Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Study in Hypocrisy

I happened to catch part of an interview this morning involving Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Senators Joe Liberman of Connecticut and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. The first question asked was about the controversy surrounding the publication of cartoon drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a very demeaning and derogatory light.

The two Senators, each in his own inimitable style, said more or less the same thing. They defended freedom of the press and alluded to its importance to a strong viable democracy. In addition, they indicated such freedoms ought to be used responsibly with some intimation that, in this particular instance, the papers in Denmark, France, Germany, and Philadelphia (although none of these countries or the city were mentioned in the portion of the news program which I watched) may not have had their finest moment of journalistic responsibility. And, finally, they stated that while they understood and sympathized with the feelings of Muslims around the world who were outraged by the cartoon drawings, nevertheless, there could be no condoning the use of violence or the burning of property and embassies ... actions which were in evidence in many Muslim countries. The two Senators indicated that peaceful means, such as non-violent demonstrations, should have been used to protest the cartoons, not violence.

Further questions were asked by the host of the show
in relation to how each of the guests believed that the
cartoon incident might affect the 'War on Terror'. Platitudes
were espoused by both of the participants about how such
things surely can't help the war effort, but we must carry on
doing the best we can under difficult circumstances ... or
something to that effect.

I admired the courage of the two Senators who were
willing to voice their opinions concerning such things
as free speech, freedom of the press, democracy,
responsibility, and non-violence. My heart resonates
with much that was said, but, then, I began to wonder
about certain things.

I wondered why such Senators would vote to give the President authority to use, in the days following September 11, 2001, whatever means are necessary to go after the terrorists who were responsible for the atrocities of that day which outraged all of
America (and, indeed, people around the world) ... when so many loved ones, family members, friends, colleagues, firefighters, police, fellow citizens, and “illegal aliens” who were working at the Twin Towers that day who were lost ... I wondered why the Senators and their colleagues authorized the President to use whatever means are necessary rather than stand by their conveniently adopted principles of non-violence today (vis-à-vis the violence in the Muslim world over the offensive cartoons involving the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him) ... I wondered where there commitment to the principles of non-violence was when they set in motion the wanton destruction and murder of so many innocent Iraqis and Afghanis who, themselves, were victims of, respectively, Saddam Hussein’s and the Taliban’s oppression? Why didn’t the two Senators, based upon their recently professed dedication to non-violence, counsel the President to merely go to Baghdad or Kabul and have peaceful protests in the streets there to show those people that we mean business and that we are incensed and deeply hurt over what has been done in New York, Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania?

Nope, the first response of the two good Senators (along with
almost all of the other ‘responsible’ Senators and Representatives
of the US Congress) was to say let’s go kill some people. We don't
care whether, or not, the people we kill and maim are responsible
for what went on in New York and Washington (which they
weren't) ... lets go and kick some ass ... anybody's ass. Wow,
those two Senators and the rest of Congress really showed the
Muslim world what democracy is all about, didn't they? They
really showed the Muslim world how when we do things on
this side of the two ponds, we always go about business in
a peaceful, honorable, non-violent manner.

Go into any bar or club in America and call the
fathers, mothers, sisters, and sons of the people in
attendance there all kinds of names and denigrate
their loved ones, and we all know what will happen.
Why these people would march right down to city
hall, apply for a ‘Parade Permit” and start
demonstrating about the incident … because we are
civilized in this country. We know how to treat
people here … and, naturally, this is why we are
the leading exporter of arms in the world, and why
we won’t sign the convention against the proliferation
of land-mines, and why we will not dismantle our
nuclear weapons (even as we expect others to do so),
and why we will not permit ourselves to be brought under
the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice,
and why we believe we have the right to consume 40%
of the world’s resources although we only constitute
5% of its people, and why our businesses believe they
have the right to pollute the environment despite the
overwhelming scientific evidence concerning global
warming and its catastrophic results for everyone,
and why we kill tens of thousands of people every year
through homicides and drunks on the highways, and why
we did use weapons of mass destruction in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, and why we have the highest per capita rate of
incarceration in the world (people who are disproportionately
those of color and among the poor), and why there are more than
48 million people without health coverage, and why there
are tens of thousands of homeless people – many of them
Vietnam veterans, and why we have millions of rich people
who pay no taxes but, instead, have, quite patriotically,
transferred this burden onto everyone else even as the
former group reaps the benefits of those tax dollars. We
know how to be civilized … we are not like those rabble-
rousing trouble-makers in other countries who destroy
property and burn embassies

We are civilized because there were only (merely, just) unknown
thousands of innocent Afghanis and Iraqis who have been killed.
We are civilized because we have only used the chemical weapon white phosphorous just a little bit in Fallujia, and there are but a few hundred people –- including women and children -- who have had their flesh burned off down to the bone. We are civilized because there are merely 90-100 people who have died while in prison, under our loving care, in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the many more who were tortured but did not die, and we are civilized because we made sure that the only people who would be penalized for such abuses were the powerless who were way down the chain of command. We are civilized because of the way we fail to look after the military veterans (and their children) who are suffering from the after-effects of Agent Orange, Depleted Uranium, and the Gulf-War Syndrome.

The two good, aforementioned Sentaors, being the skilled politicians they are, may say that they never authorized the President to kill just anybody. These deaths were just unfortunate side effects of the 'War on Terror' and the result of a mammoth failure of intelligence concerning who did (or did not do) what, when, and where.

But, then, I got to wondering along the following lines ... if -- as everyone now seems to agree (except, perhaps, Dick Cheney who, with absolutely no substantive evidence, still wishes to insist there were meetings in Eastern Europe between al-Qaida and high officials of Saddam's administration and, as well, that there were al-Qaida terrorist cells which were active in Iraq prior to the second Gulf War) that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and that decisions were made on the basis of faulty Intel, then, why should anyone believe anything that either the intelligence community (doesn't the use of the word "community" give you a nice, warm feeling inside?) or the government says, or why should one trust any decisions which are being made? After all, how do we know that the problems have been fixed or that we aren’t continuing to base policy on the sort of Intel which is just as problematic as that which helped get us and the rest of the world in this mess to begin with?

Such skepticism seems especially warranted given that there is a great deal of evidence to indicate that prior to 9-11, the administration knew precisely who the perpetrators were, what the targets were, how the attacks were going to take place,
and on which day. We are not talking about a mammoth failure of Intel but, rather, massive acts of treason by certain people who were entrusted with a fiduciary responsibility to the people of this country. The 9-11 Commission did nothing to
expose the realities of such treason but merely became part of a process that ensured that Americans would have difficulty learning the actual facts of 9-11 because the Commission asked all the wrong questions, and it called upon all the wrong witnesses,
and it made all the wrong choices for who was to be on the Commission and who would have the responsibility to ask the questions which needed to be asked but were not.

I further got to wondering how one can have a 'War on Terror' when no war has been declared by Congress. I guess, like Korea, this is just a police action in which one can get away with killing innocent (along with the not-so-innocent) people. However, calling things a 'Police Action on Terror' doesn't have quite the same patriotic ring to it.

Besides, unless we keep using the phrase "War on Terror", then, the President and his supporters can't continue saying words to the effect that we are in a state of war, and, therefore, anyone who says anything against the war is being a traitor to the country and gives aid and comfort to the enemy. If we are only in a condition of an executive police action of sorts, then, the rules governing a time of war do not exist, and people should be free to speak their minds without having to worry if the terror police (sometimes known as Homeland Security, FBI, NSA, and CIA) are going to come and 'disappear' you or throw you in jail without any civil liberties or send you off somewhere for a form of extreme rendition (which like "collateral damage" is another 1984-like term that has entered the lexicon as a euphemistic way of talking about terrorizing, torturing, and killing people without using such words).

However, even if we were in a time of war, one's duty is not to the President, or to Congress, or to the Supreme Court, but rather to the principles of truth, justice, freedom, and non-violence, without which democracy is not possible. One has a duty to
speak the truth to power because, theoretically, this is a country of the people, not of the government, and when people in authority abuse their power, they have betrayed the people whom they claim to represent.

I have no wish to give aide and comfort to the enemy. This is why I will not support those insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan or the West Bank who kill innocent people, or capture innocent (or otherwise) people and execute them without due process, or torture people for the sake of whatever cause they are espousing. But this is also why I will not support the American government as it continues to authorize the killing of innocent people, or captures innocent people and executes them without due
process, or tortures people for the sake of the ‘national interests’ of companies like Halliburton who are given no-bid, open-ended, cost-plus contracts to have their way with the people of the world.

There may be those who believe that people, like myself, who mention such trivialities as the foregoing often seem to forget that we have been able to bring about a regime change which ousted an oppressive, murderous tyrant, Saddam Hussein, from power ... you know, the guy that America armed and to whom we sold chemical weapons and whom we supported even as we knew that he killed Shi'as and Kurds by the thousands, and the one we clandestinely supported in his internecine war with Iran. In fact, following Gulf War I, the American government, ever ready to help out its client-states and surrogates, even made it easy for Saddam to eliminate thousands of people in southern and northern Iraq ... people whom the American government induced to rebel against Saddam with promises of military support only to leave them high
and dry in Saddam's killing fields.

Of course, there will be some who say that there is absolutely no comparison between what happened on 9-11 and the cartoons which were first published in Denmark. Nobody died in the latter case (except for the people who did which, to date, is entirely
restricted to the protestors), but, altogether, nearly 3,000 people died on 9-11.

This just goes to show some of the cultural divide which exists, because when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is used as an 'object' of derision, ridicule, slander, and contempt, then, a part of the heart of every Muslim on the face of the planet is ripped apart. If it is wrong to rip apart the hearts of the families and friends of those who suffered through the losses of 9-11, then, it is equally wrong to rip apart the hearts of those who will suffer as a result of the muck-raking journalism of papers in Denmark, France, Germany, Philadelphia, and elsewhere with respect to the character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Perhaps, these journalists will use the Condaleza Rice defense following 9-11 … namely, that no one could have imagined that people would hijack planes and fly them into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon (even though the U.S. military actually ran exercises with precisely this set of contingencies prior to 9-11). In other words, the journalists could argue that they had no idea that their cartoons would lead to the kind of uproar which has taken place … just as Salman Rushdie [someone who grew up among Muslims] disingenuously claimed that he had no idea that his ‘Satanic Verses’ would cause such a stir. But if someone had suggested to these intellectually and morally-challenged individuals that let’s have a competition and draw derogatory, sarcastic cartoons of Jesus (peace be upon him) or the holocaust, don’t you think someone might have said: “Well, you know, we may want to tread a little carefully here, because it is conceivable that this or that Christian or Jew might get upset about things and take matters into their own hands like some Christians have done with the bombing of abortion clinics or the assassination of doctors, or like some of the Christians and Jews did with respect to the massacres of Sabra and Shatila or the Tomb of the Patriarchs”?

Yes, in all likelihood, the foregoing sort of question, or a variation thereof, might have been raised in conjunction with cartoons that were intended to denigrate the person of Jesus (peace be upon him) or the memory of the holocaust. But, apparently, the artistic and journalistic bright bulbs who sought to light up the rotunda of freedom around the world with the self-proclaimed brilliance of their insights and cleverness either were too ignorant of the cherished values of 150,000 of their fellow citizens, not to mention the billion, or so, Muslims who inhabit the Earth, to raise such inconsequential issues, or did raise such questions, and, quite deliberately, didn’t give a damn about the consequences.

Freedom of speech is not an absolute. One does not have a right to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. One does not have a right to slander people. One does not have a right to commit perjury. One does not have the right to mislead and/or lie to the American people in the name of “national interests” or security.

Or, one can turn the above contention around and say, if one wishes, that one does have a right to do such things, but, if one gets caught, then, there are probably going to be some problematic consequences. The journalists in question may (?) have had the right -- at least, from a certain perspective – to publish what they did, but they also had a responsibility to foresee the consequences of their actions and not show such a reckless disregard for the virtual certainty of certain kinds of event following upon the exercise of their rights.

Those journalists may have had the right to publish what they did. However, they also are culpable for everything which ensued from printing what they did, including the deaths and the violence and the destruction of property.

They may not have committed the acts of violence directly. Nonetheless, they provided many of the ingredients necessary to help push things over the edge.

The foregoing is not intended to condone the violence by Muslims which transpired as this whole sorry affair picked up steam. Rather, it is to point out that the journalists should have been able to reasonably predict some of the ramifications of their actions, and because they chose not to exercise caution, those journalists are, in part, culpable and responsible for the violence that followed. In effect, they were inciting people to riot which is a criminal offense in almost every country on the face of the Earth.

It is not just the rioters who were committing crimes. It is the people who have helped incite those people to riot who also have committed criminal acts.

Now, there will be some who will point out that the cartoons in question were originally published last September (2005), but there were some people from the Muslim community in Denmark who took these cartoons around to various religious and government authorities in the Muslim world. As a result, there will be some who will wish to argue that it is these Muslims who are the instigators, not the original Danish journalists who were merely exercising their democratic right to freedom of the press.

In fact, we can embellish the foregoing scenario somewhat and indicate that there were people (so-called religious leaders) in the Muslim world who took the information about the cartoons and used it for their own political purposes which involved stirring up hatred, resentment, and violence against the freedom-loving West. Why, those rascals, doing such things … things which we would never do over here -- groups like the ‘Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” and the Committee to Re-elect Richard Nixon, the KKK, Pat Robertson, as well as so many other groups and individuals notwithstanding.

In fact, there are many people on ‘Talk Radio’, or among television’s ‘Talking Heads without Brains’, who are doing precisely this with the events that have transpired in conjunction with the cartoon issue … seeking to spin that information in a way that adds further fuel to the fire and creates further obstacles in the way of seeking peaceful modes of resolving the situation. They are stirring up hatred, resentment, and all manner of xenophobia toward Muslims in other countries.

For example, some of the intellectually and morally challenged are saying that Syria and Iran are behind all of this violence and hatred which is being generated toward the freedom-loving and peace-loving peoples of the West. Let’s go bomb them. Let’s kill us some more innocent people. Let’s keep the war on terror going against all these Muslims who don’t think like we do.

Syria and Iran may, or may, not have a hand in flaming the fires of discontent and chaos. But so does the West fan such flames because we will do anything but take a long look at ourselves, our militarism, our imperialism, our exploitation of the rest of the world, or the hundreds of thousands of innocents we have killed in the so-called name of freedom and peace.

We, in the West, are a bunch of rogue nations who are far more dangerous than Syria, Iran, or North Korea, because we have the potential to destroy and oppress so much more of the world than those three countries do, whatever their transgressions may, or may not, be … in fact, in the case of the West, this is not a potential because we already are actively engaged in killing innocents in many parts of the world. We actually do have weapons of mass destruction, we actually do have chemical weapons, nerve gas, along with biological agents … and we actually have used some of these weapons of mass destruction against other peoples.

In both Christianity and Islam there is a teaching – one which I fully believe is central to Judaism and all of the other great spiritual traditions of the world, as well – which says that the one who kills one innocent person, it is as if this person slew all of humanity. The same is true with respect to oppression, injustice, and exploitation.

What is going on with the cartoon issue, as is also going on in relation to Afghanistan and Iraq, is not about freedom, peace, democracy, justice, or truth. It is about oppression, hatred, disorder, injustice, deceit, and profits.

I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. But, if I were, I would be ashamed of what I permitted my parties to do to help undermine the principles of democracy everywhere … and especially in the United States.

I am not Danish, nor am I of French or German extraction, but, if I were, I would be ashamed that some people of my ancestry chose to denigrate the values and beliefs of fellow citizens whose only fault was that they were not of the same ethnicity, race, or religion as most of the others in those countries.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Dedicated to those who lost their lives on 9-11

You may, or may not, experience problems with the video below concerning events before, during, and after 9-11 (September 11, 2001) involving the World Trade Center buildings in New York . If you do, please don't get discouraged with the viewing problems that you may encounter when you try to run the documentary which follows these comments. There are a few things which you might try that, with a little time, will permit you to watch the documentary without a lot of interruptions, delays, or stutter-steps.

For best results, I would suggest that a person who is encountering problems of video flow, but who wishes to view the whole documentary without a lot of problems, should pick a time -- perhaps just before one goes to sleep or just before one goes to work or while one is going to be engaged elsewhere for 3-4 hours (it might be less, depending on circumstances) -- and let the video run (with sound turned off or down) -- that is, turn it on and let it haltingly work its way through the problems over a period of time. Once the documentary has run through to the end, the whole thing should be completely buffered, and, consequently, you, hopefully, will be able to watch it without all the painful buffering delays and problems that may interrupt the program the first time through -- however, if you use the foregoing method, be sure not to go away from this Web Page, otherwise the buffering cache will be lost, and you may have to start all over again.

If you don't want to wait to view the following 9-11 video, I have found that when one begins to encounter video turbulence such that the picture flow or accompanying voice is disrupted, if one toggles the video indicator (i.e, moves the indicator slightly backward toward the left -- the indicator which displays the amount of time that has elapsed on the video), then, one often can get through some of the places where the buffering seems to slow down and create stuttered images and voice overs. But, if this doesn't work, then, you may have to wait for the video to skip-step through its material until it has finished (there is a WARNING frame which is the last image of the 9-11 video), and, then, just click the PLAY button and it should start over and, God willing, for the most part provide a smooth run through the material, but don't forget the "toggle suggestion" noted above. You may have to watch and listen to a small amount of repeating, but this method often does get one to the end of the 9-11 video.

The documentary is very good and very important. In one way, or another, as many people as possible should view this documentary and, then, make up their own minds about the issues ... or conduct their own further research and engage in additional reflection or dialogue with others. There are far too many unanswered questions -- or questions answered very poorly or implausibly -- to let things stand as they are with the "official" version of 9-11.

The 9-11 Commission did not ask the right questions, and it did not pursue the issues according to the evidence, and its members glossed over far too many problems and far too much evidence for anyone who is an independent, third party to be able to consider the Commission's work professional, reliable, or definitive. Moreover, unfortunately, many of the members of the Commission, both Democrats and Republicans, had associations, ties, histories, and interests which ought to have precluded them from being members of such a commission ... especially, if one wanted to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and avoid any questions concerning the integrity of the conclusions and findings of such a commission.

As has been the case on many occasions, official commissions are often not meant to arrive at the truth but are, instead, a political tool used to give the impression of seriousness without much underlying substance. Such commissions are often exercises in misdirection away from root problems and causes so that vested interests will remain protected despite an illusory veneer of critical investigation and thoroughness.

There were a lot of innocent people who died on 9-11. The ones who died left behind families, friends, and colleagues.

Surely, both the ones who passed away as well as the ones who were left behind on 9-11 deserve a few hours of the time that may be necessary to work through the problems associated with the video to get it running properly and the time needed to watch the program over its hour and twenty-one minute running time. I do not believe those people have been served with justice or integrity, and there are thousands of others -- both Americans and non-Americans -- who continue to die due to the miscarriage of justice which transpired both before and after the events of 9-11.

I do not think that it is an overstatement to say that the viability of democracy may very well be at stake if steps are not taken to redress the wrongs which have been done to the American people and to people in other lands due to the events of 9-11. This is all far from over.

Please, take whatever time is necessary to prepare the video for ease of watching. The issues are too important to just ignore.

It is not only the fate of democracy that lies in the balance. The fate of you, your family, your friends, and innocents in many other parts of the world also lie in the balance as well.

If you wish to read further on these matters, then, there are a number of books which I have read all of which not only corroborate the material covered by the following 9-11 video, but, as well, these books critically analyze many more issues surrounding the events of 9-11, Afghanistan, Iraq and more. Even if one wishes to adopt a skeptical stance concerning the information in the following 9-11 video (or the following books), there are a vast array of crucial questions which are left that still require answers -- too many questions of substantial, abiding importance to just let go.

Crossing the Rubicon - Michael C. Ruppert, New Society Publishers
The New Pearl Harbor - David Ray Griffin, Olive Branch Press
The War On Freedom - Nafeez Mosaddaeq Ahmed, Tree of Life Publications
The War on Truth - Nafeez Mosaddaeq Ahmed, Olive Branch Press

In addition to the foregoing, you may want to visit the following web sites:


From The Wilderness

911 Truth

Global Outlook - The Magazine of 9-11 Truth Movement

9-11 Research


9-11 Citizen's Watch

Dylan Avery wrote and directed the following video about the events of 9-11. For those who are interested, a DVD of this video can be purchased at:


Show it to your family, neighbors, friends, schools, PTA, political leaders, media representatives, churches, synagoges, mosques, temples, and local community organizations.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


To go through life and never know who one is, this is a tragedy, both of modern as well as ancient times. Yet, most of us would rather hold on to the ignorance and darkness of our egos instead of risk experiencing the temporary psychological and emotional discomfort which may be necessary to seek and discover the truth about ourselves. In our heart of hearts, even if we might not be willing to admit so to others, many of us realize that one of the primary activities of our egos is to generate misery, difficulty and heartache, both for ourselves as well as others. Yet, we permit ourselves and others to be subjugated to its cruel reign of tyranny again and again and again.

In fact, we are such slaves to, and in fear of, our egos, we are willing to forego all chance of having real, essential purpose, meaning and identity enter into our lives. We would rather continue to permit ourselves to be crushed beneath the constant cravings and selfishness of our respective false selves.

We live in the darkest shadows of a king or queen who rules arbitrarily and consistently uses tactics of manipulation, coercion, terrorism, corruption, seduction and bribery. We dream of escape or revolution, but we cannot bring ourselves to take the steps to journey toward being our own person. We prefer the binding chains shackling us to the identity of the false self, over the efforts required to learn how to use the keys within us to unlock our chains forever.

We shy away from our spiritual identities because we believe this would condemn us to some sort of slavery to Divinity. Yet, we have these worries while we go about busily degrading ourselves as a lackey and a thrall of our false selves.

The false self tells us: "Come with me, and you will be free of God". However, the false self never explains how we are to be free of it.

At best, the false self is like an air traffic control system. As we leave one sector of our being, the ego will turn us over to the appropriate controller in the next sector. Nonetheless, all of the controllers are part and parcel of the same controlling system of the false self. They merely have different names, titles and appearances.

We never will be permitted to fly without filing a flight plan with, and getting approval from, the air traffic control system of the ego. The only flight plans which will receive approval are those traveling along the network of habitual routes laid down by the dialectic of passion and anger.

To control, ourselves or others, is in the nature of the ego. Any inclinations we may have to seek our essential identity will always be resisted by the ego.

Many aspects of modern, and ancient, philosophical, religious, psychological, and scientific thinking is, and has been, directed toward exploring the issue of human identity. Who are we as individuals? Who are we collectively? What does it mean to be a human being?

What is entailed by, or follows from, the human condition? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What is the meaning and purpose, if any, of human existence?

There are many conceptual and psychological currents which shape our interpretation of the nature of identity and the sort of role it plays, or should play, in our lives. Religion, culture, socio-economic status, family life, education, career, race, ethnicity, age, gender, personal history, sexual orientation, nationality, success, and failure are all thought to have significant contributing roles in the shaping of identity.

From the perspective of the Sufi masters, most of the "normal" ways of addressing the problem of identity often are preoccupied with largely marginal, if not illusory, considerations. More specifically, according to Sufi masters, we are all born with an innate spiritual nature and identity. However, our parents (and, by extension, our families, communities, schools, countries and ourselves) make us into something other than what is indicated by our indigenous spiritual identity.

Furthermore, practitioners of the Sufi path maintain all people are equal before God. Part of the meaning of this equality is that, from the perspective of Divinity, qualities such as: race, ethnicity, language, power, gender, status, fame, wealth, education, beauty and so on, play no role in matters of gaining spiritual proximity, so to speak, to God.

The elimination of the foregoing qualities from our spiritual curriculum vitae means those properties have nothing to do with spiritual identity in and of itself. On the other hand, such qualities do constitute a network of tests, trials, challenges, traps, opportunities and obstacles which must be successfully navigated in order to arrive at the real core of identity - namely, our essential spiritual nature.

We can know whom we are: ethnically, racially, religiously, educationally, socio-economically, historically, nationally, sexually, culturally, and politically. Nonetheless, according to Sufi masters, all of this is useless information because, in and of itself, such information does not help us to realize, ontologically, whom we are in any spiritually essential sense.

To the extent we get bogged down in these sort of "identity" issues, then all of our energies, time, resources, efforts and focus will be diverted from discovering the real source and nature of our identity. Moreover, entanglements in all of the foregoing sort of traditional "identity" issues just become venues for getting lost, confused, frustrated and seduced with respect to what our more fundamental purposes, goals, and needs of life should be.

Such preoccupations are not in our best spiritual interests. Furthermore, in light of all the bloodshed and misery which is generated through conflicts and antagonisms involving these trappings of "identity", this kind of identity preoccupation is not in the best spiritual interests of our families, communities, countries or the world.

Each of us has a unique spiritual identity. The nature of that identity may share certain common dimensions with the spiritual identity of others, but at the heart of our spiritual identity, there is a reality which is shared by no other created thing or being.

Our individual uniqueness is rooted in the Realities of the Names and Attributes of God. Among other things, the Sufi path is intended, God willing, to guide the individual to the full unfolding of the spiritual capacity which constitutes our uniqueness. If this happens, then we will come to know the truth and reality of whom, what, why and how we are.

According to the practitioners of the Sufi path, when we come to experience our essential identities, we will come to the realization of certain truths about human beings. Among these truths, are the following.

(1) All of our attributes are borrowed from, or on loan from, the treasure house of Divine Names and Attributes.

(2) Our essential identity and nature is hidden as a mystery or secret of God within the Divine Names and Attributes.

(3) Until this sirr-illahi, or mystery of God, is unveiled, we cannot know our true selves and, therefore, we will not know real freedom.

(4) The purpose and meaning of our lives only will be known by us with the full unfolding of our essential identity.

(5) We will be incapable of properly fulfilling our duties and responsibilities as God's vicegerent with respect to the rest of Creation, as long as we do not know, in the fullest sense possible, who we are essentially.

(6) If we do not realize our essential, spiritual identities, we will never understand in any direct, transcendental, experiential manner, that only God has reality and that Divine Attributes, Names, Actions and Effects are but manifestations made possible by the sole reality of Divine Essence.

(7) If we do not fully experience our spiritual identities, our understanding concerning the nature of the meaning of servanthood, which is at the core of our true selves, always will be defective.