January 28th, 2023
Say unto brethren when they see me dead,
And weep for me, lamenting me in sadness:
“Think ye I am this corpse ye are to bury?
I swear by God, this dead one is not I.
I in the Spirit am, and this my body
My dwelling was, my garment for a time.
I am a treasure: hidden I was beneath
This talisman of dust, wherein I suffered.
I am a pearl; a shell imprisoned me,
But leaving it, all trials I have left.
I am a bird, and this was once my cage;
But I have flown, leaving it as a token.
I praise God who hath set me free, and made
For me a dwelling in the heavenly heights.
Ere now I was a dead man in your midst,
But I have come to life, and doffed my shroud.”
Early in our education systems the physical sciences are often “separated” from the social sciences in many of our national curricula, producing us as end products with typically a very narrow focus of specialization. In our age of specialization, this might seem like a great characteristic and it does have its very own special merits. But have we started producing poets or philosophers who are also at the cutting edge of tech, business, and medicine or vice versa?
To do so, we need to step up our game, with some tweaks, where the motivation for mastery stems not from the job market per se, but a never ending internal passion, the same which propels a moth to crash headlong instinctively into the light source. Imagine a world, in which ideally most of the population is driven by such natural internal force, and regulated by manners and behaviors taught by the best role models.
At a global stage that humanity currently finds itself, we direly need such epitome of balance between so many extremes – the profane and sacred, the individual and global, the liberal arts and physical sciences. Despite the great progress we have made in the hard physical sciences, it seems that the global community is growing in an extreme manner. By that I mean that we have lost the essential balance, heading towards global polarization in terms of rapid wealth accumulation (poverty to many), environmental degradation, and oppressing people/nations who might appear different. A sad reality is that not too many people know or care why this is happening from a deep philosophical level.
If we try to step back and look at the global situation aloofly, we find that the seeds of the imbalance were planted far in history, when we tried to formalize the fundamental process of thinking (logic). There are many theories about logic, in which we simply form a predicate and reach a conclusion through some formal or informal method. In some cases, this referential process may be defined by some form of reasoning whether it is using language or mathematical methods.
Every language is like a color band in a spectrum of pure light (reality), giving access to a perspective into the broader REALITY. Thus, those of us who are multilingual have a privilege to be able to perceive reality in multidimensions, with the complete reality known only to God Almighty. So if we are true seekers of light and knowledge, we need to be propelled to see it from more and more dimensions by trying to see more color bands in the light spectrum, and drawing closer to God. So learning is a form of worshiping the All Knowing.
Every sane mind has an innate capacity to be divinely inspired to use observations and accumulated knowledge to come to a unique personal perspective which will only be a sub-spectrum at best because no one can know more than the All Knowing. By staying humble and learning we keep expanding that sub-spectrum and using it for good in ourselves, in our communities, in our environments, and in the world.Whereas, we have a biased personal morality to judge something as good or bad, it is very subjective, not only in terms of the languages we know but also because of many personal factors like our history (specially childhood experiences), our upbringing, the messaging from the societies we have been a part of, and the subjects/books/literature we have studied, our life/work experiences, etc.. No matter how much one knows, we cannot come close to what God knows, as we are limited in so many ways, language being one. Perhaps that is why intellectual/religious arrogance might be the worst because it stops learning.
We express what we perceive as “good” or “bad” based on our personal (biased) morality. So in order to come up with universal global ethics for defining how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence can be made ethical, we need to keep trying to come closer to God, by expanding our perceived sub-spectrum of light (the infinite Reality known to God), to improve AI ethics. One way is to keep learning languages. We need to be a perpetual student of life, with the intention of worshiping (drawing close to) God to try to “see” from His Sight.
Obviously, this process never ends. In that, is our real striving and pleasure rather than enjoying wealth and the luxuries of life. They say that those that can delay gratification can achieve most. So what if we try to delay real gratification to the afterlife, and in the process experience real moments of its ecstasy in our lives.
In order to give machines human ethics, we need to approach Him who gave humans those ethics in the first place. Only in worshiping the One True God, in the manner taught to us in all aspects of our lives by His only messenger sent to the global humanity, can we hope to come closer to prescribing AI ethics which are closer to the ethics of the universal man.
Mysteries of Provision
A medical doctor from Pakistan in search for a dream job in USA may end up driving a cab in NYC. An illiterate Bangladeshi selling tea outside the Haram during the Haj (pilgrimage) season, may make up a small fortune -- enough to allow him to worship and do tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Kabaa everday for the rest of the year -- until the next year. An Engineering post doc researcher may be overqualified and out of work in times of recession, whereas a highschool drop out might be the richest man in the world. A used book seller in Pakistan might be living out his dreams engrossed in voraciously reading the books he gets hold of, while the amassed wealth of a "sucessful" bussinessman may be a curse as his relatives fight over the inheritance and become enemies for life.
I never imagined that Islamophobia would be instuitionalised in my beloved country. This was an eye-opening article that shows how deeply penetrated the intolerance for mainstream orthodox Islam exists in Canadian instituitions.
What are your thoughts on how we may improve ourselves to mitigate such bias and even blatant hate crimes against Muslim-led Canadian organizations?
#instituitionalisedBias #hatecrimes #Islamophobia #CanadianInsitutionalReform
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