Universal House of Justice: Ridvan Message 2009

Happy Ridvan! Here is this year’s (rather concise) Ridvan message from the Universal House of Justice:

To the Baha’is of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

A mere three years ago we set before the Baha’i world the challenge of exploiting the framework for action that had emerged with such clarity at the conclusion of the last global Plan. The response, as we had hoped, was immediate. With great vigour the friends everywhere began to pursue the goal of establishing intensive programmes of growth in no less than 1,500 clusters worldwide, and the number of such programmes soon started to climb. But no one could have imagined then how profoundly the Lord of Hosts, in His inscrutable wisdom, intended to transform His community in so short a span of time. What a purposeful and confident community it was that celebrated its accomplishments at the midway point of the current Plan in forty-one regional conferences across the globe! What an extraordinary contrast did its coherence and energy provide to the bewilderment and confusion of a world caught in a spiral of crisis! This, indeed, was the community of the blissful to which the Guardian had referred. This was a community aware of the vast potentialities with which it has been endowed and conscious of the role it is destined to play in rebuilding a broken world. This was a community in the ascendant, subject to severe repression in one part of the globe, yet rising up undeterred and undismayed as a united whole and strengthening its capacity to achieve Baha’u’llah’s purpose to liberate humankind from the yoke of the most grievous oppression. And in the nearly eighty-thousand participants who attended the conferences we saw the emergence on the historical scene of an individual believer supremely confident in the efficacy of the Plan’s methods and instruments and remarkably deft at wielding them. Each and every soul of this mighty sea stood as testimony to the transforming potency of the Faith. Each and every one was evidence of Baha’u’llah’s promise to assist all those who arise with detachment and sincerity to serve Him. Each and every one offered a glimpse of that race of beings, consecrated and courageous, pure and sanctified, destined to evolve over generations under the direct influence of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation. In them we saw the first signs of the fulfilment of our hope expressed at the outset of the Plan that the edifying influence of the Faith would be extended to hundreds of thousands through the institute process. There is every indication that, by the end of the Ridvan period, the number of intensive programmes of growth around the world will have crossed the 1,000 mark. What more can we do at the opening of this most joyous Festival than to bow our heads in humility before God and offer Him thanksgiving for His unbounded generosity to the community of the Greatest Name.
uhj-signature.png

Here is last year’s Ridvan message if you missed it. And if you were ever curious where exactly the original Garden of Ridvan is located, wonder no more: Where is the Garden of Ridvan?

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    I have written a response to the UHJ's Ridvan message on my blog:

    "Ridvan 2009: Baha’is missing the point of their own religion"
    http://stetsonius.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/ridvan

    Here's an excerpt:

    Baha’is think that they will get more members because they are trying hard to get more members — especially because they feel confident in their religion while the world outside the Baha’i bubble is “caught in a spiral of crisis.” The irony is that if Baha’is shifted their focus away from proselytizing and organizing events for their own members, toward doing tangible things to help solve problems in the real world — economic development, human rights, peace movements, environmental protection, etc. — they would find that more people would naturally be attracted to their religion, because people would see that they care about helping the world, not the size of their membership rolls. …

  • http://www.bahai-faith.com Eric Stetson

    I have written a response to the UHJ's Ridvan message on my blog:

    "Ridvan 2009: Baha’is missing the point of their own religion"
    http://stetsonius.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/ridvan

    Here's an excerpt:

    Baha’is think that they will get more members because they are trying hard to get more members — especially because they feel confident in their religion while the world outside the Baha’i bubble is “caught in a spiral of crisis.” The irony is that if Baha’is shifted their focus away from proselytizing and organizing events for their own members, toward doing tangible things to help solve problems in the real world — economic development, human rights, peace movements, environmental protection, etc. — they would find that more people would naturally be attracted to their religion, because people would see that they care about helping the world, not the size of their membership rolls. …

  • Craig Parke

    Eric,

    That is an excellent article you have written on your blog. It is a noble effort and I thank your for trying. But I do not think anything can save the Baha'i Faith now as an organization. It is really at the last passages of Moby Dick now. The White Whale has come and many insane Ahab's are now going to go under tied to the heavy mast as the Pequod is smashed into pieces.

    The incestuous lifetime incumbent obsessed clique currently running the Baha'i Faith completely into the ground do not appear to understand or comprehend Spiritual Comic Forces at all. It is a very strange lot of spiritually tone deaf people. The Faith I once served for 32 years is completely gone without a trace now. That vision was the Faith you hoped for in your piece. At times it really did exist but it is gone now. It all ended for me in 2004 when I took Ruhi Book One. As I have written It was truly one of the worst totally disheartening experiences of my entire life. The once beautiful Teachings of the Faith have all been replaced by a squalid soulless reign of terror spiritual communism that will go to total destruction by the Cosmic Forces of the profound Universe. The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is indeed upon the Baha'i Faith worldwide now.

    Baha'u'llah was an enlightened sage and foresaw it all. The inner teaching as in all the Holy Books is all about Cosmic Judgment upon spiritual archetypes from World Age to World Age. It is all an archetypal revelation about what will live in the Heart of Man and what will die in the Heart of Man from World age to World Age. It is all about that inner horizon. It is not about the outer world at all. Is there anyone in the Baha'i Faith now that ever heard of the Kitab-I-Iqan ?

    It is all in there as plan as the Sun at noon day. Divne Judgment has come upon these completely clueless hacks and they are too spiritually dumb to even recognize it. It is absolutely pathetic. Once again another "Ridvan Message" (yawn) is right out of the Telescreen in "Nineteen Eighty Four".

    The Universe is currently sending this upon the clique of clueless idiots currently running the Baha'i Faith on their own personal theorist class Mt. Olympus within their own empty heads. Mark my words. It is not that it is coming. It HAS come. These people are absolutely disgraceful and world history will record it all at 24 frames a second in Dolby sound. The Divine Judgment of the total and complete demise of these people will live forever on the Internet as an example and a terrible warning to all who tread the path of the New World Age over the next thousand years. As the last of the self aggrandized Chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees as one World Age ends and Another begins, their sorry heads will be on poles for all to wonder about and ponder as they pass by on the Holy Road of new cosmic consciousness through the coming Ages and Centuries.

    The whole thing is now right out of Joseph Conrad. I guess none of them ever studied world literature either.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

  • Craig Parke

    Eric,

    That is an excellent article you have written on your blog. It is a noble effort and I thank your for trying. But I do not think anything can save the Baha'i Faith now as an organization. It is really at the last passages of Moby Dick now. The White Whale has come and many insane Ahab's are now going to go under tied to the heavy mast as the Pequod is smashed into pieces.

    The incestuous lifetime incumbent obsessed clique currently running the Baha'i Faith completely into the ground do not appear to understand or comprehend Spiritual Comic Forces at all. It is a very strange lot of spiritually tone deaf people. The Faith I once served for 32 years is completely gone without a trace now. That vision was the Faith you hoped for in your piece. At times it really did exist but it is gone now. It all ended for me in 2004 when I took Ruhi Book One. As I have written It was truly one of the worst totally disheartening experiences of my entire life. The once beautiful Teachings of the Faith have all been replaced by a squalid soulless reign of terror spiritual communism that will go to total destruction by the Cosmic Forces of the profound Universe. The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is indeed upon the Baha'i Faith worldwide now.

    Baha'u'llah was an enlightened sage and foresaw it all. The inner teaching as in all the Holy Books is all about Cosmic Judgment upon spiritual archetypes from World Age to World Age. It is all an archetypal revelation about what will live in the Heart of Man and what will die in the Heart of Man from World age to World Age. It is all about that inner horizon. It is not about the outer world at all. Is there anyone in the Baha'i Faith now that ever heard of the Kitab-I-Iqan ?

    It is all in there as plan as the Sun at noon day. Divne Judgment has come upon these completely clueless hacks and they are too spiritually dumb to even recognize it. It is absolutely pathetic. Once again another "Ridvan Message" (yawn) is right out of the Telescreen in "Nineteen Eighty Four".

    The Universe is currently sending this upon the clique of clueless idiots currently running the Baha'i Faith on their own personal theorist class Mt. Olympus within their own empty heads. Mark my words. It is not that it is coming. It HAS come. These people are absolutely disgraceful and world history will record it all at 24 frames a second in Dolby sound. The Divine Judgment of the total and complete demise of these people will live forever on the Internet as an example and a terrible warning to all who tread the path of the New World Age over the next thousand years. As the last of the self aggrandized Chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees as one World Age ends and Another begins, their sorry heads will be on poles for all to wonder about and ponder as they pass by on the Holy Road of new cosmic consciousness through the coming Ages and Centuries.

    The whole thing is now right out of Joseph Conrad. I guess none of them ever studied world literature either.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    Eric, the proponents of the "framework for action" would probably say that there isn't an inward focus since a significant portion of the process involves outreach and community service projects. The real question isn't whether Baha'is are involved in navel gazing or not but what are the results? This is what I'm trying to shed light on in the two parter about Ruhi showing us the money. If there are results, then that's that. If not, then it is time to change course. As Jesus Christ said, you shall know them by their fruits.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    Eric, the proponents of the "framework for action" would probably say that there isn't an inward focus since a significant portion of the process involves outreach and community service projects. The real question isn't whether Baha'is are involved in navel gazing or not but what are the results? This is what I'm trying to shed light on in the two parter about Ruhi showing us the money. If there are results, then that's that. If not, then it is time to change course. As Jesus Christ said, you shall know them by their fruits.

  • farhan

    Baquia, the fruits are heavenly and if we ever doubted that the UHJ was inspired by God, we have the proof in the results of the institute process, results that they have the humility to refer to God's bounty and not to their wise leadership.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Baquia, the fruits are heavenly and if we ever doubted that the UHJ was inspired by God, we have the proof in the results of the institute process, results that they have the humility to refer to God's bounty and not to their wise leadership.

  • fubar

    I agree that measurements (or more specifically the lack thereof) "tell all".

    I do NOT agree that criticism, nonconformance or dissent would need to be shutdown if some measurements came to light that indicate Ruhi success.

    The Nazis were successful for a number of years before their sins and errors became fully apparent.

    Wall Street hedge fund/derivative ponzi schemes were measurably "successful" for a number of years before it became apparent that they were unsustainable, evil and destructive.

    Measurements (left brain) have to be interpreted in light of FRAMEWORKS OF MEANING (right brain).

    bahai is absent either good measurements or a good framework of meaning.

    ruhi is simply another example of a dysfunctional bureaucracy that is based on lies and deception flailing about, grasping at straws and engaging in futile attempts at reinvention ("the old new thing").

    re: social justice, environmental restoration, world peace movements

    given that bahai has deeply prostituted its own values/beliefs (such as "seeking truth") and has engaged in widespread exploitation of its followers (the spiritual 'middle man scam"), any possibility of internal reform, or paradigm shift, will likely have to be extraordinarily "radical" (as seen from the modality of the current and historical "status quo" in bahai culture).

    given that bahai has been"pulled back into the cultural "gravity well of shiism", its ability to integrate mysticism and rationalism is highly dubious, and as such, it is doomed to backwardness. ts followers will become subjugated, "spiritual slaves", incapable of mustering an effective program of spiritual, cultural, economic-environmental or political liberation.

    There are many examples of spiritual people doing the opposite, bahais simply have little interest in learning anything from those other people.

    e.g., http://www.vastsky.org

    what is necessary? humility, detachment, honesty, atonement-redemption.

    how can a religion that is absent such basic factors be anything other than an abject organizational failure?

  • fubar

    I agree that measurements (or more specifically the lack thereof) "tell all".

    I do NOT agree that criticism, nonconformance or dissent would need to be shutdown if some measurements came to light that indicate Ruhi success.

    The Nazis were successful for a number of years before their sins and errors became fully apparent.

    Wall Street hedge fund/derivative ponzi schemes were measurably "successful" for a number of years before it became apparent that they were unsustainable, evil and destructive.

    Measurements (left brain) have to be interpreted in light of FRAMEWORKS OF MEANING (right brain).

    bahai is absent either good measurements or a good framework of meaning.

    ruhi is simply another example of a dysfunctional bureaucracy that is based on lies and deception flailing about, grasping at straws and engaging in futile attempts at reinvention ("the old new thing").

    re: social justice, environmental restoration, world peace movements

    given that bahai has deeply prostituted its own values/beliefs (such as "seeking truth") and has engaged in widespread exploitation of its followers (the spiritual 'middle man scam"), any possibility of internal reform, or paradigm shift, will likely have to be extraordinarily "radical" (as seen from the modality of the current and historical "status quo" in bahai culture).

    given that bahai has been"pulled back into the cultural "gravity well of shiism", its ability to integrate mysticism and rationalism is highly dubious, and as such, it is doomed to backwardness. ts followers will become subjugated, "spiritual slaves", incapable of mustering an effective program of spiritual, cultural, economic-environmental or political liberation.

    There are many examples of spiritual people doing the opposite, bahais simply have little interest in learning anything from those other people.

    e.g., http://www.vastsky.org

    what is necessary? humility, detachment, honesty, atonement-redemption.

    how can a religion that is absent such basic factors be anything other than an abject organizational failure?

  • farhan

    Fubar wrote: how can a religion that is absent such basic factors be anything other than an abject organizational failure?

    Fubar, IOW, you are saying, as I am, that if the Baha'i Faith succeeds, it will be an outright miracle, a proof that "the kingdom is God's". Thank you for expressing your views that will encourage seekers to investigate into the outcome of the institute process wherever they are and find out the truth on what Baha'is believe to be a God inspired process for themselves.

    If you have any suggestions that in your opinion could lead to a better organisational success than what Baha'is believe to be a God given one, please inform us and by all means apply them. The bets will be open.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Fubar wrote: how can a religion that is absent such basic factors be anything other than an abject organizational failure?

    Fubar, IOW, you are saying, as I am, that if the Baha'i Faith succeeds, it will be an outright miracle, a proof that "the kingdom is God's". Thank you for expressing your views that will encourage seekers to investigate into the outcome of the institute process wherever they are and find out the truth on what Baha'is believe to be a God inspired process for themselves.

    If you have any suggestions that in your opinion could lead to a better organisational success than what Baha'is believe to be a God given one, please inform us and by all means apply them. The bets will be open.

  • fubar

    Wasn't one of the main "western" members of the UHJ in the 70s/80s a former Disney employee (executive?)? Is this part of how bahai became a religion of bureaucratic-utopian fantasy (weirdly coupled with conformism) and obsessed with futuristic "PR", advertising, etc. ?

  • fubar

    Wasn't one of the main "western" members of the UHJ in the 70s/80s a former Disney employee (executive?)? Is this part of how bahai became a religion of bureaucratic-utopian fantasy (weirdly coupled with conformism) and obsessed with futuristic "PR", advertising, etc. ?

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    You're thinking of Hooper Dunbar who was an actor for a short time. He pioneered to Nicaragua, was elected to their NSA and then was elected to the UHJ.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    You're thinking of Hooper Dunbar who was an actor for a short time. He pioneered to Nicaragua, was elected to their NSA and then was elected to the UHJ.

  • fubar

    Wolcott was a Disney employee. Since he was one of the few "real american liberals" on the UHJ, (per Juan Cole?), that may not be a good connection. Kavelin's son was a Disney employee, a connection that may be somewhat flimsy.

    In any case, one could still argue that AO is a "Mickey Mouse" setup.

  • fubar

    Wolcott was a Disney employee. Since he was one of the few "real american liberals" on the UHJ, (per Juan Cole?), that may not be a good connection. Kavelin's son was a Disney employee, a connection that may be somewhat flimsy.

    In any case, one could still argue that AO is a "Mickey Mouse" setup.

  • fubar

    farhan,

    you attempt to sugar coat feces.

    bahai will not succeed until it stops being a silly religion. if that ever happens, it will not be because "god" made it happen, but because people get their heads out of the rectal cavities and begin to behave in a spiritually mature modality, which will include rejecting outmoded metaphysics, such as belief in "diety gods".

    as baquia states, you are "spinning", which in common language means, deception, which is really nothing but more dishonesty, and lies. in the "status quo" mode of bahai thought, lies become "seeking truth". ?????

    anyways ……

    reform #1: get rid of silly ideas like "revelation", "progressive revelation" and "infallibility". they are simply a reinvention of the old "middle man scam" that western religion has used to control the masses for thousands of years.

    fyi: I've been suggesting, or supporting, organizational changes for many years, several of them resulted in the bahai thought police (auxilliary bored) "investigating" me and other people that study and propose "change".

    in one of the more egregious incidents, a bahai scholar in Omaha was viciously attacked, including by at least one very powerful member of the USNSA, by auxilliary bored members for simply suggesting that a more spiritually healthy version of bahai community could be bought about by building a small mashriq, perhaps even as "just" an appendage to a "conventional" bahai center. the same scholar was viciously attacked for presenting material on the divine feminine in bahaullah's mystical writings at a conference.

    so, you appear to have little or no real understanding of the predictability of the vicious attacks on nonconformists that are inevitable in a dysfunctional organization such as bahai.

    WHY DO YOU THINK THAT BAQUIA IS ANONYMOUS?

    the reality is that even when someone at the BWC occasionally sees an actual good idea elsewhere in the world, and the UHJ tells bahais to adopt it, they usually will not do so.

    (the brainwashing is too extensive, and difficult to change. the people that want to overcome brainwashing usually leave because there are few internal support networks, and the ones that exist are considered to be "dangerous".)

    http://bahai-library.com/uhj/scholars.internet.ht

    "The House of Justice feels confident that, with patience, self-discipline, and unity of faith, Baha'i academics will be able to contribute to a gradual forging of the more integrative paradigms of scholarship for which thoughtful minds in the international community are increasingly calling."

    The reality is that bahai scholars have not contributed to integral/integrative paradigms. Most have no idea what that means. It isn't apparent what the UHJ's letter writer meant. The UHJ itself obviously hasn't contributed to the "integralization" of bahai culture in any meaningful way.

    The various institutions at the BWC and in specific countries are operating in "STUPID" mode, and can't even clearly articulate a response to what is actually happening in the world, much less what is wrong with bahai, or how to "successfully" change things.

    ruhi is simply another doomed attempt at bureaucratic reinvention.

    bahai is simply another attempt at imposing a imperialist religion on the world by subjugating vulnerable and spiritually needy people into a vile model of "spiritual slavery".

    (cont.)

  • fubar

    farhan,

    you attempt to sugar coat feces.

    bahai will not succeed until it stops being a silly religion. if that ever happens, it will not be because "god" made it happen, but because people get their heads out of the rectal cavities and begin to behave in a spiritually mature modality, which will include rejecting outmoded metaphysics, such as belief in "diety gods".

    as baquia states, you are "spinning", which in common language means, deception, which is really nothing but more dishonesty, and lies. in the "status quo" mode of bahai thought, lies become "seeking truth". ?????

    anyways ……

    reform #1: get rid of silly ideas like "revelation", "progressive revelation" and "infallibility". they are simply a reinvention of the old "middle man scam" that western religion has used to control the masses for thousands of years.

    fyi: I've been suggesting, or supporting, organizational changes for many years, several of them resulted in the bahai thought police (auxilliary bored) "investigating" me and other people that study and propose "change".

    in one of the more egregious incidents, a bahai scholar in Omaha was viciously attacked, including by at least one very powerful member of the USNSA, by auxilliary bored members for simply suggesting that a more spiritually healthy version of bahai community could be bought about by building a small mashriq, perhaps even as "just" an appendage to a "conventional" bahai center. the same scholar was viciously attacked for presenting material on the divine feminine in bahaullah's mystical writings at a conference.

    so, you appear to have little or no real understanding of the predictability of the vicious attacks on nonconformists that are inevitable in a dysfunctional organization such as bahai.

    WHY DO YOU THINK THAT BAQUIA IS ANONYMOUS?

    the reality is that even when someone at the BWC occasionally sees an actual good idea elsewhere in the world, and the UHJ tells bahais to adopt it, they usually will not do so.

    (the brainwashing is too extensive, and difficult to change. the people that want to overcome brainwashing usually leave because there are few internal support networks, and the ones that exist are considered to be "dangerous".)

    http://bahai-library.com/uhj/scholars.internet.ht

    "The House of Justice feels confident that, with patience, self-discipline, and unity of faith, Baha'i academics will be able to contribute to a gradual forging of the more integrative paradigms of scholarship for which thoughtful minds in the international community are increasingly calling."

    The reality is that bahai scholars have not contributed to integral/integrative paradigms. Most have no idea what that means. It isn't apparent what the UHJ's letter writer meant. The UHJ itself obviously hasn't contributed to the "integralization" of bahai culture in any meaningful way.

    The various institutions at the BWC and in specific countries are operating in "STUPID" mode, and can't even clearly articulate a response to what is actually happening in the world, much less what is wrong with bahai, or how to "successfully" change things.

    ruhi is simply another doomed attempt at bureaucratic reinvention.

    bahai is simply another attempt at imposing a imperialist religion on the world by subjugating vulnerable and spiritually needy people into a vile model of "spiritual slavery".

    (cont.)

  • fubar

    (cont. from previous)

    In case you didn’t see it, there was a stunning interview on PBS recently about the failure of institutions at all levels to address social justice needs:

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04172009/profil

    (Video/Podcast/Transcript versions available)

    excerpt:

    | April 17, 2009
    |
    | The executive producer of HBO's critically-acclaimed show THE WIRE,
    | David Simon talks with Bill Moyers about inner-city crime and politics,
    | storytelling and the future of journalism today. After a dozen years
    | covering crime for the BALTIMORE SUN, David Simon left journalism
    | to write books and tell stories for NBC and HBO, including his
    | Peabody-winning cop show THE WIRE, which looked at the drug
    | wars and the gritty underbelly of the inner-city.
    . . .

    Also see: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~frank/habermas.html

    “ . . . As advanced capitalist societies have developed, the core integrative function of communication has been increasingly disabled (Habermas would say ‘colonized’). Thus the legitimation of social institutions, indeed of nation states, is in crisis. By legitimation Habermas means citizens’ sense that the institutions within which they live are just, benevolent, in their best interest, and deserving of their support, loyalty, and adherence. Legitimacy is clearly linked to social order, but there’s a shift of emphasis from Parsons’s problem of order. . . .”

    http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/10.html

    “The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere”

    “The concept of the public sphere as discussed by Habermas and others includes several requirements for authenticity that people who live in democratic societies would recognize: open access, voluntary participation, participation outside institutional roles, the generation of public opinion through assemblies of citizens who engage in rational argument, the freedom to express opinions, and the freedom to discuss matters of the state and criticize the way state power is organized.”

    “The communications media of the nineteenth century were the newspapers, the penny press, the first generation of what has come to be known as the mass media. At the same time, the birth of advertising and the beginnings of the public-relations industry began to undermine the public sphere by inventing a kind of buyable and sellable phony discourse that displaced the genuine kind.”

    “The simulation (and therefore destruction) of authentic discourse, first in the United States, and then spreading to the rest of the world, is what Guy Debord would call the first quantum leap into the "society of the spectacle" and what Jean Baudrillard would recognize as a milestone in the world's slide into hyper-reality. Mass media's colonization of civil society turned into a quasi-political campaign promoting technology itself when the image-making technology of television came along.”

    - – -

    http://www.reunitingamerica.org/transpartisan

    - – -

    bahai is, similarly to other social movements/institutions that came about in different times, not properly aligned with the newly emerged requirements of current times.

    the ideas that were brought into bahai by iranian fundamentalists are outmoded. the ideas that were brought into bahai by western elitists/socialites, and later bureaucratic social engineers, and then bahai-ized christian fundamentalists, are outmoded.

    the spiritual and intellectual creativity, vitality and dynamism of "lifeworld" (as described by Habermas), in bahai is in a state of constant injury and abuse, particularly if any expression of a need for freedom from the "slaves of god" mentality is stated.

  • fubar

    (cont. from previous)

    In case you didn’t see it, there was a stunning interview on PBS recently about the failure of institutions at all levels to address social justice needs:

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04172009/profil

    (Video/Podcast/Transcript versions available)

    excerpt:

    | April 17, 2009
    |
    | The executive producer of HBO's critically-acclaimed show THE WIRE,
    | David Simon talks with Bill Moyers about inner-city crime and politics,
    | storytelling and the future of journalism today. After a dozen years
    | covering crime for the BALTIMORE SUN, David Simon left journalism
    | to write books and tell stories for NBC and HBO, including his
    | Peabody-winning cop show THE WIRE, which looked at the drug
    | wars and the gritty underbelly of the inner-city.
    . . .

    Also see: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~frank/habermas.html

    “ . . . As advanced capitalist societies have developed, the core integrative function of communication has been increasingly disabled (Habermas would say ‘colonized’). Thus the legitimation of social institutions, indeed of nation states, is in crisis. By legitimation Habermas means citizens’ sense that the institutions within which they live are just, benevolent, in their best interest, and deserving of their support, loyalty, and adherence. Legitimacy is clearly linked to social order, but there’s a shift of emphasis from Parsons’s problem of order. . . .”

    http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/10.html

    “The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere”

    “The concept of the public sphere as discussed by Habermas and others includes several requirements for authenticity that people who live in democratic societies would recognize: open access, voluntary participation, participation outside institutional roles, the generation of public opinion through assemblies of citizens who engage in rational argument, the freedom to express opinions, and the freedom to discuss matters of the state and criticize the way state power is organized.”

    “The communications media of the nineteenth century were the newspapers, the penny press, the first generation of what has come to be known as the mass media. At the same time, the birth of advertising and the beginnings of the public-relations industry began to undermine the public sphere by inventing a kind of buyable and sellable phony discourse that displaced the genuine kind.”

    “The simulation (and therefore destruction) of authentic discourse, first in the United States, and then spreading to the rest of the world, is what Guy Debord would call the first quantum leap into the "society of the spectacle" and what Jean Baudrillard would recognize as a milestone in the world's slide into hyper-reality. Mass media's colonization of civil society turned into a quasi-political campaign promoting technology itself when the image-making technology of television came along.”

    - – -

    http://www.reunitingamerica.org/transpartisan

    - – -

    bahai is, similarly to other social movements/institutions that came about in different times, not properly aligned with the newly emerged requirements of current times.

    the ideas that were brought into bahai by iranian fundamentalists are outmoded. the ideas that were brought into bahai by western elitists/socialites, and later bureaucratic social engineers, and then bahai-ized christian fundamentalists, are outmoded.

    the spiritual and intellectual creativity, vitality and dynamism of "lifeworld" (as described by Habermas), in bahai is in a state of constant injury and abuse, particularly if any expression of a need for freedom from the "slaves of god" mentality is stated.

  • http://www.bahai-covenant.blogspot.com Brent Poirier

    1. People have been declaring the Baha'i Faith dead in its tracks for a hundred years (God Passes By, pp. 248 and 319 — "doomed to extinction" and "deathblow" quotes) and it still keeps ticking.

    2. What on earth does Charles Wolcott's working for Disney have to do with anything? This shows that the motive is mere opposition, not fairmindedness. In any event, Mr. Wolcott was not an executive, he was the director of music for MGM and he wrote movie scores.

    3. While I, too, had difficulty with Ruhi 1, the later books get much better, are more profound, and have a lot to offer. In addition to the content, there are other benefits: They get people out the door in acts of service and teaching. It gets Baha'is into contact with neighbors, and the divine Message gets shared.

    4. Ruhi programs include thousands of children's and youth classes in morality. God knows I wouldn't want to be a young person trying to be a Baha'i in today's amoral climate. It is hard to think of a greater service to our future world (and not far in the future) than to instil integrity into young people. I'm reminded of the train platform schools in India — run on a shoestring, but effective; and there are thousands of such classes, simple affairs seated on a blanket in people's front yards. I do not think that the profundity and significance of these Ruhi programs should be underestimated. The Baha'i Faith deals with First Principles and these programs are both simple and profoundly significant.

    5. The Ruhi programs are a way of kick-starting what wasn't happening, and should have been: self-study and self-application. The process of studying the Baha'i Faith, which is so broad and vast, intimidated most people. And again, Ruhi isn't just about initiating a process of study, it's about community-building, and community service, and these take a lot of guts.

    6. One of the unique features of the Baha'i Faith, and Ruhi is at the middle of it, is that it reaches peasants. Peasants make up more than half of the world's population, and moving this population is incredibly important, and incredibly difficult. Peasants are very adept at recognizing what's in their children's best interests — like education — and they make sure their kids get it. But Ruhi also reaches adults, and offers hope for impacting on such crucial matters as husbands treating their wives as equals; and parents educating the girl child. These matters alone would make the Ruhi programs highly significant. Impacting on these matters alone would change the face of the earth. I suggest not assuming that because you don't need to be an educated person to go through the Ruhi methodology, they are not worthwhile. There is a humbling process that occurs, that is also beneficial.

    7. Baha'is who go through the Ruhi program and think they've arrived because they've gone through the sequence of courses, have missed an important point. This isn't to put merit badges on people, and it, like any other advancement, can be used improperly, as a means of ego. These relative comparisons are all quite beside the point; relative merit is meaningless, only advancement towards the knowledge and the deeds of Abdu'l-Baha is a real accomplishment.
    8. Don't write us off just yet. There's merit in doing what the Universal House of Justice prescribes as a remedy.
    And just to round things off:
    9. Got a better idea for renewing the human race? Brent Poirier

  • http://www.bahai-covenant.blogspot.com Brent Poirier

    1. People have been declaring the Baha'i Faith dead in its tracks for a hundred years (God Passes By, pp. 248 and 319 — "doomed to extinction" and "deathblow" quotes) and it still keeps ticking.

    2. What on earth does Charles Wolcott's working for Disney have to do with anything? This shows that the motive is mere opposition, not fairmindedness. In any event, Mr. Wolcott was not an executive, he was the director of music for MGM and he wrote movie scores.

    3. While I, too, had difficulty with Ruhi 1, the later books get much better, are more profound, and have a lot to offer. In addition to the content, there are other benefits: They get people out the door in acts of service and teaching. It gets Baha'is into contact with neighbors, and the divine Message gets shared.

    4. Ruhi programs include thousands of children's and youth classes in morality. God knows I wouldn't want to be a young person trying to be a Baha'i in today's amoral climate. It is hard to think of a greater service to our future world (and not far in the future) than to instil integrity into young people. I'm reminded of the train platform schools in India — run on a shoestring, but effective; and there are thousands of such classes, simple affairs seated on a blanket in people's front yards. I do not think that the profundity and significance of these Ruhi programs should be underestimated. The Baha'i Faith deals with First Principles and these programs are both simple and profoundly significant.

    5. The Ruhi programs are a way of kick-starting what wasn't happening, and should have been: self-study and self-application. The process of studying the Baha'i Faith, which is so broad and vast, intimidated most people. And again, Ruhi isn't just about initiating a process of study, it's about community-building, and community service, and these take a lot of guts.

    6. One of the unique features of the Baha'i Faith, and Ruhi is at the middle of it, is that it reaches peasants. Peasants make up more than half of the world's population, and moving this population is incredibly important, and incredibly difficult. Peasants are very adept at recognizing what's in their children's best interests — like education — and they make sure their kids get it. But Ruhi also reaches adults, and offers hope for impacting on such crucial matters as husbands treating their wives as equals; and parents educating the girl child. These matters alone would make the Ruhi programs highly significant. Impacting on these matters alone would change the face of the earth. I suggest not assuming that because you don't need to be an educated person to go through the Ruhi methodology, they are not worthwhile. There is a humbling process that occurs, that is also beneficial.

    7. Baha'is who go through the Ruhi program and think they've arrived because they've gone through the sequence of courses, have missed an important point. This isn't to put merit badges on people, and it, like any other advancement, can be used improperly, as a means of ego. These relative comparisons are all quite beside the point; relative merit is meaningless, only advancement towards the knowledge and the deeds of Abdu'l-Baha is a real accomplishment.
    8. Don't write us off just yet. There's merit in doing what the Universal House of Justice prescribes as a remedy.
    And just to round things off:
    9. Got a better idea for renewing the human race? Brent Poirier

  • Emmalie

    I don't mean to be rude, but it seems rather shallow to depart from the faith just because of the Institute courses. I do not much care for Ruhi (though I have completed all but 3A), but that is not what threw me from the faith…I can understand not wanting to be with the people, but I cannot see why you would abandon all hope in the (nonworking, I'll admit) system. The “beautiful teachings” of the faith are still there, they haven't been replaced; they are merely overshadowed (sullied, if you will). But that shouldn't halt your enjoyment of the word of God.

    Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying…

  • Craig Parke

    Thank you for your comment, Emmalie. You somewhat misunderstand me. I say the beautiful Teachings of the Revelation (and of all enlightened souls everywhere in all World Ages from whatever the Source) will live on by the people who do the work of the new World Age every single day of their lives. And that is simply to transform injustice into justice every day as they pass through this world in every encounter. After all these years of once very dedicated service I have just completely given up any hope that that will ever be people walking around with a membership card in the Baha'i Faith in their wallet.

    The Faith is just too counter productive and the top down “Administrative Order” too impaired in the electoral processes to ever be a factor. Everyone is much better off if they say their prayers and go their own way. Once you are a signed Baha'i you are no longer a player. I will no longer bring people into such a system. I myself will no longer sit in the same room with the people who allowed this to be done to the once great potential of the Faith. It is now just a personal satrap for the psychological needs of a very tiny clique of lifetime incumbent people in Haifa and on NSA's.

    But I wish everyone well who wants to turn off their hearts and minds and choose the path of subservience to the top down deranged system which has zero checks and balances in it. You now have people without any personal conscience in the Faith. If the UHJ told them to murder their parents they would do it without question. Not me. I greatly honor personal conscience in people. I will be part of no organization that tells people to switch off their personal conscience. I once thought the Faith teaches personal conscience. I was wrong. In the new Ruhiized Faith you do what you are told and if you don't like it you can leave. I left.

  • AmadodeDios

    Actually, Argentina, I think.

  • parvizdeamer

    go watch http://www.bahai.org/arising if you have any issues about the ability of the Baha'i Faith to effect a transformation of society.

  • parvizdeamer

    Hey Eric,

    Thats great, except your missing the underlying solution behind all those problems, and thats the moral and spiritual development of man. Once men learn to let their 'hearts burn with loveing-kindness' for one another, that 'when a thought of war comes, oppose it by a more powerful thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be opposed by a more powerful thought of love.” the rest of the issues that you talk about will naturally be dealt with. How can any many that isn't “content with showing friendship in words alone” stand by and let his brother in a developing country suffer? This the building block of your social development, human rights, peace movements etc…

    To Craig Parke
    I find it interesting that a man of your intellect can't see how these simple quotations from Book1 can effect a transforming change in the character of the individual. Can you imagine what the world would be like if even 10% of the people “let their heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross you path?” These are the simple basics that we build the morals of society on. Maybe it needs more big words? You only have to look at neighborhoods around the world where the Ruhi Process has advanced to see the effects of this transforming power of these simple words, when put into practice and applied in the fullest implications of their meanings. Why do you think only 10 commandments were needed? They were simple, yes, but if everyone had truly practiced them the world would have been a better place.

  • Pingback: Universal House of Justice: Ridvan Message 2010 | Baha'i Rants

  • http://SOLS247.ORG M SINGH

    What is the difference between one blind person calling another blind in your case. Assuming what you say about the present leaderships is true, what are you doing for the betterment of the faith of Baha'u'llah you love so much as you claim. You should first try to come up with solutions in alternative activities such as social development work before you criticize. SOLS247 a NGO is run by bahais because they will not give up what they are at doing best. Baha'u'llah has so many avenues made available for lovers to serve Him.
    NINE MUST CONTEND WITH THOSE WHO YEILD AUTHORITY OVER THE PEOPLE, GIVE UNTO THEM WHAT IS THEIR AND CONCENTRATE YOUR EFFORTS ON MANS HEARTS. KITABI AQDAS 95