Playthings of the Ignorant

Have you ever done what I was doing the other night – gone through an old photo album and been horrified at the clothes you were wearing?

What was I thinking? How could pink leg warmers ever have been attractive? Or pastel-toned lycra shell-suits? Not to mention the hairstyles!  What was that windswept Farrah Fawcett look doing on my head? Why didn’t anyone tell me how awful I looked?

The fact is everyone else looked just as awful! We were the dedicated followers of fashion as the song goes.

And what choice did we have? We bought what we bought because it was there – and there was no internet shopping. Now we can surf websites anywhere in the world and get what we want. And yet today, despite the choice, we’re still heavily influenced by those in the know about ‘what’s in’ and ‘what’s out’. I remember being teased at school because I was still wearing flares when everyone else had had their bellbottoms taken in to leg-hugging, spray-on tightness. Then, sure enough, in the late 1980s, flares were back. And then they disappeared. And then re-emerged, only to be replaced last year by skinny jeans, which – just as soon as you’ve laid on the floor and wriggled yourself into them – are out of date and now need to be replaced by turn-ups or some other such fad.

It’s funny isn’t it how we pride ourselves on our freedom of thought and our freedom to choose. And yet every one of us is influenced  by packaging on food, the reviews we read of books, the latest must-have gadget, and yes, the latest style of clothes.

Now I’m not decrying having nice things or making our lives more comfortable. It’s just that, in the Bahá’í teachings, we are told that we shouldn’t make ourselves the ‘playthings of the ignorant’. That’s an interesting phrase. Rather than being manipulated all the time into what others want us to be, Bahá’u’lláh’s advice is to adorn ourselves with good deeds and a praiseworthy character.

After all, when you look at a photo of a loved one from any era, what do you remember? The clothes they were wearing or the cut of their character?  


One Response

  1. I humbly submit that Baha’u’llah’s admonition about not making ourselves a “plaything for the ignorant” has as much, if not more, to do with our view of others as it does our own “look”.

    ///Darrell Rodgers
    Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

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