Hegel's Pendulum Swing Theory
When we look back at our history, it is easy to become distracted by all the chaos. There were many wars, injustices and suffering by all peoples. When you look more closely, it is possible to see that the darker times were necessary to our development and growth as a civilisation.
Hegel was a German philosopher who lived in the 18th century. He drew heavily on Greek philosophy for his ideas and after observing events that occurred within his own lifetime, found patterns that appeared to reoccur in history.
His theory of his is known as Hegelian Dialectic - which essentially refers to the three stages of development that society moves through in order to find balance and harmony. These stages are; the thesis, which is the reaction to the event, the antithesis, which is an opposite reaction to the thesis, and the synthesis, which is the solution to the initial problem.
Three is a sacred number, held sacred by just about every ancient civilisation. Three is the representation of perfect balance, and of the elements. It makes sense that Hegel sees the similarities in how we grow collectively - third time's the charm!
Look back at history and you can see how we have grown already. Our concept of the divine has shifted dramatically. In Vedic thought, our world is said to go through shifts every couple of thousand years. According to the Vedas, civilisation begun at enlightenment, and deteriorated there after. The lowest point was the medieval era, and our world today is seen as shifting into greater wisdom once again. In our most distant past, we were at the apex of civilisation. The needs of others were always met and there were no wars, only serving of others. Perhaps this is why we find very little trace of our ancestors in Europe. They were living in such harmony with nature, there is barely a footprint of them remaining today. In the medieval era, our world became selfish, and we began to only serve ourselves. This accounts for the atrocious events in the medieval period. Many of us cannot bear to hear the details of such events without feeling our skin crawl.
Looking more recently, the political system we have today is a byproduct of our learning. The feudal system in medieval ages provided no representation for the average person. Then we revolted with violence and bloodshed in the French Revolution to help bring about peace. Since this time was still in this 'self-centered' phase, this ideal of peace was rebuffed by Napoleon. You could say he was an opportunist making the most of a bad situation. Now, with the example of Gandhi, we realise that peaceful actions lead to peaceful results - we must all take back our power, act with compassion, which will ultimately lead to a kind political system.
The violence and horrors of the past were merely stepping stones to a more beautiful future. As individuals, when we choose certain actions, we must be prepared to live with the karma or debts that are associated with these actions. One war will set off a chain reaction that will continue on into the future. This is all necessary; it is part of the process of learning and growing. As we continue to learn and grow, don't be distracted by the disastrous events you see or experience, remember that if there is suffering, by default, there has to be harmony in the future. As Isaac Newton found, there is always an equal or opposite reaction to every action. If there is suffering, then there is peace to be found.