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In the Name of God بسم الله
Semiramis reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Game theory and salaam
Islamic etiquette holds that in any encounter the first person to say Salaam gets a multiple of the blessings that the person who is being addressed receives when he replies.
This is interesting because since Salaam means peace, it's clear that the first person in the encounter who makes their intentions known to the other party is the one who is doing the most to promote co-operation - since it is they who are removing any doubt that the encounter will be peaceful.
Robert Axelrod in his work on game theory (The Evolution of Co-operation) sets the following criteria as the ones which promote co-operation,
being clear, retaliating and being forgiving. Being the first to say salaam makes the individual's co-operative intentions clear and thus promotes co-operation on the part of the other party.
Islam also sets clear guidelines for retaliation should co-operation not be forthcoming, and the other party seeks to take advantage of those with peaceful intentions. The religion also sets the penalties for infringing on the rights of others - and thus makes clear to others that Muslims will not be the first to instigate aggression.
Game theorists recognise that being clear about a willingness to retaliate actually promotes peace, because the other party knows that there will be a penalty to pay for aggression.
However, in Islam forgiveness is also considered important, since it gives the other side an opportunity to behave in a more co-operative manner in the future.
Semiramis reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, Old certainties
The election of Donald Trump has been attributed to a number of factors from straight out racism and sexism to economic dislocation and to the social and cultural change that has been taking place in the United States and which has not been welcomed in all quarters.
The result of these perceived slights has been the election of someone who can at best be described as chauvinistic and at worst a reactionary conservative.
What is noteworthy, however, is the extent to which this election is accepted as representing generally reasonable grievances. It is claimed that this is a cry for the silent majority to be listened to.
All this may well be, but it should also be noted that there are peoples and cultures (sometimes Muslim ones) around the world who have suffered far greater hardship over the past several decades and whose cultures have faced far greater assault from without.
Yet, when they try and reassert themselves they are critcised for being the authors of their own hardship and indeed the cultural sovereignty they aspire to is ridiculed on the basis for having been the cause of their failures to date.
The very same criticisms could be levelled at Americans. They've passed the torch of economic leadership to other countries and as a result do not have the same opportunities that they once did. They should accept this and look within themselves, their beliefs, reward systems and work ethics.
The United States has elected a candidate who seeks to reassert America's economic greatness, not by introspction and making America more competitive but by changing the rules of the game in terms of international trade deals. The same economic order that brough America so much prosperity in the past is now being changed because China and India have risen and the old rules no longer serve America as they used to.
Similarly while the U.S. has been happy to export its culture overseas, when its white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon culture becomes threatened by a brown Spanish speaking Catholic one, the challenge must be met.
In the final calculation, there's one set of rules for the U.S. and another set for other countries and cultures.
Semiramis reacted to in5iyaha for a blog entry, WHAT IS GHAM E HUSSAIN?
Gham E Hussain is when you wake up in the morning thinking, how the AhlulBayt (A.S) must have slept in Karbala.
Gham E Hussain is when you think that how they must have done their Wuzu to pray Salatul Fajr without water.
Gham E Hussain is when you sit for breakfast you get tears in your eyes thinking how did the AhlulBayt (A.S.) survive the entire 3 days without food.
Gham E Hussain is when you dress up for work and you are wearing your ornaments and you remember how they were snatched from Sakina (A.S.) how she must have cried in pain.
Gham E Hussain is when you wear your hijab and you get tears thinking how did Bibi Zainab (A.S.) go to Shaam without it.
Gham E Hussain is when you drop your child to school and think, how did Banu (A.S.) sleep that night without her children.
Gham E Hussain is when you look at your husband and think, how did Sakina (A.S.) bear the separation from her husband just some minutes after her wedding.
Gham E Hussain doesn’t come only by sitting in majlis, it comes from within you, it comes from your heart.
Gham E Hussain happens everyday, I repeat, every single day.
Labbaik Ya Hussain (A.S.)
Semiramis reacted to Haji 2003 for a blog entry, God Hypothesis III
Man's development has required educating ourselves about the properties of ever more challenging and powerful fuel sources. The earliest sources could be exploited at the level of the sold individual whereas modern ones require transnational co-operation across many different fields of endeavour.
That intellectual development has also required an increasing level of sophistication in terms of morals and ethics. We have had to develop appropriate safety rules and regulations, for example, in order to exploit them successfully. Coal mining in countries such as Britain helped power the industrial revolution, but the successful exploitation of coal could only be undertaken with the concomitant development of safety systems, to protect both the miners and the (coal) seams. And while coal mining disasters affected only local communities, in contrast, the nuclear leak at Chernobyl affected an entire continent.
Now the life of the miner may have been cheap and the stronger motivation of mine owners may have been the economic desire to preserve the seam, but as we see time and again if we are not willing to be pulled towards what God would like us to do, He is merciful enough to push us in the right direction.
The industry which epitomises danger in contemporary life is nuclear power. The production of energy via this means is an order of magnitude more dangerous than mining ever was. Political leaders are aware that if the safety systems controlling nuclear power stations are not effective public opinion about them will change to an extent that will inhibit further development of this energy source.
Similarly such developments also require greater levels of sophistication in terms of ethics, morality and ultimately laws - because their impact can be far more significant than the technologies that they replace. The disaster that B.P. had on the Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico may have been the result of various technical errors on the part of the rig's owners and/or operators, but the financial and environmental consequences were facilitated by appropriate legal frameworks. Technological development therefore has to be accompanied by developments in these softer, more qualitative areas of human endeavour.
The contemporary mastery over not only nuclear technology but various other dangerous industries has required concomitant developments in safety systems. However, I'd hold that material safety is something which is relatively easy to attain since the consequences of when it fails are tangible. As a result the route to safety can be either theistic or atheistic. It can be theistic because safety (the preservation of life) is an imperative that we can associate with those who are God fearing. It can be atheistic because the consequences are materialistic and the measurement of impact and effect is possible. So whether we arrive at safety via a theistic route or an atheistic one (for example motivated by the preservation of reputation) - the conclusion is one which we could reasonably assume God wanted us to achieve.
However, ignoring the possible will of God, does not always lead to a satisfactory outcome. Indeed in marked contrast to what has been achieved in terms of saving lives by various industries adopting safety systems, we have in another area of human activity where wilfully ignoring God has meant the destruction of countless millions of humans. In that endeavour convenience, lifestyle and wealth have been placed ahead of human life and abortions can be undertaken on demand.
The God hypothesis would suggest that ultimately we will recognise that this practice has to stop and it will come from either a theistic route or an atheistic one, but the conclusion will have to be a similar one. Why can this claim be confidently made? Because all historically barbaric practices have been stopped as man has evolved and become more sensitive to their inhumanity.
I would hazard that where the frameworks we develop overlap with a more scripturally based system the result will be more sound than one where reference to God is absent. Of course as a Shia, I would contend that a system based on Shia fiqh would be the most superior of all.
The God hypothesis would therefore, predict, that a society such as ours that has deviated to such a significant degree from what we would consider to be an acceptable morality will likely face such significant problems, it will find it increasingly difficult to manage the greater challenges that technological advances will present us.
The latter idea is one that is part of the God hypothesis, with greater power and capability will come greater moral challenges. If God intends to 'perfect' man, the challenges can only get harder and not easier. So I would contend that even renewable sources of energy (which are currently considered to be a get-out-of-jail-free card) are likely to present us, over time, with new moral challenges.
On the route towards that perfection, either recognition of God's will has to be acknowledged via an atheistic route (as may have been the case with industrial safety) or a similar effect can be achieved via a theistic route - but the end point has to be similar.
Of course man has the choice of very many scriptures and they each vary in terms of their behavioural implications. I would contend that the ones which enable societies to make more sophisticated advances will be the ones that prevail over time.
In this post I have contended that man has the choice of either reaching a goal via a theistic route or an atheistic one. If the end point is the same or similar it may be contended by those who are atheistically inclined that surely a route that is grounded on a more 'rational' basis is better than one which is not. I contend that the latter route may take longer (and thus be more costly) and also as a theist my belief system holds that intention can be very important indeed. So a motivation towards safety, for example, stimulated by the intention of pleasing God, is more likely to be rewarded in the next life is not this one as well.