Healing Self, Healing Society - 2014 Festival of Faiths

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Event Name: Healing Self, Healing Society - 2014 Festival of Faiths
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/12/2019
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SMIL ar-rahim salazar-mota see my dad in

Osaka said this in Korea in the name of

God the merciful the compassionate

person peace be upon all of our prophets

the little caveat before I start I want

to thank Mayor Greg Fischer who I met

him after 9/11 I actually came to

Louisville and spoke that and we spent a

day together and I really envy in a good

way the Arabs have two types of envy and

envy where you want the person you envy

to lose everything and in Envy where you

want the same thing that that they have

so it's the second type of envy that I'm

talking about they actually have two

different words for the meaning but I

envy the City of Louisville that it has

a mayor like Greg Fischer who's

committed to compassion and

reintroducing compassion as an idea

political idea a lot of people might be

familiar with Aristotle's theory of

stacy's and the reason why revolutions

happen and we're living in revolutionary

times places like the Middle East

Crimea other places the the reason

revolutions happen according to

Aristotle is that Celia breaks down love

breaks down in a society and and people

lose the compassion for the other and

this is one of the reasons why

Philadelphia which was the original

capital of the United States is the city

of Celia it's the city of brotherly love

and so to reintroduce that into politics

I think is really important it's not


enough the I want a little caveat this

if anybody's on Prozac they might feel

better leaving I don't want to depress

anybody but I I want to book before you

can really talk about healing you have

to look at the Diagnostics to understand

what's going on a very influential

author for me is Arnold Toynbee and he

wrote a book over fifty years ago called

change and habit the challenge of our

time and in that book he argues and and

he's worth listening to because in 1947

he wrote an essay about a civilization

when it's up against the wall against

another civilization has certain

strategies and one of them is gsella

tree and fanaticism

and he warns about the Muslim world and

actually identifies three places where

he felt in 1947 that he felt serious

problems would emerge in the future

Afghanistan Yemen and Saudi Arabia and

that was in 1947 one of the gifts that

historians bring is that they look at

the future with hindsight because they

know the past so well they can see and

prognosticate about what's what's going

to happen but he wrote this book change

in habit arguing that as humans we have

certain habits that are very dangerous

and they're not instinctual they're rich

they're literally habitual and and and

the worst he felt was the habit of going

to war that this is it's a choice that

there are other alternatives and peoples

have done other things war is not the

only solution it's actually always a

failure it's the last refuge of the

incompetence violence so and but he also

felt there were other aspects one of

them was tribalism or nationalism and

this idea of not seeing us as a human

family as seeing us as us and then

and and this is a very dangerous habit

of the mind and if we're not praying to

change these habits and this is why

virtue theory is based on altering


it's adopting new habits and the human

being can change so and it's not nature

versus nurture the to work together so

this idea of nature versus nurture is is

something also that's problematic so I

just want to say that I'm going to talk

about is is it ok but another one of my

favorite people is Soren Kierkegaard who

was another visionary somebody who

really saw the future if you haven't

read Kierkegaard he's incredibly

humorous writer wonderful wit he says

that he said things to make people laugh

while he was crying inwardly but he one

of the things that he said was that one

solitary person cannot help or save an

age he can only make it clear that it is

on its way to a downfall and this is the

cassandra' problem because his people

know Greek mythology cassandra warned

not in the Iliad but but in a play

warned the Trojans not to bring in the

horse but she had the gift of prophecy

but she was cursed with that nobody

would believe her so in terms of this

isn't switching here maybe were meant to

contemplate this a little longer

technology is such a okay now okay

thanks so the purpose of human existence

I'm going to speak from my tradition

this is the festival of face so I want

to speak from my tradition but I think

this could be shared by many people's

the there's a there's a verse in the

Quran that tells us that one of the

reasons why we were created was for the

cultivation of the earth that the the

verse says that it was God who brought

you into the being from the earth and

settled you there into cultivated stock

monochrome feeha so Amara is cultivation

and it's it indicates a lot of different

things that humans do and this is why

anybody who's involved in cultivation of

the earth in a positive way is

fulfilling a divine purpose whether they

believe in the divine or not that they

are fulfilling a divine purpose and this

is often lost on religious peoples that

are working from a provincial tradition

and not recognizing that everybody is

here for a reason the second is the the

purpose is actually to worship to adore

the Creator and this is obviously from

the Abrahamic traditions that I only

created unseen beings and human beings

to worship me and then finally

stewardship the idea of being caretakers

of what we've been given this is called

the khalifa and the Haditha is one who

stands in place and the quran tells us

that god said i'm placing in the earth a

steward and a steward is one who acts on

the behalf of another and so this is

divine stewardship and then david we're

told in the in the jewish tradition that

david we have made you a steward over

the land judge fairly between people do

not follow your desires it is a really

important point about this because

stewardship is corrupted by following

desires and lest they divert you from

this divine plan

and so the question is how are we doing

as stewards of the earth if this is

really one of the reasons why we're here

so just to look maybe at some of the

signs I trained in the medical

profession and we always take vital

signs and we also assess orientation so

you ask somebody what I was working at

the time when we didn't have a president

there was that little interregnum period

where we didn't know who was president

was at bush or Kerry so we couldn't

really ask them who's president but you

ask a patient who's president you ask

them where are you who are you so you

orient them to time and place so they

you can see do they do they know one of

the verses in the Quran says that

corruption and the word is facade has

appeared on land and on sea because of

what people have earned by their acts to

make them taste some of what they have

done that they might turn back so the

idea of when when when we do things in

the world that are that are dangerous

and negative then we get this

repercussion and the reason for that

repercussion it's actually a mercy

because it's letting you know that you

need to turn back that you're doing

something wrong and so you cannot go out

and so corruption without having the

corruption come back at you in what in

economic terms is this these

externalities for people that know that

term these are the negative consequences

of economic production so if you have a

factory the factory doesn't intend to

pollute the river because it just wants

to produce whatever it's producing but

that's a negative externality you also

have positive externalities so one of

the signs of these latter times when

it's gotten too much the Quran says that

men will cry out and say what is

happening to the earth on that day it

will tell you all because your Lord

inspired it

do so so the word in Arabic that's used

in the plan which is facade in is

rottenness spoiled nurse corruption

decay decomposition putrefaction

depravity wickedness so it has it's used

for like when food goes bad the Arab say

sasada it's gone bad but they also use

it for a person when they've gone bad so

something is is has gone wrong and

pollution is the undesirable state of

the natural environment being

contaminated with harmful substances as

a consequence of human activities so the

state of being polluted it's also

defilement and this is also

traditionally a religious term that was

used now the traditional interpretation

which is from the seventh century of one

of the great quran interpreters abdullah

bin Abass about this he said the signs

of corruption of facade on land are

fires soil degradation the lowering of

the water tables and among the signs of

corruption in the sea is the dim unit

the diminution of the fish so the fish

begin to disappear so this is seventh

century and you will actually find in

chinese manuscripts from over 2,000

years ago the problems of pollution

these aren't new problems and and

societies have had negative effects on

the lands that they were in but in my oh

and i'm coming from the west coast one

of the things that we've seen is a lot

of fires and and i don't know if people

know about the fires that are happening

all over the planet spain europe has a

tremendous problem with with fires but

we see a lot of fires and you can see

the increase that's happened over time

here just from from 1980 to 1989 to 2000

2010 and we lose firefighters people go

in one of the reasons is because of the

climate change that's happening so it's

increasing this risk and then wildfires

are projected to burn more land as

temperatures continue to rise so you can

see the projected increase here on

on the west coast of on the west side of

our country another aspect is the air

pollution and it's extraordinary how

many people suffer around the globe from

from air pollution Mexico City has a

huge problem with asthma we have

actually high mortality rates in in

major cities because of the pollution

we're actually finding also a lot of

contamination in our bodies so this is a

major problem

this is China where a lot of people are

forced to wear masks because the

pollution gets so bad and then another

aspect here is soil degradation which a

lot of people are unaware of this I

think people here I mean I'm not easily

speaking to a lot of people that are

aware of these things but a lot of

people are not aware of the real crisis

that we're seeing in soil degradation

soil is a very thin layer it takes

millennia to produce topsoil and it can

be lost very easily and I mean obviously

we have hydroponics we have other ways

of growing plants plants actually don't

need soil to grow and hydroponics they

began studying hydroponics in the 17th

century but it would be an immense loss

to to our species because we have

incredible problems with water as well

and this is another aspect of the death

certification which I saw firsthand in

the Sahara I lived in saara

desert and I saw firsthand literally at

the encroachment of the Sahara Desert

it's pretty overwhelming to see it to

see whole cities engulfed in sand so

overall this is this is what we're

seeing and this is what our scientists

are telling us we don't need apocalyptic

prophets now to talk about these things

we have our scientists telling these and

it's it's a it's an important reminder

that the earth is not just for human

beings one of the verses in the Quran is

that it's God who spread out the earth

for all living creatures that literacy

says a.m. and the UNAM are it literally

means all those that sleep so it's all

sleeping creatures it's a place

where you should feel safe and secure

it's a place of repose you can't sleep

unless you feel safe or secure and many

of the animals are suffering and I've

mentioned this before but one of the

intriguing things to me about endangered

species is it it's not the cockroaches

that are going extinct it's not the rats

or the mice they're actually thriving

but what's going extinct are these

animals that historically in many

traditional cultures they use them as

names for their children

they're they're the animals that embody

noble spirits the Eagles the the Lions

the Tigers the wolves one of the real

tragic aspects I don't know people might

know about the doctrine of signatures

but there's a traditional belief in

medicine that things that look like

things are good for them for instance in

the Arab tradition cashews are very good

for memory according to the Arabs if you

look at a cashew it looks almost like a

hypo calamus which is where memory is

located in the brain so if something

looks like if you if you cut a carrot

you can see an eye in the carrot so

carrots are considered good for eyes

well there's a Asian believe that the

rhinoceros you can use your imagination

is good for for people that are would

otherwise use viagra and so

unfortunately the rhinoceros

extraordinary animal is literally being

wiped out because of this desire for

people to use this aphrodisiac Virginia

gray Henry published a wonderful book

which was written in the 10th century

about the animals having a lawsuit

against humanity

so they actually come to court and and

demand that the human be taken to task

for wreaking so much havoc in the

natural world it's worth reading but

then we move from the land to the sea

and I could talk there's a lot of other

things happening and many of you aware

of that you know about the mountaintops

in Kentucky and and many many other

things but I don't I don't want to I

just want to give an overview here but

the oceans also

amazing what we're seeing in the oceans

the Gulf of Mexico the the repercussions

of that are just overwhelming the the

people that are suffering to this day

there's a lot of immune diseases that

are that have occurred a lot of people

really suffering and and the BP cleanup

is far from from over I mean the the

effects of that are massive on the

planet so oil is another major problem

and then this is obviously again the

animals just really suffer when it comes

to this so and then burning off a lot of

the oil which is also another real

source of pollution it's interesting

that right now sorry that we just this

literally is May 13th at a glacial

regions melt is past the point of no


according to Nassau so these things are

happening right now and our scientists

are confirming these things and it's

overwhelming for people people is very

difficult to process these things when I

first read that 90% of the fish were

gone I thought that was so it just seems

so crazy and I sat next to a man on an

airplane happen to be a marine biologist

and we started talking I asked him about

the I said listen I read this in the

Guardian is this true he said well it's

between 85 and 95 percent so we kind of

took a middle number in there I said

well what do you think about that he

said keeps me up at night now one of the

things and this is really important

about the acidification so I want you to

just see what's this it's going to work

for me okay so I'm not getting the the

actual video because this had video

because they didn't hook up the video

for anyway the ocean acidification which

is a result of the pollution we have

acid rain we have our oceans are became

more and more acidic which is very

interesting and I'm going to get to that


our emissions of carbon are causing our

climate to change and too much for you

to in the atmosphere will also alter the

very chemistry of our ocean when carbon

dioxide dissolves into the water it

forms an African small rise the