What if we thought of humanity as one family? Can you imagine the impact on many of the serious problems plaguing our world today?
Is it possible that this shift in consciousness would lead to a spiritual understanding that might eliminate our worst economic problems? If you knew your sister or brother were lacking food, would you sit down at the table, eat a large meal and offer none of it to them?
The answer seems obvious, when we think of our siblings and family members. I’ve often wondered why we don’t think of all humanity in the same way.
The prophet-founder of the Baha’i faith, Baha’u’llah, brought many teachings centered around the understanding that we are one human family. A quick overview of the basic Baha’i teachings provides a glimpse of how this new revelation will uplift the conditions of society:
- the oneness of religion
- the oneness of humanity
- the independent investigation of truth
- the elimination of all forms of prejudice
- the importance of universal education
- the achievement of full equality of men and women
- a spiritual solution to the economic problem
- the essential harmony of science and religion
- the development of a universal auxiliary language
- universal peace
Focusing on finding a spiritual solution to the world’s economic problems leads us directly to the Golden Rule. All the prophets brought essential teachings for the well-being of humanity and they all reinforced the Golden Rule—treating others how we would wish to be treated.
“The secrets of the whole economic question are divine in nature, and are concerned with the world of the heart and spirit,” stated the son of the Baha’i prophet, talking about the need for balance, reciprocity and harmonious relations.
He said: “Although the body politic is one family, yet because of lack of harmonious relations some members are comfortable and some in direct misery, some members are satisfied and some members are hungry, some members are clothed in most costly garments and some families in need of food and shelter. Why? Because this family of mankind lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry. This household is not well arranged.”
We could begin asking ourselves why haven’t we made a better arrangement. Does it trouble you that we have enough resources to feed all of humanity, yet children and families die of starvation?
So is it a material or a spiritual problem, where we haven’t fully taken into our hearts that we belong to one family, living in one home?
When the Baha’i international governing body issued their statement called “The Promise of World Peace,” they identified the extremes of wealth and poverty as one of the underlying causes of war, saying:
“The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war. Few societies have dealt effectively with this situation. The solution calls for the combined application of spiritual, moral and practical approaches. A fresh look at the problem is required, entailing consultation with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines, devoid of economic and ideological polemics, and involving the people directly affected in the decisions that must urgently be made. It is an issue that is bound up not only with the necessity for eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty but also with those spiritual verities the understanding of which can produce a new universal attitude. Fostering such an attitude is itself a major part of the solution.”
When heart and spirit become the primary consideration, it will most certainly permeate our economic life and crystallize into just principles for a transformed society.