Akhenaton, Pharaoh of Egypt, born 1388 B.C., was the first man in recorded history to exemplify social consciousness in the administration of a great nation. He saw every living thing as having a divine right to live well, to hope and to aspire in a world governed by brotherly love.
Man has passed out of the state of savagery and become a civilized creature with the development of social consciousness. Civilization is a collective state. In our collective type of life the isolationist is a detriment to himself and a menace to others.
There is a great difference between isolationism and intellectualism. Development of the mind releases the individual from mob psychology, but it does not set him apart from the common responsibility of his kind. A true thinker becomes a force for good within the group life. If his intellectual powers lure him away from the practical problems and values of his world, he can no longer make his contribution to the social unity.
Political reforms are not accompanied by the people but through the people. Behind all collective progress stands the enlightened individuals leadership. His superiority does not free him from common responsibility; his is the obligation to assume the greater burden of directing his vision to the well being of all his people.
We’ll go as far back to ancient times. Akhenaton, Pharaoh of Egypt is often referred to as the first civilized human being. Which this may not literally be true, he was definitely the first man in recorded history to exemplify social consciousness in the administration of a great nation.
Charles F. Potter, in his History of Religion, says of Akhenaton that he was, “the first pacifist, the first realist, the first monotheist, the first democrat, the first heretic, the first humanitarian, the first internationalist, and the first person known to attempt to found a religion. He was born out of due time, several thousand years too soon.
To Akhenaton, God was not a mighty warrior ruling over Egypt, speaking through the oracles of his priests; he was not a Supreme Being flying through the air in a war chariot leading armies of destruction. No – God was a gentle father who loved all his children, of every race and nation; and desired for them that they should live together in peace and comradeship.
This was a pharaoh who traveled alone through the countryside, meeting peasants, conversing with slaves, and sharing the simple food of the poor. To the most ignorant man he listened with profound respect, for in each of his subjects he sought and found the life of God.
He could not accept the inequalities of birth, wealth, or physical estate as a justification for men persecuting each other or exploiting one and other.
He saw it the duty of the ruler to protect this beauty in the hearts of his people to nourish it, and to give every possible le opportunity for its expression and perfection.
In his personal life Akhenaton emerges as the first man in history to bring dignity and gentle beauty to the management of his home. He was the father of seven daughters, to whom he was completely devoted, and in his speeches and public pronouncements he always referred to Queen Nefertiti as “my beloved wife.”
It was usual for the Pharaohs to cause themselves to be depicted in great stone carvings upon the walls of their palaces. They were represented as majestic figures, crowned and sceptered; they were shown either seated on their thrones or wielding their weapons against their foes. Akhenaton was the only Pharaoh in the history of Egypt who chose to be depicted with his arm about his wife, with his little daughters playing about and seated on his lap
Akhenaton was the first man in history who dared to dream of the Brotherhood of Men, and he cheerfully gave his life and his empire for that dream.
America cannot refuse the challenge of leadership in the postwar world. Mere physical reconstruction of ravaged countries and the reorganization of political, economic, and social systems is the lesser task we face.
The larger problem and our greatest challenge is in how to set up a new order of world ethics firmly established on a foundation of democratic idealism.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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