Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Diaries’ Category

The Cold rational concept of Irrational behaviors.

Posted on October 4, 2014

Why most of our decisions and reactions seem to be pretty much irrational?

A Cold attempt was undertaken to remind ourselves of a few facts and realities to be taken into consideration:

1. Thinking is not a “pure process”.

2. Thinking is prone to error and this realization affects everyone

3. Highly intelligent people fall prey to the same cognitive traps as common people

4. And errors are Not randomly distributed.

5. Mankind systematically err in the same direction

6. Our mistakes are mostly predictable and can be repaired and avoided in slight degrees

7. Most of our organs function predictably, but our brain keep experiencing lapse after lapse

8. Thinking is a biological phenomenon: It does not follow an abstract mathematical logic.

9. We are still a hunter-gatherer species, but living in a totally different environment

10. Our new environment is getting increasingly complex, interdependent, and man-made functions and facilities are exacerbating the frequency of faulty behaviors

11. Evolution has stopped optimizing the behavior of this hunter-gatherer species in this new environment.

12. Our brain is designed to reproduce (persuade) rather than search for the “truth”

13. We tend to construct a reason for our compulsive decisions (intuitive reaction). a justification for a predetermined conclusion.

What is to be done?

1. When in your “circle of competence”, let your intuition lead your decisions and reactions. You had invested more than 10,000 hours on your talents and skills and you can now rely of your bodily reactions.

2. Otherwise, do your due diligence to apply the hard, slow and high energy consuming process of the rational thinking on your projects and serious decisions.

Think clear and go through the long list of behavioral biases, fallacies, illusions, myths.. and start eliminating one error after another from the list of prone error tendencies.

Rational thinking might Not give you a correct resolution, but again, you have been vaunting the superiority of mankind brain over other species who actually have far better abilities and capabilities than us in many domains.

Repeat the rational thinking process as you invested in acquiring your talents.

Note 1: Read “The Art of Thinking Clear”

Note 2: I have realized that I prefer to extend only one opinion on an issue, the best of my opinions and never give choices. Why?

1. If the opinion is found correct by the reader, the better off he is. And the reader was not disturbed and confused by contradicting alternatives and could assimilate the single opinion.

2. If the opinion is “proved” flawed, it is a marvelous opportunity for the reader to reflect deeper on the topic, reach a proper alternative and incorporate it in his unique worldview model

For regaining confidence in Capitalism and sustainable growth: What is “Gold-paper currencies”?

Posted on December 1, 2008

I have this gut feeling that, if one major superpower does not adopt for a period gold currency, then confidence in paper money or investment gimmicks is No longer going to fly.

 In these uncertain financial crisis and economical deflation, I suggest a psychological incentive for people to recover some sense of value to their currencies. 

My idea is to issue hard currencies that are an alloy containing the quantity of gold commensurate to the large denominations.  This currency would be almost as thinner than paper money and more durable, and could not be forged, unless the amount of gold is Not the same as the officially issued currencies.

This project should be feasible: Gold can be made as thin as needed, and if we find a cheap metal or plastic that can add resistance and flexibility to the currency to be folded, and handled as paper money then everybody would be satisfied.

At first, the gold paper-like money could be distributed at a rate of say 1% higher over its real value to recover the upfront expenses, in addition to the increase in market value of gold, averaged once a week.

These extra expenses would not discourage the use of paper money for those who could not afford the extra cost of gold currencies.

The higher denomination currencies would be larger in order to keep the same thickness as the other smaller denominations.  As the value of gold would certainly keep increasing, the government would, at interval, retrieve the older currencies from the market and replace them with smaller size currencies containing the market value of the amount of gold in the alloy.

This idea is logical because the gold-paper currencies would require less gold as its value increases.

Travelers could then exchange their State own gold-paper money abroad and register them at any bank for Interpol investigations in case of thefts and get exactly the same money value of the respective States.

Obviously, all governments that signed in to this system would have to submit to international control when issuing gold-paper money for credibility and quality reasons.

I believe that with real gold-paper money then the businesses of currency speculations and rate of exchanges should wane and quickly disappear. 

What might remain is currency trade or the accumulation of gold in rich sovereign funds.

The governments would quickly learn to issue enough gold-paper currency to satisfy internal commerce.

The superpowers and regional powers would exercise political and military “incentives” on weaker and unstable States to issue more gold-paper currency than needed for inner commerce, but then they would have to deliver real gold and good value products to retrieve the surpluses.

The US Administrations do not have real value money or real value economy to hoard gold and will not be able to do so for many decades to come. Only China, India and the rich oil-producing States with small populations would be the major players in currency trade of gold-paper money.

There are several policies that governments would revisit to manage this new system. 

Governments might issues a composite weight of the amount of gold-paper and regular paper money that should satisfy internal commerce. 

Either the gold-paper money would concentrate in the hands of the rich and thus reducing commerce to regular money, with industries specialized in high quality and luxury products for the rich and industries focusing on lower quality and basic products for the masses.

Or the little people would not desist from the gold-paper and use them as personal saving account in their homes and thus deflation would hit the economy due to the lack of currency circulation.

Consequently, governments would have choices to either limit the amount of gold-paper in circulation to encourage circulation of money or eliminate regular paper currencies to force the masses into liberating their hoarded gold-paper.

The same pitfalls and recurrences of the present monetary system would be exhibited, but the remedies would be more straightforward to comprehend by the common people.

An interesting phenomenon will emerge: cultures where mostly little people horde the gold-papers and cultures where gold-papers are concentrated in the class of the rich. 

Well, if there is civilization clashes then this division between the two types of cultures would set the foundations for a new sociology science where the manipulation of hard money is the first principle.

This system would require many fine tuning but the advantages must far exceed the disadvantages for smaller and weaker States. 

Countries with real value-added economies would not be affected by any mischievous financial embezzlement schemes in destabilizing their financial status because the middle classes would have re-learned the value of hard money and desist from speculative schemes for some times.

This re-learning process of the value of real hard money is the fundamental benefit of the new system so that financial history would repeat its cycle of development for the century. 

In any case a genuine International Monetary Control and Management Fund would be instituted to focus on the circulation of money within and among States and help in the synchronization of real commerce.

The crux of this gold-paper currency system is to stabilize growth to a sustainable level for human kind. 

Since gold is limited on Earth and its production has reached a limit, wild GNP rate of increases would slow down; redundant and irrelevant consumer products would make room for basic products essentials for the survival of mankind. 

The new economical strategies would focus on cutting cost, cutting waste, re-cycling and vigorously researching for substitute renewable energies for the benefit of all States.

Titbits #301

The 60 year-old Palestinian Khairi Hannoun: “It’s a legitimate, entirely non-violent demonstration (protesting Israel’s confiscation of our land). We were walking. We didn’t think the soldiers would attack us. But we were wrong. They attacked us like hooligans. I’m 60, what can I do to an armed soldier? But for the officer there, I’m a threat and he attacked me brutally.”

Better be roughly right than precisely wrong. Being right has its source in a multidisciplinary path, especially practising and applying an experimental mind. on any design or project you undertake.

Covid-19 has resulted in an estimated 122,600 deaths in Africa since the onset of the pandemic. Malaria, a disease that is particularly prevalent and deadly in the continent, took more than 400,000 lives in 2019 alone. Not counting all the preventable diseases. that harvest millions. Apparently vaccines for malaria are being tested in Burkina Faso.

Immunizations: RNA-based vaccines work by instructing our cells to make the spike protein found on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, spooking the immune system into action. The biggest challenge in immunizing against HIV, tuberculosis, and the flu is that these pathogens have multiple proteins to code for, not just the one in SARS-CoV-2. With mRNA, it’s easy to include the code for several kinds of proteins in a single injection.

Cancer therapies: Cancer is caused by genetic code that’s gone haywire. The most sinister aspect of the disease is how it evades our immune systems. Personalized cancer vaccines would effectively lift cancer’s camouflage. These vaccines would introduce mRNA that codes for one of the unique proteins the cancer produces, called a neo-antigen, that the body could then recognize and attack. Instead of flooding the body with toxic chemicals that kill cells with abandon, cancer vaccines could target only the cancer itself.

Cures or treatments for genetic diseases: For more common rare diseases, a single treatment may work for multiple people. Nucleic acid therapies like ASOs and RNAs that can correct or silence errors in genetic code are a beacon of hope. mRNA won’t be just for rare orphan diseases, either; Ionis Pharmaceuticals has drugs in the pipeline for Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and Hepatitis B—all of which are relatively common—as well as a therapy that could treat high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

New Japanese vending machines sell only edible insects. The nine options include deep-fried or dried crickets, locusts, and silkworm chrysalises.

Can you imagine Earth is devoid of birds? In the last 40 years, birds population decreased by 2/3, especially categories of birds that used to live in agricultural areas and swamps. Germany is encouraging peasants to leave a third of their lands without plowing and Not planted to let birds get this illusion that their natural environment exist and encourage their procration. Birds eat mostly insects that bread exponentially. Prussia Frederick 2 ordered that No birds should exist on the grounds of his palace “Sans Souci”

L’Italy, le soir les gens dans les rues, riant tout haut. Pas de cadavres ambulant de Londre (apres WWI), recroquevillés dans leur fauteuils roulants, les yeux fixés sur quelques vilaine fleurs piquées dans des pots.

Cette qualite de purete, d’intégrité du sentiment que seules les femmes éprouvent entre elles, juste sorties de l’adolescence?

Etre amoureuse? Etre absolument differente des autres

C’était fini entre eux. C’etait affreux. Et pourtant, le soleil répandait sa chaleur. Un jour s’ajoutait à un autre

Conduisons-nous le moin mal possible. Dans ce navire qui fait naufrage et que nous sommes une race condamnée. Decorons notre cachot, allégeons les maux de nos co-prisonniers. Faisons la partie plus dures à ces bandits de Dieux qui gâchent les vies humaines. Conduisons-nous avec Class.. Desormais, on fait le bien pour l’amour du bien?

Tout le monde qui a participé à une guerre a des amis chers qui se sont fait tuer à la guerre.

Tout le monde sacrifie quelque chose de chère en se mariant.

Septimus avit le trauma d’apres une guerre, il voyait des choses, entendait des sons, connaissait les pensées des gens, il savait le sens du monde….Il parlait à lui-même et a haute voix, même la musique était visible..et voulait se suicider, emportant avec lui un amie chère à lui

Scentsplorations” (How to link smell to creativity)? Anosmia (loss of the sense of smell)? With anosmia being a common symptom of Covid-19, more people are realizing how handicapped we’d be without the ability to detect smells in our environments. Prior to the pandemic, perhaps few would have found it entirely surprising that a majority of youths would rather lose their olfactory sense than give up their tech gadgets.

Ce serait chouette si quand on meurt, on pourrait s’étendre comme une brune entre les gens qu’on connaît le mieux: et entre les branches des arbres qui soulèvent la brume.

Personne n’a vu le visage de ce personnage derrière des fenêtres fumées de la voiture quand la voiture s’arrêta. Mais tout le monde sentait le visage d’une ‘Autorité publique”. Le mystère a effleuré les gens de son aile: le fantôme de la religion était en marche, les yeux bandés et la bouche grande ouverte…

Smell affects the quality of our lives in profound ways. Apart from known benefits like alerting us to danger or improving our appetites, paying attention to odors, it seems, also can bolster our creativity. Converts say developing our olfaction can make us think differently and even speak and write more vividly.

This morning, I slowly decided to spend the morning reading, in just a single book. It was a hard decision, unlike deciding to fast, I fully enjoyed my morning. By Noon, it is time to resume the daily routines of tasks.

La jalousie? Cette passion qui survit à toutes les autres passions. Si ces jalousies valent leurs prix d’Or pour se développer et devenir une personne meilleure!

It is a fact, universally acknowledged of human nature, that if you dangle a “badge of Honor“, while guaranteeing that the stomach will Not go hungry, everyone will work many folds harder to snatch this badge. Problem is that the Elite Classes who hoard all these “Secret Clubs” are very selective of the “candidates” competing for the Honor.

It goes without saying that our “stomach”, if guaranteed it will Not go hungry, is the same for all of us. The problem is that the Elite Classes never felt hungry or cared for any guarantee against starvation, were Not excited to think that all kids should have an Equal Start in life, in primary and secondary education and free lunches.

Every child should have an Equal Start in life: that is the primary job of fair government institutions: a guarantee against starvation, free primary and secondary education and free preventive health care.

Lebanon and Palestine: Same and Different(Part 1)

Posted on April 29, 2009

Brief ancient history:

Lebanon is a recognized State by the UN in 1943. The Lebanese State got its fictitious “independence” from France who withdrew its troops in 1946 (2 years before the State of Israel was recognized by the UN).

Palestine was partitioned in 1947 between Palestinians and the minority Jews (barely 40% but allocated 55% of the land of Palestine).

Currently, all of Palestine is under occupation by this Zionist State called Israel.

Lebanon and Palestine were throughout antiquity under the domination of neighboring Empires such as in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq (Mesopotamia). 

The people in the two tiny stretches of coastal lands on the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea were mainly mariners, traders, middlemen among Empires, and skilled artisans. (They were united under the Seleucid dynasty, an officer of Alexander army)

Under the nominal or explicit domination of Empires, Lebanon and Palestine had autonomous administration of their society as City-States that were highly democratic within the city limits as Athens emulated in the 7th century BC. 

The famous City-States from north to south are Ugarite, Tripoli, Jubail (Byblos), Saida, Sour (Tyr), Akka (Acre and Haifa), and Askelan. 

The City-State of Jubail (inventors of the alphabet) built Saida; Saida built Sour and dominated the sea routes; and Sour built Akka and relayed Saida in sea domination and expanding the trading posts to Spain. 

These City-States were the masters of the sea and traded with all Empires, and build trading towns: they have resisted many overwhelming sieges, sometimes for years, and occasionally managed Not to be entered and devastated.

Every empire that conquered Syria resumed its drive by dominating Lebanon and Palestine. 

In general, when more than one empire co-existed at the same period and when the empire in Egypt was powerful enough then it governed the southern half of Palestine while the other empire governed the upper half, including Lebanon. 

The strip of Gaza to Yafa was mostly under Egyptian cultural influence.

The coastal strip from north actual Syria to the Sinai was called Canaan. Then, the upper stretch to Akka was called Phoenicia or even Saida (in reference for the main City-State).

The Sea People, called Philistines and probably coming from the Adriatic Sea, destroyed Greece fleet, devastated many coastal cities, and conquered Egypt before they were driven out and settle in Gaza and the southern part of Canaan, called Palestine ever since.

Moses (this mythical story) arrived with an amalgam of nomadic tribes and his successors attempted to occupy part of south Palestine.  These tribes worshiped Yahweh/Yahwa, thus, yahoud and Jews for the Latin people

These tribes under Moses reverted to worshiping the all encompassing God of the Land called El., except a few tribes such as Judea and Benjamin.  During the Roman Empire, and most of the empires that dominated Syria, the district of Tyr administered the upper half of Palestine, including Galilee.

Modern History:

 In the beginning of the 20th century, the military in Turkey deposed the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and started policies focused on Turk Nationhood.  Many in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine immigrated to Egypt. 

During the First World War famine fell on Lebanon along with a devastating wave of locust; they immigrated to the USA, Brazil, Latin America, and many were dropped in Africa by unethical ship captains who claimed that they reached the Americas.

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, Britain had mandate over Palestine and Iraq; France had mandate over Lebanon and Syria.

Consequently, the bilingual Palestinians spoke English, and their counterpart in Lebanon spoke French.

In 1930, Haifa grabbed the center of trades and many Lebanese flocked to Haifa and Palestine.  The reverse wave occurred when the State of Israel was recognized by a majority of one vote at the UN in 1948.  Lebanon received Palestinian refugees who were installed in camps on the ground that their stay is temporary! and will return under the UN resolution 194

In one chapter of “World Adrift” Amine Maaluf said “The western powers are now paying the price for failing to apply their values in the colonies” 

The European colonial powers of Britain, France, Germany, and the  Netherlands had no intentions of spreading their moral values to those they considered Not worthy of their pearls and gems.

The indigents were to be enslaved, exploited, and humiliated;

The indigents who adopted the western values of equality, liberty, and democracy were persecuted and harassed and imprisoned;

The colonial administrators negotiated with the conservative conformists who were ready to strike deals and cohabit with lesser human rights. 

Dictators in Europe maybe abhorred after their defeat, but the colonial powers readily accept dictators in underdeveloped States to facilitate the embezzling businesses.

Human values had different quality and flavors according to the whims and interest of the exploiting colonial powers. 

Britain used astute diplomatic policies to subjugate their colonies more frequently than France did; but France of the French Revolution had No patience negotiating and communicating with their colonial people and never skipped an occasion to stat its true purpose for domination.and exhibiting arrogant military posturing.

 The colonial powers installed infrastructures that were appropriate for exploitation of the colonies; they established the required administrations for smooth and efficient exploitation.

The other administrative offices for legislation and justices were carbon copies of the ones in their homeland, but these codes could be disposed off and trampled at the first occasion that short sighted interest called for swift and immediate actions.

Contemporary history:

Current Lebanon was created by France during its mandate period and cut out from Syria; it is now a recognized State by the UN since 1943.  Palestine was divided but the Zionist movement conquered the allocated portion for the Palestinians by the UN in 1948. through a detailed pre-planned attack drawn in 1935. 

The Palestinians are now located in the West Bank of the Jordan River and in Gaza where Israel has built 150 Jewish-only colonies and increasing every year. 

The Palestinians who fled their towns and villages in the State of Israel are refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.  And they spread throughout the 5 continents. The UN resolution 193 demands the repatriation of these Palestinians to their hometowns but Israel has been rebuffing that resolution since 1948.

Lebanon suffered many civil wars and calamities for Not being capable or unwilling of absorbing the Palestinian refugees.

Israel has waged four devastating wars against the State of Lebanon on flimsy pretexts based on the Palestinian resistance trying to regain their rights for a homeland.

And three more pre-emptive wars against after the withdrawal of the PLO in 1982.

Note: More detailed facts of the daily business trades between Lebanon and Palestine in Part 2. The implantation of Israel was mainly meant to break down daily trades, and One market, and prevent daily communication among the One people in One Nation: Syria.

Are you an immigrant? Do I want to forget my “history”?

Posted on July 3, 2010 (Written in May 7, 2009)

The citizens of the developed Nations (mostly the colonial powers), within their own boundaries, feel that they have no longer any need to learn history, especially their own history.  (But the atrocities levied on the people of the “colonized” will keep reminding them that their history was effectively Evil)

History to the citizens of the developed nations is a drag, a waste of time, of no use, totally irrelevant. They are mostly correct in their feeling and appreciation of the uselessness of history relevant to their nation.

Why is this feeling?

First, they have reached a level of social cohesion, awareness, appreciation of human dignity and human rights that reduce historical accounts of injustices (and exploitation of the “citizens” in mines for many generations) as redundant stories.

Second, they are more concerned about their present state of affairs such as maintaining their current level of comfort, consumerism choices, creating diverse opportunities, future availabilities for their desires and wishes. 

These modern citizens have institutions to continue the good work; institutions to analyze whatever history is appropriate for the nation, institutions for research, for legitimacy, for governance, for economy, for finance, for strategic studies, for learning, for art, for marketing, and for studying the underdeveloped States and minorities.

History for the citizens of the developed nation is plainly relegated to the under-developed States.

The Third World and Fourth World “citizens”, (we should create another term for citizenship for the underdeveloped world because it is frankly too pompous and inappropriate any which way you define a citizen), have nothing left but “history” for amusement and to give them reference to an illusory identity.

History for the “history citizens” has been written by the vanquisher and then translated and interpreted by the colonial powers.

The archeological sites in the land of the “amused archaic citizens” were dug out and investigated by the colonial powers and the artifacts were dusted off, cleaned, and conserved in secured museums that the traveling tourists and immigrants never visit. 

The chasm between the developed and the “non-developed” States is huge and growing larger by the day. 

History is still being taught in the developed nations simply because more immigrants are flocking in and some sort of integration is commendable.

More likely, a citizen would visit an immigrant friend to fill him in on current news, and occasionally, getting a good laugh on stories of their respective ancestors. 

Yes, the immigrant might know more details on the developed citizen’s ancestors and the history of this citizen’s country. 

In fact, hard copy dailies are published to satisfy the voracious curiosities of the immigrants. Storytelling is a cultural trademark among immigrants: Usually, getting together is worthless and devoid of any interest if No bickering accompanies the assembly of immigrants.

If there are rival “civilizations” it must be in the mind of the immigrants: They are attuned to any gesture, tone of voice, slang, or posturing that remind them of their “indignity”, their frequent humiliations, their total dependence on the host nation for understanding, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and equal treatments under the laws.

The immigrants are overachiever, hard-working, on constant alert of changes in behavior and special laws, on foreign policies regarding their “homeland”, on unequal measures doled in foreign policies and moral values.

“Civilization clash” is in the mind of the immigrant: the “developed” citizen doesn’t care about the agony and tribulation of his immigrant friend. 

The immigrant is a sponge for all kinds of curiosities in art, theater, intellectual life, and any association that invites him to participate. 

The immigrant is most likely polyglot and can converse in many languages and he has to suffer being mocked for his accent in the local slang; he has to be corrected frequently because accent is the main avenue for integration and acceptance as a civilized individual.

Discrimination is in the mind of the immigrant: A citizen would immediately recognize an immigrant for miles if he cared to focus a second on the individual. 

The citizen in an administrative position has to call upon the cleric, the community leader, or the father of the immigrant before taking any decision for any kinds of permit application.

The immigrant is supposed to be looked after as an immature kid no matter how old he is. Equal treatments are the domain of the citizens and interpretations of the law and customs are appropriate when dealing with an immigrant. 

The whole gamut of the UN laws for human rights were targeted for the under-developed States that are shaming human kinds in their state of affairs. 

Yet, many “non-citizens” would like to experience a new era when embargoes on military hardware, military trainers, and military experts are imposed on dictators, juntas, and oligarchies who are flaunting the UN human rights declarations in their underdeveloped States.

Learning seriously the language of your immigrant friend is the first sign of real friendship.

Blatantly observing the differences in culture and customs is an excellent sign of friendship. Vigorously and unabashedly critiquing divergence in opinions is sign of friendship. 

Make no mistake:  Any behavior that smack of covert apartheid is quickly sensed by your immigrant “friend”. 

Make no mistake: the next generation of your immigrant friend will be exactly you, when you were younger. If you are serious for integration of your immigrant friend , then behave as if you are dealing with the next generation, on a par.

List of Book reviews in 2008

Posted on September 23, 2008

Many of the books that I have reviewed were written prior to 2008, before I discovered wordpress.com, and they might be categorized as controversial.  

At the time, I got the habit of writing my diary, on a computer that my nephew William assembled from scratch the parts from IBM. I used diskettes, Not many of them since most of my pieces were in words. Actually, I was using the software “Word”. I displaced the diskettes: In any case, my diary sounded like announcing the weather in Los Angeles “Will get back for an update next month”

It is not my job to fall into that trap of judging what is fine to read.  

I simply reviews,  summarizes, and add my comments of what I have read that express deep feeling and personal reflections.  

I always give my “expert” opinions anyway:  It is your right to express your opinion.

There are books that I had to publish several posts on particular chapters, simply because topics are interesting and need further development.

1) “Life after Life” by Dr. Raymond Moody, (written in June 7, 2004)

2) “A Priest among “Les Loubards”” by Guy Gilbert, (written in July 22, 2004)

3) “We the Living” by Ayn Rand, (written in July, 24, 2004)

4) “Prophesies of End of Time” by Paco Rabanne(November 15, 2004)

5) “Alexander the Great”, (November 20, 2004)

6) “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman (July 28, 2006)

7) “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Saleh, (August 10, 2006)

8) “The Princes of the Crazy Years” by Gilbert Gilleminault and Philippe Bernert.

9) “Carlos Ghosn: Citoyen du Monde” by Philippe Ries, (Septembre 27, 2006)

10) “Abbo”by Nabil Al Milhem, (November 23, 2006)

11) “Human Types; Essence and the Enneagram” by Suzan Zannos, (December 6, 2006)

12) “One hundred fallacies on the Middle East (ME)” by Fred Haliday, (March 2, 2007)

13) “Origins” by Amin Maaluf, February 15, 2007

14) “Imagined Masculinity” edited by Mai Ghoussoub and Emma Sinclair-Webb

15) “Post-modernism: the Arabs in a video snapshot” by Mai Ghoussoub,( March 4, 2007)

16) “The Joke” by Milan Kundera, (March 22, 2007)

17) “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, March 28, 2007

18)  “Biography” of In3am Ra3d, April 7, 2007

19)  “Al-Walid Bin Talal”, April 4, 2007

20) “The Gardens of Light” by Amin Maaluf, April 19, 2007

21) “Two old women” by Velma Wallis, May 1, 2007

22) “I heard the owl call my name” by Margaret Craven, May 3, 2007

23) “A woman of independent means” by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, May 6, 2007

24) “The Gospel according to Pilate” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, May 9, 2007

25) “Les innovations du XXI siecle qui vont changer notre vie” by Eric de Riedmatten.

26) “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, July 3, 2007

27) “Liban: le salut par la culture” by Phares Zoghbi, August 19, 2007

28) “Finding Joy” by Charlote Davis Kasl, August 22, 2007

29) “Tadjoura” by Jean Francois Deniau, Septembre 6, 2007

30) “How to dance forever” by Daniel Nagrin, September 8, 2007

31.  “The Second sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, (September 21, 2007)

32.  “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson, (September 25, 2007)

33.  “The God of mirrors” by Robert Reilly, (October 1st, 2007)

34.  “The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell, (October 9, 2007)

35.  “The social structure of Lebanon: democracy or servitude?” by Safia Saadeh

October 15, 2007

36. “Fallaci interviews Fallaci and Apocalypse”, by Oriana Falaci (November 8, 2007)

37. “Aicha la bien-aime du Prophet” by Genevieve Chauvel (November 19, 2007)

38.  “Tess of the D’Urberville” Thomas Hardy, (December 19, 2007)

39. “Le livre des saviors” edited by Constantin von Barloewen (December 22, 2007)

40.  Gandhi’s non-violent resistance guidelines (February 21, 2008)

41. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown (March 12, 2008)

42. “La reine de Palmyre” by Denise Brahimi (March 26, 2007)

43. “Culture et resistance” by Edward W. Said (April 18, 2008)

44. “L’Avorton de Dieu; une vie de Saint Paul” by Alain Decaux (April 23, 2008)

45.  “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell (July 14, 2008)

46. “Why the Arab World is not free?” by Moustapha Safouan (July 21, 2008)

47.  “Igino Giordani” by Jean-Marie Wallet and Tommaso Sorgi (August 5, 2008)

48.  “Building a durable World” in “Science et Vie” magazine special issue of June 2008 (August 10, 2008)

“Orientalism” with a twist

Posted on December 13, 2012

Note: Currently, Lebanon is bankrupt: State, Banks , Central Bank and public institutions. The port of Beirut was blown down by an electromagnetic pulse missiles that only the superpower own.

For much of its contemporary history, Beirut has been characterized as the Paris of the Middle East, a cosmopolitan metropolis that misfortune has placed in the middle of a region hostile to the civilized pleasures of material excess, free-flowing alcohol and exposed female skin.

(Kind of the adjacent States, including Israel, refuse to agree for Lebanon to be like a neutral Switzerland!)

Beirut’s Parisian charm has tended to become less apparent during periods of mass sectarian slaughter during the 13 years of civil war that displaced mixed religious people in towns into cantons of similar religious sects.

In the introduction to his Orientalism, the late US/Palestinian author Edward Said notes repercussions of civil conflict in Lebanon on the European consciousness:

“On a visit to Beirut during the terrible civil war of 1975-1976 a French journalist wrote regretfully of the gutted downtown area that ‘it had once seemed to belong to the Orient of Chateaubriand and Nerval [18th- and 19th-century French Romantic writers] ‘.

This journalist was right about the place, especially so far as a European was concerned. The Orient was almost a European invention, and had been since antiquity a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences.” (See link in note 2)

Belen Fernandez published in AlJazeera on Nov. 6, 2012 “Orientalism with a surgical twist: Beirut”


The ‘New York Times’ advertised Beirut as number 1 out of 44 ideal travel destinations in 2009 [Reuters]Can the representation of Beirut as a “Middle Eastern Paris brimming with wealth” function on behalf of imperialism?
“The civil war may indeed have upset a regional landscape constructed over time by European scholars, poets, travelers and other self-appointed authorities, who, as late Edward Said argues, helped institutionalize Eurocentric prejudice, deny agency to the actual inhabitants of the romanticized exotic lands and thus facilitate imperial and colonial conquest.

The civil war did not, however, halt Orientalist traditions – made quite clear in manuscripts like From Beirut to Jerusalem, unleashed to wide acclaim in 1989 by former New York Times Beirut bureau chief Thomas Friedman.

According to Friedman’s account, civil war-era Lebanon was populated by “buxom, Cleopatra-eyed Lebanese girls“, whose presence threw invading Israeli soldiers for a loop:”

This was not the Sinai, filled with cross-eyed Bedouins and shoeless Egyptian soldiers“.

That such caricatures were permitted to pass as insight, exposes the delusional nature of Friedman’s subsequent complaint that “a toxic political correctness infected the academic field of Middle Eastern studies“.

Paris revisited In recent years, Beirut has reclaimed its image as the Paris of the Middle East, outfitted with expanded shopping opportunities and a spiffy new downtown erected on the former dividing line between the Muslim and Christian halves of the city.

A spate of Times articles about Beirut’s various amenities offers such trivia as that “In a city of many faiths – Christian, Sunni, Shia, Druze – at least one religion is universally practiced: sun worship“.

The New York Times has dutifully taken on the role of PR firm for the resurgent Lebanese capital, advertising it as number 1 out of 44 ideal travel destinations in 2009.

Given that the specified temples of worship are high-end beach clubs where “hordes of heliophiles absorb ultraviolet rays and cultivate their bronzed exteriors”, it would seem that said religion is Not so universal after all– either from an economic perspective or one that recognises the incompatibility of certain prominent faiths with public bronzed exterior cultivation.

On the new Zaitunay Bay waterfront promenade, a “luxury playground” where “tablecloths gleam white and bottles of wine sweat in silver coolers”, the Times observes that the boardwalk planks, “a nod to maritime authenticity, present a design flaw perhaps foreseeable in this city:

Women with Louis Vuitton handbags are forever extracting their spike heels from the cracks”.

Additional sights at Zaitunay Bay, itself described as “Lebanon’s latest effort to recapture the prewar 1960s – when Brigitte Bardot was a regular and Beirut was a fashionable port of call”, include an Iraqi immigrant in “leather miniskirt, thigh-high boots and a fur vest and whose fire-engine-red lipstick and long yellow hair” would have appeared out-of-place in her native land but “were right at home in Beirut”.

In other Beirut-centric dispatches, the Times raves about gay nightlife and restaurants offering beef and duck flown in from France.

The point of taking issue with such idealised odes to money and fashion is Not to deny the affluence that exists in the city or the comparatively liberal nature of its society.

However, the marketing of a Beirut brand of “joie de vivre“, so blatantly equated with material wealth becomes morally problematic when we acknowledge the glaring economic disparity in the country, visible in the capital itself.

Consider, for example, the aesthetic differences between the refurbished downtown and the overcrowded and neglected Palestinian refugee camps and primarily Shia southern suburbs.

In these areas, recent infrastructure projects have included the rampant flattening of apartment blocks by the Israeli air force in 2006.

Needless to say, less sanitary aspects of life in Lebanon – such as the enslaved status of many migrants employed in the domestic help sector – have no place in the portrait of Beirut as a paradise of wealth, where tantalising opportunities await foreign visitors and their pocketbooks.

Cleopatra on Botox Three decades after Thomas Friedman discovered buxom Cleopatra in Lebanon, another Western voyager by the name of David J Constable has confirmed that the women still “look like Cleopatra”, and that they have acquired new methods for enhancing their appearances – becoming in the process veritable ambulatory showcases for “tucks, lifts, firming, lipo, implants, grafting, tightening, otoplasty, mammoplasty, rhinoplasty and many other physical manipulations”.

A member of the Royal Geographical Society, Constable approaches his anthropological subjects with Orientalist vigour, compiling his findings in a Huffington Post report entitled “Boobs, Botox, and the Babes of Beirut“.

Constable dispatch begins with the curious hypothesis:“For a largely “Arab “country it’s a bizarre thing that in Lebanon (Beirut specifically), women care more about their appearance than men. Males lead a rather sullied existence, priming their closely cut mini-beards and, from my own observations, eating rather a lot.

The formula in Lebanon’s capital for women is fashion-forward, from their choice of cloth to the decisions they make surgically.”

Non-experts on Arab grooming habits might of course be surprised to deduce that men usually spend hours preening in front of the mirror while women mope about in filth.

Undeterred, Constable rumbles on: “Muslim, Christian and Druze women in Beirut dress surprisingly skimpy. There are vests and silks and bikinis and cashmere and come-hither off-the-shoulder numbers.

Constable warns of occasional inauspicious outcomes among operated females: “Some look as if a drunken Picasso has drawn a face on to a balloon”.

In the very least, Picasso’s inebriated doodles attest to the European role in literally shaping the Orient.

Indeed, in 2006, the Israelis were presumably just as pleased as they’d been in 1982:  They discovered that not all Arabs were cross-eyed Bedouins, and Lebanon is still inhabited by bikini-clad plastic surgery recipients (and their slovenly overeating menfolk).

Field notes The Orient’s existence as a spectacle for the Westerner to behold and interpret is meanwhile made especially clear during Constable’s expedition to a nightclub “to witness the dolls and their dates myself”.

A power outage interrupts the exotic display but is fortunately resolved:“The lights slowly raise and the permafixed smiles return.

The waxed, toned limbs of party women begin to pop and gyrate again.They’re back on show, electrified so their surgical enhancements, botoxed-brows and designer names can bounce off my eyes, competing in a variety of silk-cut blouses, Louboutin heels and over-night handbags.

At another rooftop bar, Constable surmises that “there are benefits to marrying/dating/having sex with a plastic surgeon, since surely No one can afford to spend that much of their own cash on reconstructive surgery and blow-me-up operations”. Case closed.

As with the New York Times‘ fixation with Beirut glamour, the effect of essays like Constable’s is to reduce the Lebanese to a superficial existence in which personal concerns are limited to inflating one’s lips and breasts and not getting one’s designer heels stuck in boardwalk planks.

Never mind that many Lebanese are faced with more pressing preoccupations, such as a southern neighbour with a penchant for massacring civilians, upending infrastructure and saturating portions of the country with unexploded cluster bombs to serve as post-conflict population control.

Some may argue that the Times Constable approach is less detrimental than other reductionist portrayals of the country, such as Lebanon equals terrorist den.

These reductionist statements helps propagate an ethnic stereotype that has been exploited to justify more than one imperial project in the Arab/Muslim world.

The representation of Beirut as a Middle Eastern Paris brimming with wealth and cleavage – a place the West can relate to on account of its fervent materialism – can also function on behalf of imperialism, eliminating as it does all context legitimizing other aspects of Lebanon’s identity, like resistance to Israeli regional designs.

Note 1: Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Workreleased by Verso in 2011.She is a member of the Jacobin Magazine editorial board, and her articles have appeared in the London Review of Books blogAl Akhbar English and many other publications.The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Note 2https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/culture-and-resistance-by-edward-w-said/

Note 3: I think Miss Lebanon of 2012 is the one on the far left, the tall blonde one?

Dawn of Philo-Ethics, and eco-philosophy

Posted on January 29, 2010

In the previous post “Twilight for love of knowledge or philosophy”, I explored the theme that philosophy is reaching an end.

Before the 16th century, sciences in Europe were towed by philosophy until Galileo enforced the notion of empirical experimentation and measuring what was Not previously measured.

By the time of Descartes, philosophy started to limp and relied on religion as crutch to survive.

Sciences have taken over: they can extend answers to what can be answered.

Sciences are far more efficient than philosophy: faulty answers go unnoticed very effectively

There are very few practiced scientists, and every man is a philosopher: man can feel what’s wrong with a philosophical system but he does refrains to claim knowledge in sciences.

Knowledge is acquired by reasoning on the alternative options formed by perception of man and universe.  When we investigate our opinions and feelings, we ultimately want to open up alternatives for the mind to discovering the immutable elements in the relationships.

The brain is the field where perceived senses and reasoning procedures or processes interacts: without these interactions there are no perceptions, no actions, and no survival of any species.

It is not necessary to be a practicing scientist to have a scientific critical mind. Otherwise, not many people would feel comfortable believing that they are endowed with sensible rational and empirical thinking.

When I claim that we need to think philosophically, I mean that we need to combine the ethical component to whatever scientific thinking we undertake. The ethical mind should be the guiding rod to solutions or resolutions of any question.

For example, (it might sound a simple interrogation, but it might carry complex implicit ramifications), suppose that I stirred my Nescafe cup with a spoon.  My Nescafe includes No sugar or milk; just plain hot filtered water added to Nescafe.  I got into wondering: should I rinse the spoon in tank supplied water (many germs) or just let the spoon dry when removed from the cup? 

The idiosyncratic reaction is to rinse the spoon no matter what, isn’t it?

If I discover that the accumulated potent germs on a dried spoon are far less than the rinsed one then what would be your behavior? 

The whole exercise is that we generally extend ready behaviors to our answers; we do not take a deep breath to wonder whether there are implicit reasons in the questions.

Philo-ethics (a new term that I invented) is to work on a set of stringent ethical reasoning that you feel are right.

The purpose is that you feel you have the right to state your ethics because you applied them

The other advantage is that you won’t feel obligated to impose your ethics on people you like their company: you are in a position to be lenient and to compromise because relationships are more important than strict rules and regulations.

What can be the immutable norms that distinguish right from wrong?

What kinds of realities are eternal?

Cannibalism is not an immutable norm since many tribes still eat man in this century.

Anyway, mankind is a carnivore and has been eating his own kind with various aspects of ceremonies such as eating the flesh, heart, liver, and brain boiled, raw, or roasted. 

Thus, we need to be more attuned to ethnological studies and observations of the remaining tribes living separate from urban centers.

We need to comprehend the behavior, customs, and traditions of primitive tribes since they resembled ours before we opted for urban life style, within mostly a fast developing virtual civilization.

Arne Naess disseminated the eco-philosophy which stated that western paradigm line of thinking is taking the wrong direction for a sustainable earth: Man is not in the upper chain of evolution and he has no right to destroy the other living creatures for his perceived universe.

We are in a period of technological development that feed on itself and proliferates pretty much independently of any other sciences; technology feels confident that it does not need validation or control by third parties.

Fact is we need to have better understanding of the effects of our behaviors: mankind is on the same boat and everyone is asked to think that he is the captain of the boat.

Things are changing. 

The world can be felt as reduced to a Town Square: instant audio-visual communications around the world is discouraging people to move out and investigate “his universe”.  Mind you that the Renaissance man had to travel on horses for long distances to educate his curiosity and talents.

The new wave of occultism, New Age, alternative lifestyle, mysticism, spiritualism, healing, astrology, clairvoyance, and telepathy are consequences of collecting mass “coincidental” happenings among the billions of people and which are relayed instantly on the Internet. 

These coincidences can be explained rationally, especially if we believe in the power of the subconscious for erratic behaviors.

The worst part is that millions are still brandishing old Books/Bibles …claiming every word for “truth”; as if we are in the Dark Ages. 

Sciences and technologies have done serious empirical attempts to answer most of the dialectical problems in philosophy, such as how the universe was started, how knowledge developed and progressed.

What is outside the realm of sciences is in the domain of faith, which should not be confounded with religious philosophical belief systems.

A few facts can now be settled that set the stage for the dawn of philo-ethics or for questions related to the dignity of man for freedom, liberty, free opinion, shelter, clean water, health, safety, food, clean air, voting rights, anti-discrimination attitudes relative to color, religion, gender, and country of origin.

The hardship that you subjected yourself to is to keep sensible relationship working: a climate of genuine compassion to human frailty gives incentives to overcome shortcomings that may be surmounted.

Report (#17). (April 25, 2009)

Every now and then you read optimistic editorials that an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is very close because the US wants it, again, this time around. 

I heard these optimistic reflection 15 years ago by the Egyptian Ambassador to the USA who later was appointed Foreign Minister. 

You are led to believe that a Syrian-Israel accord is already completed and just waiting for a suitable political climate; and we all wonder and worry what “suitable political climate” entails as it has never been, but more wars and massacres to Lebanese and Palestinians.

 In the weekly “Jeune Afrique” (Young Africa) the editorial of Bechir ben Yahmed would like you to sit tight and see a wonderful movie of peace achievement unfold in the region , No later than two years from now.  Why? 

Because the new US Administration has set its mind that the establishment of a Palestinian State is the cornerstone for its long range policies in the Middle East, and that the European community badly wants this resolution on ground that it can No longer afford to pay for frequent reconstructions in Palestine and Gaza.

And Why the US has finally set its mind? 

Simply because a panel of 10 illustrious men in US politics has proposed this resolution. They are Brent Scowcroft, Paul Volcker, Zbigniew Brzeziński, James Wolfensohn, Henry Siegman, and others.

What is the ready plan of the US Administration?

First, the return of Israel to its 1967 border with “concessions on several parcels of lands” Yes, right.

Second, dividing Jerusalem as Capital for the two States;

Third, the return of Palestinian refugees to the Palestinian State. And why Israel is still transferring Palestinians to Gaza?

Forth, the admission of Israel of its responsibility and financial compensation by the “World Community”; and

Finally, the stationing of International Peace Force on the borders.

Nothing more and nothing less; see you all how simple and straightforward has this plan boiled down too! 

In the mean time:

First, the Palestinians and the “Arab” States have to recognize a purely Jewish State in their midst;

Second, the US has to recognize Hamas as a democratically elected party as it recognized the democratically elected ultra racists Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman. Not for long, before shaming Hamas as a terrorist movement.

Third, the US has to recognize that Israel has nuclear bombs and missiles that can deliver them and thus has the responsibility Not to leave decisions of mass destruction in the hands of foolish racist and “Arab hate mongers“; and

Forth, the US has to stop delivering white phosphorous bombs to Israel, as well as cluster bombs….

The German cargo transporter “Wehr Elbe” discharged 300 containers of military ammunitions in Israel and containing White Phosphorous bombs that caused the outcry of the international community for being dropped consistently on Gaza and burning thousands of Palestinians.

What else did these containers deliver? Cluster bombs, you guessed it.

Every week a child or a shepherd dies or is maimed in south Lebanon due to the millions of cluster bombs that Israel “delivered” in the last day of the 2006 July War.

That is not the end of the story.

Two other cargo shipments are in the pipelines. Why?

The previous Bush Administration has signed an accord with Israel for $25 billion dollars in free military package aids

Funny, President Obama does not want to rescind criminal decisions, as if closing Guantanamo Bay prison is of a lesser magnitude in hypocrisy.

An Iranian proverb says: “Balding men dies with a toupee of abundant curly regrets

This proverb squarely applies to Israel ex Ehoud Olmer PM. 

For three years, Olmert had the opportunity to sign peace agreement with Syria and establish a Palestinian homeland but he failed to do so.  In his departure farewell he delivered a public testament urging his successor Netanyahu to boldly and courageously grab a historic initiative to that effect.

If these decisions had no other alternatives then why has Olmert failed in his responsibility?

Israel, the US, and the European Union would like the general public to consider Iran the main nemesis for world peace. 

They don’t dare say that Pakistan that owns nuclear bombs is falling to a Taliban-like extremism. 

They also don’t dare say that the over 300 million Muslims in India are mostly of Shia sect leaning, like in Iran.

In Lebanon, over 750 candidates for the Parliamentary election in June 7 deposited $6,000 each to be eligible. 

Many withdrew from the race and recovered $1,500; the remaining lost their deposit. 

The treasury would be over 3 millions dollars richer. 

The New York Times published yesterday that Saudi Kingdom is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars to support the government candidates.  Saad Hariri is the medium for receiving and distributing the Saudi dirty money. 

Saudi monarchy would like the government in Lebanon to return as majority even with one candidate.  All the main lists of candidates have been formed by both alliances.

Today is the official anniversary of the Armenian genocide; the Armenians in Lebanon are not happy that Seniora PM decided to hold a meeting for the cabinet today. 

I had posted an essay on the genesis of the Armenian genocide under the title “Cursed Cities: Kars”

Folly of follies: Worshipping illusions

Posted on November 19, 2016

Mankind began to worship killing other humans when he realized that it generated quick money at the expense of the majority of people who were denied equal start in life, in societies that created classes and categories of “what to work” and what restraining rights they should enjoy…

In no period of history worship was Not associated with killing one another, creating the notion of the sacrificial lamb, the collateral damages of the destitute, the downtrodden, the ignored, the unknown.

Worshipping is the pure definition of believing in a set of illusions and myths.

We believe in a God, a cultist system, the Nation, the Money, the Army, the Banks, monarchies, faked democracies, artificial wealth not backed by readily exchangeable goods and services…

Mankind will keep worshipping any one of these fiction realities, even if half of mankind is slaughtered or trampled.

Only taking care of our daily tasks keeps us sane for the duration.

The folly of follies is when we indulge in maniacal routine daily tasks to avert the imminence of folly.

Task like constant dusting, frequent re-arranging furniture, cataloguing and ordering what we possess…

I conjecture that mankind learned to fear and abhor death when he invented the notion of liquid currencies/cash money.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

June 2021
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Blog Stats

  • 1,472,721 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 807 other followers

%d bloggers like this: