The Path of Safety
Let us examine the next statement which has created difficulty for some “In the rule of the majority lies the path of safety.”
It is interesting that Thomas Jefferson said something very close to this.
“If we are faithful to our country, if we acquiesce, with good will, in the decisions of the majority, and the nation moves in mass in the same direction, although it may not be that which every individual thinks best, WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM ANY QUARTER.” –Thomas Jefferson to Virginia Baptists, 1808. ME 16:321
The reasoning behind this should be obvious. Even though some minority decisions may be better than the majority, many minority decisions are very dangerous and can lead to tyranny. As pointed out, Hitler was placed in power with a minority vote.
All decisions governing a group have to be supported by a majority or minority. There are only these two choices. If we look at those seeking power in the world we may ask who is in these two camps.
First we have the majority (in 2002) who support equal rights, economic opportunity, a balanced budget, reasonable laws, protection of children, free speech, the right to vote and many other common sense “safe” directions.
What does the minority believe or want?
All kinds of dangerous things.
Some want to take away property rights, some want a communist government, some want rights taken away from minorities, some do not want you to have free political speech, some even want a return to slavery, some want a dictatorship with their pick of the dictator, etc.
A few in the minority want admirable things but an alarming number of them have desires that would destroy our way of life or the progress we have made.
So we have two choices. Decisions reflecting the will of a minority or of the majority.
There’s a third choice you say? The will of an enlightened minority.
The trouble with this thinking is that each minority think they are enlightened and even if they have a good idea they would have to enforce it against the will of the majority either by force or deceit. This type of means is more destructive than the good end they may seek.
Some have read this statement of safety in the majority and have inferred that it is referring to some kind of direct democracy, but this is not the case. If one studies the rest of Chapter 13 in The Lost Key of the Buddha he will see no reference to direct democracy. Instead he will find a discussion of the use of the will of the majority as an explanation of this statement..
The quintessential meaning was represented in this statement: John replied, “The disciple is not to roll over, (when change seems difficult) but if he wishes to make positive change he must examine the will of the majority and work with it, not against it.”
In other words, the path of safety for the one who works for progress is to discern the will of the majority and work with it.
How does he work with it?
Every salesman is taught this principle. The company may have a product of fairly high cost that the majority would never buy if it was just put on a shelf in the stores. On the other hand, the company feels that the majority would want the product if they understood all its benefits and advantages. So what do they do to overcome the inertia of the people?
The management sits down and comes up with a sales presentation. In doing so they list all the benefits that the average person would approve of and all the negatives of which the majority disapprove.
The first part of the sales presentation demonstrates all the benefits and the second part covers the objections. If the salesman then has convincing benefits and can neutralize objections he can wind up selling the consumer a $1000 vacuum cleaner when the customer was only considering spending $150.
Every family needs a good vacuum cleaner, but if the product was more specialized, like a telescope, the salesman would not be able to sell that to the majority no matter how good the quality and price.
The point of the book is that the disciple must become a good salesman if he wants to make change. If he wants to change the whole country or group he must discern where the will of the people is and work with it by presenting ideas that appeal to the majority. For instance, everyone wants lower taxes (or no taxes if possible) but just does not think the country can afford them. This compares to the guy who wants the $1000 vacuum cleaner, but doesn’t think he can afford it. In both cases the product is desirable to the majority, but they need to be sold on a plan that makes the dream possible.
On the other hand, if he has an idea or product that does not appeal to the majority (like the telescope) then it is impossible to sell it to the average person. The product may be good and useful to some, but not all. Thus the disciple must also recognize his limitations and work with them.
For instance, the book pointed out that in the days of Jesus the freeing of the slaves was a good idea, (like the telescope example) but the majority were so against it that any attempt to sell it to them would have resulted in a catastrophe. Thus, not even Jesus worked in this direction, but instead taught the principle of Love. This was a more practical direction because the majority were yearning for a greater expression of Love after a famine of it caused by the black and white laws they were under.
To understand in full how the rule of the majority is the path of safety, perhaps it is helpful to expand on the word “rule.” As stated, the phrase does not imply a direct democracy, but the rule of the majority here is to be taken to mean that the will of the majority is part of a natural law as realized by Thomas Jefferson.
Let me present this natural law of Majority Rule as follows: All evolution and progress toward the dominating good is moved forward by a small minority working intelligently through the will of the majority. This will of the majority is discerned and becomes a rule behind all laws and standards generally accepted by the whole. This is the path of safety, in other words, the path that insures positive forward movement for the whole of the group. When the will of the majority is not incorporated by the minority in power, the path of danger and tyranny is approached.
Let us take an example as far as a nation’s defense is concerned.
I believe the majority will is as follows:
We need enough military strength to insure that an enemy cannot overthrow or conquer us.
Then there are two general directions of minority views:
(1) We must unilaterally disarm to set an example. Then others will disarm. No one will bother us if we do not bother them.
(2) We must arm ourselves to the hilt and nuke the bastards if they give us any problem.
I ask, which is the path of safety here, the majority will or a minority one?
We could go through many different subjects and ask this question and the answer will be the same. In each case following, the will of the majority will show a path of safety for the whole.
One thing that caused the problem of misunderstanding here is that some look at this statement (In the rule of the majority lies the path of safety) and think to themselves:
This is not true because the majority seem to support bigger government and that leads to possible tyranny.
The majority elect power mongers to Congress who I think are dangerous.
The majority buy from big corporations which create a frightening balance of power.
The majority are often ignorant which is also dangerous.
No one said the majority is perfect or, as innovators, we are not supposed to guide them to higher ground. The point is that when you compare majority will to minority will nine times out of ten the path of safety is to work with the majority rule.
Working with the majority is also safer for the leader, for the majority is much less likely to destroy their guides than the minorities.
Here’s another quote from chapter thirteen:
“This principle of majority rule can also be interpreted in relation to the principle of harmlessness. When two paths lay before the disciple he should always seek the more harmless of the two, which is another way of saying the most beneficial.”
The more harmless of the two paths will have the greatest appeal to the majority if the results of the two paths are clearly presented.
This agrees with the following statement by DK:
“Those who seek to see the establishment of goodwill and understanding are in the majority but are – as I pointed out in earlier writings – relatively futile to control the situation as yet or to force their leaders to follow the mass will-to-good.” Externalization of the Hierarchy Pg 128
The majority seek the path of goodwill. Our job as teachers is to show it to them.
Here is another good quote:
“Let it not be forgotten that the objective of all true governmental control is right synthesis, leading to right national and interior group activity. The problem resolves itself into a dual one. First of all, we have the problem of the type of authority which should be recognised by the peoples; and secondly, we have the problem of the methods which should be employed, so that the chosen authoritative measures will proceed either by the method of enforced control, or would be of such a nature that they will evoke a generously rendered and recognised cooperation. Between these two ways of working, MANY CHANGES CAN BE RUNG, THOUGH THE SYSTEM OF COOPERATION, WILLINGLY RENDERED BY AN INTELLIGENT MAJORITY, HAS NEVER YET BEEN SEEN. BUT WE ARE MOVING TOWARDS SUCH A CONDITION of world consciousness and are on our way towards experimenting with it.” Externalization of the Hierarchy Pg 51
Even though pure democracy was not the intended meaning in my book, DK points out to us that it has never really been tried, but it is possible to make it work.
DK also states: “Government by a true democracy. This again will be made possible through a right use of the systems of education and by a steady training of the people to recognize the finer values, the more correct point of view, the higher idealism, and the spirit of synthesis and of cooperative unity. Cooperative unity differs from an enforced unity in that the subjective spirit and the objective form are functioning towards one recognized end. Today, such a thing as a true democracy is unknown, and the mass of the people in the democratic countries are as much at the mercy of the politicians and of the financial forces as are the people under the rule of dictatorships, enlightened or unenlightened.” Externalization of the Hierarchy Pg 52
Thomas Jefferson agrees: “I know no SAFE depositary of the ultimate powers of the society BUT THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” –Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:278
Let me close with another quote from DK which expresses my optimism:
“Let your imagination run wild for a moment, picturing the condition of the world when the majority of human beings are occupied with the good of others and not with their own selfish goals. Such a play of imaginative thought is good and constructive and will aid in bringing out into manifestation that new world and that new type of humanity which the future will inevitably demonstrate. On this I shall not enlarge; the practice of goodwill will lay the foundation for this new type of sensitivity.” Discipleship in the New Age Vol. II Pg 298
Indeed. Let our imaginations run wild with visions of wonder and hope for mankind and it will only be a matter of time before the majority will follow. Why? Because the majority desire the dominating good and will follow when the path is seen. Only clouds of ignorance hides the benevolent will or rule of the majority.
Oct 13, 2002
Copyright By J J Dewey
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