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Have you ever tried to reason with someone who has decided to close his mind and leaving everything to fate? Poverty, lack of education and belief in the supernatural and miracle appear to be the general characteristics of such a person. Education is a tool for social and mind mobility and yet it can also tether you if its main focus is on the hereafter.

Certain methods of education are designed to open one’s mind and nurture curiosity and  be  investigative and productive. In such an environment, creativity is encouraged and being innovative is a valuable asset. Discussion and knowledge sharing are promoted and natural science and technology are seen as crucial for development. Implicit in this is, we should not only be technology users but inventors/producers as well.

The Setting Sun –
Our Earth’s Clock

If you look at countries which seem to emphasise on cultural beliefs and practices, you can see that whether they are super wealthy like Saudi Arabia or dirt poor like Bangladesh, they are backward. Science and technology in these countries especially the former are treated with caution and perhaps even disdain. To such people things exist by the grace of God though there is a saying that God will not help those unless they help themselves. Why can’t such people emphasise on helping themselves? In Middle East countries, they use petro-dollar to buy technologies and foreign labour to do the hard and dirty work. As long as the earth keep on spewing the black gold, they are fine and they can continue to close their mind on many areas such as female emancipation.

When the mind is closed it would have to take a special program of reverse indoctrination to open it and that is no easy matter. We have heard of re-education camps set up during the Mao Zedong’s early communist cultural revolutionary era and those in Cambodia following the Khmer Rouge’s victory. They can be considered as attempts to “open up” closed mind at disastrous human cost. Brutal and inhumane are words that come to mind.

There is very little one can do when the mind is closed. Such a person tend to be fatalistic and he would look at those who try to reason things out as not submitting to the will of God. When a number of people choose to be like this, is not that frightening but when a whole society becomes closed-minded, then prepare to be slaves to blissful ignorance.

Our Planet Earth

There is nothing wrong believing in God. In fact the belief will serve to provide a spiritual balance in life. What is wrong is totally closing one’s mind to the wonders of God’s creations and the secrets to be discovered like radio waves, wireless technology, GPRS and many more discoveries which are now taken for granted. Had those people, scientists, inventors, discoverers closed their mind and ascribed everything to God we would not be in this advanced global village like now.

People will stop looking for answers, solutions and cures of diseases if the circumstances or cases requiring them are taken as fated. No need to find cure for HIV/AIDS as they are God’s wrath against decadent humanity. Too bad those who contracted the dreadful diseases. Just wait to die. And yet almost 30 years later, relief and potential cure for HIV/AIDS are being discovered through relentless research by people with an open mind.

It is frequently quoted by people of a certain faith that their prophet had said that “every disease has a cure” but instead of actively looking for the cure, the very people are not exactly science-friendly. Of course when other people have found the cure, they will use it without batting an eyelid. People of this faith, many of them subscribe to fatalism, the supernatural and miracle. Their mind is closed to logical thinking. They believe things like on a certain night in a certain month, God will give them all the wealth or luck in the world if they look for it without so much of an effort! I suppose when one is desperate and poor, one would like to believe this kind of things as a hope against despair. Just imagine the thought of a hungry,thirsty, tired, travel-weary and dying Bedouin in a hot and vast desert with no oasis nearby, he will dream of nothing but a miracle and exit this world happily.

Spiral Galaxy- celestial image by NASA

The concept of “fated” here refers to the probability of an event occurring as one that is 100% certainty. Yet we know that only things like death, the sun rising from the east and that pig cannot fly has that kind of probability. Everything in between has less- than -one probability. Tell that to someone with a closed mind, you will only end up with heightened stress level.

I pray ( or if I hope.. to whom??) that my mind will not be closed to 95% of things in this world. So help me God.

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