Sufis or Gnostics have raised a deep and striking point by saying that “God is hidden because of being omnipresent”.
They narrate a story to explain what they want to say: Once upon a time a fish in the sea said to another fish: Sister! I have heard that water is a very important thing and no life is possible without it. Have you seen it anywhere? In reply the second fish said: I have not seen it but I have heard similar things about it. One time a big wave of water threw the first fish on the shore. The fish began to feel uneasy and restless due to the intense heat of the sun on one hand and the sand of the beach on the other. Someone, who was standing close to her, said: The fish will die in case she doesn’t go back into the water. The immediate point of this story is that the abundance of something usually makes people unmindful and ignorant of it. Mostly for us, same is the case with air. Imam Hussain, in one of his supplications to God, talks about removing “the curtains of Nur (the Light)”. The Nur, which reveals the truths and realities, sometimes becomes a curtain or veil itself.
The point that I want to convey in the following lines may have little relevance to what I tried to say above, but there is no harm is reading it too, although, you may call it soliloquy. I want to say that the man has become so much unaware and unobservant in this era of information technology that there is no example of it in the past periods. This age of information overload and thoughts have created a strange kind of atmosphere. It seems there is dust everywhere and that recognition of faces has become difficult due to this dust storm. This whirlpool of dust has obliterated the line between the right and the wrong.
We have lots of websites, YouTube, Facebook, Google and what not. There are thousands of television channels, numerous radio stations, countless newspapers and magazines. We have access to numerous articles, interviews, talk shows, discussions. Seminars and conferences are conducted covering different subjects. There are separate websites of cartoons, movies, dramas, music etc. Newspapers and magazines are also available on websites. Government and different institutions have their own websites. There are hundreds of opinions and analyses on a single subject. Some say that a flower is surrounded by thorns while others say thorns are protecting and shielding a flower. Some say that war is for peace while others say that “how is it possible to have peace in presence of oppression and tyranny.” There is terrorism, extremism, explosions, suicide attacks, the war against terrorism and what not. Some say that a tyrant has been killed while others say that somebody has been killed by a cruel person. Some say that it is a freedom movement while others say it is mischief-making. Some are singing mourning songs on the death of a bird while others are displaying the scene of collecting parts of a human body.
In this atmosphere of uncertainty, some people have selected a channel or a newspaper or a particular topic of their own choice and have become unconcerned from rest of the matters. Being tired and fed up with this information abundance and surplus thoughts, many people are in search of vale of peace. Many have become sick due to uninterrupted disturbing news stories. Some have become patients of high blood pressure and some are going through harmful effects of heart attacks while some others are losing the battle of life. In this environment of indecision and ambiguity it has become highly difficult or almost impossible to judge and set the priorities. Websites like ‘Wikileaks’ are also responsible for creating different types of confusions and uncertainty.
This is the end-product of the present-day progress and development. What is all this? Are some hidden hands playing their part behind this puppet show or not? Does the actor want what is befalling on the spectators? Is there a single ringmaster or more than one? What are the motives of showmen if they are more than one and what will be the ultimate outcome of all this? Can the human being get the opportunity to think deeply in cool, calm and collected manner or not? Will the ringmasters allow this to happen?
Because of getting bored and growing tired, I stopped listening to radio and watching TV for weeks on numerous occasions. Periodically I have also given up reading newspapers. Anxiety and distress forced me to take such decisions. In this age of information technology and media how it is possible to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Sitting alone and in isolation from rest of the world, when I start pondering about this question, I hear a loud sound of an explosion from somewhere nearby. Window panes of my house shattered several times. The sound of ambulances forced me to come out of my house. In other words, it is not possible for me to remain uninvolved from what is going around. Same is the case with others. It seems that from the whole human history the modern human being is the most ignorant and perturbed one.
We need philosophers, scholars and thinkers who can provide guidance to get the humanity through this testing period. Is there anyone who can redress this grave situation? There must be a treatment and remedy for this present-day restlessness, mental disturbance, unease, carelessness and negligence.
I am not the right person to say anything about the predicament that the humanity is experiencing, but I think that the answer of this question lies in recognizing and identifying those who are actually running the centers of "information technology" in the world. Who are the hidden hands behind the powerful media? Who are selling the majority of arms and ammunition? Who possess the most dangerous weapons? Who are shedding the blood of humanity? Not only these people but also those who are affiliated with them need to be recognized and singled out. They may be of any hue and color. They may use religion or secularism to further their agendas. They may be mullahs (person learned in Islamic theology and jurisprudence) or modernist intellectuals. We either remain aloof from the society with grieved hearts or think deeply for salvation of the distressed mankind. It is to be remembered that the first option is not practical and feasible. So we are left with the second option only.