Peter Khan (on idealism vs. lethargy)

“We, today, face…the test of overcoming apathy and lethargy, the test that those around us increasingly lack zeal and idealism and a passion for changing the world. Society around us has lost its vision….Heroes and heroines…have become discredited….They have been found to have feet of clay. There are no heroes. There are no heroines….It is a matter of making it through day by day, being concerned only for one’s self because no one else is interested in us. You survive or not. It is a hard, cruel world out there.

“That is not the Bahá’í way. We are people committed to the creation of a new society. We are summoned to heroism…to sacrifice…to idealism and to altruism….We are people who love and are concerned about generations yet unborn and we are prepared to dedicate our lives that those generations to come…may have a better life; may have a life of peace and unity and harmony and the possibility for the full development of their potential.

“This is the idealism to which we are summoned as Bahá’ís. We need to overcome the apathy and lethargy of society and stand apart as people dedicated to the creation of a new world.”

Peter Khan (1936-2011) was a professor of electrical engineering who became best known for his service to several sorts of Bahá’í community institutions in the U.S.A. and Australia, as well as membership on the worldwide community’s elected international council. This is an excerpt from a talk he gave in 1995 in Chicago. What a mind! His spoken delivery was very deliberate and dry, not dazzling at all unless you listened to what he was saying.

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