In today’s world, we can see two parallel processes at work: old mindsets and institutions disintegrating and new ones growing and integrating.
The future of the integrative process is bright. However, we must still work to facilitate and accelerate its movement. We must also work to soften the effects of the crash-landing of the outworn behaviors and institutions as they go through their death pangs and collapse within the destructive realm:
This will indeed be the fitting climax of that process of integration which, starting with the family, the smallest unit in the scale of human organization, must, after having called successively into being the tribe, the city-state, and the nation, continue to operate until it culminates in the unification of the whole world, the final object and the crowning glory of human evolution on this planet. It is this stage which humanity, willingly or unwillingly, is resistlessly approaching. It is for this stage that this vast, this fiery ordeal which humanity is experiencing is mysteriously paving the way. – Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, pp. 117-118.
As we come to recognize the contours of the integrative process in our world, we must also develop the personal consciousness required to align ourselves with the energies it generates. It is primarily through such a personal alignment with the integrative spirit of our age that we can become catalysts in its advancement and mitigate the suffering that the destructive process continues to inflict upon millions of people around the world.
In view of the hopelessness that the many ills of our world have generated in people’s hearts and minds, and given the growing disenchantment with the existing political institutions that appear to be incapable of resolving even their own intra-party conflicts, it is imperative that we first talk about reasons for hope.
Is there any hope for the future of humanity?
If so, then what are the empirical evidences and logical arguments that can support such a bold assertion? Confidence in the possibility of achieving peace is the most important ingredient in setting out on a journey to explore and participate in a new approach:
The Baha’i Faith regards the current world confusion and calamitous condition in human affairs as a natural phase in an organic process leading ultimately and irresistibly to the unification of the human race in a single social order whose boundaries are those of the planet. The human race, as a distinct, organic unit, has passed through evolutionary stages analogous to the stages of infancy and childhood in the lives of its individual members, and is now in the culminating period of its turbulent adolescence approaching its long-awaited coming of age.
A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world. – The Universal House of Justice, October 1985, The Promise of World Peace, p. 1.
For that reason—humanity’s hopes for a peaceful planet—this series of essays will focus on providing concrete evidence of the integrative processes that have been going on in the world during the last two centuries. Despite the blinding haze and fog created by the accelerated collapse of outworn behaviors, systems, and institutions, there really is a steady process of resilient growth moving humanity in the right direction.
This series of essays is adapted from Roya Akhavan’s new book, Peace for Our Planet: A New Approach, available here: http://smarturl.it/PFOPtg