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Maybe it's the insight of it that has led to the universalism that is being strongly manifested in recent times. For example, in the European Union EU people have the right to live in any country, they are allowed to move freely from one country to another a consequence of the Schengen Treaty of The universities allow students to take part of their courses at other universities in any EU country etc. In the same way as with free will, people with a materialist or physicalist conception of the world and of the human being cannot admit the existence of a non-physical higher self.

For such people, the human being consists only of the physical body, as it was inherited and then modified by the environment. But in this case there can be no equality - note that a transplant is rejected because every human body is physically unique. Rather, for someone who admits the existence of non-physical processes and members in humans, there should be no impediment to suppose, ideally by hypothesis and not by belief, the existence of this higher self, the divine member existing in every human.

The recognition of this higher self should be the conscious reason for respecting others, that is, the origin of the impulse for equality. As we have seen, the universal social movement for freedom is relatively old, that is, it began in the 18 th century. Moreover, the social movement for equality, especially concerning rights, is occurring and developing in present times.

Note that, as with everything that is human and social because society and social relationships depend on individuals , there is no rigidity in these areas and no clear boundaries. Every human being is unpredictable. The biggest killer can regenerate himself and become socially important. Thus, although the movements for freedom and equal rights have respectively appeared and developed in the past and present, one can find its manifestations, still incipient, in very remote times. And what social impulse will appear and develop in the future? It seems to me that the future holds the development of the third ideal of the French Revolution: fraternity, brotherhood.

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Let us first consider what it means. Perhaps another denomination provides a better understanding of the meaning of brotherhood: solidarity. We had in Brazil a sad example of what it means giving freedom without conditions and help to exercise it properly: the liberation of slaves threw them into the society without the slightest possibility of realizing themselves as individuals and even of surviving, because they were suddenly left without profession and without their master who, though often not treating them with dignity, at least provided them food and shelter. Thus, fraternity, solidarity, mean helping those in need.

There are many people and institutions that already do this. For example, I greatly admire the Kardecist spiritist movement, which is so popular in Brazil attention, I'm not a spiritist , for its extensive social work, such as daycare centers, nursing homes, hospitals, help in its particular way for people with mental health problems etc. However, it seems to me that up to now there is no universal impulse of fraternity, as in the case of freedom and equal rights. If a group of people violates the freedom of others or their equal rights, this is normally regarded as a return to the past, that is, behaving as mankind behaved in ancient times, such as in the Middle Ages.

However, there is a long way before regarding someone who does not help others as not being a modern person. This shows that there is still no widespread sense of fraternity. In fact, the latter is very old - it seems to me that the great introducer of universal fraternity that is, not within a family or community was Christ, who helped indiscriminately all who came to him, even if it annoyed members of his religious community, which was heavily ethnic. Note that he did not want to introduce a new religion, because that would not be a universalist impulse.

It seems to me that he wanted to renew Judaism making it universal, and not an ethnic religion as was the case. The great Buddha introduced the doctrine of compassion and love, and wanted to end suffering. According to him, birth, disease, old age, death and not getting what one wants is what leads to suffering. His solution was the mental development of each individual so that the person withdraws from earthly matters, and from all desires and impulses related to the physical world.

Unfortunately, his message was totally distorted, and it continues to be so by many religions that claim to be Christian. We must not let these aberrations to dim his message and his example of life and, perhaps what is most important, the practice of selfless love, of altruism. A person who practices it should be considered as being a Christian, regardless of following a religion that does not consider itself Christian.

Note that selfless love can only be exercised out of free will, that is, it should not be the result of an external imposition nor a habit or an inner pleasure of practicing it, because the pursuit of such pleasure would come from selfishness. Selfishness, egotism, is the opposite of selfless love.

Universal Brotherhood–Fiction or Fact?

Selfless love comes from what I have very briefly characterized as the higher self, and selfishness from the lower self. Therefore, fraternity presupposes freedom and equality recognition of the other as an equal, that is, also having a higher self. Notice that the development of selfishness was a necessity for mankind. Without it, we would not have developed the perception of our own individuality, and therefore of self-consciousness. However, we are now at the stage of having to supplant it by selfless love.

As mentioned, the movements for freedom and equality appeared naturally, "automatically". As described above, the former appeared perhaps as a result of the emergence and development of free will which, to manifest itself, required external freedom. The latter arose from the intuitive perception of the higher self of the other. Will the movement for universal solidarity appear naturally due to an "automatic" development of humanity? If we look at social evolution since the last century, we can see an exacerbated increase of selfishness and greed.

The most tragic aspect in this situation is that we produce or could produce enough food to feed the entire humanity.

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Only due ultimately to selfishness and greed of individuals, companies and governments, this inhuman situation is maintained. Food waste, inefficiency in production and consumption e. A symptom of the increased selfishness is also the fast growing competition. It turns out that any competition is inherently antisocial, because when one wins the other necessarily loses. The winner feels happy, accomplished and proud, and while the loser is at least frustrated. Therefore, the happiness of one person comes at the expense of unhappiness or frustration of another.

Once again the cries for political reform were particularly strident in France, where injustice and inequality, long subject to Enlightenment criticism, were no longer felt to be tolerable. In a broader sense, a concern for humanity manifested itself in a conviction of universal rights: everyone was entitled to be treated in a way fitting their dignity as a human being. In his poem The Task Cowper expressed his sorrow at man's inhumanity to man:. The philosophes spoke out with a united voice against the slave trade.

Voltaire and Diderot were among many who protested against it in the name of man's common humanity. Boswell defended slavery, while Johnson opposed it. The ex-slave Robert Wedderburn — , author of The Horrors of Slavery cited the Enlightenment authorities of truth, justice and the ancients in his vehement critique of the practice. Summary point: humanitarianism and a concern with common human rights were central to the Enlightenment mission.

In some, if not all, thinkers this led to an impulse to attack common inhumane practices such as religious oppression and slavery. When you have worked through this section of the video and attempted the exercise in the notes, return to this course. Click 'View document' [ Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab.


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Hide tip ] to read the notes and exercise for video 4. As a young man, Voltaire had had two spells in the Bastille for impertinence towards members of the nobility, and the injustice and indignity rankled. Yet Voltaire, who later became immensely rich, was no social radical. The philosophes in general contributed little to political thought as such; they hardly troubled about which might be the best form of government for implementing their cherished reforms. Montesquieu, in his erudite and influential De l'esprit des lois On the Spirit of the Laws , , advocated a system of institutional checks and balances, and the separation or balancing of executive governing power, legislative lawmaking power and judicial power the power of the judges in order to counter the unlimited exercise of state power by the executive the king.

Britain was often compared favourably with absolute monarchy in France. Voltaire, who was for a time historiographer royal to Louis XV until his independence and propensity for mischief-making made the court too hot to hold him, was moderate, pragmatic, undogmatic, flexible, and politically and socially conservative. Europe's traditional social structure being, so it was thought, fixed and immutable, it mattered little how enlightenment was implemented as long as it was implemented. Click 'View document' to read the notes and exercise for video 5.

Voltaire himself, no starry-eyed optimist, thought so. His Candide is a mercilessly witty attack on facile optimism in the face of every kind of disaster: war, earthquakes and man's inhumanity to man. Nevertheless he wrote to a friend in Everything I observe is sowing the seeds of a revolution that will inevitably come to pass, which I shall not have the pleasure of witnessing … By degrees enlightenment has spread so widely that it will burst forth at the first opportunity, and then there will be a grand commotion.

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Search for free courses, interactives, videos and more! Free learning from The Open University. Featured content. Free courses. All content. Course content. About this free course 16 hours study. Level 2: Intermediate. This life normally lasts two or three times longer than physical life, and then this astral body is left behind in a second death, which is another passage to a life normally even longer on the lower mental plane. At the end of this cycle, the Higher Ego garners the results or lessons of the experiences lived through its lower quaternary on the three densest planes.

This is a simple description of the process through which the Higher Ego develops its infinite powers until it reaches a stage of maturity and perfection in which this cycle of reincarnations is no longer mandatory. In other words, at the end of this long journey through hundreds of reincarnations, the human being achieves Liberation, and his consciousness enters a super-human stage of development, one of whose characteristics is the fact of having achieved conscious immortality and the other is the unity with the Divine Will.

All human beings are engaged in this process of development of their divine powers because, as has been stated previously, all are essentially divine. However, the billions of incarnate human beings, as well as those in even larger numbers without a physical body in the cyclical astral or mental life, will not start out on their human journey at the same time.

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Some of them have begun their journey long before others. Thus, while some have already arrived at their destination and others are nearing the end of their journey, the greater part of humanity can be found along this way, some of them even at its beginning. This is a very important fact as it explains the great diversity in stages of spiritual development reflected in the differences of character and ability in human beings. In view of the above, it is not difficult for us to understand that this aspect of the great Diversity in the levels of spiritual development is almost as important in helping us understand the true nature of the universal brotherhood of humanity, as that of the Unity underlying all beings.

Let us now consider some excerpts from the writings of Geoffrey Hodson , a great clairvoyant of the TS, in which he deals with the Higher Mental Causal body as well as with its development. These excerpts will clearly explain what has already been touched on in preceding paragraphs:. Briefly, the causal body has two main functions:. The causal body is that into which is woven everything which can endure, and in which are stored the germs of qualities, to be carried over to the next incarnation. Hence one sees that the lower manifestation of man, i. That delicate, almost colourless , film of subtlest matter, is the body which will last through the whole of the human evolution: on this, as on a thread — the thread-self, or Sutratma , as it is sometimes called — will all the future incarnations be strung.

Hence, the conditions of the causal body is a true register — the only true register — of the growth the man, of the stage of evolution to which he has attained. Even in the one brief earth-life we distinguish between the knowledge we acquire and the wisdom we gradually — often too rarely — distil from that knowledge.


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  • In a much fuller and richer sense, Wisdom is the fruitage of many incarnations, the produce of much experience and knowledge. In the Thinker, thus, is the store of experiences, reaped in all his past lives, harvested through many rebirths. As the ego, during the long course of his evolution, unfolds his latent possibilities, the higher matter is gradually brought into activity; but it is only in the perfected men whom we call Adepts, or Masters, that it is developed to its fuller extent.

    Such memory of the appearance of a causal body, as it is possible for a clairvoyant to bring into his physical brain, represents it as an ovoid, that being, in fact, the shape of all the bodies, and as surrounding the physical body of the man, extending to a distance of about 18 inches from the surface of the physical body. It is a mere colourless film, just sufficient, apparently, to hold itself together and make a reincarnating entity, but no more.

    Although it is filled with higher mental matter, this is not yet brought into activity, and so remains colourless and transparent. As the man develops, this matter is gradually stirred into alertness by vibrations which reach it from the lower bodies. This comes but slowly, because the activities of man in the earlier stages of his evolution are not of a character to obtain expression in matter so fine as that of the causal body.

    But when a man reaches the stage where he is capable either of abstract thought, or of unselfish emotion, the matter of the causal body is aroused into response. The glorious iridescent film is now completely filled with the most lovely colours , typifying the higher form of love, devotion and symphathy , aided by an intellect refined and spiritualised , and by aspirations reaching ever towards the divine.

    Some of these colours have no place in the physical plane spectrum. Such a causal body is filled with living fire, drawn from a still higher plane, with which it appears to be connected by a quivering thread of intense light. The information given above makes it possible for us to understand how Diversity of levels of development is one of the fundamental aspects of human brotherhood, as is also its essential Unity. In the light of this knowledge we are then able to embark on a general visualization of the universal brotherhood of humanity as it is presented during earthly life.

    We shall do this through a quotation from C. Jinarajadasa , well-known author and former International President of the TS.