Man And Modern Challenges

Written by: Ameneh Mottaghi

Published on: May 13th, 2019

‘Without your name never would I start a letter.’

I would like to start my words in the name of God, who has presented the Pen as his mark and attribute and has set it as the means of guidance, knowledge, and education of human beings, so that in time, and accompanied by effort, endeavor, and planning, they blossom in reform, growth and creative potentials of themselves and the society.

I am grateful to God for blessing me with the grace to share some words with esteemed readers of this publication. Perhaps over a year has gone by from when I first thought of establishing this journal. It would not be an exaggeration to state that during this time I have overcome many ups and downs, in order to have this work available to you in its present form. Now you might ask yourself that despite the presence of numerous publications printed for the Iranian community, what would necessitate so much effort and struggle and what would be the need for another journal?

To answer the aforesaid question, it should be mentioned that multiplicity and variety of books and magazine can provide a foundation for growth and elevation of diverse ideas, and instigate revelation of creativity and mental sparks of intellectuals, and be in service of culture, while meeting cultural needs of society. Thus, this journal, in two languages of Farsi and English, intends to take a step, however small, alongside the pioneers in this matter, especially for the youth.

Among the goals of this journal while voicing social, scientific, religious and family matters is to address some of the difficulties and challenges present in society, to present suitable approaches concerning self-awareness and consequently awareness of God with inspiration from Islamic teachings and by taking advantage of notions of new age intellectuals. Today, with abrupt, sudden, and impressive changes and transformations of modernism, mankind has attained vast advances in the various areas of hardware and software, communication, information and other technologies. The modern human being, via processes of modernism, was able to liberate his domain of awareness of his rights and the quality of his communication with the world and nature, from limitations and obscurities, taking it to bright and vast horizons and making it universal, and overcoming some of the past difficulties.

However, alongside all that pride and progress, it was expected that socially, mankind would not face spiritual crises and problems such as lack of safety, oppression and injustice, worry and anxiety, stress, depression and suicide. The increasing emergence of these crises (according to scientific statistics), is indicative of the fact that access to the developed political, economical, and other systems alone, and promotion of a one dimensional perspective of mankind and world, without any consideration for the spiritual aspect and its relationship with the metaphysical realm will not take humans to happiness, serenity and prosperity; as what forms the nature and essence and “self” of the human is their “humanity” and soul. The domain of understanding and nourishment of the “soul” is beyond testing and experimentation capabilities of complex systems of mechanical tools and instruments, and hence, throughout the course of changes in times, it will not undergo essential changes.

“Brother, you are entirely of thoughts. The rest is but only bones and roots.”

Therefore, thought and contemplation are needed for understanding the spiritual aspects, and their nourishment is of develop-mental necessities of mankind; thus one cannot neglect them. In the noble Quran, soul is a gift from the Almighty that has been bestowed upon mankind. Hence, the soul belongs to exalted divine Almighty and is of divine matters. Also, its education and polishing and refinement will be made possible by divine holy guidance and teachings. One of the factors, with respect to all the progress and expansion that has put mankind in crisis, is the decline from spiritual essence to carnal attachments and neglect of and estrangement from “self”. A number of western thinkers such as Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, etc, express the meaning of self-estrangement as the entrance of an “other” or “stranger” in man; that is to say, to suppose this other or stranger is “self” and as result to lose oneself. Some consider “self” as money, wealth, cars, jobs, and other belongings and possessions that are means for convenience. Hansemoll, a Canadian sociologist, has a statement conveying that in the new era, people have become estranged from their identity, do not have a complete definition of themselves, and have separated from their essential roots.

The crisis of the new man is escape from ancient heritage and evasion from oneself, a perilous situation, neither here nor there. This escaping and forgetfulness is the effect of declining divine attachments and of forgetting God. In the noble Quran, exalted Almighty states, “Do not be like those who forgot God and as punishment suffered with self-forgetfulness.” Ultimately, this bewilderment and wandering, arising from abolition of human essence, will derive man to nihilism (denial of any distinction between good and evil or belief in vanity of existence). Nietzsche identifies nihilism as defying any effort to systematize life, plummeting into futile pursuits, seeking refuge in professions and invalidating all values. He also believes that ” deconstructionist beliefs gradually replace divine revelation with man’s logic, and any value that arises from logic alone will inevitably lead to nihilism (1).” The religion of Islam, while valuing scientific research and investigation, by encouraging people to think and reflect and kindle the light of logic on one hand, and by providing guidance and divine teachings on the other hand, grants purpose to people’s view of themselves and the world, gives meaning to their actions and deeds, and resolves hopelessness and despair in the face of life’s failures by trusting and relying on the infinite Godly grace and power.

In this regard, in a world where human responsibilities are neglected, when faced with elimination of moral and spiritual values of fellow humans, one must feel responsible, as this feeling is amongst every Muslim’s religious duties. “One who wakes in the morning and is indifferent to the affairs of his society is not a Muslim.” To quote one of the western scholars, “feeling responsible means the acceptance of responsibility towards others.” Accordingly, I opened Quran for an omen in establishing this journal, and encountered this bright verse of God’s words:

‘And certainly We have brought them a Book which We have made clear with knowledge, a guidance and mercy for a people who believe.’ (2)

1: Asia opposite West
2: Surah A’raf, Verse 52.

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