Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 2020

Tidbits #50

A “Blob”, a marine heatwave, stretching from Alaska to California has invaded the fjords of British Columbia, which is heating up the glacier-fed waters at a rapid clip.

There is really no skill called reading. Reading is the meta-skill that results when you allow other skills together. You need to know the alphabet, how letter form words, how words have meaning, how words together have meaning, and so on. So often we focus on the meta-skill and not the sub-skills.

Women and “people of color” continue to earn lower wages than white men because employers require job applicants to reveal their previous salary in order to set their new one. This strips workers of bargaining power, and can lock in lower compensation.

I enjoy reading. Thus, I read slowly. I enjoy walking early morning. Thus I walk slowly.

I am in love with my confinement: Everyone is sharing in my confinement

“Allons mon petit. Fait tes prières.. Et l’enfant dit “Maman, je t’aime”. c’était suffisant et de beaucoup.

All the economic/financial pressures of Trump (Evangelical extremists) on Lebanon to trade with our existential enemy Israel No Passaran

“All that can save you now (US institutions) is your confrontation with your own history… which is not your past, but your present,” said author James Baldwin in 1968.

Since time immemorial, empires of occupation and annexation had to create forms of racism and discrimination. Black Color was reserved for the Evil of the darker skin people

L’égalité” dans tous les pays (regardless of political systems) est réservé’ pour la grande masse dans la misère et le malheur

If we fails to construct a system of illusions, how could we resume the living at an advanced age?

Bless the youth who pulled off his decision to commit suicide: His high intelligence instinct proved to him the worthiness of his living.

Les Français hautement qualifiés et éduqués furent fauchés en première lignes pour satisfaire “L’égalité du feu“, chair á canon égalitaire. durant les premières années de WWI. Les ignorants furent charge’ de gouverner le Liban et la Syrie durant le mandat.

Israel was already in the planning 50 years before Balfour declaration in 1917. The extremist “Zionist” evangelical sect in USA demanded that the Jews return to Jerusalem in order for the Second Coming to materialize. This idea suited the colonial powers of France and England intent on dividing the Syrian Nation and disturbing the daily trade and communication among the same people in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq. Israel is a colonial implant, our existential enemy.

L ‘ heroisme s’entend de diverses facons selon les periods. C’ est le sacrifice même du dévouement qui est une réalité’. L’ objet pour lequel on se devout est généralement une illusion.

Allons les Libanais, allons d’echec en echec jusqu’à la victoire.

Alex Marshall is the author of Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems, a fascinating book about the politics of national anthems. He spoke with the Atlantic about traveling the world to discover the history of these songs, and why he hates “God Save the Queen.”

La joie de vivre est liée a un sentiment d’avoir réussi. Si on pouvait abaisser la barre de ce qu’on considère “Avoir Réussi”. I think Covid-19 gave humanity a chance to lower the level of what they consider “Having been successful” in order to discover happiness in life.

Après avoir accepté la lâcheté, la servitude, la bombe a hydrogen, les genocide… on comprend mal de quel droit on ferait les dégoûtés et les difficiles

Decision by design? Kind there exist a handful of skills that are learned but rarely taught in order to make effective decisions? Decision by design that can accelerate your progress and save you from costly trial and error? Why do you think you can learn without practice? Kind of effectively doing the wrong decision?

Romancing anti-matter

A re-edit of January 28, 2010 poem

 

Earth was created without mankind.

Earth will vanish, disintegrate, way after mankind does.

 

Mankind is dead certain that Earth will stop to exist

Why?  This makes much sense:

Superman of Krypton did die.

 

Most people would prefer this rarest of phenomenon to strike,

After they are gone and buried deep, the deepest.

I am of the very few liking to witness Armageddon,

This stupid religious myth,

As all those “Second Coming” in every religious sect

 

I am of the very few liking to witness our Cataclysmic End

Within the full power of my consciousness:

This event is not supposed to be repeated frequently.

 

For mankind there is a qualitative difference:

Would Earth evaporates in instant glory?

Or ends up dying slowly, very slowly, and totally devalued?

 

A glorious end is:

Even ants should find it hard to survive.

 

For greedy new mankind, the deepest wish,

After this long journey to knowledge and technological progress,

Is to leave Earth as the supreme Victor:

Earth should be a carcass, a dry shell,

Nothing is left to be exploited.

 

Table rase”: The ultimate for our species

Is to proclaim total victory over matter.

Nothing of material value must be relinquished to stupid Universe.

No chemical elements or compounds, no minerals.

Just your basic electrons, protons, neutrons…

 

Unadulterated victory over anthropic:

Quark (this super tiniest and indivisible of matter),

Boson (this super tiniest field that gives consistency to mass),

Quarks and bosons have to kneel and declare defeat.

 

Long live antimatter.

Down to living organic creatures

After me “Eternal Void”!

 

Just consider this improbable odd of being “who I am”.

And you blame me for my huge vanity?

Show me instant replays

No More Me (1999)

Show me instant replays

Of my postures, my movements and my faces.

Rewind for me the recordings

Of my speeches, small talks and arguments.

 

I don’t like what I see and what I hear.

I cannot change much of body, body language and behaviors.

 

Don’t help me see myself and hear myself.

If I befriend me, I am no more me.

An Undertone of Joy and Fear

An Undertone of Joy and Fear (1999) 

1.   Our last dreams with the living

Are the exact replicas of our first dreams.

That’s how it should be

In the symphony of life.

 

2.   Our last dreams are edited out

Of people, trees and actions.

We don’t fall, fly, walk or run.

They are perpetual waves of motion

In a kaleidoscope of light and colors.

An undertone of joy and fear.

 

3.   Our first dreams are in black and white.

Our last dreams added a few colors.

We just reverted to our earliest beginning.

And that is Closure in colors.

Rise of Default Man And its fall

White blob, middle-class, heterosexual, middle-aged Silent Majority man

Note: Re-edit of “The rise and fall of Default Man. November 2, 2014″

Paddle your canoe up the River Thames and you will come round the bend and see a forest of huge totems jutting into the sky.

Great shiny monoliths in various phallic shapes, they are the wondrous cultural artifacts of a remarkable tribe.

We all know someone from this powerful tribe but we very rarely, if ever, ascribe their power to the fact that they have a particular tribal identity.

Grayson Perry in The rise and fall of Default Man, October 8, 2014

How did the straight, white, middle-class Default Man take control of our society?

And how can he be dethroned?

I think this tribe, a small minority of our native population, needs closer examination.

In the UK, its members probably make up about 10% of the population (see infographic below); globally, probably less than 1%.

Attack of the clones: Default Man is so entrenched in society that he is “like a Death Star hiding behind the moon”. Artwork by Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry’s guest-edited issue of the New Statesman is on sale on Thursday 9 October. Visit newstatesman.com/subscribe to get a copy

They dominate the upper echelons of our society, imposing, unconsciously or otherwise, their values and preferences on the rest of the population.

With their colourful textile phallus hanging round their necks, they make up an overwhelming majority in government, in boardrooms and also in the media.

They are, of course, white, middle-class, heterosexual men, usually middle-aged.

And every component of that description has historically played a part in making this tribe a group that punches far, far above its weight.

I have struggled to find a name for this identity that will trip off the tongue, or that doesn’t clutter the page with unpronounceable acronyms such as WMCMAHM.

“The White Blob” was a strong contender but in the end I opted to call him Default Man.

I like the word “default”, for not only does it mean “the result of not making an active choice”, but two of its synonyms are “failure to pay” and “evasion”, which seems incredibly appropriate, considering the group I wish to talk about.

Today, in politically correct 21st-century Britain, you might think things would have changed but somehow the Great White Male has thrived and continues to colonise the high-status, high-earning, high-power roles

(93% of executive directors in the UK are white men; 77% of parliament is male).

The Great White Male’s combination of good education, manners, charm, confidence and sexual attractiveness (or “money”, as I like to call it) means he has a strong grip on the keys to power.

Of course, the main reason he has those qualities in the first place is what he is, not what he has achieved.

John Scalzi, in his blog Whatever, thought that being a straight white male was like playing the computer game called Life with the difficulty setting on “Easy”.

If you are a Default Man you look like power.

I must confess that I qualify in many ways to be a Default Man myself but I feel that by coming from a working-class background and being an artist and a transvestite, I have enough cultural distance from the towers of power. I have space to turn round and get a fairly good look at the edifice.

In the course of making my documentary series about identity, Who Are You?, for Channel 4, the identity I found hardest to talk about, the most elusive, was Default Man’s.

Somehow, his world-view, his take on society, now so overlaps with the dominant narrative that it is like a Death Star hiding behind the moon.

We cannot unpick his thoughts and feelings from the “proper, right-thinking” attitudes of our society. It is like in the past, when people who spoke in cut-glass, RP, BBC tones would insist they did not have an accent, only northerners and poor people had one of those.

We live and breathe in a Default Male world: no wonder he succeeds, for much of our society operates on his terms.

Chris Huhne (60, Westminster, PPE Mag­dalen, self-destructively heterosexual), the Default Man we chose to interview for our series, pooh-poohed any suggestion when asked if he benefited from membership or if he represented this group.

Lone Default Man will never admit to, or be fully aware of, the tribal advantages of his identity. They are, naturally, full subscribers to that glorious capitalist project, they are individuals!

This adherence to being individuals is the nub of the matter. Being “individual” means that if they achieve something good, it is down to their own efforts.

They got the job because they are brilliant, not because they are a Default Man, and they are also presumed more competent by other Default Men.

If they do something bad it is also down to the individual and not to do with their gender, race or class.

If a Default Man commits a crime it is not because fraud or sexual harassment, say, are endemic in his tribe (coughs), it is because he is a wrong ’un.

If a Default Man gets emotional it is because he is a “passionate” individual, whereas if he were a woman it would often be blamed on her sex.

When we talk of identity, we often think of groups such as black Muslim lesbians in wheelchairs. This is because identity only seems to become an issue when it is challenged or under threat.

Our classic Default Man is rarely under existential threat; consequently, his identity remains unexamined. It ambles along blithely, never having to stand up for its rights or to defend its homeland.

When talking about identity groups, the word “community” often crops up. The working class, gay people, black people or Muslims are always represented by a “community leader”.

We rarely, if ever, hear of the white middle-class community. “Communities” are defined in the eye of Default Man.

Community seems to be a euphemism for the vulnerable lower orders. Community is “other”.

Communities usually seem to be embattled, separate from society.

“Society” is what Default Man belongs to.

In news stories such as the alleged “Trojan Horse” plot in Birmingham schools and the recent child-abuse scandal in Rotherham, the central involvement of an ethnic or faith “community” skews the attitudes of police, social services and the media.

The Muslim or Pakistani heritage of those accused becomes the focus.

I’m not saying that faith and ethnic groups don’t have their particular problems but the recipe for such trouble is made up of more than one spicy, foreign ingredient.

I would say it involves more than a few handfuls of common-or-garden education/class issues, poor mental health and, of course, the essential ingredient in nearly all nasty or violent problems, men.

Yeah, men – bit like them Default Men but without suits on.

In her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, published in 1975, Laura Mulvey coined the term “the male gaze”. She was writing about how the gaze of the movie camera reflected the heterosexual male viewpoint of the directors (a viewpoint very much still with us, considering that only 9% of the top 250 Hollywood films in 2012 were directed by women and only 2% of the cinematographers were female).

The Default Male gaze does not just dominate cinema, it looks down on society like the eye on Sauron’s tower in The Lord of the Rings.

Every other identity group is “othered” by it. It is the gaze of the expensively nondescript corporate leader watching consumers adorn themselves with his company’s products the better to get his attention.

Default Man feels he is the reference point from which all other values and cultures are judged. Default Man is the zero longitude of identities.

He has forged a society very much in his own image, to the point where now much of what other groups think and feel is the same. They take on the attitudes of Default Man because they are the attitudes of our elders, our education, our government, our media.

If Default Men approve of something it must be good, and if they disapprove it must be bad, so people end up hating themselves, because their internalised Default Man is berating them for being female, gay, black, silly or wild.

I often hear women approvingly describe themselves or other women as feisty.

Feisty, I feel, has sexist implications, as if standing up for yourself was exceptional in a woman. It sounds like a word that a raffish Lothario would use about a difficult conquest.

I once gave a talk on kinky sex and during the questions afterwards a gay woman floated an interesting thought: “Is the legalising of gay marriage an attempt to neutralise the otherness of homosexuals?” she asked. Was the subversive alternative being neutered by allowing gays to marry and ape a hetero lifestyle?

Many gay people might have enjoyed their dangerous outsider status. Had Default Man implanted a desire to be just like him?

Is the fact that we think like Default Man the reason why a black female Doctor Who has not happened, that it might seem “wrong” or clunky? In my experience, when I go to the doctor I am more likely to see a non-white woman than a Default Man.

It is difficult to tweezer out the effect of Default Man on our culture, so ingrained is it after centuries of their rules.

A friend was once on a flight from Egypt. As it came in to land at Heathrow he looked down at the rows of mock-Tudor stockbroker-belt houses in west London. Pointing them out, he said to the Egyptian man sitting next to him: “Oh well, back to boring old England.” The Egyptian replied, “Ah, but to me this is very exotic.” And he was right.

To much of the world the Default Englishman is a funny foreign folk icon, with his bowler hat, his Savile Row suit and Hugh Grant accent, living like Reggie Perrin in one of those polite suburban semis.

All the same, his tribal costume and rituals have probably clothed and informed the global power elite more than any other culture. Leaders wear his clothes, talk his language and subscribe to some version of his model of how society “should be”.

When I was at art college in the late Seventies/early Eighties, one of the slogans the feminists used was: “Objectivity is Male Subjectivity.”

This brilliantly encapsulates how male power nestles in our very language, exerting influence at the most fundamental level. Men, especially Default Men, have put forward their biased, highly emotional views as somehow “rational”, more considered, more “calm down, dear”.

Women and “exotic” minorities are framed as “passionate” or “emotional” as if they, the Default Men, had this unique ability to somehow look round the side of that most interior lens, the lens that is always distorted by our feelings.

Default Man somehow had a dispassionate, empirical, objective vision of the world as a birthright, and everyone else was at the mercy of turbulent, uncontrolled feelings. That explained why the “others” often held views that were at such odds with their supposedly cool, analytic vision of the world.

Recently, footage of the UN spokesman Chris Gunness breaking down in tears as he spoke of the horrors occurring in Gaza went viral.

It was newsworthy because reporters and such spokespeople are supposed to be dispassionate and impartial. To show such feelings was to be “unprofessional”. And lo! The inherited mental health issues of Default Man are cast as a necessity for serious employment.

I think Default Man should be made aware of the costs and increasing obsolescence of this trait, celebrated as “a stiff upper lip”.

This habit of denying, recasting or suppressing emotion may give him the veneer of “professionalism” but, as David Hume put it: “Reason is a slave of the passions.”

To be unaware of or unwilling to examine feelings means those feelings have free rein to influence behaviour unconsciously. Unchecked, they can motivate Default Man covertly, unacknowledged, often wreaking havoc.

Even if rooted in long-past events in the deep unconscious, these emotions still fester, churning in the dark at the bottom of the well. Who knows what unconscious, screwed-up “personal journeys” are being played out on the nation by emotionally illiterate Default Men?

Being male and middle class and being from a generation that still valued the stiff upper lip means our Default Man is an ideal candidate for low emotional awareness. He sits in a gender/ class/age nexus marked “Unexploded Emotional Time Bomb”.

These people have been in charge of our world for a long time.

Things may be changing.

Women are often stereotyped as the emotional ones, and men as rational. But, after the 2008 crash, the picture looked different, as Hanna Rosin wrote in an article in the Atlantic titled “The End of Men”:

Researchers have started looking into the relationship between testosterone and excessive risk, and wondering if groups of men, in some basic hormonal way, spur each other to make reckless decisions.

The picture emerging is a mirror image of the traditional gender map: men and markets on the side of the irrational and overemotional, and women on the side of the cool and level-headed.

Over the centuries, empirical, clear thinking has become branded with the image of Default Men. They were the ones granted the opportunity, the education, the leisure, the power to put their thoughts out into the world. In people’s minds, what do professors look like?

What do judges should look like? What do leaders look like?

The very aesthetic of seriousness has been monopolised by Default Man. Practically every person on the globe who wants to be taken seriously in politics, business and the media dresses up in some way like a Default Man, in a grey, western, two-piece business suit.

Not for nothing is it referred to as “power dressing”.

We’ve all seen those photo ops of world leaders: colour and pattern shriek out as anachronistic. Consequently, many women have adopted this armour of the unremarkable.

Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world, wears a predictable unfussy, feminised version of the male look. Hillary Clinton has adopted a similar style. Some businesswomen describe this need to tone down their feminine appearance as “taking on the third gender”.

Peter Jones on Dragons’ Den was once referred to as “eccentric” for wearing brightly coloured stripy socks. So rigid is the Default Man look that men’s suit fashions pivot on tiny changes of detail at a glacial pace. US politicians wear such a narrow version of the Default Man look that you rarely see one wearing a tie that is not plain or striped.

Suits you, sir: Grayson Perry as Default Man.
Photo: Kalpesh Lathigra/New Statesman

One tactic that men use to disguise their subjectively restricted clothing choices is the justification of spurious function.

As if they need a watch that splits lap times and works 300 feet underwater, or a Himalayan mountaineer’s jacket for a walk in the park. The rufty-tufty army/hunter camouflage pattern is now to boys as pink is to girls. Curiously, I think the real function of the sober business suit is not to look smart but as camouflage.

A person in a grey suit is invisible, in the way burglars often wear hi-vis jackets to pass as unremarkable “workmen”.

The business suit is the uniform of those who do the looking, the appraising.

It rebuffs comment by its sheer ubiquity. Many office workers loathe dress-down Fridays because they can no longer hide behind a suit. They might have to expose something of their messy selves through their “casual” clothes.

Modern, over-professionalised politicians, having spent too long in the besuited tribal compound, find casual dress very difficult to get right convincingly.

David Cameron, while ruining Converse basketball shoes for the rest of us, never seemed to me as if he belonged in a pair.

When I am out and about in an eye-catching frock, men often remark to me, “Oh, I wish I could dress like you and did not have to wear a boring suit.” Have to!

The male role is heavily policed from birth, by parents, peers and bosses. Politicians in particular are harshly kept in line by a media that seems to uphold more bizarrely rigid standards of conformity than those held by any citizen.

Each component of the Default Male role – his gender, his class, his age and his sexuality – confines him to an ever narrower set of behaviours, until riding a bicycle or growing a beard, having messy hair or enjoying a pint are seen as ker-azy eccentricity.

The fashionable members’ club Shoreditch House, the kind of place where “creatives” with two iPhones and three bicycles hang out, has a “No Suits” rule. How much of this is a pseudo-rebellious pose and how much is in recognition of the pernicious effect of the overgrown schoolboy’s uniform, I do not know.

I dwell on the suit because I feel it exemplifies how the upholders of Default Male values hide in plain sight. Imagine if, by democratic decree, the business suit was banned, like certain items of Islamic dress have been banned in some countries. Default Men would flounder and complain that they were not being treated with “respect”.

The most pervasive aspect of the Default Man identity is that it masquerades very efficiently as “normal” – and “normal”, along with “natural”, is a dangerous word, often at the root of hateful prejudice.

As Sherrie Bourg Carter, author of High-Octane Women, writes:

Women in today’s workforce . . . are experiencing a much more camouflaged foe – second-generation gender biases . . . “work cultures and practices that appear neutral and natural on their face”, yet they reflect masculine values and life situations of men.

Personally, working in the arts, I do not often encounter Default Man en masse, but when I do it is a shock. I occasionally get invited to formal dinners in the City of London and on arrival, I am met, in my lurid cocktail dress, with a sea of dinner jackets; my expectations of a satisfying conversation drop.

I feel rude mentioning the black-clad elephant in the room. I sense that I am the anthropologist allowed in to the tribal ritual.

This weird minority, these curiously dominant white males, are anything but normal. “Normal,” as Carl Jung said, “is the ideal aim for the unsuccessful.” They like to keep their abnormal power low-key: the higher the power, the duller the suit and tie, a Mercedes rather than a Rolls, just another old man chatting casually to prime ministers at the wedding of a tabloid editor.

Revolution is happening. I am loath to use the R word because bearded young men usually characterise it as sudden and violent. But that is just another unhelpful cliché.

I feel real revolutions happen thoughtfully in peacetime. A move away from the dominance of Default Man is happening, but way too slowly.

Such changes in society seem to happen at a pace set by incremental shifts in the animal spirits of the population. I have heard many of the “rational” (ie, male) arguments against quotas and positive discrimination but I feel it is a necessary fudge to enable just change to happen in the foreseeable future. At the present rate of change it will take more than a hundred years before the UK parliament is 50% female.

The outcry against positive discrimination is the wail of someone who is having their privilege taken away. For talented black, female and working-class people to take their just place in the limited seats of power, some of those Default Men are going to have to give up their seats.

Perhaps Default Man needs to step down from some of his most celebrated roles. I’d happily watch a gay black James Bond and an all-female Top GearQI or Have I Got News for You.

Jeremy Paxman should have been replaced by a woman on Newsnight. More importantly, we need a quota of MPs who (shock) have not been to university but have worked on the shop floor of key industries; have had life experiences that reflect their constituents’; who actually represent the country rather than just a narrow idea of what a politician looks like.

The ridiculousness of objections to quotas would become clear if you were to suggest that, instead of calling it affirmative action, we adopted “Proportionate Default Man Quotas” for government and business. We are wasting talent. Women make up a majority of graduates in such relevant fields as law.

Default Man seems to be the embodiment of George Bernard Shaw unreasonable man: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to make the world adapt to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Default Man’s days may be numbered; a lot of his habits are seen at best as old-fashioned or quaint and at worst as redundant, dangerous or criminal. He carries a raft of unhelpful habits and attitudes gifted to him from history – adrenaline addiction, a need for certainty, snobbery, emotional constipation and an overdeveloped sense of entitlement – which have often proved disastrous for society and can also stop poor Default Man from leading a fulfilling life.

Earlier this year, at the Being A Man festival at the Southbank Centre in London, I gave a talk on masculinity called: “Men, Sit Down for your Rights!”. A jokey title, yes, but one making a serious point: that perhaps, if men were to loosen their grip on power, there might be some benefits for them.

The straitjacket of the Default Man identity is not necessarily one happily donned by all members of the tribe: many struggle with the bad fit of being leader, provider, status hunter, sexual predator, respectable and dignified symbol of straight achievement.

Maybe the “invisible weightless backpack” that the US feminist Peggy McIntosh uses to describe white privilege, full of “special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks”, does weight rather a lot after all.

In a phrase used more often in association with Operation Yewtree, they are among us and hide in plain sight.

Where climate freezes: And why Copenhagen, Danmark?

December is soon.

And why this month disappeared in the last eight long years?

Freezing Copenhagen, will welcome Barack Obama this December

Trailed by hundred of representatives from the world States

To meet and discuss of global climate problems

Environmental deterioration, changes, and cataclysmic consequences,

And to extend global resolutions.

 

I don’t mind cold climate in the cold seasons:

I cannot get used to freezing weather at any season;

Beast digging in to hibernate.

I cannot get used to Nordic people

Stubborn in their craziness,

Calling it Home.

 

Finally, the financial crash deposed the latest of the Bushes;

Hoping to be the last in that dynasty.

 

Man awoke to the magnitude of the disaster.

The optimist Biosphere/Earth has its own stabilizing mechanism;

It is indifferent to power-avid pessimist man.

 

This unattached mechanism may burn, suffocate, or drown man

And it would not even notice or care for its existence.

 

It dawned on Man that, through the ages,

Earth/biosphere underwent changes

And man either thrived, developed, or died

Consequent to the environmental changes.

 

All the time, man got curious about his environment;

He wanted to understand and then uncover the mysteries

Of that power surrounding him and controlling his life cycle.

 

By the by, man formulated general laws of nature.

And before he could fathom a tiny portion of the complex mysteries,

Of these multiple interactions among the sparse and conditioned laws,

This impatient and anxious man endeavored to modify and transform nature

To his own wants and restricted interests.

 

Man wants to alter earth and the biosphere

With the tacit understanding that he or the environment will not be affected.

Man keeps forgetting, intentionally,

That he is what he is because of earth and biosphere.

 

Man can alter earth and biosphere;

Biosphere, imperturbable, will react at its own pace;

Man can waste water; water does not care one way or the other;

Water can float and disintegrate into its other gaseous elements

And it wouldn’t care for its consequences to this wretched man.

 

Is it too late to coax nature to reverse its course?

Is it too late for the offspring of today

To degenerate in monsters of tomorrow?

If monsters are permitted to exist make it quick!

Do nothing at all.

Note: During this pandemic of Covid-19 and its consequences of confinement and restriction of fossil fuel land transports (cars) and lockdown of major airport and airspace, many poisonous polluting particles diminished and cities air was cleared and people could visualize the horizons. Especially in megapolis like Beijing, New Delhi, New York, London, Madrid…

After partial return to “normal” life of “before Corona”, air quality and water quality degraded seriously.

Still, the concentration in the atmosphere of CO2 did Not diminish and the temperature of our atmosphere is steadily increasing and resulting in frequent natural disasters

Many nuclear facilities were shutdown after Fukushima (major “out of nuclear energy” in Germany), but many more States (India, China…) decided for the nuclear energy. Kind of they are investing for cheaper and “cleaner” source of energy for the coming 25 years. It is doubtful these States will save enough for the enormous expenses for the due date of shutting down these nuclear facilities and the disposing of the dangerous radioactive elements.

When was that you Day Dreamed a Utopian Project?

Note: Re-edit of “Did you Day Dream a Utopian Project?.  May 20, 2009

Did you Daydream a Utopian Project? (May 19, 2009)

Have you day dreamt of a utopian project?  I have so many times day dreamt of projects that were to be ideal in profitability, organization, equitability, fairness,…

Projects that encourages and promotes individual creativities, and leaving plenty of free time for individual accomplishment and continuing education.

There are moments in any one of these projects where the more utopian you strive for the more variables you have to contend with.

Every detail generates its own set of variability, and quickly the interactions are too many for the mind to coordinate and analyze.

Suddenly, you end it as abruptly as in happy movies.

Yes, it is complicated but everybody should be living happily ever after.

Then you are carried by curiosity: you want to take the dreamt up project further to its ultimate glory.

The more you resolve complicated interactions among people, the more your solutions revert to totalitarian solutions and the more your answers smack of a one party regime reactions to diversities.

Then I realize that, fundamentally, I am No better than any dictator who managed to amass enough power to exercise coercions at will.

Utopias are dangerous exercises of the mind and they sting potently the trust in our potentials to fairness and equitability.  

The only utility to dreaming up utopia is to vent up the bottled up anger of helplessness to act and change.

Utopias are far more dangerous when a restricted and select caste of elites assemble to apply and enforce their sick view of an ideal society.

Utopias are not the solution and never will improve human conditions.

Read any samples of Utopias from Plato, to Thomas Moore, and to the Zionist ideology and you will realize that the end product is a subdivision of society by caste systems where people rule and the lower strata produce and serve. The end product is a huge set of rules and regulations that can put to shame the gigantic daily constraints of the Jewish Pharisee sect.

Study the Utopias of those who managed to horde power from Napoleon, to Bismarck, to Hitler, to Mussolini, to Lenin, to Stalin, to Mao Tse Tong, and finally to Bush Jr./Cheney and the end product was destruction, utter humiliation of the people, hate crimes, and genocides.

There are other kinds of utopias.

You have those forecasting the future, fifty years from now, in all sorts of topics such as political systems, emergence of new superpowers, technological breakthrough, social conditions, trends of how fast people will die of famine, and the increase in social divides among the wealthy and the dregs.

Sure, those forecasters inevitably claim that they are analyzing current trends if all conditions remain controlled, though they have no idea what are those conditions and how they are controlled. 

Forecasting the future is another way of thinking aloud individual utopia because no one is forecasting without strong biases as to his present mind set.

It is important to have a strategy in any planning for the long duration: It is the means to elaborate short-term projects that should converge to the grand idea for a fairer and equitable society at all levels of human rights and economic sustenance.

If the “tactical” short-term projects of less than a year to execute, evaluate and get acceptance by the community are Not carried out seriously, then the strategy will end up in catastrophic consequences to the society. Many of these strategies cornered communities into state of famine, violence and indignities…

Particularly, when the people in power and institutions are immuable figures that never relinquish their positions and are unable to change their biased mind set.

So far, the only valid forecasting time line is of six months; it is adopted by the analysts of market and fashion trends of the adapters in the age category of 20 to 30 years.

Actually, people do Not remember much of their desires and wants once a certain period has elapsed. People need to be frequently reminded of their intentions during previous evaluations and referendums.

The Nordic States in Europe have confidence in the educated opinions of their people and don’t mind to arrange for frequent referendum on any subject matter that divide the communities and to act upon. And this is “democracy” at work.

There is no doubt in my mind that promotional tactics biase people in believing that they are setting the trend by surfing the internet and disseminating their interests; but that’s how democracy should be at work.

Democratic systems should expose programs and disseminate them and then evaluate what people selected after a period of six months of diffusion among the active population.

Egypt Al Azhar: Most ancient Religious Madrasat?

Again, I don’t care about any religious sect. Posting this article just for history buffs.

الأزهر شاهدا على عصره منذ ١٠٥٠ سنة

يسجل التاريخ أن (الأزهر) أنشئ فى أول عهد الدولة الفاطمية بمصر جامعا باسم (جامع القاهرة، الذى سمى الأزهر فيما بعد) حيث أرسى حجر أساسه فى الرابع والعشرين من جمادى الأولى 359هـ/970م ، وصلى فيه الخليفة المعز لدين الفاطمى ثانى خلفاء الدولة الفاطمية صلاة الجمعة الأولى من شهر رمضان سنة 361هـ/972م.

كان التعليم فى الأزهر قائما على الاختيار الحر ، بحيث يختار الطالب أستاذه والمادة التى يقوم بتدريسها ،

أو الكتاب الذى يقرؤه لطلابه ، ويعرض نصوصه نصًا نصًا ،

فإذا اتم الطالب حفظه من علم الأستاذ ، وأنس من نفسه التجويد تقدم لأستاذه ليمتحنه مشافهة ،

فإذا أظهر استيعابا ونبوغا منحه الأستاذ إجازة علمية مكتوبة ، وكانت هذه الإجازة كافية لصلاحه باًن يشتغل بالتدريس فى المدارس أو فى المساجد أو فى جامع الأزهر نفسه ،

وظل العمل على ذلك حتى أواخر القرن التاسع عشر ، حيث استعيض عنه بنظام التعليم الحديث.
وواكب ذلك إصدار عدة قوانين لتنظيم العمل بالأزهر.

وأول هذه القوانين قانونا القرن التاسع عشر: أولهما فى سنة 1872م ينظم طريقة الحصول على العالمية وموادها ، وثانيهما فى سنة 1885م ، وأهم ما تناوله: تحديد صفة من يتصدى لمهنة التدريس في جامع الأزهر أن يكون قد انتهى من دارسة أمهات الكتب فى أحد عشر فنا واجتاز فيها امتحانا ترضى عنه لجنة من ستة علماء يرأسهم شيخ الأزهر.

وفى بداية القرن العشرين استصدر قانون سنة 1908 فى عهد المشيخة الثانية للشيخ حسونة النواوى ، وفيه تم تأليف مجلس عال لإدارة الأزهر برئاسة شيخ الأزهر ، وعضوية كل من مفتى الديار المصرية ، وشيوخ المذهب المالكى والحنبلى والشافعى واثنين من الموظفين.

وفيه أيضا تقسيم الدراسة لثلاث مراحل: أولية وثانوية وعالية ، ومدة التعليم فى كل منها أربع سنوات ، يمنح الطالب الناجح فى كل مرحلة شهادة المرحلة.

فى عهد المشيخة الأولى للشيخ محمد مصطفى المراغى أعد مشروع القانون رقم 49 لسنة 1930م ، لكنه اصدر فى عهد مشيخة الشيخ محمد الأحمدى الظواهرى ويجمع الرأى على أن هذا القانون مثّل خطوة موفقة لإصلاح الأزهر ، ومكنه من مسايرة التقدم العلمى والثقافى والمعرفى.

وفى هذا القانون حددت مراحل التعليم أربعة مراحل:
ابتدائية لمدة أربع سنوات ، وثانوية لمدة خمس سنوات ، وثلاث كليات للشريعة الإسلامية ، وأصول الدين ، واللغة العربية ، مدة الدراسة بكل منها أربع سنوات ،

ثم تخصص مهنى مدته سنتان فى القضاء الشرعى والإفتاء ، وفى الوعظ والإرشاد ،

وفى التدريس ثم تخصص المادة لمدة خمس سنوات تؤهل الناجح للحصول على العالمية مع درجة أستاذ ويعد هذا القانون الذى أنشئته بمقتضاه الكليات الثلاث والتخصصات المدنية والعلمية هو الإرهاص لميلاد جامعة الأزهر القائمة الآن بمقتضى القانون 103 لسنة 1961 م.

بصدور القانون الأخير رقم 103 لسنة 1961م وتحول النظام التعليمى إلى النظم التعليمية الحديثة ،

وتوسع الأزهر فى نوعيات وتخصصات التعليم والبحث العلمى للبنين والبنات على السواء ،

وضم إلى الكليات الشرعية والعربية كليات للطب وطب الأسنان والصيدلة والعلوم والتربية والهندسة ، والإدارة والمعاملات ، واللغات والترجمة ويتلقى طلابها قدرا لا بأس به فى العلوم الدينية ، لتحقيق المعادلة الدراسية بينهم وبين نظرائهم فى الكليات الأخرى.

المصدر : تاريخ الأزهر عبر العصور أ.د / محمد سعدى فرهود.

في سنة ١٩٦٧ طرأ تعديل على الدراسة في كلية الشريعة والقانون بحيث أصبحت مدة الدراسة – في قسمها العام الذي تدرس فيه كافة مقررات كلية الحقوق في عين شمس والقاهرة إضافة الى مقررات كلية الشريعة – ٥ سنوات للحصول على شهادة الليسانس، فيحصل الخريج على كافة الامتيازات المعطاة لخريجي كليات الحقوق ولخريجي كلية الشريعة معاً. مع احتفاظ الأزهر بنظام الدراسة في كلية الشريعة تخصص الشريعة والتي تستغرق مدة الدراسة فيها 4 سنوات دون تعديل شهادتها بمثيلاتها من كليات الحقوق.

No photo description available.

What category of Sins have you decided to Confess lately?

Do you recall any sins that you were pressured to confess before the age of 12?

Kind of extending to you a list of potential sins that must select to satisfy the logic of confession.

Most probably, the confessor is never interested in your kinds of sins and must be snoozing and then punish you with a couple of Ave and other prayers that you must have memorized for that situation.

Did you feel humiliated for Not having any sins to share with the rest of the people?

As you grow older, to do feel this indignity to confess what could take you to prison, deny you the right to vote, to find another job…?

Do you know that 3 million of incarcerated Blacks in the US southern States are denied the right to vote? And you are still wondering why these States are electing racist candidates?

I felt to relay a section in the tale of Anatole France “Le livre de mon ami”, a collection of memories of his earlier life.

“La premiere difficulte’ etait de trouver les peches (sins). On m’avait donne’ un petit livre qui contenait tous les peches.

Il y a avait des peches obscure que je ne connaissais pas le sens, sur le larcin, la simonie, la prevarication, la fornication, la concupiscence…

Comme “je m’accuse d’avoir désespéré”, d’avoir entendu de mauvaises conversations…

“Je m’accuse d’avoir des distractions a l’office, au repas, dans les assembles…

 

Did you breathe the Dawn?

What’s in the dawn?

Birds must be chirping.

Cool breeze must be biting.

Wet thyme must be tingling.

And I am smiling.

 

What’s in the dawn?

Is it raining?

Is it thundering?

Is it freezing?

I am sending a prayer

To the sick, the ill, the suffering from cold and hunger;

To the many at the end of their rope

Curtain drawn

 

What’s in the dawn?

I am breathing fresh life.

In a couple of hours nature dies:

The drama of the day begins

I can’t get used to that drama.

I want my dawn

Any day of the year.

Note: During this Covid-19 pandemics confinement I had to change many of my daily routine tasks and schedule. I started waking up early and take a one-hour morning walk at 5:30 am. I discovered that the chirping of birds can deafen me. It was like walking through a long tunnel, the singing of birds coming from every inch of the tunnel.

The were many periods in Lebanon that we could no longer hear birds, due to civil war, the frequent pre-emptive wars of Israel on Lebanon, or the extensive hunting of the Lebanese (just for fun).

I am glad that Corona showed me new discoveries and opportunity to change my life-style.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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