Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 2009

Clara from Nigeria: Introspection (Addendum #12)

Smiling for Three (Dec. 2002)

Dedicating this song to Clara

She responded to my numerous ads in a few of the Real Estates magazines.

I used to advertise myself as “Dr. Adonis” since I earned a PhD in 1991 in Industrial Engineering.

This story is taking place around 1999.

My odd ads occasionally generated calls for healing the sick people.

Clara actually wanted to buy herself an apartment.

She could secure a loan for a $100,000 property. She knew her limits, but a palace would be far nicer.

Clara hired me to help her buy her first real dream.

Clara is from Nigeria, living in the USA, working for an International organization.

She is beautiful, in her thirties, a young single mother raising a 10-years old boy.

We toured two dozen properties together, mostly in her car, and we wrote a dozen failed offers.

Finally, she managed to move in, in my first choice of a neighborhood, which she refused to consider 6 months ago.

When we signed the deal she was ecstatic and I was happy for a hard job done.

Clara liked me very much and stuck with me during these depressing successive failures.

Four years later, I remembered her and I am dedicating this song to Clara.

        You know Clara; I am more independent than most men.

I am single, with no children to care for.

One meal suffices and I am not picky with food.

No mortgage to pay.

You are single too,but you have a kid.

You have to work for two.

You have to worry for two.

You have to be scared for two.

A woman, with a child and no family support, emigrating from modern Africa.

A harsh life there, but still a harsher life here in the USA.

        You know Clara; you still have more life than me.

If you smile, you are smiling for two.

When you are happy, you are happy for two.

When you laugh, you are laughing for two.

Not often.

But how could my feelings come close?

        You said: I don’t mind working, worrying, and fearing for more than two people.

I would like, one more time, to be happy.

      I want to smile and laugh for three.

The Bibles: A Repository of the Customs in the Near East (March 25, 2009)

  

Note 1:  I have published 5 posts on the theme of customs and tradition in the Near East and mostly extracted from the Bibles, Old and New, with some development and clarifications to the benefit of the western civilizations. 

This series of posts was inspired by the book that I reviewed “The Syrian Christ” by Abraham Metrie Rihbany. The book was published in English in 1916 and I read the Arabic translation.  I thought that it was a good idea to attach relevant contexts to the fragment of verses that predicators are fond of using on the ground that abstract concepts don’t need any historical, geographic, or people’s customs context.

The customs and traditions of the Land in the Levant were practiced thousands of years before Judaism came to be. 

The Jewish religion adopted the customs of the Land and wrote in the same style of imagery, maxims, and aphorism. The original manuscripts describe accurately the culture of the Land and in the same style.

Note 2: The Bibles are not famous for historical accuracy: they were not written by the dozens of scribes for that purpose. 

The Bibles are excellent sources as repositories of the customs and traditions in the Near East, which are still practiced for over 5 thousand of years.  It has been said that if Abraham and his generation were resurrected they will feel perfectly at home and go about their daily routines and tasks as if they have just waken from a dream. 

Although “modernism” was forced upon the Levant, especially in the urban centers and megalopolis areas, the remote towns and villages have been practically spared and left untouched, even for cooking their weekly load of Levantine bread.  In this article, Near East and Levant group Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria as one Land that the Bibles describe the customs and tradition of its people.

 

A brief Introduction:

Since time immemorial the Near East was famous for exporting olive oil, grape wine and dried figs.  No wonder that grape vine, olive trees and fig trees are the symbols of prosperity and shade in this region where it does not rain for straight 7 months.

The coastal regions of the Levant imported all kinds of grains, especially, wheat and lentil.

The meals are frugal and consisting of thin large loaves of bread (khobz markouk) baked in special underground oven once a week, a few olives, tomatoes, onion, vegetable from the garden, and dried fruits in the off seasons. Wheat was transformed in crushed wheat (borghol) for the kebeh and tabouli; diary components were cooked into many varieties of cheese, yogurt, labneh, and keshk. 

Meat was scarce and a single sheep was over fed during summer to be slaughtered in late autumn and the meat cooked and dried (kawarma) and saved for winter for the omelets. A couple of goats or cows lived in the basement or a side room and chicken were raised for eggs and for the occasional guests. 

Nothing would go to waste and summer time was a hectic period for all kinds of chores related to storing provisions for winter.

 

On the Written Style

The written style in the Levant is characterized by direct pronouncements expressing feeling and describing what is seen and heard.  The sentences are not encumbered by prefixes such as “I think”, “I believe”, “I am not sure”, “It is possible”, “There might be other versions”, “I might be wrong”, or “It is my opinion”, or what the western writers have adopted from the Greek rational style. 

The style in the Levant sounds confident, categorical, and conveying the total truth though it does not mean that the people cannot discriminate or feel the variations and uncertainties.  The writers in the Levant simply feel that all these attachments are redundant since it is a fact of life that nothing is categorical or certain; thus, superfluous additions disturb the flow of thoughts and the ideas that need to be conveyed. 

Consequently, the author feels that the western readers of the Bible should tone down their uneasiness with “outrageous” direct and assured pronouncements in the Bible.

 

 On the Verbal Style

 The verbal style tends toward the devotional and far from the business approach. The dialect in the Levant reveals the relationship with the Creator is the first of wisdom and spirituality is a foundation.  The recurring mention of God the provider at the beginning of any reply or “peace of God be upon you” or telling a worker “God gives you health” or to the harvester “God bless your crop” or asking the shepherd “How are the blessed ones?” or saying “What’s its religion?” to get more information on the nature of a thing are all part of the daily utterances.

When the Levantine tells a story he is extravagant and the facts sound too far fetched simply because he wants to amuse and impress; the listener understands perfectly the intent of the fantasy and they share a good laugh.  The rational westerner gets the impression that the Levantine is not honest because he does not stick to the bare boring facts.  For example, when you wake up someone at seven you tell him “Get up, it is already noon and the daylight is over”; when there is a large gathering we say “The entire town was assembled”. 

Jesus said “if your right eye sinned snatched it out; better not your whole body ends up in the eternal fire” or “if someone asks to be clothed give him your robe and underwear too” or “Forgive 77 times 7 a day” which drive the holy number seven to an extreme number of holiness; a number that should not be taken to the word but to drive in the message of ready forgiveness.

In the Bibles it is said “After six days” and you wonder starting from which date, which event?  Or it is said “They went up a high mountain” and you want to ask “how high?” and “which mountain?”  If you insist on the height of the mountain he would reply “it was so high it pierced the clouds” The purpose of the story is to entertain and prepare for the punch line.  For example, John the Baptist is not in the mood of cajoling and says to the Pharisees “Sons of vipers, how will you escape the wrath of God? I tell you if God wished he will turn these stones sons of Abraham”

The Levantine is ever ready to swear on his father, his head, his mustaches, and anything that is holy to convey the message of his sincerity.  It is this custom of constant swearing that baffle the westerner and increases his suspicions.  Jesus was aware of this custom and insisted on his disciples never to swear on anything but rather “let your answer be yes, yes or no, no”.  This summoning of Jesus had no effects whatsoever in our Land.

It is important to grasp four characteristics in the Levantine customs:

1. first, every region and every town has its own slang and it is the best proof of your origin. For example, the more Peter denied his knowledge of Jesus the more people were convinced that he was from Galilee. After the battle between the Galaad and the Efrem prisoners were slaughtered because they pronounced “shiboulat” “siboulat”.

2. Second, it is recommended to insist until requests are obtained; for example, Gideon insists on two material miracles from God to believe him; or when Jesus repeats three times “Do you love me Peter?” before he divulges the most important order of “shepherding the flock” of disciples.

3. Third, insinuation is not understood and abhorred and thus, a clear solemn affirmation is demanded.

4. Fourth, the Levantine does not appreciate constraining and transition expressions such as “As I see, or I think that, or it is alleged, or it is possible, and so forth”.  The Levantine verbal expression is of certitude and feeling, compatible to his spiritual and devotional nature.

 

On Business Transactions:

Abraham had no piece of land in Canaan; his clan let their goats and sheep graze in unclaimed lands. As there was a death in the family Abraham resolved to prepare for his burial; he sent a third party to ask Afroun son of Sohar of the tribe of Hath for a small piece of land to bury the dead. Abraham said: “I am a guest in your land. Could you give me a swath so that I may bury what is in front of me?”  Every village had a burying ground facing east and guests, by the custom of hospitality, could be enjoying the same facilities. Afroun replied: “Abraham you are a reverend and I shall bury the deceased in the best of our graves” Abraham had set his mind to settle in Canaan and wanted his own burial ground, thus he asked to buy a piece of land.  Afroun replied: “A land of no more than 400 silver shekels should not be an obstacle” Abraham got the hint and sent the amount.  This polite and diplomatic negotiation is part of the Levant customs thousand of years before Abraham came to Canaan.

On Bread and Salt:

In the Levant, women leaven their dough overnight in clay pottery for the next day baking; the baking lasted a whole day for a week ration. The neighboring families would select a day to using the special oven dug in the ground.  The Jews were ordered to leave Egypt immediately.  They carried their unleavened dough in wooden boxes, as done in Egypt, and had to eat their bread barely leavened.  The shepherds in the fields in the Levant cook their own unleavened bread while at work.

Jesus said in the Lord prayer “Lord, give us our daily bread” The people in the Levant believe that their daily bread is not just from their labor; the Lord had participated from start to finish to offering the daily bread.  I cannot help but offer a current and political rapprochement: the successive US Administrations and the media “talking heads” would like us to believe that whatever prosperity is befalling other States it is simply because of US contributions; on the other hand, whatever calamities and miseries the world is suffering should not be laid on the USA: the USA does not bear any responsibility and should not be blamed.

It is the custom for a guest not to eat until he settles his recriminations with the host; thus bread and salt are the symbol of renewed friendship and loyalty.  The worst enemy is the one who shared your bread and salt and then shifted loyalty without any warning.  People never stepped on crumbs of bread (aysh meaning living); they pick up any bread off the ground, kiss it and then place it above ground level.

When Gideon gathered his “large army” to fight the Midyanites, God ordered Gideon to select the soldiers that stooped in front of the stream and drank off the palm of their hands.  That was the custom of the noble citizens in the land; the common people knelt and drank directly off the stream.  Thus, Gideon ended up with 300 soldiers who were deemed courageous, sober, and worthy to fight.

On Handicapped persons: 

Handicapped individuals have a hard life in the Levant; they are nicknamed according to their handicaps; up very recently they were hidden from the public.  In Jesus travels handicapped individuals had hard time approaching Jesus; the crowd would prevent them from coming close because handicaps were considered punishment from God.  A handicapped woman got her courage and dared to touch the robe of Jesus and was cured.  Jesus told her: “Woman, it is your faith and not my cloth that cured you. Go in peace” Jesus was alluding to the custom that touching anything holy would cure or satisfy a want.

On Injustice:

Carrying the cross Jesus said “Sisters of Jerusalem, don’t cry over me.  Those who manhandled moist branches what they wouldn’t do with the dry ones?”  If the sacerdotal caste could sentence to death an innocent man then what you, sisters of Jerusalem, expect them to do with you and your children?  You should be starting to cry over your coming miseries and injustices.  Aphorisms on moist things versus dry ones, or bitter versus sweet tasty foods are many in the Levant.

On Animals:

Jesus warned Peter that he would repudiate him three times before the second crow of the coq.  There is a custom in the Levant when guest hear the second crow of the coq to start leaving.  The host has invariably to retort “You guys are mistaken, this is the first crow”. You may search Google for how many times a coq crows per day but in the Levant we maintain that coq crows at sun down, midnight and at dawn.

Jesus said about the surprise visit of death: “Stay awake; you don’t know when the Master of the house will show up; in the evening, at midnight or the last crow of the coq”.  The oriental Christian communities used the nights to pray and watch for the second coming of “Son of God”

Pigs are considered the dirtiest and lowest of animals.  When Jesus chased out the demons off a crazy man then the evil spirit entered pigs that rushed to the lake.  The younger son who asked for his inheritance ended up caring for pigs (the lowest job anyone could get) and could not even eat what the pigs ate though he loved “kharoub” which fills the stomach.

On Wheat Grinding: 

On the theme of sudden death Jesus recount another aphorism of the Land “Two of you are grinding wheat in a quern (hand mill), one is taken away and the other saved”.  It was the custom for two women friends to undertake the boring task of grinding wheat grain in two circular stone querns; a strong woman could do it alone but it is more fun to pass the time when two are chatting away.  Thus, you can never know when your closest friend will die.  Nowadays, in remote areas, the hand mill or “jaroush” is used to convert wheat grains into crushed wheat which is a staple ingredient to many traditional dishes like “tabouli”, “kebeh, and countless varieties.

On Revelations: 

Revelations abound in the Bible to the prophets, Elizabeth, Marie, and many times to Joseph who obeyed and executed the orders promptly.  Revelations are common phenomenon in the Levant.  A family would pay visits to shrines dedicated to a saint for fertility or for kinds of handicaps; the family would stay at the shrine praying and fasting as many nights as necessary until a revelation related to their wishes descends.  The families visit shrines confident that their “demands” would be exhausted.

For example, Hanna, the mother of the Virgin Marie had a revelation that she would be pregnant, so had Elizabeth (Alisabat), the sister of Hanna, who begot John the Baptist, so had Marie who gave birth to Jesus, so did the mother of Melki Sadek, the highest priest of the Land and King of Jerusalem to whom Abraham paid the teethe (tenth of income) as did Isaac and then Jacob, so did the mother of Samuel (Name of El), so had the mother of Jeremiah (Aramia) and countless others.

Those mothers vowed (nezer) their offspring to monasteries that were common in Phoenicia and Galilee.  The offspring who stayed in these monasteries for a large part of their youth were called Nazereen.  Jesus stayed in the monastery of Mount Carmel and administered by the Esseneans, adjacent to the Great Temple, from age 6 until he was in the age of aiding the family earning a living.  That is why Jesus was said to be a Nazarenos or who lived in the region of Galilee of the Nazarenes.  The town of Nazareth did not exist until the second century after Christ and Jesus roamed Lebanon, the ten main cities in Syria and Jordan (Decapolis) while preparing his disciples to spread his message.

On Shepherding and Faith

Jesus said “I am the good shepherd who is ready to sacrifice for his sheep”. The shepherding was the oldest and most common job in the Levant and people learned leadership, and enjoyed freedom and solitude.  The shepherd, during the extended dry season, would lead his flock “the blessed ones” to the upper lands for grazing by mid March as the sheep or goat gave birth.  The shepherd would carry the new born and the mothers would follow him, confident in her shepherd. 

The shepherd would arrange a stockade (hazeera) of stones about 5 feet high and top it with brambles and sleep at the entrance in a makeshift tent with his dog. “The truth is anyone who does not enter the stockade by the entrance is a thief; the shepherd enters from the door and the sheep hear his voice and their names and they go out to graze” because the stockade could be climbed with minor scratches. By mid October, the shepherd dismantles his stockade and moves his flock to lower altitudes where the sheep are horded in a one room basement (mrah) with no windows; Isaiah said: “My residence was dismantled and taken away from me as the shepherd tent”

Shepherding requires skills in tight passageway amid the orchards that were not usually fenced.  The shepherd had to pay for whatever the sheep ate if he was unable to control his flock; the town people would not let the shepherd cross the village if they could not trust his guiding skills.  The flock trusted the shepherd because he would ward off wolves and hyenas and even follow the scavenger to its lair to retrieve the sheep or part of it and return it to the flock if alive. Jesus said: “A shepherd would leave his flock to go after the lost sheep”. The flock is not afraid of narrow hazardous paths taken by the shepherd “the shadow of death valley” because it trusts its leader.

 

Grape vines:

When Jesus mentions “The product of grape vine” is meant wine; though grapes were customarily dried (zabeeb) in abundance.  Kids would always carry handful of raisins in their oversized pockets as sweet and also to bribe other children; when long caravans of camels arrive at the market place, kids would bribe the conductors with raisins for a ride to the wells.  Women would get frustrated because camels drank most of the well and the women had to dip their buckets far deeper.  Grape vines were used as aphorism such as “I am the vine and you are its branches” or “Your wife is like a fecund vine around your house. Your sons like olive trees around your dinner table”.  The Prophet Micah said “They will sit under the vine and the fig tree and nothing will scare them”

The ceremonies of grape pressing by men’ and boys’ feet lasted days and nights until the juices were flowed to special receptacles of stones and clay. The press was made of a large stone vat set up on the roof of the house with a certain incline for the flow of the juice. The settled grape juice (rawook) was drunk by the poor people who could not afford wine “the (poor) pressed and felt thirsty”.  The rawook would then be boiled at various degrees; sour wine was preferred by men but sweet wine needed high boiling temperature because preferred by women. When the juice was destined to prepare molasses “debs” then white clay was added to the grapes before pressing for more efficient filtering of organic components.  Isaiah (Ashaya) said “Why your robe is reddish and your cloth looking as you were pressing grapes?”

Nowadays, the national drink is arak or ouzou in Greece and it is basically the condensation of the boiled grape juice through alembics; it is called “mtalat” when the process of condensation is performed three times for a content 97% alcoholic.

Gideon wanted to avoid paying tax on his wheat harvest.  The grape was not ripe yet and thus, Gideon used the top of his house to beat the wheat where grapes were pressed by feet though it was not yet the season of grape pressing.  He was hoping that the Midyanites would not discover his subterfuge.

 

The Roof Tops:

The houses in the Levant used to be of just one large room where the entire family slept and ate in the winter season; the adjacent split room or a basement sheltered the chicken, goats, cows, or donkey.  The rest of the dry seasons that extended for over 7 months the main meeting place was the roof top; a makeshift tent of dangling grape vines and dry branches, and called “alyyeh“.  The roof was built with supporting tree trunks at three feet intervals and cross branches with no gaps and then 12 inches of dirt rolled over by a cylindrical stone at every season. 

Official announcements or the arrival of caravans or any kind of major warnings such as the voices of field keepers (natour) were done by climbing a roof. Jesus advised his disciple to announce the Good News from the roof tops so that every one should hear the message clear and sound; that is what Peter did.  Families would go up to the roof tops to pray and cry and the new comer Hebrews didn’t like this custom of the Land.

When a paraplegic was dangled from a roof top for Jesus to heal the friends dug out the dirt and removed a few branches and made enough space (kofaa) then placed the sick man on a blanket with the four corners attached to a rope.

           

At the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples are eating on the roof top of a house, the “alyyat”; the family gathers in that shed during the hot seasons that extend for seven months from Mid May to mid September. Jesus and the disciples are sitting in a circle around several large platters of various dishes; everyone extends his hand to dip his piece of bread in the platter of his liking; there are no spoons or forks.  The scene is not as represented by Leonardo Da Vinci in the customs of Florence. 

A server pour the wine in a single cup, starting by the most ranked in the gathering.  Before drinking the cup in one shot the guest wishes long life to his friends and ask them to remember him if he is about to leave them for an extended trip; then he selects the next guest to drink and the server pour wine for the selected person and in the same single cup. After supper, the cup is passed around and everyone takes just a sip.  Jesus said “I longed so much to eat this supper with you before I suffer”

Jesus said: “The first one to dip his bread in my platter will deliver me tonight” was confusing to the disciples because they all dipped in Jesus’ platter one time or another. Judas was always the second in command and must have arranged to have his favorite platter close to him and Jesus for easy access; thus, Judas was the most plausible one to first dip his bread in Jesus platter. Young John loved Jesus and expressed his feeling as to the customs of the Levant by reclining his head on Jesus’ shoulder.  Jesus adhered to the customs of eating supper and his salutes about eating his flesh or drinking his blood in remembrance of him had a spiritual undertone and suggesting that he was to leave his disciples for good. 

Jesus dipped a piece of bread in a platter and specifically offered it to Judas as a symbol of friendship no matter what is in Judas’ heart and mind. Jesus presented the box of money to Judas, the treasurer, as a sign that nothing is changed in Jesus faith to Judas loyalty in matter of financial transactions. Anyway, Judas was from a rich family and didn’t need small changes.

In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus expresses his feelings of sorrows and pains as a Levantine; he lets his feelings pour out and wants his closest friends to share his feelings.  Three times he invites Peter and the sons of Zebedeh to keep the wake with him because “my soul is sad to death”.  Jesus was praying with such earnestness that his “sweating was of blood”. Jesus had no choice but to obey his father and urged God “Father, if it were possible to take away this biter cup, but it is not as I wish but as you want.

Judas approached Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and kissed him several times on the cheeks. Judas was thus telling Jesus, according to the Levant customs, that as of this instant they are on a par in ranks and that Judas decided that he no longer considers Jesus as the Messiah. Some one of a lower rank would shake hands and fake to kiss the right hand and the higher ranked person would fake a kiss on the cheek. Judas was using a custom for greetings that could also be used as a sign for the soldiers to get hold of the leader.

 

On Obeying Parents:

Obeying parents is not just a filial feeling in the Levant but a religious duty.  The command is “Obey your mother and father” and God punished Adam for simply disobeying him, period.  The story of Luc when Jesus, aged 12 then, was found discussing among the priests in the Temple as the clan went on pilgrimage is revealing. Jesus had priority of which parents to obey first: he reminded his parents that he has a duty to obey his God El first.  In the Levant, no family starts or leaves on a trip before counting and making sure of the presence of all the members of the family.  After the count, Jesus decided to return to the Temple.

After the count, his family didn’t worry about Jesus because he was supposed to be amid the wider clan of relatives and because the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (not Jerusalem) was a familiar visiting place and no more than half a day walk to “Bethlehem of Tyr or Efrateh” where they lived, on the east side of Mount Carmel in Upper Galilee.  In none of the parables you find the eldest son depicted as the villain or disrespectful of traditions.  Eldest sons represent the fathers and the continuation of customs.

 

On Kingdom of Heaven

In the Levant we understand intuitively the figures of speech and parables that the West has hard time to comprehend; we understand and readily accept the meaning though it takes a life time to assimilate the true meaning.  Jesus said “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a person who is convinced that there is a treasure hidden in a piece of land. He gathers all his saving a buy the land” The predicators in the West would like to interpret this sentence as a gold or silver mine in the land that need to be excavated and they go at great length into legal terms to differentiate among the words “hidden and buried”. 

The customs in our Land was to bury the jar of saved gold and silver coins in the garden or an unclaimed piece of land because the habitat was small (barely one large room where the entire household sleep and eat in) and could not sustain serious hiding places.  Tribes would hide their treasure in the desert before waging a battle and many would never survive to dig up their treasures.

Thus, the individual who bought the land, if he were lucky would have to dig up most of the land anyway to find the jar of treasure.  The meaning is in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven you would have to go through the same process of fulfilling a dream by investing money, time, and effort most of your life. Consequently, faith is a good starting point to sustain the duration of the long haul but it is not enough if you lack charity in your heart; you have to learn to care and love and support your brothers and neighbors. It is a hard and long endeavor to pass through the “hole of the needle

For example, many predicators in the west tried their best to explain the concept of “a hole in a needle” when Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the hole of a needle than a rich person to go to heaven”.  The predicators in the west invented a more plausible and palatable explanation by saying that “the hole in the needle” was the small door in the huge gate reserved for the passage of individual; they said that a camel could pass through if not loaded with baggage; another nice figure of speech though not correct. In the languages of the Land, Arabic, Aramaic, or Hebrew the names of the small doors in gates were never called by anything referring to needle. The language in the Levant is extravagant for describing the almost impossible tasks that require perseverance and ingenuity.

 

Jesus goes on: “Kingdom of heaven is like a land that was sawn with good grains of wheat.  At night, an enemy comes and saw “zouan” (a grain that resembles wheat but causes pain, dizziness, and suffering for many days when mixed with wheat grains; it is mostly used to feed chicken).  The cultivators (slaves) asked the master permission to sort out and pull out the “zouan” from the field. The master said that it is useless since the whole field is ruined” In dire periods of famine many would mix “zouan” with wheat to make profit regardless of the consequences.  The honest master would not take the chance of being perceived as a fraud if his good grain was inadvertently adulterated with “zouan”.

Jesus told the servants to patiently and meticulously remove the “zouan” from the wheat then gather around a bonfire to burn the “zouan”

 

The same idea relates with leaven that was saved in a bag of wheat in order not to rot quickly; in another verse in order to leaven the entire bag of wheat flour.  In ancient periods, people would eat unleavened bread because it was very hard and difficult to keep usable leaven in hot and desert regions.  Thus, leaven had the bad connotation of spoilage agent, such as when Jesus warned his disciples “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” but the disciples didn’t understand this figure of speech: they lived at an advanced and urban period when leaven was no longer associated with spoilage but as a good catalyst.  Consequently, the parable of Jesus “Kingdom of Heaven is like a leaven that a woman hide in three bags of wheat flour until all the bags were leavened and ready to bake refers to the good use of small quantities to affect large lots. 

Thus, a term could be used to convey contradictory meaning if we are not conversant with the customs and period of the saying.  In the Levant, cultivators believe that “zouan” will grow among wheat no mater how careful we proceed in sawing fields. Consequently, it is advisable to rotate the field to grow other kinds of harvests in order to have the opportunity to pull out all the “zouan” that spoiled the field for later wheat harvests.

           

Jesus said “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a woman who had misplaced one of her ten coins.  She searches all nights and all days (when the husband is not home), she searches in every nook and cranny and she sweep the floor until she finds the missing coin.  Then this woman would call up her neighboring women friends to join her and celebrate” (Most of the time they spend more on these gathering than what the coin was worth).  People worked hard to earn a coin and the man of the house would invariable express his displeasure for a missing coin and every women had gone through the same experience many times in their lives and it was a real occasion for women to gather, recount, and recall their daily troubles.  There are times for anxiety and relentless searches and times for relaxation and sharing. 

There are moments for prioritizing our quests and leaving many tasks undone to focus on an urgent one, such as saving our soul in order not to anger our Lord.  This story is almost identical in meaning as the shepherd who leaves 99 head of sheep grazing unattended in order to find the lost one.

 

On Women:

Regardless of exterior behaviors of “non-polite” communication with women, men have utmost respect and considerations for their wives and sisters and girls. Inside the homes the couples are at par in responsibilities and duties if not biased toward the wives; “When there is love affectation is redundant”.  In that spirit, it is the good intensions that count and not the actual behaviors.  

The Levantine regards the expressions “If you please”, or “be kind enough” are superfluous because love and respect are natural and come with the territory.  This behavior is compatible with the simple and rough daily living; houses are simply furnished with the basic necessities and the entire family members sleep and eat in one room or two; there are no exclusive rooms or quarters for the grown ups; and thus privacy is not a priority.

The tradition of nomadic tribes raiding sedentary affluent villages and taking women captives heightened the protective customs in the Levant and restricted women’s work within the villages.   Women were restrained from showing off and retorting vehemently in gatherings of men.   

The attitude of men of adopting the two extreme behaviors of sanctifying women (horma) and occasional “contempt” might convey a feeling of disdain but it is basically a childish behavior coupled with lack of a cultural life that the harsh demands for survival do not reserve time for “luxury”.  The Hebraic laws considered women with no soul and thus could be transacted as chattel; this is not the case for the rest of the people of the Land; and thus this huge cultural difference between the Hebrew Mosaic traditions and the traditions in the Levant.

“Thus spoken God; they will come carrying the little girls over the shoulders.  Kings will be your vassals and queens will nurse you”  The custom of carrying kid girls over shoulders is widely practiced in the Levant; mother resumes her daily tasks while the kid girls sit on their shoulders while getting a hold on the head. The prophet Isaiah (Ashaya) speaks in imageries what the “noble” class in the Levant expects the common people to practice in their presence.

New Born were wrapped like mummies; first they are washed with lukewarm water and their bodies rubbed with salt and then scented before a square piece of cloth join their arms by the side of the body and the legs stretched.  An unwanted baby or when someone is cursed the maxim says “You were not rubbed with salt when you were born”

 

On Feet.

Feet were considered dirty because people went barefoot or wearing thongs at best. The same is true when John the Baptist said about the coming Messiah “I will be most honored if he permit me to untie his shoe lace” because feet were considered dirty parts of the body and stooping near feet is not acceptable and thus, the custom of sitting by the feet of a nobility is a mark of homage bestowed on him.  When the sister of Martha, Mary of Magdala, pours expensive perfumes on Jesus’ feet and rubbed them with her hair she was expressing her complete humiliation and attesting to the Messiah status of Jesus. 

Note 1: The people in the Levant are people of faith; they refrain from rationally structuring their religion into dogma.  The early Christian communities relied on the custom of brotherhood and faith in the community. It is only when Christian communities were established in Greece and Rome that structuring got underway.  Hundreds of Christian sects mushroomed in the Levant according to a few alterations in the re-structuring of the dogma that spanned into political and self autonomous sects.  After the conclave of Nicee (Turkey) in 325, during the pagan Emperor Constantine, the Church got highly structured and hierarchical; the pagan ceremonies, symbols, and pageantry were introduced to win over the pagans who were in the majority.  Since then, persecution of the “heretic” Christian sects started and is still alive into modern time.

Note 2:  I am no theologian, and frankly, I don’t feel hot for any structured and formalized religions.  I am a guy who is appalled by sects abusing religion for political ends, for institutional profit, and for personal aggrandizement.  Occasionally, a few books of historical nature in matter of religion drop into my hands and they expose a few lethal fallacies; I have no choice but to react, expose the confusion related to abstract concepts out of their historical, geographical, and cultural context.  I cannot withstand sects that abolish individual reflection for the benefit of the “collectivity” or their close knit communities. I disseminate what my personal reflections feel right to inform and educate.

Who are the Israelites?  (March 30, 2009)

 

Note: I decided to combine several articles I had posted on that topic to form a comprehensive essay. 

I am no theologian; and frankly I don’t feel hot for any structured and formalized religion.  I am a guy who is appalled by sects abusing religion for political ends, for institutional profit, and for personal aggrandizement. 

I am mostly appalled by civil administrations using religion for political ends. The spirit of Democracy is actually designed to prohibit civil governments from using religion as a political tool .

Occasionally, a few books of historical nature in matter of religion drop into my hands and they expose a few lethal fallacies; and I have no choice but to react, to expose the confusion related to abstract concepts out of their historical, geographical, and cultural context.  I cannot withstand sects that abolish individual reflection for the benefit of the “collective” or their close knit communities.

There is huge confusion and contentions out of subject matter between abstract belief concepts in religion and the context of the belief system.  No wonder that Christianity generates as many splits as abstraction can sustain. 

Without firm comprehension of the customs and traditions in the Levant (mainly, current Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria) and its geographical, historical, and religious context, the Christians, in their entire spectrum of sects, will stay disoriented and out of touch with their identity. 

 

A Short Introduction

I will have to skip thousands of years of major civilizations in the Near East and Mesopotamia in order to focus on the subject. 

Thus, I start from the period (of the story) that Abraham and his successive clans settled in the Land of Canaan, then discuss the period that the Hebrews of Moses sneaked in Palestine over one thousand years later after the settlement of Abraham, the Kingdom of David and Solomon that lasted less than a century, the split of Solomon’s Kingdom into 12 districts or tribes, the schism between the Samaritans and the Hebrews of Judea, the deportations of the Samaritans followed by the Hebrews of Jerusalem to Babylon, the contribution of Cyrus of Persia to the reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC,

Followed with the Seleucid Dynasty that lasted two centuries, the revolt of the Maccabees (Hashmonides) and their Kingdom that lasted less than a century, then the conquest of the Roman General Pompeii to the Levant, the advent of Jesus Christ, the first Christian communities, the conclave of Nicee (Turkey) in 325 during Emperor Constantine and the persecution of the “heretic” Christian sects, the establishment of the Ashkenazi Hebraic Kingdom in the Caucasus till its destruction in 950 AC by the emerging Russia, the schism between Papal Rome and Constantinople around the year 1000 and the second wave of persecution of “heretic” Christian sects.

Then the Crusaders’ campaigns that lasted for a century, the schism between Papal Rome and Martin Luther and Calvin in late 15th century, the emergence of the various sects in England and transferred to the USA such as the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Baptists, and the New Conservative sects in the south of the USA, and finally, the re-colonization of Palestine by the Central Europe Ashkenazi Zionists in the 20th century.

 

From Abraham to the Macabe Kingdom 160 BC

 

Period one: Abraham Abraham was very familiar with the customs, traditions, and culture of the Land when he decided to settle his clans in Canaan coming from the Kingdom of Ur in lower Mesopotamia. Abraham was a genuine leader of the Land.  He paid the tribute and the tithe (the tenth of income to the highest priest of the Land Melki Sadek who was the King of Jerusalem. 

Abraham recognized the high sacerdotal rank of Melki Sadek who worshiped God El (pronounce Eel) as the all unifying God of the Land.  Issac and Jacob also paid the tithe to the highest priest of the Land.

For example, Abraham had no piece of land in Canaan; his clan let their goats and sheep graze in unclaimed lands. As there was a death in the family of Abraham then he resolved to prepare for the burial ceremony.  Abraham sent a third party to ask Afroun son of Sohar of the tribe of Hath for a small piece of land to bury the dead. Abraham said: “I am a guest in your land. Could you give me a swath so that I may bury what is in front of me?” 

Every village had a burying ground facing east and guests, by the custom of hospitality, could be enjoying the same facilities. Afroun replied: “Abraham you are a reverend and I shall bury the deceased in the best of our graves” Abraham had set his mind to settle in Canaan and wanted his own burial ground, thus he asked to buy a piece of land.  Afroun replied: “A land of no more than 400 silver shekels should not be an obstacle” Abraham got the hint and sent the amount. 

This polite and diplomatic negotiation is part of the Levant customs thousand of years before Abraham came to Canaan.

Jacob started his trip from the southern confine of Canaan at Beer Sheba (Bir El Sabeh or the well of the Lion) toward Haran (a city situated 280 miles north-east of Damascus and located between the Euphrates and Tiger Rivers by the Bleekh River).  He stopped for the night at the village of Ola Loz (which Jacob named Beit El or the House of God El). Jacob had a dream of a ladder reaching heaven and angels coming down and up this ladder. Jacob marked this place with a stone and poured oil on it.

Then, Jacob resumed his travel toward the “Easter Land”. Jacob’s wife Rachel (Raheel) died of child birth at Efrateh of Bethlehem (in Galilee) and was buried there.  Rachel named the new born Ben Oni which Jacob transformed to Ben Yamine (Benjamin).

The ancient Old Bibles mentioned only the ancient and prosperous town of Bethlehem Efrateh in Galilee (because members of the tribe Efrat lived in the vicinity), on the east side of Mount Carmel.  Bethlehem of Judea was a fortified garrison and not a town during David.  In the Book of Mikha it is said “And you, Bethlehem Efrateh, is the smallest of the Jewish tribes (Zebulon) but from you will come out the one who will rule Israel (The Tribes of God EL)”.

 

Period two:  Moses

Moses led all the strangers in Egypt who were ordered to leave because they supported the previous monarch Akhenaton.  Akhnaton instituted the worship of the One God Sun (Aton) for over 20 years before he died and his religion replaced by the older religion of Amon and his followers persecuted. The tribes of Moses were swelled by other foreigners who left in a hurry with “unleavened bread”, meaning at night.

Those Egyptian Hebrew tribes were not familiar with the culture and traditions of the Land in the Levant.  They occupied land by the sword and committed genocide in every town they entered. For example, “Joshua (Yashou) son of Noun entered the town of Makid, and exterminated its inhabitants as he did with the king of Hebron (Ariha), then progressed to Lebna, then Lakish, then Horam, the Ajloun, then Habroun, then to Dabeer and killed the kings, destroyed the towns, slaughtered the handicapped, the babies and even the animals; any breathing inhabitant was massacred in these towns and villages”

The God of the Hebrew was called Jehovah (Yahwa), sort of a totem to discriminate themselves from the tribes of the Land in Canaan. Thus, the name Jew (yahoud) was given to Moses’ tribes.  Before Moses arrival there was no such religion as Jew or Hebrew.  The God of the Land was El and all the other minor Gods were sorts of patron saints to syndicates and towns that felt the need for an identity.  The Hebrew wanted Jehovah to establish a Kingdom on earth in any way available because their culture was different from the culture of the Levant. 

The nomadic tribes of Moses were mercenaries to the Canaanite king of Jerusalem fighting the newly settled maritime power called Philistine in Gaza; thus, a small temple for the warrior God Jehova was build for these mercenaries in Jerusalem.  The temple was mostly discarded until another war required the mercenaries to join the army; then the temple was re-opened and dusted off.

Joshua son of Noun (Yashou Bin Noun) distributed lands for the 12 tribes that he planned to conquer up north but failed to conquer; he barely ruled over Judea and the southern part of Palestine. Thus, the tribe of Asher was allocated Upper Galilee extending from Tyr to Mount Carmel, the tribe Zebulon the east side of Mount Carmel or Lower Galilee, and the tribe of Nephtali extending to Lake Howla and up to Mount Harmon (Haramoun).

  

Solomon

Solomon succeeded his son David and built a Kingdom that lasted less than 50 years.  Solomon got to appreciate the culture and civilization of the Land.  He cooperated and negotiated with the King of Tyr Ahiram to build the temple in Jerusalem and also to build a sea fleet.  The fleet was wrecked at its first attempt to take to the sea; they say “Les Hebraiques n’avaient pas the pied marin” (they had not the mariners’ feet). In fact, no Kingdom in Judea ever controlled the sea coast.

The Hebrews in Judea sank into abject materialism and their sacerdotal caste developed 640 Laws to regulate their daily life.  Thus, the Hebrews of Moses viewed the inhabitants of the Land as their enemies to be subjugated and cowed into submission for the loot. The detailed gory tales in the Bible are mostly from that bloody period

Period three:Samaria

The tribes of the Land where chased out of Judea by the new settlers of the Hebrews of Moses.  They regrouped in Samaria and Galilee “of Nations” and formed their own fiefdoms which were called Israel or the “Tribes of El” in Aramaic.  The “tribes” of Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali settled in Galilee and merged with the culture of the land. 

The Hebrews of Judea considered the districts of upper and lower Galilee as “Goyim” or gentile of many “Nations” but they viewed the Samaritans as Jews hostile to the strict Hebraic Laws and who worshipped El instead of Jehovah. The King of Tyr married his daughter Isabelle to a Samaritan tribe leader.  Atalia, the daughter of Isabelle, married the King of Jerusalem and rule after his death.  Then the Kingdom of Ashur in upper Mesopotamia conquered Samaria and deported the population.  A century later, it was the lot of Judea to be conquered by the Kingdom of Babylon and deported.

For a palpable political appreciation you may consider the split between the Sephardim and the Ashkenazi in current Israel. The Ashkenazi of Central Europe dominate the economic and policy making; a fresh immigrant from Europe can contemplate to rise quickly in the political and economic landscape while the Jews of the Arab and Moslem World have to fight the good fight for the crumbs. It is of no wonder that the Ashkenazi decided for Hebrew to be the national language that in no way compared to the versatile and rich Yiddish German/Slavic language they used to write and communicate with.  Hebrew was simply selected for its political connotation.  Galilee generated four prophets though the Pharisee caste mocked Jesus saying that “no prophets can come from Galilee”.

Period four:

In 167 BC, the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanus banned the worshiping of Jehovah, forbid circumcision, and ordered burning the Hebrew Bible; those decrees were executed efficiently and occasionally by harsh measures. Only the Hebrews of Judea revolted against these decrees; they were led by the priest Matatia of the Hashmonid tribe.  Matatia’s son Judah, nicknamed Macabe (the handler of ax), resumed the revolt until he vanquished the Seleucid King.  From 166 to 63 BC the zealot Macabe Kingdom ruled the Land. In 103 BC, Aristopoulos, son of Simon Macabe, ordered every citizen to be circumcised and to abide by Moses’ Law.  The ancestors of Judas Iscariot were from the Macabe town.

Consequently, the non-Jews of Galilee were subjected to these rules, including the ancestors of Jesus Christ who lived in upper Galilee (current south Lebanon).  It is worth mentioning that much later, in 132 AC, Emperor Hadrian banned circumcision and the Hebrews in Judea revolted again; the revolt of Barcoba (son of the star) was squashed and the remaining Jews experienced the greatest dispersion.

During the Hellenistic period, God El was called Helios (the Greek added an H before an E at the beginning of a word; for example Heliopolis means the city of El).

 

On the Origins of the Virgin Mary

Joachim (Youwakeem) Omram and Hanna, the parents of the Virgin Mary, were from the village of Qana (ten kilometers south of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters. This Qana was called Qana of Tyr of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires. The administrative district of Upper Galilee extended from Tyr to Dora and included Acre, Haifa and Mount Carmel.

Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana and was an Essenean high priest. He had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents. Joachim took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden.  Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.

Mary was born in Qana and her parents dedicated (pledge) her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel to be one of the 12 virgin nuns of the elite families in the region in the monastery. When Mary was three years of age she was interned in the monastery to serve and worship in the temple and she was named “The Pigeon of God El”. (The Hebrews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples). Joseph was also from Qana and one of Mary’s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance. Mary received the “Good Tiding” from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel.

Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in one of the many caves on the north-eastern side of Mount Carmel where the Essenean sect had instituted many dispensaries and hospitals for the sick and pregnant women. The Virgin Mary was allocated a comfortable dispensary because she was the favorite among the 12 virgin nuns.  Jesus was also a “nazeer” because the Virgin Mary had an apparition and vowed her born kid to the monastery. Thus, Jesus spent his early youth as an intern in the monastery from age 6 till he was able to aid his parents earning a living.

Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth (Elisabat) in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant and who gave birth to John the Baptist, also a “nazeer” since Elizabeth received a revelation. Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem of Tyr or Efratat east of Mount Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called “nazereen” because of the many monasteries in that region.

Joseph, the husband of Mary was also from Qana of Tyr and a relative.  They settled in the very ancient and prosperous town of Bethlehem of Tyr, also called Bethlehem Efrata, less than 6 miles east of Mount Carmel.  Bethlehem Efrata is situated on the south edge of the fertile plain of El Netouf where wheat and grain were harvested; thus the name of Bethlehem (House of Bread) because wheat grain was stored there to be redistributed to the region. The River Keeshond (Kishoun) passes between Bethlehem and Mount Carmel and ends in the bay of Haifa.

After Joseph died the Virgin Mary and her sons Jesus, Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah returned to her hometown of Qana of Tyr. The Virgin Mary had two residences: Qana was the winter residence because close to the seashore at altitude of 85 meters, and the summer residence (the dry season extending 7 months) in Magdoushi (East of the city of Sidon).

Jesus was called “Jesus of Mary” after the death of Joseph to distinguish him from the other Jesus. (The Hebrews of Judea never referred a son to his mother). Mary was also called “the sister of Jacob” because her mother Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth of many offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently named Jacob.  Jesus was also called Emanuel (Amanoueel) which means (The God El is among us).  All the names that start with El or finish with El refer to the God El, the all encompassing God of the Land.

In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited.  Jesus came up from Lake Tiberiad to join the wedding.  After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Cafarnaom by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then were part of Jesus’ party from then on.

Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.  There is this tradition in the Levant to keep bestow the title of nun and priest even for those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.

The first church was built on Mount Carmel and dedicated to the Virgin Mary while still alive.  A church was built in Qana by the disciples and excavations showed a church from the first century.  The Moslems had veneration for the tomb of Joachim called “The tomb of the prophet Omran”.  When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.  The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.  

             

 

Note 1: Qana is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana and then hit that same town in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians.  Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ and the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further. Qana of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations or the Gentiles for the Hebrews) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the lapidating of the first martyr Etienne (Estefanos).

 

Note 2: The astrophysist Reznicoff confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the mages crossed Galilee and not Judea.

 

On the Life of Christ the Messiah

 

For two decades the Essenean sect was in a frantic state of expectation; they were waiting for the coming of a Messiah any time soon.  This state has all the signs of a turn of millennium.  The question is: the millennium of which religion and of which temple? Is it one of the millennium of the construction of The Great Temple on Mount Carmel or in Jerusalem? Is it the millennia of the highest priest Melki Sadek who was the King of Jerusalem and to whom Abraham paid the tithe? Or was it one of the millennium of Ahura Mazda, the Persian Sun God that was preponderant in the region at this turn of the century?

 

Jesus was born in the years 9 to 7 BC if we have to take account of the Comet Haley appearance in Galilee that showed the way to the Mages. Caesar’s census started in the year 10 BC. Jesus was a “nazeer” because the Virgin Mary had an apparition and vowed her born kid to the monastery. Thus, Jesus spent his early youth as an intern in the monastery from age 6 till he was able to aid his parents earning a living.

After the death of his father Joseph, Mary returned to her hometown of Qana with her children.  Jesus attended The Law University in Sidon and taught for a few years after graduation.  On Fridays, Mary would wait on a hill for Jesus to ascend and spend the weekend.  A church was built in Magdoushi named the “Lady of Mantara” or the waiting lady close to the Darb El Seem (the path of the moon, in honor of Goddess Ashtarut). Being the eldest son, Jesus had many administrative and accounting duties to attend to during the weekends.  Probably the family owned a flock of sheep and cows and they didn’t need temporary stockades in Magdoushi to dismantle at the end of the grazing season; the flock would move out to Qana for the winter season.

After Jesus graduated in Law at the University of Sidon he went on an extended trip, far and long, to further his education and knowledge in the famous schools of Alexandria, Damascus, Babylon, and Persia.  Either he ventured on his own volition or the Essenean high priest sent him on a mission to gather more sightings or signs on the imminent second coming at the turn of the millennia.  This tour of knowledge acquisition and spiritual maturation abroad must have been one of the main criterions for being elevated to the rank of priest. 

Before spreading the message, Jesus was anointed (Messiah) to the order of Melki Sadek. Jesus was about 35 of age and he was not preaching a different message than that of the Esseneans but he got the arduous job of teaching a spiritual message that was opposed by the rigid Hebrew Laws.  The Essenean sect was sending Jesus among the wolves out of necessity: they were sincerely expecting the second coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist was already preparing the spiritual climate for the coming of the Messiah. 

Jesus later received the revelation that he was indeed the Messiah and his plans changed.  Jesus’ new mission was to save or win over the “lost sheep” of the tribes of Judea, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Simeon.  Those tribes were the remnants that Moses led to Canaan and worshipped Jehovah (Yahwa) instead of the all encompassing God El of the land; thus the name Jews (Yahoud).and had to visit Jerusalem.

For two years Jesus was testing and evaluating on his disciples the proper means for spreading the spiritual message; it was a hard task and it was not that intuitive to the disciples even with stories, miracles, and parables. At least four of the disciples were from Qana of Tyr (Simon the Zealot was one of them and a close relative of Joseph) and the rest from Galilee; with an exception, Judas Iscariot. 

Judas Iscariot was from the town of Magdala in Lower Galilee. It was the summer residence of his father Simon the leper, his brother Lazarus, and his sisters Martha, and Mary Magdalena.  The ancestors of this family were from the tribe of Simeon south of Judea and from the same town of the Macabe Dynasty (Iscariot) that ruled Palestine and all Galilee for over a century (166-60 BC) and imposed the Hebrew Laws and circumcision to the people of the Land.  The highly educated and rich Judas was a zealot who wanted to defeat the Romans and had no sympathy for the sacerdotal caste in Judea that obliged the Roman rulers.

For two years Jesus carried his disciples through Tyr, Sidon, Damascus, the Decapolis (ten cities) in north east the Jordan River and performed miracles and had followers. As he was in Capharnaoum, he received an invitation to a wedding in Qana of Tyr; his mother was there and Jesus transformed water to wine.  Then, Jesus, his mother and four brothers descended to Capharnaoum and stayed there for a while.  The third year witnessed mass followers on the steps of Jesus heading toward Jerusalem.  Jesus was not permitted to cross through Samaria and thus had to opt for the longer but easier route along the Jordan River, to Jericho and then ascending to Jerusalem.

On his way to Jerusalem Jesus felt the danger and he appreciated the sapping techniques of the sacerdotal caste in Judea; questions with political undertones and innuendos increased; questions on his qualifications, on his practices of the Mosaic Laws, on his legitimacy for chasing demons out and absolving sins.  Jesus felt that he is being watched and dragged into the trap.  As he approached Jerusalem Jesus was on a war path and acted accordingly and vehemently as he entered the city.  It was this fighting behavior that the Pharisees and Sadducee wished Jesus to express.

Jesus experienced a cultural shock as he witnessed business transactions going on in full swing in the Temple; he made a whip and chased out the merchants and usurers and overturned their tables.  Jesus told them: “It is said that the Temple is the House of God and not a cavern for thieves.”  The first martyr Stephen said to the Pharisees before being stoned to death “Ye stiff necked; ye the uncircumcised in heart and ear”.  Jesus was welcomed on Palm Sunday as a fresh leader with high moral values that could re-establish justice and fairness.

The Jews in Judea wanted a revolt against the Romans and not an in-fighting with the priesthood and thus, Jesus lost his initial momentum for not putting forward explicit political or social reforms.  By Thursday Jesus understood that the good fight for verbal challenges with the sacerdotal caste were over. Jesus was to be put to death before he leaves Jerusalem when it would be too late to stopping his message and be protected by the other Israeli tribes outside of Judea. 

The Pharisees and Sadducees knew the origins of Jesus and Jesus confirmed their knowledge; the Pharisees strongly suspected that Jesus was the Messiah and he replied “You said it” but they would not relinquish centuries of earthly dreams of domination; the Pharisees knew full well that Jesus was as good a leader as any but he was from the “nazareen” region (Galilee) where monasteries for the “nazeers” abound, where girls and women served in the Temples, and Jesus was as good as a “gentile”. (The town of Nazareth would be built two centuries later but it did not exist at the time of Jesus). The sacerdotal caste in Judea could never allow a leader outside of its tribes. (Read the piece of The Last Supper). Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel.

Jesus was highly educated.  He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The name Jesus is also called Emanuel (Amanueel) which mean “Eel (God) is among us”; thus, God was made human. Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.  Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren”

Jesus wore the same long white robe that the Essenean sect of Mount Carmel wore; the consecrated members were called “The White Brethren” and they were famous as healers.  The Esseneans had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick.  John the Baptist, close relative of Jesus and just 6 months older, never left the region of Galilee; he baptized with water as of the Esseneans traditions and baptized Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah.

Judas Iscariot must have decided on a drastic plan to challenge Jesus into serious reaction.  Either Jesus successfully challenges the sacerdotal caste and wins politically or if he fails then Judas will have nothing to do with further excursions outside of Judea.  Judas mainly betrayed the members of his family who worshiped Jesus. Judas Iscariot’s was in heart a zealot and his ancestors were from the southern region where the Macabe revolt started in 166 BC.

 

On the Early Christian Communities:

 

After Jesus crucifixion, a few disciples and the new converts of Christian-Jews, particularly the community of the Church of the Circumcised, headed by Jack (brother of Jesus) and Peter (as the moral icon) in Jerusalem, knew intuitively that in order to “save” the Hebrew Jews, “those lost sheep” of Israel, then Jesus had to be re-created to be a genuine and full blooded descendent of King David, because the Jews of Judea would never believe in a Messiah outside their tribes of Benjamin and Judea.  They steadfastly practiced the Hebrew Laws in order to maintain excellent relationship with the sacerdotal caste and survive as a community of “brethren”.  They ate all together and administered their community of Jerusalem as they learned to do within the Essenean communities.

This community in Jerusalem effectively contributed to the disinformation that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea and went to the ludicrous extent of attributing Jesus’ ancestors to King David; though they knew well as the Pharisees knew that Jesus was a “gentile”.  All the falsifications by the late writers of the New Testament, written in Greek and a few translated in Greek, especially the four legally and officially accepted by the Christian Church were tampered with on purpose.  The much earlier testimonies and manuscripts that recounted the origins of Jesus and his family were obscured and shelved one way or another.

 Saint Paul spent most of his energy fighting against these Christian Jews communities who did their best to visit each of the communities that Paul established in Turkey and Greece and forced the application of the Hebrew Laws.  The comprehension of the message of Jesus was so weak and blurred in the main community of Jerusalem that Saint Paul had to proclaim “We are Christians because we believe in the resurrection of Christ the Messiah” It was an implicit message that the Hebrew Laws were thus redundant since the Messiah had already come. Customs and traditions are enduring and they survived for centuries.  It would be advisable for further information to refer to my book review “Saint Paul: The Runt of God”.

In the first 3 centuries, many Christian sects organized their communities according to self-autonomous dogmas and laws.  Most of them had already adopted their own Bible before the conclave of Necee in 325 formalized the four Testaments.  There were hundreds of “apocryphal” Bibles; many Bibles have effectively dropped any mention of Jesus’ ancestry to David or even any physical existence because they could not admit that Jesus was human.  Other sects refused to admit that Jesus was God.  There were contentions on the status of the Virgin Mary.  All these differences had foundations on the traditions and customs of the Land and for political autonomy as dictated by the spirit of the Land and the level of education of the communities for assimilating abstract concepts.

The pagan Emperor Constantine convened a conclave of hundreds of bishops in Nicee (Turkey) in 325 in order to formalize and set up a unified structure to Christianity.  It was the mentality of an Emperor who required a State-like belief system to be run as a State institution that would also satisfy the majority of the pagans in his Kingdom by adopting their yearly rituals and pomp and hierarchical structure. 

Those Christian communities that dissented and were in majority were persecuted as “heretics” and dispersed to the confines of the Kingdom and to remote inaccessible mountain regions.

Son of Man: Margin for Freedom

Does heredity define to great extent every individual?  

Is every one of us the product of long lines of successive unions?

Yet, the probability of identical persons is nil among the billions upon billions of human kinds that roamed earth.

Every person that dies is never replaced and his unique set of characteristics, and the identical set is gone for ever. 

Maybe our margin for developing certain characteristics is limited. Even then, what could be modified a little by nature, environment, social conditions, and personal thrive will have an impact in defining future generations.

We have always attributed our reality to act of God, His will, our Destiny. We have been sons of God until recently

Research and technology are altering many genomes for a healthier man, even before he is born, even when he is a fetus, even by sorting out and selecting one among the many embryos to re-insert in the mother’s uterus. 

Man has started to affect genetically future generations.  God is no longer the sole and exclusive owner of man

Mankind is becoming part owner, though with a tiny share so far. 

As long as man is not able to tamper with the brain on a large-scale, then God will still have the bigger share in man. 

When you partially own a person then you are responsible for the whole entity

We tended to let God off the hook for too long.  If man has to be taken to court for wrong doing or designing and manufacturing defective products, then it is about time that God be taken to court after each war, each genocide, each apartheid systems designed for the suffering and humiliation of fellow men.

We have always attributed to God all the good values, even the immoral values in our daily realities.  We have tried hard to interpret God frequent calamities in a lenient manner. 

If God exists, and he should exist, then God has to be taken to the International Tribunal for crimes against humanity. 

That is the margin of liberty that we still own; to study, read, reflect, have our own opinions, take hold of our personal responsibilities, and act accordingly.  When a person denies his own share of responsibility and stop reflecting and studying… all he does is then but wind. 

I have published many “poems” and I selected two that might be representative for this article.

I Say

I say, every one must have his identity:

Death has forced on us the I.

I say, what exists must be discovered:

Death impressed on us to know.

I say, every feeling must be experienced:

Death created stages for us to grow.

I say, there must be a meaning to life:

Death did not leave us a choice in that.

A Gentle Touch*

Prettier than white dust

You shall never be.

Uglier than a skeleton

You can never be.

Toward the scared souls, scared of death,

Scared in living,

Let your stretched hand

Be gentler, your voice softer.


215.  Persia’s Safavide Empire (1501-1750 AC) (Part 5, March 2, 2009)

 

216.  Dreaming has a Memory of its own (March 2, 2009)

 

217.  Nietzsche: “God is dead” (Part 3, March 3, 2009)

 

218.  “Routine”: Not such a bad Schedule (March 5, 2009)

 

219.  Coelho’s mountain climbing: None of Guidelines were never followed (March 5, 2009)

 

220.  Nietzsche’s “Christianity is a carbon copy of Judaism” (Part 5, March 6, 2009)

 

221.  Bi-Weekly report (#14) on the Middle East and Lebanon (March 7, 2009)

 

222.  Free Style “Poetry”: The Lebanese kind (March 7, 2009)

 

223.  Drama: Here are the Choices (March 9, 2009)

 

224.  Power: No Longer a Point of View (March 9, 2009)

 

225.  A Happy Meal (March 10, 2009)

 

226.  Rituals of Human Sacrifices (March 10, 2009)

 

227.  The Century of Islam (March 11, 2009)

 

228.  Should Palestinian Hamas Recognize Israel?  (March 12, 2009)

 

229.  False Prophets (March 12, 2009)

 

230.  The Syrian Christ (March 13, 2009)

 

231.  The Last Gorilla: The Confederation Branch (Short Story, Part 1) (March 14, 2005)

232.  The Last Gorilla: The Environmental Branch (Short Story, Part 2) (March 14, 2005)

 

233.   As of the Bible: Customs in the Levant, part 1.  (March 14, 2009)

 

234.   As of the Bible: Customs in the Levant, part 2.  (March 15, 2009)

235.  “Souvenirs” (March 16, 2009)

 

236.  The Virgin Mary is from the town of Qana in Lebanon; Book Review; (March 17, 2009)

 

237.  The Jar of Glue (March 17, 2009)

 

238. Who are the Israelites?  From Abraham to the Macabe Kingdom (Chapter one); (March 19, 2009)

 

239.  Who are the Israelites?  Origins of Jesus Christ; Chapter two, (March 20, 2009)

 

240.  The Last Supper: Customs in the Levant; Chapter 3.  (March 22, 2009)

 

241.  Customs in the Levant: Figures of speech in the Bibles (March 24, 2009)

 

242.  The kid that kept asking questions (March 24, 2009)

 

243.  I left my scent in every corner (March 24, 2009)

 

244.  The Jante Law: Mediocrity is King (March 24, 2009)

 

245.  Lethal Spiritual Myths (March 25, 2009)

 

246.  The Bibles: Customs in the Near East (Part 5, March 25, 2009)

 

247.  The Bibles: A Repository of the Customs in the Near East (March 26, 2009)        
248.  “An Urban Detour” by Rania Sassine (Book Review, March 25, 2009)

 

249.  “As a flowing River” by Paulo Coelho (Book Review, March 26, 2009)

 

250.  No more Caches for Fiscal Evaders (March 27, 2009)

 

251.  Siesta: Try it (March 27, 2009)

 

252. Nietzsche: The Philosopher of Life (March 28, 2009)

Marie of my youth: Introspection (Addendum # 11)

 

“Marie”, She Said

 

It was a time when I was about seventeen or less.

By early dawn, I was on the balcony, the first floor of a ten-story building, facing Main Street. By early dawn.

I was reading or studying on that balcony, but my heart

Was looking out for this young girl soon to show up on the front steps of her building.

 

She was olive-skinned, large dark-eyed and hair done in two pony tails.

I was waiting for her to step out of her apartment building, opposite mine.

She would wait for her school bus with another schoolmate girl.

 

By early dawn, I am sitting or standing on that balcony,

And my heart is swooping down on that school girl about fifteen.

She is in her school dress, white shirt and blue short skirt.

Her blond and chubby schoolmate waited with her for the school bus.

 

Within two years, that blonde blue-eyed chubby girl metamorphosed

Into a blonde Nordic beauty, a svelte Prussian tall.

My dark-eyed girl used to lower her head then raise her cunning eyes up toward me.

 

It was a game for her. 

I was to her that stupid bookish young male.

In that game, she was the Beauty Queen and she was pleased of the attention.

 

She must have got used to me. 

Maybe she started to like me,

Or she appreciated the stubborn care that I generously bestowed upon her.

 

Her errands increased in the neighborhood so did my heart beats.

 

For a year, I could never muster enough courage to step down this one ridiculous floor,

Cross the street and start a chat with her.

 

One day she was waiting for a taxi.

I rushed down the stairs and waited by her side for a taxi.

I could not speak, my mind went blank and I barely was breathing.

 

Taxis made themselves scarce for an eternity.

I clumsily blurted out with a dry, unfamiliar voice:

What’s your name?”  “Marie” she said.

 

That is how it started. 

From then on, “what’s your name” is all the conversation

I could have with a girl I like.

 

Returning from a long stay overseas, I was told that the local militia ganged up on her. 

They used her as their love slave. 

She has gotten married.

 

It was a time when this womanhood was blossoming in roses and rainbow colors.

Fluttering in front of that manhood, shy and dazed with pallor.

It was a time when this womanhood was leaping in bounds, raw.

Looking at that degenerative manhood, crawling and craning his neck in awe.

The Bibles: Customs in the Near East (Part 5, March 25, 2009)

 

 

Note:  The Bibles are not famous for historical accuracies; they were not written by the dozens of scribes for that purpose.  The Bibles are excellent sources as repositories of the customs and traditions in the Near East which are still practiced for over five thousand of years.  It has been said that if Abraham and his generation were resurrected they will feel perfectly at home and go about their daily routines and tasks as if they have just waken from a dream. 

 

Since time immemorial the Near East was famous for exporting olive oil, grape wine and dried figs.  No wonder that grape vine, olive trees and fig trees are the symbols of prosperity and shade in this region where it does not rain for straight seven months. The coastal regions of the Levant imported all kinds of grains, especially, wheat and lentil. 

 

When Jesus mentions “The product of grape vine” is meant wine; though grapes were customarily dried (zabeeb) in abundance.  Kids would always carry handful of raisins in their oversized pockets as sweet and also to bribe other children; when long caravans of camels arrive at the market place, kids would bribe the conductors with raisins for a ride to the wells.  Women would get frustrated because camels drank most of the well and the women had to dip their buckets far deeper.  Grape vines were used as aphorism such as “I am the vine and you are its branches” or “Your wife is like a fecund vine around your house. Your sons like olive trees around your dinner table”.  The Prophet Micah said “They will sit under the vine and the fig tree and nothing will scare them”

The ceremonies of grape pressing by men’ and boys’ feet lasted days and nights until the juices were flowed to special receptacles of stones and clay. The press was made of a large stone vat set up on the roof of the house with a certain incline for the flow of the juice. The settled grape juice (rawook) was drunk by the poor people who could not afford wine “the (poor) pressed and felt thirsty”.  The rawook would then be boiled at various degrees; sour wine was preferred by men but sweet wine needed high boiling temperature because preferred by women. When the juice was destined to prepare molasses “debs” then white clay was added to the grapes before pressing for more efficient filtering of organic components.  Isaiah (Ashaya) said “Why your robe is reddish and your cloth looking as you were pressing grapes?”

Nowadays, the national drink is arak or ouzou in Greece and it is basically the condensation of the boiled grape juice through alembics; it is called “mtalat” when the process of condensation is performed three times for a content 97% alcoholic.

 

The houses in the Levant used to be of just one large room where the entire slept and ate in the winter season; the adjacent split room or a basement sheltered the chicken, goats, cows, or donkey.  The rest of the dry seasons that extended for over 7 months the main meeting place was the roof top; a makeshift tent of dangling grape vines and dry branches, and called “alyyeh”.  The roof was built with supporting tree trunks at three feet intervals and cross branches with no gaps and then 12 inches of dirt rolled over by a cylindrical stone at every season.  Official announcements or the arrival of caravans or any kind of major warnings such as the voices of field keepers (natour) were done by climbing a roof. Jesus advised his disciple to announce the Good News from the roof tops so that every one should hear the message clear and sound; that is what Peter did.  Families would go up to the roof tops to pray and cry and the new comer Hebrews didn’t like this custom of the Land.

When a paraplegic was dangled from a roof top for Jesus to heal the friends dug out the dirt and removed a few branches and made enough space (kofaa) then placed the sick man on a blanket with the four corners attached to a rope.

 

Jesus said “I am the good shepherd who is ready to sacrifice for his sheep”. The shepherding was the oldest and most common job in the Levant and people learned leadership, and enjoyed freedom and solitude.  The shepherd, during the extended dry season, would lead his flock “the blessed ones” to the upper lands for grazing by mid March as the sheep or goat gave birth.  The shepherd would carry the new born and the mothers would follow him, confident in her shepherd.  The shepherd would arrange a stockade (hazeera) of stones about 5 feet high and top it with brambles and sleep at the entrance in a makeshift tent with his dog. “The truth is anyone who does not enter the stockade by the entrance is a thief; the shepherd enters from the door and the sheep hear his voice and their names and they go out to graze” because the stockade could be climbed with minor scratches. By mid October, the shepherd dismantles his stockade and moves his flock to lower altitudes where the sheep are horded in a one room basement (mrah) with no windows; Isaiah said: “My residence was dismantled and taken away from me as the shepherd tent”

Shepherding requires skills in tight passageway amid the orchards that were not usually fenced.  The shepherd had to pay for whatever the sheep ate if he was unable to control his flock; the town people would not let the shepherd cross the village if they could not trust his guiding skills.  The flock trusted the shepherd because he would ward off wolves and hyenas and even follow the scavenger to its lair to retrieve the sheep or part of it and return it to the flock if alive. Jesus said: “A shepherd would leave his flock to go after the lost sheep”. The flock is not afraid of narrow hazardous paths taken by the shepherd “the shadow of death valley” because it trusts its leader.

Nietzsche: The Philosopher of Life (March 28, 2009)

Note:  I published four articles on Nietzsche and decided to combine them in one essay.

A biography   

Frederick Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Rocken (Germany) on the birthday of the King Friedrich Wilhelm.  His father Karl was a Presbyterian minister, from a long line of ministers in the family, and died when Nietzsche was five of age.  His mother was then 18 and devout. His little brother died after a day of high fever; Frederick had a dream the night before his brother’s death “The church organ is playing. My father step out of his tomb wearing the shroud; then, he returns carrying a little baby in his arms and they enter the tomb”.  Nietzsche regards his childhood as a succession of bereavements; he wrote “I know of nothing the least desirable than childhood and youth.  I was born as plant by the cemetery.  I grew up in the cemetery church” (I recall a book by Amelie Nothomb that I reviewed and titled “Metaphysics of plant”)

            Nietzsche is brilliant in his studies, and at the age of 9 he learns to play the piano and to compose music (at least 50 lieder) “when I cannot listen to music everything seems dead to me”.  He joins the university of theology in Bonn and discover that he” had lost the faith” and pursue philology or the study of the Greco-Latin civilizations through the religious texts.

            In 1868 Nietzsche meets the composer Wagner (aged 52) in Leipzig and spent his happiest moments in the company of Cosima (Wagner’s wife); he had a secret love for Cosima and she was represented as Ariane in his works. In the Greek mythology Ariane saved her husband Theses out of the labyrinth; then she married Dionysus the God of the eternal return.   Frederick hoped to become the tutor of Wagner’s son Siegfried; soon Nietzsche realizes that he is considered as “another piece of furniture in the house and that Wagner amused his invitees at his expense”.  Wagner became Nietzsche’s preferred target of diatribes and more so after Wagner’s death.

            Nietzsche’s mentor, Friedrich Ritschl, managed in 1869 to appoint Nietzsche (aged 25) professor of philology (science of logic?) in Bale Switzerland where he spent most of his teaching life. After reading Schopenhauer, Nietzsche decided to become a philosopher.

            Nietzsche served as nurse during the Franco-German war in 1870.  He suffers from nausea, terrible headaches, and used to losing his sight for many days (these were the symptoms of syphilis contracted maybe around 1866) which developed into a generalized paralysis and coma.  Nietzsche has to take frequent sabbaticals because of ill health and after 18 years of teaching in Bale he had to renounce teaching and retired with a small pension.

For ten years Nietzsche is moving around trying to locate a place that suits his ill health.  In summer time he rents a room (transformed into museum) in Sils-Maria in Switzerland, 6,000 feet above sea level, where his book “Thus spoke Zarathustra” germinated.  In winter time he stays around Nice, Genoa, and finally in Turin (Italy) where he somber into coma in January 1889 and is transferred to Weimar where his little sister Elizabeth (Lama) and his mother cared for him for 11 years.  Nietzsche is practically a dead person, he is silent, and plays piano until he dies in August 1900.

Lama established a museum for her brother in Weimar and published his works.  She became a Nazi member in 1930 and Hitler visited her and the museum and he participated to Lama’s funeral in 1935.

“God is dead”

I take the position that Nietzsche is an honest writer and truthful to his ideals and that is much more than anyone can expect from most authors. He wrote once in Ecce Homo “How do we become what we are?”  (This sentence reminded me of a piece of my own auto-biography “Why I am how I am?”)  Nietzsche replied “As to the long sickness that is wearing me down, don’t I owe it infinitely more than to my good health? I owe it my philosophy to life. Only great suffering liberate the spirit” (I might say “after suffering greatly” because physical pain in no way liberates any kinds of minds)

He publishes “The birth of tragedies” after the Franco-German war in 1870 where he pleaded to the return of the Greek genre of tragedies but his positions are not well received and he was kind of discredited as a philologer. In “Non current considerations” Nietzsche claims that culture is threatened internally by the learned men who are totally cut off from life’s realities and are sick in their historicism (the philistine culture).  He receives no recognition; his health is starting to deteriorate.

 

Nietzsche is in campaign to tell the world a set of truths that he is not yet ready to listen to.  He tries to win a few victories on his personal deficiencies and then writes in 1878 in “Human, much human” that he has gotten rid of “what is not compatible with his nature”.  Nietzsche wants to believe that he is “a free spirit” and declare war on idealism, on the influence of Schopenhauer and the mythology of Wagner.

 

The year 1880 is “a black hole” for Nietzsche but “what does not kill me is bound to strengthen me”.  He has a renewed passion to targeting convictions that are “the enemies to truth”, and thus he proclaimed in “The happy knowledge” that “God is dead”. It seems that many authors have the temerity of killing major concepts for the sake recognition.  For example, they proclaim “The end of history”, “the end of Religions”, “The end of Metaphysics”, “The end of Earth”, and “The end of Philosophy”, and that the real life is but a virtual existence.  Nietzsche is one of a succession of authors that love to go on a rampage of assassination and thus he proclaimed “The end of God”

The reasoning is that if the systems of beliefs have managed to cater to the needs of those who instituted those systems, then after a while those systems turned against life and the moral values have lost their initial power. The values persist on the impulse of inertia and habit.  This inertia has generated the negative movement of “nihilism”, a sickness among younger generations that devalue all kinds of moral values as “superimposed” on societies.

When Nietzsche proclaimed “God is dead” he didn’t intend a simple atheist position but a rallying cry to “positive nihilism” for the instauration of newer set of values with purpose of disseminating a spirit of happiness and of higher power to the spirit. The actual negative nihilism is but an intermediary stage for launching new future and new moral values that are consistent with life and its glory.

 

By 1883, Nietzsche feels that “everything is boring, painful, and disgusting. I cannot fathom why I should resume living for even six more months”  By 1888 he has lambasted the concepts of nationalism and anti-Semitism as sickness attached to symptoms of mental and emotional weaknesses and he signs his works by “The Anti-Christ”, “Dionysus”, “The Crucified”, and “Nietzsche Caesar”

 

“Christianity is a carbon copy of Judaism”

           

            Nietzsche said about his rational style: “The honest things, as honest men, do not exhibit their reasons by argumentation. What needs to be demonstrated is not worth the effort” He could not feign cold and impersonal objectivity. He regarded the Socratic method of rational argumentation as “symbol of degeneracy”, a powerful poison that altered “the Greeks’ taste”  Since thoughts are required to generate ideas, and thus act on the one who said them,  then Nietzsche demands from his readers to stimulate the value of patience in reading his works. “Philology, in a period when we read a lot, is the art of learning and teaching how to read.  We need to meditate half an hour on a paragraph; this habit has all the merit for interpreting aphorism”.  Nietzsche does write in order to be listened to and not to be discussed.

 

Nietzsche displaces the question of truth to the value of truth; and thus, “moral intentions, or the systems of value judgments in relation to the conditions of existence, form the germ from which the entire plant grew” Consequently, the method of Nietzsche is to uncover the origin and the true genesis of the values disseminated by the philosophers, the preachers, and the prophets. The free spirit should analyze the genealogy of values since “Truth is this type of error without which a certain type of living species would not know how to live. From life perspective, it is how we perceive values that all depend in the final analyzes”  Amoral Nietzsche is a kind of a hyper-moralist since he intends to free mankind of the poisons that he himself secrete; poisons such as the value systems diffused in symbols, masks, sickness, hypocrisy, misunderstanding, cause, remedy, stimulant, and poison.”

For Nietzsche, Christianity, and in general, religions and their sacerdotal caste systems are characterized by stifling and oppressing societies. In order to criticize Judaism and then Christianism Nietzsche had first to laud the origins of Judaism. Nietzsche considered the Old Testament as a work of art “where we find men, things, and words in a style so grandiose that the Latin and Greek literatures have nothing to lay upon it”  He went as far as writing that the Jews “are the most remarkable people in the universal history to whom we owe the most influential moral law in the world” before the Jewish sacerdotal hierarchies transformed the religion into an instrument of interpreting happiness as a recompense, and misfortune as sin punishable for the disobedience toward God.  Thus, Christianity emulated the worst kind of religious philosophy that the Jewish sacerdotal caste ended practicing and enforcing upon society, a carbon copy of the seriously altered Judaism. Nietzsche considers that Christianism was conceived as the art of lying piously and has been perfected through many centuries of serious training techniques. Nietzsche claims that “Sin as is felt, wherever Christianity dominated, is a Jewish invention, a moral for slaves, and thus, Christianity endeavored to spread Judaism around the world”. 

(I do not know what Nietzsche read in the Old Testament but what I have read did not sound right, at least not a work of art.  The psalms of David and Salomon are carbon copies of the psalms of the Land, from Babylon, to Canaan, to Assyria, and the religion of the Middle East, written over 2,000 years before the first Jewish scribe wrote the first chapters.)

I think that Christianity in Byzantium and Medieval Christianity in Europe tried to distance itself from Judaism on political ground by adopting pagan ceremonies, pomp, and symbols. The reformists of Luther, Protestants, and Calvinists steered Christianity back to the fold of Judaism.

I have read and published many book reviews and articles on early Christian sects. I have to concur that the early Christian sects were fundamental in disseminating Jewish customs, traditions, and laws.  They opened the way for Judaism to penetrate many “gentile” countries.  A Jewish Kingdom was established in the Caucasus by converted Jews (Ashkenazi) that had no origin with Near Eastern Jews (Sephardim); these Ashkenazi expanded to Central Europe, Russia, and Germany after their Kingdom was ransacked around the year 950 AC and now they established the Zionist State called Israel.  The latest Moslem religion emulated the early Christian sects’ customs and dogmas and aided in the spread of Judaism even further toward East Asia.

 

“Thus spoken Zarathustra”

Zarathoustra “The one who owns old camels” (a tradition in antiquity to tone down the status of famous personalities in order to avoid jealousy and the cursed eyes) is considered the reformist Prophet (7th century BC) of the Ahura Mazda religion in antique Persian Empires; an Empire that extended from Turkey to the Indus River (Pakistan). Nietzsche wrongly adopted the meaning of the Greek name of Zoroaster “The Star of Gold”.  The God Ahura Mazda (The Lord or the Wise Spirit) re-organized the Universe in order to lock in his arch enemy Angra Manyu (The agent of evil thinking) in a time capsule. Thus, people in the universe have to deal with the “Devil of lies, confusion, errors, and death” before they are freed out of the time constraint. 

In the antiquity, Ahura Mazda represented the day and the Sun was the symbol of divinity and fire was the medium through which Ahura Mazda listened to prayers and spoke.  There were countless sub-divinity representing values of Ahura Mazda and many personalized divinities like Mithra (God of justice represented by the Sun) and Anahita (Goddess of the water), and the God of wind, destiny, and so on.  The forces of life and good will ultimately vanquish the forces of evil and death.

So far, there are no historic proofs, archeological or epigraphic discoveries for indices that Zarathustra, Abraham, Moses, or Lao Tseu did exist except in oral traditions.  It appears that the concepts of angels, the Judgment of the dead, the Holy Ghost are interpreted from the Zoroastrian religious tradition.  The history of humanity is enclosed in three time periods of 3,000 years each; the first period witnesses the encapsulation of Angra Manyu; the second period witnesses the awakening of Angra Manyu and the terrible confusion and instauration of death; the third and last period experiences the last struggles between the forces of evil and good.  The number 3 in all religions of the antiquity is a divine number and corpses were laid by three in the tombs.  The number thousand should not be taken literally because it refers to a huge number.  Thus, when Zarathustra was born he knew that he is living in the last period and that he will not die and would return to Ahura Mazda.  The disciples of Zarathustra claim that their Prophet learned to be in communication with Ahura Mazda.

The Greek philosophers were fascinated with the teachings of Zarathustra and they emulated many concepts of the Ahura Mazda religion for the good life, beauty, the rejection of ascetic life and celibacy, and devotion to heavy drinking. Soldiers would go to combat wearing all their jewelries. The Persian King would revisit his decisions taken when fasting and would verify his previous decision after he is literally drunk.

Many Mazdi followers fled persecutions in south east Iran in the provinces of Yazd and Kerman in the 10th century and immigrated to India and Bombay. The French explorer Anquetil-Duperron traveled to India in 1755 and learned Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, and Farsi in order to investigate the religion and traditions of the Mazdi followers who were established in the region of Surat (northern region of Pakistan and bordering Afghanistan).  Anquetil-Duperron published three vast volumes titled “Zend Avesta, the work of Zoroaster”.  There are large communities of Mazdi in California and India. The Bahai followers adopt the Mazdi beliefs in addition to Islam and variant of Judaism. Even current Iran, the Islamist Republic, celebrates the Mazdi festivities of New Year (Nawrouz) and the Red Wednesday, a festival of fire and pleasure.

In the summer of 1881, Nietzsche was sitting by the lake of Sils-Maria in Switzerland; it is located 6,000 feet above sea level and “far from things human”.  He said: “I was waiting for nothing.  Beyond the good or evil, I was enjoying of light, shadows, the lake, the noontime, and of no purpose. Then, friend, suddenly one became two and Zarathustra walked by”  That is when the decision to write “Thus spoken Zarathustra” had taken flesh and for over two years, Nietzsche would resume his manuscript where ever he is located.

 Since the Zoroastrian religion professed the duality between good and evil and thus, according to Nietzsche, Zoroaster preached an “extra-morale” doctrine beyond the good and evil and proselytized the eternal return of man, a sort of an extension to the doctrine represented by Dionysus.  The Greek God Dionysus had the power to change and to be transformed into another player; this power is mainly of lightness, perpetual movement, and erotic. Nietzsche would sign a few of his articles Dionysus. Thus, Nietzsche wrote: “Only the one who can change is related to me.  This life, as you are living it now and had so far lived, you will have to re-live it many other times. You will have to learn to be kind to yourself and toward life. You have got to mark the future of the being with the highest will for power”.

While the German philologists claimed that Zoroaster invented morality, Nietzsche would argue that Zoroaster preached the contrary to morality and that he was the representative of thinker on life.  Thus, Nietzsche contrasted Zoroaster to Socrates whom he judged to cling to a moral set.  (I think Socrates is being evaluated according to what Plato said about Socrates’ teaching.  It is Plato that ascribed to set of moral standards and of eugenics practices for a new Republic.  Socrates wanted to dialogue with people in power to discriminate those who are free thinkers and reflect on prevalent moral standards from those who abide by religious dogmas and current paradigms)

How many people have the potential to live lightly, to surmount life’s difficulties and tragedies by transforming their attitudes and resume catching up with the joy and pleasure of living?  The “over-man” should reach the wisdom of surpassing the standards of morality, of the religious doctrines of Heaven and Hell, and learn the joys of the present life because there is no eternal return of the same man.

 

Note 1: As Anti-Semitism was understood in the early 20th century Nietzsche was not anti-Semite.  He lambasted this wave in Europe as “a muddle and stupidity in the spirit and conscience of Germany and the press that are leading the Jews to the slaughterhouse as a scapegoat in order to absolve all the public and private malaise”.  Nietzsche also blamed vigorously the wedding of his sister to an anti-Semitic leader “it fills me with melancholy and bitterness.  It is a question of honor for me to have a clear and neat stand against anti-Semitic attitudes and activities.  I fear and have great repulsion that this party might use of my reputation and my name for their own cause”  Nietzsche position is consistent with his quest to return to the original values that glorify life before the sacerdotal castes high jacked the religious institutions and altered the moral values to enslave man.

 

Note 2: The Zionist State has been pressuring the world community to adopting a ridiculous definition of anti-Semitism; any State or individual that criticizes the Zionist genocide and apartheid policies against the Palestinian people should be labeled anti-Semite.  The USA and Italy’s Berlusconi are slipping toward that dangerous path and trying hard resist a vigorous denouncement of the recent Israeli’s genocide war in Gaza.

“An Urban Detour” by Rania Sassine (Book Review, March 26, 2009)

 

Rania Sassine is a young Lebanese architect. The tiny book “Viree Citadines” is her first and written in French. 

Rania is attempting to describe 24 imagined villages that might add variety to the landscape. 

The fictional villages are divided into two categories; the village-objects that resemble objects such as necklace, cone, spinning top, turning wheel, hoop, drawer, geological fault and then the village-adjectives such as magnetic, cloud, artist, show-biz, retirees, fairy tales, remembrance or souvenir,  and on. 

 

I can imagine that the publisher is a close relative of Rania and encouraged her to give him the nod. We thus have got shapes, forms, and unlimited imaginations to dream of new dwelling quarters and communities. 

What I will describe are my imagined villages on the main themes because it is a God sent opportunity to refresh my youthful dreams. If you like to discover Rania’s imagined villages then you read her manuscript.

 

Imagine a Real Estates developer who acquired a hill. 

At the top of the hill he builds a humongous tree-like edifice and from this tree flows a necklace of residences.  There are unlimited variations on the forms, pearls, color, and arrangement of the pearls or stones. You could have a series of spherical houses or pine-like cones or other gems’ forms and shapes. Imagine that the developer adds two mounds within the necklace, adjacent and in the shape of apples or pears for public gathering and a commercial center.  The houses could be detachable so that every spring a new look for the necklace is exhibited.

 

 Imagine a flat terrain covered with glass-like materials for tanning and ice skating and the residences are underground.  When it rains or when it thunders or when the sun is blazing then you open a trap and descend a staircase to your house or to the common gathering theater or commercial center. A labyrinth of underground pathways should take you home. 

 

Imagine that the houses in the town are bubbles that are transparent, colorful, and can be navigated to certain altitude. The well to do can afford large bubbles with complex navigation consoles but the movement of these bubbles is restricted to an area and an altitude. It would be advisable that clusters of bubbles be attached to one another through flexible tube-like bridges that never tangle up so that people can visit neighbors up in the air.  The elderly are reserved a ring-like bubble houses close to a cushioned ground.  The whole exercise is to never land which required complex administrative and maintenance jobs.

 

Imagine a town in the shape of spinning top; it intersects with the ground in a single point and rotate around a seesaw axe.  Would you like this town to spin? Who might reside in it?

 

Imagine a town built in permanent clouds; an atmosphere of fiber between gas and liquid. When you enter you have the sensation that thousands hands are touching you and palming you, where you cannot see anything but can hear sounds and music constantly.   Who might reside there and what could be its function and purpose?

 

Imagine a town reserved for characters in fairy tales, or simply tales, decked in the corresponding characters.  What could be its shape and what could it produce to stay financially stable?

Imagine a town where it rains constantly 24 hours and every day.  The clouds are made to converge to this town and deliver their bounty.  The town is built to store rain water and distribute it equitably to the rest of the world.  Who would like to work there and how workers could survive?

 

Imagine a town built as drawers with translational motions. What could be its purpose and who might reside there?

Imagine a town in the shape of hoops.  It gravitates around an antenna of photons linking earth to moon.  It can move upwards fast and follow the rotation of the sun 24 hours or decide not to see the sun for 24 hours. What could be its purpose and how could it generate profit?

 

Imagine a town in a hole, drilled for miles underground in the South Pole.  How could you design it and what could be its purpose?

Imagine a town in the form of a wheel, with a few concentric circles and the possibility to rotate at different angles. What could be its purpose and who would reside there?

 

This is starting to be a fun exercise.  Could you imagine other kinds of specialized towns in shape and purposes?

“As a flowing River” by Paulo Coelho (Book Review, March 26, 2009)

 

Note:  I posted several articles with themes extracted from Coelho’s book “Comme un fleuve qui coule” and I decided to join the posts.  Sentences and paragraph between parentheses are of my own reflections and comments.

Paulo Coelho recounts that he had an important trip tomorrow, that he did what he had to do yesterday, and that in the morning he checked his mails and then realized that his afternoon is free.

He had nothing to do; he had taken care of everything.  He noticed that his jar of glue is empty, but he had no gluing task for the afternoon.  Still, the idea that he needs to purchase a jar of glue disturbed his mind and prevented him to focus on his meditation. 

It took him hours of struggle to shake off this insignificant disturbance before he managed to listen and converse with his soul.

What, being in harmony with your soul isn’t an important job? Since when did material tasks have presented the only solutions to stability of the mind and body?

 

            (So many times at work we are conscious that all that need to be done was finished in the morning, and that tomorrow’s tasks can wait for tomorrow.  In the meantime we are practically “redundant” but cannot shake off the feeling that something more should be done, since we are paid to log in 8 hours of work.  Thus, we fret, we meddle in the tasks of other people, our nervousness becomes contagious, and the entire workplace is disturbed and anxious.  All that was required is to acknowledge that you have finished your job and you deserve some time off to cool it down and converse with your soul.)

An enterprising man got bankrupt.  He discovered a decrepit residence that matched his dream.  The owner of the property agreed, for board and lodging, to let the ruined man to restore the residence.  Within a year, the dream house was standing in its former glory and the man’s spirit shining like a gold coin. For a true dream idea we should be satisfied with board and lodging.

 

Many people still move a little.  You have individuals who lived at one location when singles, they relocated across the street when they married.  Many of these “across the street lodgers” lived to be old people; they never needed the help of anyone.  (Is that the best or the worst character that human kind is capable of?

For example, Vera Anderson lived in Medford, Oregon all her life.  Vera had dreamed of touring the world when she goes on retreat but she died before her plan takes off.  Vera’s testament was that she be cremated; her ash distributed to 241 pouches; 50 to the chiefs of the main post offices in the 50 States and 191 to every recognized States by the UN.  These pouches were to be scattered to places that Vera would have liked to visit. 

All around the world communities assembled to decide of the best locations to visit and her ash was dispersed accordingly.

Many parents experienced extended prison terms; many sentences were not of civil crimes.  Many served in wars. They come home with a few belonging from prison.  They hide or lock up those belonging in obscure corners in the house. 

It is up to the offspring to discover those “miserable inheritances” to remind themselves that refreshing memories now and then is good for the future of humanity. 

A son carried the old and smelly outfit of his dad in small handbags any which way life took him. A few make it a sacred ritual to touch the bag before taking a decision: the impression that this reminder of the existence of this bag might improve their behavior.

(A flood of questions come to mind; why parents have to keep their prison souvenirs? Why lock them up if they are so important? Why not communicating with their offspring about their experience in prison? Why not writing about their emotions and conditions of feeling incarcerated if they are that important?  Why preferring to committing suicide instead of opening up?  Why the inheritors fail to wash and iron their “sacred trove”?  Are only official military uniforms worth washing, ironing, and displaying?

There are many reports from rebel plagued States.  The rebels and the governments reciprocate in crimes against humanity.  Most rebellious movements create parks for children; the tombs are toboggans, the swings posts made out of old rifles, pictures of “kid martyrs” plastered around the park: those innocent eyes will soon shine with hatred and their tiny bodies torn to pieces when exploding among crowded civilians.

(Social memory is selective.  The horrors of the past registered by lousy writers ended up in the dust bins.  The terrors of the past that generated laws which didn’t pass “parliaments” ended up in archives.  Only the lousy laws enacted by the military colonial powers were retained by under developed States, such as detention without prosecution.)

The French Colonel Jean-Paul Setau was contributing money to the sick in under-developed States.  He specifically adopted (medically) a girl suffering of leprosy from India.  He visited this girl at the special hospital in France and the nun asked him to deliver spiritual (religious) education for the children.  Jean-Paul prayed and got the answer “go and find out the questions that kids might want answers for“.  Jean-Paul received a list of written questions from kids; a sample follows:

1)      Where do we go after death?

2)      Why are we afraid of strangers?

3)      Do extraterrestrials exist?

4)      Why accidents occur to even people who believe in God?

5)      What God means?

6)      Why we are born if we have to die?

7)      How many stars in the sky?

8)      Does the Lord listen to those who believe in other Gods?

9)      Why there are poor and sick people?

10)  Why God created mosquitoes and flies?

11)  Why the guardian angle is not close by when we feel sad?

12)  Why we love a few people and hate other?

13)  Who named the colors?

14)  If God is in heaven with my dead mother, how come God can still be alive?

 

(I have a couple of questions.

First, if we are honest and sincere, then which one of the questions can you provide an answer to? 

Second, if you indeed can answer a question, then how are you going to translate your comprehension to kids? 

As for the first question I have no response; but I do have one for my second concern. 

I suggest that you speak in stories and parables as Jesus did, but with a twist, that your stories are extracted from our current time and civilization such as video games, school life, urban situation, a few trip in nature, computer, internet navigation, biking, movies, pop songs, and what else do kids do to fill up the void and vacuum nowadays.  If you can come up with such kids’ stories that answer a few of the above questions then you can get rich, filthy rich.)

 

            Okakura Kakuzo commented in his book “The Tea Ritual in Japan”: 

When I judge someone I am conscious that the tribunal was set up for me: I am judging myself. 

We do not see meanness in others: we can only notice our meanness.

We can never forgive those who prejudiced us: We believe that we will never be forgiven. 

We tell the harsh truth to our brother: We want to hide it in ourselves. 

We show our force and power: We do not want others to witness our frailty.

The ceremony of tea drinking is the adoration of what is beautiful and simple. The effort is focused on the imperfect gestures of everyday with the aim of attempting the perfect task.  The beauty is in the complete respect of what is being done. A day offers dozens of opportunities for perfecting awkward tasks.

In Scandinavia, the Jante Law says: “You are worthless.  Nobody is interested in what you think. Mediocrity and anonymity are your best choices.  If you act according to Jante Law then all your problems will vanish”

 

This Janti Law is the most common and most adhered to by most countries and people, though it was never formulated as clearly or known as the Law of the Lands of Mediocrity. 

The Janti Law was stated in the novel “A refugee surpasses his limits” by Aksei Sandemose in 1933.  This law was disseminated recently when the Norwegian Princess Martha-Louise married the writer Ari Behn.  Ari Behn was a recognized and acclaimed writer before he wedded the princess.  After the marriage Ari was vehemently critiqued and lambasted by writers for no other reason but for daring to surpass his class status. 

That is how the world got familiar with this Scandinavian Law. 

By the way, Princess Martha-Louise embroidered her gown with the names of who counted in her life for her thirtieth birthday and many started to emulate her generous spirit.

People always claim that many wars would not have started if an anti-Janti Law was preponderant and people knew that they are worth far more than what they think; that what you do on earth is far more important than what you believe; that acting against injustice and expressing your opinions against tyrants will ultimately prevail. 

That might be so, but it was still an abstract notion until 2003 when the King of Mediocrity, George W. Bush, prevailed against all the world community and launched his pre-emptive war against Iraq.  The Spanish PM Aznar defied the wishes of 90% of the Spanish citizens and so did the British PM Blair. The UN did not cover the operation.  Turkey declined 26 billions dollar in aid and denied the US troops to cross the Turkish land or launch military operations against its neighboring State.  Colin Powell was forced to forge falsified proofs; documents and aerial photographs that Hans Blix, the inspector of Iraq disarmament on nuclear and chemical engines of war, contested for many months.  Britain Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, went as far as justifying this war on moral grounds.  The European Nations and their people were against this war.  The Arab States unified to decry this war.  The whole world demonstrated for two months, but the King of Mediocrity prevailed.

No, it was not all in vain. Things have changed even if a few leaders still feel shy to denounce the genocide of the Zionist State perpetrated against the Palestinians in Gaza. The results of democratic elections are recognized even if they don’t suit the philosophy of a few powerful nations.  A new urgency for diplomatic resolutions is taking over in world politics.  Sure, financial and economic downturns are helping that overture climate, but Mediocrity is subsiding among nations. 

(The common people of nations are reawakening to known fundamentals that terrorism and religious extremism are the result of fear, inequality in rights, injustices, and lack of freedom of speech coupled with anemic economies and lack of opportunities and professional diversity in jobs.  In order to establish just, prosperous, and democratic political systems around the world we have got to believe that it is very possible because it is right and urgent.)

 

            As people delve into spirituality a dangerous phenomenon is generated, mainly a firmer intolerance toward the spirituality of others; as if our newly acquired spirituality cannot develop without the debasement of other alternative spiritual methods; (as if spirituality obeys the rule of demand and supply, or an accounting register where debit should match credit.)

The following are Lethal Spiritual Myths:

 

            Myth one: Only one way leads to God.  This is the most dangerous and lethal myth that was the cause and mostly the main excuse for many wars, persecutions, genocides, and judgments of our neighbors.  The weakness in our spirituality is to blame the authorities or sacerdotal castes for the calamities that we perpetrate on others; we always fails to shoulder our individual responsibility for our belief system and that is why the authorities have an easy job of enslaving our spirit and guiding us whichever they wish us to do.

 

            Myth two:  The spirit can cure all. There are countless individuals who realized that physicians can overcome illnesses that all our spiritual gimmicks could not cure.  Many times, it is better to pray that the experienced surgeon still rely on God to guide his hands during operations.  How many were victims of curable illness simply because of taboo spirituality?

 

            Myth three: Red meat obstructs divine light.  There are many trends for “purifying our body” by eating the most appropriate kinds of food and how it should be cooked for various reasons, and basically and implicitly based on religious doctrines. Jesus said “Evil is not in what enters your mouth but what goes out” Vegetables and flowers grown in greenhouses are might be purer for the consumers but they are incapable as naturally grown vegetables to resist minor weather variations.  Vegetarians are still eating live condiments that obey the cycle of life as we will also end up being food for lower creatures and fishes. (There are sects that prohibit ail, onion, tomatoes, dairy product, leavened products, and sugar on the ground that they disturb focus in contemplation and meditations.  Others sects prohibit other kinds of condiments on the ground that they are poison to the body ‘that shell that is sanctified by God”.)

 

            Myth four: God is sacrificial. People seek self-sacrificial ways by claiming that the road to heaven is through physical suffering.  If this world is a benediction of God then why not take the opportunity to enjoying our life?  Jesus Christ suffered for three days but he enjoyed most of his life traveling, meting people, sharing his bread, and disseminating his message of tolerance and charity. The Prophet Muhammad said “Unhappiness is contagious; if you are unhappy you extend it to our neighbors”

 

            Myth five: God is a concept that became real, like the number zero and the imaginary number in mathematics, for constructing moral values that suit Nations.  This myth is intrinsically related to myth one: God was rendered indispensable for mankind, was reduced to serve man, malleable to man’s desires and his will for power.  God is used to harangue armies to war and to escape the resolutions of real problems.  Man manipulates God as the arbiter in nuclear debates and even in school systems.  God is used to lambaste totalitarian regimes, Marxist regimes, opposition political parties, discriminating among the evil and good States, and West versus East. 

God is made use of in order to justify repression, apartheid, genocide, and racism.

God is used as a moral police force to subjugate recalcitrant opinions. 

God is even used in sciences under masked names such as “I don’t know, it escape human cognitive power, providence, organized chaos, other irrational causes, and so on”. 

Religions have instituted sacerdotal castes with power to dominate and regulate civil life from birth to death

As long as institutions and State governments use God to do business then God is another useful commodity and versatile enough to be transacted any which way.  No, God is an individual necessity and has nothing to do with collective usage.  God never needed an institution to promote Him.  Man had the firmament of stars, of nature, of the huge varieties of animals, vegetables, fruits, insect, seasons, thunderstorms, volcanoes, tidal waves, the sun, and the moon to believe that there is a God and that nothing man does will not fructify if God did not participate in the process.)

Pablo Coelho attempts to offer guidelines before climbing a mountain. 

First, select the mountain of your choice since you are the sole responsible and you have to be sure of what you are doing. 

Second, learn how to face the mountain by trying all the possible routes to contour the mountain.  The mountain that looks pretty and interesting from afar is but a terrible challenge when starting to conquer it. 

Third, do not hesitate to ask counsel of those who climbed your mountain of choice.

Fourth, at close scrutiny dangers seem controllable. This is a fine hint that you need to watch every step while climbing. 

Fifth, take advantage to view the changing scenery as you progress steadily.

Sixth, respect the capabilities and limitations of your physical conditioning. If your intention is to be back by nightfall then the speed of your progress should be steady with allowance that the summit is always farther than expected.

Seventh, have respect for your spirit.  You do not need to constantly repeat “I can do it” because your spirit already knows it; and never say “It is more difficult than contemplated” because you might lose your inner force.

Eight, rejoice when at the summit.  Cry, holler, jump, dance, and tell the whole world that your achievement is now part of your life and a stepping stone toward many other successes.

Nine, as you have realized your potential then plan other excursions and adventures.

Ten, tell your adventure story and recount how it was possible to vanquish what seemed insurmountable.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2009
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