AI And The Dangers Of Liberal Thinking With President
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
File Size: 20.87MB
Bismillah R Rahman Rahim on behalf of the board of trustees, the faculty, staff and students at zaytuna College. I'd like to welcome all of you to the commencement ceremony of our graduating class of 2023, which has now begun, so please be seated
the steam faculty,
our board, proud parents and our remarkable students, graduates now of zaytuna College's 10th commencement commencement ceremony.
I'm humbled to stand before you today amidst the captivating beauty
of our campus, adorned with its gardens and trees. As we celebrate the combination of your educational journey,
in the essence of a tuna, the Arabic word for all of we find a profound metaphor that encapsulates the purpose of our noble institution. Just as the olive tree serves as a symbol of resilience, enlightenment and sustenance. zaytuna College seeks to restore the centrality of knowledge in the Islamic tradition, while embracing the cultural current shaping our modern world.
As we embark upon this momentous occasion, let us turn to the Quran where Allah subhana wa Tada says,
Allah is the Light of the heavens in the earth. The example of his light is out of a niche in which there is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass, the glass looks like a brilliant star. It's lit by oil of a blessed tree, the oil which is neither Eastern nor Western. In this verse, we discover a rich tapestry of symbolism. The niche represents the human soul, while the lamp signifies the divine knowledge that resides within it. The glass like a shining, brilliant star reflects the human intellect, a vessel ready to receive and radiate wisdom. And within this lamp burning bright is the oil derived from the blessed olive tree, an emblem of knowledge, truth and guidance.
So that concludes the speech that was created by chat GPT.
So I was telling one of our staff yesterday that we had a long board meeting yesterday, which some people think is spelled br Ed,
but it's actually not.
And I was really exhausted. I said, I've got I've got to write some words. Oh, she said, Oh, chat GP to do that for you. So I said, Really? She said, Yeah, I'll send it to you. So she sent me three different speeches. They were all reasonably good, which deeply troubled me. And I'm wondering how many college presidents today are giving chat GPT speeches,
Zbigniew Brzezinski who I actually met once.
And asked him if he thought the grand chessboard was still a valid
thesis and he said, Ah, there's more proof for it now than there was when I wrote it. Well, he actually wrote a book in 1967, called between two ages. And in that book, he said the third American Revolution, which the first is obviously begins in 1776. The second is the industrial revolution. But the third he called the tech Tronic revolution, which was the merging of technology, and electricity.
So he said, the third American Revolution highlights the sharp contrast between our technical success and our social failure.
And it raises basic questions concerning the control and direction of the thrust of technological innovation. How are choices made? Why are they made? By whom are they made?
What values are involved in these choices? And how can they be crystallized so that a coherent policy can be shaped? These questions increasingly beset all modern societies but given the extensive social scope of contemporary American science and technology, this challenge is especially important in the United States, because it affects and potentially threatens the most intimate aspects of American life. Since it appears true that this society has chosen to emphasize technological change as its chief mode of creative expression, and basis for economic growth. It follows that the society's most imperative task is to define a conceptual framework in which
technological change can be given meaningful
inhumane ends. Unless this is done, there is a real danger that by remaining directionless
the third American Revolution, so pregnant with possibilities for individual creativity and fulfillment can become socially destructive.
So something to think about
I probably could have gotten away with my chat GPT speech, and everything was as okay.
how do we deal with that? Well, part of it is that we, we have to think deeply, we have to think about what technology is doing and where it's taking us. But we have to think deeply and thinking demands effort. In fact, in our tradition, deep thinking is called ich jihad, which is the expenditure of the utmost effort that we have your stay do.
It's also related to you Jahai do, which is jihad, intellectual jihad, we forget about that, that there is an intellectual jihad, to think deeply about things, but also to use our intellect to defend the most important things just as the material the military jihad is to, to defend a state to defend its borders, against invaders. Intellectual jihad is to defend the mind against the invaders of the mind. And they're everywhere today. They're in our homes.
We turn them on daily.
But to think deeply and freely necessitates one mind, one's mind being free of four things. Ego, which we call knifes, ulterior motives, which we call how a delusion, which we call dunya, and malevolent insinuations, which we call che upon. Without freeing one's heart from these four enemies, we don't stand a chance. But I would add to them a fifth enemy
which is related to all four, and
it's necessary for all four to succeed.
What do I mean by a liberal thinking? I mean, the thought which is done without the arts that free one to deliberate, which comes from a beautiful Latin, compound day and liberi to weigh in the balance to weigh in the balance? In other words, to reckon with the outcomes to determine whether a choice is a good one, does it benefit, or does its harm outweigh its benefit? This is called muscle and muscle that's the foundation of our tradition in looking at what is beneficial and what is harmful, because our tradition says, to follow what is beneficial and to avoid what is foreign harmful?
How do what are the sound scales? Why does God say was you know biblical Stassen was takim way with an upright scale, Imam Al Ghazali, in his brilliance, wrote a book of logic called assassin was stuck in
that reason is that scale that God has given us but reason enlightened by revelation norrona, Allah nor Light upon light, the light of reason, when it is illuminated by the light of revelation.
Through sound reason, we can weigh a proposition in the scales of free thought to determine if it's worthy of its pursuit. Then, if necessary, one can through the art of rhetoric, persuade others of the soundness of that course, or of the dangers and the perils.
These five enemies are lurking in one's mind or heart during the deliberation, one loses one's way enhance one's ability to weigh. We have only introduced you to these arts of freedom. You graduates we've there, you've been introduced to them. You're not masters of them, we're not masters of them, we're still studying them.
They're a lifelong study. The subtleties of Language and Literature Through the mastery of grammar become clearer and more distinct, the more one learns the fallacies and fallacies follies of so much human thought, reveals itself through the mastery of dialectic and finally, the beauty of Effective Language skillfully used for the common good.
Shakespeare and his autobiographical character Prospero most of Shakespearean scholars say that Prospero represents him it's his last play The Tempest, he says of the liberal arts and Prospero Prospero, the prime Duke being so reputed in dignity and for the liberal arts without parallel those being all
Oh my study. So if you want to know why Shakespeare is great and still read in so many places, he was a master of the arts. He had his genius, but he was a train genius.
When Caliban the savage in the play, advise us to find out Stefano and drink Hello about overcoming overcoming Prospero. He says to them, remember to first possess his books, for without them he's about a sought.
This is how the same demons achieved the usurpation of power from the Muslims possess their books, especially their book, for without it there, but sots as the great German juris Freya stated, study conceives knowledge, but knowledge gives birth to love, love to likeness, likeness to community, community to strength, strength, to worthiness, worthiness to power and power makes miracles. This is the route to the goal of magical accomplishment, both divine and natural. Well, we have something called Muhammad ohada, which is to look at what the opposite meaning because it gives you an understanding. So if we reverse this neglect of study leaves one in ignorance,
ignorance gives birth to hate.
Hate gives birth to differences, differences to social fragmentation, social fragmentation to powerlessness and powerlessness to abject humiliation, and abject humiliation to utter failure.
Our path lies in the pursuit of knowledge, which prophetically was determined to be from the cradle to the grave. Restoration of community remains our most urgent imperative imperative, but we can only form real communities to the extent to which we can communicate, share common ideas and purposes. As one of my teachers stated, where men lack the arts of communication, intelligent discussion must language, where there is no mastery of the medium of exchanging ideas, ideas cease to play a part in human life. When that happens, men are a little better than brutes. They dominate by force and cunning, and they will soon try to dominate each other in the same way. Loss of freedom
follows. Again, to paraphrase him, we are under the illusion today that we have a liberal society but it is a false liberalism that confuses authority with tyranny that arises when people assume that everything is simply a matter of opinion, that doctrine, that doctrine that everything is simply a matter of opinion is suicidal, it will result in the doctrine of might makes right when we free ourselves from Reason rather than through it, we surrender to the only other arbiter in human affairs force. He says, the political implications of the liberal arts are not far to seek. If democracy is a society of free man, it must sustain and extend liberal education or perish,
democratic citizens must be able to think for themselves. To do this, they must first be able to think and have a body of ideas to think with.
Shakespeare clearly understood this, and I've repeated this before, but it's worth it. For tyranny to flourish, the population must be deprived of the arts of liberty. In Henry the sixth, Shakespeare writes this speech, and this is
from tyranny. Thou has most traders Lee corrupted the youth of the realm by erecting grammar schools.
And whereas before our forefathers had no other books, but the score and the tally consumerism, thou has caused printing to be used and contrary to the king, his crown and dignity, thou has built a paper mill. In other words, the spread of knowledge, reading and writing look to that man like treason.
We find this in the archetypal tyrant of the Quran, the most repeated story in the Quran. When Allah says First, the halfa Paloma who for Allah O in the home can or Bowman fasciae pain. Dr. Cleary in his often brilliant diction word choice, says thus he made his people flippant.
So I looked up flipping just to I, you always have to look up these words because we learn them very often in context.
a quality that is personified in levity which is lightness. And that's exactly what the Quran says. He made them light. He made them a thief.
He made them flippant. He made them people of entertainment. He took away their gravitas, what gravitas from the Latin waited down
Gravity it weights you down. What did Allah call our species? A Theca. Land, the weighty ones. That's what we are the incent the jinn are the two weighty ones.
Thus he made his people flippant and they went along with that, for they were indeed a dissolute people. Tyrants in the past use armies to control their people. They don't need armies anymore. They have armies of public relations teams, PR firms, propagandists advertisements. One of the reasons the political science hubs looked askance at democracy was according to him, it had the tendency to degenerate into an oligarchy of orators today, it would be sound bites on tick tock,
not tick tock,
sub tick tock is good, tick tock is bad.
I asked the clock how things were going, he said, tick tock.
The only force that can oppose this tendency is the critical capacity of the citizenry. This can only occur if they're liberally educated, but I will say more.
The more educated quote unquote in a system that indoctrinates rather than truly educates, the less they are susceptible to propaganda. This is one of Chomsky is valid points, that the most uneducated people in America tend to be the least susceptible to the propaganda.
You've been introduced into a dying form of education that needs to be revived.
John Kennedy, the former president assassinated
gave a speech in front of the American newspapers Publishers Association.
And he said without debate without criticism, no administration, and no country can succeed and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution, not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply give the public what it wants, but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities to indicate our crisis and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes, even to anger public opinion.
We need to be able to discuss the momentous events and ideas that affect us and our societies with intelligence and forbearance. This is only done in the spirit of philia brotherly love. This is why the first capital of the US was named Philadelphia, which is where our wonderful commencement speaker today is from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, which is now over 10% Muslim.
Our Prophet said none of you truly believes until he or she, he but understood to be he or she loves for his or her fellow man he said brother but all of our commentators say it means brother in humanity
until you love for your brother, what you love for yourself. We need more brotherly love more community, but most importantly, more family. Because that's, that's where it begins. And without that, we have no hope. So leaves a tuna
when you're in your bodies, but not in your hearts be people of decorum. Be people of dignity be people that carry themselves comportment to carry yourself with dignity. At Corona, Benny Adam, we have ennobled the Children of Adam be noble people. Don't be flippant people don't be glib people. Don't be people that go to the easy choices. Think deeply about the things that confront you be able to say I don't know.
But most importantly, make your Prophet sallallahu so proud of you on the Day of Judgment.
Because he said I want to be proud on the day of June in the MOBA him become I want I'm going to be proud of my community on the debt be amongst those people that he's proud of because there are people that he calls them to his hold and the angels say no, they changed after you Sanwa
Don't be amongst those people be people that our Prophet is proud of. And in conclusion, two things from the Quran that I want to remind you of and then we have
the first is this dunya is tribulation. Imam Al Junaid who you all know now who he was if you didn't before you came here. He said a dunya Dotto. Hahnemann Well, I meant well, Bella and will fitna This is an abode of stress of tribulation of strife.
and he said, if you understand that you will be grateful.
And you will be patient. If you lose that understanding, you will get frustrated with this world because it's a frustrating place for the people that don't have that knowledge. So I'm hasip to them. And Ted Horrell Jana
What am i t co Metro Larina Holloman public home must set home all bets are Ouattara was zero had to pull Rasulullah Lilina Avenue Maha Mehta Nasir Allah, Allah in a Nasir Allah Karim.
Or thank you that you will enter paradise while such trials will not come to you as they came to those who were before you. They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until even the messenger and those who believe with him said, When will the help of God come? Yes, certainly the help of God is near. So it's always going to be near so just remember that and the second one? Yeah, you have Liliana and who? Kunal Allah Amina Budapesti shahada, Allah, Allah, he went, Oh Allah and fusi come our body, then what a carabin
standout firmly for justice as witnesses. But never forget the Justice must always be tempered by mercy and our Prophet was a merciful prophet before he was adjust Prophet. Allah did not say well, my son Naka, Allah other than our Adela Tyndall Alameen he could have. He was sent first and foremost as a mercy but we need justice and we're in a world often defined by injustice, so be people who are just to the point where they're willing to testify against themselves. Does UC Santa Monica