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|The Externalization of the Hierarchy - Section II - The General World Picture|
|The Cause of the Present Crisis
It is well known to you that the great Law of Rebirth is the controlling and major law in all the processes of manifestation. It governs the exoteric expression of a solar Logos or of a human being, and the object of this constantly recurring process is to bring an increasingly perfect form to the expanding service of the soul. For the first time since its inception, the human family is in a position to note for itself the processes of the rebirth of a civilization as an expression of spiritual culture at a particular point in evolution. Hence the magnitude of this crisis as it assumes its place in the human consciousness. Many lesser crises, initiating specific tribal, national and racial experiments in the renewal of form have gone on and have been registered by some group within a nation or by a nation itself (if advanced enough). Such a national registration took place for the first time in connection with the French Revolution. Such registrations of evolutionary intent have taken place with increasing clarity and understanding during the past two hundred years. Such crises have taken place in practically every nation in modern times and have been recognized to some degree, and upon them historians have enlarged and philosophers speculated. But the crisis today is far vaster, embracing as it does the majority of nations in both hemispheres. No nation remains at this time unaffected and the results are and must be registered in some aspect of the national life.
Owing to the factual interrelation between nations everywhere and to the rapidity of inter-communication, the present crisis is the first major international crisis in human affairs and covers a period of twenty-eight years (from 1914 till 1942). These are interesting numbers, for 28 is 4 x 7, which are the years of a complete personality cycle. I do not wish you to infer from the above that the period of active combat and conflict must necessarily be prolonged until 1942. Such is not the case. The early termination of the conflict or its indefinite extension lies in the keeping of  humanity itself; men must increasingly determine their own fate as they emerge from the stage of adolescence into that of maturity, responsibility and achievement. This period of twenty-eight years is, however, of paramount importance and upon the next three years much depends.
Again I tell you that even the Hierarchy itself, with all its knowledge, vision and understanding and with all its resources, cannot coerce and cannot forecast what mankind will do. It can and does stimulate to right action; it can and does indicate possibility and responsibility; it can and does send out its teachers and disciples to educate and lead the race; but at no point and in no situation does it command or assume control. It can and does bring good out of evil, illuminating situations and indicating the solution of a problem, but further than this the Hierarchy cannot go. If it assumed authoritative control, a race of automatons would be developed and not a race of responsible, self-directed, aspiring men. This must surely be apparent to you and may serve to answer the question which is uppermost in the minds of the unthinking, occult students today: Why could not the Hierarchy have prevented this catastrophe? Unquestionably the Masters of the Wisdom with Their knowledge and Their command of forces could have interfered, but in so doing They would have broken an occult law and hindered the true development of mankind. This They will never do. At all costs, man must learn to stand and act alone. Instead, having done all that was permissible, They now stand beside suffering and bewildered humanity and - with the deepest compassion and love - will help men to right the wrongs they have initiated, to learn the needed lessons and to come through this crisis (which they have themselves precipitated) enriched thereby, and purified in the fires of adversity. These are not platitudes but eternal truths.
This world crisis, with all its horror and suffering, is - in the last analysis - the result of successful evolutionary processes. We are ready to recognize that when a man's life cycle has been run and he has learnt the lessons which the  experience of any particular life has been intended to teach, his physical body and the inner form aspects (making the sum total of his personality expression) will begin to deteriorate; destructive agencies within the form itself will become active and eventually death will take place, resulting in the liberation of the indwelling life in order that a new and better form may be built. This, we perforce accept either blindly or intelligently, regarding it as a natural and unavoidable process, but normal and inevitable. We are apt, however, to forget that what is true of the individual is true of humanity. Cycles of civilization such as that we call our modern civilization are analogous to a particular, individual, human incarnation with its inception, its progress and growth, its useful maturity and its ensuing deterioration and subsequent death or the passing away of the form.
Forms are ever open to attack. A strong subjective life and spiritual detachment are the two safeguards. Where the form is more potent than the life, danger is imminent; where attachment to the material aspect or organization is present, spiritual values are lost.
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