We have inherited an uneasy legacy of tension, in the East and West, between “fact” and “fiction,” between objective history and our many relative and subjective “stories,” between art as the representation of reality and faith based on the Word of God. Depending on how this tension has been “read” and “written” into action, our civilizations in the past have produced beauty or horror, high culture or blind prejudice. But while we may have inherited “facts” like these from the past, our future can only be created by the power of the imagination to believe, by the spiritual force of our lives which material civilization calls “fictions.” As Bahá’ís and believers in the cycle of Divine Unity, we have inherited a weighty responsibility to resolve this tension creatively and our common future, as a dynamic, diverse, and spiritual civilization, depends on it. The task of distinguishing “fact” from “fiction” in an age of maturity is a shared one. The question that must shape our words and deeds at the present hour, therefore, is not only who will write the future but also who will read it.
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