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The Golden Age

Monday April 18 2005 09:09 IST

By Karmayogi

Old is gold is a universal phenomenon. It is essentially true, but not entirely true. No drop of the essence of the past is to be given up. It is gold. Any idea, however great, is given to the people in the form suited to the times. And times change. With the changing times, the forms, the external forms become outmoded and become obstacles.

They are called anachronisms. Running water keeps itself clean by its running. Stagnant water becomes impure. Our veneration of the past must not blind us to the fact of changing times. Avatars come from time to time to cast the old Truths into new forms.

Revolutions rise in society when Man refuses to change according to the changing times. The physical man can be hard, rigid, inflexible and obstinately hold on to the obsolete physical forms.

Natural calamities arise to break those rigidities. Malthus warned the world two hundred years ago that the world would perish from over-population. It was prophetic and was true. At least from the beginnings of the 20th Century, Malthus was taken seriously in thought. In the post-war period, population was haunting the thought of the world.

There was a great mind in France in the 19th century. He was a noble man claiming descent from the Emperor Charlemagne. He was a genius of his time. He was not rich, but because of his exalted status and extraordinary mental capacity, he lived a fabulous life. He was Henri de Saint-Simon.

He was a contemporary of sorts to Malthus. He said that the dread of growing population was true, but as the knowledge of the world too was growing, it would be able to manage any problem that arose. It requires a genius to envision that. It implies that the solution to any problem is embedded within it.

His friends had absolute confidence in him. He had a large following during his days and a larger following after his death. His fortunes varied, but he never varied. One diplomat put a very large sum of money and his entire property at his disposal for a long time for him to do with as he chose.

That was the confidence he evoked in people. It was he who said that the golden age lies in the future, not in the past. Saint-Simon adored science. There was no field of life where he did not give serious thought and made valid pronouncements. The famous dictum of the Communist Manifesto later enshrined in Article 12 of the USSR constitution, Each according to his ability and each according to his work, was taken by Karl Marx from Simon.

The Suez Canal was originally conceived by him and his followers created all the documents connected with it and gave them to Ferdinand de Lesseps. It is true the golden age is in the future. Much of his prophecy has come true in our age. The material part is already there.

The psychological part is yet to come. For that, Man has to carry the essence of the PAST into the evolutionary emergence of the future, giving up the encrusted external forms of the old age.

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