If, with ordinary sight, we look at the contemporary scene, there is little to keep us from despair. But if we look with philosophic sight there is nevertheless something to give us hope. The terrible curse of the war may be converted into a blessing if it arouses man from materialist pursuits and turns him to the quest of the eternal intangibles. The fatuousness of seeking for true and lasting happiness in the unstable affairs of material life is being etched deeply in his heart. He is being taught the wisdom of seeking to live in the consciousness of the Christ within him.
The notion that humanity will have bought a new and better world at the heavy price of the tragic war years is true in the sense that an unheard-of opportunity has been presented to humanity to make a new and better world. That some advantage will be taken of this opportunity is certain, but that sufficient advantage will be taken of it to create a vastly different world is quite uncertain. The selfishness, the greed, and the hatred which hinder human advance are not likely to disappear overnight; despite the forced social adjustments of the war period, we have a very long way yet to travel to catch up with the golden rule. I do not therefore share the intemperate enthusiasms, opalescent visions, and unrealistic hopes of well-meaning political, religious, and mystical reformers. Neither do I say that we should all sit down with folded hands and wait a few more million years while evolution does its grim work of instructing men through constant suffering to cease their conflicts. If a perfect new age is far from fulfilment, an imperfect new age can, nevertheless, be had. Let us have it, then, by all means. For unless we strive to move even one inch forward we shall not move at all. We must set up ideals and we must work for their realization. We must try to make even a little part of our visions come true. If we take a pessimistic view of the possibilities of elevating mankind, then no effort will be made and no progress can be expected. But if we make a start and do what little can be done then some progress will be made. There will be this difference, however, between us and the impractical idealists, that whereas they believe all their visions can be materialized today, we are more prudent, more scientific, but nevertheless not a bit less visionary. The difficulties of making a new and better world are frighteningly formidable. But the difficulties of carrying on the old and bad world are also frighteningly formidable. If the sufferings of war awaken the conscience and purify the desires of mankind, its leaders may endeavour to atone for their errors and omissions of the past. Thus only can they go forward to meet the coming age and open a path to a better life for all mankind.
-- Notebooks Category 13: Human Experience > Chapter 4: World Crisis > # 201