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, December 25, 2015

Conversations With An Afghan Teacher: Part 6

“Are you suggesting that human rights activists are modern saints?” I interrupted. 

When I asked a question, he nodded his head repeatedly , while maintaining a light smile. His humble gestures reduced the gapes of our ages and knowledge levels. 

“I am sure, you have heard the names of Che Guevara, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela?”

“I knew about the three others but Martin Luther King, I recently learnt about from a textbook on American Politics. I guess, very few people around here know him as I have never heard anyone speaking about him.”

“I know people around here consider Che Guevara a bigger saint than Mandela and some may even consider Gandhi as villain. “ he laughed. “For obvious reason. But I mentioned those four names as they are generally celebrated as some sort of saint across the globe. My point is though each of those personalities had different ideologies and struggled against different systems, they stood for equal rights and in an age, human rights were recognized globally, their struggles were considered noble and earned them special statuses…”1

“If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that in our time, human rights is virtue, not knowledge?”

“I am glad that you asked that question. Though the answer is very obvious, especially to a person like me who had suffered significantly from it....” I noticed the rush of blood in his face. “When I was at the same age as you are or probably a bit younger, I found myself torn apart between three systems of knowledge, each rejecting the validity of two others. The communists thought, they were the real representative of rationality and rejected libertarians as modern sophists who had narrow world-view that revolved around profits. Libertarians rejected communists as anti-intellectuals who wanted to punish talented individuals for their talents and spread stupidity. These two groups stressed that they are the real face of Science. And there were Mujahideen who stressed to bend all forms of knowledge to fit their Islamic worldview, as the words of God were the only true knowledge. The war of those three worldviews destroyed the world of our generation…” he took a long breath. “So you see, we are no more living in the world of Greeks, and like Greeks, we can’t propose, knowledge is virtue…”

“The Athenians punished Socrates to death, blaming him for misguiding the youths of Athens, and Taliban (students of madrassa) are killing people indiscriminately for what they consider misguided lifestyles.” I interrupted. 

“Unfortunately, that is true.”

I didn’t want to turn our conversation into talks about news (The news and talks about the news were taking over normal conversations. On TV, at homes, schools, stores, workplaces and roadsides, almost everywhere people talked news. I had developed “news-acid-reflux”. 

“I feel like, somehow, you believe, our culture should solace people. Am I right?”

“To a large extent, yes.”

“What made you to develop such tendencies?”

“May be I am a bit more inclined to link current trends to events that shaped them. I guess, that is how I was taught to see the world. Anyway, “amadam bar sari matlab” (farsi phrase: I returned to the point). In my opinion, soon after world war second, people were confused, distrusted traditional sources of identities and looked for alternatives. Philosophers, men and women of letters, artists and movie stars became very influential and the intellectuals gravitated towards introspection. People were open and readily accepted new ideas and were ready to experiment new things. The popularity of existentialism, deconstructionism, “skimmed-Buddhism” and hippie movements are few examples that demonstrated people’s changed moods. My understanding is that all of those movements failed to open up new ways and that’s why we see a trend of looking to Science for guide. The popularity of tech-products, sci-fi, star-wars and dystopia are the fallout of those failures. In East, people turned to the golden times in their relative histories and tried to reincarnate those golden societies. Islamism and nationalism spread throughout of the region and created the mess that we are currently “enjoying” their fruits in forms of the distrust, hatred and terrorist activities…”



At the time of conversation, I (and most probably the teacher) wasn’t familiar with the concept of social entrepreneurship and neo-Philanthropy. so I mention as footnote to this conversation. These are new trends that are creating new billionaire-saints. The tech-billionaires create investment organizations that invest in the startups or initiatives that have or supposedly to have vast social impacts. Although the moves are positive and they may some have good impacts (as they are able to pull vast resources and attract experts people), still institutional philanthropism will cost taxpayers more (as the significant tax savings of those institutions will have to be compensated by the taxes of lower income people, and as decision makers are few rich individuals instead of people's representatives, their benefits might be in places of particular choices.)

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