Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 3rd, 2009

Habitat

 

            The first semester I could afford to rent an apartment with a roommate.  The second semester I had to move out and join three other roommates.  By the third semester I had to find accommodations with elder ladies who lived alone and wanted someone to sleep in their houses for security and safety reasons; which I did.  An American friend by the name Charles connected me to Frank (a retired engineer) who lived in Houston and whose mother lived alone.           

For two years I shared the homes of elder ladies. One lady was over 80 years and had lost her memory and slept most of the time. Her son Frank lived in Houston and her daughters also lived far away; her eldest daughter was mean and I apprehended her short visits.  A nurse was supposed to come once a day and care for her but she failed in her duty most of the time and I was stuck with the awful smell emanating from her room.  I often reminded Frank and her daughters that their mother is to be moved to specialized centers; they could afford to pay for their mother transfer but I still have no idea why they preferred her to stay at her home.  For a time, the supposed nurse moved in to the basement and lived with her drug addict boyfriend; they were planting marijuana in the basement. The nurse did her best to kick me out so that they get a clear field of action and her boyfriend threatened me.  Frank came from Houston and chased them out of the basement but he did not transfer his mother to a decent location.

The second lady was functional but resented that I sit in the living room or to cook; I was supposed to just come a sleep in my room.  She was tall with long reddish hair and she believed to be attractive.  She would occasionally take only sponge baths.  I wrote a piece on her “She wouldn’t take a full bath”; in was also the time when I met Josephine “Twenty kitties around Josephine”.  Finally, enough was enough and I rented rooms where no old ladies lived.

Islam: After the Prophet Muhammad (Part 4, February 2, 2009)

 

When the Prophet Mohamad died Omar would not believe that the Prophet could die and threatened to kill anyone who says so; then Abu Bakr (instructed by his daughter Aicha) told the congregation “Moslems, those among you who adore Mohammad, Mohammad is dead.  Those who adore God, God is alive”.

Ali was to wash the body and arrange for the funeral. The Companions elected Abu Bakr Caliph in the absence of Ali who was the closest member in the prophet’s “House”. Abu Bakr reminded the Moslems what the Prophet told him once: “All prophets were buried at the place of their death”; and thus Mohammad was buried in Aicha’s bedroom.  Aicha replaced the bed on top of the burying ground and continued sleeping there.

Abu Bakr would not distribute the Prophet’s inheritance to anyone of his wives or family members because Mohammad has told him that prophets’ belonging went to charities.  Fatima died 6 months later as Mohammad has predicted. Under Abu Bakr, Aicha, aided by Zayd ibn Thabit, got the huge responsibility of gathering and collecting all the parchments and written verses and the early oral verses of the Koran and then sorting them, verifying their authenticity, correcting and compiling them. Aichi was not twenty years old.  Abu Bakr died within two years and was also buried in Aicha’s bedroom next to the Prophet.  At the time of Abu Bakr’s death, Khaled ibn Al Walid had vanquished the Byzantine Emperor at Yarmuk and was advancing toward Damascus.

Omar was selected by Abu Bakr to be the next Caliph. Omar extended Islam to Persia by a victory in Qadissiya and toward Egypt.  Omar was assassinated by a Christian slave while praying in the Mosque in Medina; Omar also asked permission of Aicha to be buried in her bedroom.  By then, Aicha was the ultimate interpreter of the Koran and had issued 2,210 Hadiths and was the expert in women’s legal right or “Fiqh Al Nissaa”.

Omar appointed a Council of five Companions from the tribes of Kuraich to elect the next Caliph.  Othman ibn Affan was selected and Aicha had misgivings on how he might manipulate the masses of documents collected on the verses of Islam.  Omar left the documents with his daughter Afsa to hand over to the next Caliph.

Othman ended up exercising nepotism and appointing relatives as governors and civil servants in high offices and he built a palace and lived luxuriously with 500 serfs maintaining the palace and organizing the feasts.  The new Caliph destroyed the documents related to the Koran that he didn’t like and Aicha came out of her house carrying the sandals and shirts and hair of the prophet and shouted at the caliph: “The Prophet’s belongings had not had time to desintegrate and you started to turn your back on his teachings”. Aicha had a copy of all the documents and she rewrote her version of the Koran.

A large dissatisfied mob of Moslems, who were manipulated by extremists in Basra (Iraq), marched on Medina. Aicha had premonition that the arriving mob is bad news and got permission from Othman to leave for pilgrimage with the Prophet’s harem.  The mob entered the palace of Othman, burned it asunder, and stabbed and beat the Caliph to death. 

Ali was elected Caliph but refrained to revenge the murder of the Caliph Othman as a priority case. This lukewarm behavior prompted Aicha to action and she started delivering speeches in Mecca to the effect that the punishment of the leaders of assassins should be carried out first thing first.  Her brother-in-law Zobair and another Companion Talhat excited Aicha to leading a contingent of 3,000 fighters to Basra.

Ali was on his way to Damascus to fight Moawiya, the governor of Syria, and stopped at Kufa to recruit more fighters and had to challenge Aicha before resuming his campaign.  Aicha, Zobair and Talhat managed to recruit an army of 30,000 men against Ali’s army of 20,000 soldiers.  The battle of the “Camel”, the first among the Moslems, left 15,000 victims among the Moslem fighters which affected Aicha for the remainder of her life. Talhat and Zobair died in the battle.

Aicha was riding in a palanquin, all curtains shut close, and she kept exhorting her army to fight. Ali ordered his officer to cut the hands of the camel guides so that the camel could be moved from the center of the battle field; other guides took the relay and 72 camel guides left theirs hands on the rope before the camel’s hamstrings were cut and was brought down; the symbol of “The Mother of the Believer” finally relinquished its effect on the troops.

Ali permitted Aicha to return to her home in Medina and she was escorted as a Queen. One of Moawiya’s delegates told Aicha that they wished she died in the battle so that the allies of Moawiya would have had an excellent excuse to fight Ali.

Aicha spent the remaining of her life in her house, receiving scholars and students who regarded her as the main resource for correct interpretations of the religious verses and taking notes of her experiences. Aicha was the only virgin in the harem that the Prophet married; whatever she knew of love making was the invention and initiation of Muhammad.  A specific revelation forbade Muhammad’s wives to remarry; they were to remain in their homes and to be covered completely and wear the “nikab” on their face when stepping outside their doors or meeting males.

The effects of the assassination of Othman didn’t end up there.  Muawiya raised the same reason of avenging Othman to engage Ali in a terrible battle at Seffine in Syria: the bloodied shirt of Othman hanging in the Mosque of Madina demanded retribution and the Arabs coined the dictum “the Shirt of Othman” to convey the meaning that the reason offered is but an excuse in the power struggle.   There were no victors in the battle of Seffine.  A large contingent of Ali’s army dissented because Ali agreed to arbitrate; these dissenters were labeled Al Khawarej and were led by Abdulah ibn Wahab (the current Saudi Monarchy is of the Wahhabi sect in affiliation). The Khawarej went on assassination rampage against the leading followers of both Ali and Muawiya. 

The Khawarej failed to assassinate Muawiya but killed Ali in Kufa.  Ali refused to name anyone to succeed him as Caliph and said to his followers that he would not disagree with anyone they select; Aicha was to say “this is typical Ali’s ambiguity” as she forecasted the worst to the unity of the “Umma” or Nation of Islam.  Ali was the most qualified to be the Imam of Islam but since there was yet no separation between the political and religious functions then Ali had to seek power as Caliph.  Ali lacked the political acumens and the qualities of a political leader because he was constantly plagued with ambiguities as a result of his vast religious knowledge and his apprehension to err in his decisions. Scissions developed during his short five years reign

Muawiya was elected Caliph in Damascus; the power became hereditary. Muawiya sent assassins to eliminate any potential leaders closely related to the Prophet. Aicha lived to experience the death of many of her male family members.  Hassan, the son of Ali, was assassinated by his wife wearing a poisoned dress.  Moawiya then slaughtered Hassan’s wife to cover up his cooperation.  The successors of Muawiya were known as the Ummayad dynasty. The most powerful tribe of Kuraich reigned in Damascus for over a century. The Abbaseed (The house of Abbass, the Uncles of Muhammad) succeeded in taking power in Baghdad for two centuries.  During and after the Abbasseed dynasty the Central Asian converted Sunni tribes dominated the political and religious landscape for over ten centuries.  The Shi’aa sect (the followers of Ali’s second son Hussein) emerged as a counterpart to the Sunni sect representing the legitimate Moslems.

Rationality Fraud: Can our leading minds pass Socrates’ dialogue test? (February 3, 2009)

This is a challenge to all the scientific and research communities. 

My contention is that over 75% of all scientists and researchers (in all natural sciences, all social sciences, all human sciences, and all engineering fields) lack the experimental mind. 

I propose this simple test:

1. Submit to the subjects three peer reviewed research articles from a field different from his research or professional discipline. 

2. Test the subject on his comprehension and interpretation for each research paper.  To be more specific: test his general knowledge on the experimental design, his correct discrimination among the various variables and factors (dependent, independent, control and confounding variables), his interpretations of the graphs and statistical results and what practical design suggestions he can extract from the paper. 

The objective of the investigation is not merely to guarantee valid results and accurate interpretations; it is to guarantee that the leading minds of our communities can pass Socrates’ dialogue test for sound rational societies and policy making. 

If what I said is still not clear then please read my article for new angles and the basis of my challenge.

An Experimental mind

 

I recall my advisor telling me once in frustration “At your age I was professor and had raised a family“. 

I didn’t need this reminder to comprehend my desperate situation: I am just plainly stubborn with no imaginations on earning money. 

These long years in a PhD program, the specialty of Human Factors in industrial engineering, at the age 35 to 41, should be considered a waste of time for any career-minded student, but they were valuable for my mind: I was exposed to the methods and vocabulary of five other disciplines in various departments. I think that I acquired an experimental mind, a mind that not many could claim to explicitly have. 

When someone asks “how” (the mechanical process or procedure),

1. it is usually tacitly understood that he comprehend the why and what of the subject matter or the system;

2. that he knows all the factors and variables that may affect the outcome of a system, including the human element within the system. 

Maybe a practicing or a professional knows his particular system (as engineers learn), but the fundamental question remains “has he acquired the generalized method and rationality to investigate systems outside his discipline?” 

I know what I am talking about, but the difficulty is to express and disseminate the problem. 

I have taught engineers who had no understanding for discriminating among variables such as dependent, independent, or controlling variables.

You think that they implicitly know how to differentiate among the variables; wrong, they don’t. Even after three sessions, coupled with examples they were still in the dark and still wondering what is all the fuss about.

You think that they can interpret graphs, extract wealth of information and comprehend pages of written materials from one meaningful graph, they generally cannot.  

I can testify that 30% of my engineer classes could not read; another 30% could not understand what they read.  It was a pleasure to educate a couple of good minds.  I have written several articles on that subject in my category “Professional articles” for further detailed clarification.

Worst, undergraduate engineers are almost never exposed to research papers.  Most Master’s graduates barely comprehend or interpret correctly research papers. 

Graduates join the “work force” of the rational minds practically illiterate. They cannot resume any continuation learning programs for a simple reason: they are illiterate in reading and comprehending research papers.

My contention is this.  If you acquired an experimental mind, you should be eligible to comprehend any field of study by reading the research papers in the field. 

The major contraption devised my professions to discriminate among one another is a flimsy mask targeted in changing the technical terms and vocabulary; a secret ritual inherited from ancient times to creating castes of literates.

Other than that, the experimental methodology is fundamentally the same.  When you acquire an experimental mind then all disciplines are one course away; you need to learn the slang, a new language that sound familiar, but with terms that have different meanings and connotations. 

The ultimate goal in teaching is for every university graduating mind to be trained to comprehend research papers of other disciplines.

 

The “eminent” minds of Athens needed the stamp of approval of Socrates’ rational mind; they submitted to his dialogue test; an interview on the investigative and coherent experimental methods of the proclaimed leaders of Athens; most failed the test.  Socrates was put to death because Socrates failed Athens’ Gods of ignorance.

Our scientific communities could be failing the dialogue test; our schools and universities are not graduating experimental minds.  No wonder war zones, famine, apartheid, and genocides are still the landmark of our modern times.

Islam: the two messages of Jesus and Mohammad (February 3, 2009)

A challenge to all theologians: Islam is one of the Christian sects.

 

 

            Islam means submission (to God, the one and only).  This is a challenge to all theologians, religious researchers, and philosophers of all religious denominations (monolithic or not).  My hypothesis is:  The religious message of the Prophet Muhammad, during the first 13 years of proselytizing in Mecca, is identical to one of the Christian sects.  Let me suggest the following procedure or protocol:

 

 First, select all the religious Christian sects from the first to the Nicee council in 425; then select the remaining Christian sects after Nicee to the split between Rome and Byzantium around the year 1000, then the Christian sects that were formed between 1000 to the Martin Luther schism, then all the modern Christian sects from Protestantism, Calvinism, Baptism, Methodism, Episcopalian, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), and all the sects in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

 

Second, develop taxonomy of attributes in order to categorize all these Christian sects.

 

Third, allocate all the sects to one of six categories or more if need be.

 

Fourth, select the verses in Islam that correspond to the period before the flight of the Prophet Muhammad to Medina or Yathreb

 

Five, assign each verse in that period to the taxonomy of step two.

 

Six, allocate the message of the prophet Muhammad in one of the categories chosen in step three.

 

The foundation to my hypothesis stems from reading a manuscript titled “Islam in its two messages: Christ and Muhammad” The author of the book is late Antoun Saadeh, a Lebanese of Christian Geek Orthodox denomination; the book was written in 1942 and Saadeh proves that Islam is almost identical to the message of Christ when we analyze the verses of the Koran pronounced during Muhammad proselytizing of his message before the legislation period for the new community in Medina. 

 

Since Christianity is an amalgam of many sects that split into schisms in the last two thousand years, then I figured that, from a scientific perspective, it would be more appropriate to differentiate Christianity according to sects.  It would also be fitting to study Islam by analyzing the various Moslem sects; though the variations would be based more on the legislations and Hadith than the fundamental spiritual content during the first 13 years of the message.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

February 2009
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