Another year has passed and we hope you have profited by some study of Theosophy, or the Ancient Wisdom. This is an in-depth knowledge of the way Nature works and is concerned not only with our normal objective, physical plane of being but with the inner worlds which, it says, all have their corresponding states or levels of consciousness and are available to anyone who develops in him- or herself the necessary faculties. Probably the best known of these is clairvoyance but there are others, moving up through our emotional and mental natures to the highest intuitional, spiritual realms. Theosophy says that each of us has an indissoluble link with a higher spiritual entity possessed of powers far transcending those which we can normally manifest. This entity which is really our essential Self is referred to by a number of names including our Individuality or our Ego: it is Divine and for each of us on earth it is the only divinity or God we can know.
It is the source of our Life in all respects. It is that which persists through many incarnations on earth. It is that entity which, having assimilated as much of our spiritual experience as we have acquired during a lifetime, has a 'personalized' existence for many centuries in a blissful conscious state between lives. It is that entity which in the long processes of evolutionary development of the human family, leads each of us to a culminating state when we have become, in effect, perfected beings. The length of this journey is, however, for most of us inconceivable. So too is the end results - its consummation - but we are told that it is a state of unimaginable splendour, fulfillment and perfect peace.
These opening paragraphs are to remind us of our inherent nobility of nature and that in the normal circumstances of life we all too often fall very short of it.
If this article were to have a title it would be 'Mammon'. We have a vague idea as to what mammon is: it is something opposed to 'God' according to the Christian scriptures wherein it is said, we cannot serve them both. This would seem to be the plight of modern man. He has elected to serve mammon exclusively. The dictionary definition of mammon is 'riches' and riches for us pertain particularly to our materialistic world. The serving of mammon, most of us would agree, is the root not only of all evil but of greed. The more we have the more we want. This is evidenced by the levels of remuneration that the captains of our larger industries pay themselves. Their incomes have long since ceased to be related to any kind of need in terms of the recognized necessities of life.
In our modern society 'mammon' cannot be restricted to material riches. With the revolution in world-wide information networking tremendous importance is being attached not only to the universal availability of knowledge, or data of all kinds, but to what might be called intellectual mammon, the riches of the mind. These include the skills necessary to make most use of 'electronicized' information and the design aids that are now available not only to engineers, architects and the like, but to artists and so on. Computer graphics open up whole new fields of visual experience including that of what is now called 'virtual reality'. We forget that all these things are brought into being by human faculties, the creativity of a living being. Further, we must always remember that all these machines, however clever, are insentient and insensitive. To coin a phrase - 'computers do not care'.
One of the tragic words of modern times in the developed countries is 'efficiency', particularly 'dollar efficiency'. Any commercial enterprise now has to be dollar efficient to provide not only the high levels of salaries and wages required by those lucky enough to be employed, but dividends as large as possible for shareholders. More than that, if an industry in any way shows lack of efficiency, it either fails in competition and goes out of business or becomes the subject of a 'predatory' take-over. Efficiency has come to mean the performing of all operations necessary for the carrying on of the business, either by way of administration or production, as cheaply as possible, and the spending of as much as the enterprise can afford on modern aids like electronically-controlled automation or computers for all kinds of accounting, billing, etc.
All of these tend to reduce the work-force to as low a level as possible. The only criterion for parting with labour is money saved. What the cost of depriving a person of his job regardless of his personal circumstances, is not a consideration. Any hardships imposed on families, education of children, maintenance of the domestic establishment, psychological health, is of no consideration whatever. Management has become totally dehumanized. It justifies its inhumanity on the grounds that, if its business is to continue and prosper, it is forced into these inhuman practices by the relentless pressures of competition, either at home or from abroad. All its competitors at home and abroad are forced into this attitude. Everyone is now imprisoned in economic necessity.
Instead of employers being able, as they should, to employ as many people as possible, they now are obliged to employ as few as possible, with all the consequent personal suffering. Is there not something wrong somewhere?
Nothing herein supports the idea of inefficiency in any way, nor the artificial creation of jobs whereby people would be paid for doing nothing. It is a plea for a recognition that people are more valuable than profits.
You cannot serve God and mammon - surely we must ask ourselves which is the more important. Human beings are sentient creatures; they require the physical things of existence like food, shelter and clothing and also the opportunity to make a contribution to the well-being of the community by any form of service, i.e., work, without which they are deprived of that happiness-making discipline which work commonly imposes. They deteriorate, they become content in time to live on hand-outs. Most human beings tend to be gregarious; they need companionship, appreciation, sympathy, even love and affection. These reflect something of the God-like qualities which our present lives lack.
When this division between mammon and God, or physical and even intellectual
riches, and emotional and mental or spiritual riches is drawn, and if we had
to make a choice, the majority of us would surely elect for the latter. In our
present society, however, it seems we have no choice. This is surely a tragic
state of affairs. Some kind of revolution is necessary to rectify the position.
Somehow or another our attitudes, and this not only locally but nationally and
internationally, on a world-wide scale, have to be altered so that those in
charge of our destiny, particularly our industrial and commercial destiny, begin
to see that the profit motive is not really fundamentally the all-important
one. We could ask ourselves, what is profit for? When we have all the necessities
of life it buys us what we think is pleasure. Does this really make for long-term
happiness and contentment?