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Abstract:
A look six decades into the future (from 1938) to envision the Lesser Peace.
Notes:

The Unity of Nations

by Stanwood Cobb

published in Bahá'í World, Vol. 7 (1936-1938), pages 693-697
1938

     "Human history sometimes drifts aimlessly along without seeming to go anywhere, then at other times it rides fast on a flowing tide that cannot be stopped or turned aside," says David Coyle in his book "Uncommon Sense."

     We are in such a swift moving period today.  It is indeed a crucial moment in the world's history.  Vast changes have already taken place.  Still greater changes are imminent.  Where is all this leading to?

     Minds are made confused by all this change.  Hearts are made anxious.  For this process of human evolution, if we can call it such, has its immediate implications for every individual.  The sense of certainty, of security, is destroyed by this ominous and bewildering destruction of old forms and institutions going on before our eyes.  Every such destruction suggests the danger of drastic changes in personal fortunes.  What lies ahead for us as individuals we know not.  What lies ahead of us in the way of group forms and fortunes we can only guess.

     If we could be but certain that this breaking up of old forms were leading to something vastly superior; if we could rest in the assurance of a stable and universal order developing for future humanity out of all this welter and chaos of the workshop period of today, we could afford to accept not only with equanimity but even with satisfaction the present conditions out of which such a world order would seem to be developing.

     In the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh given to the world over seventy years ago may be found the clue to these vast changes that are taking place.  Old forms had to be broken up, in order that the glorious structure of the new World Order might arise out of the ruins of the godless and semi-pagan civilization of today.

     This new World Order of Bahá'u'lláh implies universal peace; the brotherhood of man; the unity of religion; the establishment of an equitable, stable, and prosperous economic system of worldwide proportions; the setting up of an auxiliary universal language as an instrument for world travel, world commerce, and culture; the formation everywhere of just governments assuring economic security to the individual, restraining the great oppressors, and guaranteeing in actuality and not in words a square deal to even the humblest person in his pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

     It may seem paradoxical to state that this glorious vision for humanity cannot be achieved save through the creation of chaos in human affairs.

     But how would war ever cease, save that the instruments of war became so terrible and devastating, so wholesale in destruction as to purge the heart and purify the soul of men to that point at which actual plans for universal peace could be effected?  How could the brotherhood of man come about until humanity wearied of the cruelties and confusions due to racial and national hatreds?  How could one supreme and vitally active world religion be achieved, until the peoples the world over despaired of the efficacy of their old traditional cults?  How could the perfect economic pattern be forged out, until capital and labor, through battling one against the other, through the attrition and loss and chaos of economic warfare and class struggle, reach a point where each side is willing to relinquish somewhat of power in order to find in harmonization and mutualization of their desires and needs the fair and shining way to equitable, stable and universal prosperity?  And how could governments become just, until the oppressed should rise up with such might as to pull down the proud oppressor from his power?

     We shall not grieve over the chaotic conditions today, we shall not even be bewildered at these swift changes everywhere occurring, if we hold steadily before our eyes the glorious vision of the new World Order as revealed by Bahá'u'lláh.  Here is a definite pattern for human society.  An all-inclusive pattern for the expression of man's power and abilities in the social, economic and political domains.  Holding this pattern before our eyes we can work toward it gradually as the architect turns into noble reality the blue prints which lie upon his desk.

     Instead of confusion we shall then have certitude.  Instead of despair we shall have courage and glorious hopes.  The more we see the old forms tumble to ruin before our eyes, the more we shall rejoice in the opportunity thus given to us for building new and better forms in their place.

     Institutions are not immortal.  They rise and fall in periodic rhythm--expressive of the growing power of man's ever inventive spirit, and obedient to the dictates of destiny.  Why mourn the failure of old institutions in which crystallization has become an omen and a cause of death?  Let us rather hail with joy the rise of glorious new institutions which promise immense benefits to humanity.

 

I
 

     Let us now view in detail the structure of the new World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, announced by Him to the world as the Will of the Eternal Mover of cosmic events.  Let us view it, as the architect helps us to conceive his plans, in the form of the perfected structure pictured concretely.

     We are in the year 2001.  We look back upon the twentieth century as a period of enormous vitality, of stupendous structural changes.  Out of the apparent chaos and confusion we have seen emerge great and universal institutions founded upon the predication of the Oneness of Mankind, secured and stabilized by a new human conscience of universal brotherhood.

     War has disappeared now and forever.  In its place we see the promised and long-dreamed-of Federation of the World; the League of Nations, so feebly struggling in its early days, having now become a universal and effective institution for super-national government.  The rulers and peoples of the world, wearying of the devastations caused by war, have at least actually agreed, in world conference, to simultaneously cut down national armaments to that minimum essential for internal order.  In the place of these fatally competitive armies and navies an international police corps has been created, naval and aeronautic, obedient to the will of the League of Nations Assembly and upholding the decisions of the Wold Court.  Swiftly effective is this great international armed force in keeping all the peoples of the world subservient to the demands of international law and order.

     A world metropolis acts as a nerve center of a world civilization, the focus toward which the unifying forces of life will converge and from which its energizing influences will radiate.  The economic resources of the world are organized and an equitable distribution assured by the world parliament and international executive.  The technological power of humanity is fully applied to the exploitations of the earth's physical resources.  World markets are coordinated and developed and the distribution of world products are equitably regulated.  Thus the major causes of modern war have been removed, since the new international government of this Federation of the World so regulates world economy as to produce greater prosperity for each individual nation, as parts now of a harmonious whole, than have ever been achieved in the past by means of the selfish and brutal self-seeking of nations through the instrumentality of war and conquest.

     The ancient ancestral quarrel between labor and capital has been healed and all their joint problems solved by the far-reaching economic laws of Bahá'u'lláh.  What are these laws?  The first is that of profit-sharing, that the net profits of industry and business are divided between capital and labor.  That is to say, labor in addition to a basic minimum wage, has a definite predetermined share in the profits.  Thus there has been achieved a perfect mutualization of capital and labor.  New potentialities in labor have been awakened and tapped, potentialities of energy and of inventiveness.  The productive power of industry under this new arrangement has been greatly multiplied, and the consuming power of the general public has been enabled to keep up with this heightened power of production.
 

II
 

     Yes, through the application of a very simple economic principle, the age of abundance dreamed of by the young economists of the 1930's has actually been achieved.  Whereas before, in the confused economic period of the twentieth century, too much of the proceeds of industry flowed to capital to become investment money and too little to labor in the way of becoming consuming power; now the law of profit-sharing, elastically applied, has helped to maintain consumption on a parity with production.  A second great law, that of graduated income and inheritance taxes, so steep in the upper registers as to prevent excessive fortunes, further serves to divert income from investment to consumption channels.  This new economic regime, adapted by the respective nations to their internal needs and aided by the international government, maintains an equitable and permanent parity between production and consumption.

     This same parity is maintained in the agricultural domain.  For the first time in world history it has been found possible to obtain markets for all food products grown.  The immense agricultural potentiality of the earth's surface is now exploited with all the skill and technological planning of a human society that has at last reached maturity.

     The world's agriculture is now practiced on a universal basis.  The great staple crops of the world are kept flowing from high levels of productiveness to areas low in productiveness but high in consuming power.  Agricultural engineering and planning of world-wide scope supersedes waste and chaos.  Backward people are assisted by technological leaders lent to them from other countries to train them in scientific methods of agriculture.

     Now all the world is fed, clothed and housed with a fair degree of comfort.  No one on the surface of the planet goes to bed hungry--not even the humblest individual of the most backward country of the world.  Such is the far-flung efficiency of the great super-government of the World-State.

     The vast industrial potentiality of humanity, now stimulated by a stable and universal consuming power, turns out necessity and comfort goods in such quantities and at such cheapness as to enrich the humblest home with ample means of comfortable living.  Yet our industrial and technical engineers tell us this is only the beginning.  For they aim to improve industrial methods by their technology and at the same time work out efficacious ways and means for increasing the consuming power of the public, so as to bring not only the necessary comfort goods to every home, but also a constantly increasing range of pleasure and luxury goods.  For humanity, having begun to satisfy its necessary wants, is rapidly developing new wants of an esthetic nature.  The home of the humblest workman has a beauty of architecture and interior decoration possible only to the wealthy in that period of confusion, which prevailed in the early part of the twentieth century.

     A vast energy is being directed into civic betterment and into the beautification of village, town and city.  Parks, schools, civic centers, recreational centers, public libraries, museums, institutions for adult education--all of these are stimulating the masses and raising them to ever new cultural levels.

     The love of beauty has grown universal.  The simplest articles of daily use have beauty of design and color.  The radio, the moving pictures, the symphony orchestras spread everywhere within reach of every community, are developing esthetic tastes and opening up opportunities for new artistic talent and achievement.

     For the world order of Bahá'u'lláh is not a mere proposition of counting-house and mart.  It is dedicated not only to order and prosperity, but also to beauty and to joy of living.

     The World Federation of Bahá'u'lláh is united by a universal auxiliary language which was selected by the rulers of all the nations meeting in Congress and thereafter prescribed in all the schools of the world.  This does not displace the native language but is auxiliary to it.  The international language has become a most essential implement for international commerce, travel and culture.  Important books appear simultaneously in the native and in the universal language.  International conventions and conferences are held in this new language.  Its use also helps in developing the psychology of brotherhood.  The importance of linguistic unity in the development of a cohesive nationalism had long been recognized by the leading nations of the world; the same psychological implement is now applied to the forging out of a cohesive internationalism.

     Universal education spreads its blessings throughout the world. The school curriculums in the various nations of the world are fast approaching a common educational aim and ideology.  This educational homogeneity is in itself a powerful aid toward world unity of thought and feeling.  Through the aid of the universal language scholars can now travel from country to country and attend universities anywhere in the world.

     A new world culture is fast developing as the final majestic flowering of that culture called Renaissance which saw the first faint beginning of a harmonization of Oriental and Occidental culture-modes.  We had seen this cultural unification of Orient and Occident developing with considerable acceleration during the last half of the nineteenth, and throughout the twentieth century.  The coalescence has now become practically completed.  The treasures of Oriental culture have been joined with the best and richest values the Orient has to offer, producing a universal culture of remarkable virility, charm and progress-mindedness--a culture in which the esthetic quality of the East is mated to the technological prowess of the West.

     This final and complete coalescence of culture has come about through the emotional unity caused by the spread of the Bahá'í Faith throughout the world, and the development of a unified conscience of brotherhood, now firmly uniting every nation and people on the planet.

     The important factor in the world unity now being achieved is the establishment of a universal religion in accordance with the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.  The various races of the world have come to see that life spiritually is one; that as there is but one universe, so there is but one God and one Truth.  The religious ideology and practice of the planet have for the first time in history been brought into an effective unity through acceptance of the Revelation of the new World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

     This new and miraculous spiritual unity of the human race is the most important single factor in the creation of an effective working unity of thought and action among the two billion people that inhabit the globe.

     The apex and keystone of this world structure is the institution of the Guardianship established by Bahá'u'lláh as the focal point around which the world's thought and action revolve, creating a functional unity unassailable by the dispersive quality.

     This same spiritual force of divine guidance and protection permeates to greater or lesser degree the functioning of the various legislative and administrative bodies--local, national and international.  In fact, a new type of government has sprung into being, combining the important elements of democracy, aristocracy, autocracy, and theocracy.  It would not be possible here to describe fully the plans and working out of this Bahá'í type of civilization which avoids the weaknesses and inefficiencies of democracy, and brings to bear upon its various functions the abilities of the most gifted and devoted citizens.  Permeating universally the ordering and functioning of this new government is the practice of collective turning to the Divine Ruler of the universe for guidance in the solution of all difficult legislative and administrative problems.

     This titanic enterprise--the creation in actuality of the world vision of Bahá'u'lláh--is now, in this beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era, well on its foundational way toward success.  But it will take centuries to complete the structure in all its perfection.  What had appeared an impossible dream in the age of confusion of the first half of the twentieth century, has proceeded to its marvelous consummation with constantly accelerated and miraculous speed during the second half of that century.

     The Kingdom of God, pre-existing architecturally in the Realm of Causation--that Archetypal World of which Plato knew--has at last descended to earth and evolved its perfect pattern in this fair and noble structure, the new World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

     Thus the blueprints of God have become the New Jerusalem visioned by the apocalyptical seer of Patmos.  The world brotherhood of Christ has been achieved.

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