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Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 35: Michael Karlberg

June 4, 2019, in Audio > Podcasts, by

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I’m sitting in a cabin in the woods with Michael Karlberg, as we take part in a Baha’i-inspired retreat for youth in White Salmon, Washington called Windstock. Michael is a professor of Communication Studies at Western Washington University, and he’s the author of ‘Beyond a Culture of Contest’, a book I often reference in my podcast. He tells me how he used to make acoustic guitars and how he became a Baha’i, and we talk about the power of media and how we need to rethink some of the fundamental assumptions we have about the world and how it’s moving forward. We discuss nonviolent social change through constructive and peaceful resilience, and the challenges of taking collective action. Michael shares how the Baha’i Faith is a radical movement which addresses change on both the individual and social level, and he explains the ways in which the Baha’is are working towards this. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!

To find out more about Michael Karlberg and some of the things we covered in this podcast, check out the following links:

You can find all of our episodes here on the Baha’i Blogcast page, and be sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Baha’i Blogcast for more upcoming episodes on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Soundcloud.

Thanks for listening!

-Rainn Wilson

Posted by

Naysan Naraqi

Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.
Naysan Naraqi

Discussion 4 Comments

Wow! Thanks, fellows, for a very resonant podcast. Rainn, I will share the concept of your son’s JY group service project, “unplugged evenings” with one of my private students, a Hungarian journalist & mother of five who gives talks about “digital parenting”, full of insights on sensible management of kids’ use of social media. And on a similar theme, an eccentric but good-hearted expat friend of mine here has self-published a book on Amazon KDP, The Curse of the Screen Beast, to do with the deleterious effects of screen use on the development of the power of imagination, FWIW.

Michael, I can tell that your book, Beyond the Culture of Contest, often referred to in these podcasts, will provide some useful insights that can be brought in to meaningful conversations arising from our small Baha’i community’s proposed use of English Corner materials–a program I’m told was developed by Baha’is in Canada to help non-native speakers of English practice the language, while nudging the discussion towards spiritual principles, with a focus of community building. The words expressed here about the importance of overcoming complacency and becoming agents for constructive social change will also dovetail with this process and may give me the opportunity to recommend this podcast to our participants.

And Michael, that quote of Baha’u’llah’s that you mentioned at the end, containing the phrase “…beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body”, brought me right back to the book that started my spiritual journey in my early twenties and later led me to the Baha’i Revelation: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man. As I recall, this Jesuit paleontologist’s theory about the next step for humankind advanced in that book was that the human species is now on the verge of an evolutionary quantum leap on the order of that from single-celled organisms to multi-celled ones. In our case, we’re heading towards a glorious spiritual civilization constituting a super organism whose individual members are united by God’s love, communicating via a planetary “noosphere” (thought sphere), the infrastructure of which we now know as the internet–the first step towards which was taken with the first telegraph message, sent the very same day in 1844 as the initial declaration of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, the Divine Educator of humankind, Who is now making possible the essential transformation of our hearts and minds and also of our social structures at this pivotal turning point in the long-foretold coming of age of our unique species.

Though I at first intended only to post a line about how personally meaningful this podcast was, all of the above spilled out. I share this in the spirit of engaged participation in this globe-encircling conversation that Baha’i Blogcast is so good at fostering. Keep these excellent podcasts coming!

Keith J. Taylor

Keith J. Taylor (June 6, 2019 at 8:33 PM)

Thanks so much for sharing Keith! It’s great to hear how these podcasts have touched everyone! 🙂

Naysan Naraqi

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2019 at 4:29 AM)

Love these! Please keep them coming.


Aaron (June 6, 2019 at 11:12 PM)

Wow. I was studying Communications back in the late 1990s and I remember quoting a certain Michael Karlberg in my essays for my Communications classes. I was so impressed that a man would write about the equality of men and women and promote the responsibility of men in reaching that equality. Could that be you? If so, I had no idea you were a Baha’i! How amazing. I should have some floppy discs lying around with my essays on them quoting you. 🙂

Lorraine Manifold

Lorraine Manifold (June 6, 2019 at 11:49 AM)

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