87. These are not Days of Prosperity and Triumph
Updated: 3 days ago
Were you on the planet during the '70's? The western world was astounded when half a million people came together at Woodstock to celebrate 'An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music'. Perfumed by joss sticks and incense, the air itself seemed rich with fresh possibilities for peace and unity. With the dawning of that Age of Aquarius it seemed that an unprecedented change for good had begun.
Further to this theme, Matt Ridley observed in his online blog :
Let nobody tell you that the second decade of the 21st century has been a bad time. We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history. Extreme poverty has fallen below 10 per cent of the world’s population for the first time. It was 60 per cent when I was born. Global inequality has been plunging as Africa and Asia experience faster economic growth than Europe and North America; child mortality has fallen to record low levels; famine virtually went extinct; malaria, polio and heart disease are all in decline. -- http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/best-decade-in-history/ December, 2019 The Spectator
Many of us share a deep desire for rapid results and instant reward, for some power of goodness to overcome and lift mankind out of darkness at one stroke. But at the same time we know that nothing of great consequence can ever rise out of impatience.
In an interview with Prince William, Sir David Attenborough warned that world leaders need to do more to tackle the looming threat of climate change, stating that humans now had the power to exterminate whole communities of living creatures ‘at will’. He stated that due to humanity’s impact on the world in his lifetime “The Garden of Eden is no more", saying 'I am quite literally from another age. I was born during the holocene, the period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm, trade, and made us the globally connected species we are today. We have changed the world so much that scientists claim we are in a new geological age, the anthropocene, the age of humans."
New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern told fellow world leaders to get on the right side of history, and embrace environmental ‘guardianship’ of the earth. She called for a new criteria to be measured; that of people's and planetary 'wellbeing'.
Jennifer Morgan of Greenpeace International described plans to grant the agriculture ministry more control of the Amazon rainforest is “incredibly worrying”, capable of damaging the environment and harming the indigenous people who live there. She emphasised collaboration and unity, speaking of the need to “prioritise the Amazon over short-term business profit” and maintaining that “We’re working with allies, and we’ll work to defend everything that we can because the Amazon isn’t just an amazing forest, it’s the lungs of the earth and it plays an incredibly important role in the climate”.
If the Amazon can be described as the 'lungs' of our planet, religion is its 'heart'. True religion is not just a noun. It is a verb, a 'doing' word. It holds practical advice, social guidance, and a prescription for the needs of each age in which it was revealed. Unless and until the divine prescription for the unique needs of today is recognised, and that healing balm applied, for so long will our dream evade us.
“Chaos and confusion are daily increasing in the world. They will attain such intensity as to render the frame of mankind unable to bear them. Then will men be awakened”. ---The Universal House of Justice, 10 February 1980.
On consideration, it will be seen that the great civilizations of the past - the early Vedic religious communities of the Indus Valley, those of Greece, Rome, Angkor Wat, Persia, the Incas, Aztecs and more - were built upon moral and social foundations. And yet each eventually collapsed. Now the very civilisation of the whole planet is under threat.
"The problems of the world—which are clearly evident in the arenas of politics, economics, social conditions, and the environment—confront humanity’s future with inescapable dangers and yet its leaders remain unaware of their fundamental causes, are unable to remedy them, and are fearful of their consequences. One of the most pressing challenges afflicting multitudes of people across the globe is the disturbed economic situation. The lack of a necessary framework to ensure equity and justice in the distribution of wealth has led to an increase in unemployment and poverty to the extent that even providing life’s basic essentials has become extremely difficult for many strata of society. The consequences of the vast divide between the rich and the poor, whether within or among the nations, are indescribable." --Universal House of Justice, 24 October 2018 message, To the Baha'i's of Iran.
“These are not days of prosperity and triumph” cautioned Baha'u'llah;“The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared.” --Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah xxx1v