presentation - Bahá'í Computer & Communication Association

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presentation - Bahá'í Computer & Communication Association

ENVIRONMENT AND ITS EFFECTS ONTHE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF MANHamid Farabi & Ruhiyyih Farabi


Nature, reflects and manifests the characteristics of GodGod the Almighty Creator of all things hasgiven mankind a precious gift, that is thebeautiful material environment whichsurrounds us. This environment, which wecall nature, reflects and manifests thecharacteristics of God Himself, such asbeauty, majesty and splendour. Nature, itselfis a reminder to us of what God is like, just aswe might recognise the style of a particularartist in a painting.7


...whatever I behold I readilydiscover that it maketh Theeknown unto me, and itremindeth me of Thy signs, andof Thy tokens, and of Thytestimonies.Bahá'u'lláh


and every timeI turn my gazeto Thine earth,I am made torecognize theevidences ofThy power andthe tokens ofThy bounty.


According to the Holy Books, man has been created inthe "image of God". This means that he has a soul or aspiritual force within him that is higher and noblerthan the physical nature which surrounds him. Manhas been created as one entity which consists of twonatures. He is both a spiritual and physical being; hisspiritual nature consists of the capacity to behave inGod‐like ways and express love, generosity,compassion and other characteristics of God. Man'sphysical needs must also be met. These include theneed for food, shelter, cleanliness, clothing, etc. Ifman lives in harmony with nature, both his spiritualand physical needs can be satisfied. But if manneglects one or other side of his reality he becomesunbalanced and incomplete.13


Unfortunately, people today place moreemphasis on their physical being. The resultsare that their lives are ruled by materialism.They become aggressive in satisfying theirown wants and needs and insensitive andapathetic towards the needs of others. Theybecome obsessed with acquiring possessions,much more than they really need, andneglect the acquisition and practice ofspiritual virtues which would develop theirspiritual nature.14


On the other hand, there are others whoneglect their physical nature andenvironment and involve themselves totallywith religious dogmas. These people maybecome superstitious or fanatical and veryaggressive in defence of their beliefs and maybe careless and neglectful of their physicalhealth and comfort. The resulting ill‐healthand discomfort then becomes an obstacle inthe way of their achieving their goals.15


SpiritualMaterialOnly a moderate approach satisfiesboth sides of man's natureand makes him the well‐balanced,useful and noble creature whichhe is meant to be.Only a moderate approachsatisfies both sides of man'snature and makes him thewell‐balanced, useful andnoble creature which he ismeant to be.16


In the whole of Creation wefind that everything issomehow linked and relatedto everything else. It is likethe human body whichconsists of different links andorgans.17


If one link or organ suffers thewhole body suffers. If one unitor organ is missing, the bodybecomes incomplete. So theworld of nature can also sufferor becomes incomplete whenthe various elements are abusedor destroyed.18


For example, flora and fauna.Each of these two groups usecertain elements of nature tosurvive and each group alsoproduces elements, whichare essential for the life ofthe other.19


In other words, the growth anddevelopment of the vegetable worldare impossible without animals andthe maintenance of animal life isinconceivable without thecooperation of the vegetablekingdom. The relationship is thesame among all elements of nature.20


Every part of the universe isinterlinked with other partsby strong ties. There can beno imbalance or slackeningwhatsoever.21


Nature is subject to an absolute organization, todetermined laws, to a complete order and finisheddesign, from which it will never depart. From thesmallest invisible atom up to the large bodies of thesun or other great stars, their arrangement,composition, form and movement are all in thehighest degree of organization and under one law.Similarly, mankind as a creation of God also fits intothis interrelated cycle of nature and is intended toexist in harmony with his environment andeverything else in the Universe.22


For instance, few people canfail to be impressed andfilled with awe whenconfronted with the manybeautiful colours andperfumes of flowers in agarden23


Or when viewing a vast naturallandscape from a high vantagepoint. In these instances,people feel relaxed and are atone with nature and humbledby the power and majesty ofcreation spread out beforethem.24


Man's spirit can soar and it is easy to feel,practice and develop spiritual qualities.At these times, man's spirit can soarand it is easy to feel, practice anddevelop qualities such as peace, love,kindness, generosity, etc.When man is in harmony with natureand without stress, these spiritualvirtues can develop unhindered.25


In such circumstances, man's spiritualnature comes to the fore and it is easyto reflect on the fact that the source ofeverything physical that mankindpossesses is the very soil that he walksupon. In the great cycle of natureeverything either comes out of the soilor is nourished by something else thatdoes.26


Nature itself, has no intelligence, nowill. For instance, the nature of fire isto burn, water to flow, the sun toradiate, vapour to rise. They do thesethings without will or intelligence.They are compelled. There are novoluntary movements except those ofanimals and, above all, those of man.27


Man has the power to control natureor his physical surroundings. Nature isinert, whereas man is progressive.Man is able to resist and opposenature because he discovers theconstitution of things, and through thishe commands the forces of nature. Allthe inventions he has made are due tothis discovery.28


Everything in the contingent world ismade of many varied atoms, and itsexistence is dependent on thecomposition of these. But when theorder is deranged, decomposition anddisintegration occurs. Then that thingceases to exist. This estrangement andalienation lead to disturbance andannihilation29


Although mankind is part of natureand reliant upon it for his physicalsurvival, this free will and power tocontrol it and change it gives him atremendous responsibility towardsmaintaining the balance in the cycle ofnature. Mankind should respectnature and according to his spiritualcapacity concern himself withpreserving it.30


Dead fishYet mankind has become arrogant andneglectful and is wantonly destroyingthe very sources of his prosperity,wealth and advancement, power andeven his very survival. That is he hasrejected his responsibility towards hisnatural environment and is destroyinghis environment through greed. He isultimately destroying his spiritualbeing and inner happiness.31


How often have we observed that themore a person has, the more he cravesfor more, no matter whatunscrupulous means it takes to get it.When he gets more, the less he wantsto share and the more fearful he is oflosing his possessions or power.Whereas the most generous, happyand spiritual people are often thosewho are materially poor.32


Material wealth alone can only producetemporary happiness; while the realhappiness of man is the result of goodattitudes and virtues which are part of hisspiritual being. These include love, wisdom,intellectual perceptions, scientificdiscoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness,benevolence, courage, respect for the rightsof others, honouring agreements, wishing thegood of all, the guidance and education of allnations and races.33


RankMilitary Date ofCountryExpenditures (USD) information— World Total 1,470,000,000,000 2008— NATO Total 1,049,875,309,0001 United States 651,163,000,000 2009— European Union Total 312,259,000,000 2008‐20092 People's Republic of China 70,411,404,000 20093 France 67,148,300,000 2008‐20094 United Kingdom 61,472,400,000 2009‐20105 Japan 48,860,000,000 20086 Germany 45,930,000,000 20087 Italy 40,050,000,000 20088 Russian Federation 39,600,000,000 20099 India 32,700,000,000 2009‐201010 Saudi Arabia 31,050,000,000 2008Source: WikipediaLet us consider what is presentlyhappening. The situation has becomeso grave that the whole world isworried and concerned. Yet this sameworld has become so obsessed withobtaining maximum economic growthand wealth, instead of the optimumuse of natural resources that it isseemingly too difficult to change theseold habits in order to adopt new ones.34


There are still some26,000nuclear warheadsin the world, enough todestroy civilization many times over anddestroy most life on earth.Nuclear weapons make humansan endangered species.Man's greed influenceshim to regard any othercourse as a sacrifice of hisneeds. Individuals are notconcerned about theirfellow citizens of the worldor about the future.35


More than95% of allnuclearweapons arein thearsenals ofthe US andRussia.They claim that today theyhave to survive andtomorrow is for the peopleof tomorrow to deal with.36


The averagenuclear weapon inthe US arsenal isapproximatelyeight times more powerful than thenuclear bomb that destroyedHiroshima, immediately killing some90,000 people.Some have even convincedthemselves that there isnot going to be anytomorrow so they are atliberty to take whateverthey can for today.37


There are currentlynine countries withnuclear weapons(US, Russia, UK,France, China, Israel,India, Pakistan and North Korea).This pessimism and senseof futility and selfishnessreflects man's wrongattitude towards nature,others, himself andtowards life in general38


The 1970 Non‐Proliferation Treaty,ratified by nearly every country in theworld, requires the nuclear weaponsstates to engage in good faithnegotiations for nuclear isarmament.so he enters into a viciouscircle ‐ an attitude which inturn is strongly influencedby the effect the world hehas manipulated is havingon his own spiritualdevelopment.39


There are up to2,000,000 kilogramsof Highly EnrichedUranium (HEU) in globalstockpiles, and it takesjust15‐24 kilogramsfor a nuclear weapon.There are 28 countries with at least onebomb’s worth of HEU and 12 countrieswith at least 20 bombs’ worth.As mankind neglects anddestroys his environmentso he destroys theconditions in which it ispossible for his spiritualnature to thrive40


The US has spent more than5.5 trillion USDin developing their nucleararsenal and France hasspent about 1.5 trillion USD.‐ And these numbers do not include thecosts of testing, fissile materialproduction, storage and disposal.and he becomes alienatedand depressed and hisspiritual development isretarded.41


The costs for other nuclear weapon statesare probably similar, but those numbers arenot publicly available.The situation has becomeso bad that mankind nolonger has to look into thefuture and predict theresults of his actions ‐ thedevastation is with us hereand now.42


The water, land and air whichsustain life on this planet arecontaminated by oil slicks, thecontinuous burning of fossil fuels,the poisoning of the atmosphereby various gases, the dumping ofchemicals or nuclear wastes inthe sea or on the land,43


the increase of garbage andsolid wastes, a problem whicheven recycling has failed tosolve and the poisoning of ourfood by the indiscriminate useof chemicals in theirproduction.44


Global warming is only one majorresult that we can anticipate andtry to understand. There aremany other chronicconsequences which we may notrealise or we may fear so muchand are ignorant of how to dealwith them so we choose to ignorethem.45


July 19, 2009UK hWSome countries create rigid laws to deal withenvironmental wastes but only for their ownbenefit. Industrialists simply trade and exportsome of these wastes out of their own regionand dump them into the sea or in theterritories of weaker, poorer nations. Thesemay accept the situation because they areeither ignorant of the consequences ordesperate for foreign exchange to buy foodand the necessities for bare survival.46


July 30, 2009UK cancer, etc…Young people die of cancer or heartdisease or may be hospitalised as aresult of dangerous chemicals whichthey have ingested, digested, inhaledor absorbed. Irresponsible and/orignorant industrialists dump hazardouswastes into water, on land or into theair and for the sake of a few extradollars hurt hundreds of people.47


1 child dies every 5 seconds as a result of hunger& Malnutrition‐700 every hour‐ 16 000 each day‐ 6 million each year ‐ 60% of all child deaths(2002‐2008 estimates).A child in Sierra Leone, which has the world's highest childmortality rate (262 in 2007) is almost 100 times more likelyto die than one born in Sweden (with a rate of 3).Every 3 seconds a child dies of hunger, disease ormalnutrition Source: UNICEF/FAOEvery 3 seconds a child dies ofhunger, disease or malnutritionand yet every single day over 4billion U.S dollars are spent onwar and approximately 4 billionUS dollars are spent on creatingweapons which may bedeterrents to war.48


World MilitaryExpenditures 2008= USD 1,470,000,000,000FAO annual budget ≈ US$382.85 million≈ 0.0026% WMEWHO annual budget ≈ US$2,113.5 million≈ 0.014% WMEUNEP annual budget ≈ US$119.5 million2006‐2007 ≈ 0.0008% WMEFAO + WHO + UNEP budget ≈ US$2,616M≈ 0.018% WMEThis must surely beconsidered a misuse andmismanagement of theworld's wealth and resources.49


To put this into perspective the priceof global elimination of starvation,provision of health care, provision ofshelter and clean water, elimination ofilliteracy, provision of sustainableenergy, debt relief for developingcountries, clearance of landmines andmore has been estimated to be about260 billion USD annually for 10 years.50


We have the example of the vast oil slick andthe burning of hundreds of oil wells in thePersian Gulf area. This could have adevastating effect on our weather patternand the survival of vegetation, fish and othermarine organisms.It is true that this was the result of war andwas unforeseen. But it did happen and mayhappen again and again and mankindtogether with all life‐forms on earth mustsuffer the consequences.51


Like many other activities inthis world the victims areoften the poorer peoples andnations; but the populationsof developed countries arealso becoming victims, withintangible effects.52


The increase in disease andsickness, whether physicalor psychological orspiritual are evidence ofthis.53


The seemingly affluent, vast,sprawling cities of theindustrial world, full of fearand hostility are just assqualid and deprived as theshanty towns and refugeecamps of lesser developednations.54


The fact is that mankind is at war with hisenvironment and is contributing to itsdestruction in every major industrial city inthe world. Most of the people of the worldare willingly taking part in this criminalventure, some because of greed andselfishness, others because of their dire needto survive. The cycle of nature has becomeunbalanced and has entered a dangerousdownward spiral. Spiritual values of love andkindness have been perverted to imply sexand corruption.55


The environment is no longerconducive to spiritual developmentas mankind's attitudes lean moreand more towards materialistic andindividualistic sentiments such asgreed, which in turn compounds thesituation and necessitates moredestruction in order to satisfy theunquenchable desire.56


CheckLong ago mankind developed hisconsciousness of the family unit and the ruleswhich govern the relationships between thefamily members. Whether these rules weregood or bad they kept the family unittogether. Then man, within his familyassociated with his neighbours and fellowcountry men who were dependent upon himas he was on them. So he developed a senseof national pride and brotherhood whichwould urge him to be concerned and to giveand develop a close relationship with hisfellow citizens, again maintaining harmonywithin his environment.57


Today we can say that the world hasshrunk due to the advancement ofcommunications and transportation, sonow members of families may bescattered in different places around theworld. Neighbours may be divided byhighways and busy roads and citizensfind themselves seeking their own selfinterests and ignoring others.58


People often work long hours duringthe day and are hypnotised by T.V.during the evening hours. They mayfeel, they have an inner peace asthey remain isolated in the cubicconcrete prisons which they call theirsecure homes, yet they seemunhappy, lonely, shy, insecure andsuspicious of others.59


Today, we refer to the worldas a global village. Nationsand peoples have becomemore dependent on eachother than ever before andthe survival of the planet maydepend solely on cooperationbetween all nations.60


This co‐operation will be difficultto establish so long asindividuals within these nationsseek only their own self interestand isolate themselves, losingtrust in others and continuouslyviolating the rights of otherpeople.61


Perhaps the solution to the problemslies within each individual. Any changein the situation for the better, has tobegin with individuals who areeducated to be more aware of theirspiritual capacity and so change theirattitude towards their environmentand towards their fellow men.62


ADDThere is a need to developthe spiritual side of man'snature for only then canthe downward spiral of theimbalance of nature behalted and graduallyreversed.63


ADDXAggressive hurtfullnatureWhen a person changes hisattitude towards himself anddevelops his loving, generous,gentle nature instead of hisaggressive hurtful side, then hisattitude towards his environmentwill change and also towards hisfellow men.64


ADDHe will desire to give and to shareand want all mankind to haveenough to live and be contentand he will be able to institutethe systems and institutions, firstwithin his own community andthen on a worldwide basis, whichare necessary for this to happen.65


ADDThus, as we have seen, mankind hastwo natures, but he has neglected hisspiritual nature and concentrated onhis physical nature. In doing so he hascaused his environment to bedestroyed. This in turn has hinderedthe development of his spiritual naturestill further, thus swamping him withunhappiness and despair.66


have a tremendouseffect in mouldingthe personality andbehaviour ofindividuals.Yet it is still possible to reverse the process. Itis still possible for spiritually‐mindedindividuals to exert an influence and changethe world again for the better. It serves nouseful purpose to be defeatist and contendthat human nature cannot change. Just asmankind can control his environment, so hecan also control himself. Environment,education and example, have a tremendouseffect in moulding the personality andbehaviour of individuals.67


they willdesire tobuild a newworld inwhich thespiritualvalues ofloving,sharing anddetachmentcan flourish.If a person does not see orexperience spiritual behaviour hewill never learn it. So if thesethings are correctly planned andpeople are deliberately exposedto these attitudes, they will desireto build a new world in which thespiritual values of loving, sharingand detachment can flourish.68


.He can build a new worldwhich recognises theinterdependence of allmankind in this new globalsituation and in which allmankind can live together asone family.69


.It is possible for mankind tochange his nature and unselfishlyrestore the balance of the cycle ofnature so that the whole worldcan become united, with everycitizen having more than enoughto survive and be happy, insteadof some being extremely rich andothers extremely poor.70


It is possible for them to regard each other,whether black or white, rich or poor, man orwoman as equals, so that the root causes ofwar ‐ the quarrels and contentions ofhumanity might be done away with and alasting universal peace might at last beestablished on this earth. Then with thesharing of resources and the physical needsof all sufficiently satisfied and the world'senvironment suitably maintained, mankind'sspiritual development and happiness canprogress unabated.71

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