Recently I was contemplating (as you can tell I often do) what strength is and what it’s done for me. All my life I’ve highly valued strength, the ability to persevere and survive hardship, and especially physical strength which I’ve heavily relied on to get me through.
For most of my childhood I’ve also believed that emotions are weaknesses. Since my teens I’ve been training myself to ease up on that, to the point that I can distinguish positive from negative ones and can have some degree of knowledge of what makes me happy and sane.
Happiness is the most important goal in life. I reckon Epicurus was on the right lines on how to attain it (though his book is fucking long & boring!!!)
All religions are ritualised attempts to meet that goal. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we remember that’s all they are and we’re smart enough to accept they work for some and not for others. Unfortunately most religionists aren’t
To disbelieve in Divinity just because of the existence of evil & suffering is a cop-out. Divinity is not responsible for evil & suffering, WE ARE! It’s our shit so we clean it up! To be honest I made this conclusion when I was a Muslim but out of my own thinking not from Islam
Without exception all religions are a mix of good and shit in differing proportions
In the words of Agent Six from Generator Rex, “Know what you want and make it happen. No excuses.”
Prioritise this life over any life after death. We know this exists, we can only believe in the hereafter unless & until it happens. If it happens deal with it then. Besides, if the Abrahamic faiths are right, our conduct in this life determines our place in the hereafter so this is still more important
Total certainty that we have free will and are therefore co-creators of our own destiny. I say co-creators because other factors influence our destiny as well, e.g. upbringing, language, education, time & place, bodily health/ disability. Predetermination only sets a likely range of paths based on destinies created beforehand, it doesn’t exclude the possibility of new destinies
I have the right to address the divinity in any way I want. If I want to be grateful for something I’m happy about, I can. If I want to be effing & blinding ’cause I don’t like something that just happened to me, I can. Yes, I’m saying it’s alright to swear at ‘God’. It’s alright, It can take it
Just like religion, gender roles are inventions of human societies. They’re subject to change and can be adopted as-is, inverted, reinvented or ignored as and when it suits an individual
Gratitude that I’m not normal
Progress only gets made through bold actions. Any mistakes that happen therefrom will be rectified by more bold actions
Decisions don’t have to be made with full knowledge. They don’t have to be exactly “the right decision” either. Information can be gathered along the way, and decisions can be changed along the way
Islam is an inherently anti-racist religion. However, that hasn’t stopped Muslims being racist, in the past or now. Even Muhammad’s own grandkids were racially abused for being pure ‘black’ Arabs as opposed to ‘white’ Turks!
Regarding sex, mutual pleasure is more important than procreation. If a couple has children via unhappy intercourse, those children likely won’t grow up emotionally functional
Justice is spelt R-E-V-E-N-G-E. Revenge is spelt J-U-S-T-I-C-E.
Human understanding of divinity is heavily influenced by major historical events, but most especially by our own desires and psychological need for love & protection. There’s also the fact that we ‘need’ to see it as like us. That’s why all religions’ gods have human features like eyes, hands, feet, mouth, etc.
Heaven & paradise are two different things. Heaven is the sky and outer space, paradise is the way Earth was and is meant to be
(Reminder of something I learned years ago) Emotions are reactions to stimuli. You cannot just be sad, you can only be sad at something. You cannot just be happy, you can only be happy at something. That can be the smell of a honeysuckle, the sight of sunrise, a paper cut, a funeral or just imagining a future possibility, doesn’t matter because the brain and endocrine system react regardless. Therefore it makes sense to be happy by just doing things and putting yourself in environments you know you like. However…
Splitting up with my girlfriend has made me understand probably the most important thing in my life: I have never loved myself. I get the concept but I’ve never experienced it. Whether it’s active hatred & criticism or calm neutrality, the effect is identical. I need to be doggedly biased in my own favour and feel the love, to be happy just at who I am regardless of what I do or accomplish.
Since a few months ago I also recognise this lack of love as an injury to my brain. From that point my brain automatically set itself to remember each and every such injury in my entire life and heal them one by one. There could be very literally a million, like a blanket of barbed wire wrapped around my brain, but I’m on my way to healing the root of them all.
Instead of focusing on divinity as being outside and independent of me, I’m now finding it helpful to focus on the god within me. Or in this case gods – 2 of them, one female, one male. Yes that means they have humanoid forms but I don’t have to worship them; they’re here to help me.
(Though the male one can be a bit of a bastard. I’m not backbiting, I tell him to his face! LOL.
And I swear he looks familiar…)
Yahweh and Allah are in a sense both 2 different gods and one & the same. How? The original Jews were polytheists and Yahweh was just one god among many in their pantheon – a god of war, funnily enough. The leader was called El, from which the name Allah is ultimately derived. However, after returning home from the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BC the Jews collated all the attributes of the different gods into this one Yahweh, making some of their names (including El) alternatives for him and thereby making him supreme. Then they took it further and did away with all the other gods, claiming Yahweh is and always was the one and only! So the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is polytheistic, a fact they’ve all kept hidden for thousands of years. In other words, monotheism is just polytheism being ashamed of itself!
My understanding of love & relationships has been FAR too limited. That’s not my fault, that’s due to Western media & the English language itself. It’s well documented that language influences comprehension and perception. Ancient Greeks, on the other hand, categorised different forms of love:
Western films & TV series promote the idea that most to all of these forms can be found in a sexual partner. This is patently wrong. I’ve therefore decided to develop other forms, especially philautia. It is my new religion, if you will.
Based on that I’ve decided it’s time to truly love my uniqueness. Not just like or appreciate, love – my introspection, my thirst for learning, my lust for action, my distaste for recreational drugs, my anti-conventional views, my creativity, etc. Right now the most loving things I can do for myself are eat my fill of food every day and write a new piece – poem, story, film script, theatre script, whatever!
Furthermore, I’ve been under the impression that eros is the best type of love and the basis of a functioning relationship. This impression came from the sex-obsessed Western media and sensually deprived culture, but also from Islam ironically! The diyn commands marriage and kids (therefore sex), yet forbids physical touch or social interaction between the sexes beforehand. Bloody hell they’re not that different after all!
Defining myself as an ex-Muslim is starting to feel boring. You can’t talk about apostasy without talking about what you apostatised from, which for me would mean keeping the diyn at the front of my mind. But I’ve outgrown it, which entails thinking about more important and interesting things.
It’s time to start reigning in my anti-spirituality. My intention in becoming materialistic was to counterbalance my overdeveloped spiritual & philosophical instincts. However, it’s pointlessly hard maintaining my standards when trying to get ahead in fields where others set the standards. There’s nothing wrong with having material goals and dreams (e.g. becoming a multi-millionaire), the problem comes from forcing yourself to achieve them in ways that don’t align with your true desires, ways that other people define for you and present as The Way – which is no different from conventional religion. Plans should serve desires, not the other way around.
I finally accept that people do care about me. In childhood I always believed that nobody misses me when I’m gone, but fucking hell was I wrong! People actually notice both when I’m there and when I’m not, and wonder where I’ve been! What a pleasant surprise!
I have been astoundingly blind to how physically attractive I am. As a kid I knew I was good-looking but didn’t care because I found (almost) everyone on Earth good-looking so what made me different? Not to mention “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” But on road a lot of women and even men (¿!?¡¿!) find it hard to keep their eyes off me. I used to think it was because they were assessing how far I am from their bags so they can keep enough distance – yes ‘white’ and Asian women I do notice. I notice before you even do it. But that may not have been the case as often as I thought…
Still not changing my taste in women though.
Still situationist, fallible and liable to change without notice.
It was devised by Elizabeth Puttick herself, with inspiration from various sources she lists in the book. As such I claim no ownership in whole or in part of this questionnaire (plagiarism allegations out of the way. Whew!)
2016 bucked the trend a bit for me. Whereas 2012-15 were years of growth, changing and self-improvement, 2016 was predominantly about self-reflection and consolidation. Even though I’m a highly introspective person anyway, last year really forced me to ramp it up.
One of my main points of reflection was exactly how Islām had affected me mentally and behaviourally. As I covered that in another post I won’t delve into it too much now. What I want to focus on is exactly what my Islām was. What did Islām mean to me, why and where did it come from? Continue reading Reflections from 2016→