Krzysztof Zanussi:
Timeless Images and Questions in
"A Year of the Quiet Sun"




Spiritual And Material

Those, who can still sense the "time" of Eternity, are not in the least detached from worldly matters. On the contrary, it is only through this more natural and correct perspective on time that they are then able to assess what is most important to accomplish in the earthly phase of existence. Such people are usually especially concerned with the issues of human freedom and human dignity. This is certainly the case with Krzysztof Zanussi, who is well-known not only in his native Poland, but throughout the world as a true freedom-fighter. It is just because he is concerned in the first place about the inner, spiritual freedom of human beings that his concern for their outer freedom in the material world follows quite naturally. This concern and the fundamental premise, on which it rests, has been beautifully encapsulated by S.M. A. Lawani in "Spiritual Dimensions of Development":

"I became convinced many years ago that the way people have been attending to the major problems facing human civilization... may be likened to polishing and shining the armour of a dying knight while leaving the knight himself untreated. Obviously, the priority should be to heal the knight. Once he has regained his health, the Knight can personally arrange to shine his armour. I believe that whatever we do to our economic, social, and political systems would be largely in vain, if the moral and spiritual ailments of humankind are not attended to. Knowledge of the true Will of God and aligning our systems, our individual and collective thoughts, our words and actions to God?s true Will constitute the medicine for humanity's multifarious ailments. The spiritually healthy human race of every society would then be able to discern what actions are required to serve both humankind?s earthly needs and spiritual goal, and even more important, to carry through such actions. By applying the knowledge of the true Will of God at all times and in all circumstances humankind will be able easily to solve the daunting problems of physical and human development, just as the healthy knight would have no difficulty shining his armour.

"My point of departure is the conviction that the driving force in the individual, that which makes her or him a human being, is the spirit. The physical body is simply a material cloak of the spirit which it needs to function on earth. Stated differently, it is not that a person has spirit, but that a person is spirit; the physical body with all its senses is the spirit?s tool while it is on earth. Unlike the physical body which belongs to the visible world of gross matter, the spirit has a different, finer nature and is of a higher origin. It originated as an unconscious spirit-germ or spirit seed in the Spiritual Realm of Creation, also known as the human Paradise. It is ?planted? into the lower-lying world of matter for the specific purpose of becoming not only conscious (like non-human animals) but also self-conscious (unlike non-human animals). It then matures through learning and doing the Will of God; this Will manifests as a few simple immutable laws or principles. And on attaining the level of maturity possible in the World of Matter which includes the earth, the human spirit commences its return journey to its real home at its point of origin in the spiritual part of Creation. In addition to the physical body, the spirit has other non-physical bodies and sense organs that are appropriate for the non-physical parts of Creation in which it spends time during its continuous existence. The physical body is alive only as long as it is linked with the spirit; when the spirit detaches itself from the body, the death of the physical body occurs. This implies that earthly death is not the end of human existence; the spirit moves on in a non-physical body.

"I am convinced that global events as well as experiences at the national, community, and individual levels confirm the fact that the prevailing paradigm of development is misdirected or at best grossly inadequate. The paradigm in its various expressions treats human beings as if they were no more than physical bodies (not much more than clever non-human animals). Moreover, it has become evident that development based on the prevailing paradigm is not environmentally or socially sustainable anywhere in the world. I propose a new paradigm of development based on the explicit recognition of the fact that human beings are spiritual, that there is a purpose to their existence, and that there are eternal laws or immutable principles by which they should conduct themselves. In so doing, human beings would achieve the purpose of existence and in the process make the world an abode of happiness and harmony as willed by the Creator. The same set of simple immutable principles, which express the Creator?s Will, is applicable across all areas of human activities: politics, economics, business, and relations among countries, within countries and communities as well as among individuals. Thus, they permit a holistic approach to life and to development.

"An etymological consideration of the word ?development? as ?de-envelopment? suggests that I am on solid ground. It points to the fact that true development should be the unfolding and blossoming of that which is inherent in the nature of what is to be developed. Thus, in the case of the human being, development should mean primarily spiritual development, since the core of the human being is spiritual. In other words, one is not merely stating that there are spiritual dimensions to true development; rather that real development is at core spiritual. But development does, of course, have material dimensions since our physical bodies and our visible environments are material." ("Spiritual Dimensions of Development" by S.M. A. Lawani)

It is often assumed that our development on this earth can go on indefinitely, for as long as we wish. This is not the case, however. The time for the development-phase of our existence has been alotted to us very generously (covering millions of years), but now it is quickly coming to an end. To qualify for the next stage of existence in this Creation, we will need to show what we have done with our spiritual abilities up to this point.