by Nasir Jaffer (Toronto, Canada)
Mind (Supramental) has the ability to influence matter (from the simplest example of stimulating good or bad chemicals within your physical body to psychokinesis and beyond, one may call Mysticism). Unfortunately we have been complacent and comfortable over the centuries with the tailored promulgated knowledge at the level of understanding creation as linear and deducing it’s meaning based on species-specific (in this case human) understanding and that too within the bounds of matter as Maya (veil/illusion), as a result human inherently tend to get entangled with the basic requirements of life like hunting for sustenance (hunger/greed) and associating itself with ego resulting in search of wealth, power and identity). Needless to say, there is also that aspect of selflessness relative to acquiring knowledge and disseminating, essentially understanding the essence of knowledge that will take us to greater heights (to include noble actions) for the sole purpose of discovering Allah versus for the purpose of the transmitter to be remembered,
For as long as we continue to remain aloof and only respond based on input our eyes see (perception rather than reality), the meaning of life will remain within the confines of individual’s limited knowledge framework (subject/object split) and at the mercy of rigid do’s and don’ts. One sometimes wonders if our learned scholars were only prepared at the level of ‘basic’ standard sharia related knowledge (since this is generally what we hear from the pulpits) and more so along the narrations of our aima’s injustices faced (conveyed repeatedly over the centuries that too we have now come to realisation that some of the narrations are indeed in question, this include volumes of earlier sources?). We hardly hear much about current changes and challenges we face and experience on various issues. Do we for that have qualified learned, knowledgeable scholars with vision and guidance to intellectually engage the common mass (as majority of us traditionally depend on the knowledge transmitted through the pulpits and taken as word of God with closed eyes) with advices (apart from ensuring segregation between men and women according to sharia at the centres are observed or for that be repeatedly told that our branch of belief is superior when compared to other school of thoughts and how wrong they are and lately internal war on ideologies to include misquoting ‘competent’ scholar/s right on the pulpit!) and assisting us in progressing with our views of life beyond what we see, independent thinking, etc. including risk factors, mitigating measures to be considered as a result of cause and effect based on various available studies, resources and information?
We note many of our community members like to listen to the ‘likes’ of Brahma Kumari’s as the knowledge they gain from such lectures are not to be heard from our centers (as an example) though we generally continue to attend functions at the mosque for social purpose, listen to majalises to get thawab (indoctrination works however, at the time of communal prayers the number of attendees generally tend to decline) and finally the obvious, overcome that guilt. You will also notice that there is hardly much to gain from our lectures. The general material delivered on ‘basic’ good actions invoking our revered aima’s name really can found in any religion or texts for that?
Our respected Scholar’s knowledge must be competent and remain current especially with exceptionally advanced Information Technology notwithstanding Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolutionizing the way we think, totally transforming our traditional mentality of the past. Some of the do’s and don’ts of the past no longer work or remain valid for that, relatively speaking. Human memory (brain-machine interface implant/ ‘digital brain layer’ – Neuralink, see various interviews by Elon Musk) can be downloaded and saved on line, internal thoughts can be tracked and exposed, minds could be manipulated through AI en masse with human brain interface constantly connected (soon will outmode the likes of facebook, twitter), etc. – AI is now seen as a projection of human limbic system (haven’t touched on medical revolutionary advancement and how our sensitive static sharia as traditionally understood could be of a challenge to implement). Human interactive supercomputers could prove to be deadly (existential threat) if not regulated. They could very well be like a cancerous cell as they could outsmart exponentially and control human as they would have the ability to learn and transform (independent ‘will’) exceptionally fast. As the saying goes, imagination is free to run wild!
Contents considered as unacceptable or for that sinful in the past is now part of the system and prevalent/accessed at once from anywhere in the world through daily use of gizmos (Cyborg?) filled with myriad of information let alone basic daily news notwithstanding discussions held at very early age in ‘schools’ as part of curriculum on awareness, etc. System, circumstance, understanding, meaning, reasoning, politics/mentality, etc. have changed the way we interact and respond to the environment. How much are we aware aside from simply flowing with the current?
Will we go through a phase of ‘out of control’? (is this even a relative term? A classic example would be our women at early age were groomed to be domesticated and obedient house-wives not only to cater to their husband’s needs but also in-laws to the extent if she wanted to visit her biological parents she would have to ask for permission. She would be disciplined when deemed inconsiderate, dare not speak until spoken to, so on and so forth. Would present day therefore be considered as an ‘out of control’ situation when compared to up to a couple of decades back?…in the meantime we patiently await to be ‘told’ by higher authority if women should be allowed to vote at the Jamaat administrative level, year 2018!)