By Zahir Ebrahim
First Published Friday December 28, 2012 | Last Updated Tue, December 17, 2019 12:00 pm
Some “ba sha-oor” (Urdu word for being thoughtful, self-aware, having deep wherewithal) young Muslims in the crucial age-group 16-26 the world over find themselves in a moral quandary. At the cusp of their independence from their families, and just beginning their own journey into the world of earning a livelihood and career, if they are the brilliant and motivated type, they see their choices being severely circumscribed by the global military-industrial-corporate-academe complexes of the Western hegemons which manifests in almost all countries of the world as the Multinational Corporations (MNCs), the Non Profit Organizations (NGOs,) and the academia. With rising self-awareness among peoples – what is perhaps aptly captured by the psychological term “global consciousness” in Hindu-speak, and the philosophical term “sha-oor” in Urdu-speak – at least some youngsters among this crop of highly intelligent Muslims today wish to take no part in this demonic space which ubiquitously circumscribes the boundaries of thought, livelihood, and lifestyle in this modern scientific era of the twenty-first century.
These youngsters, though few in number, realize that their choices made now will define the options-tree of the future. Meaning, choices made now will determine choices available to them in the future. And each choice made at every step automatically pruning the options-space even while enabling new options but only in the direction chosen by earlier choices. Speaking in the pragmatic sense of course, and not the idealistic one – for one is surely always free to make whatever choice one wants in theory. Pragmatically, if you aren't an engineer or doctor or lawyer or academic for instance, your options to engage your imaginative labors professionally in engineering, medicine, law, and academic capacity respectively is virtually zero. Unless one is a Rothschild or Rockefeller and can define their own world by the sheer power of their wealth and fortune, one is entirely limited by what the existing world defines for them. This is so obvious that it should be self-evident, but often isn't.
Thus, if one didn't choose wisely at the beginning of one's journey, one is likely to be stuck with one's skill sets, professional training, and overarching direction in which one invests considerable time during the defining decade 16-26 of one's life, for the rest of one's life. Especially with increasing family responsibilities which often further limit one's freedom of choice with every passing year. Each passing year sees one getting more and more entrenched into a lifestyle which in the modern age is almost entirely defined by choices made in that first crucial decade of one's life.
This FAQ guide bearing personal opinions only, is for this young group of men and women who worry about such choices before these choices become a fait accompli in their life. If you aren't of this enlightened mindset during this early period of your life, your time is better spent elsewhere rather than reading this. You won't understand it anyway. When the author was in this age-group, he surely would not have been interested in it either beyond mere curiosity and general knowledge. All he appeared to care about at the time was himself, his interests (which were many), and his family, though not necessarily in that order. He displayed little interest in nation-building, never mind harbor any “sha-oor”. His primary concern at the time was how to take care of the dinner table when it was to be his turn to take over from his father. And he was honest enough to not pretend to be among those who did give a damn. There were always the odd communist, the socialist, plenty of jamaatis, and other revolutionary oddballs fighting for this and that causes in every social group doing enough worrying about humanity to give the rest of mankind a break from such matters. Had someone told him at that age what he knows today, it likely would not have resonated with him to the point of inducing a metanoia (Greek word for transformation after perceiving some truth). That direction change must come from within – at any age.
The pre-requisite to understanding this guide is “sha-oor”, a deep concern for understanding how the world actually works while one is still in that youthful age-group when the world is still one's oyster, and the keen desire to define one's own role in it. Most people in the world, let alone the hundreds of millions of youngsters in this defining age-group, spend out their entire lives without any “sha-oor” ever entering between their ears. Most, in fact, remain caught their entire lives between being sheep and glorified cows. Despite their great benefit to mankind for their production of wool and milk, both remain forever under the butchers' knife. Neither is known for revolting against the habit of mutton eating, nor against being made sacrificial lambs under “divine” mandates! That is the condition of modern man – when he is actually being productive and not being a “useless eater” that is. Robert Strange McNamara, the US Secretary of Defense in the 1960s, and the head of the World Bank upon leaving government, had argued the following for the “useless eaters” of humanity. In a speech at Notre Dame in 1969, McNamara stated: “the children who were dying were fortunate, for the millions of those who lived languidly on were stunted in their bodies and crippled in their minds.” Unless you wish to rebel against that condition of mankind's servitude which forces upon him the lovely choice to be among the sheep, cow, or the “useless eater”, you are wasting your time reading any of this.
The un-stated rationale for some of what follows can be found in the following key articles written by the author, and in the two key books by the two foremost thinkers of the twentieth century who argued as inevitable many of the dysfunctions of the modern scientific era now besieging mankind in the twenty-first century.
Please read these two books first (More in Recommended Reading):
Please see these key articles on high-tech career choices which lend at least some partial insight into their pitfalls:
Additionally, see the following book which will help clarify the base reality of the mindset which always looks to the West for solutions to their national problems. One may be shocked to discover that while written in 1961 in Iran, the ailment diagnosed for the Iranians of the 1950s is still most prevalent among Muslims living in virtually all mentally colonized countries. This book especially captures with utmost accuracy the mindset among the “likkha parrha jahils” of Pakistan today:
Lastly, even if you read nothing else that is recommended here, and if you are from the former colonies of the British empire, especially its Jewel in the Crown, you must at least know how you came to speak English:
So that you may avoid the subconscious cunning of the House Nigger who becomes the sly propagandist for empire:
- Be true to yourself
- Be true to your profession
- Don't settle for less
- Don't become content
Be true to yourself
What this means, regardless of who you are, what your interests are, what your background is, who your parents are, be true to your nature. Don't adulterate in your nature. If your nature is to be a builder, tinkerer, thinker, musician, mathematician, explorer, try to be true to that nature if life and opportunity permits it. Often it does not.
For instance, one is put in jail for 28 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed one's family. While another loots and plunders a nation of 200 million and goes scot-free to live a life of luxury thumping at the world. Victor Hugo timelessly captured the first part of that scenario in Les Misérables --- I urge you to read that famous French novel (online-link to English translation). The first part of the book captures the injustice of life and society which condemns one to a choiceless life of misery and servitude. That easily makes one angry at the world, at life, at creation, at Creator. The Preface of this great novel captures its import far better:
“So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century—the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light—are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world;—in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use.”
The second part of the novel captures the transformation, a profound metanoia, wherein one now lives the life in which one is true to oneself despite all the subsequent challenges. This template is in fact a story not just of Christianity as told by Victor Hugo, but is a story of life that has repeated itself from time immemorial in the lives of ordinary men and women who have chosen to be true to themselves despite every misery and against all odds. Here are two famous contemporary lives lived true to oneself: The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Nelson Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom.
They each tread the Path Not Taken by others. And it made all the difference not just to these men, but also to their respective societies. The fruits of Malcolm X's labors are yet to fully materialize however. He planted the trees under whose shade some future generations shall surely reap the benefits. See The Unknown Transformation of Malcolm X.
Be true to your profession
What this means, don't adulterate in your profession, whatever it may be. If you are a cobbler, be true to your profession and make all the repairs on shoes with proper stitches, don't cut corners. If you are a civil engineer, don't adulterate the admixture to make an extra buck. Make your structures stand on robust foundations which are resilient to the best of your skill and capacity. If you are a scholar, well, the first hallmark of scholarship of any domain is to seek the truth in that domain and to speak it boldly without considerations. Tell the truth.
But when your stomach gets attached to you, you may not be able to tell the truth; you may choose and rationalize that silence as the better part of valor; you may decide instead to feed the poor as penance for your disgusting silence. But then again, the mind that comes up with such rationalizations also does not think about its co-option in those terms, nor its generosity as atonement, rather always thinks in terms of fastpath to Heaven. Indeed, lucky are those who walk in their sleep due to a guilty conscience, for there is at least the hope of metanoia due to that cognitive dissonance. Unfortunately, many among the lot die holily in bed!
So, if you feel that you are invested greatly in your success, your career, your wealth, and do not wish to jeopardize all those accolades you get for keeping silent, for looking the other way, perhaps you might change your profession rather than persist in a domain whose hallmark is to remain faithful to the tenets of that profession. For instance, see My Open Letter to the Doctors of America.
If a scholar cannot speak truthfully without resorting to half-truths, lying by omission, being co-opted by the stomach, the ego, and other considerations, may the curse of God be upon such scholars.
If there is any fair justice in an Afterlife, if there is indeed an Afterlife which of course all Muslims believe in as an article of faith, then such scholars will surely be the first ones in line for Hell.
Indeed, all those who turn a blind eye to the corruption of power that engenders evil, who stay silent to the crimes of primacy, who shake hands with tyrants to benefit from their approval (such as lucrative jobs, contracts, awards, social standing) while pretending it is all they could do to earn an honest living, but the proceeds of which they also rush to proclaim they spend on feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, etc., they would still have lived their life in a state of loss. See Islam: Surah Al-Asr of the Holy Qur'an.
Islam for Muslims has become a culture of religion and religiosity instead of the way of life that this deen spells itself out to be. Please study my exposition of Surah Al-Asr carefully and make up your own mind how much of your own socialization in Islam differs from the actual teaching of Islam expressed in the Holy Qur'an. You must decide for yourself whether you are a cultural Muslim or a Muslim by conviction. See Why I am a Muslim. The conviction begins and ends in Surah Al-Asr at the simplest level.
If one is a Muslim by conviction, then being true to one's profession just got a lot harder because there is no room for co-option by Divine Decree. And you may well pay a price for living up to your principles. There is no free lunch for Muslims. The piper has to be paid either in this life or the next one.
Don't settle for less
What this means is that don't rest on your laurels. It is also easy to adopt the philosophy that do what one can and be done with it. Or, do the best you can. Or you can't have everything you want but you should be happy getting everything you need. Etceteras.
No. Keep improving, keep moving toward the holy grail of that domain whatever it is, knowing fully well that one may never reach it, but not for the want of trying. This is a lot harder than one thinks. Often times the disappointments in life defeats one. One settles for one's lot even when the constraints are only in the mind.
The young generation today is especially susceptible to settling for a lot less than their capabilities, nature, and talents, primarily for the want of opportunities to better themselves, for the want of fairness, for the want of egalitarianism. Sometimes, for the want of their own vision. And sometimes, for the want of ambition. Women typically settle for a lot less than they are capable of in our societies of the East. When they choose to be mothers, as most do or are left no choice in that matter, they are lousy at it. The proof of that is the kind of people who exist today --- the Heaven is said to lie under the feet of the mother and do all these people in our society appear Heavenly? Clearly something has gone wrong. Talented young men too accept mediocrity as their easy path in life, often voluntarily.
The recent trend in Pakistan, for instance, among both young men and women is to study Human Relations or Communications and go into hiring and compensation careers known as HR in corporations. Others end up selling cell phones. I was not surprised to learn that this is even the case in the United States even for middle class families. Many talented youngsters are going into easy fields to just earn a paycheck and enjoy life. Hedonistic and shallow lifestyles are at an all time high in the twenty-first century.
The younger generations are settling for a lot less than they should – for they have it much easier than the preceding generations that saw a great deal of personal struggles to make ends meet. Their legatees should not throw away their advantage. They should study the hardest disciplines their minds can grapple with, and pursue careers that give them the greatest potential to improve themselves as human beings – and this can only happen on grindstones!
Don't become content
What this means is to be mal content and to be mal adjusted. To what? To evil. Here is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., expressing that sentiment most eloquently in his 1967 Speech at the Ebenezer Baptist Church titled: Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam (video-link):
“There are some things in our society and some things in our world, which I am proud to be maladjusted. And I call upon all men of goodwill to be maladjusted to these things until the good society is realized.”
When you are mal adjusted to evil in society, when you are discontent with the way things are, you shall have the opportunity to strive to overcome it. If necessity is the mother of invention, then discontent must surely be the father of progress.
When you are content and well adjusted in society, you become part of that system, often invested heavily in the status quo, and always no motivation to stand up to the evils of your society; from its day to day living adjusting to small evils, to macro social evils when tyrants rule over you, is a continuum which begins with shutting one's eyes and getting comfortable, often to focus on one's career goals, and subsequently, to protect all the gains in one's career. This Banality of Evil every member of a conscienceless society participates in. I.e., when consciences die in the aggregate, they begin by dying in individuals.
The outcome is that tyranny flourishes unhindered. It is not attenuated by doing good deeds in compensation such as building schools and feeding the needy. The needy exist, the schools are poor, the poor are homeless, the homeless are hungry, the hungry are jobless, primarily because of the highest order bit – the rulers are evil and wish to keep the public in servitude. The public under such rulers easily fall into the self-fulfilling prophecy trap of decay whereby their worst traits automatically percolate to the top and often rewarded. Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet, captured its contours most eloquently in his book: The Garden Of The Prophet, in his free-form poetic style by the theme: Pity the Nation (online-link). That is what happens to a nation when individuals shut their eyes, mouth, ears, i.e., when they become Summun, Bukmun, Umyun, in narrow self-interests.
Closing one's mind to the highest order bits of the matter and working on the lower order ones, is like, well, borrowing a cliché from my engineering profession, optimizing cache-lines while ignoring the fact that the cacheable page is not locked down in the MMU. A single page-fault wipes out all the cache optimizations. You can feed a thousand people a day, the next day they shall still be hungry. Get rid of the tyrant and all will be able to feed themselves, everyday! But of course, it is a lot easier to feed the needy every day. It is pretty safe. It may even win awards from the tyrants, even the Nobel Peace prize for humanitarian work (sic!). La'nat (curse) on such prizes and accolades that are acquired in the thunderous sounds of silence on the highest order bits of any matter: its first cause!
However, When you strive to change things as a mal content and are stridently mal adjusted to the systems that rule over you, you at least have the opportunity to be at peace with yourself when death comes calling. A hefty price often has to be paid for seeking that worthy peace.
Most, however, delude themselves saying to themselves that their conscience is not soiled by what they see around them, for, they say: we did not commit it. They forget that they did not stop it either. That they did nothing to interdict it. Did not even try. Did not stick their neck out. Did not register their protest. Did not withhold their consent. Whence do such calm consciences come from that sleep well at night? From self-deception. As the adage goes, don't fool others, and don't be fooled by others; but most importantly, don't fool oneself. I.e., don't be a damn hypocrite!
History is often unkind to those who are mal content and mal adjusted to macro social evil, as are their contemporary times. No accolades, no garlands, no wah wah (cheering) await them. But when these ideals become moral imperatives, it makes no difference what anyone else thinks of those who live them. They are the ones who make a difference in the world. The ones who take the Path Not Taken by others. Only on this lonely path is one's soul at the zenith of nafs-e-mutmahinnah: “O soul that art at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him)”,
(Arabic: يَٰٓأَيَّتُهَا ٱلنَّفْسُ ٱلْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ٱرْجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Fajr, 89:27, 89:28.
(Arabic: يَٰٓأَيَّتُهَا ٱلنَّفْسُ ٱلْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ٱرْجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً ) Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Fajr, 89:27, 89:28.
Guidance to Educationalists
These Base Meta Principles should be of special interest to educationalists who understand the necessity of grooming a new generation with character. We used to learn this kind of stuff watching our parents, grandparents, elders, and vicariously through fine literature, fine conversations, intellectual discussions, seriousness of disposition that sent us contemplating our navel in our teens, etc. Today's generation has lost this mooring, this character grooming asset... for whatever reasons and they are not getting it from home or from the society. The educationalists, at least those who are not in the business of making money from education as a cash crop, which is what has happened today, but are in education to groom young minds and are presently imparting mainly only job skills, must now carry this burden more than ever.
Without character, it is immaterial how great a nation becomes materially, technologically; witness the US of A. Primacy is the prime directive and it must induce public servitude as its imperative in order to exercise it. Nations are composites of individuals who comprise it, not mere abstractions on parchment used for governing them. A nation of slaves who “united we stand” with authority figures in every abhorrence, and a nation of moral beings who live the courage of their convictions, are both fashioned by the 16 to 20 years spent in school.
We want a generation in every nation that shall neither be slaves, nor exercise their primacy instincts to oppress others. The foundation for this new national character building must be laid at the school levels in the education systems.
The sociopathic tendencies for primacy must also be identified early on in the young minds and groomed-out by interdiction rather than as it is today, left alone to become monsters who rise to positions of power with utmost respectability. See the book by Martha Stout: The Sociopath Next Door, and the book by Andrew M. Lobaczewski: Political Ponerology. These mass readable books analyze the cause of what all can easily observe in every society today, how incurable sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power and abuse faster than normal people, and how society tends to applaud their successes which often mask a great deal of evil behind its facade of respectability. After bombing nations to smithereens, rulers also tend to win Nobel peace prizes. See What is the Sociopathic mind and How to win the Nobel peace prize. Surely educationalists can see themselves play some positive role here, as can the legalists and the medicalists concerned with societal issues.
Question 1) “I am currently in third year of electrical engineering and opting for electronics and communication majors. Which universities in US or UK to target after graduation for further studies. I need your guidance in this regard. Since time is drawing near to decide the career path, I want to join one of the leading companies and eventually turn as "System Architect". In Pakistan there is hardly any company working on chip designing. So a career abroad and ultimately transferring the experience to Pakistani Students is going to be my ultimate goal so that we can have indigenous chip designing and fabrication facilities.”
Answer: If you have to ask, especially in these times of ease of access to any information, you need to grow up some more in Pakistan before you go for your graduate education. Spend at least a year after graduation in Pakistan doing volunteer work or internship with a public service organization. A good place might be the Christian colony across from your home where the lowliest among the Pakistani society live. These are the “untouchables” of Pakistan, not much different from the Dalit of India. Or, find a Muslim “katchi abadi” (slum) or some distant village if you prefer not to sit with those who clean your streets. Teach their children how to read and write to begin with. You will know what to do next yourself, for, journeying even briefly on that pathway, you will surely come to apprehend the core needs of the nation and its peoples.
I doubt very much if you have given the matter much more thought than it took to write your question. Is “indigenous chip designing and fabrication facilities” really among the nation's core needs at this time? When you bring your pious intentions to nationalism, you might do well to realize that you are serving your own narrow interests first no differently than the pious politicians and mullahs while paying lip-service to public interest. A good litmus test for such matters is to continually ask yourself: Do you really give a damn about anyone other than yourself? If so, what have you done in the three years you have been at UET to demonstrate that? I suggest you read Ayn Rand's two novels: Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and her collection of Essays: The Virtue of Selfishness. You may feel better about abandoning false piety and self-deception.
After reading Ayn Rand, if you still feel like selflessly caring about the nation and its peoples, spend some time in volunteer social work trying to discover the real needs of the nation. And don't think you will be doing these poverty stricken “slum lords” any favors. In fact, they will be doing you a favor, if they even accept you as their teacher when you bring your hoity-toity attitude of being their great benefactor to them. But, if you come to them in genuine humility, and with a deep sense of gratitude for being born on the right side of the railroad tracks, they might just become the “wasilah” you need to save you from pursuing the path of “likkha parrha jahils”. Pakistan is drowning in their abundance. I don't believe this country can handle many more such people trying to service Pakistan! I could of course be entirely wrong on that count.
Question 2) “How can I, being an electrical engineer serve the humanity, Muslims.... I am confused. I want to utilize my degree not for my personal [gain]. It was never ever my aim to become an engineer for the sake of getting job ... I don't know what to do with my this very degree of engineering but I really want to do something beyond my personal interest. Please suggest me some way to utilize my degree for Muslims. I don't want to go for job in multinational companies of America and Israel. ... Today living in the age of technology, it is inevitable to say that we, the Muslims can [not] win the war without technological advancement.”
Answer: There are several ways. While the question asked is how to serve humanity as an “Electrical Engineer”, the first sensible thing to do as the overarching first principle of life is to separate one's profession from the desire to serve humanity. If you see a rape happening outside your home, you don't really need to be an “Electrical Engineer” to call the cops, or to take your gun or screams boldly to the defense of the poor victim. Solon, the Athenian law giver in ancient Greece, one thousand years before the advent of Islam, when asked which city he thought was well-governed, said: “That city where those who have not been injured take up the cause of one who has, and prosecute the case as earnestly as if the wrong had been done to themselves.” That principle of good Samaritans of the Bible which came five hundred years later, extends to all of “amar bil maroof” and “nahin anil munkar” of the Holy Qur'an and Islam which followed in its footsteps as guidance to mankind.
Before you inflict all these noble first principles of selflessness upon others however, apply them to yourself first. You see victims being made across the world from both, the instruments of neoconservatism (ala military invasions, military occupations, manufactured revolutions), and the instruments of neoliberalism (ala economic policies of privatization of public commons, erosion of domestic production base, etc., inflicted by the World Bank, IMF, etc., and signed into law by house niggers running almost all developing nations). You might first endeavor to acquire a better understanding of what lies behind it all. There is much more to these instruments than meets the eye, is reported in the news, or is written about in popular academic books. And thence oppose the tyranny which is insidiously inflicted upon your nation using these instruments of hegemony in the guise of “la mission civilisatrice” (the white man's burden), indigenous development, and ultimately, saving the people from themselves. That intellectual rigor and moral courage also does not require being an “Electrical Engineer”. To stand up for what is decent and fair, and against what is immoral and criminal, takes both, a sharp intellect to first be able to separate the chaff from the wheat, and immense courage to follow up on it. But doing so oneself first, before going out to preach to others, takes a lot more personal and moral courage than the pious Muslim mind bowing five times daily in prayer tends to possess.
The politician and mullah culture that has been part and parcel of Muslim history since its very inception, preaching virtue to others while wisely abstaining from its limitations oneself, has crippled all Muslim civilizations. Dynastical empires and unjust rulers have ruled the roost for virtually its entire history to the abject compliance of the public mind in the name of being “good Muslim”. The pertinent contemporary example being the creation of Pakistan itself. See Sacred Cow: Allama Iqbal – marde-momin or superman?, and Islam: Surah Al-Asr of the Holy Qur'an, for how the Muslim public mind has been routinely manipulated by the politician and mullah alike. Rising above that intellectual subversion alone is the first crucial step in the right direction to help humanity, the “highest order bit” so to speak. Without it, the “lower order bits” contributions are continually wiped out with the single stroke of a pen. You can feed a hundred people a day for a thousand days with your wealth. The next day they will still all be beggars.
The collective impact of transcending the idiotic public mind by plain ordinary citizens of any nation can be far more significant to their nation in the long term than temporal contribution through any particular profession, including Electrical Engineering. The trouble with affecting this prescription however is that it requires considerable “sha-oor”, and immense personal courage, far more than is required to build products as an Electrical Engineer. But if you can muster this wherewithal, and inspire others to do the same beginning with your own children, then you end up creating a nation which Solon called well-governed, and which Islam considers as establishing “haq”. That would benefit much of humanity not just in one's own nation, but across the world.
On to the specific question: “How can I, being an electrical engineer serve the humanity, Please suggest me some way to utilize my degree for Muslims.” You can start by analyzing the local needs in your own community. Consider how you might address these real needs (as opposed to some imagined ones, see Question 1 above) with both high and low technology. Perhaps you can develop innovative solutions which will enhance the life of the average citizen. You can try seeking funding from the wealthy in your community to fund your project. There are many ideas you can explore along solar energy for instance. Just off the top of my head, for example, build a water-monitoring gizmo for tube-wells which periodically beams its water-quality data via the cell-phone network to a base station located in the water administration center that is responsible for supplying water to a city, or community. All the micro-chips needed to build such a gizmo are already available at minimal cost, as are the solar panels to drive the system autonomously. You can try building a prototype at your own expense, or as your Bachelor thesis, and pitch the working solution to say NESPAK, the National Engineering Services Company of Pakistan, a semi-governmental institution. You can also show the solution to some sympathetic industrialist, and/or local companies, create a market plan to productize your idea, and endeavor in that vein. If you come up with a good proposal, you can seek out some local company to license your technology. Just watch-out being made a fool by those more sophisticated than you. As the adage goes, “a fool and his invention are soon parted.”
You are surely only limited by your imagination and personal drive in this matter. There is no reason to feel that “multinational companies of America and Israel” are the only way forward in a technical and professional career. Be aware however, that the opportunities are also automatically constrained by the very definition of the profession. The realistic impact you can make towards helping humanity is very limited as an Electrical Engineer. It is today largely a profession that has been taken over by large corporations, and by national defence. Their agenda is not people, nor betterment of people's lives. It is to exercise hegemony, either for profit as the ruling class, or as vassals of the ruling class. Their net-worth is solely determined by valuation on Wall Street, and by the massa if they are its national defence vassals, and not by the human streets dotting the poorest nations of the world including Pakistan. The same corporations which make the refrigerator and the light bulb also make instruments of mass destruction, or comprise a crucial link in its supply-chain, and for whom engineers building refrigerators and light bulbs happily work. The few degrees of virtual separation is always soothing to the pious conscience.
Which is why choosing wisely before embarking on the education and career path is most essential as already explained in the Introduction above. However, if one can continue one's education, even part-time, or on one's own, then think of the training in Electrical Engineering as only one half of your education thus far, the development of your Left Half brain. See My Dream University. You still need to develop your Right Half brain. The skills you have hopefully received from a technical education in engineering have surely enhanced your logical mind. Build upon it for developing more critical and logical thinking. A person with a technical background who has also developed a sound background in humanities, social sciences, literature, history, etc., is often more formidable than many experts in either field. He and she can often demonstrate a wherewithal in management and decision-making positions that transcends individual expertise in either domain alone. His and her bullshit detector is frequently more honed to detecting scams than experts in either domain.
See for instance, John Perkins book: Confessions of an Economic Hitman. A holistic technical expert would surely not have been fooled by the Indian mathematician from MIT who tried to sell national debt to poor countries in cahoots with the World Bank. He used specious stochastic processes and some convoluted math that magically promised double digit growth rates with which a poor nation could easily pay off the mind-blowing debt being advocated they take on. Even a modicum of math sense, and some rational commonsense, in any nation's finance minister and his ministry comprising tens of bureaucrats and secretaries serving the public interest first rather than their own masters, would have trivially seen it to be the snake oil that it was before taking on the frivolous national debt. Just imagine for a moment, you being in such a ministry, and that proposal file coming to you. With your background in stochastic processes and probability theory from studying electrical engineering, coupled with an astute study of social sciences, economics, and Machiavelli, you would immediately reject that proposal at your level in the bureaucracy. Failing your recommendation, you would go forth to the press to speak your mind. One can not serve humanity any better than that!
As the adage goes, “if you don't like city hall, become city hall”. You can make a difference far beyond measure. In other words, consider a career as a civil servant. Take the civil service exam soon after graduating from Electrical engineering. But be different from other civil servants by taking a personal vow to not succumb to the “banality of evil” that afflicts almost every national bureaucracy. A moral technocrat well versed in another social science discipline such as law, economics, psychology, or even English literature for instance – the language of hegemony of our times – and possessing the courage of their convictions to serve humanity without fear, can make a great difference in almost any power hierarchy in the bureaucracy. While such a person will surely never rise to dizzying heights, performing at one's own level wisely, morally, astutely, with competence rather than as a useful idiot or with apathy, and in the best interest of one's peoples rather than oneself, can make a greater difference to one's community than an Electrical engineer. Albeit, I am sure that the local power engineer responsible for ensuring electricity supply to your home day and night will contest that statement. If you don't suffer from electricity load shedding, he may even have a point.
Finally, responding to the observation: “Today living in the age of technology, it is inevitable to say that we, the Muslims can [not] win the war without technological advancement.” Nations are not lost, nor battles won, first and foremost, on the anvil of technology. They are lost by having fools, useful idiots, house niggers, and mercenaries at the helm of affairs. Unless that is fixed, no amount of science and technology is the solution for winning anything, let alone a battle against a most superior foe that wages wars principally by way of deception using your own fifth columnists. The best contemporary example is Pakistan's so called “nuclear weapons” deterrence. Do you witness any American drones being deterred from killing innocent civilians in Pakistan? And did you witness these “nuclear weapons” being of any deterrence value whatsoever to the American invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 under the active support of then military dictator and all powerful President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, who now lives comfortably himself among his own massa? Without support from Pakistan, the American occupation of land-locked Afghanistan will end overnight. Pakistan's military and its industrialists even supply drinking water to the occupation forces for heaven's sake (Nestle). And American soldiers in Blackwater (or Xe) uniform (just another one of their military divisions) roam the streets of Pakistan trying to prevent Pakistan's “nuclear weapons” from being stolen by “militant Islam”. Thus, the West is now cultivating “moderate Islam” among Muslims, and especially in Pakistan ala Tahir-ul-Qadri and Imran Khan, just as they earlier cultivated “militant Islam”. See Hijacking the word ‘Islam’ for Mantra Creation. That Hegelian Dialectic cripples Pakistan, and all Muslim nations of the world, far more than any lack of science and technology. All those useful idiots who helped build Pakistan's so called “nuclear weapons” program only sowed the seeds of its own destruction, without surely realizing it. See The Salam Gang and Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons.
There will always be great minds bearing the burden of Nobel prizes in science and technology continually preaching science and technology as the panacea for all human ills. Unfortunately, the diseases of the human heart, its corruption and co-option, its cowardice and infantile impulses, coupled to the frailty of the human mind to self-serving psychological manipulation, find no cure in science and technology. The West is today a calculated police-state itself –– thanks only to the science and technology which has so predictively, and altogether anticipatingly, enabled it. Please study the essential readings cited in the Introduction above.
Below is a fuller description by John Perkins himself on how he used mathematical gibberish to destroy nations. He writes in the opening pages of Chapter 17 of his Confessions of an Economic Hitman (online-link):
'Bruno came up with an idea for an innovative approach to forecasting: an econometric model based on the writings of a turn-of-the-century Russian mathematician. The model involved assigning subjective probabilities to predictions that certain specific sectors of an economy would grow. It seemed an ideal tool to justify the inflated rates of increase we liked to show in order to obtain large loans, and Bruno asked me to see what I could so with the concept.
... By 1977, I had built a small empire that included a staff of around twenty professionals headquartered in our Boston office, and a stable consultants from MAIN's other departments and offices scattered across the globe. I had become the youngest partner in the firm's hundred-year history. In addition to my title of Chief Economist, I was named manager of Economics and Regional Planning. I was lecturing at Harvard and other venues, and newspapers were soliciting articles from me about current events. I owned a sailing yacht that was docked in Boston Harbor next to the historic battleship Constitution, “Old Ironsides”, renowned for subduing the Barbary pirates not long after the Revolutionary War. I was being paid an excellent salary and I had equity that promised to elevate me to the rarified heights of millionaire well before I turned forty. True, my marriage had fallen apart, but I was spending time with beautiful and fascinating women in several continents.
... [With that as background] I brought a young MIT mathematician, Dr. Nadipuram Prasad, into my department and gave him a budget. Within six months he developed the Markov method for econometric modeling. Together we hammered out a series of technical papers that presented Markov as a revolutionary method for forecasting the impact of infrastructure investment on economic development.
It was exactly what we wanted: a tool that scientifically “proved” we were doing countries a favor by helping them incur debts they would never be able to pay off. In addition, only a highly skilled econometrician with lots of time and money could possibly comprehend the intricacies of Markov or question its conclusions. The papers were published by several prestigious organizations, and we formally presented them at conferences and universities in a number of countries. The papers – and we – became famous throughout the industry.'
See Science in the Service of Empire ( tinyurl.com/John-Perkins-MIT-Prof ) for more analysis. There you will find several examples of how “imposing technical experts” routinely fck the public mind at the national level with scientifically couched gibberish in this age of universal deceit; and ask yourself: what is the best way to counter it? From the rape of religion to the rape of nations is one continuum of primacy upon the public mind. Without understanding that primacy and how it is carried out in the age of universal deceit, the only service one can do for humanity is as a useful idiot. The success of the Economic Hitman testifies to the veracity of that observation. Of course, neither fool others nor be fooled by others is a sound moral adage. Both are obviously criminal. As the adage goes, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”.
But a crime that far surpasses both, is to fool oneself. It is utmost necessary to understand self-deception before one can even begin to counter the age of universal deceit inflicted upon us. When people find the accurate description of rape for instance, more repugnant than the rape itself, you know you are sailing among pious hypocrites on the sea of self-delusion. Which is why I deploy descriptive words such as “fck” above with circumspection and not frivolously, to accurately capture the criminal act of “rape” implied by that word. If the crime was less heinous, I would use verbs commensurately less odious. Apart from accurate capture of reality, it helps expose hypocrites and mental midgets who easily wince at the accurate language while staying oblivious to the criminal act itself. See What a load of crap! ( tinyurl.com/Zahir-language ) for some gentle un-masking of that pious mind in the Pakistani academe.
There is no cure for self-deception when one becomes content under the delusion that the world is as one imagines it to be; like in the proverbial tale of “emperor has no clothes”. This is why developing “sha-oor”, wherewithal, sophistication, at both the individual as well as collective levels, is so difficult – and if you notice, entirely absent from both the public as well as private higher education systems. This is not just in developing nations like Pakistan, but in virtually all nations of the world. These universities worldwide produce “likkha parrha jahils” who nicely serve primacy interests of the predators across the board. Mankind's predators understand this most perceptively – how to continually fck the public mind without them being any the wiser – as they weave their web of deception to construct the age of universal deceit. A statement attributed to Lord Rothschild makes its efficacy self-evident: “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” Goethe, the German philosopher, had expressed the perfect prison thusly: “none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Which is also why we have the other ancient adage that trumps the path to empirical knowledge: “know thy self to know the world”. A perceptive example of the truth of these words is given by Bertrand Russell: “What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index to his desires – desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts [or worldview], he will scrutinize it closely, and unless [and at times even when] the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance with his instincts [or worldview], he will accept it even on the slenderest evidence.”
These empirical examples of the frailty of the human mind automatically illustrate the path forward to serving humanity in the most productive way. Making the intent to neither fool oneself, nor to be fooled by others. That calculated intention is the first pragmatic step in the age of universal deceit which automatically leads one given to industry and hard work, to the struggles, to the endeavors, to the strivings to develop the requisite mental and spiritual sophistication necessary to even begin to compete with each other in “fuss-tabi-qul-khairaat” (see verse 5:48 of the Holy Qur'an). Verse 5:48, as young Muslims should know but often don't, is the primary moral teaching of Islam for serving humanity.
Question 3) “I am about to enter medical school but I do not wish to become a rep for “big-Pharma”. What are my options realistically?”
Answer: The medical profession worldwide is entirely dominated by the “drugopoly” of “big-Pharma”, large multinational pharmaceutical corporations. The actual practice of medicine is circumscribed by licensing boards entirely controlled by big-Pharma in virtually all countries of the world. If you primarily seek to bring shifa (cure, good health, preventive medicine) to people, and only secondarily to make a great living prescribing big-Pharma drugs under their diktats, your choices are rather constrained. Become a surgeon if you have the inclination for it. The interaction with big-Pharma is minimal for a surgeon, with the delicate skills of your own fingers largely dominating the practice.
Develop expertise in multiple disciplines in medicine, including what has popularly come to be known as “alternate medicine”. Since the latter was historically dominated by what is considered quackery today, the distinction between the modern form of quackery of big-Pharma, and that of the ancient street “hakeem”, gets blurred in the mind of those who possess the “sha-oor” to study matters forensically for themselves rather than remain subservient to the thinking done for them by the ruling paradigms of their domain. Such subservience is extracted for the practice of modern medicine by the AMA, the FDA, the WHO, and that subservience is now global.
For more discussion of this topic, see the article: What’s the truth about modern medicine?. The article concludes with the following pragmatism:
'Young men and women choosing the medical profession: Think very carefully how you wish to practice the healing arts predicate “First, do no harm”, realizing fully well: 1) how the medical profession actually functions under big-Pharma’s drugopoly rather than laboring under some idealistic and false delusions of curing cancer; and 2) perceptively seeing the choke-hold on modern medicine by the financial oligarchy hell-bent on controlling life and the life-sciences for a scientific dystopia they have imagined; before investing in your medicine career.'
Question 4) “I am a socially conscious person and I want to be a journalist. I love to write and think independently. But I can't stand mainstream media and the idiotic talking heads who dominate our lives today. I have already studied your article on 'The Mighty Wurlitzer' and already understand how perception management governs the public mind. I don't want to be a part of that dystopia. I want to in fact change that by bringing what's behind the news to the people. What are my options realistically?”
Answer: The Mighty Wurlitzer report in its Further Study section on Reform in Journalism sheds some light upon this question. Specifically, see the link on reform: A challenge to the aspiring reformers of the Journalism Profession. The only pragmatic solution is the development of national “sha-oor” to counter the entrenched power of perception management by Machiavelli and its local useful idiots. The following is the main text from the report which underscores the twisted reality of the matter:
'Finally, the question of reform ( tinyurl.com/challenges-journalism-reform ) continually arises among the antagonists of the Mighty Wurlitzer, the idealists, and the “malcontents”. They would rather pretend that some rational “reform” can do away with the Mighty Wurlitzer altogether. The following response to the question raised by Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism, “Can journalism schools be relevant in a world on the brink?”, September 15, 2009, injects a doze of reality-check: “Re-titling can perhaps make the problem-space more apparent: Can journalism schools be relevant in a New World Order of one-world government?” ( tinyurl.com/kpgkth ). Edward Bernays brilliant successes at mass behavior manipulation has conclusively shown that masses are typically not motivated into action, moral or any other, by information alone. Rather, primarily by appeal to their irrational sub-conscious mind, to their fears, to their suppressed desires. And, that they remain quite susceptible to hidden emotional manipulation. Therefore, journalism's utility to statecraft to control the masses cannot be overturned, nor reformed, in any existing structure of governance that relies on war and deception to rule. Journalism today is more a diabolical tool of statecraft than of any benefit to the people. It appears to this cynic that in order to even begin to play its theoretically assigned role in a theoretical constitutional republic, unless the much wonted fourth pillar of democracy – the watchdog upon the corridors of power – adopts similar psychological tactics of the oligarchs to manipulate core human instincts for mobilizing the masses for the “democratic check” that is much theorized in Western democracy, journalism is destined to largely remain a steganographic tool of signaling and communication among the elite themselves! To substantiate this egregious point, please see table 3 titled “APPROXIMATE USE OF MEDIA” in Zbigniew Brzezinski's seminal book “Between Two Ages - America's Role in the Technetronic Era”, page 14 (book PDF). The readership data for the printed press like the NYT, while quantitatively dated, is qualitatively even more attuned to the hypnotic reality of television mass media today whereby, while useful advance information can sometimes be gleaned in the inside pages of the elite's own printed press – provided one has learnt how to parse the elite's language – it is rarely if ever present on mass television.'
Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, America's former National Security Advisor, went on to examine the increasingly influential power of news media and the latest communication techniques to manipulate emotions and control reason:
'In the technetronic society the trend seems to be toward aggregating the individual support of millions of unorganized citizens, who are easily within the reach of magnetic and attractive personalities, and effectively exploiting the latest communication techniques to manipulate emotions and control reason. Reliance on television—and hence the tendency to replace language with imagery, which is international rather than national, and to include war coverage or scenes of hunger in places as distant as, for example, India—creates a somewhat more cosmopolitan, though highly impressionistic, involvement in global affairs.' (Between Two Ages, page 11)
Given that twisted reality, a reality shockingly empirical and not merely an academic thesis, in the immediate short term, enter the news media taking the personal vow not to be co-opted for earning a paycheck. The rest of the journey in journalism will become automatically obvious once that first baby-step is courageously taken in opposition to all the naysayers among friends and family. If you listen to advice given by cowards, you will become a coward. Cowards die many deaths, daily. The valiant live but once. Easier to preach that platitude than to enact it in one's own life. So seek out the handful of people who do live that dictum, even today. Examine their lives and the rewards heaped upon them by society. Only choose that path if you accept to ultimately drink the “hemlock” –– its only possible reward for the true journalist who seeks to uncover and report reality the way it actually is.
The following is from the Preamble from my book The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity, 6th Edition 2013 (check here for PDF availability, 5th edition is presently available but wait to get the updated expanded edition). It sheds some more light on that hazardous journey of truth-telling:
'This book which you now hold in your hands, The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity, is a compendium of topics pertaining to the construction of one-world government. It is the pièce de résistance that systematically unpeels some of “truth's protective layers” in many different domains to demonstrate that virtually nothing the public is led to believe is wholly true. In fact, what the public mind believes and responds to is often outright falsehood. Machiavellian social engineering surrounds modernity in an endless sea of half truths, quarter truths, and outright lies, all of which come wrapped in veneers of “beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community”, such that ferreting out the whole truth about any matter is a “revolutionary act”. Although, George Orwell is reputed to have stated it differently: “In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
I believe my version trumps the prescient novelist's. In order to tell the truth in the age of universal deceit, one still has to ferret it out first. That endeavor, as this book demonstrates, requires the steep ascent to “Mt. Fuji” from whence, “with your mind as high as Mt. Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you.” An undertaking that is inexplicably missing from the imposing resumes of most learned peoples today. Why is that wherewithal lacking? “Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so”! That is the success of modernity. The cultivation of “a large number of men who are content to labor hard all day long”. It is also the raison d'être for this book. Whereas, telling the truth once it has been ferreted out, once one or more of “truth's protective layers” have been diligently peeled away, takes only a modicum of raw courage to tell it. Many people are known to display raw courage today. The show of such raw courage, evidently, is a lot easier than intellectual or moral courage to remove “truth's protective layers” – for the former is usually of immediate existential import to oneself. Even the tiny helpless Palestinian child demonstrates a superfluity of raw courage as his instincts for survival are tickled by the Israeli occupation forces. That raw instinctual courage is amply captured in the following two images. Yet, the matching intellectual and moral courage, the wherewithal to remove all of “truth's protective layers”, to stand up to the occupation of the mind, is evidently as rare as air in freespace.
Ferreting out the truth therefore, in this age of Machiavelli and universal deceit, is the greater, and the first revolutionary act. Telling it of course is the second revolutionary act. The ultimate revolutionary act however trumps both, ferreting out the truth, and telling the truth. It is to act upon the truth.'
Question 5) “If you were twenty years old again,” as my good friend from MIT recently asked me, “and knowing what you know today, what career would you choose?”
Answer: Based on what I comprehend now, and what my interests are now, I would a) not become part of the American military-industrial complex; b) acquire a skilled profession which would enable me to make my living without ever being an employee of anyone in the system that I have now come to abhor; and c) go into social sciences as my core professional interests – separating them out from my tinkering hobbies which I would not turn into my profession as I did the first time around. I would go into law, economics, and political science, all simultaneously, and seek terminal degrees in one or more of those fields. For why I would pursue that, see the Introduction of Monetary Reform Bibliography where the first method of conquering nations is outlined thusly – and which automatically suggests how to secure oneself against the global predators today:
'Economics and Money aren't supposed to be as abstruse as it is made out to be, and nor does it take a Ph.D. from M.I.T. to realize that one is being taken for a sodomized ride on the Capricorn of economics gibberish. It is the responsibility of every denizen of the world to understand how humanity is being herded into global debt-enslavement and a centrally managed world-government, baby-step at a time, by manufacturing deliberate crisis and then proposing the next baby-step as its solution or fait accompli. Each baby-step erodes away some aspect of national sovereignty. 911 helped setup the global police state as a proposed solution to 'terrorism' – a manufactured product – to create the sine qua non mechanisms for world-government. “World government could only be kept in being by force”, as Bertrand Russell had put it.
The latest financial crisis is designed to systematically create a central world-banking system, as a proposed solution to 'bad loans' – again a manufactured product – to be managed by a global banking cartel under legal sanction. “Give me control of a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws”, as the Rothschild banking scions boldly narrate in almost every generation. Today, the cumulative world debt is in uncountable trillions, and there is no nation on earth which is not beholden to some banking cartel, be it the WB-IMF tag team of economic mercenaries preying upon the resource-rich nations of Global South (see John Perkins), or the private central banks lending parasites doing the same to their richer brethren in the Global North (see Money as Debt).
On top of them both, sit the same handful of private banking families in their interlocking relationships, protected by their own hand-crafted instruments of commerce, trade-treaties, and their hand-picked political governance which creates for them the legal sanctions necessary for the entire global racket based on unpayable debt to flourish. Once a nation, like a person, can't pay its debts, demand for the proverbial “pound of flesh” is as convincing as making an offer one can't refuse.
In contrast to the Neanderthal gangster Al Capone, or Michael Corelone in the blockbuster movie 'The Godfather', who weren't smart enough to change the laws of the land in favor of their criminal enterprises and therefore, the state's policing apparatus could be relied upon to eventually take parasites like them down, these banksters connivingly write the very laws of the land in their favor. They own, or control through proxy, the media, the legislatures, the executives, the think-tanks, the foundations, all levers of power, good and bad loans, and discourse itself, in pretty much all major societies – from G7 to G20 (excepting to some extent BRIC, Venezuela, and Iran) – cleverly hiding their own role behind the scenes of elected officials and “democracy” in constructing their global fiefdom.'
Question 6) “I would like to pursue a career in social sciences, as opposed to in engineering, medicine, business, or hard sciences. However, I don't see many career choices besides teaching, or working for MNCs in marketing, sales, most likely selling insurance or cell phones, or even in Human Resources ensuring that the rest of the employees give the best part of their life for the interest of the corporation under some appropriately tickled delusion. Unlike in the West, there are few opportunities to indulge in social science scholarship in the East apart from joining local NGOs – which you say inevitably serve Western agendas in the guise of indigenous development, as per their ultimate sources of funding. So, do I just starve with a plateful of imposing scholarship in humanities and social sciences?”
Answer: No. I suggest you use your head and stop being a simpleton seeking pat formulations. Separate the ability to make a decent livelihood from developing and exercising scholarship. The twain have little to do with each other. Based on your own particular circumstance, choose both paths simultaneously. However, if one does not perceptively think through one's career choices carefully, these paths can come into conflict with each other. When that happens, it has been empirically observed that the considerations of the “stomach” always win. Preempting that co-option which is known to perpetually lurk in the shadows waiting to deliver its existential coup de grâce to intellectual integrity, develop skills which will earn you a livelihood in a method which will not put a choke-hold on your scholarship-speak.
For instance, if you become a medical doctor, or lawyer, or small business owner, you are paid directly by the individual whom you provide your skilled and professional services to, and not by an agency, organization, or governmental body that can circumscribe your scholarship-speak in social sciences if it goes against their grain. With your livelihood thus secured, nothing stops you from your pursuits of the social sciences. Continuing with that line of reasoning, if you pursue a Ph.D. in psychology as well as a J.D. in some aspect of law for instance, the two fields not only complement each other enabling you to make a decent living without controlling your ability to speak your mind, but also afford you a glimpse into the inner-workings of the entire hierarchy of power: from the external to the internal, from the exoteric to the esoteric, from man-made laws that strangulate human affairs to the frailty of the human mind which voluntarily accepts strangulation.
With such sophisticated and professional wherewithal, seek positions of influence within your community, nation, and even internationally, based on your work in social sciences. It can span the gamut from social work, psychological counseling for instance, to academic work, analyzing social trends locally to internationally for instance. To understand the value of a psychologist to both national subversion, and national self-defense against subversion, see the narrative by Victor Ostrovsky, By Way of Deception: The Making of a Mossad officer, St. Martins Press (PDF-link, search). Even as a fictionalized tale, at best, the import of a psychologist to a wide ranging human affairs, including to national defense, is clearly visible.
An energetic young mind is only limited by its imagination. The fundamental problem for Muslims, young and old alike, is that our mind grows mold before we even step into the real world. We are almost always followers. And we love to tread paths already beaten by others. Since all established paths in the New World Order have been co-opted to serve Western interests, and specifically the Western oligarchic interests, perhaps the The Road Not Taken is more instructive for those not willing to abide by its stranglehold on human affairs:
'I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'
(Last stanza of the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost)
All this “new thinking”, first and foremost, calls for an attitude change: giving up intellectual laziness; complacency; contentment; and being laissez-faire about the world. The rest will naturally follow. As the saying goes: “If necessity is the mother of invention, then discontent must surely be the father of progress.”
Question 7) “You appear to advocate confrontation with power. While that is okay for some rich guy who is not worried about earning a living through a paycheck, how can an ordinary middle class student whose only option for livelihood is a job, who is not a rebel, who does not want to change the world, nor wishes to commit suicide confronting the robber barons, but just to live in dignity and support his or her family, live up to such 'jihadi' advice? It is entirely impractical in the real world of putting real food on the table – hungry stomachs and medical bills aren't filled and paid in fighting losing battles, but in accommodation to power, in getting along, in remaining silent to their criminal enterprises, in remaining neutral, and in minding one's own business. The great Ismaili leader Aga Khan is the most pragmatic among Muslim leaders today. By being neutral, and also commanding his Ismaili flock to remain neutral, the Aga Khan has secured for his minority people sanctuary from tyranny. Look they are thriving, and happy, while he continues to build schools, universities, hospitals, and social programs for them worldwide. In his 1954 Memoirs “World Enough and Time” [PDF, Cached], the late Sir Aga Khan III, the 48th Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, wrote: 'Of one fact my years in public life have convinced me: the value of a compromise is that it can supply a bridge across a difficult period, and later having employed that bridge, it is often possible to bring into effect the full-scale measures of reform which originally would have been rejected out of hand.' And the late Aga Khan wisely chose his grandson, the present Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, and the coveted European socialite who is now a bridge between two civilizations, the East and the West, to continue that vision of neutrality as the safest bridge across tyranny. The dusty old books in the world's libraries are filled with great platitudes and we are still exactly where we were when Kaabil killed Haabil (Cain killed Abel) at the dawn of man. I am no hero. The great Aga Khan's pragmatism of compromise, of not confronting power, of getting on with great social work which power does not mind, and in fact, encourages, so long as you don't challenge it, even giving it great awards and titles, just as it bestowed the knighthood upon Sir Aga Khan III, appears far more productive to me to pattern my life upon. I will at least be able to put food on the table for my family and better my economic condition by being a team-player. Do I come away from reading your verbose FAQ full of great literary virtue I am sure, entirely empty-handed? I am disappointed!”
My Response to the Evergreen Doctrine of Neutrality
Which is why no one may answer this age old question for others but for oneself: to confront, or be co-opted? Thank you for reminding us of that fact.
See Islam: Surah Al-Asr of the Holy Qur'an and answer it for your own self according to your own bent of mind. Just as you evidently have the “maarfat” (wherewithal) to challenge this little Project Humanbeingsfirst with such great eloquence, acquire the “maarfat” to also challenge your own limitations – real and imagined – to rise above them. Take an inventory of your assets, and liabilities. Meaning, enumerate for yourself the gifts you have received by being born on the right side of the railroad tracks compared to the poorly endowed fellow you most pity, and the limits that have been put upon you by being born on the wrong side of the railroad tracks compared to that well endowed fellow you envy even a little bit. That is surely your space. Higher you set your purpose, more you are driven to fill that space. It is perhaps the simplest way to look at matters of qaza and qada (destiny vs. freewill) – but also very practical. There are surely other more abstract philosophical ways as well.
Your Accountability, if there is such a thing as what Islam preaches, is only to the sensible equation: Output / Input. Meaning, your voluntary contribution to life in relation to your own special gifts and our own trying limitations. One does not have to be a “religious” person to live a moral life in the traditional sense. Islam however demands far more from all Muslims as is self-evident from my little exposition of Surah Al-Asr for instance. That sensible equation noted above is very difficult to get to even unity for most people who are most superbly endowed, let alone surpass unity. Meaning, many of us are in fact far more blessed than our output might demonstrate. Far less output is needed from those who are less fortunate than us, to surpass us in that equation of life. Thus, in a way, a smaller denominator is a greater mercy as the expectation of output is commensurately less in relation to one with a larger denominator. In any case, this is not my concoction but the wisdom of the sages who have tried to rationalize life and its inequities. Islam's guidance to mankind lends itself naturally to that rationalization: “On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns.”
( Arabic: لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا ٱكْتَسَبَتْ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:286.
( Arabic: لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا ٱكْتَسَبَتْ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:286.
The equation Accountability = Output / Input is merely that Qur'anic statement “On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear” put mathematically. Leading a life which strives to optimize that equation towards unity however, a life that is “not at a loss” according to Surah al-Asr of the Holy Qur'an, first and foremost, is a choice, like every other choice that you can enjoy in your space. Islam unequivocally underscores this choice: “Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” ( Arabic: إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا ) Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-insaan 76:3.
To confront, or be co-opted?, is a question therefore which the great Aga Khan chose to address in his own way – and for which he is just as Accountable as every human being – for he can also rationally argue that he carried the great burden of leadership of his entire community upon his shoulders: “My duties are wider than those of the Pope, ... The Pope is only concerned with the spiritual welfare of his flock.” That a good shepherd endeavors to protect his own flock: “An imam in Islam is responsible for the security of the people who refer to him; he is responsible for the interpretation of faith; and he is responsible for their quality of life; so those three areas are areas which are my responsibility.” The Aga Khan is evidently also well aware of the aforementioned Accountability equation: “The Islamic ethic is that if God has given you the capacity or good fortune to be a privileged individual in society, you have a moral responsibility to society.” You can perceptively see that even Imam Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Aga Khan's great grandfather some two score generations removed, and the Prophet of Islam's own beloved grandson from his own Ahlul Bayt, when he chose to sacrifice his own life standing up to the tyrants of his time as the Exemplar of the Holy Qur'an, only took with him his own immediate family members to the fatal battlefront; he did not call upon other Muslims in Medina where he lived, to sacrifice their lives fighting the imperial tyrants ruling Muslims at the time. He left that decision up to each individual entirely, and to their “sha-oor”, to endeavor or not to endeavor in his footsteps. And when he had finally made that famous call which has come down to us in history: “hull min naasirun yun surna”, history has also documented just how many voluntarily responded to the Imam's testing call. Most of the citizens of Kufa (Iraq), as in the rest of the Hijaz, choosing the path of neutrality and silence. And even in the battlefield, on the night before, history records a speech in which the pious Imam, honored by the Ismailis today like all Muslims both Shia and Sunni, invited those who had dared to courageously join him, to leave him and save themselves. He forewarned them that he and his family faced certain annihilation the next day. That is the same point here. When you hear the call for help, “hull min naasirun yun surna”, from Pakistan to Palestine, Iraq to Afghanistan, from Quetta to Karachi, when you see your own nations looted and plundered, and when you see your own life reduced to nothing but vile servitude under your own feudal lords of every uniform, it is your call to respond, or to silently look away chasing your 'American Dream'.
Today you can witness the same Ismailis you speak of being slaughtered in Pakistan along with the rest of Pakistanis irrespective of their allegiance to the neutral Aga Khan. The emperor's battalions doing the slaughter of Pakistanis is donning various uniforms to foment both “insurgency” and justification for “counter-insurgency” ( tinyurl.com/Insurgency-CounterInsurgency ). Today the emperor's battalion in pirate's uniform is doing the Ismaili slaughter. The time is close at hand when another battalion of the emperor in its own uniform will un-apologetically be doing the same slaughter. We have witnessed this in Iraq with sufficient empirical evidence to wisely learn from that modus operandi of fomenting “revolutionary times”. No compromise is a sufficient bridge between tyranny – for tyranny really does not distinguish in the limit of things. The Ismailis are most aware of their own long history of persecution and will testify to the truth of this statement. You are answerable for your neutrality. A temporary reprieve it may provide to some, but the fire engulfing others while you enjoy that reprieve is never known to distinguish between homes. As the famous saying attributed to the German pastor Martin Niemöller goes:
'First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a catholic.
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.'
and there was no one left to speak for me.'
Someday, at a future “Nuremberg Tribunal”, when it is once again demonstrated under victor's justice that silence is criminal, that, compromise and neutrality are the first “banality of evil” from which all the rest of evil naturally follow, all those living and preaching neutrality will surely be as loudly condemned as today they are held up as the epitome of pragmatism. That is of course only of theoretical interest for the pragmatist. The survivalist always knows how to cut a deal. Arguably, that is the smartest way forward in a jungle.
All I can humbly suggest to someone of your sophistication and pragmatism is to develop your “sha-oor” to complement your practical instincts for survival. The rest will automatically follow. Let your own “sha-oor” be your first guide, your own internal imam, and not some website you randomly read on the internet. Although, the matters are surely different when you follow your favorite scholar in turban, suit, or bow tie (sic)! Effectively, more you follow others, more opinion you seek from others, more you make others your imam, more you condemn yourself to their thinking. That too is your choice, for as per the promise of the Holy Qur'an, if you believe in such Provenance I mean, and most really don't despite their claims to holiness and great piety: “One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” (Arabic: يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ ) Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Israa' 17:71.
In the age of universal deceit, it is surely wise to follow one's own mind as one's imam first, as limited and as fallible as its vision might be, for one never really knows who is the marde-momin and who is the superman ( tinyurl.com/Allama-Iqbal-ubermensch ). Empiricism has shown that regardless of the merits of their claim, they both lead one to hell on earth while promising heaven elsewhere. And so does the feeble mind, the foolish mind, the dull mind that is unable to separate chaff from wheat. That is traditionally the Public Mind, encouraged to remain a perpetual follower so that it can be shepherded wherever the shepherd fancies. The Qur'an forewarns of this precise empiricism in these dire words:
“(On the day) when those who were followed disown those who followed (them), and they behold the doom, and all their aims collapse with them. And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqara, 2:166--167.
I do not much know about hell elsewhere – grappling with the one here is sufficient for most of us who do worry about it here – except for these statements of the Holy Qur'an wisely admonishing all “followers” to be judicious in the choice of whom they adopt as their guide and whom they choose to “pattern” their life upon. If you voluntarily follow others in this world making them your “imam”, you should know that you will also be held to account in their company involuntarily on the Day when all accounts are finally settled. If you followed them here voluntarily, as per 17:71 quoted above, you will have no choice but to also follow them to wherever is their ultimate destination post Accounting. So follow that “imam” you know for sure is not going to that other Hell elsewhere – if you care about it. The word “imam” according to The Arabic-English dictionary of the Holy Qur'an in my reference is defined as: “Leader; President; Any object that is followed, whether a human being or a book or a highway”.
Parse these pearls of wisdom from the doctrine of the Holy Qur'an as per your own “sha-oor” – bent of mind – if you believe in any of it that is. If you don't, you really have no fear of Accountability.
Even in that case, still do your best to be a good person according to your inner moral compass – we all have one, our first inner imam – and the rest is c'est la vie. I know many fine atheists who are far better human beings than many a worthy man of cloth – for they see inherent virtue in being good irrespective of some fear of hell or favor of heaven which they don't believe in anyway. They instead follow the virtue of Solon, the ancient Athenian law-giver, who advocated for social responsibility as not just a moral requirement, but a legal requirement. When asked which city he thought was well-governed, Solon said: “That city where those who have not been injured take up the cause of one who has, and prosecute the case as earnestly as if the wrong had been done to themselves.”
In the strictest moral sense, these godless people are more moral than the trader who is moral only to trade for heaven or hell. If the Output / Input equation of these godless people, irrespective of any notion of Accountability, exceeds that of the man of cloth, shame on the latter – a trafficker in religion could not match the gratitude for being born on the right side of the railroad tracks of even an atheist!
In conclusion, the matter is sufficiently obvious to warrant any further elucidation. Neutrality, which begets silence, is criminal – whatever might be the selfish existential considerations of expediency. No one can remain safe for long being neutral in a predatory jungle.
Silence: the root cause of banality of evil
I would be sorely remiss not to also observe at least as postscript, that those who send others to their death telling them to stand-up to tyranny are often the first ones to also slink away. Next time you hear the clarion call from someone to stand-up – judge by their acts before you heed that specious call. Mullahs and Ayatollahs, like presidents and prime ministers, are the most adept at getting others to wear the battle dress while they sit comfortably in their home shoes – never failing to show up to recite the liturgies and last rites. The Aga Khan is the most forthright and honest in his stance in that way – he is himself neutral and therefore does not call upon his flock by any other clarion. Only when the Aga Khan decides to give up his doctrine of neutrality for himself – chooses to risk his own hair on his head – will he be entitled to call upon his flock to do the same. And if the blood of his great grandfather still runs in his veins, the Aga Khan will leave that as a moral choice to his followers, leading by example rather than through indoctrination and coercion in the name of divine Imammate. In that respect, all Mullahs and Ayatollahs, presidents and prime ministers, may take a leaf from Aga Khan's play book. No – not that of strict political neutrality, but of not being hypocrites .
A Man of The World - The Aga Khan
His Highness Aga Khan interview for Portugal TV
 Excerpt from The Aga Khan’s Earthly Kingdom, Vanity Fair, February 2013, http://www.vanityfair.com/society/2013/02/aga-khan-spiritual-leader-multi-billionaire
'Multi-billionaire son of a notorious playboy, His Highness Prince Karim, the fourth Aga Khan, enjoys his jets, yachts, and Thoroughbreds. But since the age of 20, he has also been the spiritual leader of 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, building a hugely effective global development network. In Chantilly, home to France’s most prestigious horse race, James Reginato explores how the press-shy, Harvard-educated prince, at 76, fuses two worlds.
His Highness Prince Karim, the fourth Aga Khan and 49th hereditary imam of the world’s 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, remains a paradox to many people. The Pope of his flock, he also possesses fabled wealth and inhabits a world of marvelous châteaux, yachts, jets, and Thoroughbred horses. To be sure, few persons bridge so many divides—between the spiritual and the material; East and West; Muslim and Christian—as gracefully as he does.
Born in Geneva, brought up in Nairobi, educated at Le Rosey and Harvard, the Aga Khan has a British passport and spends a great deal of his time aloft in his private aircraft, but his base is Aiglemont, a vast estate near Chantilly, 25 miles north of Paris. On-site, in addition to a château and an elaborate training center for about a hundred of his Thoroughbreds, is the Secretariat, a modern office block that houses the nerve center of what might be described as his own U.N., the Aga Khan Development Network. A staggeringly large and effective organization, it employs 80,000 people in 30 countries. Although it is generally known for the nonprofit work it does in poor and war-torn parts of the globe, the A.K.D.N. also includes an enormous portfolio of for-profit businesses in sectors ranging from energy and aviation to pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and luxury hotels. In 2010 these generated $2.3 billion in revenue. The extent of these endeavors might not be so well known to the general public, since the Aga Khan usually shuns the press and stays out of the public eye.
Though he has no political territory, the Aga Khan is virtually a one-man state and is often received like a head of state when he travels. As imam he is responsible for looking after the material as well as spiritual needs of his followers, who are scattered in more than 25 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. His projects, however, benefit people of all faiths. ...
The title Aga Khan—meaning, in a combination of Turkish and Persian, commanding chief—was granted in the 1830s by the Emperor of Persia to Karim’s great-great-grandfather when he married the emperor’s daughter. But Aga Khan I was also the 46th hereditary imam of the Ismaili Muslims of the world, in a line that descends directly from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.
In 1885, Prince Karim’s grandfather (who was born in India) was seven years old when he assumed the imamate upon his father’s death. The following year, he received his “His Highness” from Queen Victoria. In the early 1900s he moved to Europe, in part to pursue his passion for horse breeding and racing, in which he would become a celebrated figure. All the while, he looked after his flock remarkably well, building a huge network of hospitals, schools, banks, and mosques for them. “My duties are wider than those of the Pope,” he once explained. “The Pope is only concerned with the spiritual welfare of his flock.”
“He was an extraordinary personality, a very powerful intellect,” recalls his grandson. “When he left India and established himself in Europe, he became very fascinated with the philosophy of the Western world. He brought that knowledge to his community.”
And they showed their appreciation. On his Golden Jubilee, in 1936, his followers famously gave him his weight in gold, a spectacle some 30,000 onlookers jammed a square in Bombay to witness. Upon his Diamond and Platinum Jubilees, he received similar tributes in the appropriate stones and metal. The sizable funds from those tributes pale, however, compared with the zakat money traditionally paid by members of the Ismaili community, some of whom believe their imam is semi-divine. (Prince Karim categorically denies any suggestion that he is divine.)'
 Statement made by Aga Khan IV in his first ever interview to American television network, NBC (time 2m 20s), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPAU-dxe1ow#t=2m20s
 Excerpt from the Aga Khan's official website http://www.theismaili.org/cms/16/The-Ismaili-Community
'The Aga Khan, like his grandfather before him, has always been concerned about the wellbeing of all Muslims, particularly the impact on them of the challenges of the rapidly evolving world. Addressing as Chairman, the International Conference on the Example (Seerat) of the Prophet Muhammad in Karachi in 1976, he noted that the wisdom of Allah's final Prophet in seeking new solutions for problems which could not be solved by traditional methods, provides the inspiration for Muslims to conceive a truly modern and dynamic society, without affecting the fundamental concepts of Islam.
Since the present Aga Khan assumed the office of Imamat in 1957, there have been major political and economic changes in most of the countries where Ismailis live. He has adapted the complex system of administering the various Ismaili communities, pioneered by his grandfather during the colonial era, to a world of nation states. In the course of that process, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, who was twice President of the League of Nations, had already provided a contemporary articulation of the public international role of the Imamat. The Imamat today, under the present Aga Khan, continues this tradition of strict political neutrality.
In designating his successor to the Imamat in 1957, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan stated in his will:
"In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world…due to the great changes which have taken place…I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Muslim Ismailia Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office of Imam".' (acquired March 9, 2013, cached)
 See The Amman Message, 2005, for The Aga Khan’s self-righteous hypocrisy: http://faith-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/02/role-of-shias-in-qadianis-kafirdom.html#Amman-Message
 See Categorical Imperative and Karbala – Open Letter to Muslims and Non Muslims By Zahir Ebrahim: https://islam-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2017/09/categorical-imperative-and-karbala.html
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Caveat Lector: This FAQ is not intended as advice, legal, medical, moral, or otherwise. It is just the expression of well thought out and measured opinion of an ordinary layman which he might share with his own children to guide them in their choice of careers. Please read the Legal Disclaimer Notice before you hasten to act on any matters discussed in this FAQ. The Notice is hereby incorporated into this FAQ by reference. In précis, you are responsible to verify what is presented here. For all you know, it could be all myth. Your acting upon any information therein, is upon your own cognizance that you think, believe, and act, on your own volition. Follow your own internal “imam” first – your own intellect!
If you have a question which would add to the usefulness of this FAQ, write to: email@example.com
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First Published Friday December 28, 2012 | Last Updated Sat, March 9, 2013 07:30 pm 12629
Links fixed Thursday, July 14, 2016
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