“We are of the told that in the critical periods of history it is the national soul which counts: that ‘where there is no vision, the people parish.’ No nation is truly defeated which retains its spiritual self-possession No nation is truly victorious which does not emerge with soul unstained. If this is so, it becomes a part of true patriotism to keep the spiritual life, both of the individual citizen and of the social group, active and vigorous; its vision of realities unsullied by the entangled interests and passions of the time. This is a task in which all may do their part. The spiritual life is not a special career, involving abstraction from the world of things. It is a part of every man’s life; and until he has realized it he is not a complete human being.” ~Evelyn Underhill
It’s interesting that people rarely think of a nation as having a soul, and it may be that literally is doesn’t. The soul of a nation is actually the combined souls of its residents and especially its founders. So our individual spiritual awakening, or lack of it, affects the collective soul of those groups we belong to including the nation, and the entire planet.
People seem to accept this idea of a national soul of some sort when talking about the past more than the present. You will here members of certain religions say that the great empires of the past: the Greek, the Roman, the Egyptian, just to name a few, turned away from the spiritual ideals that originally made them great and that is what brought them down. And to a large degree, they are correct. Where they error is in figuring out what those ideals were. These great empires didn’t fall because of feminism, or gay rights, or feeding the poor, or electing liberals. They fell apart because people were convinced by both the political and the religious authorities that the right to talk to God and angels, if it was possible at all, was limited to the priests and everyone else needed to rely on the priests to tell them what God wanted them to do. This attitude inevitable leads to the situation where the priests who are supposed to be talking to God, are actually getting their orders from the politicians. SO instead of the state’s authority being kept in check by the spiritual, the spiritual is pushed aside by the desires of corrupt politicians (yes, I know, it is pretty much an oxymoron to say “corrupt politician” these days.) Continue reading “A National Soul”