One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Scale of Hedonism?

I don't like to stare at people. It's rude. Yet, I kept watching this guy who had obvious similarities with the Edmund Kemper, a character from the Netflix-TV-series, "Mindhunter". I took interest in the series, as the show was like "thought-experiments". I wanted to know that when one pre-defines things and goes to the field with a subjective-perspective, how things appear to him? In the show, the agent, Holden Ford had a subjective-approach and the psychology professor, Wendy Carr had an objective-perspective. But during the show, it appeared to me that the calm, curious and intelligent perspectives of the subject (serial-killer) Edmund Kemper were more forceful than the methodological-perspectives of the agent and the professor that studied him. 

Anyway, my purpose is not to review the TV show here, but to provide the background for the conversation that I had with Ustad after I discussed the related issues with him;

I told Ustad about my experience and the thoughts around it. Based on physical similarities of a character, I looked at the guy with a subjective-perspective.

"That's so common!" was the reply of Ustad. "You don't need to be literate to understand the pictures and visual expressions. It's our innate ability to connect the visual expressions with our environments..."
"So, you think that my brain has borrowed the character of Kemper from the show as a visual representation of the term, "serial killer"?" I interrupted Ustad.
"That's my best guess!" he answered. "Look! it's a common phenomenon if you pay attention. For example, the combination of beard, Afghani dress, and turban have become a visual representation of terror and the combination of clean-shaved face and western dress have become the expression of liberalism?"
"I kind of agree!"
"What I have been interested are the ways most of the people use these symbolic representations!" Ustad continued.
"I didn't get you!"


Friday, October 27, 2017

Back to the "Opium of the people!"

We were back in our favorite spot, the Eastern bypass road, with our bag of oranges:

I laughed, "You know what happened, this morning?"

"I'm listening!" The Ustad replied.

"I went to the tandoor (Bakery) for buy naan. There were customers before me, so I had to wait. Sitting on the front steps, two elderly men discussed politics, passionately. Both of them talked, simultaneously. Although it sounded more like an argument than a leisurely chatter, the people there watched the argument like some sort of comedy show. One of the men lost his temper and called the late Benazir Bhutto a name and the other man responded by punching him in the face. And, then, there was a freestyle wrestling. I guess the wrestling of old men was so rare that instead of stopping them, the small crowd started cheering them. I was getting late for college so I couldn't wait for the result of the match. All day, I kept thinking about the political arguments of those elderly men. If they were young men, I would blame the enthusiasm of the young age, and forget the event. They were retired men and belonged to a small tribe that had no influence in local, provincial and national politics, whatsoever. If it was a pleasure-chatter, it would make sense but fighting for something, they had no role made no sense to me...."
"I also have a neighbor who stops me, each time he sees me and breaks the news that never happened. " Ustand laughed. "But his news and analyses are very interesting, full of surprises!"

From bypass, I could see all sorts of flags. Usually, it was the brown-clouds (polluted air) that covered parts of the city that caught my attention but that day, I especially noticed the assortments of the flags.

"I think, politics is more potent opium than religion!" I commented.
"Even if had the power to ban on religion and politics, people find other means to argue!" Ustad responded, "Most of the time, it is not religion or politics that creates conflicts but men's self-love. Politics and religions become tools of expressions for those self-loves..."

I thought, Ustad was also "breaking a news", so,

"But there are people who sacrifice themselves for their religions and political parties?" I disagreed.

"Let me explain!" Ustad smiled.
"I'm listening!"
"Unlike most of the animals, humans give birth to the "immature" babies that are dependent on their parents for everything. When they grow up, while they strive all their lives, they remain dependent on others and the process of growing up never cease. You can imagine that humans never become "mature" and that's the reason for humans addiction to the idea of perfection, maturity or becoming no.1. Basically, humans know that they never achieve perfection, so, they seek it through other means, like a connection with a perfect being (God) via a "true" religion, or a best political system or finest culture or becoming no. 1 this and that. You know what I mean..."
"Yes, I got your point!" I replied, "But are you suggesting that narcissism is a byproduct of social life?"
"What I meant was that humans have an innate desire for liberation from imperfection or maturity and all the affiliations like religion or politics or other stuffs are mere expressions of it, whether, they realize it or not. Some may claim they love God or a saint or an ideology or things like that, but in fact, these all are expressions of the desire to be true, good or things like that..."
"Please don't mind!" I told Ustad, "but I find reductionist perspectives of things not beautiful."
"Well, then, your God is not beautiful!" Ustad laughed.
"Does it matter?" I laughed, too.
"God is the ultimate reductionist!"

Saturday, October 14, 2017

From pursuit of wisdom to pursuit of happiness: Part 2

"In our culture, the source of authority came either from experience, as old age like adults in a family or tribe or from one's level of knowledge as teachers or scholars. They were considered wise and they influenced ways of life. That's why I called that the pursuit of wisdom. In comparison, in the modern culture, the authority comes from popular votes. Celebrities and advertisements play very important roles in influencing the decisions of masses and promoting the consumerist ways of life. What's your take on these two examples?"

"My first take is that pursuits of wisdom are definitely in decline and pursuits of populism are rising."
"So?" Ustad inquired.
"It depends," I answered.
"Depends on what?"
"On the concept of success."
"Once adults were seen as people who were successful at living longer, now, the celebrities are seen as successful people."
"So, you think, it is all the pursuit of success instead of the pursuit of happiness or wisdom?"
"Yes, to me, it all sums up to success."

I remembered this conversation after so many years by reading an article about Hillary Clinton's new book, "What Happened". Hillary changed her name, her hairstyle and even hired a linguist to appeal to the people. Her efforts to be likable didn't sum to the success, that's presidency of the country.

I remembered our old conversation as it is as relevant today, as it was relevant almost two decades ago. So, what is a wise pursuit? A set of goals defined by wise men like adults of a tribe or a family, or a set of goals promoted by celebrities, a set of goals defined by professionals or some sort of authorities or set of goals that are based on your soul searching?

READ Part 1 by clicking the following link:

From pursuit of wisdom to pursuit of happiness: Part 1

Friday, October 13, 2017

From pursuit of wisdom to pursuit of happiness: Part 1

After graduating from high school, I felt as if I had discovered a sort of a  new me. I discovered that there was a world of knowledge beyond textbooks. I met people who spoke for hours and talked about a wide range of topics and unlike school, I didn't get bored or tired. Instead, I checked books on topics they discussed and read widely, not for exams or anything else but purely out of curiosity. One of the people that I met was the Ustad. I remember, when I first read about ancient Greece, I started thinking seriously on topics they thought and discussed thousands of years ago. To validate my raw thoughts, I went to see the Ustad;

“What do you think about wisdom?" I asked him.
"Are you reading about ancient Greece?” The Ustad inquired.
"Yes!” I replied.
“You live in a culture that's based on the pursuit of wisdom.”

My whole castle of thoughts on wisdom collapsed. I thought wisdom is something specialized and Greeks had mastered it. I couldn't imagine that we were pursuing wisdom in a city where the culture was built on tribal traditions with strong influences from ancient Persian, Indian, Islamic, Moghul and Western influences. Our culture wasn't a distinct and original culture with was based on the pursuit of wisdom as Ustad suggested. It was a product of the local geography and historical interactions. And hence based on nothing distinct.

“But I don't see questioning the perceptions as a common practice?” I disagreed.
“I just did!” he smiled.
“You expressed your opinion….”
“I guessed that you had developed the perception of wisdom solely based on questions.” Ustad interpreted me. “I had a similar experience. Over years, I realized each culture develops its own ways of wisdom.”
“That's an interesting way to look at it.”

I wasn't convinced. Yes, if we take wisdom as a way of optimizing the use of resources and growth, not only every culture held native knowledge built of collective experiences, we can extend it to the animals and plants, too. All organisms have innate wisdom, then. 

"If we consider that all cultures have their own wise ways, then, there must be some measure or a way to compare them?" I asked again.
"Before answering your question, I want you to consider these two examples and let me know what do you think?" the Ustad suggested. "But before I provide you with the examples, I want to give you the background, so you can more clearly..."

I liked thought experiments, so I nodded with a smile when he looked to see my reaction;

"...When I was about your age, I confronted with a storm of ideologies, all brought to the region by the monsoon winds of regional and global rivalries. The youths were under the spell of reviving their national-identities which were based on the nativism and progressive ideologies were considered cool. In contrast, there were Islamist forces who considered nativist-movements, un-Islamic, and corrupt. And then, there were burger-youths, who were influenced by Western culture. While these rival movements had political covers, for most of the youths, they were a more personal search of meaning or definition of them as individuals. That was a time when I read and thought very hard to make a sense out of all these. I found that all of these rival movements were based on hopes. Islamic movements like any other religion provided a ready-made template for a life that kept people from all walks of life, hopeful. Amongst Islamists, hope was tied to the strength of beliefs and there, the people were in pursuit of faith. Progressive ideologues hoped the education of masses, technology, and redistribution of wealth made the world a desirable place. Education and resistance to control were their favorites. Western-influenced youths loved the concept of the pursuit of happiness and considered luxurious things as expressions of their pursuits of happiness....."

The background was something repetitive for me. This kind of framing of problems had become a sort of cliche.

"I think our topic was wisdom?" I interrupted. 
"I just wanted to bring the discussion of wisdom from ancient Greece to our time..." the Ustad smiled.
"I'm sorry" I apologized.
"So, from the background, you can imagine that while in ancient Greece, the philosophers of the time linked wisdom with how well you knew the concepts of things and ideas, in our time, they mostly struggle with the hope. The pursuit of happiness was just one of many ideas but in our time, it has become the most significant one." He paused for a while, "Are you ready for the two examples?"


Thursday, July 20, 2017

آپ ھزارہ کیلئے بہت کچھ کرسکتے ھیں

ھم ایک ایسے دور میں رہ رھے ھیں، جہاں بعض قومیں، اپنے معاشرہ کے پسے ھوئے اور کمزور لوگوں کو خصوصی رعایات دیتے ھیں تا کہ نہ صرف وہ کسی کا محتاج نہ رھے بلکہ خود کو کسی سے کمتر اور اس معاشرہ سے الگ محسوس نہ کرے. اگرکسی خاص بولی، رنگ، نسل، عقیدہ، مذھب کے حامل لوگ کم تعداد میں موجود ھیں تو انکو، تعلیمی درسگاھوں، ذراعت، صنعت، چھوٹے کاروبار میں مدد فراھم کرتے ھیں تا کہ نہ صرف انکے احساس محرومی کا ازالہ ھو، بلکہ وہ لوگ خود کو اس معاشرہ کا حصہ سمجھ کر، اس معاشرہ کے ترقی میں اپنا حصہ ڈالے. پہلی نظرمیں تو شاید لوگوں کو یہ لگے، کہ معاشرہ کے محروم حصوں کے مدد سے اکثریت کے حقوق کو ٹھیس پہنچتے ھیں، لیکن، آج تک جتنے بھی سروے ھوئے ھیں اس سے یہ بات ثابت ھوئے ھیں کہ جس معاشرہ نے بھی پسے ھوئے یا اقلیتی لوگوں کی حوصلہ افزايی کی ھیں، اقلیتی لوگ اس معاشرہ کو تعلیمی، اقتصادی، تحقیقی، صنعتی اور دفاعی میدانوں میں کئی گنا زیادہ فایدہ پہنچایا ھے۔ ان معاشروں کے اخلاقی جرات کسی آسمانی کتاب سے ھدایات کا نتیجہ نہیں، بلکہ وہ معاشرہ کے خیرخواھوں کے لمبے جدوجہد کے نتیجے ھیں۔ محقق اور دانشور اپنے تحقیقوں سے لوگوں کے شکوک و شبہات کے جواب دیتے رھے، تو سوشل ایکویسٹس لوگوں کو قریب لانے اور ان میں آگاھی پیھلانے کیلئے جدوجہد کرتے رھے اور سیاستدان قوانین بناتے رھے۔ ایسے معاشروں میں، انسانوں کے جان و مال کے علاوہ، جنگلی پودوں، جانورں، پانی، زمین اور ھوا کو بھی نقصان پہنچانا جرم ھے. حتی کہ اگر حکومتی اقدام، یا غفلت سے بھی کسی کو مالی یا جانی نقصان پہنچتا ھے، تو وہ شخص یا لوگ حکومت سے ھرجانہ کا مطالبہ کرسکتے ھیں۔ 

مجھے پتہ ھے کہ لوگ ان چیزوں کو بخوبی جانتے ھیں مگر یہ یاد دھانی اس لیے کرنے پڑرھے تا کہ بلوچستان کے ھزارہ قبایل کے ساتھ جو ھو رھے ھیں، اسکا کچھ موازنہ پیش کرسکوں اور حکومت، سیاسی جماعتوں، قبایلی عمائدین، علمائے دین، دانشور اور روشنفکر طبقے، صحافی حضرات، وکلا، تاجر اور معاشرہ کے ھر صاحب احساس بندہ کو انکے ذمہ داریوں کا احساس دلاسکوں، اور یہ بھی بتاسکوں کہ فیس بوک پر افسوس کرنے، اخبار میں مذمتی بیان دینے اور فاتحہ پڑھنے سے آگے بڑھ کر، آپ بہت کچھ کرسکتے ھیں؛ 

آپ پچھلے ڈیڑھ دھائی سے زیادہ، بریکنگ نیوز کے صورت یا کچھ لائنوں پر مشتمل خبروں کے ذریعے، کوئٹہ اور مستونگ میں ھزارہ مسافر، مزدور، ڈرائیور، سبزی فروش، علاج کے کیلئے آنے جانے والے مریضوں، طالبعلموں، استادوں، تاجر پیشہ حضرات، زائرین، ڈیوٹی کیلیے جانے والے سرکاری ملازمین، رشتہ داروں سے ملنے، یا سودا خریدنے کیلیے آنے جانے والے خواتین اور بچوں کے قتل سے ضرور آگاہ ھوتے رھيں ھونگے۔ چند منٹوں کیلئے، شاید آپکا ضمیر جاگتا ھوگا اور آپ افسوس کیے ھونگے، یا شاید مذمت کیلیے سوشل میڈیا میں چند جملے بھی لکھ چکے ھونگے، لیکن، ھزارہ کے قتل عام سے بڑے مسائل آپ کے توجہ کے طلبگار تھے، جیسے کہ، انڈیا اور پاکستان کے فائنل میچ، شریف خاندان کے خلاف کرپشن کے الزامات، راحیل شریف کے ریٹائرمنڈ کے بعد بیرون ملک ملازمتیں، قندیل بلوچ کے قتل کے بعد لیجنڈ بننا، ایران اور سعودی کے جھگڑے اور اس طرح کے بیشمار ملکی مسائل جو یقینا پانچ لاکھ کے قریب لوگوں کے جسمانی، معاشی، تعلیمی اور معاشرتی قتل عام اور درد و کرب سے کہیں گنا زیادہ اھمیت کے حامل تھے۔ 

جو ھزارہ، اپنے چھوٹے سے آبادی کے تناسب سے دفاع، کھیل، انتظامی امور اور تعلیم میں صوبہ اور قوم کو قدرآور شخصیات ديے تھے اور جو آج بھی بیرون ملک سے اپنے پسینہ کی کمایی بھیج کر، صوبہ اور ملک کے اکانومی میں اپنے حصے ڈال رھے ھیں، انکے طالبعلم شہر اور صوبہ کے تعلیمی اداروں میں نہیں جاسکتے، انکے تاجر، شہر سے اپنے کاروبار کو لپیٹ کر، اپنے گلی محلوں میں کاروبار کرنے پر مجبور ھیں، والدین اپنے بچوں کے حفاظت کیلئے اپنے گھر بیچھ کر، جمع پونجھی خرچ کرکے، یا قرضہ لیکر، انہیں ملک سے باھر بھیجنے پڑھ رھے ھیں، جن نوجوانوں کو پڑھ کر صوبہ کے ترقی میں اپنے کردار ادا کرنے تھے، وہ کیمپوں میں ٹھوکرے کھا رھے ھیں، جن گھروں سے باپ، بیٹا اور بھائی چھینے گئے ھیں اور جو لوگ زخمی ھوئے ھیں، انکے درد، کھرب اور معاشی مسايل سے کس کو خبر ھیں، ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ اور اس جیسے اور مسایل. ان سب کے باوجود، ھزارہ لوگوں کو حفاظت کے نام پرانکے علاقوں تک محدود کیے ھیں۔ شہر کے پارکوں اور صوبہ کے صحت افزا مقامات میں سیر کے بجائے، لوگ قبرستان میں چہل قدمی کیلئے جاتے ھیں اور دنیا میں شاید، کوئیٹہ کے ھزارہ واحد لوگ ھیں کہ انکے قبرستان ھی انکے چہل قدمی کےلیے باقی بچے ھیں. 

سئوال یہ ھے، کہ ھزارہ قبايل کو احساس محرومی اور بیگانگی سے نکالنے کیلئے، آپ کیا کرسکتے ھیں؟ انہیں انکے احساس امن کو دوبارہ کیسے بحال کیا سکتا ھے اور انہیں انکے محصور علاقوں سے نکال کر، دوبارہ تعلیمی اداروں، سپورٹس گراونڈز، شہر کے کاروبار ميں شرکت، وغیرہ، وغیرہ کیلیے، آپ بحیث ایک انسان کیا کرسکتے ھیں. 

یقین مانیئے، اگر آپ چاھے، آپ بہت کچھ کرسکتے ھیں؛ 

آب بول سکتے ھیں. آپ سئوال کرسکتے ھیں. آپ لکھ سکتے ھیں، اور اس سے بہت کچھ بدل سکتے ھیں؛ 

آپ سیاسی جماعتوں کو بول سکتے ھیں کہ نفرت پھیلانے کو قابل سزا جرم بنانے کے لیے قانون سازی کرے تا کھلے عام نفرت اور اشتعال پھیلانے کو روک سکے، آپ حکومت سے اور معاشرہ کے با اثر افراد سے پوچھ سکتے ھیں کہ وہ ھزارہ قبایل کو محاصرہ سے نکالنے اور انکو معاشرہ میں دوبارہ فعال کرنے کیلیے کون سے حوصلہ افزا اقدامات کئے ھیں اور کرینگے. آپ لکھ کر لوگوں میں آگاھی پھیلا سکتے ھیں. 

میں، یہ مانتا ھوں کہ صبح کو اٹھ کر، مغربی معاشروں جیسے اخلاقی جرات تو نہیں پیدا کرسکتے کہ معاشرہ کے تمام محروم اور کمزور طبقات اپنے کو کمتر اور مجبور محسوس نہ کرے، لیکن، کم از کم ھم جن اقدار کا پرچارک ھیں، وھاں سے تو شروع کرسکتے ھیں۔ چاھے آپ قبایلی روایات کا پرستار ھیں، یا اسلامی اقدار کا پیروکار یا آپ پاکستان کے آئین کا وفادار. ڈیڑھ دھائی سے جاری قتل عام اور اجتماعی قید آپ کے روایات، اقدار اور آیین کے روح پر بہت بڑا سئوالیہ نشان ھے. آپ اسکو نظر انداز کرسکتے ھیں، تاویلات پیش کرسکتےھیں، لیکن، ایک ایسے دور میں، جہان مغربی معاشرے، دنیا کے بھر کے خستہ حال لوگوں کو پناہ دے کر، انکو اپنے اپنے معاشروں کا حصہ بنانے کے کوشش کرتے ھیں، آپ اپنے ھی معاشرہ کے لوگوں کو، شکل، زبان اور مسلک کے بنیاد پراجتماعی سزا دے کر، کسی بھی معیار کا دعوی نہیں کرسکتے.