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Ideas

Thought, character and destiny
Changing our reality can be as easy as changing our thoughts

Arash Sayedi
December 1, 2004
iranian.com

I'm a 22-year-old student living in Australia. I write quite frquently, mainly for myself, as a way of organizing my thoughts. But I thought it might interest others to read some of my dribble.

If there is one axiom that holds true in all conditions of human life is that of thought, determining reality. Are we not but a sum of our thoughts? Are we not where we are as a result of decisions we have made? Decisions which themselves had once roots in the fertile ground of our thoughts? Are not our pleasant experiences the sweet fruits of our mental labor? The not-so-pleasant ones, the bitter produce of our own doing, the seeds of which have roots in our past?

Shakespeare once said; there is no good or bad but thinking makes it so. Indeed, men of a more idealistic turn of mind have gone so far as to say there is no reality but thinking makes it so. Whether the latter holds true or not makes no difference here, suffice it to say that our physical reality is ultimately determined by our mental one. And in this realm, much like the former, the god of cause and effect rules with an iron fist.

If we wish to know where we are, we need only look to where we have been. And it is equally true that we cannot know where we are destined without a sober knowledge of where we are today.

So many of us Iranians, however, seem to have trouble with the notion that the current terrible affliction that so savagely eats at the very core of our society is the doing of our own minds, and the burden of which rests entirely on our own shoulders.

One may be tempted to place the effects of outside forces at the crux of one's argument for the justification of our current ills, but should one do so it is imperative to remember that no winds so savage, no currents so awesome can shake the foundation of a society who's members are, as William Ernest Henley would put it, the masters of their own fate.

Indeed, turmoil in our physical reality hints only at the confusion and mayhem we are experiencing at the level of our mental reality. As our great poet once said, we all really are parts of the same body. So to understand our society better we must first imagine it as one being. One being, the mind of whom, having experienced the shocks and traumas of past events, has shattered into a multitude of personalities, each striving for dominance. Is there hope for such society so deeply in conflict with itself?

Psychologists assure us that even the most hopeless cases of mental illness have a chance of recovery. This is not to say that we should strive for a full recovery for no such thing is possible in any society. Save maybe at times of war when the collective is temporarily unified against a greater foe. So short of war, what must be done in order to collect the fragments of our shattered lives and hope to mend together the four corners of our great land now threatened by every ill imaginable?

Psychologists believe that the best and most effective means of combating a negative habit, or any destructive pattern of thought for that matter, is not by saddling up in a crusade against the perpetrator, whereby constantly dwelling upon it and as a direct result further feeding it, but rather by simply replacing it with fresh seeds of thought, which in time will come to fruition and hence dominate the old, outdated patterns.

To suggest the new philosophies and ways of thinking we need to adopt for ourselves today is not the burden of this text. I leave that part to souls wiser than myself. But the chief aim here is to point out the necessity for a new philosophy that is closely adapted to our nature, is fully conscious of our turbulent past and is no less aware of our needs for the future. A philosophy that is both practical and closely related to nature itself. One that does not exclude the needs of the masses and does not limit the luxury of the fruits of its labor to a close circle of intellectuals.

A new philosophy that strives to find balance in our physical, spiritual and mental lives.Whatever the new philosophy may be, it must strive to cheer up in us an attitude of greatness, of self confidence and a sense of being in control of our own destiny. It does not matter how short of greatness we have fallen, for we can think ourselves into glory once again. And for those in disagreement with this, remains the solemn inescapable fact that no matter what the change, it must, and indeed always does, originate in the realm of thought.

Whatever this new outlook, it must replace toxic ideologies that have us believe that no matter how hard we try, at the end it is "god" that determines who should eat and who should go hungry. Such philosophies have no place in the minds of intelligent men and women. Such ways of thinking that claim; no matter what we do, at the end it is "god's" will that will prevail, seek to undermine men's intelligence and rob them of their self worth thereby lowering them to the level of animals. It is this same way of thinking that has transformed the once energetic people of Iran into a backward flock of self hating automatons.

We are not creatures of circumstance! We are the sole makers of our own destiny. To quote James Allen, "Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master."

It is by every thought that we slowly but surely weave the threads of our own character. It is our character that determines our decisions and it is our decisions that ultimately determine our path in life. And our collective destiny is merely a collection of our common goals and aspirations that have roots in our shared reality. And changing that reality can be as easy as changing our thoughts. For our thoughts are the only things we have control over. And it is only by their careful arrangement that we determine our destiny.

Whatever that destiny, may it be a great one. May the people of Persia rise once again to their glorious place at the peak of human culture and civilization. Indeed that is our future, for history cannot help repeating itself.

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