Warwick Keys – New Zealand
Warwick is the National President of the Section in New Zealand and has been involved with Theosophy all his life. He lives in Auckland, and his wife Pamela is editor of their successful magazine TheoSophia.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.” His words should be carefully noted. For in them is the germ of what is starting to take place in the Theosophical Society. There is a discontent and that discontent is on the whole healthy. It is not necessarily destructive. It is not anti. It is constructive and positive. And yes, it is the prelude to progress. Who better than Gandhi to point the way?
After a hundred or more years, an organization almost invariably suffers from inertia and a defence of the status quo. This is particularly so of religions and spiritual groups such as the Theosophical Society. It is easy to accept the status quo, to defend it, and to reject change or even the thought of change. Change is too hard and uncomfortable. “We are happy with the ways things have always been done” is the catchphrase. Such a statement often signifies inertia and the onset of stagnation.
The Theosophical Society is more than 130 years old. Signs of satisfaction with the status quo are present in many quarters, including Adyar. Discontent with the status quo is often discouraged and indeed sometimes actively stifled. Yet, discontent is the seed from which new growth and new energy can emerge.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, the American poet (1850-1919), wrote: “The splendid discontent of God / With chaos made the world . . . . And from the discontent of man / The world’s best progress springs.” And I repeat Gandhi’s words: “Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.”
Thus it can be seen that discontent normally leads to progress. To stifle discontent can lead to the discontent’s turning into active opposition, rebellion, and chaos.
Discontent reacts positively to new vision, to revitalized ideals, and to inspired leadership by an individual, or by a subgroup within the larger group, organization, community, or nation.
Often a simple message delivered with passion and commitment can galvanise support and new hope.
US President Barack Obama inspired a nation, and indeed the world community, when during the presidential election campaign he rose above the simmering national discontent to talk about “the change we need,” and then to proclaim the affirmation “Yes we can!” His words echoed around the world, and they echo still.
Theosophical Society leaders, discontented with the stagnating status quo, can and will motivate change within the Society at all levels and create a new vision – a twenty-first century interpretation of the tried and true vision of the Founders. They will say, and are already saying, “Change We Need” and “Yes We Can.”
As good occultists they will emphasize the affirmation more positively by adding, “Yes We Will.” This appeal – “Change We Need – Yes We Can and Yes We Will” – is resonating and building even now. The thought form is already formed and is in motion.
It would be good to think that all Theosophical Society leaders could join hands and in the spirit of true Brotherhood acknowledge healthy discontent, acknowledge the stagnation of the status quo, and appreciating Gandhi’s words, understand that such discontent is indeed a positive prelude to progress.
Change We Need. Can we manifest positive change? Yes We Can and Yes We Will.