Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 16th, 2008

Hate and love in the army and of war and militarism (December 14, 2007) 

            Militarism is a deadly system and the army is a diabolic machine designed and refined through time immemorial to squelch the individuality of the recruits and soldiers once they enter the system.  There is no need to describe the process of forming soldiers because countless movies have shown the humiliating and brutal states of going through a working day during the preliminary phases of indoctrination.

First, the recruits enter in regular columns in a vast court and in their civil clothing: the dresses show disparities in an unequal society; then the recruits are given a unique uniform to provide the illusion of fraternity and equality and then they are ordered to chant in cadence while marching in order to prevent any kind of internal thinking; the core objective in the design of this system is to eliminate thinking by constant chores, fatigue, sleeplessness. The collective passion of hating the drill sergeant is meant to secure unity among the recruits, an evident objective target that is behaving as a total ignorant and cursing non-stop; a drill sergeant who transformed your individual freedom and sense of dignity into a nightmare of nothingness.  The drill sergeant is obeying to a lieutenant, who is obeying to another superior and so on to higher grades. The higher your education the meaner the tasks and the lower your comprehension compared to the variety of stupid animals you are labeled with. 

Once your hate is complete for the drill sergeant and the lower officers then you are trained to transfer your negative emotion to a complete love of your intelligent superior officer; an officer that acts as if he is attentive to your plights, who listens to your lucubration and who praises your accomplishments and education and efforts. For the Captain the recruits and soldiers are thus ready to die because they love their new found idol and hero. 

The officers in the military would argue that no society in history managed to survive without strong, solid and enduring soldiers organized to hunt large beasts, and defend the tribe from predators or enemies and to aid during catastrophic events.  In times of relative peace, soldiers are called upon to face the damages of nature, hurricanes, volcanique irruptions, bursting of dams, inundations, wild fires, pillage, and curfews.  Sure, there are always volunteers in catastrophic incidents but nothing is as efficient as ordering a whole company of soldiers to the scene and following bit-wise instructions.

 

            A true soldier lies when he says that he detests war.  A true soldier loves wars not because he is fundamentally bad and thirsty of blood but simply because war offers an exclusive opportunity to revealing exasperated vitality, defiance, mystery of the next phase and we have no idea whether we will witness the ending in each act in the comedy of life. During the fight our senses are more attuned to details, to nature, to human behavior and comprehending man as we never will during peace time; we have the opportunity to study the existence even better than philosophers if we have the necessary intelligence.  Those categories of men who are prone to gambling and taking risks will discover that war is much more exiting and fun than hunting and tracking beasts in forests or sitting around roulette tables because we are ultimately gambling with their lives and against imminent death.

Although soldiers are not more stupid, ignorant, or limited mentally than the average citizens they are nevertheless considered as trained beasts waiting for excuses to exercise their aggressive tendencies.  Surely, most soldiers are recruited from the very young and they look as children and viewed as potential threats when indoctrinated to kill and manipulating fire arms and explosives. 

Surely, soldiers are not officially prevented to learn and read sophisticated books or even delve into art and culture but peer pressures within the military at that young age is certainly an insurmountable barrier for acquiring knowledge; especially, if the officers are most of the time in cohort with the rough soldiers to humiliating and discouraging the bright artistic mind among the soldiers.  The discouraging tendencies to learn about arts and cultures are bluntly and consciously administered in the constant shouting and cursing and fowl wording in the orders of the superiors to their inferiors in ranks.

The officers in the lower echelons receive the same conscious disinclinations to further learning from their immediate higher officers who conduct themselves in the same manners of brutal, uncultured manners.

Very few officers get beyond the rank of Colonels simply because they failed to discern what is relevant at higher ranks; they failed to continue their education and show appreciative initiatives to learning what is relevant in civilian life so that they can deal like representatives of the higher officers among the civilians and government services.  The multitude of officers who failed to be promoted to higher ranks are those who remained adolescents in their behaviors; they never grew out of their earlier indoctrinations as soldiers and resumed their army jobs as if they were doing the right things in obeying and following the same trends while in the lower ranks. When these low achievers among the officers are dismissed or forced to early retirement they realize that they actually have not much to offer to the civilian community to earn a living or be leaders; they spend their retirements boasting of events that grew out of their imaginations and indulge in low active mental endeavors.

 

We hear again and again that war is an extension to diplomacy; that is utter lie. The basic cause for an offensive war was never against real external enemies or because of the accumulation of evidences that an enemy is preparing for war.  War has always been an exercise to shift the fight from providing solutions to internal stagnation; the impotence and unimaginative solutions to internal apathy, indolence and a sense that something is rotten in the society.  War is an alternative to get rid of the irreducible among the adolescents and controlling those that can be controlled to fit within the social norms and customs.  War is an outlet to postpone changes, to distance ourselves from the hard chores of comprehending the “mal” of the period, what is making the adolescents restless, hateful, and uncompromising.  War is an emulation of ancient razzias against caravans and other tribes because new generations were not happy with their lot and wanted easy and quick money for their ephemeral vitality and imaginations.  War is the results of internal youth dissatisfaction and thus, the politicians and moral clerics start collecting excuses and devising plans for potential external enemies to relieve the internal pressures and open the valve for exporting the exuberance of rage and vitality outside the frontiers.

Potential wars are more common than actually declared wars because once the adolescents are recruited into the army then very often temporary malaises in societies are mostly solved or blunted. Consequently, the process that new recruits go through explains the real reason why they have been asked to join the military: control of the new vitality and rage and providing an outlet by physical constant useless tasks and hardships.  If society had the resources and imagination to put youth to fruitful paying jobs it wouldn’t relegate its youth into the hand of the military in the first place. 

No sane mind would undergo the humiliating process of the military if he was not promised potential active wars, internally or externally, to relieving his anxieties from the daily decisions for survival and boasting about his male potentials and the longing for travel and seeing the world.

Actually, the single major factor that superimposed the concept of Fatherland to the population was war; frequent wars among the European monarchs, the flood of blood shed and shared miseries against targeted enemies and millions under the flags, which united the people under a unique banner, have opened the gate for colonialism and subsequent change and renewals.

Bertrand Russell was not far off when he pointed out that our military aggressiveness is an extension to our ancestral genetic development.  As young specie, modern human is grappling with scientific achievements that accrued much faster than his spiritual and moral development and the recurring wars are natural tendencies to how we behaved and struggled for many centuries against nature, beast and hungry rivals. The United Nation is a cornerstone to clarifying the code of conducts and establishing laws for human rights and responsibilities toward other populations.

I am for adolescents, males and females, undergoing military training for six months just to get exposed to discipline, endurance and skills for handling catastrophic events.  For the life of me I cannot comprehend why military training should allow cursing, humiliation and the subjugation of individuality.  Any sane society should keep a core of trained soldiers and officers but a large standing army is tantamount to expressing a complete impotence for providing jobs to adolescents and a structure to assimilating them usefully in society.  Anyway, a career in the military that extend beyond seven years is robbing the soldiers and officers the potential for integrating society as productive civilians and recreating a second life that may satisfy their longing and dreams as imaginative and creative individuals.

Keeping the trained soldiers and officers on reserve when the Nation demands their expertise and discipline is a much better alternative than locking them in barracks for pittance and encouraging indolence and sapping any initiatives and taking daily decisions to caring for their families and kids and themselves.

There is no doubt in my mind that our instinct to hate is much more powerful than to love; our instinct to jealousy much more lethal than friendship and in general our negative tendencies much easier to express than our positive attitudes that need to be sculpted and refined.  The ancient civilizations have found a better alternative to atone for their negative sentiments; they used to sacrifice a first born son or the most beautiful virgin in the community at a major festival in the year so that they may comprehend the cruelty of their behavior.  Unless we discover what is of the highest value to us to sacrifice, every now and then, war and killing for ridiculous excuses would be the rule of the game. 

What is of the utmost value for modern man as specie that its sacrifice would atone for our hateful instincts? Would it be disintegrating a ton of pure gold? Sacrificing a Nobel peace laureate? Destroying the highest tower in the world? Burning the most prized painting? Pulverizing the most valued original manuscripts? Killing the most powerful man in the world? Stoning the most saint person? Crucifying the highest priests of the major religions? Hanging the highest ranking Generals in the G8 States? Investing the budget of an average developed State in the poorest State each year?  Imploding the Holy Cities and sites of pilgrimage?

I am running out of ideas.  What is of the utmost value for us that need to be sacrificed once a year that would prevent our specie to advance to war?  Let us think of a basket of precious values that would satisfy the idiosyncrasies of the major civilizations.

This is a sermon.  If you deign to reply then let your passion flow.  I am interested to learn clearly where you stand currently on this subject.

Either you raise the curtain or I shall leave.  (Written on December 7, 2007)

I do not know the exact pronouncement or at what stage of dying Oscar Wilde said his final sentence “If the curtain does not rise then I shall leave”, but I recently read a survey promoting Wilde as the funniest among the witty British.

The second funny guy has said “You wouldn’t listen to me.  I told you that I was sick”.  Oscar died in a poor hotel of Paris, surrounded with a couple of younger friends and a young Irish Catholic priest because Wilde was considering joining the Catholic church after lambasting the Popes and the clergy most of his life.

I had to write this article because I made it a habit to compose a couple of articles on the main topics for every controversial manuscript that I reviewed.  The manuscript that I reviewed on the active life of Oscar Wilde was “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly.  Reilly said:

“The many biographers have given the facts, but they left out the feelings.”  Well, the book was not that controversial, but the main character Oscar Wilde was, and Victorian society was even more controversial.

Homosexuality was preponderant among all social strata in the late 19th century, but “examples” (punishment) were administered to a few targeted personalities in order to preserve the public image of the conservative system.

The pronouncement of Wilde was not lighthearted and spontaneous; rather I believe that he worked it out for many years and was the result of many conversations with Sarah Bernhard of how the audience raises the actors and playwrights on the highest pedestal, close to the Gods, in order to compensate for their mediocrity.  I would even suggest that Wilde was thankful that his prolonged sickness permitted him to say his final words.

Oscar Wilde was a trend setter in fashion. For example, at the age of 29, Wilde was slender and handsome in a coat of emerald velvet, trousers tight, rich brown Russian leather boots, and pink cheeks. He was already famous at a young age for his poetry books literary critics and for his witticism in the social circles.

Wilde craved audiences and eagerly attended the parties that his youthful fans used to throw in his honor after his successful plays. Oscar loved luxury and beauty and spent a fortune on Champagne  caviar and dined in the best restaurants and hotels.

Although he was married and had two boys, Wilde was fundamentally a homosexual and he privilege the blonde handsome youths, carefree and not that sensible; he would not discriminate on their social status as long as they exhibited wild and spontaneous love for life and luxury.

Wilde was generous with his young lovers to an extreme: he lavishly expended time, money and attention and encouraged his fans anyway possible.  Even the rascals that blackmailed him were aided to better their conditions. Wilde was the precursor of the crazy years after the First World War when people tended to liberate from societies conventions, like Scot Fitzgerald.

            Unfortunately, he fell in love head over toe with a totally undeserving young, aristocratic, and rich man who was already rotten to the core before Wilde was introduced to him.  Oscar went to jail because of his lover Alfred who fled to Italy during Oscar’s two years jail term with hard labor.  Oscar was indicted on two counts of indecent exposure with under aged boys of twenty years old.

After his release, Oscar was completely broke because Alfred mother had promised to cover the cost of the trial but reneged on the promise.  Oscar relied on his wife’s alimony, now living in Switzerland with her two boys. Alfred begged to rejoin Oscar and then got angry and jealous of Oscar because he was not successful in publishing anything of his own poetry.  The mediocre Alfred kept lambasting Oscar for growing old, fat, and humorless.

I might as well include a few witty sayings, believing that Wilde didn’t attach much philosophical truths or moral positions in them; he just liked arts and to write poetry even in prose. For example:

“Lady Effingham was quite altered by her husband’s death.  She looked twenty years younger.  In fact her hair has turned quite gold from grief.”

“In married life, three’s company, two’s a crowd.”

“I like to carry my diary when I travel; one should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

 “Ignorance is like an exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.”

 “Novels that end happily, invariably leave one feeling depressed.”

 “If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”

 “Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.”

“The realization of oneself is the prime aim of life; realizing this aim through pleasure is finer than to do so through pain.”

The ya-ya sisterhood group context for spreading epidemics, (December 6, 2007)

This article is developing on the context of group influence for reaching a “tipping point” in epidemics.  Have you heard of a concept called “transactive memory“?

Have you noticed that in your family specific members are selected as the experts in a few jobs or skills and then you rely completely on them whenever you need to perform a task that you don’t care about the particular knowledge involved in achieving it?

For example, a member is the software expert, another the hardware expert, your mother as the child caring expert, another the graphics expert for designing cards for invitations, ceremonies or birthdays?  This is a strategic method that mammals in general transfer the load on their memory and distribute it to the member of the group.

Have you ever experienced the loss of a member of the group for some reason and you say “I miss him so” and felt totally disoriented because you realized that some parts of your cognitive capabilities have been diminished or your efficiency in getting a job done has been drastically reduced, simply because the missing person is not contributing his share in the collective memory?

Among the different kinds of intelligence and memories in mankind, the social memory for relationships among the members of the group is the most developed.  Actually, we are not adapted to notice physical situational clues in surroundings during danger but we can feel and comprehend that something is not right in our immediate social environment; the evolution of our social intelligence and memory for relations among the closed group is much better developed than the other sorts of memories and intelligence.

For example, the short-term memory in chimpanzees is far better than in humans and our capacity channels for sensory information is quite limited; the average person is at most able to discriminate among seven classes of tonality, tastes, colors, touch and so on.

Mankind is at a loss to attending to more than two tasks simultaneously, especially if the tasks require inputs from the same sensory channel.

During our evolution, the modern man realized that governing groups of over 150 members is overwhelming and beyond his cognitive capabilities to keeping track of the various relations among the members. Thus, it requires special social and political structure.

For a group to be functional and effective and manage in self-autonomy, it has to be composed of less than 150 members.

The hunter gatherers split their tribes whenever it grew over 150 members.  The armies realized that the functional unit or company should be in the range of 150 soldiers.

Successful companies split their business into self-autonomous units of less than 150 employees where production, manufacturing, marketing and research and development departments work in the same building and knows one another and solve problem in face to face meetings.

These business units do not need any kind of formal hierarchy and the employees behave as associates and perform under peer pressure. Everyone is familiar with the expertise and skills of everyone else and they know where to seek the required information and clues and advice.

The mammals’ and human have large neocortex with respect to the total brain for social memory; the larger the ratio, the bigger the average size of the group they live with. The capacity of the neocortex must be huge in order to process the social and intellectual burden of relations among every pair in a group of 150 members.

Suppose that you have a tight group of 5 friends and you have to keep track of ten separate relationships by investing time and effort and attention, almost everyday, to hold this circle of friends well-managed.  Now, if this circle is of 20 members then you have to understand 190 “two-way relations”.  I may argue that we must include three-way relations because the dynamics of “3-way relationship” is drastically different from two-way.  Add the three-way to the two-way relations and the number is tremendous.

Sympathy groups are composed of between 10 to 15 individuals.

Personally, a circle of five members is already too complicated for me; obviously, my social neocortex must be atrophied and I have to submit to my lot.

Rebecca Wells sensed that her book “Devine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood” is on the brink of an epidemic in sales when her readings in Northern California was attended by closed-knit groups, instead of individuals.

Northern California and the San Francisco Bay are famous for the multitude of small reading groups and when these groups started to flock at Well’s reading and signature of her book then she realized that the word of mouth of these groups will communicate the message extensively and efficiently because they are the best connectors and salespeople.

Note: Topic extracted from the “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell

The Broken Window theory for crime epidemics

December 3, 2007

In the chapter “The power of context” of his book “The tipping point”,  Malcom Gladwell developed on the theory of the Broken Window that encourages crimes and lead to an epidemic of all kinds of quality-of-life deterioration. The criminologists James Wilson and George Kelling argued that crime is the inevitable results of disorder; if you pass through a street and notice broken windows unrepaired then your attitude is that nobody cares and thus, nobody is in charge to stop any further behavior for disorderly conducts.  If a neighborhood cannot keep a panhandler from annoying passerby, the thief might reason that it is unlikely that the residents would call the police to identify a potential mugger or robber.

David Gunn was hired by the New York City Transit Authority to rebuild and rehabilitate the subway system.  Instead of buying new trains Gunn focused on removing the graffiti off the trains; only completely clean trains were returned on the lines.  At night, the graffiti kids would enter the parking lot where the dirty trains were located and spend three days to paint a train.  Only when their work of art is done, would the Transit employees walk in with their roller and paint it over.

The kids were in tears that after three nights of work their work of art would not be shown and they gave up.  Gunn’s figured that if the graffiti war is not won all the management reforms and physical changes would never take off.

William Bratton was hired by the Authority to head the transit police.  Instead of going after the serious crimes in the subway Bratton concentrated his forces on the fare-beating practices; 170,000 people a day were entering the system without paying a token.  Heavy police forces were placed on entrances and nabbed fare-beaters, handcuffed, left standing on the platform until a full catch is rounded up.

Bratton retrofitted a city bus with fax machines, fingerprinting facilities and phones and transformed it into a rolling station house; bureaucratic work that took a whole day to process one small case was done within an hour.  The fight against fare-beaters collected serious criminals; one out of seven fare-beaters had an outstanding warrant for a previous crime and one out of twenty was carrying a weapon.

The thugs wised up and began to leave their weapons home and pay fares. Then crimes on quality-of –life like “squeegee men” on intersections, panhandlers, public urination, public drunkenness, and empty bottle throwers were rounded up.  The epidemic of crimes was reduced by two third within a couple of years in New York City.  Minor, seemingly insignificant quality-of-life crimes were tipping points for violent crime.

The Broken Window theory is based on the premise that an epidemic can be reversed and can be tipped by tinkering with the smallest details of the immediate environment.  The Power of Context is suggesting that, without denying the important factors as genetic disposition or family upbringing or social conditions or economic status or unemployment or laws that discriminate among people status, specific situations are the main causes for criminal actions.

A person is acutely sensitive to his environment, alert to all kinds of cues in the external context he is surrounded with and is prompted to commit crime based on his perception of the world around him. The context of the surrounding environment is pernicious and in an unconscious way alters the behavior of people who are generally normal on any set of psychological measures.  Countless experiments have demonstrated that the situational context is the prime variable for exhibiting drastic behavioral actions that are normally under control.

Seemingly normal people, and knowing full well that they are performing in experiments, the group assigned the role of jailers exhibited creative talents for cruelty and sadistic behavior and the prisoners behaved as prisoners and rioted and became hysterics within just a couple of days.

We tend to describe and judge people in the absolute, a person is a certain way or is not a certain way, honest, just, and generous and so forth, but we fail to be specific that any of these characteristics fails in different situations.  By thinking in terms of inherent traits and forgetting the role of situations we are basically deceiving ourselves about the real cause of human behavior.

I cannot but draw a note about our situation in Lebanon.  After all the calamities and lengthy civil wars and relentless unstable political and economic problems and our lacking of strong and coherent central governments, any one of us is a potential criminal. A minor alteration in a situation is tantamount to a criminal behavior; I guess that somehow we are more aware subconsciously than other developed nations of this important factor and we self-sensor our movements and living locations so that we don’t squeeze ourselves into unwarranted environment.

We are standing on a powder keg and any tiny variation in the actual situation is tantamount to a major conflagration.  We have actually avoided several starts of civil wars thanks to the wisdom of the forces that pulled out on time to their respective environments.

 

Rage and Pride in the Greater Middle East

November 26, 2007

After the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in September 11, 2001 by the followers of Ben Laden, the late Oriana Fallaci broke her long silence and fulminated in her manuscript “Rage and Pride” and that Hillary Clinton loved so much.  Fallaci raged against the Moslem “sons of Allah”, the “cicadas” of the Italian left that tends to find all kinds of excuses for the assaults committed on the USA, and the western women who refuse to wage demonstrations in front of the Moslem State Embassies and Saudi Arabia in particular for treating their women as inferior to men.

Fallaci raged against the late Pope Jean-Paul II for presenting his apology to the Moslems for the Crusades’ campaigns that started in the eleventh century that ransacked Jerusalem and occupied the coastal territories from Turkey to Palestine; she raged against the western organizations making a parallel of cultural differences between the West and the Moslem World and stating that the Moslems have no culture whatsoever to compare it with the West.  How can a dark culture that forbid painting, sculpting, and music and is far behind in technology and knowledge and human rights be compared to the western culture?

Fallaci enumerated bestial events and described graphically her own experiences in the Moslem World.  She went on how the Taliban in Afghanistan executed three young girls in a parking lot, simply because they entered a hair dressing saloon; the minister of the interior Wakil Mutawakil declared that Kabul is a cleaner place after the execution of the girls.  The Taliban deliberately and through an Islamic court announced that all pre-Islamic statutes should be destroyed and the two gigantic Buddha statues engraved on a mountain in the valley of Bamyan from the 3rd and 4th century were detonated and watched on International TV.  Fallaci recounted how the Palestinian guerillas in Jordan locked her up in a storage containing explosives while the guerrillas hide in an underground bunker during an Israeli air raid, for the simple reason that women are inferior to men.  In Bangladesh, they executed 12 young “impure” citizens in a stadium attended by 20,000; after the execution the masses filed in a disciplined manner on top of the cadavers.  When Fallaci was in Iran to interview Khomeini she could not locate a single hotel to accept her; she could not find a space to change in Khomeini palace and she was forced to marry the photographer because he was protecting her while she changed.  Bashir, Oriana’s hair dresser in Iran, was imprisoned for eight years. In the Iranian Embassy in Italy they were obfuscated by Oriana’s red nails and she had to rage and threaten to cut their balls before they let her loose.

Fallaci mentioned that when the western people visit the Moslem World they behave and respect the customs of Islam but the Moslem immigrants don’t mind pissing on the walls of churches and cathedrals and selling drugs and defaming the western holy places.  She claims that this massive immigration of Moslems to Europe and the USA is planned and well-organized; if the immigrants were so poor how then could they afford to pay exorbitant amount of money to get their tickets in by all ways available?

Fallaci might have legitimate claims to rage on many counts; she has legitimate ground to feel pride on many counts. What the western civilization proved was that institutions that are organized according to processes that allow changes as society develop can make a qualitative difference for survival.  This does not mean that western civilization has lost any of its carnivorous animal instincts for survival; on the contrary, this instinct has been developed far than is necessary and the western civilization is very much proud of its animal instincts.  The proofs can be found in the World Wars where millions, military and civilians, lost their lives the last centuries in Europe for domination and market outlets in the colonies and for natural resources.  Invading Iraq is the most recent and striking example.

However, any tendency of pride on individual attributes is sheer ignorance: we have to remember that modern man is relatively young specie and there are more differences among 55 chimpanzees than the whole human race.  Any serious studies on samples among the remote aborigines and the citizens of the most advanced States would not show any significant differences in attributes and aptitudes in social and political intelligence.  Probably, ignorance and stupidity will be discovered to be more predominant in advanced States.

I admit with Fallaci that it is not appropriate to compare the current western and Moslem cultures on the basis of technology, culture, arts, and institutions. The qualitative differences are too vast to compare these two civilizations, for the simple reason that Moslem civilization has been immutable since the tenth century because of caste structure founded on religious dogmas that would not alter the civil laws to change as they claim was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad; even worse, civil dogmas were founded on selective verses that were emphasized out of context and without the recommendations of how better men should behave and act accordingly.  We have firm ground to rage against the activities and deeds of the West for bringing forth the worst among the worst of Arabic leaders to command our political landscape.  Indeed, we have been raging for decades against the Western machinations for installing dictators, monarchs, and oligarchic structures in order to rob us out of our natural resources and killing in the bud any progressive movements revolting for changes

I admit with Fallaci that the West has progressed incrementally and continuously for centuries starting at the time of the Crusades while the “Greater Middle East” was robbed of any chance for changes by the antiquated Sunni Central Asian Empires that dominated our region. Instead of the West encouraging a change in our social structures and investing in any social and political institutions it has been creating a bogus abstract enemy Islam to eradicate the people in our region and keeping them in the Middle Ages status.

We, citizens of States in the Greater Middle East, that Bush and company feel that only pre-emptive wars can spread the seeds of democracy and human rights values, have also reasons to rage about and maybe a few qualities to be proud of. The USA has already spent over two trillion dollars since its invasion of Iraq, a budget that is many times larger than the combined GNP of over one hundred underdeveloped States.  All that fortune was wasted and nothing to show for but over 200,000 civilian casualties in Iraq alone since Bush entered Baghdad.  Worst, civil war was rekindled in Iraq after it was in check for decades and the coalition forces retreated on ground of not willing to be caught in a civil war and let all hell burn these backward people. Taliban is back and spreading its wings all over Afghanistan and we do have ground to rage against the West for not comprehending that “changing the minds” in our region cannot be done by unilateral military force alone.

We have been raging for decades against the US cohabitation with the theocratic, monarchic and dictatorial regimes in this region for the lame excuse that the US is at war with communist and atheist Russia.  We have been crushed, humiliated, and our liberty and freedom robbed for decades by these totalitarian regimes because oil was far more precious than the rights guaranteed by the UN charter.

We do have big reasons to rage against and hate the western nations for dismantling any democratic processes that we initiated with our blood and determination on the ground that the time was not ripe for their greed to be quenched so that we establish institutions that guarantee freedom and liberty in the Greater Middle East.

I would never relinquish my firm proclamation that it is our caste structure, in this whole region, that is the main culprit to our misery and underdevelopment and extremist tendencies. The Koran, as a spiritual and earthly dogma for regulating the lives of the believers, is a formidable barrier for change but it remains nevertheless only a catalytic factor in the hand of the wrong leaders for our lack of freedom to speech and opinion.  The regulated barriers to communicating among castes and the weak social and economic interactions among these closed religious sects are the Monsters for our backward status.

Only family atmosphere and peer influences in the immediate surroundings that encourage freedom of opinion and selecting among choices can generate free minds and independent behavior among the sons and daughters.  If this liberal climate is lacking within a family then by the time the children enroll in schools and universities it is already too late to change behavior toward listening and conversing with our colleagues as free people with potentials to change society.  Whatever liberal education we receive in universities is tantamount to inflaming our anger with no material outlets, since true democracy is a mockery within our closed religious sect structure:  Our caste systems regulate our lives through autonomous Personal Status Laws and religious courts that central governments have no say in their decrees.

We are proud that we are immigrating in drove to better pastures to experience freedom and liberty and economic independence if the West institutes programs that penalize conglomeration in ghettos and encourage the immigrants to breathe the spirit of their new homelands.  The West is best in instituting programs that last and survive upheavals and the hope is on these immigrants to take advantage of opportunities that immerse them in the social and political dialogue and way of life that is hopefully rooted in freedom of speech and availability of choices and opportunities.

We are proud that we are fighting by any means available to claim our rights for International balanced policies and rational behavior that view us as human with inalienable rights to life, happiness, liberty in religious beliefs, and freedom from our internal oppressors through fair election laws.  We have ground to rage against the West who denies our democratic results that do not suit its expectations like in Palestine, Algeria, and Egypt.

We are proud that with all the obstacles, internally and externally, the spirit of resistance to external oppressions is alive and growing and reaping its fruits as nations demanding equal treatments and fair shares in the resources and just applications of the UN resolutions and fair responsibilities in the upheavals hurtling on Earth.  We are raging for the unfair representation that citizens in the Greater Middle East are born criminals, are evils, and are incapable of governance.

There are many theocratic and monarchic regimes in our region that are the hotbed of obscurantism and extremist sectarianism.  We are damned raging against the West for considering these loathsome regimes as moderate and as their best allies for fighting against terrorism. Yes, we are proud that we are far ahead of the West in recognizing our internal enemies and fighting the right war on the West behalf.

We are proud that we discriminate what is Liberty with responsibilities and duties and what is License to do any thing because of abundance and laxity in applying free-falling laws among the Western adolescents.

We are proud that we don’t need heavily armed police forces to secure our neighborhoods, simply because we managed to hang on to our basic traditions and customs of peaceful coexistence and respect for life and properties. It is a miracle of high spiritual endurance that our societies are surviving without central governments whose only purpose is to levy taxes for its own survival, and through the calamities brought on us by the support of the West to our outdated and backward regimes.

All that we have been asking from the West was to offer us minimal moral and diplomatic guarantees that our fights against our retrograded systems and regimes receive an adequate support so that the grain of hope for change can take root.

Finally, I need to rage against the late Fallaci and her supporters like Bush, Cheney, the Christian Conservatives in the USA for lashing out against billions of people, simply because it felt right and good, without offering a sensible alternative but to waging pre-emptive wars and crushing the immigrants by sheer force.  Fallaci’s fulminating emotion is the ultimate in terrorism because it rekindled the mean-spirited “race superiority” ideology that is bringing the World closer to a Third World War and failing to bring some rationality in the causes of current terrorism.

Fact is a bitch,  (November 24, 2007)

The most common starter in any conversation is “The Fact is…”

Our politicians, journalists, and commentators use “Fact is…” to mean truth, evidence, axioms, observation, deduction, opinion, belief, interpolation, or personal experience in arguments.

Even practiced scientists have sometimes hard time differentiating what is fact and what is Not a fact.

For example, scientists in human sciences have reached a consensus that if the analysis of data is significant at a level of 5% that is, the chances that less than five observations out of a sample of 100 observed might not exhibit the general behavior statistically, and hopefully based on a judicious experimental design, then the behavioral scientist might be inclined to state that the effect in a relationship is a fact.

(The dangerous events is what happens on both extreme tails)

If a scientist decided to repeat the same experiment and set the level at 1% because the phenomenon is most important from his point of view, and the effect turned out not to be significant, then would the relationship stops to become a fact?

Even in “hard sciences”, dealing with materials and natural phenomena, which do not vary that much as humans vary in their characteristics, the laws are applicable within certain ranges and conditions.

Can we consequently deduce that fact is relative?

May we go one step further and claim that the only fact is that everything is relative?

Or this is called truth?

What is then the difference between fact and truth?  Maybe it is the relative degree of uncertainty in the proclamation?

When people say: “It is a fact”, do they mean anything such as a “pass partout” concept? If what they observe with their senses is considered fact, then a colorblind person or with other defects has the right to disagree with what “normal” people senses?

Again, the concept of normality is a matter of consensus, or is it not?

If for example the sample of individuals contains 10% color blind in an experiment related to discriminating among colors, then a mindless level of 5% is certainly not appropriate if the scientist failed to control that “fact” or factor.

Let us move from scientific lucubrations to questions weighting on the mind of middle-aged individuals.

For example, we can say it is a fact that “everyday is made to be lived before we leave this world“, but the truth is we can’t help but think one second ahead of time, and about tomorrow, and thus relinquishing the power of the moment.

Another example, we may say it is a fact “not to take ourselves too seriously: nobody is going to survive”, but the truth is we believe that we are actually surviving.

Worse, we believe that our immediate offspring is going to acquire all the best qualities that we believe we have: Are we ignorant that nature has a way of tending toward average in its progress and development?

If I state that, logically, there is no meaning for life: we are going to die, the human specie is going to vanish and Earth is a goner as well, sooner or later. Is that logic a fact because billion of species have vanished and billions of planets and stars have disintegrated? With what facts can you counter such a logical statement?

If I say: “Give me a delicious stupid reason to hang on to in order to forget this harsh reality, since we enjoy thinking ahead of time and planning for our survival” then can you be kind enough to offer me an antidote for excessive logical or deductive tendencies?

 Does anyone have a character, firm and insensitive enough, to ally completely with logic and rationality?

Maybe nothing is real for modern man as deep feeling is, and the hope that a boring paradise is waiting at the end of the rainbow with unlimited pleasures, probably cloning what we have been experiencing on Earth, these pleasures that we have forgone because of aging and diminishing power?

If I say: ” The fact is I started enjoying the stories of novels, and do not care that much about the endings; I do not rush to know how the story ends: if I got a happy ending then I feel depressed and if it is a sad ending then I say “this is not news to me”. Would that sentence expresses logic, a state of mind that varies from day-to-day, or it could be accepted as a fact for the moment in the individual psychic?

Maybe the common denominator among modern men is relishing rediscovering the wheel, and then feeling happily surprised that an ancient philosopher has stolen his copyrights.

Content is necessary, but it is the variations on the main content and how it is communicated that set individuals apart.

I am shocked at editors who believe it is their right to transform the style of an author to suit an abstract targeted public.

Go Graphics, do your communicating!

Keeps Me Sane (1998)

      Reading keeps me sane. The time for enjoying a great book

Is still there, and always will be.

I always expect jewels on human relationship.

I like surprises which reveal feelings that I would never divulge

Either to a shrink or to anyone at my deathbed,

Feelings that reveal emotions I thought were my exclusive domain.

Puerile ideas that I would be ashamed to express,

Dangerous tendencies that I like to ignore.

 

      The more I read, the more I am convinced that I am sane,

That everyone is sane given time to read as much,

That humankind shares every thought and emotion I can come up with.

Accepting that humbling knowledge needs time,

Time to reach a stage of vulnerability where life seems too complex, 

For diminishing energy and forever growing dreams.

 

      Run baby run, though you are sane and think otherwise.

Sink baby sink, though you are not much different than your neighbor.

Once I realized that feelings are common to all, 

What little work remained is a trifle to many.

It is a job you did all your life with no effort: 

Acting normal.

 

Just act normal to all who cannot stand reading.

Why wait to be reincarnated, now and then,

Over thousands of years, as a new kind of animal?

Why not have a thousand human souls in a lifetime?

 

Every character in a story is you

Under different time, country, climate, class, birthrights, condition, 

In different situations, social, political, financial and gender.

You span the whole gamut of human emotions

You are the good, the bad, the evil, the saint.

You are the rich, the poor, the nobleman, the peasant.

You are the genius, the idiot, the hardworking, and the fainéant.

 

Pick a well described character, good or evil.

Personify it and the story changes as you change,

Your heart and mind reedit the story as you change character

Because it could have been you; it is you indeed.

You can be everybody, everywhere and it is still a fact,

You are a changed person, many peoples in one.

 

Keeps Me Sane (Continue 2)

 

How can your best friend empathies with you if he hates reading?

How can someone who cannot know himself

Empathies with your many selves?

 

The odds that a one-life man could empathies with someone

With a thousand lives is almost nil.

You earned the rights to be richer, more complex, and much different.

You ought to feel proud on this discriminating dimension.

 

      My everlasting appreciation to my heroes

The writers who bared their souls,

Who endured the ultimate hardship

To make it possible for me to endure myself.

Exclusive Rights (Written in 1998)

1.   I’m mad.

The President made my hand

Touch his crotch.

I just discovered that

He did it with many other women.

Many less beautiful than me.

Many downright ugly.

2.   I’m mad.

The President grabbed my breasts.

They were young, round, and stone hard.

I’m finding out that

He did it with so many others.

Many were flat chest.

Many right down sagging.

3.   I’m mad, 

Very mad now.

I didn’t mind then what He did.

I may have been flattered, I think.

I was honored, definitely.

He is more than My President:

He is the First Stud.

4.   I’m mad.

Studs have no rights over non studs.

They may be spared a slap.

A swift, ringing slap.

I have the right to be mad.

I have the right to claim

Exclusive rights.

Becky-Sue (1998)

1.   Are you worried Becky-Sue about the asteroids?

One of them slamming earth any time soon?

I’m not worried.  I’ll still be around

Breathing or not,

Above or under ground,

Mostly under for added protection.

2.   Are you worried Becky-Sue of Earthquakes,

Volcanoes, El Nino, tornadoes, tidal waves, ozone depletion?

I’m not worried.  They tend to visit my neighbors.

I see them on the screen when the President or his Vice

Hovers in choppers

Over the devastated areas.

3.   I am somewhat worried about the toxins

Created by Man, about radioactive materials

Dumped in my backyard.

But I already outlived my ancestors

Way before Man meddled with Nature.

4.   I am surely worried, Becky-Sue, of the forced issues:

Women shortening the periods of breast feeding,

Child rearing age, post pregnancy recovery

Because promotion at work matters,

Because equality with the stupid man matters.

5.   We are what we are

Because mothers made the human specie

Grow and stay alive, against all odds, wars and calamities.

Because mothers stayed and gathered moss

While men wandered, rolled and rumbled.

6.   Are you worried, Becky-Sue?

I really don’t know you:

Take me to the movie, tonight.

She Says, He Says (1998)

1.   All right, communication research

Has gone a long way to resolving

A most frustrating, untenable balance

Between the sexes.

He says, she says can be explained

By the connection/status bipolar between genders:

She is seeking connection and support in conversation.

She knits webs of small networks

Of friends; small but very close.

He is jockeying for status:  Who’s one up

And who’s one down in the hierarchy.

He likes to speak to captive audiences.

2.   She likes to convey images of dependence,

Of understanding, of relating to others.

He likes to provide information and solutions.

He likes to project images if independence

And freedom of choices.

He is most able in telling stories.

They say the difference in perspectives is

Acquired learning.

It seems true.

Let me dare advance that

This acquired learning is

Premeditated to compensate for the

Genetic superiority of women.

3.   Men have always known,

From the beginning of time,

Who is the master and the rock.

How women manage to do it

Was the mystery.

Men knew it

But refused to acknowledge it.

The more men were sure of that knowledge

The angrier they were,

The more restricting the rules,

The stiffer the punishments.

4.   Why women are superior to men

Is a taboo subject.

I am telling you:

Women think long-term and act short.

She sets her goal and works steadfastly

Laying one brick at a time,

Building the most intricate plan.

5.   Skip the research and save your hard earned money.

Tell me:

Why men feel awkward, dazed and puzzled

When their peers heap on them glories

Of dreams come true?

False assumptions,

False glories.

Dreams are too long-term to be true to men.

Man has been saying over and over again that

Behind a great man is a woman.

Planning for him, for her goal.

6.   All right, we have been studying the mechanisms

Of conversation between women, men

And mixed men and women groups.

The connection/status dimension

Explains beautifully most of the misinterpretations

In communication between the sexes.

Sure, no one is going to change

His communication behavior because

He does know how it works.

Sure, no one is going to change

His planning behavior simply because

He does now know the basics.

7.   Say “I love you” more than once.

Say “I like you” more often.

True or false, just say it.

Who cares for more grieves,

When an extra moment of happiness is handy?

It is but one life that we live.

Yes, we are all seeking interdependence

In different shades and flavors.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2008
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