It Really Is A New World…

InternetThis post contains an extremely potent video called “Did You Know?”

Even if you’ve seen it, it certainly bears re-watching…

Also, I’m going to change my usual format. I normally end a post with a Spiritual Quote. Today, I’ll begin with two quotes; to set up a context for the video…

The first quote broadly considers the global situation the video addresses:

“It has become clear that the powers of the institution of the nation-state, once the arbiter and protector of humanity’s fortunes, have been drastically eroded. While national governments continue to play a crucial role, they must now make room for such rising centres of power as multinational corporations, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations of every kind, and huge media conglomerates, the cooperation of all of which is vital to the success of most programmes aimed at achieving significant economic or social ends. Just as the migration of money or corporations encounters little hindrance from national borders, neither can the latter any longer exercise effective control over the dissemination of knowledge. Internet communication, which has the ability to transmit in seconds the entire contents of libraries that took centuries of study to amass, vastly enriches the intellectual life of anyone able to use it, as well as providing sophisticated training in a broad range of professional fields. The system, so prophetically foreseen sixty years ago by Shoghí Effendí, builds a sense of shared community among its users that is impatient of either geographic or cultural distances.”
Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 132

The second quote is what Shoghí Effendí so prophetically said over sixty years ago:

“A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity.”
Shoghí Effendí, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 203

Enjoy the video…

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Our Evolution’s *Special Posts*

special-postsThis blog regularly published posts that focused on particular  events and crises in our world, attempting to provide important basic information and, of course, Spiritual Quotes  that can lead to valuable perspectives concerning solutions or resolutions.

Our Evolution  also has a number of *Special Posts*, with each addressing a particularly important general  aspect of what’s necessary to heal our ailing world…

Here’s some insight into what this special coverage actually deals with:

The Game of Life explores the connections among Life, Games, and Spirituality…

Path Toward Peace explores eleven critical steps humanity must take on its path toward an enduring global peace…

One Common Faith addresses the essential Oneness of all religions and the failure of most religious leaders to encourage practical, loving efforts to unite our human family…

Who Is Writing The Future? discusses the future of our Human Family and the Vision and Perseverance necessary to go forward into our collective maturity…

Spiritual Civilization will give you a firm grounding in the need for humanity to balance it’s drives toward material civilization and spiritual civilization…

Spiritual Quote

“What we witness at the present time, during ‘this gravest crisis in the history of civilization’, recalling such times in which ‘religions have perished and are born’, is the adolescent stage in the slow and painful evolution of humanity, preparatory to the attainment of the stage of manhood, the stage of maturity, the promise of which is embedded in the teachings, and enshrined in the prophecies, of Bahá’u’lláh. The tumult of this age of transition is characteristic of the impetuosity and irrational instincts of youth, its follies, its prodigality, its pride, its self-assurance, its rebelliousness, and contempt of discipline.

The Great Age to Come

“The ages of its infancy and childhood are past, never again to return, while the Great Age, the consummation of all ages, which must signalize the coming of age of the entire human race, is yet to come. The convulsions of this transitional and most turbulent period in the annals of humanity are the essential prerequisites, and herald the inevitable approach, of that Age of Ages, ‘the time of the end’, in which the folly and tumult of strife that has, since the dawn of history, blackened the annals of mankind, will have been finally transmuted into the wisdom and the tranquility of an undisturbed, a universal, and lasting peace, in which the discord and separation of the children of men will have given way to the worldwide reconciliation, and the complete unification of the divers elements that constitute human society.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbáníi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 117

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Prayers Make History…

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namaz7There is political foment happening in Iran but it’s not my place to comment on purely political happenings…

Yet, the underlying spiritual struggle, the human suffering, the psychological horror, the emotional drama; these I will address…

From a story on Tehran Bureau: An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora  entitled, Prayers Make History, I want to quote various passages that set my mind and heart ablaze:

From A First-Hand Account

“As with other such days, I felt a dual sense of fear and fervor, heightened by the uncertainty of whether people would turn out or not. I arranged to go with friends, because the past month’s experiences have taught me that going alone is unsafe. I remembered to put my name and number on a piece of paper in my pocket so if anything happens to me, my family can be notified.”

“They came in all types: hipster with a rainbow-cannabis medallion resting on his open neck, a family with a ten-year-old child, women in that Islamic Iran archetype black chador, scruffy-looking men, laborers, girls in sunglasses, senior citizens.”

“…phenomenal spectacle, a first in the history of Friday Prayers in Iran (and perhaps in a large part of the Muslim world), men and women were not segregated. Thy prayed side by side. This did not appear to offend the religious-minded; they seemed to accept the situation.”

“Personally, as an atheist, I’ve always found it difficult to socialize with the religious masses. For the first time in my life, however, I really enjoyed being among my religious compatriots. I even tried to behave in such a way as to avoid causing them any discomforrt or disrespect.”

“The word online was that protests would start after prayers were over. …I was intoxicated by the boom of thousands of reverberating voices chanting in unison….We pushed forward, a deluge thickened by people spilling in from alleys on either side where they’d been praying. The drone of chanting carried over from other streets and we felt empowered in the knowledge that thousands more were on the move like us.”

“Suddenly, to our shock, they began firing tear gas in rapid succession — six, seven, eight? I don’t know how many hissing shots landed in quick succession in our midst. Panic ensued, as the crowd’s stampede-like retreat was constricted by the density of the crowd and the lack of space to expand into.”

“My eyes and throat and lungs were on fire. As I inhaled more toxic fumes, breathing became laborious. The muscles in my limbs felt numb, lax…People huddled around, and I went forth too, to get black smoke and cigarette smoke in my eyes to counter the effects of the tear gas.”

“The feeling of suffocation grew inside of me. A new awareness suddenly occurred as well: I may die. At that moment, I physically felt the possibility of death. Then I heard voices. I felt hands pulling me up, hands passing me along, and that’s the last thing I remember.”

The story continues, the man recovers, tells of help given him and his helping others, scenes of violence, bravery, human drama…

Spiritual Quote (about the early history of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran):

“Agitations, trials, woes, afflictions, and torture, arson, expulsion, plunder, beating, vilification, captivity, banishment, imprisonment, destruction of life—none of these could hinder the advancement of this beloved Cause, none could weaken the high resolve of its followers and champions in any part of the world, none could damage or disrupt the structure of its New Order, none could create a cleavage, a division, a schism or any form of sectarianism in the ranks of its embattled hosts. Nay rather, were one to observe with a discerning eye, it would become clear and evident that commotion in itself, the very succession of calamities, upheavals and hardships. and the recurrence of trials, adversities and sufferings have lent an impetus to the power latent in the Cause and reinforced its compelling force and pervasive influence. Indeed as a result of the onrushing tempests of tribulation and the raging hurricanes of tests and trials, the Faith’s scope of operation has been enlarged, its pillars have been raised to loftier heights, its foundation has become more secure, its glory more resplendent, the spread of its influence more rapid, its ascendancy and dominion more conspicuous and evident.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, Fire and Light, p. 36

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Our Human Family’s Water Crisis

waterFrom the results of our last survey, the global water crisis was the top urgent concern of readers. This post will give you a number of resources to explore the crisis and its possible solutions.

Here are some daunting facts from the Wikipedia article called Water Crisis:

> Inadequate access to safe drinking water for about 884 million people
> Inadequate access to water for sanitation and waste disposal for 2.5 billion people
> Groundwater overdrafting (excessive use) leading to diminished agricultural yields
> Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
> Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in warfare

From the World Water Council site we have:

“While the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 %. This population growth – coupled with industrialization and urbanization – will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences on the environment.”

At Water Partners International there are many more facts about the crisis as well as a strong reminder that a Water Crisis induces a Sanitation Crisis…

And, for an interesting view on how the water crisis is also inducing more strain on the economic crisis see the story, Preventing a water crisis, at The Boston Globe.

Spiritual Quote:

“The conservation and protection of the environment must be addressed on the individual and societal levels. Shoghí Effendí, in a letter written on his behalf, states:
We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.”
Conservation of the Earth’s Resources, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, p.101.

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Business Ethics ?

Breaking News !

business_ethicsIf a business owner falls behind on their rent because of the lousy economic climate, yet creates a new business model that successfully meets the crisis, should the landlord evict them before they can recoup losses and pay the rent?

Back on the 18th of March, I posted the story of Sam Lippert and the Java Street Café, in Kettering, Ohio—Cafe owner thrives with no-pricing policy. That was in the midst of the first media blitz because of Sam’s creative commitment to taking all the prices off his menu and letting the customer determine their own fair price. Here’s the link to the live CNN interview with Sam from that post.

That seemingly crazy idea worked, very well!  Sam’s sales quickly increased. Before he implemented the no-price policy, he was tracking last year’s sales dead-even. Since implementing it, his sales are 13% higher than last year. Comparing March to January and February, his sales are up 32%. And, if that’s not enough proof, a food supplier informed Sam that, due to his good example, 15 restaurants in Michigan have adopted the no-price policy…

So…

On the 31st of March, the landlord called and said an eviction notice would be sent the week of April 6th.

Admittedly, the landlord is within their legal rights yet, in this business climate, why would they be willing to kick Java Street Café out when they’re clearly showing their ability to weather the economic storm and thrive in spite of it? Do they feel they can quickly fill the space with another business in this economic downturn? Do they care? Is it possible they don’t give a ____ about Sam’s ability to thrive and pay his debt because they can write it all off and “balance” their books with not a thought about what ethics in business means?

Speaking of business ethics, Sam, in the midst of crushing economic circumstances, made a commitment to a business model that put the customer in the driver’s seat—gave the customer a chance to afford that cup of coffee or sandwich they may have been otherwise unable to justify purchasing.

Take a look at Sam’s latest Press Release

By the way, Sam is open to offering Franchise Opportunities – Call him at: 937-294-5280

My final question:

Who wins if the landlord kicks Sam out?

Spiritual Quote:

“He feels you should both consider the competent running of your business not only a moral obligation to any creditors outstanding, but also the wise and proper thing to do.”
from a letter written on behalf of Shoghí Effendí: 6 June 1954, Compilation on Trustworthiness

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What A Game !

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What kind of game is being played when children tussle and scrap over toys?

What kind of “game” is being played when adults tussle and scrap over nuclear weapons—the most deadly toys in human history?

From CommonDreams.Org: Nagasaki Commemorates Anniversary of Nuclear Attack {Saturday, August 9, 2008} “Thousands of people offered a minute’s silence at 11:02 am (0202 GMT), the exact moment the city was hit by the world’s second and last nuclear attack on August 9, 1945, killing more than 70,000 people.”

From the Khaleej Times: All options on the table? {by Noam Chomsky} “NUCLEAR threats and counter-threats are a subtext of our times, steadily, it seems, becoming more insistent. The July meeting in Geneva between Iran and six major world powers on Iran’s nuclear programme ended with no progress.”

From OneWorld.Net: 16-Year-Old’s Video Wins Peace Contest {Videos Included} “California high school student Erik Choquette’s three-minute film calling on the United States to take a lead role in eliminating the world’s 27,000 nuclear weapons was recently awarded first place in a national video contest on nuclear disarmament.”

A tragic historical remembrance, a renewed saber-rattling by world leaders, and a cutting-edge video by a 16-year-old . . .

One of the most outstanding characteristics of our modern world is the vast range of action and desire—from the most debased to the most noble.

Finding one’s bearings in this tempestuous drama is a major undertaking—fraught with clamoring voices, swirling with contending payoffs, ripping at the heart-strings of any caring person.

Can we find any enduring promise of world peace? Is it impractical to search for such a promise? Is it in ancient texts or modern essays? Do you care?

Today’s spiritual quote is followed by links to the full document from which it came—a healing balm for the weary traveler on the Path toward Peace…

“Banning nuclear weapons, prohibiting the use of poison gases, or outlawing germ warfare will not remove the root causes of war. However important such practical measures obviously are as elements of the peace process, they are in themselves too superficial to exert enduring influence. Peoples are ingenious enough to invent yet other forms of warfare, and to use food, raw materials, finance, industrial power, ideology, and terrorism to subvert one another in an endless quest for supremacy and dominion. Nor can the present massive dislocation in the affairs of humanity be resolved through the settlement of specific conflicts or disagreements among nations. A genuine universal framework must be adopted.

“Certainly, there is no lack of recognition by national leaders of the world-wide character of the problem, which is self-evident in the mounting issues that confront them daily….There is, however, a paralysis of will; and it is this that must be carefully examined and resolutely dealt with. This paralysis is rooted, as we have stated, in a deep-seated conviction of the inevitable quarrelsomeness of mankind, which has led to the reluctance to entertain the possibility of subordinating national self-interest to the requirements of world order, and in an unwillingness to face courageously the far-reaching implications of establishing a united world authority. It is also traceable to the incapacity of largely ignorant and subjugated masses to articulate their desire for a new order in which they can live in peace, harmony and prosperity with all humanity.

“Disunity is a danger that the nations and peoples of the earth can no longer endure; the consequences are too terrible to contemplate, too obvious to require any demonstration. ‘The well-being of mankind,’ Bahá’u’lláh wrote more than a century ago, ‘its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.’ In observing that ‘mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom’, Shoghi Effendi further commented that: ‘Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of citystate, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.’ “
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace

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Youth and The Future of Faith

Deutsche Welle has a recent article, Religion Stronger Than Ever Among Global Youth, that reports on the results of a survey by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation that discovered, “Young people in developing countries and Islamic states are just as religious as adults… In Morocco, about 99 percent believe in God and life after death. Among Brazilians, Turks and Nigerians, 90 percent are believers and even in Israel, Indonesia and Italy, the rate is 80 percent.”

This is heartening news for those who feel religion is the premier guide for living on this earth.

For those who are suspicious of religion’s influence on culture and individual behavior, I present my own experience: born to two ministers—mom and dad; surrounded by plain folk trying their best to do what other folk claimed was what God desired. Knowing something was amiss when I got home and my ministerial father would turn cranky and treat my trusting mother like she mattered less than his automobile…

It took most of my 62 years (and many tragic mistakes) to work out the supreme conflict between my father’s religion and my mother’s faith. May God bless both their departed souls…

There are many movements afoot on our beloved earth trying to bring the Spirit back to the bleeding body of Religion. Many sincere people, meeting in each other’s homes or the local school auditorium or the woods—people trying to ignite the spirit that moved the earliest believers of our World’s Faiths—actually the One World Faith in God that has had many incarnations, many progressive Revelations of our Creator’s wisdom and guidance.

It’s just so sad when mere mortals get in the way of the flame of true faith, subvert it toward ends that serve egos more than souls…

Today’s quote is from a man, Head of a World Faith, who in 1926 called for just such a heart-deep, faith-fresh religious morality that could help youth avoid the worst options in a world gone insanely materialistic.

“…the dangers facing the modern youth are becoming increasingly grave, and call for immediate solution. But, as experience clearly shows, the remedy to this truly sad and perplexing situation is not to be found in traditional and ecclesiastical religion. The dogmatism of the church has been discarded once for all. What can control youth and save it from the pitfalls of the crass materialism of the age is the power of a genuine, constructive and living Faith… Religion, as in the past, is still the world’s sole hope, but not that form of religion which our ecclesiastical leaders strive vainly to preach. Divorced from true religion, morals lose their effectiveness and cease to guide and control man’s individual and social life. But when true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral progress becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal.

“The need of our modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure religious faith. Not until these two are rightly combined and brought into full action can there be any hope for the future of the race.”

From a letter written on behalf of Shoghí Effendí to an individual believer, April 17, 1926, Bahá’í Youth, pp. 8-9 (Lights of Guidance, p. 630)