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It is becoming more and more obvious to many that the present economic structure of the world is in tatters and must be changed. For example, the economies of the USA, Europe and Japan are in the doldrums; and China, so recently the powerhouse, is slowing down. Only India, where millions still live and die in poverty, and Brazil hold aloft the banner of ‘success’.
Admittedly, this is a very partial view of the economies of the world but it is largely the case that the nations are languishing and know not how to prosper. The old tricks no longer work: university graduates feel lucky to serve in bars; the poor are poorer than ever and are thankful for food banks; the middle classes struggle to ‘keep up’; the rich are richer than ever but believe they are over-taxed. Governments try, but their priorities are mistaken and their methods no longer are relevant to the problems which face the world.
The people, however, who suffer most from government inaction or wrong thinking, see clearly their own needs. They look for freedom, justice, the right to work and a world at peace in which their families can thrive. Their demands are more and more being given voice. For little longer will the mass of men restrain the anger and frustration which is their lot. They trust no longer the words or the actions of governments done in their name. For too long, and too often, they have been deceived and cheated of their birthright. They see this in simple terms but with clear eyes, trusting no longer the machinations of the powerful rich. The voice of the people is rising, nay, has risen, and is calling men to declare themselves.
The people, clear-eyed and unafraid, have looked into the future and have seen the possibility of the fulfilment of their aspirations for a just and peaceful world. They know that this will not happen by itself but that they must, together with their brothers and sisters, take the power of fulfilment into their own hands. They know too that the way may be hard and dangerous but that the prize is too precious for them to fail, for it is the prize of brotherhood, of justice and peace, and a better, simpler and truer life for all. They know that no sacrifice is too great for this achievement and are willing to die in its name.
Thus will the people of the world inherit the birthright of freedom and justice that is their due. Thus will the voice of the people rise louder and clearer in the months and years ahead.
[This article from Share International magazine, July / August 2013 , is by a senior member of the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. His name, well-known in esoteric circles, is not yet being revealed. Benjamin Creme, a principal spokesman about the emergence of Maitreya, is in constant telepathic contact with this Master who dictated his article to him.]
Q. Is Maitreya still giving television interviews in Russia? If so, how many have there been to date? On 11 May 2013 there had already been 10 interviews with Maitreya in Russia. Was the response as good as before?
A. Maitreya has given a further four interviews (as of 8 June 2013). Yes, even better.
Q. In the last couple of weeks the planetary alignment known as the ‘dance of the planets’ has been visible in the western sky; Jupiter, Mercury and Venus formed a triangle and then gradually appeared to move around one another until all three could be seen in a straight line. Does this phenomenon have any significance for our planet?
A. Yes. It aligns certain energies, which are highly beneficial to planet Earth.
Q. The sun has been particularly active just recently – with huge solar flares unleashed. What is the influence of such solar activity on planet Earth?
A. Again it makes for great changes in all of the planets, as we will find for ourselves on this planet.
Q. Is there any way a person can protect themselves against the risk of dementia?
A. There is no direct way one can protect oneself against the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s. What might, however, slow the process of its advance is the taking of Tlacote Water tablets. The tablets help to strengthen the cellular structure of our body and therefore the immune system. It is important to understand that these tablets cannot be said to prevent or cure dementia or Alzheimer’s but may help against its progress.
The tablets were made from healing water discovered on a ranch in Tlacote, near Mexico City in 1992. The water from a deep artesian well had been magnetized by Maitreya with cosmic energy from the constellation Aquarius. Maitreya created similar wells all over the world, and four have so far been discovered. Eventually a worldwide network of 777 healing water sources will be discovered in a sequence to be determined by Maitreya.
In 1992 I arranged for Tlacote Water to be made into a homoeopathic remedy at a pharmacy in London, from which thousands worldwide have now benefited. Water from one of the other four known sources, a grotto in Nordenau, Germany, has also been made into a homoeopathic remedy and is available in Germany.
[For information about obtaining Tlacote Water tablets contact Ainsworths Homoeopathic Pharmacy, 36 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 8UF; www.ainsworths.com. For other sources, see ‘Healing wells’ at: www.share-international.org]
Q. Some time ago Share International published a photograph of a spacecraft entering or leaving a volcano in Mexico. How can any craft possibly survive the enormous temperatures inside an active volcano? How can the crew of such craft survive in such circumstances?
A. They did not go into the molten fire of the volcano but only to examine its readiness or otherwise to erupt.
Q. I know that you have said that the Roswell incident, that took place in New Mexico, USA, in 1947, was genuine and deliberate on the part of the Space Brothers – allowing themselves to crash in order to call attention to the existence of life on other planets. Did the Roswell Space Brothers also deliberately leave their skeletal remains? It is said that scientists in the USA are still investigating their skeletons. Is this true?
A. No. The whole mass of the bodies including the skeletons, have long since returned to dust.
Q. When I talk to people about how the world will be after the Day of Declaration I find that they have difficulty with concepts such as food, education, shelter, and healthcare as basic rights. I see intuitively what a blessing and a reduction of tension these changes will bring and I’m thrilled. When I tell people that there are planets where everyone has access to all they need – why would you want more – I notice that many people don’t even want to ‘fantasize’ about it: just think enough for everyone! What would you say to those who say that people will become lazy if they no longer need to work to provide for their basic needs?
A. This is a misunderstanding – man works because he is a man (Picasso said that ‘the horse does not go between the shafts of its own accord but a man must work.’) People must change their views about work – work done today by millions, could be done by robots; some already is done in this way and it will become more and more the norm. The idea of what work is will change.
Q. I saw a question on the internet asking: “When is happy Buddha day?” The Gregorian calendar states it was on 17 May in 2013. The Lucis Trust use the full moon of Taurus, or the Wesak Festival (25 April in 2013). But the Christ has now taken on the role of the Lord Buddha, so might we need to revise the dates and functions of the World Teacher if He is Lord Maitreya Buddha (as predicted by Gautama long ago)? Since Christ is now the Buddha how will the Wesak Festival work out and will Maitreya perform both functions? Will the birthday of the Buddha become Maitreya’s birthday?
A. The Christ is not the same individual as the Buddha – They are brothers, separate individuals, but Buddhists await Maitreya as Maitreya Buddha.
Q. Are more people in Western countries suffering from nervous breakdowns than was the case 30 to 40 years ago? Why?
A. Yes I believe this to be so, but not only in the West, it is true throughout the world. The tensions arising from the speed of change occurring globally, the incoming of new and higher energies, the lack of world unity, the commercialisation of life generally and the threat of war, all have a part to play in this phenomenon.
Q. Is it possible to live a creative life without actually developing talents?
A. Everyone is essentially creative because creativity comes from the soul. Whittling a piece of wood is a form of creation even if the end product is not beautiful or useful. Everyday living can be creative. The degree to which that creativity expresses itself depends on the point in evolution – the more evolved the person, the more creative they are. The culture of every country is the result of the creative activity of the disciples in that country.
Q. How is that creativity released in life and in service? Creativity and service go hand in hand but often I personally have found service to be simple work.
A. Through the principle of aspiration. If the aspiration for service is strong enough the work done feels self-done not drudgery.
Q. Does one have to choose between doing service and getting training or can they be done concurrently?
A. They can be done concurrently.
I recently worked at a Share International booth in Los Angeles at the Hispanic Book and Publishing Exposition. A little girl and an elderly woman (perhaps her grandmother) approached the booth looking at the cross of light and other materials. After talking with them for few minutes (they were bi-lingual) but not yet mentioning Maitreya as the Christ, I offered them the photograph of Maitreya’s ‘hand’, telling them that the story about it is printed on the reverse. The girl said she was going to take her first communion next Sunday. I told her that I took my first communion when I was 12 years old. How old was she? She said she was seven. I congratulated her saying that is wonderful. She took Maitreya’s ‘hand’ and said something to me. I couldn’t hear her, so she repeated it. I thought she asked about the price and I told her it was free. She said: “No,” and signalled for me to get closer. I leaned over and she pointed at the hand and said: “This is the hand of Christ”. I was astonished and said: “That is right, very good! How did you know that?” She just pointed at the ‘hand’ as she and the grandmother both smiled at me, turned and left.
Were they Masters? Perhaps the Master Jesus and a disciple of the Master Jesus? If so, this is the first time that I am aware of Jesus saying publicly that Maitreya, not he, is the true Christ. That is a very significant statement for him to make to those like me who have a Christian background.
D.L., Los Angeles, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘little girl’ was the Master Jesus and the ‘elderly woman’ was a disciple of the Master Jesus.)
On 11 May 2013, I was serving as an usher for Michiko Ishikawa’s Osaka lecture. Intermission was over and a little after the Question and Answer session had begun, one of the audience came out of the hall to the lobby and started to talk to a staff member amicably, so I thought that they knew each other. I was sorting out the information papers at the table a little away from them so that people could easily pick what they liked. Then the man approached me to say: “You have shown me something good.” I asked him what he meant by that. Then, he said: “It is the way you work in a matter of fact approach with a smile, I mean.” I said: “This is the least I can do now. So I am doing just that.” After saying: “That is good and I have seen something very good indeed,” he went away. His remarks left me with a strong impression and so I asked the member who had been talking to this man if he was his acquaintance. He said no, and that the man had praised this and the attitudes of the co-workers. I was doing the same work I did every year at the lecture event, but his remarks reaffirmed to me that doing simple jobs with a smile and enthusiasm was as important as any other work.
Was this person someone special?
S.M., Gifu, Japan.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was the Master Jesus.)
On 18 May 2013, after I finished introducing the lecturer Michiko Ishikawa, I took a seat near the side door of the hall. The seats of the front four to five rows were all empty and soon a young man came to sit just in front me. In the dim lighting of the hall I noticed that he looked in his 30s, with dark skin wearing white shirt and black trousers. His shirt was worn out and rather dirty looking. I could not see his face but I thought he was from an Asian country. He had white earphones in his ears and was holding a portable CD player in his hand. I thought it strange that he was wearing his earphones all through the lecture. Then he laid himself down on the row of empty seats and started to make a creaking sound as he moved. People around looked rather annoyed. I was a little worried that he might keep on being noisy.
In the middle of the lecture, suddenly there were shakings of an earthquake, which halted the lecture for a while. I went backstage to see if things were all right. On my way back, as I opened the door to the hall, my eyes caught this man’s eyes. It was only a moment but the beam and the power of his look overwhelmed me. All at once his outer form and existence vanished right away, and only the power and the brilliance of his eyes were impressed deep inside me. The lecture resumed and went on normally as if nothing had happened. He was quieter then.
In the beginning of the Question and Answer session, he was not there, but later he came back to the same seat and listened quite attentively, nodding and murmuring his consent. The way he showed his consent and sympathy did not look like those of a young man, but rather those of an elderly wise man. However, he was still wearing white earphones in his ears. The way he sat looked very proud and rather arrogant stretching out his arms along the backs of some seats.
When I was meditating the next day, I suddenly remembered that the manner he sat quite resembled that of Maitreya when he appeared as a ‘familiar’ at the Japanese Conference six or seven years ago.
Was this person someone special?
M.M., Miyagi-ken, Japan.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya, and that He was distracting the audience and calming them before the coming earthquake.)
I went to hear Michiko Ishikawa’s Osaka Lecture on 11 May 2013. After the video replay of the overshadowing of Maitreya through Mr Creme, I bought Maitreya’s ‘hand’ card to take home. As I was giving thanks and praying, and confessing the agonies of my heart at around midnight, I heard loud footsteps outside the window near my garage. The sound was so heavy that I thought it must be coming from a giant man. I felt no fear and could sense even the air of dignity in them. I felt that the sound of the steps was giving me consolation and courage as I was feeling so depressed then. After the sound stopped, I felt an even stronger sense of gratitude and joy.
Did someone special visit me then?
H.U., Osaka, Japan.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the sound of footsteps was made by the Master Jesus.)
On 10 March 2013, we organized a public showing of Mr Creme’s 2010 Nagoya lecture video at a cinema-theater in Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture, where the Winter Olympic Games were held in 1998. About 35 people came. It was the first time in Matsumoto City that we held such a meeting. I thought it was not bad to have 35 people for the first time. The visitors were given some pamphlets at the entrance and before the video started, some of them had read through what was written. Among them a woman who was saying in a whisper: “This is one of those religious meetings, isn’t it?”
In Japan, since the incident of OM-Shinrikyo Cult Group who used poisonous chemical gas in some of the subways in Tokyo in 1995, people tend to connect anything religious with ‘mind control’ and become very cautious. So if they think the meeting has any religious connotations they tend to avoid attending them.
After the video-lecture, we had a short Q&A session. In the session, I said as follows: “Before the show started, I had heard a participant say: ‘This is a sort of religious meeting, isn’t it?’ To this comment, I would like to say something: one of the Masters in the Hierarchy, who Benjamin Creme was referring to in the lecture, says that people usually think of religion when they hear the word “spiritual”. This is not so. Other than religious fields, for example, political and economical fields can also be ‘spiritual’. But at present politics and economics are far from being spiritual. Everyday thousands of children are dying from starvation in one part of the world, and in the other part, the developed world, people spend more than three quarters of the earth’s resources wastefully. This is not spiritual…. The reason why Maitreya returns to this world is not to create a new religion but to inspire us to bring about justice in this unbalanced world, telling us that the only way to redress this mess we have made is to establish sharing and justice. Thank you for listening.”
After the Q&A session, when we were leaving the meeting hall, a tall handsome youth in his thirties with curly hair approached me, and said to me politely: “Thank you for your explanations.”
I felt it a little strange to receive such an acknowledgment. At that time I thought he was just an ordinary young man but as days advanced, I began to wonder who he was. Was he someone special?
M.K., Nagoya, Japan.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was the Tokyo Master.)
The heart shape in the macaroon was manifested by the Master Jesus.
At the end of May 2013 all the family participated in a ‘macaroon working group’ to learn to cook these pastries. At the end of the baking, when we turned over the macaroons, we had a surprise: a heart print was in the pastry – we could not have made that shape! How was it made?
N.H., Geneva, Switzerland.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the heart shape in the macaroon was manifested by the Master Jesus.)
The Hindu God Ganesha is always depicted with the head of an elephant, complete with large ears and a trunk, as can more easily be seen on the statue. In the case of the aubergine shown here, its dark skin has split open to reveal Ganesha’s head. The shape of Ganesha’s ears and trunk can be seen in the flesh of the vegetable.
A worker for a catering company in Leicester, England, discovered a likeness of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha in an aubergine in May 2013. Praful Visram, owner of 4 Seasons Catering, said one of the company’s employees found the vegetable in a box of other aubergines, and Visram placed it in a homemade temple at his workplace. Visram, his family, and his employees began praying daily to the aubergine. Dozens of people have visited the shrine to see the aubergine and to pray. Visram said: “It is a blessing for us to have this … it is spreading good feeling throughout the community.” Ganesha is worshipped as the ‘Remover of Obstacles’ and the ‘Lord of Beginnings’. (Source: thesun.co.uk, thisisleicesershire.co.uk)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the Ganesha image in the aubergine was manifested by Maitreya.)
A statue of the Madonna in Cebu City, Philippines, has been weeping blood, according to eyewitnesses. Fourteen-year-old Jaythro Rayla saw the family’s Madonna statue crying blood on Good Friday, 29 March 2013. He wiped away the blood but a few days later again saw the blood streaming down the statue’s face. Jaythro told his mother, Jude, who in turn informed the rest of the family about the statue. Word soon spread throughout the community and many people have since come to see the 12-inch-high porcelain statue and to pray. (Source: sunstar.com/ph)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘blood’ was manifested by Maitreya.)
I was watching a documentary about Fidel’s Castro life called Fidel –The Untold History. At Castro’s first speech, after he had defeated Batista’s troops in January 1959, doves were released by someone in the audience. One of the doves flew in the direction of Castro, and landed on him. The others, who also flew in his direction, remained very close to him. Was the dove resting on Castro a sign from Maitreya?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the doves were ‘directed ‘ by the Master Jesus.)
US Senator Mark Kirk has described seeing three angels after suffering a massive stroke in 2012 which caused partial paralysis to his left side. Doctors put him in an induced coma, and he required major brain surgery. During this time he saw three angels standing at the foot of his bed. They invited him to come with them, but he replied: “No, I’ll hold off,” and he woke up in Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, Chicago, USA, attached to monitors and tubes. Although he does not know if the experience was a dream, a side effect of medication or a near-death experience, he says it has deepened his faith and altered his sense of purpose, and his life and outlook is dramatically changed. He says this experience has made him resolve “to never, ever give up”. (Source: dailyherald.com)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that it was an authentic experience. The angels were devas.)
Florida, USA –”UFODI News: Huge Saucer UFO Over Florida US!”, says the website UFODisclosureIreland, posting a video taken on 31 May 2013.
“The UFO that’s very low over the area with no sound or means of levitation and its saucer shape with port lights that are fully visible and it’s ejecting hundreds of odd lights in different colours like a sort of night effectivement,” Tony Grubber states. “We saw these lights one night in Auburndale, Florida when we were fishing…. This footage is spectacular for night time footage, don’t miss this!”
(Source: You Tube: UFODisclosureIreland)
This photograph was taken of my best friend, C.R.D., in Paris at the Gare de Lyon, on 23 June 2012. It appears that there are ‘wings’ behind her. Can you kindly confirm if this is a manifestation from a Master?
S.A.H., Winnipeg, Canada.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘wings’ were manifested by the Master Jesus.)
Mexico – A camera that continually monitors the Popocatepetl volcano near Mexico City shows what appears to be a UFO approaching, slowing down, reversing direction, and entering the smoldering volcano. The video taken by the major television network Televisa was recorded on 30 May 2013. In videos taken by the same camera in October and November 2012, UFOs were seen flying into and near the volcano (see Share International December 2012). (Source: huffingtonpost.com, YouTube: StephenHannardADGUK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms the object was a spacecraft. See further information on Questions page.)
California, USA – A woman taking photographs of a local historical landmark in Santee, California, near San Diego, later discovered an image of a UFO in one of the photos. Ellen Henry was taking pictures of the Edgemoor Barn on 7 May 2013 when she noticed a “speck” on the LCD screen of her camera after taking one of the photos. When she later downloaded the photo onto her computer, she realized that the “speck” on the photo was actually a UFO in the sky above the barn. “It was clear and certainly not a bug,” Henry said. She also reported that her camera stopped working after she took the photos that day. A local television news station, ABC10news, reported on Henry’s story and broadcast her UFO image. (Source: huffingtonpost.com, ABC10news.com, YouTube)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the object was a spacecraft from Mars.)
USA – A group of children recorded UFOs over the USA on 20 May 2013. Says Mrs Rogers: “We were just standing outside when all of a sudden these lights appeared in the sky. I still to this day have no idea what they were. So what are they?”
(Source: YouTube: UFODisclosureIreland)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms the lights were spacecraft from Mars.)
West Harrison, Indiana, USA – Video of a large, bright object rapidly changing colour and moving quickly, was uploaded onto YouTube on 12 May 2013. (Source: YouTube: tuffprep1) (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the colourful object was Maitreya’s ‘star’.)
We present a selection of quotations on the theme of “Creativity and Leisure” The quotations are taken from Maitreya (Messages from Maitreya the Christ and Maitreya’s Teachings – The Laws of Life), Benjamin Creme’s Master (A Master Speaks), and Benjamin Creme’s writings.
The major area of concern in the immediate future will be the problem of leisure: how mankind will utilise the leisure which he will have. A great many people today, because of the world labour situation, have endless leisure. They do not want it, they do not want to be unemployed, but they have leisure. However, they have not been educated, for the most part, to use that leisure correctly. In this coming time, gradually (I am not talking about something that is going to happen overnight, but eventually) mankind will create machines which will do the work which today is done by the bulk of humanity. Mankind will be released into a state of leisure which will give him the opportunity to explore his own inner nature, to know what he really is, the great divine Being he really is, and allow him to manifest that quality. (Benjamin Creme, Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom)
Maitreya in one of His early messages [No.3] said: "Let Me
take you by the hand and take you into a land where no man lacks,
where no two days are alike, where the joy of brotherhood manifests
through all men."
“Where no two days are alike” is, to me, an extraordinary statement. The only people for whom no two days are alike are young children and the rare person who has enough money and leisure to do what he wants to do, in which he can fill his life creatively, moment to moment, so that there is no drudgery. Boredom and drudgery come out of sameness. In unity there is no sameness. It is not about the repetition of like ideas time and again until it gets boring. It is creatively seeing life and, therefore, every aspect, every movement, of that life creatively, newly, moment to moment. When you are in the state of unity that the Master is talking about, that is the state of timeless, creative existence which exists for us all. (Benjamin Creme, The Art of Co-operation)
Each one has a part to play in the complex pattern being woven by
humanity. Each contribution is uniquely valuable and necessary to the
whole. However dim as yet the spark, there is no one in whom the fire
of creativity cannot be lit. The art of living is the art of giving
expression to that creative fire and so revealing the nature of men
as potential Gods.
It is essential that all men share in this experience and learn the art of living. Until now, a truly creative life has been the privilege of the few. In this coming time the untapped creativity of millions will add a new lustre to the achievements of man. Emerging from the darkness of exploitation and fear, in true and correct relationship, each man will find within himself the purpose and the joy of living. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The Art of Living’)
Leisure is doing what you innately want to do, which is to be creative;
it is the opportunity to be creative. People forget that creativity
is not necessarily about art. There is a question: “If you are not
an artist, how do you get a bit of creativity into your life?” It is
not necessarily being an artist as a painter, musician, dancer or actor.
That is only one branch of activity.
You can be creative in every aspect of life, whatever it is. The major scientists are making extraordinary discoveries about the nature of the atom, for example, about the energetic substance of our universe, how it seems to slip through their fingers, and then suddenly there is no matter any more. What has happened to the matter? Those scientists have made a great discovery. That is creativity, the same creativity as painters who make a picture or musicians a tone poem.
Creativity exists in every single son of God. It is a God-given quality. Creative activity is the nature of life lived under the Laws of Life. The art of living is creative living, which entails all aspects of life. (Benjamin Creme, The Art of Living)
Among the many problems with which humanity is faced none
looms larger in men’s minds than that of unemployment. In the
developing world, millions have never known regular work while
even the industrialized nations see, each year, the workless
total inexorably mount. “Man must work or starve,” says the
age-old adage. Yet need this necessarily be so?
Without doubt, the main reason for increasing unemployment is the discovery and application of the new technology. More and more, the robot is replacing man in the more complex manufacturing processes. No man can compare, in speed of operation and repetitive accuracy, with the sophisticated machines now in use. This is as it should be. Many may lament the loss of human skills earned through long apprenticeship and training, but man is born for higher and more worthy efforts. Why should men compete with mere machines?
Man is an evolving god and foolish would it be to place a limitation on his creative possibilities. Naught there is which, with time, he may not do. Why, then, lament the passing of a stage in man’s long journey to perfection which allows him at last the leisure to expand and grow?
Man stands now on the threshold of a new perception of himself, his purpose and the world in which he lives. This new awareness will evoke undreamt-of skills and talents which yet await expression, and allow men to enter the abode of gods.
When man sees himself truly as he is naught will prevent the manifestation of his divine powers. On all sides this glory will be seen, lighting a path to the farthest stars. Until that blessed time man must learn and train himself in leisure. Without leisure man has little chance to grow. Leisure must be seen as the prerequisite for that creative thought and action which will transform all life for men.
In an age of competition the old adage holds. Work alone confers the right to eat. But man is ready to experience a new relationship; a new and caring co-operation beckons him to be his brother’s keeper and to safeguard the right of all to the necessities of life.
More and more, machines will free men to be themselves. Leisure will ensure that each man can reach his full potential, reflective of his stage upon the journey to perfection, adding his gifts for the enrichment of the Whole.
Thus will men see a flowering such as none today can imagine but which one day will show men to each other as the gods they are.
Leisure is the key, and to ensure leisure men must share. Millions starve and countless more grind out their lives in hopeless poverty today. No longer must this sickness be accepted as the norm. No longer can the tensions thus engendered be supported by mankind. Entering a New Age where machines will cater for the needs of all, men must share as brothers and walk together towards the dawn. (A Master Speaks)
The sense of being dominated by time will disappear. We will construct our lives in entirely new ways. People will work more and more at home, for example. They will have altogether more recreation. The energy of millions of people which today is inhibited and contained will be released. A tremendous creativity will flow out from humanity all over the world. Think of the potential in the Developing World: three-quarters of the world’s population but at present contributing a tiny fraction to the creative life of humanity. When they are freed from drudgery, when they can eat and have normal, decent, human lives, you can imagine the outflow of creative power that will be released. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Vol Three)
… for the present you will see Me as a Brother among brothers, One of yourselves. When the Day of Declaration dawns, you will know that that Brother has taught you more than once, has shown you the way to God and released the Teachings of God’s Truth. My friends, the time has come to enlarge that Truth, to show you that to know God is a creative act, to know God is to enter into Deity Itself. Only thus can we know the truth of our existence. In this coming time, that knowledge will be yours. (Maitreya, from Message No.112)
It is obvious that with the growth of unemployment through the technological advance in manufacturing which is taking place even now, there will be more and more need for education for leisure. People will have infinitely more leisure and can avail themselves of the possibilities for exploring the wealth of culture and knowledge which we have available now. People have to become more creative, in the sense that everyone is basically creative, yet only a relatively small number of people have the possibility of expressing and developing their creativity. Leisure is essential for this. Most people are so devitalized by repetitive work processes, by poor conditions, by the sheer deadness and sameness of their activities day by day, that creativity is almost the last thing you could expect. Education for leisure will release in people the possibility for the development of their inner skills, talents and potential in a way which could hardly be envisaged at present. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Vol One)
Leisure is not doing nothing. Leisure is doing what you would
like to do, what rests the body, the mind, the heart, or which
allows you the time to do for yourself something over and above
what you do for the community. Your time today is usually given
to the country in which you live, the community as a whole,
for five days in a week. On Saturday and Sunday most people,
in a developed country, have free time for leisure. Personally
I do not think that is enough. I do not think anyone should
be expected to work with full concentration for more than three
or three-and-a-half days a week, leaving them four or three-and-a-half
days for what I would call leisure.
Leisure might be the most strenuous part of the week. If one is a mountain climber, then it is definitely going to be the hardest thing that one does that week. If one is a long distance runner, again it is going to be tough for three-and-a-half days. If we are engaged in taking a car to pieces and putting it together again, that could be a very hard, concentrated job, but a sheer joy given a certain mentality, with a visual memory for where the parts go back! There are different kinds of leisure and uses of leisure. Time and leisure are not contrasts. One upholds the other. (Benjamin Creme, The Art of Living)
A new pride in ‘Man’ will generate an equal concern for men’s leisure and social activities, and lead gradually to a new understanding of man’s essential needs. New technology will free countless millions from the drudgery of repetitive work; the demand for knowledge in every field will open wide the doors of colleges, factories and farms alike, and a new enthusiasm for learning will manifest throughout the world. Thus will men understand better the underlying purposes of our incarnational experiences and so will grow the needed control of our physical, astral and mental equipment. This will lead men to the door of Initiation and thus to perfectionment. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘Earth transformed’)
Money multiplied by money contributes to the stress of modern
life. Money is not the priority; sufficiency is the priority.
When sufficiency becomes the priority, it orders society in
a different way, creating stability. In this regard, sharing
is both a moral value and a method of implementation.
This will create a more peaceful atmosphere, in which people will not struggle to make millions. They will fulfil their duties, care for their families, and children will be able to evolve. (Maitreya, Maitreya’s Teachings – the Laws of Life)
Leisure, available for the first time to millions, will provide the opportunity, hitherto denied them, for a close involvement in community and national life and organization. When men have the leisure to participate, they will find within themselves the answers to the problems which now beset them: the problems of sectarian hatred and division, of injustice and poverty, crime and war. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The creation of new structures’)
As soon as we create the structures which demonstrate the
true Oneness of humanity, as soon as humanity accepts the teaching,
endorses the advice of Maitreya, and creates sharing, justice
and peace in the world, there will flow from that a harmony
which at the moment is, sadly, totally lacking. It is a harmony
between the outer and inner that creates the conditions in
which time disappears. That harmony, that freedom, is the creative
mind, state of being, and it is to that harmonious state of
mind, of being, that every artist, poet, creative person of
any kind, seeks the path. If there is a block to creativity,
it is because that state of harmony does not exist. There has
to be a period of regeneration, of course, of building up the
fires of creativity again and again; that is a period of inaction.
As an artist, I am very conscious of this flow, this sequence of creative activity followed by a fallow period of inactivity in which you have to go and look and absorb or do something else. Then it builds up, gradually, without thinking about it, into another creative activity. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Vol Three)
There is nothing more simple than God, for behind all things rests that divine principle. When man sees this he will come into his true greatness, and from him then will flow a creative stream. My plan is to show you, step by step, the way to manifest that divine principle and thus lead you to your Source. If men accept Me they shall come into the truth of their Godhead, and in the shining raiment of that Truth shall stand revealed as God. (Maitreya, from Message No.54)
The Art of Living: Living within the Laws of Life, by Benjamin Creme
Book review by Marc Gregory
“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life,” wrote Oscar Wilde. Well, maybe. But the relationship between the two is perhaps more symbiotic and reciprocal than we have imagined up until now. In his 12th book, The Art of Living, Benjamin Creme points out that living correctly is indeed an art, and that life, like the arts, is subject to certain immutable laws.
This volume is in three sections and, like Mr Creme’s other books, offers
a great wealth and depth of information presented in a lucid, highly readable
manner. It thus forms an apt counterpart to its two companion volumes, The Great
Approach and The Art of Co-operation.
In section one, ‘The Art of Living’, the author makes use of the arts of painting and music as points of entry into a discussion of the spiritual meaning and purpose of life on Earth. “An art, whether painting, music or some other art, has to obey certain laws and rules. If you want to be a painter or composer, you have to learn the laws by which the art is formed; the methods too, but more profoundly the laws governing the qualities of art, like proportion, like revelation. The magic of art is stored in the obedience to these laws.” (p.7)
What the artist finally seeks to express in a piece of work is a certain equilibrium, bringing together by intuition a balance of colour, tone, structure and proportion that is not only pleasing but, in the best of examples, a revelatory expression of meaning as well. When one thinks of a late string quartet by Beethoven or a portrait by Rembrandt, one not only recalls a work of great beauty, but a piece of art that retains over successive generations its revelatory power, its on-going ability to move people to a greater sensing and understanding of beauty and meaning in life.
The beauty and harmony expressed in great works of art are demonstrations of qualities inherent in humanity. Yet war, starvation in the midst of plenty, environmental degradation, brutality, despair, injustice of all kinds – the contrast between the real-time existence of these perennial problems and the splendour expressed in great works of art is as stark as it can possibly be. But why?
One can go to school to study painting, music and just about anything else. Yet, Benjamin Creme notes: “We are not taught how to live, the art of living. There is no school where we can go to learn the art of living. It is a spiritual problem because the art of living is tied up with living itself.” (p.10) He goes on to quote a passage from an article, ‘Moving Into Divinity’, written by his Master: “Men must learn their role and innate power in life and take, thus, responsibility for its quality and direction. Unless they do this they will never leave their infancy behind.” (p.11)
The world is sadly enough filled with myriad expressions of man’s infancy, and there are two overarching root causes for these difficulties. The first is that we do not generally know who we are, and so tend to identify ourselves with everything we essentially are not. As Teilhard de Chardin said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”. The distinction is basic, yet apt. We regularly identify ourselves with our beliefs, our political or religious affiliations, our occupations or our standing in society, our significant others, our thoughts and emotions, and so on. But far less often, if at all, do we identify with the fact that we are souls, inherently divine sparks of our Creator, in incarnation.
The second is that we do not know that there is a Divine Plan for the progress and evolution of all life on Earth. Central to this Plan are Great Laws. Again quoting from his Master, Creme writes: “Men will learn and understand the subtle laws which govern their lives: the basic law of life, the Law of Karma, of Cause and Effect, which controls the destiny of all; the related Law of Rebirth, which makes possible the journey of the Soul in matter; the Law of Harmlessness, which governs right relationship, and the great Law of Sacrifice, by which all evolution proceeds.” (p.25)
As we are not aware of these two truths, human behaviour from time immemorial has been coloured primarily by conditioning, reactive responses to what we have been taught, have experienced, have misperceived and have thereby wrongly assumed about the nature of life. “All the wars, the suffering, the inability of humanity to demonstrate itself as souls in incarnation are the result of conditioning. Yet no one need be conditioned. Every single human being is conditioned – by the past, by its parents, by the very nature of its vehicles [personality, mental, astral and physical], which have been created for it by its soul under the Law of Karma.” (p.18)
The oppressive and pervasive conditioning under which man labours is the collective result of our long history of incarnating again and again on Earth. It is also a by-product, in a somewhat oblique way, of the aspiration to something better which is latent in all of humanity. “No one, however faltering in action, is bereft of [the] desire for betterment, however expressed,” writes Benjamin Creme’s Master. “In no one does this longing not exist. How then to account for man’s aberrations, his violence and hate?” (p.73)
The pairs of opposites
This conflict is addressed in the second section of the book, ‘The Pairs of Opposites’. It arises from the fact that man is an immortal soul immersed in matter, “the meeting ground of spirit and matter and the tensions which their concurrence evokes”. (p.73) An innately perfect reflection of God, the soul incarnates repeatedly in matter, which is inherently inert. The friction created when that which is innately divine is immersed in that which is inherently inert, and the manner in which it attempts to deal with the effects of that immersion, is what creates conflict and shapes our reality, individually and collectively, for good or ill. Gradually spiritualising matter over the long course of our incarnational journey is the primary reason for man’s life on Earth. It is our inner, undeniable aspiration to something better or greater that pushes us, in lifetime after lifetime, to continue to refine the matter within ourselves – and thus the matter of the planet itself – and that drives us ever forward on our spiritual journey. “The key is radiation. When we come to a certain point we create a radiatory activity in the matter.… It is the soul spiritualizing matter. In each incarnation from then on we bring into our bodies more and more matter of a subatomic nature.” (p.87)
It follows then that an entirely new kind of education, one that takes into account man’s essential reality (as opposed to the kind of glorified vocational training that characterises most education today) is critically necessary. A kind of education that, above all, stresses the need for harmlessness and imbues us with the knowledge that every one of our thoughts and actions sets in motion an effect for which we are ultimately responsible.
The teachings of Maitreya
Readers of Benjamin Creme’s other books and those familiar with his lectures will know that his central theme is the reappearance in our time of the World Teacher, the Lord Maitreya, and a group of similarly perfected men, the Masters of Wisdom. As the Enlightened One expected by all major religions and a Teacher for all of humanity, His teachings show the way forward, a way in which men can begin to break the bonds of the conditioning which enthrals us.
Three elements central to these teachings are honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit and detachment. Honesty of mind means that there is no discrepancy between what we think, what we say and what we do, that our thoughts, words and actions are consistent and do not conflict. Sincerity of spirit simply means being one’s self. How many of our words and actions are coloured by the fact that we wish to give a good impression, or because we are seeking to curry favour in one way or another? “That is the insincerity in which many people live,” Creme writes. “How many people are really, utterly and entirely themselves?” (p.57) Then, finally, detachment. How concerned are we, or not, with how others see us, with what others think or say about us, whether they like us or not, and so forth. If one is truly detached, then one is likely not conditioned, and will not be subject to, or affected by, the effects of the conditioning of others or the conditioning of the world in general.
These ideas are “simple in essence”, as Creme states, but they nonetheless require effort and discipline to put into practice. They are as well the method par excellence of negotiating one’s way through the pair of opposites, of striking a creative balance between the impulses of the soul and the pull of matter, to which we are all subject. The persistent practice of these principles also helps clear the way for the intuition, a faculty of the soul, to function in a far more unobstructed manner.
Presently, humanity is spiritually fragmented. The functioning of the conscious mind is hindered by impulses, unexamined root assumptions and unresolved conflicts arising from the subconscious, as the result of conditioning or inadequately processed experience. Consequently, the astral, or emotional, sensing body in most people, which should be like the surface of a calm pond to reflect insights from a higher aspect of our consciousness (Buddhi or Soul consciousness) more often resembles the surface of a choppy sea in winter. This condition can be ameliorated by meditation, self-hypnosis and other forms of spiritual practice. As the teachings of Maitreya increasingly take hold in the world, and as contemplative spiritual practices continue to engage more and more people, “eventually the thinking, rational mind, the computer, will drop below the threshold of consciousness [where presently is found the subconscious], and we will intuit immediately and know the answer without thinking about it. We [will] know because we know because we know.” (p.110)
Can you imagine a world where “we know because we know because we know”? A world where we do not parse every decision strategically because we want some desired outcome, no matter what the effect on others or on the planet, a world where we understand that what is truly good is that which is good for all?
Such a world is described by Benjamin Creme in what is for me one of the book’s most moving passages. “We are all seeking balance, we are all seeking unity, equilibrium, however we define it. It is that which allows us to be creative and happy…. We do not have words for what we will see and know. We do not have words for the quality of that civilisation. Nor for the feeling, the experience, of that relationship when all people see and experience themselves as brothers and sisters of one home, one planet. That will take people back to the experience of childhood. Home was home. Your brothers and sisters were the staff that kept you on the right track. So it will be.” (p.29)
And so it is that the teachings of Maitreya, which are so profound and far-reaching in import, will step by step completely transform the consciousness of mankind.
The final section of the book, ‘Illusion’, gives another dimension to the information put forth in the first two sections. In what may come as a startling revelation to some readers, Benjamin Creme discloses that illusion is actually a phenomenon to which the soul is subject. It has to do with the quality and, again, the conditioning of the vehicles – mental, astral and physical – that the personality provides the soul in any given life. “We provide access for the soul, and if we do not have the apparatus, the soul cannot see…. We see the world and we take into our minds all the ideas, thoughtforms, ideologies and points of view and try to make some sense out of them. We attach ourselves to these ideologies if they are attractive to us ... and in this way fill our minds with illusion. We make it impossible for the soul to see clearly, truthfully, without hindrance, what the world is really like.” (p.132)
This introduces a paradox that all must eventually confront. How can the soul foster the exercise of intuition in the personality if the personality, through the mental apparatus, has presented the soul with a pre-conceived, contrived, or illusory view of the world? As with conditioning, the effects of our tightly-held illusions lead to a great deal of unnecessary disharmony in the world.
But, Creme states, “It is not that illusion is existing and cannot be ended. It is changed. You exchange illusion for intuition. Intuition when used sweeps the board clean. It is like a brush getting rid of cobwebs. All that prevents the experience of reality is clarified and swept aside, and you know. When you know from the intuition, there is no room for any illusion. It does not arise.” (p.154-155). Means of facilitating the development of intuition are the principles of honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit, and detachment, spiritual practice such as meditation (especially Transmission Meditation) and service to others, altruistically undertaken.
Sword of Cleavage
A powerful force on a planetary level that also serves to dispel glamour (illusion of an emotional nature), conditioning and illusion was spoken of by Jesus in an often-misunderstood Biblical passage: “I come not to bring peace but a sword. I will set men against men, sons against fathers, brother against brother.” The “sword” is the Sword of Cleavage, which is a symbolic representation of the energy of love. It is “wielded”, or released into the world, with tremendous potency by Maitreya. “The energy itself is impersonal, it is neither good nor bad” – it stimulates everyone equally – “the good, the bad, the altruistic, the selfish, the greedy, the unselfish, and so on.” (p.101) The effect of the inflow of this energy is that it brings everything to light and renders the reality of life on Earth with stark, irrefutable clarity. Mankind is thus compelled to witness the effects of his behaviour, and, without being blinded by the fog of illusion, will be called upon to make a critical decision about his future – to share the resources of the world equitably, to live in peace, brotherhood and true justice, or, in the words of Maitreya, to “perish utterly”. He is certain we will make the correct choice.
The Art of Living points up the possibility of a totally new kind of livingness, a new kind of vibrancy in our approach to life where we can begin to seize upon the creative potential of every day. It also by implication might leave us a little hint about what it’s like to be a Master; to be so enlightened, purposeful, capable, graceful, and refined that one’s moment-to-moment existence is like a tremendous work of art. For the rest of us, the journey is on-going, the necessary discipline arduous at times but ultimately unavoidable and worthwhile. It is the process by which we evolve. And so, by virtue of the fact of our existence on this planet, we are, each in his or her own way, great artisans in the making.
There are many other passages and insights in this book to be savoured. As a painter himself of great and lasting distinction, Creme’s description of the artistic process is a delight: “Every painter or composer looks for harmony…. He works until he has a sense that it is complete. How does he know when it is complete?…. He has to come to a decision of when to stop. Something is driving him towards recognizing that moment of decision. It arrives when all the facets of the art are obeying the laws under which the art lives and expresses itself, and does so in a living, vibrating way.” (p.14)
And lastly, it is difficult indeed to imagine a 200-page book so rich and deep in meaning. Benjamin Creme’s ability to explain complicated ideas, to clarify and elucidate profound concepts with absolute precision, without diluting their essence, is a hallmark of all of his writings. For those interested in understanding some of the subtlest aspects of the meaning of life on our planet, this brief volume cannot be recommended highly enough.
Interview with Ken Nedimyer
by Jason Francis
The Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) is a nonprofit conservation group based in Key Largo, Florida, that develops offshore coral nurseries and reef restoration programs for critically endangered coral reefs at local, national and international levels. Tens of thousands of corals are grown and maintained in multiple offshore nurseries. With the help of students, volunteers, scientists, dive operators, public aquariums, and community groups, thousands of corals grown in CRF’s nurseries have been replanted on degraded coral reefs. Ken Nedimyer, a commercial fisherman and tropical fish collector, formed CRF in 2007. Jason Francis interviewed Nedimyer for Share International.
Share International: What is coral and why are coral reefs called the ‘rainforests of the sea’?
Ken Nedimyer: Coral is an animal, but it is more than that. A coral colony is a bunch of polyps, which are the animal, but inside the coral are symbiotic algae that provide most of their food, as well as a bacterial community. The algae and bacteria work together to keep a coral alive.
Coral reefs are called the ‘rainforests of the sea’ because of their extremely rich biological diversity. They cover less than one per cent of the ocean’s surface area, but are home to about 25 per cent of the ocean’s species. Coral reefs are also like rainforests because they are in danger from human impacts and are being over-exploited and encroached upon.
SI: What is causing coral reefs in the Caribbean to diminish?
KN: Decades of over-fishing have had a huge impact on some of the reefs. Near-shore or land-based pollution, including sewage and runoff from agriculture, have also impacted them. (Only 20 per cent of Caribbean countries have adequate sewage treatment and the rest have inadequate or no sewage treatment at all.) Construction along rivers and shorelines has caused erosion, which produces silt that buries the reefs. Coral reefs cannot handle silt well. And in the Caribbean there was a region-wide die-off, a mass extinction, of an important herbivorous sea urchin in 1983, which had a major impact. It disrupted the reproduction and life cycles of coral and fish.
Coral bleaching has occurred during the past 20 to 25 years, which has led to widespread disease and coral loss in the region. I mentioned that coral is primarily an animal, but it has a symbiotic algae living inside it. The algae give coral its color. If it didn’t have the algae, the coral would be white. Deep-water corals tend to be white because they don’t have algae. There are different strains of algae and some will cause the coral to look pink, purple or blue, but in the Caribbean most are brown.
When the corals are stressed from heat or cold, but primarily from extended periods of hot water, they expel the algae. When they do that they turn white. They don’t necessarily die right away, but they have kicked out their main source of food. So they tend to become more and more stressed and stay bleached. Corals can recover from the bleaching, and they do, but it weakens them and they are susceptible to infection, diseases and all kinds of secondary effects once they have bleached. Bleaching and disease are also impacting areas outside the Caribbean. All of these factors are impacting populated areas around the world. Since the entire Caribbean basin is fairly well-populated, and a closed basin in some respects, it is particularly vulnerable.
SI: Does the hot water have anything to do with global warming?
KN: The changing climate has played a part in it. Most of the extreme bleaching events have been associated with El Niño in the South Pacific, which is basically a wind direction shift. It disrupts global temperatures and wind patterns. Every time we have had a major bleaching it’s been because of a strong El Niño. An already rising global temperature has intensified the severity of those events. Instead of an El Niño event causing the temperature to get warm but not too warm for a coral, the temperature is exceeding that threshold more often than in the past. In recent history the El Niño events have caused more bleaching than they previously did….
Restoring the reefs
SI: How is the Coral Restoration Foundation rejuvenating the coral reefs of the Caribbean?
KN: We identified the two key species in the Caribbean in the genus acropora – the staghorn and elkhorn coral. Previously, up until the early- or mid-1980s they made up the majority of the coral cover throughout the Caribbean. They were the reef-building, the pioneering coral on the reef. Starting in the early 1980s they started to die from disease and bleaching. Sometimes they were hit by hurricanes, and their reproduction was also disrupted by the loss of the sea urchin. Those corals have declined region-wide by as much as 98 per cent, by some estimates.
We are trying to identify what populations are remaining. The first step is finding those populations and the second step is protecting whatever genetic diversity is left. If we find an island of coral with genetic strains of one or the other coral, we try to save as many as we can by putting them in a nursery. When we replant them, we try to re-establish that genetic diversity. Preserving genetic diversity is the beginning of restoration, and replanting those key species is the end product. It all revolves around an offshore nursery program.
SI: How does a coral nursery get started?
KN: It involves identifying where the corals are, what the problems are, and finding a suitable nursery. Then we have to get permits from the country or management agency to collect some of the coral. In the case of the staghorn and elkhorn coral, they are branching coral. It is usually fairly easy to find broken branches lying on the ground. We take those branches to an offshore nursery, which is usually 20 to 30 feet of water and somewhat protected. Then we cut them into smaller pieces and hang them from one of the ‘trees’ we have developed. There are other nursery techniques, but basically it involves bringing the branching corals back and cutting them into smaller pieces. Small means from 5 to 10 centimeters up to 50 to 100 centimeters. They grow really fast. After about six months we take cuttings of new growth from those corals and do the same thing. We do that through two or three successive generations until we have a third generation of coral ready to take out to the reef.
We started a nursery in Netherlands Bonaire, a little island in the southern Caribbean, in April 2012. We also started one in Columbia and several in the Florida Keys….
See Share International magazine (July / August 2013) for the full interview.
For more information: www.coralrestoration.org
The rebellious diplomat (1917-2013)
by Jeannette Schneider
Stéphane Hessel, the grand old man of ‘the call for social outrage’ died on 23 February 2013 at the age of 95. His pamphlet Indignez-vous! (the English title is: “Time for Outrage”) was published in 2010 and originally aimed at the French, especially the youth. To his delight and surprise, within a short time, 2 million copies were sold in his own country. By now 4.5 million copies have been sold in 35 countries. In Spain ‘Los Indignados’ took their name from the title of Hessel’s book, and the Occupy movement was inspired by it. Later Hessel published an additional three books all about the need for social and political change.
Why did his voice resonate so widely? First of all, as he himself stated, it had much to do with his long life and experience. But there is more: the simplicity of his words, their spontaneity, the straightforward way he spoke and above all, the fact he had touched a sore spot – we all know that many things are very wrong today. We are fortunate that someone of his calibre dared to speak out in clear language about what is wrong with our society.
Hessel had the authority to make us listen. Born in Berlin, he moved with his family to Paris in 1924 (he became a naturalised French citizen in 1939). After studying philosophy he served in the French army during the Second World War; he was captured in 1941, fled to England, returned in 1944 and joined the French Resistance, was caught and transported to Buchenwald where he awaited execution. He was wily enough to be able to seize an opportunity to escape and in so doing, escaped death. He worked under another name in German factories, escaped again, was captured and finally succeeded in fleeing to the Allies. In 1946 he entered diplomatic service for the French government; and in New York, from 1946 to 1949 he was a member of the Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations, helping to produce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He later represented France in various diplomatic and political functions, remaining true to his old ideals.
There, in a nutshell, we see the spirit of Stéphane Hessel: a diplomat unable to bear injustice and not afraid to express his opinions. His formidable career adds extra weight to his words. Despite experiencing danger and disaster, he was able to maintain his balance.
Although Hessel centres his argument in Indignez-vous! on France, most of it is applicable to the rest of the world. His universality explains the enormous success of his writings. He admits that even though he is optimistic by nature, he sometimes feels sad that his fight after the Second World War for the nationalisation of industries, the state control of public utilities and human rights has been neglected in recent years.
As point of departure for expanding on his views, Hessel cites the Programme of Le Conseil National de la Résistance from 1944, meant to be the foundation for a free democracy in France once the war was over. To summarise: social security and a pension for everybody and the nationalisation of electricity and gas, coal mines, insurance companies and banks; the restitution to the people of the big monopolised means of production, the result of collective labour. The collective should take precedence over the private: the just sharing of the world’s riches worked for by the people, needed to be placed above the power of finance. However, in 2013, we see an ever-growing gap between rich and poor. Another stated goal of the 1944 Programme: a real democracy needs a free press independent of the State and of the power of money or exterior influences. Hessel comments that the independence of the media is in danger these days. The Resistance demanded education for all French children, without exception or discrimination. In 2008 the measures taken by the French government undermine this ideal.
Throughout his life he stood firm for these principles but it is now, in our times, that he thought it was time to raise his voice about what he saw happening: the gradual destruction of all he stood and had fought for. National governments for instance, say they can no longer afford such social security programmes. It is obvious that this is not the case. Since 1945, when Europe lay in ruins, enormous amounts of wealth have been generated. But now it is the power of the financial world which prevails – described by Hessel as “the unbearable dominance of market forces”. The privatised banks are currently awarding their top managers and shareholders excessively large dividends and salaries without any concern for the collective good.
The basis of the French Resistance was active outrage. Hessel calls on the young in particular to take inspiration from the veterans of the wartime Resistance. He admits that then it was easier than today to act in unison because the issues were more easily defined: the Nazi occupation and, a decade later, the struggle for decolonisation. To Hessel the modern world is far more complex now since the planet itself is in danger, something no one could have imagined some 70 years ago. This is all the more reason to be both outraged and committed….
See Share International magazine (July / August 2013) for the full article.
Interview with Jason Taylor
by Niels Bos
Jason Taylor is the filmmaker and photographer of the Source Project, a self-funded multimedia venture that documents the methods, stories, and work of progressive farmers in India. He works primarily on agriculture-related issues and is based in Asia.
In his work he focuses on the everyday lives of Indian farmers and captures their environments, as well as their ideas and visions on agriculture by means of vivid photographs and video footage. Niels Bos interviewed Jason Taylor for Share International….
Share International: A few years ago, you set up the Source Project. What motivated you to do so?
Jason Taylor: I once did a project with UNDP [The United Nations Development Programme] in Sri Lanka. All of a sudden they took a shine to me and asked me to do a film on food and the future of food. In the film I wanted to pose the question: is food a human right? But when I proposed it they said they would have to come back to me on that. I was just shocked that the notion of food being an absolute human right in the world that we live in today had to be questioned, or that it had to be cleared by higher levels of the organisation. Enormous amounts of money were spent by people in air-conditioned offices making and promoting these films but they ended up doing nothing for the people living in the rural areas of Orissa, India. I’ve also interviewed and had discussions with many academics and economists working in development but I feel they do not understand what is truly going on. Fundamentally, I am an activist. So almost three years ago, I decided to remove myself from the international development sector and start communicating some of the many stories in a way that represented the voice of the people most affected by these development policies.
SI: Could you describe the aims of the Source Project?
JT: Most of the activism that I am interested in is environmental and to an extent social as well. Food seems to encompass everything. It is about the corporate control of our food system, the wastage of food, the erosion of soil and natural resources, as well as the control of natural resources. And it’s also about farmers’ right to exist and provide safe and nutritious food. It is really a huge umbrella, and food is at the centre of it.
Jason Taylor believes that the farmers, the real farmers of the world, are the source of all knowledge – knowledge of seeds, knowledge of soil, knowledge of the seasons, knowledge of our interdependence and reverence for other species, knowledge of the cyclical loop in which all comes from and returns to the earth. “It is their knowledge that I want to show to the majority of people who have become absolutely disconnected from the source of our food.”
He refers to the knowledge of people like Bhaskar Save, who he calls possibly India’s most famous Gandhian organic farmer. “Bhaskar Save once made a simple experiment. He took a pot, weighed some soil, put the soil in the pot and added a seed. A month or so later he removed a gourd weighing a few kilos. He then removed the plant and reweighed the soil. It was the same as when he had planted the seed. With absolutely no inputs, nature and her elements were able to provide food from nothing – healthy, nourishing, and free food.”
Seeing this experiment Taylor raised the question: How is it possible that we have moved from a free system that enhances our environment to a costly system that destroys our environment? Natabar Sarangi, the main subject in one of the Source Project films called Natabar the Seed Farmer, believes that the answer is in the vast profits and uncontrolled markets. Before the Green Revolution, Sarangi pointed out, “a farmer was able to make around 50,000 Rupees (Rs) per hectare on an average; now even the commercial farmer can make, at best, Rs.15,000 a hectare”. This 70 per cent loss to the farmer, he argued, is now being diverted as profit to the large foreign corporations that, over the years, have been able successfully to enter and control the agricultural markets. From farmers like Natabar Sarangi, Taylor learned that India was once “the mother of rice”, with over 110,000 varieties of rice.
SI: What were the differences between all these varieties of rice?
JT: There were varieties of rice that were perfectly adapted to different soil and weather conditions, from drought-tolerant, saline-tolerant, and even flood-tolerant, and rice that grew in over 10 feet of water, to varieties that could be used to counter our changing climate. Since the advent of the Green Revolution, India has lost over 90 per cent of these varieties, leaving the majority of the farmers solely dependent on the government-supplied company seed. It is as Henry Kissinger has said: “Control oil and you control nations, control food and you control the people.” Now, after 50 years of so-called agricultural development, we have lost seed diversity and bio-diversity, the farmers becoming poorer, soils being destroyed and nutritional value of the food decreasing. The only thing that has gone up is the profit for the transnational corporations. What a wonderful model of development we have created!....
See Share International magazine (July / August 2013) for the full interview.
For more information: www.thesourcefilm.org
Demonstrations against genetically modified (GM) crop plants and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto were held in 436 cities in 52 countries on 25 May 2013. Protestors in Los Angeles waved placards, which read “Real Food 4 Real People” and “Label GMOs, It’s Our Right to Know.” A few months ago, American mother of two young children, Tami Canal of Utah, organised a global movement against the huge company. She was fed up with the fact that she had to spend a “small fortune,” in order to feed her family things she says that “aren’t poisonous”. Her concerns over public health, adverse affects on the environment, and political corruption motivated her to organise what started as one mother’s call to action on a Facebook page. “Not only are they threatening our children and ourselves as well, but also the environment,” Canal says. “The declining bee population has been linked to the pesticides that they use, and that’s just the start. I’ve been reading studies recently that butterflies are starting to disappear, and birds, it’s only a matter of time, it’s pretty much a domino effect.”
Protestors in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina carried slogans and placards demanding Monsanto take their products out of Latin America, where Monsanto’s genetically modified soy and grains now command nearly 100 per cent of the market, and the company’s Roundup-Ready chemicals are sprayed throughout the year on fields where cows once grazed.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents Monsanto, DuPont & Co and other makers of GM seeds, have successfully lobbied the US Senate, which overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would require mandatory labelling of GM foods, but state legislatures in Vermont and Connecticut are debating their decision to make food companies declare GM ingredients on their packages. Whole Foods Markets has said that by 2018 all GM products in its North American stores would be fully labelled as such.
(Sources: The Associated Press; USA Today; www.alternet.org)
Brazil’s indigenous people’s fate is at stake. After a group of indigenous protestors reoccupied the Belo Monte Dam, a court in Altamira ordered them to leave or face being physically removed by police. They responded by tearing up the order, refusing to leave, and demanding that President Dilma’s chief of staff Gilberto Carvalho, come to meet them.
Their letter to the Brazilian government (Letter No.8, 29 May 2013) read:
“The massacre has been announced and only the government can avoid this fate. We have occupied the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam. We are defending our lands. These ancient lands have always been ours and you have already taken a part of them. And now you are trying to take more. We will not leave…. The government needs to come here and hear us. You already know our agenda. We demand the suspension of all works and studies of dams on our lands. We demand the removal of the National Force from our lands. The lands are ours. You have wasted enough of our lands. You want us to be tame and quiet, obeying your civilization without question. But in this case, we know you would rather see us dead because we are making noise.”
Responding to this letter Gilberto Carvalho and the Brazilian Government held a meeting on 4 June 2013 with 141 indigenous representatives from the Mundurukú, Xikrin, Arara and Xipaya ethnic groups.
After the meeting the group sent a further letter communicating their collective decision: “Our understanding is that we are masters of our destiny and we want what is written in the Constitution of 1988 to be respected, guaranteeing indigenous social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, the right as the country’s original peoples over our lands and the right not to be removed from our territories, as well as adherence to other laws that protect us. Therefore we request an official statement from the Brazilian government to declare whether or not our final decision will be respected, in a binding and autonomous manner, regarding the proposed consultation process.” (Source: AmazonWatch.org)
Members of the Achuar indigenous people in the northern Peruvian Amazon have also been demonstrating to protect their land from Peru’s state oil company Petroperu, who plan to enter their territory and exploit an estimated 42 million barrels of light oil. A protest took place on 9 May 2013 in Wisum, near the Ecuadorean border, 12 days after Petroperu took over operations from Canadian company Talisman, who withdrew from the area (‘Lot 64’) in September 2012 after local opposition. The recent protest is embarrassing for Petroperu as its acquisition of ‘Lot 64’ constitutes a return to operations in the area, after a break of 17 years.
The protest was held on Wisum’s landing strip and involved men, women and children from more than 20 Achuar communities. Some held signs reading, ‘We reject Petroperu’ and ‘No Petroperu: No to the sale of our Achuar territory’. A statement from the Peruvian Federation of Achuar Nationalities (FENAP) read: “Petroperu should not operate in Lot 64. As the owners of our territory, we are opposed to oil activities. We are informing the Peruvian state that the position of the Achuar people in the Pastaza region has not changed since the creation, without consultation, of Lot 64 in 1995. We will continue actively resisting any kind of oil operation on our ancestral territory which covers the large majority of the concession.”
Another Achuar organisation, Achuarti Iruntramo (ATI), issued a statement ending with the words: “We will make it impossible for Petroperu to enter.” FENAP’s president, Peas Peas Ayui said: “We’re not going to let any company enter. We are the owners. We are the original inhabitants. We want to live in peace. We have the right to stand up for ourselves and if Petroperu tries to enter we will fight very hard against it.” (Source: The Guardian, UK)
On 8 June 2013 around 45,000 people gathered in London’s Hyde Park calling for an end to hunger, organised by the campaign ‘Enough Food For Everyone If.’ A stunning display of 250,000 handmade spinning flowers in pink, blue, white and yellow were arranged in the park to show how many children die every year from malnutrition. The rally, made up of a coalition of over 150 charities and faith groups and held 10 days before UK Prime Minister David Cameron headed the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, called on world leaders to tackle the causes of hunger.
Bill Gates praised the UK for “leading the way” on tackling hunger. He said: “The UK is keeping its promise to the world’s poor, largely because all of you remind your leaders regularly, and loudly, that this stuff matters. Now is our chance to make a significant difference.” Film director Danny Boyle (who designed the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games) insisted that ending world hunger would be “the greatest gold medal Britain could win in 2013”. He called on world leaders to “fight and fight and fight” to stop people dying through lack of food…. “It completely horrifies me, when I think about that wonderful procession of optimistic, enthusiastic athletes with their flags of their countries – that in the countries represented by those flags more than three million children die of hunger every year. Anyone who says that we can’t crack the hunger crisis is wrong. This is my dream – it’s a passionate dream – that in Olympics to come there will be no one dying of hunger in any of the countries whose wonderful flags wave in the wind. And it is a fight that will be won.”
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams led a minute’s silence “to reflect on the pain” of death by malnutrition. He said: “Thinking about these unnecessary deaths, there should also be righteous anger. Fury that the injustice of hunger has gone on too long. And so at the end of our silence, we must make a huge noise, to signify that we will never be silent on the things that matter.”
Around 3,500 people from all over the UK attended the ecumenical service at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster before the Hyde Park rally.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said: “That millions go hungry every day is a responsibility we all must share. These are our brothers and sisters and their suffering is also ours. There can be no excuse that in a world of plenty so many go without. We have gathered today to show our solidarity with those millions who are made to have less because the food system is skewed in favour of those with both financial and political power. There is little justice in a world where the few are allowed to hoard spoils earned on the backs of the many. And a world where human flourishing, the opportunity to reach our full potential, is the preserve of some and not others is a place that has failed to put people at the heart of politics and business…. (Source: The Guardian, BBC; enoughfoodif.org) (See further information about the If campaign in Share International, March and June 2013.)
Malnutrition needlessly killing millions of children
Research published in the UK’s Lancet medical journal in June 2013 reports that malnutrition is responsible for 45 per cent of the global deaths of children under the age of five, which means 3.1 million children are dying every year simply from poor nutrition.
An international team reviewed the different causes of malnutrition in pregnancy and childhood and emphasised that the first 1,000 days of life (up to two years of age) have lasting consequences on a child’s health.
Professor Robert Black, of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, US, has led a team of researchers since 2008, reviewing evidence on maternal and child under-nutrition and obesity in low-income and middle-income countries and assessing national and international progress on nutrition programmes. An estimated 900,000 lives could be saved in 34 countries if 10 proven nutritional interventions were scaled-up to 90 per cent of the world, they say…. (Source: BBC, UK)