Secular Mindset and Lifestyle
The society confers status to owners of wealth because wealth defines success. Accordingly, the object of pursuit of the secular mindset is wealth.
By Aqeel Ansari
The secularist views the human as mind embodied, devoid of soul because he is perceived to exist as some biological arrangement of body and mind. The power of mind distinguishes him as a rational being. The secularist does not distinguish between mind and brain because he assumes that the power of mind resides in the brain. He therefore exists as a creation of matter alone. It is all over for him when he dies because the body with its brain perishes. His journey through life begins in the cradle and ends in the grave. Death destroys the biological arrangement and returns the creation of matter back to lifeless matter.
What is his mindset? The focus of life is the body because body is all he has. He directs the power of mind and the resources at his command to cater to body. The body of matter responds to pain and pleasure. Obviously, he seeks to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. The body has basic needs including food, clothing and shelter regardless of the mindset you prefer. The body is however naturally able to survive and stay healthy once you satisfy its needs. But once body becomes the focus of life, you strive to maximize pleasure. How do you maximize pleasure? You maximize pleasure by catering to desires of body because, over and above the basic needs, it also has the natural capacity to invent infinite desires. This is why an ever increasing number of commodities are produced and marketed to cater to desires. You witness this on a visit to a shopping mall where a variety of stores are ready to groom and adorn practically every part of your body from head to toe.
The secularist is generally viewed as progressive and admired for material progress. Excessive concern for material possessions sacrifices the humanizing force at the altar of civility. The body also has the sexual urge it seeks to satisfy, which naturally exists for procreation of human species. The secular perception however prompts the human to maximize the libidinal pleasure. The secular lifestyle thus corresponds to a pendulum oscillating between the pleasure of appetite and the passion of libido. Recall the rider-horse analogy. If one prefers to live the secular mindset, the rider has no choice but to surrender the reins to the horse. You obviously need money, lots of money, to cater to desires. Recall that the human wields power over his fellow in proportion to the wealth he owns. The society confers status to owners of wealth because wealth defines success. Accordingly, the object of pursuit of the secular mindset is wealth. The human trains his mind to intensely love and admire wealth he needs to cater to desires. He is therefore ever willing to strive for wealth. But he is not alone in this pursuit, nor is wealth in infinite supply. The secular mindset therefore prompts him to compete with his fellow for wealth.
Competition defines the nature of striving for the secular object of pursuit. Life becomes a contest and the world becomes an arena. But the equals are not competing. The contest pitches the strong against the weak, the rich against the poor, the healthy against the sick, the honored against the humble, and the cunning against the simple. How a contestant wins is not important as long as he wins. The end (object of pursuit) justifies the means. The idea is to win at all cost because the stakes are high and the winners take all. Competition defines the basis of human relationship, any and all. Self-interest is obviously the basis of human relationship.
The nature of gender relationship is also determined by self-interest. We live in a world characterized by male dominance. Men generally view women as objects for sexual gratification. The movement for women’s liberation is not creating effective response to male dominance because the women, who are perceived to be liberated, also prefer the secular mindset. Hence, they too compete with men for wealth and view them as sex objects for maximizing libidinal pleasure. Sex becomes a commodity that is available for exchange by consenting adults for pleasure. The secular perception cannot create love for a mutually satisfying gender relationship. This explains why the basic social institution of family is fast becoming extinct.
A contestant cannot be trusted because he trains to habitually take advantage of people for personal gain. The face he wears mirrors his injurious attitude of conceit, greed and deceit. The fear of losing prompts him to use deception, secrecy, mischief and fraud, especially if the law is nowhere in sight or if it looks the other way. The contest creates losers everyday but anxious losers fuel competition. Though the odds of winning are no better than the odds of buying lottery tickets, the losers seldom stop competing for fear of how society treats losers. They are busy scheming expecting to win someday. The history thus evidences the strong overpowering the weak, the few oppressing the many, the wealthy mocking the poor, the honored slighting the humble, and the cunning deceiving the simple.
The secularist is comprised of three groups. First, we have a minority at the top that creates and advocates the secular belief system. Next, we have the knowledge experts who prefer to live and market the secular belief system. They train the mind to grow secular thought, shape competitive attitude and practice skills of deception. They guard own secrets but spy on secrets of rivals to gain competitive advantage. Finally, we have the majority that has no choice but to live the secular perception for the privilege to compete in the arena for the means of living. The first two groups are perceived to be the winners while the rest generally lose in the contest with the exception of some winning sometimes.
The secular performance in history has few winners to glorify. Recall our discussion of the prevailing worldview. The winners are the top 1% whereas 99% are the losers. The losers fail to experience ease and satisfaction, yet they do not reject or challenge the secular perception. Perhaps they lack a competing perception to take its place. But ease and satisfaction in life escapes even the few who win because they too live with the fear of losing. They too go to bed with fear, wake up with fear and hustle all day with fear. We continue our discussion of secular social arrangement in the next column.
(The writer is based in Texas, USA and can be reached at [email protected]) n