Spiritual Foundations for an Ecologically Sustainable Society
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White, R. “Spiritual Foundations for an Ecologically Sustainable Society”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, Mar. 1989, pp. 33-57, doi:10.31581/jbs-2.1.3(1989).


This paper takes a broad macroevolutionary approach to our changing relationship to Nature in light of the teachings of the Baha'i Faith. It suggests that humanity is perhaps, after all, not a delinquent species running out of control but is at the very centre of a vast growth process clearly approaching a tremendous transition. Drawing on the teachings of the Baha'i Faith as well as on emerging knowledge in physics, ecology, and psychology, it suggests humanity is in a process of evolving consciousness that is leading to the birth of a new planetary culture. This process subsumes the development of a mature cooperative relationship between humanity and the ecosphere that gave it birth. This examination and synthesis will be accomplished in two parts. In the first part the basic attitudes to Nature that are contained within the Baha'i Writings will be explored and explicated. The second part will examine how the emergence of an ecological consciousness is linked to basic principles of the Baha'i Faith. These principles will be related to tenets for an ecological society being advanced by contemporary social commentators. Implicit throughout is the Baha'i view of the balance and cohesion of material and spiritual realities in approaching every question, whether it be environmental policy, agriculture, development, health, or peace. All areas of human endeavor are interrelated and require an integrated understanding of human purpose. This paper lays no claim to being an authoritative Baha'i position and should be regarded as a preliminary attempt of one mind to grasp some of the deeper meanings latent in the voluminous writings of the Baha'i Faith. Through this attempt it is hoped the reader will be led to a deeper understanding of current environmental dilemmas and will be offered a vision of profound change for which the current crises may be viewed as "forcing functions." As idealistic as this may seem, in this day only the visionary is pragmatic.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you wish to adapt, remix, transform, or build upon this work in any way, you may not distribute your work without first contacting the Editor for permission.

Copyright © 1989 Robert A. White