Salim-el-azhar Ebrahim: Dialog – the Concept; Excellence; Descartes You Erred; The Art of Thinking


The search for ethical knowledge is enhanced in dialog.

Dialog is itself enhanced many fold when ideas, beliefs, opinions are tested in a
live forum because ideas, beliefs, opinions are measured by the twin elements of
fact and logic.

Facts are materially provable and logic is an intellectual tool.

Through dialog ethics evolve in a society. The more open is dialog, the  more
advanced is that society’s ethics.

With advanced ethics the abstract arts of philosophy, jurisprudence and
mathematics are enhanced. Through these arts a society is better able to
assimilate knowledge of the physical universe. Thus all civilizations are born. And

Knowledge brings power. Power allows domination of the world.

Alas, power also corrupts morally to bring out the vices of tyranny in a society’s
leadership so as to safeguard its status quo. Moral corruption and tyranny curb

And, without dialog a society slides back into the morass of backwardness and



Values divide themselves into two sets: virtues and vices. These two sets collide
within a person and the outcome is “character”. It is one’s character that defines
a person in all their complexity.

What then gives rise to excellence in character? It is the pursuit of perfecting
one’s character. But, perfection has no boundaries, no limits, is infinite.
Therefore, excellence is a many-splendored endeavor!

Excellence is a never ending journey to understand one’s own hazy and even
fearsome areas of the mind: needs, wants, desires, greed, jealousy, anger,
revenge, power, status, pride, arrogance, intolerance, rigidity, tyranny, violence
and battering, cruelty, sadism and masochism, lying, cheating, hypocrisy – and
the rectifying of those parts of the mind in both thought and action.

After that there is the matter of fear. What is fear? How does it come about? How
can it be curbed? Excellence involves the admitting, the acceptance and the
curbing of fear against all odds when siding with the truth in all Truth’s varied
forms. This demands great faith and faith is built on good action.

The way of the samurai (the fidayeen, the jihadi) is death.

Therefore, excellence demands action based on an unshakeable faith as well as
the highest intellect to set into motion a personal exemplariness which cannot but
force a smile upon God’s Visage.



I was an embryo in my mother’s womb long before I acquired the faculties of the

mind. At birth I did not think, I simply was. I felt the sweet love of ‘mother’ in the

soft embrace, the secure arms, the caressing lips, the crooning voice. Thus my

intellect came to understand: motherhood!

Descartes, you err when you say, “I think therefore I am”.

It is: “I am! Therefore, I think”.



Intellect is neither aptitude nor skills. It is the ability to live a good life! But, what
determines a good life in a constantly changing world? Thought!

Thinking is the ability to separate facts from assumptions so as to better
understand, to better opine, to better predict, to better act.

Thinking objectively is the measure of one’s capacity to elevate oneself in life, in
love, in work, in parenting, in leadership, in times good and bad.

To think is to go on journeys exploring the areas of logic, ethics, religion,
language, jurisprudence, politics, science: indeed to all areas of knowledge.

There is but only one pre-requisite to thinking. It is the desire to know the
answers to your own innermost questions.

Date posted: 2009.


For profile of the author and to read his other compositions please click:
Salim-el-azhar Ebrahim: Epigrams I (includes profile)
Salim-el-azhar Ebrahim: The Pragmatist, High in the Hindu Kush and The Samurai

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