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 :)
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
….“ The prophetic event of his legislative work was what is known as the Lincoln−Stone protest. This looks to−day so harmless that it is not easy to understand the situation in 1837. The pro−slavery feeling was running high, an abolitionist was looked on as a monster and a menace to national law and order. It was in that year that the Reverend Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered martyred at Alton, Ill. The legislature had passed pro−slavery resolutions. There were many in the legislature who did not approve of these, but in the condition of public feeling, it was looked on as political suicide to express opposition openly. There was no politic reason why Lincoln should protest. His protest could do no practical good. To him it was solely a matter of conscience. Slavery was wrong, the resolutions were wrong, and to him it became necessary to enter the protest. He succeeded in getting but one man to join him, and he did so because he was about to withdraw from politics and therefore had nothing to lose. Here is the document as it was spread on the journal:
Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed both branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the undersigned hereby protest against the passage of the same.
They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils.
They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power under the Constitution to interfere with the institution of slavery in the different States.
They believe that the Congress of the United States has the power, under the Constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, but that the power ought not to be exercised, unless at the request of the people of the District.
The difference between these opinions and those contained in the above resolutions is their reason for entering this protest.
Representatives from the county of Sangamon.”……………..
What really moved me is that Abe got only one person on his side on his protest against “Pro-slavery resolutions”. It might have seemed a failure on those days but today no one sees that a failure as his stand based on his conscience has won over what were popular trends and sentiments in those days. Though, today, we don’t have physical slavery in the sense of those frontier times but the issue of “Human Rights” is an equivalent issue as to that of issue of slavery was then. The deep desires for supremacy and monopoly of values or religious beliefs have much popular appeal than to give in much for sake of “Human Rights” even if it appeals to conscience.
I agree that Human Rights have been misused as a foreign policy tools and even as a warfare tool against opponents and opponent governments. I agree that Human Rights have been used as a political tool or even economical tool by people who don’t really believe in it. It has been misused to an extent that if you talk about Human Rights, all and I really mean all try to find what you really want to conceal, using it. Some see weakness in it, some see ambitions and others see cowardice and betrayal in it. So when Abe protested against pro-slavery resolutions, he got just one supporter on his side but it didn’t stop him because his conscience was much bigger than the whole popular sentiments and judgments out there.
Although my bear-time is beastly but it gives me some humanely thoughts and let me to not wash out by current sentiments and events but see the processes that is going to repeat again and again…
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I don't know, how you celebrate your valentine day but for more than a decade I hadn't missed ant's valentine's day (annual mating ritual that lasts for one day and it is usually occurs oh hot sunny day).... it is the day that you can see countless number of winged prince (smaller head and longer antenna than princess) and wingless princess ants swarm and they are looking for their pairs..For those who are not much familiar, it is an awkward day but truly it is a romantic day.. (There was an underground colony of ants at our house and we were feeding them regularly and no one was allowed to harm them as it was believed that harming ants will bring misfortunes.. Superstition, you may call it but compassion I would name it)
It is not just economy, romance and hard work that make ants look lovely to me but also their skills that make me appreciate these tiny creatures... I was frequent to use the example of ants feeding system to talk about food at home and school... Men are very sensitive to their outfits..very cautious at sizes, colors and fabrics but when it comes to food, who cares then? tastes drive everything... Ant nurses are specialized in giving care and esp in food. They make food according to needs of each ant category (It was not like men to invest heavily in health related research, spent on health and debate health insurance and yet don't know even the basics of preparing and eating healthy)
Ants are real patriots. They work heartlessly for prosperity of their colony (worker ants) and fight to death to defend their colony(Soldier ants)..
I don't know why tonight , I remembered ants (I had to read a paper on iron plaques on rhizosphere and the authors were so boring and vague in their writings that I wasn't moving from 3rd page so it makes sense that my mind needed an escape and ants came to rescue me..hehehe) but seriously if you have watched "Matrix movie" and want to see it outside of virtual world in real world then ants are most likely candidates... They have perfect stable "Utopian societies", now for more than 140 million years...
Sunday, March 25, 2012
It is not just apes that have no share in the “worlds” created by mankind but humans have created “worlds” that keep them apart from each other. How one sees these “worlds” depends on what one wants out of them. Let me give you some examples; if you are Samuel Huntington, interesting in selling a big project for global hegemony then you will see it as “Clash of Civilizations”… If you are King Abduallah of Jordan and is really worried about your throne because of “Arab Spring” then you will see it as “overlapping of cultures” and if you are Mark Pagel, an evolutionist and feeling uneasy that why you can’t find any genetic phylogeny for cultural evolution but still you want to see cultural diversity as something biological and to make it sense in light of evolution, you will say, “Genetically we remain a single species, but culturally we are worlds apart, comparable to dinosaurs, birds and mammals…..”
When I was a little boy, there was a proverb that I was frequently hearing; Shoemakers don’t own a decent pair of shoes, Construction workers don’t own decent housing, Drivers don’t own decent housing, Tailors don’t own decent pairs of dresses, Cooks don’t eat healthy meals and so on… Although this proverb is appearing counterintuitive but it is true at least for one thing and that is for sure… Humans that have unlocked the secrets of the largest thing like Universe that is really hard to have a clear picture of its vastness and size even imaginary and the smallest particles like subatomic particles that require cyclotrons to detect…. have not yet unlocked their own “intelligence”… Human intelligence is conscious of itself but it is not sure of its origin and how its operates (despite of a lot of generalizations, it is still a mystery)..
MRI scans produce images of blood flows in a live brain but it can’t explain and able to find a mechanism for mechanization of human intelligence. Even there are great debates between Philosophers, psychologists and neurologist about such aspect of human intelligence like “free will”. Does it exist or it is just a “fantasy” based on which human have created their “real worlds” (legal systems; doesn’t matter the source or the way it is created)… That is exactly like a construction worker who works at giant construction projects but can’t build his own house….
But who cares about the origin and nature of “intelligence” as long as it is available all the time and free of costs and we can use it to uncover or construct things of interests… As long as we can create “worlds” without knowing the origins and how it really works then we will value the concepts of “wrong” and “right” (constructed concepts) over what things really are… and as long as we value very high the definitive/constructed concepts, we would continue to seek supremacy of our values over others’ values and continue to take interest in battle of Titans…
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
So what we know about Socrates comes through the writings of his students especially through "Republic" of Plato that includes sketches about life, personality and dialogues of Socrates. It might be a matter of amusement to note that an identical picture comes from China. The 'Analects of Confucius" is equivalent to the "Republic" of Plato and is not written by Confucius himself but by his disciples. Although, there is a contrast between Socrates' life styles and circumstances, interests and even practices but their roles are almost similar in their respective civilizations and to me Confucius is Chinese Socrates. Confucius is well known both in East and West and his philosophy has been practiced not only in China but also in neighboring countries, what we know as East Asian countries....
If I have to grandly classify the world based on their philosophies, I would say historically there are three geo-philosophical regions (These regions are distinct in their philosophies),
Spiritual East, that includes, North Africa, Middle East, South and Central Asia, Practical Far-East that includes Eastern Asian Nations and Idealist West that include western nations...
Although Chinese philosophy has not the taste of spiritualism and idealism but its practicality makes it palatable to common instincts.
When one looks for a practical Philosopher in the Western world, Machiavelli is the most likely name to come first in his mind. Because Machiavelli's practical philosophy does not fit very well to idealistic Western Philosophy and Spiritual Eastern Philosophy so he is looked upon as a philosopher of ruling class and Machiavelli himself was looking to himself in the same way and it is perhaps why he was named his most famous book, "The Prince"... If you are familiar with Machiavelli then Sun Tzu is not an alien to you except that Sun Tzu is taller in practicality than Machiavelli..
As globalization pushing the nations closer to each other, we see the inertia in the form of new conflicts and new means of competitions to increase the spheres of influences. It is quite predictable that fear of losing is by-product of this globalization inertia. If the East is scared of decline in spirituality, the West is worried about scrambling of idealism. Even layman can sense the ad hoc responses to current challenges. While Eastern and Western Philosophies are just looking into cultural aspects of conflicts, the Sun Tzu tells us why certain regions of world are land of conflicts.. Why certain places and people faces uninvited wars and conflicts again and again?
Following is a documentary about Sun Tzu's book, "The Art of War". While, I am not interested in war but I believe that in order to understand Peace, one needs to understand war and conflicts. It is necessary to understand why certain people are victims of conflicts and why certain people are interested in war instead of Peace....
Friday, March 16, 2012
Well, I am not in mood of taking sides but for me, it is really interesting to see the differences of opinions in two neighboring generations. Looking to the nature of general decline both in terms of governance and economics that is global in its nature, it would be unfair to blame individuals who were more of products of those institutions. I am reading Professor Nye’s article for long and I have noticed a big shift in his position from advocating the projection of “smart power” to currently more focusing on “leadership”. By having a look to the lists of his current articles, “When Women Lead”, “Angela Merkel’s Vision Thing”, “Charisma We Believe in” and now “What is Wrong with Transformational Leadership”, I feel that he is seeing the problem with “leadership” instead of his proposed “smart power” and still looking for some charismatic and smart leader for successful execution and strong comeback of his “smart power” (In Mideast, the goal is "smart power"......"Smart Power" ).
To me, power is the biggest illusion that people get from fall or failures of others. After collapse of Soviet Union, there were a big shift in balance of power on the world’s theatre but instead of seeing the resulting chaos, the “generation” who was involved in the struggle against Soviet Union got an illusion of power. That is a common symptom both in West and East, particularly in Pakistan that was frontline state in struggle against Soviet Union. Like Professor Nye, the Pakistani generation that was involved in struggle against Soviet Union, got an illusion of power and instead of seeing the mess they had created during their “Holy Struggle” both in Pakistani institutions and society, they tried to project their “power” to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Guess what was the “Power”? Of course, it was not something secret and mysterious. The power that was the fruit of two decades of struggle was Taliban and religious extremists groups. After two decades of projection of “Taliban Power”, the toll of destruction to Pakistani institutions and society is unimaginable. Tolerance, trust and confidence are things almost missing in the society. How our “Power generation” expect from current generation to not be disoriented? This is lost generations who have the problem of wasting too much time in understanding their situations, society and governing institutions than learning and inventing time. The time they spend wandering about their situations and governing institution is not only wasted but also waste them. This is a generation that is lost in waste. It is really unfortunate that instead of rethinking institutions, the politicians are blamed. Despite of all these, I see a hot pursuit for “Charismatic and Strong Leadership” to bring changes to Pakistan.
Let me dare to say, “Sorry, with decline of most institutions, any charismatic leadership will be just a memorable failure”. It is not time for hunting a leadership but “leaderships in all spheres” and serious rethinking about the restructuring of institutions. There is still time to come out of “illusion of power” and correcting others but instead it is time for “correcting self” and that is more of an urgency call.
As a member of current generation, I walk in same shoes as Umair Haque walks. It doesn’t fit and it hurts walking so “you” can’t blame me for not walking well while it hurts. Our problem is that change has already come (May be through technology) but we still want to forcefully resist it. Let’ see if change will force us to go for change or we will be saved just by continuing to look for a “Charismatic Leader” and blaming failed leaders for the mess.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
That evening, it was one of my rarest times and it was so delicious that I didn’t realize that it was getting dark. Then I heard someone calling me. I think, I heard my name twice. I looked back but nobody was there. In fact, the whole ground was empty. I got so scared that I left my kite and thread in place and just started running to home. When I reached home it was already dark and I was no more cold as I had run nonstop, may be for more than 20 minutes. The reason that I got scared was not the empty ground and calling of my name by a ghost (or just out of my head) but the ground itself. I heard that before partition of India-Pakistan, this ground was used for open air cremation. More than that was the scary stories of elders that were making this place scarier after dark. One of the stories goes like,
(A retired old man); at those times, most of current Alamdar Road was unpaved. I was returning from duty (government job) on bicycle. It was dark, silent and there was nobody around. For me it was routine. Then I see a beautiful white baby goat playing and jumping around my bicycle. It was so beautiful and tempting that I couldn’t resist but to go and grab this baby goat. As I picked it up, I felt as its limbs are lengthening and it is becoming heavy and it is laughing with the sound of a woman. I tried to throw it but I failed. The only thing that I remember was fainting and falling on the ground. When I woke up, it was dawn and I was on the ground with no one around…
For a child it was enough to know that his city was totally destroyed in 1935 earthquake, in which estimated 30,000-60,000 residents died. The spirits of those who died must be roaming around but this ground was even scarier as no one knew for how long it was used for open air cremation. I think, the stories that then I was reading about dark roaming spirits had added to my superstitions. The thought of thousands of spirits roaming in the city after dark was enough to scare me. Whatever, it was just spirits and ghostly creatures that I was scared of and of course only after dark. I never thought that there will come times that I no more fear any ghost or spirit but devil-men who claim to stand for religion or civilization.
It is again March but that March was really a dark March. On March 2nd, 2004, long after I had forgotten my childish fears of ghosts I witnessed for the first time what devils are and how they go for cannibalism. I was in Ashura procession like every year. Around 1;12 PM, suddenly two blasts occurred and intense firing followed. Nobody had an idea that what was happening and then I saw the wounded and dead bodies coming in. It was a total chaos. What I may never forget was a dead 10-11 years old boy. His face was undamaged but his back-skull was missing and the skull was empty. Two persons were carrying him and his forehead was moving in and out as they were running. Though there were people with missing legs and open stomachs but that child, Ah, I just can’t forget. His innocent face and his empty skull still come to me as great pain. There were mostly children in front of procession and they were the first victims of firing and suicide attack. More than 56 people died on that day. It was first time that I realized, it is not dead-ghosts roaming around in dark that are scary but devil-men who roam around in day light who eat live people. Frankly, anybody, no matter who he is and what he stands for when talks about war; he doesn’t look to me as human but a devil. I would love to be scared of ghosts but I think, the devils snatched that innocence even from children. I can just wish that children continue to get scared of ghosts than devils. When I watch talks of war, I just think about those children who are now scared of ghosts but soon going to get scared of devils instead and that thought STILL SCARES ME….
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Whether you are a rationalist who sees the world through the eyes of logic and Philosophy or a believer in one merciful God or worship idols, you can't claim that you do not belong to a history of men that were/are believing in their cultural superiority and have been involved in eradication of rival cultures in order to spread their own... It seems that the destruction and conversion of civilizations is a universal process across religions, cultures and times. We find the evidences in ancient world, Medieval ages and witness their continuation in our modern age.
Alexander "the great" was the pupil of logic's father and a great philosopher of all time, Aristotle. Aristotle tutored Alexander to fulfill the dream of his teacher, Plato for a "Philosopher King". The "Philosopher King" had a "Philosophical mission" and that was Hellenization (in other word to spread the culture of philosophy) of the world.
Alexander the great destroyed the Persepolis to ground while he was building new cities like that of Alexandria throughout of his expanding empire. It seems that the sole reason for his destruction of Persepolis was that of rivalry among civilizations. He was looking to Persian civilization as an obstacle to his project of Hellenization of world...
Although Hellenization of world was not lasted long but the world didn't cease to repeat the same sort of efforts. Ottomans after capturing the last city of Byzantine empire, converted its jewel church, the Hagia Sophia Church to Aya Sophia Mosque in an effort of Islamization of Byzantine empire. Islamization of conquered territories was identical to Alexander's project of Hellenization of the world.
The re-christianization of Muslim Spain cities was no different than the Islamization of Ottomans and the continuation of the same phenomenon as those of Alexander and Ottomans... the conversion of Civilizations...
One may argue that those events were happening in a time period of human history that human history were merely the story of emperors. So they were more of battles of emperors than clash of civilizations. So, lets come to our times and go to the biggest democratic country, India. The demolition of historic Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India was another act of eradication of a history or conversion of civilization in a democratic society.
And of course, religious fanatics who left their brains in history are determined to roll back all civilizations. The destruction of Buddha of Bamiyan by Taliban was just a trailer of their project will proceed and what their world will look like..
Wait, as we have the seed for a future clash. This process is not doing end as the controversial status of Jerusalem and prediction of Armageddon over Jerusalem is popular among Jews, Christians and Muslims.... It is just the matter of time when the followers these three Abrahamic religions go for a large scale clashes..
Looking to all these examples, I am compelled to think that overtaking of civilizations is not mere products of teaching but deeply embedded in our "second nature". What does it mean? That means that our "second nature" was born and grown up with us as we were born and grown up in our particular cultures.
While, I understand the need for preservation and promotion of our primary cultures (cultures that we have inherited and are the source of our identity) but in order to bridge the gaps and reduce conflicts we need a second culture, a culture common to all human being. Human Rights' thirty articles are accepted and endorsed by all nations and provides a framework and values system for our second culture. Unfortunately, there is no arts, movies, stories and other forms of cultural products to make this a reality. I don't know, how much my appeal goes but at least I voice for it...
Friday, March 2, 2012
Unlike bacteria that respond to changing environments, humans are smart creatures and change their environments to their needs BUT it is not ideal either...In the process of changing the environments, they create new dependencies. Gold and Oil is not part of essential commodities for survival but by creating complex societies and machines to run them we are now dependent on these precious commodities.
Human populations have responded to each big breakthrough in technological, economical and social developments and have increased to reach 6 billion. Of course, this number is going to increase. It is logical to think that as population increase, the rate of consumption also increase. Until now, as the consumption has increased so is the production. That means we are living in good times. There are some ecological migrations but the still most of the migrants are those of war migrants and economical migrants and this might made this look natural to see most of efforts are linked with political and economical concerns....
There are some people who are alarming us that these good times (A balance between consumption and Production) might not go forever. Some of commodities are limited and non-renewable so expecting to increase in their production forever is not logical and they predict a peak for production beyond which the productions won't be able to meet the supply demand...
Hubbert peak oil plot
The concept of Oil Peak was there since 60s but now we are hearing about "Peak Gold".
Peak Gold might not be as serious as Peak oil but still it would affect the way people think of economy and their personal savings. My concern is not whether Peak oil or Peak gold are real or myths but of coming more Peaks. Perhaps our next talks be about "Peak Food", "Peak Fresh Water", "Peak Land" and so forth. Although human have faced famines and other ecological disasters in past but in global world where interdependence are rapidly growing, the ecological disasters and migrations are something totally new that yet we may have to discover their scales and impacts....
This report belongs to 2009 but still it shows the renewed interest in gold. If we really have reached Peak Gold then gold will be the next big player in social stratification assuming that the prices will continue to climb up, especially in societies where Gold is an important part of social events (especially marriages)