Listening to Professor Mary-Jane Rubenstein reflecting on the work of Martin Heidegger and the question of his membership in the Nazi party that he never public spoke, I was taken by the recognition of the corruptibility that is human. It seems that Heidegger did believe that his role in support of the Nazi Party was something regretful, yet the best scholars of his work are confounded that, in this matter, his life did not reflect his own philosophical work. For Professor Rubenstein, it seemed that Heidegger become lost in his own ‘wonderment’ and was unable, as he himself proposed, to move between what is (culture as it occurs) and something imaginary that is possible.
And yet, I find myself recognizing that here we all stand in a corruption of what we think. By thinking I mean all those conclusions we make from our arguments and investigations, and all those things we say we believe as distinct from our true belief that shows up as what we do.
In that recognition of our incorruptibility of belief, I find myself acknowledging that the place I believe in Baha’u’llah, is a conviction of His incorruptibility. In Baha’u’llah’s life, I can perceive no inconsistency with his writings and actions, even though he sets a high moral bar and was under sever threat for the latter 40 years of His life. Of course, it might not be true that He was incorruptible and that some might object to that conclusion. Yet how would we approach such a conversation? The problems lies in that, all we others being corruptible, have no claim to the authority, the incorruptibility, to be able to evaluate incorruptibility.
Indeed, I find that there is only one possible approach to the conversation around the question whether Baha’u’llah, His life or His teachings are corrupted, and that is through the corruptibility of our own lives. And straight away, a key teaching of Baha’u’llah as found in the Hidden Words, that goes to the heart of all our conversations, is clarified,
“O Son of Man! Transgress not thy limits, nor claim that which beseemeth thee not. Prostrate thyself before the countenance of thy God, the Lord of might and power.”
“O Son of Being! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.”
Shortly after these words, Baha’u’llah cautions
“O Son of Being! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.”
Perhaps there is a form of conversation that has us talking from our own failures and limitations, as an account, a restoration of our accountability around those failing, and as an access to talking into the teachings of Baha’u’llah. It might be that not all things that Baha’u’llah taught are comprehensible, either to their correctness, necessity or implications, yet, as we resolve our own accountabilities, maybe a simple openness occurs that allows for some possibility that we will comprehend some truth. And yet we can still stand between how we perceive the world and that possibility of some other truth that Baha’u’llah is creating, without relinquishing any cherished point of view. That space ‘in between’ is a space for further conversation, and further conversation. In that to and fro, that play of ‘then something else might also be possible’ some unknown outcome, realization, being, might be released. Even as Baha’u’llah also evokes, ““Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.” Such freedom can occur through the open conversation in which some aspect of our own inherent incorruptible nature reveals itself.
As Baha’u’llah asks us implore, ”Let Thine everlasting melodies breathe tranquillity on me, O my Companion, and let the riches of Thine ancient countenance deliver me from all except Thee, O my Master, and let the tidings of the revelation of Thine incorruptible Essence bring me joy, O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!” He might not be asking that this essence is something YET to be gifted by some external hidden God but that IS ALREADY gifted to us all, giving Him to direct, “Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.