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Nature of Bahá’í Consultation

Consultation is in essence the synergy of the views expressed by the members of a group of people on a specific topic. In consultation, the members of the group describe their concerns and understanding of the topic under discussion. Through a mysterious process, the shining spark of truth emerges from the clash of opinions until consultation reaches a conclusion.


Baha'i Consultation

The outcome of true consultation may not closely resemble any of the opinions expressed by the members during consultation but rather reflect the strength of all the members.

 

The views expressed by the members can be completely different. This will not adversely affect the outcome of the consultation. On the contrary, it will help the group to discover the truth, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that

“The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.”[1]

 

For this reason, consultation results in a synergy of contributions. Consultation creates unity, cordiality, truth, and co-operation out of people’s differences. It is a spiritual process, as it attracts divine assistance and confirmation if the members follow the correct procedure.


What is Synergy?

Synergy results when the combined effect of a process of integration is greater than the sum of the individual elements. There are thousands of examples of synergy around us. For example, placing the elements of a computer next to each other does not produce anything. The elements should be combined according to a well-defined specification. Then the computer is able to perform useful tasks when electricity is supplied to it the result does not resemble that of the individual elements but rather that of all the elements work together.

 

Another example is a cake. The ingredients of the cake should be added according to good recipe. Adding heat to the mixture produces a tasty cake that is very different from the ingredients used to produce it. Consultation is also the result of a synergy of individuals with different opinions on a particular topic. Combining these opinions without the right conditions and procedures will not produce a useful result; on the contrary, it can cause disunity and conflict. However, when the right procedure is followed and divine assistance is received, then synergy takes place and true consultation will have been achieved.


[1] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, no. 44, p. 8.

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