Going for More Than an End to a Beginning

Baquia has invited me to write some columns here and in way of introducing myself, I’ve chosen this YouTube clip as inspiration for my beginning:

I chose this also in way of response as a non-American living in Europe, to the current presidental run-up. I am not belitteling this, just noting how these candidates are dominating the airways and news in a small distant European country.

Note the �tongue-in-cheek� reference in the few first minutes, the video artist is also reminding us, he intends this as a light-hearted commentary on recent world events and perhaps on politics itself. My take on this video is that it is reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in fear or feel confused by things that seem black or white, right or wrong or whatever. So I wish the American voters who read this, greyness and nuance :)

It must be tough to maintain a sense of involvement when politics, in this case, is just a choice between two (one or the other), when it would be easier to switch off completely, however as Bahais we are obliged not to switch off.

Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 212

…as the government of America is a republican form of government, it is necessary that all the citizens shall take part in the elections of officers and take part in the affairs of the republic.

Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v2, p. 342

The tone of this video is a bit like Baha’u’llah’s where the first part is a quotation from the Qur’an:

“Pharaoh said: ‘Let me alone, that I may kill Moses; and let him call upon his Lord: I fear lest he change your religion, or cause disorder to show itself in the land.’ And Moses said: ‘I take refuge with my Lord, and your Lord from every proud one who believeth not in the Day of Reckoning.’”

Men have, at all times, considered every World Reformer a fomenter of discord, and have referred unto Him in terms with which all are familiar.

Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 63

You could see the Pharaoh as Bush and Moses as a symbol for change – for a new voice. Baha’u’llah turns the day of reckoning into world reform. It is a positive spin on the apocalyptic approach.

The dominant text in the video �this is the end of the world (as we know it)�, as I see it, is about a fear of change.

Abdu’l-Baha wrote:

Note thou carefully that in this world of being, all things must ever be made new. Look at the material world about thee, see how it hath now been renewed. The thoughts have changed, the ways of life have been revised, the sciences and arts show a new vigour, discoveries and inventions are new, perceptions are new. How then could such a vital power as religion — the guarantor of mankind’s great advances, the very means of attaining everlasting life, the fosterer of infinite excellence, the light of both worlds — not be made new?

Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 52

And just to hammer this idea of ‘change’, here’s Baha’u’llah:

In this journey the seeker becometh witness to a myriad changes and transformations, confluences and divergences. He beholdeth the wonders of Divinity in the mysteries of creation and discovereth the paths of guidance and the ways of his Lord. …
When once the seeker hath ascended unto this station, he will enter the City of Love and Rapture,

Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 27

…the seeker, at the outset of his journey, witnesseth change and transformation, as hath already been mentioned. This is undoubtedly the truth, as hath been revealed concerning those days: “On the day when the earth shall be changed into another earth.” These are indeed days the like of which no mortal eye hath ever seen.

Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 61

If you make it to the end of the video you’ll see Churchill say: â€?this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end (as we know it) but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.â€?

This is my end. Till next time and all comments however grey (and even white or black) are most welcome.

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    The Lone Ranger was a hero for me for years — in fact he still is.

    Clayon Moore and Jay Silverheels played characters one could count on. They always sided with the underdog and what was right. They could shoot straight — The Lone Ranger shot the guns out of the bad guys hands. The stories were interesting with ghost towns and silver mines where The Rangers bullets came from. Clayton Moore’s voice was a deep and resonant as Darth Vader’s (but he used his voice for good not evil!)

    Even long after he stopped playing the part, Moore made public appearances as The Lone Ranger and kept the Ranger’s do-gooder philosophy alive. But no one dared call hi a doogooder to his (masked) face! (No don’t take the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t fool around with Jim.)

    If Clayton Moore had run for president he would have won.

    I wish he could run now…

    BTW — All things are made new each day and some say with each breath. Especially just before dawn.

    Hi Ho Silver, Away!
    Frank

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    The Lone Ranger was a hero for me for years — in fact he still is.

    Clayon Moore and Jay Silverheels played characters one could count on. They always sided with the underdog and what was right. They could shoot straight — The Lone Ranger shot the guns out of the bad guys hands. The stories were interesting with ghost towns and silver mines where The Rangers bullets came from. Clayton Moore’s voice was a deep and resonant as Darth Vader’s (but he used his voice for good not evil!)

    Even long after he stopped playing the part, Moore made public appearances as The Lone Ranger and kept the Ranger’s do-gooder philosophy alive. But no one dared call hi a doogooder to his (masked) face! (No don’t take the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t fool around with Jim.)

    If Clayton Moore had run for president he would have won.

    I wish he could run now…

    BTW — All things are made new each day and some say with each breath. Especially just before dawn.

    Hi Ho Silver, Away!
    Frank

  • ep

    After the soul of the nation teetered on the brink of Idiocracy, Peter Pan spoke thusly about the GREAT Lollypop paradox:

    “There are no red lolly pops and blue lolly pops, there are only the UNITED STATES of lolly pops”.

    Thus, Obubba will usher in a 40 year cycle of modern postmodern postpartisan partisanship, and, as in Lake Wobegon, “All the children will be above average” and hedge funds will only be about saving money for gardening (organic, sustainable, biodynamic).

  • ep

    After the soul of the nation teetered on the brink of Idiocracy, Peter Pan spoke thusly about the GREAT Lollypop paradox:

    “There are no red lolly pops and blue lolly pops, there are only the UNITED STATES of lolly pops”.

    Thus, Obubba will usher in a 40 year cycle of modern postmodern postpartisan partisanship, and, as in Lake Wobegon, “All the children will be above average” and hedge funds will only be about saving money for gardening (organic, sustainable, biodynamic).

  • ep

    With all due respect, it does not sound like Mr. Wilson “really” understands how things work in bahai. Celebrities like Wilson tend to live in a bubble in the bahai community, and are insulated from the creepy fundamentalists, weirdos and thought police that really run things in bahai.

    http://winstondelgado.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/9808-days-in-the-life/
    (http://www.bahai.us/rainn-wilson)

    bahai is not a “progressive” or “liberal” religion, except on a superficial level. many people that believe in it are wonderful, altruistic, compassionate people, but the underlying religion is rotten, and is a failed attempt to graft a western/modernist paradigm onto a reformist shia/sufi framework that is full of outmoded and discredited metaphysics.

    I’ve known many of the counterculture bahais, dissident intellectuals, etc., for over 20 years that attempted to reform bahai (in the usa) into a more democratic, mystical religion, and am sad to say that many of them were viciously attacked by the forces of rigidity and bureaucractic orthodoxy in bahai.

    bahai was originally run by a cozy clique of insiders. who, from the 1930s, were dominantly upper class snobs and racists. like most organizations, it eventually became dysfunctional, and unable to engage in unvarnished, honest, open discussion of problems. as a result, a hardened, cultish attitude set in that is intolerant of nonconformists and critics. almost everyone I’ve known for 30+ years in bahai becomes very comfortable with marginalizing and demonizing anyone that asks real questions about the corrupt, inept bahai bureaucracy. especially those that gets jobs in bahai, or marry into the “important” families. yes, racism is not unusual. whites [or any other non-persians] can’t marry into the “important” persian bahai families unless they are from equally snobby white backgrounds.

    most of my good friends that are still members in bahai try to maintain some ethical integrity by avoiding the obsession that bahais have with “organization”, and just live by the mystical aspects, doing social justice stuff, environmental, etc., and avoid the spiritually vacant, but pervasive “administration” as much as possible.

    what happens with bahai administration is that it is almost invariably inept, and can’t get anything done. some critics claim that it is financially corrupt. in any case, similarly to other inept, dysfunctional organizations, it periodically engages in ridiculous attempts at distracting the “followers” from its failures by engaging in what I call “bureaucratic reinvention”. Some great new plan, method, etc., is developed, and all energy is put into “unifying” the followers around the new old thing. lots of money is spent on glitzy “PR”. hope springs eternal. renewal is in the air. eventually all of the bright promises of utopia dim and reality sets in. scapegoats are found to take the brunt of collective unhappiness. usually the scapegoats are the very nonconformists, dissidents and critics that could have provided better solutions in the first place.

    people’s hopes to belong to a group that is working for good, beauty and truth (world peace, justice, etc.) are dashed. they realize they have been exploited by the same kind of disgusting and morally corrupt religious leaders that they thought they had gotten away from. bahai becomes just another source of cynicism and hoplessness.

    to sum up: the organizational culture of bahai is sick and dangerous.

    bahai flubs evolution badly.

    it is completely missing anything like Jungian psychology/archetypes, and has a very bad model of human development.

    A much better alternative is Integralism, which is a movement that seeks to develop a transrational/holistic culture, or paradigm, which integrates spirituality and science.

    The integral approach to “spirituality and evolution” is far better than the silly (historically untenable) bahai “principle” of “progressive revelation”.

    Progressive revelation assumes prophetology, which is, as Ken Wilbers says, is a “middle man scam”. that scam plagues most western religions.

    what has happened to bahai critics, nonconformists and dissidents over the last 20 years is very similar to what happened to the Cathars in Spain/France 900 years ago. The high church sent crusaders against the “heretic” Cathars (who dared to openly accuse the high church of corruption), the only crusade against europeans.

    bahai is perfectly happy to have people whose ideas about religion, spirtuality and social change are warm, fuzzy, feel-good and superficial, who will never ask questions about the authorities.

    all of that is perfectly reflected in the “interview” of Mr. Wilson. It is vacuous, and is empty of meaning, at least to anyone that has seen how things really work in bahai culture, where being obsequious, groveling and obsessive about “saving face” are paramount.

    bahai is just another example of a bad religion full of dysfunctional people that has absorbed the worst of postmodern culture.

    have a nice day!
    Eric P.
    Sacramento
    XL-ex-bahai (after 30+ years)

  • ep

    With all due respect, it does not sound like Mr. Wilson “really” understands how things work in bahai. Celebrities like Wilson tend to live in a bubble in the bahai community, and are insulated from the creepy fundamentalists, weirdos and thought police that really run things in bahai.

    http://winstondelgado.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/9808-days-in-the-life/
    (http://www.bahai.us/rainn-wilson)

    bahai is not a “progressive” or “liberal” religion, except on a superficial level. many people that believe in it are wonderful, altruistic, compassionate people, but the underlying religion is rotten, and is a failed attempt to graft a western/modernist paradigm onto a reformist shia/sufi framework that is full of outmoded and discredited metaphysics.

    I’ve known many of the counterculture bahais, dissident intellectuals, etc., for over 20 years that attempted to reform bahai (in the usa) into a more democratic, mystical religion, and am sad to say that many of them were viciously attacked by the forces of rigidity and bureaucractic orthodoxy in bahai.

    bahai was originally run by a cozy clique of insiders. who, from the 1930s, were dominantly upper class snobs and racists. like most organizations, it eventually became dysfunctional, and unable to engage in unvarnished, honest, open discussion of problems. as a result, a hardened, cultish attitude set in that is intolerant of nonconformists and critics. almost everyone I’ve known for 30+ years in bahai becomes very comfortable with marginalizing and demonizing anyone that asks real questions about the corrupt, inept bahai bureaucracy. especially those that gets jobs in bahai, or marry into the “important” families. yes, racism is not unusual. whites [or any other non-persians] can’t marry into the “important” persian bahai families unless they are from equally snobby white backgrounds.

    most of my good friends that are still members in bahai try to maintain some ethical integrity by avoiding the obsession that bahais have with “organization”, and just live by the mystical aspects, doing social justice stuff, environmental, etc., and avoid the spiritually vacant, but pervasive “administration” as much as possible.

    what happens with bahai administration is that it is almost invariably inept, and can’t get anything done. some critics claim that it is financially corrupt. in any case, similarly to other inept, dysfunctional organizations, it periodically engages in ridiculous attempts at distracting the “followers” from its failures by engaging in what I call “bureaucratic reinvention”. Some great new plan, method, etc., is developed, and all energy is put into “unifying” the followers around the new old thing. lots of money is spent on glitzy “PR”. hope springs eternal. renewal is in the air. eventually all of the bright promises of utopia dim and reality sets in. scapegoats are found to take the brunt of collective unhappiness. usually the scapegoats are the very nonconformists, dissidents and critics that could have provided better solutions in the first place.

    people’s hopes to belong to a group that is working for good, beauty and truth (world peace, justice, etc.) are dashed. they realize they have been exploited by the same kind of disgusting and morally corrupt religious leaders that they thought they had gotten away from. bahai becomes just another source of cynicism and hoplessness.

    to sum up: the organizational culture of bahai is sick and dangerous.

    bahai flubs evolution badly.

    it is completely missing anything like Jungian psychology/archetypes, and has a very bad model of human development.

    A much better alternative is Integralism, which is a movement that seeks to develop a transrational/holistic culture, or paradigm, which integrates spirituality and science.

    The integral approach to “spirituality and evolution” is far better than the silly (historically untenable) bahai “principle” of “progressive revelation”.

    Progressive revelation assumes prophetology, which is, as Ken Wilbers says, is a “middle man scam”. that scam plagues most western religions.

    what has happened to bahai critics, nonconformists and dissidents over the last 20 years is very similar to what happened to the Cathars in Spain/France 900 years ago. The high church sent crusaders against the “heretic” Cathars (who dared to openly accuse the high church of corruption), the only crusade against europeans.

    bahai is perfectly happy to have people whose ideas about religion, spirtuality and social change are warm, fuzzy, feel-good and superficial, who will never ask questions about the authorities.

    all of that is perfectly reflected in the “interview” of Mr. Wilson. It is vacuous, and is empty of meaning, at least to anyone that has seen how things really work in bahai culture, where being obsequious, groveling and obsessive about “saving face” are paramount.

    bahai is just another example of a bad religion full of dysfunctional people that has absorbed the worst of postmodern culture.

    have a nice day!
    Eric P.
    Sacramento
    XL-ex-bahai (after 30+ years)

  • ep

    re: BoBos in paradise (not so much paradise anymore)

    Sonja – Dear and Blessed Light – of many worlds, asks for feedback on “fear of change” and american politics.

    If you lived in Germany just before the Nazis took over, you would have been perfectly correct to “fear change”. Or before the mullas seized power in Iran in the late 1970s. Or when communists were taking over Cuba, Russia, China, and killing more human beings in a few decades than ever before in history.

    The main dynamic that exists at this point in history is the crisis of legitimization of social institutions. Habermas’ “colonization of lifeworld by systems”.

    Both conservatives and liberals, left/right, modernists/postmodernists, etc., are EQUALLY GUILTY AND WRONG.

    Any one of those groups that claims to be “for change” or “reform” is completely full of crap. They are just engaged in the same old sick game of grabbing power for their “tribe”. Liberals, progressives and postmodernists have been waiting for an “opening” such as exists right now to make a big move.

    To the extent that they accomplish such a “big move” they will cause enormous damage, and further plunge the planet into cultural and psychic “fragmentation” as the “mean green meme” spreads in the wake of the collapse of “tradtional values”. Capitalism, which originally played a major part in freeing the planet from slavery and superstition, will be increasingly seen as an “evil universal’. Tribalism within postmodern culture will spread and bring with it chaos, disorder and poverty. no one wil be “celebrating diversity”, they will be loathing it, in the absence of a higher set of ordering morals/principles.

    I’ve seen, since the 1960s, many major swings back and forth from liberal to conservative to liberal in the USA:

    JFK->Nixon->Carter->Reagan->Clinton->Bush

    Clearly both “sides” have failed to deal with a number of deep, unresolved problems. They tinker around the edges, but leave a broken system in place as the global economic oligarchies take over and screw over the poor, working, and now middle classes.

    Bill Clinton sold out the “progressives” and “liberals”, basically telling “Democrats” that “wouldn’t you rather have a Democrat in bed with the wealthy corporations than a Republican?”.

    But, people “cling” to the mostly useless “label” of being “liberal” or “progressive”, hoping that old rituals will conjure the ghosts of REFORM, HOPE, CHANGE.

    Others stupdily cling to “traditions” and “conservatism”, hoping to go back to the good old days.

    All those old labels and categories are being washed away from within people’s thinking. Many of the vast numbers of uber-wealthy do not wish to be seen as “bourgeois”, rather they are “bohemian” (in their consumer ad “lifestyle” choices). The damage caused by their greed, self-absorbsion, and filthy rich values is unfathonable.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2000/may/28/focus.news1

    The further left or right one goes, the more insanity is present.

    The political choice should not be “just” about the left or the right, it should also be about “something else entirely”.

    That “something” is about the integration of all aspects of human consciousness. It should be about abandoning the tendencies of both liberals and conservatives to regress to earlier, now dysfunctional, modes of being refusing to admit that the other “side” has anything valid to say or contribute, and so forth.

    http://www.formlessmountain.com/collage.html

    Obama steps up to the edge of human evolution, but does not boldy tell the people to move past what is currently known, and to embrace a fuller reality for the future.

    The “big question” is: if Obama is elected, which seems likely, how fast will the liberals corrupt him?

    http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2006/08/clare-graves-and-question-facing-us.html

    http://www.clarewgraves.com/theory_content/CG_FuturistTable.htm

    excerpts:

    Human nature prepares for a momentous leap
    By Dr. Clare Graves
    ~ from The Futurist, 1974, pp 72-87.

    Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to hewer, higher-order systems as man’s existential problems change. These systems alternate between focus upon the external world, and attempts to change it, and focus upon the inner world, and attempts to come to peace with it, with the means to each end changing in each alternatively prognostic system. Thus, man tends, normally, to change his psychology as the conditions of his existence change. Each successive state, or level of existence, is a state through which people pass on the way to other states of equilibrium. When a person is centralized in one state of existence, he has a total psychology which is particular to that state. His feelings, motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning systems, belief systems, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, preferences for and conceptions of management, education, economic and political theory and practice, etc., are all appropriate to that state.

    In some cases, a person may not be genetically or constitutionally equipped to change in the normal upward direction when the conditions of his existence change. Instead, he may stabilize and live out his life at any one or a combination of levels in the hierarchy. Again, he may show the behavior of a level in a predominantly positive or negative manner, or he may, under certain circumstances, regress to a behavior system lower in the hierarchy. Thus, and adult lives in a potentially open system of needs, values and aspirations, but he often settles into what appears to be a closed system.

    We are now at one of those times in human history when the dominant systems (human behavior as a result of life conditions) are being stretched to the breaking point. The question facing us is this: will we activate emergent systems to deal with the new challenges, or will we regress to earlier stages in a fear response, trying approaches the worked in previous times but that are no longer appropriate to the current challenges?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-10-10/the-conservative-case-for-obama

  • ep

    re: BoBos in paradise (not so much paradise anymore)

    Sonja – Dear and Blessed Light – of many worlds, asks for feedback on “fear of change” and american politics.

    If you lived in Germany just before the Nazis took over, you would have been perfectly correct to “fear change”. Or before the mullas seized power in Iran in the late 1970s. Or when communists were taking over Cuba, Russia, China, and killing more human beings in a few decades than ever before in history.

    The main dynamic that exists at this point in history is the crisis of legitimization of social institutions. Habermas’ “colonization of lifeworld by systems”.

    Both conservatives and liberals, left/right, modernists/postmodernists, etc., are EQUALLY GUILTY AND WRONG.

    Any one of those groups that claims to be “for change” or “reform” is completely full of crap. They are just engaged in the same old sick game of grabbing power for their “tribe”. Liberals, progressives and postmodernists have been waiting for an “opening” such as exists right now to make a big move.

    To the extent that they accomplish such a “big move” they will cause enormous damage, and further plunge the planet into cultural and psychic “fragmentation” as the “mean green meme” spreads in the wake of the collapse of “tradtional values”. Capitalism, which originally played a major part in freeing the planet from slavery and superstition, will be increasingly seen as an “evil universal’. Tribalism within postmodern culture will spread and bring with it chaos, disorder and poverty. no one wil be “celebrating diversity”, they will be loathing it, in the absence of a higher set of ordering morals/principles.

    I’ve seen, since the 1960s, many major swings back and forth from liberal to conservative to liberal in the USA:

    JFK->Nixon->Carter->Reagan->Clinton->Bush

    Clearly both “sides” have failed to deal with a number of deep, unresolved problems. They tinker around the edges, but leave a broken system in place as the global economic oligarchies take over and screw over the poor, working, and now middle classes.

    Bill Clinton sold out the “progressives” and “liberals”, basically telling “Democrats” that “wouldn’t you rather have a Democrat in bed with the wealthy corporations than a Republican?”.

    But, people “cling” to the mostly useless “label” of being “liberal” or “progressive”, hoping that old rituals will conjure the ghosts of REFORM, HOPE, CHANGE.

    Others stupdily cling to “traditions” and “conservatism”, hoping to go back to the good old days.

    All those old labels and categories are being washed away from within people’s thinking. Many of the vast numbers of uber-wealthy do not wish to be seen as “bourgeois”, rather they are “bohemian” (in their consumer ad “lifestyle” choices). The damage caused by their greed, self-absorbsion, and filthy rich values is unfathonable.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2000/may/28/focus.news1

    The further left or right one goes, the more insanity is present.

    The political choice should not be “just” about the left or the right, it should also be about “something else entirely”.

    That “something” is about the integration of all aspects of human consciousness. It should be about abandoning the tendencies of both liberals and conservatives to regress to earlier, now dysfunctional, modes of being refusing to admit that the other “side” has anything valid to say or contribute, and so forth.

    http://www.formlessmountain.com/collage.html

    Obama steps up to the edge of human evolution, but does not boldy tell the people to move past what is currently known, and to embrace a fuller reality for the future.

    The “big question” is: if Obama is elected, which seems likely, how fast will the liberals corrupt him?

    http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2006/08/clare-graves-and-question-facing-us.html

    http://www.clarewgraves.com/theory_content/CG_FuturistTable.htm

    excerpts:

    Human nature prepares for a momentous leap
    By Dr. Clare Graves
    ~ from The Futurist, 1974, pp 72-87.

    Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to hewer, higher-order systems as man’s existential problems change. These systems alternate between focus upon the external world, and attempts to change it, and focus upon the inner world, and attempts to come to peace with it, with the means to each end changing in each alternatively prognostic system. Thus, man tends, normally, to change his psychology as the conditions of his existence change. Each successive state, or level of existence, is a state through which people pass on the way to other states of equilibrium. When a person is centralized in one state of existence, he has a total psychology which is particular to that state. His feelings, motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning systems, belief systems, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, preferences for and conceptions of management, education, economic and political theory and practice, etc., are all appropriate to that state.

    In some cases, a person may not be genetically or constitutionally equipped to change in the normal upward direction when the conditions of his existence change. Instead, he may stabilize and live out his life at any one or a combination of levels in the hierarchy. Again, he may show the behavior of a level in a predominantly positive or negative manner, or he may, under certain circumstances, regress to a behavior system lower in the hierarchy. Thus, and adult lives in a potentially open system of needs, values and aspirations, but he often settles into what appears to be a closed system.

    We are now at one of those times in human history when the dominant systems (human behavior as a result of life conditions) are being stretched to the breaking point. The question facing us is this: will we activate emergent systems to deal with the new challenges, or will we regress to earlier stages in a fear response, trying approaches the worked in previous times but that are no longer appropriate to the current challenges?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-10-10/the-conservative-case-for-obama

  • Andrew

    “Let me ask you, as we’re passing the time here, how many ordinary people do you think an evil authority would have to order to kill you before he found someone who would, unjustly, out of sheer obedience, just because the authority said to? What sort of person is most likely to follow such an order? What kind of official is most likely to give that order, if it suited his purposes? Look at what experiments tell us, as I did.”

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    Obubba/Biden ’08

  • Andrew

    “Let me ask you, as we’re passing the time here, how many ordinary people do you think an evil authority would have to order to kill you before he found someone who would, unjustly, out of sheer obedience, just because the authority said to? What sort of person is most likely to follow such an order? What kind of official is most likely to give that order, if it suited his purposes? Look at what experiments tell us, as I did.”

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    Obubba/Biden ’08

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    Hi ep

    I am going to try and respond to more of the things you raise in your postings but to start with I’ve just picked this:

    “bahai is not a â€?progressiveâ€? or â€?liberalâ€? religion, except on a superficial level. many people that believe in it are wonderful, altruistic, compassionate people, but the underlying religion is rotten, and is a failed attempt to graft a western/modernist paradigm onto a reformist shia/sufi framework that is full of outmoded and discredited metaphysics.”

    Please give me a few examples to help me understand what you mean so I can respond to that.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    Hi ep

    I am going to try and respond to more of the things you raise in your postings but to start with I’ve just picked this:

    “bahai is not a â€?progressiveâ€? or â€?liberalâ€? religion, except on a superficial level. many people that believe in it are wonderful, altruistic, compassionate people, but the underlying religion is rotten, and is a failed attempt to graft a western/modernist paradigm onto a reformist shia/sufi framework that is full of outmoded and discredited metaphysics.”

    Please give me a few examples to help me understand what you mean so I can respond to that.

  • ep

    sonja,

    I would suggest rephrasing the question:

    does bahai exhibit “antipatterns” that send up exploiting the followers of the religion?

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pattern)

    the answer is “yes” most of the time.

    the religion simply does not “deliver the goods” for most people. as studies have shown, most people join a religion like bahai because of a need for “group belonging”. the price to belong to the group is terrible: false beliefs, accepting lies as truths, and becoming “disconnected” from their own humanity in order to support a dysfunctional bureaucracy full of sociopaths.

    anyone that dares to wonder why things don’t work is accused (or self censors) of being “spiritually weak”, lacking “discipline”, “can’t follow laws”, “had bad manners”, “has body odor”, poor digestion, sports an inferior haircut, dresses poorly, has failed to improve their handwriting, only went to trade school, doesn’t follow traffic rules, thinks politically incorrect thoughts in secret, and so forth.

    the number of dysfunctional aspects of the bahai religion is so long and outrageous that at some point people start wondering what is wrong, missing, etc., from the underlying scriptures and theology. I know that you and Sen and Terry and Juan and others (Tony and Steve, Kalimat, etc.) have worked very hard for a long time to find cool, progressive stuff in the religion as the basis of attempts at reform, but I do not think there is any evidence that you will prevail. that is sad. I’m not aware of any significant trend to the contrary, and most people that battle it out working for reforms for a number of years and refuse to conform will eventually get sick of the futility of fighting against a larger force that has become increasingly resistant to constructive change. 25 years ago, in the early days of Kalimat/Dialogue, there was hope, one would actually meet “underground” bahai dissidents, and the illusion of the possibility of reform seemed real. those days are long gone. I’ve been amazed by the number of people that used to at least pay lip service to “intellectual integrity and honesty” that have become become quite willing to overlook the bullying and thought policing that goes on very regularly in the bahai community. many of these kinds of people work for administration (in some fashion or another), and eventually lose any sense of outside reality or perspective. they are smart, capable, well educated, etc., but eventually get assimmilated into the “borg” (administration mentality).

    the manner in which bahai administration (and its minions and apologists, fundamentalists, etc.) operates with a fascist mentality, hunting down and attacking reformers, dissidents, nonconformists and critics is appalling. the attack on a bahai theologian in omaha was the most egregious example that I’m personally aware of, but I’ve seen many other variations on the theme. even when the attackers are called on the carpet, there are rarely any apologies from the higher ups, and no significant course corrections. the problem is that there is “something” in bahai scripture that seems to justify a very cold, heartless, spiritually disconnected attitude of people that, as Dr. John Cornell put it, makes people think that “assemblies can do no wrong”. Dr. Cornell fought against the conformist version of bahai culture for over 50 years, and probably ought to be listed as one of the most important bahai intellectuals in the history of the american bahai community, but he will probably never be remembered.

    the “missionary” orientation of bahai, where followers are pressured into “converting” their family and friends is outrageously out of control and exploits people in various ways. the fervor for conversions (which is mostly faked by the ridiculous leadership elites) is usually in inverse proportion to the extent that bahais actually “serve” humanity.

    the exclusion of women from the universal house of justice is probably the most glaring, obvious and ridiculous contradiction in the bahai writings.

    bahai writings are wrong on evolution. keven brown and eberhard von kitzing tried very hard to retranslate/reinterpret what abdul-baha said to make it conform to science, but they only partially succeeeded. many fundamentalist bahai find evidence in the bahai writings to oppose scientific evolution and advocate for some kind of “intelligent design” that has NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS. that is a giant embarassment.

    infallability is wrong. I know that Sen has tried hard to reverse the stupid position taken by bahai administration on the issue, and was rewarded by getting kicked out of the religion.

    progressive revelation is wrong, as is prophetology in general. there are no “manifestations” or “revelations” as described in the bahai writings. prophetology and progressive revelation are a continuation of the “middle man” scam that has existed from early in the judeo-christian-islamo-bahai tradition. the “middle man scam” consists of a priest class (“manifestation”, as represented by “administration” in bahai) that place themselves between the “follower” and transcendance, mystical unity, etc.

    (Buddhism, in contrast, tries to remove the middleman and give the follower as much direct access to transcendence and mystical unity as possible.)

    From the perspective of Habermas’ statements about “colonization of lifeworld by systems” and “the delegitimization of institutions” in postmodern culture, the whole edifice of bahai administration is massively dysfunctional.

    bahai will inevitably get sucked backward into the cultural black hole of shiism that it came from.

    I honor people like you that are fighting the inevitable lost battle. you are slowing the entropy of the bahai universe a little bit, and are an necessary example of people that will not give up on the search for higher truths even in the face of certain defeat.

    I wish you were involved in another religion or social movement that was actually going to make a tangible difference to the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Institute
    -
    http://www.esalenctr.org/display/confpage.cfm?confid=1&pageid=33&pgtype=1
    -
    http://books.google.com/books?id=fzSP6BRFBzIC

    “…were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.â€?”
    Winston Churchill

    Regards,
    Eric
    XL-ex-bahai (after 30+ years)
    Sacramento

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/102gwtnf.asp

    Among the Bourgeoisophobes
    Why the Europeans and Arabs, each in their own way, hate America and Israel.
    by David Brooks
    04/15/2002, Volume 007, Issue 30

    AROUND 1830, a group of French artists and intellectuals looked around and noticed that people who were their spiritual inferiors were running the world. Suddenly a large crowd of merchants, managers, and traders were making lots of money, living in the big houses, and holding the key posts. They had none of the high style of the aristocracy, or even the earthy integrity of the peasants. Instead, they were gross. They were vulgar materialists, shallow conformists, and self-absorbed philistines, who half the time failed even to acknowledge their moral and spiritual inferiority to the artists and intellectuals. What’s more, it was their very mediocrity that accounted for their success. Through some screw-up in the great scheme of the universe, their narrow-minded greed had brought them vast wealth, unstoppable power, and growing social prestige.

    Naturally, the artists and intellectuals were outraged. Hatred of the bourgeoisie became the official emotion of the French intelligentsia. Stendhal said traders and merchants made him want to “weep and vomit at the same time.” Flaubert thought they were “plodding and avaricious.” Hatred of the bourgeoisie, he wrote, “is the beginning of all virtue.” He signed his letters “Bourgeoisophobus” to show how much he despised “stupid grocers and their ilk.”

    Of all the great creeds of the 19th century, pretty much the only one still thriving is this one, bourgeoisophobia. Marxism is dead. Freudianism is dead. Social Darwinism is dead, along with all those theories about racial purity that grew up around it. But the emotions and reactions that Flaubert, Stendhal, and all the others articulated in the 1830s are still with us, bigger than ever. In fact, bourgeoisophobia, which has flowered variously and spread to places as diverse as Baghdad, Ramallah, and Beijing, is the major reactionary creed of our age.

    This is because today, in much of the world’s eyes, two peoples–the Americans and the Jews–have emerged as the great exemplars of undeserved success. Americans and Israelis, in this view, are the money-mad molochs of the earth, the vulgarizers of morals, corrupters of culture, and proselytizers of idolatrous values. These two nations, it is said, practice conquest capitalism, overrunning poorer nations and exploiting weaker neighbors in their endless desire for more and more. These two peoples, the Americans and the Jews, in the view of the bourgeoisophobes, thrive precisely because they are spiritually stunted. It is their obliviousness to the holy things in life, their feverish energy, their injustice, their shallow pursuit of power and gain, that allow them to build fortunes, construct weapons, and play the role of hyperpower.

    BOURGEOISOPHOBIA is really a hatred of success. It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe’s mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed. This Manichaean divide between the successful, who are hideous, and the bourgeoisophobes, who are spiritually pristine, was established early in the emergence of the creed. The early 19th-century German poet Holderlin couldn’t just ignore the merchant bourgeoisie; he had to declare the middle classes “deeply incapable of every divine emotion.” In other words, scarcely human.

    FOR THE bourgeoisophobe, then, the question becomes, how does one confront this menace? And on this, the bourgeoisophobes split into two schools. One, which might be called the brutalist school, seeks to reclaim the raw, masculine vitality that still lies buried at the virile heart of human nature. The other, which might be called the ethereal school, holds that a creative minority can rise above prosaic bourgeois life into a realm of contemplation, feeling, art, sensibility, and spiritual grace.

  • ep

    sonja,

    I would suggest rephrasing the question:

    does bahai exhibit “antipatterns” that send up exploiting the followers of the religion?

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pattern)

    the answer is “yes” most of the time.

    the religion simply does not “deliver the goods” for most people. as studies have shown, most people join a religion like bahai because of a need for “group belonging”. the price to belong to the group is terrible: false beliefs, accepting lies as truths, and becoming “disconnected” from their own humanity in order to support a dysfunctional bureaucracy full of sociopaths.

    anyone that dares to wonder why things don’t work is accused (or self censors) of being “spiritually weak”, lacking “discipline”, “can’t follow laws”, “had bad manners”, “has body odor”, poor digestion, sports an inferior haircut, dresses poorly, has failed to improve their handwriting, only went to trade school, doesn’t follow traffic rules, thinks politically incorrect thoughts in secret, and so forth.

    the number of dysfunctional aspects of the bahai religion is so long and outrageous that at some point people start wondering what is wrong, missing, etc., from the underlying scriptures and theology. I know that you and Sen and Terry and Juan and others (Tony and Steve, Kalimat, etc.) have worked very hard for a long time to find cool, progressive stuff in the religion as the basis of attempts at reform, but I do not think there is any evidence that you will prevail. that is sad. I’m not aware of any significant trend to the contrary, and most people that battle it out working for reforms for a number of years and refuse to conform will eventually get sick of the futility of fighting against a larger force that has become increasingly resistant to constructive change. 25 years ago, in the early days of Kalimat/Dialogue, there was hope, one would actually meet “underground” bahai dissidents, and the illusion of the possibility of reform seemed real. those days are long gone. I’ve been amazed by the number of people that used to at least pay lip service to “intellectual integrity and honesty” that have become become quite willing to overlook the bullying and thought policing that goes on very regularly in the bahai community. many of these kinds of people work for administration (in some fashion or another), and eventually lose any sense of outside reality or perspective. they are smart, capable, well educated, etc., but eventually get assimmilated into the “borg” (administration mentality).

    the manner in which bahai administration (and its minions and apologists, fundamentalists, etc.) operates with a fascist mentality, hunting down and attacking reformers, dissidents, nonconformists and critics is appalling. the attack on a bahai theologian in omaha was the most egregious example that I’m personally aware of, but I’ve seen many other variations on the theme. even when the attackers are called on the carpet, there are rarely any apologies from the higher ups, and no significant course corrections. the problem is that there is “something” in bahai scripture that seems to justify a very cold, heartless, spiritually disconnected attitude of people that, as Dr. John Cornell put it, makes people think that “assemblies can do no wrong”. Dr. Cornell fought against the conformist version of bahai culture for over 50 years, and probably ought to be listed as one of the most important bahai intellectuals in the history of the american bahai community, but he will probably never be remembered.

    the “missionary” orientation of bahai, where followers are pressured into “converting” their family and friends is outrageously out of control and exploits people in various ways. the fervor for conversions (which is mostly faked by the ridiculous leadership elites) is usually in inverse proportion to the extent that bahais actually “serve” humanity.

    the exclusion of women from the universal house of justice is probably the most glaring, obvious and ridiculous contradiction in the bahai writings.

    bahai writings are wrong on evolution. keven brown and eberhard von kitzing tried very hard to retranslate/reinterpret what abdul-baha said to make it conform to science, but they only partially succeeeded. many fundamentalist bahai find evidence in the bahai writings to oppose scientific evolution and advocate for some kind of “intelligent design” that has NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS. that is a giant embarassment.

    infallability is wrong. I know that Sen has tried hard to reverse the stupid position taken by bahai administration on the issue, and was rewarded by getting kicked out of the religion.

    progressive revelation is wrong, as is prophetology in general. there are no “manifestations” or “revelations” as described in the bahai writings. prophetology and progressive revelation are a continuation of the “middle man” scam that has existed from early in the judeo-christian-islamo-bahai tradition. the “middle man scam” consists of a priest class (“manifestation”, as represented by “administration” in bahai) that place themselves between the “follower” and transcendance, mystical unity, etc.

    (Buddhism, in contrast, tries to remove the middleman and give the follower as much direct access to transcendence and mystical unity as possible.)

    From the perspective of Habermas’ statements about “colonization of lifeworld by systems” and “the delegitimization of institutions” in postmodern culture, the whole edifice of bahai administration is massively dysfunctional.

    bahai will inevitably get sucked backward into the cultural black hole of shiism that it came from.

    I honor people like you that are fighting the inevitable lost battle. you are slowing the entropy of the bahai universe a little bit, and are an necessary example of people that will not give up on the search for higher truths even in the face of certain defeat.

    I wish you were involved in another religion or social movement that was actually going to make a tangible difference to the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Institute
    -
    http://www.esalenctr.org/display/confpage.cfm?confid=1&pageid=33&pgtype=1
    -
    http://books.google.com/books?id=fzSP6BRFBzIC

    “…were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.â€?”
    Winston Churchill

    Regards,
    Eric
    XL-ex-bahai (after 30+ years)
    Sacramento

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/102gwtnf.asp

    Among the Bourgeoisophobes
    Why the Europeans and Arabs, each in their own way, hate America and Israel.
    by David Brooks
    04/15/2002, Volume 007, Issue 30

    AROUND 1830, a group of French artists and intellectuals looked around and noticed that people who were their spiritual inferiors were running the world. Suddenly a large crowd of merchants, managers, and traders were making lots of money, living in the big houses, and holding the key posts. They had none of the high style of the aristocracy, or even the earthy integrity of the peasants. Instead, they were gross. They were vulgar materialists, shallow conformists, and self-absorbed philistines, who half the time failed even to acknowledge their moral and spiritual inferiority to the artists and intellectuals. What’s more, it was their very mediocrity that accounted for their success. Through some screw-up in the great scheme of the universe, their narrow-minded greed had brought them vast wealth, unstoppable power, and growing social prestige.

    Naturally, the artists and intellectuals were outraged. Hatred of the bourgeoisie became the official emotion of the French intelligentsia. Stendhal said traders and merchants made him want to “weep and vomit at the same time.” Flaubert thought they were “plodding and avaricious.” Hatred of the bourgeoisie, he wrote, “is the beginning of all virtue.” He signed his letters “Bourgeoisophobus” to show how much he despised “stupid grocers and their ilk.”

    Of all the great creeds of the 19th century, pretty much the only one still thriving is this one, bourgeoisophobia. Marxism is dead. Freudianism is dead. Social Darwinism is dead, along with all those theories about racial purity that grew up around it. But the emotions and reactions that Flaubert, Stendhal, and all the others articulated in the 1830s are still with us, bigger than ever. In fact, bourgeoisophobia, which has flowered variously and spread to places as diverse as Baghdad, Ramallah, and Beijing, is the major reactionary creed of our age.

    This is because today, in much of the world’s eyes, two peoples–the Americans and the Jews–have emerged as the great exemplars of undeserved success. Americans and Israelis, in this view, are the money-mad molochs of the earth, the vulgarizers of morals, corrupters of culture, and proselytizers of idolatrous values. These two nations, it is said, practice conquest capitalism, overrunning poorer nations and exploiting weaker neighbors in their endless desire for more and more. These two peoples, the Americans and the Jews, in the view of the bourgeoisophobes, thrive precisely because they are spiritually stunted. It is their obliviousness to the holy things in life, their feverish energy, their injustice, their shallow pursuit of power and gain, that allow them to build fortunes, construct weapons, and play the role of hyperpower.

    BOURGEOISOPHOBIA is really a hatred of success. It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe’s mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed. This Manichaean divide between the successful, who are hideous, and the bourgeoisophobes, who are spiritually pristine, was established early in the emergence of the creed. The early 19th-century German poet Holderlin couldn’t just ignore the merchant bourgeoisie; he had to declare the middle classes “deeply incapable of every divine emotion.” In other words, scarcely human.

    FOR THE bourgeoisophobe, then, the question becomes, how does one confront this menace? And on this, the bourgeoisophobes split into two schools. One, which might be called the brutalist school, seeks to reclaim the raw, masculine vitality that still lies buried at the virile heart of human nature. The other, which might be called the ethereal school, holds that a creative minority can rise above prosaic bourgeois life into a realm of contemplation, feeling, art, sensibility, and spiritual grace.

  • ep

    “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. ” Mark Twain

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain161288.html

  • ep

    “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. ” Mark Twain

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain161288.html

  • Andrew

    ep: Thanks for the wikipedia link re: anti-patterns. Fascinating. Just fascinating. And so … applicable!

    “I know that you and Sen and Terry and Juan and others (Tony and Steve, Kalimat, etc.) have worked very hard for a long time to find cool, progressive stuff in the religion as the basis of attempts at reform, but I do not think there is any evidence that you will prevail. that is sad.”

    Very sad indeed. And (probably) very true. Which is what makes it very sad. Indeed.

    “infallability is wrong. I know that Sen has tried hard to reverse the stupid position taken by bahai administration on the issue, and was rewarded by getting kicked out of the religion.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Sen would argue that if the Baha’i Faith is a religion (rather than a sect), one can’t really be kicked out of it, since one can’t be kicked out of a religion. One can call oneself a Baha’i (in a religious sense), but one can’t be part of the Baha’i community. Which seems to me rather like saying that one can call oneself a Catholic, but one can’t be part of the Catholic community. Which is actually a contradiction in terms, since Catholicism is both a religion and a community, neither of which can legitimately be separated from each other. One cannot be Catholic without being a member of the Catholic Church. One can be Christian without being a member of the Catholic Church, but not Catholic. If one can be a “Baha’i” without being a member of the Baha’i community, what is one called? An Abhaist?

  • Andrew

    ep: Thanks for the wikipedia link re: anti-patterns. Fascinating. Just fascinating. And so … applicable!

    “I know that you and Sen and Terry and Juan and others (Tony and Steve, Kalimat, etc.) have worked very hard for a long time to find cool, progressive stuff in the religion as the basis of attempts at reform, but I do not think there is any evidence that you will prevail. that is sad.”

    Very sad indeed. And (probably) very true. Which is what makes it very sad. Indeed.

    “infallability is wrong. I know that Sen has tried hard to reverse the stupid position taken by bahai administration on the issue, and was rewarded by getting kicked out of the religion.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Sen would argue that if the Baha’i Faith is a religion (rather than a sect), one can’t really be kicked out of it, since one can’t be kicked out of a religion. One can call oneself a Baha’i (in a religious sense), but one can’t be part of the Baha’i community. Which seems to me rather like saying that one can call oneself a Catholic, but one can’t be part of the Catholic community. Which is actually a contradiction in terms, since Catholicism is both a religion and a community, neither of which can legitimately be separated from each other. One cannot be Catholic without being a member of the Catholic Church. One can be Christian without being a member of the Catholic Church, but not Catholic. If one can be a “Baha’i” without being a member of the Baha’i community, what is one called? An Abhaist?

  • ep

    Andrew,

    If bahai administration takes away one’s membership because of nonconformism to orthodoxy, but one wants to continue to consider themselves a bahai in some broader sense, then one could call oneself a dismembered bahai. or memberless bahai?

    the whole thing about dismembering people is backward, dismal and medieval. humanity should have been done with such inquisitions a long time ago.

    one of the last (of many) straws for me was when local bahais started using an appeal to an “integral paradigm” for advertising purposes, but they could not even explain what such a thing meant.

    collosal ineptitude and phoniness.

    when I tried to start a discussion about what an integral paradigm might actually be, it was deemed “off topic” by the “scholars” (to whom anything postmodern/integral is just windows dressing to be used for promotional purposes, to get potential converts interested, etc., before the usual bait-and-switch routine kicks in).

    regards,
    ep

  • ep

    Andrew,

    If bahai administration takes away one’s membership because of nonconformism to orthodoxy, but one wants to continue to consider themselves a bahai in some broader sense, then one could call oneself a dismembered bahai. or memberless bahai?

    the whole thing about dismembering people is backward, dismal and medieval. humanity should have been done with such inquisitions a long time ago.

    one of the last (of many) straws for me was when local bahais started using an appeal to an “integral paradigm” for advertising purposes, but they could not even explain what such a thing meant.

    collosal ineptitude and phoniness.

    when I tried to start a discussion about what an integral paradigm might actually be, it was deemed “off topic” by the “scholars” (to whom anything postmodern/integral is just windows dressing to be used for promotional purposes, to get potential converts interested, etc., before the usual bait-and-switch routine kicks in).

    regards,
    ep

  • ep

    Ok, back to american politics. and spirituality, or at least consciousness studies.

    the question is, if spiritual capitalism (and spiritual science) is evolving in the midst of warring paradigms, what sciopolitical trends should be expected (and presumably supported)?

    Note: there have been some significant discussions about the possibilities of “postpartisan politics” in the USA recently.

    Background:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/intro.cfm/


    Put simply, a theory is a map of a territory, while a paradigm is a practice that brings forth a territory in the first place. The paradigm or social practice itself is called an “exemplar” or “injunction,” and the theory is called, well, the theory. The point is that knowledge revolutions are generally combinations of new paradigm-practices that bring forth a new phenomenological territory plus new theories and maps that attempt to offer some sort of abstract or contoured guidance to the new territories thus disclosed and brought forth. But a new theory without a new practice is simply a new map with no real territory…

    A scientific revolution is the result of new paradigms and new theories coming into accord with each other, both of which are anchored, not in abstractions but in social practices. These revolutions are embraced, at the start, by a handful of individuals at the leading edge, but, if validated, these new exemplar-worldviews (paradigms-and-theories) are accepted by the larger culture or knowledge community, becoming a new “normal” or “legitimated” science, which stabilizes and carries forward until the next set of pesky data arises that refuses to be humbled in the existing scheme of things, and new and heretofore undisclosed territories start to shimmer on the horizon of the possible.

    A similar process is now at play, I believe, in the nascent integral salons spontaneously forming around the world. Before we discuss that possibility in more detail, here is another example of a knowledge revolution, this time in politics.

    The rise of the modern, liberal, representative democracies in the West involved, among innumerable other things, a significant shift in values from traditional to modern, which particularly began in Europe around 1600 and accelerated to something of a crisis pitch by the mid-1770s. Traditional values (e.g., blue, mythic-membership, conventional) tended to be conformist, ethnocentric, hierarchical, mythic-religious, and based on individuals conforming strongly to the present order. Modern values, on the other hand, tend to be egalitarian (not hierarchical), individualistic (not conformist), scientific (not mythic-fundamentalist), and place a premium on equality (not slavery).

    This shift from blue to orange, or from traditional values to modern values, was presaged in the salons or “small gatherings of moderns” (the word salon is French, but these gatherings were also occurring in England, Scotland, and Germany, among others), where the social practice of dialoging according to orange values was carefully exercised. That is, the practice of dialogue geared toward mutual understanding, reciprocal exchange, postconventional equality and freedom was practiced by small groups of leading-edge elites. This was a collective, communal, intersubjective, dialogical discourse at the orange wave of consciousness–a social practice, paradigm, or injunction of dialogical discourse within an elite subculture whose center of gravity was orange or higher.

    This new exemplar or social practice gave rise to a set of novel experiences, insights, data, illuminations, and interpersonal understandings, which new political theories then sought to capture. Most of these new theories of liberal democracy shared the idea that the only way to integrate individual and social is to have the individual feel that he or she is participating in the laws that govern his or her behavior. In the States this was popularly summarized by the phrase, “No taxation without representation,” and it essentially meant that a people have the right to be self-governing. This new practice of dialogical discourse and self-governance (generally called a “social contract”) was conceptualized in different ways by leading-edge individuals ranging from John Locke to Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine to Thomas Jefferson, Immanuel Kant to James Madison.

    This self-governance is not a felt requirement of blue (which will follow the law if it is part of tradition), and it is not felt requirement of red (which will follow the law if it issues from the power leader). Only at orange does interiority start to demand a hand in the laws that regulate its own behavior.

    (Of course, there were several other social injunctions that were part of the orange tetra-worldspace, including an industrial base that was one of single largest factors in reducing the need for slavery, and which lessened the demand for physical strength in order to succeed in the public sphere, thus paving the way for, and actually allowing, the various liberation movements, including feminism and abolition. But we are here focusing on the subset of social practices or paradigms within the rising cultural elite that was forging a new and revolutionary form of governance that would tetra-mesh with new techno-economic base.)

    In short, out of this new exemplar or social practice of orange dialogical discourse (which was enacting and bringing forth a new set of experiences, data, and illuminations) soon issued a new theory of political governance called the social contract, whose general form is: any legitimate governing system is a contract between the governors and those governed, such that the two are mutually governing. This usually involves the election of governors by those governed, such that sovereignty rests, in the final analysis, with the people being governed. All representative, liberal, industrial democracies are today some form of a social contract, which was first pioneered, in a micro-quadratic form, by a small cultural elite at the leading edge who were forging new types of social practice or paradigms embodying a higher, wider, deeper wave of consciousness unfolding.

    The Great Possibility

    And so it is today, with an integral age at the leading edge. The possibility–and it is only a gossamer possibility at this time–is that a new and wider wave of consciousness–an integral wave, an age of synthesis–is beginning to emerge and push against all of the now-older waves (traditional, modern, and postmodern), throwing each of them (but especially the postmodern) into a legitimation crisis about its own validity–a crisis of legitimacy that can only be resolved by an increase in authenticity, or an actual transformation to the new and wider integral wave of unfolding.

    This new unfolding will involve, in terms of its paradigmatic base, an actual set of social practices, not merely a new theory or set of theories. As we saw in detail in Excerpt A and briefly summarized above, a paradigm is a social practice or behavioral injunction, not simply a theory or intellectual edifice (although, of course, they tetra-evolve together). Accordingly, any new paradigm will include a set of exemplars and practices–practices that, if they contain more depth (or Eros) than their predecessors, will throw the old approaches into a legitimation crisis that can only be resolved by a vertical (“revolutionary”) transformation–as we said, the crisis in legitimacy can only be resolved by an increase in authenticity. Thus, a new integral paradigm will therefore be a new set of injunctions and practices, not simply theories, not worldviews, not Web-of-Life notions, not holistic concepts–but actual practices.

    What kind of practices might be the harbinger of the integral revolution at the leading edge? What might these social practices look like?

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/part1.cfm

    …The result would a set of paradigms, behavioral injunctions, and social practices that might be called an integral methodological pluralism. “Integral,” in that the pluralism is not a mere eclecticism or grab bag of unrelated paradigms, but a meta-paradigm that weaves together its many threads into an integral tapestry, a unity-in-diversity that slights neither the unity nor the diversity. “Methodological,” in that this is a real paradigm or set of actual practices and behavioral injunctions to bring forth an integral territory, not merely a new holistic theory or maps without any territory. And “pluralism” in that there is no one overriding or privileged injunction (other than to be radically all-inclusive). Unlike postmodernism, which practiced a type of exclusionary pluralism that condemned all other first-tier values (not to mention second-tier values), integral or inclusionary pluralism is a conscientiously adopted set of behavioral paradigms for acknowledging–and actually seeking out–the enduring truths in categorically every major methodology in first- and second- and third-tier probability waves.

    Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP) has two main parts: paradigmatic and meta-paradigmatic. The paradigmatic aspect means a careful compilation of all the primary paradigms or methodologies of presently existing modes of human inquiry–which means, the major methodologies that are presently accepted within their own fields or disciplines. We have already given (in Excerpt A) an overview of many of those fundamental paradigms–and we will continue to explore those “need-to-be-included” paradigms as we proceed–from hermeneutics to phenomenology to behaviorism to systems theory to meditation to collaborative inquiry to vision quest to quantum physics to depth psychology to molecular biology. All of the major modes of human inquiry possess general practices and injunctions that bring forth and illumine various types of experiences, revelations, data, and phenomena held to be legitimate by those disciplines, and an Integral Methodological Pluralism quite literally makes room for all of those major modes of inquiry.

    At this point, no attempt is made to judge whether a particular practice or paradigm should or should not be included in the mix. The fact is, these paradigms or practices already exist, they are already being practiced by human beings around the world–by men and women who are sincerely convinced that these practices bring forth something of value for themselves and others–and practices that accordingly deserve a fair hearing in the integrative forums or salons now nascently self-organizing. The first or paradigmatic part of IMP is thus a respectful compilation, without judgment, of the major methodologies for enacting, illuminating, and bringing forth various worldspaces or ways of being-in-the-world. These are the various paradigms or methodologies that already exist and are already being practiced by caring and concerned men and women around the world.

    The second part of any integral methodological pluralism, and the part that prevents it from being a first-tier eclecticism, is a meta-paradigmatic set of practices that conscientiously relate the various paradigmatic strands to each other. Put simply, integral methodological pluralism includes a compilation of the most important, time-tested methodologies, as well as a set of practices that weave them together or integrate them into ways of being-in-the-world that are radically nonexclusionary. This aspect of IMP can be summarized as, “Everybody is right.”

    —end excerpts—

    So, if a new 40-year cycle of postpartisan politics is beginning, which will probably be called the “Obama era” (similar to Rosevelts’ “New Deal”, or the “JFK” era), why is so much energy still going into the outmoded dance of “liberal vs. conservative” rhetoric?

    I guess the obvious answer is that the old mode of thinking in terms of paradigm conflict (instead of paradigm integration) still dominates. Big money is at stake. Integral solutions have not been “proven” in very “real world ” settings, etc., postmodernism is somewhat of an unresolved issue.

    regards,
    ep

  • ep

    Ok, back to american politics. and spirituality, or at least consciousness studies.

    the question is, if spiritual capitalism (and spiritual science) is evolving in the midst of warring paradigms, what sciopolitical trends should be expected (and presumably supported)?

    Note: there have been some significant discussions about the possibilities of “postpartisan politics” in the USA recently.

    Background:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/intro.cfm/


    Put simply, a theory is a map of a territory, while a paradigm is a practice that brings forth a territory in the first place. The paradigm or social practice itself is called an “exemplar” or “injunction,” and the theory is called, well, the theory. The point is that knowledge revolutions are generally combinations of new paradigm-practices that bring forth a new phenomenological territory plus new theories and maps that attempt to offer some sort of abstract or contoured guidance to the new territories thus disclosed and brought forth. But a new theory without a new practice is simply a new map with no real territory…

    A scientific revolution is the result of new paradigms and new theories coming into accord with each other, both of which are anchored, not in abstractions but in social practices. These revolutions are embraced, at the start, by a handful of individuals at the leading edge, but, if validated, these new exemplar-worldviews (paradigms-and-theories) are accepted by the larger culture or knowledge community, becoming a new “normal” or “legitimated” science, which stabilizes and carries forward until the next set of pesky data arises that refuses to be humbled in the existing scheme of things, and new and heretofore undisclosed territories start to shimmer on the horizon of the possible.

    A similar process is now at play, I believe, in the nascent integral salons spontaneously forming around the world. Before we discuss that possibility in more detail, here is another example of a knowledge revolution, this time in politics.

    The rise of the modern, liberal, representative democracies in the West involved, among innumerable other things, a significant shift in values from traditional to modern, which particularly began in Europe around 1600 and accelerated to something of a crisis pitch by the mid-1770s. Traditional values (e.g., blue, mythic-membership, conventional) tended to be conformist, ethnocentric, hierarchical, mythic-religious, and based on individuals conforming strongly to the present order. Modern values, on the other hand, tend to be egalitarian (not hierarchical), individualistic (not conformist), scientific (not mythic-fundamentalist), and place a premium on equality (not slavery).

    This shift from blue to orange, or from traditional values to modern values, was presaged in the salons or “small gatherings of moderns” (the word salon is French, but these gatherings were also occurring in England, Scotland, and Germany, among others), where the social practice of dialoging according to orange values was carefully exercised. That is, the practice of dialogue geared toward mutual understanding, reciprocal exchange, postconventional equality and freedom was practiced by small groups of leading-edge elites. This was a collective, communal, intersubjective, dialogical discourse at the orange wave of consciousness–a social practice, paradigm, or injunction of dialogical discourse within an elite subculture whose center of gravity was orange or higher.

    This new exemplar or social practice gave rise to a set of novel experiences, insights, data, illuminations, and interpersonal understandings, which new political theories then sought to capture. Most of these new theories of liberal democracy shared the idea that the only way to integrate individual and social is to have the individual feel that he or she is participating in the laws that govern his or her behavior. In the States this was popularly summarized by the phrase, “No taxation without representation,” and it essentially meant that a people have the right to be self-governing. This new practice of dialogical discourse and self-governance (generally called a “social contract”) was conceptualized in different ways by leading-edge individuals ranging from John Locke to Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine to Thomas Jefferson, Immanuel Kant to James Madison.

    This self-governance is not a felt requirement of blue (which will follow the law if it is part of tradition), and it is not felt requirement of red (which will follow the law if it issues from the power leader). Only at orange does interiority start to demand a hand in the laws that regulate its own behavior.

    (Of course, there were several other social injunctions that were part of the orange tetra-worldspace, including an industrial base that was one of single largest factors in reducing the need for slavery, and which lessened the demand for physical strength in order to succeed in the public sphere, thus paving the way for, and actually allowing, the various liberation movements, including feminism and abolition. But we are here focusing on the subset of social practices or paradigms within the rising cultural elite that was forging a new and revolutionary form of governance that would tetra-mesh with new techno-economic base.)

    In short, out of this new exemplar or social practice of orange dialogical discourse (which was enacting and bringing forth a new set of experiences, data, and illuminations) soon issued a new theory of political governance called the social contract, whose general form is: any legitimate governing system is a contract between the governors and those governed, such that the two are mutually governing. This usually involves the election of governors by those governed, such that sovereignty rests, in the final analysis, with the people being governed. All representative, liberal, industrial democracies are today some form of a social contract, which was first pioneered, in a micro-quadratic form, by a small cultural elite at the leading edge who were forging new types of social practice or paradigms embodying a higher, wider, deeper wave of consciousness unfolding.

    The Great Possibility

    And so it is today, with an integral age at the leading edge. The possibility–and it is only a gossamer possibility at this time–is that a new and wider wave of consciousness–an integral wave, an age of synthesis–is beginning to emerge and push against all of the now-older waves (traditional, modern, and postmodern), throwing each of them (but especially the postmodern) into a legitimation crisis about its own validity–a crisis of legitimacy that can only be resolved by an increase in authenticity, or an actual transformation to the new and wider integral wave of unfolding.

    This new unfolding will involve, in terms of its paradigmatic base, an actual set of social practices, not merely a new theory or set of theories. As we saw in detail in Excerpt A and briefly summarized above, a paradigm is a social practice or behavioral injunction, not simply a theory or intellectual edifice (although, of course, they tetra-evolve together). Accordingly, any new paradigm will include a set of exemplars and practices–practices that, if they contain more depth (or Eros) than their predecessors, will throw the old approaches into a legitimation crisis that can only be resolved by a vertical (“revolutionary”) transformation–as we said, the crisis in legitimacy can only be resolved by an increase in authenticity. Thus, a new integral paradigm will therefore be a new set of injunctions and practices, not simply theories, not worldviews, not Web-of-Life notions, not holistic concepts–but actual practices.

    What kind of practices might be the harbinger of the integral revolution at the leading edge? What might these social practices look like?

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/part1.cfm

    …The result would a set of paradigms, behavioral injunctions, and social practices that might be called an integral methodological pluralism. “Integral,” in that the pluralism is not a mere eclecticism or grab bag of unrelated paradigms, but a meta-paradigm that weaves together its many threads into an integral tapestry, a unity-in-diversity that slights neither the unity nor the diversity. “Methodological,” in that this is a real paradigm or set of actual practices and behavioral injunctions to bring forth an integral territory, not merely a new holistic theory or maps without any territory. And “pluralism” in that there is no one overriding or privileged injunction (other than to be radically all-inclusive). Unlike postmodernism, which practiced a type of exclusionary pluralism that condemned all other first-tier values (not to mention second-tier values), integral or inclusionary pluralism is a conscientiously adopted set of behavioral paradigms for acknowledging–and actually seeking out–the enduring truths in categorically every major methodology in first- and second- and third-tier probability waves.

    Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP) has two main parts: paradigmatic and meta-paradigmatic. The paradigmatic aspect means a careful compilation of all the primary paradigms or methodologies of presently existing modes of human inquiry–which means, the major methodologies that are presently accepted within their own fields or disciplines. We have already given (in Excerpt A) an overview of many of those fundamental paradigms–and we will continue to explore those “need-to-be-included” paradigms as we proceed–from hermeneutics to phenomenology to behaviorism to systems theory to meditation to collaborative inquiry to vision quest to quantum physics to depth psychology to molecular biology. All of the major modes of human inquiry possess general practices and injunctions that bring forth and illumine various types of experiences, revelations, data, and phenomena held to be legitimate by those disciplines, and an Integral Methodological Pluralism quite literally makes room for all of those major modes of inquiry.

    At this point, no attempt is made to judge whether a particular practice or paradigm should or should not be included in the mix. The fact is, these paradigms or practices already exist, they are already being practiced by human beings around the world–by men and women who are sincerely convinced that these practices bring forth something of value for themselves and others–and practices that accordingly deserve a fair hearing in the integrative forums or salons now nascently self-organizing. The first or paradigmatic part of IMP is thus a respectful compilation, without judgment, of the major methodologies for enacting, illuminating, and bringing forth various worldspaces or ways of being-in-the-world. These are the various paradigms or methodologies that already exist and are already being practiced by caring and concerned men and women around the world.

    The second part of any integral methodological pluralism, and the part that prevents it from being a first-tier eclecticism, is a meta-paradigmatic set of practices that conscientiously relate the various paradigmatic strands to each other. Put simply, integral methodological pluralism includes a compilation of the most important, time-tested methodologies, as well as a set of practices that weave them together or integrate them into ways of being-in-the-world that are radically nonexclusionary. This aspect of IMP can be summarized as, “Everybody is right.”

    —end excerpts—

    So, if a new 40-year cycle of postpartisan politics is beginning, which will probably be called the “Obama era” (similar to Rosevelts’ “New Deal”, or the “JFK” era), why is so much energy still going into the outmoded dance of “liberal vs. conservative” rhetoric?

    I guess the obvious answer is that the old mode of thinking in terms of paradigm conflict (instead of paradigm integration) still dominates. Big money is at stake. Integral solutions have not been “proven” in very “real world ” settings, etc., postmodernism is somewhat of an unresolved issue.

    regards,
    ep

  • Grover

    EP wrote:

    [quote post="529"]BOURGEOISOPHOBIA is really a hatred of success. It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe’s mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed. This Manichaean divide between the successful, who are hideous, and the bourgeoisophobes, who are spiritually pristine, was established early in the emergence of the creed. The early 19th-century German poet Holderlin couldn’t just ignore the merchant bourgeoisie; he had to declare the middle classes �deeply incapable of every divine emotion.� In other words, scarcely human.[/quote]

    Wow EP, that little gem aptly describes the current attitude of the Baha’i Faith :)

  • Grover

    EP wrote:

    [quote post="529"]BOURGEOISOPHOBIA is really a hatred of success. It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe’s mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed. This Manichaean divide between the successful, who are hideous, and the bourgeoisophobes, who are spiritually pristine, was established early in the emergence of the creed. The early 19th-century German poet Holderlin couldn’t just ignore the merchant bourgeoisie; he had to declare the middle classes �deeply incapable of every divine emotion.� In other words, scarcely human.[/quote]

    Wow EP, that little gem aptly describes the current attitude of the Baha’i Faith :)

  • ep

    Grover,

    I’m glad you noticed the connection. The “etherealist” position obviously has deep roots in both the persian and european approaches to bahai. don’t foget that shoghi effendi was schooled in an european anti-bourgeoise tradition. in other words, he was a snob. which explains why he did very little to defend the working class elements of the american bahai community when they were attacked by upper class socialites, or why he didn’t help the race unity efforts more, only recognised Louis Gregory’s after he was dead, etc.

    what this demonstrates is that bahai anchored in a failed paradigm that can’t engage in deep self-examination.

    it is dishonest.

    which means that it can’t come to terms with evolution (cultural or spiritual).

    which is the same problem that all of the “unitive mysticism” traditions have.

    which means that if people are really looking for “something better” (such as an approach to developing the “mature personality” characteristics that Clare Graves talked about in his 1970s “futurist” stuff), they will have to look outside the current bahai framework.

    please note that there is a letter from the BWC to Susan Maneck that in essence actually says exactly that. in addressing the great conflict between “liberal and conservative” bahai intellectuals/scholars in the 70s/80s/90s, the UHJ’s letter writers stated that bahais should turn to the OUTSIDE to learn how to think in terms of “integrative paradigms”.

    that is pretty stunning. basically the leading source of guidance from the bahai leadership elites stated that:

    “to stay current at the leading edge of intellectual and cultural evolution, look elsewhere for answers.”

    (it didn’t take any “infallibility” to arrive at that conclusion, just common sense and some insight into the current state of social change theory as it was known to many people in consciousness studies and similar movements. for instance, Ken Wilber is selling thousands more times books on “integral spirituality” compared to sales of bahai scripture or other materials. bahai books sales are probably about the same as druid scripture.)

    the problem with that of course is that once people start looking elsewhere, they start to realize what a sham the whole idea is that bahai is a “complete answer” to anything.

    [quote comment="57571"][quoting David Brooks]:

    [quote post="529"]BOURGEOISOPHOBIA is really a hatred of success. It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe’s mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed. This Manichaean divide between the successful, who are hideous, and the bourgeoisophobes, who are spiritually pristine, was established early in the emergence of the creed. The early 19th-century German poet Holderlin couldn’t just ignore the merchant bourgeoisie; he had to declare the middle classes �deeply incapable of every divine emotion.� In other words, scarcely human.[/quote]

    Wow EP, that little gem aptly describes the current attitude of the Baha’i Faith :)[/quote]

  • ep

    Grover,

    I’m glad you noticed the connection. The “etherealist” position obviously has deep roots in both the persian and european approaches to bahai. don’t foget that shoghi effendi was schooled in an european anti-bourgeoise tradition. in other words, he was a snob. which explains why he did very little to defend the working class elements of the american bahai community when they were attacked by upper class socialites, or why he didn’t help the race unity efforts more, only recognised Louis Gregory’s after he was dead, etc.

    what this demonstrates is that bahai anchored in a failed paradigm that can’t engage in deep self-examination.

    it is dishonest.

    which means that it can’t come to terms with evolution (cultural or spiritual).

    which is the same problem that all of the “unitive mysticism” traditions have.

    which means that if people are really looking for “something better” (such as an approach to developing the “mature personality” characteristics that Clare Graves talked about in his 1970s “futurist” stuff), they will have to look outside the current bahai framework.

    please note that there is a letter from the BWC to Susan Maneck that in essence actually says exactly that. in addressing the great conflict between “liberal and conservative” bahai intellectuals/scholars in the 70s/80s/90s, the UHJ’s letter writers stated that bahais should turn to the OUTSIDE to learn how to think in terms of “integrative paradigms”.

    that is pretty stunning. basically the leading source of guidance from the bahai leadership elites stated that:

    “to stay current at the leading edge of intellectual and cultural evolution, look elsewhere for answers.”

    (it didn’t take any “infallibility” to arrive at that conclusion, just common sense and some insight into the current state of social change theory as it was known to many people in consciousness studies and similar movements. for instance, Ken Wilber is selling thousands more times books on “integral spirituality” compared to sales of bahai scripture or other materials. bahai books sales are probably about the same as druid scripture.)

    the problem with that of course is that once people start looking elsewhere, they start to realize what a sham the whole idea is that bahai is a “complete answer” to anything.

    [quote comment="57571"][quoting David Brooks]:

    [quote post="529"]BOURGEOISOPHOBIA is really a hatred of success. It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe’s mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed. This Manichaean divide between the successful, who are hideous, and the bourgeoisophobes, who are spiritually pristine, was established early in the emergence of the creed. The early 19th-century German poet Holderlin couldn’t just ignore the merchant bourgeoisie; he had to declare the middle classes �deeply incapable of every divine emotion.� In other words, scarcely human.[/quote]

    Wow EP, that little gem aptly describes the current attitude of the Baha’i Faith :)[/quote]

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    Hi ep: Ranting might be useful for you to get things off your chest, but it isn’t useful for a dialogue. I asked for an example, and your response was:

    [quote comment=""]the number of dysfunctional aspects of the bahai religion is so long and outrageous that at some point people start wondering what is wrong, missing, etc., from the underlying scriptures and theology.[/quote]

    All you’ve said is that there is a long list. I disagree with the above. My response (most of the time: sometimes I let things slide -I’m human :) is not to assume that there’s something wrong with the scriptures but to try and examine them more deeply to see if what I understand is what I’ve understood or been told what it means. So far, I keep finding that there is a lot ways of interpreting stuff and the times I’ve come up against inflexibility, it has been due to an individual’s idea, not something set in stone in the Bahai writings. So, in response to the above, then, I’d say, go read and look for yourself, don’t listen to what others say. Whatever you decide is up to you, but don’t go around saying that all Bahais are this or that. I am a Bahai. I don’t agree that I go around giving people a hard time for thinking independently. I know plenty of Bahais who wouldn’t do likewise.

    [quote comment=""]I know that you and Sen and Terry and Juan and others (Tony and Steve, Kalimat, etc.) have worked very hard for a long time to find cool, progressive stuff in the religion as the basis of attempts at reform, but I do not think there is any evidence that you will prevail.[/quote]

    For the record, I nor Sen are not interested in any sort of idea associated with reform, if by that you mean changing from the Faith that Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha taught. I cannot speak for others but if you persist in saying this about what I do as a Bahai, give me some examples of what you see as reform and I can either be clearer or explain why from my perspective this is my practice as a Bahai. If you are interpreting Sen’s insights into the writings as a reform, then you are mistaken. His insights are just that. Insights are part of the Bahai principle of independent investigation.

    [quote comment=""]the illusion of the possibility of reform seemed real.[/quote]

    I guess everyone has their own interpretation of discourse or consultation or free-speech. I don’t like referring to debate as ‘reform’ because it implies that I have a better answer to impose on what I’m trying to change. It is not a very healthy perspective for dialogue. Anyway in response to your pessimistic view above, even though it saddens me that Kalimat Press is not as available to the average Bahai as it used to be, things are changing and Bahais can still order a book from Kalimat Press (and I encourage everyone to do so).
    http://www.bahaisonline.net is an amazing resource and one that may in the end have more influence in terms of dialogue for Bahais than books might have these days. And there are many blogs too. One of my goals for these columns for Bahai rants is an attempt at some dialogue.

    [quote comment=""]the problem is that there is “something” in bahai scripture that seems to justify a very cold, heartless, spiritually disconnected attitude of people that, as Dr. John Cornell put it, makes people think that “assemblies can do no wrong”.[/quote]

    Here’s an example from Bahai scripture that counters what you say.
    [quote comment=""]My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly, and radiant heart[/quote]
    I’m not quoting this here to throw up a red flag, just to show that that’s not my perspective. Please quote something from the Bahai writings to back up the â€?cold, heartless, spiritually disconnectedâ€? approach.

    I’ve never heard of Dr. John Cornell, so here’s an invitation to elaborate on who he is and what he wrote. Links to articles if they are online, etc, would be great.

    [quote comment=""]the “missionary” orientation of bahai, where followers are pressured into “converting” their family and friends is outrageously out of control[/quote]

    I agree, and it seems worse than ever since the Ruhification of local community activities. It really makes me laugh, because, as it happens, as a someone who speaks Dutch with an accent that is not always recognizable, people in my city or country are always asking where I come from and from and are curious to know more about my background and ideas. Being an artist only makes things more interesting for these inquirers. After last month’s exhibition in a local museum (link to a 4 min. video showing most stuff), there’s now a handful of people on a waiting list for me to invite them to a Bahai event. I am not willing to invite them to any event that I find insulting to my own intellect. So it has to wait till I have time to organize something myself. And so I am a Bahai and I find Ruhi events offensive, but, that doesn’t mean I throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is a matter of perspective. I am not selling out, because I choose to continue to call myself a Bahai. And by the same token, I wouldn’t presume to judge the integrity of anyone who decides no longer to call themselves a Bahai. I realise Eric, that you are not calling my integrity into question, but please don’t assume, that as a Bahai I’m selling myself out. I am most certainly not.

    [quote comment=""]infallability is wrong. I know that Sen has tried hard to reverse the stupid position taken by bahai administration on the issue, and was rewarded by getting kicked out of the religion.[/quote]

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sen’s book Church and State is not about â€?reversâ€?ing infallibility -whatever that means in practice. It is about, as the title states, Church and State relationships. Read his own postings on this. You are not the first to claim to know why Sen was removed from the rolls, when the UHJ themselves haven’t given their reasons to anyone, apart from the vague term â€?pattern of behaviourâ€? and so Sen now has material on his website stating clearly his position as well as responses to other’s who are claiming that the real reason he was expelled (which they somehow know!) is â€?challenging the UHJ’ (according to Momen); and a list of other creative suggestions, which you can read here:

    senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/what-is-theology-and-whats-it-good-for/

    [quote comment=""]From the perspective of Habermas’ statements about “colonization of lifeworld by systems” and “the delegitimization of institutions” in postmodern culture, the whole edifice of bahai administration is massively dysfunctional.[/quote]

    Personally I disagree with Habermas on this, in that I see postmodernism more from a Deleuzean approach so that it would not be a case of needing to delegitimitize anything but rather a change in our relationship with systems such as ‘institutes’. A bit like, -without delegitimizing anything- the internet has changed (undermined if you view this as a negative thing; given diversity a boost if you see this in a positive light) how the flow of information used to be confined to what was published.
    Not only is our relationship to what we call knowledge changed (wiki’s and wikipedia change, what is presented as knowledge by the minute) but knowledge is also created en masse – by the masses (in theory and in possibility if not actually in practice). So nowadays, we learn to take ‘facts’ with a pinch of salt, learn to see things in terms of relationships rather than as hierarchies of order or power and so on.

    [quote comment=""]By nature is meant those inherent properties and necessary relations derived from the realities of things. And these realities of things, though in the utmost diversity, are yet intimately connected one with the other. For these diverse realities an all-unifying agency is needed that shall link them all one to the other. For instance, the various organs and members, the parts and elements, that constitute the body of man, though at variance, are yet all connected one with the other by that all-unifying agency known as the human soul, that causeth them to function in perfect harmony and with absolute regularity, thus making the continuation of life possible.[/quote]

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablet to August Forel, p. 12)

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    Hi ep: Ranting might be useful for you to get things off your chest, but it isn’t useful for a dialogue. I asked for an example, and your response was:

    [quote comment=""]the number of dysfunctional aspects of the bahai religion is so long and outrageous that at some point people start wondering what is wrong, missing, etc., from the underlying scriptures and theology.[/quote]

    All you’ve said is that there is a long list. I disagree with the above. My response (most of the time: sometimes I let things slide -I’m human :) is not to assume that there’s something wrong with the scriptures but to try and examine them more deeply to see if what I understand is what I’ve understood or been told what it means. So far, I keep finding that there is a lot ways of interpreting stuff and the times I’ve come up against inflexibility, it has been due to an individual’s idea, not something set in stone in the Bahai writings. So, in response to the above, then, I’d say, go read and look for yourself, don’t listen to what others say. Whatever you decide is up to you, but don’t go around saying that all Bahais are this or that. I am a Bahai. I don’t agree that I go around giving people a hard time for thinking independently. I know plenty of Bahais who wouldn’t do likewise.

    [quote comment=""]I know that you and Sen and Terry and Juan and others (Tony and Steve, Kalimat, etc.) have worked very hard for a long time to find cool, progressive stuff in the religion as the basis of attempts at reform, but I do not think there is any evidence that you will prevail.[/quote]

    For the record, I nor Sen are not interested in any sort of idea associated with reform, if by that you mean changing from the Faith that Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha taught. I cannot speak for others but if you persist in saying this about what I do as a Bahai, give me some examples of what you see as reform and I can either be clearer or explain why from my perspective this is my practice as a Bahai. If you are interpreting Sen’s insights into the writings as a reform, then you are mistaken. His insights are just that. Insights are part of the Bahai principle of independent investigation.

    [quote comment=""]the illusion of the possibility of reform seemed real.[/quote]

    I guess everyone has their own interpretation of discourse or consultation or free-speech. I don’t like referring to debate as ‘reform’ because it implies that I have a better answer to impose on what I’m trying to change. It is not a very healthy perspective for dialogue. Anyway in response to your pessimistic view above, even though it saddens me that Kalimat Press is not as available to the average Bahai as it used to be, things are changing and Bahais can still order a book from Kalimat Press (and I encourage everyone to do so).
    http://www.bahaisonline.net is an amazing resource and one that may in the end have more influence in terms of dialogue for Bahais than books might have these days. And there are many blogs too. One of my goals for these columns for Bahai rants is an attempt at some dialogue.

    [quote comment=""]the problem is that there is “something” in bahai scripture that seems to justify a very cold, heartless, spiritually disconnected attitude of people that, as Dr. John Cornell put it, makes people think that “assemblies can do no wrong”.[/quote]

    Here’s an example from Bahai scripture that counters what you say.
    [quote comment=""]My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly, and radiant heart[/quote]
    I’m not quoting this here to throw up a red flag, just to show that that’s not my perspective. Please quote something from the Bahai writings to back up the â€?cold, heartless, spiritually disconnectedâ€? approach.

    I’ve never heard of Dr. John Cornell, so here’s an invitation to elaborate on who he is and what he wrote. Links to articles if they are online, etc, would be great.

    [quote comment=""]the “missionary” orientation of bahai, where followers are pressured into “converting” their family and friends is outrageously out of control[/quote]

    I agree, and it seems worse than ever since the Ruhification of local community activities. It really makes me laugh, because, as it happens, as a someone who speaks Dutch with an accent that is not always recognizable, people in my city or country are always asking where I come from and from and are curious to know more about my background and ideas. Being an artist only makes things more interesting for these inquirers. After last month’s exhibition in a local museum (link to a 4 min. video showing most stuff), there’s now a handful of people on a waiting list for me to invite them to a Bahai event. I am not willing to invite them to any event that I find insulting to my own intellect. So it has to wait till I have time to organize something myself. And so I am a Bahai and I find Ruhi events offensive, but, that doesn’t mean I throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is a matter of perspective. I am not selling out, because I choose to continue to call myself a Bahai. And by the same token, I wouldn’t presume to judge the integrity of anyone who decides no longer to call themselves a Bahai. I realise Eric, that you are not calling my integrity into question, but please don’t assume, that as a Bahai I’m selling myself out. I am most certainly not.

    [quote comment=""]infallability is wrong. I know that Sen has tried hard to reverse the stupid position taken by bahai administration on the issue, and was rewarded by getting kicked out of the religion.[/quote]

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sen’s book Church and State is not about â€?reversâ€?ing infallibility -whatever that means in practice. It is about, as the title states, Church and State relationships. Read his own postings on this. You are not the first to claim to know why Sen was removed from the rolls, when the UHJ themselves haven’t given their reasons to anyone, apart from the vague term â€?pattern of behaviourâ€? and so Sen now has material on his website stating clearly his position as well as responses to other’s who are claiming that the real reason he was expelled (which they somehow know!) is â€?challenging the UHJ’ (according to Momen); and a list of other creative suggestions, which you can read here:

    senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/what-is-theology-and-whats-it-good-for/

    [quote comment=""]From the perspective of Habermas’ statements about “colonization of lifeworld by systems” and “the delegitimization of institutions” in postmodern culture, the whole edifice of bahai administration is massively dysfunctional.[/quote]

    Personally I disagree with Habermas on this, in that I see postmodernism more from a Deleuzean approach so that it would not be a case of needing to delegitimitize anything but rather a change in our relationship with systems such as ‘institutes’. A bit like, -without delegitimizing anything- the internet has changed (undermined if you view this as a negative thing; given diversity a boost if you see this in a positive light) how the flow of information used to be confined to what was published.
    Not only is our relationship to what we call knowledge changed (wiki’s and wikipedia change, what is presented as knowledge by the minute) but knowledge is also created en masse – by the masses (in theory and in possibility if not actually in practice). So nowadays, we learn to take ‘facts’ with a pinch of salt, learn to see things in terms of relationships rather than as hierarchies of order or power and so on.

    [quote comment=""]By nature is meant those inherent properties and necessary relations derived from the realities of things. And these realities of things, though in the utmost diversity, are yet intimately connected one with the other. For these diverse realities an all-unifying agency is needed that shall link them all one to the other. For instance, the various organs and members, the parts and elements, that constitute the body of man, though at variance, are yet all connected one with the other by that all-unifying agency known as the human soul, that causeth them to function in perfect harmony and with absolute regularity, thus making the continuation of life possible.[/quote]

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablet to August Forel, p. 12)

  • ep

    sonja,

    Thanks for the chuckle. no rants on bahai rants. right. LOL!

    Didn’t someone say that “politics is the art of the possible”?

    Theology is probably similar to “Comedy is a serious business, don’t leave to it amateurs”.

    As I mentioned, evolution is probably the biggest problem: bahai lacks a solid, scientific, developmental theory. such as something based on brain science, or cognitive linguistics.

    instead, it has “progressive revelation” (universalized sufism/prophetology/revelationology, whatever technical term fits), which is a “middle man scam”: discredited premodern metaphysics that block access to transcendence for political/organizational/administrative reasons: to create a “submissive” class of serfs, peasants. this is an old game that goes back to the beginning of irrigation agriculture 5,000 years ago. equate “god” with “following the rules” with “obey the police (priests/ecclesiastic elites)”. let the rich people (priests) have all/most of the water so that they (or, their slaves) can grow enough crops to get more rich and powerful.

    I think of politics/elections as part of social change theory and consciousness studies. memetics. paradigms. lets face it, bahai tells us very little about politics. it is confusing to most people that bahai has so little to say about most of the important issues that concern people (politics, economics).

    please take a very deep breath of fresh air and consider that bahai is only slightly less confused about modern politics and economics than is islam.

    I’m much more libertarian (populist) than liberal/progressive/leftist, so I’m not “sad” that liberals bahais failed to push reforms, I’m “sad” that bahais were not able to transcend their paradigms and offer “something better” to the people that need to belong to a group to get on with moving humanity into the future (“ever advancing civilization”, etc.).

    so, as far as evolution or a developmental theory goes, bahai has no good explanation or model, just utopian hope for an apocalypse and magical reconstruction.

    my approach to these topics is pragmatic/common sensical, not intellectually/academically rigorous. a vast amount of research has been done since the 1950s in organizational theory. it is known why businesses and organizations (including political organizations) become dysfunctional. there is nothing that bahais do that is outside of what is known to organizational theorists. one bahai scoiologist told me that any good sociologist would only have to “observe a typical bahai meeting for 15 minutes” to easily understand the pattern (antipattern) of everything that is wrong with bahai culture.

    Integral theory has a much more coherent, pragmatic, appeal than bahai. Most of the people at the leading edge of cultural evolution are involved in supporting Integralism (such as “spiritual capitalism”), not bahai.

    being an ex-bahai, I’m not very interested in how to maintain some kind of strained postured gyrations while leaning way out over the edge in order to appear to still be within the ridiculous constraints of the bahai tradition.

    the overwhelming mass of evidence was that sen was kicked out for failing to conform to a fundamentalist (or at least rigidly orthodox) interpretation of bahai scripture/theology. (thanks for the correction about “church/state”).

    you can try to spin it however you want to make a claim to some “positive” perspective, but I seriously doubt that you could get very many people to believe it.

    I also gave a specific example of an attack by a group of fundamentalists (aided and abetted by the US NSA) on a bahai scholar/theologian in Omaha for holding a seminar on the divine feminine.

    I was at the seminar. People were frothing at the mouth in opposition to the idea of “divine feminine”. they made complaints to the nsa, then members of the nsa turned loose some of their fundamentalist goons. only by extraordinary circumstances were the last stages of the attack diverted when the BWC was asked to intervene and “save” the scholar.

    that is how the bahai faith “really works”.

    the mazandarani history case is another specific example of abuse of power by bahai fundamentalists.

    as currently implemented, bahai administration is horribly broken. since bahai administration rests upon the bahai writings, something is wrong, missing, etc.

    (“social justice” my a$$.)

    the part of the quote about consultation that you didn’t include was the part where God promises that the assembly will be “brought to naught” when it becomes spiritually disconnected.

    I personally think that the whole religion has been “brought to naught” by evolution (not god), but for the same types of reasons: it has been corrupted, and has become rigidly orthodox (incapable of adapting to changes in social conditions and new memes/paradigms).

    again, sorry for not engaging in discussions about the technical/theoretical minutea of theology. I’m not trained in such, and frankly don’t think that kind of stuff really matters to most people.

    adeu amics!
    ep

  • ep

    sonja,

    Thanks for the chuckle. no rants on bahai rants. right. LOL!

    Didn’t someone say that “politics is the art of the possible”?

    Theology is probably similar to “Comedy is a serious business, don’t leave to it amateurs”.

    As I mentioned, evolution is probably the biggest problem: bahai lacks a solid, scientific, developmental theory. such as something based on brain science, or cognitive linguistics.

    instead, it has “progressive revelation” (universalized sufism/prophetology/revelationology, whatever technical term fits), which is a “middle man scam”: discredited premodern metaphysics that block access to transcendence for political/organizational/administrative reasons: to create a “submissive” class of serfs, peasants. this is an old game that goes back to the beginning of irrigation agriculture 5,000 years ago. equate “god” with “following the rules” with “obey the police (priests/ecclesiastic elites)”. let the rich people (priests) have all/most of the water so that they (or, their slaves) can grow enough crops to get more rich and powerful.

    I think of politics/elections as part of social change theory and consciousness studies. memetics. paradigms. lets face it, bahai tells us very little about politics. it is confusing to most people that bahai has so little to say about most of the important issues that concern people (politics, economics).

    please take a very deep breath of fresh air and consider that bahai is only slightly less confused about modern politics and economics than is islam.

    I’m much more libertarian (populist) than liberal/progressive/leftist, so I’m not “sad” that liberals bahais failed to push reforms, I’m “sad” that bahais were not able to transcend their paradigms and offer “something better” to the people that need to belong to a group to get on with moving humanity into the future (“ever advancing civilization”, etc.).

    so, as far as evolution or a developmental theory goes, bahai has no good explanation or model, just utopian hope for an apocalypse and magical reconstruction.

    my approach to these topics is pragmatic/common sensical, not intellectually/academically rigorous. a vast amount of research has been done since the 1950s in organizational theory. it is known why businesses and organizations (including political organizations) become dysfunctional. there is nothing that bahais do that is outside of what is known to organizational theorists. one bahai scoiologist told me that any good sociologist would only have to “observe a typical bahai meeting for 15 minutes” to easily understand the pattern (antipattern) of everything that is wrong with bahai culture.

    Integral theory has a much more coherent, pragmatic, appeal than bahai. Most of the people at the leading edge of cultural evolution are involved in supporting Integralism (such as “spiritual capitalism”), not bahai.

    being an ex-bahai, I’m not very interested in how to maintain some kind of strained postured gyrations while leaning way out over the edge in order to appear to still be within the ridiculous constraints of the bahai tradition.

    the overwhelming mass of evidence was that sen was kicked out for failing to conform to a fundamentalist (or at least rigidly orthodox) interpretation of bahai scripture/theology. (thanks for the correction about “church/state”).

    you can try to spin it however you want to make a claim to some “positive” perspective, but I seriously doubt that you could get very many people to believe it.

    I also gave a specific example of an attack by a group of fundamentalists (aided and abetted by the US NSA) on a bahai scholar/theologian in Omaha for holding a seminar on the divine feminine.

    I was at the seminar. People were frothing at the mouth in opposition to the idea of “divine feminine”. they made complaints to the nsa, then members of the nsa turned loose some of their fundamentalist goons. only by extraordinary circumstances were the last stages of the attack diverted when the BWC was asked to intervene and “save” the scholar.

    that is how the bahai faith “really works”.

    the mazandarani history case is another specific example of abuse of power by bahai fundamentalists.

    as currently implemented, bahai administration is horribly broken. since bahai administration rests upon the bahai writings, something is wrong, missing, etc.

    (“social justice” my a$$.)

    the part of the quote about consultation that you didn’t include was the part where God promises that the assembly will be “brought to naught” when it becomes spiritually disconnected.

    I personally think that the whole religion has been “brought to naught” by evolution (not god), but for the same types of reasons: it has been corrupted, and has become rigidly orthodox (incapable of adapting to changes in social conditions and new memes/paradigms).

    again, sorry for not engaging in discussions about the technical/theoretical minutea of theology. I’m not trained in such, and frankly don’t think that kind of stuff really matters to most people.

    adeu amics!
    ep

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    Please ep, I wasn’t suggesting that you stop ranting!
    Just that I asked for an example so I could respond and receiving a long rant made this difficult.

    So, of course, rant as you wish. It’s up to you. I was just giving you some feedback. If you are not interested in feedback that’s fine by me too.

    [quote comment=""]sonja,
    Thanks for the chuckle. no rants on bahai rants. right. LOL!
    ep[/quote]

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    Please ep, I wasn’t suggesting that you stop ranting!
    Just that I asked for an example so I could respond and receiving a long rant made this difficult.

    So, of course, rant as you wish. It’s up to you. I was just giving you some feedback. If you are not interested in feedback that’s fine by me too.

    [quote comment=""]sonja,
    Thanks for the chuckle. no rants on bahai rants. right. LOL!
    ep[/quote]

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    Your reference to evolution and the ‘feminine divine’ example I missed, because I didn’t get to it… like lots of things you mentioned in your various postings. That’s what I meant in finding it difficult to respond. I just responded to the first things I came to in your postings that I felt I could respond to.

    I certainly agree, it is not easy to be an environment where response to new things, at best is treated with suspicion and at worst, you are told you are wrong, such as in the ‘feminine divine’ example.

    B.T.W. everyone there’s a beautiful book published by Kalimat on this:
    I BEHELD A MAIDEN . . . :
    The Bah??’?­ Faith and the Life of the Spirit

    I have plenty of my own stories like this and I’m not suggesting for a moment that these are little things, just that, as I see this are not from the scripture but from the social structures created by individuals. I’ll have a go at responding to your point on evolution in the weekend. thanks.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    Your reference to evolution and the ‘feminine divine’ example I missed, because I didn’t get to it… like lots of things you mentioned in your various postings. That’s what I meant in finding it difficult to respond. I just responded to the first things I came to in your postings that I felt I could respond to.

    I certainly agree, it is not easy to be an environment where response to new things, at best is treated with suspicion and at worst, you are told you are wrong, such as in the ‘feminine divine’ example.

    B.T.W. everyone there’s a beautiful book published by Kalimat on this:
    I BEHELD A MAIDEN . . . :
    The Bah??’?­ Faith and the Life of the Spirit

    I have plenty of my own stories like this and I’m not suggesting for a moment that these are little things, just that, as I see this are not from the scripture but from the social structures created by individuals. I’ll have a go at responding to your point on evolution in the weekend. thanks.

  • Grover

    EP has some interesting points regarding evolution. As I understand it, EP is refering to evolution in a knowledge sense rather than a physical biological sense.

    The concept of progressive revelation potentially limits any increase in religious understanding because we have to wait every 10-1000 years for a new messenger of God (a middle man as EP puts it) to come along with a new (or old) grab bag of religious knowledge for humanity to assimilate (or reassimilate).

    The extreme fundamentalist end of this is only what a messenger of God reveils is true knowledge and everything else is not from God and we can forget about it. I see this a lot in the Baha’i community. Basically what it means in the short and long term is religious knowledge very quickly becomes stagnant and irrelevent, particularly in current society where we’re learning new things all the time.

    Christian scholars had commented on this subject saying that Christianity is all about revelation; it needs to reveil constantly or else face becoming redundant. They thought that the vehicles for revelation were the Christians themselves.

    Similarly science is all about revelation as well, obtaining new understanding, exploring new ideas. Science by its very nature is evolutionary, it is growing all the time as new techologies develop and allow new methods to investigate phenomena.

    But the Baha’i Faith? Has anything new come from the Faith in the past 50-60 years?

    People might argue that the Baha’i writings have everything we need, but does it really? Baha’u’llah’s subject coverage seemed pretty limited and superficial, e.g. those bloody evil miscreants who persecuted him all the time; God is this that and the next adjective; be nice; and those bloody evil irreligious sods again.

    We were supposed to be drooling with anticipation when the latest book was translated in the most wordy and convoluted way, and many Baha’is were going weak at the knees and creaming their jeans with excitement. Get the book and what a disappointment! Its all the old stuff revisited, nothing new at all.

    The world has changed so much in the past 100 years that the Faith has already become redundant. Baha’i policy has prevented Baha’is from being instrumental in the evolution of Baha’i knowledge and religious revelation. We have no Guardian to turn to and the UHJ doesn’t really cut the mustard.

    So I have to agree with EP, the Baha’i Faith is terribly limited, which suggests there are problems with the scripture and logically with Baha’u’llah himself… Who was Baha’u’llah really?

  • Grover

    EP has some interesting points regarding evolution. As I understand it, EP is refering to evolution in a knowledge sense rather than a physical biological sense.

    The concept of progressive revelation potentially limits any increase in religious understanding because we have to wait every 10-1000 years for a new messenger of God (a middle man as EP puts it) to come along with a new (or old) grab bag of religious knowledge for humanity to assimilate (or reassimilate).

    The extreme fundamentalist end of this is only what a messenger of God reveils is true knowledge and everything else is not from God and we can forget about it. I see this a lot in the Baha’i community. Basically what it means in the short and long term is religious knowledge very quickly becomes stagnant and irrelevent, particularly in current society where we’re learning new things all the time.

    Christian scholars had commented on this subject saying that Christianity is all about revelation; it needs to reveil constantly or else face becoming redundant. They thought that the vehicles for revelation were the Christians themselves.

    Similarly science is all about revelation as well, obtaining new understanding, exploring new ideas. Science by its very nature is evolutionary, it is growing all the time as new techologies develop and allow new methods to investigate phenomena.

    But the Baha’i Faith? Has anything new come from the Faith in the past 50-60 years?

    People might argue that the Baha’i writings have everything we need, but does it really? Baha’u’llah’s subject coverage seemed pretty limited and superficial, e.g. those bloody evil miscreants who persecuted him all the time; God is this that and the next adjective; be nice; and those bloody evil irreligious sods again.

    We were supposed to be drooling with anticipation when the latest book was translated in the most wordy and convoluted way, and many Baha’is were going weak at the knees and creaming their jeans with excitement. Get the book and what a disappointment! Its all the old stuff revisited, nothing new at all.

    The world has changed so much in the past 100 years that the Faith has already become redundant. Baha’i policy has prevented Baha’is from being instrumental in the evolution of Baha’i knowledge and religious revelation. We have no Guardian to turn to and the UHJ doesn’t really cut the mustard.

    So I have to agree with EP, the Baha’i Faith is terribly limited, which suggests there are problems with the scripture and logically with Baha’u’llah himself… Who was Baha’u’llah really?

  • Werdna the Wizard

    “Who was Baha’u’llah really?”

    Oh foolish mortal! Know you not that the Mighty Overlord Baha’u’llah ibn Zetta Vinks was sired from the Holy Divine and Immortal Sacred Seed of His Imperial Highness Xum Xum Vinks and His Eternal Infinite Maiden Beauteous Zoh Zoh Ginks in the Inviolable Seed-Transfer Space/Craft Ritual/Feast of Kezhako Dado Lhorosaph on the Forbidden Planet Ephe Fuch?!? All the worlds shall bow before His Splendiferous Phosphoresence of Essence when the World Order of Baha’u’llah is accepted with open Hearts and blovoid Minds in the Special Place Vortex of Mount Carmel! They shall see the Special Signs of Him in the Sky! All humankind will acknowledge the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and his invisible lieutenant Phuyado Fasha Zhagamod III, who maketh the grass to be like unto grass, and the flowers like unto flowers, and so on, and so forth, may the Especial Unitive Blessings of the Queen Mother Aqi Nob be upon us all, ahem, amen, ahem, etc.

  • Werdna the Wizard

    “Who was Baha’u’llah really?”

    Oh foolish mortal! Know you not that the Mighty Overlord Baha’u’llah ibn Zetta Vinks was sired from the Holy Divine and Immortal Sacred Seed of His Imperial Highness Xum Xum Vinks and His Eternal Infinite Maiden Beauteous Zoh Zoh Ginks in the Inviolable Seed-Transfer Space/Craft Ritual/Feast of Kezhako Dado Lhorosaph on the Forbidden Planet Ephe Fuch?!? All the worlds shall bow before His Splendiferous Phosphoresence of Essence when the World Order of Baha’u’llah is accepted with open Hearts and blovoid Minds in the Special Place Vortex of Mount Carmel! They shall see the Special Signs of Him in the Sky! All humankind will acknowledge the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and his invisible lieutenant Phuyado Fasha Zhagamod III, who maketh the grass to be like unto grass, and the flowers like unto flowers, and so on, and so forth, may the Especial Unitive Blessings of the Queen Mother Aqi Nob be upon us all, ahem, amen, ahem, etc.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    EP, as I still don’t quite get why you say the following:

    [quote comment=""]As I mentioned, evolution is probably the biggest problem: bahai lacks a solid, scientific, developmental theory. such as something based on brain science, or cognitive linguistics.[/quote]
    Here’s my take on this from the viewpoint of a Bahai who does not have any problems with Darwinism, (and has never been in any contact with Bahais who do, so it has never been an issue for me) but view this in the way I approach any knowledge system, that it is just that, and has its use for its particular field. So I see the Bahai writings as being for morals, spiritual stuff, which as individuals we use for guidance, rather than as a set of scientific views we believe in. In fact, personally, I wouldn’t think it very useful for a religion to have a set of scientific views because 1) sooner or later it would be out of date, 2) sooner or later we would have a situation of some people insisting on how one can interpret knowledge (my criticism of Ruhi, which takes this approach).

    I haven’t read Keven Brown’s Evolution Bahai Belief, (another Kalimat Publication) and as good as the book looks, there’s no way that I have time to read this in the next week or so, and given the nature of blogging, I thought I should just respond without referring to this book. EP, I will go and read it and so feel free to bring up points in the book; besides, others who read this blog might have responses / opinions, etc.

    It seems that the main thrust of the book is to show that Abdul-Baha is speaking of platonic categories in Some Answered Questions, etc, and not about physical biological categories. For me, that argument seems clear. EP have you come across Bahais who reject Darwnism? But if Darwinsim isn’t the issue for you here, we can drop this.

    For me there are two approaches here: one from scripture and one from practice. EP as I interpret it, your approach is that you see bad practice in the Bahai community (and I wouldn’t disagree with your examples, I’ve plenty of my own), and attribute this to it being a fault in the scripture. For me I see things like, the censorship of Kalimat Press by various NSAs, the fear Bahais seem to have towards discussing issues of justice when it concerns Bahai administration and so on, as being a problem in community practice. But yes, it is healthy, I think, to then look into the scripture to see if it is embedded there, however your final comment:
    [quote comment=""]there is nothing that bahais do that is outside of what is known to organizational theorists.[/quote]
    which I agree with, is only an issue if Bahais go around saying the Bahai Faith has all the answers. I am a Bahai I don’t go around doing this. I see no conflict with believing in the truths of the Bahai writings and seeing that the Bahai community in practice and in general, at the moment is not a place that encourages open dialogue and inquiring minds. However as an individual, being a Bahai has stretched me and continues to challenge me. So far, I think this is a good thing.
    Yet, I see more and more that society around me seems to be doing things that seem more progressive than the Bahais. So if we are talking about practice, in general, I agree. If we are talking about scripture, then I don’t (unless you can show me how it is faulty).

    Your comment:
    [quote comment=""]instead, it has “progressive revelation” (universalized sufism/prophetology/revelationology, whatever technical term fits), which is a “middle man scam”: discredited premodern metaphysics that block access to transcendence for political/organizational/administrative reasons: to create a “submissive” class of serfs, peasants. this is an old game that goes back to the beginning of irrigation agriculture 5,000 years ago. equate “god” with “following the rules” with “obey the police (priests/ecclesiastic elites)”. let the rich people (priests) have all/most of the water so that they (or, their slaves) can grow enough crops to get more rich and powerful.[/quote]

    is unclear to me except that you are saying it is a bad thing for people to use �belief� as a form of submission. I agree. If what you mean is as Grover expressed it is:
    [quote comment=""]The concept of progressive revelation potentially limits any increase in religious understanding because we have to wait every 10-1000 years for a new messenger of God (a middle man as EP puts it) to come along with a new (or old) grab bag of religious knowledge for humanity to assimilate (or reassimilate).[/quote]
    Then I can respond. Thanks Grover for your clear post. I’m sorry EP, I still find it hard to understand what you are angry about. Injustice, yes, of course, that is clear, but I mean such as the piece I quoted from your post above. That’s what I meant by ‘ranting’ – not that you shouldn’t rant, just that I can’t follow what you are saying.

    So I’ll assume that Grover’s summary is what you mean and respond to his posting and if there’s something missed, you can bring it up. For me, this is about discussing perspectives, not about denying anyone’s viewpoint, OK?

    OK – progressive revelation used as something to limit understanding. Well, my take on this is that the world does continually develop and the quotation I used in reference to postmodernism from Abdul-Baha supports this approach. I’m sure quotations could be found such as we need utter faith in scripture, etc, and then individuals interpret these as meaning we should not think for ourselves nor be involved in the evolving world/s of ideas + practice and evolve along with it. I beg to differ, and I can back up my perspective from scripture.
    However, I’m not sure EP + Grover, if either of you find issue with this. I assume it is more the general attitude of Bahai culture not being very open to new ideas or open dialogue. Unfortunately a character of any organisation, and I would agree,
    for a religion which prides itself on being for this day and age, this isn’t healthy.

    An example is a recent media + technology conference I was at: the business world is still dominated by males, but there was a day session focussed on women for women. I got much much more out of this, than I ever have in a Bahai context. Mainly because I was mixing with other women who work, women who want to make some sort of change in today’s world, women who say what they think. My gripe with Bahais on the issue of gender equality is that there is little place for open discussion. The women who were dominant in the Dutch women’s forum in the early 1990′s were primarily housewives with husbands on high salaries. Nothing wrong with this, but the first coffee morning they organised was enough to scare me away for life. I’ve never seen any evidence that this has changed, so I’ve never been back.

    So, yes, Grover + EP, I would agree with you both, it seems that the Bahai Faith, on the issue of gender equality, in my experience of living in the Netherlands, might be a cause for limitation. I don’t know. All I know is that there seems to be no discourse. And when you have no discourse, it’s hard to have development.

    This week in the city-run giveaway paper, the front page featured ‘abandoning extremes of poverty’, ‘equality for girls and boys’ and ‘equal educational opportunities for all’ – then the city government proceeded to give a list of actions it was taking to work towards this, including the involvement of primary schools. As I read it, I thought, yes, the Bahais do seem to be redundant, because here this is being put into practice and â€?practiceâ€? is at the hard of the problem of Bahai community life as I see it. If there is no freedom to express and explore new interpretations, ideas, approaches, then â€?practiceâ€? is just form. My solution, so far, is to look for alternatives, but I see it as a ‘creative’ approach to how I choose to define myself as a Bahai, rather than as something deviant.

  • http://www.sonjavank.blogspot.com sonja

    EP, as I still don’t quite get why you say the following:

    [quote comment=""]As I mentioned, evolution is probably the biggest problem: bahai lacks a solid, scientific, developmental theory. such as something based on brain science, or cognitive linguistics.[/quote]
    Here’s my take on this from the viewpoint of a Bahai who does not have any problems with Darwinism, (and has never been in any contact with Bahais who do, so it has never been an issue for me) but view this in the way I approach any knowledge system, that it is just that, and has its use for its particular field. So I see the Bahai writings as being for morals, spiritual stuff, which as individuals we use for guidance, rather than as a set of scientific views we believe in. In fact, personally, I wouldn’t think it very useful for a religion to have a set of scientific views because 1) sooner or later it would be out of date, 2) sooner or later we would have a situation of some people insisting on how one can interpret knowledge (my criticism of Ruhi, which takes this approach).

    I haven’t read Keven Brown’s Evolution Bahai Belief, (another Kalimat Publication) and as good as the book looks, there’s no way that I have time to read this in the next week or so, and given the nature of blogging, I thought I should just respond without referring to this book. EP, I will go and read it and so feel free to bring up points in the book; besides, others who read this blog might have responses / opinions, etc.

    It seems that the main thrust of the book is to show that Abdul-Baha is speaking of platonic categories in Some Answered Questions, etc, and not about physical biological categories. For me, that argument seems clear. EP have you come across Bahais who reject Darwnism? But if Darwinsim isn’t the issue for you here, we can drop this.

    For me there are two approaches here: one from scripture and one from practice. EP as I interpret it, your approach is that you see bad practice in the Bahai community (and I wouldn’t disagree with your examples, I’ve plenty of my own), and attribute this to it being a fault in the scripture. For me I see things like, the censorship of Kalimat Press by various NSAs, the fear Bahais seem to have towards discussing issues of justice when it concerns Bahai administration and so on, as being a problem in community practice. But yes, it is healthy, I think, to then look into the scripture to see if it is embedded there, however your final comment:
    [quote comment=""]there is nothing that bahais do that is outside of what is known to organizational theorists.[/quote]
    which I agree with, is only an issue if Bahais go around saying the Bahai Faith has all the answers. I am a Bahai I don’t go around doing this. I see no conflict with believing in the truths of the Bahai writings and seeing that the Bahai community in practice and in general, at the moment is not a place that encourages open dialogue and inquiring minds. However as an individual, being a Bahai has stretched me and continues to challenge me. So far, I think this is a good thing.
    Yet, I see more and more that society around me seems to be doing things that seem more progressive than the Bahais. So if we are talking about practice, in general, I agree. If we are talking about scripture, then I don’t (unless you can show me how it is faulty).

    Your comment:
    [quote comment=""]instead, it has “progressive revelation” (universalized sufism/prophetology/revelationology, whatever technical term fits), which is a “middle man scam”: discredited premodern metaphysics that block access to transcendence for political/organizational/administrative reasons: to create a “submissive” class of serfs, peasants. this is an old game that goes back to the beginning of irrigation agriculture 5,000 years ago. equate “god” with “following the rules” with “obey the police (priests/ecclesiastic elites)”. let the rich people (priests) have all/most of the water so that they (or, their slaves) can grow enough crops to get more rich and powerful.[/quote]

    is unclear to me except that you are saying it is a bad thing for people to use �belief� as a form of submission. I agree. If what you mean is as Grover expressed it is:
    [quote comment=""]The concept of progressive revelation potentially limits any increase in religious understanding because we have to wait every 10-1000 years for a new messenger of God (a middle man as EP puts it) to come along with a new (or old) grab bag of religious knowledge for humanity to assimilate (or reassimilate).[/quote]
    Then I can respond. Thanks Grover for your clear post. I’m sorry EP, I still find it hard to understand what you are angry about. Injustice, yes, of course, that is clear, but I mean such as the piece I quoted from your post above. That’s what I meant by ‘ranting’ – not that you shouldn’t rant, just that I can’t follow what you are saying.

    So I’ll assume that Grover’s summary is what you mean and respond to his posting and if there’s something missed, you can bring it up. For me, this is about discussing perspectives, not about denying anyone’s viewpoint, OK?

    OK – progressive revelation used as something to limit understanding. Well, my take on this is that the world does continually develop and the quotation I used in reference to postmodernism from Abdul-Baha supports this approach. I’m sure quotations could be found such as we need utter faith in scripture, etc, and then individuals interpret these as meaning we should not think for ourselves nor be involved in the evolving world/s of ideas + practice and evolve along with it. I beg to differ, and I can back up my perspective from scripture.
    However, I’m not sure EP + Grover, if either of you find issue with this. I assume it is more the general attitude of Bahai culture not being very open to new ideas or open dialogue. Unfortunately a character of any organisation, and I would agree,
    for a religion which prides itself on being for this day and age, this isn’t healthy.

    An example is a recent media + technology conference I was at: the business world is still dominated by males, but there was a day session focussed on women for women. I got much much more out of this, than I ever have in a Bahai context. Mainly because I was mixing with other women who work, women who want to make some sort of change in today’s world, women who say what they think. My gripe with Bahais on the issue of gender equality is that there is little place for open discussion. The women who were dominant in the Dutch women’s forum in the early 1990′s were primarily housewives with husbands on high salaries. Nothing wrong with this, but the first coffee morning they organised was enough to scare me away for life. I’ve never seen any evidence that this has changed, so I’ve never been back.

    So, yes, Grover + EP, I would agree with you both, it seems that the Bahai Faith, on the issue of gender equality, in my experience of living in the Netherlands, might be a cause for limitation. I don’t know. All I know is that there seems to be no discourse. And when you have no discourse, it’s hard to have development.

    This week in the city-run giveaway paper, the front page featured ‘abandoning extremes of poverty’, ‘equality for girls and boys’ and ‘equal educational opportunities for all’ – then the city government proceeded to give a list of actions it was taking to work towards this, including the involvement of primary schools. As I read it, I thought, yes, the Bahais do seem to be redundant, because here this is being put into practice and â€?practiceâ€? is at the hard of the problem of Bahai community life as I see it. If there is no freedom to express and explore new interpretations, ideas, approaches, then â€?practiceâ€? is just form. My solution, so far, is to look for alternatives, but I see it as a ‘creative’ approach to how I choose to define myself as a Bahai, rather than as something deviant.

  • Andrew

    I think Baquia should nominate Sonja for a seat on the House of Justice in Haifa! The Baha’i Faith could then encounter the twentieth century so fulsomely that it might even awaken in time for the twenty-first century! :-)

    But seriously … these are very astute observations, Sonja. I always appreciate your basic sanity.

  • Andrew

    I think Baquia should nominate Sonja for a seat on the House of Justice in Haifa! The Baha’i Faith could then encounter the twentieth century so fulsomely that it might even awaken in time for the twenty-first century! :-)

    But seriously … these are very astute observations, Sonja. I always appreciate your basic sanity.

  • ep

    Headline: “Ursprung und Gegenwart

    excerpt:
    The rational structure is known for its extremes as evidenced in various “nothing but…” statements. Extreme materialism claims that “everything is nothing but matter — atoms”. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, is replaced with instrumental reason, the ability “to make”. Contemplation—looking inward—is devalued in relation to what one “can do”. “Wise men” fall out of favor and are replaced by the “man of action.” Successes in technologically re-shaping matter offer solutions to some problems but also give rise to problems of their own making. Mechanized slaughter of two world wars and the new atomic weapons exemplified and symbolized the expression of the ontology of the rational/mental structure. Living becomes hard to bear in such a consciousness structure.

    Some saw the cause of this despair as a lack of values or ethics. Gebser saw that it is the very consciousness structure itself which has played out to its inherent end. He saw that its metaphysical presumptions necessarily led to this ethical dead end. A “value-free” ontology like materialism leads of necessity to living “without value”. Any attempt to remedy the situation by a return to “values” would ultimately fail. But it was through this very quagmire of “the decline of the West” that Gebser saw the emergence of a new structure of consciousness which he termed the integral.

    —end excerpts—

    Comments:

    I fully support Andrew’s endorsement of sonja for membership on the (haifan) universal house of justice. as soon as the ban on electioneering and women’s “participation” is overturned, and as long as sonja lives another 1,000 years, everything is good.

    I’m not sure what Baquia intends by recruiting sonja. perhaps he can comment. if the concern is that the bahai rants blog is turning into a venue for people like me to argue that others should abandon bahai as a ridiculous and silly religion, he has a legitimate worry. certainly his life will be made more complicated if bahai administration (or his peers) pressure him to clamp down on people like me that they think are encouraging others to leave bahai.

    I do not know if sonja can define a viable alternative to my perspective, but it will be interesting to see how the discussion develops.

    re: style & tone

    …..sorry for any confusion. this blog is not an academic journal (thank goddess), and I’m personally not particularly disciplined (and don’t care about “style” or “tone” or “who might be offended”, or if people “don’t like rambling, disorganized thoughts”, etc.), so I tend to just throw out some random stuff to see what reaction it gets. most of what I’ve said in this thread I’ve already said in many other posts on this blog (in more detail), so I tend to assume that the “usual suspects” here already know the general contours of my thinking, which is basically subversive and anti-establishment towards both the “far left” and “far right”.

    the unfortunate reality is that after 30+ years of observation, most of the evidence I’ve seen is that bahai culture is in a deeply dysfunctional pattern (as can be predicted by the same patterns in the rest of the world, as observed by a large number of academics, theorists, consultants, practitioners in private and public organizations, etc.). the scriptures and governance mechanisms laid out in bahai scripture have been INADEQUATE to stop the slide into widespread dysfunctionality since the 1920s.

    at least in the usa and iran, the slide into dysfunctionality paralleled the process in which elitists, snobs, racists and fundamentalists consolidated their power over bahai governance. the pattern of abuses of authority is very telling.

    I have not had time to read up on sonja’s comment on habermas (the “delegitimization” of “institutions” and “colonization of lifeworld by systems”), but will do so as soon as possible. I’ll also look at the full video that sonja posted at the beginning of this thread and attempt to summarize the themes in it to make sure I haven’t missed something obvious.

    As an Integralist I do not agree that knowledge and/or science can be separated from religion or spirituality. Period.

    Integralism is about a holistic view of “all quadrants, all lines” (AQAL) of consciousness.

    http://integralwiki.net/index.php?title=AQAL
    -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/slark/44612365/sizes/o/

    This is where Integralism completely departs from modernism and postmodernism: postmodernists “collect the dots” and integralists “connect the dots”.

    Integralism seeks a higher pattern in consciousness. This sets off all sorts of red flags, flashing lights and alarms for modernists and postmodernists since it (superficially) “sounds” like the same thing that various medieval scholars tried to do.

    (see ken wilber’s “pre-trans fallacy”
    http://www.integralworld.net/fallacy.html )

    additional background:: http://www.spiraldynamics.org/Graves/meme.html

    “cultural evolution” is about “memes” and similar constructs.

    a typical “system theory” approach to social change that includes “paradigm shift”:

    “Leverage points: places to intervene in a system”

    http://www.sustainer.org/pubs/Leverage_Points.pdf
    -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_leverage_points#1._The_power_to_transcend_paradigms

    the medival scholars were, like bahai, trying to shove rationalism into a rigid spiritual framework. integralists are trying to “rescue” the legitimate aspects of spirituality from the eroding, “colonizing” forces of modernism that want to completely throw all spirituality out the window as “superstition” (etc.)

    (In the political world, see Paul Turner and George Lakoff on the need for a more holistic, transcendant way to understand ideology and paradigms. http://markturner.org/cdss.html

    “In this provocative and beautifully written book, Mark Turner describes conceptual integration, a.k.a. blending, as the basic mental operation that distinguishes cognitively modern humans from all other animals. He proposes a unification of the social sciences based on conceptual integration, showing that it is an essential part of either what we (interpretive) social scientists study or how we (qualitative) social scientists study what we study. The book is brimming with intriguing examples of conceptual blends from an incredible variety of domains. This is possible, of course, because conceptual integration is an absolutely ubiquitous form of cognition.

    —end excerpt—)

    personal side note: long long ago in a far distant galaxy I was an anthropology student. I grew up with buddhist and mennonite influences, in several countries. The Whole Earth Catalog was a far more important source of meaning to me growing up than the Bible. I spent 10 years fairly deep in west coast usa counterculture “lifestyle” when I was younger (poverty). So, I have no attachments to any particular metaphysical system except a vague one to buddhist-yogic thought (Dali Lama, Sri Aurobindo), but I do think there is a lot of valuable material in almost all the traditions that can allow a student of a given “spiritual” tradition to discover “mind maps” to higher consciousness (yoga is far more successul in the usa than anything else, except possibly evangelical christianity, which has slim pickins for anyone that is a critical thinker). unfortunately the ancient “mind maps” are mixed in with elitism and complex elements of culture that were designed to allow a small class of illuminati to explore and refine spirituality in premodern (slave) societies.

    From a sociological perspective:

    THE ANCIENT SPIRITUAL SYSTEMS ARE NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE “POPULIST”.

    This is the basic problem with bahai liberalism and related “reform” tendencies and movements. They are all full of this basic contradiction: they intend to align bahai with populist liberation movements, but fall back on “spiritual” ideas that are rooted in structures that ASSUME that spirituality is an elite activity (which rests of a slave system, serfdom, class exploitation).

    the cultural “center of gavity” in bahai will always support and protect the assumptions that are rooted in the elite power of an illuminati, and populism will only be paid lip service to and tolerated to the extent that it AVOIDS CHALLENGING the status quo of power arrangements.

    unless reformers transform into illuminati (and call for “purification”), they will be marginalized.

    Sen violated the unstated rule, and was invited to leave. As will all “populist” nonconformists, critics and dissidents from now to eternity.

    So, the spiritual traditions are deeply historically root in rigidly hierarchical cultures containing patterns of resistance to change that are imbedded in the “cultural DNA” of the people that follow those traditions. This is why Integralists constantly warn about the problem of “paradigm regression” () and the “reanimation of mythic/tribal” impulses and archetypal images.

    the whole idea that “administration” (ecclesiastics/law) is “bound up” in the core of bahai mysticism (and the “declaration of belief” – a bizarre holdover from islam) is another basic flaw in bahai theology/scripture/belief. it is as if bahai is oblivious to 400 years of history that utterly rejected theocracy and all its “cultural DNA”: its causes, underpinnings, assumptions, etc.

    sen’s excellent dissent about church/state is, unfortunately, a good example of how the “cherry picking” debate that was ventilated on this blog several months ago plays out in the real world. it is certainly possible to find modernist and postmodernist elements in bahai scripture. the question is: “how do they fit into a coherent whole?”.

    In spite of various strained attempts by progressive/reformist scholars over the last 25 years (which I have both cheered and cajoled variously), I personally do not think that they can be made coherent.

    Most liberals that stay in bahai simply decide to get on with their lives and ignore the problem. they either compartmentalize the bad stuff in bahai, and go into denial mode, or they just remove themselves – as much as possible – from the bad stuff, and align their values with a generalized form of universalized mystical experience that isn’t actually anchored in any particular practice. the few people that do pursue such “particulars” are either absorbed into the evil “borg” through conformism (this happened to a large number of counterculture converts about 8 years ago in northern california, so it is a “real” issue), or are chewed up and spit out (Omaha and the other examples of the “Mashriq” movement).

    anyways, all the “spiritual” traditions abhor the “mechanized” nature of modern, scientific, technological, democratic capitalism and its industrialized system of mass production assembly lines that erode “authentic” “hand made” values.

    unfortunately it is exactly all those things (machines, industry) that liberated humanity from slavery. NOT TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALITY.

    Please note that traditional spirituality was “reinvented” by the Radical Whigs, and by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., for socio-economic/political purposes, but only AFTER it became obvious that modernism was the “leading edge” of cultural evolution (and not religion). Once modernism freed culture from the rigid constraints of religion, culture could revision religion for “higher purposes” (mass liberation,self-actualization).

    so, the big question is “how to rescue spirituality from its discredited state”.

    if spirituality can’t survive the test of rational, scientific inquiry (and “liberal” politics – and postmodern deconstruction), it simply can’t contribute to an “ever advancing civilization”. it will stay a backwater, unable to contribute *as it needs to, and has to* to efforts to increase social-economic justice, environmental sanity, disarmament, and so forth.

    (as far as I can tell, the only “solution” is to reframe the issues in terms of holism, cognitive-linguistic theory, brain science, system theory, consciousness studies, etc. – NONE OF WHICH EXIST IN BAHAI IN EXPLICIT FORM)

    So, spirituality became discredited in the modern world during (and repeatedly after) the enlightenment when ALL forms of traditional authority were thrown out (were no longer the “dominant value system”). tradtional authority was rejected for mostly very good reasons. in that sense I’m fully “libertarian” (“natural law” is far superior to the “divine right of kings”). in the post-enlightenment context, democracy is far superior to aristocracy and power by ecclesiastic elites.

    the first “specific” reason that evolution and/or developmental theory (and the lack of such in bahai) is A CRITICAL ISSUE is that one of the “basic principles” of bahai, as stated by its founders, is the “harmony of science and religion” (etc.) – “SciRel” – Science and Religion.

    side note: I did spend many years attempting to “grok” what went on in the ABS-NA SciReg group, and to a lesser extent the european bahai scholarship groups. I know several of the people working at the leading edge of SciRel in the US bahai community. The situation can be summed up as follows:

    common attitudes of bahais about evolution is appalling and fundamentalist.

    the legitimate scholars think (but would never say publicly) bahai administration is profoundly evil. the only discussion (well hidden from public view) is about what concessions are needed for short-term gains, alliances of convenience, etc.

    the bahai leadership elites, to the extent that they might even see this as a problem, have done NOTHING to stop the spread of backwardness. (this is a repeated pattern that can be seen virtually EVERYWHERE in bahai, including amongst the “liberal, progressive, leftist” elements, the bahai bohemian/counterculture, and so forth.

    bahai culture, and as you say “practice”, is adrift and disconnected, “etherealized”, “style over substance” stuff.

    I met many “seasoned” “veteran” bahai SED practitioners in the 1990s that said that the pragmatic aspects of SED were gutted in favor of doing “PR spin” and bahai “diversity photo ops” to make the bahai bureaucracy “look good” on a superficial level. eventually the massive level of corrupt, dysfunctionality becomes glaringly obvious. given the lack of pragmatic practice and the “instrumentalization” of SED, bahai rhetoric about social justice and equality is so vacuous as to be appalling.)

    fwiw – the fundamentalist rejection of evolutionary theory by most bahais is about the same for the general population in the USA.

    if bahai can’t reverse such a trend, then one has to wonder what good the religion actually is. in sonja’s formulation, this is “merely” a matter of “practice”. one of two basic approaches arises from that analysis:

    1) purification and a return to the “real” principles, which are about tolerance, flexibility, etc.

    2) adoption of solutions and ideas that are from outside bahai.

    both approaches are problematic. the first solution won’t work for reasons I state further above.

    if the second solution works, then people will eventually have to ask themselves why they even need bahai if “real” solutions have to be found elsewhere.

    sorry if I failed to remember to touch on any of the themes sonja mentions. please remind me of any specifics that I’ve failed to respond to.

    last note: if bahai was made up of people like sen and sonja and terry and juan and tony and allison and baquia and craig and nima (and many others), it would (mostly) be a wonderful thing. if I thought they had a snowball’s chance in hell of eventually prevailing, I would have seriously considered staying in the religion. it might even have been “fulfilling” to do so if a viable reform movement was possible. sadly, such reform just doesn’t seem to be possible.

    [quote comment="57692"]EP, as I still don’t quite get why you say the following:

    [quote comment=""]As I mentioned, evolution is probably the biggest problem: bahai lacks a solid, scientific, developmental theory. such as something based on brain science, or cognitive linguistics.[/quote]

  • ep

    Headline: “Ursprung und Gegenwart

    excerpt:
    The rational structure is known for its extremes as evidenced in various “nothing but…” statements. Extreme materialism claims that “everything is nothing but matter — atoms”. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, is replaced with instrumental reason, the ability “to make”. Contemplation—looking inward—is devalued in relation to what one “can do”. “Wise men” fall out of favor and are replaced by the “man of action.” Successes in technologically re-shaping matter offer solutions to some problems but also give rise to problems of their own making. Mechanized slaughter of two world wars and the new atomic weapons exemplified and symbolized the expression of the ontology of the rational/mental structure. Living becomes hard to bear in such a consciousness structure.

    Some saw the cause of this despair as a lack of values or ethics. Gebser saw that it is the very consciousness structure itself which has played out to its inherent end. He saw that its metaphysical presumptions necessarily led to this ethical dead end. A “value-free” ontology like materialism leads of necessity to living “without value”. Any attempt to remedy the situation by a return to “values” would ultimately fail. But it was through this very quagmire of “the decline of the West” that Gebser saw the emergence of a new structure of consciousness which he termed the integral.

    —end excerpts—

    Comments:

    I fully support Andrew’s endorsement of sonja for membership on the (haifan) universal house of justice. as soon as the ban on electioneering and women’s “participation” is overturned, and as long as sonja lives another 1,000 years, everything is good.

    I’m not sure what Baquia intends by recruiting sonja. perhaps he can comment. if the concern is that the bahai rants blog is turning into a venue for people like me to argue that others should abandon bahai as a ridiculous and silly religion, he has a legitimate worry. certainly his life will be made more complicated if bahai administration (or his peers) pressure him to clamp down on people like me that they think are encouraging others to leave bahai.

    I do not know if sonja can define a viable alternative to my perspective, but it will be interesting to see how the discussion develops.

    re: style & tone

    …..sorry for any confusion. this blog is not an academic journal (thank goddess), and I’m personally not particularly disciplined (and don’t care about “style” or “tone” or “who might be offended”, or if people “don’t like rambling, disorganized thoughts”, etc.), so I tend to just throw out some random stuff to see what reaction it gets. most of what I’ve said in this thread I’ve already said in many other posts on this blog (in more detail), so I tend to assume that the “usual suspects” here already know the general contours of my thinking, which is basically subversive and anti-establishment towards both the “far left” and “far right”.

    the unfortunate reality is that after 30+ years of observation, most of the evidence I’ve seen is that bahai culture is in a deeply dysfunctional pattern (as can be predicted by the same patterns in the rest of the world, as observed by a large number of academics, theorists, consultants, practitioners in private and public organizations, etc.). the scriptures and governance mechanisms laid out in bahai scripture have been INADEQUATE to stop the slide into widespread dysfunctionality since the 1920s.

    at least in the usa and iran, the slide into dysfunctionality paralleled the process in which elitists, snobs, racists and fundamentalists consolidated their power over bahai governance. the pattern of abuses of authority is very telling.

    I have not had time to read up on sonja’s comment on habermas (the “delegitimization” of “institutions” and “colonization of lifeworld by systems”), but will do so as soon as possible. I’ll also look at the full video that sonja posted at the beginning of this thread and attempt to summarize the themes in it to make sure I haven’t missed something obvious.

    As an Integralist I do not agree that knowledge and/or science can be separated from religion or spirituality. Period.

    Integralism is about a holistic view of “all quadrants, all lines” (AQAL) of consciousness.

    http://integralwiki.net/index.php?title=AQAL
    -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/slark/44612365/sizes/o/

    This is where Integralism completely departs from modernism and postmodernism: postmodernists “collect the dots” and integralists “connect the dots”.

    Integralism seeks a higher pattern in consciousness. This sets off all sorts of red flags, flashing lights and alarms for modernists and postmodernists since it (superficially) “sounds” like the same thing that various medieval scholars tried to do.

    (see ken wilber’s “pre-trans fallacy”
    http://www.integralworld.net/fallacy.html )

    additional background:: http://www.spiraldynamics.org/Graves/meme.html

    “cultural evolution” is about “memes” and similar constructs.

    a typical “system theory” approach to social change that includes “paradigm shift”:

    “Leverage points: places to intervene in a system”

    http://www.sustainer.org/pubs/Leverage_Points.pdf
    -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_leverage_points#1._The_power_to_transcend_paradigms

    the medival scholars were, like bahai, trying to shove rationalism into a rigid spiritual framework. integralists are trying to “rescue” the legitimate aspects of spirituality from the eroding, “colonizing” forces of modernism that want to completely throw all spirituality out the window as “superstition” (etc.)

    (In the political world, see Paul Turner and George Lakoff on the need for a more holistic, transcendant way to understand ideology and paradigms. http://markturner.org/cdss.html

    “In this provocative and beautifully written book, Mark Turner describes conceptual integration, a.k.a. blending, as the basic mental operation that distinguishes cognitively modern humans from all other animals. He proposes a unification of the social sciences based on conceptual integration, showing that it is an essential part of either what we (interpretive) social scientists study or how we (qualitative) social scientists study what we study. The book is brimming with intriguing examples of conceptual blends from an incredible variety of domains. This is possible, of course, because conceptual integration is an absolutely ubiquitous form of cognition.

    —end excerpt—)

    personal side note: long long ago in a far distant galaxy I was an anthropology student. I grew up with buddhist and mennonite influences, in several countries. The Whole Earth Catalog was a far more important source of meaning to me growing up than the Bible. I spent 10 years fairly deep in west coast usa counterculture “lifestyle” when I was younger (poverty). So, I have no attachments to any particular metaphysical system except a vague one to buddhist-yogic thought (Dali Lama, Sri Aurobindo), but I do think there is a lot of valuable material in almost all the traditions that can allow a student of a given “spiritual” tradition to discover “mind maps” to higher consciousness (yoga is far more successul in the usa than anything else, except possibly evangelical christianity, which has slim pickins for anyone that is a critical thinker). unfortunately the ancient “mind maps” are mixed in with elitism and complex elements of culture that were designed to allow a small class of illuminati to explore and refine spirituality in premodern (slave) societies.

    From a sociological perspective:

    THE ANCIENT SPIRITUAL SYSTEMS ARE NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE “POPULIST”.

    This is the basic problem with bahai liberalism and related “reform” tendencies and movements. They are all full of this basic contradiction: they intend to align bahai with populist liberation movements, but fall back on “spiritual” ideas that are rooted in structures that ASSUME that spirituality is an elite activity (which rests of a slave system, serfdom, class exploitation).

    the cultural “center of gavity” in bahai will always support and protect the assumptions that are rooted in the elite power of an illuminati, and populism will only be paid lip service to and tolerated to the extent that it AVOIDS CHALLENGING the status quo of power arrangements.

    unless reformers transform into illuminati (and call for “purification”), they will be marginalized.

    Sen violated the unstated rule, and was invited to leave. As will all “populist” nonconformists, critics and dissidents from now to eternity.

    So, the spiritual traditions are deeply historically root in rigidly hierarchical cultures containing patterns of resistance to change that are imbedded in the “cultural DNA” of the people that follow those traditions. This is why Integralists constantly warn about the problem of “paradigm regression” () and the “reanimation of mythic/tribal” impulses and archetypal images.

    the whole idea that “administration” (ecclesiastics/law) is “bound up” in the core of bahai mysticism (and the “declaration of belief” – a bizarre holdover from islam) is another basic flaw in bahai theology/scripture/belief. it is as if bahai is oblivious to 400 years of history that utterly rejected theocracy and all its “cultural DNA”: its causes, underpinnings, assumptions, etc.

    sen’s excellent dissent about church/state is, unfortunately, a good example of how the “cherry picking” debate that was ventilated on this blog several months ago plays out in the real world. it is certainly possible to find modernist and postmodernist elements in bahai scripture. the question is: “how do they fit into a coherent whole?”.

    In spite of various strained attempts by progressive/reformist scholars over the last 25 years (which I have both cheered and cajoled variously), I personally do not think that they can be made coherent.

    Most liberals that stay in bahai simply decide to get on with their lives and ignore the problem. they either compartmentalize the bad stuff in bahai, and go into denial mode, or they just remove themselves – as much as possible – from the bad stuff, and align their values with a generalized form of universalized mystical experience that isn’t actually anchored in any particular practice. the few people that do pursue such “particulars” are either absorbed into the evil “borg” through conformism (this happened to a large number of counterculture converts about 8 years ago in northern california, so it is a “real” issue), or are chewed up and spit out (Omaha and the other examples of the “Mashriq” movement).

    anyways, all the “spiritual” traditions abhor the “mechanized” nature of modern, scientific, technological, democratic capitalism and its industrialized system of mass production assembly lines that erode “authentic” “hand made” values.

    unfortunately it is exactly all those things (machines, industry) that liberated humanity from slavery. NOT TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALITY.

    Please note that traditional spirituality was “reinvented” by the Radical Whigs, and by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., for socio-economic/political purposes, but only AFTER it became obvious that modernism was the “leading edge” of cultural evolution (and not religion). Once modernism freed culture from the rigid constraints of religion, culture could revision religion for “higher purposes” (mass liberation,self-actualization).

    so, the big question is “how to rescue spirituality from its discredited state”.

    if spirituality can’t survive the test of rational, scientific inquiry (and “liberal” politics – and postmodern deconstruction), it simply can’t contribute to an “ever advancing civilization”. it will stay a backwater, unable to contribute *as it needs to, and has to* to efforts to increase social-economic justice, environmental sanity, disarmament, and so forth.

    (as far as I can tell, the only “solution” is to reframe the issues in terms of holism, cognitive-linguistic theory, brain science, system theory, consciousness studies, etc. – NONE OF WHICH EXIST IN BAHAI IN EXPLICIT FORM)

    So, spirituality became discredited in the modern world during (and repeatedly after) the enlightenment when ALL forms of traditional authority were thrown out (were no longer the “dominant value system”). tradtional authority was rejected for mostly very good reasons. in that sense I’m fully “libertarian” (“natural law” is far superior to the “divine right of kings”). in the post-enlightenment context, democracy is far superior to aristocracy and power by ecclesiastic elites.

    the first “specific” reason that evolution and/or developmental theory (and the lack of such in bahai) is A CRITICAL ISSUE is that one of the “basic principles” of bahai, as stated by its founders, is the “harmony of science and religion” (etc.) – “SciRel” – Science and Religion.

    side note: I did spend many years attempting to “grok” what went on in the ABS-NA SciReg group, and to a lesser extent the european bahai scholarship groups. I know several of the people working at the leading edge of SciRel in the US bahai community. The situation can be summed up as follows:

    common attitudes of bahais about evolution is appalling and fundamentalist.

    the legitimate scholars think (but would never say publicly) bahai administration is profoundly evil. the only discussion (well hidden from public view) is about what concessions are needed for short-term gains, alliances of convenience, etc.

    the bahai leadership elites, to the extent that they might even see this as a problem, have done NOTHING to stop the spread of backwardness. (this is a repeated pattern that can be seen virtually EVERYWHERE in bahai, including amongst the “liberal, progressive, leftist” elements, the bahai bohemian/counterculture, and so forth.

    bahai culture, and as you say “practice”, is adrift and disconnected, “etherealized”, “style over substance” stuff.

    I met many “seasoned” “veteran” bahai SED practitioners in the 1990s that said that the pragmatic aspects of SED were gutted in favor of doing “PR spin” and bahai “diversity photo ops” to make the bahai bureaucracy “look good” on a superficial level. eventually the massive level of corrupt, dysfunctionality becomes glaringly obvious. given the lack of pragmatic practice and the “instrumentalization” of SED, bahai rhetoric about social justice and equality is so vacuous as to be appalling.)

    fwiw – the fundamentalist rejection of evolutionary theory by most bahais is about the same for the general population in the USA.

    if bahai can’t reverse such a trend, then one has to wonder what good the religion actually is. in sonja’s formulation, this is “merely” a matter of “practice”. one of two basic approaches arises from that analysis:

    1) purification and a return to the “real” principles, which are about tolerance, flexibility, etc.

    2) adoption of solutions and ideas that are from outside bahai.

    both approaches are problematic. the first solution won’t work for reasons I state further above.

    if the second solution works, then people will eventually have to ask themselves why they even need bahai if “real” solutions have to be found elsewhere.

    sorry if I failed to remember to touch on any of the themes sonja mentions. please remind me of any specifics that I’ve failed to respond to.

    last note: if bahai was made up of people like sen and sonja and terry and juan and tony and allison and baquia and craig and nima (and many others), it would (mostly) be a wonderful thing. if I thought they had a snowball’s chance in hell of eventually prevailing, I would have seriously considered staying in the religion. it might even have been “fulfilling” to do so if a viable reform movement was possible. sadly, such reform just doesn’t seem to be possible.

    [quote comment="57692"]EP, as I still don’t quite get why you say the following:

    [quote comment=""]As I mentioned, evolution is probably the biggest problem: bahai lacks a solid, scientific, developmental theory. such as something based on brain science, or cognitive linguistics.[/quote]

  • Craig Parke

    I honestly believed for over 30 years as a steadfast Baha’i that the Baha’i Faith was based upon the sacredness of the individual human conscience. I thought that was very important for the future safety of the world after the totalitarian horrors of the 20th Century. When I found out it wasn’t anymore, but was now based solely upon turning over your individual human conscience to the nine men on the Universal House of Justice to tell you what to think and what to do in EVERY circumstance and situation in life, I was truly shaken. If this is now the case, what is to prevent this from happening when lock step fundamentalist Baha’i groupthink fanatics ever come to any real power in the world?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/world/asia/20afghan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    What do you have if you have a world without individual conscience? History has shown that world sinks into deranged brain chemistry barbarism very, very fast. I will never support such a top down groupthink teaching.

  • Craig Parke

    I honestly believed for over 30 years as a steadfast Baha’i that the Baha’i Faith was based upon the sacredness of the individual human conscience. I thought that was very important for the future safety of the world after the totalitarian horrors of the 20th Century. When I found out it wasn’t anymore, but was now based solely upon turning over your individual human conscience to the nine men on the Universal House of Justice to tell you what to think and what to do in EVERY circumstance and situation in life, I was truly shaken. If this is now the case, what is to prevent this from happening when lock step fundamentalist Baha’i groupthink fanatics ever come to any real power in the world?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/world/asia/20afghan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    What do you have if you have a world without individual conscience? History has shown that world sinks into deranged brain chemistry barbarism very, very fast. I will never support such a top down groupthink teaching.