During the social activism of the 60s and 70s, I found myself offended and upset by the injustice, and repelled by what has become known as the consumer society. When I think about my life at that time, I remember myself as uncomplicated– an intuitive person, not much interested in intellectual pursuits and most definitely not has an academic or a world traveller for social good. Just the opposite. Fifty years went by very quickly, and this story tries to write an accurate history, first for myself, and then for my family and friends, inspired by the words below:
And the honour and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world’s multitudes should become a source of social good. Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight. ‘Abdu’l-Baha
This memoire is an attempt, during the final years of my life (this is written when I am almost 69 years old), to bring myself to account.
“Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.” and “It is clear and evident that all men shall, after their physical death, estimate the worth of their deeds, and realize all that their hands have wrought.”
I left the United States in 1975 to serve as a Bahá’í pioneer. To non-Bahá’ís this term can be misunderstood. As an American Bahá’í pioneer, it meant working for the development of the Bahá’í community. But development of Bahá’ís communities, and social-economic development, are overlapping terms. They are nearly synonymous in my life. In 2020, as the world faces multiple existential threats, the Bahá’ís community makes little distinction between an officially declared Bahá’í, and people working together to participate in the development of an ever-advancing civilisation. What is emphasised are the values that will lead to a more just, loving, and unified world. Anything less than such a world will face catastrophic events that can only be solved in a united world.
“They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching our cause — these shall the faithful spirit strengthen through its power. A company of our chosen angels shall go forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise… — Bahá’u’lláh
The highest development of man is his entrance into the divine Kingdom, and the outcome of this human existence is the nucleus and essence of eternal life. —`Abdu’l-Bahá
On the way to Japan, from San Francisco
My first international trip, from San Francisco to Tokyo in 1953. We travelled by ocean liner, before the days of international air travel.