Are You *Really* Educated?

educated_peopleYes! magazine is good for a lot of reasons…

One of the latest goodies on their site is a list of twelve things a really  educated person knows…

From the site: “You won’t find ‘takes honors classes’, ‘gets good grades’, or ‘attends only Ivy League schools’ on John Taylor Gatto’s list of qualities of an educated person.”

Do check out the full article but here are those points of real education:

1: Establish an individual set of values but recognize those of the surrounding community and of the various cultures of the world.

2: Explore their own ancestry, culture, and place.

3: Are comfortable being alone, yet understand dynamics between people and form healthy relationships.

4: Accept mortality, knowing that every choice affects the generations to come.

5: Create new things and find new experiences.

6: Think for themselves; observe, analyze, and discover truth without relying on the opinions of others.

7: Favor love, curiosity, reverence, and empathy rather than material wealth.

8: Choose a vocation that contributes to the common good.

9: Enjoy a variety of new places and experiences but identify and cherish a place to call home.

10: Express their own voice with confidence.

11: Add value to every encounter and every group of which they are a part.

12: Always ask: “Who am I? Where are my limits? What are my possibilities?”

Spiritual Quote:

“Bahá’u’lláh taught the Oneness of humanity; that is to say, all the children of men are under the mercy of the Great God. They are the sons of one God; they are trained by God. He has placed the crown of humanity on the head of every one of the servants of God. Therefore all nations and peoples must consider themselves brethren. They are all descendants from Adam. They are the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits of One Tree. They are pearls from one shell. But the children of men are in need of education and civilization, and they require to be polished, till they become bright and shining.

“Man and woman both should be educated equally and equally regarded.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá  in London, p. 28

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Women, Stereotypes, and Truth

bita_haidarianThis is Bita Haidarian, Iranian/American Filmmaker.

She’s creating an amazing new film called Finding Bibi.

Here are just a few of the places you can become excited about this film:

Mideast Youth – Thinking Ahead, where you’ll find a podcast with Bita talking about why she’s making the film.

MySpace, where they give you a hint of the issues in the film:
“Bita takes her youthful irreverence and unique vantage point as a woman of both east and west and looks at bizarre variations on pornography in the Middle East, the Ecstasy “Rave” parties in Tehran, the lone female rickshaw driver in Delhi, as well as interview such notables as Anousheh Ansari (first female space explorer), Pakistani Super Model Amna Haq, and human rights activist Mukhtaran Bibi in Pakistan.”

FaceBook, where Bita keeps us up to date on her progress.

And, the Finding Bibi WebSite, where you can get involved with the Movement gathering around this film!

Here’s the captivating trailer:

Spiritual Quote:

“When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never be willing to sanction it. Mothers will not give their sons as sacrifices upon the battlefield after twenty years of anxiety and loving devotion in rearing them from infancy, no matter what cause they are called upon to defend. There is no doubt that when women obtain equality of rights, war will entirely cease among mankind.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 175

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Exuberant Emancipation !!!

finding_bibiWe often feel paralyzed when it comes to taking action on social issues, even when we feel passionate about them.

Common excuses are:

~ I’m only one person…

~ I don’t have enough information…

~ I don’t know the right people…

~ What would my friends/family think of me…?

Filmmaker, Bita Haidarian, probably felt all these excuses raise their heads but she stood up, faced them, and found solutions. That’s her in the picture but, from what I’ve found out, I feel it’s a parody of her—who she may have been before she found her Mission.

Her film, Finding Bibi, is best introduced by the words from the site that’s forming a full-blown Movement around the experience:

“Bita Haidarian, an award-winning Iranian American filmmaker fresh out of film school, sets off on a journey around the world to answer the big questions—who am I, where do I come from, and where can a girl find a good laser hair removalist?

“Born in America to Bahá’í refugee parents from Iran, Bita tells the tragic-comic story of her family coming to America, her childhood in Texas, trying to fit in, and competitive cheerleading—all part of the quest of a girl who knows more about MTV than Al Jazeera.”

The movie’s name comes from part of Bita’s search for identity—finding Mukhtaran Bibi, a Pakistani woman who suffered a gang rape as a form of “honour revenge”, a custom of local tribesmen. Also by custom, she was expected to commit suicide. “Instead, she spoke up, and using word of mouth, took her case to court where her rapists were arrested and charged.”

The introductory trailer for the upcoming movie is both educative and hilarious. Bita’s interviews with intoxicated fans at a football game, first in her American clothes, then in robe and veil, are at once humorous and chilling. When she goes to Pakistan and introduces her “Lower Your Gaze” glasses so men won’t be tempted to look at a woman’s face, she instructs while instilling trans-cultural good-will.

It’s all about spirited empowerment—irreverent respectfulness. In a word, Amazing!

Spiritual Quote:

“Through your letter to the Universal House of Justice of 14 January you requested a copy of a purported Tablet of Bahá’u’lláh on the subject of humour, and we are instructed to inform you that no Tablet by the Blessed Beauty on this subject is known. However, in a Tablet Bahá’u’lláh states that one of the Names of God is the ‘Humourist’.

“The Tablet mentioned above is revealed in the Arabic language. It has not to date been translated into English. Though it begins with the words, ‘In My Name, the Humourist’….it is a serious mystical poem, revealed in the form of a prayer. The text does not illuminate the reference to the ‘Humourist’. It is, however, interesting to note that, while dealing with an exalted theme, the language of expression is, unexpectedly, that of the common people —light, simple, and even colloquial.
The Universal House of Justice, 1997 Jan 12, The Humourist, p. 1

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One Common Faith – Introduction

onecommonfaithI want to tell a story.

If you have a decided opinion against religion, you won’t like this story.

If you rigidly cling to one human expression of religion—feeling all other expressions are wrong—you won’t like this story.

I decided to tell it because I had an online friend recommend a site about an important document that discusses what’s wrong and right about religion—making clear sense of the tangled religious history we humans have created.

I’d already read the document, One Common Faith, and found the presentation of it on the site, Changeless Faith, a valuable and intriguing way to deeply understand a document that, all by itself, could be a major challenge and a difficult message to read and comprehend. The site is interactive and multidimensional.

I urge you, sincerely, to check out the site, Changeless Faith.

I recommend patience and an open mind.

I pray I haven’t lost my Internet audience…

As an introduction to the next few posts discussing concepts from this document, here’s an outline of the major sections:

History’s Turning Point
Disillusionment with the Promises of Materialism
The Progressive Globalizing of Human Experience
Humanity’s Current Needs Overwhelm Established Religions
Bahá’u’lláh Recasts the Entire Conception of Religion
Progressive Revelation and the Failure to Understand It
Religion’s Unity of Purpose
Religion’s Shaping of Civilization
Enacting the Principles of the New Age
The Power of Unity: The Model of the Bahá’í Community
Disunity and the Persistence of Evil
The Unfolding of the Bahá’í Global Community
The Day of Fulfilment

My upcoming posts about the ideas of One Common Faith won’t be a detailed exploration of all those topics—Changeless Faith does that. I’m going to choose just a few topics—topics I can relate to current cultural issues that I feel are critical to understanding the failures of humanity in its response to past religions and a hopeful and promising way to practice religion and not lose your spirituality…

Spiritual Quote:

“Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme Physician.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 130

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Games That Can Kill Us . . .

So many dangerously childish actions in the world political drama. For sheer silliness (which could blossom into rank trauma) the American Presidential campaign is a sad example.

From AlterNet: Top 10 Idiocies of the General Election … So Far

From the Los Angeles Times: John McCain, Barack Obama spar over ‘celebrity’

From CNN: McCain, Obama ad wars heat up

So, with all this dangerous silliness, why has the American public not used its Constitutional power to elect sane and sober leaders?

* Attachment to materialistic living and not caring too much what happens?

* Not being sufficiently educated about the issues?

* In a state of cultural shock?

Well, even if every malady of the American electorate were healed, their vote would still not guarantee that their political wishes came true. Ever heard of the Electoral College? This institution separates the popular vote from the election results. Plus, it has happened that the voice of the people was overridden by the electoral process . . .

Still, even if the people had their say, who are the people? Are they exemplary citizens, educated and compassionate?

I’m afraid I’m veering off into a rant so I’ll close this discussion {still hoping for your comments!} with today’s spiritual quotes:

“How incalculable have been the negative results of ill-directed criticism: in the catastrophic divergences it has created in religion, in the equally contentious factions it has spawned in political systems, which have dignified conflict by institutionalizing such concepts as the “loyal opposition” which attach to one or another of the various categories of political opinion —conservative, liberal, progressive, reactionary, and so forth.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29, Individual Rights and Freedoms, p. 9

“The aggressiveness and competitiveness which animate a dominantly capitalist culture; the partisanship inherent in a fervidly democratic system; the suspicion of public-policy institutions and the skepticism towards established authority ingrained in the political attitude of the people and which trace their origins to the genesis of American society; the cynical disregard of the moderating principles and rules of civilized human relationships resulting from an excessive liberalism and its immoral consequences—such unsavory characteristics inform entrenched habits of American life…”
The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA

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