Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 10th, 2011

Reply to the epic story of “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk”

You may refer to the link “Gilgamesh, King of Uruk” in note 1.

My comments on the replies are inserted between parenthesis.

There is this comment: “Lovely article, so many myths we subscribe to, all in an effort to provide humankind with some sort of moral guidance”

Other comments go as follow:

One: This sounds like an interesting book but you should really make it clearer that this is a novel, loosely based on the Epic of Gilgamesh, not the ancient story itself. You seem to be basing your historical analysis on the inventions of Mielke, rather than on the original text. (True, it is a story.  Do you know many who would read an epic story if not written in a novel form, describing emotions and feelings?  Homer and the later epic storytellers realized what it takes to get famous and well read.  Many religions are based on epic stories, and the religious celebrations are elaborated theaters, chanting, and dancing. )

Two:  The earliest versions of the epic date to around 4000 years ago – not 7000.  (4000 years before BC or 6000 years
since then? Still, the oldest so far, and by many millennial).

Three: The story about the bird, infant, and gardener is a later myth. There is nothing in the original story about the incident with the soldiers, the conversation with the temple girl, although in the epic there is a temple prostitute, the origin of the Sumerians who are widely credited by historians as being the most advanced ancient civilization, good people going to The Island of the Eternals after death: In Gilgamesh humans cannot escape death and all go to the underworld, or Gilgamesh seeking meditative detachment.

Four: There is no description of building activity in the epic, no mention of mercenaries, and Gilgamesh does not kill his friend Enkidu or “Ankido”.

Fifth:  There are definitely echoes of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Homer, and some stories in the book of Genesis, such as the flood myth and the story of Adam and Eve, seem to be based around earlier versions found in the epic of Gilgamesh.

Six: Dating the Tanakh (or the “Old Testament”) to 200 BCE is unjustified. It is likely to have achieved something very close to its final form during the period of the Babylonian exile or the subsequent Persian period (600 to 300 BCE). Older literary strata within the Tanakh may date back to around the tenth century BCE.  (These comments are part of the religious myths.  Hebrew was a verbal language, a slang of Aramaic, as the various “Arab” verbal languages, particular to large tribes.  Hebrew was transformed into a written language as Jews settled in Egypt, three centuries BC).

Seven:  I would also disagree that all of these stories and myths share the same perspective. For example, the tale of the civilization of primitive Enkidu by Shamhat in the epic of Gilgamesh is turned into a story about sin and loss in Genesis. This makes sense if we remember that Israel was conquered and taken into captivity by the civilization described in the epic. The historical situation of exile may also explain why the flood is sent in Genesis to punish wickedness and “violence”, whereas in the older Mesopotamian myth it is because the noise of their human slaves disturbs the peace of the gods. I would submit that a situation of oppression and forced exile had a major influence on the final shape and message of the Tanakh.  Such a situation and perhaps even the messages of hope and condemnation that arose from it are not irrelevant to the situation of the region today. (Lovely you made the connections of the reasons for differences in Epic stories:  There are particular interests in writing epic stories, and not necessarily regurgitating standard community behaviors of all times)

At the start of the Arabic/Islamic Empire, as the Capital was relocated to Damascus (Syria), the “Arabs” or more accurately the inhabitants of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine (the current Levant or Near-East States) translated the Greek manuscripts before venturing on writing and disseminating their own culture and civilization.  If it were not for Syria, and the “Arabs”, the Greek culture would have vanished into oblivion.

I am wondering, why the western civilization insist on considering the Greek culture or civilization as the original source for their civilization?  The Greek plagiarized the antecedent cultures and civilizations (Aramaic and Persian), and refused to even translate the manuscripts of former militarily dominated civilizations.  The Greek Empire lasted for over seven centuries, and this Empire failed to translate anything!


Are you a hacker? A “Do-It-Yourself”? You are rightly politically motivated

Who really hold the power in our new world?  The tool or the master?  The creator of the numerical tool or the “sophisticated” tool as it goes into production?  Does the designer or team of designers of the numerical complex tools possess the means of production in order to be held liable for dangerous consequences in health and safety?

Why do you think hackers and talented “Do-It-Yourself” people are heroes to the youth generation?  Why most talented people would like to try their hands on hacking stupid systems and break down systems and machines in order to rebuilding them according to their desires?

The new generation realized that their behavior and opinions are being controlled, channeled, and diverted in other directions that do not match their wants and desires.  In this world of numerical systems, programs are running your daily behavior.  You have program designed by amoral designers, and funded by big money, big government, big financial institutions, and multinational companies…to alter healthy tendencies for greater alternatives in choices, freedom of expressions, of redesigning what cannot deliver according to their own standards and wishes…

We want to rebel against these insensitive machines, but don’t have the appropriate “open sources”, and the requisite skills and transparencies for the real purposes of the ultimate designers, of machine programing our life and how we perceive the universe. We want to rebel against these enclosed areas in airports, train stations, government facilities…where you are trapped for the duration, once you are admitted in the designated areas…

An occasional user of subways might be mauled by powerful automatically closing door, or the toddler refusing to hurry up…  Is it the mistake of the machine?  Who designed and programmed the door to close at such strength and for the timing?  Does the conductor has the means to control the doors…? Who wants to make more profit by shortening the duration of the door “open-close”?

John Maeda claimed that no one can claim to be “grand master of Photoshop”, unless he knows how to tamper with the program and redesign it according to his desires and wants. You are as good a master as you advanced in knowing the capabilities and limitations of the Photoshop program

How could we let go of steam, if the interlocutor is but a programmed robot, even a human programmed to memorize particular questions and answers, adapted to many business cases and job requirements?

You have employees, someplace around the world, trained to handle specific queries, but have no idea about your idiosyncrasies, your life-style, your culture, you country, your particular problem…and they tell you: “We are doing our best to resolve your problem…”.  But this “remote employee” has no supervisor who knows any better of your problem to consult… The entire scheme is not to resolving your problems, but to preempt the problem from reaching the “authorized” responsible…

For example, you have the case of official standard picture to be affixed on all kinds of IDs:  No smiling, mouth closed, eyes riveted to the camera…The saddest and most fidgeted picture you can get:  The standard picture is meant for the biometric program to recognize you (not any human) and to efficiently detecting “who you are”

Do we need a Paradigm Shift for Political and Human Development? (see link in note 1)

So far, the development of mankind was focused on using Man in order to create machines, and lately, thinking machines, and then self-autonomous machines.  I have the feeling that, for about a decade ago, we have reached the crest of the curve that permits machines to better our lives.  Life has stopped to improve based on the previous paradigm; even our generation is a stranger to the fast paced automated machine world, of a mostly virtual world.

We need a political paradigm shift that re-uses the invented machines to creating responsible mankind; a Man who is in total control of machines and thinking machines.  It is not humanly acceptable to allowing fast trains to be navigated automatically without human operators; though they were successfully implemented.  Airplanes could also be navigated autonomously; and I am pretty sure, for a drastic price cut, customers would valiantly board them.

All these automation are designed to save expenses for training responsible operators, like paying them adequate wages, under the false guise of reducing errors and accidents. We know that most of these inventions were financed by the military for acquiring supreme power and not for the betterment of mankind. We are no longer better off, and the environment is screaming, howling, battering our seashores, burning continents and burying whole cities.

The goal of this paradigm shift in politics is to reintegrate Man in the work cycle, create jobs for responsible people to control, monitor and design machines for the purpose of reinserting man in the life cycle, in the design cycle and in the development cycle. The old concept of effective rate on return, of increase in production with minimal financial cost, is decimating the availability of jobs opportunities and creating two distinct worlds:  a virtual so-called developed Northern Hemisphere and the real Southern Hemisphere, which is still struggling to be in touch with itself, its neighbors, nature and its surroundings.

This paradigm shift in political organization is a natural extension to the fact of the existence of two distinct Worlds:  One world is trying to recreate the wheel in social and political organization, supported by complex democratic systems, which are quickly reverting to the old oligarchic system on the whim of National Security pre-requisites; the other world is trying helplessly to ward off imported political systems that it cannot comprehend or is unable to implement.

This political paradigm shift is to revert the consequence of a world controlled by the very few and the rest relegated as walking zombies, disgruntled by their monotonous and under-valued jobs, jobs that can be snatched away anytime, relocated anyplace, for cheaper work force.  The rest of us lost any respect for “a job well done”:  Deep inside us, we are certain that these jobs can easily be replaced by machines no matter how educated we are.  The rest of us feel too stupid, dumb, and worthless throughout a lifetime, and yet are asked to be responsible citizens abiding by inhuman laws dictating untenable order.  The rest of us who have no self-respect to raise a responsible new generation, just scratching a living, and losing touch with life essence of dignity and compassion.

We are in a world controlled by a very few, not on their intrinsic merit, but on their cowardice and willingness to selling their soul for the benefit of the capitalists or the power to be.  It is no longer the struggle between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but the battle of regaining dignity in the human spirit:  A wretched mankind is the source of all discrimination festering at a lighting speed in all communities; a wretched mankind devoid of control over their destiny.

There can be no bright future for man if control over his life is removed as a viable alternative.  Developing a responsible and compassionate man means providing jobs that are respected, valued, remunerated commensurate to his investment in energy and time for acquiring knowledge and expertise, and quality time reserved to him as his due.  Mankind has to stop being viewed as a commodity as anything else in the exploitation process.

There was a time when mankind could claim: “It is always too early to rely completely on our Creator”; now even adolescents believe in fate.  That is the ravage of desperation in human spirit and lack of correct direction.

Note 1:

Note 2:  The first part of this article was inspired by a piece written by Jean-Noel Lafargue “Hostile Machines” in the French monthly “Le Monde Diplomatique” #688

Note 3: The Northern Hemisphere has created self-administered bureaucratic institutions,  political organizations for constituents who don’t comprehend the mechanism and processes, who do not care to understand, and barely participate in elections.  The European Union has written a voluminous Constitution that nobody cared to read and even if they cared could not finish reading it on time for the referendum dates; no wonder that it failed in fracas.

All the media coverage of the European Constitution, translation in different languages and the frantic support by the Presidents could not transfer its contents to the constituents who are already wary of these brusque movements that are not taking account of the human limitations and emotional saturation for the quick political pace being forced upon them.

The Southern Hemisphere had political organizations that constituents understood, could control, monitor and did fully participate in electing their local and national leaders but have been pressured relentlessly to comply with political systems that they are not ready to assimilate.




July 2011

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