Clanul bocitoarelor

Cornel Codiţă
Ziarul BURSA #Politică /

Clanul bocitoarelor
Cornel Codiţă

Fraţilor... ce mai dăulire, ce mai frăsuială, ce mai căinare, ce de jelanie, cîtă jeluire, ce mai tînguială şi cîtă văicăreală, ce de aolire şi ce de mai mişelire, cîtă olălăială şi olecăire... Doamneee... cît se scîrbesc, se vaieră şi se văină, se vălăcăiesc de mama focului, de-ai zice că s-au pus să-l scoale de pe năsălie pe cel ce zace ţeapăn, de trei zile, cu coliva şi crucea la cap, cel mutat dintre cei vii, în loc luminat, în loc cu verdeaţă, unde nu-i durere, nici întristare, nici suspin!

Ăştia, de-au intrat zilele astea pe piaţa bocitoarelor profesioniste, pe uşa din dos, nu sunt chiar nişte inşi oarecare şi nici nu duc lipsă de ocupaţie, ori mijloace de trai. Dimpotrivă, sunt oameni ai politicii din România, cu stare şi cu dare de mînă, care lucrează şi fac politică pe la instituţii ale puterii şi ale guvernării, dinlăuntru ori din afară, cum ar fi spre exemplu cele ale Uniunii Europene. S-au pornit să-şi ţipe vaierele şi să îşi smulgă părul din cap de dragul bietei ţărişoare... desigur. Catastrofă ca la 89 şi ca la 79, ca la 69 şi 59 şi 49 şi etcetera şi ca de cînd se ştie ţărişoara asta nu s-a mai văzut decît acum, la 2018, zice dom' primar Chirică, tocmai din tîrgul Ieşilor. Lăsaţi carnavulul, lăsaţi-o pe Chiriţa şi puneţi mîna pe furci, topoare şi ciomege... s-a săturat ţara de tiranie, de regim samavolnic, domnule!!! Şi, dacă nu azi, ori mîine, cu siguranţă, poimîine musai să fim cu toţii în stradă pentru a strivi capul năpîrcii aciuite prin palatele de la Victoriei şi Dealul Spirii. Ştii colea, revoluţionari, volintiri, azi aici mîine-n Focşani, ca la 48 şi ca la 58 şi ca la 68 şi 78 şi 88 şi ca de cînd se ştie România, Românie. Dacă scrie la gazetă, la ultimele ştiri, e rivuluţie soro... şi noi dormim! De la un alt "ştiut" într-ale politicii citire... să luăm aminteee... că, de... s-a tot îmbibat cu ea la Cotroceni... vreo zece ani... s-a topit şi a renăscut în ea, în fiecare zi, în discuţii de taină şi de la om la om, cu ea, cu floarea blondă a expertizei politiceşti de la Pleşcoi, ori cu marii preoţi ai sacrosantului templu al "Sistemului", ticăloşit şi reticăloşit de toţi şi de fiecare, pe rînd, dintre cei care au profitat din plin de serviciile... lui. Ce mai, dacă mai ţine mult gerul, îngheţul ăsta de prin cancelariile de la Bruxelles şi din restul important al Europei, se duce dracului rapiţa... mă rog, imaginea şi aşa extrem de deteriorată a României. Ţara a deraiat, ca un vagon de marfar trist în triajul vesel de la Dîlga, lăsat de izbelişte de locomotiva PSD-ului, a lui Dragnea, Vîlcov et comp. "Dacă ţineţi la România, schimbaţi guvernul"... Traian dixit... nu ăla cu coloana, ăsta, mai nou, cu coloanele... oficial-prezidenţiale... de! De la înălţimea biroului de Comisar European, blînda Corina o dădu şi ea pe coarda "catastrofei naţionale"... mă rog, adică... dacă dă cuiva prin cap să scoată România din Uniunea Europeană şi să ne lase pe noi şi pe copiii noştrii fără viitor!

Acum, să ne înţelegem bine. Eu zic şi ca mine trebuie să zică toţi cei care nu vor să cază la extremităţi, România nu stă deloc pe roze. Nici înlăuntru, nici în afară. Cu guvernarea actuală, lucrurile merg vădit tot mai rău, spre rău şi din rău în mai rău... nu doar la moşmondelile parlamentare numite legi, ori la justiţie, unde se urzică din cale afară Comisia Europeană şi Parlamentul Uniunii Europene şi Comisia de la Veneţia şi ...Papa de la Roma... dacă o prinde vreo zi mai proastă, cît la economie şi la situaţia structural-socială. Ce nu înţeleg eu este, mai întîi, de ce s-au pus ăştia pe bocit?... A declarat cineva România moartă, deja? I-a eliberat doctorul certificatul de deces? Au şters-o, la primărie, ori în catastiful Sfîntului Petru, din evidenţele viilor şi au trecut-o la "ăilalţi"???

Mă rog, nu se simte prea bine, de acord... dar dacă mă întrebaţi pe mine, încă e vie şi dă din picioare... nu prea vioi... da dă!

În al doilea rînd, ăştia de şi-au descoperit talente de bocitoare sunt, cum ziceam la început, oameni pe care îi plătim să facă ceva, să fie mai bine României şi tot românul să prospere...!! Păi, să ne lase nenică cu bocitul şi să pună mîna pe muncă, să repare, să remaieze, să refacă, în sfîrşit... să facă ceva, să ajute, să îndrepte lucrurile pe care tot ei le-au stricat şi să lase bocitul pe seama ălora care ştiu să bocească... atunci cînd o fi cazul să bocească...! Nu de alta, dar la noi există şi bocitoare vesele, iar ei sunt trişti... trişti de tot.

Opinia Cititorului ( 17 )

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  1. O rog din blanda mea inima sa creeze o Agentie de implementare a Cieziunii la Bucuresti cuplata cu un Institut Societal de Cercetare care sa recreeze modelul Uniunii Europene, sa il transforme intr-un model societal care sa creeze de facto coeziune, un sistem integrat care sa nu mai creeze deseuri sociale?! Sa adune toate mintile luminate ale Europei in tata sfanta a Europei, Romania, dupa Sibiu. Amvorbit dejacu dansa si a si prous in Parlamentul Romaniei in asemenea proiect. De UE si Comisie depinde acest salt paradigmatic cu implicatiile aferente... la nivel ideologic, monetar, structural. Europa capabila sa exporte pace structurala in calitaye de superputere soft si nu una hard...

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    1. O rog din blanda mea inima sa creeze o Agentie de implementare a Coeziunii la Bucuresti cuplata cu un Institut Societal de Cercetare care sa recreeze modelul Uniunii Europene, sa il transforme intr-un model societal care sa creeze de facto coeziune, un sistem integrat care sa nu mai creeze deseuri sociale! Sa adune toate mintile luminate ale Europei in tara sfanta a Europei, Romania, dupa summitul de la Sibiu. Am vorbit deja cu dansa si a si propus in Parlamentul Romaniei un asemenea proiect. De UE si Comisie depinde acest salt paradigmatic cu implicatiile aferente... la nivel ideologic, monetar, structural. Europa capabila sa exporte pace structurala in calitate de superputere soft si nu una hard....

      Ce nevoie avem sa ne creem dinozauri care sa ne pazeasca atunci cand putem sa avem doar un caine de paza credincios!?Cerctatorii trebuie sa fie onesti si sa spuna lucrurilor pe nume, adevarul sa fie firul lor rosu, adevar care sa duca la justitie sociala si mai ales la pace structurala.Doamna Corina Cretu ar putea sa ramana in istoria Europei si chiar a lumii daca va sprijini aceste idei inovatoare! Implementam proiecte dedicate politicii de coeziune care creeaza disparitati , in mod paradoxal! Cat timp sa mai mintim? Sa ne facem ca nu vedem sau nu pricepem?!Neoliberalismul incetatenit a structurat si aceasta politica de coeziune ale carei reguli duc la principiul lui Matei, ban la ban trage! 

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    Preiau ideea domnului profesor Cornel Codita aceea de a gasi acel model societal integrat care sa nu mai creeze deseuri sociale..asa cum s-a inceput deja prin economia circulara.Acesta este mesajul mai multor elite academice din Romania.

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    Fac cadou ziarului Bursa cateva idei... luând în considerare puterea ideii pentru schimbare. Avem nevoie de o nouă teorie a cunoasterii, in calitate de instrument util pentru generarea de modele alternative de guvernanţă adecvate realităţii integrării europene.

    Avem nevoie de o nouă teorie deoarece cele vechi sunt limitate şi nu sunt capabile să explice realitatea complexa. Teorie care sa puna laolalta stiintele naturale, sociale, aplicate si viziunea asupra lumii.Numai o astfel de teorie integrativa si o metoda integrativa a cunoasterii ar putea crea modelul societal integrat, capabil sa asigure pace structurala.  

    Nu putem avea pace societala atata vreme cat bogatia este superconcentrata in insulite plutitoare intr-un oceam de saracie...gata sa declanseze razboaie pentru ca nu se mai satura cei bogati avizi de putere exponentiala. 

    Ce este important de observat este faptul că statele devin o “curea de transmisie“ de la nivel global la nivel economic naţional “subminând suveranitatea şi autonomia în toate aspectele securităţii”. Acest fenomen „poate fi numit internaţionalizarea statului”, conform lui Robert Cox. Acest fenomen a creat aşa-numita fractură socială, motor al conflictelor globalizării.  

    Legat de această fractură socială a Globalizării şi extinderii europene către Tările din Europa Centrală şi de Răsărit, ar trebui să începem analiza proiectului hegemonic care se derulează, a sintezei neoliberalismului încetăţenit, destinat unificării actorilor capitalişti transnaţionali (TNC-s) Aceasta include scopul social care sprijină Ordinea Europeană emergentă. Compromisul de la Maastricht reflectă creşterea graduală a ceea ce poate fi numit un neoliberalism încetăţenit. Aceasta este opinia neoliberală cu accentul deosebit pe forţele pieţei globale şi libertatea mişcării capitalului transnaţional. Deci, ca rezultat al acestui proces, pieţele devin din ce în ce mai deconectate de instituţiile sociale naţionale de după război şi riscăm o schimbare a dictaturii naţionale cu o dictatură internaţională, în aşa-numitele ţări de tranziţie.

    Geoguvernanţa în spaţiul european reprezentă actorii multinaţionali agregaţi la nivel european, în cadrul European Round Table of Industrialists, în coaliţie cu marile puteri maritime şi continentale - constituind puterea hard, sau societatea politică.  

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    Subrahmanyam identifica clar acest element de necesitate în următorul pasaj:

    “Sau umanitatea se uneşte pentru a supravieţui, sau trebuie să se confrunte cu un viitor sumbru. Nu există alternativă la strategia privind o lume non-violentă, dacă vrem ca generaţiile viitoare să supravieţuiască. Noi, cei din această generaţie trebuie să optăm. Ori devenim salvatorii posterităţii, ori devenim călăii acesteia. Ori optăm pentru viaţă, ori distrugem viitorul omenirii. ”

    «Există două aspecte ale securităţii umane – eliberarea de frică şi eliberarea de lipsuri. Eliberarea de lipsuri nu este cu nimic mai puţin importantă decât eliberarea de frică, deoarece obiectivele acesteia constau în asigurarea supravieţuirii şi demnităţii indivizilor ca fiinţe umane. În raportul asupra dezvoltării UNDP 1994 s-a discutat conceptul de securitate umană şi s-au identificat şapte principale categorii de securitate umană – securitate economică (sau eliberarea de sărăcie); securitatea alimentară (eliberarea de foame); securitatea sănătăţii (eliberarea de boală); securitatea mediului (disponibilitatea apei curate şi a aerului curat, de exemplu); securitatea personală (eliberarea de violenţă, crimă, droguri); securitatea comunităţii (libertatea de a participa la viaţa de familie şi a unui grup etnic) şi securitatea politică (libertatea de exercitare a drepturilor fundamentale ale omului)».  

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    Am putea conchide că noţiunea de concurenţă hiperintensivă (excesivă) când ajunge la superlativ, ea generează fenomene negative, la început la nivel micro şi macro (naţional), şi mai nou, la nivel mondoeconomic.

    În virtutea tendinţelor actuale ale societăţii, „homo economicus” s-a transformat în „homo competitor” , care prin esenţa sa, nu întotdeauna ia decizii raţionale. Prin orientarea sa determinată exclusiv de principiile concurenţei, acesta impune întregii societăţi un atare comportament, ceea ce poate duce, spre exemplu, la marginalizarea şi chiar excluderea oamenilor, întreprinderilor şi zonelor, care nu sunt competitive în raport cu ceilalţi membri ai societăţii . Se instaurează un fel de „reguli ale junglei”, în care, dacă nu câştigi totul, pierzi totul. Considerăm că un astfel de sistem, mai devreme sau mai târziu, poate să se auto-distrugă, deoarece sistemul bazat pe concurenţă are nevoie de multiplicitate şi de o diversitate a subiecţilor.Or, logica concurenţei presupune eliminarea concurenţilor. Însă prin eliminarea concurenţilor, sistemul devine decadent şi îşi pierde capacitatea de regenerare. Învingătorii îşi pierd abilităţile, pentru că nu mai au cu cine concura.  

    Un sistem bazat exclusiv pe principiile concurenţei dă prioritate mecanismelor şi sistemelor tehnice, în detrimentul indivizilor şi organizaţiilor publice. Oamenii devin importanţi doar în calitatea lor de consumatori sau producători.  

    O altă consecinţă a „ideologiei” competitivităţii este unilateralitatea acesteia. Ea scoate în evidenţă exclusiv un aspect al istoriei umane şi sociale - spiritul de concurenţă, care este un puternic motor al activităţii economice, al motivării şi al inovării. Însă cealaltă latură rămasă în umbră este spiritul de colaborare şi de solidaritate, care reprezintă, la fel, o trăsătură fundamentală a istoriei omeneşti.  

    La nivel macroeconomic, efecte negative ale concurenţei excesive sunt şi mai vizibile. De exemplu, situaţia care s-a creat în ultimul deceniu în Statele Unite ale Americii şi în ţările Uniunii Europene, care situându-se în topul rating-urilor ţărilor celor mai competitive, s-au ciocnit cu o problemă majoră cum este diminuarea numărului de locuri de muncă, consecinţă a înlocuirii oamenilor cu tehnologii performante, şi plecării capitalului în alte zone (fostele ţări socialiste, China) predestinate să diminueze costurile (bazate pe exploatarea forţei de muncă ieftine) şi să crească competitivitatea. Or, creşterea nivelului şomajului nu este nici pe departe un indicator al ameliorării bunăstării unei ţări. 

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    Ma voi abtine sa mai comentez... fiind un duboect important cel de azi .. am incalcat promisiunea facuta dv....ce trebuie sa intelegem este faptul ca ni se distrage atentia de la adevaratele probleme economice si de structura sociala... Pe agenda comuna UE Romania trebuie sa stea coeziunea dociala, economica si poltica in contextul unei viitoare federatii europene de jure!

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    1. Domnule Codita, citind postarile recidivistei (in greseli de redactare) Salomeea, fara nicio referinta la persoana, nu ar fi fost mai adecvat titlul Clanul dobitoacelor?.

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      Nu se potriveste clanul dobitoacelor, bocitoarelor este adecvat!Nu cred ca ai internalizat mesajul comentariilor mele..ai ramas o copila rautacioasa! Atributul recidivista ma amuza insa nu este adecvat...oamenii inteligenti inteleg un mesaj cu n greseli de scriere, tastare, ma rog, redactare....libertatea exprimarii este un bun castigat prin revolutia la care am participat activ, in 89. Sunt libera sa scriu ce doresc si cum doresc....daca ai fi langa mine te-as ruga pe tine in bunatatea ta de exceptie sa imi corectezi inainte sa postez...eu nu am timp si nici rabdare pentru a reciti ceea ce redactez...O sa ma inscriu si eu in clanul bocitoarelor ca sa imi plang de mila!

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      Ma voi abtine sa mai comentez... fiind un subiect important cel de azi .. am incalcat promisiunea facuta dv. cititorilor....ce trebuie sa intelegem este faptul ca ni se distrage atentia de la adevaratele probleme economice si de structura sociala... Pe agenda comuna UE - Romania trebuie sa stea coeziunea dociala, economica si poltica in contextul unei viitoare federatii europene de jure!

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      Miss Salomeea Romanescu and mister Cornel Codita is correct! Be polite with ladiies and misters for your image!

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      Nu putem punct dupa ?

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      Deja ai recidivat;te tot abtii, dar nu te abtii!.

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      Dupa cum ai redactat ar trebui sa te intreb:dupa ce?ai lasat fraza neterminata.

      De ce sa putem (mirosim) punct dupa?.Cand mai vrei sa te dai mare fi atent la redactare! sau poate ai tinut neaparat sa o imiti pe Salomeea?!. 

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      Nu se pune punct dupa semnul intrebarii....miroase a analfabetism.

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      Nu e treaba ta! Sunt un om liber!

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    Integrative Approach to Knowledge and Action:

    A Baha'i Perspective 

    by Behrooz Sabet 

    published in Converging Realities, 1:1 

    Switzerland: Landegg Academy, 2000 

    Contents 

    1. Introduction 

    2. The Internal Dimension — Eight Propositions Leading to the Development of a Knowledge Based Conceptual Design 

    2.1 Proposition 1: An Ordered Organizational Structure 

    2.2 Proposition 2: A Unified View of Reality 

    2.3 Proposition 3: Progressive Revelation 

    2.4 Proposition 4: Transcendental and Historical Truth 

    2.5 Proposition 5: Criterion for Interpretation 

    2.6 Proposition 6: Modernization 

    2.7 Proposition 7: Potentiality and Actuality 

    2.8 Proposition 8: Teaching, Learning and Change 

    3. The Period of Transition to Practical Application 

    4. The External Dimension — A New Paradigm of Scholarship  

    in Six Major Developmental Stages 

    4.1 Stage One: Materialistic Empiricism 

    Newtonian Physics 

    Darwin and the Theory of Natural sel ection 

    Materialistic Conceptions of Human Nature and Behavior 

    The Rise of Empiricism and Experimental Methods 

    Marxism 

    Religious Dogmatism  

    4.2 Stage Two: Crisis in the Social Sciences 

    4.3 Stage Three: Dynamics of Consciousness 

    4.4 Stage Four: A New Scientific Paradigm  

    A Basic Framework 

    Natural sel ection 

    Evolutionary Views of Teilhard de ch ardin 

    An Integrated Vision  

    4.5 Stage Five: Catastrophic Events 

    4.6 Stage Six: A New Model of Scholarship 

    5. A Philosophical Hindsight  

    5.1 A Brief Review of the Harmony between Science  

    and Religion — Converging Realities  

    5.2 Facts and Values — A Unified Philosophy  

    6. Conclusion 

    References 

    Abst ract 

    This article presents the essentials of a conceptual base for the development of an integrative approach to the study of the Bahá'í Faith. Three developmental components — the internal, the transitional, and the external — are identified. The internal is defined as a process for developing a conceptual design providing a coherence of knowledge within the boundaries of religious discipline. Eight Bahá'í-inspired propositions basic to a unified framework for the internal component are proposed. The external is defined as a process for linking the internal with a core of knowledge across disciplines in order to create an integrative paradigm of knowledge. The transitional is defined as the linkage of the internal and the external. Six historical stages in the consolidation of the external component are discussed within the context of differentiation and convergence of ideas and social realities. The need for a unified philosophy, based on the harmony of science and religion, is reviewed. 

    1. Introduction 

    An integrative approach is about achieving an optimal synthesis in the process of understanding the fundamentals of the Bahá'í Faith and the implied actions that result fr om such understandings. The nature of an integrative approach is two-fold, it has internal and external dimensions. The internal dimension is about the development of a synthesis of ideas within the universe of the Bahá'í teachings. The external dimension is about the articulation of a systematic relationship between the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith and a multidisciplinary core of knowledge and practice in philosophical and scientific domains. The external and internal approaches are inter-related and interchangeable in any systematic learning environment. 

    However, no integrative study is purely internal or external. Any internal study simultaneously receives responses fr om the external environment that enhance its internal core. An integrative approach to understanding the implications of the Bahá'í teachings, however, follows developmental processes that begin as primarily internal and evolve in a direction of externalization and fusion with other branches of knowledge. In transition fr om internal to external, a third period/stage within which an integrative study finds its identity and applicability to the issues and problems of the world is identified. This stage is defined here as an application/transitional stage in the unfoldment of an integrative approach to Bahá'í Studies. 

    Historically, religions show a similarity of patterns in the development of learning and scholarship methods. For instance, in earlier configurations of integrative studies, a conflict between internal and external is unavoidable since the internal values of the emerging religion are based on a prescriptive (or declarative) style of thinking that presupposes the existence of an inherent circle of unity among its teachings, while the dominant mode of scholarship in the scientific and academic community may view the validity of those presuppositions untenable. As long as an integrative study of religion focuses on establishing an internal conceptual unity, tension is excluded. This situation may change if an integrative study tries to incorporate the internal teachings with the external domains of knowledge. In a world of specialized fields of study and the corresponding vertical curriculum, attempts toward unity of knowledge or even inter-disciplinary dialogue are viewed with skepticism. Consequently, it is important to be mindful of the fact that the evolution of integrative models, to a large extent, is connected to the growth and development of ideas fr om both inside and outside of the emerging religion. In the process, as ideas interpenetrate, a comprehensive integrative model based on a consensus between conflicting poles of knowledge may come to fruition. 

    The three components of an integrative study (internal, transitional, and external) correspond to the broader stages of incubation, expansion, and consolidation that can be historically identified in the growth and development of all major religions of the world. Integrative studies move along these historical stages. As these stages unfold and the body of spiritual and scientific knowledge increases, integrative studies become more coherent and empirically verifiable in their assumptions. In the early days of a religion, however, integrative studies have an embryonic quality and tend to have a higher degree of intuition and speculative reasoning in their approaches. 

    Thus, an integrative study of the Bahá'í Faith should not be viewed as a finished product at any time. Nor should its development be regarded as a mechanical assemblage of fragmented parts. It should follow the dynamics of organic growth. An integrative study is potentially endowed with the capacity to bridge science and religion and to infuse spiritual insight into scientific and academic disciplines.  

    This article is a first attempt to shed light on the gradual and evolutionary nature of integrative scholarship and it is offered in the spirit of a contribution to the on-going elaboration of the field.  

     

    2. The Internal Dimension — Eight Propositions Leading to the Development  

    of a Knowledge Based Conceptual Design 

    The internal dimension of an integrative study of the Bahá'í Faith needs to grow in the context of a learning environment that involves proper identification of educational goals and objectives, pedagogy, evaluation design, and a core curriculum. Integrative study, being primarily a cognitive endeavor, implies a learning process that involves a progressive acquisition of concepts and principles and their relationships. In the process, learners are constantly altering their cognitive structure in order to grasp a more refined and a more unified perception of Bahá'í ideas. 

    The content of the study and subjects of research during the internal period are mostly focused on the internal history of the Bahá'í Faith, commentaries on the relationships between the Bahá'í Faith and its surrounding cultural/historical environment, classifications of the laws and compilations of the writings, and defending the Bahá'í Faith against both internal and external opposition. Our understanding of the Bahá'í Faith and its system of meanings passes through the historical stages of development. For that reason, the scholarly and educational activities during the internal stage are mostly religiously oriented. The internal phase, over some period of time, will move toward an integration with the spectrum of human knowledge in art, philosophy, and science. This process, which has historically occurred in previous dispensations, will eventually result in the emergence of a widely integrative model for the synthesis of knowledge. 

    One purpose of the internal study is to reflect a dynamic interaction among the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. That is to say, for instance, how to relate equality of sexes to economic justice, economic justice to education, and education to spiritual transformation. There may be numerous approaches to the development of a core curriculum, but the critical consideration is to maintain a synthesis of meaning that precedes any particular method of study. No matter what the emphasis of priority might be in different learning approaches, the essential goal of an integrative study is to enable the learner to comprehend the totality of the Bahá'í teachings and to see a reflection of the whole message of Bahá'u'lláh in every part of his teachings. It seems such synthesis of understanding must be conceived within a curriculum development process that is close to the dynamic and organic nature of the Bahá'í Faith. 

    To avoid piecemeal approaches, any integrative study requires a coherent conceptual base to sustain the organic orientation of the Bahá'í teachings. Here, elements of a conceptual framework for an integrative study of the Bahá'í Faith will be discussed in the following eight propositions: 

    2.1 Proposition 1: An Ordered Organizational Structure.  

    The main premise upon which an integrative Bahá'í study rests is the assumption that Bahá'í concepts are organically connected yet need to be classified and arranged in a proper hierarchical ordering. Some concepts need stronger emphases and higher levels of priority. Some principles are the foundations and building blocks of Bahá'í study, while others function as secondary and auxiliary principles. The ordering is not about the priority of one subject matter or a method of organization over other subjects or methods. For instance, an integrative study may be initiated based on the concept of gender equality. The other study may concentrate on the Bahá'í peace plan. They also may radically differ in terms of curricular organization. Both plans, however, need to reflect the primacy of the spiritual foundation in their organizational structure. They also should accommodate the totality of Bahá'í teachings. In that sense, organization is not a rigid ordering of concepts or subject areas. What matters most are the hierarchical values that must underlie the organic relationships of the concepts in a coherent, logical, and meaningful way. The essential element of this value system stems fr om a conscious and moral commitment to Bahá'u'lláh and Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant. In other words, this Covenant itself is the cohesive force shaping the structure of integrative studies. The concept of the Covenant refers to the assumption that the reality of the Bahá'í Faith is intrinsically orderly and unified. 

    Thus, an integrative explanation of the Bahá'í teachings cannot be separated fr om the unifying perspective of the Covenant. Here, we clearly separate a systematic study of the Bahá'í Faith fr om an integrative study which assumes the Covenant as the primary source of coherence among the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. A systematic study is just a methodical, step-by-step procedure to study a subject analytically, while an integrative study combines systematic approaches with a unifying philosophy. 

    2.2 Proposition 2: A Unified View of Reality.  

    The development of a conceptual design and the systematization and organization of an integrative study require an examination of the concept of unity, ontologically and epistemologically, in the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachings provide us with the consciousness of unity in reality or unity in knowledge itself. The task of an integrative study is to infuse this unified picture of reality into diverse levels of consciousness. This paradigm of unity is viewed as an animating force that will hasten the historical rendezvous of science and religion and give rise to a grand standard of judgment. 

    When the totality of the Bahá'í teachings are examined, a clear view on the ultimate unity of the material and the spiritual, of the past and the future, and of the parts and the whole is identifiable. Dualism, which is an internal propensity of any one-dimensional frame of reference (secular or religious), has no existence in the integrated context of the Bahá'í definition of reality. 

    In the twentieth century, the dualism between the physical and nonphysical (cultural) aspects of human/social reality has resulted in a schizoid type of discourse, particularly in the social sciences. On one hand, the discourse reduces human nature to the level of biology, and, on the other hand, it tries to find higher operating principles in social interactions. The egalitarian tendency to separate physical fr om social posits a puzzling intellectual dilemma. The dilemma is ch aracterized by a reductionist and purposeless interpretation of evolution that defies the emergence of consciousness-related phenomena. It could be said that for the most part of this century we have lived in a state of self-deceit. Paradoxically, material reductionism is viewed as the general condition of all species and the concept of transcendence is denied, while attempts have been made to design egalitarian social ideologies. A contradiction is clearly discernable in materialistic social philosophies. On one hand, they reduce human reality to the effect of nature, and on the other hand, they try to explain human consciousness, historical development, and ethical conduct in terms of the values that defy natural determinism. The core of academic discourses has revolved around the specter of dualism between nature and nurture. Conceptual dualism is intrinsically conflict oriented. The eminence of nature has given rise to the role of nurture, and the reaction to the ascendancy of nurture is succeeded by a call for a return to nature. The result has been shifting paradigms about human reality and behavior. 

    The critical point is that we need a dynamic spiritual worldview that can revitalize the momentous idea that human beings are capable of arising above and beyond their animalistic heritage — a worldview that does not twist or ignore the facts of nature but heroically withstands its onslaught; a spiritual force that gives meaning and direction to social processes throughout history. 

    In dualistic interpretations, one piece of the taxonomy of human ch aracter is missing. This piece is about the reality of a mysterious spiritual force, a third force, if you will, that is acting upon and transforming both nature and the social environment. The need for a third angle to resolve this dualism is necessary. Without the ideal plain of the third force (the spiritual realm of meanings and values) the whole concept of nurture (environmental influences, social interactions) ultimately falls back to the level of nature. Without the transcendental reality of the third force, the entire machinery of the nurturing process succumbs to the powerful demands of natural desires and tendencies. 

    A social construct that is shaped purely on the basis of social imperatives/duties and not influenced by a transcending spiritual motive will eventually recede to a lower level that is dominated by material impulses. Ideal social constructs can be established and released fr om the domination of nature if a higher level of purposeful reality, the realm of meanings and values, is present in the culture. In the lack of a spiritual magnet, physiological needs dictate societal constructs and instinctual impulses animate human interactions, even if the social façade pretends differently. 

    A critical analysis of dualism should not be interpreted as a total negation of its validity as a necessary component of human cognition. Its primary purpose as a differentiating tool is acknowledged in the Bahá'í worldview. The dialectical tension of dualism, however, must lead to a unity of understanding. Within the framework of unity, the Bahá'í teachings also establish a hierarchy of concepts that correspond to the levels of reality. Finally, hierarchy is viewed to have evolutionary potential. Therefore, a unified view of reality can be explained as an ordered expression of a reality that has dualistic, integrative, hierarchical, and evolutionary qualities. 

    2.3 Proposition 3: Progressive Revelation.  

    fr om a Bahá'í point of view, revelation is the essence of all truth or that general condition of life in which every other truth finds its meaning, purpose, and direction. Unlike traditional perceptions, the Bahá'í writings define revelation as a continuous and progressive process and as the animating impulse that releases the emerging properties of creation. This all-encompassing definition of revelation provides humanity with the consciousness of a unified vision of reality or a unity in knowledge itself. 

    The foundation of a unified view of reality is rooted in the Bahá'í definition of religion. According to the Bahá'í Faith, religion has two purposes: one universal and the other historical. The universal purpose is about the absolute and eternal dimension of religion that animates an impulse of commonality among divine revelations. The historical purpose is relative and corresponds to the requirements and potentialities of the time and place in which the revelation occurs. The universal interacts with the historical, and the mechanism of growth lies in this interaction. The universal expands the dimensions of historical necessity. In return, a new historical condition demands expansion of the universal. The two purposes are reconciled in the concept of progressive revelation. Clearly, this does not imply any differences in rank or station of the various Manifestations of God, rather, it refers only to the progressive unfoldment of divine knowledge. 

    In the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, the concept of progressive revelation is about a historical increase of spiritual awareness in our collective development. It acknowledges that movement and change are essential features of our existence. Human institutions, social, economic, and political theories, and religious doctrines are all subject to the universal law of change and decay. We may compare progressive revelation to the progression of scientific thought. In science, despite the fact that new theories dismantle older ones, there is a process of systematic theoretical constructs which connects, for instance, Ptolemaic cosmology to the modern scientific revolution. That is to say, a successful theory or paradigm must synthesize past achievements with future possibilities. Likewise, progressive revelation is founded upon past religions. The same creative energy has traversed through them and manifested increasing levels of complexity and coordination. This concept of progressive revelation does not belittle other religions but by illuminating all religions, brings them into a common pool of purpose and meaning. It reveals gradual unfoldment of a divine blueprint for the construction of the world. Progressive revelation, like the scientific process, pays tribute to the past and marches toward new frontiers. 

    The concept of progressive revelation is a condition that sustains the original health and vitality of other religions. The same way a special equilibrium among different elements of the human organism sustains the organic wholeness of the body, progressive revelation sustains a harmonious functioning of diverse elements of God's revelation. Thus, the organic reality of progressive revelation cannot be compartmentalized. Its definition reflects the totality of interacting religious orders that are organized around the cultural and spiritual evolution of humanity. 

    In the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, the concept of progressive revelation is not only an interpretive device but also an instrument of transformation. Its culmination marks the healing of the nations, the spiritualization of the masses, and the coming of age of the entire human race. It disclaims any intention to discard past religions and proclaims the triumph of spirit over evils of violence, war, hatred, and oppression. It makes the final victory of moral imperatives on a global scale possible. 

    2.4 Proposition 4: Transcendental and Historical Truth.  

    An integrative synthesis requires a balance between relative and absolute dimensions of religion. God's vision is absolute and unified, while the evolution of the world toward completion is a relative process that requires a multiplicity of efforts. It may be said that the central theme of progressive revelation is the dynamic interaction of God's ultimate vision and the process of evolution of humanity toward that vision. If we assume there is no universal core in religion that is beyond a multiplicity of perspectives, we may create a centerless-holism that is destined to fall into social and moral relativism. The universal or the non-negotiable area is an integral part of any coherent model in religion, philosophy, and science. 

    Thus, truth in the context of progressive revelation is both transcendental and historical. The historical dimension of religion is conditioned by social and cultural realities. However, the transcendental dimension (God-like vision or perfection) is given absolutely. Religion concurrently includes a mysterious and transcending dimension, and a this-worldly social structure with rites and rituals. It is a "bridge-builder" between invisible and visible dimensions of reality. Like a human being, it has a soul and a body. On the material side, the history of religion is intertwined with economic conditions and the material culture of different societies. For instance, early expressions of religion and magic-related rituals revolved around primitive systems of hunting and food gathering; or the emergence of the great religions of the world accompanied agricultural development and the rise of ancient empires. On the spiritual side, however, religion presupposes a sacred and metaphysical order of reality that has been the source of motivation for human beings to go beyond historical conditions and social structures. In the founders of religions, we observe both ordinary human life that is conditioned to the material and social culture, and divine nature that is illuminated by flashes fr om a mysterious world. This enigmatic nature of religion and the intrinsic interplay of mystery and facts in the history of religion have been the source of awe and wonder and at the same time the cause of perplexity and skepticism. 

    The point is that religion is something more than a sociopolitically determined ideology in the progression of history. The transcendental nature of religion is about this something more. Something that goes beyond dogmas of diverse religious doctrines and sees the blueprint of God as a latent capacity within the original seed of every revelation. A casual examination of dogmas, in ancient religious traditions, may not reveal the existence of this blueprint. It may even point to opposite directions. However, an insightful observation (an observation that combines all standards of judgment) will reveal a single driving force or determinant factor as the potential force in the development of the various religious traditions. 

    2.5 Proposition 5: Criteria for Interpretation.  

    An integrative synthesis requires a hermeneutic perspective. In that perspective, old scriptures need to be interpreted and given specific context in light of the new knowledge revealed by the new revelation. New interpretations may not agree with what is perceived to be the meanings of symbols and myths that are heavily mired in cultural traditions and conventions. 

    Any revelation has three components: (i) metaphors and theoretical interpretations, (ii) laws, and (iii) spiritual/moral imperatives. New revelation brings all three to a new level of understanding, elaborating the meaning of metaphors, abrogating or reintroducing laws, and reaffirming the universality of the spiritual/moral dimension. 

    The idea that a new revelation has the authority to judge the previous ones derives fr om the way we learn, comprehend, and reason. We invariably move fr om one stage of understanding to another through a process called adaptation. This refers to the continual process of intellectual development and alteration of old views in terms of new experiences. If we define the new in terms of the old, we create an intellectual fixation. If we define the new with disregard of the past, we create an intellectual vacuum. The solution is neither neglect of the past nor an obsessive return to it. The previous revelations need to be reinterpreted within the context of Bahá'í revelation so as to reflect constructive accommodations to the dynamics of a new age. Without such modifications, past religions would crystallize into dysfunctional dogmas. For instance, many Christians believe that the extraordinary metaphysical events in the Bible (examples include the story of Adam and Eve, the origin of the universe, and the bodily resurrection of Christ) are literal and factual events that took place in a region of space-time and can be validated objectively by reason and scientific findings. They claim to believe in the essentials of historical Christianity. 

    It is clear that the Bahá'í metaphorical perspective on these issues is more in tune with evolutionary logic than literal interpretations. Christians also believe that Jesus Christ is the pivot around which revolves the past, present, and future. Bahá'í interpretations, however, consider this as a reflection of a static type of thinking under which history stands still. 

    The same fixed conjecture can be observed in the Islamic view concerning the station of Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets and his religion as the last and ultimate revelation fr om God. The Bahá'í view, however holds that everything is in progress, including divine revelation and our perception of reality. This dynamic ontological foundation will automatically reject any view that claims to hold the final and ultimate revelation of God. 

    When there is a contradiction between the Bahá'í revelation and any other previous dispensation, we use the Bahá'í criteria to determine the truth of the argument. Any revelation, while maintaining its authority over past traditions, can also refer to these criteria to clarify certain issues. It is a natural way of establishing a new model about reality. It is the inevitable result of intellectual refinement and progress. For that reason, the Bahá'í writings make numerous references to the Qur'án and the Bible, and at the same time maintain an indubitable authority to weigh the Scriptures of the past. Science also follows the same logic. It uses new theoretical configurations to determine the validity of old concepts. For instance, the Newtonian model established new laws of motion that were radically different fr om traditional conceptions. The Newtonian model became a new paradigm and a criterion with which to judge the probable truth of past ideas. The Newtonian model, however, derived its premises fr om the works of previous models and cosmologies and the cumulative tradition of knowledge fr om Aristotle and his predecessors to Kepler and Galileo. 

    Bahá'u'lláh's references to previous revelations to prove himself as the long-awa ited supreme redeemer of humankind, do not appeal to the literal meanings of the scriptures. He, actually, deconstructs and reconstructs them to establish a conceptual framework before entering into a technical debate about the fulfillment of prophecies. Bahá'u'lláh never attempts to decipher any specific reference in the Bible or the Qur'án by relating it to the dates or events of his revelation. But rather He explains the foundation of Bahá'í doctrine, namely, the concept of progressive revelation as the overriding method of God's intervention in human history. Bahá'u'lláh takes the position that the concept of progressive revelation is central to Bahá'í hermeneutics, as it relates a meaningful interpretation of religious experience to both transcendental origin and historical development. The recognition of this foundation, Bahá'u'lláh claims, is the master key to unlock the true meaning of the Scriptures and their prophecies. 

    To use an analogy, one might say, interpretation of prophecies is analogous to artistic comprehension of modern painting. Let us assume we are asked to explain a cubist painting to a naive observer. We are faced with two choices: either to explain it in such a way that fits into the observer's previously constructed sense of comprehension and appreciation, or to help the observer to develop a clarity of vision so she may be able to see beyond the appearance which is vague and anarchical and to behold subjectively the beauty of this art form. Likewise, prophecies can also be interpreted in two ways: they may be reinterpreted according to the traditional frame of reference by haggling over piecemeal methods, or they may be reinterpreted by the establishment of a new vision and truth criteria for the advent of a New World Order. The eschatological vision of a New World Order and progressive interpretation dominate Bahá'í hermeneutics. 

    2.6 Proposition 6: Modernization.  

    A perspective on modernization is necessary for developing an internal unity of learning in Bahá'í studies. The rise of modernization has brought the greatest challenge to religion. The powerful overtone of modernization has superimposed a rational and neutral method of discerning facts on religion. It also has created a new world to which traditional religions are compelled to adjust. 

    On the positive side, expansion of human cognition, dominance of empirical research, and separation of scientific thinking fr om the domain of theology have created a vast body of facts about the operation of physical reality. However, in the process, we have lost an outlook that transcends the parochial and fragmented scientific facts into a universal and integrated vision of the world and a synthesis of insight about the purpose and meaning of life. A secular view has a propensity toward reductionism and specialization. It has to define every subjective experience in material terms and to break it down to its smallest measurable units in order to provide understanding, thus relinquishing the perspective of a coherent world. This loss runs across disciplinary boundaries and reflects moribundity that has afflicted all consciousness-related domains of knowledge. 

    The Bahá'í Faith does not oppose modernization and experimentation. On the contrary, it claims to be the originator of monumental changes in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Modernization was a part of the historical forces that were released to break the backbone of superstitions and dogmatic patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. It forced religions to develop or to die out. It gave humankind a scientific and technological order to manipulate its physical environment and to achieve the physical unity of the world. One may even argue that the pronouncement of the death of God in the nineteenth century was, in fact, an inevitable reaction to a dogmatic definition of God. 

    It is however crucial to understand that the Bahá'í Faith was not just another religious movement of the nineteenth century responding to the challenges of modernization. It rather provided modernization with bounds of moderation. Interpreting the developments of the Bahá'í Faith as reactions to the whims of modernization is tantamount to negating it as the generating impulse of a new global culture and civilization. 

    2.7 Proposition 7: Potentiality and Actuality.  

    A theoretical foundation for an integrative design for Bahá'í Studies requires a perspective on necessary interactions between potentiality and actuality. Potentiality and actuality denote aspects of development and change. Potentiality reflects the internal propensity toward development that exists in phenomena. Actuality reflects the realization and appearance of that propensity. Potentiality refers to the inherent qualities that are imminent in beings. Actuality is about the coming into being of those qualities. 

    The passage fr om subatomic units to life forms is a transition fr om a state of potentiality to a state of actuality. The emergence of consciousness represents the presence of the potential mind as a latent reality in the evolution of life. The development of cultures and civilizations fr om the unification of the tribe to a new world order demonstrates an ordered expression of potentialities inherent in the units of social organization. The process of actualizing human potentialities becomes the central theme of proper education, a necessary condition under which humanity can become the supreme talisman. The continuous and progressive process of divine revelation, fr om embryonic stages to the full blossom of the golden age, expresses a transition fr om potential forces that the Manifestations of a God set into motion to the complete realization of God's vision. The creative power of the Manifestation of God generates a field that releases the potentialities inherent in existing phenomena. This educative act nurtures the realization of those potentialities. Thus, potentiality and actuality are inherently linked in an organized pattern. They are reconciled in a direction toward increased order and unity. 

    2.8 Proposition 8: Teaching, Learning and Change.  

    The spiritual truth, in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, finds a social dimension that is destined to transform human circumstances and to achieve world unity and peace. Unlike utopian visions, the Bahá'í Faith asserts that the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth is an inevitable process. This overarching social goal, indicating a unique and historical phase in the process of progressive revelation, provides a "this-worldly" orientation for Bahá'í Studies to become conducive to the well-being of humanity and an instrument of transformation rather than an interpretive device. The social goal of the Bahá'í Faith relates Bahá'í learning and education to the act of teaching as a means to change the world. Therefore, the act of teaching, in its broadest sense, dominates the motive and the process of Bahá'í Studies. 

    To explain this theme we must, first, elaborate on the definition and function of the teaching act. The act of teaching integrates two inseparable faculties of knowledge and action. Knowledge of the Manifestation of God is the primary source of one's internal transformation. This knowledge, however, cannot remain a hidden treasure. It must manifest itself in the external and visible dimension of reality and flow in the world of experience to become real and meaningful. It must have some kind of impact on the lives of other human beings. If this impact is the result of a systematic and intentional process of change in one's pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting, animated by the knowledge and love of Bahá'u'lláh, it could be defined as "teaching." Teaching, in this context, becomes an external reflection of the totality of internal changes within the soul of the individual. 

    By accepting Bahá'u'lláh and his teachings, a Bahá'í scholar is naturally aligned with a process that begins with knowledge but ends in action; and the action, in the process, becomes one with the knowledge. In fact, action is considered to be an inherent property of knowledge. True knowledge must necessarily create a compulsion for action and positive change in the human condition. If scholarship is severed fr om purposeful human activity, it will be confounded with inert knowledge and its ultimate efficacy vitiated. Teaching is a part of scholarship, as it means constant learning and alterations and modifications of one's thought and behavior. The act of teaching, in its broadest sense, brings the worlds of knowledge and experience together. Teaching challenges thought patterns of society and in turn induces a reaction fr om the social environment. The way that a Bahá'í teacher/scholar is educated to respond to this reaction has profound epistemological value. Scholarship bent on teaching changes passive contemplation into revolutionary action. It also challenges scholars to account for their actions. 

    In short, Bahá'í scholarship must be oriented toward changing the human condition. Changing the human condition, fr om a Bahá'í point of view, depends upon a process that begins with the knowledge of the Manifestation of God for this age and ends with the reflection of "self" and inner processes (thoughts, feelings, and attitudes) in the realm of action. This process is called "teaching." 

    3. The Period of Transition to Practical Application  

    Integrative studies, in their development, will eventually break their internal shell and begin to relate to problems of the people of the world and to address their concerns and needs. An integrative approach, at this point, is geared toward the adaptation of Bahá'í Studies to changing of the human condition and the transcendence of the piecemeal functions of research and scholarship into dynamic processes for moral and spiritual transformation of humanity over time. In other words, this component part of integrative studies is about distilling universal features of the Bahá'í Faith into particular areas of needs and interests through a process that requires deductive skills and knowledge of various modes of cultural and academic thought. 

    In applying Bahá'í thought to various cultural modes, it is of critical importance to maintain a delicate balance between unity and diversity without compromising the integrity of the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachings, while enhancing the hidden treasures of various cultures, discard their outdated, superstitious traditions. Here, we need a broad understanding of the Bahá'í Faith as it applies to cultures and civilizations. 

    In applying Bahá'í teaching to problems of the world, we need to be cognizant of the fact that some of these problems are addressed in academic discourses and that these discourses shape the opinion of peoples and leaders of thought. Therefore, the application phase of integrative studies may include an embryonic dialogue with philosophy and the sciences outside of the Bahá'í teachings. As a part of this dialogue/orientation, we may also begin to realize that there are emerging academic discourses that have separated themselves fr om the secular mainstream and have adapted humanist or even spiritual orientations. 

    4. The External Dimension — A New Paradigm of Scholarship  

    in Six Major Developmental Stages 

    The external dimension refers to an emerging, organic, and future-oriented process that will ultimately result in the development of a new paradigm of scholarship that combines the Revealed Word with the world of experience. A new paradigm of scholarship is derived fr om the union of two evolutionary sources: The spiritual and scientific traditions of humanity. 

    This is the stage in which Bahá'í thoughts, ideas, and values will eventually attract thinkers and scientists in their quest for a new model of scholarship. At the present, this model has an embryonic life, and its emergence corresponds to the gradual spiritual and mental maturation of humanity. Thus, the details of this "implosive meeting" between science and religion cannot be described with precision. One can only draw a mental picture on the generalities of this epoch-making enterprise, which is destined to eradicate the dichotomous perception of reality, put into motion the unifying forces of life, and develop a spiritual/scientific model of reality. A new scheme of the sciences may include theoretical constructs which address the relationships of empirical with consciousness-related phenomena. 

    A full blossoming of the external dimension of integrative studies requires the emergence of a new paradigm of reality based on a complete blending of Bahá'í and scientific perspectives. This process, therefore, is presented here as a set of six developmental and interconnected stages. 

    4.1 Stage One: Materialistic Empiricism  

    Stage one refers to a historical process that began with the rise of empiricism as the dominant mode of scientific inquiry and that changed into a powerful materialistic philosophy which is still dominating all aspects of cultural life. At this stage, the world of science is controlled by empirical methodologies. Subjective and abstract phenomena, especially human consciousness, are considered to be products of material evolution and to derive fr om the complexity of organizational structure. The belief is expressed that the knowledge of subjective phenomena is possible only after reduction to the level of the concrete domains of physics, chemistry, and biology. Materialistic philosophies underlie scientific thinking and constitute the overarching system of values and meaning. Metaphysical systems are considered as unclear and incoherent sets of propositions. Any concept that is beyond empirical cognition is believed to be either unscientific or irrelevant. 

    In the West, the dominance of secular and "this-worldly" culture roughly began in the sixteenth century. Initially, this historical process was set into motion as the dogmatic patterns of thinking in the Judeo-Christian culture were progressively challenged by empirical findings of a powerful and efficient science. While Christianity was crystallized into its medieval worldview, the emerging scientific frame of reference underwent continual development. Scientific observations and philosophical models changed human perception of the universe. Galileo's insights paved the ground for the foundation of modern cosmology. Newton theorized on the infinite and dynamic nature of the universe. Darwin, Durkheim, and Weber initiated the study of evolution and sociology. Pavlov and Freud ushered in scientific psychology. Karl Marx gave a new interpretation of human history and the course of historical development. Finally, accompanying the emerging perceptions about reality, scientific and social events — including the Industrial Revolution, the emergence of capitalism and liberalism, and the separation of Church and State — changed the productive forces, economic structure, and ideological culture of Western society. 

    Scientific empiricism can be traced back to the works of Locke and Hume and some other philosophers. These thinkers were influenced by Newtonian physics, which was grounded in a mechanistic/atomistic conceptualization of reality, a reality that operates based on fixed qualitative and quantitative relationships and on an epistemology that recognizes empirical data (and propositions) and observable, sensory experiences. 

    In a way, their formulation was a modification of Aristotelian associationism that assumed knowledge was the result of basic sensations that occur contiguously and in association with each other. For that reason, Locke, Hobbes, and others called themselves British Associationists. In the late 1800s, empiricism was refined by the experimental methods established in Germany by Wundt and Muller, and the movement of scientific psychology. Edward Thorndike wrote his doctoral dissertation titled "Animal Intelligence" and John Watson wrote "Animal Education". Both works were landmark research in the use of controlled laboratory situations as the only reliable method for the actual observation of human behavior. It is also important to mention Pavlov and his theory of classical conditioning. Later, empiricism applied to psychology found widespread academic recognition in America in the form of behaviorism. 

    Empiricism by itself is just a method of acquiring knowledge, albeit a very important method. Even in an integrated method for acquiring knowledge, empiricism is applied to inquire into the physiological and genetic components of the human organism and the relationship between physicochemical properties of the human brain and psychological dimensions of behavior which often have profound philosophical, spiritual, and moral ramifications. However, the various methods of study have philosophical backgrounds and are conditioned historically and culturally by the evolution of scientific thinking. fr om its origin, empiricism had materialistic overtones. 

    Materialism has always had a historical presence as a major way of thinking about reality. Materialistic philosophies are more substantial than to be classified as a mere response to religious dogmatism. In ancient Greece, the dawn of philosophy was inaugurated in the works of materialist philosophers, for example, Democritus and Epicurus. At times, the influence of materialism has been dimmed by the rise of idealist thinking, and at certain other historical times, it has found profound influence and ascendancy in shaping cultural values and norms is found. For instance, materialism gained an unprecedented stronghold in the West since the eighteenth century and the rise of the Enlightenment movement. Some of the significant developments of this era and the factors that contributed to the strengthening of materialist thinking are summarized as the following: 

    Newtonian Physics. Newtonian theory profoundly influenced the domains of philosophy and theology in the eighteenth century. Even though the theory itself was a scientific configuration of reality, it had repercussions in the development of materialistic thinking in social and human sciences. Its deterministic nature captured a view of God that was impersonal and aloof — a God who created the world and then let it run by its inexorable laws. Materialistism's reductionist element paved the ground for a further concentration on behavior of the smallest constituents of systems, including living systems and a tendency to reduce consciousness to the physics and chemistry of the human brain and nervous system. 

    Darwin and the Theory of Natural sel ection. A materialistic interpretation of Darwin's scientific work postulated that humankind was the product of accidental evolution, and thus in the order of the world there was no need to believe in a creator or to attribute special station to the human being as a unique creature with spiritual qualities. 

    Materialistic Conceptions of Human Nature and Behavior. Philosopher David Hume, who argued in favor of extending empiricism to human and social sciences, and logical positivists who advanced scientific and philosophical analysis believed that a theory of knowledge based on empirical or sense perception and logical verification seriously undermines the explanation of human nature in spiritual terms. 

    Modern psychology, particularly Freudianism and behaviorism, rejected a nonmaterial conception of human nature. Freudianism regarded the raw, unconscious forces of instinct as the determining force of human personality. Behaviorism, approaching human nature fr om an opposite direction but united with Freudianism in its underlying materialistic assumptions, regarded environmental influences through associative learning as the source of all complex behaviors, including thinking and ethical conduct. Empiricists insisted that human nature is a blank tablet and that knowledge and the mind are understood through a process of connecting peripheral events like primitive sensations and reflexes — basic components of learning — together. The founders of behaviorism argued that a human being is an animal. The only difference between humans and other animals, they asserted, is that humans have acquired a more complex behavior. 

    The Rise of Empiricism and Experimental Methods. Modern philosophy viewed sense perception as the main reliable method of acquiring knowledge. There was greater emphasis to either define all subjective phenomena in experimental, factual terms or to drop them fr om the scientific vocabulary. David Hume, for instance, in his insistence to study the human mind scientifically, resented any traditional religious interpretation of mind and came to a conclusion that the mind is nothing but the commingling of several perceptions. 

    Marxism. Marxism, in some respects, represents a culmination, a coming of age of materialism. First, it masterfully brought several threads of philosophical thinking, both idealist and realist in their orientation, to a sophisticated and coherent materialistic conclusion about reality and the course of human development. Second, it created a matrix for all modern developments fr om scientism to Darwinism to form a united front, an all-embracing ideology, for all human needs in order to fill the intellectual and spiritual vacuum in a culture that had declared the death of God. Third, Marxism tried to invigorate the definition of materialism by distancing it fr om mechanistic and crude definitions of matter espoused by Feuerbach. In Marxism, matter exhibits the ch aracteristics of a vital and evolving force that is shaping human history and ultimately capable of transforming itself into subjective forms. Fourth, Marxism did not remain at the level of abstraction or merely an intellectual configuration. Marx vigorously applied dialectical materialism as a powerful interpretive device for social revolution, political change, and cultural reconstruction. A very important feature of Marxism was its separation fr om empiricism. Since Marxism is a materialistic philosophy, one may assume that it naturally embraces an empirical methodology. This, however, is not the case. Marxism comes to the conclusion that, if there is any hope for materialism, it has to be connected to the subjective idea of liberation. Materialism must attune itself with the rhythm of transformation and becoming. Here, dialectical materialism enters into the picture and empiricism leaves the scene. This was a profound conceptual development because a powerful materialistic worldview postulated that materialism could not survive if it followed a mechanistic methodology that is limited in its scope of inquiry. 

    Religious Dogmatism. Finally, as traditional religions found their sources of inspirations in antiquated doctrines, they also contributed to the ascendancy of materialistic positions. 

    In short, stage one in the development of an integrative paradigm of knowledge represents a historical cultural mode that looks upon the world and even consciousness-related phenomena in terms of materialistic and mechanistic philosophies. During the past four-hundred-year period, the tendency has been to view reason over intuition, science over religion, and matter over mind. It seems that the creative energies produced at the outset of the adoption of this system have now reached a stage of exhaustion. This exhaustion has caused the ascendancy of a materialistic pattern of culture. Sociologist P.A. Sorokin describes the ch aracteristics, implications, and consequences of the materialistic culture in these words: 

    The social and psychological sciences begin to imitate the natural sciences, attempting to treat man in the same way as physics and chemistry treat inorganic phenomena... until finally all relative truths and values are completely reduced, so to speak, to atoms. Sooner or later relativism thus gives place to skepticism, cynicism, and nihilism. The very boundary line between the true and false ... disappears, and society finds itself in a state of veritable mental, moral, and cultural anarchy.... Men prefer, and delight to deal with, concrete phenomena.... It cannot see the forest for the trees. The theories of science grow progressively thinner and shallower ultimately resolving themselves into imaginary, make-believe propositions. Science and philosophy come to be imbued with utilitarian aims.... Psychology as a science of the human soul, turns out to be a physiology of the nervous system and its reflexes. Religion, as a revelation of God, degenerates into a political creed. [sensate art] is divorced fr om ... values. Its aim is to afford a refined sensual enjoyment. It must be sensational, pathetic and increasingly new .... In such a culture, material values naturally become paramount, beginning with omnipotent wealth and ending with all the values that satisfy man's physiological needs and material comfort.(Sorokin, 1945) 

    Historically, a culture that had evolved around a secular core could hardly manifest the life and vitality of an integrated cultural system. There are now ample evidences that Western culture is also experiencing the same precarious crisis of one-dimensional materialistic development. It is a crisis fr om within that has overshadowed every aspect of life. Some historians and social scientists believe that Western culture may not escape the death pang of the cultural evolution. They strongly argue that Western culture is destined for a general breakdown comparable to that of Greco-Roman civilization. 

    4.2 Stage Two: Crisis in the Social Sciences.  

    This stage of crisis is a conceptual stage that usually follows the development of materialistic empiricism. Our premise in the discussion of the preceding stage was that findings and theoretical configurations of physical and natural sciences by themselves cannot be considered as materialistic. This is rather the realm of the larger culture that under certain historical conditions interprets the scientific findings in terms of the materialistic position. 

    This is also the same culture whose thought patterns determine the content of the social sciences (here, the social sciences are referred to as the totality of the mind-related fields of study above biology in the scheme of the sciences; the human sciences may also be used interchangeably). Therefore, if materialism poses a challenge to the physical and natural sciences, it is a challenge fr om outside, while the social sciences encounter a deep philosophical and theoretical crisis of materialism fr om within. This crisis, in the second half of the twentieth century, has gained a more rapid acceleration. The social sciences, which are still under the influence of materialistic and mechanistic philosophies of the nineteenth century, are gradually being faced with a deteriorating internal conflict. Multiplicity of ideas and theories without a unifying framework to solve human problems and to explain the complexity of human behavior have created a deep theoretical and moral bankruptcy at the core of these disciplines. 

    In the formation of their ideas, the social sciences have borrowed fr om and followed the theoretical frameworks of natural and physical sciences. Consider how Newtonian cosmology and the Darwinian model of evolution have influenced and shaped both the ideas and methodologies of the social sciences. For decades, behavioristic and mechanistic models in psychology, sociology, history, and political sciences established their theoretical foundations on the materialistic interpretations of Newtonian cosmology and Darwinian biology. In recent times, however, the social sciences have not incorporated the limitations of reductionist mechanistic thinking that are demonstrated by quantum physics and Einstein's theory of relativity. 

    Therefore, a new vision of social reality and processes cannot have philosophical cohesiveness while its interpretations of physical reality reject the inclusion of the properties of consciousness in the equations of theories about the physical world. The relationship between the physical/natural and the social/human sciences lies at the core of the unity of knowledge. Two interrelated propositions are necessary for this unification. First, the social sciences need to relate to the development of ideas that try to study and explain the physical domain of reality. In this, the synthesis of knowledge will be based on a firm conceptual ground. In the Bahá'í writings, material reality is defined in terms of its metaphorical nature to guide humanity to the world of spirit. The knowledge of the world of spirit stands above the physical and natural sciences; yet, it cannot be separated fr om the lower levels of knowledge. Even though the world of the spirit is real and the material reality is just a shadow, the seeker is conditioned to find the truth through the agency of material phenomena and relationships. Second, the synthesis of knowledge must acknowledge the special environment of the human spirit. In this, the reductionist scheme of theences will be avoided. In the hierarchy of knowledge, the spiritual reality flows within a cyclical pattern. In its descending flow fr om the ultimate source of all knowledge, it brings a sense of oneness and unity to lower levels of understanding. In its ascending flow, it transcends every branch of knowledge to reach a higher and ultimately infinite realm of meaning. As a result, the social/human sciences are conceptually related to the force of material factors, while physical/natural sciences must include the properties of the potential spirit as the origin of matter and the emerging quality of biological evolution. Thus, we can say that the concepts and values of the social/human sciences are generated by two sources of knowledge: physical sciences (particularly physics and cosmology) that take into account an explanation of the universe and the tangible element of reality, and a dynamic definition of religion that takes into account the phenomenon of transcendence and the organizing principles of transformation. 

    We can logically argue that the first principles for the unity of knowledge (and consequently the harmony of science and religion) involve these two ultimate sources of knowledge. The evolving nature of these two fields determines the vitality and validity of the discourse in social sciences. In other words, in the dialogue between science and religion, the social sciences have a contingent and limited presence set by these two realities. Today, many conceptions of the social sciences are, however, divorced fr om both sources of knowledge. These conceptions are often presented as a basis to discredit the possibility of a reconciliation between science and religion. As a result, an illusion has persisted that there is a permanent rift between science and fundamentals of religious belief, for example, the soul and life after death. If that were true, the Bahá'í Faith, for instance, would be forced to abandon its fundamental core in order to comply with the tenets of a materialistic philosophy that has imposed itself on social sciences in the name of scientific thinking. 

    Let us examine some particular cases: Today, mainstream psychology (a social science and probably the most sophisticated one in terms of its hard work in developing concrete methods of studying human behavior) denies or considers irrelevant the existence of the human soul. Does this mean Bahá'ís should throw away the core of their religious belief that centers around the reality of the human soul as a nonmaterial entity and life after death in order to comply with this science? 

    Economics, another social science whe reefforts are made to establish a scientific basis, study is directed to models that attempt to describe economic forces in exact mathematical terms with the goal of predicting the direction of the market. To many academicians in this field, the idea of a spiritual solution to economic problems is sheer fantasy. Should Bahá'ís agree with current assumptions in this science and compromise their views on spiritual/moral foundations and the normative premises of economics? 

    In history, many academic schools frown on the idea of presupposing a direction for the course of historical development. Does that mean Bahá'ís have to abandon the bedrock of their belief system concerning the progressive evolution of humankind toward perfection and the presence of God as the Lord of history? 

    The examples are numerous. If we attempt to modify Bahá'í teachings so that they may bow to the whims of social sciences, sooner or later there remains nothing but pieces of something that was once called the Bahá'í religion. 

    In recent years, social sciences have been challenged to offer a viable solution to catastrophic social, economic, and political events that have disturbed the world's equilibrium. Foremost is the challenge of acknowledging the supremacy of moral values as the ultimate answer to the multiplicity of human problems. There are also the challenges of defining a meaningful context for unity in diversity and of creating a balance between freedom and discipline. An increase in global interdependence and planetization of the human race are clearly discernable; and yet, to the social sciences, the dynamics of a world culture and ch aracteristics of a new world order continue to remain elusive. In short, these challenges and crises seem to act as a catalyst that may precipitate the emergence of a more complex, universal system of epistemology and ethics. 

    It is not our intention to belittle the social sciences or to advance a fanatical attitude against them. In fact, these branches of human knowledge have contributed immensely to the dismantling of dogmatic patterns of thinking in our culture and to building new perceptions about social reality. For example, we may not agree with Freud, but we have a moral obligation to acknowledge his contributions to a more enlightened interpretation of human behavior. At the least, his intellectual presence gradually stopped the drilling of holes in the skulls of mental patients to free them fr om evil possessions. 

    A thorough examination of the social sciences, however, demonstrates that these disciplines are still under the influence of the materialistic and mechanistic philosophies of the nineteenth century and are approaching a crisis stage in the face of rapid deterioration of the social and intellectual order. Sociologist P.A. Sorokin (1948) once wrote that aridity in the social sciences "has gone so far that Plato's Republic would unquestionably be rejected by many departments if it were written now for the first time and submitted as a doctoral dissertation" (p.154). 

    John Lewis Gaddis (1992), professor of history and director of the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University, commented on the crisis of social sciences, particularly political theories of international relations after the Cold War's end in these words: 

    What accounts for the bankruptcy of a field that promised so much? The problem, I think, was not with the claim that one could turn politics into a science; but rather it was with the kind of science that theorists of international relations tried to turn politics into. Seeking objectivity, legitimacy and predictability, social scientists in the United States set out after World War II to embrace the traditional methods of the physical and natural sciences. But they did so at a time when physicists, biologists, and mathematicians, concerned about disparities between their theories and the reality they supposedly modeled, were gradually abandoning old methods. 

    There are critical differences between physical (and biological) sciences and social sciences. They both use reason and observations to make statements about reality. In the social sciences, however, the subject of study (individual or social interactions) evades empirical observation. Unlike natural phenomena, inquiry into social sciences demands something more than facts and logical proofs. Facts and logical proofs can only operate within the mechanism of a social (cultural) context. This is exactly the reason why the operation of reason and observation in the social sciences is conditioned to the dictates of the dominant cultural paradigm.

    Ideas in the social sciences evolve within the context of cultural values and meanings. Analogously, this may be likened to growth of a fetus in the womb. The fetus moves and shows signs of life but within the boundaries of a limited environment. The fetus is not even aware of such limitations. Likewise, social sciences operate within a larger process (the realm of meanings and values). This process cont 

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