Sunday, January 29, 2012

Greetings from the Dead - Garden of Stones Part 2

Greetings from the Dead
Come to rest with us, my love and friend,
Discard the world and all its baubles,
Lay your weary head and rest by us
From all your toil and
Worldly troubles.

Beneath the grass and the Jasmine trees,
Marked by stone and marble heads,
Mask the beauty and the reason
That most men learn
When they are dead.

By Predicting Human Behaviourial Trends, 
You Yourself Become Part of the Experiment
I am curious why people can be so dead certain (excuse the pun), especially when they are not dead but very much alive. Mankind, who have zero control over what happens to themselves one second from the next, are awfully keen to commit themselves on ideologies and philosophies. They like to forecast public trends and societal changes based upon their knowledge. Such people would lead us to believe that they are objective. That somehow their knowledge and their academic (or political) pedigree somehow insulates them from their grand experimentation in behavourial human sciences. But this is what I believe - when it comes to predicting what mankind will or will not do, no one can be an objective bystander. By predicting human behaviourial trends, you yourself become part of the experiment. This is true whether you are a capitalist, a monetarist, a Keynesian, a communist, a socialist or any other -ist there is (oh, excuse the pun again).

I think religion, in its most pure form does not dabble in such fiction. For religion is essentially about the development and transformation of the individual. It is from the betterment of our own selves that we may have a positive impact on society. And really, it does not matter if we don't have such a wide effect, because for God, He is already very happy that you are feeling better about yourself. Such simple gratification is not enough for those who are earnest in changing the world.

An Old Sufi Tale
Once upon a time, a grand old Sufi master was dying. He called his followers to inform them that he is appointing a very young mureed to succeed him when he passes away. There was great disquiet especially among the elders, of which two were especially doubtful of his decision. He called upon the two men to attend to him. To both he posed the same question, "There is great unrest among our people, and religious duties are being neglected. What do you propose to do about it?" To which both of them replied that efforts must be made to educate the public, and enforce the laws on religious observance. Then he called his successor to come, and the young lad sat next to the old master. "Now, laddie." said the master. "The people are troubled, and they are not being good Muslims. What will you do about it?" The lad replied, "I will do nothing." The master then keenly gazed at the two rebels and said, "See? This is why he will be my successor."

And Rumi Said Something Too
And of course, Rumi had to have his own say when he told his disciples, "This world is absolutely fantabulous and peachy-keen perfect. If you find anything wrong, it is because you are looking at it through your tainted mirror."

And Those Malays
So the lesson is simple really. We need to change ourselves first... And last. The Malays have an old saying, "Jaga kubur sendiri." (literally meaning 'Take care of your own grave', but essentially to mean that you must be responsible for your own destiny and do not think yourself so wise as to determine the fate of anyone else. After all, you are not God. Are you?). 

See? Here lie the rebels...
See? Here lie the rebels...
Thus end all their seasons
And experiments in mind and reason,
To be buried with all their logic,
Their sleights of hands
And dabbling in magic.

Have a wonderful day, sunshine. Believe and it will be.

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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