Education in the New Age An interview with author Benjamin Creme, highlighting improvements in education
which are coming due to a new awareness of what education is and the Aquarian energies which are fueling a more
positive, wholistic view of what it means to be human. Improving education will be one of the first priorities of the New Time. But what actually
is true education? What is the relationship between the soul and consciousness? What part do the Rays play in this?
What is the role of self-discipline and self-confidence? And what of the function of teachers and parents? Educator
George Catlin interviewed Benjamin Creme.
An interview with author Benjamin Creme, highlighting improvements in education which are coming due to a new awareness of what education is and the Aquarian energies which are fueling a more positive, wholistic view of what it means to be human.
Improving education will be one of the first priorities of the New Time. But what actually is true education? What is the relationship between the soul and consciousness? What part do the Rays play in this? What is the role of self-discipline and self-confidence? And what of the function of teachers and parents? Educator George Catlin interviewed Benjamin Creme.
George Catlin: Our topic is education in the New Age, so perhaps the best place to begin is with some clarification of exactly what you mean by education. What does that term mean to you?
Benjamin Creme: To me, education is every activity that fits a man, woman, or child for the fullest expression of their potential. Coming into incarnation at a certain stage in development, carrying on from a previous life, we have a given potential in terms of soul expression, intelligence, and physical equipment --whatever that brings into this life. Education is the preparation of a man, woman, or child, on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual planes, to bring out their potential in any given life.
GC: So you're taking education quite broadly then. Would you say that parents are educators?
BC: In the sense that every child imitates its parents from the word go, then indeed every parent is an educator, for good or ill. If the behavior of the parent is restrictive, authoritarian, then it is bad education. If the parent surrounds the child with love and patience, and seeks to enhance its expression in any given area, then it is taking an essential part in the education of the child. But most of us pass on to our children what we received from our own parents. If that is full of holes, then that is what we pass on. Most of us receive, and endow our children with, much harmful garbage. I do not call that education but conditioning.
GC: Outside the home and formal schools, would you see places like the workplace as having a potential for education?
BC: Very much so. In fact, I would see in the education of the future a closer relationship between formal schoolroom situations and the outer workplace and community in general. And I would see, as part of education, a growing need to involve children at a young age in full-blown community activities so that they see themselves from the very beginning as part of a community, wider than the family and different from the school --not to replace the school, but to enhance what the school can bring to life.
GC: Given your mention of the future, and the potential for communities emerging in the child's awareness, maybe this is a good time to get into the question of what the New Age is. Could you explain that?
BC: The New Age is the result of the cyclic activity of certain great cosmic energies that impose themselves on the life of our solar system. As it moves around the heavens, our system comes into direct energetic relationship with each constellation of the zodiac in turn. These constellations embody powerful cosmic energies with particular qualities which dominate the life of the cycle for as long as it lasts --roughly 2,150 years per cycle. We are emerging out of the Piscean experience and entering the new age in which the Aquarian energies, which are very different from those of Pisces, will create a new culture and civilization as we respond to them. These energies embody certain great ideas which become our ideals; as we put the ideals into effect, so our culture and civilization grows.
GC: Does one age end at a particular moment and a new age begin?
BC: One ends and one begins, but not at a particular moment. There is a transitional phase of roughly 200-300 years. For example, the energies of Pisces began to recede, as our sun moved away from their sphere of influence, around 1625. The energies of Aquarius began to come in 50 years later, around 1675. Every day since 1675 has seen the energies of Aquarius mounting in potency. This they will do until they reach a zenith and then there will be a gradual declining as the sun moves away from their influence and enters that of Capricorn. That will take roughly 2,350 years.
GC: To get some perspective on the challenges of education as we move into the Aquarian Age, I wonder if you would say something about the state of human consciousness at the dawn of the Piscean Age 2,000 years ago.
BC: It was dark. We have a very clear example of this. A great man, one of the greatest Beings who has ever graced this Earth, namely Jesus, lived, worked and carried out a three-year mission in a little country called Palestine. It is extraordinary that a man Who exemplified in Himself the quality of Love, and to a degree that had never been shown in a man before, could be sent to His death --crucified.
This happened because there was no education. People were benighted. There were a few individuals --in this case the priests --who could read and probably write. They were the teachers, the rabbis, who controlled the others. You can multiply that across the world. A few people read and the rest were totally uneducated. They were peasants, shepherds, fishermen, tool makers, and so on, with no education at all. They simply did as they were told. This relationship had gone on from the earliest times.
In the Atlantean civilizations, which are said to have ended about 95,000 years ago, there were a few people, priests and kings, who could read, were educated. The rest of the people simply obeyed, did what they were told. The Master Djwhal Khul, writing through Alice A. Bailey, says that a scholar of the Middle Ages had a consciousness equal to that of a 14-year-old child of the present.
In every age, in every century, there have been those individuals who stood out; for instance, among the Greeks, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Plato, Socrates, Euclid and all the other extraordinary minds who have given us the embryonic beginnings of the science and philosophy of today. But they were the exception. We have to remember, too, that the "glory that was Greece" was built on slave labor.
GC: The exceptions certainly dominate our sense of history, but at the time of Jesus, what was the average person, the man or woman in the street, able to do and think? Can you describe their consciousness in any way?
BC: They could not think. They could certainly be stimulated and made to act in a certain direction. But it was purely an emotional reaction to excitement. It was in no sense thinking for themselves. Otherwise, for example, Jesus would not have been killed. The populace was whipped up by the priests to get rid of Jesus.
GC: Would you say that we can think now?
BC: We are beginning to think.
GC: Is that the result of the energies of Pisces?
BC: The energies of Pisces have brought out humanity's individuality. This is a great step forward in the evolution of the human race. We have come out of the herd; we were really intelligent animals in the human herd. Broadly speaking, people today are individual in a very real sense, quite distinct from what pertained 2,000 years ago. This is the result of the energy of Pisces. Also, the quality of idealism, the aspiration and vision so prevalent today, has been responsible for the growth of the ideologies and religions. People are now ready to die for their beliefs. This would have seemed unthinkable 2,000 years ago. This is an extraordinary, self-sacrificing view of life, visionary, and fundamentally spiritual.
GC: Is it inevitable that we progress in a certain way as a result of the energies of a particular age?
BC: If we handle them correctly then we do progress. Each energy gives to humanity the ability to unfold a further aspect of our potential, divine nature. Individually, we can slip back, of course, but each age confers on humanity, in an upward spiral, the enhancement of the quality of its consciousness. There is not an equal response by all people because we are not all at the same level of evolution. In relation to our point in evolution, so will we respond to these energies, and they will enhance our ability to develop our fuller potential with each age.
GC: Is there choice involved in that? Have we maximized the opportunity of Pisces? Could things have developed differently? Have we done all that we could have achieved through Pisces?
BC: I doubt it. Separativeness, which has also been a result of the energies of Pisces, has hindered the development of humanity and created great negative karma, both personal and racial. We have hindered ourselves tremendously. Separation, of course, is the great hindrance to evolution. There is no separation; this is the heresy of heresies. We are souls in incarnation; there is no such thing as a separate soul.
The fundamental need of any new approach to education will be the understanding, the realization as a fact in life, of the soul.
GC: Given that soul realization would be the overall aim of evolution, what particular aspect will Aquarius draw forth? What energies does Aquarius bring?
BC: Above all, the energy of synthesis. You can already see the effect of the energy of synthesis if you look at almost anything in life, certainly education.
Synthesis has to do with relationships --for instance, the relationship of ideas. Through philosophical investigation you can broaden the consciousness until what seemed the most distant can be seen as standing side by side. Not only complementing and completing each other, but throwing light on each other. It is this ability to synthesize that inevitably broadens the consciousness of humanity and makes correct human relationships possible.
These energies of Aquarius, with their synthesizing quality, will broaden the individualistic consciousness until it can embrace the one humanity. So that we can stand fully individual, unique, and at the same time as one part of this great group which we call humanity.
GC: Even in the abstract that sounds like a huge step forward for human consciousness. How do you imagine that playing out in more concrete terms, in terms of institutions and forms of daily living?
BC: This is a difficult one because the forms are not yet there. Experimentation is going on throughout the world, in some countries more than others. It will make for a growing group consciousness. People will see themselves more and more as part of a group.
In educational establishments, in business, in every aspect of life, you will find groups forming. People who want to make their voices heard in the political field, for instance, form, or join, parties. A party is simply a big group. That group can make known its general ideology, beliefs, intentions, hopes and aspirations in a more powerful way than can the individual.
In this way the world gradually becomes more unified because we find that, although people are individual, they all need the same things. Everybody needs enough food, shelter, housing, clothes, health care and education. These requirements, which are common to every man, woman and child on the planet, will more and more become the accepted norm. When they are seen to be the basic requirements for all, we will see global consciousness become a fact.
Unfortunately, up until now, education in most countries has been very nationalistic. People have been taught the history of their nation, usually in a very biased form: everything that nation did was good, and everything other nations did was bad. This has given a very jaundiced, and quite incorrect, vision of the world to the developing child.
I would say that education, in the first place, has to show the child that it is a member of a world family. The synthesizing energy of Aquarius must be used to create this global consciousness. Children need to be shown that we are not living alone in one large or small country, but in a world shared by 5.7 billion people. The child, above all, should be taught that this is the fundamental position of his/her life on Earth: that they are one of a group, a family. Just as a family shares the resources that come into the household, so the human family should share the resources that are given by Divine Providence for that purpose.
GC: It is hard for me to see consciousness, individuals, and education moving in that direction. In the face of world need, people seem to be getting ever more individualistic.
BC: We have the expression, today, probably, of the greatest greed that we can imagine, although compared with what one knows about Atlantis, we do not know what greed is. They had the greatest greed that has ever been: rich people who bathed in milk; kings who stored gold by the ton, and some castles which were actually made of gold. Everyone else lived little better than animals: they thought like animals (if you could call it thinking) they emoted like animals, they obeyed like animals. Those above them, the kings and chiefs who could think, completely dominated all life. For most people, life was very brutish.
Today, we have growing wealth and growing greed around the world, as the mechanism for making money becomes more and more refined. The techniques of making money are now so exquisite that people can make a life out of doing just that. At the same time, more and more people are realizing the needs of the one humanity. They realize that millions of people are starving to death, and countless millions more are living in utter poverty, degradation, misery and want. That gap, the discrepancy between the rich and poor, is the real problem.
This cannot go on for ever. There is a growing awareness that things have to change. The very speed of the advance of greed through market forces and competition is forcing us to the edge of a precipice. This will suddenly bring us face to face with reality. There are various portents of breakdown in our economic structure, collapse of the stock exchanges of the world. When such events occur, they will transform the present economic system, probably for ever.
GC: You have spent most of your recent life emphasizing that, soon, and potentially shortly after this kind of economic readjustment, the externalization of the Spiritual Hierarchy will complete itself and that the Masters will emerge into public view led by the Christ. How is that going to affect education?
BC: The fundamental purpose of education, as I see it, is to equip people to demonstrate their divine potential as souls in incarnation. The externalization of the work of the Masters will have an enormous physical, emotional, mental, and psychological impact on humanity. We will come to realize that the soul really does exist. They, the Masters, are the Kingdom of souls. People like Jesus will be talking to the people daily. He is alive and well and, if you can believe me, has been living in Rome for the last seven years. The Master of all the Masters, the Lord Maitreya, has been living in London (although moving around the world at will) since 1977. If these are facts, then the fact of the Hierarchy will also demonstrate the fact of the soul. People will say: "That was Saint John", or "That was Saint Peter." But today He is the Master Koot Humi or the Master Morya.
It will become clear that reincarnation is a fact of life. This will transform human thinking about the reason for our being on the Earth. We will come to know the answers to the age-old questions: "Why are we here? Who are we? What is the purpose of life? Where are we going to?" It will become clear that we are here for a certain purpose: the evolution of the soul in incarnation, carrying out the evolutionary process.
Every soul comes into incarnation with a given set of purposes. Each person's education should be geared to facilitate that process, the working out of the soul's purpose in life. This means that teachers, the educators, whether in school or out of school, must know the point in evolution of any given child. They must know the focus of their consciousness, what really commands their greatest attention --the polarization, as it is called, of their consciousness. Is it on the physical plane? (I do not think any human being is polarized on the physical plane today.) Is it on the astral, the mental, or the spiritual plane?
With the vast majority of people, it will be found that their polarization, the seat of their consciousness, is the astral/emotional plane. That being so, the point of education for these people will be to lift their consciousness onto the mental plane. If they are mentally polarized, then the educational aim will be the raising of consciousness from the mental to the spiritual level, so that they become spiritually polarized.
GC: How will teachers be able to assess that? Is that something that one can be trained to perceive?
BC: With the Masters working openly in the world, They will train Their disciples. Today we have school teachers. A school teacher is trained to teach children to read, write, do arithmetic, and so on. It is a very limited range of ideas which a teacher is called upon to evoke from the pupil. In most cases it is not even that; it is a limited set of ideas which the teacher is instructed to teach the child by rote to adhere to and accept. That, to my mind, is not education at all.
Education should be the evocation of the potential --whether emotional, mental, or spiritual, of each individual child. Teachers need to be equipped with the new psychology, which is soul psychology. They have to know the point in evolution of the child. They have to know the seat of consciousness, where the child is polarized. And they have to know the governing energies, or rays, of each individual child.
Every individual is governed on all levels --soul, personality, mental, emotional, and physical --by certain rays, streams of energy, seven in number. You can have one of each of these rays or just a few. The personality, mental, astral/emotional and physical rays can change from life to life while the soul ray remains the same for a world cycle, which is an immeasurably long period of time. When these rays are known, the propensities, the lines of greater or lesser resistance for any individual child will be known. This will help the educator to teach the child the best way to proceed to bring out its talents --to go along the line of least resistance when that is the right thing to do, or to tackle a line of greater resistance when that might evoke a trait which is trying hard to express itself and finding it difficult.
GC: It is one thing to understand the rays in the abstract, but it is quite another to be able to assess that in an individual. Will that be the result of specific training that teachers will receive?
BC: Yes. People will have specific training. It is not so very difficult to recognize the rays. If you really study them and make it a daily habit of mind --looking at people and visualizing them in terms of their rays --it is relatively easy for intelligent people who are interested in the subject to become pretty accurate in the delineation of a person's ray structure.
This will move education out of the classroom. When we think of teachers, we usually think of one teacher in the class. I do not see any reason why a much richer kind of education could not be given. Instead of one teacher, they could have a series of teachers from outside who are educators. They might be artists, scientists, esotericists, policemen, doctors, who will give them the benefit of their life experience, which is what students need.
They do not need simply specific teaching, as it is given today, along a subject line only. They need that too, of course. But you can broaden the consciousness of a child. Most children find that what they later think of as their best education came from inspiring parents, uncles, teachers, friends --people who have caught their imagination in life.
If the community really took education seriously, which I am sure it will eventually do, days could be set aside for meetings with philosophers, scientists, and so on, who will donate a day, a week, or whatever, to come into colleges and schools and give the benefit of their experience along their own line of work. In this way the gifts of unusual, and unusually gifted, people can be better put at the service of the growing population.
GC: Earlier you mentioned "lines of least and greater resistance." Could you expand on that a little bit? What is a line of least resistance and why shouldn't one just follow it wherever it leads?
BC: It is sometimes better to do what is hardest for us. That brings out qualities of self-discipline that are very necessary. I am not talking about discipline imposed, but self-discipline, which is probably the most important thing we can do, as long as it is correctly managed. Just to discipline oneself for no reason, as many ascetics do, especially religious ascetics who beat themselves, does nothing but harden the nature and turn one against the world and life.
If your line of least resistance is to be rather lazy, take life easy, not try very hard, it could well be an impediment to progress from the soul's point of view in that life. You may well need to tackle the things you do not like doing, the things that are difficult. If you can do that, discipline yourself in these ways, you can become more disciplined in the bigger ways, the ways that really matter.
I think this is what education is also about: the disciplining of the individual in the management of his or her life, and his or her potential, given by the rays. Anybody with a 3rd-ray mind has a very active mind, creative, lively, full of ideas. They could, however, be overactive and manipulative, never learning to sit still, to look inwards and find the meaning of life. Then there are other rays, like the 6th, which is very idealistic and yearning for the higher vision and the higher inner life. People dominated by the 6th ray can be often very unpractical on the outer physical plane. The same is true of the 2nd ray, which is very inturned. It finds that the way into the soul is very easy --a line of no resistance. But the way outward, in relation to the outer physical world and all its demands, is something which is often very difficult for the 2nd-ray personality.
If you can discipline yourself and use your qualities intelligently (which is not easy to do) you can strengthen your weak points and modify your strong points so that --although they will still dominate --they need not obliterate the other aspects of yourself. You strengthen the weak points in the beginning in small ways by little disciplines, until they add up to a strong disciplining will. That is education -- self-education -- in terms of handling your ray structure, which is really handling life.
GC: Inherent in what you just said is the idea that the problems come in two directions, essentially. One is handling life on the outer plane and knowing how to cope with the external world, and the other is this inner movement toward the soul.
BC: This is the crux of the matter. Up until a certain point in evolution, you are either one or the other: either introverted or extroverted in any given life. That is the path of discipleship, in which you are learning to handle these energies which are driving you inward to soul life and also outward to personality life, sequentially. A whole life can be introverted to the soul, or extroverted to the outer world. The individual in each case has an inner unhappiness because he realizes this, but he really cannot do much about it. When a certain balance has been reached, and when the person has integrated the physical, emotional, and mental vehicles, he or she becomes initiate. The sign of the initiate is that he/she can go inward, be introverted at will, but also go out and relate perfectly easily to the outer world, at will.
GC: It would seem that our present education is mostly geared toward relating to the outer world. We are primarily taught skills designed to help one fit into society. What about the developments that might come in the future toward the inner side?
BC: Today, most education, for what it is worth, is education for jobs. People are simply fitted to make their living in the outer commercial world under the whip of competition. This will change. Competition has to give way to cooperation. Above all, it is competition, which is based on greed and fear, that holds humanity back in its most important expression of its oneness, its sense of being part of one group. This has to change. When it does, people will realize, and the Masters will exemplify, the fact of the soul. People will realize that they are souls and will turn to the soul. Then the education for the life of the soul, and the psychology of the soul, will become more and more the norm in our educational system.
I do not mean that we will have only religious education. I am not talking about religion at all. The religious path, as seen by the Masters, is only one of many paths to the demonstration of our innate divinity. God does not reside in the religion, although the religion might help you to realize that divinity. Every aspect of life --politics, economics, religion, art, culture, science, education --can be lived in such a way that what we call God can be known and expressed.
The divine becomes a moment-to-moment experience. That is in fact what it is. It is not a man with a beard sitting up in the sky watching that you are not stealing, lying, or cheating. It is inside you; it is your sense of the divine inside that gradually changes you from lying, cheating, and stealing to not doing these things. Not because somebody is telling you that it is bad, but because you instinctively know that that is not the right way to live with your fellow human beings.
Whatever injures or harms another person is intuitively, instinctively, wrong. A change in behavior comes about by self-observation and self-determination. These things fall away as you become more aware of, and imbued with, the quality of the soul. That will happen on a wider and wider scale as humanity ceases to compete and learns to cooperate --in the family, in the community, nationally and internationally.
GC: In regard to getting to the state of being able to cooperate and beginning to sense the soul and its values and mission, the World Teacher, the Lord Maitreya, has been quoted as saying that without self-esteem nothing can be done. Is this a first step in that direction? Is that something parents, teachers and schools should be thinking about?
BC: Very much so. One of the saddening things about present education is the way children are put down, told that they are wrong, told not to do that, that is naughty. This inhibition of the child that goes on all the time has nothing to do with naughtiness. The child has no concept of naughtiness. The child has only desires, instincts, and a looking for adventure. If they were allowed to do that without always being told that they are naughty and wrong, they would grow up without these inhibitions, this lack of self-esteem. They would feel loved, feel that their parents really cared about them, had patience for them, were ready to listen to them, speak with them, and so on. That would give an inner confidence which reflects itself in an ability to make the best of any opportunity presented by life.
What holds most people back is a lack of confidence. That is mainly the result of continual nagging by parents, putting the child down. "You're only a child", or: "How could you know?" Everything a child says is sneered at and belittled. I do not mean in every family, but in many. Even among otherwise intelligent and educated people you will find the same kind of down-putting, derision of their children.
Children should never, ever, be derided. It is only a convenience for parents to inhibit the child so that they can keep them under moderate control. People are so overworked and tired, their nervous systems so taut, that they cannot bear the presence and demands of their own children. That is a tragedy for them, for the children and for society as a whole.
Self-esteem is a fundamental need in every human being. The lack of it is what drives people to crime, drug-taking, all the abuses, even suicide. All of that is a direct result of the inability of many parents to inculcate a sense of love and understanding, to treat them with a warm, patient, readiness to help, to listen and relate to the child, and give them that essential confidence.
GC: It seems at present that most teachers spend about 50 per cent of their time and energy in school trying just to cope with the problem of discipline, trying to keep children within bounds, in some sense. Are you saying that if the child is well-parented, given this love, that won't be such a problem?
BC: Absolutely. My Master has written for our magazine Share International that it really is not a problem of discipline at all. It is a question of freedom. It is a matter of seeing the validity of the child, the need of the child for self-expression.
Each child, at whatever level it comes into incarnation, comes into the world with its own set of purposes. A main purpose is to learn to live in peace and harmony with the rest of us, all the people with whom he or she comes into relationship. The actual possibility to do this is rare today. You are a very exceptional individual if you come into life in a family, a school situation, a national community, where everything you need to work out your life purposes as a soul is available to you.
We need to recognize that all young people are unique. They are sons of God evolving towards the manifestation of that divinity and sonship. How many people see an individual child in that way?
Many parents love their child, but you can love a child and not respect it. To say that you really respect its uniqueness and validity at every turn, I think is a huge claim. Not many people meet that need of the child.
We have the Year of the Child, but that is playing at the game, this giving respect to the child. The very fact that we have the Year of the Child, however, even if it is only a non-active slogan, means that we are beginning to see the validity of the child and the need to respect it.
A child at any point of evolution comes into incarnation with all its past achievements. There is a wonderful child today, aged 11, who paints pictures that are said to be like Picasso, Matisse, or Chagall --obviously a tremendously gifted child. She is Romanian, living in America, and already fantastically successful. This child is allowed to paint. She is a genius, and is allowed to be a genius. And she does it. Instead of going out to play, she paints these great big canvases and covers them with the most interesting and beautiful ideas.
Children should be introduced to all that they need to further their talents. This is to do with respecting the child as a soul. If you respect each child as a soul, and see that they have all of that behind them, give them the scope in which that can come out, marvels of creativity will come forth.
GC: Do you imagine special kinds of schools for special kinds of development?
BC: I see special kinds of education for specially gifted children --not necessarily special schools. It can be in the same school. But there have to be different departments that will accommodate, enhance and develop the gifts of specially gifted children. Otherwise, the race will suffer.
Today, if you are a specially gifted child, usually sooner or later these gifts show themselves, whatever the circumstances. But a tremendous amount of time may be lost in the process. Some demonstrate only a fragment of their potential because it was not noted when the person most needed it. That will mean training teachers at higher and higher levels. As far as education is concerned, it will only be as good as the quality of the teachers. Training of teachers, I would say, is the fundamental first step in all new educational needs.
GC: There's some writing, particularly by the Master DK, about the possibility of schools starting to become focused more on the problem of reaching beyond the mind to the soul. Do you envision that happening?
BC: Yes, absolutely. Obviously, you need to discipline the instincts. You need to enhance and develop the intellect, the mind and the brain. And you need to evoke the intuition. These are higher and higher steps. The more advanced the individual, the more the intuition will play a role. The bridge to it, the antahkarana which is created by meditation and service, will become known as a definite part of the educational curriculum. You have to build the bridge. Meditation, therefore, at a certain point in the educational system, will have to come in as the way, par excellence, to create the bridge to the soul.
GC: It is interesting you mention meditation and service. Many schools are already instituting service components of their education. Many colleges have that as part of their requirements for a degree. It is nice to think that is already happening.
BC: Yes. The more the child is related to the community at an early age, the more service will become normal and natural.
GC: In that same vein, are you suggesting that meditation will be taught in our schools or colleges?
BC: Yes. It should never be imposed at an early stage. I do not believe in making young children meditate, but the beginnings of meditation are beneficial. We discussed the problems of discipline. If the children were to start the day by just sitting quietly for five minutes and taking a few deep breaths, just quietly thinking about themselves and maybe what they are going to do for the rest of the day, just letting these breaths quiet them down, you could have a completely different atmosphere in the school.
GC: And then for older children the more technical training in meditation?
BC: Indeed, the beginnings of meditation, or light meditation, in which the concentration is focused. You have to learn to concentrate, to use the mind, and to meditate and build the bridge to the soul. There are times for doing this. I am not going to set down ages because children vary enormously depending on their point in evolution. Those who are more evolved can start at an earlier age than those less evolved.
GC: I have one last topic that you might address: television and its effect on children.
BC: I would say that television has one of the greatest negative effects on children. It is not the fault of the children but of the type of television. I have found that meditators in America, for example, have very little concentration. Their attention span is very limited. I think it is largely due to the breakup of attention from a very early age, through watching commercial television. It is convenient to let you go and get a cup of coffee, or whatever, but it breaks up the attention in the middle of any program. Your interest is held for a certain point and then suddenly you have a break, which goes on for almost longer than the preceding episode of the program you were watching. That is terrible for the concentration.
If it is bad for adults, it is also very bad for children. Children's television is no better in that respect. They have their own set of nasty advertisements telling them to get their parents to buy this, that and the other. This is a social thing. It is to do with competition, greed, the wrong economic systems in the world, which will change when cooperation and sharing replace the present competitive system.
Children have to be taught to concentrate. It does not always come naturally. With some it does: the more evolved, of course, can usually concentrate. Yet there are many gifted children who cannot concentrate at all.
GC: Do you imagine television eventually playing a more positive role?
BC: Yes, indeed. Television will become the great teacher in the world, but it will have to change dramatically in its content, its substance. You can imagine television screens in every home, where the children can be taught about history in the real sense --global history, not nationalistic, chauvinistic history, but the history of humankind throughout the ages --and relate themselves to it. The Masters can project onto the television screens a view of life in the far, far distant past, in Atlantean days, and forward into the future, showing visions of what can be. There will be wonderful programs for children projected onto the screens by the Masters. Television will be the key tool by which Maitreya and the Masters teach humanity.
From the July/August 1997 issue of Share International