The Spiritual Work of the United Nations and the Liberation of Humanity

Scorpio Meeting, October 31, 2001

The United Nations Conference against Racism and the Plan of Love and Light

"First of all forget all nationalities, and apprehend the fact that the consciousness is developed by perfecting the invisible centers. Some await a Messiah for a single nation, but this is ignorant; for evolution of the planet can be only on a planetary scale. Precisely, the manifestation of universality must be assimilated. Only one blood flows, and the external world will no more be divided into races of primitive formation."
New Era Community, Agni Yoga Society

Welcome dear friends. Before we give the floor to our guest speaker, Jerry Leaphart, I have two pieces of great news that I want to share.

The first is that the United States last week paid more than $138 million toward its regular budget arrears to the UN. This means that it has now paid up fully for the regular budget for 2000 and we have paid about $15 million of our regular budget assessment for 2001, which amounts to approximately $267 million.

The second is that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to both the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "for their work [and here I am quoting], for a better organized and more peaceful world."

I want to read just a few lines from the Nobel Committee's letter announcing that award:

"The end of the cold war has at last made it possible for the U.N. to perform more fully the part it was originally intended to play. Today the organization is at the forefront of efforts to achieve peace and security in the world, and of the international mobilization aimed at meeting the world's economic, social and environmental challenges."

"The U.N. has in its history achieved many successes, and suffered many setbacks. Through this first Peace Prize to the U.N. as such, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes in its centenary year to proclaim that the only negotiable route to global peace and cooperation goes by way of the United Nations." (Oslo, 12 October, 2001)

As some of you know from the e-mail message announcing this meeting, tonight we are delighted to welcome Jerry Leaphart who will address the theme of "The United Nations Conference against Racism and the Plan of Love and Light."

Those of you who have been coming to these meetings know that each month we focus on one of the four freedoms. The issue of racism seems to me to fall under at least three of the freedoms-freedom of expression, as well as freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Jerry by profession is a trial lawyer. Additionally, he has a keen interest in philosophy and metaphysics and he is an avid student of the "Ageless Wisdom".

He was the delegate of an accredited NGO at the World Conference Against Racism and a Quaker representative at the NGO Forum-both of which were held in Durban, South Africa in August/September of this year. As a result of his participation in those two conferences, Jerry participated in a BBC World News debate with the head of the US delegation and he also gave a web cast statement to the plenary session of the Conference.

I would like to introduce Jerry's talk with a quote from The Destiny of the Nations by Alice A. Bailey:

"This tendency towards racial segregation…is a form of isolationism and necessarily an aspect of materialism, and is related to the personality of humanity and not to the soul aspect; it is separative in effect and normally feeds pride in the individual and the nation; it runs counter to the true progress of humanity which must lead increasingly to closer human relations, to human wholeness in the truest sense of the term; it will produce the inevitable recognition of vital human unity, placing no emphasis upon individual nations and races." (pp.64/65)


RACISM AND THE PLAN OF LOVE AND LIGHT

October 31, 2001

by Jerry Leaphart

In the past year, 2001, I participated in a discussion on the topic of Racism and the Plan of Love and Light and then made a presentation on the subject at successive meditation meetings sponsored by the Aquarian Age Community. I was a member of the assembled group who met to hear a presentation on "The United Nations in the New Millennium: How Can Interested Individuals and Groups Better Support the Vision, Purpose and Work of the UN?" (UN in the New Millennium). I was eager to attend that meeting and to provide comments related to the quoted theme because I had just returned from Durban, South Africa where I had taken part in the UN's World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR). I attended WCAR as a delegate of a non-governmental organization (NGO) and as a representative of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The UN in the New Millennium meeting was the first scheduled Aquarian Age Community meditation meeting following WCAR.

In the immediate aftermath of WCAR, I could scarcely think of a better place to begin post-conference implementation work than at an Aquarian Age Community meeting.

Alas, I must mention that the date of the UN in the New Millennium meeting was September 10, 2001. The events of the very next day, September 11th, served to recast the united appeal for an end to racism around the world into a more urgent appeal to end terrorism. I had the impression, on the evening of September 10th that at long last the issue of global racism was ready to penetrate to the forefront of the consciousness of the political classes of both the developed and the developing worlds. Progress seemed palpable.

WCAR participants recognized and acknowledged that the terror attack of September 11, 2001, followed by the United States-led retaliatory action that began on October 7, 2001, curtailed the world's interest in racism as an international topic. At the end of the evening meeting on September 10th, I was asked if I would be willing to give a presentation on "Racism and the Plan of Love and Light" at a forthcoming Aquarian Age Community meeting. I gladly agreed to do so, but little did I know then that the hoped for focus on racism as an issue would be mitigated by the terror attack that was then only hours from occurring.

Nonetheless, on October 31, 2001, I gave a talk entitled "Racism and the Plan of Love and Light" to a group of Aquarian Age Community co-workers, irrespective of the loss of momentum resulting from the terror attack.

Separateness

The talk started by referring to the section of the AAB book "Problems of Humanity" entitled 'The Problem of the Racial Minorities' and the specifically mentioned problems entitled, respectively, 'The Jewish Problem' and 'The Negro Problem'. Further, it was noted that following the delineation of those matters, the book "Problems of Humanity" contains a section on "The Solution". That section starts as follows:

"It will be obvious that a finding of a solution to the problem of the minorities is essentially the finding of a solution to the great heresy of separateness[1]." I added to that quote a reference to an affirming mantram that has application and usefulness as well: "I will not be separative in my consciousness", which affirmation was offered for consideration by the assembled group. Furthermore, it ought to be noted that from approximately 1950, when the AAB "Problems of Humanity" was written, humanity's thought-forms on race and on racism have evolved. For example, in paragraphs immediately preceding the above-quoted portion of the book "Problems of Humanity" it can fairly be stated that the observations made on the subject of interracial marriage are 'racist' in character. Further, the paragraphs containing a brief discussion of 'characteristics' of groups of people may be said to be stereotypical and, therefore, inconsistent with the notion that human beings are not properly assessed on the basis of racial (and other) stereotypes.

In fact, an entirely new thought-form is currently in development resulting from the refinement of human thought on the subject of race. That refinement is the result of a number of factors, including the recent publication of the complete set of human genes-the 'human genome', that confirms that human beings the world over share identical genes and that, accordingly, we are all of the same species.

Furthermore, and importantly, there are no genes or set of genes that confer upon human beings a particular 'race'. Genes carry the potential for the development of a range of features and we now know that there is more genetic variation within that which we call racial groups than there is between so-called racial groups[2].

In addition to placing the matter of race and of 'racial characteristics' in better perspective, the completion of the human genome project served the additional purpose of deconstructing the heretofore widely accepted thought-form that human beings of certain races have higher intelligence (IQs) than do human beings of other races. An alleged difference in intelligence between and among races has long served as a basis for disparate treatment among human beings and for racist ideologies in various societies, countries, and particularly European and American societies from and after the 18th Century. The factor of a racial link between higher or lower intelligence levels was premised upon the notion that intelligence is inheritable which factor was further linked to the notion that race is inheritable as well

As recently as 1994, the book 'The bell curve' reinforced the thought-form of inheritable and racially linked intelligence differences in human beings[3]. Now, however, the human genome stands for a different thought-form based upon the fact that human genes are the same the world over and there does not appear to be any gene or set of genes that can be said to confer intelligence.

This topic has its complexities and additional research may yet shed additional confirmatory or rebutting information on the notion of inherited intelligence. At present, the best that can be said is that hereditability estimates apply to the differences between individuals, but not to those between groups. IQ hereditability seems to be about the same in different populations or races the world over[4].

In addressing the issue of separateness during the oral presentation given in October, it was considered helpful to recall the Hindu saying that "the Great Singer built the worlds, and the Universe is His Song." That poetic language from the Hindu tradition is very consistent with the Western, New Testament version of creation: "In the beginning was the word..."

'Song' and its vibratory corollary-'word'-were then likened unto and further analogized to speech itself. The Tibetan Master tells us "[t]he purpose of all speech is to clothe thought and thus make our thoughts available for others. When we speak we evoke a thought and make it present, and we bring that which is concealed within us into audible expression. Speech reveals, and right speech can create a form of beneficent purpose, just as wrong speech can produce a form which has a malignant objective"[5].

UN "Talk-fests"

UN conferences are sometimes pejoratively referred to as 'talk-fests'. Meaning, of course, that despite much being said about this or that problem, little is actually done or accomplished. Certainly, the lack of result may seem particularly acute in reference to 'time' where the human tendency is to want (desire) immediate results. However, the Tibetan's reminder to us of the nature and purpose of speech, together with the very concept of 'thought-form' creation and creativity, from the highest form of consciousness to human consciousness, and below, all serve to substantiate the creative nature IQs of speech. Thus, irrespective of the lack of apparently immediate impact, we should be reminded that speech is creative and that right speech and wrong speech can have beneficent results and malignant objectives, respectively.

WCAR was widely reported in Western media sources as being, for the most part, an example of 'wrong speech'. At the talk given in October, handouts consisting of US mainstream media accounts were given out for review and comparison. Most of the news accounts focused on the dispute at WCAR between Israeli and Palestinian representatives over the issue of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East. To some, that issue overshadowed all else at WCAR. Others, however, called attention to the fact that WCAR resulted in the adoption of a consensus Declaration and Program of Action. In this respect, it was pointed out in the October presentation that the usual hallmark of a successful UN conference, as opposed to an unsuccessful one, is whether or not a unanimous Declaration and Program of Action issued forth from the particular UN gathering. Because a consensual Declaration and an agreed upon Program of Action were issued by WCAR, that conference could be considered a success by the normal standard applied to such conferences.

This method for measuring the success of WCAR was either overlooked altogether or downplayed by US-based mainstream media accounts of WCAR. The focal point of reports on WCAR in US news sources was the furor created by the decision by the US delegation, on orders from Washington, to walk out of the conference after one day of contentious participation. The walkout was allegedly based on US misgivings about the way in which the Israeli/Palestinian question was being treated at WCAR.

I had the opportunity to engage in a debate with the spokesperson of the US delegation at WCAR, Congressman Tom Lantos, which was aired on BBC radio on September 3, 2001. Since then, Congressman Lantos has published his account of the US walkout in the Fletcher Forum, published by Tufts University[6].

One can surmise that one reason why representatives of the government of the United States might have preferred to cast WCAR in an unfavorable light is because the WCAR Declaration contains the following language:

"We acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims and further acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade are crimes against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and that Africans and peoples of African descent, Asians and peoples of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences."

As the United States was a major participant in the transatlantic slave trade and a major perpetrator of slavery and of racial discrimination over a period of at least three centuries, it would have been more appropriate for its representatives to have been forthcoming about that aspect of US history, culture and present-day reality at WCAR. That, in any event, is what I stated in debating Congressman Lantos.

Sadly, the US delegation arrived at the conference late, left after one-day and fomented the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians and said nothing at all about slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. The closest the US delegation came to addressing the issue of slavery was their insistence on excluding language from the Declaration that apologized for the transatlantic slave trade and/or slavery. Instead of apologizing, the US position was that "remorse" could be expressed; however, the US did not participate in the formulation of the final language. The lesson in all of this for me was, and continues to be, that of seeking to identify right and wrong speech; to practice the former and to avoid the latter.



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[1] Problems of Humanity, pg. 114
[2] Zack, Naomi "Thinking about Race"
[3] Hernstein and Murray, The bell curve (Free Press, 1994).
[4] Ridley, Genome (Harper Collins, 1999)
[5] A Treatise on White Magic, pg. 143
[6] Lantos, The Durban Debacle: An Insider's View of the UN World Conference Against Racism, The Fletcher Forum, Vol 26:1 Winter/spring 2002


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