Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How do you center? (I)

Difficult red

First off, this picture has nothing to do with the article, I just like it and thought you would like it too. Plus, the article is a little dry, so this should make it easier to bear.


I've always had a great deal of concern on this idea: "Does absolute right exist?" and if it does, how do you find it?

These questions always plagued me for as long as I can remember, and I know the events in my life that made me think about these things. By now, I've come up with my own theory regarding this, but let me first share the problem.

Ask any two people about their idea of right and wrong and you are more than likely to get two minimially overlapping answers, the common part being about general concepts of good, and morality and fairness. Get down to details and you start seeing even those overlapping ideas interpreted in differnet ways.

It gets more complex when you get to implementation detail of things that touch daily life of people in general.

A good example would be the issue of legistlating dress code in public places. You get liberals who say that dress code should be left to people to decide and each individual should be allowed to be vieled/unvieled wear tight/baggy clothes ...etc.

Sounds good. But what about people who would decide on going nude in public? Is it still their choice? If it is, then what about the people who get offended by that, and choose for themselves and their children a clothing line with more "coverage"? Is it their problem? Wouldn't that be unfair, or are they being unreasonable? If they are infact being reasonable for some universal rule of decency or offense, then how decent is decent? And how short a skurt (if short at all) before it becomes offensive?

Same question goes to the other group of liberals who would say from the start that legistlation sould be put to basically guarantee the satisfaction of the majority and avoid potentially "offensive" clothing. Democracy basically. Does it being democratic make it right?

On an opposite side, another group would be quick to detail neccesary clothing for men and women based on traditions, fashion or religion (not that I am comparing, I am a devout Muslim and realize that religion is at a higher level of authority and correctness).

And that's just one side of one issue. The Same argument applies to so many aspects of our lives, including morals and laws governing sexual liberty, gay rights, business transactions ... etc. Anything that two people can see from more than one angle.

On another layer, you would get religion, and again whats the right one? (again, I'm a Muslim by birth and choice, this is just me contemplating). With so many religions and cults and thought groups trying to pull you in everywhich way. How do you decide on whats right? This also includes the relgion of "No religion", whose followers are especially interesting because of the paradox that is at the core of their belief, athiesm and no miracles, and yet they believe something so amazingly impossible to believe that we are all here as a result of an accident that evolved ??? I digress, back to the subject.

People within the same religion group have also subgroups of religion and are always looking at people in the same groups as "not doing it the right way" or something else to that end.

Within those groups, you can witness hours of debate between people who are self-appointed experts on issues of the religion. Both of course quoting the holybook and other religious literature, for Muslims that would be Quram, Sunnah and knowledge about al Mathahib. Both self-appointed experts claiming to know exactly what the absolute "truth" is, and/or they know how to get there.

If you are not born with it written in your head, or revealed to you at somepoint in your life, how do you know you're on this right way or believe the absolute truth? is there a right way or an absolute truth?

I've lived the better part of concious life wondering about this, and how I dealt with this is what made me what I am, and for that epiphany, I am thankful.

To be continued in part II ....

7 comments:

  1. Sari, I feel the same way. It is mind boggling to keep on thinking of what is right and what is wrong, what is true, and what is not. What is moral, and what is not.

    Maybe there is nothing of all that. Maybe it is better to just ease off our minds, and try to enjoy our current moment of life.

    Does a smile make us happy? I am almost certain of that :P ;)

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  2. Interesting points.. However, should we really dwell on trying to sort out what is ultimately right?

    Allow me to explain. There are as many belief systems as there are feuds in our world (count personal, family, work, national, international, galactic, etc). For extra punch, there are as many interpretations to those belief systems as there are subscribers to them. Sure there are commonalities when speaking in general terms, but the more you dig, the more devoid these commonalities become. To each his own.

    Another point, labels mean nothing. You see yourself as a devout muslim. Many may see you as a liberal muslim, while others may cringe at your fundamentalism. So ascribing to a label will hardly add any value when trying to assess a situation, or win an argument. Think ‘terrorist’ for a label. What the heck is a terrorist anyway??? Can anyone please give me the consensus on that elusive definition??

    Sorry I digress..

    So, what have we learnt so far? You will never have consensus on either defining what is ‘right’, and to add insult to injury, you cannot substantiate your position because of a label that you ascribe to. Bleak enough? So where do we go from here? We certainly can’t allow civil life to continue unregulated, and without order. Just imagine the utter chaos that would result when colliding perspectives hit shoulders.. ain’t as pretty as the picture you have posted!

    I think the way to go is to put a situation within a context, free of perspective. Let me elaborate: We shouldn’t be debating, or allowing the debate of matters such as: Should dress code be regulated (for the reasons that you mentioned!) Instead, the question should be: What are the impacts of dress code on society? At the very least, this way you will have a fighting chance to quantify in a structured manner a debate that would otherwise be a rampant self-expression of opinions

    And you know what they say about opinions.. (wink.. wink!)

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  3. Thanks to you both for the comments, I am glad you both got the point.

    I agree with the points you've written (largely).

    Anonymous, how do you quantify impact? Why are you doing it (i.e. whats the objective)? We still cannot agree on whether civilization is about quality of living (money) or coexistence wiht mother nature. On that, what is it really?

    However, the question calls for a deeper investigation of ones existence and purpose, the core question here would be "Am I on my own, and therefore I have to figure it out? or am I part of a bigger thing and can be guided by a superior entity?". I know its not a new question. But if you answer that, everything else will begin to fall in place.

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  4. I would feel more comfortable about the fact that there is no absolute truth that can be provided by man kind .. human beings can never agree on one absolute thing, there should be always a debate on the outer level of a group and on the internal level as well , it is simply a human nature .. I kind of agree with anonymous about what he/she said about labeling as well ..

    but i can see how perplexing it could be in so many ways .. how can one take a decision with a million opinion and arguments spinning in his/her mind ..
    well I guess .. some questions can never be answered !

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  5. I agree with you tealover, some questions can never be answered !
    that is so true.

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  6. Thanks Lina :)

    LotusGem , you have been tagged by me on my blog.
    Only, if you're interested .

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  7. I would love to read part 2.

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