Stephen Hawking lists rise of artificial intelligence as one of the threats to human species because once robots reach a stage of independent evolution, their conscious goals and desires may be unpredictably different from ours. However, with the rising beast-like behavior in the form of insane cruelty towards humans and animals alike, by humans themselves, it appears that we won’t have to wait a millennium to witness a catastrophic decline in human civilization as an evolved species. We might as well turn time and go back the good ol’ ape ways.
Incidents of terrorism can be discussed in the wake of recent attacks in Baghdad, Dhaka, Turkey, Medina and many other states which came under fire from terrorist groups or even home-grown militant outfits. As I am coerced into taking off my glass of optimism and say that this was an act by misguided religious fanatics, I do believe that these events have a colour. And it is Red.
I see Red each time I read such incidents and worry for the sake of all those affected. I see myself in the 19 year old girl who lost her life to the colour of religion. Or in fact, to the colour of human decline. We have been degraded to a state of no self conscience; where a verse from a religious text is the tight rope on which the condemned walk; which decides the value of one life over another. If they are fighting in the name of some deity, do they believe that human creation is an act of the divine and the value of human life must not be the prerogative of certain individuals whose religion supposedly surpasses ours in value? I don’t condemn Islam. No religion is at fault. No text teaches brutality but these acts are committed by brainwashed groups of psychopaths. Nobel Prize winning Physicist and atheist Stephen Weinberg said: “for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” It is ironical that I cite a quote that speaks in opposition to my belief but I do it because that is the most easily assumed reason behind any act of mass violence.
It has come to light that some of the attackers were educated elites, one even being the son of a politician. While extremist ideologies of a secular nature can be regarded as one of the primary causes of terrorism, political factors are not far behind. Under the garb of religion, many turn to such extreme measures due to political or even personal reasons.
I kept my nose close to newspaper articles and comments made by individuals on this matter. One comments criticized the events, clearly lamenting the degeneration of Muslim ideology, asking what kind of Muslims would kill Muslims and others in the holy season of Ramadan. I almost laughed. Is this what all our education and calls of secularism come to? It is despicable on the part of a person to question the actions of member of a community, expressing concern over the time of the year. Will you have taken the pain with a grain of salt had it happened, say, around September maybe? This is precisely the reason I don’t question religion. Religion is only a garb for a polished external existence, while internal hatred spews such measures under personal misguided fanaticism.
It is however true that certain factions have misinterpreted sections of a holy text and thus unleashed a volley of social destruction and hatred. It is a matter of great concern that humans have been reduced to mindless machines that are out to kill their own kind. Is the cost of human evolution so diminutive that it flows in the streets unhindered?
Complexities of the causes of terrorism are widely known and accepted. But no cause can change the face of the result. It is besmirched with Red. No homage can bring back the dead. The only acceptable compensation would be to unearth the root of this evil, unmask the face that hides behind religion or any other origin, and fight it from ground up.