Monday, December 6, 2010

On history

One of the reasons i love being at LSE is its a social science institution. You know, the science of studying human beings. Not putting people in cages and prodding them and giving electric shocks, no. For that i'd study at the CIA.

Social science. How human beings behave, how they interact, why they prefer their own race and why some consider others as monkeys, why nations rise and fall. Even in the field i study, Accounting, its more than just number-crunching. When lots of money is involved, politics flare up as well. We start to blame others for losses. Some backstab.

Which gives it a lot of drama and emotion, even more drama than the 'Nur Kasih' shows you all like, believe me. And studying all this has flourished my interest into becoming an amateur historian. Not a book nerd, a historian. History is one of the engines by which God drives the world.

History, says Niall Ferguson, allows us to make analogies between what happened then and what could happen now. It doesn't give major theories, like 'the whole purpose of existence is to outsmart each other just like animals in the jungle' (anyway i think that line of thinking is a bit ridiculous). What it has are exactly that, stories. His stories. And the Qur'an uses stories a lot, to make you realise the reality of things and relate to it so you can act accordingly.

Strong and powerful and technologically advanced?

The tribe of 'Ad were all those. They were physically huge (saw some pictures on the internet of their remains, but not sure of their credibility) and they could build palaces on mountains. But that wasn't enough to prevent their punishment. And the Thamud. And the pharaoh. And a whole host of once great nations that we hear of their name in the history books, but no longer see.

Which brings me to the point of reading history. Its a living, breathing thing, not like the government-engineered pseudo-history that we memorise for SPM. Once we learn history, we'll recognise that the Age of Empires hasn't ended. We're still living in it, and we'll continue to live under empires. Only unlike empires of old, who project visible power and physical governance, the American Empire prefers to project its influence economically and culturally. Which movies do we see? Hollywood. Which model of consumption do we use? American-style consumerism. And the list goes on and on.

And we thought we're independent. The creation of an illusion of independence is one of the great successes of the post-world war. The actual colonialism is in here

The Mental Empire. different color, different culture, similar beliefs. Because most of the world is under that sphere of influence.

So you see, history is more than just dates and names. That this thinking is prevalent in society is an unfortunate offshoot of trying to paint a rosy picture of the ruling party.

Imam Abu Al-Qasim Al-Junaid said, "History is one of the soldiers of Allah to strengthen the heart.."

It enables you to see the world for what it actually is.

Welcome to the real world.


intan said...

like this post.