New Post! What?

Okay, a little background: I’ve had an account with GamaSutra (THE major website for game development professionals) for about… hmm, three years now. Each week, they send out a newsletter that basically lists any game related announcements from news sources, any new articles on the site, information about the Game Developer’s Conference, projects for contractors, and… new job listings. Very handy little email, really, and I’m always glad to read through it when I get it.

So, I was reading through this week’s email, and noticed a new job posting for a game designer at a place called Cranky Pants Games. I looked at the job qualifications (which almost invariably say in large, unfriendly letters “INDUSTRY-RELATED DEGREE REQUIRED, 4+ YEARS REQUIRED”), and — lo and behold! — I actually fit the qualifications, with flying colors no less.

I sent off my resume about 5 minutes ago (took me some time to write the cover letter, as I don’t do the “form letter” thing), and I’m really, really nervous, hoping to God that I get it. So that’s what this little post is about: please pray for me if you believe in prayer, or just send me well wishes if you don’t, and hopefully this’ll work out. Considering how stressful and downright depressing the job hunt has been so far, I could really use all the help I can get.

Wish me luck!

The Good, the Bad, the Director

So, things have been a little stressful, lately. Health insurance came due, and while not exactly unexpected, we really didn’t have the funds for it, so we are now left with needing to do some creative accounting to find the money for everything (rent, bills, car payments, car repairs, et cetera — the money we gratefully received from Mickey’s father to repair the car had to be spent on the health insurance). I’m scrambling madly for a job and have had absolutely no luck. I’ve submitted over 60 resumes at this point, plus several job applications for retail positions, and everyone is either not hiring, or is looking for someone more qualified. Not that they are telling me this, mind you: I’ve been lucky to get an auto-response out of most of them. They also generally say “No calls concerning employment accepted — if we like your resume, WE’LL CALL YOU.”

That would be “the bad”: being broke as hell, with no relief in sight. Even jobs I’m qualified for I’m not getting a response out of. At this rate, it is distinctly possible that we’ll have to sell stock (or use it as collateral on a loan) and move back east to DC, where Mickey has more consistent, reasonable-paying work. I really like it out here except for the job situation, so I’m really REALLY hoping it doesn’t come to that.
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Essay: An Examination of “The Tablet of the Holy Mariner”

Written by Baha’u’llah in 1863, The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is considered one of the few pieces that directly deals with the mystical side of the Baha’i Faith. Most of it is building upon pre-established concepts gathered from Gnosticism and Sufism in particular (the sea of light, the ark of belief, a multitiered heaven of which the higher levels are unattainable, the maiden of heaven, et cetera). This is actually somewhat comforting, since it indicates that the latest manifestation truly is just an update to the prior manifestations, whose Word had become muddied over time.

To give a quick summation of the story, it begins by explaining a bit of our past: namely that the faithful had been brought before heaven, where the believers had been cleansed of self and passion, and given entrance to God’s holy realm. These believers sought higher into the heavens than God had decreed for them, and he punished them with a flaming meteor, and sent them back into the mortal world, where they were ordered to abide until such a time that they were ready for that higher level. Someone called the maiden of heaven, whom had never been known to speak (“no ear through all eternity hath ever heard,” line 61), came before the Celestial Concourse and stated that only those who had achieved true faithfulness in the Arabian Youth could enter the highest heaven. She sent one of her handmaidens down into the world to look for people who had achieved this. The handmaiden returned in such despair at the lack of true faith that she released her spirit and was sent into the presence of God. The story ends with the other handmaidens grieving violently for their dead sister.

While the story itself is interesting, what is far more intriguing is the particular phrasing and specific details of the story. These details tend to leap out due to the format of the story, broken into lines separated by the phrase “Glorified be our Lord, the All-Glorious!” Because the flow of the story is broken up like this, it becomes easier to focus on each line separately. (The counterpoint to this is that it is harder to capture the piece as a whole, without writing down the lines yourself.)

Personally, I view this tablet as an interpretive story, a history-through-parable. In particular, extrapolative history, dealing with what we call “prehistory” (the period between when homo sapiens first appear and when our first recorded civilization appears). This tablet serves as a remarkable collection of information available for interpretation. Given my predisposition towards science fiction, my personal interpretation of the tablet deals primarily with the thought of Man having a prior advanced civilization, possibly space-faring. The opening line deals with an “ark of eternity” and a “Celestial Concourse,” which could be interpreted as a space-faring ship. This ship is then “launched upon the ancient sea” (again, a “sea of stars” is a common literary metaphor, and would not seem out of place in this situation), and is filled with dwellers of “divine attributes” (most religions have ties between wisdom/knowledge and a divine source). They are told not to “tarry in the snow-white spot” which could possibly be some form of faster than light travel such as “hyperspace”, and that they are free to “wing through space even as the favored birds in the realm of eternal reunion,” at which point a “burning meteor cast them out” (a meteor destroys our access to “hyperspace”, or possibly impacts our planet and decimates all life on it, destroying whatever civilization there was). Man is returned to dwell in the mortal, mundane world. After a period of time, the “maid of heaven” (another advanced race? A surviving remnant of our own species?) sends her “maidservant” (an scouting expedition?) to search out signs of the “Youth that hath been hidden within the tabernacle of light” (our prior advanced civilization?). This maidservant finds none, and dies in despair.

While this interpretation is simplified and clearly science-fiction, the basic concepts are not outside the realm of possibility. Archaeologists have been able to place the origin of homo sapiens at roughly 140,000 BC (possibly earlier), and a fairly broad dispersal of man as long ago as 40,000 BC. But the first signs of civilization we have is 7000-5000 BC (depending on who you talk to). We have very little clue what happened during the intervening millennia. There is evidence of several worldwide catastrophes, including significant volcanic activity, global flooding, possibly meteor impacts, and recent evidence to suggest that the earth’s poles shifted at least once during that time. That is all in addition to at least one massive ice age that could have quite easily blotted out any sign of prior civilization that may have otherwise survived the other disasters. Considering how much of our past has been lost purely of our own accord (book burnings, holy wars, censorship, vandalism, cities getting sacked, plagues, et cetera) this is all well within the realm of possibility. Further suggesting prior civilization is the amount of unaccounted-for time compared to how quickly we’ve built our current civilization. It somehow doesn’t ring true that given around 140,000 years, no civilization was created.

That is of course just one interpretation; there are many possibilities as to what exactly it means. Regardless of its true meaning, the Tablet of the Holy Mariner is a fascinating piece of writing, and well worth the effort to read it, if only for the marvelous ideas it presents.

Essay: The World Wobbled: A Search for Spiritual Philosophy

I strongly believe that it is necessary to maintain a positive outlook on life, to treat other individuals compassionately, and to appreciate the little things in life just as much (if not more so) than the big things. I disagree with the frenetic pace our current society is trying to thrive upon, and for the longest time had “Festina Lente” (Make Haste Slowly) as my catch phrase for life. I believe all these things, and yet somewhere along the way, I seem to have lost sight of that, swept up in the currents of everyday life, and I’m not even sure when or where it happened.

So, let’s go back. Perhaps not to the beginning, but certainly to a point when I had solidly come to these conclusions on living a peaceful, happy life, and had not yet let myself become caught up in the rushing mentality. After all, it is only through identifying your problems that you can ever truly hope to combat them.

Seventh grade was a very, very good year for me. After hitting the proverbial “bottom rung” on the social ladder in sixth grade, I simply stopped caring about that, and instead dove into a broad spectrum of books (though primarily science fiction), reading about 90% of Robert A. Heinlein’s works, the entire Dune saga, and a wealth of pulp fiction by masters such as Robert Silverberg and Isaac Asimov. This reading trend continued into eighth grade, when I also read the Dragonriders of Pern series, and Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (I’ll come back to this book in a moment). In addition to reading, I began pursuing my own education, studying statistics and basic chemistry on my own time. I’d begun to adopt the philosophy of “Never Hurry” from Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, a concept that appealed to me right from the start. After all, what is the point in rushing? That is not to say to not move quickly, but why rush? Why stress about the little things? Be aware of them, acknowledge them, and at the same time acknowledge what you are capable of affecting, and let the rest go. If we try to shoulder the burden of the world, all we end up with is a broken back.

Contrary to what it may seem like, that was NOT a recipe for laziness. I am not now, nor was I then saying you shouldn’t do anything. Rather, I’m saying take responsibility for yourself, do what YOU are capable of, and don’t worry about the rest. That worry is a little death that eats you away at your foundation until you finally just crumble.

This philosophy continued to grow and solidify as I read more, and experienced more situations which proved the validity of my budding outlook. A particularly influential book for me was Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delany. The book explores the concept of amorality (vs morality or immorality) in a backdrop of a semi-post-apocalyptic city, a place choked with smoke and an erratic, shifting geography. I first read it in eighth grade, and I’ve continued to read it once a year ever since. I’ve never been able to fully explain why I read it every year, merely that it generates a certain mood that I find appealing. Not through any specific action that any character takes, nor any event in the story, so much as just the general demeanor of the book: there is a sense of presence and self awareness and letting go that is ultimately appealing, and generally succeeds in crossing over into my every day life.

It is worth noting that I haven’t had a chance to reread Dhalgren in the past two years, or really much recreational entertainment at all. Not for lack of desire, mind you, but through lack of finding the time necessary to get through the 800 page book. Thinking about it, I’ve felt burdened by a weight of “responsibility” (real or perceived), even when I’m consciously making the choice to go play a game, or read a book, or watch a movie. I can’t relax. So is my not having made time for my annual tradition a cause, or an effect of this? Perhaps a bit more digging is in order.

High school left me frustrated by my peers and in a state of depression. I would talk passionately and intensely about a wide variety of topics, but never with any luck in finding like-minded individuals. It left me disillusioned until I started to do theater, where at least they were passionate about SOMETHING (namely, melodrama, but that is unfortunately part and parcel with high school drama programs). I continued to work steadily with the theater program through the rest of school, which did a lot in terms of keeping me sane. The actors’ antics and melodramatic politics kept me distinctly aware of just how much those things really didn’t matter in the long run. Thinking about it, though, I avoided supervisory roles whenever possible while there (and later). Not because I couldn’t have done it, but because I didn’t want the additional responsibility.

Thinking about it, that may well be it. In the past two or three years, I have taken on additional responsibilities, perhaps some that I wasn’t necessarily ready for, but felt I had to do. Somewhere in the back of my head, something is screaming that I’m on the right track, so let’s continue. If I’ve been taking on new responsibilities over the past few years, and it is over the past few years that I have been feeling more and more rushed and restricted and otherwise not myself or who I want to be.

So I suppose the question to ask myself is, what do I want to do about it? It isn’t like I can just ignore my responsibilities, nor is saying “Well, I guess this is just going to have to be my new outlook,” an acceptable answer. I think identifying that I need to learn to cope with responsibility is a good first step. Now I need to act on it. I need to start doing what I can and genuinely letting go of the rest. I need to start affirming to myself that my passions ARE in fact a worthwhile pursuit of their own accord, and that now is a perfect time to work on those passions. I need to start thinking about what I want out of life, and stop worrying about what others want from me or think of me. I need find a new sanctuary that I can find my own pace in. I need to LET GO.

But mostly, I think I need to go reread Dhalgren.

New Album, New Image

As I mentioned in a different post, Mickey posted another Geisha image in her gallery. I’d highly recommend checking it out.

I’d also highly recommend checking out the album I put up. You’ve most likely seen at least most (if not all) of those images before; nevertheless, I’d appreciate it. Feel free to check out the slideshow feature, it’s rather nice in my humble opinion.

Mostly Dead

…If he were all dead, there’s only one thing you could do: go through his pockets for loose change.

I apologize for not posting recently. I have some schoolwork due that is taking up most of my time (nothing special, just some annotations and an essay), and I’ve felt guilty about taking the time to post. Silly of me, really, as nothing motivates you towards accomplishment like… other accomplishment. You take the pleasant feeling of satisfaction at completing something and use it to fuel working on something else that needs completing.

Anyway, there is a new image up in the gallery, from my lovely wife. She claims it’s the last of her Geisha pictures, we’ll see if that’s the case. As for when my own gallery space will be up… I don’t know exactly. I redesigned my copyright watermark to be less distracting, and am now in the process of going back to the originals from my archives. I’ve come across several images that I’d passed over before that I’m finding far more worthwhile now, so there will even be some new content among the old (plus actually new material, taken as recently as two weeks ago).

As a last word about the gallery: please DO register an account! It gives you a whole slew of extra abilities (voting and comments being two big ones), and really only takes a second to do. (The register and login links are in the upper right corner of the gallery page.)

I’ll try to get back into a posting habit again soon. At least I’ve got company in this no-new-post land… Uri, Eli, Adam, and Shane all haven’t posted in a while either. My wife has been pretty good about posting, as has Chris, so it’s not like I’m going to be left all alone in the “recently posted” realm. Damn good company, at that.

Annotation: The Art of Happiness

When my wife found out that I was going to be reading a book by the Dalai Lama, she remarked “I think if you ever met the Dalai Lama, you’d get along with him really well.” After reading through The Art of Happiness, I think I can see why: though I am not technically a Buddhist, I share a great deal of the same philosophy and perspective on existence as the Dalai Lama. That said, a shared outlook does not necessarily make for a good book – in may ways (especially in scholastic or intellectual capacities), the sign of a good book is one that makes you want to argue with the author, to sit down and point out all the reasons why they are wrong. But that isn’t the only criteria for a good book, and The Art of Happiness manages to succeed in other ways.

The format of the book is fairly straightforward: it is a collection of talks between Howard Cutler (the co-author and narrator of the book, also a licensed and practicing psychiatrist), and the Dalai Lama, both in his residence in Dharmsala, India, and various locations in Arizona. This collection is then broken down first into sections (“The Purpose of Life”, “Human Warmth and Compassion”, “Transforming Suffering”, and “Overcoming Obstacles”), then into chapters, closing with some final reflection on the nature of spirituality and basic spiritual values. Cutler augments the conversations with anecdotes and corroborating scientific evidence concerning various points that the Dalai Lama made in his talks. I found his writing in the beginning to be a little forced, but it feels like he came into his own as he got further into the material (concordantly, I was also getting more into the material), leading to this being a fairly quick read, even weighing in at 300+ pages.

The overtone of the entire book was one of compassion, and the development and nurturing of that trait. The Dalai Lama comments several times throughout the book of the necessity for compassion for all things, and that it is through this compassion that we connect both with other people and with our own spirituality. Distilled into one phrase, his statement was “Compassion is the key to genuine happiness.” My initial response to this realization was “Well, of course.” I’ve long held the belief that it is through helping others that we really begin to know ourselves and our true nature.

I definitely became more interested as the book went along: the subjects became far more topical to me on a personal level when they began to discuss suffering, self-image, anxiety, and spirituality. Concerning anxiety and worry, I found this quote particularly interesting:

If the situation or problem can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it… Alternatively, if there is no way out, no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you can’t do anything about it anyway. (Dalai Lama, 268)

The thing that I found most interesting about this quote isn’t just the quote, but how much it reminded me of my own philosophy for a long time. I used to see people stressing about things unnecessarily, and would try to convince them that it would all work out as it needed to work out, that it wasn’t worth injuring your mind or health about. It is a bit frustrating to realize that I’ve become so wrapped up in worrying and rushing, myself. A change in outlook is definitely in order.

On the subject of spirituality, the Dalai Lama really helped to give a clear working definition that I think I can really get along with. “True Spirituality is a mental attitude that you can practice at any time.” (Dalai Lama, 299) This really helped calm me down a great deal; I was becoming increasingly agitated by my perceived lack of current spirituality, and increasingly more anxious about finding a formal time to set aside for things of a spiritual or religious nature. This one phrase really helped me snap out of it, to realize that I’d been making mountains out of molehills, adding a level of formality that had at no point actually been required or even asked of me.

Instead, I need to work towards slowing myself down, organizing my time better so that I’m not constantly trying to do too many things at once. Simplify, and regain my former sense of composure and appreciation for all things. It isn’t a matter of setting aside time to do so, it’s a matter of BEING. Just be who I want to be. Work hard to achieve the things I want to achieve, yes, but stop beating myself up over the things I fail to do in time. I need to learn to let go and be myself, whoever that is. My mind is turbulent and muddy: it is time to clear the waters.

The Dalai Lama; Cutler, Howard C. The Art of Happiness. Riverhead Books.

Annotation: Baha’i Prayers

Perhaps this isn’t true for others, but I have discovered that after one hundred and fifty pages of prayers expounding on the glories of the Almighty, my eyes just started to glaze over. By the end of the 267 page collection, I was frankly beginning to think that if God is so damn great, then maybe He could afford to be a bit more modest. I realize that is a bit unfair: prayers are meant to be taken in relatively small doses, not read through as a book.

The particular version I read through is the one I was given in 1989 by my parents. Despite having read specific prayers out of it on many occasions, I’d never actually read through the entire thing. Though not immediately relevant to the topic, I would like to say I was quite impressed with the binding and typography in this book: it is significantly more readable than many other more modern books, in my opinion. I think typography is to some degree a lost art, form taking precedence over function in recently published novels and magazines.

Baha’i Prayers is a collection of prayers from the three major individuals from the Faith: Baha’u’llah, The Bab, and Abdu’l-Baha. It’s organized first by type of prayer (obligatory, general, or occasional), and then by topic. The topic categories are somewhat arbitrary (“Forgiveness” discusses God forgiving you for the sins you’ve done, for instance, rather than supplicating to find the strength to forgive), but beyond trying to figure out whether the category was talking about what you were asking for or asking for more of, it actually was pretty reasonably arranged.

There are a few prayers that I am particularly fond of. First and foremost is one that is called the Remover of Difficulties: “Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!” (The Bab 28). I’ve found this to be particularly useful as a litany or mantra, because of how short it is. It provides something to focus on rather than whatever it is that is troubling you. Frankly, I think it is the prayer that I most identify with (in an ideal world, anyway). The general sentiment I get out of this prayer is that sometimes you just need to let go and let things work out on their own (let God handle it). It’s a philosophy I find I agree with pretty strongly: we free up far more time for things we WANT to do, if we stop stressing over the things that we DON’T want to do. (That is not to say that you can choose to not do them: the point of a prayer like this is to help put you in the right mindset to get through something, not to just avoid it with the belief that someone else will do it.)

Another prayer that I found interesting (and had not realized had been included) was the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, which is considered to be the primary writing on mysticism in the Baha’i Faith. It has a different arrangement than the other prayers and writings I’ve seen, done more as a form of epic poem or parable. The story it tells is broken up, however, as each line is separated by the phrase, “Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!” I found the story interesting, though convoluted at the end (I reread the passage three times, and I’m still having a bit of trouble following it). Particular passages leave me intrigued as to what exactly Baha’u’llah meant when he wrote it. It is a topic better devoted to its own essay, however, so I’ll only point out one in particular, before I move on:

They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.
Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!
Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence,
Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! (Baha’u’llah 224)

Given my penchant for science fiction and extrapolative history, this passage (and the rest of the piece) really just fascinates the hell out of me. It suggests a far more robust past than we currently give our ancestors credit for (despite the monumental amount of information that we lost in the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, and the numerous book burnings that have occurred over the past two thousand years in both eastern and western civilizations).

This is an excellent collection of Baha’i prayers. It is not all of them, but it is a fairly respectable number, and successfully captures the breadth of topics and the style of Baha’i prayers. There is a capacity for spiritual exploration here found by reflecting on various prayers, but I will say again: it is far better in small doses than it is read straight through.

Baha’u’llah, et al. Baha’i Prayers. Baha’i Publishing Trust.

New Image

Mickey has posted a new image, which can be found in her gallery here.

I really enjoy my wife’s work. In fact, I’m a bit jealous of just how quickly and how well she’s taken to Photoshop (at this point she’s far better at it than I am).

Annotation: The Secret of Divine Civilization

Before I get into the details of this book, I thought I’d start by giving a bit of background on Abdu’l-Baha. He was born in 1844, and spent most of his life in exile or imprisonment beside his father, Baha’u’llah. Baha’u’llah was first thrown into prison when Abdu’l-Baha was 8; a few months later, he was released and forced into exile to Baghdad. This was when Abdu’l-Baha began sharing the same fate as his father, continuing in a state of exile or imprisonment until he was finally released in 1908. That’s 56 years of imprisonment or forced exile, including after the death of Baha’u’llah, after which Abdu’l-Baha took over Guardianship of the Faith. Despite this extended period of exile and imprisonment, Abdu’l-Baha was extremely well read and intelligent, and spoke at length about a great many topics with rather remarkable precision. One of the topics he wrote about was a diatribe about the steps necessary to establish an effective, long lasting, healthy civilization.

The Secret of Divine Civilization feels to a certain extent like the culmination of years of Abdu’l-Baha’s frustration at the idiocy and ignorance being practiced in Persia at the time. Frankly, I can’t blame him. His calls for reform have still not been heeded, even though they seem to make eminent sense on every count. He calls for at least basic education in every town (compulsory if needs be), he urges the Muslim population to re-embrace science and technology, pointing out with a variety of scriptures from the Qu’ran exactly why these are not bad things simply because they have been already embraced by other cultures. Several times through the book, he pauses to readdress one particular passage that the Imams and other religious leaders have latched onto and propagandized to the masses. One of the last times he brings it up really sums it up best:

The Source of Divine wisdom, that Manifestation of Universal Prophethood (Muhammad), encouraging mankind to acquire sciences and arts and similar advantages has commanded them to seek these even in the furthermost reaches of China; yet the incompetent and caviling doctors forbid this, offering as their justification the saying, ‘He who imitates a people is one of them.’ They have not even grasped what is meant by the ‘imitation’ referred to, nor do they know that the Divine religions enjoin upon and encourage all the faithful to adopt such principles as will conduce to continuous improvements, and to acquire from other peoples sciences and arts. (99)

This really grasps the overall mood of the writing in this piece. It is pretty clear that he loved Persia, and was frustrated at just how much it had fallen into ignorance and disrepair.

Something that I find particularly interesting is the emphasis on Persia. His commentary is pretty directly aimed at the Middle East, with an expectation that once Persia gets its act together, that civilization will revive and sweep the world as the dominant unifying force in the world. Assuming the entire region isn’t glassed over in the not-too-distant future, this isn’t that far outside the realm of possibility. If they merely reclaimed their heritage and instituted social reforms (health, education, technology), they could easily become a major force to be reckoned with on both a cultural and a political front. I’m not entirely sure how this change could be implemented, considering the stranglehold the current leaders in the region have over the populace, but I do strongly feel that it is a change that NEEDS to happen, for both regional and global benefit.

One of the other things that I found interesting about this book was the random, seemingly esoteric bits of information that were included. For instance, though soap has been around for millennia, modern soap is credited as an invention by Abdu’llah Buni, a Muslim. He also goes into the history of the nation of Israel (which had not yet reformed at the time of his writing), commenting on the multiple times they were invaded by various cultures, including by Nebuchadnezzar, and that these invasions and dispersals had been foretold as inevitable as they became too prideful and veered from the true intent of their religious teachings. Though he never said it bluntly, it was fairly apparent that he was casting the same aspersions on the Islamic culture. Of course, the first random thing that I noticed in the work was an Islamic parable about a king who decreed “a day of death” where any who came before him on that day would be put to death. The parable continues as the king goes hunting, and becomes separated from his retinue, and is taken in by a desert family. The king promises them aid should they ever need it, and a few years later, the head of the family shows up coincidentally on the day of the dead. The king didn’t want to kill him, and the man asked for a foregoance for a period of one year (until the next day of death) to set his affairs in order. The king agreed, assuming this would be the last time he saw the man. A year later to the day, the man showed up. The king was surprised, and asked him why he would willingly go to his death. The man’s reply was that he would not refute an oath, and that he had faith in his God. He then explained about his God and Christianity, which so moved the king that he abolished the day of death and became a Christian that day.

The parable makes sense within the context of the writing, as Abdu’l-Baha is using it as an example of how living an upright and proper life can do far more to spread the Word of God than living as a “Prophet of the Sword.” It just surprised me a little, because I’d never seen or heard of Abdu’l-Baha using parable in his writings. I really don’t think this says much other than that the majority of what I’ve read up to this point has not been source material (as this is), so much as consolidations of various passages and writings, collected for “ease”. Though I see the benefit and merits of the collections, there is a certain something to be said for reading the source material in its entirety, instead.

Considering the current state of world affairs, I found this book extremely topical, with a lot of very worthwhile information and ideas. If even some of the advice given in this book were followed, I think we would all be better off. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone seeking further insight into the ideals and philosophy of the Baha’i Faith.

Abdu’l-Baha. The Secret of Divine Civilization. Wilmette: Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1990.