DEMOCRACY IS SELF-GOVERNMENT
Harold W. Percival
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
The wheel of fortune turns for all: the lowly and the great. The body is the wheel. The Doer in it makes its fortune, and turns its wheel, by what it thinks and what it does. By what it thinks and does, it moves its body from station to station; and in one life it may often change its fortune and play many parts. By what it thinks and does the Doer writes the play and designs the Wheel for its fortune when it re-exists in another human body.
Earth is the stage on which the Doer plays its parts. It becomes so engrossed in the play that it believes itself to be the parts and knows not that it is the writer of the play and the player of the parts.
No one need to so exalt himself that he looks on the lowly with disdain, for even if he were the greatest potentate among princes, circumstances may reduce him to the state of vagabond. If circumstance should let a stricken wretch raise himself from poverty to power, reason should restrain his hand, lest he be returned again to misery and to suffer pain.
As surely as there is sunshine and shadow, every Doer periodically exists in a man-body or in a woman-body, in affluence or in poverty, in honor or in shame. All Doers experience the ordinary and the extremes of human life; not to punish or reward, not to raise up or cast down, not to glorify or to demean, but, for them to learn.
These situations are to give the Doer experiences in the dream of life, in order that each one will feel with humanity in common human kinship; that, whether their situations are high or low, there will be the common bond of human kind, alike through all. The Doer playing the part of servitude can have pity for the Doer whose part is the unlordly lord; the Doer as a lord may feel sorrow for the one who acts the part of unwilling servant. But where there is understanding between the employer and the one who serves, between the ruler and the ruled, then in each there is kindliness toward the other.
One who objects to being called servant suffers from false pride. All human beings are servants. He who serves unwillingly is indeed a poor servant, and he serves without honor. A poor servant makes a hard master. The highest honor in any office is to serve well in that office. The office of President of the United States offers to the holder of that office the opportunity to be the American people’s greatest servant; not their lord and master; and not merely for a party or a few of the people, but for all the people and irrespective of party or class.
Conscious kinship between Doers in human bodies will beautify the world, strengthen the people and establish solidarity among human beings. The bodies are the masks in which the Doers play their parts. All Doers are immortal, but they wear out the bodies and the bodies die. How can the immortal Doer be old, even though the immortal one wears a faded shroud!
Kinship does not mean that one in lowly station can or should sit beside another of high estate and converse at ease. He cannot, even though he would. Nor does it mean that the learned must palaver with the listless. He cannot, even if he were to try. To have the common kinness or kinship between Doers in human bodies means that each Doer will have enough honor in itself, and enough respect for the body it is in, that it will not allow itself to so forget itself and the part it plays that it will be absurd.
How ridiculous it would be for the lowly and the great to walk arm in arm and confabulate with familiar interest! Which would then feel most embarrassed or make the other feel least at ease? If each Doer knew itself as Doer and the part it played, there would be no need for the play of parts, and the play would cease. No: the conscious kinness need not disrupt or disturb human relations.
The Doer will hold and keep the body in its orbit until, by thinking and performing its duties, it will change the orbit of its bodies in its relation to the orbits of the bodies of other Doers. Then the Doer will understand that the body it is in is its wheel of fortune, and that it is the turner of its wheel. Then there can be a consolidation of interests and responsibilities of the people of the nation—and of the world. Then there will be Real Democracy, self-government, in the world.
Copyright 1980 by The Word Foundation, Inc.