The Courage to Live Consciously

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,
nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
– Helen Keller

In our day-to-day lives, the virtue of courage doesn’t receive much attention. Courage is a quality reserved for soldiers, firefighters, and activists. Security is what matters most today. Perhaps you were taught to avoid being too bold or too brave. It’s too dangerous. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t draw attention to yourself in public. Follow family traditions. Don’t talk to strangers. Keep an eye out for suspicious people. Stay safe.

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Desire to Retreat

This transient material world attracts us greatly with the kind of life it imposes upon us, the many opportunities it presents, and its overwhelming daily engagements. As a reaction to these attractions, one may feel inclined to become isolated from society; a desire to retreat may surface. What should a person do in this situation?

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Altruism by AbdurRahman Mahdi

Altruism, selfless acts done for another’s benefit in spite of oneself, is a humanitarian endeavor praised by all societies. Practically every nation on earth has stories of great kings, brave warriors and noble men and women who sacrificed their material possessions, status or even themselves for some or other common good. Yet, it is without any reservation or hesitation whatsoever that we can point to the religion of Islam for the most perfect, sincere and comprehensive expression of altruism (eethaar in Islamic terminology). The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said in a narration, known to perhaps every devout Muslim:

“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

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A term formed by Auguste Comte in 1851, on the Italian adjective altrui, and employed by him to denote the benevolent, as contrasted with the selfish propensities. It was introduced into English by George H. Lewes in 1853 (Comte’s Philosophy of the Sciences, 1, xxi), and popularized thereafter by expounders and advocates of Comte’s philosophy. Though used primarily, in a psychological sense, to designate emotions of a reflective kind, the immediate consequences of which are beneficial to others, its important significance is ethical. As such it defines a theory of conduct by which only actions having for their object the happiness of others possess a moral value. Anticipations of this doctrine are found in Cumberland’s “De Legibus Naturae” (1672), and in Shaftesbury’s “Inquiry concerning Virtue and Merit” (1711). Comte, however, is the founder of the Social Eudaemonism, based on Positivism, to which the name of Altruism is given. Comte’s system is both ethical and religious. Not only is the happiness to be found in living for others the supreme end of conduct, but a disinterested devotion to Humanity as a whole is the highest form of religious service. His ethical theory may be epitomized in the following propositions.

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A Movement Originating Its Own Models

In this article I would like to discuss a legend; to talk about it is a duty, and therefore it is difficult to put it into words. However, I wonder if it is possible to describe in the scope of such an article an important resurrectional movement, a movement that has thrived in every part of the world, budding, giving off shoots and seedlings. I think not. What I know about the issue comes only from the videos I have seen. My attestation relies on what I have heard. The limits of my pen are those of my comprehension. I do not know to what era the implication of all that has been happening belongs. Now tell me what can be told under these circumstances. All I can do in describing this will be like someone attempting to describe roses and flowers as they really are after only see­ing a picture of a rose or a flower. But my task resembles more an attempt to describe the unique pattern, accent, and manner of each flower and rose in a garden by merely looking at the picture of a dead rose; the rose garden nor the flower garden cannot be described in this way. Even so, I believe that one should dare to talk on behalf of the phenomenon of the era to galvanize people of letters and conscience. If some people close to God will be inspired as a result of this article, I think then that my aim has been achieved.

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Appeal to Mercy

It is patently obvious that those who do not share the same values inherited from the past, or who do not rely on the same sources as us are not likely to appreciate our affliction; nor can they help but be puzzled by our general attitudes. In fact, for those who view the pres­ent and the future from only a materialistic point of view and who deal with life merely in accord with its corporal aspects, it is not possible to feel or taste anything but the transient and shallow pleasures of the body.

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Awareness and Resistance

I’m well aware that many people will become pissed off, turned off, put off, or simply want me to step off when I stray from “safe” topics like productivity and time management and explore more sensitive, even controversial topics like relationships, health, or spirituality. However, from past experiences I’ve seen that it’s the ideas we resist most vehemently that are fertile ground for new growth experiences.

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