Mind & Development: Bahá’í-Inspired Reflections on Mind and the Harvests of Human Thought

Jun 11, 2017
Mind & Development: Bahá’í-Inspired Reflections on Mind and the Harvests of Human Thought

The Bahá’í writings suggest that the human mind is the most sensitive signal detection system in the natural world. Its capacity to read reality and to discover its many mysteries is the source of human power and freedom. Yet, because the mind is also a “sign of God, a heavenly gem,” it is forever incapable of cracking the mystery of its own self. According to the Bahá’í Faith, the role of science and religion is to endow the mind with the capacity to recognize its powers and limitations and to enable minds that learn to work together to harvest the finest fruits of existence. In this webinar we will explore these themes.

View/Download Dr. Penn’s Response to a Question on Human Consciousness (PDF)

“Oedipus Revisited” (2001) World Order 32, pp. 11-18

“Mind Medicine and Metaphysics: Reflections on the Reclamation of the Human Spirit” (2003) American Journal of Psychotherapy 57,  pp. 18-31

“Human Nature and Mental Health: A Bahai-inspired Perspective” (2015) The Journal of Baha’i Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1/2, pp. 25-50

The Protection and Development of the Human Spirit: An Expanded Focus for Human Rights Discourse (2010) Human Rights Quarterly, Volume 32, Number 3, pp. 665-688)



Michael L. Penn

Dr. Michael Penn is Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College and is trained in the fields of clinical and experimental psychopathology. His research interests and publications explore trauma related disorders, the application of psychological research & theory to human rights, the interpenetration of psychology and philosophy, and the relationship between culture and mental health. Professor Penn is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has lived and lectured widely around the world.  For more than a decade, he served the UN Leader’s Programme, which trains Director-level United Nations officers in a variety of countries. He has also supported the Federal University of Brazil’s program for peace studies, has been a consultant on the advancement of women for Great Britain’s Secretariat for the Commonwealth of Nations, and has assisted with the government of Greenland’s initiative to reduce gender-based violence. In addition to numerous academic papers and chapters, he is the author, co-author, or co-editor of four books, including: Our Common Humanity: Reflections on the Reclamation of the Human Spirit, (2021); Overcoming Violence against Women and Girls: The International Campaign to Eradicate a Worldwide Problem (2003); Moral Trauma: An Analysis of Akrasia and Mental Health (2016); and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Dignity (2020). From 1998-2000 Professor Penn lived in Switzerland where he helped to design the UN-funded, “Education for Peace Project” that assisted the children of Bosnia-Herzegovina to overcome the effects of genocide. In 2004 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Administration by Governor Edward Rendell. Professor Penn was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1986, is a former Ford Foundation/National Academy of Sciences Fellow, a former Aspen Institute Wye Faculty Forum Fellow, is the recipient of several honors for teaching and community service, and was honored with the John Russwurm Award for Scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania.

Up Next...