Thursday, January 01, 2015

Seriousness in Thinking [Translated]

(From the archives).
The thinker whether he is superficial, deep or enlightened must be serious in his thinking. It is true in respect to the one who thinks superficially that the superficiality or shallowness of his thinking does not assist seriousness however by distancing himself from frivolity and from habitualness it is possible to be serious. Seriousness does not require depth even if depth encourages it, and it does not require enlightenment and even enlightenment dictates it. This is because seriousness is the presence of the Qasd (aim/purpose) and the effort to realise this aim accompanied by a good envisioning of the reality that he is thinking about.
Therefore, the thinking about a danger does not mean examining (or researching) it but rather it is only for the sake of being cautious or protected from it. Similarly, thinking about eating is not done to research it but rather it is done to obtain it, whilst thinking about play is not to examine and study it but rather it is only done for the sake of playing. Thinking about an excursion is not done to study it bur rather it is only done in order to enjoy it, whilst thinking about walking about without an (specific) objective is not for the purpose of studying it but rather only for the sake of removing boredom or being fed up. Thinking about making a law is not for the purpose of studying this law itself but rather it is for the purpose of making the law itself. The same applies for every (type of) thinking whatever its kind. It is thinking about a thing (or matter), or it is thinking to act with that thing. So thinking about a thing must be for the sake of gaining knowledge (understanding) about it whilst the thinking about an action with that thing is only undertaken for the sake of acting with it. In both of these cases it is not correct for frivolity or pointlessness to creep in to either one nor is it right for the habitualness of thinking about a thing or an action to dominate in that thinking. Therefore if pointlessness and habitualness are distanced and removed serious thinking will then come about. This is because at that time it will become easy if not inevitable to bring about the aim and the effort to realise that aim, and it will become easy and indeed inevitable to generate the envisioning of the reality that is being aimed for i.e. the reality that is being thought about.
As such seriousness can possibly exist in the shallow or superficial thinking just as it is present in the deep thinking and the enlightened thinking and even if it is the original position in respect to the deep and enlightened forms of thinking for seriousness to be attained within them. Having said that, seriousness is not necessary for thinking and indeed most of the peoples’ thinking is empty of seriousness. They undertake actions by way of habitualness and by the rule of continuation (upon the current status quo) whilst frivolousness or pointlessness is present amongst them in a very apparent manner. For this reason seriousness must be manufactured and the aim and purpose is the basis of this manufacturing and of the same type. As such it must be said that (the presence of) seriousness is not natural and even if it is noticed that some people are serious in their nature.
However the seriousness that we mean here is not the absolute or unrestricted seriousness but rather it is the seriousness which is at the level of what the person is thinking about. If the seriousness was less than it then it would not be regarded or considered as seriousness. So for example, the person who is thinking about marriage and then is not concerned about that which realises and accomplishes getting married would not be serious in his thinking about marriage. Similarly the person who is thinking about trade and business and then spends all the profit he has accrued from the trading is not serious in respect to his thinking about making business. The person who thinks about being a Judge and then does not work except striving to be employed in the position of the judiciary, is not serious about becoming a judge, but rather he is only serious about being an employee. The person who thinks about feeding his children (and family) and then passes the time playing around and making circuits of the markets is not serious in respect to thinking about feeding his children and family, and so on.
Seriousness dictates that he works to realise that which he is aiming towards and for his action to be upon the same level as what he is aiming to accomplish. So if he it did not work to achieve what he was aiming for, and even if it was to reach as specific thought, or he undertook actions which were not at the level of what he was aiming for, then he would not be serious in respect to his thinking. Somebody just saying that he is serious in his thinking is not sufficient for him to be serious and his manufacturing of conditions or appearances or activity, whether intellectual or physical, is not sufficient for him to be serious and it is not sufficient to indicate seriousness. Rather it is necessary for him to undertake physical or material actions and for these actions to be upon the level of what he thinking about in order for him to be serious (in his thinking) or until it can be deduced that he serious in his thinking. Undertaking material actions where these actions are upon the level of what he is thinking about, is an essential matter for seriousness to be brought about in the thinking or until the presence of this seriousness in thinking can be deduced.
Declined peoples and nations and lazy people or those who keep their distance from dangers (or weighty issues), or those who are seized or taken over by shyness, fear or relying upon others, all of these categories are not serious in respect to what they think about. This is because the decline makes the person draws the person to that which is easier or the easiest whilst he does not concern himself with that which is the most difficult, troublesome or tiresome. Laziness is incompatible with seriousness, whilst warding from dangers diverts the person away from seriousness whilst the life, fear and reliance upon others prevent seriousness. For this reason it is essential to raise the thought (level) and decisively deal with laziness, to defy dangers and differentiate between shyness and that which he must feel shy from. He must become endowed with courage and make reliance upon the self a character from amongst the characteristics. All of this must occur for seriousness to be generated and brought about amongst individuals, peoples and nations and this is because seriousness does not come about in a random way but rather it is generated by seeking to manufacture its generation.
As for the necessity of the existence of seriousness in thinking then this is because the aim of thinking is not to bring about the thought alone but rather the thinking must be for the sake of gaining a benefit from this thinking. In addition it is necessary for the thinking to be for the sake of action. As such, the thoughts which the ‘Ulamaa and thinkers produce and areas of knowledge that they arrive to are not for the sake of pleasure alone or to find enjoyment and delight in those thoughts. Rather they are only for the purpose and sake of the life and for the sake of acting in this life. For that reason the person has made an error when he says: ‘Knowledge is sought for the sake of knowledge (itself)’. As such there is no value or worth within Greek Philosophy because it represents only thoughts from which delight and self-gratification are gained, and there is no value in any knowledge from which benefit cannot be attained. This is because knowledge is not sought for one’s pleasure and gratification but rather knowledge is sought to work and act with it within this life. For this reason we cannot say that the Greek Philosophers and those who imitated them were ‘Ulamaa (scholars) and that they were serious in their thinking. Similarly we cannot say that the latter scholars from the Muslims who made the sciences of Balaaghah (eloquence and beauty in language) like philosophy, like the commentary of As-Sa’d in the ‘Uloom (sciences of) Al-Balaaghah’, were serious in their thinking. This is because the life does not benefit at all in anything from it and it represented nothing more than seeking pleasure and delight from study and research. It is true that benefit is not attained from the poets and literary writers in respect to the life. Benefit is not attained by this thinking in respect to undertaking actions even if some benefit can be attained by it. This is because its product is itself a benefit because reading poetry or reading literary texts like prose in its different forms brings about pleasure and refreshment or stimulation. They worked with the texts and it was itself a result or product of thinking and as such it is not valid to say that they were not serious. Rather there were from amongst them those who were serious and proficient (adept) even if some of them were not serious or proficient.
This is different to the case of philosophy because thinking in it came only to arrive at truths whilst all that is found within it does not represent truths and not even close to them. They also differ from the scholars of Balaaghah (eloquence and points of beauty in the language) who wrote followed the model of philosophy. Their thinking was only to know the Balaaghah in the Qawl (statement) so that the people could be eloquent in the Qawl whilst what came from them does not bring about Balaaghah and not even close to that. Their produce represented no more than a motivation or incentive towards study (research) and towards the delights and pleasures of studying without it ever reaching the objective for which it was first undertaken. This is because they did not undertake this for the sake of the pleasure of study and investigation but rather it was for another reason. Therefore they were not serious in respect to their thinking and not because they did not arrive at what they had desired and intended but rather because the nature of what they produced was impossible to achieve what they had wanted it to and had intended. If they had been serious in respect to thinking they would not have produced this philosophy and produced this type of sciences of Balaaghah. This is because the seriousness dictates the presence of the Qasd (purpose) and it is from the nature of the purpose to arrive at the aim or objective but they did not have an aim or purpose other than study and study alone. So they are with all certainty not serious in respect to thinking.
Seriousness in the thinking does not necessitate shortening the distance between the thought and the action nor does it dictate lengthening the distance. This is because the action is the result of the thought. A man could think about going to the moon and the distance between this thinking and the arrival could be lengthy, whilst he could think about eating whilst the distance between his thinking and undertaking the action of eating could be lengthy. He could think about reviving his Ummah and the distance between his thinking and the presence of revival could be short. The issue therefore does not revolve around the length of the distance or how short it is because the distance between the thought and the action does not necessarily have to be short or long as it could be short just as it could be long. The important matter is that the action is brought into being as a result of the thinking whether the one who undertook the thinking brought it about himself or other than him did. Thinking must produce action whether this was represented in speech like that of poets and literary writers, or actions like the ‘Ulamaa of the experimental sciences, or in the form of plans undertaken by the scholars of politics or war, or if it manifested in a material action like conducting war, eating, undertaking education or any other action.
In conclusion, for the thinking to produce the result that was being thought about, it must be serious, whether it was produced in actuality or it failed to produce it. Seriousness is therefore a necessary matter in respect to thinking and without seriousness the thinking would be frivolous in matters of no worth and would represent a distraction, play or a monotonous proceeding upon a single procedural fashion according to the rule of habitualness or tradition. The monotonous form of thinking makes the life of the thinker and of the people acceptable to them whilst it distances their minds from the thought related to change and from the thinking to bring change.

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