Discover personacracy, dialogue inter-faithfully
By Azly Rahman
How do we learn to tolerate each other in the scheme of our daily existence, and in our journey towards realizing the full potential of our emerging brand of multiculturalism?
How do we begin to think like a transculturalist in a nation that is increasingly becoming more and more diverse and in need of radical changes in the way we live, work, and play?
How do we teach ourselves the notion of meaningful democracy; one that is alive and closer to our heart’s desire so that we may feel it and become its good participants?
How do we make democracy personal and not, as a friend of mine terms it as “demon”-cracy, a form of government run by “demons” only interested in plundering the wealth of the nation?
We can begin by abandoning hatred and understanding what the Self constitutes.
"Shed away seeds of hatred"
We cannot become good parents if we conduct our daily conversations and acts of nurturing our children foundationed upon secret advices on how to sow the seeds of adversity towards people of other race and religion.
We cannot become good teachers and professors if we base our practice on the advancement of one preferred ethnic group over others, using methods of assessment/evaluation that is anti-humanistic and one that does not take into consideration diversity issues.
We cannot become good community leaders if we continue to design our economic policies from the perspective of institutionalized racism and suspicion of others.
We cannot build tolerant communities if, in the secret confines of our Watergate-like meeting rooms, we plot against this or that group, inspired by the political economy of Capitalist greed.
We cannot become good politicians if we continue to base our struggle on the shallow and narrow paradigm of communalism and religious intolerance and expect the nation to be one and indivisible.
We cannot practice race-based, religious-based politics and at the same time use the people's resources and the Ideological State Apparatuses to further institutionalize hate and use more sophisticated technologies of breeding hatred in the name of this or that form of nationalism or religious fervor.
We need to nurture the Merciful and the Compassionate self in us.
"Nurture the Merciful and the Compassionate Self"
The Self evolves through different levels of understanding of what humanism means. We journey from one station of the soul to the next, transmigrating from one realm of spiritual understanding to another. Moving from the level of awareness of being enslaved by those of higher status and symbol, we learn to evolve to an understanding that it is our economic system that has created the division of wealth and power.
The notion of the evolutionary self exists in all religious traditions.
The Bhagavad Gita teaches us eloquently about the beauty of the self, in the beautiful dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna in which the essence of the self can be understood once the self is ”destroyed” and becomes one with all Creation.
The Gospels of Jesus teaches us how to love others, to be at peace with oneself and others and to understand the nature of greed -- and not to go to war, like the evangelical right and neo-cons of the Bush regime are doing.
The Granth Sahib teaches us love and compassion, true to its nature of being a philosophy of life based on the teachings of the mystic Muslim poet Kabir, and propagated by the work of Guru Nanak.
The Analects of Kung Fu Tze teaches us how to lead an ethical life, like a chuan tze or a gentleman and to honor the elders; provided that, I would say, the elders are not corrupt souls who uses his/her high places in power to subjugate others through lies, deceit, and despotic rule.
The teachings of Lao Tzi and Mencius show us how to lead a life closer to Nature and to the primordial self, so that we may learn what needs and wants are, and so that by not necessarily transforming Nature into Capital we may now sow the seed of Human destruction.
The Torah/Taurat, in its most mystical dimension of its teaching, through the philosophy of the kaballah, teaches us how to understand the self as how the Prophet Moses desired.
The Al Quran ul Karim, in its deepest meaning of love and compassion, exemplified by the phrase “In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate” teaches us the beauty of the Self and to love others and to live a life of “siratul-mustaqim” – of living in the path of righteousness.
The Islamic teachings on truth, compassion, equality, and justice do not tolerate abuse of power in any form, nor does it tolerate the buying of votes worth billions of Ringgit. Nor does it in any way, tolerate hatred for other religions -- let alone suicide bombings or suicide by any name.
If we take time amongst ourselves to understand each other through these lens of deeper levels of meaning, we will not need one religion or another to fight for the establishing of this or that religious state. The states we build will be the ones that will exist within ourselves.
We will learn to become skillful “governors” of our own kingdom. We can have more meaningful inter-faith dialogues free from suspicions.
Where is “democracy” in the Merciful and the Compassionate Self?
Democracy is a difficult concept to practice and that we ought to craft our own government within ourselves. This will be a start in our effort to build a great architecture of the self in order to understand the self better and to connect to others in the overall scheme of understanding Humanity.
The self is corrupted; the nature of corruption it is larger than the ones we have been talking about these days [link to Isa Samad]. We have been corrupted largely by the economic condition we are structured into by the system of production and reproduction that also determines how we order our lives inter-ethnically, inter-racially, and inter-religiously.
The corrupted self corrupts itself first, and next, when given the power, design corrupt practices and ultimately produces systems that further corrupt generations of others that are already born into the systems.
“Know thyself and you will know God,” said a wise man. The first principle of religion is to understand the Supreme Creator/Eternal God, from whatever perspective one is borne into.
It is only when we learn to appreciate the mystical dimension of our own belief system that we will find the universal truth in all religions and grow up as fine young men and women into an adulthood of dignity, respect, tolerance, and wisdom.
We will not need a theocratic state – a liberal one based on a peaceful, humanistic, and meaningful socialistic principles will do.
The government of the Merciful and the Compassionate Self will have its own check and balances and its system of uncompromising ethics. This self can evolve into the Incorruptible Self.
"Cleanse our personal and our nation’s souls"
We need to weed out corrupt politicians. Each one of them is a cancerous cell.
We do not even need to continue reproducing and upholding the system of rampant, rambunctious, and race-based capitalism that rapes the human self and leave it stranded in the Malaysian super corridor of multimediated brands of human oppression.
We must not let the arteries of our free spirit be clogged by the filth of our capitalist greed that is now on a life-support system of corporate crony communal-based political-economic system. The local and the wide area network of our political-system is now corrupted to the core -- we will need a brand new system. This Malaysian house built fifty years ago now has termites in its foundation. We must build our habitat anew.
We continue to race faster amongst ourselves; inspired by the ideology of developmentalism that sanctions the rape of Nature to turn it into Human and Material Capital.
We continue to develop Technology to accelerate the exploitation process so that we may now be called a “bio-technological nation” after calling ourselves “industrialized” and “information-rich” nation imitating the pattern of economic growth we do not yet fully understand. We become poorer and poorer in our capability to stop, think, and reflect on the nature of the race we are caught in.
Our politicians have not read much. They are interested in perfecting the art and science of preservation of power and wealth. They are skilled translators of the “Ides of March” – of plotting downfalls based on the Shakespearean play, Julius Cesar. Our politicians are busy singing Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way” – a testimony of idiotic pride of self-centered politics of survival and mistrust.
Imagine how many schools can be built, houses for the poor constructed, social services improved, and financial aid for education disbursed if we translate the amount of money politicians spend in buying votes into meeting our basic needs? Is this the best standard of morality we are seeing from our leaders?
But we deserve them -- we voted them into power. We continue to engage in this ritual of a hollow democracy.
Our politicians continue to design policies that are anti-Nature and anti-Human Liberation. They have not acquired the language of critical analysis and reflective sociology and radical and humanistic transformation of society to steer us in the Middle Path of developmentalism -- a path of moderation much needed in the world run by warmongers and profiteers.
As a nation, we will one day have a massive heart attack as a consequence of the overheating of our engines of growth and by the carbon-monoxidal air of capitalist greed we have churned and we are then forced to breathe in and ultimately choke ourselves and our children to death.
The heat of developmentalism is too intense.
Each human self in the pecking order of this Malaysian system of capitalist greed is utilized and capitalized by the next person at the next level of power; so that more and more profit can be squeezed by those who own the signs and symbols of power. Human oppression becomes invisible – what exists is an invinsible system of disciplining and punishing our mind and body so that the wheel of materialistic karma can continue to roll and bring humanity into the moksha of dehumanization.
Let us de-evolve from the current state of things; from this rat race couched in the language of Formula One of Shah Alam, a feature of this Informational Superhighway of Corporatist Developmentalism we mistakenly call “national progress”. This economic design is genetically altering our Natural Self.
Let Reason and Compassion rule. Man is endowed by these, to survive as a specie.
Let us leave the old world behind – there is a brave new world, inside of us, ahead. The world of personal democracy – of personacracy.