Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy

People Come and Go

“People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.” -Nicholas Sparks, The Rescue-

Nothing last forever. People come. People go. Things always change. We are living in the era where the information is so abundantly massive, but only a few of us can transform that information into knowledge.

We are living where things changing in a fraction of seconds. Civilization greatly evolved in recent decades. Our surrounding may change, whether the people or just the environment.

Some people can make a difference in your life and open you up to new opportunities, and others can take you down the wrong paths. While some may disagree with you. They may leave because of that disagreement. It can be our friends, colleagues or even part of the families. It is part of the cycle of the universe itself.

The cycle goes. People come. People go.

One of the challenges for an institution living in this era is innovation and how to maintain it. Without innovation, an institution won’t survive, because people always change and the world evolved greatly in many ways!

People may leave because of disagreement on something. The problem is, “Do they understand what they are disagreeing?”

Human always hates what they don’t understand. Scientific method which rose nowadays tried to tackle the problem. An assumption, Hypothesis, Experimentation to form an evidence, Data Analysis, Conclusion, and the cycle goes on. Thesis and Anti-Thesis. All of these terms refer to a scientific language. What they are demanding is “evidence”. That process established a theory and thus gave birth to certain knowledge.

There are several terms in the Quran regarding evidence, but we will not discuss that. Instead, emphasizing on our behavior when we pursue knowledge. Before digging and learning in-depth about something, sometimes we feel gaining knowledge in a significance way. In truth, the longer we spent on cultivating our own knowledge, we know only a little, or in a worst case, we know nothing.

We should learn patience in pursuing knowledge or anything that will benefit us. We should learn how to refrain ourselves from passing judgement and arriving at a shallow conclusion. Something that young people notably has today. They tend to ask for evidence and the right answer immediately!

It is natural for people who couldn’t refrain themselves in this pursuit will be leaving!

As for my personal thought, the evidence in which Allah will be presenting is depended on our attitude when pursuing knowledge. Certainty (الْيَقِينُ) will appear when we strive the Truth in humbleness and sincere worship, not in arrogance way. Humans tend to rush to judgement and shallow analysis. One of the human traits.

وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ

And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty [QS. 15:99]

People come and go, and Allah knows best.

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Posted in Culture, Philosophy

Death, Loneliness, and Agony

It was in summer last year. It was the day I was waiting for. Surely, my achievement, all these years particularly, was at its pinnacle. I was with my colleagues, discussing every issue which is, for us, had a significant impact on our country.

It was in Singapore, where I had a chance meeting up the other Indonesian Students who study abroad. We had fun. As the day turns into night I am still clueless.

Before it all happened, my father was gravely ill since the end of the year of 2014. He was in bed in for almost sixth months. Slowly he lost his memory, he even can’t communicate. “It was his lungs that affected his brain and his nerve.” The doctor said. The hospital already provides the best doctors in their respective field. But the disease is too much for him.

Just before my departure, he regained his health. Only a little, though. His heart was in good condition. Therefore he can go through another treatment for his internal organ. I was in doubt, whether I take my flight or not to go to Singapore. But later on, I decided to go after got permission from my mother.

It was the same night in Singapore. Past midnight. Around 1 AM. In that particular time when I was in my room, there was a message on my phone. Two messages precisely. My father just passed away that night. The day just ended like that. It shifting all the feelings that I had just before.

It was on 7th August. It was the month of independence in Indonesia, yet I feel empty. Shallow. The time moves slowly. Time dilation maybe, as relativity theory named it, and it made me feel alone. Then I went back to my country, visited his grave, and days after days passing by. I went back to Taiwan to continue my study.

Suddenly in the middle of the night on the month of October, I had a dream. It was so powerful that I can’t get rid of my head until now. It is still ringing clearly.

It was my father that appeared in my dream, wearing his usual dress. He walks in and stood in front of me. A few words he was trying to say, “I am sorry for everything.” He cried and put his hands on my shoulder and then hugged me softly. My legs then feeling numb, and I am kneeling down. Then his image faded, disappearing into the light. All the visual vanish, and I woke up from the dream.

death tunnel
Walk into the light (from huffingtonpost.com)

My mind recollecting the fragments from the past. It brings all memory together. Bitter, sweet and joyous one. I know my interactions with him has always been weird. Rather, it was fueled by feuds and conflicts. Agony.

Ah, memories. Sometimes it brings sadness and hate, even regret. Although, there is a good thing about memories. It showed us who we are in an honest way. It is true that our memories contain our past experience. Simply, memory is all that a person can remember. It is always been there. Always.

What is left from the dead was their memories we shared. All pieces of it.

Aging and die. The cycle goes on. The old Sherlock Holmes in the movie “Mr. Holmes” do realize what the word “alone” is really about when he encounter his very last case.

As I quote when Mr. Holmes talks to his suspect,

“The dead are not so very far away. They are just on the other side of the wall. It is us on this side who are alone.”

A tribute to my father. (October 13th, 1949 – August 7th, 2015)

Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi raaji’un

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Science

Lost in Details

While our eyes help to capture images surround us, it is that our visual system as a whole made it work, the eyes and brain that have the all important task of organizing, and making sense of what we are seeing. It turns out that our age affects how we visually interpret information.

There is a tendency for people to visually organize things into groups rather than seeing them as individual objects. It is known as Gestalt Perception [1].

A study in Germany showed that young adults perceive and process images in a different way than other adults. Young adults tend to perceive things in detail, while the older one perceive it as a whole as they got lost in details. This study led researchers to believe that the gestalt perception decline with age.

forest-tree

Young adults or even children are found to be more active in learning as they ask many questions, an important or even dumb question. They fill their life with curiosity and creativity. They will ask many detail questions! As we grow older, our perception to interpret reality becomes limited, and it led many averages of us to routine daily life without any space to explore our creativity.

But the issue is not with that curiosity attitude that we had as children, it is about our attitude nowadays. As a civilized people, we should start by asking the right question. For that question, we should come up with the process of thinking. By means of that process, the so-called philosophy is needed as its purpose is to come up with the right questions  as one of the scholars, Slavoj Zizek, has to say [2].

The beauty lies in the details, some say, but paying attention to many details may lead to disoriented purpose or goal. Asking questions that are not fit in the context may ruin the process of thinking, blurring its purpose!

One day, I read a few arguments regarding someone prayer (salah) and how they should straightening their rows in a perfect and complete rows. It is as The Prophet ﷺ saying, “Straighten your rows as the straightening of rows is essential for a perfect and correct prayer.” [3]

In the other places, he ﷺ says, “Allah and His angels send blessings upon those who complete the rows, and whoever fills a gap, Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby.” [4]

From the look of these sayings, the arguments and debates began. They are all focused on whether someone has close the gap in between people to make a complete and straight rows. There are people who paying attention to very specific details, how people should make the good and complete row in prayer, even they measure the gap in between people when they salah!

It is not that this thing is not important at all. No, please don’t misunderstand my intention. There are nothing wrong with arguing and debates. But sometimes people losing their temper and self-claim their opinions, while they may also losing their logic within their mind. Thus, series of debates began.

Those endless debates may make us disoriented in our own Muslim society. Additionally, this phenomenon showed that we are still not connected as an Ummah. We should pay attention while still in-tact our mindset as one Ummah. We should ask intelligent questions, not for imposing our arguments to win debates, rather for increasing our humility in our prayer and worship. This is how we improve our personal and social life.

Our Ummah may need to renew our faith after series of unfortunate events happened in the Muslim world, especially in the last century [5], it as The Prophet ﷺ  saying, “The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. Someone asked: Will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent” [6]

nine eleven
one of the images taken from 9/11 event

 

This establishment of faith should come first by the process of correct thinking. It is easier for saying than it is to be done in action. As the Ummah keep falling to the degree of a disunite people and falling into endless debates, and on the other hand, there are problems arise, as our young Muslim becomes obsessed with the idea of Islam without a proper scholarship and rushes into judgment.

Maybe it is as the early paragraph described, young adults rather perceive things more in detail than as a whole. But without proper balance as in knowledge, our Ummah has fallen into that trap, and thus we can’t see the whole picture. We can’t process our thinking properly because we are clouded with debates and rather quick judgment to value something or someone!

We should avoid getting lost in details and losing our true purpose!

References

  1. Reference for Gestalt Perception
  2. There is one video done by Slavoj Zizek, one of the great philosophers today, which explained the purpose of philosophy. You can find it here: Zizek video
  3. Sahih al-Bukhari 723 [Book 10, Hadith 117]
  4. Sunan Ibn Majah [Book 5, Hadith 1048]
  5. The series of unfortunate events started with the division within Arab world as in here, and with the falling of the Ottoman Empire, and the rising of Nation-State model, many Muslim places were invaded, especially one of the heart of Muslim World, Palestine. Long story short, in 2001, all the feeling the western had has culminated after 9/11, and now with the conflict rising in Syria, and the appearance of ISIS to black-flag the religion of Islam, worsening the condition.
  6. Sunan Abi Dawud 4297 [Book 39, Hadith 7]