Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Discourse of Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari

Part II.

I do not believe that learning is a criterion for humanity. If it were so, we should say that Einstein was the most endowed with qualities of humanity since he was the most learned man of his time.
Another view is that although knowledge is one of the requisites of humanity, and although the importance of awareness of the self, of the society and of the world can- not be denied, it is inadequate. This view claims that humanity is measured by character and disposition. A per- son may be very learned, but if he has a bad character, would he be considered to be a real human being?
An animal behaves according to its instincts and it possesses no will to rule over its instincts. When we call a dog a faithful animal, its faithfulness is instinctive. An ant is prudent by instinct. There are also human beings in the world who have a disposition resembling that of an animal. They possess their natural instincts, but have done nothing to refine themselves, and are condemned only to follow their nature.
The awareness of an animal is limited to its own time and place, while man's awareness allows him to know the past and have an idea of the future and also step beyond his own area and even his own planet. But the question of character is a different matter. Knowledge is related to what one is taught, while character is related to training and the forming of habits.
I do not think that knowledge as a criterion of humani- ty is acceptable and I will later explain what type of people support it. The second view, i.e., characteristics as a criter- ion of humanity, has more supporters. But we may ask what kind of characteristics and dispositions? One of the answers to this question is that love is the desired criterion, love, which is the mother of other fine dispositions. Thus, if one bases one's character on the love of human beings, one has real humanity. Such a person is as interested in others as in one's '"self " or even more interested in them.
In religion this is called self-sacrifice. There is a state- ment in a book that there is an instruction in all religions to love for others what you love for yourself, and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself. This has been stated in our traditions. This is the logic of love. As we know, in the Hindu schools and in Christianity, much emphasis is laid on love. But they have gone so far as to lose sight of everything else and maintain that love is to be a course of action in all circumstances. Thus the love of both these ideologies is a kind of stupefaction and the adequacy of love as a criterion of humanity is to be discussed.

No comments:

Post a Comment