27 June 2022
Kamál, 04 Rahmat (Mercy), 179 B.E
Our Saturday visit with friends yielded yet another beautifully blooming plant — the Asian virginsbower (Clematis florida), a variety of oriental virginsbower (Clematis orientalis). Upon further reading, the oriental virginsbower appears to be another imported ornamental that “escaped cultivation” only to be classified as a noxious week in some areas as a result. How could something that gorgeous get such a bad rap?
Detroit: Day Sixeen. Our last day in Detroit. This morning, my partner and I took her brother to his first post-stroke appointment with a new-to-him primary care physician (PCP) close to where he lives. He received the same counsel from her as he did from every PCP, neurologist, and physical / occupational therapist he met with previously: how fortunate he was to not have more fallout from his stroke than he did; how to care for his condition so that he can significantly increase his odds of living longer while enjoying a higher quality of life; how no one else can change his lifestyle or change his attitude for him—only he can do that. He committed to do his best and see if he can positively impact the critical measures of his health by the time of his next appointment. Quite literally, his future is in his hands. I have more to say about my experiences over the past two weeks away, but given the events of the day and drive back home this afternoon, I’ll quit for now.
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During my visit to London and Paris last year I had many talks with the materialistic philosophers of Europe. The basis of all their conclusions is that the acquisition of knowledge of phenomena is according to a fixed, invariable law—a law mathematically exact in its operation through the senses. For instance, the eye sees a chair; therefore, there is no doubt of the chair’s existence. The eye looks up into the heavens and beholds the sun; I see flowers upon this table; I smell their fragrance; I hear sounds outside, etc. This, they say, is a fixed mathematical law of perception and deduction, the operation of which admits of no doubt whatever; for inasmuch as the universe is subject to our sensing, the proof is self-evident that our knowledge of it must be gained through the avenues of the senses. That is to say, the materialists announce that the criterion and standard of human knowledge is sense perception. Among the Greeks and Romans the criterion of knowledge was reason—that whatever is provable and acceptable by reason must necessarily be admitted as true. A third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that traditions or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis of human knowing. There is still another, a fourth criterion, upheld by religionists and metaphysicians who say that the source and channel of all human penetration into the unknown is through inspiration. Briefly then, these four criteria according to the declarations of men are: first, sense perception; second, reason; third, traditions; fourth, inspiration. 1
Briefly, the point is that in the human material world of phenomena these four are the only existing criteria or avenues of knowledge, and all of them are faulty and unreliable. What then remains? How shall we attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself. Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. This is conclusive argument showing that all available human criteria are erroneous and defective, but the divine standard of knowledge is infallible. Therefore, man is not justified in saying, “I know because I perceive through my senses,” or “I know because it is proved through my faculty of reason,” or “I know because it is according to tradition and interpretation of the Holy Book,” or “I know because I am inspired.” All human standards of judgment are faulty, finite. 2
- The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 20-21. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#771269637 [return]
- Ibid, 22. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#575673545 [return]