A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Motivation

Although there are mystical aspects that are not easily explained, the spiritual dimension of human nature can be understood, in practical terms, as the source of qualities that transcend narrow self-interest. Such qualities include love, compassion, forbearance, trustworthiness, courage, humility, co-operation and willingness to sacrifice for the common good—qualities of an enlightened citizenry, able to construct a unified world civilization. The profound and far-reaching changes, the unity and unprecedented cooperation, required to reorient the world toward an environmentally sustainable and just future, will only be possible by touching the human spirit, by appealing to those universal values which alone can empower individuals and peoples to act in accordance with the long- term interests of the planet and humanity as a whole. Once tapped, this powerful and dynamic source of individual and collective motivation will release such a profound and salutary spirit among the peoples of the earth that no power will be able to resist its unifying force.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Apr 01, Sustainable Development Human Spirit)


An educational approach directed towards personal growth and societal transformation, and based on the belief that human beings are essentially spiritual, however, must go well beyond a mere statement of purpose. When words and actions are not directed by a moral force, scientific knowledge and technological know-how conduce as readily to misery as they do to prosperity and happiness. But moral values are not mere constructs of social processes. Rather, they are expressions of the inner forces that operate in the spiritual reality of every human being, and education must concern itself with these forces if it is to tap the roots of motivation and produce meaningful and lasting change.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Jan 02, Position Statement on Education)


Clearly, the set of capacities necessary for building up the social, economic, and moral fabric of society depends upon the resources of both mind and spirit. The civilizing virtues of honesty, duty and loyalty so central to human progress are cultivated by the language of the heart and the voice of conscience. Legal imperatives and penalties, while essential, are limited in their efficacy. To draw upon the spiritual roots of motivation that lie at the heart of human identity and purpose is to tap the one impulse that can ensure genuine social transformation. From the Bahá’í perspective, then, the emergence of public institutions that engender public trust and that are devoid of corruption is intimately bound up with a process of moral and spiritual development. As Bahá’u’lláh confirms: “So long as one’s nature yieldeth unto evil passions, crime and transgression will prevail.”
(Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions)


In order to appreciate this statement let us remember that many people whoso believe in God may be truthful and honest in a normal situation. But the real criterion of a man’s truthfulness and honesty is his attitude at the time of temptation. When severe tests and trials descend upon man, the only thing which keeps him truthful is his faith in God. If he does not believe in God, there is no motivation within him to resist temptation.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 314)


Service to humanity is a primary motivation for those employed by Bahá’í institutions.
(Universal House of Justice, Guidance for Bahá’í Radio, p. 14)


The Bahá’í International Community believes that it is unrealistic to imagine that the vision of the next stage in the advancement of civilization can be formulated without a searching re-examination of the attitudes and assumptions that currently underlie approaches to social and economic development. At the most obvious level, such rethinking will have to address practical matters of policy, resource utilization, planning procedures, implementation methodologies, and organization. As it proceeds, however, fundamental issues will quickly emerge, related to the long-term goals to be pursued, the social structures required, the implications for development of principles of social justice, and the nature and role of knowledge in effecting enduring change. Indeed, such a re-examination will be driven to seek a broad consensus of understanding about human nature itself.
(Introduction, para. 4) We are being shown that, unless the development of society finds a purpose beyond the mere amelioration of material conditions, it will fail of attaining even these goals. That purpose must be sought in spiritual dimensions of life and motivation that transcend a constantly changing economic landscape …
(Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Jul 16, Realization of Economic, Social Cultural Rights)


The Bahá’í approach to development begins from the premise that, in this age, all peoples, to the extent that they are able to consult on their needs in a spirit of unity, can find both the direction and capacity for development within themselves. Given the foregoing grass-roots approach, values and material needs are not artificially separated from one another; education takes on important moral as well as practical implications. Learning the discipline of making decisions is as important as the material benefits that result from such decisions. These are the features that distinguish Bahá’í development initiatives throughout the world: namely, the integration of the moral and the practical, a unity of conception that allows for great flexibility of application and, above all, the ability to arouse and maintain motivation.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 09, Right to Development)


The trials encountered by the Bahá’í community in the decades since 1963 are those necessary ones that refine endeavour and purify motivation so as to render those who would take part worthy of so great a trust.
(Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 110-111)


To continue the disease analogy, the more unpleasant the symptom, the more powerful our motivation to combat the disease.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 08, Eliminating Racism)


We applaud those youth who, in respect of this period, have already engaged in some activity within their national and local communities or in collaboration with their peers in other countries, and call upon them to persevere in their unyielding efforts to acquire spiritual qualities and useful qualifications. For if they do so, the influence of their high- minded motivations will exert itself upon world developments conducive to a productive, progressive and peaceful future.
(The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 37)


We believe that education in the principle of service to humanity will arouse and maintain motivation which, coupled with the acquisition of practical skills and technology, will open as yet unimagined possibilities for development within and among nations.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1989 Feb 09, Right to Development)


Whether as world-view or simple appetite, materialism’s effect is to leach out of human motivation—and even interest—the spiritual impulses that distinguish the rational soul. “For self-love,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has said, “is kneaded into the very clay of man, and it is not possible that, without any hope of a substantial reward, he should neglect his own present material good.” In the absence of conviction about the spiritual nature of reality and the fulfilment it alone offers, it is not surprising to find at the very heart of the current crisis of civilization a cult of individualism that increasingly admits of no restraint and that elevates acquisition and personal advancement to the status of major cultural values. The resulting atomization of society has marked a new stage in the process of disintegration about which the writings of Shoghi Effendi speak so urgently.
(Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 89-90)


Yet, religion is an indispensable source of knowledge and motivation-a wellspring of values, insights, and energy without which social cohesion and collective action are difficult if not impossible to achieve. Through the teachings and moral guidance of religion, great segments of humanity have learned to discipline their baser propensities and to develop qualities that conduce to social order and cultural advancement. Such qualities as trustworthiness, compassion, forbearance, fidelity, generosity, humility, courage, and willingness to sacrifice for the common good have constituted the invisible yet essential foundations of progressive community life. Religion provides the bricks and mortar of society-the ethical precepts and vision that unite people into communities and that give tangible direction and meaning to individual and collective existence.
(Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions)