“The supreme need of humanity is cooperation and reciprocity.” –‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The Individual and Society 

Articles and Resources

A selection of readings, essays, and resource materials on the subject of the relationship between individual and society.

Statements

From The Prosperity of Humankind

This statement on the concept of global prosperity in the context of the Bahá’í teachings was commissioned by the Universal House of Justice.

Who is Writing the Future?

Published to mark the end of the 20th century, this statement reflects upon human progress thus far, in the context of an ever-advancing civilization. What we are witnessing, it says, is the beginning of the history of humankind, the history of a human race conscious of its own oneness.

Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism

In this statement, the Bahá’í International Community writes that a culture of consumerism has tended to reduce human beings to competitive, insatiable consumers of goods and to objects of manipulation by the market. A more profound look at human nature, the statement suggests, would reveal the ability of human beings to respond to a higher calling.

A New Framework for Global Prosperity

In this submission to the 2006 Commission on Social Development on the review of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, the Bahá’í International Community reflects on the purpose of development—contributing to the foundation for a new social and international order, capable of creating and sustaining conditions in which human beings can advance morally, culturally, and intellectually.

The Search for Values in an Age of Transition

The Bahá’í International Community’s statement on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations.

Essays

Western Liberal Democracy as New World Order?

In this essay, first published in The Baha’i World 2005-2006, Dr. Michael Karlberg argues that Western liberal democracy, or competitive democracy, has become anachronistic, unjust, and unsustainable in an age of increasing global interdependence.

Identity and the Search for a Common Human Purpose

In this article first published in The Bahá’í World 2005-2006, Matthew Weinberg explores the source of our identity. Where should our attachments and loyalties lie? And if our identity or identities so impel us, how—and with whom—should we come together? And what is the nature of the bonds that bring us together?

The Meaning of Community

Ann Boyles offers a perspective on the meaning of "community," its condition today, and what it will look like in the next millennium. This article appeared in the 1996-97 edition of The Bahá’í World.

Further Reading

Bibliography of Recommended Reading

A list of further reading on this subject is available here.

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