A Letter I wrote in 1999 About the Suffering Nation of [Any]

This morning (Aug. 29, 2013) I searched through old documents that I hadn’t read for many years. I didn’t find the one I needed but I did happen across a forgotten email I wrote on April 11, 1999. I reprint it here exactly as I wrote it 14 years ago. It was just an email, not a polished piece by any means. Why is this relevant now? Because it could easily be a lament for the suffering people of the nation of Sy… and because nothing has changed. The word gypsy that I used 14 years ago is now anachronistic and rightfully so. I wanted my old email to appear exactly as it was back then.

Subject:    Thoughts While Waiting for the Ballgame
Date: April 11, 1999

Last night I watched the ABC Evening News to pass a few minutes. I was channel surfing while eagerly waiting for the Atlanta Braves game to start.

I watched a three minute story about an elderly Albanian couple who live on a meager pension in a tiny three-room apartment. They’re Christians who took three families of Albanian Muslim refugees into their home. Three families of women and children. Three families whose husbands, sons, and brothers have been “cleansed” by implacable troops of devils. In halting English, the old man told the reporter “I took these people into my home because they are my blood. If I don’t take them in and feed them, who will do it?”

That made me think about my own blood ancestors, the European Jews. I thought  about the multitudes of people who took the Jews in during the Holocaust. So many Christians and members of other faiths acknowledged Jewish suffering, exile, and imprisonment. They felt moved to shelter them. So many nations went to war to protect the Jews from atrocities. Jewish torment and annihilation was public every night on the news because so many people cared about them and wanted to help.

Except that it didn’t happen that way.

Virtually no Christians acknowledged their common humanity with the Jews in those days. No nation went to war on their behalf. No one publicized their annihilation. Nations offered countless reasons to go to war but protection of the Jews was not a whisper among those reasons.

Many, like the Bosnian Christians and Muslims cursed the Jews, blamed them for their miseries, stole their possessions, and raped their women. They eagerly turned them in to the implacable troops from Hell when they marched in.

In addition, there are no records of people crying out en masse, “You cannot imprison or exile the Gypsies because they are my brothers and sisters. But if you must cleanse the land of them, I will take them in.”

In the immediate past, no nation or coalition of allies righteously rose up to protect slaughtered victims of civil wars in Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, or Rwanda. The starving or dead became brief sound bytes on the evening news. So many people shook their heads for a moment. They watched those nightmarish scenes for almost 90 seconds. Then, for the next two minutes they watched vital announcements about weed killers, mascara, hamburgers, and soft drinks with just one calorie as they waited impatiently to hear college basketball scores.

It is probably too banal or obvious to wonder about Kuwait and the price of gasoline.

Did any nation rise up to go to war to defend the oppressed Chinese minority of Vietnam? Nations offered many reasons to go to war but protection of oppressed minorities was not even a whisper among them.

No nation stood up for the Tibetans or Mongolians when the Chinese conquered and absorbed them.

I don’t remember learning about any nation that went to war to protect or defend slaughtered Okinawans, Koreans, or Philippines. No nation considered that a reason to go to war with Japan. Nations offered many reasons but protection of ethnic minorities wasn’t even a whisper among them.

Before that, no nation went to war to protect the tens of millions of slaughtered Russian Kulaks, the entire peasant class of a huge nation. Many nations lusted for a reason to declare war on Russia but protection of oppressed minorities wasn’t even a whisper among them.

Did any nation rise to protect India against British atrocities?

A century and a half ago, nobody stood up for the martyred Baha’is in Iran. How many said, “They are my brothers and sisters so if I don’t take them in, who will do it?” Who outside the worldwide Baha’i community stands up for them now? Many leaders eagerly pronounce reasons to go to war but protection of oppressed religious minorities is not a whisper among them.

I applauded the Christian Albanian couple I saw on the evening news last night because they are the rarest of all creatures on earth. They are human beings.

Then I switched the channel to the Braves game.

Cary Enoch R., Peach County, Georgia, April 11, 1999

Sept. 1, 2013, Looking back:

To be perfectly clear on why I posted that old email message; it was not in support of any warlike actions or “interventions” on the part of any nation against the people of another nation. In the future there will be legitimate ways of handling atrocities, aggressive actions, and massive injustices. For far too long we’ve witnessed a world civilization spinning wildly towards chaos and collapse. The last thing the world needs is more bombs. Nobody ever expressed it better than Baha’ullah did when he wrote: “We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned.”

Here’s the entire quote:

“The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

“We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.

“Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty proffereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

The Name Enoch

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.

Cary Grant This is my namesake. My parents told me they named me after Cary Grant.

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)
Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

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.

Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

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.
Exterior Detail
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.
Fragment of an Enoch scroll
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

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An Afternoon With 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.”

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism 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)

The main influences on my art are Monet and Kandinsky. That may seem difficult to reconcile but it works for me. For an example see “Near the Edge of the Kingdom.” and “Flowers On The Sun.”

A sunrise by Claude Monet, 1872
Soleil Levant 1872

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impression%2C_Sunrise

“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.

Greatly enlarged detail

Greatly enlarged detail

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.
Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

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:
arts-compilation-on-the-arts

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Glimmers: Let There Be Light

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.comSLB42QuantumZeroPointField-ROC-M5

“‘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.

enochsvision.com

enochsvision.com

Ahava Tries Her Paw at Blogging

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

AHAVAFEB03 I wonder what my dog Ahava would say if I ask her to dictate her blog to me. I am patiently working on this. Here’s what Ahava has told me so far today.

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

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

Isidore091902-p3sunset
(Wikipedia image: Hurricane)

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

Glimmers are subsections of larger ideas. I don’t intend them to be complete. They are thoughts that cross my mind from time to time.
glimmers

Does the Real World Contain Colors?

In the Writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read: O MAN OF TWO VISIONS! Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.
— Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words

I have written many times that I am endlessly fascinated by colors, their emotional effects, their psychological, and most importantly, their spiritual effects. Yet colors do not really exist. There are no colors! Color is one of the ultimate abstractions.

How the Mind Works: Revelations
“In fact, ‘external reality’ is a construction of the brain. Our senses are confronted by a chaotic, constantly changing world that has no labels, and the brain must make sense of that chaos. It is the brain’s correlations of sensory information that create the knowledge we have about our surroundings, such as the sounds of words and music, the images we see in paintings and photographs, the colors we perceive: ‘perception is not merely a reflection of immediate input,’ [the authors] write, ‘but involves a construction or a comparison by the brain.’ “For example, contrary to our visual experience, there are no colors in the world, only electromagnetic waves of many frequencies.” (Wikipedia) Definition of a Photon (Wikipedia).

The New York Review of Books continues:
“We can recognize and understand the actions of others because of the mirror neurons; …”
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21575

TYP03PAT13Sunrise-SanCarlos-M5-2

My view as a Baha’i is that one important purpose of physical reality is that it is a matrix. The way we learn about it, adapt, and react to to the physical world and its creatures trains our souls and provides a necessary yet evanescent and ultimately unreal classroom. In this matrix, we must have a definable form. In the next levels of reality we are recognizable but possibly formless or else of a nature or form that we cannot imagine from a physical perspective.

“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.”

“When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation.”
— Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156

Ordinary language cannot describe our metaphysical future states.

“Exalted, immeasurably exalted art Thou, O my Beloved, above the strivings of any of Thy creatures, however learned, to know Thee; exalted, immensely exalted art Thou above every human attempt, no matter how searching, to describe Thee! For the highest thought of men, however deep their contemplation, can never hope to outsoar the limitations imposed upon Thy creation, nor ascend beyond the state of the contingent world, nor break the bounds irrevocably set for it by Thee. How can, then, a thing that hath been created by Thy will that overruleth the whole of creation, a thing that is itself a part of the contingent world, have the power to soar into the holy atmosphere of Thy knowledge, or reach unto the seat of Thy transcendent power?

High, immeasurably high art Thou above the endeavors of the evanescent creature to soar unto the throne of Thine eternity, or of the poor and wretched to attain the summit of Thine all-sufficing glory!”
Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 327

“The dwellers of the kingdom of names have busied themselves with the gay livery of the world, forgetful that every man that hath eyes to perceive and ears to hear cannot but readily recognize how evanescent are its colors.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 195

The world is continually proclaiming these words: Beware, I am evanescent, and so are all my outward appearances and colours.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 257

Evanescent: “tending to vanish like vapor,” “vanishing, disappearing quickly,” “lasting only a short time,”  “deficient in fullness.”

A related article is here: The Abstract Third Reality (Note, that is not a picture of a Manifestation on the page. He is merely a saintly figure and identified as such on the statue’s placard.)