Part Two: Section 1. Questions and answers on the inner life

How can one reconcile America's inner decay and crassness with her evolving spiritual awareness?

Your question is at once extremely interesting and thought-provoking. It is a question about which one could say much. I wish to reflect on it, not from the sociological viewpoint, but from the spiritual viewpoint, which is not so well understood.

America's inner decay is, to me, not so grave nor so vital as you feel it to be. I take it to be a battle between darkness and Light. When we consciously open ourselves to the Light, inevitably all our unconscious weaknesses and limitations come forward to bar the way. The more the Light beckons us, the stronger become our unruly, undivine and unconscious parts. This is an inescapable spiritual law, which we can see operating in the individual as well as in the collectivity. Before proceeding to your question about America, let me explain why this law exists.

Ignorance has always ruled the earth, and even now it continues to dominate the earth-consciousness. The material world has not consciously aspired for its own inner fulfilment, which is part of a destined integral spiritual fulfilment of humanity. Darkness has always been the master. It does not want a higher force to take its place, so it fights with all its power to perpetuate its rule. And so, when the divine force succeeds in making an opening in a certain area of the earth-consciousness and is rewarded with a renewed aspiration, the undivine forces also intensify their efforts, creating values and ideas which are utterly empty of any higher truth. This eternal battle between darkness and Light becomes even more intense when a new and higher cycle is about to begin in the evolution of mankind, which is the case today.

These are the primary reasons for your feeling that a yawning chasm exists between America's high aspiration and ideals on the one hand, and some of her unlit actions and values on the other. Her evolving spiritual awareness and her hasty outer movements are not quite in collaboration with each other; they are not helping one another. Until the Light dawns fully, the true seeking cannot come forward wholeheartedly; hence, the values leading to integral spiritual progress are not much in evidence.

America, moreover, is a young nation. It does not want to walk; it wants to run as fast as possible in order to breast the tape first. You know that while running at top speed there is every possibility of stumbling or running off the track. Nevertheless, with America's sincere and dynamic urge for progress, her present gropings and wanderings will pale into insignificance as we vision the promise and possibilities of her future fulfilment.