Lead Article

  • Issue 101 / September - October 2014



    Our Inner Crises

    M. Fethullah Gulen

    Masses who have developed with different thoughts and objectives that are in conflict, and who have been deprived of positive cultivation, they form a society wherein passion, animosity, and hatred run rampant. Such a society promises nothing in the way of goodness and decency.

    The harmony in this resplendent book of the universe continues with the mutual support of all things, living and non-living, and their coming together to form a cohesive whole. Every kind of destruction and devastation transpires due to the collision of opposing currents. Such destruction is proportionate to the intensity of the clash.

    Human societies are united under the same feelings, thoughts, and visions. They reach spiritual perfection with the same edification and all have a promising future.

    As for those masses who have developed with different thoughts and objectives that are in conflict, and who have been deprived of positive cultivation, they form a society wherein passion, animosity, and hatred run rampant. Such a society promises nothing in the way of goodness and decency. In such a tumultuous society, the odds of an individual finding his or her true purpose and attaining serenity are unlikely – and perhaps even impossible. This is especially true when that society's chief institutions are at the epicenter of the upheaval. When this happens, the society has become completely disordered. As a result, chaos and confusion reign.

    However, the regularity of human societies, as with the order and harmony in the universe, is necessary and indispensible, both so that humanity can conform to nature's universal harmony and so that humans do not contradict their own innate disposition. Every movement that does not adhere to the general symphony present in the book of the universe is a debacle, and the populace that falls prey to this erroneous movement is very unfortunate.

    As such, in a population where successive oppressions and counter aggressions in the name of reprisal form a vicious cycle, the turmoil and mayhem resulting from disputes, uncertainties, and above all, deficiencies of the heart and soul, will engulf its surroundings like a terrifying tornado. In the ensuing terror, none will have the security to consider and examine the events or the reasons behind them. And of course, in the meantime, with collisions taking place one after another, the nation-tree will be shaken over and over again; homes will be intermittently destroyed, and individuals left stupefied. If only those rushing to society's rescue in the sphere of belief and thought possessed a sense of order, faith in renewal, the power of persuasion, and sincerity and earnestness. Alas! Not in the least!

    Virtually none of them has embarked upon this task with a clear worldview, an initial plan and system, or any anxiety over their destiny. Perhaps, with respect to the majority, even those who first sensed and recoiled in the face of such danger, especially the sensitive and exceptionally spiteful, were so unrefined in spirit that they said "yes" to every kind of tyranny, attack, and domination for the sake of satiating their carnal selves...

    How sad it is that in this struggle, which defies all reason and comprehension – or more precisely, in this uproar – those most wronged and perpetually subjected to tumult have been the innocent multitudes. These naive masses, united by their centuries old cultural and historical values, have been unable to determine quite where they have come from and where they are going. They have been dragged into error after error, unaware of whose account they were acting. They have been corrupted and afflicted even more as their intellectuals have been denying their past and all they ought to take pride in, who could have otherwise served as a beacon of light and direction. When, eventually, the seeds scattered on our soil with countless ill intentions sprang up and developed, all segments of society formed into "enemy-camps" ready for conflict.

    The masses have become such an ill-fated and uninhibited horde-who excuse everything as permissible, obliterate in one stroke all that is sacred, and ridicule all their values-that an individual falling into their clutches is but a vagrant, not bound by any limitations. And, as such, the national spirit worn away for centuries by internal erosion, and paralyzed in these ill-omened hands, has become completely bedridden.

    If only the behavior of those wanting to protect their spirit in the face of such destructive movements were heartfelt, valiant, compassionate, and constructive... Alas! They too, could not establish the expected balance and provide the people with a sense of security...

    On the contrary, by responding to excessiveness with excessiveness, they sacrificed myriad magnificent, righteous, and beneficial things. In this chaos, truth was slaughtered innumerable times; on top of that, those who slaughtered it did so for another presumed truth. How many times the masses were fooled and the multitudes were set against each other with wrong being shown as right and right being shown as wrong! Time and time again, after the battles erupting between enemy camps exhausted both groups, rifts had already formed that were difficult to heal.

    Indeed, in this collective chaos, however harmful and destructive this ravenous "miscreant-spirit" has been, those naive immature spirits unable to rest their defense on a sensible system and who return "hate" for hate and "anger" for anger, have been just as detrimental. And thus, on one side are those miserable creatures who have rejected all their human values, have denied their past and their source of pride, and through an ever-increasing estrangement, have completely altered their nature-those irreverent, unloving, rootless, disbelieving slaves of their desires. And on the other side, up against these wretched creatures, are only those simpletons, deprived of the fighting spirit and ideal, who respond with anger, coercion, and brute force... For years on end, people grappled with the waves emerging from these opposing currents, resisted all these eddies, were assaulted again and again, and were repeatedly abandoned to hopelessness...

    At this time, we await a community of devotees, who will "neutralize" these damaging currents. They will be respectful of the truth, hold the sake and pleasure of God over everything else, possess reason and conscience, have enlightened minds, radiant hearts, and souls that take flight in the realms high above. They will be reverent towards all the universal values we inherited from our forebears, to traditions and customs, to art and culture, and to morality and sound upbringing. This cadre would not overturn the spiritual roots and historical values that have held us on our feet for centuries. On the contrary, they would revive these in the face of changing world conditions; and, viewing each of these as a part of the national structure, would take complete ownership of them.

    At a time when our sense of identity faces annihilation, this group of blessed ones-the possessors of this "sense of sacred suffering" who take upon themselves the task of its rescue-will applaud goodness and neutralize evil. They will do so by thwarting the internal decay and discord that has gnawed away at society for years on end, by ensuring a road for peace, and by removing the archaic methods, damaging fanaticisms, and monopolist designs used by both groups and which have crippled our society.

    Today, when society's ailments have reached their peak, when real enmity and our enemies have clearly emerged, and when the dialogue we have with the world to which we are connected gains strength with every passing day, we are exceedingly hopeful for humankind and hold the belief that we will rise once again.

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