Is a ‘paradise with no people’ really a paradise?

We cannot live alone. Accepting others and interacting with them is the most important element in our co-existence

Turki Aldakhil

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Which culture surprised you the most when you visited its country of origin, read about or learned of its habits?

Of course, we all have some sort of memory of a certain culture, civilization or environment as curiosity and an interest in making discoveries is intrinsic to our human nature. A friend of mine is grateful that his son attends a school which has students hailing from more than 80 nationalities. Exposure to such an environment will teach him tolerance and plurality at a young age, as well as introduce him to different types of people; their customs, habits, languages and convictions. What creates estrangement, loneliness and obscurity at an early age is planting the belief that the environment in which we live in is an accurate presentation of reality.

We cannot live alone. Accepting others and interacting with them is the most important element of co-existence

Turki Al-Dakhil

During the al-Ma'mun era in 813–833 AD, interacting with different cultures was part of the Arab and Muslim culture. Late philosopher Abu Yusuf al-Kindi, known as the “Philosopher of the Arabs,” once said: "“We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it comes to us, even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign people. For he who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than the truth itself; it never cheapens or debases he who reaches for it but ennobles and honors him.”

Facts and insights produced by humans belong to all of humankind, and knowledge is not affected or influenced when extracted at its source. The theme of the 46th World Economic Forum in Davos this year was about the Fourth Industrial Revolution in which robotic technology will produce major breakthroughs. We cannot live alone. Accepting others and interacting with them is the most important element of co-existence. This is why our ancestors once said: "A paradise with no people is no paradise."

This article was first published by Okaz newspaper on Jan. 25, 2016.

Turki Al-Dakhil, is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns of Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

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