It is not afterlife, but well being of future generations that motivates us!

By Samuel Schaffler in NYT

“My belief in life after death is more mundane. What I believe is that other people will continue to live after I myself have died. You probably make the same assumption in your own case. Although we know that humanity won’t exist forever, most of us take it for granted that the human race will survive, at least for a while, after we ourselves are gone”

“Consider a hypothetical scenario. Suppose you knew that although you yourself would live a long life and die peacefully in your sleep, the earth and all its inhabitants would be destroyed 30 days after your death in a collision with a giant asteroid. How would this knowledge affect you?

If you are like me, and like most people with whom I have discussed the question, you would find this doomsday knowledge profoundly disturbing. And it might greatly affect your decisions about how to live. If you were a cancer researcher, you might be less motivated to continue your work. (It would be unlikely, after all, that a cure would be found in your lifetime, and even it were, how much good would it do in the time remaining?) Likewise if you were an engineer working to improve the seismic safety of bridges, or an activist trying to reform our political or social institutions or a carpenter who cared about building things to last. What difference would these endeavors make, if the destruction of the human race was imminent?”

The explanation for this may seem simple: if the earth will be destroyed 30 days after we die, then everyone we care about who is alive at that time will meet a sudden, violent end. Spouses and partners, children and grandchildren, friends and lovers: all would be doomed. Perhaps it is our concern for our loved ones that explains our horror at the prospect of a post-mortem catastrophe.

But I don’t think this is the full story. Consider another hypothetical scenario, drawn from P. D. James’s novel “The Children of Men.” In Ms. James’s novel, humanity has become infertile, with no recorded birth having occurred in over 25 years. Imagine that you found yourself living in such circumstances. Nobody now alive is younger than 25, and the disappearance of the human race is imminent as an aging population inexorably fades away. How would you react?

As in the case of the asteroidal collision, many activities would begin to seem pointless under these conditions: cancer research, seismic safety efforts, social and political activism and so on. Beyond that, as Ms. James’s novel vividly suggests, the onset of irreversible global infertility would be likely to produce widespread depression, anxiety and despair.

Some people would seek consolation in religious faith, and some would find it. Others would take what pleasure they could in activities that seemed intrinsically rewarding: listening to music, exploring the natural world, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the pleasures of food and drink. But even these activities might seem less fulfilling, and be tinged with sadness and pain, when set against the background of a dying humanity.

NOTICE that in this scenario, unlike that of the asteroidal collision, nobody would die prematurely. So what is dismaying about the prospect of living in an infertile world cannot be that we are horrified by the demise of our loved ones. (They would die eventually, of course, but that is no different from our actual situation.) What is dismaying is simply that no new people would come into existence.

This should give us pause. The knowledge that we and everyone we know and love will someday die does not cause most of us to lose confidence in the value of our daily activities. But the knowledge that no new people would come into existence would make many of those things seem pointless.”

“I agree. But there is also another side to the story. Yes, our descendants depend on us to make possible their existence and well-being. But we also depend on them and their existence if we are to lead flourishing lives ourselves. And so our reasons to overcome the threats to humanity’s survival do not derive solely from our obligations to our descendants. We have another reason to try to ensure a flourishing future for those who come after us: it is simply that, to an extent that we rarely recognize or acknowledge, they already matter so much to us.”

Posted By F. Sheikh

Capitalism in Crisis

Subject: Capitalism in Crisis.

Washington has been at war for 12 years. According to experts such as Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, these wars have cost Americans approximately $6 trillion, enough to keep Social Security and Medicare sound for years. All there is to show for 12 years of war is fat bank balances for the armament industries and a list of destroyed countries with millions of dead and dislocated people who never lifted a hand against the United States.

The cost paid by American troops and taxpayers is extreme. Secretary of Veteran Affairs Erik Shinseki reported in November 2009 that “more veterans have committed suicide since 2001 than we have lost on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Many thousands of our troops have suffered amputations and traumatic brain injuries. At the Marine Corps War College Jim Lacey calculated that the annual cost of the Afghan war was $1.5 billion for each al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan. Many US and coalition troops paid
with their lives for every one al-Qaeda member killed. On no basis has the war ever made sense.

Washington’s wars have destroyed the favorable image of the United States created over the decades of the cold war. No longer the hope of mankind, the US today is viewed as a threat whose government cannot be trusted.

The wars that have left America’s reputation in tatters are the consequence of 9/11. The neoconservatives who advocate America’s hegemony over the world called for “a new Pearl Harbor” that would allow them to launch wars of conquest. Their plan for conquering the Middle East as their starting point was set out in the neoconservative “Project for the New American Century.” It was stated clearly by Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz and also by many neoconservatives.

The neocon argument boils down to a claim that history has chosen “democratic capitalism” and not Karl Marx as the future. To comply with history’s choice, the US must beef up its military and impose the American Way on the entire world. In other words, as Claes Ryn wrote, the American neoconservatives are the “new Jacobins,” a reference to the French Revolution of 1789 that intended to overthrow aristocratic Europe and replace it with “Liberty, equality, fraternity,” but instead gave Europe a quarter century of war, death, and destruction.

Ideologies are dangerous, because they are immune to facts. Now that the United States is no longer governed by the US Constitution, but by a crazed ideology that has given rise to a domestic police state more complete than that of Communist East Germany
and to a warfare state that attacks sovereign countries based on nothing but manufactured lies, we are left with the irony that Russia and China are viewed as constraints on Washington’s ability to inflict death and destruction on the world.

All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.

Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

Let Us Be Honest About Israel’s Nukes?


After reaching agreement with Russia on Chemical Weapons in Geneva, Mr. Kerry directly flew to Tel Aviv to reassure Israelis. I think our government‘s main concern was Israel and not the moral outrage being displayed. Unfortunately people of Syria are the main losers in this whole saga; betrayed both by their own leaders and world powers who could not agree to stop the killing by conventional weapons-a major killer. Mr. Assad will have a free hand now. ( F. Sheikh).

Excerpts from article;

“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria insists that the purpose of his chemical arsenal was always to deter Israel’s nuclear weapons. If Syria actually disarms, what about Egypt and Israel? Egypt (about whose chemical weapons the United States has been strangely silent) points to Israel. And Israel of course has its own chemical weapons to deter Syria’s and Egypt’s, and it is not about to give them up. A headline in the Israeli daily Haaretz a few days ago stated: “Israel adamant it won’t ratify chemical arms treaty before hostile neighbors.”

“In April, the American assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, Thomas M. Countryman, expressed hope that the conference would be held by this fall. And earlier this month, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, urged all parties to set a conference date “as quickly as possible.” He also argued that it should include Israel and Iran. Russia attempted to include the conference in last week’s agreement, but Secretary of State John Kerry resisted. It is not going to go away.

If Washington wants negotiations over weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East to work — or even just to avoid making America appear ridiculous — Mr. Obama should begin by being candid. He cannot expect the countries participating in a conference to take America seriously if the White House continues to pretend that we don’t know whether Israel has nuclear weapons, or for that matter whether Egypt and Israel have chemical or biological ones.

And if Israel’s policy on the subject is so frozen that it is unable to come clean, Mr. Obama must let the United States government be honest about Israel’s arsenal and act on those facts, for both America’s good and Israel’s.”

Man, The Mystic, The Spiritual, and The Intellectual!

By Mirza Ashraf

(The mystic discussed in this article relates to universal mysticism not Sufism)

Mysticism is an ancient doctrine or practice concerned with the mysteries of existence relating to man’s spiritual and intellectual realm about consciousness and man’s own self, to the origin and nature of matter, the universe, and Ultimate Truth or God. Mysticism covers, both theistic and non-theistic dimensions, universally. Mystical experience is not just a spiritual or an intellectual uncovering of information or facts; it is an experience of being and seeing the true nature of man’s own self, humanity, the universe and to establish communion with the Creator. Typically, mystics [religious or non-religious] aim their experience at human transformation. In short it is a, “super sense perception-experience in a supersensory mode is what makes the experience mystical.” We can say that al-Hallaj, Ali Hajwari and many others were spiritual mystics, while Newton, Einstein and many other scientists were natural mystics.

The human emotional system is broken down into roughly two elements: Love and Fear, where love is of the heart and soul (consciousness) and fear is of the personality. Love unites man with his fellow human beings and for the believer with his God. Through his passion of love man is creative while fear enhances his capacity to destroy. The homo sapien—much before Darwin’s expositions in The Origin of Species in 19th Century—sought relief from the fear of being alone in this world by connecting himself with the realm of supernatural. He first sought myths, then worldly religions which evolved towards divinely revealed religions. Whereas Adam the first man was divinely aware of his religion, the natural man was also actively involved in religious practices. Religion in either case is so natural to humanity that it seems to be part of human nature, as if a propensity for belief in the supernatural were genetically engraved in the human mind, and expressed spontaneously. Man, whether a creation of intelligent design, or appeared naturally, is one whole human with a body, mind and soul i.e. all three in one where body is material, while soul or conscience, and mind or intellect are immaterial.

The religious image of man as a creation of intelligent design displays that man is naturally designed as a mystical-spiritual-intellectual human with free will at his command—a capability that no other animal possesses. This ability of free will permits man to bypass ordinary laws of cause and effect and thus, acting freely he exercises a prerogative which some will attribute only to God or a Super-Power above man. But those who do not believe in God or any Super-Power outside man’s intellectual realm, they attribute this act of free will to the principles of natural selection. Thus, we have a scientific image of man which maintains, man is an animal that evolved according to the environmental and ecological rules of natural selection. The scientists present a strictly mechanistic and materialist interpretation of man who is free from any superstition and spiritualism. Therefore, as one image depicts man intrinsically possessing a spiritual part—an incorporeal soul and a mind—the other image portrays that there is no such thing as soul. Religious image reveals man’s inner self or his spiritual nature; science—focused on man’s animal roots—unfolds the secrets of the external world. Within these terms, though both the images of man seem incompatible to each other; yet there is a common strand of mysticism between the two images working as a “blazing lightning bolt.” It is because of man’s mystical aspiration that both the images maintain an everlasting view of what it means to be a human, a conscious and unconscious being, a being of free will with a capability for self knowledge and ability to live rationally, morally, and meaningfully. Even today both characteristics of man are engaged in a common pursuit of reaching the source of creation: science through physics, religion through metaphysics. Both the images of man are mystical; the scientific researching through intellectual channels, while the spiritual trying to find the creator through his holistic approach of three in one—the body, soul, and the mind. Scientific quest is materialistic and is singular to see and present the abstract in physical form or shape, while mystical/spiritual pursuit is collective of man’s many intrinsic capabilities to feel or perceive the abstract in every possible form.

For a purely mystic, knowledge of the mysteries of existence is experienced mostly through the channels of direct intuition, including the possibility of direct communion with God or the source of creation. Once the mystic is satisfied with his experience it transcends simple rational understanding. While mystical experience may be monotheistic, polytheistic, agnostic, atheistic, or scientific, most traditions agree that the aim of mystical practice is to actualize the highest stage of enlightenment. Such an actualization brings freedom from destructive and self-defeating traits, such as vain ambition, greed, jealousy, anger, etc., and brings about a clear consciousness so that one can become—in mystical term—a “perfect” or a “complete whole person.” Depending on different traditions, such a person immersed in Divinity becomes a Qutb, Saint, Yogi, Shaman, and on historical traditions, a “great scientist” of an extraordinary creation and invention in the fields of science and art.

In the final analysis, a true mystic is a person whose inner life is driven by a passion for unity and oneness with Truth and Higher Knowledge, and with humanity. In a mature mystic, it is a conscious response of an essential need to “being called” or “invited” or “attracted” by a Higher Knowledge or Truth or Being, a need which cannot be filled by human reasoning alone but demands the brightening of hope, the leaping of faith, and the power of “unifying force of Love.” A scientist advances with a firm faith on his knowledge of physical sciences and a love to uncover which is hidden. A scientist helps to heal the body while a spiritual heals the inner self of the man. This is one great reason that a majority of psychologists and psycho-analysts are both scientists and spiritualists.

Man the mystic, in a nutshell is, “to be in the world, but not of it,” that is free from greed, intellectual pride, blind obedience to custom or religious traits, or awe of persons higher in rank. The mystics respect the rituals of their religion insofar as these further social harmony, but broaden religion’s doctrinal basis wherever possible and define its myths in a higher sense—for instance, explaining angels as representing man’s higher faculties and moral virtues. The earliest known theory of conscious evolution is of mystical origin based on metaphysics which applies to the individual as well as to the human race. The evolutionary theory of modern age is based on physics and natural science. But both seek the “self-existing essence” from the most fundamental meta-laws of physics to diverse kinds of consciousness, one of which could be God or a new scientific revelation.

Mysticism is at the heart of intimate relationships. Being human is an accomplishment which needs practice. Relationships with other people forms the spiritual web of our lives with crucial strands being, marriages, partnerships, family, and friends. For example, marriage is not just a bond of two physical bodies, it is like plunging into one another’s soul. According to many religious traditions, our deepest values are expressed through these essential bonds. In moral code of Confucianism, the health of the society derives from the maintenance of proper relationship with family, friends, and the community. Sacramental theory recognizes that relationships are reminders and reflections of man’s spiritual relationship with other beings. Panentheism emphasizes the relational nature of cosmos. Divinization assumes that we see the divine in each other. Non-theistic or scientific approach of inter-being is based on the fundamental assertion that everything is connected to everything else through a chain of attraction and gravity, which in philosophical term is the passion of “love.” Thus, we can say, The Whole Universe is Woven Together by a Mystical Relationship.

 Mirza Ashraf