Analysis

Laying The Groundwork For Global Civilization

  • A Bahá’í Perspective

There are, currently, a number of well-motivated and helpful proposals to solve the global problems.  However, solution to complex and interrelated problems in the world, will require a new level of commitment to solving major challenges such as de-militarization; extremes of wealth and poverty (both between individuals and between nations); environmental degradation; racism; lack of access to education; and the lack of equality between women and men.

Obviously, our current systems are not able to address the deepening global crisis.  Besides, the available international legislative machinery and processes are inadequate.  Most of us would agree that our experiences and practices of the past do not provide sufficient direction and guidance for the present, let alone the future.  So, how do we begin to bring change?

Rather than a piecemeal approach conceived in response to the needs of the nation-states, it is the Bahá’í view that there is need to adopt an umbrella solution under which specific international codes could be adopted. We need a new world order, especially with the current one lacking credibility. 

Genuine solutions, according to the Bahá’í teachings, will require a globally accepted vision for the future based on unity and willing cooperation, commitment to a higher moral standard and the development of consultative skills for the effective functioning of groups at all levels of society.

Laws and institutions that are universal in character and authority

“Laying the groundwork for global civilization” in the Bahá’í view, “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”.

In order to act effectively individuals must be instilled with a strong sense of purpose that motivates them both to transform their own selves and to contribute to the transformation of society. 

Just over a century and half ago, Bahá’u’lláh, addressing the world leaders, spoke of humankind as entering on a period of history that would involve the radical restructuring of the life of the planet. Challenges never before contemplated would, He said, soon overwhelm the resources of even the most advanced nations. They could be addressed only by a world federal system whose central organ would be a representative world parliament empowered to create a code of universally agreed upon and enforceable international law.

A new world order

The new world order, affirmed in the Bahá’í Writings, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth uniting all nations, races, creeds and classes.  Such a commonwealth of nations, must be based on principles of economic justice, equality between the races, equal rights for men and women and provision of universal education.

The world federal system proposed by Bahá’u’lláh is one “in whose favour all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions” .

Such a world federation will consist of a world legislature, which would enact the laws necessary to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all peoples.  It would have a world executive, backed by an international force, which would carry out the decisions arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by the world legislature.  A world tribunal would adjudicate and deliver its final verdict in all disputes that may arise between the various elements constituting this universal system.

A new system of values

“long-term solutions” according to a Bahá’í International Community statement “will require a new and comprehensive vision of a global society, supported by a new system of values. Acceptance of the oneness of humanity is the first fundamental prerequisite for this reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Recognition of this principle does not imply abandonment of legitimate loyalties, the suppression of cultural diversity, or the abolition of national autonomy. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a far higher aspiration than has so far animated human efforts. It clearly requires the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It is inconsistent not only with any attempt to impose uniformity, but with any tendency towards excessive centralization. Its goal is well captured in the concept of “unity in diversity””.

Therefore, in recognition of the challenges presently facing humanity, we need to go beyond our current systems.  A new world order is required, directed by a world commonwealth, capable of uniting all nations, races, creeds and classes.  Long term solutions require acceptance and belief in the oneness of humanity and transformation in individual character and socialinstitutions.   

For feedback please contact:

mangaung@bahailsa.org.za or call  082 773 8301
Websites: www.bahai.org, www.bahai.org.za

OPINION: Flora Teckie