This world of ours is going through ‘a war of ideas,’ the war between the “defenders of Gods” and the “defenders of reason” i.e. predestination (jabr) and free will (ikhtiyar). We have lot of icons of ‘jabr’ like Mawdudi’s/Khomeini’s /Qutub’s! But where are our icons of ‘ikhtiyar’ Locke’s, Newton’s and Voltaire’s? If freewill has to survive the hypocrisies of the ‘icons of the predestination (jabr)’ will have to be exposed to the rank and file. No words need to be reserved. Religious dogma and apparatus of state when they combine together, the populace cannot survive the brunt.
When a society demands a transformation they should chuck their archaic pious impracticality; look into the mirror and try to find where are their Spinoza’s, Locke’s, Newton’s and Voltaire’s? Culture that spews terrorists and misfits is also a society that promotes fanatical bigoted attitudes as a ingredient of the ideological menu proscribed by the unquestionable divine clout of clergy.
For a society to develop; the prevalent religious inclinations and thought needs to be subject to human reason. Places where religious thought reign supreme will always remain debauched and hesitant infested with internecine wars and disasters. Terrorism is a state of mind, it is reflection of inflexible ideological absolutist will and puritanical romanticism that becomes a part of a nation cerebral curriculum instead of broad-mindedness, forbearance, rationalism and reason.
Enlightened minds will challenge narrow-mindedness bigotry and fanaticism. Any change should be sparked by the two lines of thought that buttress ‘Age of Enlightenment’ or ‘Age of Reason’ termed initially as the radical enlightenment, inspired by philosophy of Spinoza, “Democracy; racial and sexual equality; individual liberty of lifestyle; full freedom of thought, expression, and the press; eradication of religious authority from the legislative process and education; and full separation of church and state”. Secondly the moderate enlightenment, which in a number of different philosophical systems, in the writings of Descartes, John Locke, Isaac Newton or Christian Wolff, who expressed and sought reform and accommodation with the old systems of power and faith .
The cornerstone of the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ or ‘Age of Reason’ was a civilizing progress of intellectuals in 18th century Europe and the United States, the aim was to restructuring of society and knowledge, in Age of Reason religion was subject to human reason, and not a source of knowledge. It promoted science and rational substitution and opposed superstition, intolerance and abuses by church and state. Enlightenment culminated in the great Encyclopédie (1751–72) edited by Denis Diderot (1713–1784) with contributions by hundreds of leading philosophers(intellectuals) such as Voltaire (1694–1778), Rousseau (1712–1778) and Montesquieu (1689–1755). Historian Robert Darnton argued that the categorization of religion was subject to human reason, and not a source of knowledge. Theology therefore was ordered under ‘Philosophy’ ‘Knowledge of God’ was placed only a few nodes away from ‘Divination’ and ‘Black Magic’.
The tree of Diderot and d’Alembert, is the source of the “figurative system of human knowledge.” Encyclopédie attempted to bring together all the information sprinkled on the surface of the globe.The goal of our living is that the works of past is does not remain unproductive for the centuries that follow, our descendants by becoming more learned, may become more virtuous and happier, that we do not die without having merited being part of the human race. The tree was a taxonomy of human knowledge, inspired by Francis Bacon’s The Advancement of Learning the three main branches of knowledge in the tree are: “Memory”/History, “Reason”/Philosophy, and “Imagination”/Poetry.
Enlightenment origins are traced to Descartes’ Discourse on Method, published in 1637. Others define Enlightenment with the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica in 1687. Jonathan Israel makes the detailed case that, from 1650 to 1750, Spinoza was “the chief challenger of the fundamentals of revealed religion, received ideas, tradition, morality, and what was everywhere regarded, in absolutist and non-absolutist states alike, as divinely constituted political authority.”
We look for change, a great change does not appear in emptiness; it were the political ideals of the Enlightenment that influenced the American Declaration of Independence, the United States Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It was sparked by philosophers Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), John Locke (1632–1704), physicist Isaac Newton (1643–1727), and philosopher Voltaire (1694–1778) originating about 1650 to 1700. When a culture demands a change they should look into the mirror and try to find where are their Spinoza’s, Locke’s, Newton’s and Voltaire’s? A civilisation that considers Syed Mawdudi/ Syed Khomieni /Syed Qutub as their Spinoza’s and their mainstay philosophies, there is no chance in hell of any illumination? Dark ages shall continue to harness the minds!
Peace is all about building the notion of love in hearts, souls and minds of people. I think it is sad to see that we don’t teach enough ‘history and culture of nations’ to each other’s children, we don’t know much about each other, we should know each other well, we are bound with thousands of years of love and benevolence, this connection has a resonance of history and genes in it.
The children of ‘cradle of civilisations’ should be taught their past very well. This will avoid them falling in the traps set by ideological demagogues. The bond of common human attributes and evolving human consciousness is the only bond that will create global oneness. Once you go down the root of my ‘avatar’ is better than yours it never ends, and once you start mixing the prescription and menu of your avatar with how the state has to be run the cauldron is ready with a tinder to explode.
We are humans and we should connect at that level of one humanity , we should see earth as an astronaut ‘sans boundaries’ and our existence as the pinnacle of the supreme sentient configuration of ‘star dust’ leading to a sentient being. Nothing else evokes pride in me but the pride of being a part of sentient star dust that will always be around until the next singularity.