A plethora of possible reasons rush to mind roughly represented in a single – habitually adolescent – voice of complaint: “But it’s soo boring” Now, we can somewhat forgive restless youngsters for not knowing enough about the importance of knowledge acquisition and its relation to consequent moral and spiritual growth. But the disappointment is when an older Khadim moans at not feeling a hollywood level adrenaline rush while watching – as outrageous a comparison it seems – an address or sermon of Huzoor Anwar (may Allah be his Helper).
The problem is, this constant hollywood level adrenaline is the very thing blurring our neurocognitive ability to choose right from wrong.
The science is quite expansive but Catherin Franssen, Professor of Neuroscience at Longhorn university gives a good explanation in her Huffpost article “The Netflix addiction: why our brains keep telling us to press play”. It’s precisely why action thrillers and MTA aren’t comparable.
They are two different realms of our television experience with polar opposite goals. One’s goal is to give order to life and elevate our moral and spiritual character. The other’s is literally to derange our life and make us impulsive screen gazers. Seriously, back in April 2017, Netflix’s official twitter handle quite openly announced: “Sleep is my greatest enemy”. This could have been seen as a joke if it hadn’t followed an earlier statement of Netflix co- founder Reed Hastings where – listing his main competitors – he mentioned Snapchat, YouTube and Sleep. Let’s explore this. Back to the weekend movie night.
Let’s say you have to get food for the group now. After all, a movie with no munching is a fruit with no flavor. If the choice was your favorite wings and ice cream against nutrient rich granola bars and sugar free green tea, of course the bars and the green tea would be chucked out of the house. So what does this food fight have anything to do with watching MTA? Think about it, Netflix and partners have flooded our eyes and ears with so much heart racing fantasy and fake suspense that when we watch sensible, realistic content that will benefit our moral and spiritual health, we feel utter distaste. I mean really, who would savor a dry grain bar over their favorite brand of Belgian chocolate?
Unless – and that’s the big factor – they have knowledge of how much more beneficial the bar is for their health. But with due respect to even the strictest health guidelines, just a hint of sugary goodness and thin chocolate coating is very much desirable. Hey, it tastes amazing and motivates you to not give up on the healthy diet.
And that’s exactly how we need to approach MTA and the blessed sermons of our beloved Huzur (may Allah be his Helper). Although this profound subject calls for an entire book to be authored, the famous hadith in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal should be a powerful reminder: “If you find the Khalifa of God in the earth, cling yourself to him even if your body is torn to pieces”
Every Friday, we are offered an hour to renew and fortify this attachment in the comforts of our very own homes. Why not take this as a new year’s resolution and begin by feeding our minds the purest possible content. Instead of merely fake feeling it, why not personify and practice being good. The first few steps will be hard, but once you understand the real purpose behind it, you’ll never want to take your eyes off.