The Allure of a Ritual: Celebrating Hajj through the Arts
27 July 2020
Ithra streams the second event of “COVID Culture Discussion”
The philosophy of waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to end
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) hosted the second episode of its new cultural program: COVID Culture Discussion.” This is part of the dedicated social isolation outreach program made available through the “Ithra Connect” digital portal. It is part of the “#IthraConnect” initiative which includes diverse interactive programs focused on intellectual and cultural enrichment. The program features interviews with specialists in the five main elements of Ithra’s programs: creativity, culture, knowledge, art and society. The interviews are live-streamed on Instagram. The second interview was with researcher Abdulkareem Al-Khalifi, a specialist in philosophy.
Al-Khalifi suggested that waiting can be an endless state. Once waiting for something ends, waiting for another thing starts, which means that waiting is a continuous process which does not end by the end of a specific wait. The purpose of waiting is only to prepare us to achieve something or satisfy a desire consistent with the nature of what we are waiting for.
Al-Khalifi said that desire was usually linked to some of kind of lack or need but that there is another opinion which considers the desire to be productive and has nothing to do with lack. In the latter case, desire comes through how we arrange our priorities, and thus, a person needs to raise their level of thinking, awareness and feelings about the desire they are waiting for. Al-Khalifi pointed out that there is a simple wait, which is finite and another ultimate wait, which is mortality. For humans to alleviate the burden of the great wait, they enter a series of phases of waiting for upcoming events to distract them from facing the fearful prospect of their own end. From this comes the validity of religion and its genius as it tells people that death is not the end but rather a stage that takes them to eternity.
Al-Khalifi said during his interview that the waiting for the corona pandemic to end is finite and universal. It is affecting all humanity. Therefore, humans during this time may split their waiting into a series of shorter phases. He recommended that people use and fill their time with activities that align with their interests, indicating that this can be an opportunity to move away from daily stress and rearrange ones thoughts.
Al-Khalifi mentioned some of the thoughts that he is interested in such as the eagle. He suggested that eagles possess strange characteristics which makes them a great subject for philosophy. He explained that some eagles spend years building their eyries, and then one day they seem to fly away to consciously seek their own demise. He also believes that eagles seem to show an intuition and respect which is not observed in other creatures.