The vision of development as a concept. Development as a concept.

Vision is the faculty of sight, having an intelligent foresight, the manner in which one sees or conceives something, a mental image produced by imagination, a mystical experience. These are some of the current definition given.

Development can be a significant event or change, is used in music to elaborate a theme with rhythmic and harmonic variations, where exploration takes place. Photographs are still being developed. There is the notion that you start from something simple (the idea of flying) which develops into something more complex and a first product (a plane). Human beings develop all kinds of things, on our own and with others, such as learning strategies. From examples, it is clear that development implies in the process, observation (how to birds fly), planning, building, experimentation, producing, exchange, collecting and evaluating of information and often selling and marketing.

How do we as humans develop? What is the vision of development for humanity as a whole?

Development is closely linked to learning and a culture of learning is well established throughout the world and encouraged by all kinds of institutions and programmes. It is just a fundamental aspect of live as we know it, linked to growth. Fascinating is the realization that while individuals, plants, in fact all living organisms have a life cycle, societies and civilizations develop and advance on a macro level that seems to continue. A plant that grows cannot learn from other plants, a human being that grows can learn from the world inside and outside, but will inevitably die. But he/she has the capacity to retain what has been learned, develop theories, strategies and tools that may be used by others, to build on his/her experience. This is fascinating!

I’ve come across the concept of an integrated approach to development that explains nicely how things are interrelated.

…I think it might be easy to sometimes think of the different aspects of societal life, be they education, health, or anything else, as being somewhat independent of one another when they’re actually not. If the goal of development is to bring prosperity to mankind, it’s important to look at prosperity holistically. In the very basic way that I see it, education, for example, helps provide knowledge regarding how to stay healthy, and being healthy provides a better opportunity to receive an education. Likewise, when people are both healthy and educated, they are better suited and able to be active participants in their society, and so on. These are, I admit, very obvious statements, but the idea of integration, from what I understand, moves beyond this simple physical or material synthesis; while these aspects must be working together, there are other factors that must be considered as well.

If we are concerned about human development, we need to have views about the concept of human nature.

In many of the papers, there were paragraphs and even entire sections dedicated to the concept of human nature. The documents seemed to be explaining that if we are concerned with the well-being of people, then it’s essential that we look at the fundamental truths that create the foundation of who we are as human beings. Many Baha’i documents challenge the common assumptions about human nature that are underpinning ideas of ‘progress’ or ‘civilization’. These assumptions often focus on our physical needs and ambitions, suggesting that the most essential aspect of our being is a material one. The documents suggest that this viewpoint is, in actuality, nothing more than a distortion of what it means to be human. It ignores some of the other basic attributes that we exhibit every day. For example, economics tells us that people are driven by self-interest, but then what are we to make of sacrifice, or an orientation towards service for the common good? Some might say that any act of sacrifice or service stems from selfish desire, but I think that this kind of thinking is only evidence of a one-dimensional view of the individual. People are, after all, complex, and saying that every individual is guided solely by this one basic principle of self-interest is likely missing a bigger picture. A largely ignored part of this bigger picture most certainly includes the spiritual dimension of human beings.

If we really want to try to improve lives, I think it only makes sense that we examine the full spectrum of what it is that brings fulfillment to people. I’m not sure anyone can deny that spirituality has in the past, and even in today’s more secular climate, continues to play an integral role in individual and community life. It then follows that we start including a spiritual dimension in our developmental outlook and goals; I think that this will allow for a more complete diagnosis and solution to so many of the questions we face today.

These passages were found here:


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