This I Believe
I believe in the institutional formation of prophets.
In ancient Greece, “Prophatas” meant interpreter, in Judaism “Navi” means spokesperson, and in Islam” Al-Nabi, or Al- Rassul” means messenger.
From an etymological perspective, I understand that prophets receive messages (sense the universe), make interpretations and translations, and share their findings with audiences that have not seen or experienced the world the way the prophets have.
I believe that prophets use their rational and imaginative faculties to develop an understanding of the physical universe and socially constructed realities in which they live. As they interact with their peers, they share their understanding and enable willing and inspired followers to experience and perceive the universe through a different prism.
I believe that prophets are in our school and universities, on our streets and in our homes, on our TVs, MP3 players, and computer screens. Our prophets today can be found on Google and are accessible through our iPhones.
So what differentiates a prophet from other messengers? Aren’t we all messengers, sharing experiences? Are we all prophets? No!
I believe that prophets are the few people in the history of the world that reached the highest levels of cognitive development. They are able to embrace complexity, and help their peers understand it. The messages they share are neither dogmatic nor dualistic, instead, they promote plurality of perspectives, understanding and embracing of differences, and inspire peace and harmony.
My prophets are my teachers, friends, and mentors that encouraged me to stretch outside of my intellectual and moral comfort zone. My prophets are the authors, scientists, researchers, comedians, political and religious figures, entrepreneurs, and world leaders that helped me develop aptitudes to understand and manage plurality. They help find meaning in a complicated world. They help me shake my preexisting conceptions of self and others, and help me develop frameworks and that are better suited to living harmoniously in a world with multiple and often incongruous perspectives.
As we are entering an era of amplified complexity and interconnectedness, and as the number of perspectives we are exposed to, is exponentially increasing (thanks to the advances in technology), the world needs more prophets.
Instead of waiting for a divine intervention, or for a messiah to return with “The Message”, we should create new institutions and improve existing ones that support the development of cognitive and moral aptitudes in individuals. I believe that we can form prophets and help change the world into a more peaceful place to live.
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