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Freedom of Expression and the Evolution of Culture

Iris Spellings

CULTURE SHEDS LIGHT on the meaning of our time, and can inspire us to be all that we are capable of being. War has been the result of an emphasis upon a material culture. Now is the time, as we enter into the Aquarian Age, to focus on creating a spiritual culture-a culture based on loving understanding, goodwill and right relations with all life. This is not an impossible dream, but the next step.

Freedom is an often misunderstood concept. Detachment is a prerequisite of true freedom, which requires cooperation and respect, never coercion, or worse yet competition. It has been called the adornment of wisdom, and should affirm itself in us by the upliftment of consciousness. Freedom and culture are inseparably linked for the loftiest freedom exists on the higher planes, the source from which ideas originate. Here laws are understood as a beautiful and unchangeable reality; equality being the sole measure of liberality and balance.

Culture is the essence of a civilization, and the objective of all education. According to the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul,

Culture is the approximation of the two ways-feeling and mind; of two worlds-sensitivity and thought; and of the attitudes, relational in nature, which will enable a man to live as an intelligent, subjective being in a tangible physical world. The man of culture relates the world of meaning to the world of appearances and regards them in his mind…as constituting one world with two aspects.1

UNESCO proclaimed 2002 as the UN Year For Cultural Heritage. This marks the 30th Anniversary of an international agreement signed to date by more than 150 countries that protects World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Right now 690 sites on the World Heritage List are protected worldwide-18 are in the United States. They include, but are not limited to, national parks, historic centers of cities, churches, architecturally important buildings, rock paintings, and more recently, wine regions, mining areas and landscapes. The Statue of Liberty is protected, by the WHC, along with the Grand Canyon and Stonehenge, to name a few.

A forerunner to this UNESCO program is Roerich's Pact and Banner of Peace introduced in 1929. Nicholas K. Roerich, a world-renowned artist, philosopher, archaeologist and author, deplored the destruction of the world's artistic achievements in World War I, and so developed an international treaty as a means of protection for cultural sites and creative activities. The Pact provided that the Banner fly over all historic monuments and educational, artistic and scientific institutions to indicate neutrality, special protection and respect in times of war and of peace. Roerich is known for saying: "Where there is Peace, there is Culture; Where there is Culture, there is Peace."

Humans create evolution; nothing can impede it. Only as we change, bit by bit, one by one, does the world change. Since wars begin in the minds of humans, it's in the minds of humans that the defenses of peace must be constructed. For peace is not freedom from the clash of arms, nor the absence of civil or industrial strife, spiritual peace is something each must find for oneself. The peace Divine-that power of divine equipoise, which nothing in the outer world can shake, which no opposing circumstance can destroy.

The Dalai Lama's response when asked why he didn't fight back against the Chinese comes to mind. He said, "Well, war is obsolete, you know. Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back...but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you."

Albert Einstein asserted that we can accomplish only what we can first imagine. Along these lines, a landmark legislation-HR 2459-to create a Department of Peace was introduced July 2001, in the US House of Representatives by Rep. Dennis Kucinich. This cabinet-level agency would focus on nonmilitary peaceful conflict resolutions, working to prevent violence and promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. Rep. Kucinich commented, "The time for peace is now. Peace is not only the absence of violence, but the presence of a higher evolution of human awareness with respect, trust and integrity toward humankind."

Remembering the value of the individual and the fact of the one Humanity, may we exercise our freedom of expression and contribute to the spiritual evolution of our culture by seeding the mental plane with thoughtforms of a better world-a world based on goodwill, responsibility, compassion and right human relations. We are one Humanity, yet each of us has a responsibility. Beauty will be the evidence of this shared responsibility and cooperation.

1 Education in the New Age, Alice A. Bailey, p. 43.

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