Spiritual Democracy - Frederick Kettner

Revolution within the Individual

    The spiritual life of man is not and can never be the life of religious sects nor of other wrongfully called spiritual movements. The true spiritual life begins within the individual when he perceives the importance of it, and begins to realize what spiritual values are. Therefore, in order for man to emerge from his present state of chaos, he must experience a revolution of a new type, one that will have neither a political nor an economic character. We may call it the individual self-revolution. There is nothing that can better transform man from his materialistic conception of existence to a spiritual awareness of life than such individual revolution from within...

    ...The prophets, the mystics, the great poets, and other unusual souls are among those who have had glimpses and signs of a higher social order beyond civilization. They created a great deal of spiritual literature that is testimony of the reality of man's spiritual nature. But there is a step farther to go. Now, we need individuals with spiritual heroism who will use this literature as a blueprint and apply themselves diligently to work it out as a reality in life...

The Spiritual Interpretation of History

    ...Though the masses of humanity throughout the ages have lived in comparative ignorance of the spiritual realities of life, every century has brought forth individuals who stood out as dynamic, selfless leaders.

    There is, for instance, the great epic story of Moses, whose spiritual genius created a nation out of a slave people and gave them the unique concept of one God.

    In the dark history of mankind, Buddha is another beacon light who sacrificed his kingdom in order to pursue his quest for truth and devote his life to the enlightenment of his fellow men.

    Jesus was primarily interested in the spiritual liberation of the individual. He discovered the eternal truth that the Kingdom of God is within man, thus giving us the golden key to the Love of God and love of neighbor.

    Spinoza's sublime and scientific definition of God as Substance consisting of infinite attributes is a great milestone in the evolution of man's understanding of God.

    These men --and there are many others who could be mentioned-- were the forerunners of the spiritual age of mankind. They were able to realize the highest and noblest ideals on earth. They are examples that show that the spirit in man need not remain hidden but can become a potent factor in life; that man's spiritual intelligence can create the Age of Soulization.

    The question now confronting us is this: Where are the unusual individuals, the daring pioneers, who will devote their lives to making a better history for humanity? In order to create a new history for mankind, human beings will first have to create a new history within themselves. They will have to liberate themselves from national, religious, racial, and class prejudices and from enslavement to honor, fame, and pleasure...

    ...The story of the Prodigal Son may be said to be the story of an individual who overcame himself and reached the heights of spiritual self-liberation. The Prodigal Son, leaving his original home, a symbol of the soul, underwent numerous tests, trials, and tribulations, and finally returned home with a greater valuation for his original nature, his soul and spirit. All those who are willing to pioneer in themselves will discover their deeper nature and help make new history...

What Is Civilization?

    ...Without an understanding of the deeper laws in human nature we cannot appreciate the nobler values of life, nor realize ethical-social freedom. In this regard, Buddha, Lao-tze, Christ, and Spinoza stand out as unique teachers who were occupied with the endeavor to comprehend the unity existing between the soul and the whole of nature. The ethical-social motive, which dominates this endeavor, is the true key to spiritual democracy.

    What are some of the problems involved? One of them is to change the false premise of civilization, that man is a creature of circumstances. Civilization says: Change circumstances and you will change man. Bad circumstances may be likened to bad weather. We cannot deny the unpleasantness of a rainy and windy day, yet people are not afraid to go out and attend to their business. The bad weather does not master them. It can be the same with unpleasant circumstances. Human beings are dissatisfied with the kind of life they have in civilization without doing anything about it. They passively expect new depressions, new scandals, and new wars. But the premise of a spiritual democracy is that man can rise above circumstances and has the ability to fulfill his higher destiny as a creative human being on earth. Spiritual democracy says: Change man and you will change circumstances.

    It is true that men and women with closed minds cannot be expected to change circumstances. We need open minds and open hearts. Unless more human beings accept the idea of changing themselves, and thereby exert a new influence on those with whom they come in contact, future history will continue to be a repetition of nonsense and terrible circumstances. Conditions will remain as they are as long as old traditions, old superstitions, and old prejudices infest the human brain, causing endless misery among human beings. Man was not born for misery, but to live a joyful life. Spinoza was one of the great men who determined to discover and acquire the faculty of enjoying continual happiness. He did not mean the satisfaction of personal desires but rather a happiness that comes from the discovery of that in us which is eternal, our true being...

Selections from "Biosophy And Spiritual Democracy - A Basis for World Peace" 1954
by Frederick Kettner