Believe it or not, there is a flip side to western civilization. Lets take a quick tour. Being leading civilization, west has the onus to accept responsibility for its blunders as well. Progress in west has caused more harm than benefit to humanity. The world has already paid a huge price for west’s blunders. Islamic civilization was the leading civilization of the world before west. Muslim academics, scientists and philosophers in 8th to 10th Century took all forms of human knowledge to newer heights. From knowledge power houses of Muslim Iraq and Spain, Arabic manuscripts of all disciplines were transported to Western Europe particularly present day France. This is not a blame, they had every right to do so. Those manuscripts were further translated in to local languages, hence revival of learning came to pass also called Renaissance. The highlight of Muslim civilization was that it did greater service than harm to humanity. However, since 14th Century, based on research, development and intellectual ascendency, western civilization became the leading civilization of the world.
The evilest gift of west to humanity has been democracy. With advent of democracy by the end of 18th Century during French Revolution, humanity saw a new form of government which apparently meant government of the people, for the people and by the people (Rousseau). However, after just eleven years of French Revolution, democracy took the first blow in its infant years when Napoleon introduced his form of dictatorial democracy. It is important to understand what had changed by introduction of democracy? Entire population of a country became embroiled in affairs of state through levee en masse. One man became one vote which became one musket for war. Nationalism was born. Nationalism is less about love for nation or native land and more about hatred for anything outside the nation. Tribal mentality was back in business which meant everyone from tribe was a friend and anyone from outside the tribe was an enemy. Limited war of standing armies transformed in to wars of nations. War aims changed from limited to total culminating in two horrific world wars.
Technology, which was doing wondrous progress during Industrial Revolution, became equally lethal with inventions like gun powder. Japanese were the worst affected at the hands of technological advancements when US dropped atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Newer inventions are getting lethal by the day. Today, there are enough stockpiles of arsenal around the world to blow the world apart in a jiffy.
Christianity was contaminated over a period of time with multiple versions of bible and countless church followings. Catholics and protestant divide was not due to religious belief but sectarian hegemony, social space and economic gains. No wonder, over a period of time religion was sidelined and finally evicted from affairs of life. It became a personal affair and it had nothing to do with politics, economy, sociology and morality. False belief system of Christianity has been restricted to Sunday Church services only. Inspired from leading civilization, few moderate Muslims have tried their hard to take a leaf from fate of Christianity and impose it on Islam as well. No doubt, Islam also took a leave of absence in last thousand years. It failed to keep pace with rapid human progress over time. Now, the humanity has learned the ways of sense perception. Humans are conditioned to believe what they can see or touch. Hence, belief of unseen became a thing of past. So much so, now Muslims, on issue of Islam are either illusive or defensive at best. With the invention of terrorism, past couple of generations even feel ashamed to be Muslims notwithstanding the fact that twenty odd thousand deviants do not completely represent 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe. Again, the rise of western civilization not only intentionally yet successfully relegated religion to back burner in its own society but it also put enough doubts about Islam in the minds of its followers to view religion as an impediment to progress.
Materialism, the mother of all evils is the basis of today’s godless progressive civilization. Creation from a particle and creation ex nihilo is the difference between us and them. What began with nothing will end in nothing but what began with something will remain in some material shape and form. And then the difference grows wide. The materialist relies on his material means, knowledge and skills. This reminds me the story of the man of two gardens in Al Kahf. Reliance of material means is a fallacy and entire world has been swept by the storm of materialism courtesy western civilization’s materialistic lead.
Capitalism is another gruesome gift of current civilization. The difference between rich and poor in west is huge but it is staggering when measured against poverty in Africa and other slums of the world. This gap is growing by the minute. In a bizarre way western civilization denies access to resources to rest of the world and then shows fake magnanimity to aid the poor. They ensure that poor nations transform in to beggars through tiny aid programs. Then those van guards of capitalism like IMF and World Bank who ensure weaker nations never come out of their strangle hold. Consumerism is in built evil of capitalism. Spend what you earn because a rich man basking on a Bahamas beach needs to get richer. Entire world is being enslaved by brand consciousness.
Greatest evil of current civilization is media. Humanity was never so badly deceived by religious biases, demagoguery or even sorcery as much as by the craftiness of media. From movies to sitcoms, from cartoons to reality shows, from news to documentaries, from intellectual debates to religious channels; media is the greatest lie of our time. It is all about patronizing masses against handsome amount of money from ‘donors’ and advertisers. This is where capitalism, consumerism and media all become one evil entity.
Finally, the easy access to information through internet has made knowledge a redundant commodity. Information is not a substitute of knowledge. Today, entire world relies on quick info responses of search engines. The worst part is that they believe it to be true. The values have further plummeted. Virtual socializing is no substitute for real life socializing. What a pity, a smart handset gets greater attention and time than most precious relations in the world. Friends share obscene content on whatsapp because on other mediums everyone else can see that crap. Kids get introduced to pornography way before their days. Talking of morality is no less than a joke. Most pointless and stupid videos get the most number of hits. This really gives a measure of where humanity is heading with all this progress.
Bad news for my religion weary liberal Muslims is that clash of civilizations by Huttington concluded that godless west has only one threat i.e. re-emergence of Islam any time soon. So, your detachment and self-proclaimed denial of Islam will not do you any long term good. Islam is here to stay, Insha Allah. And, I know few liberal minds must regard this as rambling of a lunatic but world was not changed by bread winning status quo lovers but change savvy lunatics.
This is already too much for a Friday blog entry. The topic merits writing of a book because few aspects need a lot of elaboration but time is always a fleeting commodity.
May Allah be our Guide. Please give your feedback.