In 1969, as a crew member on the maiden voyage of the Clearwater, the Hudson River sloop, I picked up a pamphlet on the Baha’i Faith from a booth at one of the sloop festivals along the river. At the time, this was part of my on going personal search for meaning and study of the world’s religions.
The pamphlet focused on the primary principles of the Baha’i Faith—one God, one source for all religions, and the oneness of humanity—and its supporting principles—the independent investigation of truth, the equality of women and men, the harmony of science and religion, the elimination of prejudice of all kinds, a spiritual solution to the widening gap between wealth and poverty, and a global community at peace. These principles, built upon and leading to unity, paralleled exactly what I had already been finding in my own experience. This, to me, felt more and more like the spirit of our time, like what this age was crying out for.
Longer story short, more confirmations followed. During my master’s degree program in counseling, in a filmed interview psychologist Rollo May, speaking about the role of cultural myths in our lives, and the time in which we now live, said that we live in a time of a crisis of the spirit, a crisis of personal and collective truth, because the guiding symbols of myth have broken down.
His solution to this crisis of spirit was to live with the myths of the future, with what is going to be the spiritual center of our world to come. But, he added, it is up to each one of us to try to find the myths and symbols that we genuinely believe will become the most important in the future. This is our responsibility to society and to ourselves. May then listed what he considered to be the guiding symbols and archetypes of the new mythology: the symbol of one world; the symbol of interracialism; women’s liberation; and an economical system that values the worker.
Could it be that the spiritual energies released a century and three-quarters ago through the Baha’i revelation are now permeating popular culture, as well? Many others, scientists and philosophers alike, share this vision and are doing what they can to make it even more of a reality. The Parliament of the World’s Religions’ idea of a global ethic is certainly at the forefront of this emerging worldview. With a similar concept, scientist and systems theorist Ervin Laszlo sees a planetary consciousness emerging that is characterized by “knowing, as well as feeling, the vital interdependence and essential oneness of humankind” as well as “the conscious adoption of the ethic and the ethos that this entails.” He sees the evolution of planetary consciousness as “the basic imperative of human survival on this planet.”
The need for a new chapter in humanity’s unfolding sacred story is now widely understood. The principles of a new spiritual era are becoming more and more accepted as their opposites go all out for a last stand. Putting the spiritual principles of our time into practice is the only thing that will save our collective soul.