Friday, June 10, 2005

Economic Alternatives on a Global Scale

Land of opportunity
Posted by fyl on 10 June, 2005 - 05:41.
I was going to retire in the U.S. at 28. Then 38. Just didn't happen. I didn't get married, I didn't have kids. But, it still never happened for a bunch of reasons, the most recent being that I don't want to retire because I love my work.

Sitting here in Nicaragua, looking back, I see a very different possibility. I see Nicaragua as the land of opportunity. Way beyond the land of opportunity the U.S. looked like in 1950. In fact, this is what is behind the Geek Ranch idea.

In 1950, a job was something you "went to" and did work. The 60s and 70s brought you suburbia which increased your expenses and the amount of time you had to invest in your job because of travel. Few jobs, other than writing, gave you a chance to work wherever you wanted.

Today, the picture is very different. There are lots of opportunities to live far away from your customers. Programming is one possibility but there are others. With the Web as a world-wide sales and marketing tool and manufacturing typically far away from development and from point of delivery (take cars as an example) you get to choose.

The Geek Ranch idea is that someone with an idea (it can be a book, computer software, whatever) can become a real Capitalist. That is, they don't have to work for someone--they can do it themself. In a way not possible in the U.S. today, they can live economically in a climate that encourages you to work and develop your product. That "climate" is not just weather. Lower-stress, zero travel time and generally more comfortable.

It's not for everyone and it is certainly not for the factory worker. But, it will help some people become independent and, at the same time, find out that there is an alternative to being a slave for 12 years.
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This is taken from the http://nicaliving.com/ website. This idea will interest people who are educated and/or artistic and have the financial means to set up in a different country. It is only one reason why Dave and I have chosen to explore Nicaragua - there is also the desire to immerse ourselves in the Latin culture, the friendly people and beautiful, peaceful atmosphere. The Nica population will be able to take advantage of this on a smaller scale - the laborers and lower income folks will benefit with co-operatives and profit sharing, a message we hope to advertise while in their country.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A Late Mother's Day Tribute

Mother’s Day Tribute to Women - A Day Late May 9, 2005

Bow to all and despise none.

Thank you, women, for bringing life into the world. Thank you for caring and nurturing life. Thank you for teaching love and affection.

Thank you, women, for taking care of the children. Thank you for taking care of family and community. Thank you for taking care of society. Thank you for taking care of the environment.

Thank you, women, for caretaking.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote, “Women, who know the price of conflict so well, are also often better equipped than men to prevent or resolve it. For generations, women have served as peace educators, both in their families and in their societies. They have proved instrumental in building bridges rather than walls. They have been crucial in preserving social order when communities have collapsed.”

Women should be shown respect. Women should be given special care. Women should be equal partners in life.

If women are not equal, it means that there is an inequity in life. Inequity is usually associated with conflict. Most people would prefer to resolve conflict without violence. Most people would agree that women represent Non-Violence.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

Women and Non-Violence work well together to solve conflict. Women and Non-Violence can work to prevent war. If war and violence occur, then women and Non-Violence can be the solution. If people do not want war and violence, devote attention to women and Non-Violence. Preventing war will not be easy.

David Adams, former Director of UNESCO, wrote, “Quoting from the book on the culture of peace that I produced for UNESCO in 1995 (note 19): "The transformation of society from a culture of war to a culture of peace is perhaps more radical and far-reaching than any previous change in human history. Every aspect of social relations, having been shaped for millennia by the dominant culture of war, is open to change - from the relations among nations to those between women and men. Everyone, from the centers of power to the most remote villages, may be engaged”

A woman’s movement of Non-Violence is radical, but: There is logic in thinking women should lead the way for peace! People can smile with a woman’s peace movement. People can sing with a woman’s peace movement. People can feel good with a woman’s peace movement. People don’t have to resort to fear mongering. People don’t have to resort to violence.

Sister Joan Chittister, Co-Chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, in an amazing speech given at the Omega/ VDay conference in New York City, September 11, 2004 said, “The lives of our children, the protection of millions, the hopes of all humankind, wait again now for women, from opposite cultures, opposite tradition, to step over the line of political hatred to save them.”

Julia Ward Howe wrote, in the Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace, 1870, “In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

Riane Eisler wrote in The Chalice and the Blade that there is a correlation between men and war. However, she concluded, “the problem is not men as a sex, but men and women as they must be socialized in a dominator system.”

The children must be taught Non-Violent conflict resolution. Society must represent Non-Violence. A women’s peace movement build bridges between countries, religions, and ideologies. Women take care of people. Women can be the CATALYST to stop war!

First, Bow to all and despise none. Second, join together with all the other women in the world to prove the point.

REVELATION: The new mythology The women in the world are the peacemakers! The women in the world are the force of change! The women in the world are the new political force! A savior is found - Women! Is it myth or reality? There will be a war again. Where will the peace movement be? A Day Late?

Andre Sheldon
GATHER THE WOMEN GLOBAL MATRIX ™

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Faith and Social Change - "Living the Life"

Volume 15, Issue 4 / January-March 2004
From "The Bahai World"

Latest volume discusses religious tolerance, new approaches to HIV/AIDS


HAIFA, Israel — The need for religious tolerance, the role of the individual in building society, and HIV/AIDS are among the topics addressed in the newly released volume of The Bahá'í World .

The Bahá'í World 2002-2003 is the 11th volume in an annual series aimed both at Bahá'í readers and the general public. Its pages describe the aims and activities of local and national Bahá'í communities around the world.

“If people want to understand the forces that cause the Bahá'í community to act and the results of those actions, then this volume is the place to look,” said Ann Boyles , the book's senior editor.

“The articles in the book provide striking evidence of the Bahá'í community's involvement in issues of serious and global importance,” said Dr. Boyles.

For example, said Dr. Boyles, the volume reprints the full text of the recent message of the Universal House of Justice to the world's religious leaders. That message called for decisive action to eradicate religious intolerance and fanaticism, warning that with “every day that passes, danger grows that the rising fires of religious prejudice will ignite a worldwide conflagration the consequences of which are unthinkable.”

The full text of the message of the Universal House of Justice is published in the volume, as is a report of the distribution of the message to religious leaders by Bahá'í communities around the world.

Other major articles include “Facing the Growing HIV/AIDS Epidemic: A Bahá'í Perspective,” by Dawn Smith, “Obligation and Responsibility in Constructing a World Civilization,” by Hoda Mahmoudi, and a “World Watch” essay by Dr. Boyles on the role of the individual in building society.

Dr. Smith's article says Bahá'ís have taken a different tack in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Not only have Bahá'ís begun to apply the distinctive spiritual principles of their Faith on an individual level, they have also launched a number of small scale educational projects to address the epidemic's root causes, she writes.

The overarching approach is one of unity, she says. “Too often members and representatives of the world's religions have used the HIV/AIDS epidemic to promote discord, insisting that it is solely a problem of the irreligious or that this illness is a punishment from God, meted out to ‘sinners' or the ‘unfaithful,'” she writes.

“ ‘Abdu'l-Bahá emphasized the role of religion in promoting unity and in working in harmony with science,” she writes.

“HIV-related stigma and discrimination are not only unjust and unkind at the individual level, they are themselves a contributor to new infections.”

Dr. Mahmoudi's article examines the nature of a spiritualized society founded on altruism and reciprocity, based on the principles in the Bahá'í sacred writings.

“The Bahá'í teachings recognize that the transformation of individuals into altruistic persons cannot take place outside the social context, which must provide a matrix for that transformation,” she writes.

Other reports featured in the book include an account of the Bahá'í participation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the annual “Year in Review” survey, and an update on the situation of the Bahá'í communities in Iran and Egypt .

Also printed in the book are a selection of major statements by the Bahá'í International Community and a statement on social cohesion by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom .

This 320-page book is prepared by the Bahá'í International Community's Office of Public Information. It contains numerous color photographs, and is available for US$18.00. It can be ordered from World Centre Publications through the United States Bahá'í Distribution Service, 4703 Fulton Industrial Boulevard Atlanta , GA 30336-2017 , USA . www.bahaibookstore.com e-mail: bds@usbnc.org.

– Bahá'í World News Service

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Superficial Wealth vs. Real Wealth

Artificial and Superficial Wealth vs. the Real Thing
Posted by valieroo on 2 April, 2005 - 17:32.
Jesus once said: "The meek shall inherit the earth." Knowing the Real Wealth of family and friends and maybe a little piece of earth to call your own to grow your food to eat and share with the community, to barter what one has for what one doesn't have - this sounds like paradise. When the oil runs out and no one has any way to distribute their products from the maquiladoras, guess what??? All that accumulated wealth and "stuff" will be very meaningless indeed. Right now all the people on earth who know how to live a simple and local lifestyle have a better chance of surviving (the 5 billion left after subtracting the aggressive, greedy 1.5 billion so called civilized folks) this very real possibility. Not to be negative or anything, It really sounds like a great natural consequence to have the oil be done with so that the cancer eating at our "civilized societies" will also be done with. So much for bringing Nicaragua into the 2lst century. Nicah20 is telling us all what the Nicaraguan people need, and it is not more of what the US has.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Boaqueno - a new friend possibility?

Small town folk like Boaqueno!
Posted by valieroo on 25 March, 2005 - 16:38.
Hi again, Boaqueno! We are small town folk now and have been for the last 30 years. It is the only way to go, we think. We have ties to a small town in Baja, Mexico called Mulege where Hispanic friends welcomed us warmly, and in Seldovia, Alaska where we are right now, there are many Native American people to befriend us. Seldovia has less than 300 year round residents by the way. I lived in the Northern Marianas Islands for almost three years back in the 80s on a little island called Rota. There were maybe l000 people on the island, and most of them Chamorros, who once again were friendly and loving to us. You kindof get addicted to that kind of life style, and coming back to the US mainstream life is a huge disappointment. There is so much more to this life than striving for material wealth and "success". Anyone who loves Nicaragua will agree with that.

Dave and I wish you well in the US Army. God willing, you will return to your beloved country to live a long and fulfilling life. We feel very out of touch with what the US government is doing around the world at the present. We would rather see the Peace Corps take over the military for the most part to bring goodwill and more comfort to other peoples, our brothers and sisters, around the world. Just think how much good could be happening if the Pentagon budget were applied to healthy food, water, living structures, sustainable development projects for power, internet in the far reaches, education and health services for all. WOW what a world that would be. Our son Colin just brought his sweetheart from Kenya to the US.(He met her while serving in the Peace Corps). It took almost two years of attorneys and buraucracy and lots of money to get her here, and Colin did it all by himself. Now they have three months in which to get married, and then they have to prove that their marriage is sincere. HMMMmmmmmm.

I believe you will be allowed to leave the US when you are ready - the Gov wants to keep people out, not necessarily keep them from leaving. How much longer do you have to serve out your term in the military?? And where are you based?? Seven or eight hours away? You will be able to bring great insight to Nic. now that you have been away and seen many things. You have a confidence and pride in yourself that is desirable in order to reach your goals, and Stealth 007 has people with $ to help start up some great project.

Thanks for the Google Images idea - I will go there now to partake of all the pics. I get lost in them and it feels like I have really been to Nicaragua - I love it!!! What do your people need in Boaco??
Besides sinks?? (Padredemumi injoke.)
» edit your comment | reply to this comment

Boaqueno - a new friend possibility?

Small town folk like Boaqueno!
Posted by valieroo on 25 March, 2005 - 16:38.
Hi again, Boaqueno! We are small town folk now and have been for the last 30 years. It is the only way to go, we think. We have ties to a small town in Baja, Mexico called Mulege where Hispanic friends welcomed us warmly, and in Seldovia, Alaska where we are right now, there are many Native American people to befriend us. Seldovia has less than 300 year round residents by the way. I lived in the Northern Marianas Islands for almost three years back in the 80s on a little island called Rota. There were maybe l000 people on the island, and most of them Chamorros, who once again were friendly and loving to us. You kindof get addicted to that kind of life style, and coming back to the US mainstream life is a huge disappointment. There is so much more to this life than striving for material wealth and "success". Anyone who loves Nicaragua will agree with that.

Dave and I wish you well in the US Army. God willing, you will return to your beloved country to live a long and fulfilling life. We feel very out of touch with what the US government is doing around the world at the present. We would rather see the Peace Corps take over the military for the most part to bring goodwill and more comfort to other peoples, our brothers and sisters, around the world. Just think how much good could be happening if the Pentagon budget were applied to healthy food, water, living structures, sustainable development projects for power, internet in the far reaches, education and health services for all. WOW what a world that would be. Our son Colin just brought his sweetheart from Kenya to the US.(He met her while serving in the Peace Corps). It took almost two years of attorneys and buraucracy and lots of money to get her here, and Colin did it all by himself. Now they have three months in which to get married, and then they have to prove that their marriage is sincere. HMMMmmmmmm.

I believe you will be allowed to leave the US when you are ready - the Gov wants to keep people out, not necessarily keep them from leaving. How much longer do you have to serve out your term in the military?? And where are you based?? Seven or eight hours away? You will be able to bring great insight to Nic. now that you have been away and seen many things. You have a confidence and pride in yourself that is desirable in order to reach your goals, and Stealth 007 has people with $ to help start up some great project.

Thanks for the Google Images idea - I will go there now to partake of all the pics. I get lost in them and it feels like I have really been to Nicaragua - I love it!!! What do your people need in Boaco??
Besides sinks?? (Padredemumi injoke.)

Boaqueno - a new friend possibility?

Small town folk like Boaqueno!
Posted by valieroo on 25 March, 2005 - 16:38.
Hi again, Boaqueno! We are small town folk now and have been for the last 30 years. It is the only way to go, we think. We have ties to a small town in Baja, Mexico called Mulege where Hispanic friends welcomed us warmly, and in Seldovia, Alaska where we are right now, there are many Native American people to befriend us. Seldovia has less than 300 year round residents by the way. I lived in the Northern Marianas Islands for almost three years back in the 80s on a little island called Rota. There were maybe l000 people on the island, and most of them Chamorros, who once again were friendly and loving to us. You kindof get addicted to that kind of life style, and coming back to the US mainstream life is a huge disappointment. There is so much more to this life than striving for material wealth and "success". Anyone who loves Nicaragua will agree with that.

Dave and I wish you well in the US Army. God willing, you will return to your beloved country to live a long and fulfilling life. We feel very out of touch with what the US government is doing around the world at the present. We would rather see the Peace Corps take over the military for the most part to bring goodwill and more comfort to other peoples, our brothers and sisters, around the world. Just think how much good could be happening if the Pentagon budget were applied to healthy food, water, living structures, sustainable development projects for power, internet in the far reaches, education and health services for all. WOW what a world that would be. Our son Colin just brought his sweetheart from Kenya to the US.(He met her while serving in the Peace Corps). It took almost two years of attorneys and buraucracy and lots of money to get her here, and Colin did it all by himself. Now they have three months in which to get married, and then they have to prove that their marriage is sincere. HMMMmmmmmm.

I believe you will be allowed to leave the US when you are ready - the Gov wants to keep people out, not necessarily keep them from leaving. How much longer do you have to serve out your term in the military?? And where are you based?? Seven or eight hours away? You will be able to bring great insight to Nic. now that you have been away and seen many things. You have a confidence and pride in yourself that is desirable in order to reach your goals, and Stealth 007 has people with $ to help start up some great project.

Thanks for the Google Images idea - I will go there now to partake of all the pics. I get lost in them and it feels like I have really been to Nicaragua - I love it!!! What do your people need in Boaco??
Besides sinks?? (Padredemumi injoke.)

Boaqueno - a new friend possibility!

Small town folk like Boaqueno!
Posted by valieroo on 25 March, 2005 - 16:38.
Hi again, Boaqueno! We are small town folk now and have been for the last 30 years. It is the only way to go, we think. We have ties to a small town in Baja, Mexico called Mulege where Hispanic friends welcomed us warmly, and in Seldovia, Alaska where we are right now, there are many Native American people to befriend us. Seldovia has less than 300 year round residents by the way. I lived in the Northern Marianas Islands for almost three years back in the 80s on a little island called Rota. There were maybe l000 people on the island, and most of them Chamorros, who once again were friendly and loving to us. You kindof get addicted to that kind of life style, and coming back to the US mainstream life is a huge disappointment. There is so much more to this life than striving for material wealth and "success". Anyone who loves Nicaragua will agree with that.

Dave and I wish you well in the US Army. God willing, you will return to your beloved country to live a long and fulfilling life. We feel very out of touch with what the US government is doing around the world at the present. We would rather see the Peace Corps take over the military for the most part to bring goodwill and more comfort to other peoples, our brothers and sisters, around the world. Just think how much good could be happening if the Pentagon budget were applied to healthy food, water, living structures, sustainable development projects for power, internet in the far reaches, education and health services for all. WOW what a world that would be. Our son Colin just brought his sweetheart from Kenya to the US.(He met her while serving in the Peace Corps). It took almost two years of attorneys and buraucracy and lots of money to get her here, and Colin did it all by himself. Now they have three months in which to get married, and then they have to prove that their marriage is sincere. HMMMmmmmmm.

I believe you will be allowed to leave the US when you are ready - the Gov wants to keep people out, not necessarily keep them from leaving. How much longer do you have to serve out your term in the military?? And where are you based?? Seven or eight hours away? You will be able to bring great insight to Nic. now that you have been away and seen many things. You have a confidence and pride in yourself that is desirable in order to reach your goals, and Stealth 007 has people with $ to help start up some great project.

Thanks for the Google Images idea - I will go there now to partake of all the pics. I get lost in them and it feels like I have really been to Nicaragua - I love it!!! What do your people need in Boaco??
Besides sinks?? (Padredemumi injoke.)

What Does Democracy Look Like??

With all this excitement about setting up a "democracy" in Iraq, one
would think that at home we would be on our best behaviour. Apparently,
however,that is not the case. Soon the Republicans will be the only
power in our government, and the proposed checks and balances of our
constitution will be forgotten.

Therefore all true believers of the democratic principles laid down by
our founding fathers need to be resounding with indignation. The grass
roots people of conscience will be what will ultimately save our
democracy from becoming nothing more than another fascist state. Radical
Republicans who favor corporate interests and the extreme right over the
rest of us need to be stopped in their tracks.

Judicial nominees, of which there will be four more during the next
four years, will most likely be extreme right choices if President Bush
has his way. Eliminating the filibuster is not about overcoming
"obstructionism", its about the desire for complete one-party control. After
taking millions of dollars from their corporate backers, republicans now
are seeking to use the courts to pay back their donors by overturning
protections like labor rights, environmental protections and privacy
rights.

Grass roots UNITE!!!!!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Iraqi People and the Vote

God bless the Iraqis and our entire world with all the wonderful ethnic and religious diversity. We are like the flowers of one garden, the waves of one sea. We are entering a new era of global unity, peace and love. The Iraqi people are setting an example: purity of heart, a wonderful spirituality, a hope for the future and the strength to keep moving ahead. The suffering they have endured at the hands of their oppressors and the forgiveness shown is truly inspiring.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

New Ideas for Social Activism

The following is an article from "One Country", the international Bahai bulletin.
It will help us be motivated to find positive ways to change the injustices in our world.



Volume 15, Issue 4 / January-March 2004

Perspective: The Individual and Social Action
[Editor's note: The following was adapted from a longer article in the 2002-2003 edition of The Bahá'í World . The complete article can be found on page 199 of that edition or at www.onecountry.org/e154/Social.pdf]

A growing number of people all over the world, believing that powerful global forces have ignored the well-being of average citizens in favor of the interests of big businesses, transnational corporations, governmental elites, war machines, ecological destruction, and other evils, are taking to the streets to protest. They see their governments as failing, their livelihoods and ways of life threatened, and convincing evidence of social injustice.

The main flashpoint for the widespread protests has been “globalization,” a phenomenon with two distinctly opposite effects. On the one hand, it has served to integrate peoples and countries through “the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and (to a lesser extent) people across borders,” according to Joseph E. Stiglitz.

On the other hand, its detractors say globalization's economic aspects have had devastating consequences by promoting a regime of deregulation that benefits the rich at the expense of the poor — a trend that some statistics bear out. In 2003, for example, 54 countries were poorer than they had been 10 years earlier, and more than half of the world's largest 100 economies are now corporations, rather than nation-states.

Naomi Klein, one of the most vocal spokespeople for the anti-globalization movement, sees the failure of governments to take an active role in guarding the welfare of their citizens in this scenario as a “betrayal” of “the fundamental need for democracies that are responsive and participatory.”

It is no wonder, then, whether they are troubled by the hardship resulting from the actions of multinational corporations, worried about the alarming deterioration of the environment, horrified by the worsening plight of the world's poor, or angered by their government's participation or nonparticipation in various military interventions around the world, that a growing number of people are searching for ways to make themselves heard and to make a difference.

There is much debate about the best way to move forward, however. While some advocate the slow route of pursuing reforms within existing legal or administrative avenues, others favor direct action as a faster, more efficient way to remedy social ills.

Ms. Klein argues that “a new culture of vibrant direct democracy is emerging, one that is fuelled and strengthened by direct participation, not dampened and discouraged by passive spectatorship.”

This increasing emphasis on direct democracy reflects both widespread disillusionment with established political systems and the conviction that the “self-actualizing” power of the individual is the strongest means of effecting change and bringing about social justice. According to individualist and anarchist social theories, to which the anti-globalization movement bears some relation, the state and society block the power and “natural energies” of individuals through their perpetual efforts to control them.

“Cultural common sense leads many to believe that the best way to organize every social institution is in the form of a contest,” notes Michael Karlberg of Western Washington University . “Paradoxically, it also leads many to believe that the best way to reform those institutions is through protest — and other adversarial strategies of social change. Protests, demonstrations, partisan organizing, litigation, strikes, and other oppositional strategies are standard methods for pursuing social change. In more extreme cases, violence and terrorism are also employed.”

Underlying the various paradigms encompassed by this approach is a long-standing conviction that attacks on the “other”— whether governments, corporations, or institutions — are the most effective means for accelerating change in society.

But can a movement based on adversarial strategies sustain unity within its own ranks — or engender a society that can meet the needs of all its members?

“If they were viable in the past, they now appear to have reached a point of diminishing returns,” writes Dr. Karlberg. “Adversarial strategies legitimate the assumptions regarding human nature and social organization that sustain the tripartite system. When social activists engage in partisan political organizing, they legitimate the contest models of governance that keep them at a perpetual disadvantage. Likewise, when social activists engage in litigation, they legitimate the adversarial systems of jurisprudence that keep them at a perpetual disadvantage. Even street protests, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience legitimate the underlying assumption that contest and opposition are necessary forms of social interaction.”

Too often, as well, the root causes of activists' concerns largely remain unaddressed.

Within this wider context, the Bahá'í community, which is also concerned with addressing the ills that beset society, sees itself as making a number of contributions to the struggle for social transformation — but with a distinctive vision and approach based on its sacred scriptures. A basic tenet of Bahá'í belief is that humanity, standing on the threshold of its collective maturity, must develop appropriate new qualities, attitudes, and skills that can carry humanity beyond the simplistic and limited conviction that human beings are aggressive and quarrelsome by nature and can only progress through the adversarial pitting of “us” against “them.”

For Bahá'ís, conflicts can best be resolved — and social transformation accomplished — through a new paradigm of unity and cooperation based on the recognition of humanity's underlying oneness. It is a vision of human unity that also stresses the importance of humanity's spiritual nature.

Accordingly, Bahá'ís seek to solve social problems by attempting to address what they see as the spiritual root of the problem facing humanity — its failure to recognize and wholeheartedly embrace the oneness of the human race.

But if adversarial relationships are taken for granted as the norm of operation in society, how can we move from the current model of “containment,” where institutions are seen as controlling and limiting the freedom of individuals, to a model of empowerment?

The new paradigm advanced by the Bahá'í Faith focuses on empowering individuals to become agents of constructive social change in their communities, or, in the words of one writer, on “cultivating the capacity in individuals and their institutions to participate in their own development.”

The Bahá'í view of change as organic in nature provides a perspective that allows the community to pursue it through established, lawful channels. Just as a human being must traverse numerous stages from infancy to adulthood, the political world “cannot instantaneously evolve from the nadir of defectiveness to the zenith of rightness and perfection. Rather, qualified individuals must strive by day and by night, using all those means which will conduce to progress, until the government and the people develop along every line from day to day and even from moment to moment,” according to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá.

Outside the adversarial “contest” paradigm, the Bahá'í community is devoting its energies to building communal patterns to encourage the development of “those means that will conduce to progress.” While still very young, the community is gaining valuable experience in nurturing “learning organizations” at the grassroots level and in empowering both individuals and institutions to walk their own path of development.

The maturation of democratically elected Bahá'í governing bodies at the local level and the progress of a worldwide system for training human resources both offer encouraging evidence of those patterns within the Bahá'í community itself. Bahá'ís are also seeking ways to offer the insights and skills inspired by their beliefs to the wider community, notably through social and economic development efforts around the world.

This recognition that spiritual transformation needs to be the foundation of lasting material improvements is central to the Bahá'í approach to social change. “Humanity's crying need will not be met by a struggle among competing ambitions or by protest against one or another of the countless wrongs afflicting a desperate age,” writes the Universal House of Justice. “It calls, rather, for a fundamental change of consciousness.” “[E]ach human being on earth must learn to accept responsibility for the welfare of the entire human family.”

In the end, then, the temporary overlapping of individualistic agendas or ephemeral political alliances common to most protest movements cannot lead to lasting change. If, however, change springs from a conviction that humanity is one, and that both individuals and institutions play reciprocal roles in serving humanity, then it will endure.