We can change the world we call our home, if we have the audacity to change the way we think.
We can change the world we call our home, if we have the audacity to change the way we think.
Note: In order to really imbibe and enjoy this discussion one must read or at least have quick glance over the last discussion, now on ward referred as Search I and this being the Search II
In the last discussion we reached some postulates, as we may call these for the ease of undertaking further discussion on the topic, with one aim that we are looking for ways to create harmony peace and tranquility for man to be able to live in a more harmonious and a placid world. We concluded in the last discussion that science is kind of blind without the intuition and is almost going towards a dead end, with all its charisma and glamour it has failed to ensure peace, simply because knowledge without spiritual aspect is like a body without the spirit.
In order to recapitulate, there is a dire need to analyze and evaluate the ways last few centuries saw the development of culture and the resulting cultural values. For the time being we will try to follow a middle-of-the-road approach though candid but try to be impartial in our search as far as possible. One can see a strong impact of the world wide phenomenon, e.g. in the realms of visual arts after the bloody revolutions we can see a clear transition from the realms of realism to the new trends called the abstract art, from the sweet smiles of Mona Lisa to the distorted human images by the modern painters and artists in general, here leaving details to the imagination and experience of the reader with a view to save time and remain oriented to our topic. However we must not over look the stupendous influence of these phenomenons on other fields of human activity such as the poetry, philosophy including the very birth of the field of psychology in this era and all the other activities. The commodious impact of these entire phenomenons and the so called modernization adversely affected the overall human outlook. As a result one of the most serious consequence was a revolutionized and an ultra modern behavior towards religion; the only source for man to be able to keep ardently required element of virtue and the moral values intact. Thus human behavior in general could not remain unaffected by this big era of transformation, metamorphosisaffecting the deeper psychic aspects of man, never so evident ever before, increasing in its dimensions at a monstrous speed. So one can conclude that these aberrations actually started with the world wide transformation, what the historian refer as renaissance. The division of the post and pre-renaissance is also a matter of terminology if one is analyzing the causes of transformation in human behavior, though one will tend to agree, it has been a process going on from the times, man discovered himself as a civilized creature. But one can clearly see that the most adversely effected human asset was the religion, and here we are certainly taking this word in its most liberal and universal meanings, an asset belonging to all mankind, at his complete disposal with full right to imbibe it to one’s intellectual capacities and God gifted faculties. In the latter stages of our discussions, if God be willing, we might undertake the true reality of the religion and different dimensions of these effects with the passage of time on different religious traditions.
To refresh our memories in order to smoothly proceed with our discussion we bring an excerpt from the previous discussion, “Positivism, altogether rejecting all a priori knowledge where sense experience is taken to be the only source of all valid knowledge.”
For the time being taking religion in its pristine connotation as the most valuable spiritual asset for man, must be salvagedat all costs, as in our previous discussions it was concluded that without the spirit not only the knowledge merely based on science is blind but also shuts all the door to all the venues for moral values and virtue in the world we have to live in peace. And this vital most aspect governing human activity, the parameter defining the set of moral value and the definition of virtue can not be left to an individual and not even an institution without some principles agreed upon by all, because if the man goes wrong in deciding what should be the parameters of moral values and the virtue which we all must follow to ensure peace for all mankind, we are heading for the disaster, as pointed out in the last discussion. The prevalent scenario which is not all that bright, in itself is indicative of this exigentnecessity, as well as the fact that man is failing in realization of the dire need for a set of such values. This is why we are searching for ways to ensure that ardently required peace which is only possible if we can find ways to harness all action of man detrimental to the peaceful existence of all other men around, directly or indirectly effected by such action. There is another reality which must not be over looked that we are certainly left with very less time.
Therefore it can be conclusively stated that there is a dire need for a concrete set of moral values and especially the parameters defining the analogue of virtues required by man enabling him to be a healthy member of the society, capable of ensuring equal opportunities for all, to have a more peaceful, harmonious and a placid world, the raison d’ etre of our discussion. We must take our discussion forward, to ensure all our happiness, safety, pleasure and the very survival which is seriously and directly connected to it is not hampered at any stage for any reasons. However this humble endeavor certainly requires inspiration and stimulationin the form of precious comments and candid analysis from my worthy readers to strengthen our case towards a more placid world, a dire need for us all.
Comments from Nusrat
This is only possible if all mankind are sincere in their effort and they all have to try irrespective of who they where they what they are, this needs education and for that again we all will have to try our best so these some of the steps which are a prerequisite for a peaceful world. Another vital aspect is the courage to call a spade a spade, we all man kind have to grow far above a level to except hypocrisy at any cost and say no to corruption and exploitation of weak in all its manifestations.
In order to start a true search for the ways to ensure peace in the world one needs to have a quick glance over the etymology of knowledge, the “Epistemology”, the origin, nature, limits and validity of knowledge. In the Western secular tradition if we trace from Kant, a German philosopher (1724-1804) he turns to an examination of inquiring mind and its essential limitation, he is of the view “as for knowledge, it arises through experience only, except for a priory insight concerning our own rational equipment itself”, and this is the subject in nutshell of the Critique of Pure Reason. Later we note an over ridding influence of Comte, a French professor (1798-1857) the founder of Positivism, altogether rejecting all a priori knowledge where sense experience is taken to be the only source of all valid knowledge. It believes that sense experience alone yields knowledge of all the reality that there is. The real is observable and thus observable alone is the real, giving birth to secularism and skepticism, widely visible in writings of Bertrand Russell; his Skeptical Essays.
Winding up really a vast discussion due to paucity of space, one can conclude that there seems to be no place for spiritual, invisible world behind or beyond the visible one. Unfortunately Western tradition not only separates reason from revelation and intuition, but altogether rejects them as valid sources of knowledge. Secular culture is thus a culture born, as it were, exclusively of the eye, devoid of the vale of an inner perception. It claims to be based on purely objective, value-free knowledge. It recognizes science as the only valid source of the knowledge of things material, and the senses as the gateway of all this knowledge. Science, as we know is concerned with the sensate. But to reduce all reality to the sensate is not truly scientific. Such an attitude should be called scientism; for it makes science the standard of all knowledge and that is a narrow-minded and highly arbitrary view of knowledge. The sooner one can get rid of it better it is for arriving at a true knowledge of the world as an a priori creation of a transcendent power. Aim of generating this discussion is to reach a more realistic view of knowledge which can re-introduce us to the true knowledge with its actual Creator.
Science, doubtlessly, is one of the greatest achievements of the human mind. But it should not be allowed to degenerate into scientism which, by rejecting revelation and intuition as valid sources of knowledge, has rendered man spiritually homeless. A reason east, the Orient was associated with a kind of magical and intuitive culture, coupled with wisdom completely opposite to the west, the Occident. However, rightly so one will find a little different meaning in the modern day dictionaries as is the case with the ground realities having reversed, a phenomenon which plays a major role in the process of development of languages.
The kind of problems we seek to discuss might appear a little remote and getting theoretical due to our getting into analysis of how the very concept of knowledge kept taking different genre with the passage of time. However it is necessary to register a clear decay in every culture which is vitally linked to a certain epistemology which provides it a body of knowledge regarding the universe and man. It is this knowledge that determines man’s attitude towards his own self and the universe as well as his place in the universe in addition to laying down the norms to which his thought and behavior must conform. All beliefs, ideals and values – sacral or secular – are based on the world-view that emanates from the fund of knowledge at the disposal of a community. This amounts to saying that knowledge is the root of culture while culture is the fruit of knowledge. As the knowledge to a society is, so is the culture based on it. The value of a culture is judged by the type of individuals it produces and the type of society it establishes. It is not enough for man to be born and to exist merely in physical sense. He ought to become a human being in the true sense of the term through a cultural birth, by the inculcation of knowledge along with the beliefs, ideals and values that knowledge carries with it. The primary fact about man is that he is not only a social but also a cultural being.
For whatever purposes other creatures might have been brought into being, man has been created primarily to know what is true and good and to order his life accordingly. One cannot choose and attain goodness unless one knows what it is. Knowledge is also power – it is a great cultural force. It controls human ides and actions, paves the way for moral struggle leads to the growth of a strong moral conscience which is the source of all good action. The most important point to be noted here is that the knowledge which makes man a truly good man can not be left to be determined by one’s reason or to depend on his personal likes and dislikes or on his opinions regarding what is beneficial to the society as a whole.
Let’s not forget knowledge, though necessary, is not the sufficient condition of virtue. What ensures the choice of good is not mere knowledge, but knowledge coupled with sound feeling. It is this feeling which provides the motive power needed for voluntary righteous action. In his zeal to provide morality with a purely rational basis, Socrates replaced feeling by intellect. He completely eliminated the role of feeling or heart in volition. He thus demolished the edifice of conventional morality alright, but failed to reconstruct it on an exclusively rational basis to fill in the resultant void. No wonder that he was accused of corrupting the Athenian youth and a cup of poison sealed his fate.
Just as knowledge is a means to attain virtue and to gain power over one’s own self; it is also a tool for gaining power over Nature (afaq) and for harnessing its stupendous forces to the service of man. But the knowledge that leads to self-conquest and that which leads to the conquest of Nature are not the same. There are two kinds of knowledge: the knowledge of what is morally good for man and the knowledge of what is materially useful for him. The former is the prerogative of religion and is obtained through revelation; the latter is the privilege of science, the product of inductive intellect which, in Dr. Iqbal’s view, was made self-conscious by the recurrent appeal of the Qur’an to reason and experience. (Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam-page 101) Since the knowledge of what is materially useful is essential for man as is the knowledge of what is morally good, he needs both science and religion for steering him through life in this world. What he needs is not science unconcerned with religion, but science guided by religious values. Conversely, what he requires is not religion without science and philosophy, but religion given intellectual content, wherever possible, by science as well as philosophy, without doing violence to its spiritual content. Western science tends to be positivistic and atheistic. It is also claimed to be value-free. All this poses a threat to the continuance of life on earth unless it is tempered with the high ideals and values propounded by religion. Culture does not merely comprise virtue or self-conquest, nor merely power or conquest of Nature; it is rather an organic integration of the two; a happy blending of science and religion. Man is neither mere body nor mere spirit; rather he is an embodied spirit. The knowledge which can adequately answer the needs of this complex of body and spirit has to be the knowledge in which science and religion are completely harmonized.
Today we have just started a search, the first step, might become a giant leap! With the help of God and valued contribution of my august readers we will be able to discern the truth which alone can lead us into a real placid world full of peace and tranquility. Please do enrich this humble endeavor with your precious comments. Must click “Leave a comment” at the bottom right corner, please do send comments on last two posts as well if you could spare some more time for a noble cause which might save us and our coming generations from some catastrophe, with so many already over heads
Reflections of one of my students-Raheel Waqar
Words of Wisdom
Sitting in the Geography class in school, I remember how fascinated I was when we were being taught all about the Dead Sea .
let’s see so many intelligent people, if reading, this join hands in an endeavor to look for ways to ensure a really peaceful world, free of hatred, exploitation, injustice and treachery in all its manifestation, a few to mention. We can do it though it is a challenge, man has no history of any such movement as all such movements too were for some ulterior motive or the other, resulting in colossal bloodshed and gave man no peace. But we believe “Since the time immemorial man is gaining intelligence……..” then why is it so that we are day by day getting closure to disasters in one form or the other, may it be wars, terrorism, dictators in disguise even natural calamities too are on the increase. We are also faced with if global warming on one hand the ozone layer on the other. Why is that nature too seems to be as hostile with every passing year as we ourselves as mankind are slowly heading towards a hostility which can result into catastrophes much greater than even world wars and barbaric incidents like Boer War. Let’s seriously and sincerely ponder over this dilemma, if man is committed can reach the moon why can’t we reach a solution that saves our beloved home we all share, we call world. I would just complete the above dictum to make our job a little easier, “Since the time immemorial man is gaining intelligence but not wisdom”. Hoping to see us all rise to this necessity with wisdom as this is the only path to our salvation.
with best wishes for all those who love peace and are ready to mobilize their minds for a start, any other kinds of mobilization we see all over the world only results in more bloodshed, which is what we are aiming to stop.
Tariq Razi. Islamabad Jul 09, 2011