40 Years of Unit Conventions

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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:35 am
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia

40 Years of Unit Conventions

Postby RonPrice » Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:58 am


Yesterday I attended the Bahá’í Unit Convention for northern Tasmania. I drove home with my Tasmanian wife and with the oldest Bahá’í who had attended the Unit Convention, a Mr. Simon van der Molen age 78. As we drove through the hills, valleys, flat stretches of road and the occasional little town: Westbury, Exeter, Birralee, I reflected on all those Unit Conventions I had attended since the early sixties. This Unit Convention system was devised by the Universal House of Justice and is described briefly in the book Principles of Bahá’í Administration(1976,1963).-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 11 February 2007.

Well, that makes 40 meetings of this
electoral unit system, as far back as
'64, yes, at the Brant Inn, getting a bit
vague now. I have to take off the year
we lived on Baffin Island and recently
when I was just too tired and did not
want to get elected so stayed home
and one of those years in Perth WA
when I had run out of gas-a happening
from time to time over those 40 years.
Two words--forty years--which are easy
to write down but deceptively complex
and require volumes to put in the details.

There's a blur of towns, places, rooms, food,
discussions, people, drink, entertainment, voting,
reports, decisions, ballots, documents, letters,
photos, worries, sadnesses and joys, heat, cold,
across two continents, just about dries-out the
psyche, fills the memory to overflowing, thinking
about it. You can't put it all down in a prose-poem;
it's just too much, too late, too long---the first forty
years of this new electoral system and me from 21
to these years of early late adulthood, about the same
time frame as Moses going to the Promised Land
so long ago just about every one has forgotten--Now
hardly anyone knows about these little events that
dot the landscape of the world, the first tier in a
global electoral system that is taking the world
by storm from Spitzbergen to the ends of Tasmania:
but so slowly no one would ever guess and with a
grace so contained as to pose no threat, not this,
not these few in their ragged semi-circle far from
the decisions distantly drawing them forward.

The resolutions, often fragile, as they inch their
consequential necessary way in a process that
has just begun in this final stage of history.

Ron Price
11 February 2007
I have been married for 44 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 13, and a Baha'i for 53(in 2012). I have lived in Australia since 1971 & am now retired and on a pension.

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Postby Irish » Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:21 am

Lovely poem. You've got a gift for words. I found to be something of beauty, something on which I can mediatate. It has helped me to understand some of the emotions I feel when I think about unit conventions. I've only be to one unit convention, and I'm a Baha'i six or seven years, but I can still relate to what you have written. Thank you.

Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:35 am
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia

Thanks Irish

Postby RonPrice » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:30 am

Sorry for the belated response. It's people like you and your response that make writers like me feel they are connecting out there.-Ron :biggrin:
I have been married for 44 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 13, and a Baha'i for 53(in 2012). I have lived in Australia since 1971 & am now retired and on a pension.

Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:35 am
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia

Re: 40 Years of Unit Conventions

Postby RonPrice » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:45 pm

One more prose-poem relating my life to the events in the secular-macro-technological world.-Ron Price, Tasmania 8-)

Nine days after I began my pioneering life in Dundas Ontario the then President of the United States, JFK, made a speech at Rice University. On that day, 12 September 1962, he said: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade….not because it is easy, but because it is hard." Kennedy cited accelerating scientific progress as evidence that the exploration of space is inevitable and argued that the United States should lead the space effort in order to retain a position of leadership on earth. I was also part of another inevitability associated with the great drama in the world's spiritual history, an inevitability given voice by the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith and Their successors.

In order to get some perspective on where I and others stood on that September day in 1962 Kennedy said: "No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man's recorded history in a time span of but a half century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover themselves. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only 5 years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than 2 years ago. The printing press came this year and then, less than 2 months ago during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. "

A Bahá’í might have added that "last month the greatest Being to have drawn breath on this planet came and went; and last week the nucleus and pattern for a new world Order, the administrative structure of the Bahá’í Faith, was given its first shaping. Last month or, I should say, last week its divine teaching Plan finally began to be implemented." My pioneering life had begun whilst the machinery of the national and local institutions of a nascent Order was in the first four decades of its erection and perfection.

Last week, penicillin, television and nuclear power were developed. America was now about to reach the stars just before midnight tonight. The Baha'is were about to achieve a unique victory in the world's first global democratic election in 1963 and in subsequent elections, also before midnight tonight. The pace was indeed breathtaking and such a pace could not help but create new ills as it dispelled old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space and the new global undertaking by the Bahá’í community promised high costs and hardships as well as high rewards. It is not surprising that some would have us stay where we were on earth and not go to outer space and, in the case of the Baha'is, not attempt the utopian experiment for the unification of the peoples of the world.

Kennedy went on to mention a William Bradford speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony. Bradford had said, Kennedy pointed out, "that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage." Kennedy also said, referring to his brief survey of this capsule of history, "if our progress teaches us anything it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time……Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it-we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond." There is no doubt that the co-heirs of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the North American Baha'is, would lead the global undertaking for the spiritual conquest of the planet.

In the 24 hours before his speech at Rice University, Kennedy pointed out that he had just seen facilities then being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. He said that he felt the ground shake and the air shatter due to the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn and generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. He said he had just seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined which would be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48-story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field. Beginning in 1961 at least 45 satellites had come to circle the earth. Some 40 of them were "made in the United States of America."

The Mariner spacecraft then on its way to Venus was the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot was comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in the football stadium at Rice University between the 40-yard lines. Transit satellites were helping American ships at sea to steer a safer course. Satellites were giving Americans unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and would do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

The city of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, would become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years, 1962 to 1967, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expected to double the number of scientists and engineers, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion in the City of Houston. The rise of the World Administrative Centre of this new Faith within the precincts and under the shadow of its World Spiritual Centre in Haifa Israel had begun in the last 24 hours, indeed, in the last two or three minutes outlined in a letter written by Shoghi Effendi in 1951.

Many years ago, Kennedy concluded his speech, the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he wanted to climb it. He said, "Because it is there." "Well, space is there," said Kennedy, "and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked." For the Baha'is, too, there are hazards and dangers in this the greatest drama in the world's spiritual history. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 23 November 2006.

Little did I know, then, of
those plans and programs
for the conquest of space
as I got started in another
year of high school and of
football and my final year
in that town by the lake
where I had grown up,
been a child, adolescent
and discovered a new
religion with its hopes
for knowledge and peace.

Little did I know, then, of
the tenth and final stage of
history that was just about
to begin and the full-blown
institutionalization of that
charismatic Force, a unique
victory, that would take us
to galaxies beyond our wildest
imaginations and lead us to
a struggle of decades and a
window on the cyclical nature
of our history, our experiment
and its conspicuous and quite
inconspicuous beginnings.

Ron Price
22 November 2006
I have been married for 44 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 13, and a Baha'i for 53(in 2012). I have lived in Australia since 1971 & am now retired and on a pension.

Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:17 am

Re: 40 Years of Unit Conventions

Postby onepence~2 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:51 pm

Ron Price

awesome ... awesome experience ...

what joy

to read

to be


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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:17 am

Re: 40 Years of Unit Conventions

Postby onepence~2 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:16 pm

How Tech Will Change Our Future

Quentin Hardy, 01.07.10, 06:00 AM EST

http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/06/google ... yahoofpapp

Say goodbye to nations, sovereignty and privacy.

Burlingame, Calif. -- It is that time of year for columns that look back on the past year, or the past decade. They hope to make sense of what we just went through, from the Twin Towers to the death of Michael Jackson. Reading them is fun, and for the most part futile; writings just after the fact rarely see things the same way they appear in history. As Chinese diplomat and political survivor Zhou Enlai noted when asked to comment on the significance of the French Revolution of 1789, "Too early to say."

Still, it is easy to call the quickening spread of high technology the driver of the decade. To the extent that 9/11 had any strategic significance, it had less to do with the tragic loss of lives or disruption of the American economy than with the dissemination of images around the globe, thanks to cheap digital technology. Globalization and the rise of China owe much to undersea fiber optics and computers capable of managing complex supply chains. In earlier columns I've noted that technology was a crucial element in both the global financial debacle ("How Tech Killed Finance") and modern warfare ("Military And The Internet").

Many other markers of our time, from the crisis in newspapers to the birth of social media, from the global mourning of Michael Jackson to the pervasiveness of Google ( GOOG - news - people ), clearly owe everything to the revolution of the Internet.

The most exciting part of this phenomenon is that it is just starting. ...

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