Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 13th, 2012

How to retrieve the little happy moments?
Leaf through the layers of sad moments and uncover the grains of happiness…?
Take time to enjoy the little things. For one day you will look back and realize they were the BIG things

What could these happy moments be?

Can we say that this feeling of a job well done is a happy moment?

Can we say the instant of being recognized by a single person for what we are worth is a happy moment?

Can we say that a woman we like, who made the effort not to connect with other men at a date, is a happy moment?

Can we say that after a day, charged with plenty of problems and difficulties, is a happy moment once the day is over without much damage?

Can we say that feeling attached to a character in a novel is one of these happy moments?

Can we say that feeling completely focused on a task is a happy moment?

Or hearing your child babble the first recognizable words?

Or witnessing your child take his first steps?

Or your child pointing to the Moon with its little finger?

Trouble is: How to retrieve the happy little moments?

Can’t we assume that naturally, for every sad moment there must be the counterpart happy moment?

Should we make the effort to leaf through the layers of sad moments and uncover the grains of happiness that were hidden and could have bloomed under better conditions?

How to recollect and rerun them in our mind?
How to display a cheerful smile on our face and be contagious to people around us…?
At what age should we start remembering the good little happy moments?

How far should we feel wise enough in order to believe in the little happy moments?

The first step is to invest some time and note down as many happy moments as we can

Since I already posted my autobiography, I must find time to revisit my autobiography and collect what could be classified as happy moments.

Better, it is worth pealing off the leaves surrounding the sad moments and get to the root of the corresponding happy moment that permitted us to get over the hard times and resume our life.

For every sad moment there must be the counterpart happy moment: We are simply more impressed with the harsh moments and ruminate them so often that we forget to save and consciously record the happy moments in our memory in an easy retrievable manner.

We dwell far too much and far too often on the unpredictability of life and we invest our best efforts to forecast how to cope with the hazard of living.

It is no paradox that those barely securing their daily food are those who had to learn to develop the power of their imagination to bringing up and recognizing the many happy instances and display cheerful smiles and laugh genuinely to the surprises of life…

And yet, sad and happy moments are what constitute the living, and it is fair not to be biased by the sad attribute at the expense of the happy instants.

Is “Black Swan Theory” applicable to man-made systems?

Has anyone seen a swan (baja3) physically? In the flesh, or even flying or walking?  If you are asked “what is the color of a swan?” I bet your answer is “White, obviously”.  Actually, a black swan was identified a few years ago.  Is it possible to eventually identify a multicolored swan?

You might say that finding a black swan, or even a tribe of black swans, or a mixture of black and white swans stand to reason, but is it feasible to have a green, blue… swan?  You might respond that genetic engineering can produce whatever colored swan you desire as a pet…

Why do you think all of us believed that a swan must be white, and nothing but white?  Most of us have not seen a swan, except in pictures, movies or documentaries; we might not even be able to identify a swan from a duck if the bird is not named…

If even nature, which changes slowly and its trends can be mostly predicted, has the potential of surprising us with rare events, a few of them catastrophic.

We got in the habit of expecting frequent disasters from man-designed and man-made systems, within a few years of their applications and usage by people…

The variability in living creatures and the behaviors of users are a thousand folds more numerous than variability in nature.  Wouldn’t you be appalled in total disbelief to hear any designer of systems claiming that the product is definitely designed and manufactured to be entirely controlled and managed according to users’ satisfaction, safety, and health?

The teams of designers of many professions such as scientists, engineers, psychologist, legal professionals… are aware of two things:

First, there will be frequent minor malfunctions to the system in terms of financial loss, safety and health casualties, but these malfunctions can be controlled and fixed.

Second, any system contains rare catastrophic malfunctions that will eventually occur (doud al khal minho wa fih) and predicting these rare events is very challenging and out of control and management.  When you hear of economic-safety analysis trade-off of a system, bear in mind that the study concerns the number of casualties and the financial cost that owners (more frequently the State or the tax payers) will have to set aside for these calamitous eventualities.

The funny part is that:

First, no money is ever set aside by the private shareholders for these catastrophes and the States or tax-payers will eventually cover up the expenses.

Second, transparency and full disclosure to the general public is never disseminated widely, if ever published.

Third, the public and communities in most countries have no say in the design and decision-making processes of vast man-made systems.

Fourth, no man-made system has instituted an independent specialized and dedicated team responsible of gathering data and analysing statistics of the various malfunctions.  Most malfunctions are barely reported and serious hazardous events are dusted-off under the carpet:  No read, never happened!

Do you know that the UN agency for health is forbidden to collect and report statistics on nuclear disaster consequences?  That the atomic UN agency is not to share statistics with other UN agencies concerned with health and safety of world population?

Note 1: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a mathematician by formation wrote  “The Black Swan:  The power of the unpredictable” and “Savage hazard”.  Taleb was initially trying to explain the financial crisis since he is in the financial business.  The theory is fine and explains many fluctuations in man-made designs, for example the international financial system.

Note 2: This post is a re-edited version of the first part of a lengthy article related to claims that Black Swan Theory does not apply to the political/social structure in Lebanon

Many Muslim Women Imams in China: Not worse than deadly earthquakes, devastating landslides, polluted rivers…

Could an old religious tradition from China help solve one of the world’s most pressing problems, such as violence committed in the name of Islam?

The irony of an officially atheist country possibly offering a way out of an international religious problem is intense.

“A few Islamic scholars in China and elsewhere hope that may happen due to a quietly liberal tradition among China’s 10 million Hui Muslims, where female imams and mosques for women are flourishing in a globally unique phenomenon.

Female imams and women’s mosques are important because their endurance in China offers a vision of an older form of Islam that has inclusiveness and tolerance, not marginalization and extremism, at its core, the scholars say.

Exact numbers are not available, but Shui Jingjun, a leading scholar of women in Hui Islam estimates there are hundreds of female imams leading mosques around the country, educating boys and girls, and organizing social services in their communities. (The Hui are scattered across China and are distinct from the Uighur Muslims of the far western region of Xinjiang)

Female imams and women’s mosques are not “a new thing here. It’s just a cultural tradition that was never interfered with,” Ms. Shui, an author and researcher at the Henan Academy of Social Sciences in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province, said in an interview.

That is what makes it so important, said Khaled Abou El Fadl, a prominent Islamic legal scholar.

“The Chinese tradition of women’s mosques is rooted in Islamic history. It is not novel, a corruption or innovation or some type of heretical practice,” Mr. Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a recorded interview.

China’s liberal Hui tradition therefore challenges the power of Wahhabism, a puritanical, patriarchal sect dominant in Saudi Arabia today that is behind much Islamic extremism.

Abou El Fadl said: “The Chinese example preserves and reminds Muslims of an important jurisprudence and historical phenomenon that Wahhabism tried to wipe out.

“Contemporary fundamentalist movements use the space provided by the mosque to affirm all types of patriarchy and male power over women. When you have something like the Chinese example, which ultimately empowers women to work within their own space and lead prayer and manage that space on their own, it’s a significant form of women asserting themselves in the Islamic tradition, helping in constructing it and perpetuating it. I always see Islam in places in China as reminding Muslims of their authentic tradition before it was impacted by petrol dollars and this very gruff and dry form of Bedouin Islam that came out of Saudi Arabia,” said Mr. Abou El Fadl.

“So the point is there’s an old, historically rooted tradition, and the Chinese, if they tap into this tradition, they can effectively provide resistance or examples of resistance to puritanical Islam.”

Muslims arrived in China during the Tang dynasty, more than 1,000 years ago, and their numbers swelled during the Yuan dynasty in the 13th century.

Mostly from Persia and Central Asia, though some were Arabs, they brought with them traditions that had always emphasized women’s education, said Ms. Shui.

But women’s status really took off in the early Qing dynasty, more than 300 years ago, when the numbers of Hui declined as they were absorbed into the majority Han Chinese culture, she said.

By then, “most Muslims couldn’t read or speak Arabic. So they relied on women to spread the word, to educate. It wasn’t possible to rely just on the men. There weren’t enough of them.”

Far away, in the Arab world, Wahhabism began spreading.

“About 300 years ago, there were changes in Islamic education” in the Middle East, said Ms. Shui. “In other Islamic nations, what men said was decisive. But that wasn’t going to work here.”

Over the past decade, Hui Muslim women’s role in offering both religious and secular education in their communities has grown, said Jackie Armijo, a professor at Qatar University.

Young Hui women, seeing the need for education among their people, are choosing to travel far from home to teach, often in small villages.

While conducting doctoral research in China, Ms. Armijo said: “I was continually struck by these young women.They know instinctively, and they say it: ‘To teach a man is to teach one person. To teach a woman is to teach everyone.”

Slowly, awareness is spreading in China of how valuable this tradition might be.

During a recent meeting in Gansu Province of mostly female Muslim educators, researchers, writers and local Han Chinese officials — there were also some non-Chinese Muslims from Pakistan and Taiwan, according to online reports — “some people argued privately that China should ‘go out into the world’ with this good tradition,” spreading the word, said Ms. Shui, who was among the participants.

That would resonate among women elsewhere in the Muslim world, who are increasingly gathering to study texts independently of men.

At the meeting, many people said they wanted the biennial event, happening for just the second time, to become a permanent research facility in Gansu. “We talked about turning it into an international meeting for all Muslim women,” said Ms. Shui. “Everyone was in favor of that.”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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