Thursday, July 20, 2006

Azer VS Mantessa – The Chicken Crossed the Road

Yesterday, I made the effort to buy a pack of cigs on the other side of the road. Before crossing the road, wham bam bam! There, a chicken hit by a car… flat dead.

Azer: Why the chicken crossed the road?
Mantessa: The chicken is destined to cross the road.

Azer: You mean the chicken is predestined to cross the road?
Mantessa: Yes, the chicken is predestined to cross the road.

Azer: Then what about the rule of determinism and freewill? Don’t you think it is the determinism and freewill that made the chicken crossed the road?
Mantessa: In many cases, the chicken found itself things do shape and reshape which are beyond its control. Certainly the chicken can’t control the weather and least the speed of the car.

Azer: But despite all odds, the chicken had marvellous achievements and it is difficult to believe that the chicken is a mere puppet in the mighty hand of Nature.
Mantessa: The chicken is neither completely the master of its fate nor is it bound to the blind law of predestination. It is the sovereignty of The Greatest Designer's Will. It is all pervading and nothing falls outside its orbit. It is His Will that prevails everywhere. The chicken, therefore, completely subordinate to the overruling power of God, it cannot do anything unless God wills so.

Azer: So you are telling me we are mere puppets of Nature and God?
Mantessa: No but The Almighty, Who has created everything and has determined its nature and course, has in His infinite wisdom and mercy conferred upon man a limited autonomy according to which a man is free to do or not to do a certain thing. It is because of this autonomy enjoyed by man that he is hold accountable for his deeds.

Azer: So it’s predestined but we are given the freewill of autonomy and we must hold accountable for our deeds.
Mantessa: Man shall have nothing but that what he strives for.

Azer: So what’s the idea of everything is predestined in the first place anyway?
Mantessa: The idea is to prove that the creation of this universe is not accidental but something preplanned and pre-conceived and it was shaped according to the Grand Design of the Greatest Designer. There is no element of chance in the creation of this Universe. Everything is well-set and well-planned.

Azer: And what’s the idea of freewill autonomy?
Mantessa: The idea that God has a foreknowledge of everything that He created and the events unfold themselves exactly according to it, does not imply that human beings have been completely deprived of the freedom of action. The foreknowledge of God is an acknowledged fact, but it should not be interpreter in the sense of predestination, for if we do so we shall have to conceive of eternity as a storehouse of ready-made events, from which they drop one by one like particles of sand in a glass hour. If we take the foreknowledge to be a reflecting mirror we shall have to deprive the Creator and the Controller of the Universe of His Creative Activity.

Azer: So let me get this straight. The future certainly pre-exists in the organic whole of God's creative life, but it pre-exists as an open possibility, not as a fixed order of events with definite outlines.
Mantessa: Yes. The idea of put, present and future is something relative and is conceived by the inite wind of man. It is however, a great now in the eye of the All-Seeing God. The whole expanse of eternity lies before Him in the shape of now. Knowledge is, therefore, an act of creative activity and not the mere reflection of it. When He decrees a thing it happens and He knows it before it happens. He is a free Creator.

Azer: So the whole idea does not in any way mean helpless abandonment of oneself to otherwise unwelcome fate.
Mantessa: No. It means rather co-operation with God, studying His will and bringing oneself into unison with His Planning Will. Thus, by no stretch of imagination, fatal to the freedom of conduct and unfoldment of one's inherent possibilities; it is a source of inspiration and encouragement and opens up vast fields of human activity. It is not a message of despondency and despair, but a source of solace, comfort and inspiration and a powerful means of evoking a sense of piety and humility and self-surrender to the Will of God. It does not inculcate in mind frustration and pessimism, making his life dark and dreary, devoid of hope and promise for the future, but it teaches him to put his heart and soul in the sublime work as assigned to him by his Master.

Azer: How about the span of life and livelihood. Do these not increase or decrease beyond what is laid down?
Mantessa: God would not do anything earlier before its due time, or He would not delay anything beyond its due time. The death of the chicken is according to the due time. Everything is fixed.

Azer: So what should I do?
Mantessa: Well, before the due time, the best thing to do is to perform good deeds and to ask God about your safety from the torment of Hell-Fire and from the torment of the grave.

Azer: Anything else?
Mantessa: Try to pertain to strength, shedding off weakness, seek help from God and trust in the measures set by God.

Azer: …
Mantessa: …

Azer: Pity the chicken that crossed the road.
Mantessa: Yeah … chicken can’t fly and neither can I!