Istijlál, 19 ‘Ilm (Knowledge), 179 B.E


What’s fall without a little fog some mornings…


This afternoon, Tony Budak, Gwen Fischer, Larry Reader, and I participated in our weekly “Raising the Value of Learning” Zoom call. We discussed raising the value of learning as it applies to raising our own value.

As we humans develop our tools to help us, it changes what is valuable about us. Whereas in the past our capacity to do physical labor gave us value, more and more, our tools labor for us. Our value, then, becomes our thoughts, words, and actions. But how do we measure that kind of value? Moreover, how do we compensate one another for delivering it?

Today, employers pay employees for fulfilling the terms of a work contract. Employees spend their pay for the use of resources to fulfill basic needs. The revenue flows to companies and governments that own and control the use of resources.

This cycle assumes that employees make enough to pay the bills for using those resources. All too often they don’t. Worse yet, the jobs offered at a too-low pay scale are often those most needed by society. Examples include childcare, eldercare, healthcare, education/training, etc. Those doing them are ill-equipped to earn enough to meet their basic needs. They lack skills, social support, and pay. And the work itself is dirty, dangerous, and even dull.

But how does society value and compensate whoever shows an interest to choose them? How do we incentivize them? One clear way is to assure those who do that they will receive the means to meet their basic needs.

Our current social system does not function that way. How to change it so it does is the question on the table. Is there a role for cooperatives? Is there a role for co-production? Is it a different system than any we’ve ever had? How do we find out? How do we collaborate? How do we experiment? How do we learn from one another? And that’s the point behind “Raising the Value of Learning.” At least we know we have the right set of questions!


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It is stated in certain prophecies that when the standard of God appears in the East, its signs will become evident in the West. This is truly good news and glad tidings for you. I hope that this promise may be fulfilled in you and that all may be able to testify to the spirit and truth of the prophetic announcement, saying, “Verily, the standard of God did appear in the East, and its tokens have become resplendent in the West.” This realization will be a source of great joy to all the friends in the Orient who anticipate the good news and await the glad tidings from the land of the Occident. They look forward to hearing that the friends in the West have become firm and steadfast, that they have distinguished themselves by establishing the oneness of the world of humanity, that they are even offering their lives for the foundations of international peace, that they have become the lights of the Kingdom and have proved to be the manifestations of divine mercy, that the friends in the West are the expression of the favors of the Blessed Perfection, the very stars of the bestowal of God, blessed trees and flowers in the garden of His purity and sanctity. Any good news from here is the cause of rejoicing in the East and a source of deep gratitude to them. They hold a feast and praise God for the blessed tidings. If the occasion demanded, they would give their lives for you without the least hesitation. The friends in the East are all united and agreed.

There are none who waver in the East, none who oppose the Covenant of God. There is not a single soul among the Bahá’ís in Persia who is opposed to the Covenant. They are all steadfast. If any soul wishes to speak in this Cause, they will ask, “Is this a word of your own, or is it by the authority of the Center of the Covenant? If you have the authority of the Center of the Covenant, produce it. Where is the letter from Him? Where is His signature?” If he produces the letter, they will accept it. If he fails to do so, they say, “We cannot accept your words because they emanate from you only and return to you. We have no command from the Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, to obey you. He has revealed a Book in which He has covenanted with us to obey an appointed Center of the Covenant. He has not covenanted with us to obey you. Therefore, the statement you make is rejected. You must furnish proof of your authority and sanction. We are commanded to turn to one Center. We do not obey various centers. The Blessed Perfection has made a Covenant with us, and we are holding to this Covenant and Testament. We do not listen to anything else, for people may arise who speak words of their own, and we are commanded not to pay attention to them.” 1

  1. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 384-385. [return]