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Posts Tagged ‘civilisation’

I have just returned from an exhilarating three days at a Bahá’í summer school in Perth. A group of us were working our way through a set of materials tackling the issue of unity – unity at the individual and at the group/community level. It’ll take me some time to digest all that we discussed and learned before I can blog about it coherently. Serendipity is fortunately working in my favour and there is a recent article by Greg Hodges on the Bahá’í Teachings website dealing with an aspect of this. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.

Humanity is already united. It may not seem like it, but it’s true; and not just in the sense that we’re all created by God from the same spiritual substance.

We are already one because all of us are enmeshed in a world civilization of recent origin and of far greater complexity than any society that has existed in past centuries.

No emperor is sovereign over this empire. No institution governs the entirety of this sprawling network. No race, nation, or ethnicity can claim to represent its true culture. Its various names speak to different aspects of its character: globalization, new world order, capitalism, etc.

The one act that connects everyone in this global empire is trade. The thing that binds us is money. Whether you cook meals for factory workers in Vietnam, have seen your housing expenses skyrocket in London, or live near an oil well in Nigeria, you are connected in some way to the vast flow of resources that joins every corner of the planet to every other corner.

So all the world is one. Everything’s great! Right? We’ve achieved the unification of the human race prophesied by the Baha’i Faith! Haven’t we? Not so fast.

Humanity has unleashed its enormous material capacities, without gaining the corresponding attitudes, behaviors, and institutions needed to channel those powers in entirely constructive directions. We haven’t even developed the necessary means to prevent us from destroying ourselves, as evidenced by the spread of nuclear weapons, and the deep failure to respond in a timely or adequate manner to the onset of global climate change. The overflow of material wealth from modern industry has raised everyone’s expectations about food, clothing, housing, appliances, etc. But the social and cultural means to eliminate poverty or foster meaningful happiness have not accompanied the explosion in technology and the economy.

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