Bahai News - THE SPEAKING TREE
THE SPEAKING TREE

Love Humanity As A Whole

A K MERCHANT

The whole question of destruction and death wrought by the terrorist attack in the US and its aftermath, in my estimation, must be understood within the paradigm of good and evil. Since childhood we are exposed to the images of what constitutes good and what should be regarded as evil. This duality is the theme of hundreds of movies, books, articles, speeches and sermons. However euphemistic the term `good' and `evil' may be, I look upon the two as the absence of one resulting in the other. Evil is actually non-existent, it is the absence of good.

Ignorance, thus, is the want of knowledge; error is the want of guidance; forgetfulness is the want of memory; stupidity is the want of good sense; darkness is the want of light; injustice is the want of justice; illness is the want of health; poverty is the want of wealth; death is the want of life; weakness is the want of strength.

Things can be evil in relation to one another but not evil in themselves. For example, scorpions and snakes are poisonous. Are they good or evil? Well, a scorpion is evil in relation to the human being; likewise a snake vis-a-vis the humans. But in relation to themselves, they are not evil, for their poison is their weapon for self-defence. It may then be construed that there is no evil in existence; all that God created He created good.

In the current context, a number of causes for terrorism can be identified. In some ways selfish, uncaring behaviour on the part of human beings mirror the adolescent stage of individuals where personal concerns or grievances overwhelm people. Another explanation is the lack of a proper balance between the liberty of the individual and the needs of society as a whole. The rights of an individual to act as he wishes can never be absolute. The cause that the terrorists espouse is driven by a `sense of injustice', as when a nation does not have independence in the family of nations, or where a minority feels that its rights are being trampled upon.

A new world view based on the ideals of world citizenship and the concept of the prosperity of humankind can replace the narrower and more violent goals of the terrorist. There is no danger in a rational and reasonable level of patriotism, but what needs to be developed is the love of humanity as a whole. With this ideal as a goal, replacing the fierce nationalism that is used to justify acts of terror, a sense of world citizenship can be developed. ``The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,'' says Baha'u'llah, a Persian nobleman who foresaw the need for a new world order more than a century ago.

The terrorist attack in the US and its resolve to stamp out terrorism from the world cannot succeed unless and until there is one government for the entire world and all the countries are its members as equal partners, with a common army. In that event, should any problem arise in any country, it can be resolved in that world forum without any bloodshed. Till this goal is achieved, terrorism cannot be uprooted and there will be no peace on earth. Any attempt of reprisal over a particular terrorist act will be counter productive and it will amount to curing a symptom and not the disease.

The current universal fermentation and horrendous social upheavals can best be understood as a period of profound transition from a warlike world to a peaceful one. Inevitably, the movement leading to world unity must encounter opposing tendencies rooted in stubborn habits of chauvinism and partisanship that refuse to yield to the expectations of a new age. The torturous suffering imposed by such conditions as poverty, war, violence, fanaticism, disease and degradation of the environment, to which masses of people are subjected, is a consequence of this opposition. Hence, before the peace among the nations matures into a comprehensive reality, it must pass through the difficult stages, not unlike those experiences by individual nations until their internal consolidation was achieved.

It is my belief that the efforts towards world peace is far advanced. And the greatest error the world's leadership could make at this juncture would be to allow the present crisis caused by the terrorist attacks to cast doubt on the ultimate outcome of the process that is occurring. A world is passing away and a new one is struggling to be born. What is required of the peoples of the world is a measure of faith and resolve to match the enormous challenge now facing mankind with the spiritual energies endowed by the almighty creator of the universe.


©Copyright 2001, The Times of India

Top 19 Baha'i Sites Page last updated/revised 092701
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page