Mixing Culture With Islam Is Like Mixing Poison With Water


It is important to understand Islam from a cultural point of view because the basis of much of the current turmoil within Muslim countries and conflict with their neighbors can be attributed to cultural clashes. Consequently, a clear understanding of culture and its derivatives is necessary to comprehend the relevance of Islam to the civilization of Muslim peoples in the twentieth century and beyond.

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The word “culture” comes from the Latin cultura, which is a derivative of the verb colere meaning “tending” or “cultivation.” It was first recorded in the Oxford Dictionary of English in 1510 as meaning: “training of the mind” or “manners.”  However, culture in anthropological usage, may be defined as “the way of life of specific group.”

“Basically, the idea of culture arises from the observation that what human beings do and what they refrain from doing is, in part, a consequence of being brought up in one group as opposed to another. People have a social heredity as well as a biological heredity.”

Biological heredity represents practices common to all human societies, like, sleep, marriage, care for children and smiling, while social heredity refers to customs which usually vary from one society to the next. A simple definition of culture would then be ‘the man-made part of the human environment.’ “Members of the human species are trained in the family and in their education, formal and informal, to behave in ways that are conventional and fixed by tradition.”

While virtually all students of man agree upon the indispensable importance of the concept of culture, no single definition has yet won universal acceptance.

The culture of most of the world today is that of Western Europe and America. It was exported to the remainder of the world during the period of European colonization and continued during the neo-colonial era by way of indirect rule. In the twentieth century Western culture has been promoted on a massive scale through the far-reaching effects of the media. Today, it is not surprising to find in the pages of National Geographic pictures of South American Indian youths in loin cloth in the middle of the Amazon wearing baseball caps with a Nike logo or Mongolian horsemen in the middle of the Gobi Desert wearing striped Adidas sweat pants and Rebook trainers.

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Western culture now represents the dominant cultural influence in most countries, both non-Muslim and Muslim. And it is the natural conflict that arises from the clash of cultures, which dominate the social and political policies in both the West and the East. Harvard University Professor, Samuel P. Huntington summed up the essential issues of the cultural clash in his following observation.

“The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. department of defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to impose that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West.”

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In this statement Professor Huntington dismisses the usual claims regarding Islamic fundamentalist terrorism as the major threat to the New World Order. Western media constantly reduces the world’s problems to this common denominator. The New York Times carried an article stating, “Muslim fundamentalism is fast becoming the chief threat to global peace and security as well as the cause of national and local disturbance through terrorism. It is akin to the menace posed by Nazism and fascism in the 1930’s and then by communism in the 50’s.”

However, Professor Huntington brushes such claims aside and identifies Islam itself as the main problem for the West because its civilization is fundamentally different from Western civilization. He also identified two distinct qualities of Muslims, which, in his opinion, contribute to the problem. The first is that Muslims consider their culture superior to all other cultures. Most Muslims will openly claim that Islam is better than all other religions and philosophies. This attitude is a natural consequence of their belief that the religion of Islam was revealed from God. It is only logical to assume that the culture created by practicing God’s religion must, of necessity, be superior to any culture resulting from human experiment.

The other quality is that Muslims desire that the laws that govern them be Islamic. Much of the turmoil in the Muslim world today, in Algeria, Egypt, Chechnya, Dagestan, etc., is a direct result of this desire. During the era of European colonization of the Muslim world, the colonial administration substituted European laws for Islamic law. During the neo-colonial era, Muslims who were trained by their colonial masters were given the reins of government of Muslim territories and continued to govern according to European law. Today the vast majority of Muslim governments rule according to British, French, German and Dutch laws, and Muslim law is only partially applied in the area of family law.

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Consequently, as the wave of Islamic awareness sweeps over the Muslim world, the aspiration of Muslims for self-determination has exploded in a series of violent confrontations with existing administrations. In places like Indonesia, where since the era of Sukarno (1945 – 1965) and his successor Suharto (1968 – 1998), Pancasilia, has been the state philosophy/religion taught in all schools to the population of some 200 million Indonesians, 95% of whom are Muslims. And, to suggest that Islamic law be introduced was considered an act of treason.

In 1998 Suharto was finally overthrown by popular dissent. All of those who clamored for power, including Suharto’s henchman and substitute, B.J. Habibe, immediately began paying some allegiance to Islam. And in recent elections, Sukarno’s daughter, Megawati Sukarnoputri, was decisively defeated by Nahdlatul Ulama’s Abdurrahman Wahid, who is half-blind and can hardly walk.

On the other hand, Professor Huntington negates the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as the chief enemy of Muslims. Although the CIA has a reputation for toppling governments and assassinating political figures, the professor assures Muslims that it is not their chief enemy. He further rules out the American military complex in spite of its presence in Saudi Arabia, its decimation of the Iraqi army, its launching cruise missiles into the Sudan and Afghanistan, and its open support for Israel.

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The real source of the problem facing the Muslim World, according to Professor Huntington, is Western civilization itself. He further explains that the root of the problem lies in the fact that the West considers its culture superior to all other cultures. It considers its civilization and its leading principles what all human beings should aspire for and live by.

Why?

Because, according to Darwinian theory, the evolutionary process refines and improves human beings and their society. From our supposed savage ape-like origins to twentieth century civility, human society has progressed relentlessly. During the last few centuries, the evolutionary principle of “survival of the fittest” appears to have placed Western nations and their culture at the top of the pyramid of human civilization.

Thus, claims the West, the foundational principles of their civilization must be the most suitable for human society. Professor Huntington takes the issue another step further, pointing out that the West not only considers its culture the most appropriate for all nations, but it considers itself duty bound to impose their culture by any means necessary, politically or militarily, on the rest of the world. Professor Huntington has correctly identified these as the essential elements of the cultural clash facing the world as it enters the 21st century.

Dr. Bilal Phillips

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Happiness Is Not In Things; Happiness Is In You.


One of our greatest problems still remains the inability of the religious world to cut through its own orthodoxies to the arrival at some point of common vision or insight.

The goal of religion is to establish an inner strength against all exterior circumstances. The nature of God is truth, beauty, love and joy. These are divine qualities, and the universe in which we live was founded upon these great spiritual principles. Yet we accepting these as true, still do not experience in our own life the wonderful inward composure of spirit that comes from the simple acceptance that God is good.

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Perhaps one of the reasons we have trouble with this situation is that we mistake the works of men for the works of God. We live surrounded by a peculiar confusion of our own kind-a confusion that is rooted largely in the inability of devout persons to find beauty in their own devotion. Most religions emphasize a certain stern sense of duty so therefore, religion has come to be a more or less militant dedication.

The individual feels that he must come under a very strict administration by the universe; that his spiritual salvation depends upon the unquestionable obedience to something that is superior to himself, which he cannot and does not rightly define. So instead of religion bringing a great release of spiritual values, it has a tendency to bring submergence, a state of the individual being tied to some credo, and this cannot be entirely the beautiful thing, which we sense it to be.

Practically all-religious people believe that God is love, but they do not believe it sufficiently to find God’s love in the things that are. They believe in some way that an evil power has corrupted God’s love, and that there must be some great process of redemption by means of which it can be restored again. There is a process of redemption but it is nothing but an awakening. It is a waking up again into the life that is eternal.

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This whole thing is a strange world of delusions in which individuals try to delude each other with only reasonable success, and manage to delude themselves with greater success. And in this delusion, everything that is really fine and happy and good and joyful is sacrificed. It is like a strange intoxication of the alcoholic, in which his toxicity causes him to finally to fall into the terrors of delirium tremens.

To most people of antiquity, God had the implication of great Joy, and this is something we seem to have lost. In the sense of responsibility and duty, we have in some way lost the happiness, and have been unable to make our faith an immediately beautiful, joyful experience of conduct. We affirm these things we believe that Deity wants us to be happy, but we do not seem to find a way of being happy. The moment it looks as though we might be happy, we become conscience-stricken, for nearly all of our so-called daily happiness is so selfish and self-centered that we can scarcely justify our own attitudes.

God wanted to be made manifest in man. God wanted to know himself in man. God wanted to release all the good, beauty, the truth, the love, and the joy through man. These different releases were not evil things if we understand them correctly and build our lives in which good brought joy, truth brought happiness and wisdom brought peace of soul.

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Recognizing that the dictionary is the expression of our usage of words, we can check the word happiness to see what the dictionary has to say about it. The first definition given is “good fortune and prosperity.” Now this is exactly what we would expect, for it is typical of our idea of what constitutes happiness. Happiness is having more than the neighbor, a certain smug sense of satisfaction at some phase of real or assumed superiority. Happiness today comes to the individual who wins in some kind of a competition with others. It also has to do something with luck, according to this definition “good fortune” some sudden unexpected pleasure that comes to us, perhaps out of space which we are all looking for but which the majority of us never find.

This happiness therefore simply means a certain creature reaction it is the individual who says, “I am perfectly willing to smile and be happy if everything goes my way. If I have what I want, do as I please, and influence other people as much as I want to, I will be happy.” One thing that happiness must require today is a vast amount of forgetfulness. If we could forget our own past, forget everything that other people have done to us, and forget all the mistakes that we have made, the result would probably be a colossal peace of mind; but we cannot forget these things.

The idea that happiness is simple the result of status – the larger swimming pool, the better car, the larger home- these things can no longer be regarded as valid. Yet this is where the dictionary takes its first stand, because it means just that to most people, and words have no meanings except the usage that we give them. When an individual tells us they are happy, it almost certainly means that they have been favored in some way by circumstances outside themselves, that something desirable or pleasurable has happened to them from the outside.

The dictionary does however; give us a second meaning for happiness, and that is, “a state of well-being.” Now, if the truth were known, that should have been the first definition, because a state of well-being must precede any effort to be happy. It really does not make much difference whether fortune smiles or not; unless the individual has some experience of well-being within himself, even the greatest gifts that nature can bestow, or the greatest success that can be attained, will not bring any real or lasting happiness. So happiness is a condition that must be cultivated through the establishment of a state of well-being.

We can talk about how to be happy until the end of time, and still be miserable. We can develop all kinds of reasons why we should be grateful, and still remain ungrateful. There has to be something more than in intellectualizing, or even a theologizing, of the idea. In theology, we are constantly reminded of the blessing that we receive from heaven, but very few people are very excited over these blessings because they are really still fighting desperately against the small personal miseries that beset them.

In order to discover happiness, we must have some kind of a vital experience of it within ourselves. There has to be a living kind of happiness, and the only way we can combat the experience of unhappiness is to set up the experience of happiness.

There used to be something of a gaiety, naturalness about growing up something that we have lost. As a result very few people have any vital experience of happiness. They have nothing to hook the happiness concept onto. Broken homes, depressions and insecurity have taken away the laughter, joy and close association with family. Because of these trends, which have become more and more dominant since we have depended so heavily upon artificial sources of pleasure, the average person today does not have the living inner visualization of happiness set within himself.

It becomes very easy for us to be critical and suspicious of other people, to be dissatisfied and rebellious, until finally we have developed one of the heaviest burdens of the present generation – hypercriticism. There is hardly a day when we do not criticize something. We seem to live in a world that suggests criticism, and although we can do nothing about it, still we become critics, constantly dissatisfied.

Out of this dissatisfaction comes a subtle form of self-excuse mechanism. Feeling that we live in a world that is topsy-turvy, in which nothing makes sense, we have a wonderful reasons to be poor citizens. We have every reason to excuse our own failings. We become victims of circumstances, and we say “How can one individual live well in a world that is going to pieces?”

One thing we do not realize in all of our thinking, however, is that this generation is not essentially different, in its basic problems, from the generations in which individuals did find a certain amount of security and peace of mind. We cannot hope that we can create entirely new solutions. We can create new solutions only if the problems that we face are new, but the problems that we face are not new. They are the eternal heritage of our kind.

We all want to live in a world in which we are happy but we also want a world tailored to our desires. We want the world to make us happy, to provide us with everything we need. We want to surround ourselves with situations that will give us happiness and pleasure. Of course, as long as everyone in the world feels that way, the complex gets more and more difficult, because each person trying to fulfill his own ambitions out of the reservoir of world materials ultimately comes into conflict with every other human being and the tensions simply increase and compound.

Happiness is not a matter of environment but of the adjustment of consciousness to the values of life; that the very things that make us unhappy could perhaps be the sources of happiness if we understood them correctly. Always complication destroys peace of mind, and without peace of mind, there is no real hope that any individual can be truly happy. Of course, we have our moments, but even in those moments the heavy burden of destiny hangs over us.

There have always been some who have realized that unhappiness was neither desirable nor necessary; so they have left us rules and patterns by which we could guide our way to a certain degree. A life to find happiness must be a life that has discriminated values. If we use our minds we come to one standard of value. If we use our hearts and our intuitions, we come to another standard of value, and it is this second standard that must come first. In order to know what happiness is, we must finally decide what will make us happy.

We all feel that when we can pay off the mortgage, we will be happy, when we can get that new car we will be happy. We have the simple feeling that if we have what we want, we will be happy. But what do we want? Above all things, we want freedom of fear. We want freedom from ignorance. We want freedom of faith. We want freedom of growth. Of all things we want freedom from insecurity within ourselves, freedom from mental and emotional sickness. We want freedom from the ills and weaknesses, which we recognize in our own natures. The only real freedoms the only real things that can bring us happiness are those attainments within ourselves by which we are free forever from the delusions and illusions that cause misery.

The most difficult and miserable adventure in the world is the desperate quest for personal happiness. The individual, who makes happiness their goal, will fail, because they usually have the wrong concept of what will make them happy. We have not yet realized that we have to be happy from within and that all other things are accidents and incidents- the elements of a providence that may change at any moment.

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Pythagoras said, “all men know what they want, but only God knows what they need.” In our desperate effort to get what we want, we are miserable, we must therefore change to the concept of what we need, to what is most necessary to us. We live in a universe in which love and wisdom, and joy are the very substance out of which creation fashioned things. We live in a tremendous potential for good, and to realize this and cooperate with it, is to begin the unfoldment of our own lives.

The ancients believed there was only one life, the life of God. To live with love for this life was to live in peace with it; to live in hate and fear was to destroy God. The individual who hates and fears is the only true atheist. No one can hate, fear, and worship at the same time.

Happiness does not arise from copying other people because the things that make them happy might make us miserable. There has to be a universal happiness- something infinitely beyond the individual patterned pleasures which we recognize; and this happiness is the freedom of life in itself. It is not necessarily a theological state at all. It is the transference of our citizenship, an inner belonging to another world, so that the suddenly the world of realities becomes meaningful and we realize that this material creation floats as a bubble in an infinitely vaster spiritual creation; that far beyond anything we can estimate is the power of infinite love infinitely working.

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Words Are Signs Of Natural Facts.


Every word, which is used to express a moral or intellectual fact, if traced to its root, is found as borrowed from some material appearance.

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Right means straight; wrong means twisted. Spirit primarily means wind; transgression, the crossing of a line; supercilious, the raising of the eyebrow. We say the heart to express emotion, the head to denote thought; and thought and emotion are words borrowed from sensible things, and now appropriated to spiritual nature. Most of the process by which this transformation is made, is hidden from us in the remote time when language was framed; but the same tendency may be daily observed in our children. Children and “savages” use only nouns or names of things, which they convert into verbs, and apply to analogous mental acts.

But this origin of all words that convey a spiritual import, — so conspicuous a fact in the history of language, — is our least debt to nature. It is not words only that are emblematic; it is things, which are emblematic. Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind, and that state of the mind can only be described by presenting that natural appearance as its picture.

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For example, an enraged man is a lion, a cunning man is a fox, a firm man is a rock, a learned man is a torch. A lamb is innocence; a snake is subtle spite; flowers express to us the delicate affections. Light and darkness are our familiar expression for knowledge and ignorance; and heat for love. Visible distance behind and before us, is respectively our image of memory and hope.

Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?

Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence.

Man is conscious of a universal soul within or behind his individual life, wherein, as in a firmament, the natures of Justice, Truth, Love, Freedom, arise and shine. This universal soul, which we call Reason: is not mine, or yours, or his or hers, but we are its; we are its property and men and women.

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And the blue sky in which the private earth is buried, the sky with its eternal calm, and full of everlasting orbs, is the type of Reason. That which, intellectually considered, we call Reason, considered in relation to nature, we call Spirit. Spirit is the Creator. Spirit has life in itself. And man in all ages and countries, embodies it in his language, as the FATHER.

It is easily seen that there is nothing lucky or capricious in these analogies, but that they are constant, and pervade nature. These are not the dreams of a few poets, here and there, but we are analogists, and study relations in all objects. We are placed in the center of beings, and a ray of relation passes from every other being to us. And neither can we be understood without these objects, nor these objects without us.

All the facts in natural history taken by themselves, have no value, but are barren, like a single sex. But marry it to human history, and it is full of life. Because of this radical correspondence between visible things and human thoughts, savages, who have only what is necessary, conversed in figures.

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As we go back in history, language becomes more picturesque, until its infancy, when it is all poetry; or all spiritual facts are represented by natural symbols. The same symbols are found to make the original elements of all languages. It has moreover been observed, that the idioms of all languages approach each other in passages of the greatest eloquence and power.

And as this is the first language, so is it the last.

This immediate dependence of language upon nature, this conversion of an outward phenomenon into a type of somewhat in human life, never loses its power to affect us. A man’s power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so to utter it, depends on the simplicity of his character, that is, upon his love of truth, and his desire to communicate it without loss.

The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language. When simplicity of character and the sovereignty of ideas is broken up by the prevalence of secondary desires, the desire of riches, of pleasure, of power, and of praise, — and duplicity and falsehood take place of simplicity and truth, the power over nature as an interpreter of the will, is in a degree lost; new imagery ceases to be created, and old words are perverted to stand for things which they are not. In due time, the fraud is manifest, and words lose all power to stimulate understanding or affection.

We know more from nature than we can at will communicate. Its light flows into the mind continuously, and yet, we forget its presence.

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Have mountains, and waves, and skies, no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ them as emblems of our thoughts? The world is emblematic.

Parts of speech are metaphors, because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind. The laws of moral nature answer to those of matter as face to face in a glass.

“The visible world and the relation of its parts, is the dial plate of the invisible.”

The axioms of physics translate the laws of ethics. Thus, “the whole is greater than its part;” “reaction is equal to action;” “the smallest weight may be made to lift the greatest, the difference of weight being compensated by time;” and many similar propositions have an ethical as well as physical sense. These propositions have a much more extensive and universal sense when applied to human life, than when only confined to technical use.

In the same way, the memorable words of history, and the proverbs of nations, consist usually of a natural fact, selected as a picture or parable of a moral truth.

Thus; A rolling stone gathers no moss; A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; A cripple in the right way, will beat a racer in the wrong; Make hay while the sun shines; ‘T is hard to carry a full cup even; Vinegar is the son of wine; The last ounce broke the camel’s back; Long-lived trees make roots first; — and the like.

In their primary sense these are trivial facts, but we repeat them for the value of their analogical import. What is true of proverbs, is true of all fables, parables, and allegories.

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This relation between the mind and matter is not fancied by some poet, but stands in the will of God, and so is free to be known by all of us. It is the standing problem which has exercised the wonder and the study of every fine genius since the world began; from the era of the Egyptians and the Brahmins, to that of Pythagoras, of Plato, of Bacon, of Leibnitz, of Swedenborg.

A fact is the end or last issue of spirit. The visible creation is the terminus or the circumference of the invisible world. “Material objects,” said a French philosopher, “are necessarily kinds of scoriae of the substantial thoughts of the Creator, which must always preserve an exact relation to their first origin; in other words, visible nature must have a spiritual and moral side.”

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Words Can Inspire. And Words Can Destroy. Choose Wisely.


Nobody in his senses wants airplanes dropping bombs and poison gases upon his head; nobody in his senses wants slums, Tobacco Roads, and undernourished, ragged schoolchildren in a land of potential economic plenty. But bombs are killing babies in China and Spain today, and more than one-third of the people in America are underfed, badly housed, shoddily clothed.

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Nobody wants men and women to be unemployed, but in Western civilization from twenty to thirty million are, or have recently been, without work, and many of those who have recovered their jobs are making munitions of war. In brief, with a dreadful irony, we are acting to produce precisely the kinds of things and situations which we do not want.

It is as though a hungry farmer, with rich soil, and good wheat seed in his barn, could raise nothing but thistles. The tendency of organisms is strongly toward survival, not against it. Something has perverted human-survival behavior. I assume that it is a temporary perversion. I assume that it is bound up to some extent with an unconscious misuse of man’s most human attributes – thinking and its tool, language.

Failure of mental communication is painfully in evidence nearly everywhere we choose to look. Pick up any magazine or newspaper and you will find many of the articles devoted to sound and fury from politicians, editors, leaders of industry, and diplomats. You will find the text of the advertising sections devoted almost solidly to a skillful attempt to make words mean something different to the reader from what the facts warrant.

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Most of us are aware of the chronic inability of schoolchildren to understand what is taught them; their examination papers are familiar exhibits in communication failure. Let me put a question to my fellow authors in the fields of economics, politics, and sociology: How many book-reviewers show by their reviews that they know what you are talking about? One in ten? That is about my ratio. Yet most of them assert that I am relatively lucid, if ignorant. How many arguments arrive anywhere? “A controversy,” says Richards, “is normally an exploitation of a set of misunderstandings for warlike purposes.” Have you ever listened to a debate in the Senate? A case being argued before the Supreme Court? . . .

This is not frail humanity strapped upon an eternal rack. This is a reparable defect in the mechanism. When the physicists began to clear up their language, especially after Einstein, one mighty citadel after another was taken in the quest for knowledge. Is slum clearance a more difficult study than counting electrons? Strictly speaking, this may be a meaningless question, but I think you get my point.

It is too late to eliminate the factor of sheer verbalism in the already blazing war between “fascism” and “communism.” That war may end Europe as a viable continent for decades. To say that it is a battle of words alone is contrary to the facts, for there are important differences between the so-called fascist and communist states. But the words themselves, and the dialectic which accompanies them, have kindled emotional fires which far transcend the differences in fact.

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Abstract terms are personified to become burning, fighting realities. Yet if the knowledge of semantics were general, and men were on guard for communication failure, the conflagration could hardly start. There would be “honest differences of opinion, there might be a sharp political struggle, but not this windy clash of rival metaphysical notions.

If one is attacked and cornered, one fights; the reaction is shared with other animals and is a sound survival mechanism. In modern times, however, this natural action comes after the conflict has been set in motion by propaganda. Bad language is now the mightiest weapon in the arsenal of despots and demagogues.

Endless political and economic difficulties in America have arisen and thriven on bad language. The Supreme Court crisis of 1937 was due chiefly to the creation by judges and lawyers of verbal monsters in the interpretation of the Constitution. They gave objective, rigid values to vague phrases like “due process” and “interstate commerce.” Once these monsters get into the zoo, no one knows how to get them out again, and they proceed to eat us out of house and home.

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Judges and lawyers furthermore have granted to a legal abstraction the rights, privileges, and protection vouchsafed to a living, breathing human being. It is thus that corporations, as well as you or I, are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It would surely be a rollicking sight to see the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey in pursuit of happiness at a dance hall. It would be a sight to see United States Smelting and Refining being brought back to consciousness by a squad of coast guard men armed with a respirator, to see the Atlas Corporation enjoying its constitutional freedom at a nudist camp.

This gross animism has permitted a relatively small number of individuals to throw the economic mechanism seriously out of gear. By economic mechanism, I mean the operation of factories, stores, machines, whereby men, women, and children are fed, sheltered, and clothed. If people were armed with semantic understanding, such fabulous concepts could not arise. Corporations would not be interpreted as tender persons.

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A community of semantic illiterates, of persons unable to perceive the meaning of what they read and hear, is one of perilous equilibrium. Advertisers, as well as demagogues, thrive on this illiteracy. The case against the advertising of commercial products has hitherto rested on mendacity. In modern times outright mendacity—such as a cure for cancer—is tempered with spurious identification. The advertiser often creates verbal goods, turning the reader’s attention away from the actual product. He sells the package, and especially the doctrinal matter around the package. The plain woman, by using a given cosmetic, is invited to become Cleopatra, vested with all the allure of the East. In brief, consumers often pay their money for the word rather than for the thing.

Without ability to translate words into verifiable meanings, most people are the inevitable victims of both commercial and literary fraud. Their mental life is increasingly corrupted.

Excerpt From: Stuart Chase. “Tyranny of Words.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/7FRw6.ll

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Permanent Progress Results From Education, Not From Legislation.


We must realize that young people today are torn between the traditions of the past and the uncertainties of the future. A way of life that guided the conduct of older generations has broken down and it is very unlikely that it will be restored.

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Disillusionment is a phase through which we all pass in one way or another. Children today must live in a world their parents have never known.

Today millions of young people face a future that offers no encouragement for effort and no reward for merit. Education insures no preferment, ability creates no security; the foundations of honesty and integrity have been undermined by the pressures of a perverted profit system.

The present youth crisis is more than a temporary emergency. This condition cannot solve itself. The answer must be found in an intelligent and farseeing program of industrial and social planning.

Today the nation’s most important asset, our youth, continues to remain unrepresented. Unorganized and unemployed, it is rapidly approaching dangerous crises, and stands in desperate need of wise and sympathetic direction.

America’s youth is the helpless victim of industrial feudalism. The energy, courage and vision of youth can support the progress of the world, yet it is denied a place in the sun. No provision has been made to insure a square deal to the young people of America; no hero has come forth to champion their cause before a self-centered generation.

For the most part their problems are unconsidered, their needs unanalyzed, and their future unassured. The miseries, uncertainties and disillusionments of past decades are overshadowing and oppressing the new generations.

Can America afford to ignore the psychological force and constructive energy of its young people?

In a few years the older generation, with its plots and spoils, must pass away. Instead of battling the feudal lords of industry and finance, secure in their high places, leave them to the inevitable ravages of time. If these hard-set men who think only in terms of success, and whose only emotion is love of power, cannot be reformed, we need not despair. What men cannot change, nature will remove in due time.

Why not educate the younger generation to a different standard of life and action? Let’s invest every resource of the nation, if necessary, in equipping youth to rule the world of tomorrow more wisely than age is ruling it today.

The vast sums now being expended for relief are only taking care of an imminent problem. The fundamental psychology of the country must be changed. If we can change our attitude from that of rapacious greed to one of national pride and solidarity, then the root of the problem has been touched

If we can prevent the younger generation from being corrupted by the old selfish codes which perverted our father’s time the death rate will bring a natural end to the Age of greed.

The man who is fed today is hungry tomorrow.

Is it not more extravagant for a nation to assume economic responsibility for millions of indigent persons that to finance a program, which will eventually render charity unnecessary?

One of the greatest fallacies in our viewpoint is that we try to reform adult delinquents, striving to cure people of innate selfishness when they are too old and set to change.

Let us then try to straighten the bent twig than the inclined tree.

Under our present industrial system the employment of the millions of unemployed is practically impossible. The country must be prepared to make drastic changes in its economic system or else be satisfied to support for years to come the millions of people who are permanently crowded out of industry. The better alternative is to build for the future, to look forward 10 or 20 years instead of at our noses.

As no plan has yet been attempted which solves the basic cause of unemployment, it would seem the vital issue of the hour is the discovery of some method to preserve the integrity and self-respect for our coming generations.

We must make our young people a part of the nation is a new and thrilling way, from the first day of school until they finally emerge into their own life. They must be led to realize that they are important and necessary. The psychology of helping themselves and at the same time others will give them enthusiasm and dignity.

Youth is probably the most vulnerable element in the psychology of the American people. No one can attack youth’s right to life, liberty, and happiness without exposing their own intolerance and inhumanity.

The sentiments, higher emotions and ideals of people are never drawn out and played upon and that is why they are so seldom expressed in national life.

At the present time, nearly every country of the world is in serious difficulties. We hear continuing reports of conferences and summit meeting to arbitrate the feuds and dilemmas of nations, communities and – for that matter – private lives. The old traditional ways of solving disagreements between countries are over worked and have virtually no effect.

There are forebodings of further probable disasters, and the citizens of the various political structures are on the verge of revolution. Up until now there seems to be no comprehensive approach for successfully dealing with even one of the impending catastrophes.

Why not face the facts and study the historical and psychological conditions, which are responsible for practically all of the tragedies that have befallen the world over the last, several thousand years?

I think there is constructive hope in the idea of a complete educational overhaul, no only encompassing the classroom but also including the standard reference books on the critical events that have distinguished and disfigured the planet for a long time.

The concept now seems to center on the importance of reconstruction of the public school system so that young people are better informed about the great social problems we have inherited from the past.

Democratic commonwealth can never be legislated into existence. Nor can it result from treaties or conferences. This is clearly indicated in the failure of the United Nations. They have failed to prevent war because the nations, which make up the union, lack courage of high conviction; they failed the very institution, which they themselves established.

Permanent progress results from education, and not from legislation. The true purpose of education is to inform the mind in basic truths concerning conduct and the consequences of conduct. Education is not merely fitting the individual for the problems of economic survival.

No human being who is moved to actions through wrong motivation, or misuses the privileges of his times, can be regarded as educated, regardless of the amount of formal schooling he received.

Civilization after civilization has been built up by human courage and destroyed by human ignorance. We stand again on the threshold of great decision.

Live and Learn. We All Do.

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What is Hermetica?


The Hermetica is a collection of writing attributed to Thoth- a mythical ancient Egyptian sage whose wisdom is said to have transformed him into a god.  Although largely unknown today, the writings attributed to Hermes/Thoth have been immensely important in the history of Western thought.  They profoundly influenced the Greeks, and through their rediscovery in fifteenth-century florence, helped to inspire the ‘Renaissance’ which gave birth to our modern age.

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The list of people who acknowledge a debt to the Hermetica reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the greatest philosophers, scientists and artists that the West has produced- Leonardo da Vinci, Duer, Botticelli, Roger Bacon, Paracelsus, Thomas More, William Blake, Kepler, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Sir Walter Raleigh, Milton, Ben Johnson, Daniel Dafoe, Shelley and his wife Mary, Victor Hugo and Carl jung.  It heavily influenced Shakespeare, John Donne, John Dee and all the poet-philosophers who surrounded the court of Queen Elizabeth I, as well as the founding scientists of the Royal Society in London, and even threaders who inspired the Protestant Reformation in Europe.  The list is endless, with Hermetica’s influence reaching well beyond the frontiers of Europe.

The Hermetica is a cornerstone of Western culture.  In substance and importance it is equal to well-known Eastern scriptures like Upanishads, the Dhammapada and the Tao Te Ching.  Yet, unlike these texts which are now readily available and widely read, the works of Hermes have been lost under the dead weight of academic translations, Christian prejudice and occult obscurities.

History shows that wherever the works of Hermes have been studied and venerated, civilisation flourished.  Pagans and sages fled to the newly emerging Arab culture, taking their knowledge and the Hermetic writings with them.  Two hundred years later, the Muslims created an empire who learning and scientific achievements were unsurpassed.

Overlighting Sacred Union

By the beginning of the ninth century, the first university was established in Baghdad, called the ‘House of Wisdom’.  Here many pagan works were translated, the sciences that had reached such heights in Alexandria were significantly developed, and the ancient Pagan spiritual wisdom was covertly studied and practised.  From its exalted position amongst the sacred scriptures of Egyptian spirituality, the Hermetica became the secret inspiration for an important undercurrent in Islamic philosophy.

With the Arab empire becoming increasingly intolerant, the owners of the Hermetic books travelled in search of a safe refuge.  In the fifteenth century many fled to the tolerant city state of Florence in Northern Italy, where this wisdom again inspired a great cultural flowering.

The emergence of a glorious new culture in Florence signalled the end of the Dark Ages.  We call this period the ‘Renaissance’, meaning ‘rebirth’, which is a fitting name, for at the heart of the Hermetic philosophy is the idea of being spiritually reborn.
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As in Alexandria a thousand years earlier, the Renaissance viewed science, art, literature and religions parts of a united whole to be studied together.  All aspects of human life were now opened up as legitimate areas of investigation.  It was a situation that challenged the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church in 1492, with the aid of the Kind of France, they crushed the Republic of Florence.

In the modern world we know from the actions of the tabloid press how one well-timed ‘hatchet job’ can unjustifiably undermine someone’s reputation for good.  This is exactly what happened to the Hermetic teachings.

As old as the Christian gospels and older than the Qu’ran, it is one of the great sacred texts of the world.  It is worthy of respect and study for these reasons alone.

Although human culture has changed beyond recognition from the times of ancient Egyptians, the essential mysteries of life have remained what they have always been and always will be.  For those alive to these mysteries, the writings of Hermes are as relevant today as they were in the distant past.

Live and Learn.  We All Do.

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7 Reasons for the Hidden Mental Health Crisis of America’s Youth


There’s a crisis of mental health in our children’s schools and it’s getting worse!

7 reasons contributing to this epidemic are as follows:

1) An unsound, impractical and inadequate educational theory.  It perpetuates much that is obsolete and ignores most of that which is vital in knowledge.

2) A vicious popular psychology of success.  The young are constantly urged to force their way into lines of endeavour for which they are unsuited, merely for reasons of monetary gain.  Progress cannot continue with money as a sole motive for effort.

3) Inadequate, prejudiced, ignorant and intolerant religious training.  Narrow religious concepts so distort the ethical values that religion’s true work of character building is ignored.sapvoice-can-software-help-solve-the-global-education-crisis-q4Fz6T-clipart.jpg

4) Lack of understanding between young people and the older generation.  Children receive detrimental training based on the example of unfairness set by their elders.

5) Non-representation in social and political life.  Young people must grow up and live in other men’s worlds, with no right and no voice in the correction of flagrant evils of which they themselves are conscious.

6) Loss of resourcefulness.  The educational theory destroys initiative, the social order discourages originality, and neither offers any security in the place of the qualities they kill out.

7) Loss of confidence in life, self and authority.  This condition is greatly aggravated by unemployment and the impossibility of finding useful outlets for skill and knowledge acquired through schooling.

It has taken years to being about the present evil and it will take years to perfect a cure.  The education of youth in the essential values of life and the release of their young minds from the abnormal complexes which grip this generation is the only way to prevent these social crises.

Young people are the most vulnerable element in the psychology of the American people.  It will be easier to coordinate the mind of the people on this issue than on any other od the programs under consideration.  No one can attack a young person’s right to life, liberty and happiness, without exposing his own intolerance and inhumanity.

Live and Learn. We All Do.

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