Life is a constant struggle, not only against the forces around us but greater still, against the forces within us. The biggest deterrent to spiritual and subsequent societal progress derives from the smallest world, the human “ego.” Through such self-destructive instrument all of the attributes and actions which tend to separate us from other human beings become obscure and indistinguishable. Too often severe tests are necessary to burn away the hard covering of egotism from the mirror of the heart that the revitalizing Sun of Truth and reality may shine through.
Rather than out-growth of self-love and pride this equal opportunity destroyer can instead be the product of low self-esteem and insecurity (in denial) which blind us to subsequent expressions of such destructive attitudes. Among them we find numerous displays of compassion and concern by doing right things-for wrong reasons. We are repeatedly assured in the Baha´i Writtings that good deeds done with bad motives will nullify the acts. Deception is temporary, even if it lasts to the grave, while truth is eternal, transcending life and death.
Of the many key words and phrases that help withstand the changes, chances and tests of time, nothing could be more effective than the word “appreciation.” So powerful is appreciation that the foundation of all attitudes is based upon it, or lack of it.
Prior to the relatively recent explosion of science and technology in the full spectrum of time within this nation and abroad, rural families and tribes of dignity and respect were close knit and appreciation abounded for the menial comforts amid great hardships. The same situation exsist today among more primitive, un-and-underdeveloped areas of the world. It is evident that the more sophisticated mankind becomes the less respect we show for one another and for others, and the more material things we are able to acquire, the less we are willing to share with others.
This denotes that mankind is clearly maturing physically and mentally while remaining in spiritual infancy amid a continuous serge of religious spirals. “The primary purpose of religion is to unite mankind,” we also find in the Baha’I Scriptures. If it becomes the source of division and alienation it is better to be without it. God is love, and love begets peace while hatred, deceit and egotism beget war and warring mentalities.
God’s greatest gift to man is that of intellect (and understanding), the power by which man acquires knowledge and can think for himself and not through the knowledge of others. It is hoped that this knowledge will soon be used to foster love and all around us, to promote the unity and tranquility of mankind, and to give enlightenment and true civilization to the people of the world. The choice is ours.