22 Rise And Fall Of A Nation

The rise or fall of a nation is due to a particular thought which becomes the national thought.

The same thought that is exteriorized in the power and greatest achievement of a nation is often the cause of its decline, fall and disappearance.

A set of people generates the thought and develops it. Others are drawn in by the similarity of their thoughts and aid in the building of a nation through the exteriorization of its dominating thought. Some thoughts are powerful enough to keep a nation up for centuries before it is given over to inferior doers or sinks away or is effaced.

The complete disappearance of a people like the Carthaginians, the Egyptians or the ancient Greeks, is evidence that at the crucial times there were not enough people to give to the national thought a new impetus that would carry the nation through the accumulating exteriorizations of its past thoughts.

There is a time, and its span does not exceed fifty years, in which every nation might have disappeared as a political entity under the weight of its destiny.

The thoughts of every nation, whether it be a republic or a monarchy, are the collective thoughts of its people.

If these thoughts are, and have been in the past, directed towards individual advantage or public conquest, to deceit or oppression, they are exteriorized in public calamities. These thoughts would make an end of the political entity as a state. But nearly always there is someone who has broader vision and creates a new thought or a new feeling or a modification of those which exist. In this he is assisted by some of the complete Triune Selves who watch and help the world.

Thus the nation gets over the critical period. Of course no one man alone could save a nation; there must be a sufficient number of persons who support the regenerating thought, and if they can obtain a preponderance of thought the nation goes on, otherwise it declines.

Men are self-indulgent and act with selfish ends in view. To acquire and increase possessions, to have personal comfort and safety and to wield power, are the motives of their thoughts.

Treason and evasion of military duty in war, monopolies, taxdodging and special privileges in peace, are extreme cases. And almost everyone is interested in public matters only to the extent of the personal advantages he expects.

Men seek little favors here and big gifts there, knowing that they will profit thereby at the expense of the public or of justice. Almost everyone adds to the general tendency toward corruption in public institutions. Some persons are active under the sting of selfish interest, most are indolent and inert from love of ease.

There are many men who would be good officials, but they are not available.

The people do not appreciate and will not uphold a just official, but they forsake him and leave him a disappointed man. So they do not get the best men, and if they do get well-intentioned men, they usually force them to protect themselves by complaisance or by corruption. Therefore public officials in monarchies, oligarchies and democracies, are as bad as they are. They are the representatives of the people; in them the thoughts of the people have taken form.

Those who are not in office would do as the present officials do, or even worse, if they had the opportunity.

Corrupt officials can hold office and sinecures only so long as the thoughts of the people are depraved.

Cruel barons could oppress the people only as long as the majority of the people, if they had been in the barons' place, would have done as the barons did. Despots have lived only because they embodied the ambitions and desires of the people over whom they ruled. The Catholic Inquisition to suppress heresy existed as long as it expressed the thoughts of the people.

When the thoughts of the people demand a change for the better a man usually appears to fight for it. He expresses their thoughts; but usually they forsake him when his actions need their support. When it is a question of choice between the public interest and their private interests, the private interests prevail.

Usually those who complain of misrule, taxes, extortion or other injustice, would themselves be guilty of such wrongs if only they could commit them with impunity. The persons in power, whether in a despotism or in a democracy, are those who can discern and use human weaknesses, and at the same time have more vigor and are willing to take more risks than the multitude.

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