In this unfinished paper, Assagioli writes about the psychosynthesis of a nation and the role of the best citizen.
By Roberto Assagioli, Source: Archivio Assagioli Online – AS – ID Doc. 22341.
In the life of the nations we find many correspondences to all these psychological and spiritual vicissitudes, provided that we keep to the main lines, which are the truly significant, without applying the analogy to the details which are necessarily different, and provided also that we take into due consideration the larger general cycle above mentioned.
We have seen that the Soul of a nation manifests itself in three ways: through great individuals, isolated or in small groups, through collective manifestations; and through the steady influence of its best citizen. Let us consider how this third way of Soul influence may be deliberately intensified and used in order to ensoul the nation’s personality.
The first thing/task is the formation and the development of the group of best citizen, representing and expressing the voice of the national Soul. It is well to make clear right away from the outset that this group of best citizen need not and should not constitute an external organisation nor a political party; it should function on a quite different level and with other means. The fact of belonging to it or not has nothing to do with any external enrollment, with the decision of any committee or board of directors. It is due only to psychological and spiritual qualifications and it depends solely from the inner attitude and decision of each individual.
The basic qualification, of which all others are the outcome, is the attainment/achievement by the individual of a certain degree of spiritual psychosynthesis. The man or woman must be to some extent under the influence, the direction and the inspiration of his or her Soul. This gives them the ability to consider and to understand their own individual problems and conflicts from a higher level, in the light of their Souls, and to solve them intelligently and wisely with a broad and inclusive attitude and through the use of appropriate psychosynthetic techniques. The experience, the insight and the skill in action acquired in thus tackling their individual problems will empower/enable them to see/envision, understand and help to solve in a similar way all group problems, and particularly those of the national Entity, which are much of the same nature, only on a larger scale. For instance, a man who has mastered in himself the instinct of aggressive self-assertion and who has transmuted personal pride in spiritual dignity will clearly perceive the necessity of the same change in his own nation and will use all his influence as a citizen in order to control its aggressive tendencies, to show that the true greatness of the nation can and should be demonstrated in other and better ways, through its constructive contribution to the general welfare and progress of mankind, and he will promote/foster national activities to that effect.
This essential requirement of some measure of spiritual psychosynthesis needs not to be theoretically recognised as such nor deliberately sought and brought about by the conscious use of psychological methods. Like Monsieur … in Molière’s comedy Le Bourgeois gentil homme, who was writing in prose without knowing that it was called prose, there are many people who are living and acting to some extent under the influence of their own Souls, without consciously realising this fact, or even doubting its existence and being agnostics. While a conscious recognition of and cooperation with one’s spiritual Self are greatly helpful, they are not indispensable, at least up to a certain point; an unconscious openness to Soul’s energies/inspiration is indeed preferable and more fruitful than an academic adhesion to the theory of psychosynthesis or to any kind of idealistic, religious or spiritual belief without the corresponding practice.
One of the first ways in which a conscious or unconscious Soul influence manifests in the personality – and the one which at the basis of all interindividual psychosynthesis – is (as it has already been pointed out) a sense of responsibility toward others. This, when it is vital and genuine, breaks the shell of the selfish or egocentric personality, and determines a revolution or a change of direction of the energies; these had a centripetal direction: the individual tried to attract everything to himself, to grab, grasp, possess; then his energies gradually become instead centrifugal or, better, radiant, outgoing. The individual becomes more and more bent or expressing, giving outpouring. Thus the initial sense of responsibility develops into a conscious urge to serve, into a consecration, into an active will-to-good. The apex of this attitude is formed by heroism and utter sacrifice.
The subjective, feeling aspect of the Soul’s influence in interindividual relationships is a spiritual love: compassionate love of all who suffer, understanding love of one’s fellowmen, love of the group Entities such as one’s Nation, one’s Fatherland and of humanity as a Whole.
The Soul’s influence on the mind bent towards interindividual problems demonstrates as breadth of vision, synthetic outlook, long-range view; as intuitive understanding which reaches the deep causes of external effects; therefore an impersonal and uncritical attitude which refrains to put the blame on personalities or groups, to find scapegoats, but which discerns with keen discrimination the complex intertwining of causes and effects, if actions and reactions in which individuals and groups are involved/enmeshed, often with no real awareness and deliberate decision and therefore with limited fault/guilt. This outlook creates a wide tolerance, a sense of justice and culminates in a true wisdom.
The (practical) outcome of all these Soul influences is to render the citizen constructively efficient, willing and able to direct and dedicate his energies and qualities to creative activities, to be a building, uplifting, integrating and synthesising force in all the groups to which he belongs and particularly in his nation.
Of course one should not expect that all these qualities should be apparent/developed in full measure, in all good citizen. As we have seen when studying The Psychology of the Individual (Section ), according to the different types and to uneven development, some psycho-spiritual qualities may be greatly developed – or even relatively over-developed – while others are deficient or lacking altogether.
This fact should always be taken in consideration and reckoned with also in all problems of inter-individual psychosynthesis. In the case of the National synthesis the one-sidedness of even the last citizen shows the difficulties existing in their harmonious cooperation, but at the same time indicates the necessity for such cooperation. Owing to that one-sidedness, if a nation is governed by one individual or by a small group of individuals of the same kind and type, there is the danger of onesided, partisan, exclusive rulership and direction.
This will be taken up when dealing with the next point, that of Harmonisation…
According to the measure or degree in which Soul qualities are demonstrated in and by the best citizens these can be distinguished in various levels, having different functions in the National Entity. The majority of the group of best citizen can have only a general influence, but a very useful and vital one. Their function is twofold: the first is that to receive the National Soul’s influence from the minority of those, who (as we shall presently see) are its direct representatives; to assimilate it, to express it as well as they are fit to and then to transmit it around them with a steady, pervasive way.
A higher layer of best citizen, much smaller in number, is that of those who have the qualifications to be leaders and influential focal points in the various fields of national activities. At their top there is or there should be the small group of those competent to assume direct political power and have part in the government of the Nation.
These – and particularly the latter – in order to accomplish their tasks in a […] should deliberately endeavour to come in conscious and direct contact with the National Soul, to be inspired and overshadowed by it, in order to become its true mouthpieces and outposts in the nation’s life, its representatives in the nation’s personality. This relationship should be considered as something sacred, corresponding in a modern way and in a vital sense to the consecration and divine investiture of the Kings of old. To Those outer ceremonies should now correspond an inner, subjective, but real spiritual downflow from the National Soul, […] possible by the conscious aspiration, openness and receptivity of the citizen who dedicate themselves to that noble and high mission.
Another difference is that, while the investiture of the past was one initial and unique/single event, the communion with and inspiration by the National Soul should be continuous or at least at repeated intervals with renewed illumination according to the developing and changing situations, conditions, needs. (1)
(1) This principle of continuous revelation will be developed in the section of Religious Ψς Psychosynthesis.
Such a renewed inspiration can be made possible by the regular/constant use of the same methods which are employed in order to bring about the full individual psychosynthesis, the downflow of the Soul’s influence in the man’s or woman’s personality (1). But here they should be used on a higher octave, so to speak, that is with a purely impersonal purpose and on a super-individual level, after the citizen has united as much as possible his own personality and Soul. It would be well to do this also in group formation whenever possible. When
(1) See Section (?). These methods will be more amply described/expounded in another/a forthcoming book: Psychosynthesis – Its principles and Techniques.
The reality of the national Entity and the need of national psychosynthesis will have been more generally appreciated/adopted, we may surmise that every assembly or committee meeting for purposes of national interest before beginning its activities would address itself in silent communion to the national Soul invoking to be inspired by it in order to be illumined about Its will and purposes and to be inspired with the wisdom and the power necessary successfully to realise them/bring them into manifestation.
5. Harmonisation of cooperation of the various elements of the National Entity. The actual psychosynthesis of the Nation.
This is the crucial, decisive phase corresponding to the storm and stress period in the individual’s life, after the arousing and downflow (in some measure) of Soul’s energies into the personality. At first all these elements, of different origin and quality, clash and struggle with each other. The problem is how to bring about the victory of the higher energies followed by an harmonious organisation and a peaceful cooperation of all the parts. This means using current terms/in current language what should be the best form of national government and social organisation and how to realise them.
Here only some general principles and methods from the angle of psychosynthesis can be indicated.
- Forms of government democracy – Individual and State
- Political parties: their functions – (dynamics) (fruitful tensions)
- Social organisation
- Psychosynthesis of the classes
Cooperation among the best citizen
Cooperation among the best citizens
The training of elites is in no way contrary to the democratic principle, because:
- Their members are taken from all the classes of the nation – and union duties require workers, farmers, etc.
- They are not fixed – if unworthy or insufficient they are dismissed.
- They have no privileges, but rather tasks, charges and responsibilities.
Formation of elites and their confirmation
This shows how the various terms, the various formulas are relative and unsatisfactory.
Everyone agrees, I believe, that it is desirable that power be held by the best – now the word aristocracy corresponds to it etymologically – but it would not be appropriate to use it because it now designates a class, a hereditary caste, that is, something quite different.
On the other hand, the term democracy is also unsatisfactory since it literally means government by the people; now the people cannot govern directly … however, understood in a broad sense, the word democracy can be adopted because the best who are elected to rule can come from every class, without exclusions, that is, from the people as a whole, and must govern for the good of all the people.
Furthermore, the nations that call themselves democratic are currently the ones that have made essential […] freedoms triumph.
Question of level
Democracy is right in the negative sense, that is eliminating all external privileges, all previous and no more valid standards. On this basis: the principle of level, of value of individual worth; of its recognition; of giving it leadership.
ottimo –> Cr. Underst 476…
The best citizen and democracy. The influence of the best citizen is quite in harmony/accordance both with the ideals and the methods to democracy: because…