Our youth should stop assuming that since quitting addiction is difficult therefore resisting and fighting is useless
Mugees Ul Kaisar
Jihad-al-akbar or ‘Greater Jihad’ is Jihad/Struggle against the erratic stubborn self. Needless to say how important & relevant it is in our times. The world of abnormally low concentration span (alluding to shallowness of thought) and radically volatile selves (Quranic parable of dog throwing its mouth on everything around) quite properly sums up our present day mentality and spiritual decadence.
The first and foremost thing that our youth need to internalize is that this life is a struggle. Man is created in “kabad” (hardship) as Quran says. Our life on earth is not a mere picnic but rather a result of the “fall” from our ideal state. Willy-nilly we are aspirants of a strenuous return journey of soul making/“tazkiyah”. Having properly internalized this, our youth should stop assuming that since quitting addiction is difficult therefore resisting and fighting is useless. Nothing comes easy in life. Our lives are stories of different struggles. One always struggles for one cause or another. Failures are not anomalies in human journey but rather it is success despite intermittent failures that entails human greatness. Why should the youth become complicit in life’s one aspect when they work hard for their careers despite all odds? Should they stop studying/working just because it can be hard?
The first step therefore is to accept the problem and stop searching for lazy copout shortcuts or recede into escapism. There are no shortcuts to anything in life. Nothing comes easy or free of cost. Nothing is achieved without struggle. Accept the problem and prepare to strive and struggle rather than searching for magical short cuts or hiding in escapism. This struggle primarily entails disciplining the life. On the physical plane it amounts to tying oneself to specific life goals that need planned effort and dedication which are antagonistic to all forms of addictions. On the spiritual plane it means associating oneself with the religious tradition. The daily fixed practices of worship rejuvenate the soul from time to time creating a discipline along with providing an all important anchor in this chaotic frenzy world.
In pornographic consumption one loses his essence. Letting out creative energy just for the sake of immediate gratification kills productivity and long term growth potential. Great productive habits, quality time, life enriching relationships, creative thoughts, life changing growth trajectory; are all inversely proportional to porn (& other drug) consumption.
We will not be enumerating all the devastating soul ripping destructive consequences that Porn brings about simply because our youth are largely well aware about them. What is needed is the inculcation of the conscious attitude of willful struggle. But having said that we need to briefly touch upon an aspect of porn addiction that is destroying lives. There is plenty of evidence which clearly equates porn addiction with other forms of regular drug addictions causing rewiring of the brain. It changes the way people think and the way they operate in social settings. The virtual reality deforms their vision of the real causing them to think/assume abnormally and behave abnormally leading to destroyed relationships with families & others not to speak of the devastating sexual crimes which have rotten the society from within.
The first effect of these hidden private addictions is the lack of confidence in public life. Man is sliced up by his hypocrisy due to which he fails to properly assert himself before others as his “hidden” self constantly haunts his present “public” self. Failing to be one man inside out leads to abnormal behavior as there is lack of any fixity of character. Man who knows that he has cheated with himself in the private, flutters in his speech and sheds weakness, shame and guilt through his eyes. He is never “in the moment” and thus fails to “participate” in life fully & properly.
This has serious implications. This means that one is already dead before coming out in the world. This is plain murder of infinite potential. Such a person fails to assert himself in public which is the only way to explore inner potential. All actions generated by hypocritical self, fail to create any serious significant impact because the actions lack resonance from within. They are by definition shallow and thus fizzle out without creating any genuine meaningful impact.
Our youth need to own up to the struggle and fight these life destroying addictions. They need to identify their hypocrisies, deteriorating health problems and ruined relationships. Our youth need to wake up to the crises and see the seriousness of life. They need to take note of the hellish consequences that their actions have produced in their lives. People get away with nothing as they would usually like to assume. Every action necessarily produces its consequence.
What has happened in our age is that the life apparatus of man has faced serious malnourishment. He is unable to enjoy what he calls “ordinary” things. Nothing excites him except abnormally amplified beastly satiation. This is a disease. Modern industries have exploited this tendency; his sexuality is abnormalized by pornography & his food now is literally “junk” only because it is more colorful and enticing than “real” food which looks “ordinary” to him.
All sages and wisdom traditions have taught people to live life like a child/infant who is receptive to reality and thus enjoys/reacts/participates in life all the time rather than in select few acts or times. What our youth need to do is therefore expand their horizons of conscious sensibility and liberate themselves of the tyrannical forms of enjoyments that have rendered them helpless. They need to increase their contact with reality in general & not just one physical organ or specific firing in the brain. This perspective does not take away the enjoyment of life but only places it at its proper place under larger general perspective that saves people from trauma, helplessness and desperation. To conclude we must say that Pornography (& other addictions) are nothing but fleet from general life enjoyment; receding into the darkness of abnormalities and aberrations which churn out abnormal personalities who then fail to function properly in life.
(Author is Student of Philosophy, Religious Studies and Metaphysics)