Sep 13, 2008


So much tensions, riots and wars have been caused by religion and philosophy. Religion and philosophy give people meaning to life. They take comfort in them and react violently when there are conflict of beliefs or when faith or religious institutions are threatened. Recently a blogger and a member of parliament was detained under the Internal Security Act because they touched on religious issues. All this is to me is making much about nothing.
I view religion as a form of philosophy. The purpose of philosophy is not to help men find the meaning of life but to prove to them that there isn't any. How do we know there is a heaven or a hell? How do we know what happens when we die? How do we know what God is like? Or what is God? So many definitions, so many explainations. How do we know which philosopher is right? One seems right until we read or hear another. Then both seems not to have it all right when we read another philosopher. What is truth? - was the question Pilate posed to Jesus and Jesus had no answer....I had often wondered why the great Master had no answer to that question. Here was an opportunity to tell the world what is truth and Jesus remained silent. Perhaps it was the wise thing to do as there answer?
It is this insistence of meaning of life that makes man so complicated and confused. Once there is self reliazation i.e. when man realises that, ALONE, he is of no importance whatsoever in the vast scheme of the universe, that no possible significance can be attached to his activities, that it does not matter whether he lives or dies, succeeds or fails, he will become more humble and the world will be better off than it is now. Blessed the humble, they shall inherit the earth! says the Master.
Religion is based on faith or superstition. Philosophy is based on reason. Reason is the most naive of superstitions. It is delusion to believe that things can be understood when in fact the universe is a state of contradiction. It is in the nature of opposites. The duty of philosophers, religous teachers and thinkers is not to explain but to demonstrate that nothing can be explained. The purpose of philosophy is not to seek knowledge but to prove that knowledge is impossible to man because nothing is ever static in the universe. Everything is fluid, in a flux - impermanent. And what happens when philosophy proves that knowledge is impossible to man? What is left? Instinct. We are like the all other living beings- relying on our instincts. We are of the same kind, different only in degree. When in doubt, trust our instincts. Its the only reliable barometer for truth. It is my instinct (it is subjective) that we have to respect each individual and their beliefs. Love thy neighbor. If we love our neighbor, we accept and respect their beliefs and not make fun or critisize them. We can have a sharing of views and be entertained by such fellowships. We let others have the freedom of expression of differing views and we teach society to accept freedom of expression with no threats of detention without trial. A matured society would value transparency, an open sharing of thoughts and beliefs rather than censorship. Our minds are big enough to accept conflict of views. Unity in diversity is a crucial lesson a developed and civilised society needs to learn ever so badly in a world that is getting smaller by the day.

Sep 12, 2008

Detention without trial

Have been most busy lately that I have not had the luxury of time to blog. I have had too many things to do. When I am not thinking of work, and talk with people, I have observed a spirit of depression, of insecurity in those I meet. The country is run by a Prime Minister who is not allowed to have peace of mind to run the country, there is division in the ruling party, there is talk about a revolution and takeover of government by th opposition, there is inflation and there is this fear of racial tensions that can lead up to violence and emergency rule. These contribute to the uncertainty – we don’t know what is coming next. Investors stay away. People don’t spend money, projects are stalled and the economy is sick. Clients delay in payments, people don’t want to spend money on lawyers and I have to work harder leading to anxiety attacks.

I have now read that an MP, a blogger and a reporter has been detained under the internal security Act – that means detention without trial. How can a draconian piece of legislation exist in a country that practices democracy and profess Islam as its official religion? Detention without trial is against the universal principles of natural justice and has no place in any civilized society. This just adds to the depression and the feeling of helplessness to fair minded citizens in society. Where is the superman, the iron man or the batman? We do need them in times like these. But then they are just fantasy. They become blockbuster movies because they reflect our need for superheroes to fight the bad guys and to protect the small guy against the bully and the oppressor.

I am fortified in my view that a government is the most dangerous threat to its citizens’ rights. It holds a legal monopoly on the use of force against legally "made helpless" citizens. Civilization is setting a citizen free from the unjust oppression of government. The only power any government should have is the power to crack down on crime and to protect the minority from the oppression by the majority. (Those in government should also keep its hands off business if there is going to be any national prosperity in the long run). With minimum control and interference by the government, its citizens should be allowed to run the economy and bring prosperity to all. We cannot allow an environment where this government is free to do anything it pleases and digress to the darkest period of human history – where citizens were ruled by brute force to keep them quiet and docile so that the government can carry out its own corrupt practices and remain incompetent, weak and unjust.

There is no basis for detention without trial even if it is in the interest of national security. If a person is a threat to national security– charge him or her in court. There are powers to deny bail if evidence can be produced before the court that the person is indeed a threat to national security. Government decisions to detain an individual without trial should always be subject to review by the Courts – who must be manned by high moral standing and competent judges. The courts are the guardians of the individual’s rights. Judges are gods as far as I am concerned and therefore must act and behave like gods – learned in the law, wise, fair, just and compassionate. Even governments should tremble before these godly judges in the Court of Law.

The real threat to national security is incompetence, weakness and injustice. When these elements exist in government, then the government is the threat to national security, not the opposition, the bloggers and the reporters who criticize the government.

George Orwell wrote – If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever. I hope he is wrong about the future in this country.