Making a mistake is not a crime, but making the same mistake over and over again certainly is. Relate this to the response of Muslims who generally remain indifferent to the challenge of powerlessness.
By Aqeel Ansari
Thinkers and scholars in every age philosophize and debate the nature and purpose of life and offer reason and intellect based competing thoughts to enlighten people. If a thought influences literature, education, social relationship, economy and politics, it becomes the prevailing view of life in society. This is how new ideas replace old ideas for new ways of living. The popular view of life prevails to be the worldview once it spreads globally through trade, wars, colonization or empire building. The prevailing worldview influences people, but you cannot live a philosophical view of life because it does not specify the life skills you need to live it.
Great thoughts like philosophical thoughts are also reason and intellect based. An author of a great thought lives his thought to specify the life skills you need, by definition. And a great thought is beneficial for it inspires you to strive with hope. It is reasonable to prefer a great thought if it is simple to live. An author of a great thought may respond to some specific challenge of life. You find an example in Henry Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience in the middle of the nineteenth century. He offers a great thought of why and how to resist a civil government. Gandhi and Mandela live his thought in the twentieth century to strive successfully against colonial rule and apartheid respectively. I encourage you to remain open to living a great thought regardless of who offers it, where and when.
Living a thought however requires ongoing training of body to habitually respond to challenges of life. But training implies learning and relearning. This means that you are likely to make mistakes. Do not slacken in your striving for success for fear of making mistakes. Making a mistake is not a crime but making the same mistake over and over again certainly is. Relate this to the response of Muslims who generally remain indifferent or respond impulsively to the challenge of powerlessness. By making the same mistake (indifference or impulsive response) over and over again, they are certainly committing a crime.
There is some value in the mistakes you make. You do not plan to make a mistake but when it happens, it serves well to view it as a wakeup call or as an alert to a possible deviation from the set course. You may find in the mistake an opportunity to relearn and retrain. In other words, consider the mistake a blessing, heed the warning and make sure you stay the course. Hence, learn from mistakes but if you don’t, that too is a crime.
The experts tell you that the world you live in is a crowded world and that it is damagingly competitive out there for you to be successful. The noise level is, they add, too high for your voice to be heard. They advise you to focus on own striving and compete to beat the crowd. Beat the crowd? Are you to beat your spouse, siblings, classmates, neighbors, friends and co-workers? Why do you have to compete? What the experts tell you does not inspire you with hope; instead, it dampens your spirit. You wonder if this is really the world you live in. You would rather prefer to change this world. Get real; you do not have a powerful army or dictatorial powers to change the world.
The experts are advocating a worldview that teaches you to stay focused on YOU. You strive first for own success. Once you have accumulated enough wealth (and you define how much is enough), then if you want, you can give some in charity to help fellow humans. In short, you cannot strive for own success and help others succeed. You cannot do both. Why should you slacken your striving for success to help others succeed? The message the experts broadcast is clear. If you strive to help others succeed, you are sure to lose. You do not want to live the life of a loser because you know how the world deals with losers. Hence, compete to beat the crowd!
The worldview the experts are advocating is deceptive because it is not true. Yet they advocate a deceptive worldview because it meets with approval of the vested interests they represent. Deceptive as it is, it works and because it works, it is real. It is not reasonable to ignore the prevailing worldview. The experts are striving to maintain the status quo in order to rid the world of the change we need. We need the change to create equal opportunity, level the field of striving for success, encourage small business enterprise, redirect savings to growth, penalize idle wealth and establish free markets. Read more about worldview in the next column.
(The writer is based in Texas, USA and can be reached at [email protected])