SPIRITUAL REVOLUTIONS: Three Lectures
1963-10-14 & 21st
J.G. Bennett (edited by K. Pledge)
First Lecture, 14 October 1963 “VISIBLE SIGNS” – Material and Spiritual: Causal and Non-Causal
“I shall start by trying to convey to you what I mean by the word ‘spiritual’. I shall use it to refer to a definite element in our experience which cannot be reduced to causal terms: and so cannot be accounted for by transformations of matter. Hence the word ‘spiritual’ means the non-material element in our lives. But many people say there is no such thing as a non-material element of experience; it will therefore be an important part of my task to show you that there is nevertheless a spiritual element even in the scientific activity.”….
The Change of Heart in Society and Politics
“The world we are living in at this very moment is a world in which there is a real prospect of the avoidance of the kind of war which seemed until very recently almost inevitable. This world cherishes new hopes – timid but genuine hopes – how did this come about? Can it be accounted for in terms of anything people have done – any traceable causes? Many will say it is quite easy to account for it all in terms of the threat of destruction. They will say we have hope just because we fear this threat. I do not find this an adequate explanation. Throughout history, wars have been caused first and foremost by fear. In their lines of cause-and-effect destructive activities, revolutions, wars and the rest can usually be traced to fear. It is in the nature of man that when he is afraid he will do something violent regardless of the consequences.”
Second Lecture, 21 October 1963 “UNSEEN ACTIONS”
“Let us start with man’s awareness of his dependence upon a higher power. This awareness has innumerable variations according to the stage his development has reached: environmental conditions, personal qualities and, beyond all these, the pattern of spiritual action at a given moment in history. All of these together can be grouped into three principal ways in which men have understood God. The first way is as the Creator – as the Source and origin. The second way is as the Universal Spirit, the Universal Power which pervades and enters into everything. The third is as the Saviour of the world as a whole and of man in particular from dangers that threaten. These three lines of direct experience and of traditions concerning man’s relationship to God began to be explicit – that is, understood by men and taught to men – long ago. Each of the three ways developed in quite a different part of the world. They were connected with the evolution of three different cultures. All three lines came together only after certain great changes in the climate of the world, which resulted in the forced migrations of races and in the interaction of cultures.” ….
Third Lecture, 21 October 1963 “THE NEW EPOCH” – The Three Aspects of the Revolution
“What the Individual can do ….
I now want to suggest some practical conclusions. None of us is capable of doing anything on the scale of the world-situation. This is taken care of by a power far greater than our own; for, as you will have realised, I am personally convinced that there is a spiritual power now working in the world. All any of us can do is to participate in or lend ourselves to the action of this power. We cannot direct it; we certainly cannot control it. But we can, to the extent of our own understanding, make ourselves useful instruments for its action.”