Issue 102 / November - December 2014
Right vs. Might
M. Fethullah Gulen
In a world where right is equated with might, we must learn that what is truly right is pursuing basic human rights and dignity for all.
The highest ideal of human life is an individual elevating to unite with their soul, reaching radiant metaphysical realms, having divine secrets divulged to them, and attaining spiritual pleasures. A soul that takes wing toward this lofty ideal is always happy, and every endeavor made in this direction is internally enlightening and laudable; a person who targets such a life is virtuous, and the land of such people is a land of virtue.
The belief that humanity is nothing more than an animal species has done enormous harm to humanity. This thought first destroyed an individual's desire for elevating their soul and then closed up the roads that take them to true virtue. And by reducing humanity into swarms of bugs, it deprived them of the comprehension and will to look into and supervise themselves.
According to this understanding, it is perfectly normal and necessary for the strong to destroy the weak, and for those who cannot fight back to be exterminated. When this understanding, which was derived from the idea of natural selection, was applied to human communities, it demolished the feeling of respect for general rights; it made "might" more oppressive; and by accepting unlimited animal freedom as a foundation, it reduced humanity to the level of other creatures. According to this wrong understanding, what was right-with all its aspects-depended on might. This meant that whoever had a strong body or fist, whoever had the better command of written or spoken expression, or whoever had good relations with the upper level of society, were viewed as being right and were even praised. And whoever was weak, whoever lacked power, financial means, and sycophancy - they were always mistreated and scorned.
In the meantime, notions such as the might of the soul, might of the right, and might of belief were erased from memory, in an effort to make younger generations oblivious to them. This situation put the truth and the followers of truth in a weak position before the oppressive powers and humiliated. Lowly considerations of gratifying carnal desires and the sole pursuit of personal pleasures and benefits seized souls completely, and this turned people of faith into a plaything for oppressors. The hungry wolf was respected by society, and he, in return, expected those walking corpses to pay tribute to him.
In the past centuries, the mansions of oppressors were surrounded by circles of people who, for the sake of seeking benefits, accepted being disgraced and despised, and at the same time, flattered their oppressors. Hence, there emerged queues of those who worshipped worldly power. And today as well, might still holds the upper hand, and the right and the rightful are within the grasp of that hand. The only difference is that an oppressive minority has come down and oppression has been widely distributed.
In the past, oppression and cruelty came from a few individuals; the masses are now the oppressors. Instead of the cruel individuals of the past, there are networks of cruelty all around. Nowadays, they cheerfully show up in society, revealing their ill-fated and debauched faces. During this festivity, neither the cry of the oppressed is heard, nor does anybody speak up.
Almost all of these things appeared for the first time when the notion of "right" and the understanding of freedom began to be abused. Then these views spread all over the world under the guardianship of the "industrial revolution" and the resulting technology. Thanks to the non-developed countries' excessive love and interest for science and technology, these views were welcomed almost everywhere. Thus, the yearning for science and technology degenerated into a terrible open-door policy. Now, everything was taken in; everything was affirmed without asking for a password, without considering whether it suited the nature of that nation-particularly things that harm the social body. After this, people went astray, driven by loose morals, and they competed to deceive and oppress. Might is the only ruler; freedom is an oft-repeated pretext for every kind of corruption...
According to this new philosophy, traders can sell their goods at any price they wish. People have the freedom to hoard goods and sell them when the time comes, and to travel to lands where their ancestors marched in honor, pursuing any ignominious purpose. The media knows no limit in deprivation of character and conveys illicit content to the most remote corners - and they claim to do it to disseminate knowledge. Their publications that are audio-visually charming assail sound thinking, faith, and language; the youth are free to give way to chaos by disregarding every kind of lofty feeling and value; those who abuse religious feelings and thoughts are free to expect some benefit in return for their mumblings... how free, rightful, and wise they are, aren't they? O freedom, how cruel do you become when abused to allow every kind of corruption!
According to the thought which has taken most of humanity within its grasp today, a good doctor is one who discovers the way to attract many patients to his personal office; a good lawyer is one who speaks for the interests of anyone-rightful or not; a good engineer or architect is one who draws projects to fill his pockets, deprived of scientific morality and a feeling of responsibility; a good singer is one who uses his or her voice to abuse the pure feelings of the people, and so on...
On the other hand, the lofty souls who observe others' rights as well as their own, and who live for virtue, are viewed as stupid and unwise! In such a world, everything is related to a material purpose, and it is natural and inevitable that human communities and notions of humanity are replaced by a group of animals, by an understanding of humanity based on materialism and sensuality, and the belief that human values and the true notion of right will be forgotten. However, a happy future for humanity seems possible by giving due value to truth, saving it from the transgression of falsehood, taking animal freedom under control, backing the freedom of those who think, strive, live for others, and present the fruits of their lives to society before they depart from this world, making them live "forever."
We do not wish to see humans act as slaves to carnal desires, getting more miserable every passing day with lowly feelings. We wish to see the faces who have reached inner tranquility by being servants to the Truth, those who kept away from the dark and dirty affairs of oppressors, the pure faces which reflect heavenly beauties on their foreheads. We consider these faces crystallized in colorful lines-by faith and hope, by service and joy, by love and humanity-as the guardian angels of this blissful world, and we applaud them.
How laudable are these people in service of Truth, who have been purified while flowing toward eternity, who smile at their fortune with gratitude, and who seek the Creator-the source of all beauties-through the tongue of the fish in the ocean and the gazelle on the plain, and who are enraptured with the pledge of eternity!