This Blog Is Moving to a New Home July 2, 2009Posted by enochsvision in Commentary.
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Everything that is currently on this blog is moving to the new web location.
First Day of Spring, The Baha’i New Year March 21, 2009Posted by enochsvision in Bahá'í Topics.
Tags: Baha'i, Equinox, Naw-Ruz, Religion, spirituality, Spring
In the calendar of the Baha’i Faith, the new year begins on the equinox, the first day of Spring.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Naw-Rúz in the Holy Land in 1909, 100 years ago
The most joyful tidings is this,” He wrote later in a Tablet announcing to His followers the news of this glorious victory, “that the holy, the luminous body of the Báb … after having for sixty years been transferred from place to place, by reason of the ascendancy of the enemy, and from fear of the malevolent, and having known neither rest nor tranquility has, through the mercy of the Abha Beauty, been ceremoniously deposited, on the day of Naw-Ruz, within the sacred casket, in the exalted Shrine on Mt. Carmel… By a strange coincidence, on that same day of Naw-Ruz, a cablegram was received from Chicago, announcing that the believers in each of the American centers had elected a delegate and sent to that city … and definitely decided on the site and construction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By
Mashriqu’l-Adkar: Literally “the Dawning-place of the praise of God”,
the designation of the Bahá’í House of Worship and its dependencies.
Baha’u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas
Yesterday, about an hour after the equinox passed here, I walked to my front door for no particular reason and looked outside. A Robin alighted on my lawn and soon there were several of them. This has happened all my life. I even remember it as a child in the dull, treeless and blighted Bronx. I’ve always seen a Robin on the first day of Spring. Sometimes that’s the only day that I see one. You might scarcely notice a little Robin amongst a flock of other birds but to me this pretty little bird has always been a harbinger. I feel they are something wonderful.
“The Robin is considered a symbol of Spring. A well-known example is a poem by Emily Dickinson, “I Dreaded That First Robin So”. Among other 19th-century poems about the first robin of spring is “The First Robin” by Dr. William H. Drummond, which according to the author’s wife is based on a Quebec superstition that whoever sees the first robin of spring will have good luck.” (wikipedia)
The Name Enoch October 18, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Bahá'í Topics, Commentary.
Tags: Baha'i, Bahá'í Faith, Bible, Enoch, Prophets
In the sacred writings of the Baha’i faith we read, “How great the multitude of truths which the garment of words can never contain! How vast the number of such verities as no expression can adequately describe, whose significance can never be unfolded, and to which not even the remotest allusions can be made!”
(Baha’u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u'llah)
Enoch is my true name and my given name, Cary, fits me well also. Cary derives from Germanic pre-English and means “dweller in a castle” or a fortified town. Its various forms are similar to Carl with assorted spellings and derivatives. Some of its feminine forms are Karen (with multiple spellings) and Carla. Cary rhymes with Harry, Larry, etc. It does not rhyme with “hairy.” People frequently mispronounce or misspell my name though it should be quite simple to say. The ‘a’ is short like in cat or have, the second syllable rhymes with ‘eee’ and the first one is accented.
Shortly after I became a Bahá’í in 1963 I took the middle name of Enoch. My parents had failed to give me a middle name and I wanted one. I eventually made it legal so it appears on my passport and other documents. Enoch who received only the briefest mentions as a prophet in the Old Testament occurs frequently in Apocrypha and related works of unknown origin. One of the translations of his name is Wise teacher which was what I aspired to be.
The Prophet Enoch sees a vision of a future Bahá’í House of Worship. (My personal interpretation! I am not a Biblical scholar. Nevertheless I’m aware of and sensitive to some of the inner symbolic meanings.) I feel it is important to stress that some of the Fundamentalist Christian views of Enoch are purely superstitious and mythological. Enoch did not physically enter into heaven because it is impossible and has never happened in the literal sense. Such stories contain symbolic rather than literal meanings.
“If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station…. The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.”
(Baha’u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u'llah)
…the habitation wherein the Divine Being dwelleth is far above the reach and ken of any one besides Him. Whatsoever in the contingent world can either be expressed or apprehended, can never transgress the limits which, by its inherent nature, have been imposed upon it. God, alone, transcendeth such limitations. He, verily, is from everlasting. No peer or partner has been, or can ever be, joined with Him. No name can be compared with His Name. No pen can portray His nature, neither can any tongue depict His glory. He will, for ever, remain immeasurably exalted above any one except Himself.
(Baha’u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u'llah)
O Son of the Wondrous Vision. I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. – Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words
This was what I read that directly inspired me to take the name Enoch:
And the vision was shown to me thus: Behold, in the vision clouds invited me and a mist summoned me, and the course of the stars and the lightnings sped and hastened me, and the winds in the vision caused me to fly and lifted me upward, and bore me into heaven. And I went in till I drew nigh to a wall which is built of crystals and surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to affright me.
And I went into the tongues of fire and drew nigh to a large house which was built of crystals: and the walls of the house were like a tesselated floor (made) of crystals, and its groundwork was of crystal. Its ceiling was like the path of the stars and the lightnings, and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was (clear as) water. [ ... ] I fell upon my face. And I beheld a vision, And lo! there was a second house, greater than the former, and the entire portal stood open before me, and it was built of flames of fire. And in every respect it so excelled in splendour and magnificence and extent that I cannot describe to you its splendour and its extent.
And its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the path of the stars, and its ceiling also was flaming fire. And I looked and saw therein a lofty throne: its appearance was as crystal, and the wheels thereof as the shining sun, and there was the vision of cherubim. And from underneath the throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon.
And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow. None of the angels could enter and could behold His face by reason of the magnificence and glory and no flesh could behold Him. The flaming fire was round about Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none around could draw nigh Him: ten thousand times ten thousand (stood) before Him, yet He needed no counselor. And the most holy ones who were nigh to Him did not leave by night nor depart from Him. And until then I had been prostrate on my face, trembling: and the Lord called me with His own mouth, and said to me: ‘ Come hither, Enoch, and hear my word.’ And one of the holy ones came to me and waked me, and He made me rise up and approach the door: and I bowed my face downwards.
BOOK OF ENOCH, Chapter 14
From: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
by R.H. Charles, Oxford: The Clarendon Press
Note that the inner and outer walls of the 19-story tall Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois are constructed of concrete embedded with crystalline quartz.
Two of the images here are from the Bahá’í Media Bank which allows them to be reposted on the Web. I lived in the Wilmette vicinity for two years. That was what directly inspired me to get into photography. I made the exterior detail photograph above.
Fragments of biblical references to Enoch are scattered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is one of them.
One book is part of the Eastern Orthodox version of the Bible and not considered apocryphal by them. There are many possible and equally meaningful interpretations of these passages. If you question mine then read on.
There’s a unique circumstance that enables me to put forward such a free interpretation of scripture. The historical Enoch –assuming that one ever existed– wrote nothing that has survived and that’s verifiably from the historic Enoch. What comes down to us is called Pseudepigrapha because later writers took the pseudonym of a prophet to give weight to their writings. As an example, many Biblical scholars attribute the entire book of Isaiah to three authors from different time periods. That shouldn’t detract from their symbolic spiritual validity. They sound and feel inspired. There is historical evidence that the prophecies contained in that book were fulfilled.
I feel free to do the same thing with poetry and to some extent with nearly any insightful writing I come across. Another example is the e-mail signature line I’ve used for many years.
“Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance through the created object.” — Joseph Campbell
The author doesn’t mean the same thing that Bahá’ís mean when they say “Manifestation.” To be brief, he doesn’t accept the individuals Bahá’ís know about as necessarily revealers of sacred text (Founders of the world’s great religions) but only as wise or enlightened teachers. But when Bahá’ís read the quotation they immediately leap to an association that’s meaningful to them. Such words and associations transcend the life of the writer. Thus those words may endure for a very long time.
“Countless works of art have been truly inspired and that inspiration stays in association with the work and is mirrored in the heart and the mind of the receptive viewer.” — Otto Rogers
An Afternoon With Monet October 16, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Art and Imagery.
Tags: Baha'i, Bahá'í Faith, Impressionism, Modern Art, Monet
In the writings of the Baha’i Faith we read: “I rejoice to hear that thou takest pains with thine art, for in this wonderful new age, art is worship. The more thou strivest to perfect it, the closer wilt thou come to God. What bestowal could be greater than this, that one’s art should be even as the act of worshipping the Lord? That is to say, when thy fingers grasp the paint brush, it is as if thou wert at prayer in the Temple.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha)
How often have you seen a contemporary soft-focused photograph that was designated as “impressionist” by the photographer or a magazine editor? So-called impressionist photography is a recurring theme in mass market magazines. Does blurring a photograph by using a diffusion or fog effects filter make it impressionist or is it just kitsch?
kitsch n. “Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts.”
comes a definition we can work with plus a bit of history. Renoir, Degas, and Monet did not use soft focus filters. Degas was an avid photographer.
The rise of the impressionist movement can be seen in part as a reaction by artists to the newly established medium of photography. The taking of fixed or still images challenged painters by providing a new medium with which to capture reality. Initially photography’s presence seemed to undermine the artist’s depiction of nature and their ability to mirror reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography “produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably”. (wikipedia)
In spite of this, photography – actually inspired artists to pursue other means of artistic expression, and rather than competing with photography to emulate reality, artists focused “on the one thing they could inevitably do better than the photograph – by further developing into an art form its very subjectivity in the conception of the image, the very subjectivity that photography eliminated”. The Impressionists sought to express their perceptions of nature, rather than create exacting reflections or mirror images of the world. This allowed artists to subjectively depict what they saw with their “tacit imperatives of taste and conscience”. Photography encouraged painters to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like colour, which photography then lacked; “the Impressionists were the first to consciously offer a subjective alternative to the photograph”. (wikipedia)
“My only desire is an intimate infusion with nature, and the only fate I wish is to have worked and lived in harmony with her laws.” – Claude Monet
A greatly enlarged detail from one of my photographs. This image was not manipulated in Photoshop in any way except to selectively modify large areas of color. This is the texture of the original 35 mm slide after some darkroom manipulations during development.
These images are part of a series I made called Afternoon With Monet In My Head. Like most of my images the sun was directly behind the birds which accounts for their luminosity.
Art distills sensations and embodies it with enhanced meaning. — Jacques Barzun
Here are a few quotations about art and artists from the Baha’i writings:
After the Flood October 15, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Art and Imagery.
Tags: Baha'i, Photography
A flood destroyed the great majority of artwork and photography that I made from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. My ex-wife belittled my photography as a waste of time and space. She put nearly everything I had done in the damp basement of our rented house in Albany, Oregon. I was unaware that she had moved my numerous boxes of slides. A sudden torrential Oregon rain caused the water table to rise about five feet filling the basement with sewage and destroying all but a few boxes of my images that sat on a high shelf. I waded through chest-high mud to retrieve them. I was so discouraged and upset by the loss that I abandoned photography for almost 19 years. I continued to take snapshots of my children.
Wading through the flood was a grossly disgusting experience. I saved about 400 slides, three-fourths of which are now on my website. About 50 of them were pictures of my first child, David, who passed away from a brain tumor when he was three years old. Only about a dozen slides from my pilgrimage were salvageable. The rest numbering about 1500 were buried in mud and lost. Following the flood, I was preoccupied with my high-pressure jobs at Intel and Microsoft for a period of 15 years. I barely had time for anything else besides work and my two children. I was their sole custodial parent beginning when they were ages eight and ten respectively.
Nine years ago, I acquired a pro-level film scanner. The scanner had built-in capability to remove small defects and scratches from film transparencies. It took anywhere between ten to 40 hours per image to restore what survived from that period. That represented about 400 images out of many thousands. The scanner can’t do anything about large gunk stuck to a slide or negative. I learned how to restore and retouch images mostly by trial and error. The effort took almost a year.I was self-taught in both photography and computers. I never took any classes in either one preferring to learn from books and simple explorations of the medium itself. When it became a necessity to learn how to restore damaged film I obtained the software and hardware tools and read books on how to use them. I scanned and rescanned many slides repeatedly until my skill level improved and I was able to make better quality scans.
I had to let go of hurt and grief in order to move forward. I began to think of every image as if it was a completely new creation. I was using new tools and no longer relying on a camera, slide copier, or darkroom. I disdain computerized effects and don’t use them. They’re too easy and look fake. When I paint digitally, I use a pressure sensitive pen tablet as nearly all artists who work with computers also do. You can make it work exactly like a real pen or brush so it feels very natural.
Because of a personal tragedy, I acquired certain skills that enabled me to perform a service. These pages are examples of what I’ve done recently: Pilgrimage to the House of the Báb, a faded and restored filmstrip, and Views of Akká, a website that presents a book of historical interest. Those web pages get 1000s of visitors.
The prizes of our society are reserved for outer, not inner, achievements. Scant are the trophies given for reconciling all the forces that compete to direct our development, although working toward such a reconciliation hour by demanding hour, day by triumphant day, year by exciting year is what underlies all growth of the personality. The proper artistic response to digital technology is to embrace it as a new window on everything that’s eternally human, and to use it with passion, wisdom, fearlessness and joy. – Ralph Lombreglia, in Atlantic Unbound
Bestow upon me a heart which, like unto glass, may be illumined with the light of Thy love, and confer upon me thoughts which may change this world into a rose garden through the outpourings of heavenly grace.
Compilation: Baha’i Prayers, p. 71
240 New Pictures to Look At September 11, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Art and Imagery.
Tags: Baha'i, Bahá'í Faith, Fine Art Photography, Photography, Wilmette Illinois
Some of my images of the temple in Wilmette offer unique views from upper balconies where tourists seldom go and the very top on the outside of the building where almost nobody is ever allowed to go.
|I have replaced all but two of the images that were on my website and added more than 80 new images that I haven’t exhibited before. The replacements are the result of rescanning and post processing about half of my photo library of 500 images. These are the majority of the images that survived a disastrous flood and that I chose to save.|
This article is a continuation of the four-part series that began with Through a Scanner Brightly.
The Gallery Catalog page asks a question taken from the movie Finding Neverland and poses an answer that I hope will resonate with you.
Did you like it?
It was magical.
There are two ways to look at each page. One way is the normal select and click method and the other is a self-running slideshow.
Glimmers: Let There Be Light September 5, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Bahá'í Topics, Glimmers.
Tags: Astrophysics and God, Baha'i, Bahá'í Faith, Light, New Age, Religion, spirituality
In the writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read these wondrous and profound statements:
Magnify My cause that I may reveal unto thee the mysteries of My greatness and shine upon thee with the light of eternity.
– Bahá’u'lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words
In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.
Split the atom’s heart, and lo!
Within it thou wilt find a sun.
Bahá’u'lláh, The Seven Valleys
The Quantum Zero-Point Field, Photograph from www.enochsvision.com
“‘Let there be light’ is indeed a very profound statement, as one might expect of its purported author. The solid, stable world of matter appears to be sustained at every instant by an underlying sea of quantum light.
“… If you could ride a beam of light as an observer, all of space would shrink to a point, and all of time would collapse to an instant. In the reference frame of light, there is no space and time. If we look up at the Andromeda galaxy in the night sky, we see light that from our point of view took 2 million years to traverse that vast distance of space. But to a beam of light radiating from some star in the Andromeda galaxy, the transmission from its point of origin to our eye was instantaneous.
“There must be a deeper meaning in these physical facts, a deeper truth about the simultaneous interconnection of all things. It beckons us forward in our search for a better, truer understanding of the nature of the universe, of the origins of space and time — those illusions’ that yet feel so real to us.”
Bernard Haisch (Astrophysicist),
Brilliant Disguise: Light, Matter and the Zero-Point Field (Essay)
Zero-Point Field (Wikipedia)
The Field by Lynne McTaggart (Book summary and author interview)
We have many times demonstrated and established that man is the noblest of beings, the sum of all perfections, and that all beings and all existences are the centers from which the glory of God is reflected — that is to say, the signs of the Divinity of God are apparent in the realities of things and of creatures. Just as the terrestrial globe is the place where the rays of the sun are reflected — as its light, its heat and its influence are apparent and visible in all the atoms of the earth — so, in the same way, the atoms of beings, in this infinite space, proclaim and prove one of the divine perfections. … Without doubt each being is the center of the shining forth of the glory of God — that is to say, the perfections of God appear from it and are resplendent in it.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions
Then wilt thou observe that the universe is a scroll that discloseth His hidden secrets, which are preserved in the well-guarded Tablet. And not an atom of all the atoms in existence, not a creature from amongst the creatures but speaketh His praise and telleth of His attributes and names, revealeth the glory of His might and guideth to His oneness and His mercy: and none will gainsay this who hath ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind that is sound.
And whensoever thou dost gaze upon creation all entire, and dost observe the very atoms thereof, thou wilt note that the rays of the Sun of Truth are shed upon all things and shining within them, and telling of that Day-Star’s splendours, Its mysteries, and the spreading of Its lights.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
More on this topic: Does the Real World Contain Colors?
Glimmers are subsections of larger ideas. I don’t intend them to be complete. They are images or thoughts that cross my mind from time to time. This one is basically just a image but you might want to click on the links it contains.
Ahava Tries Her Paw at Blogging September 2, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Animal Companions, Bahá'í Topics.
Tags: Animal Companions, animal welfare, Baha'i, Bahá'í Faith, Dogs, German Shepherds
The writings of the Baha’i Faith also speak of our animal companions. So, I will try something very different for today’s short essay.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Baha’i faith, writes:
“Train your children from their earliest days to be infinitely tender and loving to animals. If an animal be sick, let the children try to heal it, if it be hungry, let them feed it, if thirsty, let them quench its thirst, if weary, let them see that it rests. Most human beings are sinners, but the beasts are innocent.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
“Two-legs-not-Alpha-not-Pack comes to den entrance with bag of uninteresting smells again. Our territory has peril now. We sound strong alarm. Two-legs-not-Pack run away. Alarm sound make two-legs-not-Pack go away. No danger now. Alpha open den. Alpha take uninteresting flat no-smell things. Not food. No care. We guard. Our toys are safe. We bury squeaky toy. Be safe.”
“We need place to rest now. Round and round in circles we must go. We rest now.”
“Alpha go away in four-round-leg moving den. We wait. Alpha back soon with food. The hunt is good.”
“Chicken smell. Food rattles. Yummie-yummie chicken-smell now. Alpha not eat our food. Alpha is good.”
“We need place to rest now. Find toy. Oh, Toy lost! Round and round in circles we must go. We rest now.”
Things that Ahava leaves forever not-thought:
“Did two-leg, no-tail Alpha make us? What is a dog? What is good dog? Is good dog a biscuit? What is Ahava? What is not Now? What is tomorrow?”
“Why Alpha-two-legs have no-tail, not furry like us?”
Alpha sit-look at flat no-smell window beep-noise long time. Alpha make click sounds. Why Alpha sit-look so long time? Alpha not eat. Should we worry?”
“When four legs smelled-like-me start to smell bad and not move ever again, where does four legs go?”
I offered Ahava the opportunity to write another blog but it was just frustrating. She only wants to write exactly the same thing every day of her life. Ahava lives only in the moment. Ahava is happy. PS, She doesn’t know it, but I edited out the part where she said she would like to eat a Chihuahua.
Ahava is an Israeli name which means Love. In the Old Testament, the derivation of Ahava is the name for Eve. Her AKC registered name is Ahava Shamira, which means loved protector. She is eight years old, exceptionally large for her breed, and weighs a trim 102 pounds (46 kilos). When she was a little puppy fur ball, she slept on my lap.
Sleep without a care tonight, little innocent Ahava.
“Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man. Man hath not grasped this truth, however, and he believeth that physical sensations are confined to human beings, wherefore is he unjust to the animals, and cruel.
“And yet in truth, what difference is there when it cometh to physical sensations? The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express its hurt nor take its case to the authorities. If a man inflict a thousand ills upon a beast, it can neither ward him off with speech nor hale him into court. Therefore is it essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Why does Ahava not think of questions?
“And the animal kingdom, no matter how far it may evolve, can never become aware of the reality of the intellect, which discovereth the inner essence of all things, and comprehendeth those realities which cannot be seen; for the human plane as compared with that of the animal is very high. And although these beings all co-exist in the contingent world, in each case the difference in their stations precludeth their grasp of the whole; for no lower degree can understand a higher, such comprehension being impossible.
“… And notwithstanding the fact that all these entities co-exist in the phenomenal world, even so, no lower degree can ever comprehend a higher.
Then how could it be possible for a contingent reality, that is, man, to understand the nature of that pre-existent Essence, the Divine Being? The difference in station between man and the Divine Reality is thousands upon thousands of times greater than the difference between vegetable and animal. And that which a human being would conjure up in his mind is but the fanciful image of his human condition, it doth not encompass God’s reality but rather is encompassed by it. That is, man graspeth his own illusory conceptions, but the Reality of Divinity can never be grasped: It, Itself, encompasseth all created things, and all created things are in Its grasp. That Divinity which man doth imagine for himself existeth only in his mind, not in truth. Man, however, existeth both in his mind and in truth; thus man is greater than that fanciful reality which he is able to imagine.
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Glimmers: When Life’s Tests Are Severe August 31, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Bahá'í Topics, Glimmers.
Tags: Baha'i, Bahá'í Faith, Religion, severe tests, spiritual tests, spirituality
In the writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read:
“Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe test; but if that person turns firmly towards the Divine Manifestation, studies carefully His Spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop.”
–From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, October 6, 1954: Living the Life, pp. 18-19, Compilations, Lights of Guidance
Bahá’u'lláh tells us that fire strengthens steel. Animals become stronger when they have to protect themselves against predators or harsh environments. People question their purpose when they suffer adversity. The best outcome is that they become stronger and more directed.
Evolution was designed as a scheme to improve life because living things had to adapt to severe tests. Otherwise, the earth would still be populated by nothing but algae. After the first simple amino acids began to organize themselves, they also had to protect themselves. Thus, they evolved protective coatings constructed of more complex amino acids. Formerly inert chemicals and elements acquired the property of will. They became a purposeful collection. They developed ways to pass on their successes and continue the phenomena of life. Thus, stresses and adversity are essential to all life at the most fundamental level — the level of the meaning of life, which is transcendence. Only humans are endowed with the ability to transcend physical adversity and become the something else that is their destiny and and their purpose.
The Elk grew strong because it had to struggle with the Wolf. The mouse grew stealthy and fast because of the Owl. The religions of the world grew stronger after they were persecuted.
“Know, moreover, that it is through such words that God proveth His servants and sifteth them, separating the believer from the infidel, the detached from the worldly, the pious from the profligate, the doer of good from the worker of iniquity, and so forth. Thus hath the Dove of holiness proclaimed: ‘Do men think when they say ‘We believe’ they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?’”
Bahá’u'lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries
“If people are fundamentally spiritual beings, why do we begin our lives in the physical world?”
The Purpose of Physical Reality by John Hatcher
“And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warnings of our beloved Master, who, in particular during the concluding years of His mission on earth, laid stress on the ‘severe mental tests’ that would inevitably sweep over His loved ones of the West — tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.”
The Cause of Human Suffering
“And as to the world’s evil plight, we need but recall the writings and sayings of Bahá’u'lláh, who, more than fifty years ago, declared in terms prophetic the prime cause of the ills and sufferings of mankind, and set forth their true and divine remedy. ‘Should the Lamp of Religion be hidden,’ He declares, ‘Chaos and confusion will ensue.’ How admirably fitting and applicable are these words to the present state of mankind!
“Ours is then the duty and privilege to labor, by day and by night, amidst the storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal of our fellow-men, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interest, open their eyes to the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world.
–Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration
Visionary Park August 23, 2008Posted by enochsvision in Art and Imagery, Poetry.
Tags: Alien Worlds, Artistic Freedoms, Artists, Arts, Fantasy, Fiction, Poetry, Prophets
In Whispers we read: “Where do the others live, the ones who sent us here? The ones who exiled us to the earth?”
One restless night, I dreamed about a dystopian planet where all the poets, writers, artists, and seers had been banished. Eventually they all died out and nobody grew up to replace them.
After a very short time, that world with the ironic name of Harmony withered and almost died.
It took a very long time but Harmony’s dominant species finally realized their terrible error so they tried to nurture new artists and poets. But nobody could find any books on “How to Make an Artist” or “How to Make a Poet” and definitely not “How to Make a Prophet.” They flew from Harmony out to the stars but found no thinkers that they could understand. Too long ago they had exiled their visionaries to alien worlds that were now long forgotten and out of their reach.
They built effigies and habitats. They made studio replicas. They put desks covered with pens and notebook computers in a place of memory and reverence. It was a theme park complete with carousels and a roller coaster.
They named it Visionary Park.
People thronged to see the effigies of the long-gone creative souls. Sadly all they saw were wax statues. The walls were bare. There was no art, no poetry, no books. Nobody remembered what was in them. Nobody knew how to make new ones any more.
So it was too late. And not long thereafter everyone was gone. The planet became a desert. It was dead.
Is this poetry or is it history? Remember the Stalinist Purges, the Maoist Cultural Revolution, the Cambodian Killing Fields, the Nazi book burnings, the persecution of the Iranian Baha’is, or farther back to the Christian Inquisition, and oh so many more on a smaller scale, all in the name of maintaining social harmony.
“Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.”
– Marshall McLuhan