Consultation

Aug 2018
12
Argentina
#1
I've been trying to find a comprehensive source to help me improve my understand and skills in consultation. A friend of mine suggested the 10th Ruhi book. Chapter 2 is on consultation. Unfortunately it seems this near impossible to find. If anyone knows where I can find that material, I would be most grateful. If anyone has other sources to suggest, I would appreciate it very much.

To those who may be reading this, investigating the Bahá'í Faith I feel I should provide some context to what is this thing we call, consultation. I did a quick search and have this quote from 'Abdu'l-Bahá


The purpose is to emphasize the statement that consultation must have for its object the investigation of truth. He who expresses an opinion should not voice it as correct and right but set it forth as a contribution to the consensus of opinion, for the light of reality becomes apparent when two opinions coincide. A spark is produced when flint and steel come together. Man should weigh his opinions with the utmost serenity, calmness and composure. Before expressing his own views he should carefully consider the views already advanced by others. If he finds that a previously expressed opinion is more true and worthy, he should accept it immediately and not willfully hold to an opinion of his own. By this excellent method he endeavors to arrive at unity and truth. Opposition and division are deplorable. It is better then to have the opinion of a wise, sagacious man; otherwise, contradiction and altercation, in which varied and divergent views are presented, will make it necessary for a judicial body to render decision upon the question. Even a majority opinion or consensus may be incorrect. A thousand people may hold to one view and be mistaken, whereas one sagacious person may be right. Therefore, true consultation is spiritual conference in the attitude and atmosphere of love. Members must love each other in the spirit of fellowship in order that good results may be forthcoming. Love and fellowship are the foundation.
(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

You can read the larger portion, if you wish, at that link.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2010
4,424
Normanton Far North Queensland
#2
Monti, this link provides other links to some useful sources.

Consultation

This is indeed an important aspect if life. As a Baha'i we must learn to consult on all matters and all aspects of life.

Another link to quotes;

Consultation

There are also some good stories I came across at one time about consultation. See if I can find that link again.

Regards Tony
 
Last edited:
Dec 2012
174
Earth
#3
Greetings Monti,

Shoghi Effendi would often remind the friends of the importance of using a good dictionary when seeking to understand words he used in the capacity of the Guardian. He studied the English language to a very high level with the Syrian Protestant College (later to become the American University of Beirut) and Balliol College, Oxford. So it is absolutely vital to obtain the exact meaning of any word used.

As the meaning of words naturally change over time, you might find it helpful to obtain a good linguistic comprehension of the way consultation would have been understood in the 1920s. Indeed when studying the Guardian in the English language I sometimes use dictionaries from the same time period. It is rather surprising how subtle the difference of comprehension can be when reading his works like this.

Bahá'u'lláh's preferred language was Arabic; seconded by Persian. So understand that the English language is not an ideal platform with which to grasp the Bahá'í Faith. Indeed in the western world the Bahá'í Faith is still largely perceived and presented from an Anglican Christian centric viewpoint. This is because Shoghi Effendi modelled his translations on the King James Bible in order to given them a sense of familiarity to English readers. So if you plan to visualise them in Argentinian Spanish, they can easily take on an Anglican Protestant appearance. This is entirely due to the English employed. However the Guardian referred to the U.K. in the same manner as one Roman Emperor. The cold northwestern bastion. The only difference being is this was a satirical spiritual metaphor to the English language itself. So try to look past some of the cultural issues you might naturally face with the way the Guardian employs the English language, especially if you were born in Argentina.

With regards to guidance, as strange as it might appear, I would encourage you to read the works of the Guardian cited in the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice (Daniel, the website host, has kindly linked it in the Baha'i Resources tab to the right). Do be aware that this document is dated because it has not been changed from the time it was first produced and signed. While it can be difficult to read from a plain journalistic perspective, the texts cited are first class and are among some of the most important you will ever find in the Bahá'í World. Once you learn how to tame these they will reveal their inners secrets to you. It really is like walking through Alice’s looking glass and coming-out the other side. In the process you come to understand that consultation is the Rosetta Stone for bringing about all forms of human transformation.

As an example let us look at one sentence:

"They (the trusties) may, indeed they must, acquaint themselves with the conditions prevailing among the community, must weigh dispassionately in their minds the merits of any case presented for their consideration, but must reserve for themselves the right of an unfettered decision."

Now note the specific clause of the word "must" over the word "may" at the beginning because this is standard lexicon employed by the Guardian. It mirrors a number of other well known texts that employ phrases like "unless and until". But may and must are not only two distinctive words, one can be implicitly negligent by its very nature. For instance have you ever witnessed an employment contract that suggests the employee "may" elect to work as opposed to what they "must" do at work? What the Guardian has offered here is evidence for any Bahá'í to take issue with the trustees over any ruling they make without considering all of the facts. Namely if a trustee has not worked with due diligence to establish the facts then how can the Universal House of Justice be expected to make a coherent ruling that is fair? Like with a court of law a ruling cannot be wrong, but it can be over-turned if it can be shown that the trustee or trustees did not make the decision with all the relevant facts at hand. This might help you to understand why the first part of the Constitution is a statement of trust. Namely the trustees are seeking to honour and discharge their responsibilities as best as they can. So if a decision is made without all the facts, it should not be viewed as being intentionally prejudicial.

Do understand that the consultative process of the Universal House of Justice is much more mature than what you might witness in a Bahá’í local or national setting. Trustees often just vote without making comments because they have done the consultative research before the meeting itself. They will always aim for unanimous decision if possible. So if one person is not in agreement, the matter is usually deferred to be voted on at a later date. On some occasions the other eight will change their minds to be in agreement with the one. So there is no attempt to coerce fellow trustees to make any decision in any matter. If you reflect on this it means that in order to consult it means that all parties must have an opportunity to become informed about matters before any meeting and then be completely detached from the way others choose to vote. As there is no need to explain how a person votes, they cannot be swayed by rhetoric. In this respect consultation is more about people studying issues for themselves rather than engaging in debate, using a prayer at the begging and end, and then calling it consultation.

Consultation is also critical for a healthy life; especially within families. It not only protects all of its members, it is the very foundation for building a successful outlook towards life. In our family we consult over everything; absolutely everything. This becomes easier and easier over time because you come to learn the techniques people use to try to divide people. So they might for instance approach the person whom they consider to be the weakest in a relationship with a view of exerting their opinions upon them. But when you make it clear that you will need to consult with your spouse or parents first, they learn to understand you cannot be targeted to comply with their personal aims. Sadly, like it or not, some Bahá'ís are like this and they will try such tactics in order to try to promote others into seeing the Faith the way they do. Consultation therefore also needs to be viewed rather like a suit of armour. It not only protects you, it protects those that you value too.

Well I hope this might help in some small measure and allow you to see why it is important to form your own understanding in things, but if you would like a simple example of it working in the real world the following TED presentation might help you see what should come out of the process. This is because consultation is not about promoting the views of the lowest denominator, rather it is about promoting excellence and finding new ways of doing things. Just because Bahá'ís might promote the idea of consultation, it does not mean they understand how to execute it very well. So the name employed is far less important than the process itself.



Earth
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Aug 2018
12
Argentina
#4
Wow! Thank you @Earth. I thought I had notifications on for replies to my posts. I didn't receive one, so I'm just reading this now. That was very detailed. I like what you write about language. I've been thinking a lot about that lately. I'm actually a native english speaker. I'm told many spanish translations of the Writings are even yet further removed as they are translations from the english rather than the original Arabic or Persian. That sounds painful. The growing pains of revelation in its early years, I suppose.

I'm reminded of a link a friend of mine who is on the NSA in Argentina gave me regarding the Bahá'í view of fear of God. Shoghi Effendi writes, "You have asked the exact meaning of the term 'Fear of God' mentioned in Bahá'í Sacred Writings; it often means awe, but has also other connotations such as reverence, terror and fear. "We have no way of knowing what science Bahá'u'lláh meant when He said it would largely eliminate fear; as no further mention of it was ever made in the teachings, the Guardian cannot identify anything with this statement. To do so would depart from his function as interpreter of the teachings; he cannot reveal anything apart from the given teachings." (Lights of Guidance, p. 236 # 789)
(there's some bad use of quotations in that text. I don't have time to find the error. It's how the site presents it)

It makes one appreciate that the sacred Writings are much more profound than we might be able to appreciate from translations, even though they are quite profound in English. I have been thinking recently how a website that has every word or phrase linked back to the original language and also other languages, or linked to sentences or both would be a great tool for studying the writings. The added tool of having in depth definitions of the Arabic or Persian words then would be quite useful. Since I'm often flipping between English and spanish as I endeavor to share the Writings with people here, I often think about this kind of tool. It came to me in a dream one morning, so I take that to mean I should build it.

I have to run off to an appointment so I'm posting this without having proof read it. My apologies for any errors. Again, thanks for the lovely post.
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Dec 2012
174
Earth
#5
Greetings Monti,

Glad that you made some sense out of the little sojourn into the impact of language. If you ever get the chance to speak with a trustee from the NSA of Columbia you will find they will not only reinforce the views of your friend that serves on the NSA of Argentina, they might even share with you some interesting stories as to why it no longer endorses Ruhi translations outside of the Spanish language.

The wonderful thing when you begin to look at things for what they are rather than what some might like them to be, is you begin to see the benefits of consultation rather than ignoring issues in the hope of pretending they are perfectly fine. Truth is a simple thing, but even so people can be terrified of it, especially if they have to think for themselves or do something to resolve the issue. As the video highlighted, only 3% of people will succeed by trying something different. This suggests that only 3% of the population are versed at using genuine consultation practices to obtain results.

There are a few users on this forum that work to translate the Bahá'í Writings. Sen McGlinn has produced some rather nice pieces. In addition to this Gnat translates works from the English language into Swedish. So his experience will be very similar to those that do the same in Spanish. However, when you consider that the Bahá'í Community of Sweden has a very small membership compared to the Spanish speaking world, around a hundred members when I last looked at its website, hopefully you can see why translations into Swedish might have less experience to draw upon. In reality many translations have come about due to the capacity and goodwill of Bahá'ís. If introductory material on the Bahá'í Faith were to be more open about this matter rather than seeking to claim how many languages it has been translated into around the world, readers looking into the Bahá'í Faith might better appreciate the type sacrifices some Bahá'í linguists have made in order to allow a wider number of people to read about it.

Everything has to start somewhere. Words are very emotive and there really is nothing like witnessing a spiritual truth being expressed eloquently in one's own native language. But to do this well the host culture must be well understood and respected too. One of the reasons the Bahá’í Faith has been facing poor retention rates since its inception is due to people interpreting it within a very narrow cultural bandwidth. The Bahá’í Faith was never intended for Persian and English speakers, it was intended for all peoples of the world. So when translations need to be approved by trustees on the Universal House of Justice, that in turn only operate in Persian and the English language at this time, it can perhaps rightly be viewed as endorsing a form of cultural imperialism. Indeed as Bahá’u’lláh largely produced His Writings in Arabic, one can perhaps be forgiven for thinking why Arabic is not an official language too; especially as it was Bahá’u’lláh’s language of choice.

Like it or not some sociology research faculties have employed computer modelling to examine membership within the Bahá’í Faith. Some models estimate that there are around 18 million former Bahá’ís living today and that membership of the Bahá’í Faith could have been around 50 million from the 1980s alone rather that 6 million today if it possessed good retention rates. In reality its retention rates are now negative. This means membership of the Bahá’í Faith is now in actually decline. Now this does not mean people are not joining the Bahá’í Faith, they are, it is just they are leaving sooner and sooner. Indeed the NSA of the U.S. was recently forced to disclose its retention rates following some external research. It explained that 50% of new members leave within the first 2 years. It did not state average retention rates, but external research place these at around 100% over 7 years. But these are just statistics. The core issue that needs to be understood here is why new members of the Bahá’í Faith are so vulnerable to leaving? People are not and never should be regarded as being little more than commodities to endorse some peoples fantasies about how their religion is growing. Linguists implicitly understand this more than many and this is why they need to be afforded greater autonomy and respect. Indeed the sooner they can come together to help remove the fiction that exists the healthier it will be for all Bahá’ís.

As the Spanish language is more rooted in Catholic culture rather than Anglican Protestant culture, hopefully you can see why there is such need for Spanish speaking Bahá’ís to learn Arabic and Persian; rather than work directly from the English language. To my mind the best way around this is to fund native Spanish speakers that have natural linguistic talents to undertake suitable degree courses. Bahá’ís were funded in Iran to undertake degree courses, albeit it through a secret university, but I think the model should be employed much more widely. As I some times say when I meet Bahá’ís that are adamant about Ruhi, would it be possible to undertake a university course instead like the Bahá’ís in Iran? It really is interesting to watch their faces when posed with such a question, even more so if you can cite the formal aims from the NSA non-profit/charity trust deeds. The notion that the Bahá’í Faith is for everyone is untenable while paywalls for education remain.

I hope this will not put you off the Bahá’í Faith, but rather help you to see the type of challenges that exist at this time. From my perspective every generation has something to offer and, dare I say it, something to become attached to too. Hopefully the next generation will be less attached to placing their theology and cultural insecurities over the needs of humanity. This way we might all begin to witness genuine growth. In the end the Bahá’í Faith will not become what the Bahá’ís of today want, it will become what the Bahá’ís of tomorrow want. So all fears and uncertainties are unfounded. See them for what they are and they will never impede your personal growth.

Earth
 
Aug 2018
12
Argentina
#6
That was a lot of thoughts again. I think your idea of building education institutions is a very good one. I have not studied the Ruhi books. I often feel weird having to admit that. I will admit to someone for the first time, that I picked up the first two books many years ago when they first came out and I found them basic and slow going and the style of study is not one I'm enamoured with. I realize being the first two books they were meant to be basic. The style of study is fine, I guess. Thinking of it in light of your point about educational institutions I see another aspect of that style that falls short for me. The study groups can easily be hampered by the study habits of the participants. They are seminar forum, like at St John's College, but there you have a formal institution. The seminars have professors. They call them tutors for a reason so we'll honor that here. They help usher that process through so it remains productive and doesn't devolve. They obviously play an important role. They do not lecture. The students play the primary role. The Ruhi books suffer from no support like that of the tutor in the implementation. Since I didn't do a study group I can't say more.

Retention is a tough issue. I think your points on education are very good ones. As well we live in a time of abject materialism and self gratification. If this were a virus I would say it is now coming to full bloom, ...right now. I was talking to a father of a in the playground who was complaining that there is no solidarity in Argentina anymore. Argentines used to be known for this. He blames the constant economic crises. It may be this and other things. I noted to him that in the US they have even less connection to their neighbor. It may seem prettier because there is stability economically (up to now), but what he sees lacking in Argentina is not in abundance in the US I pointed this out because he looked to EUrope and the US as better cultures.

It's difficult to live the Bahá'í life in this age. I was not a student of St John's but I lived in Annapolis and there was a gaggle of Johnies who were Bahá'ís. They all seemed to have become bahá'ís recently. I was raised as a Bahá'í from the age of six. I've dealt with the ups and downs in my life. We come into the Faith full of enthusiasm and idealism, but we are on a path. It will be difficult. We will not measure up to the idealism that new believers have. We need to be helped through that. I guess we need that solidarity. Too many of those believers in Annapolis have become inactive Bahá'ís One I know left the Faith. Others looked at their lives and feel they don't embody what being a Bahá'í is. People's story like Susan Gammage, I think, help to give people perspective that we are on a path. We don't become Bahá'í and thus perfect.

As for me. I have certitude. My faith is not dependent upon the Faith's adherent's or our actions administratively at the time. I think the institutions are good.They can be better. Just like the individual our institutions are maturing.

I misread something you wrote and want to respond to my misreading. I know that is odd. Something I think about very often is how we overlay our culture and ideas from old religions onto the Bahá'í Faith. I see that in individuals a lot. I realize we are all victims of this. I struggle always to view the Faith without these prejudices. Your comment about theological and cultural insecurities lead me to that thought. I think my misreading is worth a lot of discussion, IMO. I don't know about the veracity of your comment about theological and cultural insecurities in our institution. I haven't thought about, nor stress about it to date. I agree it's important to be realistic about what our numbers are and as you point out, it helps us think about remedies.
 
Dec 2012
174
Earth
#7
Greetings Monti,

Thank you for sharing your grounded perspective on matters along with your personal experiences in your response. It is good to have honest conversations online in the open because it allows people to witness that Bahá'ís are perfectly normal people that can express balanced concerns about their own religion. Without this how can honest and informed consultation ever transpire?

I can appreciate your point about certitude. To me it is one of the key qualities that roots a person in the Faith. While I was not born into the Faith, I identified with the Báb from from my earliest memories as a child. In the end, as an adult, my search led me to Haifa and upon witnessing His Shrine, I knew that I had found Him. It was a few years later when I first heard about the Bahá'í Faith. Indeed I might not have returned after my first fireside had it not been for the fact that the friends had a picture of the Shrine of the Báb on the wall. So in reality I came into the Bahá'í Faith from the perspective of being an independent Bábí that had been guided through dreams and visions from the time of being a child. This has given me a very different mindset from a number of first generation believers. So you might have intuitively picked up on this from some of my earlier thoughts. This could certainly be the case if your parents or guardians accepted the Bahá'í Faith when you were six years old, because this could arguably mean that you are a first generation child too. So the only difference between us might be that you are a first generation Bahá'í child while I am a first generation Bábí child. Young children can accept a religious belief too, but they do so based on witnessing spiritual values around them rather than reading or being exposed to religious texts. I think this is why the Faith is best represented through one's character, an issue that is often misunderstood because sincerity is stronger than appearance.

Our backgrounds have an enormous part to play in the way we perceive the Bahá'í Faith because it is far too limiting to put people into first-generation and subsequent-generation boxes. Doing this completely ignores the reality that children can accept the Faith for themselves too. Those that do so can grow up to become enormously robust in their faith because they accept it on entirely different terms to those of an adult. So in reality people like ourselves are not at risk of leaving the Bahá'í Faith, no matter what we might experience or how bad we might feel about ourselves. This of course places a heavier burden upon us to help those that are.

With regards to Ruhi, which as you know is but one curriculum and should not be viewed as the Teaching Institute in its own right, I commissioned an international educational publishing house to offer an independent review on it. The findings where not positive. Indeed they were quite alarming in some areas. It concluded that the claims made about the Ruhi model were false because there is no scientific evidence to support it. Another key concern was with the terminology used within the system itself; most notably "collaborator". This word is used almost exclusively to define an enemy of the state in the English language. In a correct context one could say Nazi collaborator or terrorist collaborator, but when used to say Bahá’í collaborator, hopefully you can see why it can provoke such a strong reaction. It is actually the primary trigger that promotes peoples anger towards the English version of Ruhi, but it is so strong and subtle readers often overlook it and take issues with other things instead. Naturally this can lead to further confusion. So the correct thing to do is to put it into a similar context to people who do not speak English as a native language. That way they can better understand why some native English readers will naturally take issues with it before they even reach the main content. Once again this serves as an example as to why consultation must understand the issues at hand if it wishes to find a solution.

Delighted to learn that you from Maryland. It is one of my favourite states in the U.S. Decades ago I used to know some of the designers that worked for a gaming company based in Baltimore, the original Avalon Hill. It was from them I developed an interest in the publishing world. So in a manner of speaking Maryland, or the Old Line State, has had a direct impact on the way I have come to think and present the Bahá'í Faith to others.

Always pleasant talking with you.

Earth
 
Mar 2013
532
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#8
One comment about the Ruhi courses-- those of us who are long-time Baha's should not think of them primarily as a resource for us to learn about the Teachings then judge them based on how many new things we learned from them. Rather, we should look at them as an opportunity to learn how to explain the Teachings to others in concise and clear terms, and therefore be more effective teachers. Inevitably we will see new things in the Writing we never noticed before, and will learn from others who are studying with us. But the focus should be on how we can better serve. Just my opinion!
 
Aug 2018
12
Argentina
#9
Good evening Earth,

Yes, I consider myself a first generation Bahá'í as well. We all go through rough patches.

The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most.
(Paris Talks)

I came to my belief in the Bahá'í Faith as we are admonished to do, thinking critically, asking questions, but from a very you age as you. When I read about doubt like in the Tablet of Ahmad, Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies and a river of life eternal to My loved ones, and be not of those who doubt. I don't think of lack of faith but to have internal strength no to doubt oneself. To follow God with resolution. That may not be correct, but it is correct for me, as that is the doubt that sometimes challenges me. Just as a caveat for anyone else who might be reading this, we can't lose sight of being critical thinkers and humble servants. One wouldn't want to get carried away and become blinded with a myopic righteousness. That's a very very dangerous path that some infamous people have taken themselves down.

One of my parents was raised pentecostal. I try to be watchful that this doesn't have any influence. A good friend of mine from Baltimore is great collyrium. She, in a healthy manner, rejects white eurocentric culture. She is great for shedding a new light on subjects. From a Pentecostal colored veil I believe the task is to avoid falling into a fire and brimstone, damnation and judgement interpretation the Writings, and view it through the concepts of the love and compassion that permeates the Bahá'í Faith.

The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future!
(Selections from the Writings of the Báb)

That's not the most ideal quote for this particular point, but one of my favorites. I think the Bahá'í Faith is infinitely more Compassionate, Merciful and Bountiful than we can understand, and than how we paint it in our minds. I say the Bahá'í Faith, but would be more correct to say God. Again, that quote is one of my lifetime favorites. I think of it when I think about discussing the Faith with people who are curious, those who have an ear and interest.

These things could be said to be a bit off topic, but an open mind, detachment, critical thinking and humility are elements needed when coming into the art of Consultation. By the way, thank you, @tonyfish58. Those links were useful. I wrote to one of them because their links away are outdated. I think my favorite quote to encapsulate the art of consultation is from 'Abdu'l-Bahá

The purpose is to emphasize the statement that consultation must have for its object the investigation of truth. He who expresses an opinion should not voice it as correct and right but set it forth as a contribution to the consensus of opinion, for the light of reality becomes apparent when two opinions coincide. A spark is produced when flint and steel come together. Man should weigh his opinions with the utmost serenity, calmness and composure. Before expressing his own views he should carefully consider the views already advanced by others. If he finds that a previously expressed opinion is more true and worthy, he should accept it immediately and not willfully hold to an opinion of his own. By this excellent method he endeavors to arrive at unity and truth. Opposition and division are deplorable. It is better then to have the opinion of a wise, sagacious man; otherwise, contradiction and altercation, in which varied and divergent views are presented, will make it necessary for a judicial body to render decision upon the question. Even a majority opinion or consensus may be incorrect. A thousand people may hold to one view and be mistaken, whereas one sagacious person may be right. Therefore, true consultation is spiritual conference in the attitude and atmosphere of love. Members must love each other in the spirit of fellowship in order that good results may be forthcoming. Love and fellowship are the foundation.
(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

I wanted something to flesh things out more and there is enough in the other quotes, but I believe this the best starting place. This paragraph catches the essence of consultation. I keep calling it an art. I think somewhere it's called a science. That may be more correct, but from where I stand right now it feels more like an art in my life.

-Erik
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Aug 2018
12
Argentina
#10
Ugh! Now I have to find the quote from 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Spanish Ugh!!! Pressure
Whew!! Found it!

En esta Causa la consulta es de vital importancia, sin embargo se intenta la deliberación espiritual y no la mera declaración de opiniones personales. En Francia estuve presente en una sesión del Senado, pero la experiencia no fue impresionante. El procedimiento parlamentario debería tener por objeto la obtención de la luz de la verdad sobre las cuestiones presentadas y no proporcionar un campo de batalla para la oposición y la propia opinión. El antagonismo y la contradicción son desafortunados y siempre destructores de la verdad. En la mencionada reunión parlamentaria, el altercado y las polémicas inútiles eran frecuentes; el resultado, en su mayor parte, confusión y tumulto; incluso en una ocasión tuvo lugar un enfrentamiento físico entre dos miembros. Esto no era consulta sino comedia.

El propósito es el de enfatizar la afirmación de que la consulta debe tener como meta la investigación de la verdad. Aquel que expresa una opinión no debería decir que es correcta y justa, sino presentarla como una contribución al consenso de opiniones, pues la luz de la realidad se hace aparente cuando coinciden dos opiniones. Cuando el pedernal y el eslabón se juntan salta una chispa. El hombre debería pesar sus opiniones con extrema serenidad, calma y compostura. Antes de expresar sus propias opiniones debería considerar cuidadosamente las opiniones ya presentadas por otros. Si encuentra que una opinión presentada anteriormente es más veraz y meritoria, debería aceptarla inmediatamente y no aferrarse obcecadamente a su propia opinión. Mediante este excelente método, él se esfuerza para llegar a la unidad y la verdad. La oposición y la división son deplorables. Es mejor, entonces, tener la opinión de un hombre sabio y sagaz; de otro modo, la contradicción y el altercado, en los cuales se presentan opiniones variadas y divergentes, harán necesario que un cuerpo jurídico dé su decisión sobre la cuestión. Incluso una opinión o consenso mayoritario puede ser incorrecto. Mil personas pueden sostener una opinión y estar equivocadas, en tanto una persona sagaz puede estar acertada. Por lo tanto, la verdadera consulta es deliberación espiritual en una atmósfera y actitud de amor. Los miembros deben amarse los unos a los otros con un espíritu de camaradería para que se produzcan buenos resultados. Amor y camaradería son los fundamentos.

Promulgación de la Paz Universal
 

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