One Voice: Abeer Raazi

One Voice: Abeer Raazi

It teaches me to hold my material possessions in my hand, and not my heart, so if they're taken away from me I won't be affected.

Abeer Raazi
Westerville, OH
United States

I am a college student about to graduate. Today it's safe to be a college student, but it's not so safe to graduate. What happens after graduation is unpredictable and unreliable because of the financial crisis.

The economists say the financial crisis is larger than they thought, but at the same time it's smaller too: it's just one part of an ever larger "future" crisis. The problems looming for my generation have grown from hurdles into mountains before my eyes: the severe ecological limitations of oil, water, and food; the wracked social security system and my parents that it might not be providing for; the tensing political and economic climate - Sometime I feel like I'm in over my head, and the anxiety gets to me.

These problems have really provoked me, and have got me thinking about many of the assumptions I was raised with. I've realized the inviability of many of the intrinsic doctrines of our epoch. I've begun to consider the possibility that the facade of our material society is just that, a facade, and can itself collapse; maybe Man will not always be progressing, and even that our material progression has caused us to loose sight of the importance of intellectual and spiritual progression; that science may not provide all of our solutions, and that it certainly does not answer the questions of suffering and death.

In fact, I've come to see these myths as the reason for the current crisis - an intellectual and spiritual weakness has caused the financial crisis. We've come to rely on material society and the explanations if offers to ease our struggles and solve our problems, and so we've been able to neglect the more important questions and problems of life.

And as the financial crisis exposes these suspect myths, perhaps we can gain the benefit of it. Let's hope it will inspire a deeper awakening among our population, a return to what is important. Even if things regress far beyond our anticipation, it aught not perturb us if we have a profound understanding of life - death is inevitable, and at the individual level our future is in the hands of fate, whether that be ease or struggle.

My religion, Islam, teaches me what's important: God, family, and community. It teaches me to hold my material possessions in my hand, and not my heart, so if they're taken away from me I won't be affected. It teaches me to count my wins and my losses as one, both important facets to a far more important journey.

Yes, I'm graduating, but no, I won't let anxiety get to me. In times of struggle, there is work to be done, people to be helped. I'll remember what's important, and I'll make do.

About the Project

Over the past several months, we've been exploring the spiritual and moral aspects of the economic downturn and flaws that have been exposed in financial systems. Online and on air, we've generated a challenging, edifying, cross-cultural conversation called Repossessing Virtue. We continue to look for fresh thinking and language for talking about what has happened and why — not just in terms of financial tools and strategies but in terms of personal conscience and values. We're looking for practical resources for individual and communal evaluation and renewal, moving forward from this crisis.

In exploring the moral, spiritual, and practical aspects of the economic downturn, we've asked past guests, listeners, and other familiar voices for their wisdom and insight about the changing economic climate.

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