Information Technology University, Arfa Software Technology Park, Lahore, organized a seminar on February 7, 2014 by inviting a renowned International public speaker for anyone who is in search of few major questions of life, its reality and human existence! Self discovery is the first step for an individual to recognize him/herself as a being with an identity and a purpose of life .
The seminar was a part of the greater project, titled “Winds of Change”, an initiative by the Youth Club to help the directionless youth of Pakistan.
The lecture was delivered by Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, a convert to Islam, an international lecturer, public speaker and writer. Before beginning the lecture, Hamza clarified that he doesn’t want to give a dosage of intellectual and spiritual insulin through his talk. “All I want is to plant seeds of change,” said Hamza in his preliminary note.
He explained to the audience that the self or the ego always wants to be “right” and it wants to impose itself on others, whereas, he expects the listeners to burn their egos for a while. Hamza’s discussion revolved around 4 major questions that he posed in the beginning:
1) Who we are?
2) Why we are?
3) For whom we are?
4) What on Earth are we?
He suggested that if these questions remain unanswered then the person remains deluded and the answers to these questions are necessary for the spiritual and intellectual revival of an individual.
He asked the audience to unwrap their linguistic wrapping by asking themselves the following:
Did you choose your name?
Did you choose your gender?
Did you choose your ethnicity or socio-economic upbringing?
The answer to all these was; “ABSOLUTELY NO CHOICE”
“Yet people believe they are free,” exclaimed Hamza. He opined that double slavery is to be in a state of shackles and to have the illusion that you are free, hence, illusion of freedom is worse than slavery itself.
WHAT WE ARE?
Hamza explained to the audience that human beings are thrown into reality and the more a human looses him/herself, the more free he/she is. Therefore, we are:
a) A slave to context
b) A human being in search of meaning
According to him, “Fitrah” (self-transcendence) is supported by empirical evidence. It is the fitrah of humans to believe in unseen transcendence. On the other hand, Atheism is learned, forced and taught. He quoted a 14th century theologian, who said that
the only way to get free of our limited understandings is to change the direction of our slavery towards someone who knows you better than you know yourself!
As per Hamza’s opinion:
Pakistan is going through an existential crisis. Pakistanis define themselves by what they are known for, but not by what they are! The neo-liberal media of Pakistan is responsible for imposing a forced religious dichotomy within the society.
He urged the youth of Pakistan to:
1) Prioritize it’s life
2) Find the human element within them by connecting to, obeying and loving Allah (the Creator)
As an example in Pakistani context, he referred to Shoaib Akhtar ( a Pakistani bowler and the fastest bowler in the history of international cricket).
Hamza recalled his meeting with Shoaib Akhtar, who told him that whenever I bowled fast, people expected a swifter ball, whenever he won a match, people expected him to win the next as well. His life was all about satisfying the slave masters. Shoaib Akhtar, lived on anti-depressants for two years, just because he was living to reach newer heights every day. However, now he has realized that contentment cannot be achieved by satisfying worldly expectations. Now, Fajr (the morning prayer) is the highest height for him.