W!SDOM: Saladin Quanaah Allah

Updated: Jun 18

Interviews


Mentor, teacher and philosopher, Saladin represents the balance of understanding.


Founder of The Atlantis School For Gifted Youngsters, Saladin continues to build an institution that promotes educational programs, creative arts and cultural initiatives that support growth and development of youth and families. He takes some time out from his busy schedule to share just a small portion of his wisdom...



Is having a big ego a negative trait or a positive trait?

The EGO, which is a person’s sense of esteem or self-importance, like technology, can also serve as a tool to help improve our quality of life or a toy that undermines our quality of life. It is “our” EGO. Meaning, it belongs to us. So the larger question is, “What are we, since we are not ‘our’ EGO, because it belongs to us?”


Many of the negative traits that we see people express is directly connected to our inability to make a clear distinction between what we are and the EGO. Here in America this society has been historically shaped by the EGO and attitude of white superiority and Black inferiority. This has negatively affected our psychology, physiology and socioeconomics as citizens of this country. The same can be said for any citizens in a country with a history of colonialism, racism, sexism, ageism or any other “ism.”


Does life require a purpose and a goal?

Everything has a purpose; an aim, intention and reason it is done. Whether we know and understand that reason, everything still has a purpose. Take ourselves for example. Whether we know and understand the way that our body systems work, they still have a purpose. The less we know and understand, we increase the potential for us to misuse or abuse of our body systems.


This consequently affects our mental/physical health and our lifespan. The same perspective applies to every area of life. The more that we know and understand about others, diet, our environment, the society and etc., we have a greater potential to align ourselves with those areas of life that contribute to a healthy mental/physical state and a longer lifespan. We also learn how navigate around people, places and things that have a negative aim and intention.

What is happiness?

Like love, happiness is ambiguous. As I mentioned, happiness means many things to many people. In my culture happiness, in part, is a jewel that must consist of love. Love is a composite of knowledge [awareness] and wisdom [discernment] which ultimately leads to understanding.


All of these elements, and more that I have not mentioned, are a part of happiness; what we bring with us when we attend the world. All of these elements contribute to our purpose and help us live a purposeful life. There is no happiness without love. There is no love without knowledge and wisdom. There is no knowledge and wisdom without understanding. Like some of the mechanisms that are integral parts in a Vacheron Constantin watch, these are some of the integral parts to happiness.

Is it easier to love or to be loved?

It is much easier for people to receive, than give, and that includes love. People typically approach love with their hands out, not with their sleeves rolled up. In this society people are taught the objectification of love and it is all about what we want from others. When most people are asked about a relationship the first thing that they do is go through a conditional list of what they want and what people need to do for them.


Rarely do you hear people discuss relationships from the perspective of service to others and what they have the capacity to give. When you look at the lack of care and support in our society, especially for the most vulnerable among us, this is evidence of the love that people are unwilling to give while expecting an abundance of it in return.

Are people in this current generation less or more sensitive than people from past generations?

Because of the exponential growth in technology, especially in the realm of AI, it has reshaped our global landscape. We went from computers being this bulky object used by government agencies to billions of people walking around with a computer in their hand or pocket. One of the downsides to this is it has created an environment where people are more disconnected and anti-social.


I went to a new restaurant one day where you sit down and place your order through an ipad which is sent back to the kitchen. Once the food is done a person brings it out to you. There were no greeters, waiters or waitresses. There was very little social contact. When I looked over to my right I also noticed a couple sitting there on their phones not communicating with one another.


This is a world that people from past generations never experienced. A world that has become more insensitive, impersonal and disconnected. Our current generation faces the unique challenge of learning how to connect with one another beyond the technology. Our past generations who are still here also faces the unique challenge of teaching the current generation how to form and maintain those connections.


Does fate exist?

Yes, in some capacity. My father loved the Serenity Prayer which is a great understanding of fate, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” While there are some events, people, places and things that are beyond our individual control, there are other events, people, places and things that we do have some control over.


The Sun and Moon has an attractive power on our planet and affects our weather beyond our individual control. Yet we do have some control over how to dress for the weather. Regarding fate I have learned that some people like to use it as an excuse to be apathetic while others deny fate completely because they are control freaks.

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