Sunday, September 16, 2012


(Quotation source: Professor Hans Heinrich Schaeder, "Der Mensch in Orient und Okzident: Grundzuge einer eurasiatischen Geschichte" originally cited in Joseph Campbell's "Creative Mythology"]

Now the exercise of power is governed everywhere by the law of intensification, or as the Greeks would say, “greed for more than one’s share.” There is within it no principle of measure; measure is brought to it only from without, by counterforces that restrict it. So that history is the interaction of power, on one hand – its establishment, maintenance, and increase – and those counterforces, on the other. Various names have been given to the latter – of which the simplest and most inclusive is love. They are released when doubts arise (generally among the governed, but occasionally, also, in the circles of the ruling class) conducing to a criticism of the power principle. And this criticism may develop to the radical point of an absolute renunciation of power, generating then the idea and realization of an order of life based on brotherly love, and mutual aid. Self-confidence, and thereby the strength to influence others, accrues to those in this position from their belief that only in this, and not in power, which they reject, can the meaning of human existence be fulfilled. Meaning is then sought no longer in the organized powers of a state, the domination of the governed by their masters, but in individuals, giving and welcoming love.

When such an order prospers in its conversion of people, guiding them to new life, it may bring into being a spiritual movement that nothing can stop. This is passed on, from one generation to the next, and spreads from the narrow circle of its origin over lands and continents. It succeeds, along the way, in persuading even the holders of worldly power to concede recognition – either actually or ostensibly – to its truth and obligations, and lays restraints on their will to power that are not an effect of that will itself. Twice in the history of the world, in Buddhism and in Christianity, such movements have acquired the character of world-historical powers; and in the course of their development they have themselves become infected by the will to power and mastery, which has at times even darkened them to the core. Yet both are such that they can be restored to their pristine character, in the sense of the life and teaching of their founders.  

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