Patriotism and world-vision
When the seeker in me sees the striking physical frame of the Secretary-General, his eyes are at once divine silence-energy, silence-nourishment and divine sound-revelation, sound-expansion. When the seeker in me feels the dynamic inner frame, the vital, of the Secretary-General, his soulful bird with two hopeful wings flies to cover the length and breadth of the world. What for? To sow the immortal seed of the United Nations for world-union, world-salvation and world-perfection.
The human in our Secretary-General is from Austria. The divine in him is not only for Austria but for the entire world-thirst, world-hunger and world-cry.
Kurt Waldheim’s life offers dramatic proof that national patriotism and world citizenship are not necessarily at odds. To be a world citizen does not mean that one has to renounce one’s own country, for each country has something special to offer to the family of nations. One country may be lacking in one particular aspect of life but may excel in another aspect. Thus, the fragrance of each nation-flower can inspire and illumine its brother and sister nations.
When his own beloved country is accused, the great patriot in Kurt Waldheim comes to the fore and not only defends his country but throws considerable light on the confusing and confused world-mind:
“From time to time, Austria's foreign policy is accused of lacking glamour. We cannot reject such a criticism strongly enough. It would indeed be a grave mistake for a neutral country to try to attract world attention through dramatic declarations or actions. It might mean a temporary appearance of the country's name in the headlines of world news, but the political consequences would be disastrous. Many such declarations by well-known politicians have in the past aroused much publicity and created a host of misunderstandings that contributed to international unrest. The foreign offices of the countries concerned then had the difficult task of repairing the damage by correcting, redressing or explaining the statement that had been made. A foreign policy of sensationalism is contrary to the interests of a neutral country. Reason, cool-headedness and continuity are infinitely more necessary than dramatisation.”
During Kurt Waldheim’s term of office as Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, undoubtedly there was a special significance to why he was divinely honoured as Chairman of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and later supremely honoured as President of the First United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The peace-lover in our present Secretary-General voices forth:
"The progress achieved has also provided the international community with an eloquent testimony of a historical process, that given the political will, an area of potential rivalry and conflict in international politics can be turned into a fruitful co-operative endeavour for the benefit of mankind."
Man invents war. Man discovers peace. He invents war from without. He discovers peace from within. War man throws. Peace man sows. The smile of war is the flood of human blood. The smile of peace is the love, below, above.
Peace is the whole truth that wishes to enrapture humanity. War is the whole falsehood that wants to capture humanity. Peace begins in the soul and ends in the heart. War begins in the mind and ends in the body.
War forgets peace. Peace forgives war. War is the death of the life human. Peace is the birth of the Life Divine. Our vital passions want war. Our psychic emotions desire peace.
Commenting on how the pioneers of outer space have enlightened the world’s vision of peace, Kurt Waldheim affirms:
"Man’s sense of world community has been sharpened by the dramatic vision of the earth as revealed to us by the pioneers of space. From this perspective the differences which have divided men in the past tend to recede before the reality of common sense."
In April, 1971, Kurt Waldheim was one of two candidates for the Federal Presidency of Austria. But after being appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations, the heart-home of the world-body, this son of Austria proved himself to be first and foremost a lover of mankind. Him to quote:
"... There is no conflict between citizenship of one’s own country and a wider concern for mankind as a whole. The interdependence of mankind is not a rhetorical cliche" — it represents a profound reality.
Again he says:
"In my opinion, there should be no fundamental conflict between national self-interest and the goals of the international community and of mankind as a whole. ... That is the real function of the United Nations: to be available to the countries of the world, not as a utopian substitute for traditional international relations, but as a mechanism, an instrument, by means of which national policies can be shaped and harmonised to take into account the legitimate hopes and aspirations of all countries."
With regard to his beloved country, Kurt Waldheim has become one with the wisdom of Socrates, the great wise man of the past who taught us: “I am not an Athenian, nor am I a Greek. I am a citizen of the world.”
The United Nations message of love and brotherhood can easily be understood and spread by all of humanity if each person can claim the message of Socrates as his own and feel that he belongs to the larger world-family. In this respect, the Secretary-General sees eye to eye with his predecessor, U Thant, whose lofty vision affirms:
"A new quality of planetary imagination is demanded from all of us as the price of human survival. I am not decrying that form of nationalism that prompts the individual citizen to appreciate and praise the achievements and values that his native land has contributed to the well-being and happiness of the whole human race. Nor am I calling for international homogenisation, for I rejoice in cultural and national uniqueness. But I am making a plea" — a plea based on these ten years of looking at the human condition from my unique vantage point — for a dual allegiance. This implies an open acceptance of belonging — as in fact we all do — to the human race as well as to our local community or nation. I even believe that the mark of the truly educated and imaginative person facing the twenty-first century is that he feels himself to be a planetary citizen.
No longer can any country dare to live the life of isolation as the vision of a oneness-world grows ever brighter on the horizon. Kurt Waldheim saw this clearly in the case of his own beloved country:
"Living contact with the world outside has become more necessary than ever if the correct decisions are to be made at the right moment. Austria’s membership in the United Nations makes this kind of contact possible and therefore is of great help to Austria’s foreign policy. In this way Austria has managed to shake off the isolation into which she had been thrust by the tragic events of 1938 and their consequences, and to regain her rightful position on the world scene in view of her noble past and present achievements."
Kurt Waldheim’s world-vision encompasses all nations, both large and small. Although the pragmatist in him sees clearly the influential role of the big powers in world affairs, he is firmly convinced that only with the help of the smaller brother and sister nations can a new great alliance be established among all the countries in the United Nations. Him to quote:
"The destiny of the United Nations will ultimately depend on a satisfactory solution of the problem of relations between the industrialised countries and the far more numerous developing countries. It will also depend very much on whether the United Nations can be made truly representative, truly universal."
To unite all countries and all men: this is the ultimate goal of the United Nations. To see all human hearts and minds striving for one highest cause: what else is true spirituality if not this? Spirituality is the union of all human aspirations for a better and more illumining life in a world of harmony and oneness.
O Kurt Waldheim, … your life of duty-tree and beauty-flower awakens the sleeping world and its oneness-power.