Has anyone studied the works of Arnold Toynbee?

Jan 2018
8
United States
#1
Hi everyone,

I've been reading the abridged version of 'A Study of History', by Arnold Toynbee. It is a monumental work that studies the forces behind the civilizations of the past and their influence on the present day. There is a lot about the role of religion as a revitalizing force in the cycles of dissolution and growth on the world stage. He comes to many conclusions that are in line with a Baha'i worldview.

Here is what he writes in his chapter, 'The need for a comprehensive study of human affairs':

"We shall, however, have to do more than just understand each other's cultural heritages, and more even than just appreciate them. We shall have to value them and love them as being parts of Mankind's common treasure and therefore being ours too, as truly as the heirlooms that we ourselves shall be contributing to the common stock. Without the fire of love, the dangerous fissures in Mankind's social solidarity cannot be annealed. Danger, even when it is as extreme as ours is today, is never a sufficient stimulus in itself to make men do what is necessary for their salvation. It is a poor stimulus because it is a negative one. A coldblooded calculation of expediency will not inspire us with the spiritual power to save ourselves. This power can come only from the disinterested pursuit of a positive aim that will outrange the negative one of trying to avoid self-destruction; and this positive aim can be given to men by nothing but love."

These words ring true in 2019. What are your thoughts?
 
Feb 2019
164
Chicago
#2
Hi everyone,

I've been reading the abridged version of 'A Study of History', by Arnold Toynbee. It is a monumental work that studies the forces behind the civilizations of the past and their influence on the present day. There is a lot about the role of religion as a revitalizing force in the cycles of dissolution and growth on the world stage. He comes to many conclusions that are in line with a Baha'i worldview.

Here is what he writes in his chapter, 'The need for a comprehensive study of human affairs':

"We shall, however, have to do more than just understand each other's cultural heritages, and more even than just appreciate them. We shall have to value them and love them as being parts of Mankind's common treasure and therefore being ours too, as truly as the heirlooms that we ourselves shall be contributing to the common stock. Without the fire of love, the dangerous fissures in Mankind's social solidarity cannot be annealed. Danger, even when it is as extreme as ours is today, is never a sufficient stimulus in itself to make men do what is necessary for their salvation. It is a poor stimulus because it is a negative one. A coldblooded calculation of expediency will not inspire us with the spiritual power to save ourselves. This power can come only from the disinterested pursuit of a positive aim that will outrange the negative one of trying to avoid self-destruction; and this positive aim can be given to men by nothing but love."

These words ring true in 2019. What are your thoughts?
I agree and all religions and spiritual civilizations have placed a lot of importance on love. How does one manifest pure and perfect love. What prevents us from doing so. Why do people commit crimes in the name of religion when the religion teaches love?
 
Feb 2019
164
Chicago
#3
Dr. Arnold Toynbee, British Historian On India and Hinduism

It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment
in human history , the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way.
Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the
human race to grow together in to a single family.

So now we turn to India. This spiritual gift, that makes a man human,
is still alive in Indian souls. Go on giving the world Indian examples of it. Nothing else can do so much to help mankind to save itself from destruction

There may or may not be only one single absolute truth and only one single ultimate way of salvation. We do not know. But we do know that
there are more approaches to truth than one, and more means of
salvation than one. This is a hard saying for adherents of the
higher religions of the Judaic family (Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam), but it is a truism for Hindus. The spirit of mutual good-will, esteem and veritable love ... is the traditional spirit of the religions of the Indian family. This is one of India’s gifts to the world
 
Last edited:
Oct 2014
1,797
Stockholm
#4
During my university years, I spent some time studying the Philosophy of History, reading such works as Toynbee's and Spengler's The Decline of the West, actually preparing a small thesis on the latter. Still, however, only when translating the Guardian's The Promised Day, I felt that I got a full grasp of the subject.

Then, on a more personal note, there is so much talk about love. I often feel that we'd do better if we talked less about love and practised more tolerance instead.

Best,

from

gnat
 
Feb 2019
164
Chicago
#5
During my university years, I spent some time studying the Philosophy of History, reading such works as Toynbee's and Spengler's The Decline of the West, actually preparing a small thesis on the latter. Still, however, only when translating the Guardian's The Promised Day, I felt that I got a full grasp of the subject.

Then, on a more personal note, there is so much talk about love. I often feel that we'd do better if we talked less about love and practised more tolerance instead.

Best,

from

gnat
Why do you want to limit yourself to tolerance my friend. Tolerance is often rooted in a superiority complex. For example, you may not like your neighbor's religion because you believe it is distorted, outdated or inferior to yours but you will tolerate it for social reasons. Would you not want to go beyond tolerance and practice acceptance. And then take it to the next level and embrace all good things including true religions with love.
 
Oct 2014
1,797
Stockholm
#6
Why do you want to limit yourself to tolerance my friend.

I was not talking about limiting oneself. On the contrary, when you read my text, you notice that I wrote that "we'd do better if we talked less about love and practised more tolerance instead." This time, I put the key words in italics. :)

gnat
 
Feb 2019
164
Chicago
#7
O SON OF BEING! My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish. - The Hidden words of Bahaullah
 

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