The United Nations and Ourselves

By Grace F. Knoche

Fifty years ago on October 24, 1945, the Charter of the United Nations drawn up by representatives of 51 Member States was officially launched after ratification by the five permanent members of the Security Council, plus a majority of other Member States. The creation of an international world forum where challenges and problems could be aired, listened to with respect, and conscientious efforts made to assist in the pacific resolution of disputes was no small miracle.

This year, the 50th anniversary of the United Nations is being commemorated around the world, for there is scarcely a nation or people where the UN through one or another of its many philanthropic agencies has not left its saving mark. Although the UN presence, particularly if military, is not always welcome and its performance of assigned duties on occasion has been inept or futile, on balance it is rightfully recognized as the one universal organization that steadfastly labors to maintain world peace and security and to work for social progress, individually and globally. In fact, perhaps its greatest accomplishment has simply been bringing governments and people of all nations together in day-to-day efforts for health, education, and other ongoing cooperative activities that receive little publicity. As with any organization carving out new territory, especially of a moral and social character, the road has been rocky at times, though the end in view -- the establishment of a body of nations working together for a common goal -- remains intact.

Along with worldwide celebration, there is also a "self-searching aspect" which, according to the UN 50th Anniversary bulletin, is "the substantive heart, the intellectual core of the anniversary year" -- inviting all to give serious thought to how best "to launch a renewed and strengthened U.N. into the future."

How does the UN relate to us individually, especially if we have little contact with any of its activities? Is not each of us a replica in the small of the United Nations in that we harbor within our nature many different energies and aspects, peaceful as well as warring elements which demand our attention and require wise and timely guidance? And are we not as vulnerable as that organization to the onslaughts of human foibles, to the jealousies and anger, the peccadilloes and weaknesses of the participants? Of course; but we also represent its strengths and creative qualities. As a humanity, are we not comparable to a United Nations, composed of distinctly unique members masquerading as men and women and children -- each with his or her own destiny, distinct from all others, yet as naturally connected as are the Member States which form the General Assembly of the United Nations? All the more reason to support the ideals behind the efforts of the UN so that it may continue to find ways and means to implement the grand conception which motivated its formation. Assuredly we humans are a paradigm of the UN, and may we not also say that the UN is a paradigm of our solar system -- perhaps even of the universe itself?

Anniversaries serve as nodal points for us to reassess values, purpose, and direction, more particularly the flow and motivating impulse behind events and more specifically behind our thoughts and their effect on our surroundings, not least on humanity and its goals. The greatest gift we can offer to ourselves and to others is candidly to observe our lives from the largest and highest perspective we can achieve. In this way we may discern with ever greater clarity the effects for good or ill that our thinking, emotions, and ideals may be having -- on ourselves, our associates, and the world at large, and even on a solar scale. Thoughts are powerful and exert their atmosphere in proportion to their potency, not only on our own psyche, but on the destiny of humanity and, most certainly, on the inner life of the solar system. Only with an expanded perspective will we be able to make midcourse corrections wisely, without interfering with the natural health rhythm of our bodily and psychic nature.

Were the UN able to evaluate itself with sufficient distance from the ramifications and inertia of a huge organization, those involved might more easily see beyond the confusion of intermeshing threads of destiny and of habits built up over decades to the simple, strong, motivating force that induced the right people in the right places at the right moment to sit down together in conference after conference. What is more, to know intuitively, that the safety of the international community depended upon their building a global body of peaceable nations which would dedicate their best efforts to achieving peace, stability, and security for all. Thus was the United Nations born. Thus will the peace and security of every nation in the world ultimately become the norm.

(From Sunrise magazine, October/November 1995. Copyright © 1995 by Theosophical University Press)

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