Saturday, February 23, 2019

p01 Investigation of Reality; Tablet of the Hague

One of my favourite statements of the principle of search for truth is this, which Abdu'l-Baha wrote to the post-Great War peace conference at The Hague.

"Among these teachings was the independent investigation of reality so that the world of humanity may be saved from the darkness of imitation and attain to the truth; may tear off and cast away this ragged and outgrown garment of a thousand years ago and may put on the robe woven in the utmost purity and holiness in the loom of reality. As reality is one and cannot admit of multiplicity, therefore different opinions must ultimately become fused into one." (SWA 298; Hague 2 of 14)

Why do I like it so much? For one thing, He uses the word "investigation" here, rather than search, indicating that this principle involves a lifelong devotion. Investigation is a search that never ends, never ceases to advance, more like what a detective or prosecutor does than, say, a casual glance or a single session in the library or at a search engine.

Most crucially, this phrasing of the principle avoids the casual and insidious presupposition that humans are permanently mired in the mud of dissension. Never having encountered the power of faith and true religion, most think that we will always be irreconcilably mired in multiple, contradictory opinions, and there is nothing we can do about it. 


If there is such a thing as truth, we must believe that it is far stronger than human weakness and ignorance, great as they admittedly often are. If we hold true to the universal duty to investigate reality, separately and together, with all due rigour and persistence, the entire spectrum of diverse viewpoints can instantly be fused into one. Just as a prism can divide the spectrum of light, it can unite multicoloured light passing through it just as well. If we live up to the investigation that God created us to undertake, everone of all backgrounds can unite in one, divine enlightenment.