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|The Externalization of the Hierarchy - Section II - The General World Picture|
|The Modern Era
I would like to pause here and remind you of one or two points which should be recognized as we approach this modern era in which all these culminating effects are taking place. Let me state them concisely and clearly.
The lines of cleavage between materialism and spirituality (as we now understand the terms) have become increasingly clear. Two things have tended to bring this about. First, the pronouncement of the Ten Commandments. These, though negative in their form and dogmatic in their attitude, have made the issues and the required attitudes adequately clear. Owing to the relatively low stage of the  universal human intelligence at the time that they were given (for the Biblical dates are not correct and the date of their pronouncement is far older than is thought) they were expressed by the formula, "Thou shalt not," thus turning human attention to the material expression of material tendencies. In days to come, the Ten Commandments will be expressed in a reversed form of which the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes are the embryonic form.
Second, the Hierarchy withdrew in order that humanity, on reaching maturity and years of discretion, should not be handicapped and hindered by coercion and undue safeguarding but should express its major divine characteristics. Of these, free will and the discriminating use of the mind are the outstanding qualities. There was no free will in Atlantean days. There is a tendency to free will (note that term) today and we call it liberty and independence, freedom of thought and the right of the individual to determine the issues which control or should control the group of which he is a part. These are all attributes and qualities of free will but not the divine principle of free will per se. Of that we know as yet but little. Only the disciples of the world and the initiates know the true significance and implications of freedom of choice, and the right use of the will, and this because they are motivated by group good and the need of the majority.
The test to which humanity was to be subjected and which is today the controlling factor was whether - given mental development and knowledge - it would consecrate that knowledge and its scientific and mental attainment to group good or to selfish ends, to material issues or to spiritual incentives and impulses. This ancient conflict has now been carried through into another field of human expression, that of the mind and - as the race has progressed and the personalities of human beings have reached a high stage of integration and achievement - the conflict has become acute, the issues clearer and the ranging of the opponents into two clearly defined groups is now so complete that the final struggle has become possible. 
Intelligent appreciation of the situation and a general capacity to present to the mind the underlying conditions has now been achieved by the bulk of the intelligent people upon the planet and, though the point of view is necessarily colored by national traditions, inherited ideas and policies as well as by environmental control and bias, the race has gone a long way towards its final emancipation. There is, therefore, a certain measure of free will displayed, and this constitutes an entirely new factor and a most satisfactory development. But I would remind you of a most important point and that is that the masses of the people - the middle classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat (I use these words in their general sense and simply because of their significance and meaning) - are still victims of authority, of control, and remain relatively unthinking and childlike. This means that the true conflict is between a small minority to whom the issues are illuminatingly clear and who have definitely ranged themselves on one side or other of the embattled forces. A mere handful of men, the direct descendants or rather the reincarnations of the leaders in the ancient Atlantean conflict, are now on earth, directing the forces of light or of darkness and bringing into being a direct line-up of millions of men whose will is that of their leaders.
The lines of cleavage have grown steadily until now they can be expressed in terms of a humanity which is oriented towards the higher spiritual and altruistic values and whose keynotes are sacrifice, group good and world understanding, and those whose focus is predominantly material and whose aims are selfish, animated by ambition and the spirit of acquisition.
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