Eighth Reflection

Although historical consciousness is present in the philosophical systems of many philosophers, like Hegel and Marx, Baha’u’llah’s principle is qualitatively different. First, this historical dynamic never ends in an ultimate state of the end of history. Thus, for Baha’u’llah, even the truth of His own revelation is relative to the present stage of the development of humanity, and, therefore, His revelation is not the last divine revelation. Divine revelation, on the contrary, is eternal and everlasting. Secondly, Baha’u’llah applies this historical logic not only to the realm of human culture but also to the realm of the revelation of the divine Word as well. 3. Global Consciousness The unity of the first and second principles implies the third principle of the worldview of Baha’u’llah. The first two principles together declare the necessity of the renewal of spiritual order at this stage of the development of humanity in ways that accord with the fundamental challenge of historical development in this age. The third principle of Baha’u’llah’s worldview is the principle of the oneness of humankind and the imperative of universal peace. According to this vision, an effective and just solution to the diverse problems of humanity at this stage of its development requires the adoption of a global consciousness that is based upon the fundamental premise of the essential unity of the entire human race. This global approach is not simply a cult of brotherly love or a utopian fantasy. Emphasized through His letters to the rulers of the world in 1867-8, and elaborated in the rest of His life, Baha’u’llah’s third principle calls for the emergence of a new culture of peace and unity, new consultative and democratic international structures, and new consultative and just social institutions. He wants to create a social order that is defined by the principle of unity in diversity. He writes: That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens . (Tablets 167) One can see the amazing dialectical nature of the three stages. The first stage emphasizes the abstract and mystical unity of humanity. The second stage negates that abstraction and affirms the historical diversity and the dynamic nature of the spirit. The third stage affirms the concrete, historically-specific unity of humankind.

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