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The Unities Model of Existence

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					    An Outline of the Model | God in the Singular and Plural | Unifying Essences | Special Beings | A New Monotheism
    Unravelling | Unified Socialism | Unity in the Cosmos | Perennial and Divine Philosophies | Additional Philosophies
    The Philosophy of Critical Realism | Some Illustrations of meta-Reality | The Sciences and the Model | Conclusion




                                       I. An Outline of the Model

      The Basics

  I am, to be candid, an unusually fallible and imperfect being. My mind often
changes like the weather. Even if you do not entirely agree with the Unities Model
™ , should past experience be any indication, neither will I, a day or a year from
now. I also try to write simply, but wordiness and awkward phrasing are
communication challenges I face as an Autist. Humbly, therefore, I ask that you
ponder over each of the items in the model, not read through them too quickly.
Although I usually appear , these days, to be neurotypical (neurologically typical), I
am, like most Autists, actually quite eccentric. My oddities will be evident
throughout the book.
  Needless to say, approaching the creative Word is infinitely better than reading
the sentences of an unqualified soul like myself. This book, which is a work in
progress, has become a mirror of my heart. In order to be of some service to
readers, I have tried to write the material as well as I possibly could. However, my
own inadequacies and my personal limitations will be constantly evident, and I
apologize. I am being completely serious. Rely upon the Sacred Texts. Please, do
not trust me as a source . Go directly to the Baháʾí Scriptures. They are widely
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available online, including on one of my sites, The Baháʾí Studies Web Server.
  Through prayer, meditation, service, and investigation, one’s understandings
evolve. Anything I write in the book will, without a doubt, be flawed or defective. No
human being can represent the official teachings of the Religion of God for today,
the Baháʾí Faith. Inevitably, my views will also differ, to some extent, from those of
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others. However, by encouraging tolerance, pluralism, and unity within diversity, I
pray that my model of the great chain of being , or something similar to it, will
contribute to successful interfaith dialogues. The individual items and their unities
will be explored in greater detail in this and in later chapters.
  Because spiritual realities cannot be adequately illustrated by size or by shape,
the Unities Model, below, is a description, not a diagram:
      ... we should be very careful not to consider geometrical figures as expressing in
    an absolutely true form what is in reality spiritual relations and beyond our
    comprehension. The charts may be helpful to state some primary facts but surely
    the reality has elements far beyond what they can express.
    From a letter, dated January 24, 1933, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí.

                              STATION OF ESSENTIAL UNITY
              Any essence is a unifying structure, an inner reality, or a collective
              center of beings and things, not the beings and things themselves.
              The highest Essential Unity (the Deity, infinite Essence, divine Unity,
              True One, Godhead, Great Being, and Source), the rational and
              unknowable God, exists in this Station. He is the “Unifying” or
              “Unification” (Arabic 1, al-Tawḥīd), and the unknowable Essence, of
              the Prophets or Divinities. Since these Prophets, in Their Oneness
              (or First Will), also occupy this Station of He is God (Hū Allāh),
              rejecting even One of Them stakes a claim at “sharing” (al-širk) in
              God’s Sovereignty and Dominion. God is, in addition, the Unity of
              the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM and the innermost Essence of the
              lower unifying essences (essential unities, universal realities, collective
              realities, or universals ), beings, and things. Existence, in its diversity
              or individuality, can be seen as one. Because all attributes (including
              religious moral codes), beings, and things depend upon God, they
              can be created, changed, or destroyed relative to His Will.

          SPIRITUAL KINGDOM : This Kingdom of Names and Attributes (of
          the Unity and His unities), Angelhood (the Angelic Realm), or Paradise,
          is manifested by the Prophets, within their STATION OF DISTINCTION
          (or Prophethood), to all creation. Sometimes the Kingdom is referred to
          by only one of the Names of God. Instead of a Trinity, there is an Infinity
          of Prophets (the STATION OF DISTINCTION) united through One God
          (the STATION OF ESSENTIAL UNITY ). The divine Singular and the
          divine Plural have been unified. Within the STATION OF SERVITUDE
          (or creation), the Kingdom of God is emanated as the Hereafter and as
          the Higher Nature.

                                   STATION OF DISTINCTION
              Prophethood, or the Greater World, is the progressive Revelation of
              divine Manifestations. The Essence of God is manifested in
              relationship (ancient, eternal Covenant, Cause, or Command) with
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humanity. These uncommonly human Prophets (God manifested as
Souls) share, and are made up of, the individualized Attributes (Holy
Spirit, Primal Will, or Word) of the Unity of God. Revelations of
specific Attributes result in differences between Their teachings. We
learn about the Unity through Its Reflection in diverse Individuals,
or Prophets, with personal Names and Missions. To us, not among
Themselves, Baháʾuʾlláh, peace be upon Him, has the highest
Station. He is the Supreme Manifestation of God. The Prophets
have a different nature (Attributes) than human beings.

                     STATION OF SERVITUDE
The station of creation is servitude to the divine Unity. “... the
conditions of existence are limited to the conditions of servitude, of
prophethood and of Deity ...” (ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered
Questions, page 230). Servitude is spiritually perfected in the
Mystery of God, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. As the Perfect Man or created
Being, He is the Master, Exemplar, Archetype, or Ideal Type of
servitude. The road to perfection is freedom through service. “The
liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete
servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth” (Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-
Aqdas, page 64). Perhaps both the beloved Master and His brother,
Muḥammad ʿAlī, were exceptionally created beings. ʿAbduʾl-Bahá,
peace be upon Him, lived up to it. Baháʾuʾlláh, peace be upon Him,
then blessed Him with perfection. Muḥammad ʿAlī, may God forgive
him, broke his Father’s Covenant.
Hereafter: In the Hereafter, beings from the HUMAN KINGDOM
continue after death. The attributes, or qualities, of the SPIRITUAL
KINGDOM in the world to come are rewards (blessings for good
deeds in this world), pardons (for sins committed in this world), and
bounties (in the next world). Heavenly attributes, eternal life, or
spirit are the ingredients of each departed soul. “With reference to
your question as to the meaning of the term ‘Abhá Kingdom,’ it is
another term for the spiritual world beyond the grave.” (From a
letter, dated April 21, 1939, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to
an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File ,
number 1595). The immediate state of the immortal soul is a result
of its accomplishments in this world. Speculatively, ghosts may be
signs of departed souls which continue to be attached to the mortal
world (a kind of hell).
                    Great Workshop of this World
Higher Nature: This human spiritual nature, the soul’s purpose or
nobility, consists of the attributes of the unity of revealed religions
(the Religion of God) within the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM .
Progressively deeper teachings or formulations of truth, relative to
each Age, are revealed through God’s eternal Covenant. By
accepting that unity, we acquire its attributes in this world. “... he
who turns away from this Beauty hath also turned away from the
Messengers of the past and showeth pride towards God from all
eternity to all eternity” (Baháʾuʾlláh, Baháʾí Prayers, page 214). We

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    are born again and live according to our universal or shared Higher
    Nature. Gradually, the HUMAN KINGDOM is spiritually perfected.
    These “faithful virtues,” like love and insight, are called the spirit of
    faith (or faith). In addition to the human spirit, the spirit of faith can
    become the ingredients of a human soul. “... the human spirit, unless
    assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the
    divine secrets and the heavenly realities” (ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some
    Answered Questions, page 317). “... the Kingdom has no place, but is
    connected with man” (page 242).
HUMAN KINGDOM: This kingdom, which contains the unknowable
unifying essence of man or human unity, is sometimes called humanity or
the lesser world. To be an individual is not to be independent.
Relationships, perhaps intergalactically, are formed within a universal
web of interdependence or essential unity. Spirit is the ocean. Souls are
the drops. The universal attributes of this divinely willed unifying
essence, “the essence of man,” are termed the “rational faculty” (the
rational soul, rationality, the human spirit, universal mind, or shared
human nature). Particular souls in this kingdom can be governed by
their Higher Nature or by Nature. Included are rational (imagination,
thought, understanding, memory, common sense 2, and, the
distinguishing trait of this world, free will), sensory, growing, and
cohesive attributes. They are the ingredients of each human soul
(human being) and of each Prophet’s human nature. By a unity of
revealed religions, the unity of humanity has progressed from stage to
stage (family, tribe, city-state, and nation). His Sacred Presence
Baháʾuʾlláh is now structuring human unity into His World Order, the
appearance of the Kingdom of God on earth, through the reality of the
Universal House of Justice (the form of divine Justice in this world). Its
conferred infallibility, like any infallibility, is known to God. Its authority,
like any authority, is revealed to us.
    Nature: Within the physical kingdoms of spacetime below are
    attributes of sensation, growth, and cohesion. For human beings,
    Nature (physical attributes) is our universal or shared lower nature.
ANIMAL KINGDOM : This kingdom may include numerous unifying
essences (“species”). The attributes of these divinely willed essential
unities (unifying essences) are termed the animal spirit. The ingredients
of each animal are sensory (bodily coordination), cohesive, and growing
attributes or traits. They are the animal’s bodily functions (shared by
human beings).
VEGETABLE KINGDOM: This kingdom may include numerous
unifying essences (“species”). The attributes of these divinely willed
essential unities (unifying essences) of nature are termed the vegetable
spirit. The ingredients of each vegetable are growing and cohesive
attributes or traits.
MINERAL KINGDOM : This kingdom may include numerous unifying
essences (“species”). The attributes of these divinely willed essential
unities (unifying essences) of nature are called the mineral spirit. The
ingredients of each mineral are cohesive attributes. Among these

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           attributes are electromagnetism and other forms of energy, gravity,
           possible antigravity, and time or formation which connects entities in the
           past, present, and future. “... each time that the isolated elements
           combine conformably to the divine universal system, one being among
           beings comes into the world” (ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions ,
           page 292).

      Sacred Geometry
  The Kingdom of Names and Attributes (al-Malakūt al-Asmāʾ waʾl Ṣifāt) is, I feel,
manifested by God through Prophethood. According to the divine Will, the Kingdom
(al-Malakūt) is expressed or, metaphorically, “stepped down” – like an electrical
transformer which is used to reduce voltage – both within itself and within the four
lower kingdoms (al-mawālid). A kingdom might incorporate various realities (al-
ḥaqāʾiq), including one or more essences (al-dawāt), or unities (al-waḥadāt), and
                                            (al-d
particular beings and things. The unifying essences can then be known, relative to
our own capacities, by their attributes (al-ṣifāt).
      ... Socrates the wise believed in the unity of God and the existence of the soul
    after death; as his opinion was contrary to that of the narrow-minded people of his
    time, that divine sage was poisoned by them. All divine philosophers and men of
    wisdom and understanding, when observing these endless beings, have considered
    that in this great and infinite universe all things end in the mineral kingdom, that
    the outcome of the mineral kingdom is the vegetable kingdom, the outcome of the
    vegetable kingdom is the animal kingdom and the outcome of the animal kingdom
    the world of man.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Pages 13-14.

       ... the states of beings are different. That which is in the lowest state of existence,
    like the mineral, has no right to complain, saying, “O God, why have You not given
    me the vegetable perfections?” In the same way, the plant has no right to complain
    that it has been deprived of the perfections of the animal world. Also it is not
    befitting for the animal to complain of the want of the human perfections. No, all
    these things are perfect in their own degree, and they must strive after the
    perfections of their own degree. The inferior beings, as we have said, have neither
    the right to, nor the fitness for, the states of the superior perfections. No, their
    progress must be in their own state.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 249.

      ... when certain elements combine, a vegetable existence is produced; when
    others combine, it is an animal; again others combine, and they produce different
    creatures. In this case, the existence of things is the consequence of their reality ....
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 292-293.

  Each of the kingdoms may have one or more unknowable unifying essences with
individualized attributes (appearances). The Unifying Essence of God, the divine
Singular, and His diverse Attributes as Prophets, the divine Plural, may set the
pattern of unity in diversity (unity manifested as diversity). When God manifests

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His Kingdom, the pattern is duplicated. Here are a couple of clear examples: The
attributes, manifestations, emergences, or involutions (involvements) of the human
unifying essence (the unity of humanity) are, as the rational faculty , individualized
as human beings. Spiritual virtues, which are the attributes of the unity of revealed
religions, can be observed in particular religions.
      The courage, the resolution, the pure motive, the selfless love of one people for
    another—all the spiritual and moral qualities required for effecting this momentous
    step towards peace are focused on the will to act. And it is towards arousing the
    necessary volition that earnest consideration must be given to the reality of man,
    namely, his thought. To understand the relevance of this potent reality is also to
    appreciate the social necessity of actualizing its unique value through candid,
    dispassionate and cordial consultation, and of acting upon the results of this
    process.
    The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace, September, 2006. Page
    12.

  Therefore, God, it appears to me, creates in symmetry and unity. Although I
developed the Unities Model after consulting various Baháʾí texts, if I were asked
for supporting evidence, I would need to cross-reference several sources.
However, late in the evening on December 19, 2011, a possible relationship
between The Unities Model of Existence and the sacred geometry of the Baháʾí or
Badīʿ (new, unique, or wonderful) Calendar occurred to me during my daily
meditations. First, to illustrate this unified patterning, here is a summary of the
basic units in this divinely structured calendar:
1 . The largest unit of time, a Kulla Šayʾ (All Things), includes 361 years divided
    into 19 periods of 19 years.
2 . Each period is termed a wāḥid (unity or, in Persianized Arabic, vāḥid).
3 . Each of the 19 cycles of Kulla Šayʾ and each wāḥid in a particular Kulla Šayʾ is
    named after an Attribute of God or a Letter.
4 . The abjad (ʾabǧad, order), or numerical, value of the word, wāḥid, is 19.
5 . A year consists of 19 months of 19 days with the addition of 4 or 5 intercalary
    days (Ayyām-i Hā, Persianized Arabic for Days of H).
6 . The days of the month and the months themselves have the same Names of
    divine Attributes.
7 . Another list of Attributes is used for the (seven) days of the week.
      And the One sitting on the throne said, Behold! I make all things new. And He
    says to me, Write, because these Words are faithful and true.
    John, Revelation 21:5, Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Jay P. Green, Sr.,
    translator).

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 The following quotation contains a lot of conjecture, but its discussion of the neo-
Pythagorean influences upon sacred geometry is interesting:
       It was the secret knowledge of cosmic number and form that Pythagorus learned
    in the years he spent in Egypt....
       During the years when Pythagorus lived (570-500 BC), Confucius, Lao Tzu, and
    the Buddha were also teaching esoteric knowledge, and their words were being
    written down .... So it was with Pythagorus and sacred geometry....
       Pythagorus is reported to have said that “All things are numbers.” Taken in its
    full import, this means that the creation—all that may be perceived and understood
    —is number. That idea is usually understood in symbolic terms. Pythagorus,
    however, went beyond symbolism to absolute law.... Thus, number is the same as
    law.
    Richard G. Geldard, The Traveler’s Key to Ancient Greece: A Guide to Sacred Places .
    Wheaton, IL. Quest Books. 2000. Page 68.

  According to my personal interpretation of the calendar, as an ontology (or
spiritual cosmology), all things are made from multilayered enfoldments or
complexities of unknowable unifying essences with their knowable attributes.
Reality can be explained, multidimensionally, as unities within unities within unities
within unities. Beings and things, the individualized attributes (manifestations,
involutions, or events ) of unities, are wrapped up in each other.
  God is 1. Symbolically, through reduced ordinals, 361 becomes 3+6+1=10, and
19 becomes 1+9=10. Then, 1+0=1 (unity). Both the letter hā (in Ayyām-i Hā) and
Báb (Bāb, Gate) have abjad values of 5. Therefore, the Most Exalted Báb is the
Gate to all things, the Gate to the unities, and the Gate to God’s Names and
Attributes:
      The Báb made use of the numerical value of words to symbolize spiritual
    concepts. The Persian for “The Letters of the Living” is “urúf-i- ay”; there were 18
    of these first disciples of the Báb and the numerical value of the word “Ḥáy” is 18.
    These 18 letters, together with the Báb Himself, constitute the first “Váḥid” of the
    Revelation. The word “Váḥid” has a numerical value of 19, and means “Unity.” It
    symbolizes the unity of God, and thus the number 19 itself symbolizes the unity of
    God, and it was used by the Báb as the basis for His Calendar. One may also note
    the reference on “The Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas” to 19 or 95
    [19 times 5] mithqáls of gold or silver in connection with the laws of marriage and
    of Ḥuqúquʾlláh.
    From a letter, dated November 13, 1980, written on behalf of the Universal House
    of Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File .
    Number 1376.

       In this station the truth of the unity of God and of the signs of His sanctity is
    established....
       If thou be of the inmates of this city within the ocean of divine unity, thou wilt
    view all the Prophets and Messengers of God as one soul and one body, as one light
    and one spirit .... Through them are manifested ... the tokens of oneness in the

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    essences of all beings.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries. Pages 31 and 33.

       Finally, when the Trumpet is sounded. That will be—that Day—a Day of Distress
    —Far from easy for those without Faith.... Soon will I visit him with a mount of
    calamities!... Soon will I cast him into Hellfire!... Over it are Nineteen. And we have
    set none but angels or guardians of the Fire; and we have fixed their number only
    as a trial for Unbelievers,—in order that the People of the Book may arrive at
    certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,—and that no doubts may be left
    for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a
    disease and the Unbelievers may say, “What does Allāh intend by this?” Thus doth
    leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know
    the forces of thy Lord, except He, and this is no other than a Reminder to
    Mankind.
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 74:8-10, 17, 26, 30-31. A. Yusuf Ali’s Translation.

  Imaginatively, I would add that The Unities Model of Existence might be
visualized, during meditation, as a unified field , or a field of unity, with nineteen-
dimensional unities or essences. If this playful idea, or thought experiment, has
any merit, one could then make a further speculation. The unities within unities
within unities within unities in the Badīʿ Calendar, when mathematically expressed
as 19 4 , result in 130,321 (where, as reduced ordinals, 1+3+0+3+2+1=10 and
1+0=1). Perhaps, therefore, Kulla Šayʾ (All Things) consists of 130,321 nineteen-
dimensional enfolded unities and their individualized attributes (beings and
things).
  Those embedded and stratified dimensions, frequency rates, or patterns might, I
suggest, be conceptualized as the attributes of unities (unifying essences) or,
metaphorically, as the attributes of existential strings :
1 . Attributes of the Kulla Šayʾ Cycle :
        A, B, Father, D, Gate, V, Eternity, Generosity, Splendor, Love, Delightful,
        Answer, Single, Bountiful, Affection, Beginning, Luminous, Most Luminous,
        Unity
2 . Attributes of the Wāḥid Cycle (same as above) :
        A, B, Father, D, Gate, V, Eternity, Generosity, Splendor, Love, Delightful,
        Answer, Single, Bountiful, Affection, Beginning, Luminous, Most Luminous,
        Unity
3 . Attributes of the Monthly Cycle :
        Splendor, Glory, Beauty, Grandeur, Light, Mercy, Words, Perfection,
        Names, Will, Knowledge, Power, Speech, Questions, Honor, Sovereignty,
        Dominion, Loftiness
4 . Attributes of the Nineteen-Day Cycle (same as above) :
        Splendor, Glory, Beauty, Grandeur, Light, Mercy, Words, Perfection,

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     Names, Will, Knowledge, Power, Speech, Questions, Honor, Sovereignty,
     Dominion, Loftiness
This writer makes an interesting connection between the ether and strings:
    The ether is a lattice or matrix of ether strings which moves in bulk, and it has
  definite internal geometric structure comprised of criss-crossing strings that form
  the edges of repeating and nested tetrahedrons and octahedrons. The strings are in
  tension like piano strings ....
  Glen W. Deen, Ether.” Astro-Revelation. Yahoo! Group. Aug 22, 1999. Retrieved on
  May 11, 2012.

These two authors briefly summarize the string theories:
    In the 1990’s the subject formerly known as “string theory” evolved into
  something else, which has now become known as “M-theory.” M-theory is a circle
  of ideas connecting strings, quantum gravity, unification of forces, duality, Kaluza-
  Klein theory, Yang-Mills theory, and supersymmetry. While the fundamental
  principles of M-theory are still unclear, our picture of the subject has evolved
  rapidly in recent years. M-theory has the distinction of being the only approach to
  quantum gravity which has succeeded both in tying itself firmly to our classical
  understanding of gravity (albeit in 10 or 11 dimensions) and in addressing non-
  perturbative quantum issues such as the entropy of black holes.... To some
  researchers M-theory is a candidate for a “theory of everything” which would
  underlie all of the structures in our universe.
  Stephen Hawking, Strings and M-Theory.

    Particle physics theories ... [include] string theory and M-theory .... While it has
  been suggested that ... the extra dimensions are “curled up” on the subatomic scale
  (possibly at the quark/string level of scale or below), not a single physical
  experiment has confirmed the existence of spatial dimensions beyond 3.
  Michael Taylor, How many dimensions is your world?

String theory might also, by extension, be adapted within the social sciences:
    In essence, is string theory a logical outcome of a globalized, networked society?
    I, for one, believe it is only a matter of time before we start speaking in terms of
  “social string theory” (aka “the connections between us” aka “the ties that bind”).
    Just extend the work of [Albert-László] Barabási [Center for Complex Network
  Research at University of Notre Dame] ....
  Raphie Frank, “Updating Voltaire For The 21st Century, If string theory didn’t
  exist....” PsyForum Science: Physics and Technology Discussion Forums. Retrieved on
  January 18, 2012.

Some researchers hope, in addition, for a superunified theory :
    Formulating quantum field theories of each of the four fundamental forces was
  an obvious goal, and remains so to this day. Three of the forces – the strong, the
  weak and the electromagnetic – have been treated with great success; and have
  been combined to form a so-called standard model of fundamental forces. However,
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    been combined to form a so-called standard model of fundamental forces. However,
    gravity has resisted all attempts to fit it into the same kind of theoretical strait-
    jacket and seems to require very special treatment if it is to be treated as a
    quantum field theory at all. If it were not for the problem of gravity we would be
    able to say that the physicist’s current world-view is that the Universe consists of a
    set of mutually interacting quantum fields that fill the space-time described by
    special relativity. But it seems that this will not do.
       A way forward may be indicated by the standard model itself. The standard
    model is actually something more than a description of three of the four
    fundamental forces: it is also to some extent a prototype for their union. Within the
    standard model, the electromagnetic and weak forces appear as a unified
    electroweak force. The exact meaning of unification in this context is too technical
    to go into here, but suffice it to say that, under unification, the quantum fields
    responsible for the weak and electromagnetic forces combine in a way that is
    slightly reminiscent of Einstein’s fusion of space and time to form space-time.
       The success of electroweak unification has been one of the motivations for
    suggesting that all three of the forces that appear in the standard model might be
    unified within a grand unified theory, and that a further step of unification might
    also incorporate gravity, thus bringing all four fundamental forces within a single
    superunified theory. The form that such a superunified theory might take is far
    from clear. Would it involve quantum fields in a curved space-time, or would
    something altogether more radical be required?
    “Learning Space: Richard Feynman.” The Open University. Retrieved on April 24,
    2012.

  The Pythagorean musical harmony of the spheres has, it seems, gone back to
the future . Although the harp-like vibrating strings of M-theory (an eleven-
dimensional string theory) are believed by many physicists to produce the particles
and fundamental forces (events) of nature, neither the strings nor the dimensions
have been, or likely ever will be, observed in a laboratory. Nevertheless, ʿAbduʾl-
Bahá may have prophecied an eventual superunified theory in physics. According
to Him, heat, light, and electricity result from the vibrations of an unobservable
ether which, I would speculate, refers to strings or unities.
       ... the nature of ether is unknown, but that it existeth is certain by the effects it
    produceth, heat, light and electricity being the waves thereof. By these waves the
    existence of ether is thus proven....
       ... in the world of being there exist forces unseen of the eye, such as the force of
    ether previously mentioned, that cannot be sensed, that cannot be seen. However,
    from the effects it produceth, that is from its waves and vibrations, light, heat,
    electricity appear and are made evident.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Pages 16 and 19-20.

      ... ethereal matter is not sensible, though it has an undoubted existence. The
    power of attraction is not sensible, though it certainly exists. From what do we
    affirm these existences? From their signs. Thus this light is the vibration of that
    ethereal matter, and from this vibration we infer the existence of ether.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 190.

 Speculatively, understanding the specific vibrational frequency rates
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(dimensions, resonances, waves, oscillations, harmonics, or patterns) of the ether
or strings might, at some point, be practical in physics and engineering. For
instance, gravitationally, any object, large or small, will fall at a constant rate of
32.2 feet (9.8 meters) per second 2 in a vacuum. Should researchers be able to
determine the rate of gravitational vibration, then antigravity , as a form of jet
propulsion or heavy lifting, may be a matter of synchronizing, or unifying, with the
etheric frequency, or attribute , of gravity and redirecting it.
 Transcending other natural properties or attributes – such as light, time,
magnetism, and sound or words – could involve similar procedures to antigravity:
       ... Christ was like a clear mirror which was facing the Sun of Reality; and the
    perfections of the Sun of Reality-that is to say, its light and heat-were visible and
    apparent in this mirror. If we look into the mirror, we see the sun, and we say, “It is
    the sun.” Therefore, the Word and the Holy Spirit, which signify the perfections of
    God, are the divine appearance. This is the meaning of the verse in the Gospel
    which says: “The Word was with God, and the Word was God”; for the divine
    perfections are not different from the Essence of Oneness. The perfections of
    Christ are called the Word because all the beings are in the condition of letters, and
    one letter has not a complete meaning, while the perfections of Christ have the
    power of the word because a complete meaning can be inferred from a word. As
    the Reality of Christ was the manifestation of the divine perfections, therefore, it
    was like the word. Why? Because He is the sum of perfect meanings. This is why He
    is called the Word.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 206-207.

      Hallowed be the Lord in Whose hand is the source of dominion. He createth
    whatsoever He willeth by His Word of command “Be,” and it is.
    The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Page 133.

      In the beginning was the Word [Greek, Logós], and the Word was with God
    [Koiné Greek, ϑeós or “theos”], and the Word was God. He was in the beginning
    with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing
    came into being.
    John 1:1-3, New Revised Standard Version.

  Although I have no way of substantiating the idea, ancient pyramid stones
throughout the world might also have been manipulated using some form of
vibrational antigravity or sound resonance technology. The planetary alignments of
these physical structures could indicate an intentional harmony, or harmonics, of
the spheres. These quotations offer fairly similar, if tentative, suggestions:
      What Masʿūdī [Abu al-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī al-Masʿūdī, ninth-tenth
    century A.D.] was suggesting in his curious account [the thirty-volume Ahbār az-
    Zamān, History of Time] is that inscribed magical papyri were inserted beneath the
    stone blocks used in the construction of the pyramids, before the latter were struck
    by an instrument of some sort, plausibly a rod or stave. Somehow this induced them
    both to rise into the air and travel for a distance of “a bowshot,” the equivalent of

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    150 cubits, with one “royal” cubit measuring 0.5773 metres. Even with the most
    basic knowledge of physics, it is clear that Masʿūdī was implying that, by striking
    the stones, the Ancient Egyptians were able to set up some kind of sustained sound
    vibration that enabled the building-blocks to defy gravity and move over the
    ground for a distance of around 86.5 metres, before they would have to be struck
    again to achieve the same result. After producing an initial thrust, they would have
    been able to take advantage of Newton’s first law of motion [inertia, objects stay at
    rest or in motion unless acted upon by an outside force].
    Andrew Collins, Gods of Eden: Egypt’s Lost Legacy and the Genesis of Civilization.
    Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions – Bear & Company. Kindle edition.

       Edward Leedskalnin, a Latvian eccentric, ... concocted a method of single-
    handedly erecting massive quarried stone resulting in the enigma that is Coral
    Castle [in Homestead, Florida]....
       Ed disputed contempory science and believed all matter consisted of magnets
    which could produce measurable phenomena, and electricity. Ed would say he had
    “re-discovered the laws of weight, measurement, and leverage” and that these
    concepts “involved the relationship of the Earth to celestial alignments.” He claimed
    to see beads of light which he believed to be the physical presence of nature’s
    magnetism and life force ....
       According to author B.J. Cathie, an authority on grid dynamics, “there exists an
    all-encompassing global grid with direct harmonic relationship to the speed of light,
    gravity, magnetics and earth mass. All major changes of the physical state are
    brought about by harmonic interactions of these manifestations. The controlled
    manipulation of these forces would make it possible to instantaneously move mass
    from one point to another in space/time.”
    Kathy Doore, The Enigma of Coral Castle – A Geomantic Wonder . May 27, 2001.
    Pages 1, 4, and 6.

       To the Ancient Egyptians every star possessed a sacred meaning. They called
    Sirius in the constellation Canis Major the Star of Isis. Other constellations like
    Orion might have had a certain architectural significance. The three Great
    Pyramids are aligned with the three constellation stars of Orion. What does this
    alignment mean, is it a coincidence or were the pyramids purposely engineered this
    way?
    Orion, Sirius & The Pyramids Of Egypt. Retrieved on May 27, 2012.

  The frequencies or dimensions of existence are provided in the TaNaḤ or Old
Testament. Symbolically, the first six days of the week may be the six Days of
creation or the Prophetic Cycle. The seventh Day on which God rests (Hebrew,
Šabbāṯ or Sabbath , rest) might represent the Dispensation of His Sacred Presence
Baháʾuʾlláh and the 500,000-year Cycle of Fulfilment. The Blessed Báb could, in
addition to His other designations, be the Gate to the Day of God (the seventh Day
of Ǧalāl or Jalál, Glory) or the promised Millennium. God’s process of creation,
                                              ʾĀd
relative to the great cycle which began with ʾĀdām, was completed.
   Divine Attributes Manifested within the Process and Fulfillment of Creation :
       Glory, Beauty, Perfection, Grace, Justice, Majesty, and Independence
       (Saturday-Friday)
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  Humanity had been prepared for the arrival of the Father:
       “He it is,” referring to Himself [Baháʾuʾlláh] ..., “Who in the Old Testament hath
    been named Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of
    Truth ....”
       “... The Father hath come.... Verily the Spirit of Truth is come to guide you unto
    all truth.” “The Comforter Whose advent all the scriptures have promised is now
    come ....”
    Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 104.

  I have drawn upon numerous sources in formulating The Unities Model of
Existence . Throughout the Baháʾí Sacred Texts, a divinely revealed ontology
(beingness or existence) is, in my opinion, relatively presented. It can be detected,
in diverse contexts, from a variety of angles, perspectives, or, using an academic
term, standpoint epistemologies (ways of knowing). These include, among others,
the five kingdoms (divine, human, animal, vegetable, and mineral), the three
conditions of existence (God, the Prophets, and creation), and the four worlds:
1 . al-Lahūt is Divinity.
2 . al-Ǧabarūt ( al-Jabarút ) is Omnipotence.
3 . al-Malakūt is the Kingdom, the Angels or Messengers (literally), or Angelhood
    (more loosely).
4 . al-Nāsūt is Humanity.
       Secrets are many, but strangers are myriad. Volumes will not suffice to hold the
    mystery of the Beloved One, nor can it be exhausted in these pages, although it be
    no more than a word, no more than a sign. “Knowledge is a single point [unity?],
    but the ignorant have multiplied it.” [Muḥammad, Qurʾán 83:28.]
       On this same basis, ponder likewise the differences among the worlds. Although
    the divine worlds be never ending, yet some refer to them as four: The world of
    time (zamán), which is the one that hath both a beginning and an end; the world of
    duration (dahr), which hath a beginning, but whose end is not revealed; the world
    of perpetuity (sarmad), whose beginning is not to be seen but which is known to
    have an end; and the world of eternity (azal), neither a beginning nor an end of
    which is visible. Although there are many differing statements as to these points, to
    recount them in detail would result in weariness. Thus, some have said that the
    world of perpetuity hath neither beginning nor end, and have named the world of
    eternity as the invisible, impregnable Empyrean. Others have called these the
    worlds of the Heavenly Court (Lahút), of the Empyrean Heaven (Jabarút), of the
    Kingdom of the Angels (Malakút), and of the mortal world (Násút).
      Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys,” The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Pages
      10-11.

       In his [the seeker’s] journey he seeth all differences return to a single word and
    all allusions culminate in a single point.


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    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries. Page 39.

  Following another pattern, dimension, or frequency, certain affinites between
beings and things may be divinely ordained. To my understanding, these
relationships conform to an order not unlike the progressive Revelation of God’s
Prophets. For instance, the Prophets, while particular Entities, universally manifest
the Holy Spirit or divine Attributes. They occupy the Stations of both Unity and
Distinction. Similarly, rational attributes return to this world, time and time again, as
different human beings. Perhaps their spiritual connections with one another,
sometimes as guardian angels, appear in the thoughts of certain individuals as
reincarnation .
       ... the outward is the expression of the inward; the earth is the mirror of the
    Kingdom; the material world corresponds to the spiritual world. Now observe that
    in the sensible world appearances are not repeated, for no being in any respect is
    identical with, nor the same as, another being. The sign of singleness is visible and
    apparent in all things. If all the granaries of the world were full of grain, you would
    not find two grains absolutely alike, the same and identical without any distinction.
    It is certain that there will be differences and distinctions between them.... As the
    repetition of the same appearance is impossible and interdicted for each of the
    material beings, so for spiritual beings also, a return to the same condition, whether
    in the arc of descent or in the arc of ascent, is interdicted and impossible, for the
    material corresponds to the spiritual.
       Nevertheless, the return of material beings with regard to species is evident; so
    the trees which during former years brought forth leaves, blossoms and fruits in
    the coming years will bring forth exactly the same leaves, blossoms and fruits. This
    is called the repetition of species....
       In the Divine Scriptures and Holy Books “return” is spoken of, but the ignorant
    have not understood the meaning, and those who believed in reincarnation have
    made conjectures on the subject. For what the divine Prophets meant by “return”
    is not the return of the essence, but that of the qualities; it is not the return of the
    Manifestation, but that of the perfections. In the Gospel it says that John, the son
    of Zacharias, is Elias. These words do not mean the return of the rational soul and
    personality of Elias in the body of John, but rather that the perfections and
    qualities of Elias were manifested and appeared in John.
       ... The “return” which is mentioned in the Divine Scriptures is this: it is fully
    explained by the Supreme Pen [Baháʾuʾlláh] in the Kitáb-i-Íqán. Refer to it, so that
    you may be informed of the truth of the divine mysteries.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 123-124 and 126.

      Strive ... to comprehend the meaning of “return” which hath been so explicitly
    revealed in the Qurʾán itself, and which none hath as yet understood. What sayest
    thou? If thou sayest that Muḥammad was the “return” of the Prophets of old, as is
    witnessed by this verse, His Companions must likewise be the “return” of the
    bygone Companions, even as the “return” of the former people is clearly attested
    by the text of the above-mentioned verses.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Page 47.

  A number of people might argue that this sort of material is too confusing for the
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web. Such discussions should take place in an interpersonal setting, which would
allow considerable time for questions. Although I can understand these concerns,
my own heart tells me otherwise. Honestly, if I can understand these concepts,
even to a limited degree, almost anyone can. Many of them are certainly not
original. Under the loving care of my spiritual mother, Elizabeth Thomas, I
deepened or reflected on similar materials. Through that process, in my early
teens, I became attracted to God’s Attributes shining within the Best Beloved.
  Still, certain feelings and reflections expressed in this book initially took me by
surprise. For me, that is a bit unusual. My long-time friends know that I have, fairly
regularly, overhauled my worldviews. Since I was a child, I felt the need to have,
and give names to, perspectives on the issues important to me, but I rarely cared
about which ones. Because parts of the book will be unconventional, I have
included numerous quotations from official Baháʾí as well as from other sources.
Then, for clarity, I have sometimes repeated myself in several ways. Hopefully, this
style will not become terribly annoying.
  Return to the table of contents.

                            II. God in the Singular and Plural

       The Divine Singular

  The Prophets are distinct from the unknowable Essence of God. Nevertheless,
these Celestial Beings, I feel, occupy God’s Station of Essential Unity or the divine
Singular . In relation to us, however, the Prophets appear in the Station of
Distinction or Plurality . In other words, while They are all, without exception, made
up of individualized divine Attributes, Each of Them reveals, in keeping with the
Will of God, a particular set of those ancient and everlasting Perfections. Even
though the Prophets are given God’s Own Station , the Nature of God and the
Nature of Prophethood are not the same.
  As a rough analogy, by becoming a follower and a promoter of the Revelation of
His Sacred Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, one may, God Willing, attain to the station of the
Lesser Prophets. One does not, however, acquire a Prophetic Nature:
       The station which he who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the
     same as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are not
     regarded as Manifestations “endowed with constancy.”
     Baháʾuʾlláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 111.

       [Some] ... Prophets are followers and promoters, for they are branches and not
     independent; they receive the bounty of the independent Prophets, and they profit
     by the light of the Guidance of the universal Prophets. They are like the moon,
     which is not luminous and radiant in itself, but receives its light from the sun.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 164.

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       The Prophets “regarded as One and the same person” include the Lesser
    Prophets as well, and not merely Those Who bring a “Book”. The station is
    different, but they are Prophets and Their nature thus different from that of ours.
    From a letter, dated February 8, 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Page 498.

                  Speculatively, Mesoamerican Minor, or Dependent, Prophets
                might have included Quetzalcoatl (Aztec Nahuatl,
                Quetzalcohuātl, plumed or feathered serpent) at or around the
                time of Jesus Christ. Although the Major, or Independent,
                Prophets have come from the East, perhaps certain Dependent
                Prophets, divinely inspired seers, and other special beings or
                angels have been sent by God, from time to time, throughout the
Western hemisphere:

       “From the beginning of time until the present day,” ʿAbduʾl-Bahá Himself
    affirms, “the light of Divine Revelation hath risen in the East and shed its radiance
    upon the West. The illumination thus shed hath, however, acquired in the West an
    extraordinary brilliancy. Consider the Faith proclaimed by Jesus. Though it first
    appeared in the East, yet not until its light had been shed upon the West did the full
    measure of its potentialities become manifest.” “The day is approaching,” He, in
    another passage, assures us, “when ye shall witness how, through the splendor of
    the Faith of Baháʾuʾlláh, the West will have replaced the East, radiating the light of
    Divine Guidance.” “In the books of the Prophets,” He again asserts, “certain glad-
    tidings are recorded which are absolutely true and free from doubt. The East hath
    ever been the dawning-place of the Sun of Truth. In the East all the Prophets of
    God have appeared ...The West hath acquired illumination from the East but in
    some respects the reflection of the light hath been greater in the Occident. This is
    specially true of Christianity. Jesus Christ appeared in Palestine and His teachings
    were founded in that country. Although the doors of the Kingdom were first
    opened in that land and the bestowals of God were spread broadcast from its
    center, the people of the West have embraced and promulgated Christianity more
    fully than the people of the East.”
    Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 74-75.

       From the point of view of religious history, the successive banishments of
    Baháʾuʾlláh to Constantinople and Adrianople have a striking symbolism. For the
    first time, a Manifestation of God, Founder of an independent religious system
    which was soon to spread throughout the planet, had crossed the narrow neck of
    water separating Asia from Europe, and had set foot in “the West.” All of the other
    great religions had arisen in Asia and the ministries of their Founders had been
    confined to that continent. Referring to the fact that the dispensations of the past,
    and particularly those of Abraham, Christ, and Muḥammad, had produced their
    most important effects on the development of civilization during the course of their
    westward expansion, Baháʾuʾlláh predicted that the same thing would occur in this
    new age, but on a vastly larger scale: ”In the East the Light of His Revelation hath
    broken; in the West the signs of His dominion have appeared. Ponder this in your
    hearts, O people....”
    Baháʾuʾlláh, quoted in Baháʾí International Community, Statement on Baháʾuʾlláh.
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    Pages 18-19.

  With Baháʾís, as with Muslims, the most basic teaching is the Unity of God
(Tawḥīd, Unifying). However, the approaches taken by many Muslims to this
subject might differ, to an extent, from the perspectives presented in certain Baháʾí
texts. For instance, if the particular Souls of Prophets are not fashioned any
differently from those of ordinary individuals, calling One of Them “God,” in any
sense of that title, might be sacrilege or, in common Muslim and Baháʾí terms,
“širk” (literally, sharing). That is to say, according to a popular Muslim argument,
one would be assigning partners, or associates, to God.

      The Divine Plural

  Because the Unities Model 3 has both a plural and a singular definition of God, it
unites, in a way, trinitarianism with unitarianism. Through the rational Unifying
Essence of God, the Absolute Supreme Being of all existence, the infinite Persons
of Prophethood are structured as One:
1 . The Prophets are not the unknowable Essence of God, but God’s Unity, in my
    opinion, is also the Unity (Tawḥīd, Unifying) of the Prophets. God, the highest
    Essential Unity of all existence, becomes, I feel, an interpersonal Structure of
    the Prophets. Structures are rules governing relationships, not sets of
    individuals. Similarly, the unknowable essence or unity of humanity was
    created by the Will of God. However, specific individuals, each of whom is
    made of the knowable attributes of human unity, come and go within this world.
    Since unifying essences are universal and collective realities, “unity” is not just
    a cliché.
2 . Like the Holy Trinity, the Unity is manifested plurally . God, the Individual, refers
    to the Prophets as Beings made of divine Attributes. They manifest, or reflect,
    the Unity of God. As Manifestations, Representatives, or Signs of the divine
    Unity or Essence, They obtain a Name of God (like the Báb and Bahá).
    Through an Eternal Covenant with humanity, the Prophets progressively
    manifest the Unity of God to humanity. Nevertheless, in relationship to us, not
    as a Unity, the God of this world, Jehovah (Hebrew, YHWH), is the blessed and
    beautiful Baháʾuʾlláh. His Station is ranked highest.
  The Holy Trinity was an ingenious interpretation of the Divinity of the miraculous
Jesus Christ (ʿĪsā al-Masīḥ or, in Hebrew, Yēšūăʿ ha-Māšîaḥ). This conception of
the Godhead has not only survived. It has been accepted, throughout most of the
history of Christianity, by the vast majority of churches both east and west. In the
following extract, His Exemplary Presence (Ḥaḍrat) ʿAbduʾl-Bahá partially
redefined trinitarianism. He appears to interpret the doctrine as Prophetic
Manifestations of the divine Essence through the Holy Spirit or Attributes of God:
      ... the Reality of Christ was a clear and polished mirror of the greatest purity and
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       ... the Reality of Christ was a clear and polished mirror of the greatest purity and
    fineness. The Sun of Reality, the Essence of Divinity, reflected itself in this mirror
    and manifested its light and heat in it ....
       The Holy Spirit is the Bounty of God which becomes visible and evident in the
    Reality of Christ....
       This is the signification of the Three Persons of the Trinity.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 114.

   The beautiful explanation of the Holy Trinity by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, peace be upon Him
(ʿalayhi s-salām), appears to be similar to the twofold station of the Prophets
(Manifestations) of God. His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh identifed the twin
stations of Prophethood as Unity and Distinction:
       These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station of
    pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest them all by one
    name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou hast not erred from the
    truth....
       The other station is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world of
    creation, and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God
    hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined
    revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a
    different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfils a definite mission, and
    is entrusted with a particular Revelation.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 50-52.

      The meaning of the serpent is attachment to the human world. This attachment
    of the spirit to the human world led the soul and spirit of Adam from the world of
    freedom to the world of bondage and caused Him to turn from the Kingdom of
    Unity to the human world. When the soul and spirit of Adam entered the human
    world, He came out from the paradise of freedom and fell into the world of
    bondage. From the height of purity and absolute goodness, He entered into the
    world of good and evil.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 123-124.

  In the first quotation below, the Prophet Muḥammad demonstrated why
Trinitarianism cannot be taken literally. Jesus was not the biological offspring of
the Father. In the next passage, Muḥammad argued that Deity cannot be divided
into parts. In the final selection, “Trinity” is not mentioned. From my reading, He
was here denouncing, not Trinitarianism itself, but the doctrinal confusion of Christ,
the Individual, with the Unity (Tawḥīd) of Prophets. Muḥammad may also have
condemned an extreme Marianism which venerates the Virgin Mary as the mother
   “God”
of “God” instead of the mother of “Jesus’ humanity”:
      Jesus the son of Mary was no more than God’s messenger and the fulfillment of
    His word to Mary, and an inspiration from Him. So acknowledge God and His
    messengers, and do not say, “Trinity.” Cease, for it is better for you. God is only
    One God, be He glorified that He should have a son!
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 4:171, Qurʾān: A Reformist Translation (translated and
    annotated by Edip Yuksel, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban, and Martha Schulte-Nafeh).
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      Ingrates indeed are those who have said, “God is the Messiah son of Mary!”
    Although the Messiah had said, “O Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and
    your Lord. Whoever sets up partners with God, then God will forbid paradise for
    him, and his destiny will be the fire; and the wicked will have nosupporters.”
    Ingrates indeed are those who have said, “God is the third of trinity!” There is no
    god but One God.
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 5:72-73, Qurʾān: A Reformist Translation (translated and
    annotated by Edip Yuksel, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban, and Martha Schulte-Nafeh).

      God will say, “O Jesus son of Mary, did you tell the people to take you and your
    mother as gods besides God?” He said, ... “I only said to them what You
    commanded me to say, that you shall serve God my Lord and your Lord ....”
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 5:116-117, Qurʾān: A Reformist Translation (translated and
    annotated by Edip Yuksel, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban, and Martha Schulte-Nafeh).

  Placed within a Baháʾí scriptural context, any revised version of trinitarianism
must, it seems to me, be expanded into a “unitarianism” (or Singularity) of the
Essence of God and an “infinitarianism” (or Plurality), so to speak, of His Prophets,
peace be upon Them. That is to say, a reformed “Holy Trinity” would include all of
the heavenly Messengers from the past as well as from the future. With little or no
surprise, given the “otherness” of these celestial relationships, the Essence is
often stated to be “unknowable,” while the Holy Trinity has frequently been
                “mystery.”
explained as a “mystery .”
  Therefore, in the Unities Model, an Infinity of Prophetic Persons (the Station of
Distinction) is, from a divine perspective, explained as One (the Station of
Essential Unity). Any number of Baháʾí texts, while strongly monotheistic, appear to
be only partially unitarian 4 . That is to say, God, the Highest Essence, is One
(Tawḥīd, Unifying), undivided, and without partners (širk, sharing), but, through His
divine Manifestations, He may be the eternal Unity for infinite Prophetic Persons .
Each of Them, in the Station of Distinction, is God manifested.
  In addition to the Holy Trinity, the unknowability of the Unity of God, along with
                           Trinity ,
all of the attributes which we can feel, may resemble both the “Binity ” (God in two
                                                                    “Binity”
Persons) and the beautiful expression, God family (an interpretation of the Hebrew,
ʾĔlōhîm, Mighty Ones), which was coined by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986).
His intimate and familial description of plurality is, I feel, an even more illuminating,
heartful, and touching metaphor than the Trinity. As founder of the Worldwide
Church of God , Armstrong had a clear appreciation for the spiritual foundation of
the unity of humanity. He was a deeply courageous and special soul.
  God, to Armstrong, is a combination of close associations between different
persons:
       “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). In this very
    first verse of the Bible, God reveals Himself by the Hebrew name ELOHIM. There

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     is one God – but more than one member in the Godhead, or God family! This same
     word ELOHIM is used in Genesis 1:26: “And GOD [ELOHIM] said, Let us make
     man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.” Here it is clearly seen – in context with
     the passage itself – that more than one person shares the name of God – ELOHIM.
     In the New Testament, this is made clear by the revelation that God the Father
     created all things by and through Jesus Christ – who was with God and was God
     from the beginning (John 1:1-14; Eph. 3:9). In these passages, therefore, it is
     revealed that God is more than one person – God the Father and the “Word” or
     SPOKESMAN, who later became Jesus Christ when born in human flesh. This
     Father-Son relationship shows that God is a FAMILY. And the way the word
     ELOHIM is used in these early passages in Genesis and elsewhere certainly
     indicates that God is the creating kingdom or family! Interestingly, ELOHIM is
     plural in form but is used either in the singular or plural, depending on the context.
     Herbert W. Armstrong, The Ten Commandments.

  The existence of multiple ʾĔlōhîm (Hebrew for Mighty Ones) is discussed
throughout the TaNaḤ (Old Testament), but, to Armstrong, the other mighty ones
will be Christians. Nevertheless, the Worldwide Church of God has since
abandoned most of his unorthodox viewpoints. As a mainstream evangelical
Christian church, it has even become a member of the National Association of
Evangelicals . (The current name for the denomination is Grace Communion
International ). However, there are numerous splinter groups which have
continued, in their own ways, to accept many of Armstrong’s perspectives on
ʾĔlōhîm and other subjects.
                                                             “Theity.”
   An appropriate term for a Prophet or Messenger might be “Theity .” This coined
expression (technically speaking, a portmanteau, or combination, of the words,
theism and Deity) is based upon the current distinction between theism (God Who
is personally involved with His creation) and deism (God Who is not). Since Deity,
or the underlying Unity of beings and things, is unknowable , “deism” might be
suitable. Through a succession of Mediators, that divine Unity or Essence
intercedes in human affairs. They are, in other words, His Theities.
   Within several branches of Mahāyāna (Sanskrit, Great Vehicle) Buddhism can be
found a rough approximation to the Unities Model, especially its distinction
between a deism of the Unity (Tawḥīd) and a theism of the Theities. Most
Buddhists either reject or are agnostic (unknowing) about a single Deity or
Creator. Many Buddhists do accept, however, various Divinities or Gods with such
titles as Buddha (Pāḷi and Sanskrit, Awakened One) and Bodhisattva (Pāḷi and
Sanskrit, Awakened Being). Certain of these Deities have, like the Prophets, lived,
                        currently ,
some believe even live currently, as humans.
  Return to the table of contents.

                                     III. Unifying Essences

       The Highest Unity

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       A series of quantum experiments shows that measurements performed in the
    future can influence the present. Does that mean the universe has a destiny-and
    the laws of physics pull us inexorably toward our prewritten fate?...
       [Jeff] Tollaksen’s group is looking into the notion that time might flow backward,
    allowing the future to influence the past. By extension, the universe might have a
    destiny that reaches back and conspires with the past to bring the present into
    view. On a cosmic scale, this idea could help explain how life arose in the universe
    against tremendous odds. On a personal scale, it may make us question whether
    fate is pulling us forward and whether we have free will.
    Zeeya Merali, “Back from the Future.” Discover Magazine. April 2010. Published
    online August 26, 2010. Retrieved on January 20, 2012.

  I am not a physicist. However, in my uneducated opinion, these researchers may
be asking the wrong question. Past, present, and future are limited names for
attributes in this world . Time (or formation), as we experience it, does not exist in
the spiritual Kingdom and may not even be universal in this one. Instead, unities or
unifying essences are, perhaps, the missing pieces of the cosmic puzzle. Many of
them might, for all we know, function entirely outside of chronology. In my opinion,
understanding the properties, or attributes, of these unities is more important than
determining whether one observable event occurs, in linear sequence, before
another.
  Seeing the Beginning of all things as Unity, and the beginnings of all things as
unities, resolves the age-old question, “Who created God?” By definition, nothing
can precede unity. Regarding the Attributes of the highest Unity, the first sentence
of the paragraph below is, in my view, one of more revealing which is found within
the Baháʾí literature. Although it is beautiful in its simplicity, it may add
considerable depth to any Baháʾí “theology” or conversation on God. Through this
sentence, we may be able to answer, at least to some degree, the question, “What
are the connections between the unknowable Essence of God and the Prophets?”
      Know thou of a certainty that the Unseen can in no wise incarnate His Essence
    and reveal it unto men. He is, and hath ever been, immensely exalted beyond all
    that can either be recounted or perceived. From His retreat of glory His voice is
    ever proclaiming: “Verily, I am God; there is none other God besides Me, the All-
    Knowing, the All-Wise. I have manifested Myself unto men, and have sent down
    Him Who is the Day Spring of the signs of My Revelation. Through Him I have
    caused all creation to testify that there is none other God except Him, the
    Incomparable, the All-Informed, the All-Wise.” He Who is everlastingly hidden from
    the eyes of men can never be known except through His Manifestation, and His
    Manifestation can adduce no greater proof of the truth of His Mission than the
    proof of His own Person.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 49.

  In my humble opinion, “... the Unseen can in no wise incarnate His Essence and
reveal it unto men,” is not an avenue for speculative philosophizing. Since the
divine Essence is unknowable, any human conceptions of Him will be the product
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of our own imaginations. Instead, I feel the Best Beloved’s words as a practical
statement on the relationships between the divine Essence and human beings. We
know God, indirectly, through His individualized Attributes as Prophets,
Messengers, or Revelators. Similarly, speculations on any unknowable essences
may be a waste of time. Without revealed truth, we can only name or categorize
their attributes.
      ... there is the world of God, the world of the Kingdom, and the world of
    Creation: three things. The first emanation from God is the bounty of the
    Kingdom, which emanates and is reflected in the reality of the creatures.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 295.

  In the Unities Model, God manifests His Kingdom of Names and Attributes.
Prophets are individualized divine Attributes with a Name of God (like Bahā,
Glory). Once the everlasting soul is liberated from its physical limitations, after
death, the spiritual (or Abhā, Most Glorious) Kingdom will become more evident.
However, even while in this world, individuals can, by practicing faith in the
Prophets, be reborn into the Kingdom of God. This divine Dominion, with the
Names and Attributes of God, is also emanated, or reflected, in the human
kingdom, the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the mineral kingdom.
  To my understanding, the Great Being, the Truth or Reality (al-Ḥaqq), is the
divine Essence. Whether any of His created essences are individual “beings,” as
we can comprehend the term, is unknown. They might even belong to an
undisclosed category. In any case, I would suggest that the highest Essence might
also be a Unifying (Tawḥīd) Structure of Prophetic relationships. Essences are,
perhaps, collective entities. Although they are unknowable, directly, they are still
realities. As humans are composed of the attributes of humanity, Prophets may be
made up of the Attributes of the divine Essence.
  The word “unknowable” in unknowable Essence is, in my opinion, commonly
misunderstood. The fact that the Essence is unknowable is not the same as
saying, “We cannot talk about it.” Actually, Baháʾís discuss the unknowable
Essence all the time. Whenever a Baháʾí presents the Baháʾí Faith to an inquiring
soul, and says, “All the Prophets are One” (or “God is One”), she is referring to that
Essence. Nevertheless, the relationships between the Prophets, the Unity (Tawḥīd)
between Them, is, like the Trinity, a sacred mystery. God, in His Essence, is
Singleness or Oneness. God manifested is plural.

      Covenant-Breaking and Partisanship

  Unity, however, is not a Baháʾí catchword or a cleverly selected motto or slogan.
Unity, as I sometimes feel it in my heart, is the nature and the essence of reality.
To my understanding, Covenant-breaking or violation (al-naqḍ al-Mīṯāq), perhaps
similar to the divisiveness of backbiting and lying, is an attack on the fundamental
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spiritual Unity and unities underlying all of existence. Through Covenant-breaking,
any human tendencies toward self-centeredness, pride, and covetousness are
taken to the worst extreme. Breaking the Covenant of God is also the Biblical
blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:
      Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but
    blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
    Jesus Christ, Matthew 12:31, New Revised Standard Version.

      The meaning [of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit] is this: to remain far from
    the light-holder does not entail everlasting banishment, for one may become
    awakened and vigilant; but enmity toward the light is the cause of everlasting
    banishment, and for this there is no remedy.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 128.

  The New Testament term, heresy (Koiné Greek, aíresis), which may describe a
concept that is similar to Covenant-breaking, originally referred to a
self-willed opinion or, literally, a choice, not to the inevitable differences in human
viewpoints:
      ... keep back from foolish questionings and genealogies and arguments and
    quarrels of law, for they are unprofitable and vain.... avoid a man of heresy,
    knowing that such a one has been perverted and sins, being self-condemned.
    Paul, Titus 3:9-11, Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Jay P. Green, Sr.,
    translator).

  Consultation , for example, is a commonly used word for the process of decision
making in the Baháʾí Faith. While participating in this process, truth is discovered
by recognizing the unity of diverse opinions. That is to say, since truth is an
attribute of the unity or essence of humanity, the disunity of Covenant-breaking
becomes untruthful and self-deceptive:
       The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.
    If after discussion, a decision be carried unanimously well and good; but if, the
    Lord forbid, differences of opinion should arise, a majority of voices must prevail.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 87.

      Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a full
    thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying impostor.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 346.

      For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I
    promised on oath to their ancestors, and they have eaten their fill and grown fat,
    they will turn to other gods and serve them, despising me and breaking my
    covenant.
    Deuteronomy 31:20, New Revised Standard Version.

  For example, Ruth White was one of the so-called ʿAbduʾl-Baháʾís . These early
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Western Baháʾís deeply loved the dear Master. After the passing of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá,
Shoghi Effendi established ( routinized ) the spiritual power ( charisma ) of the three
Central Figures within the Baháʾí administration ( the routinization of charisma ). A
few of the ʿAbduʾl-Baháʾís simply drifted away from the Baháʾí Faith. White,
however, went further. She rejected the Will and Testament of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, in
which Shoghi Effendi was appointed as the Guardian of the Cause of God, and
demanded that its handwriting be analyzed.
  Sadly, Ruth White had it backwards. The Baháʾí Faith does not work that way.
Individual believers do not get to dictate the actions of the Head of the Faith. White
broke the Baháʾí Covenant and went on to become a disciple of the Zoroastrian
gurū, Meher Baba (Persian, Mihr Bābā, lovingkindness father). Significantly,
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá was not an ʿAbduʾl-Baháʾí. In genuine, not false, humility, the beloved
Master personally named Himself, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá (Servant of Bahá). As the Perfect
Exemplar, He could also have been Ruth White’s own example. Baháʾís are
followers of Baháʾuʾlláh, not of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá (peace be upon Them).
 In other words, although ʿAbduʾl-Bahá is the blessed Center of Baháʾuʾlláh’s
Covenant, the Baháʾí Faith is not the ʿAbduʾl-Baháʾí Faith:
       ... I cannot but feel amused at the preposterous and fantastic idea that
    Muḥammad-ʿAlí, the prime mover and the focal center of unyielding hostility to the
    person of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, should have freely associated himself with the members of
    the family of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in the forging of a will which in the words of the writer
    herself, is but a “recital of the plottings” in which for thirty years Muḥammad-ʿAlí
    has been busily engaged. To such a hopeless victim of confused ideas [Ruth White],
    I feel I can best reply by a genuine expression of compassion and pity, mingled with
    my hopes for her deliverance from so profound a delusion.
    Shoghi Effendi The World Order Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 8-9.

      The attitude which a besotted woman [Ruth White] later on assumed, her
    ludicrous assertions, her boldness in flouting the Will of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá and in
    challenging its authenticity and her attempts to subvert its principles were again
    powerless to produce the slightest breach in the ranks of its valiant upholders.
    Shoghi Effendi The World Order Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 90.

       The Cause of God must be protected from the enemies of the Faith, and from
    those who sow seeds of doubt in the hearts of the believers, and the greatest of all
    protections is knowledge: there is no doubt that the silliest of all charges ever made
    is that the “Will and Testament” of the Master is a forgery! It is all in His own hand,
    sealed in more than one place with His own seal, and was opened after His death by
    some members of His own family, who took it from His own safe, in this house, and
    from that day it has been kept in the safe under lock and key. The charges of Mrs.
    White were the result of an unbalanced mind. No other enemy, even those who
    were shrewd and clever, made this foolish accusation!
    From a letter, dated May 11, 1948, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, The Light of Divine Guidance. Volume 1. Page 134.


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  As with any form of disunity or political partisanship, Covenant-breaking is
destructive and disintegrative. However, politics, even when found in other social
or cultural contexts, is disunifying. When my sociology students ask me about my
political worldview, I tell them, candidly, that I have none. “That is strange,” one
student responded. “How can you be a sociologist and not be political?” Politics, I
explained, is anti-social. The more politicized an issue becomes, the less likely it
will ever be addressed and resolved. In my opinion, politics is a problem, not a
solution.
 All in all, what saddens me is that I cannot give my classes the good news, the
Gospel, for today:
      Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human
    society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have
    been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards
    which a harassed humanity is striving.
    Shoghi Effendi The World Order Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 202.

      ... as the Essence of Unity (that is, the existence of God) is everlasting and eternal
    —that is to say, it has neither beginning nor end—it is certain that this world of
    existence, this endless universe, has neither beginning nor end.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 180.

      The Oneness of Existence
  The Baháʾí texts I have read on the subject of the Unifying Essence are not, in
the strict sense of the word, pantheist. God, in other words, is not identical with the
attributes of His creation. If, however, evidences, or tokens, of the divine Unity are
deposited throughout God’s beautiful creation, all beings and things, within the five
kingdoms of Manifestation and creation, are interconnected or unified. In their own
individualities or diversities, everything is, in reality, one:
       When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of all things, and
    the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord’s mercy in every
    created thing, and see the spreading rays of His Names and Attributes throughout
    all the realm of being, with evidences which none will deny save the froward and
    the unaware.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 41.

      ... the question of the Real Existence by which all things exist—that is to say, the
    reality of the Essence of Unity through which all creatures have come into the
    world—is admitted by everyone.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 294.

  The presence of unifying essences, while unknowable, should, in my opinion, be
kept continuously in our hearts and minds. These essences or unities, as
substructures of existence, can remind us of our humility or fallibility, that our
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knowledge is always indirect. Through them, we witness the fingerprint or sign of
the divine Unity upon the essences of all things. Indeed, reality, ultimately, is unity.
Although the unifying essences of creation are eternal, their manifested, and
individualized, attributes may, according to the Will of God, in His Prophets,
change or develop:
      In this station the truth of the unity of God and of the signs of His sanctity is
    established....
      Hast thou not heard: “No change is there in God’s creation” [Qurʾán 30:30]?
    Hast thou not read: “No change canst thou find in God’s mode of dealing” [Qurʾán
    48:23]? Hast thou not borne witness to the truth: “No divergence wilt thou see in
    the creation of the God of Mercy” [Qurʾán 67:3]? Yea, by My Lord! They that
    dwell within this Ocean, they that ride upon this Ark, witness no change in the
    creation of God and behold no divergences upon His earth. And if God’s creation
    be not prone to change and alteration, how then could they who are the
    Manifestations of His own Being be subject to it? ...
      ... Through them are revealed the elements of glorification in the heavenly
    realities and the exponents of praise in the eternal essences.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries. Pages 31-33.

      I testify that no sooner had the First Word proceeded, through the potency of
    Thy will and purpose, out of His mouth, and the First Call gone forth from His lips
    than the whole creation was revolutionized, and all that are in the heavens and all
    that are on earth were stirred to the depths. Through that Word the realities of all
    created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and
    reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly kingdom,
    entities of a new creation, and revealing, in the unseen realms, the signs and tokens
    of Thy unity and oneness. Through that Call Thou didst announce unto all Thy
    servants the advent of Thy most great Revelation and the appearance of Thy most
    perfect Cause.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations. Pages 295-296.

  The interrelatedness between all the beings and things in existence has been
revealed and manifested by the blessed Prophets:
      Since the Sanctified Realities, the supreme Manifestations of God, surround the
    essence and qualities of the creatures, transcend and contain existing realities and
    understand all things, therefore, Their knowledge is divine knowledge, and not
    acquired—that is to say, it is a holy bounty; it is a divine revelation.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 157-158.

  Consequently, the worlds of existence, as Aristotle originally developed the idea,
form a great chain of being :
      ... all beings are connected together like a chain; and reciprocal help, assistance
    and interaction belonging to the properties of things are the causes of the existence,
    development and growth of created beings.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 178-179.

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      It is obvious that all created things are connected one to another by a linkage
    complete and perfect, even, for example, as are the members of the human body.
    Note how all the members and component parts of the human body are connected
    one to another. In the same way, all the members of this endless universe are linked
    one to another.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 48.

      Hence it was stated that co-operation and reciprocity are essential properties
    which are inherent in the unified system of the world of existence, and without
    which the entire creation would be reduced to nothingness.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Ḥuqúquʾlláh: The Right of God. Page 7.

  According to a Theosophical writer:
      Every mathematical point in every dimension of space, inner and outer, is an
    evolving consciousness, so that from the grandest to the most infinitesimal we see a
    great chain of being. But is the Great Chain of Being a great chain of beings? If we
    admit that only Oneness exists, separate beings can only be reflections of the One
    passing through conditioned existence, like the many colors visible when sunlight
    passes through a prism. What we call reality may actually be phenomena playing
    through and upon phenomenon.
    Alan E. Donant, “Oneness and the Great Chain of Being.” Sunrise: Theosophic
    Perspectives. Magazine. Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press. April/May,
    2004.

  God’s spiritual Kingdom is, it appears to me, manifested to the world of servitude
or creation by the Prophets. Although the essences are eternal, the beings and
things manifested by them depend upon the divine Will, not upon human wills.
Since these individualized attributes are relative to that which God might choose to
ordain, their permanence could, in many cases, be unknown, be unrevealed, or
perhaps even lie outside the scope of human comprehension. Names, on the other
hand, can be individual references, like “Joe,” or overall categories, such as “men.
”
      Repudiating the claim of any religion to be the final revelation of God to man,
    disclaiming finality for His own Revelation, Baháʾuʾlláh inculcates the basic
    principle of the relativity of religious truth, the continuity of Divine Revelation, the
    progressiveness of religious experience. His aim is to widen the basis of all revealed
    religions and to unravel the mysteries of their scriptures. He insists on the
    unqualified recognition of the unity of their purpose, restates the eternal verities
    they enshrine, coordinates their functions, distinguishes the essential and the
    authentic from the nonessential and spurious in their teachings, separates the God-
    given truths from the priest-prompted superstitions, and on this as a basis
    proclaims the possibility, and even prophecies the inevitability, of their unification,
    and the consummation of their highest hopes.
    Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 108.

  The relationships between beings and things, on the one hand, and the five
kingdoms of being, on the other, may not, in all cases, be fixed or hard and fast. A
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unity in diversity is not a unity in division. For instance, through the unity of
revealed religions, individuals living in the human kingdom can obtain the
attributes from the spiritual Kingdom. The hereafter, while it might be described as
a condition within that Kingdom of spirit, is also a continuation, or a result, of the
human kingdom. Whether in this world or in the one to follow it, human souls can
receive the everlasting perfections of the spiritual Kingdom of God.
       Man is said to be the greatest representative of God, and he is the Book of
    Creation because all the mysteries of beings exist in him....
       The reason of the mission of the Prophets is to educate men, so that this piece of
    coal may become a diamond ....
       Both before and after putting off this material form, there is progress in
    perfection but not in state. So beings are consummated in perfect man. There is no
    other being higher than a perfect man. But man when he has reached this state
    can still make progress in perfections but not in state because there is no state
    higher than that of a perfect man to which he can transfer himself. He only
    progresses in the state of humanity, for the human perfections are infinite. Thus,
    however learned a man may be, we can imagine one more learned.
       Hence, as the perfections of humanity are endless, man can also make progress
    in perfections after leaving this world.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 236-237.

      Entrance into the Kingdom is through the love of God, through detachment,
    through holiness and chastity, through truthfulness, purity, steadfastness,
    faithfulness and the sacrifice of life.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 242.

      As we have power to pray for these souls here, so likewise we shall possess the
    same power in the other world, which is the Kingdom of God.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 233.

  This world, in its relationship to the world to come, performs a spiritual function.
On one level, the purpose of this world is to prepare human souls for the world to
come. However, through miscarriage, and sudden infant death, some souls move
into the world beyond almost immediately. Thankfully, they are, we have been
assured, under the loving care of God. Therefore, aside from preparing us for the
unimaginable realms beyond, this world appears to have, under God’s perfect
system, yet another mission. Since most zygotes, or fertilized eggs, die naturally,
an exaggerated concern over abortion may be unwarranted:
      ... most zygotes fail spontaneously ....
    Blue Mass Group: Reality-based Commentary. Blog. December 4, 2009.

       Abortion and surgical operations for the purpose of preventing the birth of
    unwanted children are forbidden in the Cause [of God] unless there are
    circumstances which justify such actions on medical grounds, in which case the
    decision, at present, is left to the consciences of those concerned who must

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    carefully weigh the medical advice in the light of the general guidance given in the
    [Baháʾí] Teachings. Beyond this nothing has been found in the [Baháʾí] Writings
    concerning specific methods or procedures to be used in family planning. It should
    be pointed out, however, that the Teachings state that the soul appears at
    conception, and that therefore it would be improper to use such a method, the
    effect of which would be to produce an abortion after conception has taken place.
    From a letter, dated May 23, 1975, written on behalf of the Universal House of
    Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number
    1155.

  Furthermore, although the Pentateuch demands capital punishment for murder,
only a fine is assessed for killing a fetus:
       Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death.... When people who are
    fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further
    harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband
    demands, paying as much as the judges determine.
    Exodus 221:12 and 22, New Revised Standard Version.

  Indeed, the connections between this world and the one to follow it may be
reciprocal:
       The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and
    permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men. The Prophets and
    Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind
    to the straight Path of Truth. The purpose underlying Their revelation hath been to
    educate all men, that they may, at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity
    and sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of the Most High. The
    light which these souls radiate is responsible for the progress of the world and the
    advancement of its peoples.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 156-157.

      The progress of man’s spirit in the divine world, after the severance of its
    connection with the body of dust, is through the bounty and grace of the Lord
    alone, or through the intercession and the sincere prayers of other human souls, or
    through the charities and important good works which are performed in its name.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 240.

      These infants [“who die before attaining the age of discretion or before the
    appointed time of birth”] are under the shadow of the favor of God; and as they
    have not committed any sin and are not soiled with the impurities of the world of
    nature, they are the centers of the manifestation of bounty, and the Eye of
    Compassion will be turned upon them.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 240.

      The Unity of Religions

  To my understanding, within this world of existence, spiritual virtues are the
attributes of the unity, or unifying essence, of revealed religions. These virtues, or
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essential teachings, are found in particular revealed religions:
      But the essential basis of all the Divine Religions which pertains to the virtues of
    the world of mankind and is the foundation of the welfare of the world of man, is
    found in the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh in the most perfect presentation.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 305.

      [Gurū Nanāk was] was inspired to reconcile the religions of Hinduism and Islam,
    the followers of which religions had been in violent conflict.
    From a letter dated, October 27, 1985, written by the Universal House of Justice to
    the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʾís of India.

  The Sabæans (Sābiʾūn 5 , converts), or Sabians, are an excellent example of the
                 (Sābiʾūn
manner in which the Best Beloved not only revealed this unity of religions, but He
demonstrated and established it. To begin with, in the sacred Qurʾān, the great
Seal of the Prophets, Muḥammad, praised the Sabæans along with Jews and
Christians:
      Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muḥammad), and
    those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabæans – whoever believeth in Allāh and
    the Last Day and doeth right – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there
    shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 2:62, The Meaning of the Glorious Qurʾān (Muhammad
    Marmaduke Pickthall, translator).

  Over the centuries, opinions have differed regarding the identity of these
                                           Ḥarrānities .
Sabæans. To some, they were the ancient Ḥarrānities. Their founder is uncertain.
To others, they were the Mandæans (from the Aramaic, Mandaya, knower). As the
only surviving Gnōstic sect, residing mostly in Īrān (especially) and in ʿIrāq, the
Mandæans have traditionally associated themselves with John the Baptist. They
have also sometimes been called the Christians of St. John . Since, however, the
Mandæans do not accept the divinity of Jesus Christ, that misleading designation
has now largely been abandoned.
  The term, Sabæanism, or Sabianism, appears to be used both in a particular and
in a universal sense in the Baháʾí texts. Particularly, the Sabæans were defined,
from the standpoint of Shoghi Effendi’s authoritative interpretation, as the
Ḥarrānities:
      The country where Sabaeanism became widespread and flourished was Chaldea,
    and Abraham is considered as having been a follower of that Faith.
    From a letter, dated, November 10, 1939, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí.

      The teachings throw no light on the Prophet of the Sabaeans. The followers of
    this religion lived in Ur of the Chaldees, where Abraham appeared.
    From a letter, dated July 30, 1941, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an

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    individual Baháʾí.

  On the other hand, the Best Beloved of the Worlds (al-Maḥbūb al-ʾĀlamīn),
following His common practice, applied the universal principle of unity to this
delicate subject. Indeed, the divine Source, the Unifying Essence, of each of the
revealed religions was the focus of His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, the Father.
He transcended the historical controversies, concerning the Ḥarrānites and the
Mandæans, which resulted in disunity, contention, and exclusion. Both the
                                          Šēt
Ḥarrānites, possibily from Seth (Hebrew, Šēt) and Idrīs (or Hermés), and the
Mandæans of John the Baptist appear to be included within the following quotation:
      As to the Sabæans, they do worship the names of the stars and claim that they
    got their religion from Seth and Idrís; they trace their origin to Sábí, son of Idrís
    and also believe in Yahyá, son of Zachariah [John the Baptist]. They do expect the
    Manifestation of Jesus, Son of Mary. In the Presence of the Throne they are
    mentioned as the Sabæans.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, the Kitáb-i-Badí (brief excerpt), quoted in Ruhuʾllah Mihrabkhani,
    áʾín-i Sábiʾín, Institute for Baháʾí Studies in Persian, Dundas (Hamilton), Ontario,
    1994.

      O contending peoples and kindreds of the earth! Set your faces towards unity,
    and let the radiance of its light shine upon you. Gather ye together, and for the
    sake of God resolve to root out whatever is the source of contention amongst you....
    There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or
    religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of
    one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be
    attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were
    revealed. All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity,
    were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Arise and,
    armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings,
    the sowers of dissension amongst you....
    Baháʾuʾlláh, quoted in Baháʾí International Community, Statement on Baháʾuʾlláh.
    Page 17.

      Operations of Unity

  An illustration of unity or essence comes from my own field. Sociologists will
commonly distinguish between social structures and groups. Structures are sets of
rules which govern human relationships. These rules include social norms, or sets
of behavioral expectations , and statuses, or rules of who does what. Groups, on
the other hand, consist of two or more individuals who are governed by shared
social structures. Unity, which may be expressed in the decision-making
processes of consultation, is a structure, not a group. A particular Baháʾí
community or spiritual assembly is a group.
      ... the friends [Baháʾís] should faithfully and courageously uphold this Baháʾí
    principle of the essential unity of all human races ....
    From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian.
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    Page 61.

   Groups, in sociology, are not simply categories or aggregates (collections) of
people. Categories consist of individuals with similar attributes, like eye color or
anyone using the same brand of soap. These categories include little, frequently
no, shared identity. They are names, not groups. Aggregates are different. They
refer to collections of people without a clearly defined social structure. Strangers
riding on a bus or standing on a street corner would be an aggregate, not a group.
Groups, however, on a spiritual level, express various degrees of the divinely
willed unity or essence of humanity.
  To my understanding, therefore, essences or unities are not groups, or
categories, or aggregates of beings and things. Instead, unifying essences are the
realities or foundational structures within existence. However, they cannot be
directly known by us. Relatively speaking, unities are independent, while their
attributes, beings, and things are dependent. As with any unity or essence, we
indirectly observe or inwardly experience the unity of humanity, according to our
own capacities, through its attributes, appearances, or representations, such as
the events at a particular Baháʾí community gathering.
      It is no accident that recognition of the importance of structure has come, not by
    way of speculative philosophy or logical reasoning, but by the pressure of practical
    needs. We apprehend structures far more by the power of understanding than by
    knowledge. Knowledge is confined to Fact.
      The Domain of Fact does not include transformation, which belongs to the
    Domain of Harmony. In this sense, knowing and understanding are powers that
    belong to quite different regions of experience and this suggests the surprising, but
    correct, conclusion that structures are not objects of knowledge, and that their
    true place is in the Domain of Harmony. We do not know structures, but we know
    because of structures.
    John G. Bennett, Dramatic Universe: Man and Nature. Volume III. Charles Town,
    WV: Claymont Communications. 1985. Page 7.

  These unifying essences can only be known indirectly, through divine
Revelation, and observed through their individualized (or particularized)
representations, attributes, enfoldments, manifestations, or appearances:
      ... knowledge of the attributes is ... proportioned to the capacity and power of
    man; it is not absolute.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 221.

      One day, as the Báb, in the company of Mullá Ḥusayn, was looking out over the
    landscape of the surrounding country from the roof of the castle, He gazed
    towards the west and, as He saw the Araxes winding its course far away below
    Him, turned to Mullá Ḥusayn and said: “That is the river, and this is the bank
    thereof, of which the poet Háfiz has thus written: ‘O zephyr, shouldst thou pass by
    the banks of the Araxes, implant a kiss on the earth of that valley and make
    fragrant thy breath. Hail, a thousand times hail, to thee, O abode of Salma! How

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    dear is the voice of thy camel-drivers, how sweet the jingling of thy bells!’ ... It is the
    immediate influence of the Holy Spirit that causes words such as these to stream
    from the tongue of poets, the significance of which they themselves are oftentimes
    unable to apprehend. The following verse is also divinely inspired: ‘Shíráz will be
    thrown into a tumult; a Youth of sugar-tongue will appear. I fear lest the breath of
    His mouth should agitate and upset Baghdád.’ The mystery enshrined within this
    verse is now concealed; it will be revealed in the year after Ḥín.” [Footnote:
    According to the Abjad notation, the numerical value of the word “Ḥín” is 68. It
    was in the year 1268 A.H. that Baháʾuʾlláh, while confined in the Síyáh-Chál of
    Ṭihrán received the first intimations of His Divine Mission.] Of this He hinted in the
    odes which He revealed in that year. The Báb subsequently quoted this well-known
    tradition: “Treasures lie hidden beneath the throne of God; the key to those
    treasures is the tongue of poets.”
    The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Baháʾí Revelation.
    Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Pages 258-259.

      To be a Baháʾí simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to
    serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá quoted in J.E. Esslemont, Baháʾuʾlláh and the New Era (in one of the
    chapters approved by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá). Page 71.

  The Unities Model, as I have developed it, might be described as unknowable
essences, such as the divine Essence and the human essence, with individualized
or particularized attributes, including divine Attributes and the rational faculty,
rational soul, human spirit, mental faculties, or universal mind. The duration of
each unity may be relative to the First Will (Prophethood). To explain it a bit
differently, the Source of all things, the highest Unifying Essence, is expressed as
a divinely willed “stepped down” transformer throughout each of these kingdoms of
existence:
      ... the mind proveth the existence of an unseen Reality that embraceth all beings,
    and that existeth and revealeth itself in all stages, the essence whereof is beyond the
    grasp of the mind. Thus the mineral world understandeth neither the nature nor
    the perfections of the vegetable world; the vegetable world understandeth not the
    nature of the animal world, neither the animal world the nature of the reality of
    man that discovereth and embraceth all things.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Pages 9-10.

       ... the denizens of this earth are completely unaware of the world of the Kingdom
    and deny the existence thereof. They ask, for example: “Where is the Kingdom?
    Where is the Lord of the Kingdom?” These people are even as the mineral and the
    vegetable, who know nothing whatever of the animal and the human realm; they
    see it not; they find it not. Yet the mineral and vegetable, the animal and man, are
    all living here together in this world of existence.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 194.

  Since essential unities or natures are divinely revealed, not individually
discovered, they are, from a human perspective, incalculable. The existence of the
divine Essence, the Prophetic nature (in the Station of Distinction), the unity of
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religions, human nature, and some others have, in my opinion, been specifically
mentioned. Others may, God willing, be revealed in future Dispensations, but
perhaps the human mind is too puny even to refer to certain of these unifying
essences by name. Any human claim to know their number, or an attempt to
describe them in any fashion, would be completely untenable.
      Consider the rational faculty with which God hath endowed the essence of man.
    Examine thine own self, and behold how thy motion and stillness, thy will and
    purpose, thy sight and hearing, thy sense of smell and power of speech, and
    whatever else is related to, or transcendeth, thy physical senses or spiritual
    perceptions, all proceed from, and owe their existence to, this same faculty.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 164.

  On the other hand, since the inner realities defined by the Prophet may express
the divine Unity as unifying essences themselves, nondualism has some
legitimacy. These lower unifying essences, and their attributes, are the
demonstrations of the Unity of God, and His Sovereignty, throughout creation.
Existence , as I define it, would include these essences and, as their outward
expressions, all of the beings and things, or individualized attributes, in the five
kingdoms of being. In addition to the unities or essences, any particular being or
thing may itself, to my understanding, be referred to as a “reality” (ḥaqīqa).
       If thou be of the inmates of this city within the ocean of divine unity, thou wilt
    view all the Prophets and Messengers of God as one soul and one body .... Through
    them are manifested the signs of sanctity in the realities of all things and the tokens
    of oneness in the essences of all beings. Through them are revealed the elements of
    glorification in the heavenly realities and the exponents of praise in the eternal
    essences.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries. Page 33.

      O ye roses in the garden of God’s love! ... ye are the abundant grace of God’s
    oneness that is shed upon the essences of all created things.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 266.

  Each of the essences of existence is based upon the Will of God. Tomorrow, if
He wished, He could destroy any of them and, should it please Him, replace them
with entirely new ones. For instance, the essence of nature is an intellectual, not a
sensible, reality which is regulated by the divine Will:
       It is said that Nature in its own essence is in the grasp of the power of God, Who
    is the Eternal Almighty One: He holds Nature within accurate regulations and laws,
    and rules over it.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 2.

      ... nature ... in its essence is an intellectual reality and is not sensible ....
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 84.


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  Since unifying essences are unknowable, they can, in my opinion, only be
understood through their individualized attributes or distinction . The Unity of God is
observed within His Prophets, but Their Stations of Distinction are relative to us.
Jesus is the Son. His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, the Supreme Manifestation of
God, is the Father. His eternal Gateway is His Exalted Presence the Báb. Similarly,
the human essence, or unity of humanity, is not directly knowable. There can be no
direct realism. We understand that unity only through its individualized rational
faculty, rational soul, human spirit, attributes, or events in human beings.
  The rational soul, or the attributes of human unity, are, to my understanding,
individualized as human beings. However, it may be significant that, in the
quotation directly below, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá apparently used the term, “rational soul,” to
refer to a single divine creation rather than to particular individuals. The attributes
which make up the rational soul, such as arts and sciences, belong to our shared
humanity. In other words, the rational soul may describe both who we are and
what we do. Unlike God, we cannot create realities, but we can form existing ones
into hybrids, compounds, and discoveries.
       The first condition of perception in the world of nature is the perception of the
     rational soul. In this perception and in this power all men are sharers, whether they
     be neglectful or vigilant, believers or deniers. This human rational soul is God’s
     creation; it encompasses and excels other creatures; as it is more noble and
     distinguished, it encompasses things. The power of the rational soul can discover
     the realities of things, comprehend the peculiarities of beings, and penetrate the
     mysteries of existence. All sciences, knowledge, arts, wonders, institutions,
     discoveries and enterprises come from the exercised intelligence of the rational soul.
     There was a time when they were unknown, preserved mysteries and hidden
     secrets; the rational soul gradually discovered them and brought them out from the
     plane of the invisible and the hidden into the realm of the visible. This is the greatest
     power of perception in the world of nature, which in its highest flight and soaring
     comprehends the realities, the properties and the effects of the contingent beings.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 217-218.

        The mind force—whether we call it pre-existent or contingent—doth direct and
     co-ordinate all the members of the human body, seeing to it that each part or
     member duly performeth its own special function. If, however, there be some
     interruption in the power of the mind, all the members will fail to carry out their
     essential functions, deficiencies will appear in the body and the functioning of its
     members, and the power will prove ineffective.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 48.
  Return to the table of contents.

                                     IV. Special Beings

       The Prophets

  We may commune with the divine Essence directly or through His Blessed
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Presence Baháʾuʾlláh and other Prophets.
      We cannot know God directly, but only through His Prophets. We can pray to
    Him realizing that through His Prophets we know Him, or we can address our
    prayer in thought to Baháʾuʾlláh, not as God, but as the Door to our knowing God.
    From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, High
    Endeavors: Messages to Alaska. Page 63.

        You have asked whether our prayers go beyond Baháʾuʾlláh: It all depends
    whether we pray to Him directly or through Him to God. We may do both and also
    can pray directly to God, but our prayers would certainly be more effective and
    illuminating if they are addressed to Him through His Manifestation, Baháʾuʾlláh.
    From a letter, dated October 14, 1937, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Page 63.

  Although the permission (al-iǧāza) for communion granted below may have been
intended for Baháʾís living during the lifetime of the Blessed Beauty, I sometimes, in
prayer and meditation, ask Him questions, while I try, as best I can, to feel or see
His answers. My guess is that the statement could also apply, covenantally, to
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, to Shoghi Effendi, and to the beloved reality, which I personally pray,
and prayerfully write, to as Your dearest Eminence , the Universal House of
Justice. That Body’s divine authority to bring Justice to this world is, I feel, His
Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh’s gift, His love offering , to us.
       O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not
    away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee.
    By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others,
    and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy
    neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My
    gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Hidden Words of Baháʾuʾlláh. Arabic. Number 2.

      In the Bayán it had been forbidden you to ask Us questions. The Lord hath now
    relieved you of this prohibition, that ye may be free to ask what you need to ask,
    but not such idle questions as those on which the men of former times were wont to
    dwell. Fear God, and be ye of the righteous! Ask ye that which shall be of profit to
    you in the Cause of God and His dominion, for the portals of His tender
    compassion have been opened before all who dwell in heaven and on earth.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 64.

      Know thou moreover that thy letter reached Our presence and We perceived
    and perused its contents. We noted the questions thou hast asked and will readily
    answer thee. It behoveth everyone in this Day to ask God that which he desireth,
    and thy Lord will heed his petition with wondrous and undeniable verses.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 183.

  The beloved Universal House of Justice may not know the precise course of
events, or the global situation, in the future. Nevertheless, as human affairs are
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progressively unfolded by the Blessed Beauty, the Supreme Body will, we have
been assured, continue to be inspired. It will apply or elucidate the Baháʾí Sacred
Texts, and their interpretations, to a gradually evolving, maturing World Order:
      If I call upon Thee by Thy Name, the All-Possessing, I am compelled to recognize
    that He Who holdeth in His hand the immediate destinies of all created things is but
    a vassal dependent upon Thee, and is the creation of but a word proceeding from
    Thy mouth.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations. Page 123.

   In my opinion, agreeing with versus disagreeing with a statement made by the
three Central Figures, Shoghi Effendi, or the Universal House of Justice is a less
than satisfactory approach. These individuals and institutions provide various
forms of divine guidance. They are not occult oracles . As I see it, human beings do
not have the ability to determine the infallibility of any individual or institution. Even
a clear consensus on the definition of infallibility is lacking. More relevant, I think,
is authority. Although infallibility is known to God, authority is revealed to us.
      Apart from the question of infallibility, there is the matter of authority. A letter
    written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi states: “It is not for individual believers to limit
    the sphere of the Guardian’s authority, or to judge when they have to obey the
    Guardian and when they are free to reject his judgment. Such an attitude would
    evidently lead to confusion and to schism.” In regard to the Universal House of
    Justice, the same understanding applies.
      Infallibility is a profound spiritual concept inherent in the Baháʾí Writings. In
    meditating upon the relevant passages, the believers will naturally reach their own
    understanding of the subject. Individual opinions, however, should not be imposed
    on others, nor so promoted as to crystallize into doctrines not found in the explicit
    Text. Individual opinions, however, should not be imposed on others, nor so
    promoted as to crystallize into doctrines not found in the explicit Text. When
    exchanging views about the Universal House of Justice – the body to which all
    things must be referred – the friends should exercise care lest they go to extremes,
    by either diminishing its station or assigning to it exaggerated attributes.
    From a letter, dated April 7, 2008, written on behalf of the Universal House of
    Justice, by the Department of the Secretariat, to the Baháʾís in Īrān from the
    Department of the Secretariat.

  For a Baháʾí, meditating upon or studying the Baháʾí Revelation can be inspired
by a prayerful devotion to Baháʾuʾlláh, the Best Beloved. Indeed, knowledge, of
whatever type, begins with love or a focus on the inner heart. The “Essence”, as
the Unity of God or the Unity of the Prophets, is unknowable to me. Among the
greatest mysteries of the ages, in my view, is that the Station of Essential Unity
includes the Oneness of God and the Oneness of His Prophets. Aside from the
Unity of the Prophets and Each of the individual Prophets, such as Baháʾuʾlláh,
there can be, in my thoughts, literally no other God.
      Muḥammad, the Apostle of God, had alluded in His [Baháʾuʾlláh’s] Book as the
    “Great Announcement,” and declared His Day to be the Day whereon “God” will

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    “come down” ....
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 96.

  On the other hand, according to a widely accepted view in India, the Avatār
(Sanskrit, Avatāra, descent or incarnation of God ) is a single God or being:
      The Avatar is always one and the same, because God is always One and the
    Same, the Eternal, Indivisible, Infinite One, who manifests Himself in the form of
    man as the Avatar, as the Messiah, as the Prophet, as the Ancient One—the
    Highest of the High.
    Meher Baba (Persian, Mihr Bābā), The Highest of the High.

      Yes, [there are currently] many [incarnations of the Divine Mother on earth].
    Some will be known, others wish to remain secret. The work of each is different.
    Each expresses a different aspect of the Divine Mother. My scope is very broad and
    more integral. I help people at all stages of life.
    Mother Meera (Sanskrit, Mīra), Mother Meera Answers Part 1 .

      The Avatar takes the human form and behaves in a human way so that humanity
    can feel kinship with the divinity. At the same time he rises to godly heights so that
    mankind also can aspire to reach God.
    Sātya Sāi Bābā, Sathya Sai Baba – Kalki Avatar of Vishnu During Kali Yuga Age .

  The identical God or Goddess is believed to incarnate, usually multiple times, in
a mortal form. When explained in this fashion, an Avatār differs from my definition
of Prophethood. His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh instead, like all the Prophets, is
an uncommon and distinctive Being. He is God. At the same time, He has His Own
Individuality or Character and, while human, He even had a personality. I love my
divine Friend, Baháʾuʾlláh, as a particular Soul, not as an abstraction. Years ago, I
considered the point of having a Prophet, if He incarnates only once into this world,
but a similar question could be posed to you or to me.
  Now, with new light, many of the passages we read within various religious and
devotional texts may be explained differently from before. Here are a few
examples:
      And Jehovah [Hebrew, YHWH] said to Moses [Hebrew, Moše], See, I have made
    you a god to Pharaoh [Egyptian, pr-ʾo, great house or palace]; and your brother
    Aaron [Hebrew, Ahărōn] shall be your prophet.
    Exodus 7:1, Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Jay P. Green, Sr., translator).

       In the beginning was the Word [Greek, Logós], and the Word was with God
    [Koiné Greek, ϑeós or “theos”], and the Word was God. He was in the beginning
    with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one
    thing came into being that has come into being.... And the Word became flesh and
    tabernacled among us.... And looking at Jesus [Hebrew, Yēšūăʿ] walking, he [John
    the Baptist] said, Behold, the Lamb of God!


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    John 1:1, 2, 3, 14, and 36, Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Jay P. Green, Sr.,
    translator).

      ... glorious Hermés longed for the sacrificial meat, for the sweet savour wearied
    him, god though he was; nevertheless his proud heart was not prevailed upon to
    devour the flesh, although he greatly desired ....
    Hóméric Hymn 4 to Hermés. Hugh G. Evelyn-White, translator.

  The so-called “Śāṭanic verses” (al-āyāt al-Šayṭān, the signs of Śāṭan) in the
Qurʾān have long been a thorny issue within the global Islāmic community. As
these verses have frequently been interpreted, Muḥammad was baited, through
His persecution, to adopt polytheism, but He later recanted it. However, I would
suggest a different reading of that text. The Prophet revealed that the Divinities or
Prophets are our only Sources for discovering divine Attributes. The door of unity
was then opened, by the Will of God, for the polytheists of Arabia to embrace the
revealed religion of Islām.
  Subsequently, Muḥammad explained that the humanly devised names, titles, or
designations of these Beings, which had been current in His time, were imaginary:
      Have ye thought upon al-Lat and al-ʿUzzā and Manāt, the third, the other?
    These are the exalted ġarāniq [intermediaries perhaps], whose intercession is hoped
    for. Are yours the males and His the females? That indeed were an unfair division!
    They are but names which ye have named, ye and your fathers, for which Allāh
    hath revealed no warrant. They follow but a guess and that which (they)
    themselves desire. And now the guidance from their Lord hath come unto them.
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 53:19-23, The Meaning of the Glorious Qurʾān (Muhammad
    Marmaduke Pickthall, translator).

  The customary Islāmic assumption is that all of the Prophets (anbiyā, plural of
nabī) and Messengers (rusul, plural of rasūl) before Muḥammad were Muslims.
Unfortunately, translations can be confusing, even misleading, to many average
readers. In the translations of the Qurʾān I have seen, the word “Muslim,” unlike the
surrounding text, is left untranslated. Keeping the Arabic for Muslim, rather than
translating it (one who surrenders to God ), may leave one with the impression that
Muḥammad believed Each of these Prophets followed and taught the specific
religious laws and ordinances of Islām.
   The understandings of “Prophethood,” among many Muslims, resemble the ones
which are commonly held by Jews and Christians. Prophets are regarded as
ordinary people who, at some point in their lives, receive certain divine
instructions. From this point of view, they do not differ significantly from the rest of
us. God selects them as Prophets because of their high moral character or for
reasons all His Own. In the Baháʾí Faith, however, although Prophets, like us, are
human beings in this world, They were always Prophets. At some point in Their
lives, They recognize Their divine Positions or Stations:

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      ... I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the
    All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath
    been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Page 39.

      ... the Reality of Christ, Who is the Word of God, with regard to essence,
    attributes and glory, certainly precedes the creatures. Before appearing in the
    human form, the Word of God was in the utmost sanctity and glory, existing in
    perfect beauty and splendor in the height of its magnificence.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 116-117.

       The soul or spirit of the individual comes into being with the conception of his
    physical body.
       The Prophets, unlike us, are pre-existent. The Soul of Christ existed in the
    spiritual world before His birth in this world. We cannot imagine what that world is
    like, so words are inadequate to picture His state of being.
    From a letter, dated October 9, 1947, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1699.

  His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh is, in the Station of Distinction, the Father and
the Spirit of Truth, or the Comforter, of the Gospels. He is, in addition, the Great
Announcement, when God Himself comes down, which was a prophecy revealed
                              (al-H
by the Seal of the Prophets (al-Hātim an-Nabiyīn), the lofty Muḥammad. In spite of
this eminent Station, the dear Best Beloved is not literally God the Essence:
       Baháʾuʾlláh is not the intermediary between other Manifestations and God. Each
    has His own relation to the Primal Source. But in the sense that Baháʾuʾlláh is the
    greatest Manifestation to yet appear, the One who consummates the Revelation of
    Moses, He was the One Moses conversed with in the Burning Bush. In other
    words, Baháʾuʾlláh identifies the glory of the God-Head on that occasion with
    Himself. No distinction can be made amongst the Prophets in the sense that They
    all proceed from one Source, and are of one essence. But Their stations and
    functions in this world are different.
    Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baháʾí Community. Page 448.

   The greatness of this Age is demonstrated by the Appearance of the Most
Exalted Báb, a Major Prophet and a Lawgiver in His Own right, as the Herald of His
Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, the Promised One of all religions. His Exalted
Presence the Báb, being the Primal or Most Exalted Point (al-Nuqtat al-Alā), is the
Collective Center of the Prophetic Cycle and the Cycle of Fulfillment. Previously,
the Prophetic Cycle had been sealed by Muḥammad. With the Báb, through a
figurative burning of all non-Bábí books, that old cycle may, in preparation for the
coming of Baháʾuʾlláh, the Blessed and Ancient Beauty, have been thoroughly
abolished.
      It is evident that every age in which a Manifestation of God hath lived is divinely
    ordained, and may, in a sense, be characterized as God’s appointed Day. This Day,
    however, is unique, and is to be distinguished from those that have preceded it. The

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    designation “Seal of the Prophets” fully revealeth its high station. The Prophetic
    Cycle hath, verily, ended. The Eternal Truth is now come. He hath lifted up the
    Ensign of Power, and is now shedding upon the world the unclouded splendor of
    His Revelation.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 60.

  From one perspective, the Most Exalted Báb could, in my opinion, be compared
with the Hindu Deity, Śivā (or “Shiva,” Sanskrit for “Auspicious One ”). In some
Hindū contexts, Śivā is presented as the Destroyer of evil. Although His Exalted
Presence the Báb’s Dispensation was brief (1844-1850), it was revolutionary:
       ... the Bábí Dispensation was essentially in the nature of a religious and indeed
    social revolution, and its duration had therefore to be short, but full of tragic
    events, of sweeping and drastic reforms. These drastic measures enforced by the
    Báb and His followers were taken with the view of undermining the very
    foundations of Shíʿah orthodoxy, and thus paving the way for the coming of
    Baháʾuʾlláh. To assert the independence of the new Dispensation, and to prepare
    also the ground for the approaching Revelation of Baháʾuʾlláh the Báb had
    therefore to reveal very severe laws, even though most of them, were never
    enforced.
    Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day. Page 56.

      He is Shiva [Śivā], the ultimate manifestation of energy, of strength, of vigour, of
    art and of expression. At the same time, he is also the supreme manifestation of
    destruction, war, destroyer of evil ....
    Bharat Bhushan, Rudra: The Dancing Destroyer. Page 15.

  The Prophets are not God, the highest Essence. Since we cannot read God’s
Mind, They are also not His symbols or meanings or thoughts. Instead the
Prophets, as Messengers or Manifestations of God’s Names and Attributes, are, in
my view, the Signs (al-Āyāt) or Reflections or Representations of God. I have
attempted to compile a complete list of those Individuals Who are regarded as
central to contemporary organizations and practices. During this process, I
consulted various Baháʾí texts, the Qurʾān, the New Testament, and the TaNaḤ
(the Hebrew acronym for the Jewish Bible).
   Although I have done my best to organize these Prophets chronologically, there
is really no way of knowing the precise order, one way or the other, in many cases.
The records which we have for most of Them come from traditional accounts, not
from records which can be historically verified. Many of the reports of Their
conduct or activities, sometimes even Their human existence, cannot be confirmed
by reliable sources from within Their Own time periods. Current estimates for the
lifetimes of, for example, Zoroaster, Kṛṣṇā, and Melchizedek differ by hundreds,
even thousands, of years.
  As a result of these difficulties with obtaining accurate dates, the proper
sequence of these Exalted Individuals may not be entirely accurate. Additionally,
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the functions in which Hermés (the Qurʾānic Prophet, Idrīs), St. Paul, Nōăḥ,
Melchizedek, and ʾAbrāhām play the major role are in new religious movements
                   ʾAb
(NRMs). During Shoghi Effendi’s lifetime, a few of the movements inspired by these
particular Prophets had followers. However, perhaps due to the freshness, even
novelty, of these activities, he did not include them among the existing revealed
religions:
       The number nine, which in itself is the number of perfection, is considered by the
     Baháʾís as sacred because it is symbolic of the perfection of the Baháʾí Revelation,
     which constitutes the ninth in the line of existing religions, the latest and fullest
     Revelation which mankind has ever known. The eighth is the Religion of the Báb,
     and the remaining seven are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism,
     Christianity, Islám and the religion of the Sabaeans. These religions are not the only
     true religions that have appeared in the world, but are the only ones which are still
     existing.
     From a letter, dated July 28, 1936, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
     individual Baháʾí.

        The first person who devoted himself to philosophy was Ídrís. Thus was he
     named. Some called him also Hermes. In every tongue he hath a special name. He it
     is who hath set forth in every branch of philosophy thorough and convincing
     statements. After him Bálinus derived his knowledge and sciences from the
     Hermetic Tablets and most of the philosophers who followed him made their
     philosophical and scientific discoveries from his words and statements....
     Baháʾuʾlláh, Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 152.

  My own list of Prophets with present-day followers is below. I later expanded it to
contain a few other special beings mentioned in official Baháʾí and in Biblical
sources.
 1 . Nōăḥ (Hebrew)
                                 Ṣād
 2 . Melchizedek (Hebrew, Malk-î Ṣādeq)
     ʾAb
 3 . ʾAbrāhām (Hebrew)
 4 . Hermés (Ancient Greek)
 5 . Moses (Hebrew, Moše)
                         Zaraϑ
 6 . Zoroaster (Avestan, Zaraϑuštra or “Zarathushtra”)
 7 . Krishna (Sanskrit, Kṛṣṇā)
 8 . the Buddha 6 (Pāḷi and Sanskrit)
 9 . John the Baptist (Hebrew, Yôḥānān ha-Matbil 7 )
10.
10. Jesus Christ (Hebrew, Yēšūăʿ ha-Māšîaḥ)
11.
11. St. Paul (Latin, Paulus)
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12.
12. Muḥammad (Arabic)
13.
13. the Báb (Arabic, al-Bāb)
14.
14. Baháʾuʾlláh (Arabic, Bahāʾ Allāh), God’s Greatest Name
  The Unity or the Essence, as He is described in certain Baháʾí sources, may, for
the most part, be a new idea. Multiple “Gods” are discussed within the Sacred
Texts of numerous religions. Yet, to my knowledge, none of these God-men, such
as Hermés, could ever have been visualized as a Prophet around the Unity. The
“Unifying” networks between these Divinities were only vague or, possibly, entirely
unrevealed. This lack of scriptural clarity has frequently resulted either in a
polytheism of Gods without the all-important Unity or in a monism of Gods without
much significant Individuality.
        ... the reality of prophethood, which is the Word of God and the perfect state of
     manifestation, did not have any beginning and will not have any end; its rising is
     different from all others and is like that of the sun. For example, its dawning in the
     sign of Christ was with the utmost splendor and radiance, and this is eternal and
     everlasting.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 152.

       The individual realities of the Divine Manifestations [Prophets] have no
     separation from the Bounty of God and the Lordly Splendor.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 155.

       Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: “I am God,”
     He, verily, speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been
     repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names,
     the Revelation of God, His name and His attributes, are made manifest in the
     world.
     Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Page 179.

   Although the progressive Revelations of the Prophets have sometimes been
defined as providing more information , that interpretation is not, in my opinion,
most ideal. Each of the Prophets is a precious individual Soul or a God Being. He
is Sovereign over His Dispensation. As a divine Manifestation, His Will is identical
to the Will of God. Because Revelation, has, over the Ages, been formed in many
ways, not just one, our knowledge is relative. To my understanding, through a
progressive Revelation, the Prophets have provided to humanity successively
deeper formulations of revealed truths.
  We regular individuals must, through considerable effort and devotion, struggle
to acquire various attributes, stations, or planes. The Prophets, however, are
different. Their awareness is universal, timeless, and innate, not specific, limited,
and acquired. As Members of a “species” of God-Men, these Prophets come into
this world with the divine Attributes of a heavenly Station. Living and acting among
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us, and appearing as outwardly ordinary Humans, They then reveal God’s
Attributes (sometimes called the Word, the Holy Spirit, or the Primal Will) within the
beings and things of this world:
      The first thing which emanated from God is that universal reality, which the
    ancient philosophers termed the “First Mind,” and which the people of Bahá call
    the “First Will.” This emanation, in that which concerns its action in the world of
    God, is not limited by time or place; it is without beginning or end-beginning and
    end in relation to God are one....
      Though the “First Mind” is without beginning, it does not become a sharer in the
    preexistence of God, for the existence of the universal reality in relation to the
    existence of God is nothingness, and it has not the power to become an associate of
    God and like unto Him in preexistence.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 203.

      There is, therefore, only one way to God and that is through the realization of his
    Manifestation or Prophet in that age. Christ called the world of the prophets “the
    word” in the verse of “the word became flesh” while ʿAbduʾl-Bahá calls it the Will.
    Anyhow it is only through these that we can know God. These manifest the divine
    attributes and therefore by knowing them we can know God. The mystic path that
    the traveller should follow is therefore to the Prophet. By coming in contact with
    Him will he obtain peace.
    From a letter, dated November 29, 1929, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí (Lights of Guidance, number 1725).

  On the other hand, the Prophets Themselves, in Their humanities or human
stations, are apparently unable to comprehend, to surround in other words, Their
divine Unity (Tawḥīd Allāh) or Essence:
      Ten thousand Prophets, each a Moses, are thunderstruck upon the Sinai of their
    search at His forbidding voice, “Thou shalt never behold Me!”; whilst a myriad
    Messengers, each as great as Jesus, stand dismayed upon their heavenly thrones by
    the interdiction, “Mine Essence thou shalt never apprehend!” From time
    immemorial He hath been veiled in the ineffable sanctity of His exalted Self, and will
    everlastingly continue to be wrapt in the impenetrable mystery of His unknowable
    Essence. Every attempt to attain to an understanding of His inaccessible Reality
    hath ended in complete bewilderment, and every effort to approach His exalted
    Self and envisage His Essence hath resulted in hopelessness and failure.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 62-63.

       As our knowledge of things, even of created and limited things, is knowledge of
    their qualities and not of their essence, how is it possible to comprehend in its
    essence the Divine Reality, which is unlimited? For the inner essence of anything is
    not comprehended, but only its qualities. For example, the inner essence of the sun
    is unknown, but is understood by its qualities, which are heat and light. The inner
    essence of man is unknown and not evident, but by its qualities it is characterized
    and known. Thus everything is known by its qualities and not by its essence.
    Although the mind encompasses all things, and the outward beings are
    comprehended by it, nevertheless these beings with regard to their essence are
    unknown; they are only known with regard to their qualities....

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    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 220.

  The Unities Model of Existence is, in my view, demonstrated by the relationship
between the Unifying Essence of God and the Prophets. Because the Most Exalted
Essence cannot be incarnated, God’s Prophets must be distinguished from the
Ultimate Source of all. Time and time again, He manifests Himself, through His
Prophets, within the worlds of servitude or creation. Although the divine Essence is
a rational Being, we cannot read the rational, but unknowable, Mind of God.
However, the Sign or Manifestation of that Mind’s Primal, or First, Will (al-Mašīʾa al-
Awwal) is an Ancient and Eternal Covenant (the Cause or Command of God), or a
progressive Revelation, of the Prophets.
       The human temple that has been made the vehicle of so overpowering a
    Revelation must, if we be faithful to the tenets of our [Baháʾí] Faith, ever remain
    entirely distinguished from that “innermost Spirit of Spirits” and “eternal Essence
    of Essences”—that invisible yet rational God Who, however much we extol the
    divinity of His Manifestations [Prophets] on earth, can in no wise incarnate His
    infinite, His unknowable, His incorruptible and all—embracing Reality in the
    concrete and limited frame of a mortal being. Indeed, the God Who could so
    incarnate His own reality would, in the light of the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh, cease
    immediately to be God. So crude and fantastic a theory of Divine incarnation is as
    removed from, and incompatible with, the essentials of Baháʾí belief as are the no
    less inadmissible pantheistic and anthropomorphic conceptions of God—both of
    which the utterances of Baháʾuʾlláh emphatically repudiate and the fallacy of
    which they expose.
    Shoghi Effendi The World Order Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 112-113.

  In my view, any “unknowable essence” is a unity, or an interdependency, of
beings and things made up of attributes. These lower essences are stepped-down
expressions of the absolute Source, the Unity of God. Once that Unity is
manifested by a Prophet, each of the essences of creation depends solely upon
His Will, which is the Will of the divine Unity. As ordinary humans, including social
scientists and other researchers, we can only name, categorize, or identify the
attributes of unifying essences or essential unities. We may then form relationships
with the attributes which have been named. Speculating on essences not revealed
by a Prophet goes nowhere.
      In like manner the mind proveth the existence of an unseen Reality that
    embraceth all beings, and that existeth and revealeth itself in all stages, the essence
    whereof is beyond the grasp of the mind. Thus the mineral world understandeth
    neither the nature nor the perfections of the vegetable world; the vegetable world
    understandeth not the nature of the animal world, neither the animal world the
    nature of the reality of man that discovereth and embraceth all things.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Pages 9-10.

      St. Paul, the Apostle


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  Continuing this discussion, I was moved to write specifically about the Apostle
Paul. For years, I regarded Him as a usurper. I concluded that the beloved Paul
stole the rightful authority of the original Apostles, perhaps of Peter in particular,
after the Crucifixion of Jesus. Since that time, I have expressed, through my
prayers, my deep sadness and regret to St. Paul. Many times, I have pleaded for
His forgiveness. I now love and treasure the Apostle Paul’s Soul very deeply. For
what little it is worth, I often feel comforted by His gentle and compassionate
Presence in my meditations.
  St. Paul’s epistles are, in my view, commonly misused . As the Church fathers
searched for a theological foundation, Paul’s letters became its basic raw
materials. This decision was clearly not the fault of Paul, the dear One. In adapting
His understandings of the Gospel to diverse congregations, He was a brilliant
Pastor and Evangelist. He should be praised and honored as such. However, Paul
never claimed, in His letters, to be a theologian. Rather, He addressed specific
churches at a particular moment in time. There is no indication that He intended his
counsels to be applied within outside contexts:
      For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that
    I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To
    those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under
    the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became
    as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s
    law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I
    might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means
    save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.
    Paul, I Corinthians 9:19-23, New Revised Standard Version.

  In other words, Paul was a relativist. His counsels were not, as He himself
explained, consistent. Instead, they frequently differed from church to church. This
brilliantly pragmatic, or practical, approach becomes obvious when comparing His
letters to the Church at Corinth with His letter to the apparently more mature
Church at Ephesus. Perhaps, therefore, the major value in St. Paul’s letters, to
later generations, was not in His compassionate instructions to specific
congregations, but in the importance of applying the Gospel to a context. Paul
became the Expression, and Exemplar, of Christ’s love.
                                                     Pentecostalism,
  Decades ago, through my doctoral research on Pentecostalism, I watched a well-
known American Pentecostal television evangelist deliver one of his usually fiery
sermons. He preached that any form of music, except for Gospel, and any kind of
                    “dancing        spirit”
dancing, except for “dancing in the spirit” (ecstatic dancing), were sinful. Sadly,
some conservative Christians consider any accommodations to the world as being
in league with the devil. By these uncompromsing standards, St. Paul might very
well have been (God forbid) a horrible sinner. Many people do not, of course,
carefully examine all of their assumptions.

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  Once Paul is misread as an official Church theologian, the differences between
his letters result in doctrinal confusion. Nevertheless, as long as the Roman
Catholic Church and the various Orthodox Churches maintained their positions of
dominance, the issue of disagreement could be skillfully resolved: Dissenters were
branded as heretics. In many cases, they were executed. Then, as the power of
one or more of those centuries-old Churches became weakened, such as during
the Protestant Reformation and, even more so, in modern times, Pauline-based
theologies multiplied.
  I will, at this point, make an unusual argument concerning the exalted Station of
St. Paul. First, in defining the two categories of God’s Prophets, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá said:
      [Some] Prophets are followers and promoters, ... and they profit by the light of
    the Guidance of the universal Prophets.
      ... [They] are like Solomon, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel....
      ... [They] promote the Law of God, make known the Religion of God, and
    proclaim His word.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 164-165.

  Then, as Shoghi Effendi wrote through his secretary:
      We cannot possibly add names of people we (or anyone else) think might be
    Lesser Prophets to those found in the Qurʾán, the Bible and our own Scriptures.
    For only these can we consider authentic Books.
    From a letter, dated March 13, 1950, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí.

  For now, I must once again qualify that anything I write is only my own opinion. I
could not even trust myself. However, applying these two statements to various
New Testament texts, I would suggest that the beloved St. Paul may have been
clearly described, perhaps along with St. John of the Apocalpyse, as a Lesser or
Dependent Prophet. Beginning in 2011, for reasons not entirely clear to me, I found
myself becoming strongly attracted, almost overnight, to the Attributes in Paul, the
blessed One. This sense of comradery and intimacy with dear St. Paul’s beautiful
Soul intensifies when I pray to Him.
  Numerous Lesser Prophets are reported to have followed Moses. Yet, no One of
that Station seems to have appeared after the lifetime of Christ. Although Paul was
not one of the Twelve Apostles appointed by Jesus, He clearly referred to Himself
as an Apostle (Koiné Greek, Apóstolos, Messenger). His claim also seems to have
been accepted by at least some of the original Apostles. St. Paul’s position as an
Apostle or a Messenger might better be appreciated by examining His Own life
together with certain statements He made about Himself. For instance, He wrote
about His Authority to command:
      If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the

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    things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not
    recognize this, he is not recognized.
    Paul, I Corinthians 14:37-38, New Revised Standard Version.

  The moment when a Messenger of God awakens to His mission has, according
to Shoghi Effendi ( God Passes By , page 94), often included a vision. His Exalted
Presence the Báb viewed the martyred body of the Imām Ḥusayn, peace and
blessings be upon Him, while His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh had a visitation
from the Maiden (al-Ḥūrīya or, in Persian, Ḥūrī):
       The circumstances in which the Vehicle of this newborn Revelation, following
    with such swiftness that of the Báb, received the first intimations of His sublime
    mission recall, and indeed surpass in poignancy the soul-shaking experience of
    Moses when confronted by the Burning Bush in the wilderness of Sinai; of
    Zoroaster when awakened to His mission by a succession of seven visions; of Jesus
    when coming out of the waters of the Jordan He saw the heavens opened and the
    Holy Ghost descend like a dove and light upon Him; of Muḥammad when in the
    Cave of Hira, outside of the holy city of Mecca, the voice of Gabriel bade Him “cry
    in the name of Thy Lord”; and of the Báb when in a dream He approached the
    bleeding head of the Imám Ḥusayn, and, quaffing the blood that dripped from his
    lacerated throat, awoke to find Himself the chosen recipient of the outpouring
    grace of the Almighty....
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 93.

      ... the “Most Great Spirit,” as designated by Himself, and symbolized in the
    Zoroastrian, the Mosaic, the Christian, and Muḥammadan Dispensations by the
    Sacred Fire, the Burning Bush, the Dove and the Angel Gabriel respectively,
    descended upon, and revealed itself, personated by a “Maiden,” to the agonized
    soul of Baháʾuʾlláh.
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 101.

 Similarly perhaps, following the Ascension of the Lord of the Heart, Jesus Christ,
                                                                            vision:
Paul became a deeply mystical Man after this astonishing and radiant inner vision:
       ... he [Paul] approached Damascus [Koiné Greek, Damaskós], and suddenly a
    light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice
    saying to him, “... why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you,
    Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter
    the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
    Acts 9:3-6, New Revised Standard Version.

   The sudden rush of Revelation can, for many Prophets, be almost overwhelming.
Some may go on a retreat to process Their experiences. We do not know, of
course, when, in life, a certain Prophet becomes aware that He is a special Being.
Before that redefining moment, many of Them led ordinary, often unimpressive,
lives. Moses was a murderer. St. Paul had persecuted Christians. In a moment, “O,
My God,” and They refer to Themselves by a Name of God. Mīrzā Ḥusayn ʿAlī Nūrī
was Baháʾ (Bahāʾ, Glory or Splendor). Saul (Hebrew, Šāʾûl, Ask or Pray) became

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Paul (Latin, Paulus, Small or Humble).
  As Peter is the stable rock of Jesus (Matthew 16:18), Paul might be Christ’s pure
and stainless Mirror. Unfortunately, St. Paul’s message has all but entirely been
misinterpreted. Instead of appreciating the New Testament texts, in context, using
a patient and relativist reasoning, the Church fathers misapplied Paul’s letters to a
body of rigid creeds. However, Paul, as the elegant divine Messenger of relativism,
can be cherished as the living heart of the Gospel. By reading the teachings of
Jesus through the clear lens of Paul’s flexibility, much of the bloodshed of so many
centuries could have been avoided.

      Other Special Beings

  The Prophets, and certain other exceptional beings, are not like us regular
people in most respects. They are, each and every one of Them, uncommon Souls
of a variety of sorts. Extraordinary women have sometimes served as the greatest
exemplars of what could, in my opinion, be called the divine feminine for their Day
and time. These might include the “immortal heroines” mentioned in the following
two passages:
      Little wonder that ʿAbduʾl-Bahá should have joined her [Táhirih’s] name to
    those of Sarah, of Ásíyih, of the Virgin Mary and of Fátimih [Fāṭimah], who, in the
    course of successive Dispensations, have towered, by reason of their intrinsic merits
    and unique position, above the rank and file of their sex.
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 75.

      ... the Greatest Holy Leaf, the “well-beloved” sister of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, the “Leaf
    that hath sprung” from the “Pre-existent Root,” the “fragrance” of Baháʾuʾlláh’s
    “shining robe,” [was] elevated by Him [Baháʾuʾlláh] to a “station such as none
    other woman hath surpassed,” and comparable in rank to those immortal heroines
    such as Sarah, Ásíyih, the Virgin Mary, Fátimih and Táhirih, each of whom has
    outshone every member of her sex in previous Dispensations.
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 347.

  Perhaps, and I am only reflecting, each member of His Blessed Presence
Baháʾuʾlláh’s Holy Family, the Aġṣān (Branches), was an uncommonly created
soul. The Greatest Holy Leaf and her Brother, the beloved Master, made the right
choices. Baháʾuʾlláh blessed the Greatest Holy Leaf as the highest ranked woman
of the Baháʾí Dispensation. He sanctified His Son, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, as the perfect Man
(al-Insān al-kāmil) of creation or servitude. Others, including the Master’s Own
brother, violated the Covenant of the Promised One of all ages. Maybe they would
have been better off not to have had those special capacities at all.
      In contemplating the Master’s [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá’s] divine example we may well
    reflect that His life and deeds were not acted to a pattern of expediency, but were
    the inevitable and spontaneous expression of His inner self. We, likewise, shall act
    according to His example only as our inward spirits, growing and maturing through
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     the disciplines of prayer and practice of the Teachings, become the wellsprings of all
     our attitudes and actions.
     The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván Message, 1969 (126 Baháʾí Era).

        Let them call to mind, fearlessly and determinedly, the example and conduct of
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá while in their midst. Let them remember His courage, His genuine
     love, His informal and indiscriminating fellowship, His contempt for and impatience
     of criticism, tempered by His tact and wisdom. Let them revive and perpetuate the
     memory of those unforgettable and historic episodes and occasions on which He so
     strikingly demonstrated His keen sense of justice, His spontaneous sympathy for the
     downtrodden, His ever-abiding sense of the oneness of the human race, His
     overflowing love for its members, and His displeasure with those who dared to flout
     His wishes, to deride His methods, to challenge His principles, or to nullify His acts.
     Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Pages 34-35.

       If you find you need to visualize someone when you pray, think of the Master
     [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá]. Through Him you can address Baháʾuʾlláh. Gradually try to think
     of the qualities of the Manifestation [the Prophet], and in that way a mental form
     will fade out, for after all the body is not the thing, His Spirit is there and is the
     essential, everlasting element.
     From a letter, dated January 31, 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
     individual Baháʾí (Lights of Guidance, number 1493).
  Return to the table of contents.

                                     V. A New Monotheism

       No Partners with God

  I have reflected upon a suitable “label” for The Unities Model of Existence .
Henotheists worship one God, but they believe that different Gods can be
worshipped by others. If one prays to different Messengers, such as Baháʾuʾlláh,
the Báb, Muḥammad, and the Apostle Paul, peace be upon Them, henotheism is
                              Monolatrists ,
not an appropriate category. Monolatrists, on the other hand, accept that, while
many Gods exist, only one of Them should be worshipped universally , so the
Unities Model is not exactly monolatrist either. In a very weak sense, it could be
called a polytheistic system, worshipping multiple Divinities, but, since God is One,
polytheism is an imprecise description.
  In view of the identification of the Unity of God with the Unity of the Prophets, širk
(sharing) has been considerably redefined in the Unities Model. Briefly, if the
Oneness of God is the Oneness of the Prophets, that Oneness should, exclusively
and without any partners (širk), be worshipped through the Prophet. In other
words, when an individual rejects just One of the Prophets or Messengers, she is
claiming, perhaps unintentionally, to share in the Sovereignty and Dominion of the
most sacred Unity or Essence of God. As Baháʾuʾlláh, the Blessed Beauty of God,
wrote:

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       Be thou assured in thyself that verily, he who turns away from this Beauty hath
    also turned away from the Messengers of the past and showeth pride towards God
    from all eternity to all eternity.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Tablet of Aḥmad .

      Inclusiveness

  To my understanding, in our new Age of Maturity, the universal embrace of the
Best Beloved takes in monotheists along with everyone else, including polytheists.
                                                     monotheism.
Therefore, the Unities Model presents a redefined monotheism. During the Islāmic
Dispensation or Prophetic Age, the Arabic, širk (sharing), was commonly
interpreted as referring both to idolatry and polytheism. In this model, however, the
usage of širk has been significantly broadened. For instance, the term, “idolatry,”
can now be expanded to include dangerous and outmoded ideologies or belief
systems:
       God Himself has indeed been dethroned from the hearts of men, and an
    idolatrous world passionately and clamorously hails and worships the false gods
    which its own idle fancies have fatuously created, and its misguided hands so
    impiously exalted. The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are none
    other than the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, at whose
    altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at
    war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in
    different degrees, now worshiping.
    Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 113.

       While sharing Fascism’s idolatry of the state, its sister ideology Naziism made
    itself the voice of a far more ancient and insidious perversion. At its dark heart was
    an obsession with what its proponents called “race purity”. The single-minded
    determination with which it pursued its murderous ends was in no way weakened
    by the demonstrably false postulates upon which it was based.
    Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, Century of Light.
    Page 61.

  Polytheism assigns partners (širk, sharing) to God. The Unities Model is
monotheistic, not polytheistic. There is only One ultimate Source of all. He is
manifested by the Prophets. However, in the Station of Distinction or Prophethood,
the concept of plurality is accepted. An individual may even worship the
everlasting Unity of God through more than one Prophet. For example, by
commemorating the Holy Days of His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh and of the
divine Forerunner, His Exalted Presence the Báb, by visiting Their Shrines, by
praying to Them, and by reflecting upon Their Words, Baháʾís are praising the
Unity of both of Them.
 If, on the other hand, one focuses primarily upon the Stations of Distinction
among the various Prophets, the monotheism of the Unities Model is progressively
made known to us in a hierarchy or, perhaps, somewhat like a pantheon (Ancient
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       pánϑ
Greek, pánϑeón) of divine Beings. That is to say, Baháʾuʾlláh is the Blessed Beauty
(al-Ǧamāl al-Mubarak) of God, but He is also the Ancient or Preexistent Beauty (al-
Ǧamāl al-Qidām) of God. He occupies the highest Rank or Position:
       We are in the cycle which began with Adam [Hebrew, ʾĀdām, ruddy, reddish
     earth, or ground], and its supreme Manifestation is Baháʾuʾlláh.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 160.

       This judgment of God, as viewed by those who have recognized Baháʾuʾlláh as
     His Mouthpiece and His greatest Messenger on earth, is both a retributory
     calamity and an act of holy and supreme discipline. It is at once a visitation from
     God and a cleansing process for all mankind. Its fires punish the perversity of the
     human race, and weld its component parts into one organic, indivisible, world-
     embracing community.
     Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 4.
  Return to the table of contents.

                                      VI. Unravelling

       From 2012 to 2021

  The majority of this portion of the book will focus upon the inevitable calamities
which, according to my understanding, humanity will continue to undergo on its
pathway to unity. The current Dispensation includes, within its scope, not just the
Day of Resurrection. It also includes the Day of Judgment. No caverns or dugouts,
however expertly designed, could, I believe, guarantee security. Humanity’s sole
salvation is the Blessed Perfection. Yet, despite the struggles and difficult times
which might lie immediately ahead, the general thrust of the Baháʾí texts remains
substantially optimistic. For that reason, I shall begin on an uplifting note:
       ... he [Shoghi Effendi] does not think God will permit man to annihilate himself.
     Too much evolution is behind him and too much before him for that!
     From a letter, dated July 5, 1947, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
     individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 437.

  As discussed in the previous chapter, the world has sustained multiple
cataclysms. Specifically, I have often wondered whether His Blessed Presence
Baháʾuʾlláh prepared and warned humanity about the 2012 centenary of the
Master’s journeys in the West. Many people, coming from various perspectives,
have had premonitions about various earth-changing events beginning that year.
My personal intuition is that the years 2012 through 2021, the centenary of the
Ascension of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá and the inception of the Formative Age of the Baháʾí
Dispensation, will, in retrospect, be regarded as extremely significant to this
planet’s subsequent development.
  Some people have made some rather creative predictions:
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       The program is called Timewave Zero. The software takes ... theories and
    discoveries concerning the I Ching [Chinese, Yì Jīng, Classic on Changes, an
    ancient text used for fortune telling] and creates time maps based upon them. The
    time maps, or novelty maps, show the ebb and flow of connectedness, or novelty, in
    any span of time from a few days to tens of millennia. The theory is not
    deterministic; it does not say what will happen in the future, it only predicts the
    level of novelty that whatever happens will have to fulfill. As such, it operates as a
    map, or simplified picture, of the future (and past) behavior of whatever system is
    being studied. The end date is the point of maximized novelty in the system, and is
    the only point in the entire wave that has a quantified value of zero. December 21,
    2012 A.D. We arrived at this particular end date without knowledge of the Mayan
    Calendar, and it was only after we noticed that the historical data seemed to fit best
    with the wave if this end date was chosen that we were informed that the end date
    that we had deduced was in fact the end of the Mayan calendar.
    Peter Meyer and Terence McKenna, TimeWaveZero: A guide to software .

      A generation according to Matthew 1:17 and Luke chapter 3 comes out to 52
    years both times and we’re talking about a hundred and some different groups and
    generations involved so that’s an accurate figure. You add that to 1967 and you
    come out to 2019 minus 7 years for the Rapture and that comes out to 2012.
    Jack Van Impe, Jack Van Impe and a 2012 Rapture. Television evangelist.

       The year 2008 marked the last of God’s warnings to mankind and the beginning
    in a countdown of the final three and one-half years of man’s self-rule that will end
    by May 27, 2012.
    Ronald Weinland, The Prophesied End-Time Revealed. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

  Others have argued that 2012 is “encoded” in the Biblical texts. This approach,
which examines the proximity of certain keywords in the original Hebrew of the
Holy TaNaḤ (Old Testament), is referred to as the Torah Code or Bible Code.
Similar techniques have been applied to other religious scriptures. This type of
fortunetelling illustrates the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. For instance,
claiming that a relationship between concepts or events and the Bible, or any text,
cannot be attributed to chance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The results of
the analysis are statistically predicted by the data entered.
      Evidence of a supernatural system of messages in the Bible is proof it is the Word
    of God The Bible Code? ... Pick an arbitrary code and you can get a system of
    messages out of any text.
    “Word of God.” TheologyWeb Campus. March 22, 2005. Retrieved on May 22,
    2012.

      Many of the most startling new Codes have been found by Rabbi [Matityahu]
    Glazerson. His depth of study into ancient texts and their meaning adds
    tremendous insight into the topics of the Mayan calendar and 2012.
    The Torah Code and 2012. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

      ... the Quran’s mathematical miracle is based on the number “19.” To share this

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    awesome miracle with the reader, the word “GOD” is printed throughout the
    English text in bold capital letters, and the cumulative number of occurrences is
    shown at the lower left corner of every page. The total occurrence of this most
    important word is shown at the end of the Quran to be 2698. This total is a multiple
    of 19. Additionally, when we add the numbers assigned to every verse where the
    word “God” occurs, the total comes to 118123, also a multiple of 19 (19x6217).
    Rashad Khalifa (translator), Quran: The Final Testament. Authorized English
    Version. 2003. Page 12.

  The December 21, 2012, “meme,” a term which was coined by evolutionary
biologist Richard Dawkins, now appears to have been imprinted onto the collective
awareness of much of humanity. Outwardly, at least, Robert J. Sharer, was that
meme’s originator. Based upon his own research, he added the date to the fourth
(1983), fifth (1994), and sixth (2007) editions of Slyvanus G. Morley’ book (peace
be upon them):
      The ancient Maya may have believed that the world came to an end, and was
    recreated afresh, at the close of each great cycle of thirteen bak’stuns, a period of
    approximately 5,128 solar years, and they reckoned the chronology of their current
    world from a fixed point corresponding to the end of the preceding great cycle ....
    According to the generally accepted calendrical correlation ..., the current great
    cycle—and our current world—will end on December 21, 2012 ....
    Slyvanus G. Morley, The Ancient Maya . Edited by Robert J. Sharer. Fifth edition.
    Stanford, CA. Stanford University Press. 1994. Page 568.

      ... increasing numbers of people have adopted the name “meme” for the
    postulated gene analogue....
      ... the Oxford Dictionary now does contain the following definition: meme: “a
    self-replicating element of culture passed on by imitation.”
    Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love.
    New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2003. Page 120.

  José Argüelles, Ph.D. (1939-2011), peace and blessings be upon him,
popularized the date. He also gave it spiritual significance. December 21, 2012,
became, in the years following 1987, a hugely successful popular cultural
phenomenon:
       The fulcrum and most likely the climax of the biosphere-noosphere transition and
    the epochal shift into a new dimension of reality, the consciously activated
    Noosphere, has been linked to a specific date, December 21, 2012 (12/21/12).
       Since I introduced the date with the publication of the book, The Mayan Factor,
    in 1987, fascination with its meaning—the end of the 5,125 year “Great Cycle,” a
    measure of one of the calendars of the Classic Maya civilization of Central America
    —has grown exponentially.
    José Argüelles, Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of
    Human Consciousness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 2011. Page 38.

 Reinforcing the 2012 meme in the popular imagination, the date was

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incorporated into the script for the final episode of the popular science-fiction
television series, The X-Files (1993-2002), and became the title for an adventure
film (released in 2009):
      In this final episode of the X-Files, it is revealed that on December 22 2012, aliens
    will invade and take over the world, one day after December 21 2012. It was like
    Chris Carter [the central male character] was saying to us that the aliens don’t
    need to invade and conquer us, all they need to do is move in to a vacant earth.
    December212012 Network. Retrieved on April 15, 2012.

      From Roland Emmerich, director of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and
    INDEPENDENCE DAY, comes the ultimate action-adventure film, exploding with
    groundbreaking special effects. As the world faces a catastrophe of apocalyptic
    proportions, cities collapse and continents crumble. 2012 brings an end to the
    world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.
    2012. Movie. Product Description.

  The apparent seer, William Miller (1782-1849), founded the Adventist movement.
He inadvertently stumbled upon the year of the Declaration of the Most Exalted
Báb in 1844. Similarly, Argüelles, a man who might have also been an inspired
seer, could have been the “Miller” for the twenty-first century. From a subjective
standpoint, I sense that he is a pure, humble, and beautiful soul. Argüelles was
sometimes known, late in his life, by the name, Valum Votan (Mayan for closer of
the cycle):
      According to the time science of the ancient Maya history is shaped by a galactic
    beam that Earth has been transiting for over 5,100 years....
      ... December 21, 2012 marks the conclusion of the passage of our solar system
    through this galactic synchronization beam.
    José Argüelles, 2012 – A New Beginning . Retrieved on March 10, 2012.

      ... they [a group of indigenous Mayan elders in Teotihuacan, Mexico] took me up
    to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and gave me this really incredible-looking staff
    with an obsidian-tipped knife on it and an onyx sphere at the other end of it, and all
    this other stuff. They said, “You’re the Closer of the Cycle” [Valum Votan].
    José Argüelles quoted by Carol Hiltner, José Argüelles and the Great Calendar
    Change. Retrieved on March 10, 2012.

      I am a plain messenger. I foretell UR [Universal Religion], the UR that follows the
    great change. Life is not safe. Security is only with God who is One. The great
    change will bring a new Heaven and a New Earth. In UR, which is the Dominion of
    Time, there will be no trace left of the world that preceded the great change. This is
    the divine plan for a divine planet, the coming of the Earth Wizards.
      As Valum Votan, I am closer of the cycle. What does this mean? I complete the
    prophecy cycle of Pacal Votan and Quetzalcoatl which defines the year 2012 as the
    conclusion of a schedule of historic and evolutionary cycles.... I am commanded as
    well, to the furtherance of all of the principles of UR, the Universal Religion on
    Earth ....

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      My knowledge is derived from study, contemplation, and revelation. The source
    of this revelation is Pacal Votan, AD 603-683 ....
    José Argüelles, Votan Lives in Argüelles! Argüelles is Dead! Retrieved on March 12,
    2012.

  Argüelles was, in previous years, known for the Harmonic Convergence :
      The Harmonic Convergence was a worldwide peace initiative that took place on
    August 16 and 17, 1987. Conceived by José Argüelles, it signified the end of the nine
    cycles of the underworld and heralded a 25-year period of spiritual growth leading
    to the end of the current age in 2012. Massive numbers of people gathered at
    sacred sites all over the planet awakening the energy grid.
    Synthia Andrews and Colin Andrews, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 2012. New York:
    Alpha Books (Penguin Group). 2008.

  Unfortunately, instead of highlighting the realism of unity itself, the more common
approach taken by the 2012 movement has been to emphasize a New Age,
idealistic unity consciousness . In my opinion, this perspective fails to rank the
unifying cause over the the conscious effect. Furthermore, improperly elevating
knowledge or consciousness above unity is, perhaps by definition, the opposite or
contradiction of Baháʾí consultation. If people insist on the truth of their own
opinions, disharmony and discord, not harmony and accord, may be the likely
results.
      ... we just entered the 9th (and last) wave of Mayan Calendar which is about
    unity consciousness and I hold a deep intention to be part of the expanding
    universal consciousness that continues to imprint humanity’s evolution.
    Filiz, “My heart said YES and I took the first step....” medicineWords: Telling Stories
    of the Great Transition and a Brave New World. Blog. March 10, 2011.

      At the root of the primary definition of “noosphere” is a dual perception: that life
    on earth is a web of unity constituting a whole system known as the biosphere; and
    that the mind or self-reflective consciousness of life—the noosphere, earth’s
    thinking layer—constitutes a unity that is presently discontinuous but coextensive
    with the entire system of life on earth, including its inorganic support systems.
    José Argüelles, Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of
    Human Consciousness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 2011. Page 178.

  To my understanding, however, the human species, which may also be referred
to as the unity of humanity, is manifested as the collective consciousness , the
rational faculty, or the human spirit. That universal or shared awareness
concerning the attributes of unifying essences is individualized in particular human
beings:
      ... the modes of operation that characterize man’s biological nature illustrate
    fundamental principles of existence. Chief among these is that of unity in diversity.
    Paradoxically, it is precisely the wholeness and complexity of the order constituting
    the human body—and the perfect integration into it of the body’s cells—that

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    permit the full realization of the distinctive capacities inherent in each of these
    component elements. No cell lives apart from the body, whether in contributing to
    its functioning or in deriving its share from the well-being of the whole. The physical
    well-being thus achieved finds its purpose in making possible the expression of
    human consciousness; that is to say, the purpose of biological development
    transcends the mere existence of the body and its parts.
        What is true of the life of the individual has its parallels in human society. The
    human species is an organic whole, the leading edge of the evolutionary process.
    That human consciousness necessarily operates through an infinite diversity of
    individual minds and motivations detracts in no way from its essential unity. Indeed,
    it is precisely an inhering diversity that distinguishes unity from homogeneity or
    uniformity. What the peoples of the world are today experiencing, Baháʾuʾlláh said,
    is their collective coming-of-age, and it is through this emerging maturity of the
    race that the principle of unity in diversity will find full expression....
        Clearly, the advancement of the [human] race has not occurred at the expense
    of human individuality.
    Universal House of Justice, The Prosperity of Humankind. January 23, 1995. Pages
    3-4.

  The Great Unravelling , rather than politics or governmental reform, will, in my
opinion, provide a resolution to the extraordinary crises at this juncture of our
collective development. The operative word, I feel, is soon . Specifically, however,
no one knows the future. As with spaceships, the faddishness (dumbing down),
superstition (alleged absence of coincidences), magical thinking (finding meaning
in everything), cosmic idealism (New Age higher consciousness), and purported
indigenous prophecies surrounding the 2012 date became a collective obsession:
      2012 is the end of Western civilization as we know it.
    Alberto Villoldo, About 2012. MP4 file.

      While interpretations of prophecies going by the Mayan calendar say the year
    2012 could be a cataclysmic one in which the world may end, Hindu calendars that
    began roughly at the same time some 5,000 years ago predict a golden age
    beginning in 2012.
    “Astrologers predict great changes in year 2012.” Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved on
    January 2, 2012.

      Researcher Patrick Geryl and his team say: “We found virtually absolute proof
    that the doomsday will happen in 2012!”
    How to Survive 2012. Retrieved on March 24, 2012.

  Gilbert Eriksen is more explicit:
      Starting in 2012 (best current estimate) one-third of the Earth will be incinerated
    as fire rains down from the sky. An asteroid will impact one of the major oceans
    destroying many ships and harbor facilities.... Then a major war will erupt in the
    Orient killing off one-third of the Earth’s remaining population. Then the
    governments of the world will begin systematically murdering their own citizens as
    the New World Order consolidates its satanic grip on the populations of the world.

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      A second set of nasty physical changes will begin to impact the earth in about the
    2015/2016 time frame (best current estimate). It will start with a world wide
    outbreak of cancer. Then massive tonnages of iron oxide and raunchy chemicals
    will rain down from the sky staining oceans, the rivers and the lakes a rusty red
    color accompanied by a rotten stench. The Sun will blast the Earth with powerful
    CME energy bringing intense heat and shrouding the entire planet in a dark and
    steamy cloud cover.
    Gilbert Eriksen, The Millennium Prophecy. Retrieved on May 28, 2012.

 On the other hand:
      Contrary to popular belief the living elders of the Maya do not agree that
    December 21, 2012 is the end of their calendar. A new “Sun” represents the
    beginning of a new Long Count cycle in the calendar system of approximately 5,200
    years, which they say may not happen for many years.
    Wandering Wolf (for National Council of Elders: Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna), The
    Maya finally speak up about the meaning of 2012. April 8, 2011.

      Myth .... The Earth’s precession cycle will cross the galactic equator at sunrise on
    21st December 2012.
      The original proponent of this hypothesis, set-down in 1997, suggested that the
    Sunrise on 21st December 2012 will, as it drifts through the 25,800 year precession
    cycle, align with a “cloud of cosmic dust” in the Milky Way. This entire concept is
    meaningless because the rising of the Sun must align with something in the heavens
    on any one day.
    Maurice Cotterell, “Dispelling the Myths about 2012.” The Works of Maurice
    Cotterell. 2009. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.

  In 1912, the beloved Master, traveling throughout the West, repeatedly
emphasized race unity. To be clear, I am not making a partisan comment. No
political party holds a monopoly on race-baiting. I am, however, expressing
sadness and, to be honest, fear for a country which has not yet learned the lesson
of the oneness of humanity. Sadly, racism, as an ideology, is ubiquitous. It is is
deeply embedded into all of the social institutions of American society. Indeed,
most White people hardly ever notice that racism – until someone, comes along
and bites with it.
  Specifically, in early 2012, one, ultimately unsuccessful, U.S. presidential
contender referred to the current chief executive as a “food stamp president.”
Strangely enough, the man has a Ph.D. in history:
      The fact is, if I become your nominee [of the Republican Party], we will make the
    key test very simple. Food stamps, versus pay checks. [Barak] Obama is the best
    food stamp president in American history. More people are on food stamps today
    because of Obama’s policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best
    paycheck president in American history.
    Newt Gingrich, Food Stamp President. January 6, 2012.


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  Shoghi Effendi wrote:
       No less serious is the stress and strain imposed on the fabric of American society
    through the fundamental and persistent neglect, by the governed and governors
    alike, of the supreme, the inescapable and urgent duty—so repeatedly and
    graphically represented and stressed by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in His arraignment of the
    basic weaknesses in the social fabric of the nation—of remedying, while there is yet
    time, through a revolutionary change in the concept and attitude of the average
    white American toward his Negro fellow citizen, a situation which, if allowed to
    drift, will, in the words of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, cause the streets of American cities to run
    with blood, aggravating thereby the havoc which the fearful weapons of
    destruction, raining from the air, and amassed by a ruthless, a vigilant, a powerful
    and inveterate enemy, will wreak upon those same cities.
    Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith. Page 126.

       As to racial prejudice, the corrosion of which, for well-nigh a century, has bitten
    into the fiber, and attacked the whole social structure of American society, it should
    be regarded as constituting the most vital and challenging issue confronting the
    Baháʾí community at the present stage of its evolution. The ceaseless exertions
    which this issue of paramount importance calls for, the sacrifices it must impose,
    the care and vigilance it demands, the moral courage and fortitude it requires, the
    tact and sympathy it necessitates, invest this problem, which the American believers
    are still far from having satisfactorily resolved, with an urgency and importance
    that cannot be overestimated.
    Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Pages 33-34.

      The Passageway to Unity

  Although the Great Unravelling of this time is, I believe, the passageway to global
unity, our collective birth pangs may become even more severe. On the other
hand, please take my views for what they are worth. I suspect that they contain
inaccuracies. Nonetheless, as we know, cultures have risen, declined, and,
ultimately, fallen. My own gut tells me that Western civilization, along with its
materialistic ideologies or shared oppressive belief systems, will, in the not too
distant future, go the way of the Ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Aztecs,
Romans, Athenians, and others. The world, as we know it, is ending.
      ... the signs of an impending catastrophe, strangely reminiscent of the Fall of the
    Roman Empire in the West, which threatens to engulf the whole structure of
    present-day civilization—all witness to the tumult which the birth of this mighty
    Organ of the Religion of Baháʾuʾlláh has cast into the world—a tumult which will
    grow in scope and in intensity as the implications of this constantly evolving Scheme
    are more fully understood and its ramifications more widely extended over the
    surface of the globe.
    Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 156.

      In the East the light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West have appeared
    the signs of His dominion. Ponder this in your hearts, O people, and be not of those
    who have turned a deaf ear to the admonitions of Him Who is the Almighty, the All-
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    Praised.... Should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent, it will assuredly
    rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim: “I
    am the life-giver of the world!”
    Baháʾuʾlláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 78-79.

       The war-god breeds on ideology, defined as “us against them,” whether it poses
    as religion or politics. Although Apollo was the god of wisdom and knowledge, he
    could not counteract the actions of Mars, who could only be subdued by Venus, his
    lover. This was a subtle way of saying that knowledge alone can’t resist militancy.
    Only the power of love can do that.
       We [Americans] may think that we’re a Judeo-Christian country, but our actions
    tell us that we worship at the altar of Mars. The Pentagon is a temple to the war-
    god. Deception and lies are part of its arsenal. And like the voracious “war-god”
    thirsting for blood, it measures success by the number of dead bodies.
    Charles Rayner Kelly, Mars: The God of War.

 Shoghi Effendi quoted the Blessed Beauty:
      “The time for the destruction of the world and its people,” Baháʾuʾlláh’s
    prophetic pen has proclaimed, “hath arrived.” “The hour is approaching,” He
    specifically affirms, “when the most great convulsion will have appeared.” “The
    promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your
    heads, and beneath your feet, saying: ‘Taste ye what your hands have wrought!’”
    “Soon shall the blasts of His chastisement beat upon you, and the dust of hell
    enshroud you.” And again: “And when the appointed hour is come, there shall
    suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake.”
    Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 3.

       “Soon,” Baháʾuʾlláh Himself has prophesied, “will the present-day order be
    rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.” And again: “By Myself! The day
    is approaching when We will have rolled up the world and all that is therein, and
    spread out a new Order in its stead.” “The day is approaching when God will have
    raised up a people who will call to remembrance Our days, who will tell the tale of
    Our trials, who will demand the restitution of Our rights, from them who, without a
    tittle of evidence, have treated Us with manifest injustice.”
    Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Pages 17-18.

  The current Age of Transition might, in my opinion, be described as one from
homo sapien to homo unitas . We will, through trials and ordeals, become a new
race of men:
      The day is approaching when God will have, by an act of His Will, raised up a
    race of men the nature of which is inscrutable to all save God, the All-Powerful, the
    Self-Subsisting.
    Baháʾuʾlláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Page 85.

      A sharp distinction between that community [American and Canadian Baháʾís]
    and that people [Americans and Canadians] must be made, and resolutely and
    fearlessly upheld, if we wish to give due recognition to the transmuting power of the

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    Faith of Baháʾuʾlláh, in its impact on the lives and standards of those who have
    chosen to enlist under His banner. Otherwise, the supreme and distinguishing
    function of His Revelation, which is none other than the calling into being of a new
    race of men, will remain wholly unrecognized and completely obscured.
    Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Page 16.

      The Guardian [Shoghi Effendi] was delighted to hear of your youth group. The
    children who are trained in the world-embracing teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh cannot
    but grow up to be a truly new race of men. He hopes these young people will
    prepare themselves for the great task which will face them in the future, that of
    helping to rebuild the world with the aid and inspiration of the Baháʾí teachings.
    From a letter, dated December 25, 1941, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the
    Baháʾís of Hobart, Australia, A Compilation on Baháʾí Education.

      The World’s Equilibrium

  The Father has come. This Dispensation is His Day of Judgment and
Chastisement. So far, however, the nations of the world have turned a deaf ear to
His universal rulings. At the same time, the very equilibrium of the world has been
upset and shaken by His new World Order, while the earth is being filled with His
Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, the Glory of God:
      The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this
    most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized
    through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System—the like of which mortal
    eyes have never witnessed.
      Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets,
    and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 85.

      For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the
    heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations;
    and the precious things of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory,
    saith Jehovah of hosts.
    Haggai 2:6-7, American Standard Version (1901).

  The vibrations of the ether – the unities or strings of existence – have, it appears
to me, been amplified. In my opinion, these disturbances are, in addition to their
obvious spiritual impact, being manifested as accelerated geomagnetic changes:
      Analysis of the movement of the Earth’s magnetic poles over the last 105 years
    demonstrates strong correlations between the position of the north magnetic, and
    geomagnetic poles, and both Northern Hemisphere and global temperatures.... The
    Earth’s magnetic field affects the energy transfer rates from the solar wind to the
    Earth’s atmosphere, which in turn affects the North Atlantic Oscillation. Movement
    of the poles changes the geographic distribution of galactic and solar cosmic rays,
    moving them to particularly climate sensitive areas.
    Adrian K. Kerton MSc., “Climate Change And The Earth’s Magnetic Poles, A

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    Possible Connection.” Energy & Environment. Volume 20. Numbers 1-2. January
    2009. Pages 75-83. Retrieved on May 3, 2012.

  Furthermore, brush fires, earthquakes, volcanos, tornados, rapid climate change,
and global warming have, perhaps due to changes in the earth’s magnetic field, all
intensified. Crop circles are widely reported. Although some of these anomalies
may have either natural or nonterrestrial causes, others might be the result of
human abuse of the planet:
       To produce natural gas from shale formations, it is necessary to increase the
    interconnectedness of the pore space (permeability) of the shale so that the gas can
    flow through the rock mass and be extracted through production wells. This is
    usually done by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Fracking causes small
    earthquakes, but they are almost always too small to be a safety concern. In
    addition to natural gas, fracking fluids and formation waters are returned to the
    surface. These wastewaters are frequently disposed of by injection into deep wells.
    The injection of wastewater into the subsurface can cause earthquakes that are
    large enough to be felt and may cause damage.
    “Earthquakes Induced by Fluid Injection.” U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved on
    April 23, 2012.

      With scientific evidence emerging that wastewater from oil and gas drilling is the
    possible cause of earthquakes, states are adding new requirements for disposal
    wells....
      The findings add to pressure on the industry over hydraulic fracturing, or
    fracking, a drilling technique in which millions of gallons of chemically treated water
    are forced underground to break up rock and free trapped gas.
    Jim Efstathiou, Jr., “Fracking-Linked Earthquakes Spurring State Regulations.”
    Bloomberg. April 20, 2012. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.

      Perhaps ... [crop circles] indicate contact with ... kindred extraterrestrial beings –
    whose communications are emerging at this time to assist us through this critical
    point in our planet’s and our species’ history.
    Mika Feinberg, “Codes of the Cosmos.” Sacred Geometry: Bringing the Power of
    Sacred Geometry Home. Retrieved on May 1, 2012.

  A veering of the earth from its axis, once again upsetting the planetary
equilibrium, could result in some frigid regions become temperate:
       The effects of increasing temperature on marine and freshwater ecosystems are
    already evident, with rapid pole ward shifts indistributions of fish and plankton in
    regions such as North East Atlantic, where temperature change has been rapid ....
    Climate change has been implicated in massmortalities of many aquatic species,
    including plants, fish, corals, and mammals ....
    Bimal P. Mohanty, Sasmita Mohanty, Jyanendra K. Sahoo, and Anil P. Sharma,
    “Climate Change: Impacts on Fisheries and Aquaculture.” Climate Change and
    Variability. Suzanne W. Simard and Mary E. Austin, editors. Privately published.
    2010. Page 123.


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  Should there be a pole shift or a change in the earth’s axis, the people of
Greenland and perhaps elsewhere may have a choice, mysteriously reminiscent of
humanity in Nōăḥ’s Age, concerning the survival of their landmass. Bear in mind
that I am only offering one possible interpretation of this passage:
      Should the fire of the love of God be kindled in Greenland, all the ice of that
    country will be melted, and its cold weather become temperate—that is, if the
    hearts be touched with the heat of the love of God, that territory will become a
    divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise, and the souls, even as fruitful trees, will
    acquire the utmost freshness and beauty. Effort, the utmost effort, is required.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan. Page 28.

  Globally, the 2004 tsunami near the Indian Ocean, the 2005 flood in New
Orleans, and the 2011 tsunami in Japan also come to mind. At least In the Nōăḥide
narrative, people were apparently not, to my understanding, automatically saved
from death or suffering because of their individual spiritual qualities:
      Mention hath been made in certain books of a deluge which caused all that
    existed on earth, historical records as well as other things, to be destroyed.
    Moreover, many cataclysms have occurred which have effaced the traces of many
    events.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 174.

      And God said to Noah, “An end of all flesh hath come before Me, for the earth
    hath been full of violence from their presence; and lo, I am destroying them with
    the earth.
      “Make for thyself an ark of gopher-wood ....”
    Genesis 6:13-14. Robert Young, translator. Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible.

  The ark , which spiritually protected certain people during the great deluge of
Nōăḥ, was, in my opinion, the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrew, ʾĀrôn Hāḇərîṯ), the
Holy Ark (Hebrew, ʾĀrôn Kodeš), or the Eternal Covenant of God. However, the
story of the Flood should be read as a parable or an allegory:
      The Ark and the Flood we believe are symbolical.
    From a letter, dated October 28, 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1716.

      ... Moses wrote down this law, and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who
    carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.
    Deuteronomy 31:9, New Revised Standard Version.

      O Divine Providence! Lift to Thy lovers’ lips a cup brimful of anguish. To the
    yearners on Thy pathway, make sweetness but a sting, and poison honey-sweet. Set
    Thou our heads for ornaments on the points of spears. Make Thou our hearts the
    targets for pitiless arrows and darts. Raise Thou this withered soul to life on the
    martyr’s field, make Thou his faded heart to drink the draught of tyranny, and
    thus grow fresh and fair once more. Make him to be drunk with the wine of Thine

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    Eternal Covenant, make him a reveller holding high his cup. Help him to fling away
    his life; grant that for Thy sake, he be offered up.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 227.

  Furthermore, if the major source of problems in an Age is social or sociological,
not personal or psychological, the effects of disobedience to God’s Will are felt by
everyone, not just the supposed evildoers :
       Launched ... into the troublesome seas of ceaseless tribulation, piloted by the
    mighty arm of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá and manned by the bold initiative and abundant
    vitality of a band of sorely-tried disciples, the Ark of Baháʾuʾlláh’s Covenant has ...
    been steadily pursuing its course contemptuous of the storms of bitter misfortune
    that have raged, and which must continue to assail it, as it forges ahead towards
    the promised haven of undisturbed security and peace.
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 84.

       Could anything less than the fire of a civil war with all its violence and vicissitudes
    —a war that nearly rent the great American Republic—have welded the states, not
    only into a Union of independent units, but into a Nation, in spite of all the ethnic
    differences that characterized its component parts? That so fundamental a
    revolution, involving such far-reaching changes in the structure of society, can be
    achieved through the ordinary processes of diplomacy and education seems highly
    improbable. We have but to turn our gaze to humanity’s blood-stained history to
    realize that nothing short of intense mental as well as physical agony has been able
    to precipitate those epoch-making changes that constitute the greatest landmarks
    in the history of human civilization.
    Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 45.

      Strange Sounds

  Metaphorically, the earth itself may, in a sense, be groaning. Strange sounds ,
typically imperceptible to human ears, have now, it appears, become audible. I
uploaded a half-hour compilation of some of the more typical sounds. (Note that
there are often gaps between them.) Beginning around 2011, they have been
widely posted on YouTube and similar video websites. This clip, from the National
                                                              clip,
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website, includes radio emissions
captured by spacecraft and converted into sound waves. They resemble many of
the sounds in the compilation. Here are NASA’s explanations:
       If humans had radio antennas instead of ears, we would hear a remarkable
    symphony of strange noises coming from our own planet. Scientists call them
    “tweaks,” “whistlers” and “sferics” [atmospheric studies]. They sound like
    background music from a flamboyant science fiction film, but this is not science
    fiction. Earth’s natural radio emissions are real and, although we’re mostly
    unaware of them, they are around us all the time.
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Earth Songs (file includes sound
    samples). January 19, 2001. Official U.S. government document. Retrieved on May
    26, 2012.

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  These sounds, whatever they might be, are now being reported, and recorded,
globally. Speculations are many, but no firm conclusions have been drawn. Some
of them are obvious hoaxes. Others might have legitimate natural explanations.
The geomagnetic field has been changing rapidly. Perhaps, in preparation for the
further advancement of Baháʾuʾlláh’s wonderful World Order, the etheric frequency
or “equilibrium” of the planet, both underground and atmospherically, is changing:
      Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is
    because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. This
    process can also be modeled with supercomputers. Ours is, without hyperbole, a
    dynamic planet. The flow of liquid iron in Earth’s core creates electric currents,
    which in turn create the magnetic field. So while parts of Earth’s outer core are too
    deep for scientists to measure directly, we can infer movement in the core by
    observing changes in the magnetic field. The magnetic north pole has been
    creeping northward - by more than 600 miles (1,100 km) – since the early 19th
    century, when explorers first located it precisely. It is moving faster now, actually,
    as scientists estimate the pole is migrating northward about 40 miles per year, as
    opposed to about 10 miles per year in the early 20th century.
      The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales
    – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the
    conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north
    pole’s movement could subtly change direction, for instance – there is nothing in
    the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the 2012 doomsday
    scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously.
    “2012: Magnetic Pole Reversal Happens All The (Geologic) Time.” National
    Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Official U.S. government document.

  The following information is fascinating, but I am not qualified to judge whether
any of it is accurate:
      Earth Crust Displacement [ECD] fits the bill exactly.
      ECD will start with an increase in Volcanoes, earthquakes, animal die offs, etc....
      ECD will also start with strange noises, bangs and booms as the bottom of the
    continents and countries fall away into the earths core.
      ECD will also be accompanied by sink holes as parts of the earth fall away
    underneath countries and continents into the earths mantle.
      ECD will also be accompanied by changes on other planets such as warming and
    such like since earth crust displacement will be connected to events at both the
    planatary level and solar level in our solar system.
      ECD will also be responsible for some Global warming with an increase in CO2
    [carbon dioxide] as the molten mantle of the earth creeps higher towards the
    surface.
    Over 150 Call-in Reports of Strange Sounds in Wisconsin. March 21, 2012. Retrieved
    on May 28, 2012.

      Intensification of the energy processes in the Earth’s core can modulate the
    geomagnetic field which, through a chain of physical processes at the ionosphere –
    atmosphere boundary level, generates acoustic-gravity waves the audible range of

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    which has been heard by people in the form of a frightening low-frequency sound
    in different parts of our planet. In both cases, even though the causes of acoustic-
    gravity waves are of a quite understandable geophysical nature, they are indicative
    of the expected significant increase in solar activity and the geodynamic activity of
    our planet. There is no doubt that processes in the core rule the internal energy of
    our planet, therefore, we should expect by the end of 2012 a sharp rise in strong
    earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and extreme weather events with peak
    levels in 2013-2014.
    “Strange Sounds in Sky Explained by Scientists.” Kipnews: Knowledge is Power.
    February 2, 2012. Retrieved on May 2, 2012.

  Unfortunately, some people, instigated by the Internet rumor mill, have been
panicking. As a result, many of the explanations for the sounds are extremely far-
fetched or even conspiratorial. These include alleged extraterrestrial activity:
       A mother ship was recorded over the night sky of Hong Kong in January 2012,
    strange sounds that match what has been heard around the world, seemed to
    emanate from the craft.
    UFOs Trumpet The Apocalypse 2012. YouTube. May 18, 2012. Retrieved on May
    20, 2012.

      Cloaked alien mother ships have been making those booms everywhere – even on
    the TX [Texas] Gulf Coast. The craft you see is a UFO exiting the mother ship.
    “Strange Booms Sound Reported In North Carolina, USA.” Comment. UFO-
    Blogger: Uncover the UFO Truth. Blog. February 29, 2012. Retrieved on May 24,
    2012.

  Another conspiracy theory, proposed by Steve Quayle, is shockwave weapons :
                                               Quayle,
      Strange sounds or hums have been heard in Kiev, as well as in Colorado before
    the quake, and he [Steve Quayle] connected them with the possible use of what he
    called “shockwave weapons.” There’s a lot of manipulation going on, and “there is
    technology that can not only steer or direct hurricanes, but can initiate volcanoes
    and earthquakes,” according to two former Secretaries of Defense, Quayle cited.
    “Global Turmoil/Alchemy.” Coast to Coast AM. September 5, 2011. Retrieved on
    May 13, 2012.

  Still other conspiracy theorists have attributed the sounds to HAARP weather
manipulation, to intelligence collection, or to underground activities, such as:
heavy machinery, tunneling, fall-out shelters, military bases, construction projects,
transportation, nuclear explosions, and weapons testing. Personally, I doubt that
such maneuvers could explain the vast majority, ir any, of these alleged incidents.
Nevertheless, here is some of the online chatter:
      People in and around Mount Shasta hear strange machinery sounds coming
    from the subterranean tunnels of Mount Shasta.
    Karen M., Strange Sounds Experiencer. Retrieved on April 18, 2012.

      ... it sounds like digging, grinding equipment to me and if they are all doing it at
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    the same time to make one kind of shelter then thats why we are hearing it all over
    the world cause they are all tunneling to get to each other.
    Jeanette, Strange Sounds In The Sky All Around The World. Retrieved on April 18,
    2012.

        This is a very strange noise indeed. The husband says it sounds like construction
    ....
    Strange Sounds in the Sky: What’s Up with All of the Unexplained Sky Noises
    Happening Around the World. Retrieved on April 18, 2012.

  Numerous observers have described these sounds as the Biblical trumpets of
angels . Perhaps, from a spiritual perspective, that suggestion has some merit:
      In the past few weeks and months, people all over the world have been reporting
    hearing strange sounds that are like groaning, loud trumpets or voices coming out
    of nowhere. It could be a hoax or a partial hoax, but i think that at least most of it is
    real.
    Strange Sounds Heard Worldwide in 2012: Trumpets of Revelation? January 18,
    2012. Retrieved on May 24, 2012.

       In the first Gospel according to Matthew it is recorded: And when they asked
    Jesus concerning the signs of His coming, He said unto them: “Immediately after
    the oppression of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give
    her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the earth shall be
    shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall
    all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the
    clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a
    great sound of a trumpet.”
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Pages 24-25.

       The first angel blew his trumpet, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood,
    and they were hurled to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a
    third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The second
    angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was
    thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures
    in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel blew his
    trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third
    of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A
    third of the waters became wormwood, and many died from the water, because it
    was made bitter. The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was
    struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their
    light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise the night.
    Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew in
    midheaven, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, at the blasts of the
    other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
    Revelation 8:7-13. New Revised Standard Version.

 Similar predictions were made in the Book of Jeremiah:
      You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: The

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    LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will
    roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the
    inhabitants of the earth. The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the
    LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all
    flesh, and the guilty he will put to the sword, says the LORD. Thus says the LORD
    of hosts: See, disaster is spreading from nation to nation, and a great tempest is
    stirring from the farthest parts of the earth!
    Jeremiah 25:30-32. New Revised Standard Version.

      Global Warming

   Rather than admitting, however, that global warming or climate change has
primarily been one of the waste products of the engines of capitalism, the sun and
its cycles are, in some fringe scientific quarters, conveniently scapegoated. This
issue is briefly addressed in the following quotations:
      The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised
    atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane to higher levels than at
    any point during the last 650,000 years. Scientists agree it is very likely that most of
    the global average warming since the mid-20th century is due to the human-
    induced increases in greenhouse gases, rather than to natural causes.
      While natural variations have altered the climate significantly in the past, it is very
    unlikely that the changes in climate observed since the mid-20th century can be
    explained by natural processes alone.
    “Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration (NASA). Official U.S. government document.

      ... sea levels are rising; snow cover in the Arctic melts earlier; the average air
    temperature is rising; ocean surface temperatures have also been rising; the
    summer sea ice cover is declining; sea air temperature has been rising; for 19 years
    glaciers have lost mass; land air temperature has been rising - a global trend.
      All of this puts the lie to the propaganda of the oil industry aimed at creating
    doubt about the reliability of scientific data. Taking a leaf from the tobacco
    industry, which managed to create doubt about the safety of their products years
    after they privately knew the facts, the oil industry has been attempting to raise
    doubt about the urgency of replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, and with
    considerable success.
    Paul Hellyer (1963-1967 Canadian minister of defence), Global Fraud: Global
    Hope. An Address to the International UFO Congress, Fort McDowell Resort,
    Scottsdale, Arizona. Saturday, February 26, 2011. Page 7.

       There are some who assert that the global warming that has been observed on all
    continents is caused by changes in the output of the sun. This hypothesis does not
    stand up to scrutiny in either the short or the long-term ....
       Each year, we are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the
    atmosphere by about 2 parts per million (ppm).... As a consequence, human-made
    climate change now overwhelms this natural cycle.
    Milan Ilnyckyj, “Climate Change: The Solar Hypothesis.” A Sibilant Intake of
    Breath. Blog. February 2, 2010.
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  The arguments against humanly caused climate change are, generally speaking,
quite weak. For instance, Mitch Batros, whose website combines some scientific
analysis of earth changes with a magical presentation of Western indigenous
prophecies (especially Mayan and Hopi), wrote that “global warming” is a “made
up name.” My question is, “Can anyone provide an example of a name or word that
has not been made up?” Batros wrote:
      Sure, we argue about such things as the made up name “global warming” and
    the greed and politics involved, however, let us separate our ability to champion the
    cause and action of stewardship in regards to our home “Earth.”
    Mitch Batros, Earth Changes Media. Retrieved on April 30, 2012.

      Disintegration

  Through the Occupy Movement, which began on Wall Street but quickly spread
to Main Street, international outrage has continued to stir over the accumulations
of huge fortunes by the privileged few while others struggle to make ends meet.
Regimes, like dominoes, were toppled, one by one, during a brief Arab spring
which, despite considerable fanfare, reverted to a hard winter. In these troubling
times of widespread uncertainty and panic over tomorrow, the unprecedented
dominations of political and economic elites have, to many average individuals,
become intolerable.
  Significantly, many of Karl Marx’s predictions of popular alienation and dissent
are currently being fulfilled. The dialectic of contradictory power relations can be
observed in the revolutionary and reform movements of the present age, whether
the labor uprisings of Occupy or the upheavals in the Arab world. Advocates of the
so-called free market tactically condemn the dominated members of society for
waging class warfare. Hypocritically, then, consumers are warned of a continual
onslaught with “let the buyer beware” or, in Latin, caveat emptor .
  A deep-seated and popular dissatisfaction with institutional leaders, including
high-profile politicians and the industrialists of transnational corporations, are
being fueled by the unapologetic wickedness of destructive ideologies, including
predatory capitalism, pervasive racism, and militant nationalism. Anyone who
dares to question the legitimacy of these systems might risk an immediate
branding as unpatriotic or even irreligious. Thus, oppression, bigotry, and other
evils have been sacralized. Under these deteriorating conditions, the enticement of
anarchism, on the left, and libertarianism, on the right, has become ever more
seductive.
      In its [religion’s] place they [increasing numbers of people] have turned either to
    the hedonistic pursuit of material satisfactions or to the following of man-made
    ideologies designed to rescue society from the evident evils under which it groans.
    All too many of these ideologies, alas, instead of embracing the concept of the

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    oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different
    peoples, have tended to deify the state, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one
    nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas,
    or to callously abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that
    all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling
    small sections to live in a condition of affluence scarcely dreamed of by our
    forebears....
       The time has come when those who preach the dogmas of materialism, whether
    of the east or the west, whether of capitalism or socialism, must give account of the
    moral stewardship they have presumed to exercise.... Why is the vast majority of
    the world’s peoples sinking ever deeper into hunger and wretchedness when wealth
    on a scale undreamed of by the Pharaohs, the Caesars, or even the imperialist
    powers of the nineteenth century is at the disposal of the present arbiters of human
    affairs?
    The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace. September, 2006. Page
    5.

      ... pervading all departments of life—an evil which the nation [the United States],
    and indeed all those within the capitalist system, though to a lesser degree, share
    with that state [the former Soviet Union] and its satellites regarded as the sworn
    enemies of that system—is the crass materialism, which lays excessive and ever-
    increasing emphasis on material well-being, forgetful of those things of the spirit on
    which alone a sure and stable foundation can be laid for human society. It is this
    same cancerous materialism, born originally in Europe, carried to excess in the
    North American continent, contaminating the Asiatic peoples and nations,
    spreading its ominous tentacles to the borders of Africa, and now invading its very
    heart, which Baháʾuʾlláh in unequivocal and emphatic language denounced in His
    Writings, comparing it to a devouring flame and regarding it as the chief factor in
    precipitating the dire ordeals and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve
    the burning of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the hearts of
    men. Indeed a foretaste of the devastation which this consuming fire will wreak
    upon the world, and with which it will lay waste the cities of the nations
    participating in this tragic world-engulfing contest, has been afforded by the last
    World War, marking the second stage in the global havoc which humanity, forgetful
    of its God and heedless of the clear warnings uttered by His appointed Messenger
    for this day, must, alas, inevitably experience. It is this same all-pervasive, pernicious
    materialism against which the voice of the Center of Baháʾuʾlláh’s Covenant was
    raised, with pathetic persistence, from platform and pulpit, in His addresses to the
    heedless multitudes, which, on the morrow of His fateful visit to both Europe and
    America, found themselves suddenly swept into the vortex of a tempest which in its
    range and severity was unsurpassed in the world’s history.
    Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith. July 28, 1954. Page 83.

  Until the remedy prescribed by the Divine Physician, Baháʾuʾlláh, is taken, the
problems will continue and intensify:
       Know thou that hardship and privation shall increase day by day, and the people
    shall thereby be afflicted. The doors of joy and happiness shall be closed on all sides,
    and terrible wars shall occur. Frustration and despair shall encompass the people
    until they are forced to turn to the One True God. Then will the light of most joyful
    tidings so illumine the horizons that the cry of “Yá Baháʾuʾl-Abhá” [O Glory of the
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    Most Glorious] will be raised from every direction. This shall come to pass.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, from a Tablet to Isabella D. Brittingham (corrected translation),
    Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 438.

       ... cumulative instances of political upheaval and economic turmoil on various
    continents have shaken governments and peoples. Societies have been brought to
    the brink of revolution, and in notable cases over the edge. Leaders are finding that
    neither arms nor riches guarantee security. Where the aspirations of the people
    have gone unfulfilled, a store of indignation has accrued. We recall how pointedly
    Baháʾuʾlláh admonished the rulers of the earth: “Your people are your treasures.
    Beware lest your rule violate the commandments of God, and ye deliver your wards
    to the hands of the robber.” A word of caution: No matter how captivating the
    spectacle of the people’s fervour for change, it must be remembered that there are
    interests which manipulate the course of events. And, so long as the remedy
    prescribed by the Divine Physician is not administered, the tribulations of this age
    will persist and deepen. An attentive observer of the times will readily recognize the
    accelerated disintegration, fitful but relentless, of a world order lamentably
    defective.
    The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván, 2011, Message.

   From Stalin, to Mao, to Hitler, to a host of other despots, tyranny became one of
the most pressing social problems of the twentieth century. Clearly, dictators
continue to rule over some nations, the success of totalitarianism and
authoritarianism depends upon popular terror. However, unabashed fearlessness
is a threat to the continuation of any imperialist system. As absolutist states, along
with democratic republics, descend into instability or chaos, many individuals have
thrown caution to the wind, or, perhaps, economic and political panic has simply
dwarfed other worries. The world has been cast into disorder:
       ... the paradox is that while US military power retains global reach (it is working
    on supersonic cruise missiles, and long-range drones) its stewardship as world
    leader, as a generator of the next big idea, is gradually ending. There may come a
    time when international institutions are rebuilt to fill this vacuum. But that time is
    not yet. Until then, a new world disorder would be nearer the mark.
    “United States as a global power: new world disorder” (editorial). The Guardian.
    December 28, 2011.

  Although anarchy, not tyranny, may be the major threat of the twenty-first
century, despotism and authoritarianism, sometimes draped in secrecy, can also
be observed throughout the world. It is, generally speaking, a response to fear,
especially driven by a perceived threat of losing control. For instance, following the
September 11, 2001, terrorist acts in New York City, Northern Virginia, and
Western Pennsylvania:
      A full account of the [George W. Bush] administration’s actions begins, of course,
    with its secret violations of the laws passed by Congress, specifically the Foreign
    Intelligence Surveillance Act, and despite the outcry prompted by its illegal,
    warrantless wiretapping program, the administration still won’t commit to abide by

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    the laws of this country, issuing so-called signing statements as statutes become law
    and refusing to rule out future assertions of the President’s supposed authority to
    disregard FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act].
    Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate, Congressional
    Oversight of Intelligence Activities. November 13, 2007. Official U.S. government
    document. Pages 39-40.

  Meanwhile, the Syrian government has reacted adversely to the so-called Arab
spring of 2011:
      A local [Syrian] activist reached via Skype said [the Bašar al-Asad or Bashar al-
    Assad ] regime forces started shelling the village of Houla, about 40 kilometers (25
    miles) northwest of the city of Homs in west-central Syria following an anti-regime
    demonstration following Muslim prayers on Friday.
      Later, pro-regime thugs known as shabiha [šabīḥa, ghosts or “spooks”] stormed
    the village of Taldaw, just south of Houla, raiding homes and shooting at civilians.
      “They killed entire families, from parents on down to children, but they focused
    on the children,” he said.
    Activists Put Syria “Massacre” Death Toll at 90. May 26, 2012. Retrieved on May 26,
    2012.

      The U.N. Security Council on Sunday condemned the weekend massacre of more
    than 100 civilians in Syria, with members casting blame on government forces for
    the deaths, while violence continued to rage on the ground....
      Syria has denied its troops were behind the bloodbath in Houla, and Jafaari
    [Bašar al-Jāfarī, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the U.N.] denounced what
    he called a “tsunami of lies” against his government. He called the deaths “an
    appalling, horrific unjustified and unjustifiable crime” and vowed Syria’s
    government had launched a national commission to investigate them.
    CNN Wire Staff, “U.N. Condemns Syrian Killings; Toll in Massacre Rises as
    Violence goes on.” CNN. Atlanta, GA. May 27, 2012. Retrieved on May 27, 2012.

 Of course, many officials, globally, have also been concerned about Īrān:
      New satellite images of an Iranian military base indicate Iranian efforts to cover
    evidence of a nuclear weapons program, according to a Washington-based think
    tank.
    Jennifer Rizzo, “Cleanup at Iran’s Parchin site?” CNN Security Clearance. Atlanta,
    GA. May 30, 2012. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.

      The “Flame” virus, the most complex computer bug ever discovered, has been
    lurking for years inside Iranian government computers, spying on the country’s
    officials.
      Publicly unveiled this week, the bug is one of the most potent cyber weapons ever
    spotted in the wild. Security professionals say it marks a new milestone in the
    escalating digital espionage battle.
    David Goldman, “Super-Virus Flame Raises the Cyberwar Stakes.” CNN Money.
    Atlanta, GA. May 30, 2012. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.


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  Added into this unstable mix, the dangers of atomic weaponization were
foreshadowed, using extremely vivid language, by His Blessed Presence
Baháʾuʾlláh Himself:
       Consider the civilization of the West, how it hath agitated and alarmed the
    peoples of the world. An infernal engine hath been devised, and hath proved so
    cruel a weapon of destruction that its like none hath ever witnessed or heard. The
    purging of such deeply-rooted and overwhelming corruptions cannot be effected
    unless the peoples of the world unite in pursuit of one common aim and embrace
    one universal faith. Incline your ears unto the Call of this Wronged One and adhere
    firmly to the Lesser Peace.
       Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the
    minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the
    whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal. Great
    God! We have observed an amazing thing. Lightning or a force similar to it is
    controlled by an operator and moveth at his command. Immeasurably exalted is
    the Lord of Power Who hath laid bare that which He purposed through the
    potency of His weighty and invincible command.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, “Words of Paradise,” Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-
    Aqdas. Pages 25-26.

      The words of Baháʾuʾlláh regarding “a strange and wonderful instrument...”
    [“Strange and astonishing things ...,” in the above quotation, taken from an earlier
    translation] can, in the light of what the Master [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá] said in San
    Francisco, be taken as a reference to the great destructive power atomic energy
    can be made to release.
    From a letter, dated June 6, 1948, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1585.

      Split the atom’s heart, and lo!
      Within it thou wilt find a sun.
    Persian mystic poem quoted by Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys.” The Seven Valleys
    and the Four Valleys. Page 12.

 Here are three apparently corresponding Biblical references:
      This shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage
    war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their
    eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.
    Zechariah 14:12 New Revised Standard Version.

      For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be
    the coming of the Son of Man.
    Matthew 24:27, New Revised Standard Version.

      ... there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent
    earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent
    was that earthquake.
    Revelation 16:18, New Revised Standard Version.
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  While witnessing the distressing news of political repression in the Middle East,
with governments slaughtering their own citizens, I have sometimes recalled the
last of these three Islāmic traditions (al-aḥādīṯ, the plural of al-ḥadīṯ), possibly
referring either to the dreadful consequences of nuclear warfare or to natural
disasters, as quoted by Shoghi Effendi:
        ... every follower of the persecuted Faith of Baháʾuʾlláh recognized evidences of
    the directing Hand of the departed Founder of his religion, Who, from the invisible
    Realm, was unloosing a flood of well-deserved calamities upon a rebellious religion
    ....
        The text of certain Muḥammadan traditions, the authenticity of which Muslims
    themselves recognize, and which have been extensively quoted by eminent Oriental
    Baháʾí scholars and authors, will serve to corroborate the argument and illuminate
    the theme I have attempted to expound: “In the latter days a grievous calamity
    shall befall My people at the hands of their ruler, a calamity such as no man ever
    heard to surpass it. So fierce will it be that none can find a shelter. God will then
    send down One of My descendants, One sprung from My family, Who will fill the
    earth with equity and justice, even as it hath been filled with injustice and tyranny.”
    And, again: “A day shall be witnessed by My people whereon there will have
    remained of Islám naught but a name, and of the Qurʾán naught but a mere
    appearance. The doctors of that age shall be the most evil the world hath ever seen.
    Mischief hath proceeded from them, and on them will it recoil.” And, again: “At
    that hour His malediction shall descend upon you, and your curse shall afflict you,
    and your religion shall remain an empty word on your tongues. And when these
    signs appear amongst you, anticipate the day when the red-hot wind will have
    swept over you, or the day when ye will have been disfigured, or when stones will
    have rained upon you.”
    Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 97 and 99.

  Each of us occupies a front-row seat to one of the greatest dramas in human
history – the great unravelling of a global economic and political order. Corporate
capitalism, which was once widely imagined to have defeated Soviet communism
in the Cold War, might, as some now fear, be on the verge of collapse. Shattering
all illusions, the emperor, a marauding economic system born from human greed
while disguised as a profit motive, has had no clothes. Revolutions, uprisings,
political repression, and climate change are among its legacies of moral
contradiction. In the considered views of many economists and pundits, the
beginnings of the worst are already upon us:
      The world is facing a period of “evil,” [George] Soros said, adding that he
    foresees Europe descending into chaos and conflict, while rioting in the streets of
    the U.S. will lead to a curtailment of civil liberties and the global economic system
    possibly collapsing altogether, Newsweek reported.
    Blanche Gatt, “Euro Breakup Would Cause Global ‘Meltdown,’ George Soros Tells
    Newsweek” Bloomberg. January 24, 2012.

      Predictions that the global economic system will collapse have been coming at an
    accelerated pace lately. Usually, many of the most extreme scenarios are from
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    sources more interested in gaining publicity rather than offering a balanced
    analysis.
      What’s unusual is that lately, many of these apocalyptic predictions are coming
    from some of the most normally sedate institutions in the world such as the IMF
    [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank.
    “Major Buy Signal For Gold And Why Stock Markets Are Ignoring Predictions Of
    Economic Collapse” Gold and Silver Blog. January 26, 2012.

  I personally believe there will be even more severe devastations in the near
future, but the Will of God has only partially been revealed. On the other hand, it
has sometimes been difficult for me to imagine any external and, perhaps more
importantly, internal deteriorations which would be worse than those which, from
one end of the globe to the other, we are witnessing at the present time. Indeed,
history may show that the United States began and, in its global dominance, ended
at a tea party. By setting dates for some future tribulation, the disunity of
“oppression,” we may well have already missed its prologue:
       In the first Gospel according to Matthew it is recorded: And when they asked
    Jesus concerning the signs of His coming, He said unto them: “Immediately after
    the oppression of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give
    her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the earth shall be
    shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall
    all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the
    clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a
    great sound of a trumpet.” ...
       As to the words—“Immediately after the oppression of those days”—they refer
    to the time when men shall become oppressed and afflicted, the time when the
    lingering traces of the Sun of Truth and the fruit of the Tree of knowledge and
    wisdom will have vanished from the midst of men, when the reins of mankind will
    have fallen into the grasp of the foolish and ignorant, when the portals of divine
    unity and understanding—the essential and highest purpose in creation—will have
    been closed, when certain knowledge will have given way to idle fancy, and
    corruption will have usurped the station of righteousness. Such a condition as this is
    witnessed in this day when the reins of every community have fallen into the grasp
    of foolish leaders, who lead after their own whims and desire. On their tongue the
    mention of God hath become an empty name; in their midst His holy Word a dead
    letter.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Pages 24-25 and 29.

       And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened,
    and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and
    the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the
    Son of Man in the heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth smite the
    breast, and they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven,
    with power and much glory; and he shall send his messengers with a great sound of
    a trumpet, and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the
    ends of the heavens unto the ends thereof.
    Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:29-31. Robert Young, translator. Young’s Literal
    Translation of the Bible.

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  The pretribulational rapture is a triumphalist or religiously superior doctrine. It ia
also highly questionable. The spiritual elect, believers claim, will be translated into
Heaven before the Tribulation. However, the Great Unravelling, now occurring in
this Dispensation, is both universal and relative to the Sovereign Will of God.
Humanity is a single essence, not divided. Although we, as human beings, operate
within specific social and ethical contexts, God, acting through His Prophets of His
Own accord, does whatsoever He wills. He alone determines the ethical
requirements for a particular age.
  Standards of good and evil, or collective conscience , are legitimated by God
through His Prophets, not by His servants:
      Know thou for a certainty that the Will of God is not limited by the standards of
    the people, and God doth not tread in their ways. Rather is it incumbent upon
    everyone to firmly adhere to God’s straight Path. Were He to pronounce the right
    to be the left or the south to be the north, He speaketh the truth and there is no
    doubt of it. Verily He is to be praised in His acts and to be obeyed in His behests. He
    hath no associate in His judgement nor any helper in His sovereignty. He doeth
    whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 109-110.

      Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for
    God loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them
    out from where they have turned you out; for persecution and oppression are
    worse than slaughter .... But if they cease, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
    And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail
    justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those
    who practice oppression.
    Muḥammad, Qurʾān 2:190-193. A. Yusuf Ali’s Translation.

      And Samuel saith unto Saul, “Me did Jehovah send to anoint thee for king over
    His people, over Israel; and now, hearken to the voice of the words of Jehovah:
    ‘Thus said Jehovah of Hosts, I have looked after that which Amalek did to Israel,
    that which he laid for him in the way in his going up out of Egypt. Now, go, and
    thou hast smitten Amalek, and devoted all that it hath, and thou hast no pity on it,
    and hast put to death from man unto woman, from infant unto suckling, from ox
    unto sheep, from camel unto ass.’”
    1 Samuel 15:1-3. Robert Young, translator. Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible.

      Bunkers

  While anarchy and chaos have encircled the globe, a predictable survivalist or
prepper conversation has been taking place. Even now, people are hoarding food
and water, building underground bunkers (underground “condos” in at least one
case), and, in short, reinforcing the social delusion of safety in separation. My own
view is that, rather than becoming captivated by this fear-mongering, we should
regularly reflect upon ourselves as servants. How can I help others in the event of
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a disaster? In what ways can I put their lives and needs ahead of mine?
       Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in
    advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without
    significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial
    assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of
    that change on their current lifestyle.
    Prepper.org. Retrieved on February 26, 2012.

      I am a prepper. Survivalist. Whatever you want to call me, it doesn’t matter....
      ... I’ve learned that our “global economy” is nothing more than a great Ponzi
    scheme, and I’ve come to realize that the only way to insulate one’s self from the
    collapse of that scheme is to prepare for self reliant living.
    “What’s a Prepper?” Prepper.org. Retrieved on February 26, 2012.

  Various subterranean and suboceanic fortresses, research facilities, and bomb
or air-raid shelters have been constructed. They may, in certain cases, be
networked using high-speed subways or other rapid transit systems. For example,
the following quotations on deep underground military bases (D.U.M.B.) are taken
from official United States government documents:
       Hard and deeply buried targets are structures ranging from hardened surface
    bunker complexes to deep, underground tunnel facilities, which are used to conceal
    and protect critical leadership, military, and industrial personnel; weapons;
    equipment; and activities that constitute serious threats to U.S. security. These
    structures are typically large, complex, and well concealed, incorporating strong
    physical security, modern air defenses, protective siting, multifaceted
    communications, and other important features that make many of them survivable
    against existing conventional methods of attack.
    Military Transformation: Actions Needed by DOD to More Clearly Identify New Triad
    Spending and Develop a Long-term Investment Approach Page 12. Report to the
    Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of
    Representatives. United States Government Accountability Office. June, 2005.
    Official U.S. government document.

      The PRMRF [Pentagon Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund] provides
    space, building services, deep underground relocation capability, and force
    protection for Department of Defense (DoD) Components, including Military
    Departments and other activities located within the Pentagon Reservation.
    Summary of Operations: Pentagon Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund, Fiscal
    Year (FY) 2013 Budget Estimate. Washington Headquarters Services. February,
    2005. Official U.S. government document.

      In 1978, the facility changed names from Naval Torpedo Station Keyport to
    Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station Keyport in recognition that the
    functions had broadened to include various undersea warfare weapons and
    systems engineering and development activities. In 1992, the facility again changed
    names to NUWC, Division Keyport. Operations currently include engineering,
    fabrication, assembly, and testing of underwater weapons.

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    EPA Superfund Record of Decision: Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station.
    September 1, 1994. Official U.S. government document.

  This report, of unknown accuracy, concerns Lloyd Duscha, a former deputy
director of engineering and construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
      ... [In 1987, Lloyd] Duscha went into a discussion of the Corps’ involvement in
    the 1960s in the construction of the large and elaborate NORAD base buried deep
    beneath Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado. And then he said:
             As stated earlier, there are other projects of similar scope, which I cannot
             identify....
      I would add, parenthetically, that I believe these multiple “interesting facilities”
    that are “classified,” which he “cannot identify” are likely to be either a) undersea,
    b) involve sensitive projects involving UFO technology and/or joint alien/human
    operating bases, and/or c) be located on the Moon and/or Mars and/or other
    planets and planetoids elsewhere.
    Dr. Richard Sauder, “Vorticular Madness Of The Dark Magicians.” Event Horizon
    Chronicle. Blog. December 25, 2011. Retrieved on April 22, 2012.

 This story is from 2011:
      A disturbing report prepared by General Alexey Maslov, the Senior Military
    Representative of the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO, states that he has
    been notified by the Americans of their plan to hold a DEFCON 1 [the highest
    alert] “Cocked Pistol” maximum readiness alert drill on 27 September [2011] which
    will be overseen by President Obama at one the United States most secure bunkers
    located beneath the Denver International Airport.
    “Obama Ordered To Denver Bunker By US Military.” EU Times. September 14,
    2011. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

 The specific mechanisms for the continuity of government, in the event of a
massive catastrophe, are, apparently, highly classified. U.S. Congressman Peter
DeFazio complained about the secrecy on the floor of the House of
Representatives:
       Most Americans would agree that it would be prudent to have a plan to provide
    for the continuity of government and the rule of law in case of a devastating
    terrorist attack or natural disaster, a plan to provide for the cooperation, the
    coordination and continued functioning of all three branches of the government.
    The [George W.] Bush administration tells us they have such a plan. They have
    introduced a little sketchy public version that is clearly inadequate and doesn’t
    really tell us what they have in mind, but they said, don’t worry; there’s a detailed
    classified version. But now they’ve denied the entire Homeland Security Committee
    of the United States House of Representatives access to their so-called detailed plan
    to provide for continuity of government. They say, trust us.
    Congressman Peter DeFazio quoted in Stephen Demetriou, Congress Denied Access
    to Continuity of Government Planning. February 19, 2008. Retrieved on May 26,
    2012.


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  Bunkers have, of course, also been constructed elsewhere. The following
quotations come from official Israeli government publications:
      Data on exports of energy or supply to marine bunkers are recorded with a
    minus sign, to indicate that the amount stated is subtracted from the Total Primary
    Energy Supply. “Marine bunkers” include data on Israeli and foreign ships.
    Central Bureau of Statistics, Israeli Energy through 2003.

      The Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, especially Hamas, have
    conducted extensive fortification activity, copying Hezbollah’s model in Lebanon.
    They have made a particular effort to construct tunnels, bunkers and weapons’
    stores for both offensive and defensive purposes. A large part of the underground
    fortification system is located in densely populated areas in cities, village and
    refugee camps, in gross violation of international laws governing the conduct of war
    and classified as a war crime.
    Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Anti-Israeli Terrorism, 2006: Data,
    Analysis and Trends. March, 2007. Page 103.

      Personal Unravelling

  Fortunately, by enjoying a disciplined life of prayer and meditation, we can work
on ourselves and develop our hearts. If we fail to engage in these practices, any
personality defects will, over time, be exaggerated. I can sense Great Unravellings
deep within human hearts. People I have known over the years are either better or
worse, in certain respects, than they were in the past. Cultural meltdowns will,
hopefully, move us forwards, but we can also move backwards. With all the social
decay around us, souls unprepared, both for this life and for the everlasting one to
come, appear to be falling to pieces, or unravelling, inwardly.
  Even though the Great Unravelling of the old order is universal, it is not
necessarily a bad thing. Beginning in 2010, after starting my meditations, I began
to unravel. I have witnessed my inner being as lower than the sands. Piece by
piece, my self and my ways of looking at the world have continued to be torn apart.
Most of my points of view, including on the Baháʾí Faith, which I have professed
and discussed openly for years have been somehow lifted from my awareness.
These humbling experiences intensified during a period of reflection over the
three-day 2011 Labor Day weekend here in the United States.
   The changes began with my Marxist sociology. That perspective is not at all
uncommon among sociology professors. On the first days of classes, I actually
introduced myself as a Marxist. The two textbooks for my Social Problems course,
I told my students, are also Marxist. Academically, I remain on the non-political far
left. However, in no more than a second, on the afternoon of September 4, 2011,
there was a flash. As my eyes remained wide open, the limitations of Marxist
materialism were suddenly clear to me. This experience would be, as I later
discovered, only the first in a series of visionary lightning bolts.
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      Clearly, materialism’s error has lain not in the laudable effort to improve the
    conditions of life, but in the narrowness of mind and unjustified self-confidence that
    have defined its mission. The importance both of material prosperity and of the
    scientific and technological advances necessary to its achievement is a theme that
    runs through the writings of the Baháʾí Faith. As was inevitable from the outset,
    however, arbitrary efforts to disengage such physical and material well-being from
    humanity’s spiritual and moral development have ended by forfeiting the allegiance
    of the very populations whose interests a materialistic culture purports to serve.
    “Witness how the world is being afflicted with a fresh calamity every day,”
    Baháʾuʾlláh warns. “Its sickness is approaching the stage of utter hopelessness,
    inasmuch as the true Physician is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst
    unskilled practitioners are regarded with favour, and are accorded full freedom to
    act.”
    Baháʾí International Community, One Common Faith. September 2006. Pages 10-
    11.

   Instantly, I somehow recognized, within the depths of my heart, that, by
accepting Autistic identity politics – like the cultural corrosion resulting from
disability, national, racial, or religious identity politics – I had made an awful
mistake. The Marxian dialectic, or contradiction, of oppression was immediately
resolved, perhaps transcended, through an inner connectedness with higher
unities. There has been no mourning for the loss, and I never looked back. Indeed,
it is just one example, in my own life, of what some legends of demonic exorcism
might have described.
                                                             spirituality ,
  By leaving Marxism, and embracing an emancipatory spirituality, I moved even
further toward the intellectual left. As a Marxist, I naïvely believed that, by
developing social solidarity (class consciousness), oppressed or marginalized
peoples could, to some degree, be politically emancipated. However, the power
elites of this world order, supported by many average individuals, have, I feel,
taken us too far down the highway of destruction. By and large, humanity has failed
to accept the Promised One of all ages. Without His Prophetic guidance, the path
to liberation, it seems to me, includes an accelerated global disintegration.
 Furthermore, I have now recognized that identity politics is, in its methodology,
Machiavellian, not unifying and consultative:
      A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his
    study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to
    him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born
    princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on
    the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms
    they have lost their states....
      ... it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be
    dispensed with.
    Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (written around 1513 A.D.). William K. Marriott,
    translator.

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  Saul Alinsky, the founder of the community organizing movement, reconfigured
Machiavellianism into a new non-Marxist left. The word “Realistic,” from his book’s
subtitle, refers to political realism. It is a theory in political philosophy which
focuses upon the strategic pursuit of power. With Alinksy, any power acquired by
oppressed peoples is used to advance their emancipation and human rights
struggles:
      The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules
    for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.
    Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals . New
    York: Vintage Books (a division of Random House). 1971. Page 3.

      Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the
    delegates....
      It is not enough just to elect your candidates. You must keep the pressure on....
    Action comes from keeping the heat on.
    Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals . New
    York: Vintage Books (a division of Random House). 1971. Page xxiv.

   On the afternoon of the next day, five minutes after a telephone call with a good
friend, which I took as a sign, I decided to change this website from an informal,
non-Muslim Ṣūfī path (ṭarīqa), the mysticism of the heart, to Unities of All Things . I
started practicing a Ṣūfī-type meditation, more than a year earlier, while working on
                                 Central™
the resource, Ṣūfī Information Central™. Being very grateful for my personal
encounters with Ṣūfism, I began an informal, online Ṣūfī contemplative activity.
 Now, however, I am thankful only to the Divine Physician, Baháʾuʾlláh. Through
my guardian angel, Ḥaḍrat Sulṭān Bāhū (peace and blessings be upon him),
Ṣūfism was, I feel, the Blessed Beauty’s chosen instrument of healing for me:
      O seeker! Thou hast requested permission for mystical knowledge [Arabic,
    maʿrifat] from me ....
      I will show thee Allāh as nearer to thee than thy jugular (or life) vein [Persian,
    šāh-rag].
    Ḥaḍrat Sulṭān Bāhū, Nūr al-Huda: Light of Guidance. Translation significantly
    modified by Mark A. Foster. Page 2.

      Whoso shalt study this book, by day and by night, with sincerity, certitude, and
    conviction will become cognizant of the divine [Arabic, ilāhī] secrets. He hath no
    need of instruction [Arabic, talqin] and teaching [Arabic, taʿlīm] from a living guide
    [Arabic, muršid].
    Ḥaḍrat Sulṭān Bāhū, Nūr al-Huda: Light of Guidance. Translation significantly
    modified by Mark A. Foster. Page 3.

  Late in the morning of the following day, I rejected nominalism, a view of human
knowledge and its limitations. To nominalists, universals, such as “homo sapiens,”
are no more than convenient names or categories. There is no underlying essence
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connecting individual beings or things. Then, in the afternoon, I rejected much of
social constructionism, a sociological approach which considers social reality,
such as groups, to be willful and with no shared essence. Nominalism and social
constructionism, had, I now recognized, been an eight-year detour. Similar to my
earlier experience concerning Marxism, each of these intuitions was clear and
immediate.
   On the day that I recognized the inadequances of nominalism and social
                                        Realism.
constructionism, I returned to Critical Realism. It is a subject which will be
examined in a later chapter. Enriched through experience, my Critical Realism has
been modified by aspects of the other two perspectives. Fortunately, I no longer
need to tactically maneuver around the ever-present essentialism which I would
constantly observe within many Baháʾí Sacred Texts. Since the heart matters most,
however, I am not, God forbid, trivilalizing or, worse, condemning the sincerely
held viewpoints of others, but for me, personally, each of these experiences felt
like inspired acts of repentance.
  Somehow, I have also found, I am now able to see into the hearts of people.
Much as one might distinguish a pen from a crayon, I can, often rather quickly,
discern attributes in souls. Although others might consider this proficiency to be
unremarkable, my entire universe, as an Autistic man, has been transformed. With
my new perceptiveness, I am more assertive and socially adept. When people
attempt to push me around, I will not allow it, or I go away. When they push others
around, I calmly push back. There was, however, some resistance to these quiet
revolutions. Long-term friendships evaporated. As throughout my childhood, I
became the target of intense bullying.
  In Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge dreamed
of three ghosts: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and
the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. He then abandoned his cynical and miserly
ways and became a new man. Similarly, I realized, following my visionary
experiences, that I had rejected many of the fundamental elements of Western
civilization. Suddenly, the concept of resurrection had significant personal
relevance:
      ... if haply thou dost live in the Day of Resurrection, the mirror of thy heart will
    be set towards Him Who is the Day-Star of Truth; and no sooner will His light shine
    forth than the splendour thereof shall forthwith be reflected in thy heart. For He is
    the Source of all goodness, and unto Him revert all things. But if He appeareth
    while thou hast turned unto thyself in meditation, this shall not profit thee, unless
    thou shalt mention His Name by words He hath revealed. For in the forthcoming
    Revelation it is He Who is the Remembrance of God, whereas the devotions which
    thou art offering at present have been prescribed by the Point of the Bayán, while
    He Who will shine resplendent in the Day of Resurrection is the Revelation of the
    inner reality enshrined in the Point of the Bayán—a Revelation more potent,
    immeasurably more potent, than the one which hath preceded it.

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     The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Page 94.
  Return to the table of contents.

                                     VII. Unified Socialism

       Principles not Applications
   To be clear at the outset, I am not claiming that socialism, as a broad-based
school of economic thought, is advocated within the Teachings of the Baháʾí Faith.
This chapter, like the rest of the book, reflects only my personal perspectives. In it,
I shall briefly outline my vision for a Unified Socialism™ . However, when reviewing
the Baháʾí texts, there are no formal descriptions of future political economies.
Instead, Baháʾí primary sources contain a few spiritual economic principles. These
general criteria will, in the years to come, guide experts when developing
economic systems:
       ... There are practically no technical teachings on economics in the Cause, such
     as banking, the price system, and others. The Cause is not an economic system, nor
     can its Founders be considered as having been technical economists. The
     contribution of the Faith to this subject is essentially indirect, as it consists in the
     application of spiritual principles to our present-day economic system. Baháʾuʾlláh
     has given us a few basic principles which should guide future Baháʾí economists in
     establishing such institutions which will adjust the economic relationships of the
     world.
     From a letter, dated January 25, 1936, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
     individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1868.

       ... Shoghi Effendi believes that it is preferable not to confuse the methods
     explained by the Master with present systems. They may have many resemblances
     but also many points of difference. Moreover these general statements we have in
     the teachings have to be explained and applied by the House of Justice before we
     can really appreciate their significance.
     From a letter, dated October 21, 1932, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
     individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1861.

       Liberalism and Individualistic Freedom

   At this point, however, I see some value in briefly distinguishing the non-political
intellectual left, as I have been personally developing it, from individualistic
liberalism. Many on the intellectual left, grounded in a strong emancipatory ethic,
support the human rights of marginalized communities, universal justice, and
            democratization,
economic democratization, while opposing capitalist globalization. Unlike the
politically reform-minded middle left of progressives , intellectual leftists advocate a
fundamental restructuring or reshaping of societies and relationships, such as a
radical unity in diversity .
       The experience of the Baháʾí community may be seen as an example of ...
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    enlarging unity. It is a community of some three to four million people drawn from
    many nations, cultures, classes and creeds, engaged in a wide range of activities
    serving the spiritual, social and economic needs of the peoples of many lands. It is a
    single social organism, representative of the diversity of the human family,
    conducting its affairs through a system of commonly accepted consultative
    principles, and cherishing equally all the great outpourings of divine guidance in
    human history. Its existence is yet another convincing proof of the practicality of its
    Founder’s vision of a united world, another evidence that humanity can live as one
    global society, equal to whatever challenges its coming of age may entail. If the
    Baháʾí experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the
    unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.
    The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace, September, 2006. Page
    14.

      Taking what we can from the sociology of the commons, a genuine democracy
    appears to involve changing the way we relate to the world around us, and moving
    beyond ownership to stewardship to commoning. This isn’t a call to abandon all
    property—personal property is important, and no one should be denied it within
    reason.
    Raj Patel, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine
    Democracy. New York: Macmillan. 2009. Page 188.

  Reifying freedom and individualism, turning them into real things, is a logical
fallacy. Then idolizing them, as goods in themselves, while imagining that they are
somehow natural, may, at least in part, be an unfortunate byproduct of the frontier
experience:
      It is evident that the unifying tendencies of the [American] Revolutionary period
    were facilitated by the previous coöperation in the regulation of the frontier. In this
    connection may be mentioned the importance of the frontier, from that day to this,
    as a military training school, keeping alive the power of resistance to aggression,
    and developing the stalwart and rugged qualities of the frontiersman....
      ... the most important effect of the frontier has been in the promotion of
    democracy here [the United States] and in Europe. As has been indicated, the
    frontier is productive of individualism. Complex society is precipitated by the
    wilderness into a kind of primitive organization based on the family. The tendency is
    anti-social. It produces antipathy to control, and particularly to any direct control.
    Frederick Jackson Turner, The Frontier in American History. New York: Henry Holt
    and Company. 1921. Pages 22-23 and 35-36

      The simple truth is that all men want to be free, and our common enemies are lies
    and those who create them.
    “About Us.” Freedom Reigns. Retrieved on May 14, 2012.

  Individual freedom or liberty is, by definition, a liberal issue. Strictly speaking,
both the conservative pro-life and the progressive pro-choice views on abortion
are liberal positions. Pro-lifers are primarily interested in the individual liberty of
the fetus to come to term. Those on the pro-choice side, however, focus upon the
individual reproductive freedom of the mother. The capitalist free market is classic
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economic liberalism (classical economics) or, expanded transnationally,
neoliberalism (neoclassical economics).
   Middle-left Keynesianism modified capitalist liberalism, with an enlarged civil-
service sector, in order to allegedly protect the freedom of individuals to be
employed. However, Keynesianism, in my opinion, was even worse than economic
liberalism. Not only did Keynesians prop up the corporate state. They proposed a
dangerous and distracting solution. There is, from a Keynesian standpoint, no
need to dismantle corporate capitalism. Instead, one legitimizes the system by
putting a band-aid on it. By worsening, through postponement, the inevitable crash
and burn, Keynesianism became the corporate monster with a smile on his face.
   Freedom, let me add, is, as I see it, never a good in itself. Sentiment and
nostalgia, the desire to restore an imaginary idyllic past, are out of touch with the
exigencies of the present day. Rather, freedom, from an emancipatory perspective,
is achieved through an ongoing struggle against oppressions or unjust
dominations, divinely ordained spiritual tests, and other directly observable human
difficulties. According to His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh:
       Consider the pettiness of men’s minds. They ask for that which injureth them,
    and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far
    astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such
    men are in the depths of ignorance.
       Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus
    warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the
    embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is
    submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and
    guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to
    overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It
    debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.
       Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This,
    verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in certain
    circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily, are the All-Knowing.
       Say: True liberty consisteth in man’s submission unto My commandments, little
    as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down unto them from
    the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty.
    Happy is the man that hath apprehended the Purpose of God in whatever He hath
    revealed from the Heaven of His Will, that pervadeth all created things. Say: The
    liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto
    God, the Eternal Truth. Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it
    for all the dominion of earth and heaven.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 335-336.

  Furthermore, the philosophies of individualism and libertarianism are, in effect,
false gods . If each person is an individualization of the unity of humanity and its
attributes (the rational faculty), as discussed earlier in the book, then no one,
singly, is a complete individual. Absolute individual freedom becomes a socially

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reinforced delusion. On the other hand, the Unified Socialist™ economic principle
of collective freedom is, it seems to me, one of the profound, yet unavoidable,
implications of the unity in diversity of existence or, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, “the
universal relationships.” In other words, freedom is unity:
       And among the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh is man’s freedom, that through the ideal
    Power he should be free and emancipated from the captivity of the world of
    nature; for as long as man is captive to nature he is a ferocious animal, as the
    struggle for existence is one of the exigencies of the world of nature. This matter of
    the struggle for existence [Herbert Spencer’s A System of Synthetic Philosophy or
    so-called “Social Darwinism”?] is the fountain-head of all calamities and is the
    supreme affliction....
       ... with regard to the peoples who clamour for freedom: the moderate freedom
    which guarantees the welfare of the world of mankind and maintains and preserves
    the universal relationships, is found in its fullest power and extension in the
    teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh....
       ... with regard to the party of “equality” which seeks the solution of the economic
    problems: until now all proposed solutions have proved impracticable except the
    economic proposals in the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh which are practicable and
    cause no distress to society.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Pages 302 and 305.

      Now concerning nature, it is but the essential properties and the necessary
    relations inherent in the realities of things. And though these infinite realities are
    diverse in their character yet they are in the utmost harmony and closely connected
    together. As one’s vision is broadened and the matter observed carefully, it will be
    made certain that every reality is but an essential requisite of other realities. Thus
    to connect and harmonize these diverse and infinite realities an all-unifying Power is
    necessary, that every part of existent being may in perfect order discharge its own
    function.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Pages 20-21.

      A Radical Proposal
  Unfortunately, issues of social and economic freedom may, to a certain extent,
be largely irrelevant at this moment. My personal observation is that global
economic and political systems, along with our present-day material civilizations,
are unsustainable. In the event of a collapse, little may be left of the present order.
Rather than concerning ourselves with personal freedom, we need to be spiritually
prepared:
      In the contemporary landscape, there is a growing return to Localism.... I am
    designating phenomena, such as the emerging economic paradigm which
    reinterprets economic principles according to the interests of local economies ....
    This economic localism has produced research that effectively argues for provincial
    public policies that prevent national and, worse, multinational retailers from
    entering and inevitably monopolizing local markets. Such foreign agents extract
    more resources than they reinvest in the local economy. Rather than procuring the
    merchandise, with which they stock their shelves, from local producers, these
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    retailers import from distanced manufacturers that exploit cheaper, often, offshore
    labor....
      Localism is a political philosophy that is opposed to a tendency in American
    politics that this paper references as centralization: A social process through which
    political power is accumulated in a locus that is distanced, removed from local
    communities, their unique human ecologies, and their provincial political
    institutions....
      The Localism I espouse is not a luddite ideology. Although it might appear
    romanticist in the sense that it valorizes cultural institutions that had a more
    complete, robust expression in previous historical periods, it is by no means a call to
    reenact what has transpired. I recognize that digital communications have
    transformed human geography.
    E. Russell Cole, “Radical Localism in the Network Society.” E. Russell Cole:
    Sociological Thoughts. Blog. Retrieved on February 1, 2012.
      “Anarcho-pluralism,” as I conceive of it at least, is a brand of anti-state
    radicalism that has “anti-universalism” and what might be called “radical localism”
    as it core defining characteristics. It is “anti-universalist” because it rejects the view
    that there is one “correct” system of politics, economics, or culture that is
    applicable much less obligatory for all people at all times and in all places. As Russell
    Kirk observed: “There exists no single best form of government for the happiness
    of all mankind. The most suitable form of government necessarily depends upon the
    historic experience, the customs, the beliefs, the state of culture, the ancient laws,
    and the material circumstances of a people.” Anarcho-pluralism advocates “radical
    localism” as the best possible method of avoiding the tyrannies and abuses of
    overarching Leviathan states, and accommodating the irreconcilable differences
    concerning any number of matters that all societies inevitably contain.
    Keith Preston, “Anarcho-Pluralism and Pan-Secessionism: What They Are and
    What They Are Not.” Attack the System: Pan-seccessionism Against the Empire. Blog.
    Retrieved on February 1, 2012.

  Right now, I believe, the world is headed down the path toward planetary
lawlessness, a breakdown in infrastructure, and a disintegration of communication,
transportation, and food distribution systems. As humanity, in its present state of
travail, continues to unravel, the Universal House of Justice has, in my opinion,
been encouraging greater local consolidation or unity through a strengthening of
the Ruhi Institute (rūḥī, spiritual) and related activities. More generally, the
Supreme Body has been preparing the Baháʾí world for the contributions it will
make, on the grassroots level, to the rebuilding of civilization:
        In their efforts to present the Faith plainly and unequivocally, the believers have
    benefited greatly from the illustrative example in Book 6 of the Ruhi Institute.
    Where the logic underlying the presentation is appreciated, and the urge to convert
    it into a formula overcome, it gives rise to a conversation between two souls ....
        ... Indeed, the civilization that beckons humanity will not be attained through the
    efforts of the Baháʾí community alone. Numerous groups and organizations,
    animated by the spirit of world solidarity that is an indirect manifestation of
    Baháʾuʾlláh’s conception of the principle of the oneness of humankind, will
    contribute to the civilization destined to emerge out of the welter and chaos of

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    present-day society. It should be clear to everyone that the capacity created in the
    Baháʾí community over successive global plans renders it increasingly able to lend
    assistance in the manifold and diverse dimensions of civilization building, opening to
    it new frontiers of learning.
    The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2010 letter.

  The once popular bumper sticker, Think globally but act locally , could, I imagine,
be the emancipatory motto of the Great Reconstruction, through a collaborative
localism, which will, I suspect, inevitably result from worldwide anarchy.
Economies and governments should, in my opinion, be redeveloped upon the
foundation of small towns or large neighborhoods. All business entities, of
whatever size, must be democratically regulated by laws protecting localities, not
stockholders. Community industries, whether cooperative or privately owned,
would focus upon the needs of workers and customers. The profit motive will be
replaced by the service motive.
      And since our [U.S.] government has done nothing to really transform the cost
    model with this health care bill, Americans will all now be required under federal
    law to line the pockets of private for-profit health insurance companies at rates
    near 200% that of other developed democracies. The Soviet Union lives. And it is
    us. The American people are being bilked dry by the corporatocracy in just the
    about every way imaginable.
    “The Corporatocracy’s Usury Against The American People: Our Health Care
    System Ranks Dead Last With Costs 200% Higher Than Comparable Nations.”
    Rantings on Markets, Economics and Business Strategies. Blog. June 24, 2010.
    Retrieved on May 8, 2012.

      Now, most people know what plutocracy is: the rule of the rich, political power
    controlled by the wealthy. Plutocracy is not an American word and wasn’t meant to
    become an American phenomenon. Some of our founders deplored what they
    called “the veneration of wealth.” But plutocracy is here ....
    Bill Moyers, Welcome to the Plutocracy!




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  Monetary interests should, under no circumstances, be permitted to monopolize
public and private human affairs. The new Unified Socialism, as I have imagined it,
would spiritually harmonize a decentralized welfare state with public and worker
cooperatives, government-owned industries, and small-scale private enterprises.
The corporatocracy, or mechanisms of corporate dominance, and plutocracy, or
structure of wealth dominance, will, I anticipate, be superceded by a new
participatory democracy :
      Participatory democracy implies a more activist citizenry directly involved in the
    processes of governmental decision making. Citizen participation in public decision
    making is encouraged and expected.
    Michael E. Milakovich, Ph.D., The Internet and Increased Citizen Participation in
    Government. Page 2.

  Historically, socialism has taken several forms. As a result, many self-defined
socialists do not agree on how a socialistic system should operate. Generally
speaking, however, socialists tend to privilege need before want. Economic
democratization, in which the forces of production become accountable to the
citizens and residents of a society, would, it seems to me, be a vital ingredient in
any form of socialism:
      Key to economic democracy is a democratic labor movement that plays a central
    role in the struggle for a democratic workplace, whether worker or privately
    owned. In workplaces that the employees do not own-traditional corporations,
    family businesses, government, and private nonprofits—only independent,
    democratically run unions can protect workers.
    Democratic Socialists of America, Building the Next Left: The Political Perspective of
    the Democratic Socialists of America.

  As a college professor, I am a member of a union, the National Education

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Association (NEA), but I do not, as a Baháʾí, belong to a socialist, or to any other,
political party. However, America’s Socialist Party sums up the issue pretty well.
The leaders of the organization recognize the diversity of the global socialist
movement:
      Socialism is an economy-based political agenda; but what is Socialism? Decades
    of technological advances allowed the definition of socialism to evolve. The
    traditional definition is - Public ownership of the means of production. This
    definition was interpreted in the past as the state’s ownership of industry.
    Nevertheless, most corporations are considered publicly held companies today.
    What this public ownership is missing is responsibility and control. A central
    government does not have to own the commanding heights of the economy;
    government need only regulate corporate socially responsibility....
      Regardless of form, socialism serves one function: To give workers an equitable
    distribution of the wealth that their efforts helped to produce.
      The form of socialism embraced by a worker is a personal preference based upon
    that worker’s personal situation.
      America’s Socialist Party will not ascribe to a particular form of Socialism.
    America’s Socialist Party. Retrieved on May 16, 2012.

  As a mixed economic system, including both public and private sectors, Unified
Socialism resembles other types of democratic socialism, such as feasible
socialism and associational socialism :
        And between you, me, and the gatepost, in the present in, say, France, Italy, or
    Britain, I wouldn’t favour abolishing the stock exchange .... So what was I arguing?
    After my chapter on instances where central control is necessary to prevent abuse
    of power, which could happen if one let them run themselves; second, under
    competitive conditions, smaller state enterprises where a cleaned-up version of self-
    management would be appropriate; third would be cooperatives, in distinction to
    the second category, which would own their enterprise and therefore take any risks
    that would be involved in owning; fourth is smaller-scale private enterprise which, if
    conditions are right for it, can normally only be stopped by the continuous action of
    a socialist police and I don’t think it is the task of a socialist police to prevent people
    from acting as economic people if they wish to and the circumstances are right for
    it. In my view, such entrepreneurs would not be capitalists because, even though
    they employ people, they are the managers, they work, they run the private
    enterprise; the fifth group, finally, are individuals such as writers, lawyers, etc. My
    argument is that this corresponds partly to economies and diseconomies of scale in
    the sense that some things like electricity are better produced through a centralised
    national grid, partly to human factors: some people like to work in cooperatives,
    some people like self-management and like responsibility and a lot of us don’t.
    Alec Nove in Anders Stephanson, “Feasible Socialism: A Conversation With Alec
    Nove.” (Interview.) Social Text. Number 11 (Winter, 1984-1985). Durham, NC:
    Duke University Press. Pages 96-109.

      It [associational socialism] is based on small-scale trial and error and a willingness
    to drop or continue with experiments on the basis of experience rather than on
    sudden total change or a confidence in its own infallibility. It proposes gradualism

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    over change out of tune with human consciousness and decentralism over
    centralized direction. And it has a pluralist openness to the co-existence of non-
    socialist liberal ideas and forms such as private property, markets, competition and
    some degree of inequality ... alongside socialist commitments to non-state social
    ownership, democratic co-ordination, cooperative mutualism and egalitarian
    redistribution.
    Luke Martell, “Rescuing the Middle Ground: Neo-Liberalism and Associational
    Socialism.” Economy and Society. Volume 22. Number 1 (February, 1993). New
    York: Routledge. Pages 100-113.

       We fight for the extension of democracy into all aspects of our society [U.S.A.].
       This means not a government-dominated, but a democratic, non-sexist, un-racist,
    welfare state with a mixed economy [socialism and capitalism] in which the people
    and democratically-responsible representatives will have the maximum fearasible
    influence in setting economic priorities....
       The purpose of the organization [Social Democrats Socialist Party] shall be by
    democratic means to establish social democracy/democratic socialism within the
    United States of America and across the world by extending democracy to all
    institutions, political, social, and economic.
    Social Democrats Socialist Party. Retrieved on May 8, 2012.

  Unfortunately, partisan politics and politicking in general are, often by design,
divisive. They contradict, by definition, Unities of All Things , The Unities Model of
Existence , and the Baháʾí principle of consultative decision making. Although, to be
honest, I am sometimes mildly entertained by governmental controversies, I try to
avoid any personal involvement with them. Even in cases where I generally agree
with one side or another, I have noticed that, as soon as the issues become
politicized, they are rarely resolved. People, instead, gather around in-groups and
out-groups, while the conversation quickly deteriorates into “us” versus “them.”
  Therefore, while ownership within Unified Socialism might, in my opinion, be
cooperative, state, and private, economic and political decisions should be
grounded upon a radical participatory consultation . That is to say, all stakeholders
– workers, consumers, renters, owners, and so on – should be empowered to
collaboratively make decisions which will impact their lives. His sanctified
Presence ʿAbduʾl-Bahá wrote:
      The purpose of consultation is to show that the views of several individuals are
    assuredly preferable to one man, even as the power of a number of men is of
    course greater than the power of one man. Thus consultation is acceptable in the
    presence of the Almighty, and hath been enjoined upon the believers, so that they
    may confer upon ordinary and personal matters, as well as on affairs which are
    general in nature and universal.
      For instance, when a man hath a project to accomplish, should he consult with
    some of his brethren, that which is agreeable will of course be investigated and
    unveiled to his eyes, and the truth will be disclosed. Likewise on a higher level,
    should the people of a village consult one another about their affairs, the right
    solution will certainly be revealed. In like manner, the members of each profession,

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    such as in industry, should consult, and those in commerce should similarly consult
    on business affairs. In short, consultation is desirable and acceptable in all things
    and on all issues.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá quoted in a letter, dated February 15, 1922, written by Shoghi
    Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia (Īrān), Lights of Guidance: A
    Baháʾí Reference File. Number 580.

      Elimination of Wealth and Poverty
      ... he [God] shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no
    more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first
    things are passed away.
    Revelation 21:4, American Standard Version (1901).

  To my understanding, the Best Beloved has given to humanity a new World
Order, not a philanthropic society. The wealthy cannot be merely permitted or
encouraged to contribute to a public charity on an entirely voluntary basis. In any
orderly, non-anarchist, society, there will, by necessity, be some degree of
compulsion. For instance, there is nothing, as I see it, wrong , in principle, with
making a great deal of money, or acquiring considerable material resources, as
long as an individual does not get to keep most of the riches she has acquired.
  Although voluntary contributions are an important aspect of economic
democratization, they are, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, only one of seven sources of
revenue for a local storehouse or house of finance. Based upon a negative income
tax, the higher one’s income, the more one would pay in taxes. Correspondingly,
the lower one’s income, the more one would receive from that storehouse. Wealth
and poverty will become illegal through an orderly redistribution of resources:
       ... a general storehouse should be founded with the appointment of a secretary.
    At the time of the harvest, with the approval of the members of that board, a
    determined percentage of the entire harvest should be appropriated for the
    storehouse.
       The storehouse is to have seven revenues: Tithes, taxes on animals, wealth
    without inheritors, all things found whose owners cannot be discovered, a third of
    all treasures (money) found in the earth, a third of the mines, and voluntary
    contributions.
       On the other hand, there are seven expenditures:
     1. General running expenses of the institution-salaries etc., and the administration
        of public safety, including the department of hygiene.
     2. Tithes to the general government (State).
     3. Taxes on animals for the State.
     4. Support of an orphanage.
     5. Support of cripples and the incurable.
     6. Support of educational institutions.
     7. Supplying any deficiency for the expenses of the poor.

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    The first revenue is the tithe. For example, if the income of a farmer is five hundred
    dollars and his necessary expenses are five hundred dollars, no tithes will be
    collected from him. Another’s expenses being five hundred and his income one
    thousand dollars, one tenth will be taken from him, for he hath more than his
    needs; if he giveth one tenth his livelihood will not be disturbed. Another’s expenses
    are one thousand dollars, and his income is five thousand dollars; as he hath four
    thousand dollars surplus, he will be required to give one and a half tenths. Another
    hath necessary expenses of one thousand dollars; but his income is ten thousand
    dollars; from him two tenths will be required. The necessary expenses of another
    person are five thousand dollars, and his income one hundred thousand; therefore,
    one fourth will be required from him. On the other hand, a person’s income may be
    two hundred, but his needs absolutely essential for his livelihood are five hundred
    dollars; provided he hath not failed in effort and exertion or his farm hath not been
    blessed with a harvest, such a one must be helped from the general storehouse, so
    that he may not remain in need and may live in ease.
    From a Tablet, dated October 4, 1912, written by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá to an individual
    Baháʾí (translation corrected at the Baháʾí World Centre, December 1985), Lights
    of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 580.
       As to the economic question, it hath been stated briefly and the basis of it hath
    been set forth, while its details are to be fixed by the Universal House of Justice.
    The board of the house of finance (storehouse) will direct in every village the
    revenues of the house, such as tithes, tax on animals, etc. In every village a
    storehouse and an officer in charge are to be provided, while the notables of the
    village gather and form a board and to this board and officer the direction of the
    affairs of the village are entrusted. They take charge of all questions pertaining to
    the village, and the revenues of the storehouse such as tithes, tax on animals and
    other revenues are gathered in it and are given out for necessary expenditures....
       What hath been stated is only an example and this doth not mean that it should
    be enforced exactly in this manner. The principle is that as a man’s wealth
    increaseth, his financial obligations should proportionately increase, so that vast
    riches may not be accumulated in one place. In this manner justice may be
    exercised between the rich and the poor.
    From a Tablet, dated July 25, 1919, written by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá to an individual
    Baháʾí (provisional translation), Economics, Agriculture, and Related Subjects .
    Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice.

  Within the private sector, the implementation of profit-sharing, or a similar
arrangement, will, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, make strikes unnecessary:
       Strikes are due to two causes. One is the extreme greed and rapacity of the
    manufacturers and industrialists; the other, the excesses, the avidity and
    intransigence of the workmen and artisans. It is, therefore, necessary to remedy
    these two causes.
       But the principal cause of these difficulties lies in the laws of the present
    civilization; for they lead to a small number of individuals accumulating
    incomparable fortunes, beyond their needs, while the greater number remain
    destitute, stripped and in the greatest misery. This is contrary to justice, to
    humanity, to equity; it is the height of iniquity, the opposite to what causes divine
    satisfaction....

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       ... rules and laws should be established to regulate the excessive fortunes of
    certain private individuals and meet the needs of millions of the poor masses; thus a
    certain moderation would be obtained. However, absolute equality is just as
    impossible, for absolute equality in fortunes, honors, commerce, agriculture,
    industry would end in disorderliness, in chaos, in disorganization of the means of
    existence, and in universal disappointment: the order of the community would be
    quite destroyed. Thus difficulties will also arise when unjustified equality is imposed.
    It is, therefore, preferable for moderation to be established by means of laws and
    regulations to hinder the constitution of the excessive fortunes of certain
    individuals, and to protect the essential needs of the masses.... Therefore, laws and
    regulations should be established which would permit the workmen to receive from
    the factory owner their wages and a share in the fourth or the fifth part of the
    profits, according to the capacity of the factory; or in some other way the body of
    workmen and the manufacturers should share equitably the profits and
    advantages.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 273-274.

      No, Baháʾuʾlláh did not bring a complete system of economics to the world.
      Profit-sharing is recommended as a solution to one form of economic problems.
      There is nothing in the teachings against some kind of capitalism; its present
    form, though, would require adjustments to be made.
    From a letter, dated November 19, 1945, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1869.

       ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in general disapproved of strikes. The Baháʾí attitude is that when
    the law recognizes strikes as legal, as when called by a properly constituted
    authority such as a trade union, the Baháʾí teaching neither requires nor forbids an
    individual to participate in the strike but leaves him free to decide for himself what
    is the proper course of action in the particular circumstances.
    From a letter, dated June 23, 1985, written on behalf of the Universal House of
    Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number
    2121.

  According to the principle of moderation, some income diversity or inequality
would, in my view, be acceptable. On the other hand, wealth and poverty, the two
immoral economic extremes, must, following the principle of justice, be eliminated.
Exactly how such an optimistic state of affairs is established through economic
policy will, I assume, be eventually decided by the Universal House of Justice or
by an agency acting under the Supreme Body’s authority. Ultimately, the degrees
of inequality, referred to by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, lie, presumably, somewhere in the
middle:
       ʿAbduʾl-Bahá has developed in various of His talks, which you will find in
    different compilations, the principles upon which the Baháʾí economic system
    would be based. A system that prevents among others the gradual control of wealth
    in the hands of a few and the resulting state of both extremes, wealth and poverty.
    From a letter, dated October 28, 1927, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1860.

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        ... The Master [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá] has definitely stated that wages should be
     unequal, simply because that men are unequal in their ability, and hence should
     receive wages that would correspond to their varying capacities and resources. This
     view seems to contradict the opinion of some modern economists. But the friends
     should have full confidence in the words of the Master, and should give preference
     to His statements over those voiced by our so-called modern thinkers.
     From a letter, dated December 26, 1935, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
     individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1867.
  Return to the table of contents.

                                 VIII. Unity in the Cosmos

       Theistic Panspermia™
   I will begin this chapter with a couple of cautions. Theistic Panspermia is, much
like creationism, a highly speculative protology or consideration of origins.
Therefore, I do not believe that it should be taught, or presented, in place of
modern evolutionary theory:
       ... creation and Church are but the necessary antecedent and subsequent
     conditions: creation as the supposition and inception (protology) and Church as the
     consequence and completion (eschatology).
     R. Kress and G. Malanowski, “Communio.” New Catholic Encyclopedia. Second
     edition. Berard L. Marthaler, executive editor. Detroit, MI: Gale, Cengage
     Learning. 2003. Volume 4. Pages 27-31.

  As a sociologist, I am developing an ontology of cosmic unity using the human
                                           Inquiry ™
scientific methodology of Heartfulness Inquiry™. I am not a biologist, a
paleontologist, or a physical anthropologist. Theistic Panspermia is my
unauthoritative scriptural perspective that life may develop or evolve, according to
the Will of God, before and after being intentionally deposited by extraterrestrials
(or perhaps by beings from earth’s future). Official Baháʾí references to
extraterrestrial life are, I believe, prophecies. They should not be confused with
natural scientific theories or explanations.
        The many inconsistencies in the evolution theory have been plaguing the scientists
     since the days of Darwin. On the other hand, the religious people, usually called
     creationists, believe that God created everything, of which there is no proof either.
        ... The solution to the creation-evolution problem is the following: intelligent
     beings from elsewhere in the universe who understand genetic manipulation and
     who are technologically very advanced have populated this planet with many life
     forms, microbes, plants, animals, humans, and human-like species at different times
     during the life of the planet, especially after world-wide catastrophes.
     Earth, Intelligent Beings of the Cosmos, and Humanity. Retrieved on January 28,
     2012.

       Intervention theorists believe that alien beings intervened on Earth, terraforming

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    [terrestrially forming] everything from the planet’s environment to human beings.
    They have arrived at that radical assumption by analyzing evidence across a wide
    range of disciplines, trying to scientifically explain the origin of life on Earth.
    Lloyd Pye, “Intervention Theory.” Lloyd Pye. Retrieved on March 5, 2012.

  Theistic panspermia is not intelligent design (ID). Many of the problems with ID
philosophy stem from the view that humans can discover essences. To its
supporters, certain biological complexities point inevitably to a willful designer.
This revised form of creationist theology illustrates the problems with the direct,
commonsense, or naïve realism of observing unifying essences. If God and His
Will can be fully grasped by simply perceiving created attributes, sending Prophets
would be pointless. However, essences, including the Deity, are unknowable. We
learn about them through divine Revelation. Without revealed truth, we can only
classify.
       Let us consider what it is that is being predicated of our Cosmic Designer, what I
    call the process of rarified design.
       This designer, we are told, is unknowable. We merely know there is design if there
    is some measure of “specified complexity.” We know nothing about the design itself,
    about how it was implemented and when or where, nor anything about the nature
    of the designer (for ID is very careful, except when it isn’t, to not name the
    designer as God unless they are talking to a church group)....
       ... ID is the new creation science.
    John Wilkins, Why Not Intelligent Design? 2004. Retrieved on May 27, 2012.

  Francis Harry Compton Crick, together with James Dewey Watson, won the
Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine folowing their discovery of the DNA
(deoxyribonucleic acid) “double helix.” However, Crick also entertained the
                                     panspermia:
possibility of directed (deliberate) panspermia:
       It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached
    the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as
    living organisms imbedded in a meteorite. As an alternative to these nineteenth
    century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that
    organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on
    another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this
    way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say
    anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that
    might throw additional light on the topic.
    Francis Harry Compton Crick and Leslie Eleazer Orgel, “Directed Panspermia.”
    Icarus. Volume 19. 1973. Pages 341-346.
       For those who feel uncomfortable with the intervention of gods or spirits in our
    affairs – and most of all in our creation – Francis Crick’s theory of directed
    panspermia provides what looks like a thoroughly reasonable, “nuts-and-bolts”
    alternative. Yet let’s recall that Crick, despite being one of the great rational
    atheists of the twentieth century, received his vision of the structure of DNA while
    he was in an LSD trance, and ultimately felt obliged to conclude that the double

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    helix must have been introduced to this planet on board the spaceships of an
    advanced alien civilization.
    Graham Hancock, Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind .
    New York: The Disinformation Company Ltd. 2007. Page 300.

  Similar views on origins are accepted within some new religious movements,
including the Urantia community, Raëlianism, and Yahweh’s Armageddon Time Ark
Base Operation :
      Life does not originate spontaneously. Life is constructed according to plans
    formulated by the (unrevealed) Architects of Being and appears on the inhabited
    planets either by direct importation or as a result of the operations of the Life
    Carriers of the local universes. These carriers of life are among the most interesting
    and versatile of the diverse family of universe Sons. They are intrusted with
    designing and carrying creature life to the planetary spheres. And after planting
    this life on such new worlds, they remain there for long periods to foster its
    development.
    Anonymous, “Paper 36: The Life Carriers.” The Urantia Papers (Urantia Book).

      ... having a much more advanced human civilization coming to Earth a long time
    ago to create life a long time ago to create life in a kind of panspermia is the most
    rational explanation of our origins.
    Raël (Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon), Intelligent Design: Message from the
    Designers. Geneva, Switzerland: The Raëlian Foundation. 2005. Page 377.

      Long ago, in accordance with HIS Will, we brought you here to Time Station
    Earth as infant Patterns (spirits) to mature and perfect yourselves by obeying
    Universal Law in physical form.
    “Outer Dimensional Forces (ODF) Message.” Yahweh’s Armageddon Time Ark Base
    Operation. Retrieved on March 6, 2012.

  Many prophecies have been recorded in the Baháʾí Sacred Texts. Given that
their full implications may only be understood in hindsight, and disclosed to
humanity by a Prophet in the future, too much speculation on possible outcomes
is, in my view, a pointless waste of time. However, one thought, which came to me
during my meditations, is that life on many celestial bodies (including ours),
whether as advanced civilizations or interplanetary bases, might, in some way, be
cloaked, stealth, or otherwise hidden from us. Furthermore, perhaps as illustrated
below, prophecies are not usually testable natural scientific hypotheses:
       ... the Divinity ... has organized this infinite universe in the most perfect form, and
    its innumerable inhabitants with absolute system, strength and perfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 123.

       Thou hast, moreover, asked Me concerning the nature of the celestial spheres. To
    comprehend their nature, it would be necessary to inquire into the meaning of the
    allusions that have been made in the Books of old to the celestial spheres and the
    heavens, and to discover the character of their relationship to this physical world,

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    and the influence which they exert upon it. Every heart is filled with wonder at so
    bewildering a theme, and every mind is perplexed by its mystery. God, alone, can
    fathom its import.... Consider, moreover, the manifold divergencies that have
    resulted from the theories propounded by these men. Know thou that every fixed
    star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no
    man can compute.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 162-163.

      Regarding the passage on p. 163 of the “Gleanings”: The creatures which
    Baháʾuʾlláh states to be found on every planet cannot be considered to be
    necessarily similar or different from human beings on this earth. Baháʾuʾlláh does
    not specifically state whether such creatures are like or unlike us. He simply refers
    to the fact that there are creatures on every planet. It remains for science to
    discover one day the exact nature of these creatures.
    From a letter, dated February 9, 1937, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1581.

  Recent scientific discoveries would seem to confirm what Baháʾuʾlláh wrote. The
planets, and perhaps stars and moons, within God’s physical creation are not, it
seems to me, wasted by spiritually and technologically sophisticated souls:
      Every star twinkling in the night sky plays host to at least one planet, a new study
    suggests....
      The findings were released at the 219th American Astronomical Society (AAS)
    meeting, alongside reports of the smallest “exoplanets” ever discovered.
    Jason Palmer (science and technology reporter), “Study Says Every Star has
    Planets.” BBC. January 11, 2012.

  Briefly, theistic panspermia might be a tangible sign of the unity, the
interconnectedness, of existence. Furthermore, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá,
although this particular planet originated at a certain moment in time, beings and
things, including human beings, are not limited to the earth:
      In the same way the species existing on this earth are phenomenal, for it is
    established that there was a time when these species did not exist on the surface of
    the earth. Moreover, the earth has not always existed, but the world of existence
    has always been, for the universe is not limited to this terrestrial globe.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 69.

      ... it cannot be said there was a time when man was not. All that we can say is
    that this terrestrial globe at one time did not exist, and at its beginning man did not
    appear upon it.... Therefore, it cannot be imagined that the worlds of existence,
    whether the stars or this earth, were once inhabited by the donkey, cow, mouse
    and cat, and that they were without man! This supposition is false and meaningless.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 196-197.

      ... ʿAbduʾl-Bahá stated there are other worlds than ours which are inhabited by
    beings capable of knowing God.


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    From a letter, dated March 31, 1949, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi The Light
    of Divine Guidance. Volume 2. Page 82.

  Although the Revelation of the Best Beloved is primarily intended for the earth,
that Revelation’s extraterrestrial influence cannot be limited by us:
      As to your question whether the power of Baháʾuʾlláh extends over our solar
    system and to higher worlds: While the Revelation of Baháʾuʾlláh, it should be
    noted, is primarily for this planet, yet the spirit animating it is all-embracing, and
    the scope therefore cannot be restricted or defined.
    From a letter, dated July 14, 1938, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1594.

  As commanded by God’s Will, biological and cultural evolution might be
interplanetary or interstellar. Life could be periodically nurtured, even in direct
interactions with people, by extraterrestrials, by transdimensionals (on different
etheric frequencies), by transtemporals (time travelers in their time ships ), or by
beings, now relocated, from a planet’s past. Imaginatively, subterrestrials,
according to some writers, live in subterranean pioneer settlements , intergalactic
cities , or cosmic parking lots . I have never taken such an expedition myself, so I
cannot comment:
      Modern Hollow Earth ideas originated with US Army captain John Cleves
    Symmes. In 1818 he proposed that large entrances to the Earth’s interior lay at
    both poles....
      Symmes gained many adherents, the most enthusiastic being Jeremiah Reynolds,
    who almost persuaded US President John Quincy Adams to approve an official
    expedition, but the project was scrapped by his successor, Andrew Jackson.
    Reynolds did eventually lead his own voyage, sailing to Antarctica in October 1829 –
    just months after Symmes’ death – but they were unable to penetrate the ice
    surrounding the continent.
    Mark Pilkington, “Far out: Going Underground.” London: The Guardian
    (newspaper). Science pages. June 16, 2005. Retrieved on May 28, 2012.

       “We have let you enter here because you are of noble character and well-known
    on the Surface World, Admiral.” Surface World, I half-gasp under my breath!
    “Yes,” the Master replies with a smile, “you are in the domain of the Arianni, the
    Inner World of the Earth. We shall not long delay your mission, and you will be
    safely escorted back to the surface and for a distance beyond. But now, Admiral, I
    shall tell you why you have been summoned here. Our interest rightly begins just
    after your race exploded the first atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
    Japan. It was at that alarming time we sent our flying machines, the ‘Flugelrads,’
    to your surface world to investigate what your race had done. That is, of course,
    past history now, my dear Admiral, but I must continue on. You see, we have never
    interfered before in your race’s wars, and barbarity, but now we must, for you
    have learned to tamper with a certain power that is not for man, namely, that of
    atomic energy. Our emissaries have already delivered messages to the powers of
    your world, and yet they do not heed. Now you have been chosen to be witness
    here that our world does exist. You see, our Culture and Science is many thousands

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    of years beyond your race, Admiral.”
    Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1957), The Secret Diary of Admiral Richard
    Byrd. Alleged record of a journey beneath the north pole. February 19, 1947.
    Retrieved on May 29, 2012.

  Furthermore, some celestial bodies could even serve as laboratories of life.
Civilizations develop and, following the struggles of adolescence, reach their ages
of maturity. At the ends of great cycles, the planet’s inhabitants leave behind their
home worlds to join God’s other creatures throughout the universe. The artifacts of
the previous cycles are destroyed, and, in conformity with the divinely ordained
arrangement, new cycles begin:
      Each of the Divine Manifestations has ... a cycle, and during the cycle His laws
    and commandments prevail and are performed. When His cycle is completed by
    the appearance of a new Manifestation, a new cycle begins. In this way cycles
    begin, end and are renewed, until a universal cycle is completed in the world, when
    important events and great occurrences will take place which entirely efface every
    trace and every record of the past; then a new universal cycle begins in the world,
    for this universe has no beginning.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 160-161.

  The advanced extraterrestrial entities might then clone, genetically re-engineer,
artifically select, and adapt those attributes for the changed physical environment:
       [Dr. Peter] Gariaev and his colleagues ... studied DNA’s electromagnetic
    behavior. They concluded, “Living chromosomes function just like holographic
    computers using DNA’s own laser radiation.” The Gariaev team modulated certain
    linguistic frequencies onto a laser. With this technology of language-modulated
    radio and light waves, they were not only able to heal damaged chromosomes, they
    also successfully altered genetic expression. Amazingly, they obtained results similar
    to those documented by Dr. Yu Dzang Kangeng, who was the first to employ
    torsion energy to transfer DNA between organisms. Using radio and light waves
    keyed to human language frequencies to reprogram DNA, as opposed to gene
    splicing, Gariaev’s team literally transformed frog embryos into healthy salamander
    embryos in the laboratory!
    DNA Monthly. September, 2005.

  Perhaps these wonderfully advanced non-earthly beings are now collecting
military intelligence in order to protect and to guide this planet. By limiting direct
contacts to relatively few people, at the present time, they are avoiding mass
hysteria. Since, I would imagine, human and other populations may need to be
genetically repaired or even repopulated, after an impending global cataclysm,
they might abduct, and perform experiments upon, selected beings:
      The aliens [in abduction cases] ... perform physical experiments, take tissue
    samples for further genetic manipulation and attempt physical alteration of their
    subjects. The reason for immersing both children and adults in vats of liquid is
    unknown.

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    Typical Alien Abduction: The Alien Abduction Process . Retrieved on January 3, 2012.
      This anomalous light showed up over several weeks at a cattle range location in
    southwest Florida that I and several others had been investigating a string of cattle
    mutilations. This object was seen on more than one occasion.
    Animal Mutilations. Retrieved on May 20, 2012.

  Direct and indirect contacts with extraterrestrials, of various types, have been
alleged. Obviously, the vast majority of reports, such as these, are impossible to
confirm:
       The story of ... began in 1956 when Bruno Sammaciccia and two friends met
    with two mysterious individuals who said they were extraterrestrials. One was over
    8 foot tall while the other was just over 3 foot. Sammaciccia and his friends, initially
    skeptical, were eventually taken into a large underground base where they saw
    more of the alleged extraterrestrials. They also saw their children being educated,
    some of the advanced technologies they used, and their space ships. Finally
    convinced that they were really having physical contact with extraterrestrials,
    Sammaciccia and his friends began to help the extraterrestrials. They began with
    material support by arranging for truckloads of fruit, food and other material to be
    transported and unloaded at an extraterrestrial base. Eventually, two truckloads of
    supplies were being delivered every month to bases in different regions of Italy
    where Sammaciccia and his assistants lived.
    Michael E. Salla, Ph.D., Extraterrestrial Bases and Contact Revealed in Italy. May 29,
    2009. Retrieved on May 19, 2012.

      In 1994 I attended a small group workshop lead by John Mack, Harvard
    professor and author of Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. There were 13
    of us, all experiencers, Mack’s term to replace the victim label of abductees. During
    that weekend, I realized just how polarized experiencers were, falling into two
    extreme camps: tormented victim and blissful participant. I was neither. The aliens
    (or whatever these beings are) were not my angels and saviors, nor my demons and
    persecutors. I was a minority in another respect as well. I was one of the few who
    had recalled my encounters without the aid of hypnosis. By the end of the weekend,
    the victims had rallied together to lick wounds and discuss the evil greys, while the
    mystics chatted about other dimensions and tall blond angelic aliens.
    Lori Lothian, The Alien Abduction Phenomenon: A First-Person Account . 1998.
    Retrieved on May 19, 2012.

  I remain agnostic regarding direct, perhaps ongoing, interpersonal relationships
between earthly humans and these alien entities, but I am not closed minded on
the subject. If certain interactions, along with technological and other knowledge
gained from them, are not yet revealed to the public, perhaps the extraterrestrials
have legitimate reasons. Occasional, or regular, dealings between governments
and interplanetary, or coplanetary, entities may, God willing, be discovered in the
future. Nevertheless, my reaction to this news would, I imagine, be positive – even
enthusiastic.
  Furthermore, there are numerous legends of highly developed societies in
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earth’s past. However, when a culture declines and falls, its technologies, now
irrelevant, are no longer passed down to succeeding generations. Consequently,
over time, cavemen might be remnants. Certain civilizations are known and
established, such as Ancient Egypt. Others are, at least currently, contested by the
majority of academic researchers or are mythological, including Lemuria (Mu) and
Atlantis. We are asked, by the Best Beloved, to “entirely disregard” all of the
“conflicting tales and traditions.” Archaeology, in my opinion, is considerably better
than just storytelling.
      The ancient town known as Ekven, located almost precisely at the crossroads of
    Asia and America, is emerging as one of the greatest archeological meccas of the
    north. Some experts are already suggesting that Ekven could become an “Arctic
    Troy” — the remains of an ancient civilization with profound significance for our
    understanding of northern cultures.
    Geoffrey York, Moscow Bureau, “The Troy of the North Archeologists in Siberia
    have uncovered signs of an astounding civilization that may unlock secrets about an
    ancient people who eventually became the Canadian Inuit.” The Globe and Mail
    (newspaper). Toronto, ON. January 24, 1998.

       Sheets of ice along the Arctic have continued to melt at alarming rates and with
    that melting has come a new discovery. Archaeologists at a melt site in Norway have
    discovered a wealth of items that include weapons and shoes among other everyday
    items. The find is believed to be from thousands of years ago, well before Vikings
    roamed the area.
       As glaciers continue to melt and ice retreats in areas around the world,
    archaeologists continue to discover new civilizations.
    Archaeologists Discover Lost Civilization Under The Melting Arctic. Retrieved on May
    28, 2012.




                    apparent king and soldier carved on the planet, Mars, the God of War
                            (from the late astronomer Tom Van Flandern, Ph.D.)

  Even so, we have been provided, through the gift of Prophetic Revelation, with
some wonderful hints about earth’s past:
      And now regarding thy question, “How is it that no records are to be found

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    concerning the Prophets that have preceded Adam, the Father of Mankind, or of
    the kings that lived in the days of those Prophets?” Know thou that the absence of
    any reference to them is no proof that they did not actually exist. That no records
    concerning them are now available, should be attributed to their extreme
    remoteness, as well as to the vast changes which the earth hath undergone since
    their time....
      Witness, therefore, how numerous and far-reaching have been the changes in
    language, speech, and writing since the days of Adam. How much greater must
    have been the changes before Him!
      ... the Manifestations of His Divine glory and the Day Springs of eternal holiness
    have been sent down from time immemorial .... That the names of some of them
    are forgotten and the records of their lives lost is to be attributed to the
    disturbances and changes that have overtaken the world.
      Mention hath been made in certain books of a deluge which caused all that
    existed on earth, historical records as well as other things, to be destroyed.
    Moreover, many cataclysms have occurred which have effaced the traces of many
    events....
      Please God thou wilt turn thine eyes towards the Most Great Revelation, and
    entirely disregard these conflicting tales and traditions.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 172-175.

      ... for the whole universe, whether for the heavens or for men, there are cycles of
    great events, of important facts and occurrences. When a cycle is ended, a new
    cycle begins; and the old one, on account of the great events which take place, is
    completely forgotten, and not a trace or record of it will remain. As you see, we
    have no records of twenty thousand years ago, although we have before proved by
    argument that life on this earth is very ancient. It is not one hundred thousand, or
    two hundred thousand, or one million or two million years old; it is very ancient,
    and the ancient records and traces are entirely obliterated.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 160.

  Rather than concentrating upon governmental admissions or on artifacts, this
issue should, I believe, be approached historically. Moreover, a huge assortment
of eyewitness reports can be critically analyzed and evaluated. Although a detailed
analysis of this subject is outside the scope of this chapter, many researchers
have closely examined trustworthy primary, or first-hand, historical accounts of
spaceships (so-called UFOs) and non-terrestrial beings:
       ... we [should] stop troubling ourselves questioning if UFOs are real but expect to
    learn by what credible people have observed ....
    Colin Andrews, Colin Andrews, C.P.R. International. Retrieved on March 4, 2012.

 For instance, according to some people, the moon is already occupied.
Obviously, I am unable to verify this claim:
      As far as the moon is concerned, I think they found when they got up there that
    there was already somebody there – and I woundn’t want to say anymore than
    that. But they got out of there, and they haven’t been back. But I have seen
    certain documents and read certain reports that indicate there is somebody already

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    there – that knows a lot more than we do and would be willing to run us off if we
    didn’t go on our own. I doubt that we will go to the moon again.
    Trevor James Constable in “UFO: The Greatest Story Ever Denied.” JEMWorks,
    LLC, and Jose Escamilla Works, LLC. YouTube. Retrieved on May 21, 2012.

       Did you ever wonder why the Moon landings stopped and why we have not tried
    to build a Moon Base? It does seem like a better and easier idea than a floating
    space station with no access to any raw materials or supplies? According to the
    NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong the aliens have a base on the Moon and told us in
    no uncertain terms to get off and stay off the Moon!
       Sound far fetched? Milton Cooper, a Naval Intelligence Officer tells us that not
    only does the Alien Moon Base exist but the U.S. Naval Intelligence Community
    refers to the Alien Moon Base as “Luna,” that there is a huge mining operation
    going on there, and that is where the aliens keep their huge mother ships while the
    trips to Earth are made in smaller “flying saucers.”
       LUNA: The Alien base on the far side of the Moon. It was seen and filmed by the
    Apollo astronauts. A base, a mining operation using very large machines, and the
    very large alien craft described in sighting reports as mother ships exist there. –
    Milton Cooper
    Alien Presence on the Moon? – Moon Anomalies . Retrieved on May 21, 2012.

      Angelology
   For what it’s worth, I am not a ufologist. That subject was, in fact, one of my
major Autistic special interests when I was a preteen and early teen in the 1960s.
(Special interests are a bit like hobbies but much more intensive and
encompassing.) Even though I read about ufology, including ancient astronauts ,
quite a bit at the time, I have never, as an adult, systematically studied the field’s
literature. Since spaceships have, in my view, been identified , I have no interest in
evidence for unidentified flying objects (UFOs). My objective is to spiritually
identify , and inwardly commune with, other beings.
      The connections between those who propose ancient astronauts as fact and
    those who write of them as (science) fiction are myriad, and the web of influence
    runs in many directions. Perhaps someday the Great Race will swap minds with
    some of us and tell the world how aliens once ruled the past ....
    Jason Colavito, The Origins of the Space Gods: Ancient Astronauts and the Cthulhu
    Mythos in Fiction and Fact. Privately published. 2011. Page 25.

   Nevertheless, returning to the topic of extraterrestrials and their spaceships has
allowed me to integrate this childhood fascination with my evolving approach to
reality since becoming a Baháʾí. More often than not, my views on this subject are,
admittedly, little more than speculative hunches . They are, however, the result of
spending many hours reading and pondering various texts, including Baháʾí
literature. Although critical reflection, or the subjective consideration of evidence,
is a fallible human activity, it can, according to the Will of God, result in additional
knowledge and in clarity:
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      The inspiration received through meditation is of a nature that one cannot
    measure or determine. God can inspire into our minds things that we had no
    previous knowledge of, if he desires to do so.
    From a letter, dated January 25, 1943, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1482.

  Some of our celestial friends may have always been with us:
      ... [There was] a UFO sighting in the year 776, during the siege on Sigiburg
    castle, France. The Saxons besieged and surrounded the French people. They both
    were fighting when suddenly a group of discs (flaming shields) appeared hovering
    over the top of the church. It appeared to the Saxons that the French were
    protected by these objects and the Saxons fled.
    Clear Evidence of UFO Sighting in 10th- and 12th-Century Manuscripts. May 25,
    2007. Retrieved on May 25, 2012.

  Currently, however, representatives of all of these species , are, I intuitively feel,
returning to this planet. They might now be affirming their divinely ordained
authority. My focus on cosmic unity, and my efforts to draw spiritually close to
these loving beings, has brought me much closer to angelology than to so-called
ufology:
       In the Jewish mysticism of the Qabbalah [Hebrew, Qabbālāh, receiving],
    angelology is developed starting from the episode of the struggle between Jacob
    [Hebrew, Yaʿăqōb] and the angel (Gn. 32: 27 ) ....
       Christianity accepted and redeveloped aspects of Old Testament angelology
    according to its new requirements. Angels intervene in the central events involving
    the coming of the Messiah ....
       There are elaborate angelologies to be found in Islamic philosophical and
    religious writings.... In the philosophy of Sohrawardi [Suhrawardī] there is a
    complex and well-developed angelology which contains elements of Neoplatonic and
    Zoroastrian influence .... All sensible and material reality is created and controlled
    by a particular type of archangel. These archangels occupy a mundus imaginalis
    [Latin, imaginal world] between the physical and spiritual worlds and can be
    perceived by the sage by means of imagination.
    Andrea Piras, “Angels.” Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Lindsay Jones. Volume
    1. Second edition. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. 2005. Pages 343-349.

      I might be wrong, but I cannot conceive, at this moment, of a liberation apart
    from unity.... As a result, I have been referring to myself as an emancipated Autist.
      As I have reflected on the past, my personal emancipation from Autism began, I
    feel, in January of 1971. Through my spiritual mother, Elizabeth Thomas, I began
    studying the work of two dear souls, Marian Crist Lippitt and Henry A. Weil. An
    immersion in the ideas of these three wonderful Baháʾís gradually led to the
    development of The Unities Model of Existence™. Then, in 2010, my spiritual heart
    was opened by the intercession of my beloved guardian angel, Ḥaḍrat Sulṭān Bāhū,
    a seventeenth-century Punjabī Ṣūfī. My inward, spiritual encounters with Bāhū,
    which have been ongoing, resulted in Heartfulness Inquiry™.


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    Mark A. Foster, Unities of All Things and Autism: Emancipation from Autism through
    Unity. Retrieved on May 10, 2012.

  The term, angels (al-malakūt, the messengers, often translated as the Kingdom )
or Angelhood (the Angelic World), might designate attributes, souls (as
individualized attributes), and sacred objects that conform to the Spiritual Kingdom.
They are, as a result, angelic or spiritual. Therefore, angelhood could refer, in
some contexts, to exceptional persons, including Prophets and Their servants, in
this world and in the next. An angelic being is, to my understanding, any virtuous
entity who represents or teaches God’s Will. I see no requirement, however, to limit
the angels before death to ordinary earthly humans.
      The meaning of “angels” is the confirmations of God and His celestial powers.
    Likewise angels are blessed beings who have severed all ties with this nether world,
    have been released from the chains of self and the desires of the flesh, and
    anchored their hearts to the heavenly realms of the Lord. These are of the
    Kingdom, heavenly; these are of God, spiritual; these are revealers of God’s
    abounding grace; these are dawning-points of His spiritual bestowals.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 81.

      angelhood. noun.
      1. the state or condition of being an angel; angelic nature.
      2. angels collectively: the angelhood of heaven.
      3. an angelic being.
    Random House Dictionary. New York: Random House. 2012.

  In short, souls can, even while in this world, become divine angels:
       Can any power withstand the penetrative influence of the Word of God? Nay, by
    God! The proof is clear and the evidence is complete! If anyone looketh with the
    eyes of justice he shall be struck with wonder and amazement and will testify that
    all the peoples, sects and races of the world should be glad, content and grateful for
    the teachings and admonitions of Baháʾuʾlláh. For these divine injunctions tame
    every ferocious beast, transform the creeping insect into a soaring bird, cause
    human souls to become angels of the Kingdom, and make the human world a focus
    for the qualities of mercy.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 293.

  The concourse (al-malāʾ) of angels, whether beings or spiritual confirmations, in
both heaven (the Supreme Concourse, al-Malāʾ al-Aʿlā) and in earth (this world)
can assist us:
       O Lord! Assist those who have renounced all else but Thee, and grant them a
    mighty victory. Send down upon them, O Lord, the concourse of the angels in
    heaven and earth and all that is between, to aid Thy servants, to succour and
    strengthen them, to enable them to achieve success, to sustain them, to invest them
    with glory, to confer upon them honour and exaltation, to enrich them and to make
    them triumphant with a wondrous triumph.

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    The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Page 192.

      When God created the Remembrance He presented Him to the assemblage of all
    created beings upon the altar of His Will. Thereupon the concourse of the angels
    bowed low in adoration to God, the Peerless, the Incomparable; while Satan waxed
    proud, refusing to submit to His Remembrance; hence he is identified in the Book
    of God as the arrogant one and the accursed.
    The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Page 64.

      Purify ye your hearts, sanctify your souls and cleanse your spirits; so that ye may
    attain to this great success. Then ye will become the angels of heaven, will enter
    among the Supreme Concourse and will permanently abide in the paradise of union
    (with God), and will be associated with the Beauty of El-ABHA [al-Abhā, the Most
    Glorious].
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablets of of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá Abbas . Pages 144-145.

  In my opinion, throughout the TaNaḤ or Old Testament, angels, of one sort of
another, are also referred to as the hosts or armies (Hebrew, ha-ṣəbāʾôt):
                                                              ha-ṣəbāʾôt):
      O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
    Psalms 84:12, King James (Authorized) Version.




                              conehead (angelic?) skull with huge eyes and nose




                   another larger-than-
                  normal cone-head skull
                  with huge eyes and nose
                                            possible skull of Pharaoh Akhenaten (mimicking
                                             cone-heads through infant elongation process?)


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                                                              sculpture of Princess
                                                               Nefertiti (Pharaoh
                                                                Akhenaten’s wife)
                     conehead mural      conehead sculpture

  Within the TaNaḤ (Old Testament) and in the Baháʾí texts, another term used for
certain angels (the Spiritual Kingdom, its attributes, and its individualized
attributes) is cherubim (Hebrew, kərūvîm or cherubs , winged angels). They appear
to variously refer to beings, spiritual qualities, and possibly even sanctified
material things:
      ... “And He shall send His angels....” By “angels” is meant those who, reinforced
    by the power of the spirit, have consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all
    human traits and limitations, and have clothed themselves with the attributes of the
    most exalted Beings and of the Cherubim. That holy man, Ṣádiq, in his eulogy of
    the Cherubim, saith: “There stand a company of our fellow-Shíʾihs behind the
    Throne.” Divers and manifold are the interpretations of the words “behind the
    Throne.” In one sense, they indicate that no true Shíʾihs exist....
      And now, inasmuch as these holy beings have sanctified themselves from every
    human limitation, have become endowed with the attributes of the spiritual, and
    have been adorned with the noble traits of the blessed, they therefore have been
    designated as “angels.”
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Pages 78-79.

      ... as bidden by the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting, did the heavenly
    Crier raise up his voice and cry out: “O Most Exalted Leaf [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá’s sister]!
    Thou art she who did endure with patience in God’s way from thine earliest
    childhood and throughout all thy life, and did bear in His pathway what none other
    hath borne, save only God in His own Self, the Supreme Ruler over all created
    things, and before Him, His noble Herald, and after Him, His holy Branch, the One,
    the Inaccessible, the Most High. The people of the Concourse on High seek the
    fragrance of thy presence, and the dwellers in the retreats of eternity circle about
    thee. To this bear witness the souls of the cherubim within the tabernacles of
    majesty and might, and beyond them the tongue of God the One True Lord, the
    Pure, the Most Wondrous. Blessedness be thine and a goodly abode; glad tidings to
    thee and a happy ending!”
    Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Pages 25-26.

      He [Bezalel] made two cherubim of hammered gold; at the two ends of the
    mercy seat he made them, one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other
    end; of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim at its two ends. The
    cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their
    wings. They faced one another; the faces of the cherubim were turned toward the

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    mercy seat.
    2 Samuel 22:11, New Revised Standard Version.

  In this passage, the usage of cherubim appears similar to the Revelatory
language concerning the Blessed Muḥammad’s vision of the Angel Gabriel
(Ǧibrāʾil):
      When Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he would
    hear the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of
    the covenant from between the two cherubim; thus it spoke to him.
    Numbers 7:89, New Revised Standard Version.

  Some of the cherubim could be this planet’s celestial souls or “watchers.”
Perhaps they are related to the angelic entities who, according to the TaNaḤ or
Old Testament, might have been observed with their flying spacecraft:
      And He [Samuel] rideth on a cherub, and doth fly, And is seen on the wings of
    the wind.
    2 Samuel 22:11, New Revised Standard Version.

      ... five cubits is the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the second wing of the
    cherub, ten cubits from the ends of its wings even unto the ends of its wings; and
    ten by the cubit is the second cherub, one measure and one form are to the two
    cherubs, the height of the one cherub is ten by the cubit, and so is the second
    cherub; and he setteth the cherubs in the midst of the inner house, and they spread
    out the wings of the cherubs, and a wing of the one cometh against the wall, and a
    wing of the second cherub is coming against the second wall, and their wings are
    unto the midst of the house, coming wing against wing; and he overlayeth the
    cherubs with gold ....
    1 Kings 6:24-28, New Revised Standard Version.

      I looked, and there were four wheels beside the cherubim, one beside each
    cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like gleaming beryl.
    Ezekiel 10:9, New Revised Standard Version.




                                                     photograph of an artifact from
                                                     Istanbul Archaeology Museum
                   photograph of an Incan artifact
                      of a possible spacecraft

  These angelic protectors may represent, if various unsubstantiated reports are
accurate, numerous intelligent species:
      John Lear claims there are 18 extraterrestrial races monitoring us and Sergeant
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    First Class Cliff Stone claims they had catalogued 57 species of humanoid
    extraterrestrial by 1989.
    Are Alien Android Servants Watching Us? Retrieved on May 23, 2012.

  There might also be some resemblance between a depiction of the
Mesoamerican figure, Lord Pacal (Mayan, Pakal, shield), who may have lived in
the seventh century A.D., and modern astronauts. This artifact was discovered by
archaeologist Albert Lluillier in 1952. The image on the right is a speculative
diagram (not made by me) of the artifact. Clicking on the files will enlarge them in
the same window:




  The Biblical word, ʾĔlōhîm (Hebrew for Mighty Ones), is generally translated as
“God,” but, as shown below, it is further applied to the “mighty ones” of this world.
That is to say, ʾĔlōhîm seems to have been a wide-ranging term for governance,
whether heavenly, commonplace, or perhaps extraterrestrial. Using the plural of
ʾĔlōah (Hebrew for Mighty One), even for a single “God,” may be a result of the
polytheistic or monolatristic origins of ʾĔlōhîm (from Bāʿal and other gods). Thus, in
the following passage, “ʾĔlōhîm” is applied, by a Psalmist, both to a single Mighty
One (the Almighty) and to a divine council (Hebrew, baʿădat-ʾēl) of Mighty Ones:
      God [Hebrew, ʾĔlōhîm, Mighty Ones] has taken his place in the divine council
    [Hebrew, baʿădat-ʾēl]; in the midst of the gods [ʾĔlōhîm] he holds judgment: “How
    long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? [Selah] Give justice
    to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
    Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” They
    have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the
    foundations of the earth are shaken. I say, “You are gods [ʾĔlōhîm], children of the
    Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any
    prince.” Rise up, O God [ʾĔlōhîm], judge the earth; for all the nations belong to
    you!
    Psalms 82:1-8 (the entire psalm), New Revised Standard Version.


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      Monolatry (monolatrism) describes the affirmation that only one god of those
    admitted to exist (polytheism) is truly efficacious and therefore worthy of worship
    (Greek monos, “one only”; latreuō “I worship”): “Our god” is greater than “your
    god(s).”
    Dennis C. Duling, “Henotheism.” Encyclopedia of Anthropology. H. James Birx,
    editor. Volume 3. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference. 2006. Pages 1152-1153.

        ... henotheism or kathenotheism ... is a worship of one god after another ....
        ... henotheism was sometimes confused with monolatry, a term best applied to the
    religion of ancient Israel before it attained monotheism, when the existence of gods
    other than Yahveh [Yahweh] was admitted but their worship was strictly forbidden
    ....
    Michiko Yusa, “Henotheism.” Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Lindsay Jones.
    Vol. 6. 2nd edition. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. 2005. Pages 3913-3914.

  Jesus, the heavenly Son of God, later interpreted the expression, “You are
gods,” to include individuals in this world of existence and, perhaps, their dominion
or rulership:
      Is it not written in your law, “I said, you are gods” [Koiné Greek, ϑeói or “theoi,”
    divinities]? If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods” – and the
    scripture cannot be annulled – can you say that the one whom the Father has
    sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, “I am God’s Son”?
    Jesus quoted in John 10:34-36, New Revised Standard Version.

  Although I do not know if any relationship, even partial, to extraterrestrial beings
was intended, Shoghi Effendi referred to the role of mighty ones in the Major Plan
of God:
      Seldom, if at any time since its inception, has such a widespread publicity been
    accorded the infant Faith of God, now at long last emerging from an obscurity
    which has so long and so grievously oppressed it. Not even the dramatic execution
    of its Herald, nor the blood-bath which, in circumstances of fiendish cruelty
    followed quickly in its wake in the city of Ṭihrán, nor even the widely advertised
    travels of the Center of Baháʾuʾlláh’s Covenant in the West, succeeded in focusing
    the attention of the world and in inviting the notice of those in high places as has
    this latest manifestation of God’s inscrutable will, this marvelous demonstration of
    His invincible power, this latest move in His Own Major Plan, using both the mighty
    and lowly as pawns in His world-shaping game, for the fulfillment of His immediate
    purpose and the eventual establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
      For though the newly launched [ten-year] World Spiritual Crusade, constituting
    at best only the Minor Plan in the execution of the Almighty’s design for the
    redemption of mankind—has, as a result of this turmoil, paralyzing temporarily the
    vast majority of the organized followers of Baháʾuʾlláh within His birthplace,
    suffered a severe setback—yet the over-all Plan of God, moving mysteriously and in
    contrast to the orderly and well-known processes of a clearly devised Plan, has
    received an impetus the force of which only posterity can adequately assess.
    Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith. Pages 139-140.


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      Shoghi Effendi describes ... [the] process of world unification as the “Major
    Plan” of God, whose operation will continue, gathering force and momentum, until
    the human race has been united in a global society that has banished war and
    taken charge of its collective destiny. What the struggles of the twentieth century
    achieved was the fundamental change of direction the Divine purpose required.
    The change is irreversible. There is no way back to an earlier state of affairs,
    however greatly some elements of society may, from time to time, be tempted to
    seek one.
    Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, Century of Light.
    Page 138.

  Perhaps, and I am obviously only speculating, these exceptional extraterrestrial
beings are, through theistic panspermia , the mortal instruments of divine
providence and the cosmic caretakers for the dawn of God’s new Day. Our own
descendents will, I would imagine, serve in a similar angelic capacity to other
planets during future Prophetic Dispensations. Since, as ʿAbduʾl-Bahá explained,
all the members of the universe assist one another both spiritually and physically, I
will sometimes even pray to, or inwardly commune with, our blessed planetary
guardians.
      ... this limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are
    connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength. How much the
    organs, the members and the parts of the body of man are intermingled and
    connected for mutual aid and help, and how much they influence one another! In
    the same way, the parts of this infinite universe have their members and elements
    connected with one another, and influence one another spiritually and materially.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 245-246.

  In addition, as recorded in the Book of Genesis and the Ethiopian Book of Enoch
(Hebrew, Sēfer Ḥānōḵ), certain seemingly giant entities, possibly among the direct
descendents of our angelic Holy Watchers and the remnants of a “fallen”
civilization, had, apparently, “fallen” from divine grace. These beings may have
been the Biblical fallen angels :
      The fallen ones [Hebrew, nefilîm, fallen ones or giants] were in the earth in those
    days, and even afterwards when sons of God come in unto daughters of men, and
    they have borne to them—they are the heroes, who, from of old, are the men of
    name.
    Genesis 6:4. Robert Young, translator. Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible.

       And the giants turned against them in order to devour men. And they began to
    sin against birds, and against animals, and against reptiles, and against fish, and
    they devoured one another’s flesh, and drank the blood from it....
       And now, the giants who were born from body and flesh will be called Evil Spirits
    on the Earth, and on the Earth will be their dwelling. And evil spirits came out from
    their flesh, because from above they were created, from the Holy Watchers was
    their origin and first foundation. Evil spirits they will be on Earth and “Spirits of the
    Evil Ones” they will be called.

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    The Book of Enoch: A Modern English Translation of the Ethiopian Book of Enoch .
    7:4-5 and 15:8-9. Introduction and notes by Andy McCracken.




                                   two photos of giant skeletons

  Even now, many have argued, the earth could be inhabited by giant
“coterrestrials,” of a sort, or, in other words, intelligent hominoids (bipedal
primates) living alongside homo sapiens. Some have also speculated that these
beings – known as bigfoot, sasquatch, yeti, almas, abominable snowman, and by
other names – are the scattered remnants of previously dominant planetary
species:
      Dr. Myra Shackley, a professor of archaeology at Leiscester University, is
    convinced that Bigfoot is a pre-hominid Neanderthal man, a predecessor of
    modern man, who supposedly was exterminated by Cro-Magnon man.
    Bigfoot. Retrieved on March 27, 2012.
       [Stan] Gooch cites ... the research of anthropologist Myra Shackley, who
    tantalisingly suggests that the legendary Almas (“wildmen”) of the Caucasus and
    Outer Mongolia may in fact represent relict Neanderthals. In one famous account
    a female Almas was captured in the nineteenth century. She was described as
    having skin of “a grayish-black colour, covered with reddish hair, longer on her
    head than elsewhere.... She had a large face with big cheek bones, muzzle-like
    prognathous jaw and large eyebrows, big white teeth and a ‘fierce expression’.”
    She sounds very much like a Neanderthal! First kept for some years in a stone
    enclosure, she later was kept in a cage, and finally in a house. She learned to obey
    simple orders and used branches and stones as tools. She became pregnant by her
    captors and while her first several infants died, she subsequently gave birth to two
    sons and two daughters who in turn produced children of their own via mating
    with other humans. This is all in line with Gooch’s hypotheses concerning
    Neanderthals. Note that the “primitive” state of the Almas may be because they are
    relict [remnant] populations who have degenerated from the Neanderthal prime of
    50,000 or so years ago.
    Oana R. Ghiocel, Stan Gooch & the Neanderthal Legacy.

      1938 – The Yeti emerges as creatures of kindness and sympathy according to the
    story of Captain d’Auvergne, the curator of the Victoria Memorial near
    Chowringhee in Calcuta. The Captain claims that, injured while traveling on his
    own in the Himalayas and threatened with snow-blindness and exposure, he was

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    saved from death by a 9 foot tall creature resembling a pre-historic human which,
    after carrying him several miles to a cave, fed and nursed him until he was able to
    make his way back home.
    Bigfoot – Yeti. Retrieved on May 31, 2012.




                                          alleged bigfoot

 Considerably more far-fetched, and new-agey , is the notion of ultraterrestrials :
       The ultraterrestials are a alien race that, well, isn’t all too alien. In fact, they
    originate from Earth, just like us humans, but their civilization is so much older and
    more advanced than ours that they have no trouble hiding from us (for whatever
    reason). The term was coined by the ufologist John Keel in his Operation Trojan
    Horse in 1970, wherein he claims that the UFOs, various supernatural phenomena
    (like the Mothman), and religious myths imply the activity of an almighty High
    Energy Being co-existing with humans on Earth.
    “Ultraterrestrials.” Television Tropes & Idioms. Retrieved on April 7, 2012.

  Although I suppose that, by modern analogy, the angelic extraterrestrials could
be referred to astronauts or cosmonauts , I do not subscribe to the ancient
astronaut model. In my opinion, this perspective, generally speaking, is too one-
sided. It turns the interplanetary relationships between beings into a universal
hermeneutic or system of interpretation. Perhaps some extraordinary events
reported in the Biblical and other ancient texts might be explained by advanced
extraterrestrial technologies, but reducing most or all of them to physics or
engineering is materialistic and overly simplistic.




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                     photographs of possible Siberian and Mayan artifacts of “astronauts”

  For instance, according to various ancient astronaut proponents, the visions of
Prophets can be attributed to holograms. God becomes a spaceship, or starship,
captain:
       Now my basic premise is that God and the Son of God ... collectively are not
    supernatural deities but flesh-and-blood extraterrestrials. Recall John 8: 23 “And
    he [Jesus Christ] said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of
    this world; I am not of this world” or John 18:36 – “Jesus answered: My kingdom
    is not of this world.” ... God the ET is the Captain of the Starship Heaven.
    John Prytz, Captain Yahweh and the Starship Heaven. Retrieved on May 24, 2012.

      Although nobody knows how the [Biblical] visions were created, it is probably
    possible for professionals to explain them as some type of holographic projection,
    often followed by a voice. We know that the Anunnaki had every kind of controlling
    and watching instruments, high tech tools and communicating equipment. To
    exclude such capabilities from people who had space ships that could land, load
    tons of gold and then lift again from earth, would be foolish.
    Andreas Paris, Angels, Visions and Holograms. Retrieved on May 24, 2012.

       It is common among the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, [Erich] von Daniken and
    others that, in the Bible, ... extraterrestrial visitors are mistaken as angels, and that
    the whole idea of religion is based on misinterpreting interactions with those
    visitors.
    L. Weinberg, Ancient Astronauts: Did Extraterrestrials Rule Us? Retrieved on May
    24, 2012.

  Similarly, the creation story is reinterpreted, by a number of ancient astronaut
believers, as panspermia:
      Upon reaching Genesis 1:26 I read the following:
             And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
           and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
           fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over
           every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth [Authorized, or
           King James, Version].
      Why were the plural pronouns “us” and “our” used in these verses? Could it be
    that those ancient astronaut theorists were correct? Were we created by

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    extraterrestrials?
    “So What about those Humans Who were Created Before Adam and Eve?” In Our
    Image. Blog. February 10, 2009. Retrieved on May 24, 2012.

      Military Operations
  Intuitively, I suspect that the angelic extraterrestrials, especially in the years
following the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, have been acting
under the authority of Prophets from other worlds. I frequently pray for the safety,
security, and success of these blessed beings. Operating as planetary overseers,
they are, I personally believe, protecting us from ourselves:
     The fact UFOs had messed with nukes in both the USSR and USA ended the
    Cold War ....
    Unhypnotize. Retrieved on May 10, 2012.
       Colonel S is a retired Colonel from the US Air Force. He went to Stanford
    business school where he studied management. In the 1950’s part of his
    responsibilities included maintaining the inventory of nuclear weapons owned by
    the US federal government, and accompanying security teams checking out the
    security of these nuclear weapons. Many reports kept coming in that UFO’s were
    seen at various nuclear storage facilities and some of the manufacturing plants. He
    has seen UFO’s many times, and was present when there was a fly-over by UFO’s
    in 1952 over the Capital Building of the US federal government. At that incident he
    recalls seeing nine illuminated disc-type craft. He also tells of at least two occasions
    when UFO’s destroyed nuclear weapons headed out to space, one heading to the
    moon to be detonated for tests.
    Advanced Technologies and UFO’s . A 57-page report produced by Dr. Steven Greer
    was received in May 2001. Retrieved on January 3, 2012.

      ... there was one incident when we exploded a nuclear weapon over the Pacific
    and this was in about ’61 I believe.... And of course this was one that the
    extraterrestrials were really concerned about because it affected our ionosphere.
    In fact, the ET spacecraft were unable to operate because of the pollution in the
    magnetic field which they depended upon. It was my understanding that in either
    the very end of the ’70s or the early ’80s that we attempted to put a nuclear
    weapon on the Moon and explode it for scientific measurements and other things
    which was not acceptable to the extraterrestrials....
      The ETs destroyed the weapon as it went toward the Moon. The idea of any
    explosion of a nuclear weapon in space by any Earth government was not
    acceptable to the extraterrestrials and that has been demonstrated over and over.
    U.S. Col. Ross Dedrickson quoted in Steven M. Greer, M.D., Disclosure: Military
    and Government Witnesses Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History. 2001. Pages
    192-193. Retrieved from Scribd on May 21, 2012.

  The weaponization, referred to by Paul Hellyer, the 1963-1967 Canadian Minister
of Defence, may, at least partially, be a nationalistic or geopolitical response to
such angelic interventions. He even fears an intergalactic war:

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      UFOs are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head. I’m so concerned
    about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just
    think I had to say something. The United States military are preparing weapons
    which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic
    war without us ever having any warning. The time has come to lift the veil of
    secrecy, and let the truth emerge, so there can be a real and informed debate,
    about one of the most important problems facing our planet today.
    Paul Hellyer, the Canadian Minister of Defence (1963-1967). Retrieved on
    February 27, 2012.

  The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or Star Wars ) has since developed into the
Missile Defense Agency . This agency, operating under the Department of Defense ,
has, in effect, become a new militarized U.S. space program:
      President Reagan stated in remarks made to the 42nd General Assembly of the
    United Nations, Sept. 21, 1987, “ In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment,
    we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some
    outside, universal threat to make us realize this common bond. I occasionally think how
    quickly our differences would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this
    world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us?”
      Only a few people knew the answer was yes there is an alien force among us.
    Reagan received regular intelligence data on UFO activities.
      By 1987, the SDIO [Strategic Defense Initiative Organization) had developed a
    national missile defense concept called the Strategic Defense System Phase I
    Architecture. This concept consisted of ground and space based sensors and
    weapons, as well as a central battle management system....
      The STS 48 shuttle mission caught a video of an apparent attempt to destroy a
    space craft on September 22, 1991 ....
      Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama continued [the] SDI (Star Wars) program
    now called the National Missile Defense Program [Missile Defense Agency].
    George Filer, “Are We in an Inter Galactic War in Space?” National UFO Center.
    2010. Retrieved on May 11, 2012.

      The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) operates the Space Tracking and
    Surveillance System-Demonstrators (STSS-D). STSS-D constellation consists of two
    satellites orbiting at 1350 km, 58 degree inclination, with 120 minute orbital period.
    Using sensors capable of detecting visible and infrared light, STSS-D serves as the
    experimental space layer of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
    Dr. Richard M. Roberds, “Space Tracking and Surveillance System.” Missile
    Defense Agency. March, 2012. Official U.S. government document.
      The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is developing the Ballistic Missile Defense
    System (BMDS) as an integrated system of sensors and interceptors connected by
    a command and control network to counter the growing threat of ballistic missiles.
    Since ballistic missiles can cross any and all geographic boundaries on the way to
    the intended target it is difficult to position air, ground, or sea-based sensors to
    effectively track them - especially when the optimal location might require host
    nation agreements. To address this challenge, MDA is developing the Precision
    Tracking Space System (PTSS) to provide space-based tracking of ballistic missiles,

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    enabling simultaneous homeland, regional, and theater missile defense.
    Dr. Richard M. Roberds, “Precision Tracking Space System.” Missile Defense
    Agency. March, 2012. Official U.S. government document.

  In some cases, radar may have crashed spaceships by accident. Allegedly,
beginning in the years after World War II, technologies found on these downed
extraterrestrial vehicles have been utilized, including for weaponization, and, in
many cases, successfully reverse engineered :
       Though UFOs have visited earth for a long time, there was a surge of UFO
    activity after World War II. This was because of the detonation of atomic weapons,
    which are of great concern to the extraterrestrials. UFO appearances became very
    frequent, and they were concentrated around military installations. The
    extraterrestrials corrected the problem pretty quickly, but, early on, the guidance
    systems of the UFOs were affected by our radar systems, and quite a few UFOs
    crashed. Crashed UFOs as well as dead ETs (and a few live ones) were captured by
    the military. Projects for reverse-engineering UFOs have been going on since the
    late 1940s.
    Acorn Abbey, “One more UFO post....” Into the Woods. Blog. No date. Retrieved on
    May 10, 2012.

       Now that probably was the stupidest thing we ever did. Here’s this picture of a
    Roswell alien lander sitting on a panel in the middle of a computer company
    website, and on it said something like: “Did AT&T receive stolen alien technologies
    from the US Government in 1947 and thereby invent the transistor, the laser, the
    integrated circuit, and...on and on and on...different technologies?” Well, we
    figured the reaction we would get from the public would be one of, “Oh gee, isn’t
    that cute? That’s funny, X-Files, you know...” The reaction we got was not one we
    had anticipated....
       ... our offices were broken into. Our front door was smashed, our glass was
    smashed to smithereens all over the place, and everything was taken out of the file
    cabinets in our offices. My office was a wreck when I got in there....
       We’re not supposed to even see or even know such a thing, but inadvertently, as
    a result, we became aware of the fact that there’s an orbital DSP [Defense Space
    Platform], called Sky Station, which is nuclear-hardened and equipped to carry
    nuclear weapons, because it was described in these faxes.
       ...it’s nuclear-hardened, it’s one of the Star Wars SDI [Strategic Defense
    Initiative] series, based on Spacelab, equipped to handle and carry nuclear
    weapons.
    Jack Shulman, How Could AT&T have Created the Transistor so Quickly in 1947
    without the Input of Alien Technology? Retrieved on May 25, 2012.

  Directed energy weapons, using particalization , are being developed:
      Considerable debate has been stirred by President Reagan’s recent suggestion
    that the United States embark on a program that would use advanced-technology
    weaponry to produce an effective defense against Soviet ICBMS [intercontinental
    ballistic missiles]....
      The characteristic that distinguishes the particle-beam weapon from other

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    directed energy weapons is the form of energy it propagates. While there are
    several operating concepts for particle-beam weapons, all such devices generate
    their destructive power by accelerating sufficient quantities of subatomic particles
    or atoms to velocities near the speed of light and focusing these particles into a very
    high-energy beam. The total energy within the beam is the aggregate energy of the
    rapidly moving particles, each particle having kinetic energy due to its own mass
    and motion.
    Dr. Richard M. Roberds, “Introducing the Particle-Beam Weapon.” Air University
    Review. July-August, 1984.

       The DOD [Department of Defense] currently oversees approximately $1.1 billion
    in directed energy investment. These resources are concentrated on developing
    technology to ultimately be introduced into systems to fill DOD capability gaps. The
    organizational structure for directed energy weapons and technology development
    is spread across the military services and defense agencies. At the top level, the
    organizations encompass the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines research and
    development and acquisition structures; DOD agencies, such as the Defense
    Advanced Research Projects Agency and Missile Defense Directorate, the High
    Energy Laser Technology Council, and the High Energy Laser Joint Technology
    Office.
    United States Department of Defense, Defense Science Board Task Force on
    Directed Energy Weapons. December, 2007. Official U.S. government document.
    Page 67.

 Holographic technologies have been applied to weaponization and other areas:
       Field Deployable Hologram Production System. This funding would be used for
    completing development of a compact production unit that produces 3D
    holographic imagery for mission planning and intelligence purposes for U.S. forces
    in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Congressional Record—Extensions of Remarks, E2224. Official U.S. government
    document. September 9, 2009.

       A compact holographic projector system was built and tested. This projection
    system offers a practical approach for making a highly corrected mesh or grid
    pattern on curved surfaces. The pattern can range in size from multimicrometer to
    submicrometer dimensions and be recorded in either positive or negative
    photoresist. Standing-wave interference patterns in the form of a diverging
    closepacked lattice of either hexagonal or square rodlike intensity maxima
    extending outward from a point or a locus of points are produced by multiple-beam
    holography that involves the combination of a holographic diffraction grating and a
    hypercomatic focusing objective.
    United States National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health), Highly
    Corrected Submicrometer Grid Patterning on Curved Surfaces. Official U.S.
    government document. December, 2007. Page 67.

  According to William Arkin, holographic projection can be used in psychological
operations (PSYOPS):
      Digital morphing – voice, video, and photo – has come of age, available for use in

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    psychological operations. PSYOPS, as the military calls it, seek to exploit human
    vulnerabilities in enemy governments, militaries and populations to pursue national
    and battlefield objectives....
       ... What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad
    urging the Iraqi people and Army to rise up against Saddam [Hussein], a senior Air
    Force officer asked in 1990?...
       The Gulf War hologram story might be dismissed were it not the case that
    washingtonpost.com has learned that a super secret program was established in
    1994 to pursue the very technology for PSYOPS application. The “Holographic
    Projector” is described in a classified Air Force document as a system to “project
    information power from space ... for special operations deception missions.”
    William M. Arkin, “When Seeing and Hearing Isn’t Believing.” The Washington Post.
    February 1, 1999. Retrieved on May 25, 2012.

  This man was convicted, in a U.S. District (federal) Court, for exporting
holographic weapons sights:
       ... [A Georgia man] had operated an eBay online store through which he sold
    various gun parts and accessories, including export controlled military holographic
    weapons sights, which have night vision capability and are designed to enhance
    precision shooting. He also sold gun parts used to assemble M4 rifles.
       “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the technology used by
    our military. Given the turmoil around the world, it is even more imperative that we
    prevent the unlawful export of military items, and those who choose to make money
    over obeying our export laws are taking away the tactical advantage of our
    military,” said Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of
    Georgia.
       Between January 2008 and January 2009, ... [he] sold more than 50 export-
    controlled EOTech Holographic Weapon Sights of various models to the customer
    in Hong Kong. He knew the items required an export license issued by either the
    State Department or the Department of Commerce before they could be shipped
    from the United States, yet he never applied for or received an export license for
    any military items.
    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland
    Security, Georgia Man Sentenced to 3 Years for Exporting Military Holographic
    Weapons Sights and M4 Rifle Gun Parts. Official U.S. government document. August
    3, 2011.

 On the other hand, although the technology of meteorological warfare, or the
weaponization of weather, is apparently feasible , it has no relationship with
HAARP :
       HAARP stands for The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. The
    goal of this program is to further advance our knowledge of the physical and
    electrical properties of the Earth’s ionosphere which can affect our military and
    civilian communication and navigation systems....
       HAARP is not designed to be an operational system for military purposes. The
    HAARP specifications were developed by a consortium of universities to meet the
    requirements for a world-class research facility and an expanded group of
    universities are playing a major role in the design of future research efforts.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about HAARP. Official U.S. government document.
    Retrieved on May 29, 2012.

      Meteorological weapons are no more than military application of meteorological
    science and technology. In more detail, it is the military application of changing
    weather artifically. The reason why weather can be changed artifically is due to
    unstable factors (such as thermal factors and dynamical factors) in the
    atmosphere. What are such unstable factors? They can be illustrated through an
    example of firing a gun: Before shooting, the bullet is loaded, now consider it at the
    time when the bullet is being shot. Only after one click the bullet will be moving very
    rapidly, the instability of the atmosphere is just like that of a bullet ready to be shot.
    Only a small amount of energy can trigger a large amount of energy transfer. The
    result of such an energy transfer in the atmosphere will lead to changes of weather
    and climate in certain areas. If people have a certain purpose in their mind they
    can add a certain amount of energy to the atmosphere and change the weather in
    the direction that they expect. This is the basic principle behind changing weather
    artifically.
    Foreign Technology Division of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Meteorological
    Weapons. Abstract. March 13, 1985. Retrieved on May 29, 2012.

  Former Minnessota governor and professional wrestler, Jesse Ventura (born
James George Janos), was denied entry to the HAARP facility. I have nothing
against the gentleman. He is quite passionate, and apparently sincere, about his
views. Governor Ventura is also willing to think outside the box. He is, however, a
conspiracy theorist. Honestly, if I ran HAARP, I would not want the fellow, and his
television production team, on the property either:
      Jesse goes to the HAARP facility in Alaska and is denied entry. He is given hands-
    on experience with frequency-induced “voices in your head,” possible with HAARP.
    Former Minnessota Governor Jesse Ventura Denied Entry to HAARP. Retrieved on
    May 29, 2012.

      We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your
    decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our
    basic rights as human beings.... You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away
    our education, and have almost extinguished our flame.
    Jesse Ventura, We Ain’t Got Time To Bleed . Retrieved on May 30, 2012.

  The sources of most encounters with aerial technologies remain unclear or
undetermined. For instance, some of the spaceships may belong to nonterrestrials.
Others, through reverse engineering, may be experimental, or fully developed,
aircraft of the earth’s various military agencies or governments. Nevertheless,
these quotations include features which are common to many purported incidents:
       For nearly 40 years, noted researcher Robert Hastings has sought out and
    interviewed former and retired U.S. Air Force personnel regarding their direct or
    indirect involvement in nuclear weapons-related UFO incidents.... In fact, taken to
    their logical conclusion, these cases have planetary implications, given the horrific
    consequences that would result from a full-scale, global nuclear war....
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       To date, Hastings has interviewed over 120 military veterans who were involved
    in various UFO-related incidents at U.S. missile sites, weapons storage facilities, and
    nuclear bomb test ranges....
       Hastings believes that UFOs are piloted by visitors from elsewhere in the universe
    who, for whatever reason, have taken an interest in our long-term survival. He
    contends that these beings are occasionally disrupting our nukes to send a message
    to the American and Soviet/Russian governments that their possession and
    potential large-scale use of nuclear weapons threatens the future of humanity and
    the environmental integrity of the planet. In short, Washington and Moscow are
    being warned that they are “playing with fire.”
    Robert Hastings: About UFOs and Nuclear Weapons . Retrieved on January 11, 2012.
      Whereas typically, NUFORC [National UFO Reporting Center] has been
    receiving and posting approximately 10 credible reports per day, in recent months,
    that volume has increased noticeably. As an example, NUFORC received
    approximately fifty reports on December 31st, 2011, and approximately sixty on the
    following day!! Many of those reports were submitted by seemingly quite credible
    sources, and interestingly, many of them appear to address similar events, i.e.
    clusters of red-, orange-, or yellow-colored lights.
    The National UFO Reporting Center. Retrieved on January 22, 2012.
      It said that TAW-50 [an alleged U.S. antigravity spacecraft] is a reverse
    engineering of several crashed UFO. If it is true then none of our fighters (beside
    secret plane like TAW-50) or air defense can bring them down from our skies. If
    their craft is already this powerful that could defeat our air defense and air force. I
    can’t imagine what if they really invade us.
    Reverse engineering of UFO: TAW-50? April 26, 2006. Retrieved on May 25, 2012.

  Regrettably, extraterrestrials seem not to have been welcomed with the love,
respect, and admiration which, I feel, they deserve. Apparently, certain
governments, regarding them as threats to national security, have responded
militarily:
      F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a UFO seen following a
    London:bound passenger jet.
    Matthew Moore, “Fighter jets scrambled after UFO follows plane over Athens.”
    The Telegraph (newspaper). London. February 10, 2009. Retrieved on March 4,
    2012.

      An American fighter pilot flying from an English air base at the height of the Cold
    War was ordered to open fire on a massive UFO that lit up his radar, according to
    an account published by Britain’s National Archives on Monday.
    Raphael G. Satter (Associated Press), “U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO:
    He was told to never talk about Cold War incident; files now are public.” MSNBC.
    October 20, 2008.

      To be fair, most UFOs do turn out to be misidentifications. Furthermore, there
    are some outrageous hoaxes perpetrated and tall tales told. And yet, as the recent
    event at the National Press Club illustrated, there is a serious and potentially

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    sinister side to all of this. Some UFOs are seen by reliable witnesses such as pilots.
    They are tracked on radar, performing speeds and manoeuvres that exceed the
    capabilities of our most sophisticated aircraft. Attempts have been made to shoot
    down at least two UFOs – maybe there are other such cases that have never been
    disclosed.
    Nick Pope, “Shoot Down the UFO.” Nick Pope. (He “... used to run the British
    Government’s UFO Project ....”) Retrieved on September 27, 2012.

   According to reports, agencies in some countries have collected biological
samples, possibly both living and dead, along with various artifacts of non-human
(or post-human?) intelligent life. The following sad account of extraterrestrial
corpses is attributed to the entertainer, Jackie Gleason (1916-1987). To be honest,
if this story reflects the intentional mistreatment or killing of our planetary angels, it
is really all I need to know concerning the apparent “official” policies on
spaceships:
       We [Jackie Gleason with President Richard Nixon] drove to the very far end of
    the base in a segregated area, finally stopping near a well-guarded building. The
    security police saw us coming and just sort of moved back as we passed them and
    entered the structure. There were a number of labs we passed through first before
    we entered a section where Nixon pointed out what he said was the wreckage from
    a flying saucer, enclosed in several large cases. Next, we went into an inner
    chamber and there were six or eight of what looked like glass-topped Coke
    freezers. Inside them were the mangled remains of what I took to be children. Then
    – upon closer examination – I saw that some of the other figures looked quite old.
    Most of them were terribly mangled as if they had been in an accident.
    Jackie Gleason from an interview with spaceship (UFO) researcher and author
    Larry Warren.

  If any of these photographs are legitimate, they appear to indicate military
operations. I find them to be absolutely disgusting. Treating our planetary
protectors in such an abusive manner is, in my view, a horrendous atrocity:




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  On the other hand, some writers have suggested that spaceship crashes might,
in certain cases, have been the result of earth’s radar systems:
      UFOs crash for the simple reason that their power systems are interferred with
    by means of Electronically Pulsed Radar Systems directed at them by the U.S.
    Military so that they can recover the technology that are encompassed within the
    UFOs.
      The principle is similar to what happens when an atomic explosion is triggered.
    ALL Electrical systems are “knocked out” within the “blast area.”
      UFOs use Magnetic Field Energy to operate. Disrupt the Magnetic Field by
    directing Electronically Pulsed Radar at the UFO and its systems are “knocked out.
    ”
    UFO Casebook: Why Do UFOs Crash? Retrieved on May 21, 2012.
      ... we have spent many years trying to destroy UFOs and it is said that we have
    caused the crashes of a few of them, and yet there has been no real retaliation.
    People state that we have been given subtle messages by the aliens that we were
    too warlike and these messages consisted of UFOs flying over military bases and
    turning off our nuclear missile capability. This has happened more than once that
    we know about and probably a lot more. The old Soviet regime discovered that
    UFOs could be disrupted by powerful radar and built an installation with a radar
    weapon and a UFO flew over it and hit the radar with a beam and destroyed it.
    Even more interestingly, the beam had passed through a Soviet soldier without
    harming him on its way to the target. How could anyone on this planet think that
    they could compete with such advanced technology?
    Are Extraterrestrials Guiding The Human Race? Retrieved on May 21, 2012.

      The Original Matter

  As discussed previously in this chapter, all the entities of existence, throughout
each of the worlds of God, are involved, or intertwined, with each other. This
universal connectedness, expressed by the love of angels, or intelligent
nonterrestial beings, for the ongoing welfare of earthly life, is manifested as
attributes, spirit, matter, or substance. In ʿAbduʾl-Bahá’s interpretation of this
subject, He appears to have used the analogy of the Aristotelian original matter :
       It is necessary, therefore, that we should know what each of the important
    existences was in the beginning—for there is no doubt that in the beginning the
    origin was one: the origin of all numbers is one and not two. Then it is evident that
    in the beginning matter was one, and that one matter appeared in different aspects
    in each element. Thus various forms were produced, and these various aspects as

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    they were produced became permanent, and each element was specialized. But this
    permanence was not definite, and did not attain realization and perfect existence
    until after a very long time. Then these elements became composed, and organized
    and combined in infinite forms; or rather from the composition and combination of
    these elements innumerable beings appeared.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 181.

      Then it is clear that original matter, which is in the embryonic state, and the
    mingled and composed elements which were its earliest forms, gradually grew and
    developed during many ages and cycles, passing from one shape and form to
    another, until they appeared in this perfection, this system, this organization and
    this establishment, through the supreme wisdom of God....
      ... man’s existence on this earth, from the beginning until it reaches this state,
    form and condition, necessarily lasts a long time, and goes through many degrees
    until it reaches this condition. But from the beginning of man’s existence he is a
    distinct species. In the same way, the embryo of man in the womb of the mother
    was at first in a strange form; then this body passes from shape to shape, from
    state to state, from form to form, until it appears in utmost beauty and perfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 82-83.

  The original matter, which is manifested by all species or unifying essences, has
always existed, in one form or another, within the everlasting universe or universes
of God. However, life on any celestial sphere is, in my opinion, carefully and
distinctly fashioned and arranged for particular climates and geographical regions.
According to the divine Plan, these material attributes of species are adapted,
perhaps hybridized, by advanced souls. The matter is then deposited by them, in
seed form or through actual colonization, early in a planetary body’s geological
history and, when required, modified by them.
  The obvious similarities between the attributes of different species, such as
humans and other great apes (including bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, and
orangutans), could, I feel, present intuitive evidence for the divinely ordained unity,
or patterning, of existence. Although the attributes of species (essences) may
evolve over time, through the Will of God, and be modified by natural selection or a
survival of the fittest, one species essence does not evolve into one another:
      As the serpent took refuge under the ground and became a creeping animal, it
    was no longer in need of feet, so they disappeared; but their traces survive. The
    principal argument is this: that the existence of traces of members proves that they
    once existed, and as now they are no longer of service, they have gradually
    disappeared. Therefore, while the perfect and necessary members have remained,
    those which are unnecessary have gradually disappeared by the modification of the
    species, but the traces of them continue.
      ... the fact that the animal having preceded man is not a proof of the evolution,
    change and alteration of the species, nor that man was raised from the animal
    world to the human world. For while the individual appearance of these different
    beings is certain, it is possible that man came into existence after the animal....
      ...Although it changes in all ways, and grows and develops until it reaches the

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    perfect form, from the beginning it is a special species. We also see in the vegetable
    kingdom that the original species of the genus do not change and alter, but the
    form, color and bulk will change and alter, or even progress.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 86.

  All of the physical and spiritual attributes of one or more essences, as in the
essence of humanity, are acquired by beings and things throughout their general
evolution and their specific development. Because essences are unknowable,
scientific explanations of physical and biological origins, or of any other empirically
observable object, will inevitably be limited:
       All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the
    first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is
    one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one. Whether they be
    small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system....
       In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the
    spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste—in one word, all the powers—but
    they are not visible and become so only by degrees.
       Similarly, the terrestrial globe from the beginning was created with all its
    elements, substances, minerals, atoms and organisms; but these only appeared by
    degrees: first the mineral, then the plant, afterward the animal, and finally man.
    But from the first these kinds and species existed, but were undeveloped in the
    terrestrial globe, and then appeared only gradually. For the supreme organization
    of God, and the universal natural system, surround all beings, and all are subject to
    this rule. When you consider this universal system, you see that there is not one of
    the beings which at its coming into existence has reached the limit of perfection. No,
    they gradually grow and develop, and then attain the degree of perfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 199.

      When we consider beings with the seeing eye, we observe that they are limited to
    three sorts—that is to say, as a whole they are either mineral, vegetable or animal,
    each of these three classes containing species. Man is the highest species because
    he is the possessor of the perfections of all the classes—that is, he has a body which
    grows and which feels. As well as having the perfections of the mineral, of the
    vegetable and of the animal, he also possesses an especial excellence which the
    other beings are without-that is, the intellectual perfections. Therefore, man is the
    most noble of beings.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 235.

      The most noble being on the earth is man. He embraces the animal, vegetable
    and mineral kingdoms--that is to say, these conditions are contained in him to such
    an extent that he is the possessor of these conditions and states; he is aware of their
    mysteries and of the secrets of their existence.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 158.

  Moreover, the ultimate purpose of creation is to enable human souls to gather
their attributes:
      He [God], through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will,

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    chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to
    love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and
    the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 65.

      Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality
    —that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 235.

  Through the processes of evolutionary and fetal development, humanity has
acquired its physical attributes from the lower kingdoms of creation. Each of us can
now, individually, secure the virtues or qualities we need now, and which we will
require in the world to come, by living our human lives within the spiritual Kingdom
(our higher nature):
      I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to
    worship Thee.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations by Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 314.

      All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The
    Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man.
    Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-
    kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 215.

      ... the centre of the Sun of Truth is in the supernal world—the Kingdom of God.
    Those souls who are pure and unsullied, upon the dissolution of their elemental
    frames, hasten away to the world of God, and that world is within this world. The
    people of this world, however, are unaware of that world, and are even as the
    mineral and the vegetable that know nothing of the world of the animal and the
    world of man.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Pages 194-195.

      Steven Greer, M.D.

  The work of Steven Greer, M.D., through The Disclosure Project and the Center
                               M.D.,
for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence , appears to develop a fairly balanced
approach to the subject of extraterrestrial visitation. Greer relies upon eyewitness
testimonies, while respecting the interplanetary travelers and their stewardship.
According to Greer, issues concerning extraterrestrials, and their technologies,
have nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Although I differ with him in some
areas, his approach is considerably more positive than most of the others which
have been discussed:
      ... [It] is not a conspiracy theory. We can prove this in a court of law that this has
    happened over and over again. And the reason that we are moving quickly to let
    the world know that this exists is that the ultimate shield against that happening is

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    two things: Number one – my absolute assurance that I will take a bullet before I
    will let this be suppressed, and number two – that there is no amount of money,
    that you cannot put enough zeros after a one, to buy us out and keep this thing
    from getting out to the public.
    Steven Greer, M.D., from an interview on Coast to Coast AM Radio with George
    Noory. The Disclosure Project. November 13, 2007. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

      People think that it’s a monolithic conspiracy, but they’re wrong. About 40% to
    50% of people involved in these supersecret projects want this stuff out. They
    know we’re running out of oil, China is industrializing, and the polar ice caps are
    melting. And they know that if this [advanced E.T. technology] was announced
    today, it would take ten to 20 years to get it into widespread application to avert an
    economic, strategic, geopolitical and environmental catastrophe. They see that and
    want to fix it, but they’re still a minority. They’re more enlightened, but it’s the
    ruthless ones who rule.
    Steven Greer, M.D., UFOs: What the Government Really Knows. Retrieved on April
    29, 2012.

  These statements reflect some of Greer’s proposals for examining the
extraterrestrial issue:
      CSETI [Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence] is committed to the
    thoughtful long-term development of bilateral ETI-Human communication and
    exchange, and open public education on the subject.
    Steven Greer, M.D., Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Retrieved on
    April 28, 2012.

      Beginning in 1993, I started an effort that was designed to identify firsthand
    military and government witnesses to UFO events and projects, as well as other
    evidence to be used in a public disclosure.
    Steven Greer, M.D., The Disclosure Project. Retrieved on April 28, 2012.

       The universe is teeming with intelligent life. In fact, the universe itself is intelligent
    and alive. The multiplicity of life in the universe, while diverse, is essentially a
    singularity; beyond division, it exists in the unitive state, a marvelous, conscious
    Oneness.
    Steven Greer, M.D., “Extraterrestrials and the New Cosmology.” Center for the
    Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence. 1995. Retrieved on April 28, 2012.

  The official space program has outlived its longevity, and there is, reportedly,
currently nothing, in the public domain, to replace it. Unfortunately, disclosures of
extraterrestrial spaceship and alternative energy might, Greer contends, contradict
the powerful interests of a petroleum-driven military (national or international
security) and economy:
      The reasons for the secrecy are simple: The inertia of highly classified programs,
    embarrassment over past illegal actions taken to enforce secrecy, and the fact that
    the energy and propulsion systems behind the mysterious UFO objects have been
    studied and fully understood. This disclosure would spell the end for oil, gas, coal

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    and other conventional forms of power – and with that, the end of the current oil-
    based geopolitical order and economy. The truth is our tax dollars have been used
    to investigate this matter for decades and it is time for a dividend on that
    investment. The full disclosure of the facts will enable humanity to attain a
    sustainable civilization without global warming or the need for oil.
    Steven Greer, M.D., “Insiders Expose Reasons for Secrecy. The Disclosure Project.
    November 13, 2007. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

  The spacecraft commonly referred to as UFOs and flying saucers, with advanced
technologies, may, Greer said, be both extraterrestrial and terrestrial:
       For nearly 10 years we [The Disclosure Project] have been meeting with senior
    CIA, Pentagon and political figures, advocating a general disclosure on so-called
    UFOs, Extraterrestrial Intelligence and related energy and propulsion systems
    currently held by illegal, “classified” projects. These projects, unsupervised by the
    Congress or President, are illegal, rogue, shadowy operations that are a direct
    threat to both short term and long-term national and world security concerns....
       Let no one interpret this as an indictment of “The Government,” “The CIA,”
    “The Pentagon,” etc. On the contrary, the point is that the conventional, legal
    government, military and intelligence community are for the most part the first
    victims of these operations, not the perpetrators.
    Steven Greer, M.D., “Disclosure and 9/11. The Disclosure Project. November 13,
    2007. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

      ... how would the public react to the fact that the multi-billion dollar space
    program, using internal combustion rockets and the like, has been a primitive and
    unnecessary experiment since much more advanced technologies and propulsion
    systems were in existence before we ever went to the moon? NASA and related
    agencies have, for the most part, been as much a victim of this secrecy as has the
    rest of the government and the public. Only a small, very compartmentalized
    fraction of NASA people know of the real ET technologies hidden away in these
    projects.
    Steven Greer, M.D., “Understanding UFO Secrecy. The Disclosure Project. 1999.
    Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

      ... [We can] discern ET spacecraft from man-made classified technologies.
    Steven Greer, M.D., “CSETI Ambassador to the Universe Training.” The Disclosure
    Project. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

  Greer also has some esoteric interests. Many spaceship enthusiasts are
interested in various forms of ESP (extrasensory perception), including remote
viewing (similar to precognition), channeling nonterrestrial entities, and astral
projection (out-of-body experiences or OBEs). For example, in attempting to
contact alien beings, Greer and his followers have cultivated certain siddhayaḥ
(Sanskrit plural of siddhi, supernatural Hindū kuṇḍalinī accomplishment). That is to
say, they have developed psychic powers:
       ... I wondered about some of the so-called siddhis (or spiritual powers) described
    in the Vedas [Hindū scriptures]. I thought it would be interesting to test the limits of
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    this for the physical body. I began to think about the abilities we have – if we are all
    consciousness and our bodies are actually filled with the light of awareness. What
    might we really achieve?...
      ... in the hotel room, I went through the protocol we’d created in 1973 on ... [a]
    spacecraft.
      I then went into the state of unbounded consciousness, and then expanded
    awareness off the mountain, around the Alps, into space, and out into our Solar
    System. Seeing the vastness of space, I said to these craft and the ETs on board,
    “My name is Steve. I don't know if you remember me, but we met a couple years
    ago ....”
    Steven Greer, M.D., “Improbable Messenger: Chapters 1 and 2. The Disclosure
    Project. 1999. Retrieved on April 30, 2012.

      Illuminati Conspiracies
  We now move from various degrees of speculation to the ridiculous. Most
spiritually inclined conservatives have looked to traditional movements, such as
Christian fundamentalism, evangelicalism, and The Church of Jesus Christ of
             Saints .
Latter-day Saints. Some conservative Christians, occultists disenchanted with
conventional religiosity, and others have embraced various “fringe” theories,
including the Illuminati conspiracy . Although the conspiracy has branched into
several factions, my focus will be upon the extraterrestrial versions. Esoteric turns ,
such as this one, are frequently indicators of deteriorations in dominant religious
institutions.
  Conservatism, in its several types, is often driven by a misplaced patriotism
coupled with a fear of rapid social change, of traditional instability, or of
collectivism. In our confusing and uncertain times, there is certainly an abundance
of fodder. Throughout the rest of the chapter, I will critically examine some dark,
primarily right-wing, conspiracy (or esoteric) theories concerning extraterrestrials
and, in some cases, a kind of manipulative panspermia. These alleged
machinations have, with the rise of the Internet, enjoyed increased popularity.
                                                             Icke,
They are often associated with British esotericist, David Icke, but many others
have adopted them, as well.
  My interest in this subject, as a social scientist, is threefold. First, I consider
these esoteric conspiracies to be a fascinating case study of mass behavior and
the powers of suggestibility. The mass media, including the web, inform and shape
human ideas. Social movements, fads, fashions, urban legends, paranoia, and
panics now spread globally like wildfire. Second, as with Y2K, deception appears
to be considerable: opportunism, scamming, disinformation, trolling, and practical
joking. Third, the Illuminati conspiracies highlight the perils of groupthink .
      Groupthink is the extreme concurrence-seeking displayed by decision-making
    groups that is predicted to result in highly defective decisions. The groupthink
    concept was first developed by Irving Janis in 1972 to explain such disastrous

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    incidents as the United States’s decision to invade the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, the
    failure of the United States military to foresee the Japanese attack on Pearl
    Harbor, Great Britain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany in World War II, and the
    decisions to escalate the Vietnam War and the Korean War. According to this
    perspective, groupthink is hypothesized to occur when particular antecedent
    conditions are present. These include high group cohesiveness, insulation from
    experts, limited search and appraisal of information, directive leadership, and high
    stress combined with low self-esteem and little hope of finding a better solution to a
    pressing problem than that favored by the group leader or influential members.
    Marlene E. Turner and Anthony R. Pratkanis, “Groupthink.” Encyclopedia of
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. John M. Levine and Michael A. Hogg,
    editors. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2009.

       The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) [you]
    truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) [you] give
    your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.
       Trolling requires decieving; any trolling that doesn’t involve deceiving someone
    isn’t trolling at all; it’s just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are
    trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccessful troll.
    “ Trolling.” Urban Dictionary. San Francisco, CA: Urban Dictionary, LLC.
    Retrieved on May 12, 2012.

  According to various writers, the Illuminati conspiracy involves alien
technologies and, in some cases, aliens themselves:
      The third level of sophistication, that used in the more modern American
    antigravity craft, is direct generation and harnessing of the gravitational strong
    force. Such a strong-force field extends slightly beyond the atomic nucleus of
    Element 115, an exotic element donated by Star Visitor scientist-consultants to
    human scientists at S-4, a secret base south of Area 51. By amplifying that exposed
    gravitational strong force, and using antimatter reactor high energy, and then
    directing it, it is possible to lift a craft from the Earth and then change directions by
    vectoring the shaped antigravity force field thus generated.
    “Classified Antigravity Aerospace Craft Using Reverse-engineered Extraterrestrial
    Technology.” New Illuminati. Blog. October 4, 2011. Retrieved on April 28, 2012.

      Some [conspiracy] theorists say that these Illuminati who hold the reins of power
    are human beings; others say that they have extraterrestrial allies, or that this
    group is controlled by, or consists of, ETs. Their goal, it is said, is to impose a New
    World Order (NWO) in which their dominion is complete.
    Charles Eisenstein, Synchronicity, Myth, and the New World Order. Retrieved on April
    27, 2012.

       Around the world there is growing minority that are comprehending the sinister
    elements of the New World Order that includes the highly secretive Underground
    military/alien city/bases around the world. Alien collaboration begin thousands of
    years ago with humans; however, after world war two, and at the beginning of the
    new Israeli nation, alien involvement predominates prior participation because of
    the time table of the Antichrist. Predominately, direct alien involvement began with
    the United States in 1947....

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      ... the goal of the entities is to control their chipped human slaves for negative
    emotional energy....
      During the New World Order, which will be activated on 12/21/2012, the elite will
    seek “safety” underground and will attempt to draw their deluded slaves down-
    under. Anybody that enters the underworld of the New World Order will be a
    vaccinate chipped human slave.
    The Underground Cities and Phil Schneider! Retrieved on April 27, 2012.

  One of the purported developments out of this powerful corporatocracy, or
military-industrial complex, might, some have claimed, be a “classified” or secret
space program. It is, allegedly, operated as an undislosed project (so-called black
operations or black ops):
      There is a Secret Space program that the public doesn’t know about.
      This program employs technologies based on hyperdimensional physics and
    torsion field physics. We are engaged in a war in space that is also being kept
    secret. It involves players on this planet who are obsessed with supremacy. The ETs
    are taking a hands-off posture, but are watching to see what happens. Most of the
    UFO community has no idea that this is going on, and some in the UFO field are
    part of the problem. This is a global situation, not limited to the USA.
    Secret Space Program. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

      ... [The American-made] antigravity propulsion system—this flying saucer—was
    one of three that were in this hangar at Norton Air Force Base. They called [it] the
    Alien Reproduction Vehicle [ARV], also nicknamed the Flux Liner.
    “The Greatest Secret in Modern History: UFOs and a Solution to the
    Environmental and Energy Crisis.” The Disclosure Project. November 13, 2007.
    Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

  Among other ufologists, Command Sergeant Major (retired) Robert Dean has
taken the concepts of a military-industrial complex and a secret space program
even further:
       In United States government national laboratories like San Dia, Los Alamos,
    Brookhaven national laboratory in Long Island, which is one of most super secret
    laboratories; anyhow, we have scientists and military guys who have been working
    alongside of some of those dudes [extraterrestrials], and they are in our midst.
    When I retired, we knew of four different groups, and they were all humanoid; but
    they were all not the kind of guys who could walk up and down the street on a
    Saturday afternoon without being seen or responded to.
       But one of the groups of four looks exactly like us in the sense that it could be
    sitting here in this auditorium next to you and you wouldn’t know it. Next to you in
    an airplane, or a restaurant, or a theater. They’re in our midst, guys – this one
    group, particularly, is in our midst. Apparently since 1954 when I met them at
    Morock airforce base, in California; they’ve been working with us, trying to help us
    make that transition from adolescence into adulthood. Why are they doing that?
    Well, apparently this is the same group that had a hand in engineering our genetics
    10,000-100,000 years ago. If you want a little history on that subject, read Zecharia
    Sitchin, which I suspect most of you are familiar with. His stories are shockingly

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    accurate – in the sense that they literally tell the essential story of our beginnings....
      The Quadrillion dollar question: Where did all our money go and why are we in
    such debt globally? There is a separate space program, which you guys are paying
    for and they’re not telling you anything about it, and as a result, NASA is a bit of a
    joke. We have a special space program and it is apparently known as the United
    States Aerospace Command and it is a joint service agency. That means it includes
    Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and it also includes the British Aerospace
    Command.
    Robert Orel Dean, Awake and Aware Conference. 2009. Retrieved on April 30, 2012.

      Historical Sources of the Conspiracies

  There is, today, no authentic Illuminati. Instead, contemporary Illuminati ufology
appears, from my own readings, to be based upon six major historical sources .
Chronologically, the first of these sources, and the documented inspiration for this
durable urban legend, was the short-lived, Freemasonic Bavarian Illuminati. It both
began and was dissolved in the late eighteenth century:
       [The] Enlightenment and Freemasonry went together. Confronted with the reign
    of absolute monarchs, enlightenment with a political agenda to change the
    foundations of government needed to hide such agendas and to embrace secrecy as
    a form of organization. The American Revolution marked the beginning of the end
    of absolute monarchs; many of the leading American Revolutionaries were
    Freemasons, as well as those from the French Revolution of 1789. The first Anti-
    Masonic measures were seen in this context, the most prominent case was the
    prohibition of the Illuminati in Bavaria in 1785. The elaboration of anti-Masonic
    conspiracy theories followed in the 1790s as a reaction to the French Revolution,
    notably by the French catholic clergyman Augustin Barruel ... and his British
    follower John Robinson .... By 1800, the foundations of the anti-Masonic ideology
    were firmly routed in Europe.
       In the United States, Freemasonry had a much better standing. Many of the elite
    of the American Revolution were Freemasons; the most notable was President
    Washington. Over the decades, the enlightened spirits of Freemasonry of the 1770s
    and 1780s had transformed into more practical networks for economic and political
    power. Although any of the elaborated conspiracy theories about Freemasonry is
    pure nonsense, the influence of some Freemason lodges in 1820s and 1830s in the
    United States could raise justified doubt in terms of democratic ideals. This led
    some people to write and publish anti-Masonic propaganda literature, which in
    many cases had not only a pro-democratic intent, but also a clear focus on
    moneymaking. William Morgan was one of those anti-Masonic authors. A former
    Mason, rumors emerged that he would publish the secrets of the Masons, thereby
    neglecting his vows of secrecy.
    Oliver Benjamin Hemmerle, “Anti-Masonic Party.” Encyclopedia of U.S.
    Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior. Kenneth F. Warren, editor. Thousand
    Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2008. Pages 41-42.

  The second source, which was mentioned in the previous quotation, is the
movement started by Abbé Augustin Barruel (1741-1820), a French Jesuit priest,
and his Scottish disciple , the physicist John Robison (1739-1805):
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       The ... conspiracy, which I am now about to investigate is that of the Atheistical
    Illuminees, which at my outset I denominated the conspiracy of the Sophisters of
    Impiety and Anarchy against every religion natural or revealed; not only against kings,
    but against every government, against all civil society, even against all property
    whatsoever....
       ... I shall develop the history of Illuminism, and make an application ... to the
    French Revolution.
    Abbé Augustin Barruel, Code of the Illuminati. Pages 1-2.

      The Order of ILLUMINATI appears as an accessory to Free Masonry. It is in
    the Lodges of Free Masons that the Minervals are found, and there they are
    prepared for Illumination. They must have previously obtained the three English
    degrees.
    John Robison, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All of the Religions and Governments of
    Europe, Carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading
    Societies, Collected from Good Authorities. Page 63.

  The third source is Theosophy and its factions. This Theosophical movement has
exerted a major, perhaps even the most important, influence on the development of
New Age occultism. In the Illuminati conspiracy, the “Masters” of Madame Helena
Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and the “Hierarchy” of Alice Ann Bailey (1880-
1949) are negatively inverted into the evil extraterrestrials .
      We call them “Masters” because they are our teachers; and because from them
    we have derived all the Theosophical truths, however inadequately some of us may
    have expressed, and others understood, them. They are men of great learning,
    whom we term Initiates, and still greater holiness of life. They are not ascetics in the
    ordinary sense, though they certainly remain apart from the turmoil and strife of
    your western world.
    H.P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy: A Clear Exposition in the Form of Question
    and Answer of the Ethics, Science, and Philosophy for the Study of Which The
    Theosophical Society has been Founded.
      One of the major tasks of the Hierarchy is to seek for and find those who are
    sensitive to revelation and whose minds are trained so that they can formulate the
    emerging truths in such a way that they reach the ears of the world thinkers,
    relatively unchanged.
    Alice Bailey, Glamour—A World Problem . Page 143.

      Christ and Buddha occupy unique positions within the Hierarchy, and therefore
    have assumed duties and responsibilities rivaling, and sometimes surpassing those of
    the three Great Lords. The Buddha serves as a conduit for the Planetary Deity,
    raying out cosmic and planetary energies to the three Great Lords, who in turn
    distribute those energies to the seven Ray Lords, whose ashrams adapt the higher
    energies for use in the human sphere. Christ acts as the Intercessor,
    communicating to the Planetary Deity humanity’s plea for help. Christ is also
    responsible for certain aspects of the karma created when, while suspended on the
    Cross, He agreed to channel both cosmic and solar energies for the sake of
    humanity.

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    John P. Johnston, The Ancient Wisdom Series: A Brief Introduction to the Ascended
    Masters.

  Within the work of Guy Ballard – whose I Am Activity organization developed
through his studies of Theosophy – and of later writers, Blavatsky’s “Masters”
became the “Ascended Masters”:
      We who are privileged to carry this Ascended Master Light to the World, offer all
    we are and have or ever hope to be or have, in the Service of the Ascended and
    Cosmic Masters—whom we have been so blest as to know and love.... To know
    Them is to love Them. To associate with Them is to serve Them. To see Them is to
    obey Them; for in Their Blessed Presence, all desire on Earth dissolves into the
    overwhelming impulse to be all that They are.
    Godfre Ray King (pen name of Guy Ballard), Ascended Master Light.

       [An] Ascended Master ... [is] a being who has become Self-Realized and serves
    humanity; a being who has raised his/her vibration to a sustained frequency of
    light. He/she can come and go at will from the earth plane without the Birth//Death
    cycle....
       The Ascended Masters have worked with mankind throughout the centuries.
    Most of the time in the past the Ascended Masters have worked in the background.
    There were some Ascended Masters who have assisted mankind ....
    The Ascended Masters: Who They are. Dee Finney, compiler.

 However, the existence of these secret or esoteric Masters, advocated by many
modern-day gnōstics, is not supported in the Baháʾí Teachings:
       As regards the question you asked in your letter about a concealed group of
    masters in the Himalayas or anywhere else, there is no foundation whatsoever for
    this in the Baháʾí Writings. We as Baháʾís must not believe in the divine origin of
    any such things which have not been mentioned in our own Sacred Scriptures by
    either the Báb, Baháʾuʾlláh or the Master [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá].
       There is nothing whatsoever to lead us to believe that there is any foundation or
    truth in these mystical stories of beings that are “behind the scenes”, so to speak.
    We must avoid such thoughts and teachings, and try to wean others away from
    them as we give them the Message.
    From a letter, dated May 11, 1954, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1763.

      ... the “Teachers of Life” [are] inhabiting the snowy ranges of the Himalaya ....
    H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and
    Philosophy. Page 271.

  The fourth source of the Illuminati narrative is the infamous antisemitic tract, The
Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion . It is a plagiarized, hateful forgery which
was later adopted within Nazi Germany. ( Elders , for instance, is a Christian, not a
Jewish, designation.) In the libertarian New Age Movement, references to the Jews
have been transformed into extraterrestrials or reptilian aliens. Nonetheless, the
basics of the new world order conspiracy have remained intact:
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       For us there are no checks to limit the range of our activity. Our Super-
    Government subsists in extra legal conditions which are described in the accepted
    terminology by the energetic and forcible word – Dictatorship. I am in a position to
    tell you with a clear conscience that at the proper time we, the lawgivers, shall
    execute judgement and sentence, we shall slay and we shall spare, we, as head of all
    our troops, are mounted on the steed of the leader. We rule by force of will,
    because in our hands are the fragments of a once powerful party, now vanquished
    by us. And the weapons in our hands are limitless ambitions, burning greediness,
    merciless vengeance, hatreds and malice.
    Hermann Goedsche, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. 1868. (An offensive
    antisemitic hoax.)

      The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is one of many titles given to an
    antisemitic text purporting to describe a plan to achieve global domination by the
    Jewish people. Following its first public publication in 1903 in the Russian Empire, a
    series of articles printed in The Times [of London: in 1921 revealed that much ofthe
    material was directly plagiarized from earlier works of political satire unrelated to
    Jews....
      Some recent editions proclaim that the “Jews” depicted in the Protocols are a
    cover identity for other conspirators such as the Illuminati, Freemasons, the Priory
    of Sion, or even, in the opinion of David Icke, “extra-dimensional entities.”
    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Origins.

  The conspiracy’s fifth source, which has also influenced the Christian far right, is
the militantly anti-government, libertarian movement. It is sometimes associated
with the freeman on the land (sometimes called simply “freeman”) movement.
According to this pseudolegal ideology, really an exaggerated form of social
contract theory, laws are nothing more than voluntary arrangements between
governments and their citizens. Therefore, people can, if they like, reject being
governed or, for that matter, refuse to pay taxes. Most libertarians, of course, are
not quite so extreme.
      Freemen believe they can declare themselves independent of government
    jurisdiction using the concept of “lawful rebellion”: that all statute law is
    contractual and therefore only applicable if an individual consents to it. They assert
    that what everyone else regards as “the law” doesn’t apply to them as they have
    not consented to a contract with the state, even going so far as to claim they have a
    lawful right to refuse arrest if they do not consent.
      “Freeman on the Land.” RationalWiki. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.

      If the people don’t wake up, America will be turned into a socialized Nazi-like
    concentration camp. The elite class has totally hijacked America for decades now
    and is preparing to exterminate hundreds of millions of people all over the world....
      It’s everyone’s responsibility to inform each other that America is going to have a
    2nd American Revolution soon, and the more people involved in getting back to a
    small constitutional federal government, the more peaceful it will be for everyone.
      New Freedom: Something for Everyone.

      Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons’

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    moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement
    among them to form the society in which they live.
      “Social Contract Theory.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed
    Academic Resource. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.

      Thoughts on the Conspiracies

  Unlike the Illuminati conspiracists, some people, such as hypnotherapist Mary
Rodwell, have taken a spiritual point of view on the alleged activities of these
visitors:
      Mary talks about ordinary people, Doctors and Lawyers who have experienced
    being on board Spaceships. Even children report seeing their families interacting
    with extraterrestrials on more craft. Mary put this into perspective as she explains
    the distilled essence of her lifes work with experiencers and how she believes that
    the ETs are upgrading humans into a new species; Homo Noeticus.
    Exopolitics Hong Kong – Neil Gould & Mary Rodwell.

  Similarly, Benjamin Creme (born 1922), the founder of Share International, has a
positive perspective on our exalted guests:
      The space people ... have come to help and save humanity. They have been
    portrayed, most particularly by the US government, as bestial beings who destroy
    carcasses and leave them strewn over the plains and deserts of America, who take
    people up in their spaceships, perform operations on them, embed little chips that
    keep the people under their control ever afterwards, and send them back down to
    Earth. All of this is utterly false.
    Share International Magazine. January-February, 2010. Retrieved on March 30,
    2012.

  In my opinion, once the conspiratorial woo on extraterrestrial visitation is
rejected, the issue begins to makes sense. The Illuminati conspiracies twist and
distort the reported data into a genre resembling the worst pulp science fiction and
tabloid scandal sheets. Even if some particular conspiracies have taken place,
they are not equivalent to a grand conspiracy such as this one:
      Part of their [the Ascended Masters’] work is to free us from the dead hand of
    what could be called the Illuminati, the New World Order, the covert state, the
    military-industrial complex, or whatever other name you choose. It is this dark
    cabal who’ve withheld the free-energy technology that the galactics gave us
    decades ago, starting, I believe, in the Eisenhower administration, which would
    relieve us of our dependence on oil.
    “We Do Not Need Oil.” The 2012 Scenario. Retrieved on May 19, 2012.

  The lack of attention given to extraterrestrials, bigfoot, giants, and some of the
other subjects considered in this chapter might, I feel, be better explained by
Thomas Kuhn’s concept of normal science than by conspiracies:

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       Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all
    their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows
    what the world is like. Much of the success of the enterprise derives from the
    community’s willingness to defend that assumption, if necessary at considerable
    cost. Normal science, for example, often suppresses fundamental novelties because
    they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments.... [W]hen ... the profession
    can no longer evade anomalies that subvert the existing tradition of scientific
    practice—then begin the extraordinary investigations that lead the profession at
    last to a new set of commitments, a new basis for the practice of science. The
    extraordinary episodes in which that shift of professional commitments occurs are
    the ones known in this essay as scientific revolutions. They are the tradition-
    shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science.
    Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Second Edition. Enlarged.
    Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1970. Page 5.

  I am not denying, however, that power elites in “the establishment” have
engaged in crimes or coverups, duped others, and framed the innocent. Dominant
people might even have conspired to assassinate people, to provoke disasters, to
subvert governments, and to conduct false-flag operations. Watergate, the payoffs
and lies in the tobacco industry, and the pharmaceutical lobby against herbal
remedies are widely known. Whether specific acts of terrorism or assassination
and certain limits on technology involved conspiracies are matters for careful
researchers, after critically evaluating the evidence, to examine.
  In short, while people have done hideous things, crime is obviously not exclusive
to one class or another. Many offenders get away with murder, while others are
convicted of relatively petty crimes. Offenders run the gamut. They are rich, poor,
and in between. Innocents, especially the poor and destitute, have been
imprisoned unjustly, as well. Truth be told, this world is unfair. In the long run,
however, these events are relatively inconsequential. A person might successfully
elude the authorities, but no one can hide from the divine Essence and his holy
Prophets. Sooner or later, everyone will be judged.
       Lying, cheating, and stealing.
       That’s white-collar crime in a nutshell. The term—reportedly coined in 1939—is
    now synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and
    government professionals.
       It’s not a victimless crime. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate
    families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even
    all three, as in the Enron case). Today’s fraud schemes are more sophisticated than
    ever, and we are dedicated to using our skills to track down the culprits and stop
    scams before they start.
    “White Collar Crime.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Official U.S.
    government document. Retrieved on May 31, 2012.

  On the other hand, the statement, quoted below, by United States Senator Daniel
Inouye on a “shadowy government” is often cited as evidence for an Illuminati
conspiracy. Inouye’s comments, however, need to be taken in context. As a
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Democrat, opposed to the covert policies of a Republican White House, he was
specifically referring to the intelligence and military assistance which was given to
the Nicaraguan Contras. Their guerrilla warfare sought to overturn the socialist
Sandinista government. At the time, President Ronald Reagan’s administration
feared the spread of Cuban-style communism in Latin America.
      There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own
    fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest,
    free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself.
    Daniel Ken Inouye (United States Senator from Hawaii), Senate Select Committee on
    Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition (Iran-Contra
    hearings). 1987.

  Critically, through hypnotic or gnōstic self-delusion, conspiracy breeds
conspiracy. Believing in them is not being skeptical. As a sociologist of religion, I
have listened to conspiracy theorists on Red Ice Creations and Coast to Coast
AM. Many of them come from the far-right libertarian (or populist) wing of the New
Age Movement. In some cases, they are really libertarian fascists . Their concern is
for the freedoms of true patriots like themselves versus the agendas of supposed
conspirators or even of humans versus reptilian and other aliens. Nevertheless, I
will avoid backbiting and judging anyone.
       The reptilians and other manipulating entities exist only just outside the
    frequency range of our physical senses. Their own physical form has broken down
    and they can no longer re-produce. Thus they have sought to infiltrate human form
    and so use that to exist and control in this dimension. They chose the Earth for this
    infiltration because it most resembles in vibration the locations from which they
    originate. These reptilians are addicted to the dense physical “world” and the
    sensations it offers and they have no desire to advance higher. Their aim in this
    period is to stop the Earth and incarnate humanity from making the shift from
    dense physical prison into multi-dimensional paradise.
    David Icke, The Reptilians: Why They are Obsessed with Bloodline and Ritual.

      ... it is said that the US operated the likes of area 51 to prepare on how to deal
    with aliens. But in truth there are no such preparations by any government in USA,
    Europe or any other country in the world. If and when this hypothesis of an
    extraterrestrial invasion does materialize the human race will be caught
    unprepared.
    Extraterrestrial Invasion Is Imminent.

  As a sociologist of religion, I have studied many alternative belief systems.
Although I do not agree with most of them, I respect them, with few exceptions,
nonetheless. Since, however, people believe in all sorts of unconventional and
esoteric ideas, a healthy dose of skepticism is always justified. In my opinion, the
question of extraterrestrial visitation needs to be separated from the abundance of
viral silliness one can readily find on the web. Of course, some extremists, in
various social movements, may also be clinically paranoid or have other
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psychological disorders.
      Viral.... relating to or involving the rapid spread of information about a product
    or service by viral marketing techniques .... an image, video, advertisement, etc.
    that is circulated rapidly on the Internet ....
    Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford, UK: Oxford
    University Press. 2010.

  More broadly, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá wrote:
      The differences among the religions of the world are due to the varying types of
    minds. So long as the powers of the mind are various, it is certain that men’s
    judgements and opinions will differ one from another. If, however, one single,
    universal perceptive power be introduced—a power encompassing all the rest
    —those differing opinions will merge, and a spiritual harmony and oneness will
    become apparent. For example, when the Christ was made manifest, the minds of
    the various contemporary peoples, their views, their emotional attitudes, whether
    they were Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Israelites, or others, were at variance with one
    another. But once His universal power was brought to bear, it gradually succeeded,
    after the lapse of three hundred years, in gathering together all those divergent
    minds under the protection, and within the governance, of one central Point, all
    sharing the same spiritual emotions in their hearts.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Pages 63-64.

 Based upon my understanding of the above passage, if certainty or conviction
were a sufficient proof for truth, knowledge would be many points, not just one.
According to the Best Beloved:
       ... these Essences of being [the Prophets] are immensely exalted above such
    fanciful images, and are immeasurably glorified beyond all these vain sayings and
    above the comprehension of every understanding heart. Their so-called learning,
    when compared with that Knowledge, is utter falsehood, and all their
    understanding naught but blatant error. Nay, whatsoever proceedeth from these
    Mines of divine Wisdom and these Treasuries of eternal knowledge is truth, and
    naught else but the truth. The saying: “Knowledge is one point [unity?], which the
    foolish have multiplied” is a proof of Our argument, and the tradition: “Knowledge
    is a light which God sheddeth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth” a
    confirmation of Our statement.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Pages 183-184.

  By the same token, air rushes in to fill a vacuum of information. Certain writers
refer to a clandestine space colonization program. Public NASA exploration
activities are, they argue, merely a cover. Others suggest that a shadow
government engages in galactic warfare and conducts black military operations
with some species and against others. Objectively, many of these reports are
speculative, logically fallacious according to the basic rules of critical thinking, or
mutually contradictory. I must admit that, while I find some of the ideas to be
fascinating, I remain largely skeptical and unpersuaded.

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  Even if some of the specific claims made by the conspiracists are valid, the
problem, in my opinion, is with the Illuminati narrative itself. Deductively piecing
together data to support a strongly held conspiratorial belief system contradicts the
basic rules of evidence. In an academic content, any good investigator will bracket,
or set aside, her personal assumptions. Hypothesis by hypothesis, or prediction by
prediction, she then applies Ockham’s razor (parsimony or economy) to whatever
data are collected and analyzed during the research process.
  Discernment, though important, is not difficult. I watch for key words: Illuminati,
new world order and one world government (as pejoratives), restoring our
freedoms, secret societies, Bilderberg , Reptillian (Reptoid) bloodlines and hybrids,
Anunnakis (a race of ETs), mind control, brainwashing, zombies, Nazis, FEMA
prison camps, psychopaths, true patriots, wake up, HAARP, forbidden knowledge,
and others. While observing the sometimes mutually antagonistic promoters of this
newfangled gnōsticism, I can usually tell, through their frequent pauses and
stammers, that, even if unknowingly, they are reading from similar scripts while
improvising on the fly.
      You should not be afraid any one can affect your mind. Even when we want to
    catch the thoughts of those we love most we cannot do so, how much less can other
    people succeed in penetrating our minds.
    From a letter, dated January 18, 1951, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1770.

       The House of Justice fully appreciates that in... and ... there are many instances
    of individuals being affected adversely by the psychic arts of other people. This is an
    observable phenomenon in many parts of the world and must, as you say, be taken
    into account by those who would teach the Faith. The important thing for Baháʾís
    to understand is that the influence of such “arts” is dependent on the conviction,
    even the subconscious conviction, of the person affected and, similarly, the power
    of the “priests” to overcome the influence is likewise an outcome of the sufferer’s
    conviction that it is from the “priest” that he or she will be able to obtain help.
    From a letter, dated August 30, 1984, written on behalf of the Universal House of
    Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number
    1768.

  Additionally, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man , by John Perkins, has an
intriguing, even a seductive, title. The premise, however, that “a few wealthy
families” control earth’s natural resources, is commonly found in many of the
sources I have reviewed. Perkins, like some other conspiracists, has also written
occult books, including, The World Is As You Dream It: Teachings from the Amazon
and Andes (1994), Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal
Transformation (1997), and Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond
Time (1999).
      Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly-paid professionals who cheat countries
    around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World

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    Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign
    “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few
    wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools included
    fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder.
    They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying
    dimensions during this time of globalization.
      I should know; I was an EMH.
    John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-
    Koehler Publishers, Inc. 2004. Page ii.

  Paranormal activities are, in my opinion, a type of thought suggestibility. Once
placed into a self-hypnotized state, an individual can talk herself into almost
anything. Further, this subtle mental manipulation is reinforced through an
association with like-minded esoteric individuals:
      ... such occult practices as certain Hindus have introduced in the States, and
    which some superficial and superstitious individuals have adopted and are trying,
    by all sorts of devices, to popularize, are absolutely foreign, nay positively opposed
    to the very spirit and letter of the [Baháʾí] Teachings, and the believers [Baháʾís],
    therefore, should strictly and at all times avoid the company of such people, lest
    they may unconsciously and inevitably fall under their baneful influence and
    become gradually alienated from the Cause [of God].
      ... The friends [Baháʾís] also should be warned not to indulge in such activities
    that draw their inspiration from Hindu occultist sources, as these do not only lead
    them away from the Cause [of God], but can cause them considerable mental
    harm, and thus permanently injure their mind as well as their body.
    From a letter, dated August 5, 1939, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí. Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1773.

      What ʿAbduʾl-Bahá always pointed out in this matter is that these psychic
    powers were not to be used in this world, and that, indeed, it was dangerous to
    cultivate them here. They should be left dormant, and not exploited, even when we
    do so with the sincere belief we are helping others. We do not understand their
    nature and have no way of being sure of what is true and what is false in such
    matters.
    From a letter, dated March 4, 1946, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1735.

      With reference to psychic phenomena referred to in your letter: These in most
    cases are an indication of a deep psychological disturbance. The friends [Baháʾís]
    should avoid as much as possible giving undue consideration to such matters.
    From a letter, dated November 20, 1937, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1737.

  Truly, life in this world is not long enough to waste one’s time by pondering the
imponderable and imagining the fanciful. I am reminded of:
     Lauded be Thy name, O my God! I entreat Thee by the fragrances of the
    Raiment of Thy grace which at Thy bidding and in conformity with Thy desire were

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    diffused throughout the entire creation, and by the Day-Star of Thy will that hath
    shone brightly, through the power of Thy might and of Thy sovereignty, above the
    horizon of Thy mercy, to blot out from my heart all idle fancies and vain imaginings,
    that with all my affections I may turn unto Thee, O Thou Lord of all mankind!
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations by Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 75.

   Fortunately, anyone who is even reasonably familiar with rules of good critical
thinking will immediately recognize the constant flow of logical fallacies streaming
out of the conspiratorial esoteric literature. For instance, despite claims for the
existence of secret governments, no hard data are ever provided. What’s more,
without divine guidance, most religious and moral conceptions will be cluttered with
nonsense and misunderstandings. The logical fallacy of interrogation, which is
illustrated in the following quotation, demands information without sufficient prior
evidence for its existence:
      One wonders when he [Jesse Ventura] will get to the point of talking openly
    about the secret government and black projects and the hidden economy that
    operates surrounding our secret space program.
    Kerry Cassidy, Project Camelot Productions. Retrieved on February 27, 2012.

       ETs/EDs (extraterrestrials/extradimensionals) have assessed the Middle East
    situation .... Israel has 280 specially modified F-15s , each already loaded with a
    precision guided bunker buster bomb. The ETs/EDs are aware of this.... It appears
    the Israelis will strike straight for Iran, bypassing Syria.
    John Kettler, “ETs/EDs Warn Israel (& U.S.) NOT To Attack Iran!” John Kettler
    Investigates. Blog. Retrieved on March 25, 2012.

  These passages illustrate, through insufficient evidence, the fallacy of hasty
generalization:
      Imagine this scenario. The U.S. government obtains intelligence that hidden
    somewhere in central Iraq is an actual stargate, placed there by the Anunnaki
    “gods” of ancient Sumeria. This is a device that employs time-travel technology and
    permits individuals and equipment to pass into another dimension outside of the
    space-time continuum. Once there, it is possible to travel across the galaxy or into
    another galaxy, instantaneously, and then pop back into space-time on another
    planet. The government also learns that Nibiru, the “twelfth planet,” is scheduled
    to make its return passage through our solar system on its 3,600 year orbit in a
    matter of months. When Nibiru is closest to Earth, the Anunnaki, the ancient, huge,
    hominoid gods of Sumeria, who built the stargate, will very likely take the
    opportunity to travel to Earth through the stargate and will set up their
    encampment in Iraq. By default, this will have the effect of propping up the
    current regime....
      The government officials know that they must prevent this at all costs because it
    will mean the end of American world hegemony and will end any chance they might
    have to get their hands on Iraqi oil. They decide they must invade Iraq and, with
    the help of their extraterrestrial associates, the Grays, close the stargate. But the
    Russians, Germans, and French, having been intimately involved in archaeological
    digs in Iraq, know what they’re up to and prefer that the stargate remain open to

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    prevent American domination of the world. With time running out, President
    George W. Bush invades Iraq in March 2003.... U.S. forces find and take charge of
    the stargate, thus frustrating the grandiose ambitions of the self-styled
    reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar, Saddam Hussein, and making the world safe for
    the New World Order.
      ... According to Dr. Michael Salla, it is probably exactly what actually happened!
    Len Kasten, The Secret History of Extraterrestrials: Advanced Technology and the
    Coming New Race. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions – Bear & Company. 2010.
    Pages 98-100.

       Mankind was specifically created to mine gold for God. Mankind was almost
    wiped out when the mining was finished by use of “the flood.” But you were
    spared. In gratitude, mankind continued to pay tribute to God, and the
    subordinate “lesser gods,” through offerings of gold. It is the thing they value....
    The government leaders are putting together an incredibly large gold tribute to
    protect themselves. The poor, with no gold to give, will be a giant human sacrifice,
    sent off to labor for the lesser gods. The is why human sacrifice was so common in
    the ancient world. The lesser gods took the souls of the sacrificed to be their eternal
    laborers.
       Why do you think the price of gold has suddenly skyrocketed? So that only the
    most wealthy and powerful can afford it. So only they will be able to give proper
    tribute to God.... For the moment, money is still exchanged for gold. So for the
    moment, money is still an acceptable tribute. But the elite and powerful are quickly
    collapsing the world’s currencies to make your money worthless preventing your
    ability to give tribute – to force you into human sacrifice. Why are you surprised?
    They’ve been doing it throughout history. Through monetized debt, they’ve already
    made you wage-slaves. And it’s always the poor that are sent off to war. To make
    human sacrifices, and to become human sacrifices. Have you not realized that your
    leaders have been making human sacrifices all along? Now you know.
    Ra-El (or RayEl), “Lord RayEl: Gold – Human Sacrifice – Slavery.” YouTube. July
    9, 2011. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

   The allure of mystery within the halls of power, while hardly new, does not
support an Illuminati conspiracy. Secret societies, the Bohemian Grove, and other
ritualistic activities stroke the egos of elites and reinforce a collective illusion of
intellectual and moral superiority. Even outside the centers of global dominance,
however, the Society for Creative Anachronism , Renaissance festivals, and the
initiations practiced by Greek organizations, sororities and fraternities, often serve
similar esoteric functions. They promote social solidarity or class consciousness,
escapism, and, at times, exclusiveness or clubbishness.
      The highlight of a Grove encampment is an opening day initiation ceremony
    called “The Cremation of Care,” in which the campers are given permission to
    forget their worldly duties and responsibilities, and instead focus on having a good
    time, just like in the old days, when they were young and supposedly carefree.
    Although the ceremony is very elaborate and has a long tradition, readers have to
    understand at the outset that it is a lark, a spoof of ceremonies, that has no deep or
    serious intent, contrary to what some conspiracy theorists have claimed. It is just
    what it claims to be: a way to ease everyone into a mood where they can relax and

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    enjoy themselves....
      The Bohemian Grove, and other watering holes and social clubs, are relevant to
    the study of power because they are evidence for the class cohesiveness that is one
    prerequisite for class domination. They matter in terms of class cohesiveness ....
    G. William Domhoff, Social Cohesion & the Bohemian Grove: The Power Elite at
    Summer Camp. Retrieved on March 29, 2012.

   From an emancipatory standpoint, mega-conspiracies are also spiritual dead
ends. They are disempowering. If a faceless cabal directs world events, human
rights projects are, ultimately, hopeless causes. Instead of a single, broad-based,
secret, and sinister plot, there are numerous brutally competitive, agenda-driven
political and corporate power elites. Members of this class conscious military-
industrial complex operate, in their own interests, as: an oligarchy or a political
rulership by the few, an oligopoly or a market controlled by the most privileged,
and a corporatocracy or corporate dominance.
  Supposedly, there is certain secret knowledge which some alleged “they” do not
want “us” to “have.” Factually, however, lying, deceit, coverups, and even isolated
conspiracies perform social functions and have been used by ill-intentioned
individuals. Fictionally, there is a private, master conspiracy to take over the world.
Especially in the age of the Internet, carrying out a large-scale complicated
conspiracy, of the type discussed below, and successfully keeping it secret for a
long time, would require the super-human organizational capabilities of an illusory
devil or demigod:
      Each new generation of the Illuminati bloodline families is exposed to the
    appropriate ritual to activate their possession by the reptilian entities and so the
    cycle goes on....
      ... The thought and emotional processes of the UK’s Queen Mother are not those
    of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the little girl officially born into that body 101 years ago.
    They are controlled by the reptilian entity or entities, which possessed her after the
    hybrid DNA activation.
    David Icke, The Reptilians: Why They are Obsessed with Bloodline and Ritual.

  Indeed, one of the many far-fetched, almost comedic, assumptions behind the
popular terror of an extraterrestrial Illuminati conspiracy is that evil beings have
considerable, even godlike, power. Faith in God is then trumped by fear of His
servants. However, the concept of Śāṭan and his demons is, in my view, a parable,
not literal. It refers to our shared lower or animalistic nature rather than to a set of
powerful beings. According to Shoghi Effendi, the influence of evil, but not evil
souls, is evident in both this world and the next:
        One of the Baháʾí pilgrims from the West who asked ʿAbduʾl-Bahá about the
    power exercised by evil souls who had passed to the next world, recorded His
    answer as “There is no power exercised over the people by those evil souls that
    have passed away. Good is stronger than evil and even when alive they had very
    little power. How much less have they after they are dead....”

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      Also, in a letter to an individual believer, written on behalf of the Guardian on
    18th January 1951, it is stated: “You should not be afraid any one can affect your
    mind. Even when we want to catch the thoughts of those we love most we cannot
    do so, how much less can other people succeed in penetrating your minds.”
    From a letter, dated August 30, 1984, written on behalf of the Universal House of
    Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number
    1735.

  Larry Peter’s perspective is pessimistic but, perhaps, more realistic, as well. In
many hierarchical or bureaucratic organizations, there is an unfortunate
assumption that, if a person performs one job well, she will also do well in other
positions. Obviously, that conclusion is not always justified. Such an unfounded
expectation is unfair to the worker, to the company, and to the public they serve.
The employee will probably not be a candidate for future promotions, but she might
not get fired either. As a result, one finds a great deal of incompetence in
bureaucracies:
      In time I saw ... a common feature. The employee had been promoted from a
    position of competence to a position of incompetence. I saw that, sooner or later,
    this could happen to every employee in every hierarchy.
      ... my analysis of hundreds of cases of occupational incompetence led me on to
    formulate The Peter Principle :
                            In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends
                             to Rise to His Level of Incompetence
    Dr. Lawrence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, The Peter Principle. London: Pan Books
    Ltd. 1969. Pages 21-22.

  Further, as counseled by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá:
      If you seek immunity from the sway of the forces of the contingent world, hang
    the “Most Great Name” in your dwelling, wear the ring of the “Most Great Name”
    on your finger, place the picture of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in your home and always recite
    the prayers that I have written. Then you will behold the marvellous effect they
    produce. Those so-called forces will prove but illusions and will be wiped out and
    exterminated.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá quoted in a letter, dated August 30, 1984, written on behalf of the
    Universal House of Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí
    Reference File. Number 1769.

  To put it another way, from a God’s-eye viewpoint, evil, while evident in both this
world and the next, is the absence of spiritual perfection or the lack of faith-based
attributes:
      In regard to your question concerning evil spirits and their influence upon souls,
    Shoghi Effendi wishes me to inform you that what is generally called evil spirit is a
    purely imaginary creation and has no reality whatever. But as to evil, there is no
    doubt that it exerts a very strong influence both in this world and in the next.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in the “Some Answered Questions“ gives us a thorough and true
    analysis of the problem of evil. You should preferably refer to that book for further
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    explanation on that point.
    From a letter, dated November 1, 1934, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1772.

      The epitome of this discourse is that it is possible that one thing in relation to
    another may be evil, and at the same time within the limits of its proper being it
    may not be evil. Then it is proved that there is no evil in existence; all that God
    created He created good. This evil is nothingness; so death is the absence of life.
    When man no longer receives life, he dies. Darkness is the absence of light: when
    there is no light, there is darkness. Light is an existing thing, but darkness is
    nonexistent. Wealth is an existing thing, but poverty is nonexisting.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 264.

  In my humble opinion, the major problem with this countercultural bogeyman, a
totalitarian new world order, is that far too much credit is given to other mortal
creatures. God Himself is dethroned, usurped by a reified or hypostatized class of
elites, and His absolute Sovereighty is denied. To the contrary, Baháʾuʾlláh, the
Supreme Manifestation of God, rules the the destinies of all beings and things, not
an imaginary Illuminati:
      If I call upon Thee by Thy Name, the All-Possessing, I am compelled to recognize
    that He Who holdeth in His hand the immediate destinies of all created things is but
    a vassal dependent upon Thee, and is the creation of but a word proceeding from
    Thy mouth.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations. Page 123.

      From two ranks amongst men power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 71.

  Taking a social scientific perspective on this subject, the modern-day Illuminati of
reptilian-human hybrids could, I believe, be fairly described as a collective
obsession or mass hysteria :
       Rather than seeing imperialism and capitalism ... as the enemy of the world’s
    workers and oppressed peoples, ... [some conspiracists] propagate the fiction that a
    secret, all-powerful cabal has been running the world since before the dawn of the
    capitalist era....
       Conspiracy “theories” lead to a dead end. If taken at face value, people must
    believe that there is no hope for change; there is no opportunity to struggle and
    make things better for the mass of humanity who suffers. After all, how could
    anyone fight against a hidden, all-powerful enemy that controls every event of
    significance in the world?...
       ... Major wars are not conspiracies launched by a handful of people, but result
    from the constant search by capitalists to open up and dominate new markets to
    exploit for profits....
       Let’s be clear: the struggle against war and exploitation is a struggle against the
    very system that breeds war—capitalism. It is not the struggle against the
    Bilderberg Group or some shadowy world government. In fact, no such world

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    government exists.
    “Daniel Estulin and the phony ‘Bilderberg conspiracy.’” Party for Socialism and
    Liberation.

   I have also observed a considerable amount of scientism in the conspiratorial
literature. Scientism refers to the fairly common materialist view that scientific
methodologies are the best, even the only, way to acquire knowledge or evaluate
truth. Science and technology are then turned into idols. Scientism can also
become utopian, such as believing that a small number of people are withholding
technology which, if revealed, would solve many or most of our problems. This
perspective is clearly contradicted by the historical record. Technological, without
a corresponding spiritual, development can be extremely dangerous.
   However, the single most important factor, one which the conspiratorial echo
chamber appears not to have recognized, is that the corporate New World Order
(NWO) they fear, attack, and inaccurately characterize as a cabal dominated by
extraterrestrials or banksters is not, in fact, a secret conspiracy at all. However,
any entirely free market is, perhaps by definition, oppressive. The alliances
between corporations, including banks, and governments represent an advanced,
a late, form of the capitalist, imperialist system which, on a smaller scale, these
                    capitalist,
same conspiracy theorists often support. They are oddly nostalgic for a historically
fictitious utopian capitalism.
   Since I trust that the Blessed Beauty, the Greatest Name of God, is more
powerful than evil, I do not care, one way or the other, about the validity of most
conspiracies. I also do not share the reactionary mindset, common in the
libertarian far right, on losing supposed individual freedoms. Several people can
use the word, freedom, while having in mind entirely different concepts. Therefore,
my question is, “Freedom from what and to do what?” Here is an illustration from
The Allies of Humanity :
       With The Allies of Humanity, Marshall Vian Summers is the first spiritual leader
    of our time to unequivocally declare that the unbidden presence and clandestine
    actions of our extraterrestrial “visitors” constitute a profound threat to human
    freedom.
    Michael Brownlee (journalist), foreward to Marshall Vian Summers (channel), The
    Allies of Humanity, Book One: An Urgent Message about the Extraterrestrial Presence
    in the World Today. Boulder, CO: The Society for The Greater Community Way of
    Knowledge. 2008. Page xii.

       The [extraterrestrial] Collectives do not believe you will resist, and so they are less
    careful than perhaps they should be in influencing you. They think this project will
    be time-consuming but easy and that the ultimate goal will be achieved without
    great difficulty. We [the extraterrrestrial Allies of Humanity] must then speak to
    those people who are ready and able to respond. There is no other problem or
    dilemma in your life as critical as this. Anything that you establish on your own
    behalf for your nation, for your group, for your culture or your religious tradition

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    will be lost in the face of the Intervention. You do not want to be part of a
    Collective. You must trust us in this regard and consider our words seriously. There
    is no freedom there. You will become nothing but servants bonded to your new
    masters.
       And though those of you who represent your masters will have certain privileges,
    you will all be enslaved. And the power then to resist, though it can still be
    mustered, will have much greater costs and consequences.
    Marshall Vian Summers (channel), The Allies of Humanity, Book Two: Human Unity,
    Freedom & The Hidden Reality of Contact. Boulder, CO: The Society for The
    Greater Community Way of Knowledge. 2005. No page numbers.

      Information and Disinformation
  Simply put, I reject the notion of malevolent visitors . Vast scientific, without
spiritual, progress is, in my opinion, an oxymoron. There is no empirical evidence
that anyone has been harmed by extraterrestrials. Claims to the contrary are, I
believe, either outright disinformation by the oppressive, disunifying military-
industrial complex or simple paranoia. Discussions of evil reptilians serve the
function of stigmatizing serious researchers as wierd or even insane. Logically, if
advanced civilizations, and their technologies, posed any threat to the people of
this planet, the earth’s population would have been decimated by now.
  I am not about to test angels. Evaluating the motivations of these highly
developed beings, using our relatively primitive standpoints, will likely result in
tremendous misunderstanding and confusion:
       What is happening to us is not the result of any Illuminati conspiracy, whether it
    is a current secret society or not. The people that propose, vote on, and sign
    legislation and enforce their phony laws do it right out in the open. Their names are
    known....
       Who gains by obstructing the identity of the enemy? The only people that gain
    from spouting this Illuminati crap are those in power now and those that work for
    those in power. It might be the most insidious form of disinformation that there is
    out there.
    “Illuminati Patriotism, Idiocy, and Fear.” Surreal World. Blog. September 22, 2009.
    Retrieved on May 1, 2012.

  I tend to differ with Benjamin Fulford on most issues. In my opinion, however, the
following statement has merit:
      The mixing of disinformation with real information is the hardest technique to
    beat but it is still easily beatable. What you need to do is see how much you can
    confirm from other sources. For example if someone says “9/11 was an inside job
    that was carried out by reptilians,” well ... the reptilian thing can all be traced to a
    couple of sources who have not provided any evidence other than testimony. Extra-
    ordinary claims require extra-ordinary proof and that has not been provided in this
    case.
    How to Neutralize Illuminati Disinformation Agents on the Internet – [Benjamin]

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    Fulford. Blog. Godlike Productions. March 20, 2009. Retrieved on May 13, 2012.

  For many Illuminati conspiracists, political leaders, or members of other powerful
organizations, are believed to spiritually understand more than anyone else. In my
opinion, that assumption of an inner knowledge, stolen from humanity by a few
ancient bloodlines , is unjustifiable. Politics, I suspect, are irrelevant to angels.
When we judge our visitors, or anyone else, using historically or culturally limited
standards, we miss the point of the universal oneness of existence. On the other
hand, by trusting only in God and relying upon His guidance, our hearts become
open to the divine attributes in all the worlds of being.
  Although the conspiracy movement is filled with fraud and insanity, I would never
call everyone a liar . While I remain hugely skeptical of direct or indirect human
encounters with unfriendly aliens, I am not closed to the possibility of seemingly
hostile interactions. Since, however, I am not a libertarian or a nationalist, my
interpretations of these events might differ. Events or associations which could, to
a person on the far right, appear offensive or threatening might, I might view as
either compassionate or defensive. Indeed, I am far more persuaded that earthly
governments have been antagonistic towards extraterrestrials than the other way
around.
  When certain elites successfully establish themselves as the standards of truth,
while perhaps releasing Illuminati disinformation , knowledge is reduced to the
affairs of state, and wild speculations proliferate. Indeed, one of the major
problems with conversations on unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrials has
been a tendency toward a statist epistemology (or knowledge) along with political
reductionism. Rather than focusing upon the recorded and oral histories of
eyewitness observers, the emphasis has sometimes been placed upon
government revelations and alleged military whitewashes.
   There is, in addition, a vast difference between secrecy and conspiracy. Secrecy
is frequently driven by fear. To individuals of a certain mindset, extraterrestrials
are likely terrifying. They cannot be controlled. For that matter, intelligence
agencies will, as required by their trade, keep confidences from other governments
and the general public. Information is often provided on a need-to-know basis.
Some corporations, in attempting to maintain a competitive edge, have engaged in
surreptitious activities. Children are often threatened by their parents, or by others,
not to reveal abusive relationships to others.
  Disinformation is, of course, sometimes planted. According to an alleged official
U.S. government document from April, 1954:
      Any encounter with entities known to be of extra-terrestrial origin is to be
    considered to be a matter of national security and therefore classified TOP
    SECRET. Under no circumstances is the general public or the public press to learn
    of the existence of these entities. The official government policy is that such

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    creatures do not exist, and that no agency of the federal government is now
    engaged in any study of ETs or their artifacts. Any deviation from this stated policy
    is absolutely forbidden.
    Michael E. Salla, Eisenhower’s 1954 Meeting With Extraterrestrials: The Fiftieth
    Anniversary of First Contact? Febuary 12, 2004.

  If so, the subject of extraterrestrials and their spacecraft is would likely be
viewed by certain special interest groups in the military-industrial complex, or by
corporate partnerships, in some or all countries, as a national ( homeland ) or
global, security issue. In addition, some individuals have postulated a concern
over starting a widespread panic – much like the public reaction to the 1938 radio
broadcast, The War of the Worlds . Another alleged fear concerns the possible civil
unrest after upsetting members of some traditional religious organizations:
      So back to Roswell in 1947. The theory is that at least one flying disc was
    recovered with alien bodies inside it. With this shocking evidence and the sheer
    panic that the US public had shown a decade earlier to Orson Welles “War of the
    Worlds” radio broadcast the story was quickly hushed up internally and
    externally....
      The secret had to be kept to prevent society from collapsing and the profound
    effect on the world’s religions.
    Alleged Reasons for UFO Secrecy. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.

  For all of these reasons, some have argued, extreme measures have
occasionally been taken:
      One older officer discussed with me [a U.S. Army Brigadier General] what
    possibly could happen if there was a revelation [about extraterrestrials]. He was
    talking about being erased and I said, “Man, what do you mean erased?” And he
    said, “Yes, you will be erased—disappear.” And I said, “How do you know all this?”
    And he said, “I know. Those threats have been made and carried out. Those
    threats started way back in 1947. The Army Air Force was given absolute control
    over how to handle this. This being the biggest security situation that this country
    has ever dealt with and there have been some erasures.”
    Quoted in Steven M. Greer, M.D., Disclosure: Military and Government Witnesses
    Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History. 2001. Page 235. Retrieved from Scribd
    on May 21, 2012.

       Last weekend I was in Los Angeles for the National UFO Conference (NUFOC)
    to speak about “UFO Crash Retrievals and the American Government’s Policy of
    Denial in the Interest of National Security.” One of my colleagues from Canada,
    Grant Cameron, was going to speak at the conference about the “64 Reasons Why
    The U.S. Government Can’t Tell the Truth About UFOs.” ... Grant’s research the
    past few years has been physically traveling in the United States to American
    National Archives and Presidential libraries looking for time and date links between
    White House meetings and alleged UFO crash retrieval events. Grant’s work has
    strongly contributed to the emerging Big Picture of American presidents as far
    back as Franklin Delano Roosevelt having knowledge about UFO crash retrievals
    and cover-ups.

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       Grant was scheduled to speak on Sunday afternoon, September 4, at the
    NUFOC conference, but instead there was a public announcement that his phone
    had been disconnected, his e-mail was not working and that no one had heard from
    him. Given that Grant Cameron is a well grounded man who is the building facility
    manager at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and reporter and
    producer of the popular website, www.presidentialufo.com, we were all alarmed. I
    tried Grant’s cell phone number and only heard a rapid beeping.
       Finally after returning to Albuquerque from the NUFOC conference, I was able
    to hear Grant’s firsthand account of what appears to be American Homeland
    Security’s premeditated and deliberate block on Friday morning, September 2,
    2005, at the Vancouver International Airport. Grant Cameron was not allowed to
    enter the United States. He had been pulled aside by one customs checker and then
    sent into the offices of three U. S. Homeland Security agents. There was no
    courtesy from the man in front of Grant, only arrogance.
    Linda Moulton Howe, Canadian UFO Researcher Blocked by U. S. Homeland
    Security From Speaking at NUFOC Conference, Hollywood. 2005. Retrieved on May
    23, 2012.

       The Clackamas County Coroner’s office initially attributed Philip Schneider’s
    death to a stroke. However, in the following days disturbing details about his death
    began to surface, leading some to believe that Philip Schneider had not died from a
    stroke, but had in fact been murdered.
    Tim Swartz (with the assistance from Cynthia Drayer), The Mysterious Life and
    Death of Philip Schneider.

   Personally, since my relationships with angels are private and prayerful, I have
little interest in official disclosure . Nonetheless, my suspicion is that it may have
been a gradual process. Some governments, perhaps testing the waters to gauge
public reactions in the twenty-first century, have already released their spaceship
files:
      It is very clear that mankind is being prepared for disclosure. It is no coincidence
    that more than 20 countries have started partial or full disclosure.
    UFO Alien Disclosure: List of Countries that have Fully or Partially Disclosed .
    December 6, 2011. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.

      ... there is no reason in the world why the U.S. [UFO] files, the leading nation in
    the world in this period, should not have been opened up, too [like other nations he
    named], except special interest groups.
    Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell (the sixth man to walk on the moon, 1971) on
    CNN (in the U.S.), The Return of the Gods. Documentary. YouTube. Retrieved on
    May 23, 2012.

       Ridicule is the principal tool used to discredit the subject.... The official agenda is,
    I have been told on both sides of the Atlantic, is that gradual disclosure has to be
    the way, and my instinct tells me that disclosure process has begun.... I think there
    is a conflict situation.
    Timothy Good on ABC Television (in the U.S.), The Return of the Gods.
    Documentary. YouTube. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.

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 Here are two quotations from President Barak Obama in May of 2012:
       I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials but I can tell you
    if there had been a top secret meeting and if there would have had to have been a
    discussion about it, it would have taken place in this room....
       Let me tell you – there are more nine and ten year old boys around the country
    when I meet them – they ask me, “Have you been to Roswell and is it true what
    they say?” And I tell them, “If I told you I would have to kill you.” So their eyes get
    all big ... so ... we’re going to keep our secrets here.
    President Barak Obama on Extraterrestrials. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.

  The next quotation combines, in my opinion, unverifiable information, concerning
Phil Schneider’s alleged murder, with clever disinformation. However, the
information provided by Tex Armstrong on Christian persecution might have been
designed to appeal to a sympathetic target audience:
       I can’t tell you the number of people I have personally talked to that have been in
    some of the most secret government programs, including Phill Schneider five days
    before he was murdered, a guy by the name of Tex Armstrong who absolutely
    validated everything that I’d ever been told, and multiple generals and multiple intel
    agents. But, you know what the common thread was in all these guys: They said it
    was something – not what you’d expect from intergalactic or interplanetary
    visitors. He said the occult emanations – he even told me about one guy that was
    present at Dulce – the [alleged alien] underground base at Dulce [New Mexico] –
    who was a Christian; and when he saw some of these entities, in person now, he
    rebuked them in Jesus’ Name – under his breath; and, listen, a general told me this
    – no friend of a friend of a friend – and, absolutely, the aliens demanded – this is
    interesting – Christians not be present at Dulce when they cut their deal. And Dulce
    is one of many alien hives that exist.
    Steve Quayle, Episode 622: The Vatican and Alien Connection/Petrus Romanus.
    Omega Man™ Radio. April 4, 2012. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.

  Earlier, Philip Scheider claimed to have discovered an underground alien base
(Dulce, New Mexico). He began shooting. Schneider was then, he stated, wounded
by the extraterrestrials. If the report was accurate, they were apparently acting in
their own defense:
      In 1979, Philip [Schneider] was employed by Morrison-Knudsen, Inc. He was
    involved in building an addition to the deep underground military base at Dulce,
    New Mexico. The project at that time had drilled four holes in the desert that were
    to be linked together with tunnels. Philip’s job was to go down the holes, check the
    rock samples, and recommend the explosives to deal with the particular rock. In
    the process, the workers accidentally opened a large artificial cavern, a secret base
    for the aliens known as Grays. In the panic that occurred, sixty-seven workers and
    military personnel were killed, with Philip Schneider being one of only three people
    to survive. Philip claimed that scars on his chest were caused by his being struck by
    an alien weapon that would later result in cancer due to the radiation.
    Tim Swartz (with the assistance from Cynthia Drayer), The Mysterious Life and
    Death of Philip Schneider.
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  Official disinformation, often through ridicule, has, apparently worked. The
subject of extraterrestrials and their spaceships is rarely taken seriously in the
mainstream media. First, many ufologists are, perhaps by temperament, paranoid
or, at least, highly suspicious. Second, others eventually become frustrated by the
lack of “official” revelations, and the repeated disinformation, and will believe
almost anything – no matter how bizarre or extravagant. Given both the high level
of disinformation and its effect upon the public consciousness, the best policy, in
my opinion, is to be skeptical about any assertions concerning extraterrestrials.
       What HAS decreased is the media’s interest in carrying stories about UFOs. This
    is not suprising, since the ridicule curtain ... is still in effect....
       ... [A certain] TIME article went on to describe a UFO investigator named Philip
    Mantle as one of “a new breed of UFOlogists who do not believe that UFOs come
    from outer space.” Where has TIME been all these years? They interview New
    Agers wearing pyramid hats, and then interview Philip Klass, and they think they
    have a complete overview of ufology!
    The Swamp Gas Journal. Volume 6. Number 3. November 1992. Retrieved on May
    23, 2012.

  Through the outpouring of official disinformation, a popular lack of social
scientific knowledge regarding progaganda techniques, and an apparent failure to
study good critical thinking processes, the subject of extraterrestrial contact has
been clouded. Getting to the bottom of certain specific issues, or solving the puzzle
in its entirety, has been rendered nearly impossible. The next passage illustrates
this lack of clarity or, perhaps, selective perception. Obviously, since I was not a
party to these supposed negotiations, I have no way of determining which of the
alleged witnesses, if any, are correct:
       ... [Dr. Michael Wolf] claims that the Eisenhower administration entered into the
    Treaty with an ET race and that this Greada Treaty was never ratified as
    Constitutionally required.
       ... a number of whistleblowers argue that the Greada Treaty that was signed
    involved some compulsion on the part of the ETs....
       [Col. Phillip] Corso’s claim of a “negotiated surrender” suggests that some sort
    of agreement or “Treaty” was reached which he was not happy with.
       According to Cooper, the Grey ETs signing the Greada Treaty were not
    trustworthy ....
       [Philip] Schneider claimed that despite the Greada Treaty’s provisions on the
    number of humans who would be “abducted” for experiments, “the aliens altered
    the bargain until they decided they wouldn’t abide by it at all.” ...
       [Dr. Michael] Wolf has described the Greys as having positive motivations in
    regard to their presence on Earth .... Similarly, Robert Dean believes that ETs
    visiting Earth are friendly.
    Michael E. Salla, Eisenhower’s 1954 Meeting With Extraterrestrials: The Fiftieth
    Anniversary of First Contact? Febuary 12, 2004.


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      A selective process in which individuals will accept only that information that is
    perceived to be in accordance with their existing beliefs. Alternatively, they will
    scrutinize any information that is not in accordance with their beliefs, often
    rejecting it by finding fault with the methodology and results. Earlier studies in
    communications research suggested that people received messages and were
    affected by messages in the same way. Later selective processes research, however,
    suggested instead that people’s perceptions and interpretations of messages were
    affected by their education, class, and family background.
    “Selective Perception.” The SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.
    Edited by Larry E. Sullivan, R. Burke Johnson, Cynthia Calkins Mercado, and
    Karen J. Terry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 2009. Page 466.

  Nevertheless, accusations of disinformation are even found even between fellow
believers in the conspiracy or cabal. Thrive , for example, is an an anti-“Illuminati,”
pro-libertarian capitalist or anarchocapitalist film. However, some other Illuminati
conspiracists have claimed that its producer, Foster Gamble (a member of the old-
monied Gamble family), is an Illuminati disinformation agent:
       This new documentary coming out tomorrow [Thrive] may be a dis-
    info/brainwashing project. Truth mixed with lies. This entire project from top to
    bottom is covered with Illuminati symbolism. This film just really gives me strange
    vibes.
    Thrive: Illuminati Sponsored Project (Proceed with Caution). AboveTopSecret.com.
    Retrieved on May 15, 2012.

      ... Thrive ... might be linked to [the] Illuminati agenda.
    Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take? – Trailer Review. YouTube. Retrieved on May
    15, 2012.

      U.S. Presidential Concerns
  Clearly, the corporatocracy and its political appeasers do not constitute a grand
conspiracy. On the other hand, as with many human conceptions, or
misconceptions, there may be a grain of truth in these Illuminati ideas. Dwight
David “Ike” Eisenhower, a five-star general during World War II, became the thirty-
fourth President of the United States. He was also, allegedly, informed about the
spaceship issue:
      [There] ... is a story that President Eisenhower visited Edwards Air Force Base in
    early 1954, and either viewed the bodies of dead aliens and the wreckage of their
    craft, or met with live aliens on some sort of diplomatic mission to earth.
    William L. Moore, Possible Extraterrestrial Incident with President Eisenhower.

  President Eisenhower was, reportedly, concerned about the improper utilization
of extraterrestrial technologies. He then warned Americans about the dangers of
this military-industrial complex. The following is taken from his farewell presidential
address:

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      In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
    unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial
    complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will
    persist.
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address . January 17, 1961.

      Colonel Holomon brought out a piece of what appeared to be metallic debris. He
    explained that this was material that had come from a New Mexico crash in 1947 of
    an extraterrestrial craft .... I got an opportunity to travel with the President
    [Eisenhower]. He was very, very interested in what made [the extraterrestrial
    spacecraft] go .... But Eisenhower got sold out. He realized that the [study of these
    technologies] was not going to be in the best hands. That was a real concern.
    General Stephen Lovekin (United States Army), quoted in, The Greatest Secret in
    Modern History UFOs and a Solution to the Environmental and Energy Crisis. The
    Disclosure Project. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

  Allegedly, Eisenhower was not alone in his misgivings:
      Control of ... [certain] “black operations” by the military was very quickly taken
    over by small, powerful groups of people who kept everything secret. Several
    people testified that President Dwight Eisenhower was very interested in and
    concerned about UFOs but that as early as Eisenhower’s presidency the elected
    government lost control to private interests. Many think that this was the basis of
    Eisenhower’s sharp warning about the military-industrial complex in his last speech
    as president. Since Eisenhower’s era, the elected government has been kept in the
    dark about UFOs and UFO technology. The military-industrial complex owns it all.
    Many presidents, including John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill
    Clinton, have been aware of the existence of UFOs and have tried but failed to
    break through the secrecy of military-industrial black operations.
    Acorn Abbey, “One more UFO post....” Into the Woods. Blog. No date. Retrieved on
    May 10, 2012.

      From direct witness testimony we [The Disclosure Project] know that [U.S.
    Presidents] Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton were frustrated in their
    attempts to penetrate such [extraterrestrial and spacecraft] projects.
    Understanding UFO Secrecy. The Disclosure Project. Retrieved on April 29, 2012.

  As to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, he reported a spaceship (UFO)
sighting prior to being elected. He then pledged to release information on the
extraterrestrial presence once he was in office. There are unsubstantiated
allegations that, after he inquired, then CIA Director, and future President, George
Herbert Walker Bush denied the president-elect the necessary clearances. Bush
was not reappointed by Carter. I have no empirical evidence to support my
conclusion, but the problem at the time was, I suspect, Carter’s promise to
disclose. He was, at least initially, perceived as a security risk.
      Carter, as probably everyone in the room knows, saw a UFO prior to becoming
    Governor of Georgia. In 1976 the National Enquirer interviewed Carter about the
    incident, and about what he would do about UFOs if elected to the White House.

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       Carter made a promise to release all the sighting data.
       Jimmy Carter started to push for the UFO answer even before he was president.
     During his president elect briefing given by President Ford’s Director of Central
     Intelligence George [Herbert Walker] Bush, Carter demanded the files on UFOs.
       Carter was a Washington outsider running against the Washington insiders who
     controlled the UFO secret. He should not have been surprised that they didn’t run
     to support his UFO disclosure initiative.
     Grant Cameron, Glimpses of Disclosure. Retrieved on May 9, 2012.

  Needless to say, many different interpretations have been made of the arrival,
perhaps the return, of our beautiful planetary guardians. If, on the other hand,
certain races of extraterrestrials are scheming to take over the planet and
establish a new world order , as some conspiracists have claimed, I would welcome
these angelic entities with open arms! Ever since I was a young teenager, I have
yearned for a non-corporate world order. This speculative scenario, spun by
certain conspiracists into a violation of human freedom and national sovereignty,
feels to me like spiritual benevolence or, in a sense, like salvation.
  Return to the table of contents.

                         IX. Perennial and Divine Philosophies

       Perennial Philosophies
  During my personal reflections on the Unities Model, I have tried to better
understand the spirit of universalism. As I see it, universality has nothing to do with
this popular illustration of a lack of focused and critical thinking: All paths lead to
God . In my opinion, universalism is , fundamentally, another word for love. Perhaps
after viewing universality in this manner, expectations of a literal sameness in the
statements of, say, Jesus, Muḥammad, the Báb, and Baháʾuʾlláh, peace be upon
Them All, will, for the most part, vanish. Their love for us is expressed in an
Ancient, an Eternal, Covenant. Their universality is that love.
  To my own understanding, not only is Each of the Prophets God manifested, but
the eternal Structure, or the spiritual Reality, which unifies Them together is the
rational, yet unknowable, Essence of God. Gratefully, we can accept, and trust in,
the limitless Authority, or legitimate Power, and the divine Grace of Each of these
wonderful divine Beings throughout His Own Prophetic Age or Dispensation. As a
result, we turn our hearts and our minds away from the imaginary idea that God,
the essential Unity of existence, could ever be handcuffed to humanly contrived
           philosophies .
perennial philosophies.
  This term, perennial philosophy (Latin, philosophia perennis, eternal or
everlasting philosophy), refers to various perspectives – Christian (especially
Roman Catholic), Hindū, New Age, and so forth – on an alleged universal truth, or
a system of eternal and timeless verities, which has, some believe, reappeared
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throughout the ages. Agostino Steuco (1497-1548), or Steuchus in Latin, coined
the term in his most important work, De Perenni Philosophia (1540). Ultimately,
The Perennial Philosophy (1945), a book written by Aldous Huxley (1894-1963),
popularized the designation:
      Philosophia Perennis [Perennial Philosophy] ... [is] the metaphysic that recognizes
    a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the
    psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine
    Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and
    transcendent Ground of all being—the thing is immemorial and universal.
    Rudiments of the perennial philosophy may be found among the traditionay lore of
    primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has
    a place in every one of the higher religions.
    Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
    2009. Page vii.

   There are numerous perennial philosophies, not just one. Many, but not all, of
the perennial philosophies which I have personally studied are triumphalistic . That
is to say, views which are similar to one’s own are regarded as superior over those
of others. A triumphalist may refuse, perhaps even in principle, to respectfully
consider another religion through the eyes of its members. Even if it means fitting
square pegs into round holes , one may insist upon subjectively judging “the other”
by one’s own spiritual or moral standards. A triumphalistic philosophy, as defined
here, can only be superficially universal.
      While conveying enthusiasm about their beliefs, the friends [Baháʾís] should
    guard against projecting an air of triumphalism, hardly appropriate among
    themselves, much less in other circumstances.
    The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2010 letter.

  For instance, one of the usual positions taken by perennial philosophers is that
all the Teachers or Guides sent by God have taught the identical message. If you
took the earliest disciples of Christ, Buddha, and similar Souls, and gathered them
into a room, they would supposedly understand each other. The major issue I have
had with perennialism, as it has sometimes been expressed, is a recurrent
sameness. God willing, however, Prophets might reveal progressive and unique
sets of divine Attributes. Therefore, attributes which appear, through faith, in
believers might differ from one Dispensation to the next.
  René Guénon (1886-1951), the founder of the esoteric (occult) Traditionalist
School,
School, and his followers have taken a rather novel approach to the concept of a
perennial philosophy. They will frequently distinguish between authentic traditions,
including Ṣūfism in Islām and the Ādvaita (Sanskrit, non-dualist) school of Vedānta
(Sanskrit, culmination or, literally, end of knowledge) in Hindūism, and those which
some of them consider to be spiritually inauthentic , such as the Theosophy
(Greek, ϑéosophiā) of Helena “H.P.” Blavatsky (1831-1891) and the Fourth Way of

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George Gurdjieff (around 1877-1949).
  A more personally engaged perennial philosophy was practiced by a dear, sweet
soul named Lex Hixon (1941-1995). I sometimes listened to his radio interview
program, “In the Spirit,” on listener-supported WBAI-FM in New York City. Shortly
before his death, I also had the pleasure of briefly meeting him at a New York:Ṣūfī
gathering. Lex, while continuing to explore various spiritual paths, co-founded the
                                                                   (Šay h
Nur Ashki Jerrahi (Nūr Aškī Ǧarrāhī) Ṣūfī Order, as Shaykh Nur (Šayh Nūr).
However, he remained active in four other spiritual traditions, including Eastern
Orthodoxy and Buddhism. My heart is strongly attracted to him.

      Divine Philosophy

  The perennial philosophies may be contrasted with the term, divine philosophy
(al-ḥikmat al-ilāhīyah, literally, divine wisdom). It was, to my understanding,
adopted and adapted by the dear Best Beloved, Baháʾuʾlláh, as the recognition or
awareness of the Unity. The Blessed Beauty, in the Lawḥ-i-Ḥikmat (Tablet of
Wisdom), appears to establish below that the Heart, the divine Source, or the Unity
of the Greek philosophical tradition (or attributes), as He viewed it, was valid.
According to the Lord, Baháʾuʾlláh, all of the divine philosophers, despite their
philosophical differences, were special souls who acknowledged the wisdom of the
divine Unity:
      ... [Pythagorus] claimed to have heard the whispering sound of the heavens and
    to have attained the station of the angels....
      ... [Hippocrates] was one of the eminent philosophers who believed in God and
    acknowledged His sovereignty. After him came Socrates who was indeed wise,
    accomplished and righteous. He practised self-denial, repressed his appetites for
    selfish desires and turned away from material pleasures. He withdrew to the
    mountains where he dwelt in a cave. He dissuaded men from worshipping idols and
    taught them the way of God ....
      ... [Plato] acknowledged his belief in God and in His signs which pervade all that
    hath been and shall be. Then came Aristotle, the well-known man of knowledge....
    These men who stand out as leaders of the people and are pre-eminent among
    them, one and all acknowledged their belief in the immortal Being Who holdeth in
    His grasp the reins of all sciences.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Lawḥ-i-Ḥikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed
    after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 145-147.

   His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh was not, in my view, restating ancient
philosophies as His Own Teachings. He was affirming the Sovereignty and Unity of
the Prophets. He also celebrated the essential attributes of God’s unities or
unifying essences which were acquired and displayed by certain philosophers.
Using traditional stories from His Own Īrānian culture, as perfect parables, He paid
tribute to their virtues or perfections. The beautiful eulogies which were delivered
by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, and published in Memorials of the Faithful, feel similar to me. In

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the contemporary world, where souls commonly attack souls, this style of heartful
testimonial might be a model for us.
        Know verily that the purpose underlying all these symbolic terms and abstruse
    allusions, which emanate from the Revealers of God’s holy Cause, hath been to test
    and prove the peoples of the world; that thereby the earth of the pure and
    illuminated hearts may be known from the perishable and barren soil. From time
    immemorial such hath been the way of God amidst His creatures, and to this testify
    the records of the sacred books.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Page 49.

       It is evident unto thee that the Birds of Heaven and Doves of Eternity speak a
    twofold language. One language, the outward language, is devoid of allusions, is
    unconcealed and unveiled; that it may be a guiding lamp and a beaconing light
    whereby wayfarers may attain the heights of holiness, and seekers may advance
    into the realm of eternal reunion.... The other language is veiled and concealed, so
    that whatever lieth hidden in the heart of the malevolent may be made manifest
    and their innermost being be disclosed.... In such utterances, the literal meaning, as
    generally understood by the people, is not what hath been intended.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Pages 254-255.

  Similar ideas may have been expressed in these two Biblical texts:
      The secret things belong to Jehovah our God; and the things revealed belong to
    us and to our sons forever, that we may do all the Words of this Law.
    Deuteronomy 29:29, Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (Jay P. Green, Sr.,
    translator).

      I have spoken these things to you in parables, but the time is coming when I shall
    no more speak to you in parables, but I will show you plainly of the Father.
    John 16:25, The Modern King James Version of the Holy Bible (also Jay P. Green,
    Sr., translator).

  Socrates (Ancient Greek, Sōkrátēs) – or his dialectical conceptualism, Plato
(Ancient Greek, Plátōn)—or his idealist realism, Aristotle (Ancient Greek,
                                                                        Py ϑ
Aristotélēs)—or his non-idealist realism, Pythagorus (Ancient Greek, Pyϑagóras)
—or Pythagoreanism, Empedocles (Ancient Greek, Empedoklēs) – or his theory of
cosmogenesis, and so forth may, in some unknown way, have been inspired by the
Prophets. However, the Best Beloved was not, to my understanding, glossing over
the “... the divergence of their views and minds” in order to further develop a
perennial – or a universal and a syncretic – philosophy.
  Instead, one of the main points here, in my opinion, is that divine philosophy,
according to His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, comes from the Prophets, not from
Ancient Greek philosophers. Divine philosophers are defined as individuals who
have recognized, or acquired the wisdom of, the Unity. In my humble opinion, this
divine philosophy is the essential and moral, or virtuous, teaching of the Prophets.
That is to say, it is the attributes of the unity of religions or the eternal Religion of
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God.
      The sages aforetime acquired their knowledge from the Prophets, inasmuch as
    the latter were the Exponents of divine philosophy and the Revealers of heavenly
    mysteries....
      Empedocles, who distinguished himself in philosophy, was a contemporary of
    David, while Pythagoras lived in the days of Solomon, son of David, and acquired
    Wisdom from the treasury of prophethood....
      The essence and the fundamentals of philosophy have emanated from the
    Prophets. That the people differ concerning the inner meanings and mysteries
    thereof is to be attributed to the divergence of their views and minds.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Lawḥ-i-Ḥikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed
    after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 144-145.
      It is ... a matter of record in numerous historical works that the philosophers of
    Greece such as Pythagoras, acquired the major part of their philosophy, both
    divine and material, from the disciples of Solomon. And Socrates after having
    eagerly journeyed to meet with some of Israel’s most illustrious scholars and
    divines, on his return to Greece established the concept of the oneness of God and
    the continuing life of the human soul after it has put off its elemental dust.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization. Page 77.

  There is, at face value, a remarkable similarity between many of the explanations
given by His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh and the dearest Master, on the one
hand, and Aristotelian philosophy, on the other. This resemblance is not surprising
when one considers the influence of Aristotle and Plato upon Islāmic philosophy
and theology. The Renaissance, which revived Greek philosophy in Europe, is
significantly indebted to the Arabs. Externally, any divine Revelation is presented
within a particular cultural setting. As Jesus Christ taught in a Jewish vocabulary,
the Baháʾí Sacred Texts are presented through a Muslim lexicon.
  Although these Ancient Greek philosophies, which were later developed by
various Muslim writers, became the language for much of the Baháʾí Revelation,
taking then the leap of faith that, therefore, His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh’s and
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá’s statements indicate an acceptance of an Aristotelian perennial
philosophy, appears, from my own reflections, to be an unjustifiable stretch.
Perhaps the best argument against it would be obvious to almost anyone who has
read the Biblical texts or the Qurʾān. In order to interpret most of those scriptures
perennially, one must remove them from their historical contexts.
  Back in the 1970s, I recall reading a booklet called, “Building Thought-Bridges.”
The premise was quite common: When offering the Baháʾí Faith to an interested
individual, one should try to relate the presentation to her interests. The method
one uses should, ideally, be relevant to that person’s life experiences. In my
opinion, the Aristotelian context which is found throughout the Baháʾí Teachings is
a divinely formed thought-bridge. As with humanly designed thought-bridges, the
objective is to teach others using well-known examples. The unfamiliar is carefully
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explained by analogy with the familiar.
  Similar concepts of thought-bridges have been claimed for the Gospels. This
quotation, while not from an academic source, provides a good summary:
       When the Romans adopted Christianity, they blended the story with
    Mediterranean pagan elements like virgin birth, resurrection and solar symbolism
    this much is true. Pagan epithets of Isis were ascribed to the “Blessed Virgin Mary”
    (i.e. Star of the Sea, Patroness of Seafarers, Dome of Gold, Throne etc.) and
    Mediterranean god epithets transferred to Jesus (i.e. The Good Shepherd, Light of
    the World... both epithets of Mithras). The Romanization of Christianity is reflected
    in the movement of the Sabbath from the original Saturday to Sunday, the day of
    the Sun.
    The Greatest Story Ever Copied. March 7, 2009.

   With Plato, an essence (or a universal) is an unchanging form (Ancient Greek,
eide) or an archetype. All humans are expressions of a single universal pattern.
The essence of humanity would, therefore, eternally exist apart from each person.
As a realist, Plato argued that essences were real. As an idealist, he believed that
essences were spiritual, ideal, nonmaterial, or abstract forms. On the other hand,
using the realism of Aristotle, humanity, like any other essence or universal, is
literally contained within the substance (Ancient Greek, ousía) of each person.
Unlike Plato, Aristotle did not separate an essence from particular beings or things.
He rejected Plato’s idealism.
  Perhaps one of the more significant aspects of the Lawḥ-i-Ḥikmat is that it
appears to justify a consistent application of Aristotelian, and sometimes Platonic
(or Neoplatonic ), terms, as interpreted by Muslim writers, within many of the
Tablets of His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh and within the Tablets and talks of the
beloved Master. Still, Each of these Beings was an Innovator, not a mere imitator of
the past. They did not simply elaborate or expand upon previously held ideas.
Revelations (al-Wuḥiyy), by definition, are new. The Light of divine knowledge is
freshly cast upon that which was previously darkened or clouded.
  Of course I might be wrong, I personally feel and see the Unities Model in many
of the Baháʾí Sacred Texts. I do not find that model, as discussed in this book, in
the writings of any philosopher or theorist I have come across, including Plato and
Aristotle. Of course, the four lower kingdoms, essences, forms, and other terms
were used by Aristotle. Sometimes their definitions in certain Baháʾí scriptures are
similar, too. However, the explanations provided by Baháʾuʾlláh and ʿAbduʾl-Bahá,
peace and blessings be upon Them, are, I think, original, not borrowed.
Aristotelianism was a supernaturally devised frame of reference.
  Plato, as a realist about ideal forms, believed that they actually existed. As an
idealist about forms, he described them as spiritual or ideal. In Platonism, forms,
as spiritual abstractions, are apart from their manifestations as particular entities.

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Rather than viewing God through the Primal Will, the emphasis, in Platonism, is
placed upon the collective sources of outward appearances. However, Aristotle
treated forms as the properties of an object. In a similar fashion, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá may
have regarded forms as degrees of perfection or as types of essential attributes:
      The Prophets ... believe that there is the world of God, the world of the Kingdom,
    and the world of Creation: three things. The first emanation from God is the
    bounty of the Kingdom, which emanates and is reflected in the reality of the
    creatures, like the light which emanates from the sun and is resplendent in
    creatures; and this bounty, which is the light, is reflected in infinite forms in the
    reality of all things, and specifies and individualizes itself according to the capacity,
    the worthiness and the intrinsic value of things....
      Briefly, the superior reality does not descend nor abase itself to inferior states;
    then how could it be that the Universal Reality of God, which is freed from all
    descriptions and qualifications, notwithstanding Its absolute sanctity and purity,
    should resolve Itself into the forms of the realities of the creatures, which are the
    source of imperfections? This is a pure imagination which one cannot conceive.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 295-296.

       ... the embryo of man in the womb of the mother gradually grows and develops,
    and appears in different forms and conditions, until in the degree of perfect beauty
    it reaches maturity and appears in a perfect form with the utmost grace. And in the
    same way, the seed of this flower which you see was in the beginning an
    insignificant thing, and very small; and it grew and developed in the womb of the
    earth and, after appearing in various forms, came forth in this condition with
    perfect freshness and grace. In the same manner, it is evident that this terrestrial
    globe, having once found existence, grew and developed in the matrix of the
    universe, and came forth in different forms and conditions, until gradually it
    attained this present perfection, and became adorned with innumerable beings,
    and appeared as a finished organization.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 182-183.

      Know that the order and the perfection of the whole universe require that
    existence should appear in numberless forms. For existing beings could not be
    embodied in only one degree, one station, one kind, one species and one class;
    undoubtedly, the difference of degrees and distinction of forms, and the variety of
    genus and species, are necessary—that is to say, the degree of mineral, vegetable,
    animal substances, and of man, are inevitable; for the world could not be arranged,
    adorned, organized and perfected with man alone. In the same way, with only
    animals, only plants or only minerals, this world could not show forth beautiful
    scenery, exact organization and exquisite adornment. Without doubt it is because of
    the varieties of degrees, stations, species and classes that existence becomes
    resplendent with utmost perfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 129.

  ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, adapting or refitting the Ancient Greek concepts to a Baháʾí
context, appears to present forms as types and degrees of perfection. He also
distinguished emanation from manifestation. Emanation, it would seem, refers to a
process of creation. Manifestation, on the other hand, is the appearance of
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individual beings and things from essences or unities. Therefore, as individual
Prophets are Manifestations of the Essence or Unity of God, individual human
beings are manifestations of the essence or unity of humanity.
  All created entities are composed of the attributes of essences. These
perfections then develop, according to the physical attribute of time or formation ,
through numerous forms or stages:
      ... the seed, which is a single thing possessing the vegetative perfections, which it
    manifests in infinite forms, resolving itself into branches, leaves, flowers and fruits:
    this is called appearance in manifestation; whereas in the appearance through
    emanation this Real Unity remains and continues in the exaltation of Its sanctity,
    but the existence of creatures emanates from It and is not manifested by It. It can
    be compared to the sun from which emanates the light which pours forth on all the
    creatures; but the sun remains in the exaltation of its sanctity. It does not descend,
    and it does not resolve itself into luminous forms; it does not appear in the
    substance of things through the specification and the individualization of things; the
    Preexistent does not become the phenomenal; independent wealth does not
    become enchained poverty; pure perfection does not become absolute
    imperfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 294-295.

  To my understanding, as in Plato’s idealism, essences, in their many forms, are
manifested, not incarnated, within beings and things. The Prophets provide the
most obvious example. They are Manifestations, not incarnations, of God. Since
essences are unknowable, an idealist metaphysics, which regards all of them as
ideas or spirits, is unjustifiably speculative. Our methodologies or epistemologies
(methods of knowing) for comprehending through feeling attributes (such as the
physical attributes in spacetime) are relative to capacities and expectations.
  Much of the Greek philosophical tradition, perhaps inspired by the divine
philosophy or wisdom (ḥikmat) of the Prophets, acknowledged the existence of
species (essences) and manifestations (forms). Through meditation or deepening,
we discover the attributes of species, or unifying essences, by loving particular
beings and things in their various forms, manifestations, or stages. Each one of
these special entities has been divinely, and particularly, crafted out of attributes:
       But the appearance through manifestation is the manifestation of the branches,
    leaves, blossoms and fruit from the seed; for the seed in its own essence becomes
    branches and fruits, and its reality enters into the branches, the leaves and fruits.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 203.

  Prophets can, from one perspective, also be called Essences, since They are, in
Their divine Nature, formed out of the Attributes of the highest Essence of Unity,
God:
      ... these Essences of being are immensely exalted above such fanciful images, and
    are immeasurably glorified beyond all these vain sayings and above the
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     comprehension of every understanding heart.
     Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Page 183.

       ... the Manifestations [Prophets] have three planes. First, the physical reality,
     which depends upon the body; second, the individual reality, that is to say, the
     rational soul; third, the divine appearance, which is the divine perfections, the
     cause of the life of existence, of the education of souls, of the guidance of people,
     and of the enlightenment of the contingent world.
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 154.

  The terms, realism and idealism, have had numerous, sometimes even
contradictory, definitions over the centuries. A person might be a realist on one
issue and an idealist on another. However, as pointed out by my friend, Ian Kluge,
on his Baháʾí Philosophy Studies website:
        ... Aristotle and the Baháʾí Writings differ on the issue of where and how the
     original essences or forms reside, an issue on which the Writings take a decidedly
     Platonic turn. However, it must be noted that Aristotle’s view is not entirely
     excluded, since the Writings tell us that the Names of God are reflected in every
     created thing, and so, in that sense, formally or virtually present in every particular.
     Ian Kluge, “The Aristotelian Substratum of the Baháʾí Writings.” Presented at the
     ʿIrfán Colloquium. London: July, 2001. Baháʾí Philosophy Studies. Retrieved on
     May 8, 2012.

  According to most modern historians, Empedocles lived around 450 B.C. On the
                                                  Dāwîd
other hand, the lifetime of King David (Hebrew, Dāwîd) is generally placed at
around 1000 B.C. Without an authoritative interpretation, the statement below may
be a mystery. Nevertheless, the Prophets are divine Beings, not classical
historians. They are made up of the Attributes of the Unity or Essence of God.
When They appear in this world, They reveal Their Attributes to all created beings
and things. My own intuition is that the Best Beloved was referring to the shared
attributes of these two men, not to the issue of chronology:
       Empedocles, who distinguished himself in philosophy, was a contemporary of
     David, while Pythagoras lived in the days of Solomon, son of David, and acquired
     Wisdom from the treasury of prophethood....
     Baháʾuʾlláh, Lawḥ-i-Ḥikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed
     after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 145.
        In the Divine Scriptures and Holy Books “return” is spoken of, but the ignorant
     have not understood the meaning, and those who believed in reincarnation have
     made conjectures on the subject. For what the divine Prophets meant by “return”
     is not the return of the essence, but that of the qualities ....
     ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 126.
  Return to the table of contents.

                                 X. Additional Philosophies
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      Nominalism and Agnosticism

  I am a sociologist of religion and a social theorist, not a philosopher. My grasp of
classical philosophy is very limited. Still, I am, as Baháʾí, interested in the ways in
which His Sanctified Presence Baháʾuʾlláh and ʿAbduʾl-Bahá adjusted and adapted
Platonic and Aristotelian concepts, along with the interpretations made by certain
Muslim writers, into a new divine Revelation. Although many issues which have
caused confusion over the centuries have now been resolved, the correct
interpretations of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, and even their basic viewpoints
on certain issues, continue to be debated by philosophers.
   As I have already suggested, many of the texts of the dear Best Beloved,
Baháʾuʾlláh, and of His Son, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, the Master of servitude, make extensive
use of Platonic and, perhaps more so, Aristotelian language. For example, these
technical vocabularies run through nearly all of the “table talks” in ʿAbduʾl-Bahá’s
Some Answered Questions . If universals or essences are dependent upon God,
and are not fixed substances, nominalism might be a pretty fair characterization or
vision of our human experiences. In my opinion, however, that is not exactly what
is generally being said.
  The medieval philosophy of nominalism was an ingenious approach to resolving
the problem of universals or essences. They are, for nominalists, reinterpreted as
commonplace names or categories. A being or thing, like a human individual, is
classified, designated, or named based upon its attributes or what is observed
about it. There are no real or underlying essences of beings and things. The
shared names which are used for them are simply linguistic conveniences.
  Nominalism has been only partially successful, I believe, as an explanation for
universals. For one thing, nominalism is counterintuitive. Baháʾís and many others,
will, in certain situations, experience a unity which is apart from themselves as
individuals. While attending worship services, feelings of interconnectedness may
be stronger than when gathering with those same individuals at a ordinary social
activity. Redefining essences as names might be a couple of steps above or below
Platonism or Aristotelianism. Either way, nominalism, while an interesting guess ,
may be an inadequate description.
  In my own view, the major problem with nominalism is the confusion of names
and categories with essences. Each being or thing, which consists of attributes,
can be named by Prophets or, after observing its attributes, by regular individuals.
These names may be specific references (McDonald’s) or general categories
(restaurants). Essences could, I suppose, also be categories of a sort, but they are
not just categories. The Unity of the Prophets, the unity of religions, and the unity
of humanity are divinely willed loving relationships. Human wills cannot, of course,
create unities or essences.

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  To illustrate the point, if I make the claim that the divine Essence and other
essences are nothing more than “names” or convenient categories, I am a
nominalist. Should, however, I state that essences are unknowable to us, other
than by their attributes, I am an agnostic, not a nominalist. In a sense, because
essences have been veiled from us, we must all be, when we are truly humble
about it, agnostics. Thus, we avoid speculating on essences, not because they are
only names, because they are unknowable. Indeed, the inevitable result of living in
the human kingdom is an essentialistic agnosticism.
  Thomas Henry Huxley was a passionate defender and popularizer of Darwinian
evolution. He nicknamed himself, “Darwin’s bulldog,” and coined the term
agnosticism :
       Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the
    rigorous application of a single principle.... Positively the principle may be
    expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you,
    without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the
    intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated
    or demonstrable. That I take to be the agnostic faith, which if a man keep whole
    and undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe in the face, whatever
    the future may have in store for him.
    Thomas Henry Huxley, Agnosticism. Page 18.

   Generally speaking, by disposing of the idea of an innate interconnectednesss
between the beings and things around us, nominalism makes the entire subject of
essences appear to be irrelevant. However, essences, while they are unknowable,
are not, in my opinion, speculative. If, as in this brief quotation, the divine Essence
is described as a Reality, concluding that other essences are merely names
violates, I think, the common nominalist principle of Ockham’s razor (parsimony or
economy). That is to say, the simpler explanation would be abandoned for the one
which is more complex.
      ... as things can only be known by their qualities and not by their essence, it is
    certain that the Divine Reality is unknown with regard to its essence and is known
    with regard to its attributes.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 220-221.

  On the other hand, if, as nominalists contend, essences are only speculative,
then we should treat them as nothing more than names. From this perspective,
nominalism has sometimes been defined as anti-metaphysical. Because particular
beings and things have no essential unity, nominalism also becomes particularism.
Nevertheless, I would suggest that nominalists may have this subject backwards.
When I feel or apprehend the unity of humanity and the unity of religions, I might be
imagining things, but I am not intellectually speculating. Telling me that I do not
have these experiences is , however, speculation.


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  Furthermore, to my understanding, the cautions regarding metaphysics , or
speculative philosophy, have little to do with nominalism. In a Baháʾí context,
metaphysics may, if practiced immoderately, become disunifying “hair-splittings”
which “encumber the human mind.” Indeed, nominalists , by arguing that essences
are only names, are, in effect, speculating upon the soundness of another person’s
experiences. Making these extremely fine or judgmental distinctions between
abstract concepts, especially when one’s words result in dissension, is wasteful
and counterproductive:
      This Day ... hath never been, nor is it now, the Day whereon man-made arts and
    sciences can be regarded as a true standard for men, since it hath been recognized
    that He Who was wholly unversed in any of them hath ascended the throne of
    purest gold, and occupied the seat of honor in the council of knowledge, whilst the
    acknowledged exponent and repository of these arts and sciences remained utterly
    deprived. By “arts and sciences” is meant those which begin with words and end
    with words. Such arts and sciences, however, as are productive of good results, and
    bring forth their fruit, and are conducive to the well-being and tranquility of men
    have been, and will remain, acceptable before God.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Page 19.

      Philosophy, as you will study it and later teach it, is certainly not one of the
    sciences that begins and ends in words. Fruitless excursions into metaphysical hair-
    splittings is meant, not a sound branch of learning like philosophy.
    From a letter, dated February 14, 1947, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí.

      What Baháʾuʾlláh meant primarily with “sciences that begin and end in words”
    are those theological treatises and commentaries that encumber the human mind
    rather than help it to attain the truth. The students would devote their life to their
    study but still attain no where.
    From a letter, dated November 30, 1932, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí.

  Although nominalists have often argued that individuals cannot form mental
images of essences, this statement, alone, has not usually been considered as
sufficient to define nominalism. To a nominalist, essences are not only
unimaginable. They are also only names. So, here is the problem: Western
nominalism developed within Roman Catholicism, but God is not referred to as an
unknowable Essence in the Roman Catholic Biblical texts. On the other hand, a
common Baháʾí and Islāmic title for God is al-Ḥaqq (the True or Real One ).
Defining God as an Essence, I feel, makes nominalism impossible.
  From another standpoint, however, nominalism, by affirming the absolute
freedom of God’s Will and the relativity of truth to it, fills an important gap in our
understandings. Since, to nominalists, essences are just names, not realities, we
accept only the unconditioned and unlimited Will of God. Indeed, the unknowability,
and unobservability, of unifying essences makes nominalism an understandable,
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even an extremely reasonable, conclusion. Nevertheless, nominalism, like any
other mortal explanation, including my own, is subject to the inevitable
miscalculations and misinterpretations made by human beings.
  In place of essences, some nominalists, beginning with William of Ockham, have
emphasized the dependence of particular beings and things upon the Will of God.
However, if essence is a metaphysical subject, why then is Will not a speculative
affair? Just as I cannot use my five senses to observe the Will of God, I can also
not see, hear, taste, smell, or touch unifying essences. To many atheists, any
“God” is speculative by definition, as well. That is to say, what is speculative to one
person may, through faith, appear to be little more than common sense to another.
Referring to one belief or the other as speculative commits a logical fallacy of the
double standard.

      Idealism
  Distinct from nominalism, in objective metaphysical (or ontological) idealism,
God’s Will is considered to be a constant. It is the product of a fixed and eternal
system of ideal forms . Inspired by that approach, divine invocation, to some
people, becomes “mental magic” or, in New Thought, “scientific prayer,” not crying
                                                        “scientific prayer,”
out for the assistance of an actual Being:
      Scientific prayer is the appropriation of the beneficial conditions of the spiritual
    realm and the willingness to work intelligently with a Father whose eternal will is for
    man’s perfection through knowledge and truth....
      ... Prayer is the purposeful, direct action of the mind, and the result is in
    proportion to the faith we put into it....
      ... Prayer is an exact and demonstrable science. We learn to pray as we learn to
    be electricians, aviators, or musicians.
    Albert C. Grier and Agnes M. Lawson, Truth and Life. New York: E.P. Dutton &
    Company. 1921. Pages 95-97.

      The chief doctrinal difference between Christian Science and New Thought is
    about the status of matter. New Thought embraces traditional Western idealism,
    which maintains that although matter is not real in the sense of having existence
    apart from mind, it is real in the sense of being an appearance of mind or spirit.
    Christian Science maintains that matter is a mere illusion.
    “History of New Thought.” The Association for Global New Thought. Retrieved on
    March 30, 2012.

      I might add that he [Shoghi Effendi] does not believe any radiations of thought
    or healing, from any group, is going to bring peace. Prayer, no doubt, will help the
    world, but what it needs is to accept Baháʾuʾlláh’s system so as to build up the
    World Order on a new foundation, a divine foundation!...
    From a letter, dated June 6, 1948, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1416.


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  Modern integralism refers to several versions, or revisions, of the idealist
perennial philosophies which were discussed earlier. Like believers in New
Thought metaphysics, integralists are objective idealists . That is to say, there is
an objective world, but it results from an awareness, sometimes a divine
awareness, or a universal mind and a cosmic consciousness. Integralism
emphasizes holism or synthesis over reductionism or analysis. One of the first
writers to develop integralism, Śrī Aurobindo (Bengali, Ōrobindo, lotus), described
his approach as an integral yoga:
      A radical and total change of consciousness is not only the whole meaning but, in
    an increasing force and by progressive stages, the whole method of the integral
    Yoga.
    Śrī Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga. Page 187.

  The integralism of Pitirim A. Sorokin, who founded Harvard University’s sociology
department, was more explicit:
       My ontology [view of being or existence] represents a mere variation of the
    ancient, powerful and perennial stream of philosophical thought represented by
    Taoism, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, brilliantly analyzed by the Hindu and
    Mahayana Buddhist logicians ... shared by all branches of Buddhism ... and
    reiterated by the great Muslim thinkers and poets.... In the Greco-Roman world
    this philosophy was developed by Heraclitus and Plato ... [and] it was partly
    supported by Aristotle, and with variations it was reiterated by Plotinus, Porphyry,
    and the thinkers of the Neo-Platonic, the Hermetic, the Orphic, and other currents
    of thought. In Christianity it was expressed by many Church Fathers, like Clement
    of Alexandria, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, St. Augustine, Pseudo-
    Dyonysius, Maximus Confessor, John Scotus Erigena, St. John of Damascus, and
    later on by Hugh of St. Victor, St. Thomas Aquinas.... Nicolas of Cusa, and by many
    Christian mystics.
    Pitirim A. Sorokin, “A Reply to My Critics.” Pitirim A. Sorokin in Review. Durham,
    NC: Duke University Press. 1963. Pages 373-374.

      ... I precisely formulate conclusions: the connection between the main types of
    cultural mentality and the character of overt actions of the participants of such a
    culture is loose, but tangible. In the predominantly Ideational [reality as spiritual]
    culture the frequency of the ideational type of men and ideational actions and
    forms of conduct is greater, and their ideational intensity is manifested more
    conspicuously than in a Sensate [reality as material] dominant culture. And the
    converse likewise holds true for the Sensate culture.
    Pitirim A. Sorokin, “Histrionics,” The Southern Review. Winter, 1938. Page 523.

  Although Sorokin was able to popularize integralism, to a degree, he may have
been a couple of decades ahead of his time. Ken Wilber, a contemporary American
philosopher, has been considerably more successful. Originally, Wilber was
associated with the “transpersonal movement.” He broke away to found his own
“Integral Theory.” Currently, he is the most influential figure in the integralist
movement:
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       What if we took literally everything that all the various cultures have to tell us
    about human potential—about spiritual growth, psychological growth, social
    growth—and put it all on the table? What if we attempted to find the critically
    essential keys to human growth, based on the sum total of human knowledge now
    open to us? What if we attempted, based on extensive cross-cultural study, to use
    all of the world’s great traditions to create a composite map, a comprehensive map,
    an all-inclusive or integral map that included the best elements from all of them?
       Sound complicated, complex, daunting? In a sense, it is. But in another sense, the
    results turn out to be surprisingly simple and elegant....
       Welcome to the Integral Approach.
    Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and
    Postmodern World. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. 2006. Pages 6-7.
      When critics identity me with the perennial philosophy, they fail to notice that the
    only item of the perennial philosophy that I have actually defended is the notion of
    realms of being and knowing, and then I only staunchly defend three of them:
    matter, mind, and spirit (or gross, subtle, and causal)....
      Although I have been a harsh critic of the perennial philosophy, I still believe that,
    especially in its most sophisticated forms, it is a fountain of unsurpassed wisdom,
    even if we have to dust it off a bit.
    Ken Wilber, A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science
    and Spirituality Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. 2000. Page 158.

      ... [The] fundamental shift in the sense or form of the perennial philosophy—as
    represented in, say, Aurobindo, Hegel, Adi Da, Schelling, Teilhard de Chardin,
    RadhaKrishnan, to name a few—I should like to call the “neoperennial
    philosophy.” And it is the neoperennial philosophy—not “old wisdom”—that our
    present culture so desperately needs....
      ... In short, the form of Ancient Wisdom can no longer be ancient. The
    neoperennial philosophy, with its adaptability to modern needs and desires, is and
    must be God’s witness to the new and rising wisdom culture.
    Ken Wilber, The Eye of Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad .
    Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. 2001. Pages 57-58.

  The Chicago school of symbolic interactionism combined objective idealism with
                                               pragmatism.
European process philosophy and American pragmatism. According to the
symbolic interactionists, meanings or definitions of objects are acquired through
our relationships with others. Charles Horton Cooley, a sociologist at the
University of Michigan, significantly influenced the development of this sociological
perspective. In Cooley’s objective idealism, society exists in the minds of all its
members. His sociology became a true social psychology by expanding human
consciousness to include collective experiences:
       Mind is an organic whole made up of coöperating individuals, in somewhat the
    same way that the music of an orchestra is made up of divergent or related
    sounds.... When we study the social mind we merely fix our attention on larger and
    larger aspects of relations rather than on the narrower ones of ordinary
    psychology.

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    Charles Horton Cooley, Social Organization: A Study of the Larger Mind . Page 3.

   Symbolic interactionism is, in many respects, an excellent idealist social theory.
Indeed, languages and other symbols (definitions, meanings, or interpretations)
explain some dimensions of behavior quite well. Nevertheless, when considering
the acquisition of signs, attributes, representations, or manifestations by an
individual, symbolic , or idealistic, explanations are less useful. The extent to which
mental symbols become embedded, or integrated, within the signs or, perhaps, are
of a different nature might be a valuable topic to explore in certain cases, but it has
little to do with the Unities Model.
  In addition, some forms of metaphysical idealism elevate gnōsis (Ancient Greek,
knowledge) over love. One is then easy prey for the dangers of gnōstic self-
delusion. Clearly, mesmerism is not limited to stage performances. As advertising
executives know, human beings are highly suggestible and easily manipulated. In
seconds, an individual’s self-hypnotized imagination can persuade her of the truth
of practically any idea. These days, many people claim to trance “channel” an
assortment of entities. These range from the ascended masters of Atlantis to the
extraterrestrial captains of starships to Śāṭan, the devil.
  Among metaphysical idealists, mind or spirit, not real essence, is regarded as
the basis of existence. However, if the attribute of love does not precede that of
knowledge, any information obtained will, I feel, be mostly superficial. Since an
object truly known is one deeply and passionately adored, consciousness is the
effect, not the cause. By progressing on the path of search to the death or
annhilation (al-fanāʾ) of the willful or insistent self (al-nafs al-ammāra), we may,
God willing, acquire many of the attributes (virtues) within the higher nature of
nobility or the spiritual Kingdom.
  It seems to me that love, or connectedness with unities, precedes all other
attributes. Unfortunately, many people strive to obtain extensive spiritual
knowledge without having first passed through the Valley of Love. From personal
experience, and based upon my understanding of the following quotation, I humbly,
yet strongly, recommend against it:
      And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of
    love, he will enter The Valley of Knowledge and come out of doubt into certitude,
    and turn from the darkness of illusion to the guiding light of the fear of God. His
    inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved; he will set ajar the
    gate of truth and piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys,” The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Pages 5-6.

  Among the supporters of subjective idealism, however, there is no real objective
existence. We are, as human social agents, continuously creating and recreating
the world around us through our mental impressions. One of the more commonly
discussed themes of modern Western popular culture, “We each create our own
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realities,” can be regarded as subjectively idealist. Additionally, the perspectives
developed by Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) are frequently cited as
examples of this philosophy:
      It is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human knowledge,
    that they are either IDEAS actually imprinted on the senses; or else such as are
    perceived by attending to the passions and operations of the mind; or lastly, ideas
    formed by help of memory and imagination—either compounding, dividing, or
    barely representing those originally perceived in the aforesaid ways. By sight I have
    the ideas of light and colours, with their several degrees and variations. By touch I
    perceive hard and soft, heat and cold, motion and resistance, and of all these more
    and less either as to quantity or degree. Smelling furnishes me with odours; the
    palate with tastes; and hearing conveys sounds to the mind in all their variety of
    tone and composition. And as several of these are observed to accompany each
    other, they come to be marked by one name, and so to be reputed as one thing.
    Thus, for example a certain colour, taste, smell, figure and consistence having been
    observed to go together, are accounted one distinct thing, signified by the name
    APPLE. Other collections of ideas constitute a stone, a tree, a book, and the like
    sensible things—which as they are pleasing or disagreeable excite the passions of
    love, hatred, joy, grief, and so forth.
    George Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.

  Existentialism, which is a form of subjective idealism, claims that each individual
has complete freedom to create her own meaning in a world without inherent
meaning and without independent essences. Instead, to many existentialists, the
essences of meaning are dependent upon human will and voluntary action. These
individual formations of meaning occur through through existence or, for theistic
existentialists, they are humanly chosen relationships with God. The following
quotation illustrates the individual disconnectedness which has characterized a
great deal of modern existential thought:
       What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man
    first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world—and defines himself
    afterwards.
    Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings. Edited by Stephen Priest. New
    York: Routledge. 2001. Page 29.

      Process Thought

   On the other hand, process philosophy is a perspective which was developed,
early in the twentieth century, through the writings of Alfred North Whitehead,
Charles Hartshorne, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (arguably), and others. To process
philosophers, Platonism is, in a sense, turned upside down on its head. In place of
fixed, static, or eternal forms, reality is reconceived as fluid or dynamic events.
Creativity is considered to be inherent within all beings and things. Because
creative development is envisioned as the rule or structure of existence, reality
must forever be in flux.

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  In process philosophy, therefore, essences of being are reimagined as essences
of becoming . Although the substances or objects around us appear , from our
perspectives, to be tangible or concrete, they are, to process philosophers, the
products of human experience . Only God is permanent and eternal. Process
thought,
thought, an umbrella term, adds all or part of: process theology, constructive
postmodernism, theopoetics, Anisa, symbolic interactionism (a sociological
theory), process New Thought, elisionism, the holomovement, and so forth.
  Process philosophy is, from one point of view, the polar opposite of nominalism.
The reality of essences has generally been denied by nominalists. To them,
essences are no more than names, conventional categories, or classification
systems. Although the medieval founders of Western nominalism were devout
Roman Catholics, secularism is partially rooted in nominalist disconnectedness.
Process thought, however, lies on the other end of the philosophical spectrum.
Essences not only exist. They are in constant motion.
  I have known several individuals who have adopted process philosophy. For
instance, my major professor (advisor) in graduate school was a symbolic
interactionist. Anisa, which was influenced by process philosophy, is an
educational philosophy developed, in the 1970s, by a team of Baháʾís at the
University of Massachusetts. Yet, I remain skeptical. Essences are unknowable. In
my personal Baháʾí view, claiming that essences are continuously and creatively
developing is as speculative as the nominalist idea that they are only names or
categories.
  Return to the table of contents.

                        XI. The Philosophy of Critical Realism

       The Basics
  Since essences are unknowable and depend upon the Will of God, only their
attributes are revealed. Although the divine Essence is, of course, a Being,
whether any other essences are beings is a mystery. Speculations on these
subjects , while interesting, are of little use. In my opinion, since we are agnostic
about essences, the Best Beloved discussed them with a beautiful critical, or
representational,
representational, realism, not nominalism. Essences are not, as in nominalism, just
names. They are inner realities which are experienced, indirectly , by feeling, or
inwardly touching , their attributes.
  Many forms of idealism and realism might increase our understandings of reality.
However, to a social scientist, since any essences of social relationships cannot
be directly observed, their nature, or location , would, in any case, be irrelevant. As
a sociologist of religion, a clinical sociologist, and a social theorist, I am building a
new critical realist perspective. It includes The Unities Model of Existence as an

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ontology, a spiritual cosmology, or a system of metaphysics. The name which I
                                                      Theory ™
have given to the overall approach is Structurization Theory™.
  Critical Realism, which is frequently capitalized in order to distinguish it from
other critical realisms , has evolved through three major turns . Aspects of each of
them will be discussed in the chapter. According to Bhaskar:
       ... Critical Realism [moved] philosophically through several distinct phases or
    levels of development, the main ones of which are original or basic Critical Realism,
    dialectical Critical Realism and the philosophy of meta-Reality.
    Roy Bhaskar (with Mervyn Hartwig), The Formation of Critical Realism: A Personal
    Perspective. New York: Routledge. 2010. Page vii.

  Like other systems of metaphysical or speculative realism, Critical Realism
assumes some kind of ontology . This subject was established by Aristotle as one
of the branches of metaphysics. Ontology considers issues of being , including the
classification of existence into forms and rankings. However, essences, in my
view, can only be accepted indirectly, as attributes, and through faith in divine
Revelation. Since essences are unknowable, any Baháʾí ontology would, it
appears, focus instead on naming or categorizing their attributes. However, In
Critical Realism, as I have developed it, essential attributes or events are both felt
and understood.
      ... one small methodological example of my admiration [for Ram Roy Bhaskar] is
    how he separated Marx and Hegel, again most of the older style Marxists idolize
    and study both, whereas I’ve always found him [Hegel] to be extremely unpleasant
    an even bizarre (cunning of reason) in his thinking, Roy was the first person outside
    of my head who dared to separate the two at last ....
    Lucas Sutton, “Marginalia on Radical Thinking: Interview with Lucas Sutton.” The
    Loyal Opposition to Modernity: Skeptically and Analytically Looking at Politics,
    Philosophy, Religion, Science, and Aesthetics. Blog. Retrieved on January 23, 2012.

  One of Bhaskar’s more important contributions to theory or knowledge, in my
view, concerns the mediation of the Actual (events) between the Real (underlying
structures) and the Empirical (direct observation). Perhaps the most significant
implication of this indirect or representative realism is a pragmatically fallibilist
(relativist) epistemology (theory of knowledge and perception). Below are my
modifications, in brief, to this three-tiered ontology, or stratified reality, of the Real
(Essences), the Actual (Attributes), and the Empirical (Names) along with
emancipatory Agency (structurization):
   Essences or unities, not the idealist conceptions of thought and
   consciousness, are the ontological (real) foundations of existence. Anything
   beyond agnosticism, or unknowingness, about these essences is imaginary.
   These unifying essences preexist the individualized attributes, or beings and
   things, which manifest them. Similarly, in Bhaskar’s later thinking, the non-dual

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   foundation of the Real is the cosmic envelope .
   Attributes are the ontological events, appearances, qualities, signs,
   representations, or manifestations of essences. In other words, a unifying
   essence can only be described through the events or attributes which it
   generates. By analogy, no one has ever seen an atom. Artistic depictions are
   based upon empirical observations of their actual events. For example,
   understanding might be considered as a rational attribute of the unity of
   humanity. Knowledge (epistemology) is an attribute of essences. The Golden
   Rule,
   Rule, or behaving toward others as one would like them to behave toward
   oneself, may be a virtue of the unity of revealed religions. All beings and things
   form and develop as individualized attributes of essences. According to the Will
   of God, these entities, during gestation (fetal development) or evolution, obtain
   or acquire the attributes of their own and lower kingdoms of existence:
   cohesion from the mineral, growth from the vegetable, and sensation from the
   animal. The attributes of essences which are manifested are relative to the
   capacities or limitations of particular beings and things. From a critical realist
   standpoint, however, process philosophy limits being to becoming (the
   transitive realm of events or actualism ).
   Names are the empirical designations for essences, attributes, and
   individualized attributes (beings and things). Physical attributes are described
   through empirical observation. Spiritual attributes are described through
   empirical analogy. “The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the
   concrete ...” (ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel, page 8). ʾĀdām (Hebrew,
                                                                  ʾĀd
   reddish ground) and Eve (Hebrew, Ḥawwāh, source of life) named attributes in
   the Garden of Eden. People can name essences and their attributes, or use
   God’s revealed Names, but cannot create them.
   Structurization (emancipatory agency or “meta-Reality”) is forming
   relationships with (or loving) physical and spiritual attributes (as particular
   beings and things) which can be cognitively identified by name. Explained
   another way, emancipation from oppression is the name of an attribute of
   human unity. Through structurization, we acquire, based upon our capabilities,
   the essential attributes manifested by a being or thing. For example, While
   practicing meditation, we receive spiritual attributes. Through investigations of
   nature, we collect the attributes of various beings and things. By practicing
   meditation (deepening), souls obtain spiritual attributes. Bhaskar’s demi-reality
   (oppression, non-reality, and alienation) is an illusion (Sanskrit, māyā) caused
   by the separation of dualism (relativity) from non-dualism. Similarly, in
   Structurization Theory, disunity and oppression are the absence of
   structurization.
  The epistemological approaches found in the perspectival realism of University
of Minnesota Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Ronald N. Giere, and in the subtle
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realism of The Open University Professor of Educational and Social Research,
Martyn Hammersley, are similar, but not identical, to Critical Realism:
       Not only are all instruments limited to recording only a few aspects of the world,
    they do so with only limited accuracy. There is no such thing as a perfectly
    transparent instrument. This means that there will always be a many-one
    relationship between inputs and the recorded outputs, which relationship is
    determined not by the inputs but by the nature of the instrument. So we may say
    that part of the perspective of any instrument is its built in margin of error....
       In the case of human color and black and white vision, we concluded that the
    different perspectives are consistent and even complementary. The perspectives of
    the various instruments used to measure radiation from parts of the universe are
    likewise both consistent and complementary. A source of infrared light, for
    example, may often be identified with an object observed optically. Thus, the
    plurality of perspectives found in scientific observation does not generate an
    undesirable relativism. Indeed, observational plurality is compatible both with a
    restricted (perspectival) realism about the objects of observation and also with
    ordinary standards of evidence for claims about those objects. As with color vision,
    the compatibility of different observational perspectives is easily understood as a
    consequence of all observations being observations of one world.
    Ronald N. Giere, Perspectival Pluralism. June 5, 2003 (revised). Pages 8-9.
    Retrieved on February 19, 2012.

       ... representation [of reality] must always be from some point of view which
    makes some features of the phenomena represented relevant and others
    irrelevant....
       ... subtle realism retains from naïve realism the idea that research investigates
    independent, knowable phenomena. But it breaks with it in denying that we have
    direct access to those phenomena, in accepting that we must always rely on, and in
    denying that our aim is to reproduce social phenomena in some way that is uniquely
    appropriate to them. Obversely, subtle realism shares with scepticism and relativism
    a recognition that all knowledge is based on assumptions and purposes and is a
    human construction, but it rejects these positions’ abandonment of the regulative
    idea of independent and knowable phenomena. Perhaps most important of all,
    subtle realism is distinct from both naïve realism and relativism in its rejection of the
    notion that knowledge must be defined as beliefs whose validity is known with
    certainty.
       ... subtle realism requires us to be rather more vigilant regarding the dangers of
    error than naïve realism would lead us to be. We must accept that we necessarily
    rely upon cultural assumptions, and that theses can lead us astray, just as easily
    leading us in the right direction.
    Martyn Hammersley, What’s Wrong with Ethnography?: Methodological
    Explorations. London: Routledge. 1992. Pages 51-52.

  On the level of epistemology or knowledge, Critical Realism can be contrasted
with the philosophy of empiricism. To an empiricist, human experiences of objects
are identical with their higher realities. Therefore, the Real, to an empiricist, is not
distinguished from the Actual world of events. To a Critical Realist, however,
empiricists are committing an epistemic fallacy . They are confusing their own

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fallible, indirect observations of events with ontology or existence. In other words,
for critical realists, epistemological realism (the transitive dimension) is not the
same as ontological realism (the intransitive dimension).
  Within Structurization Theory, the fundamental units of analysis are the
attributes, virtues, or events of unity. They are examined and evaluated in terms of
their practicality or usefulness in reliably producing particular types of social
organization, process, or result. However, relational theories (relational sociology)
consider the basic unit of examination to be “relationships.” Other sociological
theories take the individual or the group (for instance, dyads and triads in Georg
Simmel’s formal sociology ) as the most elementary level for sociological inquiry.
       The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but the soul
    hath limitless manifestations of its own. The mind is circumscribed, the soul limitless.
    It is by the aid of such senses as those of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, that
    the mind comprehendeth, whereas the soul is free from all agencies.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Page 8.

      [Demi-reality] generates dualism, alienation, [and] fragmentation ....
    Roy Bhaskar, From East to West: Odyssey of a Soul. New York: Routledge. 2000.
    Page 57.

  In 2003, I left Sorokin’s integralist idealism for Critical Realism. Later that same
year, I rejected Critical Realism in favor of nominalism. However, in my own life as
an Autist, nominalism, I began to recognize over time, had become a poison. It was
seductive, even addictive, but it reinforced my social indifference. In 2011,
following an extended period of self-discovery, I finally recognized that I had made
an awful mistake. I discarded nominalism and returned to Critical Realism. Thank
God, I now have a somewhat better appreciation for the subject. These days, I
could never imagine becoming a nominalist again.
  When I first encountered Bhaskar’s Critical Realism, and decided to modify it for
my own use, I was, and of course continue to be, a Baháʾí, but I was also a neo-
Marxist sociologist. Bhaskar was, as he explained, influenced by Marxism,
structuralism, Nietzschean perspectivism, the sociology of knowledge, language,
natural philosophy, and by other sources as well ( The Formation of Critical
Realism: A Personal Perspective ). However, Bhaskar comes from an esoteric
family background. Both his English mother and Indian father were involved with
Madame H.P. Blavatsky’s Theosophy :
      The couple came to the view that they were adherents of Theosophy (of a
    somewhat unorthodox kind)—basically, a form of westernised Hinduism—and
    subscribed to it for the rest of their lives.
    Roy Bhaskar, A Realist Theory of Science. New York: Routledge. 2008. Page xii.

      Whenever my parents took me to the Theosophical Society I used to really enjoy

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    that, not so much for the content of the lectures and so on – I didn’t attend many
    of them – but for the time I would spend in the library (if I didn’t have to look after
    the younger children), where I got lost in a world outside my life and existence.
    Roy Bhaskar (with Mervyn Hartwig), The Formation of Critical Realism: A Personal
    Perspective. New York: Routledge. 2010. Page 6.

  As I was bullied as an Autistic child, Bhaskar was persecuted for his ethnic
ancestry. Since expanding his philosophy to embrace his paternal Indian
background, he began using his first name, Ram (Sanskrit, Rāma, black one):
      At primary school Bhaskar dropped “Ram” from his name as part of a strategy
    to avoid intense racist bullying.
    Roy Bhaskar, A Realist Theory of Science. New York: Routledge. 2008. Page xii.

      [Ram Roy Bhaskar] is the name Bhaskar was given at birth and by which he now
    prefers to be known. He dropped “Ram” while at primary school ... and only
    started to use it again at the turn of the century, when his philosophy explicitly
    came to encompass aspects of his Indian heritage.
    Roy Bhaskar, A Realist Theory of Science. New York: Routledge. 2008. Page xxi.

      meta-Reality

  While I was a nominalist, Critical Realism took a spiritual turn at the turn of the
century. His philosophy of meta-Reality , the third major phase of Critical Realism
(after original Critical Realism and dialectical Critical Realism ), refers to
emancipation or realization through the non-dual ground-state (or cosmic
envelope ) of stratified reality, including the Real, the Actual, and the Empirical
domains. In my view, this expression, the cosmic envelope, could also be applied,
with some modifications, to the ontological paradigm which is, I believe, presented
in the Baháʾí calendar.
      And the claim of the philosophy of meta-Reality is that all other beings are
    enfolded within myself, or at least the alethic truth of all other beings, and I
    accordingly am enfolded within all other beings too. So the distinctiveness of beings
    remains, you are different from me, you are spatio-temporally, karmically and
    constitutively different from me, but you are nevertheless enfolded within me. The
    fact that all beings are enfolded within me enables me in principle to discover the
    alethic truth of those beings, such as the molecular structure of a crystal or the
    nature of gravity or what it is like to be a dragon.
    Roy Bhaskar, Reality: The Philosophy of meta-Reality, Volume 1, Creativity, Love and
    Freedom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2002. Page xviii.

      In his new book, Reflections on Meta-Reality (RMR), Roy Bhaskar claims to
    articulate a new philosophy that transcends Critical Realism, while preserving its
    insights. And indeed it proceeds by immanent critique of Critical Realism, thereby
    extending Critical Realism’s systematic attempt to think being. With the demise of
    historical socialism and the rise of bourgeois triumphalism in the late eighties and
    the nineties, the deficiency, absence or lack Bhaskar has pinpointed in the discourse

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    and practice of Critical Realism and the Left in general is that insufficient attention
    is being paid to the spiritual dimension of human life, with the consequence that the
    Right is hegemonic in that area. So he self-consciously set out to remedy this lack,
    embarking on “the spiritual exposition of being.” ...
       Its basic line of argument is that a non-dual world or ultimate zone of being
    underpins and is co-present in an occluded way in the dual world of alienation and
    contradiction in which we live, as a condition of its possibility, and that this requires
    a new philosophy of identity for its exposition. Realism about this world, about
    transcendence, thus entails the self-transcendence of Critical Realism itself, which
    is a philosophy of non-identity or duality. Bhaskar calls this non-dual world the
    cosmic envelope (in which the deepest natures or ground-states of all beings sit and
    are connected), describing it also as Bohm’s implicate order of pure enfolded being,
    of pure potentiality, of “Platonic anamnesis,” involving “a level of consciousness
    beyond thought itself.” Other key figures ... are generalised co-presence or
    synchronicity and the inwardness of being (everything is implicated or enfolded
    within everything else); and transcendental identification in consciousness between
    entities and beings within the explicated or become dual world we inhabit.
    Roy Bhaskar, “The Philosophy of Meta-Reality, Part I: Identity, Spirituality,
    System. Interview by Mervyn Hartwig.” Abstract (excerpt). Retrieved on
    November 24, 2011.

      “Symviability” is a new term which we use to refer to the ability of human
    cultures to adjust harmoniously to each other and to nature, that is to live
    symbiotically with each other and with as great a diversity of biological systems as
    possible.... Each culture arises and is maintained by the evolved-in humanimal
    imperative to develop preserve and propagate its own cultural identity. Each
    culture has a survival and propagative imperative. For a culture to survive the
    people who carry it and the animals and plants which carry them, must all survive
    together. From this, you may gather that our ontology is a methodologically
    pragmatically chosen one .... The critical realist ontology at first seemed a good
    candidate but now Bhaskar’s ... critical realist ontology commends itself to us by
    transcending possessive individualism.
    Gary Boyd and Vladimir Zeman, “Designing cybersystemically for symviability,”
    Kybernetes. Volume 36. Issue 9/10. Pages 1255-1265.

  Although I developed Structurization Theory and the Unities Model
independently, for the most part, from the work of Ram Roy Bhaskar (1944-
present), his term, the cosmic envelope , has provided an elegant image for the
Unities of All Things . Aspects of the model resemble Bhaskar’s Critical Realism
and its later development as the philosophy of meta-Reality . Bhaskar is a blessed
individual who has recognized the unity of existence. Still, the viewpoint which I
have taken here, as a Baháʾí, departs from Bhaskar’s system in certain areas.
  Based on a literature review, these were the two earliest usages I found for the
term, cosmic envelope :
      ... in addition to those elements which can be rendered into our own tongue,
    there is also a kind of intangible cosmic envelope, which gives its undertone to these
    unaccustomed things, a hidden but perceptible background, which we miss at
    home.
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    Julius Meier-Graefe, Modern Art: Being a Contribution to a New System of Aethetics .
    London: William Heinemann. 1908.

       ... this canopy embroidered with the signs of the moon and of the stars is simply
    the mantle of Heaven, the tent of the sky, the great cosmic envelope of the
    universe, the significance of which throughout the whole history of religion and
    ritual has been brought forward of late in a book as learned as it is inspiring. The
    idea of the cosmic mantle is familiar to all of us from the wonderful simile in Isaiah
    (xl. 22), that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to
    dwell in. Even more vivid is the simile in the Psalms (civ. 2), Who coverest thyself with
    light as with a garment ; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. The conception
    so beautifully expressed by Isaiah and the Psalmist is common to all ancient Eastern
    religions, and early penetrated into Greece and thence to Italy.
    Mrs. Arthur Strong, Apotheosis and After Life: Three Lectures on Certain Phases of
    Art and Religion in the Roman Empire. London: Constable and Company. 1915.
    Page 176.

  According to Bhaskar, in both Critical Realism and the philosophy of meta-
Reality, the structures which underly observable behaviors or outward
appearances are directly unknown and hidden. We observe these structures or
realities through the outward events or phenomena they produce. In my humble
opinion, since Bhaskar has recognized that the non-dual structure is the universal
Oneness of existence, he may be regarded as a contemporary divine philosopher.
  More recent references to a cosmic envelope are found in connection with Vastu
Śāstā (Sanskrit for substance ruler). Proponents of this Hindū system, which is
somewhat similar in function to the Chinese practice of Fëng Shuǐ (Chinese for
wind water), claim to be establishing physical, especially architectural, harmony:
      One who lives in the properly attained cosmic envelope of a Vastu [Sanskrit,
    substance] enters an energy field where there is no friction, impedance, or loss of
    energy. He also breaks the previous frames of reference and each of the cells and
    particles of his organic being experiences enriched, blissful environment.
    N.H. Sahasrabudhe and R.D. Mahatme, Mystic Science of Vastu. Elgin, IL: New
    Dawn Press Group. 2000. Page 49.

       Vasstushastra is the art of living with natural forces in harmony and peace....
       The theory is very simple: “Sky, i.e., ether, is full of events.” Events flow along the
    natural streams of energy. If these streams are blockage-free, impedence free and
    frictionless, one meets a positive network of events in life, which makes one
    fortunate. Hence Vasstu Science creates a cosmic envelope around you by using the
    art of orientation with some crystals, some plants, colours, prisms, pyramids,
    metals, water, stones and levels.
    Vastu Shastra Course. 2012.

       The origins of Feng Shui, which literally means “wind and water,” go back at
    least 4,000 years in Chinese history. Its foundation was and still is, the
    understanding that the arrangement of our surroundings exerts a powerful
    influence upon the well-being of our lives. The fundamental purpose of Feng Shui
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    practice was to locate suitable sites protected from harmful energies, on which to
    construct dwellings where the inhabitants would thrive, enjoying good health,
    family harmony, happiness, prosperity and abundant harvests.
    Nitish Gupta, What is Feng Shui?

  One of the more significant, and perhaps most sociological, implications of
Bhaskar’s cosmic envelope is the “Principle of Co-presence.” We should,
collectively, act upon the realization that, regardless of our perceptions, all of us
are, on the deepest and non-dual levels of our beings, present with , or wrapped up
in, each other and everything else. Practically speaking, we might then be less
inclined to intentionally hurt another sentient being or to pollute our physical
environment. Indeed, the Unities of All Things must, in my view, become as taken
for granted as the air we breathe and the blood which flows within our veins.
     ... a unity-in-difference ... [is] co-presence ....
    Roy Bhaskar, “Unity of Theory and Practice, Interdisciplinarity, and Non-duality.”
    Abstract (excerpt). Retrieved on January 7, 2012.

      [The emancipatory leap] ... relies on principles Bhaskar calls “co-presencing” or
    “transcendental identification.”
    Bonnitta Roy, “Report from the Critical Realism and Integral Theory Symposium.”
    Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality. October 27, 2011.

      ... just as consciousness was implicitly enfolded in all being, all beings are implicitly
    enfolded within my consciousness and therefore within my being ....
      ... The theory of co-presence allows us to also see the necessity for a commitment
    to a eudaimonistic [flourishing or emancipated] society and more generally to the
    project and state of universal self-realisation.
    Roy Bhaskar, meta-Reality: The Philosophy of meta-Reality, Volume 1, Creativity, Love
    and Freedom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2002. Page 71-72.

  In certain respects, the Unities Model resembles Neoplatonism. However, the
Unities Model, following my personal understandings of many Baháʾí texts,
reconfigures and transforms a Neoplatonic approach to essences or unities into a
critical realist perspective. Plotinus (205 A.D.-270 A.D.), who is sometimes
regarded as the originator of Neoplatonism, has usually been interpreted as an
objective idealist:
       ... Plotinus sets out a system according to which all reality issues spontaneously,
    coordinately, and timelessly from a single transcendent and inexpressible source
    called the One or the Good. This process of emanation produces a hierarchical
    world order in which each successive form of reality (hypostasis [Late Latin from
    Ancient Greek, upóstasis]) images its superior at a lower level of unity.... From this
    point of view, the structure of Plotinus’s cosmos corresponds to the route that
    consciousness takes in contemplative activity as it moves from dispersion to
    integration. The highest normal level of consciousness is the unified awareness that
    belongs to Intellect [Ancient Greek, Noūs], but in moments of mystical ecstasy the
    soul—as Plotinus records from his own experience—achieves a loss of particular

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    selfhood in union with the One [Late Latin, Monad, from Ancient Greek, Monás].
    Claudio Moreschini, “Platonism.” Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Lindsay
    Jones. Vol. 11. 2nd edition. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. 2005. Pages
    7187-7193.

      To a large extent, the plausibility of Plotinus’ version of an objective idealism ...
    rests on the plausibility of his conception of matter.
    Riccardo Chiaradonna and Franco Trabattoni (editors), Physics and Philosophy of
    Nature in Greek Neoplatonism: Proceedings of the European Science Foundation.
    Leiden, the Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV. 2009. Page 135.

      The father of objective idealism was Plato ....
    Evert van der Zweerde, Soviet Historiography of Philosophy. Norwell, MA. Kluwer
    Academic Publishers. 1997. Page 117.

   The fabric of existence, as described by the Unities Model, is a divinely
patterned, multilayered enfoldment or involution (involvement) of unities and their
attributes (including beings and things). The perspective on universal oneness is
comparable to the cosmic envelope. As Bhaskar related this cosmic envelope to a
Vedic context, I applied it as Baháʾí. Although the Unities Model is a panentheism
(from the Greek, everything in God) of the Unity through unities, the model is also,
to coin a term, a panenontology (from the Greek, everything in existence). The
Sovereignty, Might, and Dominion of God encompass all five kingdoms of being.
      In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.
           Split the atom’s heart, and lo!
           Within it thou wilt find a sun. [Persian mystic poem]
     Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys.” The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Page
     12.

      ... matter [is] ... the product of a logically prior moment of involution, prior to its
    being enfolded, and far prior to its being unfolded in the natural process of
    evolution as we are all familiar with.
    Roy Bhaskar, Reality: The Philosophy of meta-Reality, Volume 1, Creativity, Love and
    Freedom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2002. Page 21.

      An involution of of the Divine Existence, the spiritual Reality, in the apparent
    inconscience of Matter is the starting-point of the evolution. But that Reality is in its
    nature an eternal Existence, Consciousness, Delight of Existence: the evolution
    must then be an emergence of this Existence, Consciousness, Delight of Existence,
    not at first in its essence or totality but in evolutionary forms that express or
    disguise it.... That integral emergence is the goal of evolving Nature.
    Śrī Aurobindo, The Life Divine. Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press.
    2005. Pages 710-711.

  To my understanding, in the cosmic envelope, consciousness is based upon
enfoldments of non-duality or unity. Non-duality or unity is not the product of
mental conceptions, ideal forms, or states of consciousness. Therefore, the
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mental conceptions, ideal forms, or states of consciousness. Therefore, the
philosophy of meta-Reality is not, contrary to what some have argued, an idealist
system. Instead, God is described as a real unifying and loving power. He is “the
cement of the universe” or, as Bhaskar refers to the levels of duality or dialectic, or
mechanisms of change, the pluriverse :
       Love expands, binds, unites and heals (making whole), and thus is crucial to yoga
    and de-alienation or re-union. God is inter alia but essentially love. As such, God is
    truly the cement of the universe, binding it together with the unifying power of love,
    in holistic and heterocosmic causality. The dialectics of de-alienation (of
    retotalisation) are all essentially dialectics of love: of love of self (→Self), of each and
    all (→Totality), and, in both inner and outer movements, both as essentially love of
    God. The essence of liberated man is therefore love of God, and God, we could say,
    is not only essentially love but essentially to be loved.
       This, then is God as unconditional love, as the unifying, totalizing, liberating
    power of the universe. Conversely attachment and aversion, and the
    conditionalities which characterize them, are at once tendentially, auto-subversive
    and karmically binding.
    Roy Bhaskar, From East to West: Odyssey of a Soul. New York: Routledge. 2000.
    Page 44.

        ... we are inhabitants of a dialectical pluriverse, characterized by complex, plural,
    contradictory, differentiated, disjoint but also coalescing and condensing
    development and antagonistic struggles over discursively moralized power relations
    ....
    Mervyn Hartwig (introduction) to Roy Bhaskar, Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom.
    New York: Routledge. 2008. Page 261.

  The philosophy of meta-Reality was the flowering of Bhaskar’s transcendental
dialectical Critical Realism. However, the distinction between duality and non-
duality is of central importance to his philosophy. Critical Realism, as he later
explained it, was, in its previous stages, a philosophy about duality. Meta-Reality,
while incorporating aspects of those earlier phases, focuses upon non-duality, not
duality. Because realism presumes, in his view, a dualism of subject and object,
meta-Reality is, it appears, emancipation or self-realization through the universal,
non-dual ground-state (cosmic envelope) of realism.
      ... dialectical Critical Realism must develop into a philosophy of (universal) self-
    realisation, which can be characterised as a transcendental dialectical Critical
    Realism ....
    Roy Bhaskar, From East to West: Odyssey of a Soul. New York: Routledge. 2000.
    Page x.

      Relative reality is the world of becoming .... Within relative reality is of course the
    world of dualism, of demi-reality, ... dominated by hate, split, fear, divisiveness and
    above all alienation .... [Critical Realism] is truer to the world of relative reality than
    the philosophies of demi-reality, because it situates the deep structures of that
    world, and shows how it may be transformed. But such a description is still
    grounded in duality ....

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      ... [Meta-Reality] is not really even a system of thought, but an intervention in the
    discursive [rational] process which is designed to enable agents [individuals] to
    reflexively [referring to oneself] situate [place] their struggles in ... not only the
    relative world of duality but the absolute non-dual world on which it entirely
    reposes [rests] ....
      ... We could also say that meta-Reality designates the constellational [pattern of
    relationships] unity of non-duality and duality ....
    Roy Bhaskar, Reality: The Philosophy of meta-Reality, Volume 1, Creativity, Love and
    Freedom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2002. Page xxiii-xxiv.
      Perhaps it is best not to call the philosophy of meta-Reality a realism, as realism
    connotes the idea of a split or opposition between a world and its description, that is
    insofar as the very concept of realism is dualistic.
    Roy Bhaskar, Reality: The Philosophy of meta-Reality, Volume 1, Creativity, Love and
    Freedom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2002. Page xxiii.

  Through the realism of unfettering agency, not through speculative idealism, we
demonstrate our universal interdependence and inclusion. If, as Bhaskar asserts,
we are all interconnected, then the Marxian dialectic (contradiction) of capitalist
economic oppression and social alienation, and other dialectics and dualisms, are
resolved through an existential non-duality. The emancipatory aspirations of the
intellectual left are resolved, not abandoned, in the ground-state of unity. Meta-
Reality, is, perhaps, a Marxism fulfilled , a libertarianism fulfilled , a nationalism
fulfilled , a politics fulfilled , and so forth.
  Ultimately, however, the real relations of the dialectic can be fulfilled as God
realization and self-realization:
       Within the new outlook [the philosophy of meta-Reality], it [the dialectic] retains
    all its purchase on the world of duality and oppressive dualism, at the heart of
    which is its demonstration of the irrepressible conatus [persistence] to freedom
    immanent in human praxis as such.
    Mervyn Hartwig (introduction) in Roy Bhaskar, Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom.
    New York: Routledge. 2008. Page xxvi.

      Ultimately the dialectic of self-realisation ushers in a dialectic of God-realisation,
    conveying (in one sense or inflection of “God-realisation”) the conatus to the
    embodiment of heaven on earth. In such a state, concretely singularised Self-
    centred subjects flourish in selfless solidarity with each and all in “unity existence”
    (being and doing ).
    Roy Bhaskar, From East to West: Odyssey of a Soul. New York: Routledge. 2000.
    Page 4.

  Although meta-Reality and, more broadly, Critical Realism belong to the
intellectual left, the left is not necessarily a political orientation. As a philosophical
and theoretical movement, meta-Reality and Critical Realism take no particular
position on partisan issues. One could, I presume, find self-identified critical
realists with a variety of political and economic views. Instead, intellectual left is
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used here for the social emancipation and spiritual self-realization (conscious-
raising, critical consciousness, or conscientization ) of oppressed peoples. By
providing theories or explanatory accounts of behavior, sociology and other human
sciences can help point the way toward that emancipation.
  According to the emancipative Unities Model, unity (Sanskrit, ādvaita, non-duality
or non-dualism) may be contrasted with diversity or plurality. Diversity, however, is
the duality or dualism (Sanskrit, dvaita) between selves and others or subjects and
objects. Since unifying essences are unknowable, subject-object dualities are, I
feel, unavoidable in all the universes (or omniverse ) and other worlds of God.
Bhaskar also regards meta-Reality as emancipatory agency through non-duality,
not as a “system of thought.” Similarly, with the Unities Model, structurization is
emancipatory agency through unity.
  Non-dualism and monism, by the way, should not be mistaken for one another.
Unfortunately, some sources, such as the commonly (mis)used Wikipedia ® ,
confuse these terms:
      Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of
    inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather
    than dualistic or pluralistic. Monisms may be theologically syncretic by proposing
    that there is one God who has many manifestations in the diverse religious
    traditions.
    “Monism,” Wikipedia. San Francisco: Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved on
    January 22, 2012.

  That is not entirely accurate. Monism and non-dualism address different
metaphysical questions. Although non-dualists contend that reality is an undivided
whole, monists argue that the separate beings and things of existence emanate
from a single source or share the same substance. As ādvaita is a monistic
nondualism, dvaita becomes a monistic dualism. Meanwhile, in Christian
Trinitarianism, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate Persons (an
expansion of dualism to threefold pluralism), but They are composed of a single
divine substance (monism). Plotinus was a monist, but Wilber is a non-dualist:
      ... Plotinus taught that the One is the highest reality. The One is the source of
    everything in existence and remains separate from all that has emanated from it ....
      The general scholarly consensus ... is that monism best describes Plotinus’s
    conception of reality: the cosmos is a unified whole that emanates from a single
    source, the One....
      Wilber doesn’t believe that the cosmos consists of wholes and parts. Instead,
    there are only holons, wholes that are parts of other wholes. So each whole is
    simultaneously a part, a whole/part, a holon. This contention supports Wilber’s
    theory that reality is nondual ....
      Wilber ... says that there are no individual entities anywhere in the cosmos.
    Brian Hines, What Wilber gets wrong about Plotinus. Retrieved on January 22, 2012.

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      Similarities with Hindūism

  In Bhaskar’s meta-Reality , the ultimate objective of any emancipatory project is
the non-dualist cosmic envelope. Effectively, Bhaskar has retooled his emphasis
upon emancipation into a type of moksha (Sanskrit, mokṣa, release or liberation )
within many branches of Hindūism. For instance, moksha was one of the major
tenets within the Ādvaita (Sanskrit, non-dualist) Vedānta (Sanskrit, culmination of
knowledge or, only etymologically , wit’s end) of classical Indian philosopher, Adi
Shankara (Sanskrit, Ādi Śaṅkara, 788 A.D.-820 A.D.):
       ... it seems that Shankara’s moksha is not a purely negative condition—that it is
    not the actual annihilation of the individual, but its freedom from ... the ignorant
    assumption of its independent existence.
    Sita Nath Datta (translator), Sankaracharya: His Life and Teachings. A Translation
    of Atma-Bodhi. Second Edition. Calcutta. Society for the Resuscitation of Indian
    Literature. 1898. Page 40.

       Building on a radically new analysis of the self, human agency and society, Roy
    Bhaskar shows how the world of alienation and crisis we currently inhabit is
    sustained by the ground-state qualities of intelligence, creativity, love, a capacity for
    right-action and a potential for human self-realisation or fulfilment. He then
    demonstrates how transcendence and non-duality are necessary and ubiquitous
    features of all social interaction and human agency; and how these and connected
    features of human being and activity sustain the totality of the structures of the
    world of duality and oppression in which we live. Moreover, meta-Reality argues
    that any objective an agent chooses in life will ultimately set him or her on a process
    or dialectic to self-realisation, entailing a commitment to universal self-realisation;
    and it shows how these goals or ideals are explicit or implicit in all emancipatory
    projects, of whatever political, social or religious declension. Furthermore they all
    imply the same principles of clarity and commitment to social transformation (on all
    the planes of social being), which Roy Bhaskar articulates here. In a very real sense
    he demonstrates how these principles, for the first time clearly elaborated here in
    meta-Reality, are indeed the culmination of all traditions of thought and practice
    oriented to human well-being, emancipation or flourishing.
    Publisher’s Description of the book, Reality: The Philosophy of meta-Reality, Volume
    1, Creativity, Love and Freedom.

  On the other hand, unlike Shankara, Bhaskar does not deny the existence of
duality:
       ... when Shankara talked about what I call demi-reality as an illusion, he did not
    clarify that illusion is real, as real as steel; it is not just the absolute that is real.
    Roy Bhaskar (with Mervyn Hartwig), The Formation of Critical Realism: A Personal
    Perspective. New York: Routledge. 2010. Page 204.

  Therefore, Bhaskar’s stated position may be closer, in some areas, to the
philosophy of Achintya-Bheda-Abheda (Sanskrit, Acintyabhedābheda). This
system of Vedānta belongs to the Gauḍīyā (Sanskrit for the Gauḍa territory now in

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Bengal, India, and in Bangladesh) Vaiṣṇava (Sanskrit for Viṣṇu or Vishnu worship)
tradition. The Hindū reformer and founder of the school, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
(Sanskrit, Caitanya Mahāprabhu), advocated a form of Bhakti (Sanskrit for
engagement or, more loosely, devotion) worship through chanting the Names of
Krishna (Sanskrit, Kṛṣṇā).
  The most well-known contemporary spiritual movement which identifies with
Chaitanya’s philosophy includes the International Society for Krishna
Consciousness (ISKCON), founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabupada
(Sanskrit, Abhaya Caraṇāravinda Bhaktīvedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, 1896 A.D.-
1977 A.D.), and various factions of the Kṛṣṇā Consciousness (or Hārē Kṛṣṇā)
Movement that developed after Prabupada’s death. Still, there are many branches
of Gauḍīyā Vaiṣṇava with no historical relationship to ISKCON. Unlike Shankara,
Chaitanya embraced the reality of both ādvaita and dvaita:
      “Achintya Bheda Abheda” is a school of Vedanta, representing the philosophy of
    inconceivable oneness and difference, in relation to the power creation and creator
    (Krishna), Svayam Bahagavan and also between God and His energies within the
    Gaudiya Vaishanava religious tradition.
      In Sanskirt, “achintya” menas “inconceivable.” “bheda” translates as
    “difference,” and “abheda” translates as “one-ness.” It is believed that this
    philosophy was taught by the movement’s theological founder Sree Caitanya
    Mahapravu (1486 A.D.-1534 A.D.) and differentiates Gaudiya tradition from the
    other Vaishnava sampradayas [traditions of Vishnu worship]. It can be best
    understood as integral monism, as a position between polar opposites of absolute
    monism of Advaita and the dualist monism of Dvaita.
    Sri Chaitanya Transcendental Society. Retrieved on December 26, 2011.

  Distinct from Bhaskar, however, Chaitanya considered the desire for moksha to
be an obstacle on the spiritual path:
      Moksha is a selfish desire to have, one should never desire Moksha. That is the
    wrong goal according to Sri Chaitanya. The goal of the Human Entities is to simply
    love Krishna. Love of Godhead is the Goal. One should not wish to be in Goloka
    [Kṛṣṇā’s eternal abode], or anywhere. Wherever one is, one should simply love,
    serve, and think about Krishna and His glorious pastimes. That is the goal, to love
    Krishna.
    Krishna.org Community. Retrieved on December 26, 2011.

  Rather than Advaita Vedanta or Achintya-Bheda-Abheda, perhaps Visishtadvaita
(Sanskrit, Viśiṣṭādvaita, qualified non-dualism) Vedānta is a bit closer to Bhaskar’s
philosophy of meta-Reality. Rāmānujar (possibly 1017 A.D.-1137 A.D.) was the
school’s most important proponent. Like Advaita Vedanta, but unlike Achintya-
Bheda-Abheda, Visishtadvaita Vedanta emphasizes the goal of moksha. However,
when contrasted with the absolute non-dualism of Advaita Vedanta, the non-
dualism of Visishtadvaita Vedanta is qualified . God is one, but He has multiple
attributes:
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      If the Lord has no attributes, no qualities, how can He protect the world? How
    can He give Salvation or Moksha to the Jivatma [Sanskrit, jīvātma, individual self]?
    FAQ: Advaita, Vishistadvaita and Dvaita .

       Visishtadvaita is also an Advaita, since only God the Absolute, omnipresent Self
    exists. However, our concept of God refers to that Supreme Entity which contains
    all within itself; the entire universe, including all living beings, are fundamentally
    real and internally distinguishable from one another.
       However, there is only one total reality, as God includes all existence within Its
    very being. The individual selves and the universe exist as God’s attributes, since
    God pervades absolutely everything and gifts these substances with their reality. In
    other words, God is the indwelling Self of all, and this “all” is real as they are
    included in His body. Therefore, Visishtadvaita literally means non-duality of the
    qualified, since God is qualified by innumerable glorious attributes, including
    individual selves and matter.
       Liberation is eternal communion and service of God, the supreme, infinite,
    blissful Absolute. Ramanuja writes that such liberation is achieved by constant
    meditation on God’s supreme perfections .... His nature as the First Cause of All.
    Such meditation, when practiced with a pure heart and mind and filled with
    extreme love, will yield a better and better conception of God in the mind of
    devotee over time ....
    Dvaita vs. Advaita .

  All around, however, I think that Dvaitādvaita (Sanskrit for non-dualism/dualism)
Vedānta, which is associated with Nimbarka (Sanskrit, Śrī Nimbārkācārya,
thirteenth century A.D.?), may be the fairest approximation to meta-Reality. In the
Dvaitādvaita school, although both duality and non-duality are real, duality is
encompassed by non-duality. Like the other Hindū movements discussed here,
with the exception of Chaitanya’s Achintya-Bheda-Abheda, Dvaitādvaita
incorporates a concept of moksha. An individual is emancipated by surrendering to
God.
       Nimbarka’s philosophy is known as Dvaitadvaita , meaning existence of duality
    and non duality at the same time....
       This aspect can be better understood by the example of Waves on the ocean .
    They exist because of the ocean , yet are distinct entities. The water in the wave is
    the same as that in the ocean , that is to say a part of the ocean is in the wave. The
    wave has no separate existence other than in the ocean. Similarly , Chit [Sanskrit,
    cit, spirit] and Achit [Sanskrit, acit, matter] have the essence of Brahman [Sanskrit,
    Brāhmana, Absolute? or God ] in them , yet are distinct and dependent on
    Brahman. Thus is explained the philosophy of ... Duality and Non-duality existing
    simultaneously.
       “Difference” or “duality” refers to the separate but dependent existence of soul
    and matter ..., while “non-difference“ or “non-duality” means that it is impossible
    for soul and matter to exist independently of God ....
       God as Radha Krishna, is the Supreme reality, free from all defects personifies
    goodness, Radha being the ... latent power of Shri Krishna . God is both the
    efficient and material cause of the universe.

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    Akhil Bharatiya Nimbarkacharya Peeth. Retrieved on December 27, 2011.

       Nimbarka holds that the relation of God to the soul and the world is one of
    identity in difference. The soul and the world are different from God, because they
    are endowed with qualities different from those of God. At the same time, they are
    not different from God, because God is omnipresent and they depend entirely on
    Him....
       ... Nimbarka says that both difference and non-difference are real. The soul and
    the world are different from Brahman, as they are endowed with natures and
    qualities different from those of Brahman. They are not different, as they cannot
    exist by themselves and as they depend absolutely on Brahman. Such a relation
    exists between the sun and its rays. the fire and its sparks. The souls and matter are
    distinct from God, but they are closely connected with Him-as waves with water, or
    coils of a rope with the rope itself. They are both distinct and non-distinct from
    Brahman....
       Prapatti [Sanskrit for surrender, reliance, or seeking refuge] or complete
    surrender to God is the way to release. God showers His grace on His devotees who
    make complete self-surrender. The Lord generates devotion in them which results
    in God-realisation.
    All About Hinduism . Divine Life Society. 1997.

      Comparisons with Other Views
  To Bhaskar, a change in consciousness, similar perhaps to Paulo Freire’s
conscientization or critical consciousness, would accompany the emancipation of
non-dualism and the experience of self-realization. However, the non-dualist
cosmic envelope is not produced by of a shift in consciousness. This distinction
between Wilber and Bhaskar is, in my opinion, crucial to understanding their
respective positions. Wilber, as an idealist, is practically forced into metaphysical
speculation, while Bhaskar remains firmly rooted in realism, not in idealism.
  Bhaskar’s approach has often been contrasted with the practice theories of
Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens ( structuration theory ), and others. In certain
practice theories, an epistemology of rationalism replaces Critical Realism’s
indirect (or representational) realism. Harold Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology , which
focuses upon rule-based behavior, has also sometimes been regarded as a
practice theory.
   Social reality, the unobservable structures, are, according to Bhaskar, the
source of potential. Human agency is willful action. We, as human beings, also
have free will. In an academic setting, it is sometimes called, agency . As an
illustration, although the human kingdom may be a created essence, we socially
form its attributes by establishing values and norms (obligations). However, in
some practice theories, social action is explained through rational structures, not
through real or ontological structures. Agency, instead, becomes potential. These
quotations should clarify some important distinctions between the perspectives:

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      This article works out the main characteristics of “practice theory,” a type of
    social theory which has been sketched by such authors as [Pierre] Bourdieu,
    [Anthony] Giddens, [Charles] Taylor, late [Michel] Foucault and others. Practice
    theory is presented as a conceptual alternative to other forms of social and cultural
    theory, above all to culturalist mentalism, textualism and intersubjectivism.
    Andreas Reckwitz, ‘Toward a Theory of Social Practices : A Development in
    Culturalist Theorizing,” European Journal of Social Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA:
    Sage Publications. Vol. 5. No. 243. (2002). Page 243.

       Notwithstanding his [Bourdieu’s] nominal attacks on realist (empiricist) and
    substantialist (nonrelational) philosophies of science, which do not accomplish the
    epistemological rupture with the spontaneous conceptions of reality, I would like to
    show that his sociological metascience represents a rationalist version of Critical
    Realism....
       ... I would like Bourdieu to abandon his scepticism about the existence of a
    theory-independent world and accept the idea that the world, which can indeed
    only be known under different (re)descriptions, actually exists independently of
    those (re)descriptions, or even better, that those alternative (re)descriptions of the
    world actually offer alternative accounts of the same world....
       ... With Critical Realism, we can thus conclude that it is only if we possess the
    concept of an ontological realm, distinct from our current claims to knowledge, that
    we can think out the possibility of a rational criticism of our claims.
       ... In order to avoid the “epistemic fallacy,” which reduces ontological questions
    to epistemological ones, he should avoid all equivocations between rationalist and
    realist interpretations of his work, abandon the conventionalist stratagem of the “as
    if,” and put his theory on the solid ontological foundations that Critical Realism is
    only too happy to provide.
    Frederic Vandenberghe, “‘The Real is Relational’: An Epistemological Analysis of
    Pierre Bourdieu’s Generative Structuralism,” Sociological Theory. Thousand Oaks,
    CA: Sage Publications. Vol. 17, No. 1 (March, 1999). Pages 32-67.

      ... theorists such as Michael Oakeshott, Michael Polanyi, or Alasdair MacIntyre
    have also made central use of the practice idiom, or been retroactively cited as
    practice theorists.... Ethnomethodological work in sociology, too, is now often
    presented as attending to everyday practices and agents’ understanding of the
    practices they engage in ....
    Joseph Rouse, “Practice Theory,” in Stephen P. Turner and Mark W, Risjord
    (editors), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science. Volume 15: Philosophy of
    Anthropology and Sociology. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier (2006). Page
    500.

   Critical Realism does a better job, I believe, at explaining essences and the
limitations of human knowledge than practice theory, nominalism, metaphysical
idealism, and other perspectives. Still, I do not recommend simply taking the ideas
of a critical realist or Critical Realism, or of anyone else, and applying them, across
the board, to the Baháʾí Sacred Texts. I accept Critical Realism as I have
personally been developing it. For me, the term is useful because it describes,
reasonably well, how I see things right now. Obviously, other critical realists would
differ with me on certain subjects, especially my use of the great chain of being.
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  Return to the table of contents.

                        XII. Some Illustrations of meta-Reality

       A Personal Example

  Previous turns of Critical Realism were, to Bhaskar, representational realist
philosophies of relativity and duality. However, the philosophy of meta-Reality is
not a conceptual framework. It is a model, a manual, and a methodology for a non-
dualist, transcendental emancipation from the limits of pure duality. Ultimately,
unity is the only avenue to self-realization and emancipation. Free speech is
speech which frees the dominated . In addition to Bhaskar’s cosmic envelope and
                  Things ™
my Unities of All Things™ , my unific and emancipatory Autism project may, I hope,
result in meta-Reality.
        Fighting Neurelitism™ (neurological elitism) is the heart of this clinical sociology
     actvity. Neurelitism, a term coined here for a type of sanism, results in disability or
     oppression. As a social-and-economic development project for Autists and the
     similarly dissimilar (other developmentally disabled persons), we value United
     Nations human rights....
        Spiritually, we fight Neurelitism by our unity with humanity. We fight by praying
     for the inner healing, and targeted scientific cures, of Autism’s empathy problems
     and other negative traits. When applying The Echoing Practice™ (a heart
     meditation), Echoes of Unity™, and the Unity Model of Disability™, we become
     emancipated Autists . In Structurization Theory™, emancipation occurs through the
     interconnectedness between all things (a cosmic envelope).
     Mark A. Foster, United Against Neurelitism™. Retrieved on May 14, 2012.

  Unless God wills otherwise, I expect to always be, neurologically, on the Autism
spectrum. Its oppression has haunted me throughout my life. As a child, I was
bullied, beaten up by peers, and given mind-numbing drugs and electric shock
treatments. The bullying has continued, off and on, as an adult. When my
                                                                         activist.
diagnosis was clarified on the Autism spectrum, I became an Autistic activist. A few
years later, through a sudden Autistic “special interest” in Ṣūfism, I developed
Heartfulness Inquiry ™. While practicing it, I unexpectedly discovered the cosmic
envelope. Spiritually, in my struggles against Autism, I was finally emancipated by
Unity and His unities or an all-embracing inclusiveness.
       ... what I was doing in meta-Reality was uncovering the most basic ground for
     the emancipatory projects I had been talking about since my earliest writings.
     Roy Bhaskar (with Mervyn Hartwig), The Formation of Critical Realism: A Personal
     Perspective. New York: Routledge. 2010. Page 173.

       ... the spiritual turn – it is in my latest round of work, which I call the philosophy
     of meta-reality – ... has brought me a lot of unpopularity but which I see as a logical
     development of Critical Realism. There is no commitment to any theological
     position. In these works it is given a completely secular vindication. Actually I think
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    this is a very important model for peace research and for social campaigns in
    general. It’s also very important for projects of democratization and indeed all the
    social project which involve collective action – for these all involve the idea of agents
    coming together at a level (the level which I call their ground-states) which will
    transcend and/or reconcile their competing and contingently conflicting partisan or
    sectarian human interests.
    Roy Bhaskar quoted in Reconstructing Global Connectedness: The Complementary
    Roles of Philosophy and Social Sciences – A conversation with Roy Bhaskar and
    Heikki Patomäki. Edited by Matti Jutila. 2005. Retrieved on December 31, 2011.

     Other Illustrations

 Another example of meta-Reality appears in the writings of Scottish evangelist,
Henry Drummond (1851-1897). He arrived at a similar emancipatory position to the
Unities Model:
       The perfection of unity is attained where there is infinite variety of phenomena,
    infinite complexity of relation, but great simplicity of Law. Science will be complete
    when all known phenomena can be arranged in one vast circle in which a few well
    known Laws shall form the radii—these radii at once separating and uniting,
    separating into particular groups, yet uniting all to a common centre. To show that
    the radii for some of the most characteristic phenomena of the Spiritual World are
    already drawn within that circle by science is the main object of the papers which
    follow....
       First, we find at the bottom of everything the Mineral or Inorganic Kingdom.... It
    is thus absolutely essential to the Kingdom above it. And the more minutely the
    detailed structure and ordering of the whole fabric are investigated it becomes
    increasingly apparent that the Inorganic Kingdom is the preparation for, and the
    prophecy of, the Organic.
       Second, we come to the world next in order, the world containing plant, and
    animal, and man, the Organic Kingdom. Its characteristics are, first, that so far as
    the sphere above it is concerned it is dead; and, second, although dead it supplies in
    turn the basis of life to the Kingdom next in order. And the more minutely the
    detailed structure and ordering of the whole fabric are investigated, it is obvious, in
    turn, that the Organic Kingdom is the preparation for, and the prophecy of, the
    Spiritual.
       Third, and highest, we reach the Spiritual Kingdom, or the Kingdom of
    Heaven....
       ... The Third [Kingdom] is ushered in by the appearance, among these onceborn
    organisms, of forms of life which have been born again—twiceborn organisms.
    Henry Drummond, Natural Law in the Spiritual World. London: Hodder and
    Stroughton. Twenty-ninth edition. 1890.

                                                      psychology ,
  Carl Jung (1875-1961), the originator of analytical psychology, was emancipated
from the “exclusively personal” Freudian unconscious through his idealistic
collective unconscious of archetypes:
      Whereas the personal unconscious consists for the most part of complexes, the
    content of the collective unconscious is made up essentially of archetypes.

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       The concept of the archetype, which is an indispensable correlate of the idea of
    the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche
    which seem to be present always and everywhere. Mythological research calls them
    “motifs”; in the psychology of primitives they correspond to [Lucien] Levy-Bruhl’s
    concept of “representations collectives,” and in the field of comparative religion
    they have been defined by [Henri] Hubert and [Marcel] Mauss as “categories of
    the imagination.” Adolf Bastian long ago called them “elementary”or “primordial
    thoughts.” From these references it should be clear enough that my idea of the
    archetype—literally a pre-existent form—does not stand alone but is something
    that isrecognized and named in other fields of knowledge.
       My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which
    is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical
    psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a
    second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is
    identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually
    but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only
    become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic
    contents.
    Carl Gustav Jung, The Concept of the Collective Unconscious.

      By far the greatest number of spontaneous synchronistic phenomena that I have
    had occasion to observe and analyze can easily be shown to have a direct
    connection with an archetype.
    Carl Gustav Jung, Synchronicity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1960.
    Page 65.

       For Freud ... the unconscious is of an exclusively personal nature ....
       A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call
    it the personal unconscious. But this personal unconscious rests upon a deeper
    layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal
    acquisition but is inborn. This deeper level I call the collective unconscious. I have
    chosen the term “collective” because this part of the unconscious is not individual
    but universal ....
    Carl Gustav Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious . R.F.C. Hull,
    translator. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1969. Page 3.

 According to Jung, the collective unconscious is related to gnōsis (Ancient
Greek, inner knowledge):
      For we have in medieval alchemy the long-sought connecting-link between Gnosis
    and the processes of the collective unconscious, observable to us to-day in modern
    man.
    Carl Gustav Jung (forward) to Richard Wilhelm (translator), The Secret of the
    Golden Flower. Page xiv.

  The Integralism of sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin (1889-1968), which was
previously considered, and his applied science of amitology appear to have been
aspects of his own emancipatory project:

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       ... to guide myself through the chaos of the Sensate Gotterdammerung [German,
    Götterdämmerung, twilight of the Gods or complete destruction], I completed my
    building of the Integral Weltanschauung [German, worldview]—an integral system
    of science, religion, philosophy, sociology, psychology, economics and the fine arts.
    In my mentality and conduct this Weltanschauung replaced the tattered remnants
    of the obsolescent Sensate philosophy.
       Unifying into one harmonious whole the universal and perennial values inherent
    in Sensate as well as Ideational Weltanschauungen [German, worldviews], and being
    free from the false values of each, the Integral Standpoint has served me more
    adequately than any other viewpoint.... Integralism has wisely guided my conduct
    amidst the bloody debris of the crumbling Sensate civilization.
    Pitirim A. Sorokin, Long Journey: An Autobiography of Pitirim A. Sorokin (Rowman
    & Littlefield, 1963). Page 325.

      The historical moment has struck for building a new applied science or a new art
    of amitology—the science and art of cultivation of amity, unselfish love, and mutual
    help in interindividual and intergroup relationships. A mature amitology is now the
    paramount need of humanity. Its development tangibly determines the creative
    future of homo sapiens.
      Such a science is the antidote to the Machiavellian Prince....
      ... Machiavellian “guidebooks” for extermination, extermination, and domination
    need to be replaced by “guidebooks” of mutual service and free cooperation....
      As one of the first steps in this direction, a recent establishment, in 1949, of the
    Harvard Research Center of Creative Altruism can be mentioned.
    Pitirim A. Sorokin, On the Practice of Sociology. Edited and with an introduction by
    Barry V. Johnston. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1998. Pages 302-304.

  In the 1980s, I had an extensive one-on-one discussion with journalist, author,
and Baháʾí, Guy Murchie (1907-1997), at the Green Acre Baháʾí School.
Unfortunately, as an Autistic, I have sometimes been unaware when I have
overstayed my welcome. (To be frank, by following him around for a couple of
hours, I assumed that I was keeping him company. In retrospect, he was simply
being polite.) Although I remember his strong face and towering height, the topics
of conversation have escaped me. Eventually, he wandered off and chatted with
others. Murchie was a brilliant writer, and he comprehended the unity of all things:
      There is no end to interrelations anywhere....
      Thus do abstract threads weave the living tapestry of Earth, our familiar world in
    which lupines love volcanoes, where a rock my give a brook its song, a world where
    surgeons have recently learned to transplant organs (containing genes) from one
    body to another, thus literally binding closer the brotherhood of man and, in some
    cases, the cousinhood of animal and man. Even when they implant artificial organs
    that have no genes, surgeons are reducing the disparity between man and machine,
    between animal and mineral, possibly even between life and nonlife ....
    Guy Murchie, The Seven Mysteries of Life: An Exploration in Science and Philosophy.
    The Interrelatedness of All Creatures (chapter). Boston: Houghton Mifflin
    Company. 1978. Page 380.


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  All things, according to Murchie, are progressing towards an interwoven
transcendence:
       ... [Here is] what I mean by transcendence and its multiple aspects: individual
    transcendence in which each of us develops larger and larger awareness of space,
    time, and self, social transcendence in which individual consciousnesses are
    absorbed into superconsciousness or a group mind, and world transcendence in
    which the consciousnesses and superconsciousnesses of nations and empires on a
    planet evolve into a world organism that ultimately conveys them beyond the
    finitude of space, time and self toward the Infinitude of Mystery in the Universe,
    which may be called God. All of these transcendences are more or less interwoven
    as far as I can tell ....
    Guy Murchie, The Seven Mysteries of Life: An Exploration in Science and Philosophy.
    Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1978. Page 517.

  Through his own realizational project, physicist David Bohm (1817-1892)
concluded that the universe could be understood in terms of explicate and
implicate orders. These two cosmological concepts resemble Bhaskar’s distinction
between duality and non-duality. Inner and outer self-improvement is, to Bohm,
implicate in the structure of human thought:
      The hologram seems, on cursory inspection, to have no significant order in it, and
    yet there must somehow be in it an order that determines the order of points that
    will appear in the image when it is illuminated. We may call this order implicit, but
    the basic root of the word implicit means “enfolded.” So in some sense, the whole
    object is enfolded in each part of the hologram rather than being in point-to-point
    correspondence. We may therefore say that each part of the hologram contains an
    enfolded order essentially similar to that of the object and yet obviously different in
    form.
      As we develop this idea, we shall see that this notion of enfoldment is not merely a
    metaphor, but that it has to be taken fairly literally. To emphasise this point, we
    shall therefore say that the order in the hologram is implicate. The order in the
    object, as well as in the image, will then be unfolded and we shall call it explicate.
    The process, in this case wave movement, in which this order is conveyed from the
    object to the hologram will be called enfoldment or implication. The process in which
    the order in the hologram becomes manifest to the viewer in an image will be called
    unfoldment or explication.
    David Bohm and Basil J. Hiley, The Undivided Universe: An Ontological
    Interpretation of Quantum Theory. New York: Routledge. 1995. Pages 353-354.
       I should think it is natural in thought to project this goal of becoming better. That
    is, it is intrinsic in the structure of thought....
       If it is good to become better outwardly, then why shouldn’t I become better
    inwardly?
    David Bohm in David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Ending of Time
    (Dialogue). New York: Harper & Row. 1985. Pages 5-6.

  Inspired by Bohm and by physicist Niels Bohr, Karen Michelle Barad (1956-
present) is the primary co-investigator of the Ethics and Justice in Science and
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Engineering Training Program, a physicist, and an interdisciplinary feminist studies
scholar. She has examined the (quantum) entanglement of existence:
       The notion of intra-action is a key element of my agential realist framework. The
    neologism “intra-action” signifies the mutual constitution of entangled agencies. That
    is, in contrast to the usual “interaction,” which assumes that there are separate
    individual agencies that precede their interaction, the notion of intra-action
    recognizes that distinct agencies do not precede, but rather emerge through, their
    intra-action. It is important to note that the “distinct” agencies are only distinct in a
    relational, not an absolute, sense, that is, agencies are only distinct in relation to their
    mutual entanglement; they don’t exist as individual elements.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 33.

       To be entangled is not simply to be intertwined with another, as in the joining of
    separate entities, but to lack an independent, self-contained existence. Existence is
    not an individual affair. Individuals do not preexist their interactions; rather,
    individuals emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating. Which is
    not to say that emergence happens once and for all, as an event or as a process
    that takes place according to some external measure of space and of time, but
    rather that time and space, like matter and meaning, come into existence, are
    iteratively reconfigured through each intra-action, thereby making it impossible to
    differentiate in any absolute sense between creation and renewal, beginning and
    returning, continuity and discontinuity, here and there, past and future.
       ... Memory does not reside in the folds of individual brains; rather, memory is the
    enfoldings of space-time-matter written into the universe, or better, the enfolded
    articulations of the universe in its mattering.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page ix.

      ... realism is reformulated in terms of the goal of providing accurate descriptions
    of agential reality—that reality within which we intra-act and have our being
    —rather than some imagined and idealized human-independent reality. I use the
    label agential realism for both the new form of realism and the larger
    epistemological and ontological framework that I propose.
    Karen Barad, “Getting Real: Technoscientific Practices and the Materialization of
    Reality.” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies . Durham, NC: Duke
    University Press. Volume 10. Issue 2. Summer 1998. Pages 87-128.

  Barad’s refers to her approach as ontoepistemological
(ontological/epistemological):
       I call my proposed ontoepistemological framework “agential realism.” ...
    Importantly, agential realism rejects the notion of a correspondence relation
    between words and things and offers in its stead a causal explanation of how
    discursive practices are related to material phenomena. It does so by shifting the
    focus from the nature of representations (scientific and other) to the nature of
    discursive practices (including technoscientific ones), leaving in its wake the entire
    irrelevant debate between traditional forms of realism and social constructivism.
    Crucial to this theoretical framework is a strong commitment to accounting for the

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    material nature of practices and how they come to matter.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Pages 44-
    45.

      The agential realist understanding that I propose is a nonrepresentationalist form
    of realism that is based on an ontology that does not take for granted the existence
    of “words” and “things” and an epistemology that does not subscribe to a notion of
    truth based on their correct correspondence.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 56.

       Crucially, ... we should understand phenomena not as objects-in-themselves, or
    as perceived objects (in the Kantian or phenomenological sense), but as specific
    intra-actions. Because the basis of this ontology is a fundamental inseparability, it
    cuts across any Kantian noumena-phenomena [nonsensory-sensory] distinction:
    there are no determinately bounded or propertied entities existing “behind” or as
    the causes of phenomena.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 128.

  In Barad’s agential realism, the basic unit of existence is a phenomenon or an
ontological entanglement. Individuals and other objects are the products of
entangled phenomena. They do not exist independently. Because of the entangled
nature of material being throughout spacetime, Barad has called for a fundamental
rethinking of ethics:
      Importantly, I suggest that Bohm’s notion of a phenomenon be understood
    ontologically. In particular, I take the primary ontological unit to be phenomena,
    rather than independent objects with inherent boundaries and properties. In my
    agential realist elaboration, phenomena do not merely mark the epistemological
    inseparability of “observer” and ”observed”; rather, phenomena are the ontological
    inseparability of intra-acting “agencies.” That is, phenomena are ontological
    entanglements. Significantly, in my account, phenomena are not mere laboratory
    contrivances. Phenomena are the basis for a new ontology.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 333.

       ... time, like space and matter, is phenomenonal (i.e., time is not an external
    parameter but rather is an integral aspect of phenomena). As a result of the
    iterative nature of intra-active practices that constitute phenomena, the “past” and
    the “future” are iteratively reconfigured and enfolded through one another:
    phenomena cannot be located in space and time; rather, phenomena are material
    entanglements that “extend” across different spaces and times.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 383.
      Ethics needs to be rethought. Science needs to be rethought. Indeed, taking
    Bohm’s interpretation seriously calls for a reworking of the very terms of the

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    question about the relationship between science and ethics. Even beyond that, it
    undermines the metaphysics of individualism and calls for a rethinking of the very
    nature of knowledge and being.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 23.

  Therefore, according to Barad, wholeness is a solidarity between all the
elements of a particular phenomenon:
      Wholeness ... does not signify the dissolution of boundaries. Wholeness is not
    about prioritizing the whole over the sum of the parts; wholeness signifies the
    inseparability of “component” parts of phenomena (i.e., the ontological primacy of
    relations over relata). Wholeness requires that delineations, differentiations, and
    distinctions be drawn; differentness is required of wholeness. Utopian dreams of
    dissolving boundaries are pure illusion, since reality is (iteratively) (re)constituted
    through the (re)making of boundaries.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 441.
      The iterative enfolding of specific materializing phenomena into practices of
    materialization matters to the specifics of the materialization it produces. In short,
    the iterative enfolding of matter comes to matter.
    Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement
    of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books. 2007. Page 180.

  Yet another interesting example of realization or emancipation through non-
duality is the adaptation by Ken Wilber (1949-present), who was discussed earler,
of the holarchy (a system of holons ) from journalist and author, Arthur Koestler
(1905-1983). Unlike the real connectedness of Bhaskar’s cosmic envelope,
Wilber’s “kosmological” framework, which he now calls the AQAL map, continues
to be a modern form of objective idealism:
      My own sense is that, since holons are “bottomless,” how much “consciousness”
    each of them possesses is an entirely relative affair. I don't think we need to draw a
    bold line in the existential sand and say, on this side of the line, consciousness; on
    that side, utter darkness. Indeed, the whole point of the hierarchy of evolutionary
    emergents of apprehension is that consciousness is almost infinitely graded, with
    each emergent holon possessing a little more depth and thus a bit more
    apprehension.
    Ken Wilber, “An Integral Theory of Consciousness.” Journal of Consciousness
    Studies, 4 (1), February 1997, pages 71-92.

      ... I think what we want to do is Kosmology, not cosmology....
      Precisely because the Kosmos is composed of holons, and holons exist
    holarchically, you can’t escape these nested orders. Rather, we want to tease apart
    natural holarchies from pathological or dominator holarchies....
      ... the basic principle of holism is holarchy: the higher or deeper dimension
    provides a principle, or a “glue,” or a pattern, that unites and links otherwise
    separate and conflicting and isolated parts into a coherent unity ....
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    Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything. Second edition. Boston, MA:. Shambhala
    Publications. 2011. Page 17 and 42.

       AQAL Pronounced “ah-qwul.” Short for “all-quadrants, all-levels,” which
    itself is short for “all-quadrants, all-levels, all-lines, all-states, and all-types.”
    Developed by philosopher and author, Ken Wilber, AQAL appears to be the most
    comprehensive approach to reality to date. It is a supertheory or metatheory that
    attempts to explain how the most time-tested methodologies, and the experiences
    those methodologies bring forth, fit together in a coherent fashion. AQAL theory’s
    pragmatic correlate is a series of social practices called Integral Methodological
    Pluralism (IMP). The personal application of AQAL is called Integral Life Practice
    (ILP). “AQAL” is often used interchangeably with Integral Theory, the Integral
    approach, the Integral map, the Integral model, and Integral Operating System
    (IOS).
    Matt Rentschler, “AQAL Glossary.” Journal of Integral Theory and Practice.
    Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Fall 2006. Volume 1. Number 3. Pages 1-38.

  Wilber’s emancipatory system, which uses the AQAL map, is, as mentioned
above, Integral Life Practice :
       The “Integral” part of ILP [Integral Life Practice] is that it is radically inclusive.
    To be this, it draws on a conceptual map called AQAL .... AQAL is a theory of
    everything, a way of comprehending life and reality in very broad yet precise terms.
    AQAL is a map of consciousness, the Kosmos, and human development, at every
    level and in every dimension that presents itself.
    Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, and Marco Morelli, Integral Life
    Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental
    Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening. Boston: Integral Books. 2008. Pages 9-10.
      ILP [Integral Life Practice] is post-metaphysical.... What “post-metaphysical”
    means here is that no perspective on reality is merely given to consciousness. Every
    perspective is enacted....
      At its core, Integral Life Practice is not limited to the performance of specific
    practices. It’s a sincere, inherent commitment to bring awareness, care, and
    presence to every moment of life—and thereby to increase one’s awareness, care,
    and presence. An ILP practitioner naturally strives for a healthy body, a clear
    mind, an open heart, and a commitment to a higher purpose.
    Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, and Marco Morelli, Integral Life
    Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental
    Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening. Boston: Integral Books. 2008. Pages 24-25.

  Wilber’s original spiritual teacher was Ādi Dā Love-Ānanda Samrāj (born
Franklin Jones, 1939-2008):
      ... many people ... misinterpret my overall stance towards Master Adi Da. I have
    not, and have never, renounced Da as Realizer, nor have I in any way abandoned
    my love and devotion for Him....
      I affirm my own love and devotion to the living Sat-Guru [Sanskrit, Sat-Gurū,
    ideal enlightener], and I hope my work will continue to bring students to the Way of

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    the Heart.
    Ken Wilber, “‘Private’ letter to the Adidam community .” Fall, 1997. Adi Da and The
    Case of Ken Wilber. Retrieved on May 29, 2012.

  Ādi Dā Love-Ānanda Samrāj developed a Cosmic Mandala (Sanskrit, maṇḍala,
circular, round, or circle). Similarly, Wilber referred to his own model as a mandala:
       Each of the levels of the Cosmic Mandala represents a quality of energy (or
    light). In each of the rings (or portions) of the Cosmic Mandala that move out from
    the Central “Bright” Whiteness, there are infinite numbers of possible worlds and
    kinds of embodiment. In this gross plane in which you now exist, you are at the
    outskirts of the Cosmic Mandala.
    Adi Da Samraj, Easy Death: Spiritual Wisdom on the Ultimate Transcending of Death
    and Everything Else. Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press. 2005. Page 154.

      Integral philosophy ... coordinates the Good, the True, and the Beautiful,
    weaving a mandala of the many faces of Spirit, and then invites us to take up
    spiritual practice itself, and thus finally meet Spirit face to face.
    Ken Wilber, The Eye of the Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World gone Slightly Mad .
    Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc. 2001 (revised edition). Page 85.

       This is an introduction to one of Ken Wilber’s most versatile ideas: his model of
    what he calls the Four Quadrants. As a formal structure, the four quadrants [of
    the AQAL map] display a striking resemblance to a mandala. Wilber also speaks of
    his philosophy as “weaving a mandala of the many faces of Spirit.” My approach,
    therefore, will use the mandala as a way to approach Wilber’s model, and I will
    then explore its significance and some of the many insights it can help you discern
    as well as some of the oversights it can help you avoid.
       Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle,” and it denotes the circular,
    concentric pattern of images used in spiritual practices, such as meditation, as an
    object of concentration. Most mandalas express a fourfold pattern. Simply place a
    cross within a circle, dividing it into four equal facets, and you have the basic formal
    structure of a mandala.
    Hyatt Carter, A Mandalic Model of Reality. Retrieved on March 5, 2012.

  However, Rolf Sattler (1936-present) believes that his Dynamic Mandala is even
more inclusive that Wilber’s AQAL map. As an emancipatory practice, Sattler
contends that this mandala has, through its center, an extraordinary capacity to
consolidate various religions, cultures, and wisdom traditions:
      “Mandala” is a Sanskrit word meaning circle and completion. Thus, most
    mandalas are plans, charts, geometric patterns, or all sorts of artistic designs that
    are circular, although squares and other figures may be incorporated. As far as its
    meaning is concerned, a mandala is often a symbolic representation of the Kosmos
    including our self. It has a center that is often meant to be the source of all being,
    and from this source radiates manifest reality in all its manifoldness.
    Rolf Sattler, Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond . Kingston, Ontario. Privately
    published. 2008. Page 49. Retrieved on January 21, 2012.


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       This alternative map [to Wilber’s AQAL map] is a dynamic mandala, or, more
    precisely, a self-referential dynamic mandala. Self-referential means that the
    mandala does not only refer to the Kosmos, but also to itself. Therefore, the
    dynamic concept of the mandala does not only refer to the dynamic of the Kosmos,
    but also to the mandala itself, which means that the mandala is also dynamic. In
    other words, transformation is built into the mandala: the mandala entails countless
    transformations of itself, each of which is a different mandala or map of the
    Kosmos. Thus, the mandala actually is a mandala of mandalas, a plurality of maps.
    It turns out that Wilber’s map is one of the transformations that the mandala can
    undergo. This means that Wilber’s map is a special case of the mandala. The
    mandala, however, is not a special case of Wilber’s map since it cannot be
    generated from Wilber’s map. Therefore, the mandala is more comprehensive than
    Wilber’s map.
    Rolf Sattler, Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond . Kingston, Ontario. Privately
    published. 2008. Page 8. Retrieved on January 21, 2012.

      Since mandalas have been created in practically all cultures, religions, and
    wisdom traditions, a mandala of mandalas that relates all mandalas also relates the
    cultures, religions, and wisdom traditions in which they originated. Therefore, the
    mandala of mandalas has an enormous potential to unify and connect diverse
    cultures, religions, and wisdom traditions. The unification occurs through the
    center that all mandalas share; the connection through the different peripheries of
    the mandalas that can be seen in a dynamic relationship.
    Rolf Sattler, Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond . Kingston, Ontario. Privately
    published. 2008. Page 80. Retrieved on January 21, 2012.

  Additional metaphysical mandalas may be found in the Mathematical Mandala of
Thomas J. McFarlane and The Mandala Project of Lori Bailey Cunningham:
       This article presents a dynamic mathematical mandala which can be seen as an
    integral model of reality. In contrast with conventional two-dimensional mandalas,
    the mandala described here is a sphere in three (or more) dimensions. Moreover,
    through a process of breaking the perfect symmetry of the three-dimensional
    sphere and then projecting the sphere onto a plane, the sphere is related to
    conventional linear, planar mandalas and unfolds their implicit archetypal
    structures. For example, a mandala with many similarities to Ken Wilber’s Four
    Quadrant model of the Kosmos is unfolded as a special case of the spherical
    mandala. A four-dimensional integral sphere also contains Wilber’s nested spheres
    as a special case. Higher dimensional spheres can be used to represent additional
    aspects of existence. The paper also shows how the present model provides a tool
    for facilitating complex thinking with fundamental categories, revealing how they
    interpenetrate and transform into each other.
    Thomas J. McFarlane, “The Integral Sphere: A Mathematical Mandala of
    Reality.” The Center for Integral Science. 2004. Retrieved on February 16, 2012.

      The Mandala Project provides a creative visual and experiential demonstration
    of unity with diversity. Through art, the project brings people together to create
    something larger than themselves while honoring the uniqueness of the individual
    and celebrating the benefits and gifts of a collective experience.
    Lori Bailey Cunningham, “About the Project.” The Mandala Project. Retrieved on

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    February 16, 2012.

 Another Integral writer, Jennifer Gidley, discusses several emancipatory
methods for developing inclusive and multilayered spiritual cosmologies:
       By awakening our thinking with the ideas found in the perennial philosophies or
    spiritual epistemologies, by contemplative practices, by artistic work to stimulate the
    imagination, and sometimes by “grace,” we can all develop our consciousness and
    ultimately our cultures to move beyond fragmented, materialistic thinking to
    multilayered, pluralistic, and inclusive integral cosmological models. Crucially, it
    involves a shift from solely “brain centered” thinking to “heart and brain centered”
    thinking.
    Jennifer Gidley, “Spiritual Epistemologies and Integral Cosmologies: Transforming
    Thinking and Culture.” Susan M. Awbrey, Diane Dana, Vachel W. Miller, Phyllis
    Robinson, Merle M. Ryan, and David K. Scott (editors), Integrative Learning and
    Action. Studies in Education and Spirituality. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang
    Publishing. 2006. Pages 29-55.

  In addition, the beautiful French philosopher and Jesuit Roman Catholic priest,
Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), developed a self-defined realist
approach to the noosphere, or collective human thought world, centered upon an
Omega point, or center, of unity. The universe itself, in Teilhard’s view, is
progressively fulfilled in alignment with the laws regulating union:
       One thing at any rate is sure—from the moment we adopt a thoroughly realistic
    view of the noosphere and of the hyperorganic nature of social bonds, the present
    situation of the world becomes dearer; for we find a very simple meaning for the
    profound troubles which disturb the layer of mankind at this moment....
       All our difficulties and repulsions as regards the opposition between the All and
    the Person would be dissipated if only we understood that, by structure, the
    noosphere (and more generally the world) represent a whole that is not only closed
    but also centred. Because it contains and engenders consciousness, spacetime is
    necessarily of a convergent nature. Accordingly its enormous layers, followed in the
    right direction, must somewhere ahead become involuted to a point which we might
    call Omega, which fuses and consumes them integrally in itself....
       ... it would be mistaken to represent Omega to ourselves simply as a centre born
    of the fusion of elements which it collects, or annihilating them in itself. By its
    structure Omega, in its ultimate principle, can only be a distinct Centre radiating at
    the core of a system of centres ; a grouping in which personalisation of the All and
    personalisations of the elements reach their maximum simultaneously and without
    merging, under the influence of a supremely autonomous focus of union....
       The end of the world: the overthrow of equilibrium, detaching the mind, fumed
    at last, from its material matrix, so that it will henceforth rest with all its weight on
    God-Omega....
       ...that mysterious centre of our centres ... I have called Omega....
       ... By its very structure the noosphere could not close itself either individually or
    socially in any way save under the influence of the centre we have called Omega....
       The universe fulfilling itself in a synthesis of centres in perfect conformity with the
    laws of union. God, the Centre of centres. In that final vision the Christian dogma

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    culminates. And so exactly, so perfectly does this coincide with the Omega Point
    that doubtless 1 should never have ventured to envisage the latter or formulate the
    hypothesis rationally if, in my consciousness as a believer, I had not found not only
    its speculative model but also its living reality.
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper Perennial
    Modern Classics. 2008. Pages 252, 262-263, 267, 288, 291, and 294.

       In the superficial course of our existences, there is a difference between seeing
    and thinking, between understanding and loving, between giving and receiving,
    between growing and shrinking, between living and dying. But what will happen to
    all those contradictions once their diversity has revealed itself in Omega as an
    infinite variety of forms of a single universal contact? Without any sort of radical
    disappearance they will tend to combine into a common sum, in which their still
    recognizable plurality will burst forth in ineffable riches. Not any sort of
    interference, but a resonance....
       Under Omega’s influence, we said, each separate soul becomes capable of
    breathing itself out in a single act into which the incalculable plurality of its
    perceptions and activities, its sufferings and desires, passes without confusion.
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, On Love & Happiness. New York: Harper & Row. 1984.
    Pages 30-31.

 According to Teilhard, the transcendent aspect of the Omega point is God or
Christ:
      God ... [is] the transcendent aspect of Omega ....
      This takes us ..., by a final ascent to the less known, to a last and supreme
    definition of Omega point: the centre, at least one and complex, in which, bound
    together by the person of Christ, may be seen enclosed one within the other (one
    might say) three progressively deeper centres : on the outside, the immanent
    (“natural”) apex of the humano-cosmic cone; further, in at the middle, the
    imminent (“supernatural”) apex of the ecclesial or Christie cone; and, finally, at the
    innermost heart, the transcendent, triune and divine centre: The complete Pleroma
    [Greek pléroma, fullness of divine powers ] coming together under the mediating
    action of Christ-Omega.




    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy. San Diego. Harcourt. 1978. Pages
    144 and 155.

     The true God must ... possess all the attributes ascribed to Omega Point, and
    must in particular satisfy these two conditions: he must be:
     a. A God of cosmic synthesis in whom we can be conscious of advancing and of

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    joining together by spiritual transformation of all powers of matter.
       b. A supremely personal God, from whom we are the more distinguishable the
    more we lose ourselves in Him.
    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Let Me Explain. New York: Harper & Row. 1972. Page
    88.

  Of course, the forefathers of many modern emancipatory movements were the
revolutionary communist writers, Karl Marx (1818-1893) and Friedrich Engels
(1820-1895). They also emphasized the importance of unity:
      Proletarians [workers] of all countries, unite!
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. 1848. English-
    language translation, 1888.

       If we speak of existence and merely of existence, the unity can only consist in this
    that all objects with which it is concerned are—exist. They are comprised under the
    unity of this common existence, and no other, and the general dictum that they all
    exist cannot give them any further qualities, common or not common, but excludes
    all such from consideration in advance. For as soon as we take a step beyond the
    simple fact that existence is common to all things, the distinctions between these
    separate things engage our attention, and if these differences consist in this that
    some are black, some white, some alive, others not alive, some hither and some
    beyond, we cannot conclude therefrom that mere existence can be imputed to all of
    them alike.
       The unity of the universe does not consist in its existence, although its existence is
    a presumption of its unity, since it must first exist before it can be a unit. Existence
    beyond the boundary line of our horizon is an open question. The real unity of the
    universe consists in its materiality, and this is established, not by a pair of juggling
    phrases but by means of a long and difficult development of philosophy and natural
    science.
    Friedrich Engels, Landmarks of Scientific Socialism. 1877. English-language
    translation, 1907.

       They [the working class] know that in order to work out their own emancipation,
    and along with it that higher form to which present society is irresistibly tending, by
    its own economic agencies, they will have to pass through long struggles, through a
    series of historic processes, transforming circumstances and men. They have no
    ideals to recognize, but to set free the elements of the new society with which the
    old collapsing bourgeois society is pregnant.
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Paris Commune. 1870-1871. English-language
    translation, 1902. Page 80.

      Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man’s ideas, views, and
    conception, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the
    conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?...
      But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz.,
    the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social
    consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves
    within certain common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish

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     except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.
     Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. 1848. English-
     language translation, 1888.
  Return to the table of contents.

                            XIII. The Sciences and the Model

       Epistemology

  In Bhakar’s realist epistemology, knowledge is relativist or fallibilist. Human
categories of attributes are conditioned by one’s understanding and capacity. A
discussion of the Arabic term, ʾilm (plural, ʾūlum), which can be translated both as
science and knowledge, may help to clarify my perspective on this principle. Baháʾí
epistemology, as the unfettered or independent search after truth, has, according
to His beloved Presence ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, multiple sources, not just one. That is to
say, science, when it is redefined as human knowledge through acquiring,
embracing, and loving the attributes of essences , can utilize various types of data.
  For instance, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, in the quotation below, begins His discussion of
epistemology, as He does with many subjects, by grounding His statements within
the context of Aristotelian philosophy. He then concludes His reiteration of the
classical Aristotelian model by apparently dismissing Aristotle’s direct realism and,
in its place, presenting a relativist position. The typology, or model, of the beloved
Master seems, at least on the surface, to be remarkably similar to epistemic
(knowing) relativism (pragmatic fallibilism). From His point of view, any human
methods of discovery and understanding are ultimately imperfect:
        There are only four accepted methods of comprehension—that is to say, the
     realities of things are understood by these four methods.
        The first method is by the senses-that is to say, all that the eye, the ear, the taste,
     the smell, the touch perceive is understood by this method. Today this method is
     considered the most perfect by all the European philosophers ....
        The second is the method of reason, which was that of the ancient philosophers,
     the pillars of wisdom; this is the method of the understanding....
        The third method of understanding is by tradition—that is, through the text of
     the Holy Scriptures .... This method equally is not perfect, because the traditions
     are understood by the reason. As the reason itself is liable to err, how can it be said
     that in interpreting the meaning of the traditions it will not err, for it is possible for
     it to make mistakes, and certainty cannot be attained....
        Know then: that which is in the hands of people, that which they believe, is liable
     to error. For, in proving or disproving a thing, if a proof is brought forward which is
     taken from the evidence of our senses, this method, as has become evident, is not
     perfect; if the proofs are intellectual, the same is true; or if they are traditional,
     such proofs also are not perfect. Therefore, there is no standard in the hands of
     people upon which we can rely.
        But the bounty of the Holy Spirit gives the true method of comprehension which

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    is infallible and indubitable. This is through the help of the Holy Spirit which comes
    to man, and this is the condition in which certainty can alone be attained.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Pages 297-299.

      The steed of this Valley [Search] is patience; without patience the wayfarer on
    this journey will reach nowhere and attain no goal. Nor should he ever be
    downhearted; if he strive for a hundred thousand years and yet fail to behold the
    beauty of the Friend, he should not falter. For those who seek the Kaʾbih of “for
    Us” rejoice in the tidings: “In Our ways will We guide them.” In their search, they
    have stoutly girded up the loins of service, and seek at every moment to journey
    from the plane of heedlessness into the realm of being. No bond shall hold them
    back, and no counsel shall deter them.
      Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys,” The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Page 5.

      [The Baháʾí Faith] enjoins upon its followers the primary duty of an unfettered
    search after truth ....
    Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page vi.

  To my understanding, human names or categories of essential attributes are
relative to our finite understandings. On the other hand, the divinely created
essences themselves, such as humanity and religion, are unknowable. We learn
about them, indirectly, only if they are specifically mentioned in an authoritative
text. Therefore, knowledge or science is limited to an exploration of the
individualized attributes of unifying essences:
      Know that there are two kinds of knowledge: the knowledge of the essence of a
    thing and the knowledge of its qualities. The essence of a thing is known through its
    qualities; otherwise, it is unknown and hidden.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 220.

       The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but the soul
    hath limitless manifestations of its own. The mind is circumscribed, the soul limitless.
    It is by the aid of such senses as those of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, that
    the mind comprehendeth, whereas the soul is free from all agencies.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Page 8.

      Science and Religion

 The Baháʾí Faith is, according to Shoghi Effendi, compatible with the scientific
method. Yet, religion and science are not the same:
      The Revelation proclaimed by Baháʾuʾlláh, His followers believe, is divine in
    origin, all-embracing in scope, broad in its outlook, scientific in its method ....
      The Baháʾí Faith ... teaches that ... it [religion] must go hand-in-hand with
    science ....
    From The Baháʾí Faith: A Summary of Its Aims, Teachings and History

  The harmony of science and religion is not, in my opinion, merely speculation.
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Even as the unity, or the essence, of religions is unknowable, the essence of
human knowledge or science, should there be such a thing, would be unknowable,
as well. Because essences are, by definition, unknowable, this principle is not
metaphysical. Although we might limit our speculatons on the mystical reality of the
harmony of science and religion, we acquire attributes along both roads to human
understanding. These attributes, including the prescribed functions of religion and
science, have been defined for us:
      With regard to the harmony of science and religion, the Writings of the Central
    Figures and the commentaries of the Guardian make abundantly clear that the
    task of humanity, including the Baháʾí community that serves as the “leaven”
    within it, is to create a global civilization which embodies both the spiritual and
    material dimensions of existence. The nature and scope of such a civilization are still
    beyond anything the present generation can conceive. The prosecution of this vast
    enterprise will depend on a progressive interaction between the truths and
    principles of religion and the discoveries and insights of scientific inquiry. This
    entails living with ambiguities as a natural and inescapable feature of the process of
    exploring reality. It also requires us not to limit science to any particular school of
    thought or methodological approach postulated in the course of its development.
    The challenge facing Baháʾí thinkers is to provide responsible leadership in this
    endeavour, since it is they who have both the priceless insights of the Revelation
    and the advantages conferred by scientific investigation.
    From a letter, dated May 17, 1995, written on behalf of the Universal House of
    Justice to this writer.

   Although divine religion and the sciences should and, from a Baháʾí perspective,
must work together in harmony, the sciences cannot be collapsed into, or eclipsed
by, the divine religions. Neither would the Religion of God ever become, in
common usage, “scientific.” Nevertheless, religious conviction and academic
scholarship, including the social sciences and the humanities, should not, as I see
it, be expected to function in total isolation from one another. Indeed, all branches
of study or practice, whether in academia or in other occupations, should, I feel,
have a spiritual and a moral dimension.
  To express this idea in another way, much as revealed religion cannot be
reduced to the sciences, the sciences cannot be reduced to divine religion. So-
called scientific religions , approaches to religion which also claim to be objectively
“scientific,” indicate, in my opinion, a misguided pseudoscience – in which
nonscience masquerades as science. My heart’s current inclination is to define
sociology, the exploration of human relationships, as a human scientific
exploration of empirical and spiritual relationships, not to obscure the differences
between any human investigations or experiences and the eternal Religion of God.
       I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been
    only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then
    finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean
    of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

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    Sir Issac Newton quoted in Sir David Brewster, Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and
    Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton. Volume 2. Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co.
    1855. Page 407.

      The Human Sciences

  Another view, often found in anglophone, francophone, and other countries, is
that a scientific method can, with merely a few adjustments, be made to work in
some fields, including biology and sociology, but not in others, such as literature
and philosophy. This universal scientific method, which was an ideal of the
Enlightenment (about 1650-1800), is sometimes called positivism, scientism, or
scientific idolatry . It has since been challenged by the less holistic , and more
particularistic , perspective that, even though all disciplines have their particular
methodologies, none of them are necessarily more or less scientific than the
others.
       Strong empiricism ... [is] the epistemological doctrine that experience not only is a
    ground for knowledge but also is the best or only ground. There are not, and
    cannot be, meaningful assertions other than those verified, or verifiable, by positive
    empirical evidence. This is a revolutionary doctrine because its demand that all
    alleged truths be put to the test of experience undermines metaphysical beliefs
    grounded in intuition, pure reason, faith, tradition, and authority. Doctrinal
    empiricism sometimes is content to invalidate the epistemological claims of these
    alternative routes to knowledge and pronounce itself agnostic with respect to the
    objects these methods allegedly apprehend (e.g., God, value, beauty, freedom, the
    soul). Frequently, however, strong empiricism affirms the ontological doctrine that
    extraempirical, nonobservable things do not exist. Advocates call this ontological
    doctrine naturalism, whereas dissenters call it scientism or positivism.
    Jonathan Smith, “Empiricism.” Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Barney Warf,
    editor. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2006. Pages 130-131.

   Although the Enlightenment model continues to haunt many academic
departments to the present day, there is, and never has been, much consistency in
the application of the term, science . Within the Baháʾí Sacred Texts, ʾilm
(knowledge or science) is sometimes used in the broad sense, common in the
Islāmic world, which even includes theology (aqīdah). Ideally, in my opinion, we
might simply stop referring to science altogether or, my own preference, generalize
it to refer to the diverse methodologies for pursuing knowledge in different fields of
research. Thus, while there are sciences , there is no single scientific method.
  Humanism, in opposition to a strict positivism, recognizes the distinctiveness and
subjectivity of human beings. Unfortunately, humanism has several only minimally
related definitions. The term does not, from a sociological perspective, refer, as a
rule, to the nontheistic secular humanism. Rather, human nature, from a
humanistic viewpoint, cannot be effectively or comprehensively studied using any
of the positivist methods which fail to treat humans as humans. Strong social
constructionism, which also opposes humanism, is a nominalist or conceptualist
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perspective. It rejects human nature as unsupportable speculative metaphysics.
   Humanism, in the usual sociological sense, is related to the German, human
sciences (Geisteswissenschaften, literally, sciences of the human spirit or mind).
It is an interdisciplinary subject area with the social sciences, some of the
humanities, and theology. Even in the English language, expressions, such as fire
science and police science , describe occupations which defy the more usual
physical sciences , biological sciences , and social sciences . Ultimately, the manner
in which science is defined has often been a function of traditional divisional and
departmental structures in the higher educational systems of specific countries.
  However, human science , as that term is currently used in the United States and
elsewhere, is an approach to the social sciences and the humanities which
emphasizes the distinctiveness of human beings. Because we are willful and
emotional creatures, applying the methods of the physical and biological sciences
to human life would be informative but insufficient. Excluding subjective
observations denies the humanity of humans. With some qualitative human
science methods, such as Heartfulness Inquiry ™, even a researcher’s personal
spiritual experiences can be taken as data to explore and examine.
  Since human science is, by definition, a human activity, it is distinct from the
Religion of God which has been divinely and progressively revealed. Only a
Prophet can manifest the creative Word. However, human science perspectives
might be among the methodological pathways to follow toward realizing the
harmony of science, or the unfettered search after truth, and religion. As the
divinely willed interrelationships between religion and the sciences are better
grasped and heartfully appreciated, new or revised research methodologies, ones
more attuned to divine Revelation, will be formulated over time:
      Some of the protagonists in the discussions on the Internet have implied that the
    only way to attain a true understanding of historical events and of the purport of
    the sacred and historical records of the Cause of God is through the rigid
    application of methods narrowly defined in a materialistic framework....
      The Universal House of Justice does not see itself obliged to prescribe a new
    scientific methodology for Baháʾí academics who make study of the Faith, its
    teachings and history the subject of their professional activities. Rather has it
    concentrated on drawing the attention of these friends to the inadequacy of certain
    approaches from a Baháʾí point of view, urging them to apply to their work the
    concept which they accept as Baháʾís: that the Manifestation of God is of a higher
    realm and has a perception far above that of any human being. He has the task of
    raising humankind to a new level of knowledge and behaviour. In this, His
    understanding transcends the traditions and concepts of the society in which He
    appears....
      Although, in conveying His Revelation, the Manifestation uses the language and
    culture of the country into which He is born, He is not confined to using
    terminology with the same connotations as those given to it by His predecessors or
    contemporaries; He delivers His message in a form which His audience, both

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    immediate and in centuries to come, is capable of grasping. It is for Baháʾí scholars
    to elaborate, over a period of time, methodologies which will enable them to
    perform their work with this understanding. This is a challenging task, but not one
    which should be beyond the scope of Baháʾís who are learned in the Teachings as
    well as competent in their scientific disciplines.
    From a letter, dated February 8, 1998, written by the Universal House of Justice to
    an individual Baháʾí.

  When Baháʾí youth requested Shoghi Effendi’s guidance, the courses of study he
frequently recommended were history, economics, and sociology. Reading this
advice to others influenced my decision to get a Ph.D. in sociology and history. I
have also pondered over his possible reasons for suggesting, in particular,
sociology . Perhaps the answer lies in the Unity of God and the other unifying
essences of existence. Since, as social beings, we can experience our
interrelationships with entities in each of the five kingdoms of being, not only with
our own species, sociological research becomes an expression of love.
      The Guardian has always advised young people to study deeply such subjects as
    History, Economics and Sociology as they are all related to the teachings and aid in
    understanding the Faith.
    From a letter, dated May 12, 1944, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Page 629.

   Sociology is one of the academic disciplines which studies human social
relationships. Inspired by this new era of unity and interconnectedness, sociology
might be broadened to explore our connections with other beings and things. As
social creatures, we can bond with Prophets, with departed souls, and,
ecologically, with animals, vegetables, and minerals, not only with our own
species. The perfections in these three lower kingdoms of nature are our physical
ingredients. Indeed, human ecology is subfield of sociology which examines
linkages of human populations with the physical environment.
  My heart’s desire, which I completely dismissed as a nominalist, was for a
sociology renewed . That flame reignited while preparing this book. Therefore, I
have developed Unities of All Things™ , including Heartfulness Inquiry ™, as a form
of clinical sociology. The concept of social relationships , in sociology, might be
            sociology .
extended beyond the human kingdom to include the other four kingdoms of beings
and things. The following quotation is from an article published decades ago in the
official journal of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (then called the
                                  Society ):
American Catholic Sociological Society):
      A discussion of the function of the spiritual in sociology has to go back to the
    essence of the spiritual of which the institutionalized forms are derivatives. In order
    to show the connections between sociology and the spiritual, we propose the
    concept of reality as a fundamental frame of reference. The realm of sociology is
    social reality. This is a universe of objects, within which there is man, individuals and
    groups, interpersonal and intergroup relations, stratified society, cultures, their

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    differences and their unities, and finally, all the objects and objective data which in
    any way enter into the life of people....
       So far reference to value and value commitment has shown us that the proper
    realm of sociology, i.e., social reality, points to spiritual reality; this is the aspect of
    transcendence in sociology. But this gives us only a limited view of spiritual reality,
    its impact on social reality and on sociology, the science which tries to understand
    social reality....
       ... Social reality demands reference to spiritual reality, to the mystery of being....
       Sociology depends on a meta-sociology in order to develop a model of man that is
    adequate to human existence in face of the spiritual which we defined as the
    mystery of being.
    Rudolph Morris, “The Concept of the Spiritual and the Dilemma of Sociology,”
    Sociological Analysis . Vol. 25, No. 3 (Autumn, 1964).

  While Morris might have been an Aristotelian or a Thomist (Thomas Aquinas)
realist, which is certainly not uncommon in Roman Catholicism, sociologist Robert
Bellah’s symbolic realism appears to be objective idealism or cultural sociology:
       It seems to me that in the fruitful interchange between social science and religion
    we may be seeing the beginnings of the reintegration of our culture, a new
    possibility of the unity of consciousness. If so, it will not be on the basis of any new
    orthodoxy, either religious or scientific. Such a new integration will be based on the
    rejection of all univocal understandings of reality, of all identifications of one
    conception of reality with reality itself. It will recognize the multiplicity of the human
    spirit, and the necessity to translate constantly between different scientific and
    imaginative vocabularies. It will recognize the human proclivity to fall comfortably
    into some single literal interpretation of the world and therefore the necessity to be
    continuously open to rebirth in a new heaven and a new earth. It will recognize that
    in both scientific and religious culture all we have finally are symbols, but that there
    is an enormous difference between the dead letter and the living word.
    Robert Neelly Bellah, Beyond Belief: Essays on Religion in a Post-Traditionalist
    World. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1970. Page 246.

       ... symbols ... express reality and are not reducible to empirical propositions. This
    is the position of symbolic realism.
       ... I don’t mean that all religions are saying the same thing in doctrinal or ethical
    terms—obviously they are not. But religion is one for the same reason that science
    is one—though in different ways—because man is one. No expression of man’s
    attempt to grasp the meaning and unity of his existence, not even a myth of a
    primitive Australian, is without meaning and value to me.
    Robert Neelly Bellah, “Christianity and Symbolic Realism.” Journal for the Scientific
    Study of Religion. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. Volume 9. Number 2. Summer,
    1970. Pages 89-96.
 Return to the table of contents.

                                       XIV. Conclusion

      My Journey

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  For better or worse, I have remained, epistemologically, a fallibilist or relativist
since my youth. Although my approach to ontology has changed several times, I
found some way, at each turn, to maintain that relativism. Since my open-
mindedness to other viewpoints has remained fairly consistent throughout my life, I
was always willing and eager, perhaps by temperament, to closely examine them.
On the other hand, I would sometimes rationalize to myself that I was just
practicing my sociology of religion or studying social theory. To be honest,
however, I was, theoretically and philosophically, a socially disconnected Autistic
seeker.
  At around 12 years old, in 1968, I first became a Neoplatonist, an objective
                                                        Soulology .
metaphysical idealist, with my “scientific religion” of Soulology. I accepted the
Baháʾí Faith two years later. From 1978 until 2003, a period which included all my
years of graduate school and much of my academic career, I added integralism to
    Neoplatonism.
my Neoplatonism. During that time, my sociological thinking revolved around the
perennial philosophy of Renaissance man , Pitirim A. Sorokin. I discussed his
relationship to the developing integralist movement earlier in the book.
  Then, in 2003, I drifted, with little difficulty, from accepting universal essences,
as a Neoplatonist, to briefly re-imagining them as a critical realist, and to ultimately
forsaking them as a strong social constructionist and nominalist. Each of these
perspectives was approached in previous chapters. I now understand why
Roscelin of Compiègne and William of Ockham, both nominalists in their own ways,
have frequently been considered as dangerous souls within Roman Catholicism.
By rejecting unifying essences, nominalism can become socially and spiritually
corrosive or, perhaps, even toxic.
   Still, I have learned from nominalism that the Will of God, through His Prophets,
is supreme over His creation. For years, I despised nominalism. My willingness to
adopt it, along with a strong social constructionism, was, I feel, related to my
Autism, as a lack of awareness of essential human interrelationships, and my
unfortunate, self-destructive anger at a certain individual. In a sense, nominalism is
Autistic, and my Autism became my nominalism.
   When I returned to Critical Realism, after an eight-year detour as a nominalist
and a social constructionist, I came almost full circle. Now, however, I can
frequently feel, during periods of meditation or deepening, that the essences of
attributes are considerably more than nominal. Perhaps, I have often reflected, I
was guided by certain beloved friends and companions in the next world to
deconstruct my life so that His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, my Lord, could unite
it, or repackage it, together for me.
   Over the years, my wonderful feelings, thoughts, and memories have deepened
into the approach I now call the Unities Model. Hopefully, despite my numerous
limitations, I have communicated some of them. Ultimately, in my view, human
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souls are inner hearts. When we leave this temporary existence, or spiritual
workshop, any possessions we have accumulated remain behind. We take with us
our love, including the loving relationships we have developed with other souls. If
we are not, in the spiritual Kingdom, forming these eternal connections now, life, as
I see it, is hardly worth living.
      The consummation of this limitless universe with all its grandeur and glory hath
    been man himself, who in this world of being toileth and suffereth for a time, with
    divers ills and pains, and ultimately disintegrates, leaving no trace and no fruit after
    him. Were it so, there is no doubt that this infinite universe with all its perfections
    has ended in sham and delusion with no result, no fruit, no permanence and no
    effect. It would be utterly without meaning. They were thus convinced that such is
    not the case, that this Great Workshop with all its power, its bewildering
    magnificence and endless perfections, cannot eventually come to naught. That still
    another life should exist is thus certain, and, just as the vegetable kingdom is
    unaware of the world of man, so we, too, know not of the Great Life hereafter that
    followeth the life of man here below.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Page 14.

      Personal Mentors

  The late Marian Crist Lippitt began her spiritual journey as a student of the late
              Hoagg,
H. Emogene Hoagg, peace be upon them. When I was in my early teens, Marian
was training me, through our brief mail correspondence (pre-email days), to
participate in her massive Master Index of English-language Baháʾí texts. We only
met twice face to face. The first time was in the home of my beloved spiritual
mother, the late Elizabeth Thomas, peace and blessings be upon her. Marian
looked deeply and lovingly into my eyes and said something like, “You have
something else to do.” However, I think she was just being polite. I was not a very
good indexing student.
  Marian’s approach to the Baháʾí Faith has always been a major inspiration for my
own. When I saw her for the second time, at the Green Acre Baháʾí School, she
told me, as I recall, that she wished she could then go back and simplify her work.
Rightly or wrongly, on September 30, 2011, it occurred to me that her statement
might have been a personal request. Although her mind was as sharp as usual,
she was elderly. The Unities Model of Existence started in 1971, as Alethionomy ,
when, through patient Elizabeth, I began studying Marian’s compilation, The
Worlds of God , along with booklets written by Henry A. Weil, peace be upon him.
                                                         Weil,
   Marian is, in my eyes, a spiritually advanced soul. She is much closer to God’s
Presence, or Will, than I will likely ever be. As an example, the following quotation
is so beautiful:
      But once a soul moves up into 5th Dimensional consciousness [loving and knowing
    purpose and power or spirit], the whole scene changes. There is no more evil or hell,
    because our Source is Glorious; and so is what the Source manifests and creates,
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    because it is all fulfilling God’s purpose. WE begin to FEEL the divine Purpose and
    Power, the Spirit that animates us, the Will that over-rules the ego-will, the Word
    that reveals and manifests REALITY, etc.
    Marian Crist Lippitt, Professionals and the Relationship to 5th Dimensional Realities.

  The Unities Model is similar to Marian’s Worlds of God 8 . Although there are
some very minor differences, even major ones might, from their own
perspectives, be correct. No human individuals, in this world, will express
themselves in exactly the same way. For example, I have placed her categories of
Mankind (or humanity) and Rationality under the heading, Human Kingdom.
Rationality (or the rational faculty), to my understanding, refers to the attributes of
humanity. Her classifications, Humanness and Materiality , are included here
within Nature or, in other words, the human lower nature.
        MANKIND ... [is the] condition of Human Beings or SO’Ls [souls in this world]
    as currently developed; personalities, each with its own human consciousness and
    spiritual powers .... HUMANNESS ... [is the] condition of the Human organism that
    serves, as a mental and emotional agent, the SO’L of which it is a part.
    RATIONALITY ... [is] the Human Thought World and ... the Human organism
    thru which the RATIONAL faculties of man function. [The] MATERIAL WORLD
    ... [is the] MATERIALITY of the physical universe composed of mineral, vegetable,
    and animal organisms perceptible to the body senses.
    Marian Crist Lippitt, Map of the Worlds of God.

                                         Inquiry ™
  In addition, much as my Heartfulness Inquiry™ is an emancipatory
                                             Existence™
implementation of my The Unities Model of Existence™ and my sociological
                Theory ™
Structurization Theory™, Marian’s Successful Self Direction ® is an emancipatory
                                                        Reality ™
application of her Worlds of God and her Science of Reality™. From Marian’s
idealist standpoint, which she developed in the Science of Reality , any reality can
be viewed on three levels. She creatively designed a Reality Chart to describe
each of them. This is my own illustration of the chart:




  When Marian would occasionally say that the Master Index was the objective
basis for this Science of Reality , she was expressing her modesty, awe, and love.
Marian could not conceive, in her humility before dear Baháʾuʾlláh, how all of the
work which she accomplished over her lifetime could possibly have come from her.
Although some people, I learned, took her literally, she was not being definitive,

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absolute, or prideful. Similarly, I recognize that anything in the human science of
Structurization Theory , including the Unities Model and Heartfulness Inquiry , is
either the bounty of my Best Beloved Lord of Hosts or the product of my
imagination.
  Obviously, the Baháʾí Faith is bigger than any of us. As with many subjects, the
conditions of existence , or worlds of God, can be viewed from several angles, not
just one. Through Structurization Theory , I combined the critical realist ontology of
The Unities Model of Existence with the critical realist epistemology of
Heartfulness Inquiry ™. However, Marian’s Science of Reality reflects a consistent
and thoroughgoing idealism. To my understanding, she blended an objective
idealism, based upon the love and knowledge (as purpose and power or spirit) of
God, with a subjective idealism of personal awareness or perception:
      There are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the essence of a thing, and
    knowledge of its qualities. The first is beyond the reach of human Knowing powers;
    knowledge of the qualities of a thing is acquired by experience, discovery and
    revelation....
      We are out of touch with the reality of what we are dealing with unless or until
    we are aware of its fifth dimension which is its Purpose-and-Power....
      Knowing-power which is intelligence, and Love or Linking-power which is the
    ability to Link hearts and minds together, constitute the Source-Power called Spirit
    that is manifested in progressive degrees. They bring to Creation all the Power
    needed to fulfill its Purpose, and are activated as directed by personal volition.
    Marian Crist Lippitt, 50 Postulates of the Science of Reality.

      [The] Material World, Human Thought World, Humanness, Mankind, [and]
    Spirituality ... are formed by our levels of awareness or vision.
    Marian Crist Lippitt, Map of the Worlds of God.

   Using Marian’s splendid subjective idealism, each of our words and conceptions
is considered to be a reality. However, with her objective idealism, an individual
develops a God’s-eye viewpoint on reality by concentrating on the spirit. Marian
commonly referred to the degrees of spirit, such as the Holy Spirit and the human
spirit, as the purpose (to know and to love) and the power (knowing and loving) of
existence. She also sometimes combined these two words as purposeful power
and powerful purpose . The following quotation describes aspects of both forms of
idealism:
      Any sign or evidence of existence that has been perceived by the human
    consciousness to the extent of being named, must be considered a reality.
      The human mind deals in mental concepts expressed in words or other
    representations. Those representations, words and mental concepts designate what
    registers in the human consciousness, and are merely symbols of what actually
    exists. And what appears in the human consciousness is simply signs of the
    existence of a more comprehensive reality. We know that reality exists, because a
    non-existent thing can give no sign of existence. Actually, anything that has been

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    designated by a word and envisioned as a mental concept must be accepted as a
    reality, and that includes the entire human dictionary. Reality, then, encompasses
    the totality of existence.
      From the Over-All viewpoint, the science of reality sees that what appears in the
    human consciousness actually exists, but is very different from
    what underlies those appearances or what we are reacting to....
      In reality, life is glorious. What underlies appearances is an unfailingly benevolent
    Purpose backed by invincible Power.
    Marian Crist Lippitt, What Reality does this Science Cover?

  Like Marian, the late Henry Weil is a beautiful soul. I often feel his presence. His
book, Closer Than Your Life Vein: An Insight Into the Wonders of Spiritual
Fulfillment, is an epistle to the human heart. Its concept of “powers of the soul”
might be understood through the Arabic term for soul (or self), nafs 9 . This Arabic
word, which is much more flexible than its English translations, can refer to various
forms of the self, including the physical body and the rational faculty. Each of these
souls (nufūs) might be regarded as an individualization of innate and acquired
attributes (characteristics or spirit).
  The below listing contains the powers of the soul, as they were named by Henry,
followed by my own definitions for each of these terms as attributes:
   The Coordinator of Bodily Functions : Sensation is a mortal attribute included
   within the rational faculty or human spirit.
   The Mental Faculties of the Soul : Imagination, thought, understanding,
   memory, and the common faculty or common sense (al-ḥiss al-muštarik) are
   mortal attributes contained within the rational faculty.
   The Mirrored Reflection of Your Moral Choices : Our free will is also a mortal
   attribute associated with the rational faculty.
   The Faculty of Inner Vision : Insight is a divine attribute, in the higher nature or
   spiritual Kingdom, related to the spirit of faith.
   Spiritual Happiness : Love is another divine attribute, in the higher nature or
   spiritual Kingdom, incorporated within the spirit of faith.
   Individuality : This term is synonymous with a particular human soul which is
   made of individualized attributes. A soul, based upon its uniqueness, can
   acquire additional attributes.
   Immortality : All souls have this attribute in the hereafter. We can, as mortals,
   “taste” of immortality in this world.
 I believe that Henry was, like myself, a realist of some sort, not an idealist. As I
was born and raised within two secular Jewish neighborhoods in New York City,
Henry was a practical Midwestern man from St. Louis, Missouri. He never, during
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our telephone conversations or letters, seemed interested in an idealist
metaphysics of the ideal forms (Ancient Greek, eídē, plural of eídos) of divine and
human consciousness. In the quotation below, Henry emphasized the finitude of
human understanding. God, the supreme unknowable Essence, can only be
understood through His personal Attributes or Qualities:
      All things begin with God as does our first premise that God is infinite and
    unknowable; that man’s conception of Him can only be a product of our
    imagination and that man’s description of Him can only be an enumeration of
    God’s qualities and powers as man comprehends these qualities or sees the results
    of these powers in action and in creation....
      Man is limited to human finite understanding. In his attempts to understand the
    mysteries of creation, his answers, at a certain point, become mere conjecture.
    Henry A. Weil, Closer Than Your Life Vein: An Insight Into the Wonders of Spiritual
    Fulfillment (1978). Page 36.

      Unfortunately, owing to this obnoxious and vicious race prejudice of every sort
    which afflicts the world today, the term Jew has come more to mean a race than a
    religion. You certainly, as your father feels, should never wish to disassociate
    yourself from a group of people who have contributed as much to the world as the
    Jews have. On the other hand your actual religion today is Baháʾí, and he feels that
    Jews should, when they become Baháʾís, always give this as their Faith, but as their
    racial descent [in today’s terms, ethnic background?] they should give “Jewish.”
    From a letter, dated March 15, 1948, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an
    individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File . Number 1819.

  Many years ago, when I was in my twenties, Henry lovingly told me, over the
phone, that he respected my views. The two of us became fast friends. Henry is a
blessed spirit-filled being. Whenever my thoughts turn towards him, I feel his deep
and abiding spiritual kinship and affinity. He is one of the dear souls whom I
anxiously look forward to seeing again in the world to come. When I chaired the
District Teaching Committee for the State of Mississippi, in the early 1980s, I
arranged for him to speak at our summer school. Unfortunately, I sensed that his
physical health was beginning to decline.
  I just had an intuition, unless it was only my imagination, that each of the souls I
have been discussing is among those I now have within my eternal spiritual
community or network . All of them were mavericks, original feelers and thinkers, in
their days. Encouraged by Elizabeth’s independent spirit, I also believe that one
should always investigate truth or reality for oneself. She constantly cautioned me
against, as she put it, “absolute” thinking and “insisting” upon one’s own ideas.
Differences of approach and opinion were, to use her term, “angles.” They were
not necessarily right or wrong.
  Elizabeth is my heart. From my own interpretation of her brilliant example, we
should not become merely the imitators of others and their views or, worse,
develop cults of personality. In her mindful, moderate, and practical approach to
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life, and to meeting my persistent daily spiritual needs for several years, she was,
in my opinion, an excellent example of this beautiful verse by dearest Baháʾuʾlláh:
       O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not
    away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee.
    By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others,
    and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy
    neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My
    gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
    Baháʾuʾlláh, The Hidden Words of Baháʾuʾlláh. Arabic, number 2.

  As a nominalist and a social constructionist, I tore apart, for eight years, the
Baháʾí perspectives of these three precious friends. My comments were not
personal, but I still regret making them. In spiritual communion, I have apologized
to each of them, one by one. As I type, their loving comfort, is, I feel, around me. I
pray for joyful reunions, according to God’s Will, in the vastness of the worlds to
come. While disagreements are inevitable, I try now to simply offer my own views,
as clearly as I can, not to criticize, or even to critique , the ideas of others. Keeping
a golden silence is often the best course.
  On September 28, 2011, it suddenly occurred to me, with my renewed heart,
what had happened. My Autism has made many common social situations
intolerable. Due to someone with no connection to the Baháʾí Faith, I became
                                                                       God,
estranged, or alienated, from the study of reality and the worlds of God, at least as
these subjects had been taught to me by Marian and Elizabeth. As an extension, I
also put aside Henry’s work, and I love him so much. Although I knew this
individual in my real life, not on the Internet, in order to avoid even a hint of gossip
and backbiting, I have carefully disguised her identity.
  The personality of the mother of my spirit of faith, the beloved Elizabeth Thomas,
was almost completely the opposite from this woman. She was the most rigid
individual I have ever known. Differences in understanding, on any topic, were, to
her, simply intolerable. Because of my embarrassment and anger over this
individual’s manipulative and verbally abusive behavior, I ended up rejecting most
of the approaches to deepening which I had cherished over my lifetime as a Baháʾí.
They defined me. Gratefully, however, I was able to put it all behind me. She has
also, I have been told, passed away.

      Unities between Hearts
  To wrap up my comments, reality, overall, is, as I feel it, unity . The Singleness of
God is the Source of other unities. That is to say, existence itself, in its structures
or sets of rules, is based upon the Unity of God and His countless unities. All of the
lower unifying essences, such as humanity and the divine religions , originate from
and express that All-Highest Unity. Each of them is a collective, or unifying, center
of beings and things with the attributes, or spirit, of unity. Although we are,
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individually, made of these attributes, by practicing faith in God, we can acquire
even more of them throughout our lives.
      Know that there are two natures in man: the physical nature and the spiritual
    nature. The physical nature is inherited from Adam, and the spiritual nature is
    inherited from the Reality of the Word of God, which is the spirituality of Christ.
    The physical nature is born of Adam, but the spiritual nature is born from the
    bounty of the Holy Spirit. The first is the source of all imperfection; the second is
    the source of all perfection.
    ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions . Page 118.

      What the Baháʾís ... believe ... is that we have three aspects of our humanness, so
    to speak, a body, a mind and an immortal identity—soul or spirit. We believe the
    mind forms a link between the soul and the body, and the two interact on each
    other.
    From a letter, dated June 7, 1946, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Arohanui:
    Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand. Page 89.

       ... when, as a result of human perversity, the light of religion is quenched in men’s
    hearts, and the divinely appointed Robe, designed to adorn the human temple, is
    deliberately discarded, a deplorable decline in the fortunes of humanity immediately
    sets in, bringing in its wake all the evils which a wayward soul is capable of
    revealing. The perversion of human nature, the degradation of human conduct, the
    corruption and dissolution of human institutions, reveal themselves, under such
    circumstances, in their worst and most revolting aspects. Human character is
    debased, confidence is shaken, the nerves of discipline are relaxed, the voice of
    human conscience is stilled, the sense of decency and shame is obscured,
    conceptions of duty, of solidarity, of reciprocity and loyalty are distorted, and the
    very feeling of peacefulness, of joy and of hope is gradually extinguished.
    Shoghi Effendi, The World Order Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 187.

  I also feel a need, for some reason, to express my love for anyone reading this
work. We have entered, I believe, into an eternal relationship with one another.
Even if we never meet physically, the bonds which have been established between
us may become evident in this world or in the world to come. Originally, I accepted
created unifying essences with an intellectual misunderstanding. Then, for nearly a
decade, I rejected them. Experiencing the attributes of the essence of humanity, as
a reality , has made my heart acutely aware of that web of unity around us and its
current state of distress.
  I never had a clue before, but my understandings are still inadequate. Thank God
that, through meditation and prayer, my heartfulness of the everlasting connections
between hearts has, even as an Autistic man, increased almost daily. Together, I
now sense, we share the attributes of the human essence or unity of humanity.
From the empirical standpoint of a critical realist sociology, we are literally the
family of man. Indeed, the association, or the fellowship, of souls, within the
heavenly kingdom, is neither vague nor entirely allegorical. Our oneness is both
the spirit of the age and the promise of our species.
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  Return to the table of contents.

————
1 I am not fluent in Arabic, but I can work with it. Unless otherwise stated, all English
translations are from the Arabic or Persian languages (or, in some cases, a “Persianized”
Arabic). There are differences, which will be evident, between the system of
transliteration , or romanization, of Arabic and Persian words contained in official Baháʾí
texts and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) system adopted in
other parts of this work. Diacritics (the signs used in transliteration) for various
languages have sometimes been modified in quotations. Focusing on both translation
and transliteration has, from my perspective, been a way to draw close, in my heart, to
the individuals and ideas being discussed. Perhaps your experiences will be similar.
Learning any “tongue” comes through love:
      Speak in the Persian tongue, though the Arab please thee more;
      A lover hath many a tongue at his command.
      From Mawlānā (Our Master) Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī’s Maṯnawī (Persian,
      Maṯnavī), quoted by Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys,” The Seven Valleys and the Four
      Valleys. Page 58.
  Return to the original text.
2 al-Ḥiss al-muštarik (Ancient Greek, aísϑésis or aísthésis ) is the common faculty (or
                                      aís ϑ
                                                                              Aristotle .
common sense). ʿAbduʾl-Bahá appears to be using the term in a similar way to Aristotle.
However, and this is just a hunch, perhaps ʿAbduʾl-Bahá was also teaching us to use our
common sense, as generally defined (being practical or using keen judgment), when
making observations.
      The intermediary between the five outward powers and the inward powers is the sense which
      they possess in common-that is to say, the sense which acts between the outer and inner
      powers, conveys to the inward powers whatever the outer powers discern. It is termed the
      common faculty ....
      ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions. Page 210.
  Return to the original text.
3 In religious studies and in theology, unitarianism is the monotheistic view that God is a
single Being, rather than a Unity of two or more Beings. The word, unitarianism, generally
describes certain non-trinitarian Christian viewpoints, such as Sabellianism (also called
modalism and modalistic monarchianism), adoptionism (also called dynamic
monarchianism), and various types of Arianism (from Arius, not to be confused with the
white-supremacist “Aryanism”). However, it also occasionally refers to common doctrinal
positions found under other religious categories, such as Judaism and Islām. When
“unitarianism” is uncapitalized , it is distinguished from the more specific Unitarian
movement, which is basically Arian.
      Bishop Alexander taught that Jesus was equal with God; Arius did not. So at a synod held
      at Alexandria in 321, Arius was deposed and excommunicated. Arius, although now in
      institutional disfavor, still had much support outside of Egypt. Many of the important
      bishops such as the learned historian Eusebius of Palestinian Caesarea and his powerful
      namesake, Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, theologically agreed with Arius: Jesus Christ is
      not God.
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       Victor Paul Wierwille, Jesus Christ is not God. New Knoxville, OH: American Christian
       Press. Page 23.
      The Islamic evangel was a revival of Jewish unitarianism ....
      The Muslim unitarianism might be considered a Jewish heresy or a Christian one, and this
      was done by mediæval writers.
      George Sarton, A Guide to the History of Science: A First Guide for the Study of the History
      of Science with Introductory Essays on Science and Tradition.
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4 The Unities Model™, which expresses a new form of monotheism, is both unitarian (the
              Model™,
divine Singular) and non-unitarian (the divine Plural). In non-unitarianism, one worships a
Single Godhead which includes more than one Being or Person. Examples of non-
unitarianism include: the Holy Trinity in most Christian churches, the God family in the
Herbert W. Armstrong movement, the binitarianism (God in two Persons) in the two
Churches of God (Seventh Day) and others, and the plurality of Gods in the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For individuals unfamiliar with the Baháʾí Faith, the
                                                 Unity ™
Unities Model has been simplified as Echoes of Unity™ in the book, The Echoing
Practice ™
Practice™.
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5 The Sābiʾūn (Sabæans or Sabians), whether referring to the Ḥarrānities or the
Mandæans, should not be confused with the Old Testament Ṣabaʾiyūn of Sheba
(Hebrew, Šəvā, or Arabic, Ṣābāʾ). The term, Ṣabaʾiyūn, does not appear in the Qurʾān,
but the story of Solomon (Sulaymān) and the Queen of Sheba (or Bilqīs) is contained in
chapter (sūrah, defense or apologia) 27 (an-Naml, the Ants). In order to emphasize the
spelling differences in the original languages, my suggestion is to represent Ṣabaʾiyūn as
“Shebans”. Unfortunately, the similarity in spelling between Sabæans and Sabians has
added to the confusion. For instance, although some writers call the Ḥarrānities
“Sabæans” and the Mandæans “Sabians,” the original word is, in both cases, Sābiʾūn.
Further perplexing to some readers, other sources, including many Biblical translations,
use “Sabæans” for the Shebans.
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6 By “the Buddha” is meant here the traditional Founder of Buddhism. His given name
was Gotama (Pāḷi) or Gautama (Sanskrit). His family name was Siddhatta (Pāḷi) or
Siddhārta (Sanskrit). He is also known as Sākyamuni (Pāḷi) or Śakyamuni (Sanskrit), the
Sage of the Sākya (Śakya) kingdom of South Asia .
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7 Yôḥānān ha-Matbil literally translates from the Hebrew as “John the Baptizer.” In
                                                                           Zə k
Islām, He is called, Yaḥyā Ibn Zakarīyā or John, Son of Zechariah (Hebrew, Zək aryā).
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8 The following diagram presents one version of dearly beloved Marian Crist Lippitt’s
Map of the Worlds of God . Its resemblance to the Unities Model will be obvious:

       GOD, the Source of all Existence; (Unknowable Essence)
           DEITY, condition of Infinitude, Eternality, Divinity
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    =====================================================
    GREATER WORLD that God manifests—Condition of Prophethood
       World of Manifestation -
          In His Kingdom:—His Manifestation who manifests—
    Causing of God – Holy Spirit – Will of God – Word of God
    (God’s Cause)

    ======================================================

               CREATION

    LESSER WORLD that God creates—Condition of Servitude
     World of Human Souls—Manifestation in the
     form of a Human Creature, reflecting Reality
     and capable of reflecting ALL the Attributes of
     God
        KINGDOM OF DEPARTED SOULS

         KINGDOM REVEALED
      Revealed Condition progressively to SO’Ls
      of Spirituality thru REVELATION and translated
      into RELIGION This is where each SOUL begins
      its prenatal life as a SO’L, grows, receives
      Enlightenment, and develops its maturity.

        WORLD ORDER OF BAHÁʾUʾLLÁH

    Below are Worlds proceeding from Human vision or spirit:

      MANKIND, condition of Human Beings or SO’Ls as
      currently developed; personalities, each with its own
      human consciousness and spiritual powers; man as a
      part of Humanity.

      HUMANNESS, condition of the Human organism that serves,
      as a mental and emotional agent, the SO’L of which
      it is a part.

      RATIONALITY, the Human Thought World and of the Human
      organism thru which the RATIONAL faculties of man
      function.

      MATERIAL WORLD, condition of MATERIALITY of the
      physical universe composed of mineral, vegetable,
      and animal organisms perceptible to the body senses.

    Note: SO’L is used to denote the Soul on this
    plane because the real U is not fully present here.
    Consciousness:
      Material World, Human Thought World, Humanness,
        Mankind, Spirituality, are formed by our levels
     of awareness or vision
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9 Nafs (plural, nufūs) is related to, or a cognate of, the Biblical Hebrew word for soul or
creature, nefeš (plural, nefešîm).
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                  Copyright © 2010-2012 Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.




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Description: Each of the kingdoms may have one or more unknowable unifying essences with individualized attributes (appearances). The Unifying Essence of God, the divine Singular, and His diverse Attributes as Prophets, the divine Plural, may set the pattern of unity in diversity (unity manifested as diversity). When God manifests His Kingdom, the pattern is duplicated.