28 October, 2006

Food for Thought

Few days ago, our peace activist friend Lirun from Israel posted a video about free hugs on the UAE Community Blog here. A google search for "Free Hugs Campaign" led me to this site & what touched me most was this sentence:

Four days ago, the band posted the clip on YouTube. By 3pm today, it had close to 700,000 hits and almost 6000 comments, most of them gushing.

Like this one: "Made me cry. I love you all!"

Now what does these figures tell us?

In my opinion, modern man's soul is unhappy & uncomfortable. Why is he unhappy when his life is much more comfortable than the life his ancestors lived? Is this sadness a result of shunning God & religion?

What is the aim of our lives? Why are we in this world? Are we here just to earn money. Families are breaking up, divorce rate is on the rise. All because of career or in other words because of money?

Can money buy happiness? If yes, then why every 40 seconds a person dies of suicide? Full article here:

In the year 2000, approximately one million people died from suicide: a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.

In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years (both sexes); these figures do not include suicide attempts up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.

Why the modern man needs organizations like International Association for Suicide Prevention?

By the way, those who think religion is dead, read this article titled "The Return of Religion" by Douglas S. Winnail.

Growing numbers of people around the globe are becoming disenchanted with the effect of secularism on our modern world—the fragmentation of society, the weakening of social cohesion, the absence of noble ideals worth pursuing, the lack of solid values, the social acceptance of what was formerly considered perversion, the spread of crime and the lack of effective punishment, the emptiness of consumerism and materialism, the breakdown of the "welfare state," the failure of communism, the chaos in schools and the breakdown of families.


BD said...

I suppose the gist of your post is something like, we have all these problems in the world; why aren't we turning to God? Well, I think people have been turning to God for centuries. In some of the darkest periods of humankind it is almost all people did it seems was turn to God. Although not as appealing and simplistic a solution as turning to God, the myraid of problems and issues need to be looked at and dealt with for their own unique and myraid of causes. Lumping the problems all together and then turning to a higher power for a quick solution seems kind of like putting one's head in the sand.

bartman said...

In my opinion, modern man's soul is unhappy & uncomfortable.

And you know what they say about opinions...

I am a perfectly happy and comfortable modern man, and yet I feel no need to revert to a bunch of fairy tales and silly superstitions to salve my soul.

Whatever gets you through the night, I suppose.

marwan said...

Where is the evidence that "ancestral man" was particularly happy?

You're linking secularism to post modern ennui? If religious people are so happy, how come they're always complaining about the rest of the world being unfair to them?

It's your belief that turning to God is the answer. Perhaps for someone else, it's building the Eiffel Tower out of matchsticks. Or for another, climbing Kilimanjaro. We can (and have to) confront complex global issues, but individual happiness is precisely that - up to the individual.

blogrosh said...

DG, my pennyworth - I don't think it's all got to do with lack of God's presence in our lives.

I think often, most individuals are lonely and strangers to one another. Perhaps each person has got reservations about the other. Hence a "hug" - which passes on some warmth, and perhaps says "hey you are not alone" or "this is my way off telling you - chin up". A hug extended with the noble intentions/vibes (as in the YouTube video) is warm, perhaps selfless and unexpected - which often lightens up another individual – especially coming from a stranger (well there is the culture factor as well).

I know a few people, who are strong devotees to their respective faiths - and I know they aren’t happy. Often they live with the "hope" that their belief in their faith will one day bring them happiness & peace. And at times, I know they long for a hug or shoulder to let it all out at (I know so, because I’ve extended hugs & my shoulder).

If I may also add - walking the streets of Manhattan, something which often fascinates/saddens me is that, in a huge, multi-cultural city, filled with people & activity - I have sensed the loneliest souls - primarily because everyone is looking after themselves or their own – no one’s got the time of day for someone else.

I agree with Marwan - "individual happiness is precisely that - up to the individual.", however we can do our two cents worth for another soul as well.

marwan said...

If I was a bachelor in Dubai (hang on a minute...) I'd be quick to hand out hugs. Mind the boner, though.

Lirun said...

i have been asking similar questions of the world but in a slightly different way..

my query is where does religion end and culture begin..

salman rushdie was talking on the news today about how the veil in many ways is less about religion and more about cultural separatism.. and i started thinking well..

if this is a clash between cultures and/or religions.. what is the counter offer of the west..

is it in fact career money and a jug around a tree once a year? or is it more than that.. is it the "carefree" lifestyle.. is it the picnics and the sporting endeavours..

as quick as the west is to condemn islam for its fundamentalists - are we not just as fast to condemn the west for its power hungry rotten apples?

i believe a balance needs to be found.. some really wise people need to start thinking out loud a bit more and the line between cultures needs to be converted into a friendly border..

personally - regarding the hug pangs.. i recommend the movie called crash..

my greatest message from it was that in some ways people feel like life has become so sterile that sometimes they will crash their course just to remember they are real.. in the absense of a warm touch - perhaps cold physical pain is the next best thing..

i am not suicial hahaha

Rejected said...

I am terribly sorry for being off topic here but I tried and looked for an email to send a private messages but there was none.

I have a story to tell and it is about myself and UAE and there is no better place than here.
The purpose behind posting my story is to help other Iraqis who were treated injustice and also Al Sakit 3an Al dhulm Sha6an Akhras. I really hope I get the understanding I am seeking.

secretdubai said...

rejected - you can email me at secretdubai at gmail.

DG said...

Am I the only one experiencing problems with the Blogger? :s

Thank you friends for sharing your views. I will reply to your comments from an Islamic point of view since I have not studied other religions in detail.

bd: "Lumping the problems all together and then turning to a higher power for a quick solution seems kind of like putting one's head in the sand"

But the question is, why have these problems appeared in the first place? I will give you a small example about us muslims.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said "The man is not from me who sleeps contentedly while his neighbors sleep hungry." But how many of us today even know the names of our neighbors, leave alone sharing food or gifts?

Religion is not just dressing differently from the ordinary peopl & offering prayers. Every action of a believer is either considered an act of worship or an act of sin. Smiling in the face of your human brother is an act of worship, being rude to him is a sin. Hope you got my point :-)

Bartman: No one is forcing you to "revert to a bunch of fairy tales and silly superstitions to salve my soul." Wish you all the happiness in your life my friend :-)

Marwan: "Where is the evidence that "ancestral man" was particularly happy?"

Ask your parents or elders about their lives in the past. I am sure they will give you a satisfactory answer :-)

DG said...

Blogrosh: "I think often, most individuals are lonely and strangers to one another"

You got my point. This is what I was exactly trying to say. Consumerism & materialism, although they are succussful in taking people away from religion but they are also responsible for making people lonely. The focus has shifted from "our" happiness to "my" happiness. We are more wealthy but also more selfish than our ancestors.

Lirun: "i believe a balance needs to be found.. some really wise people need to start thinking out loud a bit more and the line between cultures needs to be converted into a friendly border"

I fully agree with you my friend. After all, we are humans first before anything else :-)

dredge said...

apparently douglas s. winnail is an evangelist from the living church of god!!! OMG!

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