Note: I posted this originally on ‘Baha’i Perspectives’ today:
With a new film about Che Guevara about to hit cinema screens shortly, the idea of revolution and the revolutionary will be thrust upon us yet again.
Now before you start dusting off that dusty Che Guevara t-shirt, let us take some time to reflect on what true revolution is all about.
The term revolution comes from the Latin ‘revolutio’ which translates to “a turn around.”
Revolutions are usually led by a revolutionary, someone who has a major or sudden impact on society. These ‘revolutionaries’ are often iconic people; sometimes charismatic and sometimes notorious (and sometimes both).
Examples of 20th century revolutionaries range from Ayatollah Khomeini to Che Guevara, Mao Zedong to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King to Adolf Hitler.
Revolutionaries can be classified in two ways. One is according to the ideology they propose, whether religious or social, like the Islamic revolution in Iran or communist revolution in China.
Or they can be classified by the methods they use to bring about change; for example, a violent or non-violent approach (e.g. Che Guevara and Gandhi, respectively).
Many revolutions come and then, after time, dwindle. Communism and Fascism have had their fire burn fiercely but have dwindled away in a relatively short space of time, gradually being replaced by other menacing ideologies like religious fanaticism or rampant consumerism.
The ideologies promoted by some revolutionaries, especially in the 20th century, have persisted and penetrated throughout the global consciousness. These are the ideas promoted by people such as Martin Luther King (Civil Rights Movement), Mohandas Gandhi (Truth-seeking and non-violent struggle) and Emmeline Pankhurst (Suffragette movement-Women’s right to vote).
Since these luminaries have pushed their ideas forward, we have witnessed the election of an African-American President of the United States of America, a female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (two terms no less), formation of the United Nations, creation of recognized borders for each country, and in a few days, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A new world order is certainly being created before our very eyes.
The question is, what is the nature of this New World Order, and where did it come from?
The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System — the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.
To understand the full nature of this New World Order from a Baha’i perspective would require a discussion far greater than the scope of this post. Notwithstanding, it will be dealt with in more detail in part 2 where, for instance, the origins of this ‘revolutionizing and wondrous system‘ will be described.
Before I continue, let me just say that the New World Order Baha’is are talking about has nothing to do with U.F.O.s, reptiles masquerading as humans, the Illuminati, secret societies, or any conspiracy theory.
It has everything to do with a global spiritual civilization with community development at its grass roots.
For a New World Order to be created, an old world order would have to disintegrate in its wake.
A transition on this scale would certainly require a revolution on an extremely large scale.
Thus a revolution and a New World Order go hand in hand.
So where is this process? When did it start? Who was the charismatic leader that began this revolution?
Was there even one?
Is the author of this post completely deluded?
The revolution I am going to describe is one that does not fit neatly into any category of revolution because it transcends the material plane of existence.
One thing I can tell you now is that it began on the evening of the 22nd of May, 1844, in Shiraz, Persia. (More to follow in part 2).
From my understanding, the forces released from that momentous day are still being felt today.
Already in the space of less than a century the operation of the mysterious processes generated by its creative spirit has provoked a tumult in human society such as no mind can fathom. Itself undergoing a period of incubation during its primitive age, it has, through the emergence of its slowly-crystallizing system, induced a fermentation in the general life of mankind designed to shake the very foundations of a disordered society, to purify its life-blood, to reorientate and reconstruct its institutions, and shape its final destiny.
A revolution on this scale cannot be ignored. So why has it been?
As Gill Scott Heron sings ‘The Revolution will not be Televised’.
I’ll stop here and continue in part 2 to describe the characteristics of the ultimate revolutionary, the history surrounding this revolution and explain why this one will not be televised.