Path Toward Peace – Step Three

economic disparity

Preventing Economic Disparity


A few extremely rich and so many poor… It’s criminal! Greed and corruption must be banished, the vast majority of human beings must be given a fighting chance to make their place in the world, children should not starve to death for lack of food while other children are world-weary with affluent lust.

From The Economic Times: Global financial crisis: The Story so far

From Principled Profit: Ethics Could Have Avoided The Collapse of Lehman, Merrill Lynch

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Articles of Faith: Ethical lessons to draw from economic crisis

As I’d mentioned a few posts ago, this series on Path Toward Peace is a major challenge for me, spiritually and emotionally. This morning, as I was pondering how to write today’s post, I decided to take a break (always good when the creative juices feel stopped-up) and stroll down to the Java Street Café. The owner, Sam, was not too busy and I thought I’d bring up what I was pondering for my blog post—I mean he is a good business man and highly attuned to financial concerns. I wasn’t sure what he’d say about economic disparity and was amazed at what he did say.

He brought up a concept that dealt with providing a fixed income to each citizen, not socialism but a humane method of lifting the burden of economic distress from human endeavor—not social security but social insurance, proactive at that.

Here was a man, focused on profit and loss, talking about altruistic business and government—a way to ensure that each human being had the means of a basic existence—pure justice and equity. This is a far cry from the existing situation in today’s ruinous economic game plan. We touched on the idea of the owners of businesses providing profit-sharing to employees. And Sam crowned this inspiring discussion with a statement about the necessity of being aware that the wealthy exist on the labor of the common person.

The next post in this series will deal with the spiritual and emotional transformations necessary for humane economic activity. Nevertheless, we must be willing to act, in whatever capacity we can handle, to instill fairness into our economic activities.

Spiritual Quotes:

“The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war.”
Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 551

“A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a poor man in dire necessity. When we see poverty allowed to reach a condition of starvation it is a sure sign that somewhere we shall find tyranny. Men must bestir themselves in this matter, and no longer delay in altering conditions which bring the misery of grinding poverty to a very large number of the people. The rich must give of their abundance, they must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence, taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering from lack of the very necessities of life.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 153

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Path Toward Peace – Step Two

Eliminating Racism

Eliminating Racism


Do you practice racism?

From AsianWeek: “I’m Not, Like, Racist”

From IndependentOnline: Rhodes sorry for past racist actions

From TribalFootball: Scotland and Ireland slammed by anti-racism agency

Here’s a definition of racism:

belief in racial superiority: the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior.

It might be good to define prejudice, too:
opinion formed beforehand: a preformed opinion, usually an unfavorable one, based on insufficient knowledge, irrational feelings, or inaccurate stereotypes.

I feel we all  have to be rigorous in self-examination concerning tendencies toward racism.

It’s an ingrained behavior, driven deep by ages of irrational action.

Ever been faced by any of these situations?

* Your child wants to marry someone of different color.

* You are asked to work closely with a person of different color.

* Your partner was formerly involved with someone of different color.

* You find yourself in a situation that demands you live for an extended time with people of different color.

If you haven’t had to face those situations, I urge you, with an open heart, to imagine you are experiencing them. *** How do you honestly feel?

One factor that clouds this whole issue is the behavior of people who identify with their skin color—acting in ways that make them feel exclusive.

It’s going to take a phenomenal commitment to rid our planet of this illness. It will take “genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort.”

Also, recent thinking has made the idea of separate human races a distinctly non-scientific viewpoint. I’ll offer one opinion for your examination.

Spiritual Quote:

“Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Recognition of the oneness of mankind, implemented by appropriate legal measures, must be universally upheld if this problem is to be overcome.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace

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Path Toward Peace – Step One

volition

Inducing the Will to Act

High-minded ideals are powerless to change the world unless we act on them. Seems simple enough yet it’s apparent that a sufficient amount of action has yet to occur—wars, terror, oppression, hate are still the gruesome menu of “modern” culture.

Even taking no action toward a more peaceful world is taking action. We can’t avoid action if we want to stay alive.

From OneWorld.Net: Development Aid Declining Worldwide

From the Center for Global Development: Poverty afflicts more than half the world’s people

From the Utne Reader: In Praise of Economic Pain

But, what do we choose to act on? Here’s the place most people get it wrong if they really want peace. Too many folk feel that talking it up with friends and neighbors is helping. But, if that talking never leads to concrete action, it was a total waste. Too severe a judgement? What if the talking is to “raise people’s consciousness” about what needs to be done? Still, if it doesn’t lead to concrete action, it’s been a waste of time. Preparing ourselves to take action for peace, even if we see most of the world huddling under the tent of inaction, is the first step toward helping our world attain lasting peace.

Our actions can be extremely local—peace in our family, peace in the neighborhood, peace in the village, town, or city.

Our actions can be extremely global—serving on international committees of action or Non-Governmental Organizations, traveling to take the message of acting for peace to other lands, serving others in local environments far from our home.

Strongly motivated action comes from high ideals blended with intense emotion—what some would call spiritual motivation.

Bottom-line, no one acts for peace if their life is completely focused only on themselves…

The next post in this series will focus on one of the most insidious barriers to peace—Racism.

Spiritual Quote:
“What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.

“The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort….

“If I love you, I need not continually speak of my love—you will know without any words. On the other hand if I love you not, that also will you know—and you would not believe me, were I to tell you in a thousand words, that I loved you.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 16

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Heads or Tails ?

soar above painIt’s always a choice, no matter how much pain is happening, whether you’ll attempt to rise above it or wallow in it.

From the Lewiston Sun Journal:The Sweet Sting of Relief

From empowher:You’re In Pain. You Want Relief. Naturally

From the Daily Record, Scotland:I climbed all 284 Munros [mountains] despite suffering from two debilitating conditions

I spent some time yesterday looking back at the first few posts of this blog. I began it in March, just two months before the end of a torturous eleven-month medical drug therapy to rid my liver of a deadly virus (Hepatitis C). The first posts were all about the pain of the treatments, about how debilitating and depressing they were but, also, expressing my determination to soar as far above the physical disorders as I could.

One of the greatest aids to flight above physical suffering was my music. I even offered some of my favorites in a post on March 28th:

My All-Time Favorite Song

My All-Time Favorite Singer

My All-Time Favorite Musical Group

The other great relief from my suffering was opening my mind and heart to spiritual sustenance.

If you’ve visited this blog before, you know I’m dedicated to raising the issues in current events to the level of Principle. Recently, I’ve been working toward my first comprehensive series of posts. The first in the series will be the very next post I write (more than likely posted on Tuesday). The subject will be Inducing the Will to Act. I’m taking the themes for the series from the fourth chapter of a book called, Peace: More Than An End To War.

To help with my thinking and feeling for the series (it will be a major spiritual and emotional effort) I used a really cool application called Wordle–transposing any text (including a blog) into a word-cloud. I used the text of the document, The Search for Values in an Age of Transition, which I’m studying for a future series of posts.

Here’s the word-cloud (click to enlarge):
spiritual word-cloud

Here’s the outline for the series of posts (with the post numbers):

1 Inducing the will to act.
Eliminating barriers to peace.
2 Racism.
3 Extremes of wealth & poverty.
Preventing economic disparity
Fostering altruism & philanthropy

4 Unbridled nationalism.
5 Religious strife.
6 Denial of the equality of women & men.
7 Ignorance & lack of education.
8 Multiplicity of languages.
Evoking Moral Attitudes Conducive to Enduring Peace
9 Material Achievements and Spiritual Perfections
10 Two Wings of Progress
11 The Power of a Moral Character

“Our greatest efforts must be directed towards detachment from the things of the world; we must strive to become more spiritual, more luminous, to follow the counsel of the Divine Teaching, to serve the cause of unity and true equality, to be merciful, to reflect the love of the Highest on all men, so that the light of the Spirit shall be apparent in all our deeds, to the end that all humanity shall be united, the stormy sea thereof calmed, and all rough waves disappear from off the surface of life’s ocean henceforth unruffled and peaceful.”
Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 87

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