DISCIPLINE AND CULTURE
by B P Wadia
© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
There is great activity all over the world to further the ideals of freedom, of peace, and of culture. It is not difficult to understand that these three great ideals are intertwined; there cannot be peace of the right kind when the citizens of a state are slaves or savages.
There are people who think that freedom is of primary value, who look upon peace as a distant goal and regard culture as means to further national ends. This causes great confusion, and it would be worth our while to consider the interrelationship of the ideals of culture, peace, and freedom.
The present clash of ideologies — turning upon whether the state is for the citizen or the citizen is but a cog in the great machinery of the state — has to be resolved if the world is to free itself from the nightmare threat of another great war. For this, what order of importance shall we give to freedom, peace, and culture, we who are lovers of our fellow men, who have no political bias, national or international, who neither consider Soviet Russia a republic of free men, nor look upon the Western nations as true democracies of men with peace in their own hearts?
We have to reorient our thinking; an individual revolution ought to take place in every educated mind. If a man has not real culture, he cannot be at peace with his fellow men; he cannot tolerate, far less appreciate, a point of view other than his own. It is, therefore, real culture enshrined in the soul of man, the real man, which will resolve the friction of conflicting ideologies.
True culture will reveal not only that the citizen must not be looked upon as a slave of the state but also that the state is properly a playground for the full development of its citizens. The citizen has, however, reciprocal obligations which culture will also reveal. The man of culture will not take his stand upon the all-importance of his rights but will acknowledge the duties of man as the citizen of the state.
Such culture cannot come out of a view of life that is materialistic and mechanistic, maintaining that might is right. A man of real culture will recognize that humanity is one, diversified into groupings called nations, communities, races, and that culture alone will enable him and the group to which he belongs to live at peace with all other men and all other groups. Therefore, if war is to be banished and peace made permanent it cannot be by any other way than by a large number of people, especially among the leaders of the world, undergoing self-discipline and self-training to make themselves men of culture. Those leaders and their followers will then be able to adapt themselves to viewpoints different from theirs, because within those viewpoints they will find something of value of self-improvement.
Then only can liberty of the individual as a citizen come to birth. Therefore the triad of culture, peace, and freedom ought to be properly understood, and it should be recognized that culture is the apex; from it alone can come peace for the many nations of the world and freedom for all men and citizens.
B. P. WADIA
From "Thus have I heard", pages 213-14. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.
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