Category Archive: Discourse

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Post-Election Talk

Two weeks ago, the United States once again had a presidential election, its 58th in an uninterrupted series held every four years since George Washington, predictably to occur in yet another four years.… Continue reading

HEALTH EMPOWERMENT

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Our current model of health care places the provider, in many cases the physician, as a gatekeeper to access to health.  For whatever historical, political,… Continue reading

Evidence Based Practice

Reality is vast.  Yet, action requires knowledge.  So over time, we have created systems of practice and knowledge by which we can understanding reality and effectively do something.  Clearly, then, the way in… Continue reading

Re-Birth of the Clinic

Humanity is on the threshold of the crowning stage in its evolutionary history – its collective maturity, characterized by a unification of the entire human race, manifest through a new world civilization which… Continue reading

Technology: Good or Bad?

It would be unrealistic to adhere to a retrogressive and romanticized notion of a “simple” life, in which technology is non-existent, and humanity subsists in some type of passively blissful coexistence with nature.… Continue reading

Globalization: Good or Bad?

Friends, listen up. The end of the 20th century discloses to the eyes of humanity a vista of stupendous opportunities and grave perils. Allow me to explain. Some of the more striking phenomena… Continue reading

Is Primary Care Actually Effective?

In the field of emergency medicine, there is an idea called “door-to-balloon” or “time-to-cath”, which is the amount of time that has elapsed from the moment a patient who is having a specific… Continue reading

Maturation of Species: History, Human Nature, and World Peace

Human nature has been misinterpreted. We are not selfish and competitive by nature, but rather, altruistic and cooperative. The entire history of humankind’ s past represents only a stage in its infancy. The… Continue reading

Artificial Scarcity & The Baha’i Faith

The Problem . ARTIFICIAL SCARCITY is a term used to describe the condition in which masses of people are deprived of their bare necessities, while wealth, resources, and infrastructure exist in sufficient proportion… Continue reading

The Midnight Sighing…

A continuation of a conversation on Facebook, prompted by the quotation below, in which thoughts about these two links were asked… http://www.usdebtclock.org – US National Debt Clock xkcd.com/980/huge/ – xkcd: Money Chart  … Continue reading

“Concentrations of Wealth” by Michael Karlberg

A recent study by Oxfam provided some striking data regarding growing disparities of wealth and poverty within and between countries around the globe: 50% of the world’s wealth is now owned by 1% of the… Continue reading

Releasing the Deep Reservoirs that Young People Possess

“Throughout the world, across all classes and social groups, there has been a ready response from youth who are invited to examine the forces shaping their society and their role in contributing to… Continue reading

120 years of discourse

A few days ago passed the 120th anniversary of the first mention of the Baha’i Faith in the Western hemisphere.  At last, the spiritual forces released by Baha’u’llah’s Revelation had an “initial conversation”… Continue reading

The Reality of Coherence

In the 1 July 2013 Message of the Universal House of Justice, that beloved Body draws a connection between an individual’s engagement in the process of civilization-building and that individuals own personal development.… Continue reading

A De-scription Pad

A ‘prescription’ is that which is laid down as a rule, an order, a precept.  A ‘description’, on the other hand, is a statement that indicates and notes observations.  Common to both words… Continue reading

Pedagogy of the Empowered

The Baha’i world has been learning how to use an education program to raise capacity in individuals and populations to take charge of their own spiritual, social, and intellectual development and to build… Continue reading

Coherence in Conversations

Recently, a gathering took place in which friends from diverse backgrounds, ages, geographies, and experiences came together to explore participation in discourse.  Coherence, it seemed, was the key.   The weekend began with… Continue reading

Authentic Solutions

Authentic solutions to the problems of the world, products of an unjust social order, begin with a sea change in public loyalties. An expanding mass of popular support for a new center of… Continue reading

Collective Reflections

This past weekend, nearly forty individuals gathered together for an exploration of participation in discourse. (See post, Discourse: Session at Bosch)  The aim was to connect everyday conversations – those with neighbors, with… Continue reading

Tax Code 101

The top 10 US tax deductions, credits and exclusions ensure that over $12 trillion in tax revenues will be granted to multinational corporations over the next decade. The tax loopholes have been written into… Continue reading

Which brand are you?

“The reality of man is his thought…” The world is in a state of oppression.  This is not an unknown fact – any media source will recount the various expressions of social disintegration… Continue reading

Abdu’l-Baha on Economic Policy

According to Abdu’l-Baha, wealth inequality, can be attributed to the “extreme greed and rapacity of the manufacturers and industrialists.” He furthermore  identifies  the root cause of income disparity as the defunct operations of… Continue reading

Colonial Coercion vs. Corporate Consumerism: Replacing the Stick with the Carrot

About a century ago, in the free world, the ruling classes became aware they couldn’t control the population by force any longer, the spirit of the age was shifting and violence only bred further civil… Continue reading

Prophecy And Policy

The economic recession is linked to a recession in democracy. If we continue this way, we will be ruined by class warfare and the wrath of global warming. We must seek a different… Continue reading

Double Cure: Eliminate Parties and Campaigning

Partisanship is a bane to effective governance. Identifying with a political party exacerbates a bitter partisan divide that threatens the very fiber of social order and governance. Motivations of civil servants should be… Continue reading

Prioritizing Women: Exigencies of Equality in an Age Transcending Patriarchy

The spiritual planetary civilization that is destined to be born out of the current international, humanitarian, and moral chaos will carry with it a shining jewel of accomplishment – the establishment of absolute… Continue reading

Money, Lies, and Spiritual Solutions

Since the housing market crash of 2008 we have heard it said that the economy is recovering. Who, I wonder are the people who are actually recovering? Let us look into what the… Continue reading

The Structure of Future Scientific Revolutions

Science is in its infancy. It will evolve, change, and grow until it achieves a more mature form. To date, the human experience suffers from an underdeveloped understanding of the nature and scope… Continue reading

Summary Ridvan 2013 Message: Growth and Discourse, A Dynamic Coherence

Paragraphs: 1- “The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him. Incline your ears, O friends of God, to the voice of Him Whom the world hath wronged, and… Continue reading

The Circulatory System and the Beauty of Language

People have been inquiring as to the connection between the concepts of the circulatory system and the beauty of language. The human cardiovascular system is the symbol for justice in the world of… Continue reading

Discourse: Session at Bosch

Please join us ​June 14-16th for a weekend of study of the Messages from the Baha’i World Center. This session is a space to build capacity to participate in the prevalent discourses of society. The… Continue reading

Weapons – A Statistical Update

It was said:  “It hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless essential” “beyond that which is necessary to insure the internal security of … countries.” Good “people need no weapons of destruction, inasmuch… Continue reading

Trickle Down Fail

The sequester decreased federal investments in national infrastructure resulting in lay-offs and more unemployment. Only 88k jobs were created in march — the least jobs created per month in the past 9 months.… Continue reading

Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth

National and Regional Training Institutes throughout the world offer a course called Ruhi Book 5, “Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth,” designed for the training of “Animators” who mentor youth between the ages… Continue reading

New World Order

Corrupt incentives drive people’s contribution to the public discourse. Politicians, businessmen, financiers, are all guilty. The discourse no longer represents an honest viewpoint of reality, the dominant slogans on TV and radio are… Continue reading

Marx: From Beyond the Grave

The global economy is now in a downward spiral, unemployment is at record highs in country after country, national debt is paralyzing governments, incomes have stagnated for a majority of workers — suddenly… Continue reading

What Do You Call Capitalized Gains But Communized Losses?

The spike in income inequality in the U.S. in recent decades is due to systemic injustices at the level of policy and institution structure for over 40 years. Incomes for the bottom 90… Continue reading

What is the Definition of Capitalism?

I didn’t know it was called capitalism to work for someone else’s money. I thought capitalism was the harder you work the more money you earn. In fact, i was told communism is… Continue reading

Are You Working for Someone Else’s Money?

GDP has doubled in the past 30 years, yet workers wages haven’t even kept up with inflation, let alone increased. The 1.9% increase in wages was  surpassed by inflation in 2012 marking the 40th… Continue reading

Monarchy AND Democracy?

Assault rifle ban dead in the Senate. Monsanto protected from lawsuits by congressional legislation. 50 K-12 schools closed in Chicago while corporate profits at all time high. Yet, Obama speaks in Israel on… Continue reading

Unemployment and Religion

No one looks for the source of economic problems in spiritual matters. Likewise, no one looks for solutions to economic problems through spiritual means. Unemployment is the self-claimed most important economic problem of… Continue reading

Capitalism vs Corporatism

Dow Jones is at record high; corporate profits are too. The real estate crisis is over, but most people in the united states still seem to be in financial difficulties. Household incomes in… Continue reading

Poverty and Revelation

Poverty is as ineradicable as the house-fly! The misguided conviction that material resources exist, or can be created by scientific and technological enterprise, to entirely eradicate poverty is a myth of global scope. Social scientists… Continue reading

Framework that Shapes the Baha’i Approach to Political Involvement

For decades, the Universal House of Justice has been nurturing the development of the Baha’i community in Iran, guiding them through their persecution and assisting them to recognize the significance of their sacrifice… Continue reading

In the Masses Lies the Key

Some facts are based on principle, others follow from empirical evidence. The economic and social order of the industrial world no longer considers universal welfare the object of its deliberations and actions. This… Continue reading

The World of Man: The Rape of Women

“…Should anyone deliberately take another’s life, him also shall ye put to death…” The world of man is a terrifying place. A world constructed on violent notions of masculinity. A world where power… Continue reading

Education and Liberation

Some people think education is an act of depositing facts, in which the students are the receptacle and the teacher is the banker. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues lectures and makes deposits… Continue reading

Mental Illness and Collective Responsibility

Mental illness is not responsible for mass shootings. Removing guns from society would prevent mass shootings, but guns aren’t responsible for mass shootings. A desire for mass suffering is at play. What causes… Continue reading

Guns and Moses

If other people were carrying guns in the Newtown massacre they would have been able to intervene and stop the mentally ill killer — Or so the argument by gun owners goes. The reason… Continue reading

Don’t Regulate Guns: Arm the Children!

Fire arms enable tragedy in a way that no other technology does. Where guns are absent, tragedies and destruction are less. Where people possess fire arms, homicide,  suicide, and mass shootings are more prevalent. Why do we… Continue reading

The Difficulty with School

Kings

Disproportionate access to education and employment opportunities for a privileged minority deprives society of the labor and intellectual potential of the masses. From among the privileged, certain members may seek to join the… Continue reading

Economic Mirages

Disproportionate access to nutritious diets, quality housing, industry-recognized education, employment opportunities, and healthcare services would not in itself sow the seeds of rebellion were it not for the possessiveness of the privileged over their resources.… Continue reading

Spiritual Re-Education and the Power of the Masses

In discourse, thought, reflection and action are intimately interdependent.  Action is coherent only when it is not merely rote but also consultative, that is, when it is not dichotomized from reflection. Reflection, which is… Continue reading

Summary of 14 November Message

Paragraph#: 1. Learning sites and associated clusters (31 in total) contain half the current junior youth groups and participants. 2. Universal youth response to serve as animators. Ruhi 5 releases reservoirs of commitment to social change.… Continue reading

Empowerment, Oppression, and Social Order

Extreme socio-economic inequalities of access and opportunity result in privileged vs. oppressed classes. The oppressed, over time, adapt to the structure of domination under which generations languish and become resigned to it. The status quo… Continue reading

Economics and Human Nature

Our theory of economics is predicated on the assumption that people and wants grossly outnumber opportunities and resources in our society. This is why competition is the basis for our economic system. Biology… Continue reading

Unity, Communism, and Change: The Principle, the Boogie-Man, and the Future

Today it seems that the message for change is articulated by people who believe in the unity of races, equality of genders, and institutional intervention on behalf of social and economic justice. These people also hold… Continue reading

America’s 1912 Election

One hundred years ago today, a sixty-six year old traveler from the East, an exile and prisoner since the age of nine, with no formal education, in broken and failing health, having never… Continue reading

Shadows of the Mind: Disorganized Activism, Conducive to Change?

Decades have come and gone and our busy lives, cluttered with diverse daily drives and enjoyments, have advanced in age, irreparable choices have been made, courses set, and moral decisions cast in the… Continue reading

Spring Showers onto Hard Earth: Prevailing Theories of Human Nature, Alterable?

How great is our capacity for change? The endpoint of our progress is as difficult to imagine as space travel is to cavemen. Social reform will outpace our technological ingenuity. Freedom fighting at… Continue reading

Climate Change and Political Partisanship: Why is the Truth So Divisive?

Every intelligent mind that evaluates the causes for global warming concludes that human-induced green-house gas emissions are responsible for Earth’s atmospheric average temperature increases. The only people who disagree with this are fringe… Continue reading

Summary: Ridvan 2012 Message

Paragraph#: 1. Abdu’l-Baha’s Temple-ground piercing Centenary. Diverse participants then and now. 2. Divine civilization beyond mere adjustments to present order. 3. Erroneous assumptions of human nature, justified by failings, disallow spiritual potential. 4.… Continue reading

Economic Theory: Competition, the Key to Prosperity?

Human nature has been misinterpreted. We are not selfish and competitive by nature, but rather, altruistic and cooperative. Human societies to some extent actually represent an anomaly in the competitive theory of the… Continue reading

Summary of August 9th Message

Paragraph#: 1. 10 new Regional Councils (RC’s). 5-Year Plan messages foundation of action and study. Familiarity with dynamics of growth increases with core activities. 2. Dichotomy of neighborhood and centralized children’s classes (CC) transcended. 2 Junior Youth… Continue reading

The Universe is Pregnant

The universe is pregnant with these manifold bounties – bounties mysteriously emerging from the intricate interplay between the micro-cosmic visions of various actors on the world stage, each pursuing their own selfish advantage,… Continue reading

Discourse and Politics: Blood in the Arteries of Governance

Discourse on the following topics has brought these themes to the point of being reconceptualized. Certain foundational principles have emerged and crystallized from ongoing discourse. Principles we now believe in in a new way… Continue reading

Can Debate Lead to Truth?

Is it possible that a “debate” leads us, the listeners and watchers, to truth? Can a mode of dialogue such as contestational or confrontational debate assist others and people interested in the issues… Continue reading

Progressive Revelation: Historiography and Civilization Dynamics

The endowment which distinguishes the human race from all other life forms is summed up in the reality known as the human spirit, or the rational soul. Of this soul, the diverse faculties… Continue reading

A New Discourse on Religion

From agencyandchange.com http://agencyandchange.com/2012/10/19/discourse-on-religion/ .

Post-Partisan Politics

Identifying aspects of political discourse that is partisan in nature and to be avoided is challenging and will call for a higher caliber of insight and self-mastery as issues become increasingly engrossing and complex and as… Continue reading

Surgical Politics

Our goal is to participate in discourses of importance to society at all levels of stratification, from informal discussions on internet forums and attendance at regional seminars, to the dissemination of insightful statements… Continue reading

Rise of a New Dawn

Red was painted the sky of man’s grey history, blood rained from clouds heavy, pregnant with the neglected structures and individualistic anachronisms that is our society.  Individualistic rhetoric carried over from biological sciences… Continue reading

The Beauty of Language

One of the most fundamental characteristics of human nature is a soul’s desire to explore reality and search for meaning in the universe – the mind longs to understand.  Language is the medium… Continue reading

Beyond Political Partisanship

Three Protagonists and the Life of Society Prosperity is the goal for mankind. As individuals and as a collective. To govern large groups of individuals congregated into a collective, as in a metropolis or… Continue reading

Objective Spiritual Reality

Considering how difficult it is to judge objective statements about social reality, it is even more challenging with spiritual reality.  However, spiritual reality exists, human language can attempt to describe it, and therefore,… Continue reading

Claims About Social Reality

The physical and material aspects of our complex reality are not the only ones with objectivity – the human mind is able to make objective statements about all of reality, including social and… Continue reading

Objectivity and Reality

Notwithstanding that all social conventions, including language, are built from shared understanding that are to some extent ontologically subjective, they are not completely arbitrary. Language – as well as social reality – is… Continue reading

Language as Social Convention

In understanding the role of objectivity in language, two types of statements have been presented – personal preferences, which are entirely subjective; and social conventions, which are subjective in their creation or existence… Continue reading

Social Conventions – Objective or Subjective?

Objectivity – another desired quality of the language of science – is a term loaded with connotations and interpretations; it’s rarely a straightforward concept.  It helps to contrast it with subjectivity.  An entirely… Continue reading

Consistency

The statements of a language that seeks to be rational must also be internally consistent. Obviously, premises and claims cannot contradict each other, otherwise, truth could never be sought, and reality could never… Continue reading

Rationality

In addition to clarity, another important characteristic of the language of science is rationality.  Again, as language informs thought, using rational language helps create reasonable thought.  And because words and thoughts influence actions,… Continue reading

Clarity

Human beings understand reality through conceptualization.  For material and concrete objects, language naturally defines them easily.  As concepts become more abstract – such as regarding the social and spiritual reality – this becomes… Continue reading

The Concept of a Concept

All human beings are endowed with certain basic spiritual capacities – derived from the soul, which is the element of the individual that is responsible for spiritual nature. Chief among these capacities is… Continue reading

Language and Civilization

Reality has physical and spiritual dimensions.  Indeed, the world civilization that beckons humanity is one that will achieve a dynamic coherence between these two requirements of social life.  If reality is more complex… Continue reading

Words, Thoughts, Actions

The advancement of civilization – the theme of this blog – is achieved through action.  It occurs through building capacity in individuals, institutions, and communities to work towards a prosperous world civilization characterized… Continue reading

Building the Capacity to Build Capacity

When one examines social structures, processes, and relationships, one can identify numerous factors that influence them all.  Yet one that is a never-changing and ubiquitous factor upon which ultimately depends the efficacy of… Continue reading

A Learning “State”

Continuing the discussion on governance and some principles that it is informed by, the last post on consultation leads to a key attribute that should characterize effective governance.  We know that human society… Continue reading

Consultation and Governance

The practice of consultation has been a theme of multiple posts on this blog.  It is, obviously, a vital concept for governance, for it is the operating expression of justice in a way… Continue reading

Alternative Elections

The idea of humanity as one, interconnected, interdependent, social body implies that each person is born into this world as a trust of the whole.  The role of governance, then, comes as an… Continue reading

Oneness, Justice, and Governance

As has been a central theme throughout the discussions on this blog, our current stage of human history is defined by global interdependence.  All forms of government and organization that divide one group… Continue reading

Assumptions Underlying Governance

As we can clearly see around us, governance stands in need of reconceptualization.  At this moment in history, when humankind is in a transition phase, and when changes are occurring at accelerated rates,… Continue reading

Governance and Discipline

How does the conception of power from the last few posts shape thoughts regarding governance?  Currently, because our society’s structures and relationships are dominated by self-interested expressions of power, governance is viewed as… Continue reading

Discourse, Education, and the Collective

Capacity building requires forums in which space has been created for learning about the betterment of society. Open forums for discourse can accompany and assist undergraduate students through their four years of university studies. Through… Continue reading

Scouting the Truth

Having explored the nature of knowledge and its generation, thought must now be given to the nature of one who generates knowledge, a seeker of knowledge, a scholar.  How do we view those… Continue reading

Education: The Driver of Social Transformation

In reference to human potential it has been said, “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to… Continue reading

Truth, Civility, and Consultation Part III

Any minority pursuing development on behalf of the collective foists its values onto, and often disturbs, the very population it purports to serve.  Subsuming collective prosperity to their personal values of progress, and sacrificing the… Continue reading

Truth, Civility, and Consultation Part II

The history of philanthropic movements recounts many instances of people who believe in noble ideals and strive to fulfill their vision of what they think the world ought to look like. One may… Continue reading

Truth, Civility, and Consultation Part I

Unity and Truth are closely related. If two people argue about a matter both are wrong about it. Prevalent assumptions hold that truth can be known and should be sought by individuals. Alternate epistemologies hold… Continue reading

Study, Consultation, Action, Reflection

An approach to the generation and application of knowledge within a learning mode occurs through a process of study, consultation, action, and reflection. Science and religion are the two systems of knowledge and… Continue reading

Habits of Thought

Certain habits of thought also need to be fostered in connection with a culture of learning, often at odds with current society’s tendencies – three will be mentioned.  It is clear that society… Continue reading

A Culture of Learning

The choice to adopt assumptions with the intention of operationalizing them does indeed entail challenges – overcoming habits of mind, resisting corrosive social forces, understanding the dynamics of change, etc – however, the… Continue reading

Conscious Choice

Beyond the highly propagated fragmentation of science and religion in current thought, and the resistance to reconceptualize these complementary systems of knowledge and practice, there are, in general, voices that resist change, especially at the level of… Continue reading

Moderation

Up to this point, many spiritual principles and qualities have been mentioned, in multiple contexts, and to various degrees.  What is important to note, as more and more will be mentioned, is that… Continue reading

Justice and Discourse, Part II

Both extremes are to be completely avoided; the first of accepting everything one reads – this is the state of being an easy prey to eloquence and dazzling and elaborate presentations of those… Continue reading

Discourse and Justice, Part I

As a community of discourse we need to ensure that we develop the ability to read and examine other people’s views and thoughts on a given subject with fairness. This does not mean that we… Continue reading

Beyond the Culture of Contest

Dr. Michael Karlberg is a professor of Communications at Western Washington University whose work centers around the advancement of collaboration and mutualism in human relations.  In his TEDx Talk, Dr. Karlberg challenges the… Continue reading

Questioning Fragmentation

The previous post’s mention of various views about human nature, incoherent and fragmented in and of themselves, are also incoherent and fragmented in their application towards different domains of life. One individual, as… Continue reading

Caricatures of Human Nature

There are multiple models of human nature that have been claimed on various levels throughout the ages, and regardless of whether they are religiously or philosophically associated claims, social models employed by policy… Continue reading