The following is a link to a beautiful and moving video in which U.S. actor Rainn Wilson, himself a member of the Baha’i Faith, talks about the persecution of Baha’i students in Iran and the recent attack there upon the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education. His point is that an attack on the Baha’i's right [...]
My purpose in this post is to describe the fragmentary pattern of thought, yet before I can do so I must examine what I call abstractive thinking, as fragmentary thinking is one of many kinds of abstractive thinking. Abstractive thinking can be defined as the tendency to reduce the full complexity of a situation to only one or some of its aspects. When one uses the term “abstract” today, it more often than not carries the negative connotation of denying important concrete aspects of a situation. We must recognize, though, that every mode of thought utilizes reductive thinking in a certain manner. The question is simply the way in which we treat the resulting abstractions.
It is impossible to separate any aspect of our lives from out habits of thought. For, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains, “all these highly varied phenomena, these concepts, this knowledge, these technical procedures and philosophical systems, these sciences, arts, industries and inventions,” the very elements of human civilization, “all are emanations of the human mind.” The great social transformations marking history’s path are thus the expressions of shifts within the depth of our habits of thought.
“Because of such an attitude…Bahá’ís are often accused of holding aloof from the ‘real problems’ of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic materialists to whom material good is the only ‘real’ good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs.” – The Universal House of Justice
I hope the above post to serve as an introduction to the contemporary life of the Bahá’í community; an evolving, learning, and growing community; a world embracing community; a community with clear mission, goals, strategies, and instruments; a community striving to serve humanity, welcoming with open arms all willing to walk this path of service together; a community emerging from obscurity into the widespread recognition of its status as a world religion.
Ben Schewel, 24, is a Bahá'í and doctoral student in philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, studying process philosophy, focusing in particular on questions of history, science, and religion. Ben is very involved in the Bahá’í community’s projects of social and economic development (http://www.ruhi.org/).