Enlightenment and social change in Saudi Arabia

Hassan Al Mustafa
Hassan Al Mustafa
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In conservative societies, change is usually a process full of risks and difficulties as a result of strong internal cultural resistance and fear and worry of the future. This is because people often find comfort in what they’re used to, even if deep down they acknowledge that what is typical is actually outdated and of no use.

Humans in their nature love ease and love to keep things as they are as long as they are under control and performing the minimal duties.

The Saudi society is currently undergoing a real change – a change that will not be something new among societies. Therefore, it is in desperate need to build itself intellectually and psychologically so that it can keep up with the process of change and reform and participate in it. To be more accurate, it needs enlightening and civic ideas with a real effect on the audience.

Saudi society is in need to build itself intellectually and psychologically, so that it can keep up with the pace of change and reform.

Hassan Al Mustafa

Enlightenment is not an easy process as it will face many obstacles. The first problem is related to the intellectuals who believe and advocate enlightenment and the nature of their philosophy and their perception of life and their capability of independence and free thinking and of developing a compelling and scientific rhetoric.

“We call a man free thinker who thinks otherwise than is expected of him in consideration of his origin, surroundings, position, and office, or by reason of the prevailing contemporary views,” asserted Nietzsche while outlining the individual who creates free ideas. These characteristics as we can see are at opposite sides from the calm state that’s common among ordinary people. The light that comes out of enlightenment will disperse the darkness, shake the static and awaken the souls that have been covered with tons of dust over the years.

This free thinker must be aware of his task and understand that it doesn’t only revolve around scientific research between book pages, although that too is of great importance, but that he also contributes to the process of change by practically bringing about enlightenment in real life among the people, with the help of civil society institutions and under the umbrella of the rule of law. This will provide a public space for free thinking to express different opinions and engage in deep discussions and cultural, religious and artistic debates without fear or worry of being accused of infidelity or of having motives doubted.

This activity will undoubtedly lead to change in people’s minds and improve their lifestyle, communication methods, work ethic and their perception of the future. Thus, the old social and value system will be replaced by a new one which is compatible with the modern days.

“Our social system will slowly fade as did all previous systems as soon as the sun of new ideas starts beaming its rays on people.” This is how Nietzsche concludes the destiny of the deep changes that will take place. It is a natural thing that has been proven by the cycle of human civilization and which we must believe in and be a part of if we want to be a civil society.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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