Print

The Generations of Hope - I

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in The Statue of Our Souls

User Rating:  / 12
PoorBest 

The generations of hope, which are, with respect to the present, the representatives of science, knowledge, faith, morality, and art, are also the architects of the spirits of the people who will succeed us. They will pour out to the needy hearts the purest inspirations of their hearts, which are nourished in the higher realms and they will bring forth the newest formations in all sections of society. The inauspiciousness and waste, the insanity, obsessions, and delirium of successive generations in our near past occurred, to a great extent, because they had not met such a generation of hope.

Within the last few centuries in our history, we have experienced total failure after failure, even in places where we should have succeeded, and have lost mostly in the arenas where we should have won and been victorious. At this time, we treated one another like wolves, and left an inheritance of grudge, hatred, and political greed and ambition to those who came after us; those who were in politics and those who supported them considered every means and action as legitimate and permissible if it were to gain them position for their own team or party; they devised and entered into complex intrigues and deluded themselves that by overthrowing the dominant group and changing the party in power they would change everything and the country would be saved. Neither those in power nor those in the opposition ever understood that it was only possible to reach their stated targets through a performance of revolutionary-like actions directed by thought, knowledge, faith, morality, and virtue. That is why they saw the desired "change" and "transformation" in empty, formal, and meaningless alterations on the exterior only, and in what might have been a huge historical restoration and reformation they became entangled in paints, colors, whitewash, and mere cosmetic changes. Moreover, some, being alienated from our true national values, sold out the ideal of patriotism to Satan in exchange for insignificant things, just like the naïve Faust; and according to the requirements of time and conditions, and some passing interests and gains, they subjected themselves to the madness of being one type of nation on one day and another on another day, yet in fact not being so, but only appearing as if so. They either breathed Turanism once, or mumbled the farmer-peasant nation once, or talked about aristocracy somewhat pretentiously once, or attempted to say democracy once, or winked at communism once, but they never saved themselves from drifting here or there. Particularly with the mixed appetite of our intelligentsia, an appetite that has no scale or criteria, a fancy and fantasy of France at one time, a liking and admiration of England at another, a passion for Germany next, then a love and zeal for America, or some other such country, became the drive behind our interpretation of life and the ports from which we were to sail forth into the future.

In contrast to this, the sense of nationality and religion, which is the common ideal of our people, should be based on a foundation. The foundation should be above all sorts of fantasies, it should exceed the truth of individual spirits, and it should be of a strong faith, of established thought, of sound morality and of virtue that is acknowledged and owned by all souls. It should be stronger than the strongest of all foundations. This is a moral movement, which each and every day leads in the same direction, which is on the course of its own richness of spirituality and understanding of reality, which is open to all kinds of change and new attempts, which revolves around God's pleasure, which is completely immune to considerations of interest and profit, and which will promise the desired salvation to the future generations. Otherwise, while our intellectual world goes down such a twisted path, while our hearts hold a faith that has not yet acquired certainty (yaqin), and while they are in utter confusion and disorder, while our minds see so many diverse methods and concepts that have multiple views of civilization, it seems impossible for us to claim the ownership of a spirit and essence—the real property of our nation—to take it under our protection, and to pass it safely to the future generations like a trustworthy keeper.

Many have witnessed and know quite well our near past, the critical periods in which we lost the values that belonged to us. We thought a great deal of producing a new style and philosophy of life for ourselves by combining so many diverse understandings and interpretations, so distant from one another, and so many thoughts that contradict one another. Alas! We have wasted so many lives and are still consoling ourselves with the delusion that we are producing something. As we have not been able to do this so far, it would be impossible for us to do it from now on if we carry on in the same way. For without embracing the roots of spirituality and meaning of our own lives, it will not be possible to reach a new synthesis in thought and a fresh style in expressing ourselves. During this period, far from reaching a new synthesis and style, we have experienced a continuous nausea because of the split in our understanding and feelings and the effects of fluctuating contradictions in our soul. Of course, all the opportunities we received from time to time and the potential strengths and powers we had were completely wasted, lost, and came to naught.

Although it may have seemed that we accomplished some things in the last few centuries, we have not been able to present convincing or admirable work in terms of our own faith, our way of thinking, morality, culture, art, economics, or in our way of administration. Even though there have been some achievements in this period, they proved to be nothing more than "fantasy" or "superficial" things initiated to arouse the desires of youth. These achievements went no further than a couple of dozen insignificant wishes and desires when compared to our real needs, such as the interpretation of the age, an evaluation and appreciation of knowledge and science, a comprehension of the spirit of concord and alliance (wifaq and ittifaq), and resolving and overcoming the needs and wants which have bent us double for a long time. Our salvation from such narrow views and meager thoughts which enslave our senses and hold us prisoner can only be realized by the heroes of understanding, insight, and God-consciousness, who are conscious of and realize the age we live in, who are lovers of the truth, who are inspired by a longing for knowledge, who are bent under the burden of the true difficulties and troubles of today and of those anticipated in the future, whose acts are the reflection of their inner life and words, whose promises are the breaths of their heart, of people who are able to see beyond the horizon, who feel pain in the actual undesired state and dim future of people, who suffer in order to lift and raise generations to higher levels and shed tears for them like Job, who share the present and future pains and distress of the generation, and who appreciate their happiness and pleasures as the work and gifts of God, becoming ever more thankful for these and being elevated with that thankfulness. These heroes of God-consciousness will take their strength and inspiration from our life and centuries of colorful history, they will breathe into us the spirit of being a nation true and purer than the purest, they will thus enthuse our youth with faith, hope, and ideals of action, and will produce new canals and watercourses in the pool of our national ideals which has been stagnant and inactive in the fatal dam of a long and terrible extinction.

And then we, as the nation, will run to the place of worship where we lost in our hearts through such canals and courses, will shed tears of reunion; by returning to our homes which are as warm as the corners of Paradise, we will meet the reflections of the Paradise we lost long ago; by rediscovering our own schools whose pillars are the search for truth and the love of knowledge, we will meet and be re-introduced to creation through the outlets of schools which are open to the universe; by loving all human beings we will learn how to share everything; by living through more agitation for others we will embrace everybody on the diamond hills of our hearts; by observing and looking into the creation we will be enthused by the sense of art, and in our relations with people we will think with deep inner concerns and sighs, drenched in tears and wrenched by palpitations, and thus express ourselves.