Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 2009

Breakdown of the senses (Panne de sens) by Mouss Benia; (Nov. 27, 2009)

Note:  I will insert in parenthesis the French/Algerian slang for the corresponding word.

Jilali Benhadji was born and raised in France and going to public school in Paris; his Algerian father (daron) immigrated to France at the age of 17 and has been working in construction as crane operator.   The daron has been sending money for 30 years to his brother in Algeria in order to finish building his house in the city of Oran but everything takes time to finish there. Four years in France, the father tore up his ID and military card because they mentioned his religion. The mother (daronne or yema) barely can speak French and misses her relatives in Algeria.

Jilali is 15 years old and has silky blond (18 carat) hair, milky skin, and blue eyes like the pictures of Jesus in Europe. At the start of each school year teachers would get upset thinking that Jilali is answering “present!” for another student. Jilali is Jilou for his intimate friends and Jil short for students. Girls (meuf or gadji) never suspect his origin until he mentions his name; then the castle of cards collapses as if mistaken by the merchandise.

Jilou can enter supermarket without attracting the attention of the private guard: he could rob the shop dry without being suspected. Thus, when he enters a place then Jilou splits with his darker complexion friends. Jilou is a Troy Horse who can penetrate the hearts and minds if he would change just his name.  Jilou has the pale face with the heart of an Algerian native. Jilou two elder brothers are not the pride of his father: Nourdine prefers to celebrate Christmas with his parents-in-laws and never shows up for the Moslem’ Eids such as Ramadan or al Adha.  Youcef teaches France history, a job that his father commented on “It is not an Arab (rebeu or bicot) who will teach France history to the francaoui”

Immigrants are relegated to quarters in the suburbs with names taking to birds, animals, fruits, or vegetables.  “I am a man not ashamed of looking ridiculous” expressed  for the occasion of accompanying his father to purchasing a live sheep for the Adha Eid to be slaughtered in the afternoon.  It happened that, on the way back, the sheep was licking the rear window and his French girl friend was mimicking the sheep as she was driving with her father. Jilou had to avoid the girl for three days.

Life is boring in these prison-like quarters and Jilou goes on a three-week vacation to the Ocean shores with his friend Stephan. Obviously, he has to lie and says that he is staying at Stephan’s folks. The second week both friends are penniless; Jilou for the first time decides to attempt stealing hard liquor to sell at half price; he is caught and put in jail. The police (keuf or kepi) would not let Jilou out until a close relative personally takes responsibility of his discharge. Nourdine has to drive from Paris to the Vandee to let him out but refuses to intercede with his father on Jilou’s behalf.

When Jilou finally arrives home the family members are ordered to ignore him as an invisible ghost (djinn): he was the shame of the family (hrchouma).  For punishment the father banished Jilou to Algeria to continue his education there; Jilou is to live with his uncle’s family in the city of Oran by the sea-shore. Jilou has seen Algeria at the age of 7; he had to be circumcised and the ceremony celebrated among relatives; at the Paris airport, Jilou took out his sore penis (quequette) and said to his uncle “See what they have done to it?”

In Algeria of the 90’s water is rationed and tap water is received once every three days; families have to go to main water sources and fill Jeri cans. Jilou had to learn to clean his ass with water instead of toilet paper; he had never to forget to bring an empty bottle for that purpose when he goes to a private school that teaches in French and reserved just for “Algerian immigrants” coming from France, the mixed bread or the “noss noss”. The Algerian “nationaux” want to acquire the “flow” of the immigrants: their accents, their slangs, their expressions, their style in dressing and music.  In France, the location of these same immigrants, whether in the Old Port of Marseille or in Paris, is irrelevant: they are all considered living in the “suburbs” and potential trouble makers or “racailles”.

Jilou learned that terrorist acts are mostly perpetrated by the military in order to maintain the public illusion that the Moslem fundamentalists are the culprit.  Private entrepreneurs instituted collective taxis because public buses are rare and not schedule reliable.  He experienced the “hammam”, sort of sauna and public bath, and all his “fancied French” cloths and sneaker (basket or Adidas) were stolen; “you don’t wear fancy attires if you have to remove them in public places”.

The sons of the bourgeois (tchitchi) and high-ranking military officers throw luxury private parties in their homes.  From the outside, things are normal and blend with the environment; all windows are closed.  Inside, it is a different world and all is permitted; booze of all kinds “a volonte” and lovers find private rooms to do mostly the “brushing” of mutual sex parts; Jilou was lucky in one of these parties and discovered that he is a master painters. Jilou cannot get into dancing unless “sex machine” of James Brown is on.

Jilou came to realize that the Algerian/French immigrants are creating their own problems in France as seen by foreign media.  As long as we, the kids, witness our parents feeling as if in inferior status, then the kids will develop a displaced sense of pride that keep us prisoners in the wider society. Our cultural resistance model is lacking foundations: we all dream of financial success but shun away serious education and the hard work to exist as serious consumers.  Finding decent jobs (taf) to secure financial independence is the way out to integration and not State social aids.

Einstein speaks on his impressions of North America; (Nov. 26, 2009)

Einstein resigned his post at the University of Prussia in 1933 as Hitler was elected Chancellor; and he was appointed later professor at the University of Princeton.

You may compare what the USA was 70 years ago with its current state of affairs and social behaviors.  Asked on his impressions of North America in the 30’s Einstein wrote:

The first impression of a visitor is this great technological superiority and rationality in daily common objects:  They are more durable and resistant than those manufactured in Europe.

Houses are functional.  Everything is calculated to economize on human labor.  Thus, the workers do not come cheap, a fact that stimulates more technological development and fine tuning of methods of work.”

America is adopting a policy of the clam: it raises prohibitive tariffs on imported goods. (I guess this is no longer the case.

My second impression is that the citizen projects an attitude of positive happiness to life; he smiles, he is friendly, and he is conscious of his value.  The Europeans demonstrate critical minds and absence of generosity, and compassion. The European asks a lot from his entertainments and readings.

The US citizen is willing to sacrifice much in hardship and peace of mind in order to enjoy comfort and pleasure of life; he has a definite purpose and the present is not a state, but a future in the making.

He is not strictly psychologically egoistic.  He emphasizes the “we” in his discussions, but he is more conformist than Europeans.

Organized work, repartition of tasks, efficiency in industries, at universities, and in private charitable institutions come easily and quickly to him.

The third impression is that State influence is relatively weak; almost all the economy is privatized.  Discrepancies in social earnings are balanced out by social and community feeling of responsibilities toward the less well off.

The rich people are willing to re-distribute a large chunk of their wealth and offer their services to the communities simply because public opinion is strong and demands such tendencies.

Even important cultural functions are in private hands.

Lately, the prestige of the Federal government was eroded due to the prohibition laws on alcoholic beverage.  The rate of criminality increased.

It is never advisable to enact laws that you cannot enforce. Public opinion has thus suffered and the press, representing group interests, has replaced the once powerful public opinion.

The fourth impression is that money is very valued, but this impression is highly exaggerated: there is a growing tendency that a happy life should not be that dependent on large fortunes.

The fifth impression is that the US citizen is generally not receptive to classical music and plastic art.

The sixth impression is my admiration to the results of scientific institutions: it is this climate of tolerance, group spirit, and good cooperation among teams that count far more than money injected in the institutions.

The seventh impression is that the US is not interested in getting involved in international problems; the citizens ought to feel personal responsibilities to world predicaments and just get more active in international politics.

Einstein said that the last hundred of years witnessed a huge progress in material abundance, but the moral improvement retrograded.

It is like putting lethal and dangerous tools in the hands of kids; a child of 3 years old handling a sharp razor blade!

I have a few impressions myself on current USA social behavior:

First, the US citizen is working double shifts, if he finds a job, to sustain the decade of the 50’s standard of living and failing miserably;

Second, the US is no longer manufacturing anything of values, since consumerism demand the lowest prices from imported goods. Most manufacturing goods are sublet to cheaper labor forces in poorer nations such as Bangladesh, Viet Nam, South America… now that China work force is no longer that cheap

Currently, the State is getting far too involved in international exploitation of other weaker nations by military present forces. Still,  the simple citizen never overcame his reluctance to meddle in international affairs. 

Hassib’s welcome home party; (Nov. 26, 2009)

My cousin Hassib is visiting Lebanon after 30 years of absence. He left in 1979 to France for specialization in Pediatrics.

His British wife Sonia was then pregnant and they married secretly.

Hassib is currently working in Al Ain in the Arab Emirate, healing, teaching, and doing research. Joelle, Hassib’s married sister, is throwing a welcome home dinner party this Friday’s evening.

All the first generation cousins and cousines are invited. The second generations are too numerous; besides, on their own volition they would not join.

The invitees were:

From the Bouhatab (my mother Julie who wouldn’t miss a gathering, sister Raymonde, Victor Choukeir, brother Ghassan and his wife Diane, and I. Dad does no longer do dinners anymore: he goes to bed by 7:30 pm and dad was missed because he is very funny in gatherings)

From the Fahkoury (Edward, Joe and Marianne his wife and their elder kid Eddy; my aunt Therese could not join because of the many steep steps that are a serious handicap. Tony and Janine failed to come);

from the Tannous/Ghoussoub (Marie, George, Noel, Viviane, Bernard and his wife Nellie);

From the plain Ghoussoub or Gsub (Jihad and his wife Nada, Joseph or Zouzou, and sessine Moukarzel.  Jihad tried several times to contact Nassif in Vancouver, at home and on his cellular, but failed);

From the Narchi (Montaha, Joelle, Hassib, Jean or Jeannot, and Khaled their son).

Jihad had arrived from Dubai a couple of days ago. Khaled has signed up with another French company “Air Liquide” with a branch in Lebanon.

Jean is teaching 6 credit-hour at a new French university in Bikfaya (the courses are opened from 5 pm to 9 pm; this university is branching out in Tripoli, Baakleen, and in the west Bekaa town of Gaza in Lebanon).

Smoking was prohibited in the house. The smokers were Montaha, Nada, Jihad, Zouzou, and I.

We took relay in the enclosed front porch (it was cold and couldn’t use the gardin). Hassib used to smoke pipe but quit 20 years ago.

Montaha reminded her son-in-law Jean, when she visited him in France, that she was banished outside for taking a smoke and then it got cold; she asked Jean to hand her a Vison coat. At this request, Jean invited her to the kitchen and opened slightly a window and told her “As for the Vison, you just have to wait”.

There was plenty of food and in a dozen varieties such as “kebeh nayeh”, tabouli, hot fish “samkeh harra”, homus, chicken shaworma, mouton with rice, rocca salad, and mother brought in “kebbeh bil hileh of kara3”.

I might also mention the dozen varieties of desserts that we enjoyed an hour after the first break.

Jihad loves “kibbeh nayeh” and Zouzou was relentless on that matter because Jihad is not supposed to indulge in eating heavy food: I guess Jihad should have been on strict diet. Zouzou also was relentless when Jihad enjoyed the sweet “karabeej”

My brother Ghassan cracked a joke: Our ex-Seniora PM was out of Lebanon for a few days and his whereabouts unknown.  Then, the rumor said that Seniora was asked financial counsel from the Emir of Dubai. As Seniora returned to Lebanon, Dubai declared bankruptcy.

I had two small glasses of arak “mtalat” (grape wine or Ouzou distilled three times).  I felt tipsy and kept my silence for ten minutes.

Bernard is hot for the next municipal elections (if election is not postponed); he wants to be member of the next council.  I am never asked on these matters: my CV in community services is nil and void.

A lovely and memorable feud story among the kids in the 70’s was resurrected.

Two groups got upset for one thing or another and two buses were hired by each group for a trip on a Sunday. Hassib was leading the first gang including Katia, Joelle, my brother Ghassan, and twenty other friends and relatives.

Zouzou and Ghassan Ghoussoub were leading the second gang, including Nassif, and twenty others gathered in great difficulty and in no time.

As Zouzou recounts: “I was on the street and then, I saw a bus passing by and Joelle was mocking me with agitated signs from the window. I hurriedly hired Milad, a bus driver, and he was drunk and just arriving home but he relented and agreed to drive us.

The two gangs met at the same places during the trip but they would not speak with one another for two weeks.

Joelle and Diane mentioned that they have photos of that trip; I have no idea who took pictures at that period; most probably a photographer showing up at expected touristic locations.

Hassib recalls that he had to wait for me because I was not home in Koneitra and that I boarded the other bus on the return trip and didn’t pay my fair.

Five minutes after we finished these recollections then my brother Ghassan remembered the event. He said: “Nassif saw me and said “we smash heads” and Ghassan retorted “we pluck out beards (menn nattef li7a)” ( Nassif was growing a beard).

I was lucky that I did not carry a beard at that period; my beard will grow several times with all kinds of shapes and styles…

I recollect these events but I have this strong impression that I watched “Hassib bus” passing by while I was on the balcony of his mother Montaha’s in Beit Chabab. There are discrepancies on the date of this feud.

Zouzou is under the impression that it took place in 1974 but I am sure he is far off the date.

I believe that it might be in 1970.  A few people mentioned that it was the year of the play that we gave; then it should be in 1969; I was to be playing and then I dropped out because I realized that I had to prepare for the second session exam of my first failed attempt at the Matheleme general public exam.

I am confused and whoever has better memory he is invited to join in his comments.

Khaled was in charge of taking pictures; ask him to post pictures on facebook. We parted company by midnight. It was Ad7a Eid to Muslims.  Happy Adha Eid to all.

How mind acquired knowledge? (Nov. 25, 2009)

Berkeley, the British philosopher of the 19th century, insists that we cannot directly comprehend objects with just our senses: our senses are causally linked to phenomena that are affected by the objects. In this case, the “existence of objects” becomes problematic if we try to insert a third transmission factor between the subject and the object to account for our comprehension.

Hume, another British philosopher, claimed that causal relations, among other concepts considered essential, cannot be understood from matters that are offered to our senses.  According to Hume, the sensed brute matter is our only source of knowledge and thus, it modifies our understanding but it should never leads us to formulating laws: “empirical knowledge is never certain”.

Hume warned against indulging into metaphysical concept (as the true opposite to objectivity). This word “metaphysics” aroused this erroneous fear that got the subsequent contemporary philosophers rattled and wrote thousand of obscure pages just to sound objective.

This anxious fear of extending metaphysical notions prompted philosophers into describing objects as equivalent to their qualities or characteristics, thus, evaluating relations is equivalent to evaluating qualities.

Consequently, contemporary philosophers reached this understanding that sure and stable knowledge has to be founded on reasoning such as it is done in geometry and the principle of causality.

The paradox, said Einstein, is that we learned that most reasoning systems do not necessarily generate certainty in any field of science or that they are intimately necessary for our knowledge development.

The traditional reflection that we need a speculative concept-based system of thinking to mediate between object and subject has been disrupted by physical sciences.

By the by, the conviction that transformations of our senses lead to comprehending brute matters relied on a double proof:

First, the impossibility of acquiring knowledge by the sole speculative thinking and

Second, empirical research enhanced our knowledge base.

Bertrand Russell in his “Inquiry into meaning and truth” stated:

“We all start with the realism that objects are what they appear: grass is green, snow is cold, and stone is hard. Then physics teaches us that color, heat, or hardness are different in quality or characteristics of what we might have experienced.

The observer is in fact registering the impressions of the grass, snow, or stone. When science attempts to be objective it sinks, against its will, into subjectivity.

Thus, naïf realism leads to physics, physics then demonstrates that realism is false. Logically false, and thus false.”

To avoid their concepts of being labeled “metaphysical” the scientists have been formulating boundaries or axioms to their concepts.

For example, in order for a concept not to degenerate into metaphysics first, enough numbers of propositions must be linked to the sensed world. And second, the conceptual system must have essential functions of re-arranging, organizing, and synthesizing the sensed “reality”.

A system expresses a game of logical symbols ruled by logical arbitrary given propositions.

Einstein is not bothered at all by the term metaphysics: he does not mind accepting an object as an independent concept in spatial-temporal structures. As he views it, it is unavoidable bypassing metaphysical concepts and thus, there should be no need to be apprehensive of a concept being considered metaphysical.

Einstein thinks that concepts are logical creations of the mind, that it cannot be due to inductive reasoning from the sensed experiences.

For example, prime numbers are considered invention of the mind. That concepts are extracted from the sensed brute matters is a reasonable contention, but what is wrong is to exclude all concepts not considered to be related to the sensed world as metaphysical concepts.

What is so fishy about contemporary philosophy is that they avoid dwelling on the processes of hundreds of thousands of years that was necessary for human brain to acquire the necessary associations and images of objects and expressions, of metaphors, and abstract analogies.

It is my contention that reasoning methods of induction, deduction, and logical systems of rules are but organizations and descriptions of mental processes of the brain and memories for retrieving and recalling stored information.

I believe that the neo-cortex has been undergoing specialized connected areas for expert specialized and restricted disciplines for work or labor divisions.

General knowledge is going down the drain and I believe restricting knowledge to specialization will result in man destruction and moral oblivion.

Fight reserved only for Women? (Nov. 24, 2009)

I got into thinking: what if women were selected to wage “patriotic” wars against enemies, in front line formations?  Will recruitment for required military service be instituted? Will age, marital status, number of children, and stature be factors? Will wars become less brutal? Will war duration and rate of frequency be reduced?

Will the enemy consider menstruation periods as time off fighting, like  in harvest season?  Will laws of engagement be changed and better respected? Will weapons be miniaturized to suit elegance of women?  Will weight of weapons be reduced and necessary weight of carrying backpacks be lightened?

Will men still hired to be the training sergeants? Will women consider the military as a viable career for over twenty years of service? Will turnover be higher?

I got into thinking: What if a State decided to confront an army of male soldiers with only female soldiers?  Will close range fighting be the norm? Will wounded still be achieved? Will war be waged to just capture prisoners? Will the frequency of raising white flags increases? Will men soldiers be used in support system, such as treating the wounded, nursing the frightened women soldiers, cleaning camps…? Will men behavior change with time and how? Will diplomatic peace negotiations become the norm?

I am just thinking: Do you have any historical records of different gender armies facing one another? Shall this wretched mankind ever learn to refrain from fighting useless and brutal wars? What are your opinions?

568.  theoretical physicsspeaks on theoretical physics; (Nov. 18, 2009)


569.  I am mostly the other I; (Nov. 19, 2009)


570.  Einstein speaks on General Relativity; (Nov. 20, 2009)


571.  Einstein speaks of his mind processes on the origin of General Relativity; (Nov. 21, 2009)


572.  Everyone has his rhetoric style; (Nov. 22, 2009)

The European Union (EU): Modern Europe leading human rights; (Nov. 10, 2009)

The previous post “European Union (EU) describes Modern Europe” covered a few statistics and a short description of the EU administrative and legislative institutions. This follow up post will cover what is working, analyzing what need to be ironed out, and how the world community is expecting modern Europe to lead.

The 27 European States forming the EU counts 6 States among the twenty leading economic powers in the world.

By deceasing rank we have USA, China, Japan, India, Germany, Russia, Britain, France, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Australia, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. Actually, those six European economies constitute about 90% of the EU in economy and in populations.

As a block, the economy of the EU surpass the USA with a twist: the three largest industrial multinationals in every sector are US.

For example, in aeronautics we have United Technology, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin; in medical materials we have Medtronic, United Health, and Alcon; in Medias we have Walt Disney, News Corporation, and Comcast; in pharmaceutical/biotechnology we have Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer; in informatics we have Microsoft, IBM, and Google.

Besides, the US is the first military power in technology, Navy, Bombers, and aircraft carriers.

The EU is totally dependent on oil and gas energies imported from Russia and elsewhere.  France has adopted a policy of being sufficient in electricity via nuclear energy (60% of the total of France production of energy).  Denmark is 25% sufficient in Aeolian technology and Germany about 15%.

The EU is facing problems.

First, the “community vision” is eroding: the decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union sent the wrong message of jumping in the band wagon of US globalization; thus, the well to do citizens wanted to get rich fast by emulating liberal capitalism.

Individualism overshadowed the need to resume a common culture of developing institutions that are trained to work toward the common interest and be reformed to keeping the EU spirit intact in human rights and human dignity.

Second, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 took Europe by surprise.  The euphoric undertaking of uniting East Germany quickly exhausted West Germany with the multitude of social, economic and political problems of this unification: It captured most of Germany’s resources and time and prevented it to ponder on the EU necessities.  The opportunity to deepen European consciousness for reformed institutions to expanding eastward was missed.

Third, the EU was discussing the two possibilities: either the strengthening the current union for the longer term expansion or hastily absorbing the many eastern European newly independent States.  The political decision wasfor the second option to go ahead and allowing these tiny states to adhere to the union.

I think that this was the appropriate decision because new States had to root their future into a tangible alliance or fall back into past habit, inclinations, and culture; thus, forming close alliances with Russia. The EU was the appropriate framework for ethnic communication and more democratic realization of social aspirations.

The problem is that these tiny States feel that they should aspire to the same standard of living in no times.  The latest financial crash has left all these States in bankrupt conditions and it is up to the rich EU States to salvage this predicament.  Maybe this fact should remind the EU that not all States should enjoy the same rights until they can show the same capability to shouldering responsibilities.

The actual challenges are many.

First, there is a political space to reconstruct:  The budget of the EU institutions is merely 1% of the gross GNP while States allocate over 30% to re-distribute to collectivities, social protection, and welfare.

The richer States are not that inclined to contribute heavily to the social stability of the poorer EU State members.

Second, the EU has unified its currency (it overcame the States’ monopolies to issuing paper money) but is lacking a unified economic government.

For example, the EU lacks common public spaces, no political party or organization has been created or formed to focus on specific EU interests, and the EU Parliament has no power to raise taxes to finance common policies.  So far, the government chiefs are wary of relinquishing their interstates legitimacy and power.

As a block, the EU is still unable to challenge the US on crimes against humanity committed by the US and Israel;  it is fully cooperating with the US on taking Israel off the hook in the UN for daily crimes against human dignity, rights, and apartheid policies in the West bank and Gaza.

There are a few States in the EU that are showing trends to opposing Israel’s apartheid practices and boycotting its products grown and manufactured in the occupied West Bank; it is the people in these States who have set the stage for human rights and dignity reversal toward the Palestinian endemic plight since 1948.

The world community is on its toes: will the EU refresh its initial objective of “community vision” or will it relapse in petty interstates interest of monopolies and idiosyncrasies?

We need the EU to be the caldron of community communication among ethnicities, languages, and cultures.

We need the EU to be the social and political testing ground for viable alternatives in vision, institutions, ecological human survival, human rights and dignity.

We need the EU to invent new reasons to living together and reducing man inequality.

The European Union is the most striking political and social achievement in the 20th century.

First, The backbones of most of the UN peace keeping forces around the world are European contingents;

Second, the EU is the highest contributor in humanitarian budgets and for reforming obsolete public institutions in the under-developed States.

The EU needs a refresher community vision and the world community should raise its voices and aid Europe in its endeavors.

561.  The world’s food basket: Africa is heaven for agro-business investments; part 2. (Nov. 12, 2009)

562.  I have problem with Newton’s causal factor; (Nov. 13, 2009)

563.  Food baskets for year 2050; (Nov. 14, 2009)

564.  “Peace treaty”: Paris, 1919; (Nov. 14, 2009)

565.  Einstein speaks on theoretical sciences; (Nov. 15, 2009)

566.  Sex for a Sufi (Nov. 16, 2009)

567.  Nature is worth a set of equations; (Nov. 17, 2009)

568.  Einstein speaks on theoretical physics; (Nov. 18, 2009)

569.  I am mostly the other I; (Nov. 19, 2009)

Everyone has his rhetoric style; (Nov. 22, 2009)


Let us consider the mechanism of rhetoric in delivering speeches. You have the square of fundamental values such as shared values, analyzed reality, wished utopia, and fiction of reality; these values intervene in most speeches and are focused on intermittently.  The top left corner represents the “subjective” shared values (SV) by a community and expressed by empathic “every one of us; or we, the working people; or we the citizens of this great nation.”

The bottom left corner represents the analyzed reality (AR) or the attempt to giving objective statements for facts and statistical results of data from surveys and other community research experiments. For example, replying to his question (Why are we in so much pain to preparing for our future?” Sarkozy answers “Because we have to account for the principles of a politics that encircled us in contradictions that are no longer sustainable”. Another example is generated from the extreme right opponent Jean-Marie Le Pen “This system, beast with two faces, with strange and worrisome names, the Gang of Four”.

The top right corner represents the wished utopia (WU) for transforming a community such as what the community should strive and act for; for example “another world; passion for equitability; simple and honest; the real name of the Republic of France is togetherness; or America strong.”

Then, the fourth corner on bottom right represents the imagined fiction of reality (FR) which usually brings forth historical figures or extracts texts from classical literature of the nation; for example “French, prompt at detesting your history, hear the voice of Jaures.  It is the nation that synthesized patriotism and universality”.


When we speak we start by focusing on a value that is dear to us or we think is dear to the audience and the speech converges in the directions of any one of the other three corners. For example, the socialist candidate to France Presidency, Segolene Royal, usually starts her speeches in (SV) by maintaining the illusion of intimate communication with her voters “You have told me, I am hearing you”, or “I want it because you want it”. Royal then shift to the (WU) “I believe in the expert capacity of the citizens.  I am convinced that each one of us is better placed than anyone else to know and express his problems and his hopes” and “I want a democratic revolution founded on the collective intelligence of the citizens. Politics has to change.” After establishing the (WU), Royal tries to focus on the (AR) “I wanted that the citizens speak again so that I may carry their voices. This is the best way to talking right and mostly to acting right”

Another example is President Nicolas Sarkozy’s rhetoric style. Again Sarkozy starts from (SV) “We do not become President by hazard.  It is a choice for a life and a long struggle. For me, France is not a hazard, it is a will. It is the will of various people to living together and sharing common values.”  Then Sarkozy reverts to (AR) “Why the French have no longer the urge to live together? My answer is: because there are a few citizens who believe that nothing is possible for them. I feel the force, energy, and wish to propose another vision of France. I refuse to find answers in ideology”.


Suppose now that you are debating or in negotiation then consider the “semiotic square” that was conceived by Algirdas Jullen Greimas.  For example, in the framework of the law we conduct our behavior according to two sets of opposing poles such as (Required or Prohibited) and (Allowed or Optional). The negotiations are thus conducted between contradictory poles of either (Required or Optional) and (Allowed or Prohibited). The “semiotic square” is used extensively in analyzing political discussions in order to comprehend how meanings in discourse are constructed. There is another method that might supplement the “semiotic square” with valuable intelligence such as generating statistics on most used key words (lexicometry).

The “semiotic square” is almost identical to the square of fundamental values.  For example, we have the two opposite sets of values (Subjective Shared Values or Utopia) and (Analyzed Reality or Imagined Fiction).  In general, the directions of the speech access the contradictory poles (Shared Values and Imagined Reality) or (Utopia and Analyzed Reality) but there are occasional movements from Shared value to Analyzed reality.  It seems that movements from Utopia toward Imagined Reality or vice versa are rarely used mainly because the speaker will feel totally disconnected with his audience who is mostly down to earth: he wants answers based on some subjective or objective sense of reality.


Note: The topic was generated from the French monthly “Sciences Humaines”.  The last paragraph is my synthesis of rhetoric mechanism.

Einstein speaks on General Relativity; (Nov. 20, 2009)

I have already posted two articles in the series “Einstein speaks on…” This article describes Einstein’s theory of restricted relativity and then his concept for General Relativity. It is a theory meant to extend physics of fields (for example electrical and magnetic fields among others) to all natural phenomena, including gravity. Einstein declares that there was nothing speculative in his theory but it was adapted to observed facts.

The fundamentals are that the speed of light is constant in the void and that all systems of inertia are equally valid (each system of inertia has its own metric time). The experience of Michelson has demonstrated these fundamentals. The theory of restrained relativity adopts the continuum of space coordinates and time as absolute since they are measured by clocks and rigid bodies with a twist: the coordinates become relative because they depend on the movement of the selected system of inertia.

The theory of General Relativity is based on the verified numerical correspondence of inertia mass and weight. This discovery is obtained when coordinates posses relative accelerations with one another; thus each system of inertia has its own field of gravitation. Consequently, the movement of solid bodies does not correspond to the Euclid geometry as well as the movement of clocks. The coordinates of space-time are no longer independent. This new kind of metrics existed mathematically thanks to the works of Gauss and Riemann.

Ernst Mach realized that classical mechanics movement is described without reference to the causes; thus, there are no movements but those in relation to other movements.  In this case, acceleration in classical mechanics can no longer be conceived with relative movement; Newton had to imagine a physical space where acceleration would exist and he logically announced an absolute space that did not satisfy Newton but that worked for two centuries. Mach tried to modify the equations so that they could be used in reference to a space represented by the other bodies under study.  Mach’s attempts failed in regard of the scientific knowledge of his time.

We know that space is influenced by the surrounding bodies and so far, I cannot think the general Relativity may surmount satisfactorily this difficulty except by considering space as a closed universe, assuming that the average density of matters in the universe has a finite value, however small it might be.




November 2009

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