The Audacity to be Ignorant

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Meaning of Life
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When life is preoccupied with American Idol, African Idol, Asian Idol, Indian Idol, Australian Idol, Eskimo Idol . . . ; when precious moments are spent watching talk shows, from Tyra, to Oprah Winfrey Show to Late Night with Conan O’Brien  to Jerry Springer  . . .  ; when alarms are set to remind the beginning of ‘Apprentice’, ‘the Big Brother’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’; When Premier leagues, World cup, Olympics and village tournaments become our priorities – with loyal fans curious to know the lifestyle of  their soccer stars, yet thoroughly ignorant  of  Jesus favorite  hairstyle; when people decide to commit suicide because their team has lost; when movie series are seriously followed – some if not many have watched ‘Prison Break’, with multiple seasons that seems to end when the world ends; and the soap operas, aired on TV for our life’s span duration – ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’, ‘The Young and the restless’, ‘Days of our Lives’, ‘One Life to Live’, ‘As the World Turns’, ‘Passions’ and there are other widely watched telecasts such as  ‘Lost’, ‘OC’, ‘To Be or Not to Be’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Men Behaving Badly’; when human beings voluntarily contest in extremely degrading stunts like eating cockroaches while others at home entertainingly watch the fear factor; as if that is not sufficient, people resort to laughter’s through comedies and they watch things like ‘White Chicks’, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Little’, ‘The Girl Next Door’, ‘Get Smart’, ‘King of Comedy’, ‘Steve Harvey’ ‘Just For Laughs’ not forgetting ‘Mr. Bean.’ After all, they claim, life is a sea of gut-busting, cheeks-hurting, pants-peeing fun. When real people become a nuisance they watch Walt Disney. And when theaters are full while Hollywood/Bollywood release more record-holding, top-grossing box-office blockbusters . . . . and after watching the movie, they become compelled to write a review about it, reveal the goofs for the movie or to atleast discuss it with friends and relatives!

When tranquility doesn’t descend until we know the world’s most expensive bra; when we are curious to know the person who spent the longest time keeping the eyeballs protruded; when we find the latest Guinness World Records to see if Pingping, the shortest living man (74.61 cm) who was measured in Hohhot, China still holds the record; when people search for the person who would spend the fastest time to pop 1, 000 balloons; and when people compete in making the tallest stack of doughnuts while industries compete in making the largest toilet roll.

When “The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things). Until ye visit the graves.” [Q 102:1-2], I mean when you are preoccupied with accumulating wealth with no signs of being fatigued by too much wealth. And because “. . .violent is he (man) in his love of wealth” [Q 100: 8] you will frequently hear middle-class millionaire dreaming to reach billionaire status while the billionaires aspiring to be ‘crazy wealthy.’ This reminds me of Roberts Frost’s saying: “By working faithfully 8 hours a day, you may get to be a boss and work 12 hours a day.” ; So burning is the desire of wealth so much that singers like Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars  emerge with “Billionaire” lyrics that goes like: “I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad, Buy all of the things I never had, Uh I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine, Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen”!; when people’s important life goal is to be rich and famous yet they are unaware of how they jeopardize their lives for they don’t seem to know that “. . . it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” [Matthew 19: 24]; when spare time is not spent on Words of God but on Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, How to Make Money, 365 Habits of Romantic Persons, Million Dollar Habit, How To Win Friends and Influence People, The Secret, Cooking Made Easy, Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man, Guess How Much I Love You, Sex for Dummies and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. . . . ; and when the short time we have for reading God’s scriptures we don’t do study-reading (i.e. reading for the purpose of understanding, learning and remembering). One wonders: is reading the Bible/Qur’an without reflecting synonymous to eating without digesting?; when “The post-industrial world produces virtually everything except answers to the most essential questions about life and existence: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?”[1]Indeed, “They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware.” [Q 30:7]

When people ardently search for a Step-by-Step Tutorial on how to French-kiss. And others go to Google to type “I’m bored” while rejoicing that they are not alone for they have already been preceded with others who typed “I’m so bored!” This phenomenon is likely to invite brilliant sociologists to initiate a study titled, “bored people are actually stupid because they seem not to know the purpose of life.” Many will encounter a jaw hanging experience when they hear that there are some people who still think that we are created to get bored! When music is used to ease boredom with geniuses inventing holidays – Mother’s Day, Anniversaries, Get-Together Party, Birth-Day (BD) while condemning Death-Day (DD), and religious holidays celebrated irreligiously; when we voluntarily enter into cookie-baking contest and eating competitions; and when the neighborhood organize a water gargling contest; when we spend  too much time playing mindless phone and computer games; when one decides to become depressed, bored with life or just because they have nothing to love than to sleep, and decide to waste lots of precious time on excessive sleeping. How I wish they knew that multiple studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours a night have significantly higher death rates than people sleeping seven to eight hours a night; when Research Institutes research on how to eat as much as we can without getting fat; when we are amassed in knowing whos-dated-who and when burgeoning populations join the International Association of Gossipers while others cross the boundary of reason claiming that the function of language is gossip; when the ‘lets-go-shopping’ culture becomes predominant; when our minds become fictitious because of reading too many fictions – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Cat in the Hat, Romance . . . .

When people run out of ideas and decide to do the following: Blow up a paper bag and burst it behind a friend; make facial expressions in a mirror; check their waist measurement; peel an orange; convince someone that an African elephant has smaller ears than an Asian elephant; imagine coming to work by elephant; try to figure out if the “black box” flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn’t the whole airplane made out of that stuff!; jump on their chair and shout “cockroach” to frighten their colleagues; photocopy your hand; run around the office as though someone were chasing you or march around the office like a Roman soldier; imagine how sorry everyone will be when you are dead; make a list of the ten people you would arrest immediately if you became a dictator; practice rubbing your tummy and rubbing your head at the same time (and am sure some are just practicing it now); rehearse your excuses for when you are caught in an embarrassing situation; pretend you’re a robot or pretend to be a car; wondering whether a fly without wings should be called a walk; try to figure out what will happen if an ambulance on its way to save someone runs over someone else, does it stop to help him or proceed to the next victim; try hard to explain why people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but they don’t point to their crotch when they ask for the bathroom; check your answers for yesterday’s crossword puzzle; ask your grandpa what grandma was like when she was young; email your boss the message: I know what you did last vacation; boil ice cream; honk and wave to strangers; imagine how you would interview your boss for your job; imagine what you will do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant! . . . .

When fashion industry and cosmetic companies receive unprecedented queue of customers. Have they really reflected on the proverb: “Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains?”; when a person wears a T-shirt imprinted: “I want fun. Now”, who is bypassed by another with a “Whatever you see I owe to Spaghetti” T-shirt imprint. Then as you wonder why would God create such people, behold you encounter a dare-not-look-at-me type of a lady walking towards your direction, her shirt inscribed: “WARNING: I have an attitude. . .” while struggling to peep at the remaining text, you realize it’s written “. . . and I know how to use it!” And before the sun sets, you encounter another fellow wearing a T-shirt bearing the words: “Whatever the question is, Liquor is the Answer.” Maybe such a heedless person would have been endowed with a much more meaningful descent life “. . . but he (man) clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire.” [Q 7:176]

When we get glued to our computer screens surfing pornographic material and sending emails to females while males receive torrents of emails from females; when people enter into yahoo groups to seek visitors with similar tastes and hobbies such as collecting stamps, blackjack, underwater modeling, chasing one’s shadow, washing fish, bull fighting, dog-sledding and chicken wrestling; when we embark on an extensive  search in facebook so as to find that primary school classmate who peed in class; when funny and weird videos are the most watched clips in YouTube; when people post totally shocking, wacky, incredibly ignorant questions on community-driven question-and-answer websites. Bizarre questions such as: Where does jam come from; is it possible to cook a potato in a washing machine; do fish get thirsty; who killed the Dead Sea; how much milk is there in the Milky Way; what is the speed of dark; why is a carrot more orange than an orange; what happens when you swallow your pride; if the president were gay, would his husband be the first man; if swimming is good for your shape, then why do the whales look like the way they do; if a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a picture of a thousand words worth; if a shop opens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors; why do we call them restrooms when no one goes there to rest; if someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation? And crazy enough, the sites give members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage them to answer the silly questions? when life is spent aimlessly is when we become fully ignorant. Ignorant of our purpose of life. An extremely smart guy would ask, “Is this really what we were created for? “Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?” [Deuteronomy 32:6]. And if the Bible is not a source of inspiration to you, then reflect on the words of Henry David Thoreau: “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, ‘What are we busy about?” I know that according to article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure . . .” but if per article one of the Declaration, human beings are “endowed with reason and conscience” then we would expect a smart creature to ask: what is the ratio between entertainment industry and worship industry? The Intelligent seeks to compute the ratio between wealth accumulating rituals and rituals for attaining the Kingdom of Heaven. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” [Mathew 6:33]

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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Buy Ebook Smart

REFERRENCES:


[1]. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.p. 89.

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