It's so sad to see this
Europe has given so much to us in the way of civilization. From the Greek philosophers to the Roman foundations of empire and stability, to the Enlightenment and the Age of Revolution, the intellectual, cultural, scientific and artistic gifts given to future generations can only be looked at with wonder.
In my youth and going up to University I read all 11 volumes and 10,000 pages of Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_Civilization (mostly Western Civilization, alas, but Vol. 1, Our Oriental Heritage, is magnificent)
But it is this elegy on Will Durant by his wife Ariel Durant that best describes Europe: "that sentimental, idealizing blend of love, philosophy, Christianity, and socialism which dominated (its) spiritual chemistry"
Yes, Europeans can be insular, xenophobic, nationalistic and a little too rationalistic. Nothing an occasional invasion by Eastern hordes can't resolve :)
Yes, it has a dark karma that involves far too many colonial occupations and wholesale slaughter of native peoples. Yes, that karma is catching up to Europe.
But, I do love Europeans and their culture and social norms. My children are a happy blend of both worlds, and I respect the Western Mind as equal, if different than the Eastern Mind; the joy's in the mix.
And, as we go through these momentous changes, here's a word from Will Durant on the decline and rebuilding of civilizations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Durant#On_the_decline_and_rebuilding_of_civilizations
"Much like Oswald Spengler, Will Durant saw the decline of a civilization as a culmination of strife between religion and secular intellectualism, thus toppling the precarious institutions of convention and morality:
"Hence a certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization. Religion begins by offering magical aid to harassed and bewildered men; it culminates by giving to a people that unity of morals and belief which seems so favorable to statesmanship and art; it ends by fighting suicidally in the lost cause of the past."
"For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology, which change with geological leisureliness. Priestly control of arts and letters is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier, and intellectual history takes on the character of a "conflict between science and religion"
"Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control, and become secular, perhaps profane. The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and—after some hesitation—the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical"
"The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death. Meanwhile among the oppressed another myth arises, gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort, and after centuries of chaos builds another civilization"
Europe is indeed, going through its period of chaos, and hopefully will one day build another civilization. And bless Will Durant's hopeful optimism, he's right. Europe needs to embrace an idea.
Of course, since he died in 1981, he wasn't able to see the culmination of decades of decline in morality - fiscal, political, and ethical, but the results are upon us now. His quote: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within" was in the title credits of Mel Gibson's 2006 film "Apocalypto".
I liked the Durants because of the clarity of their writing and sheer love for their subject. If there was a writer who best might describe the socio-economic upheaval we are going through, it would be Karl Marx, but most people find him unreadable. Still, he sees the process of change as a continuous struggle between the capitalists and the masses. And, as riots take place in the streets of Europe and more sedate Americans occupy Wall Street, who can deny that struggle is ongoing?
Whither Europe? After decades of neo-liberal economic policies we are now being subjected to fears of the collapse of European economies and the Eurozone. Here's a Counterpunch magazine article that describes the problem very well: http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/06/24/bankers-gear-up-for-the-rape-of-greece-as-social-democrats-vote-for-national-suicide/
"The fight for Europe’s future is being waged in Athens and other Greek cities to resist financial demands that are the 21st century’s version of an outright military attack. The threat of bank overlordship is not the kind of economy-killing policy that affords opportunities for heroism in armed battle, to be sure. Destructive financial policies are more like an exercise in the banality of evil; in this case, the pro-creditor assumptions of the European Central Bank (ECB), EU and IMF (egged on by the U.S. Treasury).
As Vladimir Putin pointed out some years ago, the neoliberal reforms put in Boris Yeltsin’s hands by the Harvard Boys in the 1990s caused Russia to suffer lower birth rates, shortening life spans and emigration; the greatest loss in population growth since World War II.
Capital flight is another consequence of financial austerity. The ECB’s proposed “solution” to Greece’s debt problem is thus self-defeating. It only buys time for the ECB to take on yet more Greek government debt, leaving all EU taxpayers to get the bill. It is to avoid this shift of bank losses onto taxpayers that Angela Merkel in Germany has insisted that private bondholders must absorb some of the loss resulting from their bad investments”
The bankers are trying to get a windfall by using the debt hammer to achieve what warfare did in times past. They are demanding privatization of public assets (on credit, with tax deductibility for interest so as to leave more cash flow to pay the bankers). This transfer of land, public utilities and interest as financial booty and tribute to creditor economies is what makes financial austerity like war in its effect.
Socrates said that ignorance must be the root of all evil, because no one deliberately sets out to be bad. But the economic “medicine” of driving debtors into poverty and forcing the selloff of their public domain has become socially accepted wisdom taught in today’s business schools. One would think that after fifty years of austerity programs and privatization selloffs to pay bad debts, the world has learned enough about causes and consequences"
The article goes on to advocate a cancellation of public debt, and tax on economic rentiers, for social movements to take back governments that advocate for financial interests instead of the people. I agree, and wish people all the best in that.
But as those that follow me know, none of those changes can take place, given the forces against them, until people themselves change.
And I have been saying this for some time now, that until humanity makes a quantum change in spirituality nothing will change, except what you are forced to do. Let go of fear and cynicism, and accept the spiritual message.
I travelled around the world in the 50's, 70's and 90's. Each time, observing humanity's search for peace and spiritual understanding. Each time, to America, Asia, and Europe (not been to the Southern Hemisphere yet, alas) Each time, seeing the changes yet to come. All people want is food, shelter, and to raise their children in peace. But the forces that prevent that are evil.
Socrates was wrong in that. People choose to do evil. And it is up to us, to peacefully, and non-violently, resist. It is up to us to say we won't buy, or believe, their shit. It is up to us to not believe the lie, that there is nothing we can do.
I went to America in the 90's. I gave without asking anything in return, and helped thousands of people with workshops, healing and meditations. Many of the ideas I taught have entered the New Age mainstream. The same in Asia. The same, in Europe.
It seemed I was drawn to places that needed healing. In Sri Lanka, I saw the tsunami and brutal culmination of civil war. In America, the so called war on terror that gave some the opportunity to loot the economy. I tried so hard to go back to Japan before the tsunami and nuclear disaster. The Japanese people need to change course, if their corrupt institutions will let them. So, too, do the American people. Until then, what must be, will be.
This is about Europe though. Immediately after I left the US I went on an extended trip around Europe with my family. For four months in 1996 we travelled to ten different countries; 16,000 kms in our car and everywhere we went, I did healing and talked to people. My favourite moment was in a remote village in Eastern Hungary: one day, having an (outdoor:) shower and seeing over a hundred people walking down the hills to meet the healer who had come there. Later that day, another hundred people from a youth camp for orphans. I did healing work with them too. Their instructor suffered from progressive blindness; he says I cured his eyesight. I like to look at the spiritual implications of that.
The fact still remains that Europe then went on to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and allow the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people. If you look at many conflicts in Africa, it's European powers that are arming combatants and encouraging tribal conflicts to better divide up nations and control other people's natural resources. Yet they complain when Americans conduct financial warfare against them.
I love the European people, their culture and historical institutions. It may well be they cannot tolerate more economic refugees ending up on their shores; I believe they are for the most part still tolerant and compassionate enough to withstand the xenophobia and race hatred being promoted by the very land thieves who purport to lead them. I believe they are capable of creating a new civilization.
But first, they must resolve this conflict between 'reason' and 'religion'. The real conflict is between materialism and spirituality, and that must be healed.
I am drawn to America and Europe. It is vital that I go there, because the needed change must come from there. There has to be spiritual change in both places. The consequences otherwise will be terrible. But for the first time in my life, I will not be using my own resources to do that. I have to remain in Canada and look after my own family. I have to raise a certain amount of money to publish all my books. I have to look after myself now.
This isn't a crass request for donations. The universe operates on the basis of exchange, and what you give is what you receive. I have always given back more than I received (see my next article, "Buried Treasure" and previous ones for examples) Those who have known and followed me for the last twenty years know I always help anyone that asks. You can come to Toronto or you can write. I can heal, even from a distance.
But if you want to change the world, then I say to you: spiritual power is the greatest force known. It must be harnessed. People have to learn how to do it, and teach others. Whether you come to see me, or I you, will be immaterial. Whether you are American, or European, or from anywhere else, doesn't matter. I need a lot of people, around 100,000, and from all around the world. Together, I can show you miracles...
So if you are drawn to help, or follow me, then I can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org