Beauty and Wonder from a philosophical and spiritual point of view

By Iscander Micael Tinto

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #54
Institute of Commonwealth Studies: London, England
July 2–4, 2004
(see list of papers from #54)

    The purpose of this paper is to focus the attention of the reader on the concept of beauty and the implication this has in one's life.

    Contemplating the beauty means coming closer to Bahá'u'lláh, one of His titles being the Blessed Beauty, enhancing in this way the relationship every person has with the Manifestation of God, the source of love and life in this mortal world,

    In the paper we will try to focus on various aspects of beauty as they are found around ourselves, and the implications that they have in our own lives,

    To contemplate the beauty means to meditate, to reflect upon the meaning of life as it unfolds in front of our eyes. Through meditation and reflection great works have been created in the world, works that at times are the source of well being and attraction for many persons.

    In our society the concept of aesthetic beauty is left aside in favour of material concepts, and in fact nature in itself is ill-treated with the consequence this has on the life of humanity in general. Nature, as we well see, is a sign of the love of God, and beauty one of His attributes offered to mankind. Contemplating the beauty means to focus our attention to this attribute which belongs to man too. Means to develop a new kind of loving relationship between every human being.

    The tension arises in the presence of texts that radically undermine the twelver Shi'i position on the Twelfth Imam, which embodied the eschatological expectations that the Báb's message directly addressed. The re-writing of the eschatological drama of the occultation and return of the 12th Imam in Bahá'í texts takes place on three levels, in which both conflict and reconciliation maybe sought: the historical or literal, the hermeneutical or metaphorical, and the kerygmatic or anagogical, in which lies perhaps the key to the puzzle, opening a range of possible and valid interpretive solutions.

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