Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

2000 – International Scientific and Practical Conference
”New Epoch – New Man” (October 7–10)

International Scientific and Practical Conference “New Epoch – New Man”

From October 7 to 10, 2000, in Moscow, in the N. Roerich Museum, International Scientific and Practical Conference “New Epoch – New Man” took place, in the framework of which round table meeting “Gifted Children – Who Are They?” was held.

More than 300 representatives of regions of Russia, CIS countries, and Great Britain, Germany, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Italy, the USA, Estonia, Bulgaria, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia took part in the conference work.

Having connected the passing epoch with the forthcoming epoch with the strong thread of spiritual and cultural tradition, the conference of 2000 was in many respects a unique event. Directly dealing with the subject of evolutionary changes which the planet of Earth is undergoing now, it did not only raise questions of the humanity’s cosmic fate, but also laid new ways for their solution.

New World, new Man, new Beauty – these were the signs under which the extremely tight and full of events conference program was carried out, and the round table meeting on the subject “Gifted Children – Who Are They?” became its culmination. “Who are they, representatives of the new stream of evolution?” – this is the question which not only philosophers, historians, psychologists, pedagogues, but children themselves as well, tried to answer. It is the children’s participation in the conference intensive work that rendered to it practical and at the same time especially festive character. Their drawings which formed a wonderful exhibition “The Earth and Cosmos” decorated one of the Museum rooms, and their musical and poetic talents made beautiful evenings which will stay for a long time in the memory of all those who attended them.

The following exhibitions were organized in the conference framework: exhibition of group of painters-cosmists “Amaravella”, exhibition of the N. Roerich Museum new acquisitions, exhibition of children’s drawings The Earth and Cosmos”, exhibition of the ICR new publications.

The conference received greetings from Special Representative of Russia in the UN S. Lavrov, from the N. Roerich Society in Israel, and from many others.

Extracts from reports

L. Shaposhnikova
the N. Roerich Museum General Director,
the First Vice-President of the International Center of the Roerichs

The XX Century. By the Threshold of the New World

<...> The space of the Russian culture and Spiritual Revolution formulated three most important conceptual methodological theses without which it was not real to settle the practical problem of the New World and New man the way as it was formed in the field of creative revelation.

1. When settling this problem, it was necessary to take into consideration the influence on the earthly life of higher dimensions and another, subtler state of matter. The Higher other being effect on the earthly life is much broader and much more significant than we imagine. Religious and creative experience which was accumulated by the humanity by the end of the II millennium quite definitely testified to such influence affecting all spheres of human activities, and first of all, the space of culture itself. The whole internal world of man, which predetermines our external manifestations, is closely related to other being, irrespective of the fact whether man himself realizes it or not. <…>

Such an extremely important evolutionary phenomenon as Beauty has its source in Higher Worlds and Higher Creation. Subtle energetics comes to the solid world through beauty, so true art as such is a powerful energetic field in transforming evolutionary processes.

2. New creative work, or its anticipation, was one of the most important drives directing to the New World, to transfiguration of man. These anticipations were captured on artists’ canvases, sounded in music, were poured out into verses. <…>

Turning of creative work as such into a spiritual way and its following creative revelation required changing forms of the earthly creator’s interaction with other being, set forth the problem of synthesis of artistic and religious creative work. <…>

The fact that real beauty possesses higher energetics than symbolic beauty, does not arouse any doubts. The way to real Beauty is the way to higher energetics, which carries in itself a greater potential for transformation. This is the essence of new creation and its evolutionary changes. <…>

3. Beauty does not only save man, but transforms this man with its high energetics into that spiritual and creative personality which Soloviev called God-Man. But transformation cannot happen suddenly, it cannot take place if the man does not carry in himself corresponding prerequisites. <…>

Any transformation of man in the course of cosmic evolution is a complicated and long process requiring a lot of consistent inner labor aimed at expansion of consciousness. Teurgic creation, about which V. Soloviev wrote, or collaboration with the Higher, was the right way of transfiguration of man, spiritualization of his matter. <…>

Among those who created the Spiritual Revolution, among its poets, philosophers, painters, musicians, there were already those who created a new man, and first of all, in themselves.

Having sacrificially passed the earthly way, they left after themselves a priceless heritage, which, unfortunately, has not been appreciated and comprehended according to merit until today. I will not make a mistake if I mention in this row the names of Vladimir Soloviev, Mikalojus Chiurlionis, Alexander Scriabin, Nicholas Roerich and his spouse Helena Roerich. Those are the people on whom the Russian Spiritual Revolution in fact reposed. Vladimir Soloviev, philosopher of genius and poet, embodies that very relationship with the Higher, without which no New Man could be formed, no break through into other reality of a New World could be performed.

Mikalojus Chiurlionis, composer and painter, performed in his creative work an upsurge from symbolic Beauty to the New Beauty which we can call real.

Alexander Scriabin, composer, philosopher, poet, strived to find real exits into the space of all-human transformation.

Nicholas and Helena Roerich, having become collaborators of the Higher in earthly reality, have brought to us the philosophy of the Living Ethics which allocates a dominating position in the system of evolutionary processes to the forthcoming New Man and New World. Those two people represented creative harmonious union bearing cosmic significance. One – artist, the other – outstanding thinker, they carried in themselves evolutionary, spiritual, and artistic experience of extremely rare and unique quality, without which many things would not have been realized in the XX century. Helena Roerich, under the leadership of Cosmic Hierarchs, passed through that fiery transfiguration without the energetics of which spiritual and refined New Man would not have been able to appear. She personified this transfiguration, having passed in the XX century a torturous and sacrificial way for the sake of the future. Collaborator of Cosmic Powers, she carried in herself a message of the forthcoming New World and forthcoming transfiguration of man. <...>

Т. Sergeyeva
Candidate of Technical Sciences,
Chief Astronomic Observatory of the National Academy of Sciences

N. Roerich’s Creative Way as School of Life for Man of the Future

<...> It is known that formation of more perfect in terms of morality man is impossible without turning both to images of heroes which the folk culture has collected for many thousands of years of human history in myths, fairy-tales, epics and legends, and to heroic examples of selfless lives of real historical personalities. The process of spiritual transformation of man implies existence of an inspiring example, an ideal, for which one can strive. <…>

N. Roerich and his selfless life given to service to the Common Benefit, Culture, Beauty, which attracted contemporaries’ special attention, are until now that magnet to which our hearts gravitate. There is no doubt that his image will serve as an ideal, an example of life for many generations after us. We know from the Living Ethics books, from the “Agni Yoga Facets” that all the Roerich family’s activities and all that priceless heritage which they left to the mankind are meant for the future, serve as its foundation. We can say for sure as well that the new man of the New Epoch, climbing those steep steps of overcoming and spiritual ascent which make the school of life, will find in N. Roerich’s life history and creative work many instructive and necessary things. He will find inspiration and power in the beauty and energetic saturation of his paintings. He will find help and support in kind and very practical wisdom penetrating all his creative work. He will find a knowing and thoughtful Teacher of Life. <…>

Roerich’s life is an example of actual formation of that New Man of which we speak today, an example of a pioneer who beat a path to the distant and beautiful Future, a path to the heights of the New Life, an example of implementation in life of any day of striving and dedication to service to the Common Benefit, an example of heroic ascent to the heights of Spirit through fulfillment of entrusted to him task. <…>

Sh. Amonashvili
Doctor of Psychology, Professor,
Academician of the Russian Academy of Education

Image and Education

<...> New pedagogic thinking needs a different measure. It can only realize itself under assumption of a fourth dimension – existence of a spiritual world, spirituality, Higher world, superterrestrical world – a world which exists and to which we all at this or that time go. If it is not possible so far to prove it scientifically, we must at least admit a possibility for such reality existence. <…> It is multi-dimensional pedagogy that dominates in the Living Ethics. Read for instance the “Community”, this wonderful, the best textbook on pedagogy – each thesis in it shows that the human soul broods over the Higher world, higher vocation, higher images. And we, pedagogues, must help revelation of this Higher world in man. We are called to this.

<…> A teacher must be a carrier of greatest images, I am coming to a child like their source. What must be like the internal images I am carrying and which also require revelation to contribute to the child’s image formation? Images are revealed by images – this is the law which can be asserted in the educational process. An image would not be revealed without another image. An image needs an image. If a wonderful image possessed by a gifted child encounters imposed on him ugliness, the beautiful image can fade in him. <…>

That is why wise educators have this concern about the child: how to educate, how to create the environment, whom to invite, to which teacher to take, and to which teacher the child must not be taken whatever happens. The Living Ethics repeats not once: give children great images of courage, feat, heroism, give them higher examples, examples of love, respect, compassion, and sympathy, for only these are the ways which will reveal in them their own images. <…>

We want to improve school, we want that a new generation come. A New Epoch is coming, we need a New man. Scientists, pedagogues, philosophers must seriously start researches related to the fourth dimension in pedagogy, pedagogy versatility, its multi-dimensional character. This should be shown and asserted. Today’s authoritative pedagogy will understand such approaches with great difficulty, but it does not mean that we must retreat. We must assert the new way of thinking. I call it humane way of thinking. <…>

”Gifted Children – Who Are They?”

L. Shaposhnikova
the N. Roerich Museum General Director, Moscow

<...> During the conference, we talked about the movement of evolution and about development of man in the course of this cosmic evolution. And you already know that the planet of Earth is now living through a very interesting moment – the moment of transition to a new evolutionary turn. This transition causes changes in all related to the evolution processes, in particular, in the process of transformation of man.

The process of transformation of man has two trends. One trend is transformation of man in the space of solid earthly matter, the other – evolutionary transfiguration of man in the space of Higher worlds. Maybe, it sounds to you somewhat enigmatically, but we are talking here about two most important evolutionary processes: the man’s birth on the Earth, and man’s passing through various incarnations for many centuries and thousands of years. When these two flows merge – and they have now merged – quite powerful processes start which are related to the change of energetics and appearance of man of a new energetic type. And a whole stream of people of a new energetic type has started now on Earth. If our, previous species of mankind can be called “Man of Sense”, now “Man of Spirit” is coming. These qualitative changes to a considerable extent determine such new man’s characteristics and abilities as well.

Speaking about gifted children, we can say that, actually, children’s special ability in itself is not such a great news for earthly conditions. Gifted children have been born throughout the whole history of mankind. But those that are coming now differ in terms of their ability quality from previous, just talented children. In what way? Firstly, they are refined. Secondly, they possess talents which have been rare for centuries – in particular, second sight, second hearing, prophet abilities, and many others. Thirdly, their creative abilities act in a kind of synthesis, making that new quality of creation characteristic of those children. So, I would call it super ability. Possibly, later we shall find a different definition for them.

These children appearance sets forth both before the society, before their parents, and before the children themselves a number of extremely difficult problems. They come out as new people form the old environment – this is how evolution develops. It is not possible to destroy all the old first, and then plant the new. They tried to do such things during the social revolution, but evolution does not allow such things.

Problems with which these children encounter are quite difficult. <…>

<...> considerable part of our population, and of the planet population as well, among which representatives of the new energetic species of mankind start to appear, is not ready to accept them. And once it is so, a most acute, difficult, and very responsible problem arises – the problem of those children preservation, with all their specific features, because our future is in their hands. The future creative elite is coming. And if we understand this, we must make all possible efforts so that these children be protected from baneful influences. It must be said that a great role is given to the parents in this respect. I would not like – it is my opinion – that the parents start too fast using their children’s abilities, that they send them to competitions abroad, etc. Parents (I do not mean the parents present here) must know that these are refined, very vulnerable people, people of an absolutely different organization. And our usual earthly life adjusted for our species of mankind does not correspond to peculiarities of a different life, peculiarities of new people. We already have examples when super gifted children perished. Nadia Roosheva burned, Nika Turbina broke down, and I can enumerate many more situations. And the negative parents’ role was obvious in those cases.

The energetic world outlook gives us a possibility to find the right methodological approach to this phenomenon of super abilities and sets forth certain tasks before us. I want to repeat once again that the most important thing is that we must not lose those children. For the moment, I cannot say how to do it – we must settle this problem all together. But I see here a danger to go too far and create for such children greenhouse conditions. We must balance all in full harmony. Firstly, we should not rend them off life, and, secondly, we should protect them from that life which would be harmful for their spiritual development and development of those abilities on which the future of our planet will rely. <...>

А. Asmolov
Academician of the Russian Academy of Education

No matter how often researches, writers, scientists would gather, no matter how many times their attention would be attracted to problems of gifted childhood, these issues of gifted childhood always stay an enticing mystery for us. Why does it happen? What is the reason? Why speaking about gifted children we often utter such words – “optimistic tragedy of a gifted child”? <…>

A gifted child determines the area of nearest development of culture. A gifted child, like a navigator, tries those ways of search that culture attempts to outline and with which it starts struggling. Hence, the phenomenon of special abilities in evolution of culture, in a broad sense, in social evolution, is the phenomenon behind which the search of culture for new ways of development lies. It is written on the conference banner: ”New Epoch – New Man”. The lookouts of culture are those who find these new ways through tragedies, through pain, through the search for oneself, and thus, the sense in culture. I want to put a special emphasis on it. <…>

Many parents want that their talented children finish playing their own fate, become what the parents have not become. An when a child is born, his upbringing is directed by the thought: “I haven’t become an actress, I haven’t become a poet. Maybe, he will pass for me that way which I was not destined to pass”. This is another serious danger when we want that the child live that life of which we dreamed. But this is our life, not his. And unwillingly, the adults perform an unintentional theft of the child’s biography, trying to arrange his life in such a way so that he do not only live, but outlive their fates. <...>

D. Feldstein
Academician, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Education

<...> We all understand that gifted, talented children are children especially advanced in their development in a particular sphere – intellectual, or sensual and emotional. The society and state are concerned with the problem of gifted children. Researches are conducted, the nature, sources of abilities, conditions of their development are determined, institutions for gifted children education and training are established, and even individual trajectories of a gifted child development are charted. On the face of it, everything seems all right. But at that, our adult society forgets, probably at an unconscious level, two things. Firstly, we do not want to admit before ourselves that we treat a gifted child like an object. Yes, we show concern for a gifted child, but this is an object of our care, this is an object of our upbringing, this is an object of our education. We totally forget that he is the subject of development, of his own development.

And the second thing. <…> a gifted child’s life in his micro-environment and in social medium is difficult in general. It is very hard to pass this “duck-and-swan” way. It is hard for both the gifted child himself, and for his parents, his pedagogues, and our whole community.

It is difficult for the child because he is unusual, and unusualness is not forgiven, the people around him would rather see in that gifted child signs of schizophrenia than features of genius. It is hard for him because he is not like other children of his age around him. And those other children’s attitude towards him is, correspondingly, like towards an anomalous phenomenon.

The parents have hard time with the child himself and with the other people’s attitude towards him. Especially difficult it is for pedagogues. <…>

We say that today’s school, today’s system of education, in the best case, does not contribute to a child’s development. And even more it does not contribute to and does not provide possibilities for development of a gifted child. <...>

G. Foursey
RANS Academician

<...> Today’s society, and in Russia in particular, is very little prepared for perception of this wonderful phenomenon which now shows itself in such a vivid form. <…>

And they hunt such children, they are very happy to export them from this country. I will digress a little and give such an example from the history of our wonderful Moscow institute of Physics and Technology where talents in the field of mathematics, physics and engineering are very carefully selected. Once, all the students of one year were taken to America. And everybody was happy: how good they are, that they have all been taken there with great pleasure. Of course, we should be proud of the fact that they are good, but losing our talented children educated here must happen by no means. And we must do all in our power so that this do not happen, so that they have a worthy possibility to realize themselves here. I believe that this is now one of the most important tasks in this country. <...>

Francesca Barbagli
Doctor of Psychology, Italy

<...> Who are gifted children? We can define them as children of quite mature psychic age, irrespective of their biological age, which are or not only are carriers of unusual abilities in some specific sphere: mathematics, music, etc. Gifted in the sense we mean children and teenagers’ most important mental and artistic qualities are often striving for internal perfection and following the spirit of Service and collaboration, instinctive comprehension of the fact that life has a purpose, and to live means to pursue this purpose. In general, it is some kind of super ability which can be only used by “the one who lives by it”. Very often these are children and teenagers who are absolutely unprepared for the usual life, are sometimes too emotional or susceptible, lacking practical skills. Despite their one brightly manifest ability, in all the rest they look kind of “softies”. And our task is, by way of using a corresponding educational model, to help them to acquire internal balance, to secure development of undeveloped so far psychic functions, not even for a minute forgetting how precious they are for all of us. It is necessary to clearly understand that this is the main interest of any society or nation – to open and offer any help to those who, thanks to their special higher qualities, can become in the future the humanity’s leaders – its scientists, politicians, economists, artists, educators, creators of new civilization and culture. <...>


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