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Our Global Responsibility: Part 4

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate. As-Salaam-Alaikum

(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Sunday address (WJPC live radio broadcast) at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, IL, Aug. 24, 1980 — Continued from the last three weeks.)

You see people, when we understand the scientific factors in our situation, we can appreciate life better. We can appreciate ourselves more. We can come to a greater sense of motivation in our lives. And this is what has brought people back on the scene after leisure had become an influence to hedonize them.

Let me explain. "Hedonize" has to do with hedonism. The Greek people, as we know, once had a great civilization. Oh. they went to such great heights in the sciences. The Greeks were once a mighty empire. They got culture and science from Africa and around the world, and they brought that knowledge into Greece, where they built for themselves the Earth's greatest empire in their day.

But something happened. They had been workers before, but they created so much material comfort that leisure became a factor in their life.

Since their minds had already feasted to the full on the sciences; since their minds had already dined on the environment, they had grown old and had left that stage of youthful curiosity. They weren't curious anymore, so they were vulnerable. They were open to the influence of their accumulation of wealth, material comforts and ease. So leisure became a factor in their life and leisure made them sissies.

Those who have studied the history of ancient Greece know exactly what we are talking about. Leisure made them sissies — they didn't want to do anything. If they could find a slave, if they could import a slave from Zanzibar to carry the brief case for them, they would import a slave to carry the brief case for them.

If they could import a slave from Iran or China or from some other quarter to carry their pencil, they wouldn't even carry the pencil that they wrote with. They would say, "Ah, servant - bring me my pen." So leisure became a factor in their life. It made them soft tomatoes, and that brought on the ruin of the great Greek empire.

So we know about that; we know how these things operate in life. So let us come back now to the pleasure principle, how the pleasure principle operates in our life.

Dear beloved people, pain and pleasure are the first governors in our lives. I repeat — pain and pleasure are the first governors in our lives.

When the new life is born, it is born out of great travail, great pain, great suffering. The mother in her labor endures great pain, Science says the baby also endures great pain. Science says the pain that that child comes through is unbelievable — the skull of the baby — when his skull is being pulled through the opening of its mother. If we could just understand that pain.

But look how soon that child is showing us its pretty gums. Smiling, not showing us teeth - hasn't even gotten his milk teeth yet. but already he smiles, I've seen infants smiling, showing their pretty gums — and how they have touched my heart so deeply. Now just imagine — he was born in pain, through pain. And the mother delivered him through pain -under recurring pain. So pain teaches us appreciation for freedom from pain, doesn't it?

And isn't this a part of our movement? I would say our movement for the most of its part is a movement from pain, a movement from discomfort. But let us understand this: sometimes we can get so far from the pain, that we lose all sense of the natural role of pain in our lives, and we don't want any more pain.

When they pull a tooth the dentist says, "It's going to pain a little bit."
"I don't want it to pain."
He says, "Well, I have shot you now with three shots, one shot over the normal amount — and you are still feeling pain?"
"Shoot me again!"
"This might affect your mental capacity if I shoot you again."
"Go on and shoot man, shoot — hell, I don't want this pain."

I read a little article that said we reach a point wherein there's a limit, a rational limit — we just can't go on with the influence, we must stop because of rational limits placed on that action. You see? I'm talking about this problem in us called the pleasure principle.

When I was attending a course in social studies, the professor said the object or the purpose of human life is pleasure. I didn't like that at all, because he didn't qualify that statement. To qualify the statement means he gives us the connecting facts, the connecting information that we need to understand the statement he made. He didn't give us the connecting information needed to understand the statement he made. He just left his class with that idea that the purpose of life is pleasure.

And we see that most of the American people must have been taught that in school, because that's the character of their life. That seems to be the whole purpose of their life, just to have a great hell of a bang in the pleasure bed.

Dear beloved people — we have to have the knowledge to see the connection between functions and influences. There is a connection between function and influence.

(To be continued)