As global integration drives itself forward on technologies, transportation and commerce, it forces the people of world to recognize their interlocking destiny.
In environment, health and security, we are all subject to the same enormous commonalities: the oceans, the atmosphere, the meltdown of our polar ice reserves, desertification, and pandemics for starters. We are already one people in all such involuntary aspects of global integration. We are already united; we’re just not doing it as well as we might.
What remains for us to accomplish are those voluntary aspects of integration that would enable us to merge our diversity of intelligences into a creative synergy sufficiently powerful to solve and resolve the common dilemmas into which we have fallen. Creative synergy. We need it. We want it. Most of us. So why isn’t it happening? What is keeping the world of human intelligence fragmented?
Into this miserable malfunction comes a new vision of our common future. In the words of Baha’u’llah, we have reached a point in history where all humanly-conceived sources of disunity have been rationally removed, leaving only the “holy book” of our innate commonalities:
We have, on the one hand, blotted out from the pages of God’s holy Book whatsoever hath been the cause of strife, of malice and mischief amongst the children of men … – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 97.
Concurrently, he reminds us that humanity has matured into all those qualities we need to live and work together successfully:
… and have, on the other, laid down the essential prerequisites of concord, of understanding, of complete and enduring unity. – Ibid.
The Baha’i teachings foreshadow that this world will, over time, evolve an operating political economy so characterized by justice and prosperity that it will be worthy of the title “Commonwealth.”
How could that ever happen?
The World and its Nations as Analogies of a Family
This article is the first in a series on interwoven social worlds, each of which are variations on the theme of family. However, so damaged is our historic and contemporary experience of human families, so deep our disappointment, so tragic the frequent disunity of its members or dissemblance to appear united, that for a moment let us consider non-human families such a wolves or lions.
A family of wolves interacts in systematic ways. They are a social system–that is to say, a set number of entities interacting according to an overriding principle or pattern. The governing principle here is not to eat–but to learn to hunt so they can eat. Essentially, then, learning becomes the transcendent principle in all families: more mature members of the system help the less mature to grow and learn until they in turn become positive contributors to the system. The family essentially incubates capacity. In the same way, the family of nations can expand humanity’s capacity.
An Emerging World Commonwealth
Far from expecting a simple meltdown of distinctions into one totalitarian system, Baha’is anticipate a united world exhibiting a sophisticated balance of creative tensions among three levels of aggregation: a world-embracing forum for planetary self-governance; a continuing set of autonomous nation states; and a multitude of world citizens each exercising personal freedom and initiative.
The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha’u’llah, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely safeguarded. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 203.
Releasing Creative Energies
A planet that has established its commitment to integrating humanity’s intelligence will cease to squander its resources on competition and conquest between nations. It will indeed melt its “swords into ploughshares.” Immeasurable resources will then become available for redirection to creating a commonwealth of social development. As an expression of our rising tide of creative energy, we, the peoples of the world, will eventually actualize the essential rights and freedoms we have universally come to endorse, by turning them into standards of cultural behavior that no nation can be permitted to violate against any people within or beyond its borders.
There is nothing trivial, superficial, or partial about the change now taking place in our human sense of identity as children of this Earth and citizens of this world. We are entering into an age of global synergy which the Baha’i teachings promise, is:
… an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced … the achievement of [the] organic and spiritual unity of the whole body of nations. – Ibid., pp. 43, 163.
You’ll find much more on this topic in “The Global Family,” a chapter of Elaine McCreary’s new book Our Seven Families, published by GR Books, available at Amazon.com.