The Challenge of the New Age
That we are living in a new age seems obvious. Toward the end of the last century, it was seriously proposed in Congress that the Patent Office be closed, inasmuch as everything that could possibly be invented had been invented already. Everything, virtually, that we identify with modern civilization has been invented since that time.
We seem, moreover, to be only at the beginning of whatever wave of discovery is presently sweeping us into the future. Science’s new insights into the nature of matter have caused a revolution in thought. Matter is no longer seen as solid. Indeed, it is composed almost entirely of space. Even the atom is not the last word on what matter is. For matter has been discovered to be energy. As such, it lacks even the flimsy substance of atomic structure.
These scientifically demonstrated realities have had a profound impact on human thought. Many of the people, however, who claim to speak on behalf of a “New Age,” do so with a certain presumption. Their presumption lies in the thought that mankind, by his efforts alone, will bring the new age into existence, and by the emphasis they place on egoic, rather than on divine, values.
The dream of too many people in the “New Age Movement” is of a heaven on earth without God, without humility, and without devotion — a “heaven” in which mankind reigns supreme, holding in his own puny hands the power of the universe.
If the material universe is, as Paramhansa Yogananda claimed, composed of consciousness, and not merely of energy, then the new age shifts from a human to a divine event. In this case, the new age is not man’s opportunity to become divinely powerful, but God’s opportunity to express Himself more perfectly through man.
The most important challenge facing us in the new age is to clarify our ideas — about life, about mankind, about society, leadership, marriage, education, the arts — about God, and about our relation to the world and to the greater universe.