A metaphor to describe the Bahá'í Fund

Imagine a society quite like our own: there is a city, a power plant, and thousands of homes and buildings. The trick is to get the power to the people, since once it is there it can accomplish innumerable helpful tasks.

The utility of electricity allows society to grow and develop. It permits us to discover realities that erstwhile were hidden deep in the bowels of nature. It reveals discoveries and inventions that continue to amaze us with each passing year.

Yet this energy does not appear by itself. The essential properties of electricity were created with the beginning of the universe, when all the rudimentary forces were created. It was then that the potential for the appearance of such a force was brought into being. But for the most part it has lain dormant, until the conditions were just right for its appearance in the heavens above us in the form of lightning.

Men quickly acknowledged the transformative power of this force, and set about learning how to harness it. It was at about this time that a brilliant architect stepped forth, who devised plans and set forth projects providing a means whereby this energy could be channeled and put to use by the people.

But the people were completely in control of the material resources. The architect and his fellow supporters were only a meager band, scorned and misunderstood. The people-who had never witnessed the power of electricity, except for some flashing lights-laughed at the idea that machines could be devised that operated without the need for human intervention.

Ultimately, however, the architect won the support of a small band of followers, who were open enough to give his ideas a chance. Through the aid of demonstration and example, they came to realize what a tremendous potential this idea portended for the city at large. And so they set about trying to communicate these ideas to others in a fashion that was compatible with the ways and understanding of the people.

Gradually there arose a significant enough number of individuals to champion the architect’s cause. Of course it was still very minor in comparison to the city’s population, but it was enough for the architect’s “disciples” to take heart.

In the meantime, the architect had already begun producing electricity and refining the plant. He had started this project even before there were any supporters, because he knew the day would come when the entire city would want the benefit of electric power, and that the plant would have to be capable enough on that day-or else what was the benefit? So in order to achieve this, development work had begun right away. It would still be several years before the plant would be able to output energy in sufficient amounts.

And so he began, putting faith in his disciples to accomplish what they had to by the time the plant would be ready.

As more and more people joined the “faith” of this architect (as they called it), they discovered that he knew much more than just how to make generators: he also knew how to design a cabling system that would canalize this potent energy into every part of the city. Yet to make real his design, a great quantity of copper was needed in order to build the cables.

Coincidentally enough, the coinage of this particular country was made of copper. Copper coins-just the substance the architect needed to fulfill his designs-were to be found everywhere, in the hands and pockets of the people.

Now in the interim-because a great deal of time had passed-the original architect passed away, but had left plans suitable enough for a committee to follow them. It then elected sub-committees, and further sub-committees, and so on, until there was enough infrastructure for the “Company of the Faithful” to ensure that the work would go on.

This Company discovered that everything necessary had been planned out in advance by the Architect (they now capitalized His name out of respect, including all pronouns referring to Him). All they needed was the copper.

As it became necessary, they grew the number of committees and territories to include the ever-growing numbers of the faithful. Yet it finally all boiled down to a question of copper: without it, despite the best of intentions, who would lay the cables that would fulfill the final objectives of His Grand Design? This simple metal would make possible the groundwork that He foretold would precede the coming of the Most Great Society-a society wherein every person would use electricity to accomplish his task, and no one would be forced to toil in the fields any longer like beasts of burden. All that was needed was copper; that and the ongoing endeavors of the faithful to educate more and more people about the Plan.

Campaigns were begun, and literature was produced by the thousands. It seemed that the growing body of followers needed only a push-yet they seemed somehow resentful of the constant reminders. “Why keep telling us about the need for copper?” they said. “Isn’t copper just a plain, material thing? Too many people are already interested in copper. After all, energy is the main thing. That’s what it’s all about.”

And, “yes, that is what it’s all about,” the Company would say, “but how can we offer this Most Precious Elixir if there doesn’t exist a means to transport it? Immaterial things require material vehicles. One cannot carry water in his hands; it requires a vessel.”

And they responded, “Yes, yes, we understand you. Forgive us. Here is more copper. Now please leave us to meditate further on this Most Wonderful Capacity. It is truly quite amazing! Think of all the things we can do!”

It wasn’t difficult to get people excited about the as-yet-unrealized potentialities lying hidden, latent in the force of electricity. It was more a question of how the Company was to fulfill the original dream of the Architect: that of bringing unlimited quantities of energy to every part of the globe.

Without copper-which was now being called the “life-blood” of the Company’s cause, since without it the work of the Company simply came to a halt-the Architect’s final plans, the most glorious stage of His design, would be difficult to bring into fruition. It simply needed more copper.

And so they laid out the cables furiously, these workers for the Company, and some even gave their lives, spending their very last days in the remotest parts of the earth. The Company received enough copper to continue, but it was feeling the pangs of short supply. The arteries had been squeezed tight, and its life-blood was now eking its way through an ever-closing aperture. This, perhaps, is why copper was referred to as a life-blood: because the degree of its availability was directly related to the general availability of the Precious Substance itself, which was the reason why this whole endeavor had begun in the first place.

Yet even the Precious Substance was not the final goal. This was simply a means to make possible the further realization of the potentialities that lay hid in the society. The Creator had created man in order that he might carry forward “an ever-advancing civilization”. This civilization had attained a certain degree of development in its last six thousand years, but now was the time for a quantum leap: a leap that would change the course of mankind forever. And the ultimate goal of that change was a thing requiring the deepest contemplation. It deals with the very purpose of life-the story behind the story-and that, unfortunately, must be told another day. But to continue: the pioneers, as they were called, had extended the Company’s network around the entire planet: even if this meant only a single wire stretched all the way from the seat of the Company (in Israel, of all places), to the furthermost reaches of the Antipodes. The pioneers sent back word saying that the people were ready for more, and were poised to put this awesome force to greater use, but that they needed more copper to do so. Those wires took a lot of copper, after all.

So now it comes to today. Those things that the Architect foresaw a hundred years ago are becoming manifest before our very eyes. The Company is poised to make a critical move that will usher in the New Society-one freed from all the hindrances of the past. This society will base its very functioning on that Essential Force, and will discover to a greater extent the reason why all these things were brought into being. It seems dream-like, but somehow this new future promises to bring to us an end to war, the equality of peoples, and the coming together of all the other Companies in the world, who in their time had introduced technologies just as revolutionary and useful, and just as hard to establish in the hearts of men.

It only rests on us to offer the bricks that will build this building- the copper that will thicken those cables until they carry the torrents of spiritual energy required to fulfill His Great Design. What it will look like in that distant future we can only dimly foresee, but what it has done for us so far is enough to instill anyone with hope.

Millions of feet to lay, and the smelter is running low… And now a budget in the U.S. of $27 million units in 1997 alone! Amazing! But what an effect it will produce if we can muster the will to see it happen…