A stronger force will always be able to overcome a weaker force. Everything is preceded by a cause. The sensible is the material world, the non-sensible the spiritual world.
First will be presented my own thoughts. Following will be the quotes upon which these thoughts are built. Thus, one can simply bypass the personal thoughts without losing any context or meaning, and proceed directly to the Authoritative to draw one’s own uninfluenced conclusions. A secondary reason is that the flavour of that which is eaten last in a meal lasts the longest in the mouth, and what lasting flavour could be nicer than the Authoritative Texts? The single and only request made by this author is that when the mind is focussed on the quotes, it does so in the context of the opening paragraph above.
How often in the world has a numerically inferior armed force overcome a far more numerically superior opposing armed force? History is replete with such instances. So, it is considerably clear that when speaking of a stronger force that the equation cannot be based on mere numbers. What is it that can make a numerically inferior force into the stronger force of the two? It certainly is not material, or the outcome could be predicted absolutely each time. So, if not material, then it must, perforce, be spiritual.
This answer contradicts immediately the material hypothesis that, for example, a human being is a being whose life is dictated and directed by material circumstances and events only. For example materialists believe that (and I speak in very simplistic terms here), as no force exists outside of the material realm, that our thoughts, emotions and so on are generated by material conditions, such as electrical impulses and chemicals. As corollary to the statement that a stronger force can always over come a weaker force, and not the other way round, is the statement that for everything there is a cause. So, continuing with this example, if these electrical impulses and chemical actions and reactions are the cause of thoughts, of volition, of understanding and knowledge, then the human existence is established indeed as an existence of slavery and bondage to the world of nature, without free-will, without any capacity for self-direction, without even the capacity for change, and its position and condition at any point in time is accidental, not deliberate. It is most clear that “something else” is at play here, demonstrating such a material argument patently false. What is it that becomes the cause of these chemical and electrical conditions which have such an undeniable affect upon the individual? What is the stronger force that overcomes the weaker force of the bodily experience, that is, the cause of these electrical and chemical circumstances. How can something accidental in one instant make one vacillate, yet at another remain firm. Is changing one’s mind, for example, a deliberate or an accidental act? For if it is determined by the chemicals and electrical issues, then it is non-determinate and is purely accidental, whilst if they are the deliberate, then it becomes determinate and determinant. Upon this understanding and awareness lives the understanding of human progression, advancement, understanding, wisdom and knowledge – is our progress, individually and collectively, accidental or deliberate? The weight of evidence proves that it is deliberate, thus by implication demonstrates that it is the spiritual which is the motivating factor in human existence.
Permit me, please, at this point to define “spiritual” in a simple manner. This defining also explains the reasoning behind the statement in the last sentence of the first paragraph.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in Some Answered Questions, and also in Promulgation of Universal Peace, speaks of two conditions – the sensible, and that which will be termed here the non-sensible. The sensible are those things of the five senses – sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell. All else is non-sensible. And so, the chemical reactions and the electrical impulses are a part of the sensible reality. Thoughts, hopes, understanding, knowledge, desires – these all fall under the scope of the non-sensible. The proof lies in front of us that it is these which are directly behind all human progress, conditions and states, whether experientially or empirically. The sensible can be seen/perceived directly. The non-sensible cannot be directly perceived, but its results can be perceived. The sensible is the material world, the non-sensible (i.e., everything else) is the spiritual world - how vast a realm of being, of existence this leaves humanity for exploration and scientific discovery!
It is clearly proved, whether by experience or by empirical examination, that it is the thoughts, the dreams, the hopes, the imagination and the other qualities and attributes of this spiritual nature which are the stronger force which overcomes the weaker force of the body and, equally, the direction of events which influence human affairs. It is also clearly evident that this spiritual power or force is greater than nature, for were it not then it would be unable to conquer nature, would be unable to discover her secrets and turn them to human advantage, for it takes a stronger force to subdue a weaker force. It is likewise demonstrated that, as the spiritual is a greater force, that it must be the cause behind the electrical and chemical conditions which materialism considers a root, when it is in actuality a branch, and demonstrates that the material is entirely dependent upon the spiritual, not the other way round.
The question must be asked – how is the spiritual direction of individuals demonstrated outwardly? In answering this, one must begin by sifting through the spiritual possibilities, where it becomes clear that the spiritual capacities of thoughts, dreams, hopes, motivation and so on are themselves but results of yet stronger spiritual causes. In the same way in which the human spirit is greater than that which governs nature, for otherwise it could not turn nature’s laws to its own purposes, so too are the thoughts, the dreams, the hopes and so on the nature aspect of yet stronger spiritual capacities which turn the laws of these states to the purpose desired by the individual. And these greater, stronger powers can be divided into two simple motivating conditions – that of selfishness, and that of selflessness. And so, also, we find a hint, a suggestion of worlds within worlds.
One is automatically inclined to query what it is that motivates one person into a person directed by self-impulses, and another person into a person motivated by selfless-impulses. For through that very simple focus is laid out an entire future for an individual, even up to the future of a peoples, a country or the world. Which leaves no choice but to begin at last with the section of quotes, which in themselves clearly show that, comparatively, the material realm is a condition of darkness, and the spiritual realm a condition of light. And how else can a being be guided except with a light to shine on the path ahead to show the way?
There are two kinds of light. There is the visible light of the sun, by whose aid we can discern the beauties of the world around us—without this we could see nothing.
Nevertheless, though it is the function of this light to make things visible to us, it cannot give us the power to see them or to understand what their various charms may be, for this light has no intelligence, no consciousness. It is the light of the intellect which gives us knowledge and understanding, and without this light the physical eyes would be useless.
This light of the intellect is the highest light that exists, for it is born of the Light Divine.
The light of the intellect enables us to understand and realize all that exists, but it is only the Divine Light that can give us sight for the invisible things, and which enables us to see truths that will only be visible to the world thousands of years hence.
It was the Divine Light which enabled the prophets to see two thousand years in advance what was going to take place and today we see the realization of their vision. Thus it is this Light which we must strive to seek, for it is greater than any other.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 68)
Far, far from Thy glory be what mortal man can affirm of Thee, or attribute unto Thee, or the praise with which he can glorify Thee! Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 3)
From among all created things He hath singled out for His special favor the pure, the gem-like reality of man, and invested it with a unique capacity of knowing Him and of reflecting the greatness of His glory. This twofold distinction conferred upon him hath cleansed away from his heart the rust of every vain desire, and made him worthy of the vesture with which his Creator hath deigned to clothe him. It hath served to rescue his soul from the wretchedness of ignorance.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 77)
Therefore, hath it been said: "Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth."
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 46)
We ask thee to reflect upon that which hath been revealed, and to be fair and just in thy speech, that perchance the splendors of the daystar of truthfulness and sincerity may shine forth, and may deliver thee from the darkness of ignorance, and illumine the world with the light of knowledge.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 10)
As to thy question whether the physical world is subject to any limitations, know thou that the comprehension of this matter dependeth upon the observer himself. In one sense, it is limited; in another, it is exalted beyond all limitations. The one true God hath everlastingly existed, and will everlastingly continue to exist. His creation, likewise, hath had no beginning, and will have no end. All that is created, however, is preceded by a cause. This fact, in itself, establisheth, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the unity of the Creator.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 161)
… human knowledge is of two kinds. One is the knowledge of things perceptible to the senses—that is to say, things which the eye, or ear, or smell, or taste, or touch can perceive, which are called objective or sensible. So the sun, because it can be seen, is said to be objective; and in the same way sounds are sensible because the ear hears them; perfumes are sensible because they can be inhaled and the sense of smell perceives them; foods are sensible because the palate perceives their sweetness, sourness or saltness; heat and cold are sensible because the feelings perceive them. These are said to be sensible realities.
The other kind of human knowledge is intellectual—that is to say, it is a reality of the intellect; it has no outward form and no place and is not perceptible to the senses. For example, the power of intellect is not sensible; none of the inner qualities of man is a sensible thing; on the contrary, they are intellectual realities. So love is a mental reality and not sensible; for this reality the ear does not hear, the eye does not see, the smell does not perceive, the taste does not discern, the touch does not feel. Even ethereal matter, the forces of which are said in physics to be heat, light, electricity and magnetism, is an intellectual reality, and is not sensible. In the same way, nature, also, in its essence is an intellectual reality and is not sensible; the human spirit is an intellectual, not sensible reality.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 83)
Know of a certainty that in every Dispensation the light of Divine Revelation hath been vouchsafed unto men in direct proportion to their spiritual capacity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 87)
Every imperfect soul is self-centred and thinketh only of his own good. But as his thoughts expand a little he will begin to think of the welfare and comfort of his family. If his ideas still more widen, his concern will be the felicity of his fellow citizens; and if still they widen, he will be thinking of the glory of his land and of his race. But when ideas and views reach the utmost degree of expansion and attain the stage of perfection, then will he be interested in the exaltation of humankind. He will then be the well-wisher of all men and the seeker of the weal and prosperity of all lands. This is indicative of perfection.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 68)
Hence, we know that in the human organism there is a center of intellection, a power of intellectual operation which is the discoverer of the realities of things. This power can unravel the mysteries of phenomena. It can comprehend that which is knowable, not alone the sensible. All the inventions are its products. For all of these have been the mysteries of nature. There was a time when the energy of electricity was a mystery of nature, but that collective reality which is manifest in man discovered this mystery of nature, this latent force. Having discovered it, man brought it into the plane of visibility. All the sciences which we now utilize are the products of that wondrous reality. But the animal is deprived of its operations. The arts we now enjoy are the expressions of that marvelous reality. The animal is bereft of them because these conscious realities are peculiar to the human spirit. All the traces are the outcoming of the perfections which comprehend realities. The animal is bereft of these.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace)
Man alone, by his spiritual power, has been able to free himself, to soar above the world of matter and to make it his servant.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 19)
Thou hast asked Me concerning the nature of the soul. Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 158)
Consider that which hath been sent down unto Muhammad, the Apostle of God. The measure of the Revelation of which He was the bearer had been clearly foreordained by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Powerful. They that heard Him, however, could apprehend His purpose only to the extent of their station and spiritual capacity. He, in like manner, uncovered the Face of Wisdom in proportion to their ability to sustain the burden of His Message. No sooner had mankind attained the stage of maturity, than the Word revealed to men’s eyes the latent energies with which it had been endowed—energies which manifested themselves in the plenitude of their glory when the Ancient Beauty appeared, in the year sixty, in the person of Ali-Muhammad, the Báb.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 77)
I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá , Paris Talks, p. 29)
27 August 2015
Return to index
Return to Home page