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The Concept of God & Western Philosophy

Umer: Having read the concept of God among great philosophers, I'm intrigued to know how Platonic "philo" approached this problem. Did they divorce intellect from reason? Did they too solve the problem through rationalism?

Master Agha: Purpose and design behind the creation of universe and life are missing in Western philosophy. Western philosophy deals with such issues on the basis of speculations and imperfect intellect. While we believe that revelation is essential to understand such questions.

Colonialism Is Pathetic


I find the following points about colonialism (pre-World War 2) as quite accurate salient summary features of this term, more or less; all of which forces me to abhor it from the very core of my inner being, just for its being manifesting a true downfall of human intellect. And as the worst form of human monstrosity and beastliness. Here they are:

1) Colonialism imposed alien and authoritarian regimes on subordinate societies. These regimes tended to train a few of their subjects in bureaucratic management [according to Altaf Ghuar they're called intermediaries] and requires passive acquiescence from the remainder.

2) Although for long periods passive acquiescence was indeed largely attained, as colonialism advanced it also stimulated nationalist agitation and organization and came to be more and more passionately detested, particularly by those among the colonial people who came into closest contact with the European superiors.

3) Some features of the "colonial situation" are: domination of an alien minority, asserting racial and cultural superiority, over a materially inferior native majority; contact between a machine-oriented civilization with Christian origins, a powerful economy, and a rapid rhythm of life and a non-Christian civilization that lacks machines and is marked by a backward economy and a slow rhythm of life; and the imposition of the first civilization upon the second (Balandier 1951, p. 75). ["Political Colonialism: Colonialism", International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol 3 & 4]

Number 3 point is but a sign of the total reign of quantity which is being advanced by the concepts of democracy and gender equality, driving the whole world, as if it was not already passing through the darkest periods of human history, "Kali-Yuga" according to Hindu traditional data, towards utter doom. Moreover, I often lament on the mentality of anti-colonial forces, who "have derived their inspirations and ideas primarily from the teachings of the colonial powers, have for the most part adopted Western forms of organization and action..." [Same source as quoted already.]

What You Lost & Found?

Intellectus

A beautiful poem by a beautiful man (remember in Arabic word "man" does not differentiate between male or female gender, rather it refers to the true human being).

"Intellectus"

Man, so it is said, can never know God;

God alone knows Himself. This is to forget:
God knows Himself also within the sage;
Pure Intellect can measure all enigmas -

From God down to the creature. Yet what It knows

Is a thousand times greater than what It says.
-Frithjof Schoun

Wisdom and Profane Philosophy

Philosophy is an art. This word is quite amusing. The 6th century civilizations, for example, are termed as "Legendary" ones by moderns, whereas the recently discovered archeological data leaves no doubt about its being a true and concrete civilization as the Graeco-Latin or any other is, the former to which the moderns claim their present civilization as nothing but a continuation. Whereas, on the other hand, this term philosophy has retained its name throughout the Western history starting from the time it was first expressed, perhaps by the Pythagorian traditionalists. And more amusingly, even when this term has exerted so much harmful influence on the Western mind and still continues by threatening the intellectual health of East, as well, it plays the same profane role it began to play centuries ago with the emergence of skepticism, a true downfall of intellectus. Having said that, in the following passage Rene Guenon, a Tradtionalist and Perennialist, gives proper treatment to the term philosophy, the origins of "profane philosophy" and of what is associated with both of it.

"[T]he word philosophy can, in itself, be taken in quite a legitimate sense, one which it doubtless bore originally, especially if it be a fact, as is commonly believed, that Pythagoras was the first to make use of the expression. Etymologically it simply means "love of wisdom"; in the first, therefore, it implies the prerequisite disposition for the attainment of wisdom and, by a natural extension, it comes to mean also the quest which is born of this disposition and which will presently lead to knowledge. It therefore denotes a preliminary and preparatory stage, a step, as it were, in the direction of wisdom ore a degree corresponding to a state inferior to that of wisdom; the perversion of meaning which occured later consisted in maistaking this transitional stage for an end in itself and in attempting to substitute phislosophy for wisdom, a process which implied forgetting or failing to recognize the true nature of the latter. It was in this way that what may be described as "profane" philosophy came into existence, an alleged wisdom, that is to say, purely human in character and therefore pertaining merely to the rational order, which became substituted for the genuine supra-rational and non-human traditional wisdom.However, something of this genuine wisdom persisted throughout the whole of antiquity; the proof is to be seen in the continuation of the "mysteries" with their undeniably initiatic character, and also in the fact that the teaching of the philosophers themselves usually possessed both an "exoteric" and an "esoteric" side, the latter providing the possibility of connection with a higher point of view, as we see revealed very clearly, if in certain respects incompletely, some centuries later among the Alexandrians. For "profane" philosophy to be definitely constituted as such it was necessary that exotericism alone should survive and that esotericism should be repudiated altogether; this was precisely what the movement started by the Greeks was to lead to in the modern world; the tendencies which had already found expression among the Greeks were destined to be driven to their logical conclusion and the excessive importance which they had attached to rational thought was to prepare the way for the development of "rationalism", a specifically modern attitude of mind which no longer merely consists in just ignoring everything belonging to the supra-rational order, but deliberately disavows it..."
"The Crisis of the Modern World", Ch # 1,
by René Guénon.

I would profess anyone to read this lengthy paragraph without dividing it, and I tried to present the background of it in the introductory passage of this post. Writings of René Guénon are no way "analysis", but "synthesis" which makes his articles too excellent. And they should be looked and understood as "whole" in order to penetrate their so-called density.

Who is a hypocrite?

One who does not pray. The first step, as Frithjof Schuon says, is discernment between the Absolute and Relative. The Real and Illusion. And that once you discern between both of them, you want to assimilate it. To take on board with yourself. In order to assimilate the Absolute, you must pray. If I do not, I am a hypocrite. (See Schuon's rare video.)

A Thoughtful Sitting

March 11, '09.

Today's experience with a serious and thoughtful sitting, unlike any silly, futile chit-chat between retarded "buddies", forces me to pen down the thoughts I could gather from the participants who were dying to be self-critical. Thoughts so rudimentary, so practical that I wish to keep them somewhere in the backyard of my human memory, and more to share them and spread. Today was a beginning of a new day in my quest of my Self. A quest to find 'meaning' in this otherwise, apparently, haphazard life in which to question the very disorder of it. We have formed a little society, headed by a sociology teacher, who speaks of his own science nothing more than a thin layer of ice over an iceberg! And he is very true. Because the very purpose of this informal sitting group is to penetrate the symbols of life. Thus, owing to this serious aim, the whole base of the group's medium of expression tends to be of metaphysical nature, which is very profound. Here's the problem for us. Metaphysics is the supreme science, as S. H. Nasr says. Therefore, it requires a lot of spiritual preparation to open up our intelligence, in order to know the existence and the nature of reality. Metaphysics never weds itself to clever thinking, it weds to a pure heart and to the intelligence whose functioning is proper and receptive to this supreme science.

This realization has still to dawn upon the imagination of many in our group. However, some took a brave start today and found themselves giving a voice to their own ongoing journeys, sometimes forgotten and in places like these, revisited. And one such voice triumphed in my eyes, no matter how poorly.

"What is life?," when asked the gentleman replies, "I used to ponder on this. And I concluded after observing the ever absence of jinns in the present scheme of this universe. Then I pondered on why humans were created in place of jinns? We know that they were very violent and enmity always prevailed among their communities. And that among jinns there was no peace and love conceivable. God hoped from this man that he would maintain peace among themselves. He would know what angels never knew. That he would love his fellow beings. I don't think there's a hell." He finishes presenting his views on the purpose of life here, although most of the time we were much preoccupied by the very question of purpose's possibility in human life. A view so real and persistent, I can never think why I never thought of it. A strict Muslim may call the last part of the conversion a blasphemy, and he or she may. But the existence of peace and love as a purpose of human beings is as much real to me as I am.

Of Justice

Often tears come down my eyes when I correlate the amount of justice pervailing through the fabric of my society - an Islamic society by name containing many diversities - with the following Prophetic tradition. Prophet of Islam once uttered, and as I quote I weep:
Shall I inform you of a better act than fasting, alms, and prayers? Making peace between one another: enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots.

I shall not hate. I shall love and be just, because "God loves the just (Qur'an 5:42)."

Sufi Guilds vs. Freemasonry

I found this interesting piece of information on the comparison between much heard West's "Freemasonry" and least known Eastern "Sufi Guilds". Here it goes:

"In traditional Islamic society a major institution associated with the bazaar and the production of goods was the guilds (asnaf). Considered to have been founded by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, the guilds combine apprenticeship in various arts and crafts with moral and spiritual teachers, and apprentices receive initiation into a guild once they meet the moral and practical qualifications for acceptance. The Islamic guilds are like the medieval European guild of masons, which was a secret organization with knowledge of both theory and practical techniques that was transmitted orally. In fact, Freemasonry began when the guild of masons became "speculative" and cut off from the practice of masonry and turned into secret organization with particular political and social goals. Although European Freemasonry came into the Islamic world through colonizing powers in the nineteenth century, the Islamic guilds themselves never underwent such a transformation. They remained closely wed to Sufism and the spiritual practices of the Islamic religion. With the advent of modern technology and the introduction of industrialism into many parts of the Islamic world, many of the guilds disappeared, but some survive to this day from Fez to Benares. It is interesting to note that the famous Benares silk has been made and is still made to a large extent by Muslim guilds of weavers and cloth printers. A few decades ago when I visited this holiest of Hindu cities, I was astonished to see the traditional Islamic guild still very much alive; the master of the guild that made the beautiful saris was one of the dignitaries of local branch of the Qadiriyyah order, which is one of the oldest Sufi orders."

"The Vision of Community & Society," Pg # 180-1
-The Hearts of Islam, Seyyed Hossein Nasr,

I am on the hunt to find one, at the least, in Pakistan.

The Choice


THE AMERICAN SPIRIT SPEAKS:
TO the Judge of Right and Wrong

With Whom fulfillment lies

Our purpose and our power belong,

Our faith and sacrifice.


Let Freedom’s land rejoice!



Our ancient bonds are riven;


Once more to us the eternal choice


Of good or ill is given.



Not at a little cost,


Hardly by prayer or tears,



Shall we recover the road we lost


In the drugged and doubting years.



But after the fires and the wrath,


But after searching and pain,


His Mercy opens us a path



To live with ourselves again.



In the Gates of Death rejoice!


We see and hold the good—


Bear witness, Earth, we have made our choice


For Freedom’s brotherhood.




Then praise the Lord Most High


Whose Strength hath saved us whole,


Who bade us choose that the Flesh should die


And not the living Soul!

-Rudyard Kipling

How Hopelessness Creeps In

Mind does what it prioritizes. Our memory tends to flag the prioritized actions, ideals or activities. And therefore works according to them. Sometimes this act of 'prioritizing' can be very unconscious, notes Prof. Ahmed Rafiq. One who is lost in the trap of the space and time, and thinks that the attainment of bodily needs is an end in itself, would always search and run after them. He is bound to lurk after those aims, as anyone who focuses on his or her own fixed priorities. The point of difference, however, is that the former man, with his desires of flesh, luxury, becomes a slave to his own impulses and this terrestrial life.

We later find such a man imprisoned by the forces which require no serious reflection; found to be naturally residing within him. And it is also possible that such a man does not lack the knowledge of religious realities, rather a sound knower of the metacosmic Reality. Even after years of fulfillment, his hunger would not die, instead escalate, as a virus does, because he has let those forces to dominate him. We find his carnal soul dominating his basic, good nature. And, the end result, which he never contemplated, is absolute helplessness and despair. Nothing else but hopelessness, restlessness at heart and despair. His fate now resides in the darkness of an abyss, a world so futile and full of impossibilities he cannot leave.

Covering of Fault

Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury.

-Qur'an (2:263)

Philosophy

Philosophy - in short - is to think.

The Miracle of Loaves and Fishes

A modern-day representation of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Certianly it's food for 5000 and food for thought as well.

Doubt - The Movie

With every brilliant movie watched and heard, a sensation is captured on the film of brain, of unique quality, which later pours down whole of the body, affecting you profoundly. It leaves psychological imprints on you. It affects your behavior. Paradigms. Resulting in conscious or subconscious action, the way it wants you to act.

I would not recommend you Doubt to know about the modernization of Christian tradition but a book called The Destruction of Christian Tradition, which 'accounts of what took place immediately before, during and after the Second Vatican Council'.

But Doubt leaves a pain in your chest. I cannot appreciate how powerful it can be. How deterministic it makes you by doing nothing, and if anything - least. It leaves you unsettled. Haunts you back, forces you to face the reality of doubt. It points at you. Brings you in the limelight, to question the certainty, its availability, its possibility, by just leaving you unanswered. I want to say to it "Get off". But I cannot. It teaches me not to be reactive in my language. Thus, it incites you to philosophize the gap in your understanding of things. It may eventually spark you to commence on an intellectual journey of soul's enlightenment, to dig deep in the nature of reality.

One thing surely happens yo you - as Awais Aftab points out - Doubt leaves you with a doubt(s). And I now vehemently doubt, even more, the certainity of doubt or a series of doubt (one triggering off another) as some fail to, constantly.

What is an Accident?

Was world an accident? What do we mean by this term? What is its logic and nature? Answers to these questions or alike can alter paradigms of mind, in a positive way. How can we differentiate between two events as intentional and accidental? I learned the logic of accident a time ago from a philosopher, logician, psychiatrist, meta physician and a mystic, all in one. Beware, I have weak memory. I rue.

Accidents have three main characteristics which help us differentiate between an accidental event or intentional:

1. It has no sequence. No series of panned events are linked with an accident. It is utterly random.

2. There is no order in an accidental event. Take for instance the example of train crash. If a train gets hit at a targeted point and as a result of which two of its bogeys fall on one side and other two on the other side, we see an order in this event. And that is for two reasons - one, that train strikes at a predestined point and, secondly, it falls apart in an orderly manner. Therefore such a crash cannot be labeled as an accident. In an accident, no order is necessary.

3. There is no one behind an accident. It is unguided, unplanned. It is completely chaotic, precisely.

Was the creation of this world an accident? I leave that matter for you to decide (for me). But there is another plane on which this logic can be applied, that is, of intelligence and technology.

Intelligence exists in its primordial form. Aristotle's intellect bears no differences from mine, although his intellection may be much higher than mine. But as for technology, as it exists today or in the past, it is accidental to the true nature of human beings. The profound intellectual orientations of mind are to observed in each human being. But a car or a machine that can perform complex mathematical purposes or planes that can fly are not as much important to attain the highest purpose form human being as is his or her ability to discern between what is right or wrong for him or her. And this is where man feels a need of revelation. In the words of S. H. Nasr:

"The most profound reason for the need of revelation is the presence of obstacles before the intelligence which prevents its correct functioning, or more directly the fact that although man is made in the 'image of God' and has a theomorphic being he is always in the process of forgetting it. He has in himself the possibility of being God-like but he is always in the state of neglecting this possibility. That is why the cardinal in Islam is forgetfulness. It is negligence (ghaflah) of what we really are. It is a going to sleep and creating world around us, which makes us forget who we really are and what we should be doing in this world. Revelation is there to awaken man from his dream and remind him what it really means to be man." (Ideals and Realities of Islam.)

Causality in Economics

Causality (root word 'cause') determines what cause of an effect (or consequence) is. And in order to make a rational decision, the economist must know the independent variable and the dependent variable, parts of a choice leading to a utility, where dependent variable is a consequence of independent variable.

Another way of viewing causality is finding the existence of causality in a given relation or function of two variables, or parameters. It happens, as we are told, that there may be existent an association between two things/events/choices yet no causality is to be found in the ‘relation’. Word ‘relation’ is important here. Because, here we’re not discussing the matter from the view of classical, philosophical cause-effect theory, rather we are strictly concerned with the mathematical relationship between different variables.

In the following paragraph, I’ll show you two different cases where both variables are associated with each other on the graph. You may notice at the end that intuition works better at the basic level. But the importance of rigorous analysis and empirical research shall also be highlighted by the demonstration of idea.

Consider this case: ‘Sugar’ is a dependent variable. ‘Sugarcane’, on the other hand is an independent variable. There is also a natural (that is to assume quite intuitively) association or relation between these two variables. And sugar is dependent to sugarcane (independent), because we cannot think of sugar, without any sugarcane. Therefore, existence of sugar depends on that of sugarcane. Or in other words, sugarcane is the cause of sugar (effect of sugarcane).

Sugar = f(sugarcane, etc) [Sugar is a function of Sugarcane]

Consider the second case where an association between two things is present with the absence of causality given their mode of function

If I draw a graph and show on x-axis 'number of police constables' recruited in a given period, in which the number of crimes taking place in the city had increased. Crimes data shown on y-axis, while police data shown on x-axis. Meaning by, that crime is a cause of increase in the number of police constables. Police and crime have a relation and association no human being can deny. Yet the idea seems absurd. Because police helps diminish the crime, not vice verse. So intuitively we conclude that although there is an association between the idea of police-crime, there is no causality (that police is a cause of increase in crime) established between them.

Here comes the interesting part of the game. Rigorous mathematical and statistical analysis of these two ideas, so that it could be made ascertain where does valid causality lies. Regression models ar built, in-depth research is carried out, many reports are made to establish the truth. Intuition is just the beginning and in the middle, sometimes it is not the end in itself. Sometimes.

(Warning note: This post had no intention towards public benefit. It was a personal matter. And was addressed to my own self. If you have questions to ask please contact the economist-teacher Mr. N. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University, U.S.A. But if you've answers and something to educate and share, can't you just go ahead and do it, please?)

3rd March. Lahore, Pakistan

3, March. Lahore. Pakistan. The Great Tragedy of Sri Lankan Cricket Team.


A friend of mine observed how sad and gloomy was weather. A chill in it of horror and guilt, of mourning. Everything was shaken. Students' faces. Teachers. Hearts. Walking foots that were stumbling. Tongues constantly stammering. Whole existence of ours, 'stupefied, mortified and petrified'. No less terrified. As if everyone was watching nightmares happen in real life. Nay, we were watching it, everything that happened from my campus not even a complete mile away. How would you feel? Proud of your country? What country? Whom is it about? Who is affected other than a handful number of people, nay artists and beholders? Every bad thing happening, for instance, in the "troubled" areas of Swat cannot be referred to as 'security lapses' when the protectors themselves are being transported out of the normal consciousness to a reign from where no man to our knowledge has returned. Utter death. Eternal freedom. Austere. Ruthless. Coldblooded. All in all.

I pass almost everyday around that gorgeous, nicely built roundabout, flourishing with flowers and fountains of exotic design. I pass form that roundabout to the Readings bookshop to meet with my friends books, and coffee sometimes. 'Are you talking about the same roundabout where our guests were entrapped, where those devils were openly chasing them and hunting them down in a 360 degree open space?' Yes, but with a heavy heart.

After all of this event had happened, well recorded by media, I could not even take the pain of sitting before the Television. Without Television, I felt nothing could be imagined. That everything would be as dark as black holes, who ain't black after all. I used to think how oblivious man would be without that stupid box. I was wrong. I could see the great tragedy as vividly as possible, no matter scarce information I had. But through the eye of my heart. Black holes ain't black.

'What country is this?'
Again the question pops in the reflective mind.
Who matters?

Country is nothing but a piece of land administered and ruled by a number of people. Cultured people, civilized or uncivilized. Beings, who have developed, and who possess material and non-material culture, a way of living in a community unlike any other communal system of other species hitherto known to us.

Nationalism is nothing but being paranoid about everything that lies outside from you, when in reality nothing is inside nor outside. All it has got to do at a general, comprehensive level is the society in control of that area or piece of land. If its state, an organized platform of administration, fails to do its job, fault lies with it. But my countrymen, whether a snobbish English muttering puppet on Lahori FM station or anybody else, you are concerned with 'unique visitors' and foreign traffic. Three words for this business you're lurking for: Hell with it.

Hell with Cricket matches. Hell with capitalists. Hell with foreign investments. Hell with five star hotels. Hell with all of it. Reputation of thousands years of Indus man is at stake. Almost abolished. The legacy of Sher Shah Suri is at stake. Is Indus saga a complete fable, a fiction? Do we possess nothing to offer to our guests? I have perplexing questions, as do philosophy. Do have I have the answers?

I think I knew the conclusion. It came to me... Let me guess... Let me recall... I should have memorized it... I now think it may just be a fake stimulation, a burst of certainty... An effort by the brain to reduce anxiety and despondency, to cope with it... Maybe it is time for action... Maybe it is the time to stop uttering hollow words, and to go to my study desk... To enlighten my soul first and than the world... I am pointless... Help me out.

Watch It & Morose, For God's Love Sake!


This photo comes to you by the courtesy and craftiness of Photography Society, F.C.C. University, where I now study. If you have noticed anything else than the heaps of the wanton litter, it may be the blue sign board which (not surprisingly) engraved a message by our Earth Watch Society, worthy enough to be torn apart. It read, in the old days when all of F.C.C's dwellers could possibly be categorized as humans: "Don't Throw Litter on the Ground." But our Nazis could not resist their impulsive humanity. Neither could I. My instant reaction to this abuse of nature was like this:
"My God I can't believe how sarcastic you've become (addressing the photographer, an honorable man). Are you pointing to the utterly dull 'higher' animals, complete maniacs, filthy mutants, with brains no greater than a tiny nickel ring poor Matilda wears; hearts of whom are rotten more than a rat ran 'over by a van', and who are, to be precise, now-a-days known as Formanites?"

This of course is too inadequate, short and abrupt a reaction to be effective enough to move unbelievably retarded, clumsy and educated beings into swirling birds, idealists. This subject merits a book or two, or more than two, of voluminous size, because it would be about dreams, my countrymen and beyond. Allow me to illustrate my point. A batch of students goes from Pakistan to Germany, abode of learning, the later. And when they are asked on their return to the abode of (?), by our Dean, as to what they liked most of German universities - one single, unanimous answer was: Cleanliness of the campuses they visited (was breath-catching sir, if not unbelievable).

Anarchists may like to contend their egos by labeling such dreams as of 'Tree-Hugging'. So be it. I beg; you beg, at the least, one year of non-torture attitude towards our beloved outdoors and indoors, heavens and earth. But, the anarchists,

They should listen this:
'Tis always inherent in humans
The love of purity,
Which shall be so for eternity.

Bush Demands $150,000 Per Speech

Jimmy Kimmel in his admirable "Jimmy Kimmel Alive" made the news alive that ex-President Mr. Bush, leading a sound retiree's life now-a-days, has just demanded some $150,000 for a speech next month. Who on this depleting earth would be so mad as to let such a speaker go with this mind-boggling (simply) amount, who gets a pair of shoes for his mere divine appearance, let alone speak what is ugly?

No "actually, it’s a $150,000 for Bush’s speech and an extra 25 grand if you want to throw shoes at him," notes Jimmy. This surely is funny stuff.

‘Don’t Nudge Anyone toward Choices’

Depending on the customer’s taste and temperament, an entrepreneur would devise his services and products accordingly. You may like to refer it as customizing. Some people do have troubles with choosing. I have a strong one. I hate choosing. I simply cannot take the pain of going over and over again the ‘critical’ process of decision making, which a strategist has to. The burden of proof in favor of having or providing someone with alternatives is what makes the following aphorism exciting and thought provoking, apart from providing safe heaven for muddle heads like me. That is to say, despite the odds, it works. Here goes our aphorism of the day:


Necessity saves us the trouble of choosing.

- Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vaunvenargues (1715-1747)


But you’ll also notice that the aphorism does not conform to the frustrations of intellectually weak escapism school-of-thought. It is, rather, very philosophical; for it makes an attempt to capture an aspect of reality.

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MuddleHead Signs Off!!

MuddleHead Signs Off!!