Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 2nd, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

In 2010, there were 556 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1915 posts.

The busiest day of the year was June 3rd with 251 views. The most popular post that day was Was it pre-medidated: The “peace boat” slaughter?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, search.conduit.com, facebook.com, alphainventions.com, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for arab sex, arabsex, arap sex, democracy, islam, and the tradition of ibn rushd, and nude dancers.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Was it pre-medidated: The “peace boat” slaughter? June 2010
2 comments

2

Arab Sex Art June 2009
4 comments

3

Who planned the 9/11/2001 attack on Twin Towers?? May 2010
7 comments

4

Biography: Al-Walid Bin Talal October 2008
1 comment

5

Season of Migration to the North September 2008
1 comment

More highest hit posts

Women in Foreplay More stats 918
Love: Women in Islam (Part 9) More stats 612
“The social structure of Lebanon: democracy or servitude?” More stats 523
About More stats 470
“I heard the owl call my name” More stats 439
The under-developed countries are plagued with common diseases: any Resolutions? More stats 429
Virgin Mary: from the town of Qana in Lebanon? More stats 385
Persia during the Arab Caliphate Empire (651 to 1500 AC) (Part 5) More stats 369
“Manifest Destiny” of America: Any serious consequences? More stats 364

Note 1.  My average hits per day doubled last semester to 100.  A large varieties of posts in all categories are being read instead of clustering around half a dozen articles.  My blog is of 35 categories and I post 8 articles per week.

Note 2: I read today (Nov. 26, 2013) this stats helper and I realized that the number of posts doubled to 3,900 and the average daily hit is over 400; or 4 times that of 3 years ago.

Private multinational aids for development?  To whom charity profit?

Five centuries later, and you realize that nothing changed fundamentally in the relationship between the stronger and weaker nations.  Do you recall the documented horror stories of colonial behaviors?

The religious institutions, Christians or others, sent their scouts of clerics to countries, programmed to be captured and colonized.  The clerics played the role of the benevolent poor people and taught a few indigenes their language and their religion in order to hire potential translators and friends to the invading military armies.

Nothing changed since then.

Currently, benevolent organizations belonging to religious institutions, precede private multinational companies to countries for plundering raw materials.   The clerics prepare the ground and the private multinational, supported by their governments, bribe and pressure politicians for securing ridiculous contract terms in poor developing States.

The private multinationals pollute the environment and the benevolent religious organization build makeshift hospitals and primary schools around local communities affected by the pollution in order to “face-save” the criminal activities of their motherland citizens.  Hospitals that are useless to curing irreversible diseases.

For example, the mining multinational Vedante extracts bauxite (aluminum) in open fields, causing irreversible damages to local ecosystems in central India.  The benevolent religious NGO’s, funded by the multinational company, step in to showing the good side of evil activities.

Another example, Coca-Cola depleted the phreatic nap of potable water in India and then launch a campaign for supplying potable water to primary schools in Kenya!

Public aides from superpower States are no better.

After paying off the personnel and management of their citizens hired to the “development project” and the amounts earmarked to cancelling non recoverable sovereign debts, the effective direct aid to the poor country is almost negligible.

The G8 promised in 2002 to earmark 0.7% of their GNP to developing States; this ratio dropped to 0.2% in effective terms.

Nothing changed in 5 centuries.

How do you expect private multinational enterprises, which are not liable to local communities, to behave in generating quick profits?

All they do is flaunting sustainable standards and requirement for local development.

William Choukeir published notes on “solving communication conflict” on http://notesby.me and it inspired this post in reply.

I will reply on two issues:  the “Ramallah’s discussion” and “discussion with his brother on relativism”.  The first part was related to a “TEDxRamallah community” talks on solving the middle-eastern conflict.

William wrote: ( “We are sitting in a chaotic circle, we watch a TEDtalk courtesy of TEDxSKE, and a discussion starts. I’m confused; it sounds like it revolves around solving the middle-eastern conflict. I sit back. I don’t interfere. I’m aware of the energies in the room. I’m aware of the emotions. I’m aware of the uncontrolled reactions. I say nothing. I observe with a birds-eye’s view; completely disconnected from the conversation, yet completely immersed in the chemistry of the group. A few try to put the discussion back on track, with little success. there are too much emotions involved.  Suddenly, a realization starts to seep into my awareness.  It’s only when the gathering ends, that this realization is complete: all arguments start before anyone begins talking.

This is what was happening: most of us believe that there can only be one truth around a specific topic.  Thus, whenever anyone in the circle starts talking, the rest expect to hear a truth. Then, they took this truth and compared it with the truth stored in their archive.  If the expected pronouncement was a match, green light, they nodded; if it was a mis-match, red light, emotions rose, and they reacted uncontrollably: the truth they expected to hear turned out to be a lie, or even a personal insult.

This cycle of arguments was happening so often that there was no communication taking place.  There they were, a group of people, all passionate about solving the middle-eastern conflict, yet unable to perform the most basic requirement in solving any type of conflict: they couldn’t communicate.  Why? very simply, because every time anyone talked, they expected to hear a ‘truth’. What’s the cure?

People don’t share truths: people share experiences, feelings, emotions, perceptions, thoughts, etc. and we can all agree that two people can have different experiences around the same topic (even if there can only be one truth). This is what you can do: when someone talks to you, never expect to hear a truth, expect to hear an experience. In his way, what you hear will never clash with your archive of information, because you genuinely believe that both experiences can co-exist. your mind would still be receptive and open, your emotions would still be contained, and communication would still be possible.

This discussion would surely not solve the middle-eastern conflict;  it can definitely help in solving the communication conflict, middle-eastern or not.”)  End of quote.

I realized that William failed to note what specific topics were discussed in the conversation of a highly important conflict in the Middle East. He failed to note what he got from this conversation and understood from the topics.  What he focused on was a diagnostic on the dynamics of the discussion and how he formed a system for resolving conversations that are fraught with “arguments”. A golden opportunity was offered to William for asking pertinent questions in order to understand the subject matter that concerns us all; and he failed in that endeavor since he didn’t provide any clues to what generated all that heated discussion.

Fact is, William does not live in China:  he is from Lebanon and lives in Lebanon; a small country that was invaded six times by Israel for various excuses related to the Palestinian/Zionist conflict and inflicted on our citizens thousands of death, injuries, handicapped, humiliation, destruction of infrastructure, destabilization of our society, mass  evacuations, and programmed a civil war that lasted 13 years. Fact is, this conflict in the Middle East has already spanned over a century with its trails of suffering, pains, hate, and destruction:  It is not a temporary conflict but a matter of survival.  This is not a conflict for “just being curious”, playing the neutral role, sitting tightly and watching from a “bird’s-eye” the heated and emotional “arguments” flying every which way in the room.  Playing the role of a wise man staying above the fray from this incoherent, and dishevelled talkers does not cut it. Playing lax in comprehending a conflict of survival will ultimately affect the “comfort-zone” of people not taking seriously national problems.

This is not a case of “solving a communication conflict with a private party or a business negotiation”, unless William means to considering communication problems among Lebanese and people in general for unimportant matters or spiritual issues or subjective concerns.  Fact is, heated arguments have been labelled as signs of negative connotation communications by uninterested communities in our long dragging troubles.  As if you must refrain from any clear-cut positions so that you please the neutral minded and the apathetic culture of the assistants.  This new forced consensus of appeasing vehement argumentation (meant for business negotiations) has been disseminated by vested interest organizations in “training the trainers” in the last two decades (of quiet communication environments) in order to “softly” propagating their ideologies and policies.

Asking pertinent questions that demonstrate our sincere ignorance on a subject matter is far more rewarding and honorable than avoiding arguments and working around semantics.  Note that you should not admit your ignorance if not prompted:  Otherwise, you will be ignored. Displaying your ignorance out of the questioning context backfire:  I experienced this situation several times and failed miserably every time.

William’s notes are fine for diagnosing a conversation where many people care less or are ignorant of the subject matter and need more information to joining in the discussion.  Fact is, avoiding arguments does not necessarily make us more knowledgeable, even if the conversation is managed properly.

In part two, William stated:

(“Someone said:”[…] What you have said above [in the pre-requisite note], is quite difficult to do when you’re faced with people who would NOT reciprocate it back. As in…I could see their view as what they FEEL to be true, but they would always believe their truth to be the ONE and ONLY truth. Makes it hard for me to be understanding. […] but I guess that’s pretty selfish of me isn’t it? I should be the understanding party to BE understanding….it shouldn’t be a bargain ‘I’ll be understanding if you are too’ […]“   So what do you do if you understand that people share experiences, not truths, but the other people don’t? they start the argument, they attack, and they refuse to listen? they shut you out.

For example, my brother and I were discussing relativism and that’s such a relative topic by itself, that disagreement is inevitable, except if you approach it this way.  My brother said “relativism is this…”

I replied “I think you’re right, because I believe that different people understand realism differently depending on what they know about the subject, which definition they read, from which education and cultural background they come from, etc. what I read and know about relativism gave me my own understanding of it. I feel relativism could be a label, understood differently by different people. I would usually try not to use labels, as they could lead to misunderstandings.  Instead, I prefer to explain the way i see things; to explain my own experience of things; just to prevent these labels from creating misinterpretations.  I believe that sometimes, a big percentage of the population can explain a label in the same way. and for that group, they would have reached a common understanding; and i feel each should explain his understanding of the label, so that they can all agree that they understand it similarly, and also share it with those who have experienced it differently.  The way I understand relativism, which I’m sure is different from the way other people understand it, is this…” (I doubt that William has read any philosophical or articles pertaining to relativism in order to sustain an argument in that topic.  It does not matter: the point is how to turn a discussion around with pertinent questions in order to comprehending the other’s view and acquire an understanding of the topic for a friendly communication.)

Note that my brother started with ‘relativism IS…’ which was my cue.  It means (for me) that he believes he’s sharing a truth, not his understanding of the label, and that he’s also expecting to hear a truth in return. I could have very simply said: “no! that’s not relativism…” or “yes, but that’s not what it is…”

This kind of reply would have instantly created a clash in the mind of my brother:  he expects to hear a truth.  By taking the approach of the ‘yes-but’ or ‘no’ options, I would have also supported his unhealthy expectations, and made him believe that he is wrong, that I am right, and that I’m going to lie to him by telling him something that isn’t THE truth. This instantly stops him from listening; this causes his brain to think of ways to fight back and attack, regardless of what I’m going to say next. even if I say ‘yes, but…’ and I just repeat exactly what his definition, he will answer back with ‘you’re wrong…’ and add something meaningless to his own definition.”

So let me dissect my first reply to my brother, and explain why I believe it works:  it has proven to really work in 100% of the times I engaged in such situations so far. I also have to mention that in most cases, only steps 1 through 5 are required. I’ve included 6 through 9 to cover some extreme cases of truth expect-ors, or when you have no idea how the other person will react. Use them as you see fit; and never change the order.  That’s how I’ve experienced the mind to work, and this is the order that the mind generally responds to.  Here’s the dissection:”)  and then, William delivered 9 step by step propositions for avoiding “argumentative discussions”.

In the discussion with his brother William failed to learn “What is relativism” and focused on applying his “argument avoidance” techniques that he developed a couple of days ago.  A quick background is necessary.  The brother was reading the book published by World Youth Alliance WYA (Track a Training) for applicants to their training semester in New York.  This document included articles on Relativism written by William Gairdner who lambasted cultures and philosophical views that promoted a relative view of nature and mankind’s morality and ethical conducts; in a sense the WYA wanted to disseminate a particular ideology camouflaged under  training sessions for training trainers for their ideology. Applicants were to write articles based on the suggested pieces in the handbook and sending them to the center by email.  It happened that I read this essay on relativism a week ago, and I was a witness to the last 10 minutes of the discussion in the kitchen.  The irony is that the brother had sent one of his articles that was counter to the ideological expectation of the WYA and was denied acceptance to the program after initially being encouraged to participate.

First, I doubt that William had read essays on relativism (not relativity of Einstein that Gairdner does not like either) and it was an opportunity to asking pertinent questions to his brother on what he understands as relativism before engaging in a useless “argument avoidance techniques” that left all parties in the discussion no better off in knowledge as they started.  I guess William was in a hurry and didn’t feel like prolonging the discussion for learning things he was not interested in.  I have this impression that the brother did not later demonstrate any inkling on resuming his study on relativism; and might avoid discussing other philosophical topics with William.

Second, William drew the conclusion (after his discussion with his brother) that his “argument avoidance discussion” technique works 100% of the times, based on this single case, a case that I don’t think was a success in the first place.  I have this impression that William will find it difficult to review and fine-tune his technique based on his overconfidence in extrapolating prematurely.

Note:  William replied with an extensive and detailed post.  It appears that he listened patiently to the “lucubrations” of his brother and asked a few questions on relativism, a topic he is not interested in.  As for the 9 steps for avoiding arguments in conversation, William spent two years formulating them, although the last paragraph in the “Ramallah discussion” implies that it all got clear to him after the session and not that he was engaged in the formulation for a couple of year.  My apology again.  My critics of his disengagement on the Near East conflict still stand and with more insistence and vehemence as he declared that he is not interested in understanding this conflict!  If William does not mind publishing his reply I will gladly do it with further notes: His reply is constructive.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2011
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