dogmas of extra-mundane and extra-temporal life and phenomena prove indefensible against the onslaught of science, that the broad mass of humanity forms its world outlook, as we discuss in our commentary to this article in the sidebar. Consequently (and here we return to the individual we were discussing at the beginning of this article), because the world and its actions are the result of blind forces, the individual has no sanction or ideal which has enough power to induce him to behave in a way different from that which is usual today, i.e., to look after himself from the point of view of worldly goods and have what he considers a good time. Further, neither Church nor State nor Science can give him such a sanction.
It is interesting at this juncture to develop a point made previously. That which has to do with the distribution of wealth is politics. The means to which most people look for curing our present troubles is politics. Further, the most revolutionary, or if you prefer it, progressive systems of politics are based on the materialist conception of History and the negation of God. This gives a measure of the materialism of the majority of those who are even trying to find a solution to our problems.
Hope for the future
The decay of the Church, tragic as it is in its immediate consequences, provides in the long view, hope for the future. That which is divine in the majority of people is being thwarted because existing institutions can do nothing to avoid the ghastly consequences of the present way of life. As a result, thinking people are searching for a reason and a solution.
This condition of affairs provides a fertile field in which a return to real religion, once fairly started will proceed apace. Two things are required. Firstly, some means whereby the individual is convinced that there is something greater and more important than mere worldly success. Secondly an all embracing "–ology" or "–osophy" which will give priests, statesmen and scientists a common basis within which each can build his world outlook in harmony with the other. We have not used the words 'philosophy', 'religion' or 'science' because these convey, nowadays, an idea more restricted than is required by this all embracing framework of knowledge. Thus would be provided a world institution giving every man his recognised place and duty, to which all could turn with confidence for advice and help and consolation when the tribulations of the world are becoming too heavy. Already, today the foundations of such an institution are being laid, quietly and unobtrusively but nevertheless firmly by Occult Science.
One example of this is the work of such enlightened scientists as Rupert Sheldrake, whose critique of the failures and fallacies of material science—The Science Delusion—we review in the sidebar at right. Sheldrake, unlike many of his atheistical peers, realises that scientists, with all their boasts, are no more than rather clever children who have found a few letters in the great Lexicon of God, whose hieroglyphs are covers for Heaven's Mysteries which no philosopher of science can hope to unravel.
Science tells us that the greatest secret is the creation of living forms, but the ultimate secret is the creation of Life itself, which can be known to God alone. Yet the lowliest being ever known is capable of taking life away from form—though it can never destroy Life itself. It can merely cause suffering and death, the same as the greatest scientist, and in this way the two are equal: scientist and worm. Both can destroy the living body, and neither can create life; a great subject for special meditation!
© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Article added 3 January 2015. Updated 21 January 2023.