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 :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Human Paradox

“What does that symbol do on your body armor?”... Colonel

“A peace symbol, Sir!”.... Private Joker (war correspondent)

“Where did you get it?”

“I don't remember, Sir!”

“What is written on your helmet?”

“Born to Kill, Sir”

“Born to kill on your helmet and you wear a peace button... what is that supposed to mean... some sort of joke!!!?”... Colonel asks angrily

“No Sir!”... Joker

“What does it supposed to mean???”

“I don't know, Sir!”

“You don't know very much... Do you??.....You better to ask your ass or I will get a giant shit out of you !!!”

“Yes Sir!!!”

“You answer my question or you will be standing tall before the men”

“I think, I was suggesting something about duality of men, Sir!”


“The duality of men, the Yin Yang thing, Sir!!!”

Colonel pauses for a while...appears to be thinking and then continues asking,

“Whose side are you, son???”

“Our side, Sir!”

“Do you love your country?”

“Yes, Sir!”

“How about getting into the program...Why don't you jump in the program for the big win”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Son, all I ask my marines is to obey my orders with the word of God...We are here to help the Vietnamese because inside of every gook is an American trying to get out... it is hard boiled world, Son...We try to keep our hate until this peace craze is over”...

“Aye Aye, Sir!”

and then both salute each other...

This is my favorite dialogue from a scene of the 1987 movie, “Metal Jacket”... (I understand that the language of dialogue is not appropriate but it is also a fact that is the language of the world's most popular entertainment giant; Hollywood and expect that the main message is not sacrificed for the language ). May be it is the best depiction of yin yang thing by any writer I know...What I like most is the composition of the symbols; Peace medallion (as representative of conscious mind) and "Born to Kill" (as representative of unconscious mind)... Everyone has its own way of looking at works of arts and personally, I look at compositions in them, just like a poet compose words to express his/her inner-self . Even arranging things in a manner that speak something meaningful is a work of art to me. I usually do this to objects around me and I call it "composition". When I moved to the new apartment, it had three paintings in it (of course printed ones and I was thinking "to compose" them).. The first one has a giant peace symbol with faces of people from around the world in the background and a sentence in the bottom saying, “Give peace a chance”... The second one is Van Gogh's “starry night” and third one is an abstract art with the title, “les bites dela mer” … So, according to my "composition"  these three paintings/portraits together speak about human condition. Humans want peace but they are scared from each other (doesn't matter if they are weak or strong; Just look at expenditures and the conflict hotpots; they speak by themselves) and are apathetic to majority that are out of the sphere of their interests (like abstract arts that are usually disconnected with reality)...

At unconscious level, humans might not be very different from other animals and it is appears that conscious mind have evolved to make our behaviors agreeable as docile humans and it is why, we see there are contradictions between talks and actions on peace, empathy and human rights. They say actions speak louder than words but perhaps not. Despite of contradictions between words and actions, men have learned to rationalize the contradictions so artfully that, they don't feel it much.  Human contradictions appear in everything that humans have a hand in it. Look at this statement for example, “God has created man on His image”... If humans by nature are full of contradictions and humans are presumably an image of God then, you know what I mean (It is a clear contradictions but humans have learned to make a way out; wherever they fail to rationalize they take refuge into beliefs. Believing means accepting something as "self-evident truth" that can't be questioned)... Frankly, despite of my respects for all religions, recently it has become hard for me to rationalize the clear contradictions that I observe. Let's take the value of human life in the Muslim world for example. From one side we frequently hear that, “the murder of a single human being is like murder of whole humanity” and other side we see planned campaigns of text messaging and social media messages in Quetta city of Pakistan quoting, “Kill the infidels, wherever you find them” and then we see vegetable vendors, coal miners, passengers and shop keepers are targeted killed all over the city. It looks to me that, we are all like the Private Joker in the “Metal Jacket” movie wearing peace medallions on our armor jackets and “born to kill” statement on our helmets and are scared of every other human beings that does not belong to our groups. The same is true about Human Rights cries. Wherever, the interests of the international community lies, they rush for “humanitarian interference” and where there is not much of interests then, they become apathetic. Everyone might draw their own conclusions from human paradoxes and my conclusion is that, for living it is required to stand to the world, otherwise face the barbarism of hardliners/fundamentalists/extremists (name doesn't matter; simply most scared people who see their safety in destruction of others) and apathy of moderates.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Are You?

"What are you?"... A secular? , atheist?, liberal?, agnostic?, religious? , sufi?, fundamentalist? , nationalist, huamnist... and so many other ...ists? This is the most damning question ever to me. Why should someone define one by circles that others have created? OR, how come it became one's responsibility to defend worldviews that set limits for others? Or even clearer, how it makes sense at all to create an imaginary boundary and define others by that, unless you want to DAMN others. If people in power does so, it is understandable, as it serves their interests but I have really  hard times to understand when commoners do so. It is good, if these terms or relevant movements  are debated rationally or discussed by scholars to bust them out and it makes sense to entitle those who use these terms for their purposes but entitling commoners with these terms is non-sense. 

I can't walk properly in others' shoes. I am fine in my own shoes. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A comment on US election

I don't know, if you have read Ghulam Abbas' short story, "Overcoat" (If you have not read it yet, I strongly recommend to read this short story). I suppose, all those who have attended high school in Pakistan is familiar with this short story. OK, let me come to the point; a paragraph of the story reads (translation may never come close to original but hope you get the point), 

".......Now, it was 7 O'Clock and he was walking on sidewalk of the Mall road. Orchestra music was playing in a restaurant. There was more people outside the restaurant than inside. Most of people outside  the restaurant were drivers, coachmen, vegetable sellers who had sold their fruits and were standing there with their empty baskets and some passersby that have stopped there; some of them were laborers and the rest were beggars. Although it was a western music but the people outside of the restaurant were looking more fond of the music than people inside as they were not making any noises and silently listening to the music. The young man stopped for a while and then continued his walk....."

It seems that, there are more zeal and interests outside US about the current US election than among US citizen inside US (Please forgive me; I have no intention to offend anyone. It is just this paragraph from Ghulam Abbas' short story that came to me and I could not stopped myself but to share it). What if we don't have a say in the election but at least we can enjoy the ORCHESTRA (Just like the people who couldn't afford the food in the restaurant but still stopped to enjoy the music that, they were not understanding).....  Cheer :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Learning to enjoy misunderstanding

One of the basic drive of curiosity is pleasure. People gather information about things that do not have survival value or any other kinds of utility but they enjoy doing them. In college, I had a friend who was frequently visiting provincial library. The library had a compilation of newspapers collated in chronological order. Strangely, he was not going to library to read books but to go through newspaper compilation to catalogue the records of cricket matches and cricketers. It was looking to me as wasting oneself. Later, when I experienced that, the more one learns about something, it gradually becomes interesting and then one starts to enjoy doing it. In other words, there are things that we have to learn in order to enjoy. Reading is one of such things. From my childhood, I was hearing that, books are men’s best friends. Now, I know why books are men’s best friends. You get the bests of what the bests of humanity had produced so far. If you enjoy reading books, you are definitely in many ways belong to future as only best of present make it to be in future. Reading is one of the must have habits for personal development, it is why I believe that, the greatest gift that parents can give to their children is to make them enjoy reading. By instilling the habit of enjoying reading, they not only provide their children the best of the teachers that humanity had produced but also satisfy a large part of drive that come from curiosity and hence save them from the evil habits that might come through curiosity. Curiosity is the initiative force for a range of addiction from smoking to video games.

OK, enough of benefits of reading but why I needed this introduction at the first place? I was needed to clear some of the confusions and misunderstanding. Although books and other forms of writings are the best thoughts of the authors but it is not necessary that readers have the same wavelength in thinking levels, the same kinds of tastes in usage of communication tricks or the time to invest in becoming familiar with thought processes and expression styles of the authors. Our limitations both in thought processes and lingual/communication preferences create usually barriers ripe for misunderstanding. It is the limitations that open the door for recommendations and interpretations. The recommendations and interpretations of the people we trust most or close to us, also influence our understanding. Still reading is thinking and the more one reads in particular area, the deeper becomes one’s levels of understanding and it is another important factor in levels of understanding.  In short, it is important to;

-          learn enjoying misunderstanding

-          learn enjoying criticism

-          learn enjoying limitations

-          learn enjoying unfamiliar or exotic expression/communication tricks

-          learn enjoying imaginative speculations

Despite of being sympathetic to human creations, when I read that, by end of century half of current 7000 languages are going to die and over last 500 years, half of world's languages have gone extinct, I scratch my head in an effort to make a sense out of it. I am not scratching my head on why people are concerned about language preservation (It is their area of interest and I look to interests as individual's niches in the growing 'cultural forests') but I am scratching my head to make a sense of it for myself. I look to language as an expression of human intelligence. It is the most economical way of communication compared to biochemical and physical communication (body language) and it is why human can afford to create complex cultures out it. I just can read and write in three languages and have some patchy familiarity with a couple of more languages and these are the limitation of my communication skills that sometime cause disadvantages for me. Having my limitations in mind, if I get concerned about preservation of 'dying languages', what can I do for them? To me, the majority of existing languages are already 'dead'. They are 'dead' for me because I can’t afford to learn them. I can't blame the world for losing half of the languages over past 500 years because it was beyond their capacity to maintain them. When a language loses its basic purpose; an economical way of communication then it becomes costly for individuals to learn and maintain them. There is no mystery or hypocrisy in it.

Just like my limitations in affording to learn more languages, I have similar limitations imposed by nature in knowing things. I can’t know about things that are beyond my physical world (like life after death, existence of supernatural beings etc). Yes, I can imagine about them but I have to make clear distinctions between “Real world” and “Imaginary Worlds”. Uncle Einstein says, “Imagination is more important than knowledge” and I do enjoy imaginative speculations about possible scenarios for things or events beyond my physical world. There are things that are beyond my limits to prove with confidence so I can only tell, whether I “Believe” in them or Not (and that is something personal). 

As I said, the more we learn about something, the more interesting it becomes and the more interesting something, the more we enjoy doing them. If it is right then, it should be applicable to our limitations and its products such as misunderstanding, criticism and imaginative speculation :)