From rapists to murders to the gangstas who walk around with permanent wrinkles on their forehead as they look to intimidate others, to girls who walk around in the skimpiest of clothes, to the university student, to every professional and every homeless person, you, me and every other person on this planet- what do we all have in common..? We’re all searching for meaning, for happiness, for love and for peace.
Our soul – which predates our physical body – replied in the affirmative when our Lord asked us the following question in our primordial existence: ‘Am I not your Lord? ‘Yes, we do testify!’ we all said. This primordial covenant is ingrained deep down within our consciousness.
Our descent into this lowly existence caused us to forget our Lord and the covenant. Because most of us lack this intrinsic bond with the Divine, we are in a natural state of agitation and disquietude. We search far and wide in our quest for meaning, and often, we end up lost, in strange places and even more confused.
There can be no world peace if we do not first find peace in ourselves. [click here to read my article on the search for inner peace]
If we look around the world, we can see that some of the most devoutly religious countries are plagued with corruption, whereas some of the most secular, like Finland, don’t suffer from such problems. Hamza Yusuf (pictured left), the American intellectual believes – and so do I –that religion is not the absolute solution per se, but what’s important is a strong middle-class in society and tax laws that help prevent the vast accumulation of wealth to an elite few. This, in turn, prevents wealth disparities; a society can therefore become much more just and secure. Peace and security are synonymous and one often fails without the other.
When poverty and corruption become endemic in a society, seldom is peace attained. Why? Because people are not free. Poverty prevents people from reaching their potential and corruption causes anger and hostility amongst the people.
There therefore needs to be a more just economic system, not one based on capitalism or any other permutation of a system which allows for greed and the neglect for the poor, and not one based on Pharaonic corporate and individual wealth. Economics governs most of our day to day affairs and a just system is imperative. There needs to be some modifications in our use of fractional reverse banking; we shouldn’t sell on debt neither should we exploit people through interest re-payments, for example. By no means am I an economics expert, but these things are two examples of unjust policies.
The way we elect our leaders also needs, perhaps, a rethink. Even though, in the west, we elect our leaders in a democratic fashion, we still find that our leaders often become war-mongers, and, really, are just as bad as the tyrants in the East (just a bit less crude and more sophisticated).
Our leaders, in my opinion, should be people who are asked to become Prime Ministers and Presidents, not those who are determined to become our leaders at any cost. Of course, the leaders we ask should be qualified to do the job, but most importantly, they should be people of honour and prestige. These leaders (hopefully) will be less concerned about the countries’ interests, but the countries’ virtues. And as Socrates believed, if a country is more concerned about its virtues than its interests, its interests will naturally be taken care of.
The paradox of being perplexes even the most profound philosophers: we find it hard to comprehend life. But, really, all the answers we need lie within us. Although intellect is important, it is not everything. The most important thing is to understand and learn who we are, so we can work on our inner state. Once we realize who we are, we can then start to find peace within ourselves. Then, of course, we’ll find peace elsewhere.
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