As Spiritualists we believe that we are responsible for our own actions: The 7th Principle is: ‘We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual, and that he makes his own happiness or unhappiness as he obeys or disobeys Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.’
In this article I aim to examine the theory that there may be an external force that determines the outcome of our actions and that we are all aware of the nature of this intangible power. You may know it as luck.
Winston Churchill is best remembered as the leader of Great Britain during WWII when he was seen as the British Bulldog hero that inspired the nation with his brilliant speeches. But for the first part of WWII Britain lost virtually every single battle it fought, despite having Churchill as the Prime Minister. Was this bad luck? It is a little known fact that for the first sixty years of his life, despite being born into a highly placed and well connected family, Winston Churchill was a loser. It took him three attempts to pass the entrance examination to the Military Academy at Sandhurst, despite having had the benefit of a private education at Harrow, one of England’s top schools. His position in society though was guaranteed by the fact that his family were highly respected and his father was a well placed career politician as well as being a member of the aristocracy, he was the 7th Duke of Marlborough. So in that way Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a very lucky young man. If ever a child had a silver spoon it was Winston.
Winston quickly rose up the ranks of the armed forces and then moved into politics. His early career was hardly successful, but he was connected so he survived. Most notable defeats in the early history of Churchill include the disastrous expedition to the Dardenelles, in which countless thousands of our troops were killed, he engineered this attack. In 1926 it was Churchill as The Chancellor of The Exchequer, who brought about the great depression which led to a general strike during which he said: “either the country will break the General Strike, or the General Strike will break the country.” And he ordered British troops onto the streets to drive the striking miners back down the pits at the point of a bayonet.
In WWII, following the debacle of Dunkirk, we as a nation were on the very edge of defeat. We were losing on every front with German bomber-planes blowing our major cities and ports to smithereens. Above the green fields of England ‘The Few’ saved us from further attacks flying the famous Spitfires, but it was a near disaster. However, in 1942 following the North African Battle of El Alamein, in which the tanks of German General Rommel were defeated by the Desert Rats of Field Marshall Montgomery, Churchill’s luck turned and from that point the British forces won every major encounter. That success led on to even greater success and it was, as Winston Churchill himself stated: “The Hinge of Fate”. That is he believed that Britain’s luck had changed and we were fated to go on to win. The success of El Alamein had broken the bad luck spell and, as history shows, the Axis Powers were ultimately defeated.
We Shall Fight On The Beaches
The Bible addresses the problem of fate: Ecclesiates ‘And I looked and I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet counsel to the wise, nor yet riches to men of skill, nor yet favour to men of understanding, but time and chance happeneth to them all.’ Time and Chance: As Del Boy might say in Only Fools and Horses, Who Dares Wins. One has to take a chance and if one does so often enough one must eventually win. Churchill won, in the end and recognised that his perseverance had opened the door to success as it swung on ‘The Hinge of Fate’.
How then does luck, chance, fate and destiny relate to the 7th principle of Spiritualism? I believe that we have an absolute duty to our own selves to try and live our lives to the full extent of our potential. We need to be like Winston Churchill and take risks with our lives, be brave and refuse to be herded along in life like sheep. Think about this, The Bible talks about The Good Shepherd and his flock comparing The Lord Jesus to a shepherd and we the people to his flock. Think about this, it is the duty of the shepherd to control the sheep and their interests and the shepherd’s interests are not one and the same. They are, in point of fact, diametrically opposed. Sheep get sheered of their wool, they get killed and eaten and the shepherd is responsible for ensuring that they accept that fate. So good or not the shepherd feeds on them! If you think that being a member of a flock is safe think about that. It is not lucky to be born a sheep. It is even less lucky to accept that metaphorical position and allow oneself to be controlled and clipped by the authorities, be they good or bad shepherds they are most certainly going to have the shirt off your back.
So how can you, if you feel unlucky and trapped by circumstances change your luck, how can you escape the flock and become a success? How can you make the hinge of fate swing open the doorway that can lead on to ultimate attainment? It was Napoleon Bonaparte that said ‘Circumstances, I make the circumstances!’ That is how you change your luck, you just keep on keeping on until the hinge of fate either swings open the door or you batter the damn thing down.
You owe it to yourself to make an attempt at living your life to the full, don’t you? You do if you accept the 7th principle of Spiritualism. Accept your moral responsibility for your own happiness and be like Napoleon, make the circumstances that will enable you to achieve your goals. If, like me and unlike Winston Churchill, you were not born lucky with a silver spoon in your mouth then you might have to try harder. But think of the fun you will have when you finally win and you really will do BUT only if you try hard enough and never, not ever give in.
A TIME TO HEAL: Turn Turn Turn. The Byrds.