Path Toward Peace – Step Nine

Resolving the impediments induced by the multiplicity of languages


Ever been in a foreign country, not knowing their language?

Ever fallen in love with someone and couldn’t use words to express that love in their native tongue?

Ever wondered if translations really get the meaning across?

From MarketWatch: Across Systems to Demonstrate New Language Portal Solution

From the Korea Times: Book Reviews Loss of Native Languages

From the Kansas City Star: Learning a new language: It’s a small world after all

From WikiAnswers: “Scientists have counted approx. 6500 languages, half of which are, however, threatened to die off soon, as they are no longer passed on. Not counted in above figure are pure sign-languages or computer-languages.”

Also not counted are the multitude of business, political, religious, and neighborhood jargons and slangs.

Is a global language necessary?

Would having to learn your native language and a global language be too hard for people?

Again, is translation a guarantee that understanding has occurred?

What are some of the difficulties you’ve  experienced because of different languages?

Have a look at a slide presentation about the difficulties of learning another language.

Bottom line: Understanding each other is a major contributor to being at peace with each other…

Spiritual Quotes:

“The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 249

“The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to speak their tongues.

“A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation. Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with any and every man in the world!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 155

“A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolving this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3

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13 thoughts on “Path Toward Peace – Step Nine

  1. The global language is love. We can always find ways to express it – it is our real native tongue. It will be here long after we are gone and long before we return. It is ingrained in our being. 😀

  2. Thank you again for this fine series, Alexander.

    On another topic… Last night during our weekly devotional meeting I was accessing material off the web for inclusion in our devotions that had art by Baha’is as a focus. I came across one of your poems, which I was delighted to share at the gathering.

  3. Good question,as far this subject ,one looses so much,in lost in translation..
    Many a long dispute among divines,may be thus abridged.It is so.It is not so.
    Make the most of all that comes,and the least of all that goes.

  4. I share Alexy’s view about the global language being love. Perceived problems arise when different personalities choose different ways to interpret core feelings. Misunderstanding, dillusion and selective blindness about love all arise out of fear. Nurture love to dissolve fear.

  5. I think Esperanto deserves more support. It really is a remarkable linguistic tool.

    I’ve used Esperanto for many years on my travels. It does not automatically bring about love and peace, but it does allow you to discvuss with people why they think as they do.

    A good place to start is http://www.esperanto.net

  6. Bill,

    Thanks for that link!

    Here are a few quotes from the Baha’i Writings about Esperanto:

    “The love and effort put into Esperanto will not be lost,” he answered, “but no one person can construct a Universal Language. It must be made by a Council representing all countries, and must contain words from different languages. It will be governed by the simplest rules, and there will be no exceptions; neither will there be gender, nor extra and silent letters. Everything indicated will have but one name. In Arabic there are hundreds of names for the camel! In the schools of each nation the mother tongue will be taught, as well as the revised Universal Language.”

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 94)

    His Excellency ABDUL BAHA, addressed the Paris Esperanto group on February 12, 1913, at a banquet which was accorded him at the Hotel Moderne in that city. M. Bourlet, President of the Paris Esperanto Society, in introducing Abdul Baha, said that one of the principles of the great world religion which he was promulgating, was the establishment of a universal language.

    There was a deep silence as Abdul Baha arose. His remarks were punctuated by cheers as he walked up and down the banquet hall, stopping to emphasize with frequent gesture. He spoke in Persian, M. Hippolyte Dreyfus of Paris interpreting into French. Here and there one noted that the French translation was undergoing still further interpretation by Esperantists for the benefit of neighbors who did not understand French but knew Esperanto, – the occasion itself offering a noteworthy argument for the imminent need of a universal tongue.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 141)

    Our hope is that among the people the Esperanto language may hereafter have a powerful effect. Thou hast now sown the seed. Assuredly it will grow. Its growth dependeth upon God.

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 308)

    Esperanto has been in wide use, more so than any similar language, all over the world, and the Bahá’ís have been encouraged by both the Master and the Guardian to learn it and to translate Bahá’í literature into it. We cannot be sure it will be the chosen language of the future; but as it is the one which has spread most, both East and West, we should certainly continue to co-operate with its members, learn to speak it, and translate Bahá’í literature into it. (Shoghi Effendi through his Secretary)

    (Compilations, Principles of Bahai Administration, p. 27)

  7. Although common language is needed for economic grwth and civilisation, nothing can witstand the language of love when it comes with pure heart. Even silence speaks a thousand words. Language merely speaks the language of convenient rather than centaintyi.

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