To “Prevent” or Not to “Prevent” – that is the Question!

Source: To “Prevent” or Not to “Prevent” – that is the Question!



Many times we make resolutions to change something like a career or education or training and or add something to our daily schedule, or to make healthier choices about what we eat. Or we aim to do more, or we promise that this time around that we will leave our work we do not love anymore. Or move overseas… etc etc.
So the next day as we are opening our eyes routine chains us to our habits and we become comfortable with that same old routine.
It seems easier to stick with our old ways, and we have a host of excuses to do that.


Changes we want to make in life seem a great idea. But when we go into a bit more, and learn what it takes to achieve those changes – we leave it to the next minute, hour, day or our best friend listens to what we want to do, then quips: “I tried to do that but didn’t do it because…. (Excuses galore) and what happens to feel comfortable with your friends level we also then start making excuses within to remain ‘comfortable’.
And that dangerous voice within starts to speak to back up your ‘comfort’: What you want to do is crazy. Impossible. You cannot. You have a family. You do not have what it takes – it will never work.
We start to doubt, and soon we thought maybe we thought the change was not a good idea after all. Statements such as “It’s too hard” or “I cannot do it” are our reasons, to help us out of our doubts for inaction and ‘comfort’.

There are many things we can be afraid of when those changes are needed but we can’t move as our comfort lies in what we know and believe and most of what we know and believe are just that – belief and knowledge can be wrong we are suppose to be thinking reasoning species who are evolving our understanding and honouring ourselves as human beings by courageously moving forward and tackling that what we are afraid of.
We let fear take charge – that fear comforts and excuses our inaction. It gives us comfort in case that we may fail, rejected, make mistakes. Some even we fear that we will succeed – and we have to deal with others jealousy or envy.

Why do we want to do something? Are we ready for it? Preparation is a key step to make changes we say we want to factor in. It is both inside and out: we need to accept that we need to make changes. We need to feel that we have researched and reflected on why we want to change.
Sometimes, we may need a little to push us to the edge to get us to go ahead with our change.

Life is full of carrots and sticks. Pleasure and pain.
The prospect of rewards when you have successfully completed your change – greater health and wellbeing, more joy at work, a better life?
Or fear the negative consequences if no change – gain weight and develop illnesses, stress at work and die with regret?

Many of us have ideas, plans – some good and some well – creative let’s say. But why not just face it and do it. Get that idea/plan out share it with a select group of positive friends (or maybe not) but do something to put into action what you know or feel. Yes you will have obstacles and resistance in your way but don’t we all? And don’t we have that anyway?

You may succeed? You may not? Either is fine as long as you have tried. This is what life is about – moving forward and overcoming that which makes us fearful.

Hope you found this little write up interesting – let me know what you think and I will write more or not – actually I don’t really care – no offence 🙂

After West Midlands – Will Labour fail in the General Election 2017?

West Midlands Labour Gurus have quickly hung their failures around Jeremy Corbyns neck as they’re annoyed that Corbyn did not enhance the cause of their candidate Sion Simon, who stood as Labour candidate in the West Midlands mayoral elections, even though Sion Simon disowned his own party leader

The fault lies NOT with Corbyn but rather with the Labour Party candidate, and the selection system that’s so out of touch with the voter, it has failed to produce true representation especially here in the West Midlands.

Two years of Jeremy Corbyn does not explain Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, when he led the Labour Party to failure at the last General Election, and the one before in 2010 with Gordon Brown at the helm!


Here in the West Midlands Labour has been run as a chiefdom; Roy Hattersley MP (who even admitted he took the local voters for granted through the biraderi mafia) followed by John Speller and then Tom Watson, have a complete grip on the section process and that’s one of the reasons Labour haven’t produced a suitable mayoral candidate, nor quality candidates for Parliament. Ordinary Labour Party voters and members have little if any voice, and even less reason to campaign for the party.

Quality activists are the foundation of any successful political party, but in Labour they are disconnected and devalued. The machine that was the once great Labour Party has its gears failing; not because of the driver but because of those who should be helping maintain this machine.

Sion Simons political slogan ‘Taking Back Control‘ is borrowed from UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party).  UKIP used this slogan and it resonated with the public as it was perceived that the EU was a dominating power that needed to be dealt with. Why did Labour take this slogan on?

Projecting London as dominating over Birmingham and the Midlands when British voters needed to see unity after #Brexit, was a negative move on the part of the prospective Labour candidate for Mayor and those who advised him.

The voter basically wants to see how much those who wish to lead ‘care’. By not offering to care and show the voter how in touch they are with the issues that concern them, and through showing how they will improve their life, certainly did not excite the voter. If anything, when the Labour candidate put forward the proposal of discounted bus tickets as one of his policies, this was seen as a cheap bribe. Voters see through gimmicks.

Then there was the ‘divide and rule’ type move, trying to pit Muslim and Sikh Labour Party members against each other, when Simon is said to have commented, ‘we have less representation from Sikhs in the area’ even though he had a lot of Muslim and Sikh people in his campaign working for him.

This is worthy of the old British Indian Raj divide and rule politics. Those of us whose parents are from South Asia, regardless our religion, don’t like being manipulated like this and see through these games. Tom Watson as the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party let this and other issues with their candidate go unquestioned.

If Labour was serious about ethnic minorities, they would have reached out far more effectively, inclusively, and widely. The candidate was not seen meeting the people, only pre-planned photoshoots were arranged and uploaded on Facebook and Twitter, to make the voters think as though the mayoral candidate is connecting.

Ethnic minorities which Labour has been fond of giving the impression they are the champion of, increasingly are seeing through being used as voting fodder.

Any effective and democratic political party should have candidates who are in touch with the people, rather than professional politicians who are seen as just wanting a job; receiving a fat paycheck and looked on as leaders in name only.

Didn’t Sion Simon mention only two years ago, that voters don’t want a mayor who is not intellectual first, but a politician? Recall his YouTube rant ‘Call Me Dave’ video, and you would get an idea of the image voters had of the prospective Labour mayor.

As I mentioned before the problem is not with Jeremy Corbyn, the problem lies with Labour bureaucracy which thrusts unqualified and out of touch candidates, in what the hierarchy consider ‘safe seats’. Voters don’t want imposed puppet candidates, but effective and in touch individuals who show the face of a caring and connecting party and leadership.

The bureaucracy of the Labour Party is not that fond of its party leader Jeremy Corbyn either… Maybe there is jealousy of Corbyn increasing Labour party membership from near 200,000 to near 600,000? Or perhaps Corbyn doesn’t like forcing candidates on the voters?.

When you undermine your own leader and place your own interests before that of your nation or party, you show your disloyalty not just to the party, but also to the voter.

It’s time for the stale out of touch hierarchy and their sycophantic bullyboys, such as the baradari mafias, to move aside and let more activists move forward through to leadership at local and national levels.

Let those advance who are not concerned about wanting power for power’s sake, but rather for empowering others to move forward.

The Question Should Be Asked: Will Labour Win General Election 2017? … Unlikely!

The Gears Are Out Of Sync.624.jpg

7 ways to make your assignment different from others


Nowadays, for obtaining high grades in your academics, you have to make assignment which is unique and non-identical from others. Solitary the largest change scholars have to make from high school to college is grasping how to draft college assignment that stands out.

The assignment is same for all scholars, so it becomes hard to gain above average. Here are certain points which will tell you the significance of writing the same content in a similar way that makes your assignment more scoring and helps you to make your assignment different from others

Here are some useful tips that can aid you high-quality assignment writing services and also assist you to stand out from others.

  • An impressive cover page: -A good cover page will always attract the attention of the readers and through this, they will read further, so try to make your cover page more attractive and impressive. You can employ your own concepts and creativity but not in excess, keep it simple and readable format .overuse of drawing skills is not a better option and if you want that reader will read further then keep your cover page simple and clear.
  • Organised index page: – A systematic index page makes it simple for the reader to flip through the topics. As a student, it also converses of the discipline in your academics.
  • Be clear and concise: while writing college assignment, make assure that you are using the correct word and also take care of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Always avoid obsolete and invented words. To write briefly, escape unnecessary repetition and redundancy.
  • keep paragraph short: -while writing any assignment always keep the paragraph short and precise because if you write long one then reader will easily get bored and never read further .so to attracts the readers always keep the paragraph short and clear.
  • Highlighting: -generally, highlighting word and phrases are the finest way to gain the attention of the reader. Whenever we read any kind of articlePsychology Articles, we get attracted to the highlighted words to write more perfect. So keep highlighting the important term and clauses.
  • Suitable conclusion: – Last but not the least is the closure of your assignment. A convincing conclusion makes an eternal apprehension on the reader. This includes:.
  1. Skim the selective point briefly
  2. Explain the final message to the reader by elaborating the overall discussion

The Founding Fathers v. The Climate Change Skeptics

When claims from Europe accused British America of being inferior on account of its colder weather, Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Founding Fathers responded with patriotic zeal that their settlement was actually causing the climate to warm. Raphael Calel explores how, in contrast to today’s common association of the U.S. with climate change skepticism, it was a very different story in the 18th century.

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale (1805)
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale (1805). Note the furs – Source.

The United States has in recent years become a stronghold for climate change skepticism, especially since the country’s declaration in 2001 that it would not participate in the Kyoto Protocol. Nevertheless, though it is a well-documented fact, it might surprise you to learn that, a far cry from the United States’ recent ambivalence with respect to the modern scientific theory of man-made climate change, the country’s founders were keen observers of climatic trends and might even be counted among the first climate change advocates.

From the start, the project to colonize North America had proceeded on the understanding that climate followed latitude; so dependent was climate on the angle of the sun to the earth’s surface, it was believed, that the word ‘climate’ was defined in terms of parallels of latitude. New England was expected to be as mild as England, and Virginia as hot as Italy and Spain. Surprised by harsh conditions in the New World, however, a great number of the early settlers did not outlast their first winter in the colonies. Many of the survivors returned to Europe, and in fact, the majority of 17th-century colonies in North America were abandoned.

Jamestown in snow
Jamestown colonists endured a severe winter in 1607-1608, black and white copy of a painting by Sidney King for the Colonial National Historical Park – Source.

A view formed in Europe that the New World was inferior to the Old. In particular, medical lore still held that climate lay behind the characteristic balance of the Hippocratic humors – it explained why Spaniards were temperamental and Englishmen reserved – and it was believed that the climate of the colonies caused physical and mental degeneration. Swedish explorer Pehr Kalm, who had travelled to North America on a mission from Carl Linnaeus, observed in his travel diary that the climate of the New World caused life – plants and animals, including humans – to possess less stamina, stature, and longevity than in Europe. The respected French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, explained in his encyclopaedia of natural history that “all animals of the New World were much smaller than those of the Old. This great diminution in size, whatever maybe the cause, is a primary kind of degeneration.” He speculated that the difference in climate might be the cause:

It may not be impossible, then, without inverting the order of nature, that all the animals of the new world originated from the same stock as those of the old; that having been afterwards separated by immense seas or impassable lands, they, in course of time, underwent all the effects of a climate which was new to them, and which must also have had its qualities changed by the very causes which produced its separation; and that they, in consequence, became not only inferior in size, but different in nature.

Dutch philosopher Cornelius de Pauw believed that “The Europeans who pass into America degenerate, as do the animals; a proof that the climate is unfavorable to the improvement of either man or animal.” Scientific and artistic genius, according to a prominent theory put forth by the French intellectual Jean-Baptiste Dubos, only flourished in suitable climates – climate accounted for the marvels of Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Italian Renaissance, and, thanks to rising temperatures on the European continent that Dubos thought he observed, the Enlightenment. French writer Guillaume Raynal agreed, and made a point of saying that “America has not yet produced one good poet, one able mathematician, one man of genius in a single art or a single science.”

Cornelius de Pauw’s Researches Philosophiques sur les Américains
In this edition of Cornelius de Pauw’s Researches Philosophiques sur les Américains, the usual ornamentation preceding the chapter on the American climate is sardonically replaced with this apparently frozen landscape – Source.

In the New World, refuting such theories became a matter of patriotism. In the rousing conclusion to one of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton wrote:

Men admired as profound philosophers have, in direct terms, attributed to her inhabitants a physical superiority, and have gravely asserted that all animals, and with them the human species, degenerate in America–that even dogs cease to bark after having breathed awhile in our atmosphere. Facts have too long supported these arrogant pretensions of the Europeans. It belongs to us to vindicate the honor of the human race, and to teach that assuming brother, moderation. Union will enable us to do it. Disunion will will add another victim to his triumphs. Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness!

Building on the theories of John Evelyn, John Woodward, Jean-Baptiste Dubos, and David Hume – who all believed that the clearing and cultivation of land in Europe accounted for the temperate climate that had enabled the Enlightenment – the colonists set about arguing that their settlement was causing a gradual increase in temperatures and improvement of the flora and fauna of North America.

Hugh Williamson, American politician and a signatory of the Constitutional Convention, believed that “within the last forty or fifty years there has been a very great observable change of climate, that our winters are not so intensely cold, nor our summers so disagreeably warm as they have been,” a fact he attributed to the clearing of forests. “The change of climate which has taken place in North America, has been a matter of constant observation and experience,” wrote Harvard professor Samuel Williams. Benjamin Franklin wrote of the “common Opinion, that the Winters in America are grown milder.” Measurements were as yet inadequate to the task of proving this, he said, but he found the proposed mechanism (i.e. clearing and cultivation) sufficiently persuasive that, even if the winters were not milder already, he could not “but think that in time they may be so.” Benjamin Rush, physician and signatory of the Declaration of Independence, speculated that, if cultivation kept pace with clearing of new lands, climate change might even reduce the incidence of fevers and disease.

Thomas Jefferson was especially eager to rebut Buffon and the proponents of the theory of climatic degeneracy. He expended substantial efforts to this effect in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), with page after page of animal measurements showing that the American animals were not inferior to their European counterparts. He also had help from James Madison, who shared his own measurements with Jefferson, urging him to use them in his arguments against Buffon.

jefferson notes on virginia
Thomas Jefferson compared the weight of European and American animals, in order to disprove Buffon’s claims that the animals of the New World were smaller degenerate forms of their Old World counterparts. Notice that he includes the Mammoth at the top of his list. – Source.

Their impassioned advocacy would occasionally lead them astray, though. Samuel Williams claimed that winter temperatures in Boston and eastern Massachusetts had risen by 10-12˚F in the previous century and a half, a climatic transformation too rapid to be believed perhaps. Jefferson, convinced that the American climate could sustain large animals too, insisted to a friend that “The Indians of America say [the Mammoth] still exists very far North in our continent.” Anxious to disprove claims of degeneracy, he wrote a letter to the American Philosophical Society in which he openly speculated that elephants, lions, giant ground sloths, and mammoths still lived in the interior of the continent. Later, believing he was on the verge of proving the skeptical Europeans wrong, he wrote a letter to the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède boasting that “we are now actually sending off a small party to explore the Missouri to it’s source,” referring to Lewis’ and Clark’s expedition. “It is not improbable that this voyage of discovery will procure us further information of the Mammoth, & of the Megatherium,” Jefferson continued, concluding “that there are symptoms of [the Megalonyx’s] late and present existence.”

The Founders did not settle for mere advocacy, though. Keen to present as strong a case for climate change as possible, and moderated by their scientific temperament perhaps, they wanted more and better evidence. To decide the issue of lions and mammoths, Jefferson instructed Lewis and Clark to pay special attention to “the animals of the country generally, & especially those not known in the U.S. the remains and accounts of any which may [be] deemed rare or extinct.” Although they didn’t find mammoths, they discovered many animals and plants previously unknown to science.

On the question of whether the winters were getting milder, Franklin wrote to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale University, encouraging him to make “a regular and steady Course of Observations on a Number of Winters in the different Parts of the Country you mention, to obtain full Satisfaction on the Point.” Madison made regular observations at his estate, which he assiduously entered into his meteorological journals. Jefferson, too, kept meticulous records, and encouraged his friends and colleagues to submit their measurements to the American Philosophical Society, “and the work should be repeated once or twice in a century, to show the effect of clearing and culture towards the changes of climate.” Jefferson himself made significant contributions to the development of modern meteorology. In 1778, for instance, Jefferson and the Reverend James Madison, president of The College of William & Mary and cousin of the fourth President of the United States, made the first simultaneous meteorological measurements. Jefferson promoted methodological standardization and expansion of geographical coverage, and was an early proponent of establishing a national meteorological service.

jefferson weather record
Detail from a page of Thomas Jefferson’s “Weather Record (1776-1818)”, in which he meticulously and somewhat obsessively notes down the temperature on everyday of the year. In this detail, from the year 1777, we see evidence of a particularly cold spring in Virginia, with frost on the ground as late as early April – Source.

One need hardly belabor the point that the early climate change advocates were wrong. Modern climate reconstructions show there was a brief warming period in New England during the late 1700s, but Jefferson’s and Williams’ measurements predate any actual man-made climate change. Their theories were pre-scientific in the specific sense that they predate a scientific understanding of the greenhouse effect. It is true that the French scientist Edme Mariotte had, as early as 1681, noticed the greenhouse effect, but it was not until the 1760s and 1770s that the first systematic measurements were made, and it would still be another century before anyone imagined that human activities might influence atmospheric composition to such an extent that the climate might be modified by this mechanism. Their pre-scientific theories also led them to believe that a changing climate would necessarily be beneficial, whereas today we are much more aware of the dangers of climate change.

Yet one should not belittle the efforts of these early climate change advocates. Fighting back against the European ‘degeneracy theory’ was necessitated by pride as much as a concern that these ideas might negatively affect immigration and trade from Europe. Their search for evidence, moreover, resulted in substantial contributions to zoology, and was instrumental to the foundation of modern meteorology and climatology. One might speculate, even, that a belief in degeneracy contributed to England’s refusal to afford its North American colonial subjects representation in parliament, and so helped spark the American revolution. In this case, one might construe the Founders’ climate change advocacy partly as an attempt to facilitate a peaceful resolution of their grievances with the Crown. Indeed, so politically important was their advocacy efforts thought at the time that Senator Sam Mitchell of New York, in his eulogy at Thomas Jefferson’s funeral, raised them to the same level as the American revolution itself.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by his close friend, soldier and part-time painter, Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817). Jefferson’s turn to the hot-coloured break in the clouds perhaps not entirely devoid of symbolism – Source.

It is an interesting historical footnote that, during a visit to London, Benjamin Franklin met and became friends with Horace Benedict de Saussure, the Swiss scientist credited with the first systematic measurements of the greenhouse effect. Franklin exchanged letters with Saussure, and encouraged his experiments on electricity. So impressed by Saussure’s work was Jefferson that he would later write to George Washington to suggest recruiting Saussure to a professorship at the University of Virginia, which was then under construction.

Far from a stronghold of climate change skepticism, as the United States is sometimes seen today, the country’s founders were vocal proponents of early theories of man-made climate change. They wrote extensively in favor of the theory that settlement was improving the continent’s climate, and their efforts helped to lay the foundation of modern meteorology. Much of the climate change skepticism of the day, on the other hand, was based on the second- and third-hand accounts of travelers, and the skeptics rarely made efforts to further develop the science. In addition, one cannot ignore its political convenience for many in Europe; for instance, Cornelius de Pauw was even hired by the King of Prussia to discourage Prussian citizens from emigrating or investing their capital in the New World.

Even if the parallels between the past and present are too obvious to spell out, they can be of some use to us today. While modern climate change advocates and skeptics have become experts at pointing to each other’s errors, we are usually the last to notice our own faults. An episode in our history that bears such strong resemblance to our present provides a rare opportunity to examine ourselves as if through the eyes of another. Today’s climate change advocates may recognize in themselves some of the overzealousness of the Founding Fathers, and therefore better guard against potential fallacies. Skeptics may recognize in themselves the often anti-scientific spirit of the degeneracy-theorists, and hopefully make greater efforts to engage constructively in the scientific enterprise today. One can hope, at least.

Dr. Raphael Calel is a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, and a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics. His research has looked at the history of climate change politics, the effects of current policies, and how climate forecasts can be used to inform future action. More information and links to his other writings are available from his personal website.

Links To Works

  • Buffon’s Natural history, containing a theory of the earth, a general history of man, of the brute creation, and of vegetables, minerals, &c. &c(1797), by Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.
  • A general history of the Americans, of their customs, manners, and colours: an history of the Patagonians, of the Blafards, and white negroes : history of Peru : an history of the manners, customs, &c. of the Chinese and Egyptions (1806), by Cornelius de Pauw.
  • Notes on the state of Virginia (1801), by Thomas Jefferson.
  • See also hyperlinks embedded in the article itself.

Recommended Reading

The Dissembler



This following Arabic fable is found in al-Qazwini’s classic Wonderous Creatures

It is said that once a pious man heard about a community that worshipped a tree instead of Allah. He picked up an axe and went off, intent on chopping the tree down. Satan met him on the road in the form of an old man and said to him: “Where are you going, and what do you want.”

The man replied: “I want to cut down the tree that people are worshipping instead of Allah.”

Satan said: “What does this have to do with you? You left your own worship to involve yourself with this. If you cut down their tree, they will find something else to worship.”

The man said: “No, I must cut it down.”

Satan said: “I prohibit you to cut it down!”

The man wrestled Satan to the ground and sat on his chest. Satan said: “Let me go so I can speak to you.” When the man did so, Satan said to him: “Allah has not placed this burden upon you. Had He wished, he has many servants on the Earth he could order to cut it down.”

The man said: “No, I must cut it down.”

Satan then asked: “Would you let there be something between me and you that is better than what you want?”

The man said: “I’m listening.”

Satan said: “You are a poor man. Maybe you would like to provide something in charity for your brothers and your neighbours and become independent of the people.”

The man said: “Certainly.”

Satan said: “Desist in what you are doing, and I will place two gold coins under your pillow every night. You can use them to support your family and spend something in charity. This is better for you and for the people than cutting down that tree.”

The man thought about it and said: “What you say is true. Swear to me on what you say.” So Satan swore an oath to him, and the man returned to his personal worship. When he woke up the next morning, he found two gold coins under his pillow. He took them. The same thing happened on the second day.

When he woke up on the third morning, he did not find the coins under his pillow. He became angry, picked up his axe, and went out intent on chopping down the tree. Satan met him in the form of the old man he assumed before. He asked: “Where are you headed?”

The man replied: “I am going to cut down that tree.”

Satan said: “You do not have the ability to do so.”

The man then reached out to strike Satan, but Satan struck him down instead and said: “If you do not desist, I will slaughter you.”

The man cried: “Let me go and tell me how you overpowered me.”

Satan said: “When your anger was for Allah’s sake, Allah submitted me to you and brought me down before you. But now, you are angry for your own sake on account of worldly desires, so I am able to subdue you.”

This is, of course, just a story, but like any good fable, it has an important moral.

When we do things for the sake of the people and abstain from them for their sake, we cease doing so for Allah’s sake. This is why the Prophet said: “The thing I fear most for you is the lesser polytheism… which is showing off.” [Musnad Ahmad]

This does not mean it is wrong for a believer to enjoy the praise of others. Showing off is only where the intention behind the person’s action is for other than Allah, so that if the person was not being seen by others, he or she would not act. There are many ways to show off:

1. Showing off in one’s belief. This is hypocrisy, where a person makes a public show of faith while concealing their real disbelief.

2. Showing off in one’s appearance. This is to make oneself look like someone who exerts a lot of effort in worship. This is like someone who cultivates a prostration mark on the forehead to make it seem like they pray a lot, or someone who cultivates dry lips to make it look like they are fasting. It also includes bowing the head in false humility while walking or keeping dishevelled hair to appear ascetic.

3. Showing off through what one says. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever calls attention to himself, Allah will call attention to how he really is.” [Sahīh al-Bukhari and Sahīh Muslim]

This includes quoting wise sayings, exhorting people to righteousness, and quoting hadith to bolster one’s “pious” reputation. It also includes moving one’s lips to give the appearance of being engaged in God’s remembrance.

4. Showing off through one’s deeds. This includes spending an extra-long time standing, bowing or prostrating in prayer when others are watching.

5. Showing of through association. This is like making sure to be seen with prominent scholars and pious people in order to be associated with them in the people’s eyes.

In all cases, the crux of the matter is not the action itself, but what motivates the action in the first place. The motivation for showing off stems from either a desire for praise, an aversion for people’s low opinion, or a covetousness for what other people possess. If something of this nature comes into a person’s heart while the person is already engaged in an act of piety, then it does not nullify the blessings of that act.

Some people abstain from doing good deeds fearing that they will fall into the sin of showing off. This is a mistake that leads people to lose out on a lot of virtue and many blessings. As long as your original intention is for Allah, then you should go forward with the good deed you intend. Do not let fear of showing off keep you from doing something good.

Al-Fudayl b. `Iyād said: “Engaging in acts of worship for the people’s sake is polytheism. Abandoning acts of worship for the people’s sake is showing off. Sincerity is for Allah to spare you from both concerns.”

A student at an early stage in his studies rushes ahead and starts issuing Islamic legal verdicts, heads a study circle, and walks about with a regal demeanor. He has a hard time admitting when he does not know something. He speaks as if he is a leading authority, making statements like:

“In my considered opinion…”

“What has become evident to me…”

“I have come to the overwhelming conclusion that…”

“What a person’s heart feels secure with is…”

At the same time, he is harsh and long-winded when he comes across someone else’s mistake, though he cannot tolerate their pointing our any error of his.

Another person gives preference to carrying out public duties at the expense of his own individual obligations. He might even spend excessive time engaged in things that the community might only rarely need, simply because they make him look important.

A third person is overjoyed with any chance he has to argue and debate with people. In the heat of an argument, he is quick to challenge people to invoke Allah’s curse upon whichever one of them are in the wrong. Often, his point of contention is no more than hair-splitting and his only purpose is to publicly expose his opponent as wrong or misguided. It infuriates him when he knows his opponent has made a good point. On the other hand, if his opponent concedes a point to him, he says: “Now you have come to my point of view and my way of thinking” as if he has had a monopoly on the truth all along and decides who can partake of it with him.

In almost all cases, what the Prophet said about debates holds true: “Base motives are obeyed, passions are followed, and each holds fast to his own opinion.” [Sunan Abī Dāwūd and Sunan al-Tirmidhī]

A wise man was once asked: “Why is it that the words of the Pious Predecessors are more beneficial than what we say?”

The wise man replied: “The words of the Pious Predecessors are better than our words, because they spoke to promote Islam, please Allah, and guide people to salvation, whereas we speak to promote ourselves, please the people, and achieve worldly success.”

Some people like to dig up strange opinions and resurrect old arguments to make it seem like they are resuscitating a Sunnah that has been forgotten or neglected. Our scholars had a different attitude about such things. They warned against strange and unusual opinions that show themselves in their very strangeness to be suspect.

It is possible, nevertheless, to go to the opposite extreme. When a well-known custom or tradition is called into question, some people come forward as self-proclaimed defenders of tradition, hoping to earn a prominent position in society by doing so, even if they know that tradition is misguided, does not serve the public welfare, or is contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Another mode of conduct in this vein is to seek after a lot of followers, pit people against one another, erect obstacles to reconciliation, and stake loyalty on adherence to a bunch of secondary controversial opinions.

Al-Dhahabī said: “You can be an oppressor and believe that you are the one who is oppressed. You can be consuming unlawful wealth and fancy yourself to be abstentious. You can be a sinner and think you are righteous and just. You can be seeking religious knowledge for worldly benefit but see yourself as doing so for Allah’s sake.” [Siyar A`lām al-Nubalā’]

Abū Dāwūd, speaking about his Sunan, told Imam Ahmad: “This is something I have done for Allah’s sake.”

Ahmad said to him: “As for saying it is for Allah’s sake, that is a serious claim. Rather say: ‘This is something my heart has been made to incline towards, so I did it’.”

It is also related as something Ahmad admonished himself with. Indeed, identifying your inner motives is one of the subtest but most crucial ways of being honest.

By Shaykh Salman Al Odah

What are tachyons?


Tachyons are hypothetical particles resulting from what physicists call a thought experiment. Back in the 1960s, some physicists wondered what would happen if matter could travel faster than the speed of light, something that is supposed to be impossible according to the Theory of Relativity. So these particles may or may not exist because they have not been proven or disproven by real experiment as of yet. What people have done is apply existing formulas to the unique properties of tachyons (like imaginary mass!). What comes out is a particles that go faster when they lose energy with a MINIMUM velocity of the speed of light and a maximum velocity of infinity! Hope that helps Ben, theoretical physics is a weird place and is not too far off from philosophy.

In Einstein’s theory of relativity, the “mass” of an object increases as it goes faster, becoming infinite at the speed of light, so it takes an infinite amount of energy (remember E=mc^2 means energy and mass are the same) to reach the speed of light. This is why special relativity says we cannot go faster than the speed of light. So what we talk about in physics is the mass of the object when it is sitting still, the “rest mass.” If an object has a positive rest mass, it goes slower than the speed of light; if it is like light with a zero rest mass, it moves at light speed. What we call a tachyon is a particle (a fundamental particle, like an electron) that has an _imaginary_ rest mass.

here was a young lady named Bright,
                Whose speed was far faster than light.
                She went out one day,
                In a relative way,
                And returned the previous night!

                        — Reginald Buller

Draw a graph, with momentum (p) on the x-axis, and energy (E) on the y-axis.  Then draw the “light cone”, two lines with the equations E = ±p.  This divides our 1+1 dimensional space-time into two regions.  Above and below are the “timelike” quadrants, and to the left and right are the “spacelike” quadrants.

Now the fundamental fact of relativity is that

E² − p² = m²

where E is an object’s energy, p is its momentum, and m is its rest mass, which we’ll just call ‘mass’.  In case you’re wondering, we are working in units where c=1.  For any non-zero value of m, this is a hyperbola with branches in the timelike regions.  It passes through the point (p,E) = (0,m), where the particle is at rest.  Any particle with mass m is constrained to move on the upper branch of this hyperbola.  (Otherwise, it is “off shell”, a term you hear in association with virtual particles — but that’s another topic.)  For massless particles, E² = p², and the particle moves on the light-cone.

These two cases are given the names tardyon (or bradyon in more modern usage) and luxon, for “slow particle” and “light particle”.  Tachyon is the name given to the supposed “fast particle” which would move with v > c. Tachyons were first introduced into physics by Gerald Feinberg, in his seminal paper “On the possibility of faster-than-light particles” [Phys. Rev. 159, 1089—1105 (1967)].

Now another familiar relativistic equation is

E = m[1−(v/c)²]−½.

Tachyons have v > c.  This means that E is imaginary!  Well, what if we take the rest mass m, and take it to be imaginary?  Then E is negative real, and E² − p² = m² < 0.  Or, p² − E² = M², whereM is real.  This is a hyperbola with branches in the spacelike region of spacetime.  The energy and momentum of a tachyon must satisfy this relation.

You can now deduce many interesting properties of tachyons.  For example, they accelerate (p goes up) if they lose energy (E goes down).  Furthermore, a zero-energy tachyon is “transcendent”, or moves infinitely fast.  This has profound consequences.  For example, let’s say that there were electrically charged tachyons.  Since they would move faster than the speed of light in the vacuum, they should produce Cherenkov radiation.  This would lower their energy, causing them to accelerate more!  In other words, charged tachyons would probably lead to a runaway reaction releasing an arbitrarily large amount of energy.  This suggests that coming up with a sensible theory of anything except free (noninteracting) tachyons is likely to be difficult.  Heuristically, the problem is that we can get spontaneous creation of tachyon-antitachyon pairs, then do a runaway reaction, making the vacuum unstable.  To treat this precisely requires quantum field theory, which gets complicated.  It is not easy to summarize results here.  However, one reasonably modern reference is Tachyons, Monopoles, and Related Topics, E. Recami, ed. (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1978).

However, tachyons are not entirely invisible.  You can imagine that you might produce them in some exotic nuclear reaction.  If they are charged, you could “see” them by detecting the Cherenkov light they produce as they speed away faster and faster.  Such experiments have been done but, so far, no tachyons have been found.  Even neutral tachyons can scatter off normal matter with experimentally observable consequences.  Again, no such tachyons have been found.

How about using tachyons to transmit information faster than the speed of light, in violation of Special Relativity?  It’s worth noting that when one considers the relativistic quantum mechanics of tachyons, the question of whether they “really” go faster than the speed of light becomes much more touchy!  In this framework, tachyons are waves that satisfy a wave equation.  Let’s treat free tachyons of spin zero, for simplicity.  We’ll set c = 1 to keep things less messy.  The wavefunction of a single such tachyon can be expected to satisfy the usual equation for spin-zero particles, the Klein-Gordon equation:

(□ + m²)φ = 0

where □ is the D’Alembertian, which in 3+1 dimensions is just

□ = ∂²/∂t² − ∂²/∂x² − ∂²/∂y² − ∂²/∂z².

The difference with tachyons is that m² is negative, and so m is imaginary.

To simplify the math a bit, let’s work in 1+1 dimensions with co-ordinates x and t, so that

□ = ∂²/∂t² − ∂²/∂x².

Everything we’ll say generalizes to the real-world 3+1-dimensional case.  Now, regardless of m, any solution is a linear combination, or superposition, of solutions of the form

φ(t,x) = exp(−iEt + ipx)

where E² − p² = m².  When m² is negative there are two essentially different cases.  Either | p | ≥ | E |, in which case E is real and we get solutions that look like waves whose crests move along at the rate | p/E | ≥ 1, i.e., no slower than the speed of light.  Or | p | < | E |, in which case E is imaginary and we get solutions that look like waves that amplify exponentially as time passes!

We can decide as we please whether or not we want to consider the second type of solution.  They seem weird, but then the whole business is weird, after all.

(1)  If we do permit the second type of solution, we can solve the Klein-Gordon equation with any reasonable initial data — that is, any reasonable values of φ and its first time derivative at t = 0.  (For the precise definition of “reasonable”, consult your local mathematician.)  This is typical of wave equations.  And, also typical of wave equations, we can prove the following thing: if the solution φ and its time derivative are zero outside the interval [−L, L] when t = 0, they will be zero outside the interval [−L− | t |, L + | t |] at any time t.  In other words, localized disturbances do not spread with speed faster than the speed of light!  This seems to go against our notion that tachyons move faster than the speed of light, but it’s a mathematical fact, known as “unit propagation velocity”.

(2)  If we don’t permit the second sort of solution, we can’t solve the Klein-Gordon equation for all reasonable initial data, but only for initial data whose Fourier transforms vanish in the interval [−| m |, | m |].  By the Paley-Wiener theorem this has an odd consequence: it becomes impossible to solve the equation for initial data that vanish outside some interval [−L, L]!  In other words, we can no longer “localize” our tachyon in any bounded region in the first place, so it becomes impossible to decide whether or not there is “unit propagation velocity” in the precise sense of part (1).  Of course, the crests of the waves exp(−iEt + ipx) move faster than the speed of light, but these waves were never localized in the first place!

The bottom line is that you can’t use tachyons to send information faster than the speed of light from one place to another.  Doing so would require creating a message encoded some way in a localized tachyon field, and sending it off at superluminal speed toward the intended receiver.  But as we have seen you can’t have it both ways: localized tachyon disturbances are subluminal and superluminal disturbances are nonlocal.