Re: Various comments on Baha'i auxlang policy (long)

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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on February 14, 2002 at 14:10:26:

In Reply to: Re: Various comments on Baha'i auxlang policy (long) posted by mark on February 13, 2002 at 23:40:18:

Despite the preeminent priority of training institutes, I would strongly disagree that an auxiliary language is not a high priority. Why do we think we have to drop everything else to work on one goal? The Universal House of Justice members have referred to this tendency among Baha'is. Yes, attempting to involve ourselves in the choice of the universal language is not only not timely, but it is something we are not supposed to be involved with. However, spreading the idea of the universal auxiliary language for its adoption in the near future is something which Baha'u'llah Himself practically urged representatives of the Persian government to do, which 'Abdu'l-Baha tirelessly and repeatedly urged in His travels in Europe and America, which Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice have encouraged. The choosing of an auxiliary language is a goal urged in the Baha'i International Community's statement "Turning Point for all Nations", published in 1995. They state this as parts of _immediate_ steps to enhance the prestige of the General Assembly. The notes to the Kitab-i-Aqdas indicate that the distant future representing the maturity of mankind which will see the choice of a universal language is referring to the time when the languages will be reduced to one--not to the more immediate choice and necessity of a universal auxiliary language.

Talking about a universal language (and enlisting our hearers to spread the word) is hardly a low priority goal. Baha'u'llah stated in connection with a universal language to "strive to translate that which hath been written into reality". Why is it that we Baha'is, who should be in the forefront of working for these objectives, accept fatalistic notions that the time has not come, etc., even while Baha'u'llah assures us this is a turning point in mankind's history for which we must give out proofs and arguments? Instead of just wearing the social principles as a badge of our Faith's progressive nature, why don't we stop withholding the medicine from mankind and do our part to put the necessary effort into stimulating the rest of the world which has the necessary resources to carry out these social principles, while we continue in our other complimentary and mutually reinforcing task to build the Baha'i system?

Do we Baha'is resist such changes because we ourselves are caught up in the arrogant notion that the choice of a universal language is not a matter for democratic decision (whether as a result to choose a language other than English or to consolidate English as a universal language)? Are we so complacent that we don't care about the wasted resources spent especially by those already strapped for resources, including by our own Baha'i community, in making translations, etc. because we already have access to English (which we audaciously expect natives of other countries to learn, and have no desire to gain or give access to the thinking of people with other language groups just expecting others to "come to us")?

I look forward to us Baha'is actually taking up the social principles with full force and not the hopeless self-defeatist cynicism which I feel is part of the self-defeating paralysis of will the Universal House of Justice in its peace statement (which called for a universal auxiliary language) in that we believe people are inherently aggressive, incapable of making changes without suffering, etc. Even though the latter has some truth, why don't we do something about it to mitigate it, as we are called to do? Let's pass on the idea, and ask others to do the same...It requires hardly any effort, is consistent with the call of the Writings, and it may just bring about this dream.

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