Channel: Mirza Yawar Baig
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Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala l mursaleen. Why Allah Allah He was happy as my Baba
salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
The topic of the lecture today and I think inshallah, we will do this in tomorrow's, the topic relates to
our present day world, and all the kinds of challenges that we find we are facing in it on a day to day basis, and the tools that we need to have in order to be able to make sense of those challenges and to face those challenges, and that's why I've called the topic when the journey is the destination.
inshallah, at the end of next week, when the football is complete, as usual, the text and the recording will be up on the net, so you can read it in detail shala.
When social change is protracted and long, and it produces a situation that has no closure,
there is apparently no end to it, no classic arrived state, no final shining land of perpetual sunshine, timely rain, green fields, or whatever our imagination tells us is waiting for us. In such a situation, the journey itself acquires enhanced even supremum significance, where there is a clear destination within a specific timeframe, one can afford to ignore the hardships of the journey, remain focused on the destination, and everything else will pale into insignificance. But where as in our situation today, there is apparently no end in sight. Every minute detail of the journey is noticed, has an effect, and produces some result, good or bad in our lives.
Today, we have created a society which is so inward looking and so selfish. so short, instant gratification and so commercially oriented, that we seem to have lost all perspective about our lives. We don't think of the future be it in terms of the environment or the socio politics that we have created for ourselves, even in terms of our own personal development. We only think of what we can do to make money. And this is global. This is not a this is not any longer a Western phenomena. It's now a global phenomenon.
The real meaning of globalization is the globalization of values. It's not globalization of material is the globalization of values, which results in a globalization of culture. That is the
true meaning of globalization. That's something that escapes us we tend to defocus from that.
So no matter
what the method, we are focused only on making money no matter what the activity, no matter what else we have to sacrifice in order to make money. No matter what happens to others. In the process. None of these things occupy our attention. The focus is single mindedly on making money. One of the major illnesses of our time, which is in epidemic proportions, is the unwillingness to exercise the mind to listen to those who don't think like us, and to engage with them in a spirit of inquiry with rational, logical and factual arguments.
We are fast seeing a majority of people whose answer to anything that differs from their pet theories, is either too close the ears shut the ears, or to try to drown the arguments in the cacophony of their own rocker strident bleaching, accusing the other of everything from disloyalty to lack of patriotism to sacrilege, as if in fact, simply shouting will make the inner discomfort of what instigated it in the first place to go away.
What they fail to realize is that the discomfort is a sign that their hearts are still alive. When they start feeling the discomfort, then the equation will close.
They believe that if they shout loud enough and long enough, then over time,
their hearts will die.
This is the truth of what is happening. And then there will be no discomfort because the dead feel no pain.
tabo Mbeki, the scholary, former president of South Africa, in one of his writings, he says, One day I pray that I will find time to write or otherwise address the issue of the kilometers retreat from the habit of thinking in our country. See the see the terminal. He says I one day I pray that I will find the time to write or otherwise address the issue of the kilometers retreat from
The habit of thinking in our country, the atrophy of meaningful critical intellectual engagement, communication and the occupation of the realms of ideas, largely by dearth of originality, superstition, opinion, opinionated prejudice, stereotypes and the herd mentality.
And he wrote this in 2006.
I wish I could say that this was a habit peculiar to South Africans.
It isn't. kilometers retreat from the habit of thinking is a universal phenomena today. It's a universal problem. And it's a very serious problem and all the more so because nobody seems to want to even recognize it, let alone doing something about it.
The visual media corporate control network television has played a very major and powerful role in this process of creating closed minds, constantly focused towards pleasurable gratification. And with the attention span of a monkey. We have an entire generation today, less than 5% of whom read CS books. Less than 15% of whom read newspapers, I'm not talking about scanning headlines, and almost all of whom avidly watch television.
The Spin Doctors and mind benders of television realize this very early and build huge empires based on lies. So today, we eat what the tube tells us we dress the way the tube tells us. We go for holidays to places, which the tube tells us are good. We watch cereals, and we see ourselves in the lives of the actors. If someone were to hook up diagnostic instruments to us, as we watched our favorite cereals, we would have hard evidence of how these fantasies actually affect us physiologically.
You see the power of the carefully crafted image and the attention span of monkeys that we have been indoctrinated with.
It's not for nothing that the price tag of a 32nd spot on Fox TV is in excess of 70,000 $700,000 30 seconds slot on Fox TV costs more than $700,000. Why? Because you are the people who make it primetime glazed eyes, drop Jaws, slashed bodies, with a remote control to your thoughts and emotions in the hands of the producers to switch them on or off at will. That is called primetime.
The tube today can make or break presidents Pope's governments and companies. The tube decides who will who we will consider good and who we will call evil, both without a shred of independent evidence. The tube tells us how to vote, who to elect and who to leave out in the court. And we do it. The tube tells us what to eat and what to drink. And we do it. The tube tells us what to buy the tool tells us what to sell the tube tells us what to believe and what to deny because it is not on television. The tube is illusion. We are real. But we have learned to make the illusion real by living it in our lives.
fashions acted out by others on the screen. While we slouch in our chairs and eat popcorn or time pass pally, believing that it will never touch us. We are told that we are free to choose how we live, we forget that the choice is never free.
We have been conditioned to suspend our thoughts to suspend our judgment, and to believe unquestioningly what we are shown. Strangely we do this though we know all about Film Producing photographic morphing, splicing and all the techniques whereby any fantasy can be made to seem real on the little screen in front of us. We know all of that, but we ignore it.
In order to succeed in reaching this stage, the Spin Doctors made some changes in our minds.
They first convinced us that happiness lies in accumulating possessions. And if we don't have the money to buy things, no problem. They're always credit cards.
But that to possess things is the most important reason we live.
And then they did another change. They told us that it was not only about what we had, it was also about the work it was also about what the next person had. And if you had something that was as good or god forbid older or less stylish and of course they told us what to call stylish.
If we had something which was older and less stylish and less shiny or less smart than what the Joneses in the Biharis and the hands on the bottles had then we were failures.
So it is important not only to have things, but to have things that others can envy, throw out what they have, and go out and acquire what you will then
Have to envy.
So envy became a major virtue.
You have to be someone who others would always envy not because of who you were, not because of your character, not because of your knowledge, not because of your compassion or courage, but because of your possessions because of what you had. And to tell you the truth, they made these two things. One, you are what you have. You are what you wear. You are what you drive. your possessions define you and we believe them. Your car, your bands, your underwear, your handbag, your watch your shoes, your neighborhood, your drink your food, all define you They said, and we believed.
They said that these are all statements of what your worth as a human being is. How else do you explain a handbag that costs $125,000?
Or, more correctly? How more correctly How do you explain the mentally retarded idiots who buy them?
Imagine that what is the the brainpower of somebody who buys and Mac which costs $125,000.
But this is precisely what drives our commercial society and we have agreed to benchmark our worth in this way.
Mission successfully accomplished, the mindset has been changed to worship the God of commerce. The world is not godless as some people believe.
Our God is money.
The major change that happened in the modern world is that we changed from being theocracies, to being commerce driven. That is why atheism is the religion of Europe today, and is fashionable among many who are influenced by Western education.
We are a society that pays its teachers the least and its entertainers the most. We are a society in which someone who dances half naked on the stage, or the screen, or hits a ball across the net, or into a goal or drives a fast car on a track makes more money in one hour than a teacher makes in a lifetime.
Yet we wonder why we find ourselves increasingly in a society that is morally bankrupt, socially irresponsible, and intellectually dead.
I don't mean that nobody is good or wise. I'm talking about the majority of people. As they say, one swallow doesn't make the spring. The majority defines a society through bankruptcy is a full belly and an empty soul somebody said.
But what do you say for a society which has an empty belly and an empty soul?
The writers of Proverbs didn't foresee that situation I believe.
Just ask yourself about modern about the modern television generation. What do they read?
What conversation Do they have except discussing the icons of today? What do they produce of intellectual or moral value? There was a time when ordinary people in Delhi and Lucknow wrote and recited poetry.
Ordinary people, the region of Allah tala wrote poetry
where the hallmark of scholarship of education of being educated was your ability to express yourself in prose and poetry. There was a time when the schoolchildren in England read Tennyson, McCauley and Homer and so did we who went to English speaking schools and former British colonies. But today
what do we read?
Not even aspects comics.
There is a change. Yes.
literacy is two language. What driving is two cars.
In my view, the single most significant event in human development is the evolution of languages.
It was this process that enabled human beings to preserve their thoughts, teach others learn from history, and talk to generations yet unborn.
Language is the elixir of eternal life or as close to it as we are likely to come literacy or to be able to use language. Reading and Writing is the key to this world, which essentially distinguishes and differentiates us from animals. literacy is therefore as fundamental to the human condition and as essential as food, clothing and shelter. And in a manner of speaking even more essential than that.
When adults teach children to read and write, they are transforming their very humanity and empowering their students to access the collective wisdom and learning of the human race. There is no greater service than one human being
can do for another than to teach them to read and write. Societies which are unable or unwilling to teach their children to read and write, are impoverished and bankrupt in the most essential element of wealth, which is knowledge. Without literacy, the only door that opens into the world of the future remains locked. The child stands before it, in mute testimony to the fact that those whose responsibility it was to hand over the keys failed to do so. There is nothing more tragic than that
Rasulullah sallallahu wasallam
set the ransom of some of the capitals of bother as teaching people to read and write.
If they taught some people to read and write, they would be free to go back to Makkah, whereas in the case of others, they had to pay a ransom.
And this was at a time when they needed the money.
When we Salah Salem chose teaching literacy, teaching, reading and writing over money, which they needed very badly.
My brothers and sisters, we have a religion which is based on knowledge, the first word revealed was read. Yet today, collectively, we read the least, right the least have the least number of bookshops and libraries in our countries and cities.
Yet we like to talk about our glorious history, when the libraries of Baghdad were famous all over the world such that when Genghis Khan's Mongols captured Baghdad, and through the books into the Euphrates, the water of the river and black with the ink of the books, we forget that the glory of the history reflects on those who created it, not on those who speak about it, after having lost the connection to it.
more tragic than the one who can't read is the one who won't.
If you were to compare the reading level, the vocabulary and comprehension of the children or city dwellers, you would find you would not find much difference between them and children of villages.
And this is even though economically many of them are wealthy. If you go a little further and try to assess the children of our Indian middle and upper class, on perspective, on understanding of their role in life, on their ability to appreciate prose and poetry, art and culture, knowledge of philosophy, religion and cultures other than their own, and current events, and what they mean, you may be even more surprised.
I wonder if I should even take the bold step of saying that instead of asking the children, you as the parents, you may well be surprised to know that in many cases, they're not even less.
So it's hardly surprising that we are propagating ignorance and creating a generation of rather moronic people.
Try It and Prove me wrong, I'd be delighted.
Quick self test. Ask yourself or ask your child. Which books have you read in the last three months, which you didn't have to read? And buy have to read I mean books which are not part of the school or college curriculum.
Then go a step further and ask,
Can you name five books and there are authors that have had a global impact? And then ask, When do I plan to read them?
And if the answer is I have no time, and forgive me for having asked you. I'm sorry as the wrong person. After all, it is only those who who
are interested in directing the destinies of others who need perspective.
slaves are like sheep. It's for the shepherd to lead them to the pasture, the shearing shed or the abattoir.
It's not for the sheep, who has any say in the matter to decide.
For sheep only follow the sheep who is walking ahead of them. And as always, the choice is ours to make because this our this life is ours to live.
My brothers and sisters entertainment is such a successful industry. Because we have made real life so stressful and so horrible, that people need to forget it at least for a little while in order to be able to cope with it again the next day.
But in that case, if to become forgetful is the objective, then entertainment has to achieve this objective and cannot be anything thoughtful in nature. Consequently, people have little or no time or inclination to think about their lives, where they are taking them what may be other options available to them and so on. People just want to forget their lives. They want to forget the cares their worries, and get themselves lost in a world of make believe.
We live in a cycle of continuous transactional
pressure with interludes of deliberately induced forgetfulness?
What are the intellectual conceptual tools that we need to get out of this morass that we find ourselves in?
I believe that in such a situation, there are two very important cognitive tools that are essential to acquire if one wants to escape the negative stress of and that the environment produces. And if one wants to make sense of what is going on.
And these two tools are one, put the present in perspective and see a pathway ahead. And number two, conceptualize a strategy and a roadmap to implement it.
perspective is the single most important tool that I believe we need to equip ourselves with today. perspective is the ability to hold two pictures simultaneously in your mind, where you are now. And where you want to be.
When where you want to be becomes more important than where you are now.
It fuels ambition, it fuels drive.
Imagine yourself lost in a desert,
a land characterized by similarity, constancy, lack of significant topography.
I was in Namibia earlier this year.
And I went to one of the major game parks there.
And that is a flat plane. It's a it's a completely and totally flat, plain evil. It's like somebody you know, you can you can look at it with a balance and you see absolutely flat. And I thought to myself that if I have to walk in this place, and how would I ever find direction because there is not a single final eventually, one of the one of the photographs I took was off one tree,
there was a place there was one single tree
and had a nice big branch on it. And it was an honor what also there's a lot of sign of leopard, because that's what the leopard sits on that tree
perspective, you need a high spot.
So in essence, in that kind of a situation, if you are lost in a desert in a flat plane like that.
The most common thing that happens to people if they keep walking is that they walk around in circles.
And obviously, they never reach anywhere.
The only way to get out of such a situation is to and the situation is potentially lethal, believe me
is to find a high place, rocky outcrop Lone Tree hillock
and climb on top of that, and then try to see where the way out lies.
This is my description of perspective to be able to hold two pictures in the mind simultaneously.
If you think about this, it is impossible to give anyone directions to reach anywhere unless you know where they are at that point in time.
If someone calls you and says how do we get to your machine? What is the first question you ask them? Where are you? Guys? I have no idea.
I have no clue. I'm somewhere in India.
That's at least the beginning of is not in America is in India. So you know you start from somewhere. So unless he knows where he is, and he can identify that point, or you tell him well, wherever you are, doesn't matter get to this point. And from there, these are the directions. So you are giving him a notional starting point. But if you don't know where you are, it's logically impossible to find direction to where you want to go.
all directions can only be given with reference to a starting point. So to be able to define where we are, and to have clarity about where we want to be is critical. in all situations. The life
perspective helps us to make sense of what is happening in the context of history. Both our own personal history, as well as a broader history of our social group, community, country and world.
Perspective helps us to develop hypotheses and possible outcomes of current trends and practices.
It helps us to prepare mentally as well as materially for possible outcomes. It helps us to take advantage of windows of opportunity. Perspective helps us to prepare for possible dangers, some of which may well be very serious.
Mankind gave up its reliance on Raw instinct. When it found perspective. Today, we are dangerously in a situation where we have already lost our instincts and have no time or the tools to see our lives in perspective.
We are lost but we don't even realize it.
Perspective comes from collect from studying history. Not the stories of kings, but to ask ourselves what we can learn from it for ourselves today.
Sadly, history that is taught in our schools.
is not taught with this objective at all.
We concentrate on events, with little or no focus on what led to that event, or what we can learn from it, which we can apply today.
This must change, we need to study history for its lessons, then we need to define ourselves as we are today in the context of what we read. For example, in Indian history, we have a period roughly from 1000, to 1900, where we were ruled by various invaders, who was small in number, but who by successfully exploiting our internal conflicts, managed to get some of us to work against ourselves. And that gave them the ruling authority and they were the Kings divide and rule was the golden principle. We learnt.
We learned that rule, but didn't learn how to defend ourselves against
proof. Since 1947.
We in India have been independent. But because we don't seem to have learned the lessons of history, we're still being exploited in precisely the same ways, by vested interests within ourselves acting as agents for outsiders, and we continue to pay the price. Surely 950 years is time enough to learn isn't it?
I want to close here today. And inshallah we will leave you with this food for thought.
and invite you to think about perspective and want you to think about your own lives in perspective. Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going?
The Quran has this question, why not? Ah, Boone? Allah does it? Where are you going?
Where do you think you're going?
So those of you interested, I seriously recommend that you sit down and think and ask yourself this question and say, Where am I going?
And then ask yourself one of the questions and that question is, where do I want to go? Do you have a goal? Do you have an objective?
What is that objective?
Ask yourself this question. Ask your children this question. Because that's probably the the most single the most significant question that you will ever ask yourself in your life. Where are you going?
Because one day this life comes to an end, there is no one who lives forever. One day this life comes to an end. We had one of our elders from the city, Gala. Rasul Allah, who passed away recently May Allah subhanaw taala fill his cover with no and malice rantala raises damages in Ghana, he passed away at the age of 92 by the Gregorian calendar in the age of 95, by the hijiri calendar.
And it is reputed that more than 10,000 people accepted Islam at his hands.
He worked in the area of web all his life, never held a single position in the web. Never.
He just did the work.
He's not interested in positions, not interested in titles, not interested in anything he just worked.
And the results are there in his Amal in His Book of Records, which we ask Allah to give in his right hand.
everyone's life ends, mine will end and so videos.
The question is, at the end of that, what did we
achieve? What contribution did we make? And that achievement? And that contribution will depend on what was your goal? What was your perspective in life? I want to close with that today. and invite you to do this exercise. Think about this write about it. Make notes. I'm very dogmatic about writing because writing,
coalescence, thought, writing crystallizes thought writing puts thought into a form which you can reflect on which you can think about otherwise. Sometimes our minds are filled with a lot of fog of sometimes good thoughts, but they don't stay there. They float around and nothing doesn't eventually and you know, comes out as a result. Very important to put it down on paper, write it down or type it on your computer or something but make sure you write it.
What is the question? Where are you going? And what's the next question?
Where do you want to go?
Jazakallah Heron was Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.