Does a model for world peace exist? If so, how does it fit in with all those other models that have been expounded from time immemorial?

I think we do have a pre-existent model for peace. It has evolved over countless centuries. Its design has been constantly modified. It depends on which  concept of reality has succeeded in dominating the human psyche at any given moment in human history, and how its vision of humanity has been translated into everyday life.

Its institutions, like previous empires, have also come and gone. Its regulations have been constantly altered throughout time as different civilizations have risen and fallen. Its decision-making paths and control mechanisms have fluctuated as technologies have changed and political and social realities have changed with them. A study of past civilizations whether of China, India, Persia, Greece, or Rome will testify to this, as too will the study of Africa’s past glories.

unity-handWhat about the age in which we presently find ourselves—is it any different? I would say that if we accept climate change as a definite reality, then yes it is. Our planet’s environmental issues prove that time is not on our side; and that urgent global challenges face us as a human species.

In this technologically-driven world, the search for the most effective individuals and decision making bodies to tackle today’s critically important global challenges has—due to the advanced deterioration of our natural environment—presented us with an extreme dilemma: Which is the best way forward?

Politicians and political parties the world over are at a loss, as they find themselves almost powerless to take the necessary steps to ensure our common global future. Key economists and economic institutions until recently held in high regard the world over are now looked upon with disdain due to a series of devastating failures they have engineered over the preceding decades. Large multinational corporations and those individuals who ultimately control them, although gradually becoming aware of their role in creating a peaceful and secure future, are also at a loss when it comes to comprehending the big picture.

So where do we now look for inspiration in order to steer ourselves successfully into the future? How do we proceed, if there is no fixed model, no perfect design, no failsafe institution, no set of commonly-accepted rules and regulations, no certain decision-making path or control mechanism, no shared sense of reality or humanity?

We now stand at a crossroads where the whole of humanity can come together in a way that so far has not yet happened. Throughout history, we’ve made many attempts to synchronize our cultures, religions, politics and economies, sometimes succeeding for a short time and then finally collapsing into conflict and division. With that record in mind, how do we intend to survive? Experts have failed, so what chance do we lesser mortals have to bring about permanent change?

In fact, a whole range of principles do exist, and they need to be employed so that we can ensure our safe passage into the future. In order for these principles to be deployed effectively, though, there will have to be some drastic changes in terms of how we view ourselves in relation to one another and indeed in relation to the planet itself.

These changes will require significant sacrifices, not just by the powerful but also by the general populace. These changes will require simplicity, honesty and truth, and will ask us to accept the simple fact that all humanity has a common heritage. Although we are not all identical, and do not have the same set of skills, we all possess a smaller or larger capacity to cope with the problems that need to be overcome.

The solutions, then, can come only from unity. We will never make good decisions, or formulate effective solutions to our common problems, without involving the whole of humanity. That’s the model the Baha’i teachings offer us—and the only one we haven’t tried so far.

By combining our strengths—and our weaknesses—we will succeed in bringing the world together. With an unshakeable vision in the oneness of humanity expressed in our deeds as well as our thoughts, we will be able to wholeheartedly accept, implement and share the Baha’i teaching that:

Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. … It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 167.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

6 Comments

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  • Mehran Azizi
    Jul 26, 2017
    Dear friends,
    Whatever happened to the Persian section?
  • Melanie Black
    Jul 25, 2017
    Reed, you make an excellent point, adding much to a very good essay on this subject. If I look to the divisions within my own family, where one member denies science and climate change, I might find myself getting discouraged, but knowing that the Holy Spirit will allow us to progress, I am filled with hope. As groups and individuals we can serve and educate humanity knowing that God is helping us. No one needs to worry about how good they are at doing that, since the act of rising up and doing it is all we are asked ...to do.
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    • Jul 26, 2017
      Melanie,
      Yes, if we are acting in faith, confident that we know God's will for us that moment, then the confirmation of the Spirit of God will make all things fruitful. However, if we decide, based upon our limited knowledge of the temporal world, what actions will bring about positive change, and rely on our own strength, (as the article implies. There is no mention of God in the article) then our efforts will be futile or counterproductive... or even spiritually malignant. It is not only important what is done, but in whose strength it is done. Isn't that one ...reason to daily remind ourselves of our powerlessness and God's might, our poverty and God's wealth. Thanks.
      That is my present understanding, YMMV.
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  • Jul 25, 2017
    You missed the operative force, the principal Principle, the unity that is only found in the Spirit of God. Nothing that man can do in his own strength will be of lasting effect. "THE ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE -- THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 
    In the teaching of Bahá'u'lláh, it is written: 'By the Power of the Holy Spirit alone is man able to progress, for the power of man is limited and the Divine Power is boundless.'" (Paris Talks)
    The unity will not be found in humanity, it must be found in the Spirit of God: "Bahá'u'lláh teaches that the ...world of humanity is in need of the breath of the Holy Spirit, for in spiritual quickening and enlightenment true oneness is attained with God and man." (cont)
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    • Jul 25, 2017
      "The Most Great Peace cannot be assured through racial force and effort; it cannot be established by patriotic devotion and sacrifice;...
      "Universal peace is an impossibility through human and material agencies; it must be through spiritual power. There is need of a universal impelling force which will establish the oneness of humanity and destroy the foundations of war and strife. None other than the divine power can do this; therefore, it will be accomplished through the breath of the Holy Spirit."
      (The Promulgation of Universal Peace)
      The author says "By combining our strengths—and our weaknesses—we will succeed in bringing ...the world together." Not so, it is by recognizing our unity in the Spirit of God, that we find true unity.
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  • Jul 25, 2017
    This is the first age in which humanity has the power to destroy itself and the environment. The only obstacle to establishing world peace and a sustainable future is the lack of will. The only thing I know that will help do that is teaching the Faith. I wish I were better at doing that.