Discovering A New Perspective, A Paradigm of Evolutionary Change
Investigating the Case for a Destined Lasting World Peace as seen through prayer, meditation, interfaith study and faith.
Paradigm for Peace
Dreams and Wishes?
"World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet.” (Universal House of Justice, 1986)
Dreams and Wishes for Society:
Is a New Paradigm Possible?
Questioning fundamental behavior, ethics, the inborn greed of capitalism, a case for balance between science and religion, What are the standards for Justice? and more.
We begin with a look at what has brought so much progress in the world, and yet, so much controversy; revealing so much harm done in the name of religion yet, forcing us to come to terms with ancestral beliefs and understanding. Surely the finding of modern science cannot simply be dismissed in favor of ancient understandings and "truths"!
Of Science and Religion
Two pillars of modern day thinking contains the seemingly conflicting arenas of science and religion. One is based on a faith based perception while the other relies on provable observation. My Christian friends adamantly believe the Bible is the unquestioned source of all knowledge while the very central tenant of science is to question. In science, nothing is absolute, while in religion, the Holy Word of God is absolute.
The dramatic difference between a world outlook of a faith based fulfillment presented as divinely inspired unchanging answers and, conversely, an active growing search leading to evolving discovery and further questioning can be seen in fundamental arguments. Ever since Darwinpublished his "Origin of Species" evolution has been a hot debate. Hominid fossils dating from less than one to three or even four million old clearly show development from apelike species to that of man. For most of this time there were several species of hominid living at the same time. Even up to about 20,00 years ago, Neanderthals occupied much of ice age Europe. It is now theorized that these northern relatives were absorbed into our own Cro-Magnon blood-line.
Those of the Bible will quote ," God created the heavens and the earth" or ," on the sixth day God created man in his own image and found it good." Just what is creation anyway? what is really meant by "God Created"? Do we "create when we make a computer or craft a piece of art or is this simply a manipulation of what is already there? Can we bring something into the realm of existence from nothing? Of course. By definition, this properly belongs to the realm of "That Which is Beyond our Capacity" of understanding. Where do we come from? where are we going? is there a design to the universe? are questions left to those of faith.
Among those of faith, there are some who some who, somehow, justify committing the worst crimes of radical terrorism toward fellow humans in the name of their God. Many will look at strong scientific evidence; such as found in evolution, the case for Global Warming, and yet, turn around and deny fossil records and graphs in favor of the Bible.
Those of science can use this powerful tool to advance learning, harness technologies while peeking into the wonders of the universe itself. But, as with any gift, mankind can use it for benefit or destruction. Modern conveniences, world-wide communication along with The ability to utterly destroy life on earth are vivid examples of what the hand of man, under science, is capable of.
Yet, can these supposed contradictory ways work together as guideposts erecting an ever-evolving human lifestyle? Perhaps science and religion are both needed as valid guideposts. Does not science without religion become a monster lacking morals, judgment, forgiveness or love? Does not religion without science become wrapped within its own veils of dogma, rigid in ancient traditions, unmoving in a world of change and capable of the worst sins imaginable?
If we could but free ourselves from the prison of vain imaginings, age old superstitions and reap the bountiful harvest given by the Universe: Let us give thanks and rejoice in all things!
For this I wish.
" Religion and Science are inter-twined with each other and cannot be separated. These are the two wings with which humanity must fly. One wing is not enough. Every religion which does not concern itself with Science is mere tradition, and that is not the essential. Therefore science, education and civilization are most important necessities for the full religious life."(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 28)
Basic Conditioned fear can have catastrophic consequences!
Why is the human condition so subject to the influence of what is popularly considered " proper thinking"? How can we discern what is truth and what is a misleading lie; of propaganda, traditionally" educated" thinking or vain imaginings, of profitable stories tailored for the masses? Surely it is time to free ourselves from the quagmire of such selfish-business-oriented half-truths and comfort-laden decrees, for indeed, many moments in history are influenced or often even come to be created by such. This can lead to misunderstandings, hatred or even all out war.
Many older people still remember the Cold War. The generation-long relationship between the US and USSR was filled with media images of Russia as being a dark, foreboding cold land ruled under tyrannical suppression of a godless Communist dictator. Indeed, for the next fifty years, just knowing a member, or even a past member, of the Communist Party would likely lead to harm done in the name of patriotic security to you and/or your family. The very word "Communist" still brings up memories of a deep seated fear to this day.
Meanwhile, the US presented itself as a champion of Capitalism. Evangelists and Presidents worked
together bringing the slogan "in God we trust" into the post WW2 great American dream of a two-car-garage
suburban lifestyle. Much of this thinking was nurtured by political fed media.
Depending on which side you were on, Russia was controlled by a few powerful communists while the
Did the Soviet citizens ever get to look behind the Iron Curtain at the true reality of US concerns, issues and lifestyle? Did we, as media-fed " rather dead than red " Us citizens get a chance at looking behind the Iron Curtain? There was so much misunderstanding, politics, and up-man-ship; but, at the same time, we, we are all human, we share the same needs, desires and basic quality of life.
Yet, because of this man-made Iron Curtain, we came so close to a global cataclysmic thermonuclear War!
Back in 1959, a meeting between visiting Soviet Premier Khrushchev and United States President Eisenhower was an attempt to establish better relations and understanding. It was hoped that an Arms Agreement could be reached. Real progress was not made. Actually, shortly before a widely publicized reciprocal trip to the USSRwas cancelled due to Russia shooting down an American spy plane authorized by Eisenhower. A golden opportunity was missed due to an unwise action of mistrust and military security. Khrushchev, during his US visit, was greeted coldly and sometimes received rude remarks which were not conducive to improving cold war relations. We then continued to live under the specter of Global Thermonuclear War for nearly a generation.
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis became a critical time when many thought the end was near. Three men; US President Kennedy, Soviet Premier Khrushchev and Cuba's Castro literally had the fate of the world the world in the palm of their hands! Somehow, seemingly against all odds, the human species and life on this planet survived.
Why can we not have true cooperation among the nations unbiased true reporting as a service towards peace and understanding throughout the world? This is my wish.
" And among the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is, that religious, racial, political, economic and patriotic prejudices destroy the edifice of humanity. As long as these prejudices prevail, the world of humanity will not have rest. For a period of 6,000 years history informs us about the world of humanity. During these 6,000 years the world of humanity has not been free from war, strife, murder and bloodthirstiness. In every period war has been waged in one country or another and that war was due to either religious prejudice, racial prejudice, political prejudice or patriotic prejudice. It has therefore been ascertained and proved that all prejudices are destructive of the human edifice. As long as these prejudices persist, the struggle for existence must remain dominant, and bloodthirstiness and rapacity continue. Therefore, even as was the case in the past, the world of humanity cannot be saved from the darkness of nature and cannot attain illumination except through the abandonment of prejudices and the acquisition of the morals of the Kingdom." (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section,)
Capitalism, unsustainable lifestyle, short-term profit, "buy now and save", money symbolizes love, ads everywhere..
There seems to be a deep rooted relationship between profit and capitalism. One cannot exist without the other. The motivation of Capitalism has proven to be a potent force for material progression, but at the same time, that big brother, Greed, can be a bully. Not only can Greed afflict hardship on others but psychologically engineered crafty advertising principles entice people into believing they need something not needed before. Over generations, this need to buy, and/or, collect or win stuff has become a central focus of life.
It is amazing to watch how a group of supposedly civilized humans will descend like vultures on most any pile of things that are free. People will play Bingo for hours hoping to get that prize; even if they have to pay to play. Of course, gambling itself is big business, as is the cost of addiction to gambling.
It is hard to find social celebrations in the US that do not involve a material symbol requiring a sale. Easter has a basket and candy. Thanksgiving requires purchase of as much food as can be handled. Christmas is a huge investment of presents and cards. while Halloween is full of trick or trick candies, gimmicks and costumes. Birthdays are often full of parties and presents.
When was the last time you heard," Show her you love her by giving her a bouquet of roses" or," you need to get her a diamond engagement ring to show you are serious".
Is it possible we can learn to over-ride this capitalistic need to produce cultural-biased-profit-motivated media events for the masses and , instead, fairly and evenly; without propaganda, give the unsullied truth? Is it even conceivable that we, in the capitalistic society, might turn our focus away from accruing ever more amounts of money, by whatever means necessary and, instead, turn to, much as the American Indians did, seeing success as helping neighbors and goodness as a giveaway. This is my wish.
Money as the Root of All Evil
So much greed, manipulation and suffering is perpetuated in the name of money.
Certainly, in the US the ever-widening gap between rich and poor is causing ever-increasing hardship for society at large. Money has become a means of stock speculation and huge profits by investments as manipulated by super banks. But, at the same time, since 1971 US currency is not backed by any gold standard. Now the Dollar is simply a promissary note. What will happen when paper is no longer satisfactory? What will happen when essentials, such as food and housing, can no longer be bartered for by a piece of paper? As time goes on, greed increases. The average person has been trained from the cradle to the grave to never be satisfied. Bingo among seniors is a popular game because prizes can be won but, it seems, the more they get the more they want. Few ever say," I have gotten enough, I don't want any more stuff".
Remember President Kennedy's speech when he said," Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather, what you can do for your country." As a relatively poor US citizen, I consistently see people and, especially business catering to the needy, constantly attempting to get as much as they can from the Government. There is so much waste and duplication going on. Grant checks given out for room and board from one Government source while HUD housing cannot charge rent based on any money used for school. In other words, these students are receiving double payments. Vendors are out hyping wares to Disabled people. The idea being that," this product is free. you might as get it now. It won't cost you anything. Shoes for diabetics are a popular item. Each time a shoe is sold the charge to the Government can range upwards to a few hundred dollars. The shoe are considered a medical treatment.
Free meals handed out to the needy is a great service. Serving the poor is one of the fundamental Commandments of both Mohammed and Jesus. But, as I come to their doors, often I see a comfortable middle class home paired with a reliable looking car. Sometimes the meals are accepted by a younger family member, at home, well able to care for their elder ones. Yet, I overhear at times from the kitchen," We must go out. Even if it is dangerous and icy we must deliver meals or they will go hungry. "" I wonder; I truly don't think many would ever go hungry. I wonder how many are getting on the meal list simply because it is convenient and free.
I do wish people were not quite so greedy and self-centered. How good it would be if we all worked for the best of each other instead only for ourselves.
Perhaps , in the spiritual evolution upwards from a now spiritually savage mankind, the time will come when we voluntarily and openly share each other's property with others. Just think; no more greed no more hoarding or extreme wealth, no more titles and ownership. In other words, individuals should not prefer themselves over others.
" And among the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is voluntary sharing of one's property with others among mankind. This voluntary sharing is greater than equality, and consists in this, that man should not prefer himself to others, but rather should sacrifice his life and property for others. But this should not be introduced by coercion so that it becomes a law and man is compelled to follow it. Nay, rather, man should voluntarily and of his own choice sacrifice his property and life for others, and spend willingly for the poor." (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section,)
Games and Gaming
Why must gaming be so competitive? Is it not better to enjoy, learn and uplift one another than cheer as one opponent is beaten down? Even the simple game of Scrabble is full of rules which present an element of luck, winner, loser and mistrust. Would it be better to place an emphasis on education and building of words? I would like to see the game allowing words to be expanded from anywhere as long as crosswords remain intact. Also, why have double and triple squares on the board? Why do we seem to need an element of luck in a game?
Basketball is a good example of collegiate sports gone mad. At this time, one of our local teams is #1 in the National Conference. The craziness has gotten so bad that even wearing a shirt with an opponents color will bring out anguish and hysteria. It seems, sports has become almost a religion with certain teams as idols. I hear the coaches often get more than the professors. I wonder how much the glamour of sports has hurt the scholastic studies of those on the teams?
Most games now always seem to have a "violence" or "superhero" quota built into them. Instead of being encouraged to actively play outside children sit in safety at a game console. Is this good for the physical for mental health of our children? Of course, Chess has lasted since medieval times. It mainly involves strategy.
Would it not be better if we could play games in the spirit of friendly positive cooperation rather than simply a competition, ased as a means of education rather than just winning over an opponent??
For this I wish.
"Don't love the world, or anything it contains. If
anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in that person; for everything
in the world - what human nature craves for, what the eyes crave for, pride
over one's possessions - doesn't originate with the Father, but with the world.
Now the world and its craving are passing away, whereas the person who carries
out God's wishes remains for ever."
"In cities like New York the people are submerged in the sea of materialism. Their sensibilities are attuned to material forces, their perceptions purely physical. The animal energies predominate in their activities; all their thoughts are directed to material things; day and night they are devoted to the attractions of this world, without aspiration beyond the life that is vanishing and mortal. In schools and temples of learning knowledge of the sciences acquired is based upon material observations only; there is no realization of Divinity in their methods and conclusions -- all have reference to the world of matter. They are not interested in attaining knowledge of the mysteries of God or understanding the secrets of the heavenly Kingdom; what they acquire is based altogether upon visible and tangible evidences. Beyond these evidences they are without susceptibilities; they have no idea of the world of inner significances and are utterly out of touch with God, considering this an indication of reasonable attitude and philosophical judgement whereof they are self-sufficient and proud. " (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 261)
What is Justice?
Why is it necessary to see justice primarily as some form of equivalent punitive payment system as settlement for actions deemed unacceptable? Virtually anyone I talk to on the street believes prison is where those who break the law belong. But, does prison really help the problem? It seems to me, with a recidivism rate well over 60%, the answer is no. Would it not be far better to moderate our overloaded incarceration system and, instead, change the overall focus towards helping those in need? Why can't we work to help one another? Why can't we see neighbors; not as permanently designated as "right" or "wrong", but rather, as individual victims of unfortunate circumstances. Perhaps "Justice" itself might be seen as a means of providing an uplifting, transforming way out of suffering, inequality and hardship. This is my wish.
" And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh is justice and right. Until these are realized on the plane of existence, all things shall be in disorder and remain imperfect. The world of mankind is a world of oppression and cruelty, and a realm of aggression and error. " (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section,
"O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 36)
Again, the question must be asked: "What is justice?"