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Friday, October 10, 2008

Faith in Fate anyone ?

One of the most important questions ever asked in my view is the inevitability of what is referred to generally as fate. Fate is usually defined as the state in which you will inevitably find yourself in any futuristic point. Please notice something here. In this piece, I am more interested in the belief in fate itself, not any religious beliefs. What I mean is essentially, do you as a person believe that there is a fixed unavoidable chain of events carved for you and that you are merely going to go through that path whether you like it or not?

I myself am not content with the idea of a prefixed path. I believe that we make our paths on our own. Each and every choice we make contributes to this path. However, I have to say that I am still uncomfortable with my own definition to this point. The reason for this is that, as we all know every theory has to go through a number of tests in order to be accepted.These tests are administered throughout a process known as the scientific method. Although this is a method usually used to explain scientific phenomena, I think it should also be used to prove or disprove any new statement, social and scientific alike.

The first step in the scientific method is to look through the surroundings and make observations along with a description. Next, we have to propose an idea (hypothesis that is) to explain the observations. The hypothesis should be able to explain existing conditions and (as accurately as possible) predict what might happen in the future. Finally, that theory has to be tested. The results of those tests will eventually prove or disprove the hypothesis.

I do not want the following to sound as though it is cant, gibberish chutzpas, therefore, I will try to be as concise and clear as I can. My original hypothesis is that we make our own choices and that they lead us through life. Here is an example: I decide to go to university. This in turn means that I want to receive a degree. It also entails that I am ready to go through all the hardships of college life. If I choose not to accept the burden of college hardships in all their forms, then I am reneging on the vow I made initially and therefore, cannot in any way achieve the initial goal, at least not as efficiently as I originally intended. However, here comes the real problem, pickle, or for those who are more acquainted with Physics, Shrudinger's cat. Some people are endowed with some capabilities that others do not possess. For instance, some people have a great affinity to mathematics or Physics and can excel at them. Others are really good at learning languages. Yet others do not possess either of these properties but are quite humorous and easily approachable (have charisma) and can therefore build social networks quickly and efficiently . What I mean to say is that one's decisions and choices are affected to large degree with what the person is endowed with originally. That conflicts with the main idea. Therefore, this merits rethinking the basis of the hypothesis itself.

This post is mainly the result of a conversation in which I was challenged to show that my hypothesis is true. The person on the other end of the conversation said that I should place my trust in God almighty. I in turn said that I do not mind placing faith in God. But that is as far as I am prepared to go when it comes to divinity. When something goes wrong, I need to identify the error and try to change the conditions which in my view caused the final result. In other words, I need to find a strong enough cause and effect link. Still, there was a chink in the chain and my opponent was quick to throw all her argumentative ordnance in that direction. Being docile, I kept from attacking the falsehoods in her own argument, namely that if we had our lives planned at the onset of our lives, then how can we gauge success. Anyway, although I did have to agree that my hypothesis had some holes in it to say the least, I still held my own and like many of the conversations of the philosophers in ancient Greece, the duel ended in virtual deadlock.

However, I still feel the wrath of being pushed in the corner. Usually, I do it to others but at that day, I tasted my own medicine and God help me it was quite bitter. I tried to present a new modified hypothesis. This hypothesis states that the real world is too wide and there are too many variables. Therefore, the myriad of possibilities cannot be narrowly explained by a simple concise theory. The new hypothesis somewhat amalgamated both of the hypothesis presented in this post to this point. It states that a person is endowed with specific advantages and constraints when he/she is born. Later on in life, the choices of the person will determine the efficacy with which that person can make use of his powers. The choices will also determine how well the person can control and reduce his/her inherent limitations.

I do not know how coherent the final proposal is. However, I would like to hear your ideas. I hope you can help unlock this mystery, wrapped in an enigma engulfed in a conundrum, in other words fate!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Genius Loci

The Romans had a firm belief that each place had a protector spirit. A spirit that would maintain and preserve the spirit of the place. There is in my view, a huge error in this logic. The place in its own right does not posses a spirit, rather, it draws on the spirit of the people who live, work, study, pray and die in that place.

When people whom we have known for a long time leave and travel to places far away where we cannot see them, the place should inevitably lose part of the source from which it would draw its character, however, our fondness of them, our respect for them and our adherence to their friendship does not waver, does not alter, how can that be answered by Genius Loci?

The answer is quite simple, the philosophy of Genius Loci has one chink in the chain, that namely is it places the premium on the place rather on the people, on the rock, plant, animal, architecture present, not on the soul which roams that place. People we admire, those who make an impression on us, those who make us understand life and tolerate its misfortunes are but part of our own conscience, therefore we cannot forget them for they are in essence part of us and we of them.

Alexandres Dumas, in his great novel The Count of Monte Cristo said that “Misfortune is needed to light the treasures of human intellect”. In no way could Enmand Dantes' departure from Chateau d'If have diminished his admiration and love to Faria for the old man was domiciled indeed in his heart. Edmond's departure form Chateau d'If allowed him to Having to part ways with a friend can be seen only as a misfortune, however, such a misfortune should be accepted, indeed, it is another avenue to light one's intellect so that one is deemed rich. Let wealth come not from Genius Loci, let it come from Genius Gens!!


Monday, August 4, 2008

Man and the Horn

Drivers in Jordan seem to have an infinite affinity to their horns. Not a day passes by without hearing a chorus of horns honking in the streets. Some are used merely to declare an acrimonious response to a grave violation committed in the street which in the driver's view is tantamount to a driving fornication (mind you he/she might be guilty of such a crime at some other period of time). Another is used by taxis to declare that they are ready to accept clients. Note however that the taxis' horns go berserk once they see females on the side of the road. There is yet another member in the club, when you are in the middle of a traffic jam, it is quite nice to see that some of the drivers are quite determined to give you motivation to just get the evolutionary process done with now, spread your wings and fly. Wait, there is more. How about the guy who comes over to his friends house at about 2 a.m. and instead of using his top of the line mobile phone to signal his mate to come down, uses the horn to stealthily inform him of the carriage's arrival? Looks to me as though these people have a retarded understanding if any to how sound propagates in the medium usually referred to as air. Finally, we come to the class of drivers normally referred to as "The Happy Ones". They are the entourage which accompany the convoy of either a wedding (I usually like to call it a convoy instead of a procession since procession insinuates a more orderly form of transportation) or those who where fortunate enough to have scored a mark skirting the fifties border in Tawjihi. The problem with those people is that they do not understand that you cannot care less (even if you tried) about their happiness and in some cases, nirvana. These are just some of the humorous aspects of driving in Jordan. These in effect give rise to the following statement which is -in my view - only a euphemism of the truth: ""Driving in Jordan is like being a lame duck in a shooting gallery "

The Good Old Days

Lately, I was asked to write a composition about "College Years". I was supposed to portray them in a very favorable manner!! Anyway, it was a TOEFL question. These people like a lot of mumble jumble. Therefore, I tried to give it to them. After I finished the composition, I liked it and wanted to share it with you:

When I was younger, the "college years" fascination was more of an inconceivable folly to me. I always thought that the present was the best tense to think of. What do reminiscence and nostalgia award? I always thought that the answer to that question was "absolutely nothing". I was unable to comprehend the constant recollection of the elderly and the seemingly endless ensuing bickering that goes into each and every detail. What difference does it make really?
All that changed after I graduated. It was the first time I could actually understand the real underlying meaning of the words of the much acclaimed song"those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end, we'd sing and dance forever and again .... We'd fight and never lose." I think it gives great relief to the elderly when they are reminded of the time when they were invincible, when they had the upper hand and faced all their problems with utmost vigour and endurance. They could face all obstacles ostensibly. Those as they are usually referred to in vernacular "the good old days". I can remember now how we wanted to be on the top of the world, how we felt that we can defeat everything and everyone and come out on top. We had dreams of grandeur, most of which did not come true. However, after experiencing the real world with all its trifles dangers, sadness, happiness, we can all feel great astonishment and relief simultaneously to having been so idealistic and pure at a time before being corrupted by the necessities and realities of life.
"The good old days" are actually all what one has when old, cranky and lonely. The present is not as interesting as the glorious past, it is devoid of all the romanticism of youth, all its zeal, and all its appeal. I am still not that old. I still think of the present as a good time, and maybe the future is still promising, however, I can surely understand the elders' attachment to they youth. The college years to me are verily " the good old days".

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Depressed?

Depression, a very dark word is it not? It has an evil air to it. Actually, this word has a character and mind of its own. Let us be honest about it, we all feel down sometimes. Many mornings did I wake up and feel like doing absolutely nothing at all.

Can we do anything about it? Well, I think it will be an understatement if I were to say "hell yeah, we sure can dude" because it is not always that easy. People can always tell you these clich├ęs like "think out of the box", "don't be such a baby" etc. You know what, if you were in my shoes, hell you would be drenched in tears by now. To borrow a word from the Irish vernacular , you are a bogger and "sunny", you are certainly not in Dublin!!

The real difference can only come from within you. The Aborigines people believe in a walkabout. A phase of revelations, in which one leaves his old self and meets his new self.There are points in your life when you feel there is something wrong, something is just unsettling and not right. When you live another person's life, picking his fights, doing his work, you walk away from yourself. You have to stop, think about yourself and rectify this by connecting to yourself again.

Always remember this, there are always people who are worse off. Poor and rich alike, people around the globe are held captive by some form of restraint be it monetary, cultural, familial, and a myriad of other problems that plague humanity. Looking at other's problems and tragedies and respecting the dignity with which those meek people faced their fate will humble your problems. The fog will clear, and only then will you see that there is a light still at the the end of the tunnel.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Wise Words on Life

A few Words on life:

  1. Do not do anything unless it gives you the rush and happiness you see in children when they are playing with something they love. Without this spark, whatever you do will be lacking in content.
  2. Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is not right. The actions you do might actually be the right things to do, but not having the reason will corrupt them, so much to the point of defeating the purpose.
  3. "If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience." George Bernard Show
  4. "A great individual is the one who can get up off the ground after he has been knocked down by adversity" - Lou Holtz, The Fighting Spirit : A Championship Season at Notre Dame