Between the Deterioration of Structures and Authorities, and the People's Capacity,

Where do we initiate the efforts of reform in our societies?
Abdulrasheed Alfaqih
April 29, 2024

Between the Deterioration of Structures and Authorities, and the People's Capacity,

Where do we initiate the efforts of reform in our societies?
Abdulrasheed Alfaqih
April 29, 2024

There is no doubt that our societies have been trapped in the claws of backwardness throughout the past centuries, and this is almost unanimously accepted among various groups. However, the disagreement, differences, and competition revolve around the nature of the means of reform, the prioritization of its methods, references, mechanisms, as well as the desired goals and objectives to be achieved through it.

The majority of our societies' energies, resources, and opportunities have been consumed for several generations in attempts to achieve the righteous individual, whether from a religious, worldly, or combined perspective.

Regardless of the good intentions and noble purposes that motivated these attempts, in their abundance, multiplicity, and frequency, it is evident today that they have not moved a static object or settled a moving one regarding the challenges of underdevelopment that have plagued and escalated in our societies, without distinction or differentiation between powers, ideologies, or slogans.

After a long accumulation of experiences and disappointments, both individually and collectively, it is time for the efforts of reform, change, and modernization in our societies to focus on structures, frameworks, mechanisms, and means, instead of continuing to rely on the approach of individual reform. The impacts of such reform which were limited to changing and rotating faces, by empowering those whom every influential group imagines to be righteous people. However, the corrupt practices remained unchanged, without the need to delve into the problems of the groups’ perspective on righteousness and eligibility, although they are many. Given their abundance, the clear result of experience is that the flaws and defects of structures, frameworks, mechanisms, systems, authorities, and existing institutions remain traps that devour countless resources, energies, opportunities, dreams, goals, and promises which will continue to be so, even if angels were sent down from heaven to intervene.

To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, it is important to clarify that this impossibility does not imply accepting that backwardness is inherent fate in all stages of our societies, and that it is impossible to escape its clutches and shackles. Besides, it does not mean that retardation and weakness are ingrained in our essence, genes, and nature. Instead, our current reality, with all its defects, is the product of equations, which changes with serious and conscious efforts to modify its elements and structures. In our rich history, there are numerous examples of societies that have successfully overcome their long-standing challenges. These societies have also regained their self-worth and essence through active experiences of resilience and revival. Therefore, there are many valuable lessons, incentives, and inspirations that can quench and stimulate our willpower, visions, and aspirations.

Perhaps one of the common denominators among many societies that have successfully completed their developmental projects is the sincere efforts made to repair the structures, mechanisms, systems, means, regulations, authorities, and public institutions. This served as a way to save these societies a great deal of resources, energy, and opportunities that could have been wasted in attempts to mold and stereotype individuals under the pretext of righteousness. The honest, good, competent, and righteous structures, mechanisms, systems, means, regulations, authorities, and institutions form the framework of a righteous society and the creative foundation for directing, accommodating, and harnessing the energies of individuals with their diversity, differences, and competition.

In today's world, we and our societies, with all their components and currents, are an integral part of it, whether we like it or not. It is impossible for anyone, regardless of their power and influence, to mold millions of people like canned goods, with the same standards, identical content, uniform colors, and similar ideas. Similarly, it is impossible for us to live in a narcissistic bubble that deludes us with exclusivity and innate superiority, closing us off from the natural evolution of life around us, transcending borders, cultures, ethnicities, and ideologies, with all their social, economic, political, cultural, geopolitical, security, technological, and technical dimensions.

However, the situation is different when it comes to working on reforming structures, institutions, mechanisms, systems, authorities, and organizations according to the principles and determinants of governance, good management, integrity, transparency, legality, legitimacy, and righteousness.

The optimal and most guided path for our generation to fulfill its urgent existential responsibility lies in the mission of bridging the immense cultural gap between our societies and the world around us. It is crucial that the majority of our efforts are directed towards building, revitalizing, and modernizing the structures, mechanisms, systems, institutions, and authorities.

For example, when there is traffic congestion or waste accumulation in the streets, the blame should be directed consciously towards the traffic management, waste management, and governing authorities, rather than blaming individuals for not valuing cleanliness or for spending long hours in crowded streets. It is evident, then, that efforts should be directed towards reforming traffic police and waste management, and holding the authorities accountable, instead of making excessive efforts to preach to people about the importance of cleanliness and trying to convince them of its close connection to faith, or urging them to adhere to the virtues of safe driving!

Indeed, from the far east to the west, and from the north to the southernmost regions of the earth, there are no inherently civilized or backward peoples, no inherently superior or inferior individuals, no naturally intelligent or foolish beings, and no inherently righteous or unrighteous humans. Instead, there are modern, efficient, effective, and strong structures, mechanisms, systems, institutions, authorities, and leaderships. There are also corrupt, deteriorating, outdated, damaged, and backward structures, mechanisms, systems, institutions, authorities, and leaderships. In fact, you may find some developed nations and underdeveloped nations, as well as strong and weak countries.

The optimal and guiding path for our generation to fulfill its urgent existential responsibility, which is the task of bridging the enormous civilizational gap between our societies and the world around us, is to direct all our efforts towards building, rehabilitating, and updating the structures, institutions, mechanisms, systems, and authorities, in order to secure modern, competent, safe, and suitable vessels to navigate our societies towards progress, prosperity, stability, and peace.

To summarize the idea discussed, I may draw some lessons from the enlightening discussions I had with the distinguished pilot, Talal Al-Shawish, about aviation, its sciences, and intricate calculations. The process of leading and achieving the desired change and reform can be likened to the process of aviation, which relies on several key elements. The most important among them are having a qualified and professional pilot, a modern aircraft, and an advanced system to control all stages of the flight. These are essential components that leave no room for improvisation or recklessness.

On the other hand, compromising any of these essential elements turns aviation into a suicidal and irresponsible gamble, both costly and foolish. This is also true for the process of change and reform, which requires the same level of scientific arbitration. Accordingly, it is necessary to fulfill all its requirements at every stage, rather than blindly jumping into the unknown and gambling with the lives and futures of millions of people.

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