Dare to know - Immanuel Kant, (1724-1804))
The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking- M Heidegger (1889-1976)
After the excitement of the revolution of 25th of January there is a concern that the revolution would be undermined by reactionary forces within Egypt. It is the duty of the intellectuals in Egypt at this critical point of time to unite and act to reach the Egyptian people who have been systematically misinformed over the last 60 years through bad education and corrupt media. More recently they were inculcated with wrong dogmas and ideas by fanatic misguided preaching. It is time for the intellectuals of Egypt to wake up and communicate directly with the masses by all available means to counteract these backward forces that damaged our society. It is the duty of those who claim knowledge and wisdom to spare no effort to ensure that the light of enlightenment shines again in Egypt our great homeland.
Here are some thoughts inspired by eminent philosophers such as John Locke, Thomas Paine, B Russell and Khalil Gibran. They might interest those who appreciate reason and knowledge in shaping their views and believes.
On Education and Knowledge
The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge. People who are better informed are more reflective and more likely to be considerate than those who are allowed to remain ignorant, narrow minded, selfish and uncivil in their conduct with others.
Good education requires freedom to think, question and use of reason publically. It refines the capacity for judgement and evaluation. It produces people who go on learning after their formal education ceased, who think, questions and know how to find answers.
Individuals are not born into a desert; they are inculcated into a tradition and believe. Media in particular which are currently available in many forms have a tremendous power in influencing morality and human perception of reality. Corrupt media therefore, have a massive power in radically undermining knowledge, believes and duties of individuals. There is no doubt that misguided media and some religious satellites have played a substantial role in breeding fundamentalism in Egypt especially amongst those who seek knowledge through the easiest means. Unfortunately, the use of reason and empirical methods in acquiring knowledge are pursued only by the minority.
Fundamentalism is uncritical acceptance of doctrine or tradition. It substitutes emotion for evidence. It demands a closed mind and suspension of rational faculties. Its power to reassure is irresistible to its adherents.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts- B Russell (1872 – 1970)
Religion has two principal enemies, fanaticism and infidelity, or that which is called atheism. The first requires to be combated by reason and morality, the other by natural philosophy- Thomas Paine (1737-1809).
A message to fundamentalists
My religion is to do good-Thomas Paine (1737-1809).
All mankind; being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions- John Locke- (1632-1704).
Finally, the darkness of ignorance one day will be lifted and the light of knowledge will shine again in Egypt. However, enlightenment requires social justice, individual liberty, pursuit of knowledge, and sense of belonging to human communities.