Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 5. June 2011 - 23:38
e-learning centre on sustainable development


Heading: Society    Topic: Unity

The forces of globalization, driven by the rapid progress of science and technology, are pushing human society towards world unity. The crises and chaos of the present are symptoms of the traumatic change that this process is imposing on all nations and cultures. Unity was technically unattainable in previous times. Today's communications and transport technologies have eliminated all physical barriers to the exchange of thoughts, ideas and experience, and social and economic integration have made us increasingly interdependent. Political ties, trade and industry, agriculture and education unite all nations and peoples, so self-sufficiency is no longer possible. It is therefore necessary to accept the oneness of humanity as the first fundamental prerequisite for the reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind (Universal House of Justice, 1985).

"Unity is a condition of the human spirit. Education can support and enhance it, as can legislation, but they can do so only once it emerges and has established itself as a compelling force in social life. A global intelligensia, its prescription largely shaped by materialistic misconceptions of reality, clings tenaciously to the hope that imaginative social engineering, supported by political compromise, may indefinitely postpone the potential disasters that few deny loom over humanity's future" (Universal House of Justice, 2005).

"The bedrock of a strategy that can engage the world's population in assuming responsibility for its collective destiny must be the consciousness of the oneness of humankind. Deceptively simple in popular discourse, the concept that humanity constitutes a single people presents fundamental challenges to the way that most of the institutions of contemporary society carry out their functions. Whether in the form of the adversarial structure of civil government, the advocacy principle informing most of civil law, a glorification of the struggle between classes and other social groups, or the competitive spirit dominating so much of modern life, conflict is accepted as the mainspring of human interaction. It represents yet another expression in social organisation of the materialistic interpretation of life that has progressively consolidated itself over the past two centuries....

"Laying the groundwork for global civilization calls for the creation of laws and institutions that are universal in both character and authority. The effort can begin only when the concept of the oneness of humanity has been wholeheartedly embraced by those in whose hands the responsibility for decision making rests, and when the related principles are propagated through both educational systems and the media of mass communication. Once this threshold is crossed, a process will have been set in motion through which the peoples of the world can be drawn into the task of formulating common goals and committing themselves to their attainment. Only so fundamental a reorientation can protect them, too, from the age-old demons of ethnic and religious strife. Only through the dawning consciousness that they constitute a single people will the inhabitants of the planet be enabled to turn away from the patterns of conflict that have dominated social organisation in the past and begin to learn the ways of collaboration and conciliation." (Bahá'í International Community, 1995)


'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 15, pp. 31-32

Bahá'í International Community. 1995. The Prosperity of Humankind. Bahá'í International Community, Office of Public Information, Haifa

Universal House of Justice. 1985. The Promise of World Peace. Bahá'í World Centre, Haifa.

Universal House of Justice. 2005. One Common Faith. Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, USA.

Article last updated 29 June 2006

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