Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

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

Posted  on October 24, 2008 and written in December 22, 2007

This manuscript is a series of interviews of thinkers that Barloewen considers as representative of this century such as, the Syrian poet “Adonis”, the Egyptian diplomat Boutros Boutros Ghali, the biochemist Erwin Chargaff, the French politician Regis Debray, the Latin American writer Carlos Fuentes, Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Jay Gould, Samuel Huntington, Philip Johnson, Leszek Kołakowski, Julia Kristeva, Federico Mayor, Yehudi Menuhin, Czesław Miłosz, Oscar Niemeyer, The Israeli writer Amos Oz, Raimon Panikkar, Cardinal Paul Poupard, Ilya Prigogine, Arthur Schlesinger, Michel Serres, Wole Soyinka, Edward Teller, Tu Wei-Ming, Paul Virilio,, and Elie Wiesel.

Adonis said: “I was born in the Koran”.  Adonis is the pseudonym of the Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber; he published his first poems at the age of 17.  

Adonis collection “The chants of Mihyar of Damascus” started his career in 1961.  He founded the magazine “Poems” (Chi3r) with Yousef Al Khal and then “Mawaqif”(positions) and translated many French poetry manuscripts.  He published “The time of cities”, “Memory of the wind”, “Prayer and sword”, and “Grave for New York”.

Adonis says that there are two texts for the Koran:

The first text is the compilation of the revelations proper of the Prophet Muhammad, and

The second text is a compilation of what the prophet said or alluded to and the interpretations of the ulamas called ”Al Hadith”.  

The jurists, the philosophers, the politicians and Caliphates favored the second text “Hadith”, which has eclipsed the main text in matter of daily rules and obligations.  

The reliance on Hadith mainly transformed Islam into an ideology. The present problem is related to this dualism of the two texts.

(Actually, the original compilation of the Prophets verses were also edited and transformed to suit the expansion of the Islamic empire during the third caliph Uthman bin Affan and this currently adopted Koran sound a transliteration to the Judaic Bible)

Religious fundamentalism is a form of anti-modernity but we need to define and differentiate the meaning of modernity among regions. 

Fundamentalism is anti-liberty, anti-change and anti-openness to other cultures but Muslim fundamentalism was encouraged by the Western Nations to counter communism. (As the British supported the Wahhabi sect in the Arabian Peninsula in order to confront the Ottoman Caliphate)

The Muslim mystics interpret the notions of hell and paradise symbolically. 

Islam had been a culture opened to other religions and adopted the mixing among various cultures and Israel has to realize that its existence is linked to her intermingling with the culture of the neighbors.

Many believe that identity is pre-set and that the citizens have to find their identity at the source, but identity is related to the future and is formed by perpetual openness to other cultures. My tradition is not just “Arabic” but go all the way to over five thousand years before the Islamic conquests.

The late Erwin Chargaff said: “No scientist knows what is life”.  

Chargaff  is a renowned biochemist who contributed in the understanding of the DNA and taught at Columbia University for 40 years.  He considers the USA as a big waste disposal State with no culture: the melting pot or the lowest common denominator among the various ethnic groups revolves around money.  

It would take a miracle for the USA to acquire a homogeneous culture.

There is a mechanism in place that paralyses spiritual thoughts and sensibility: any form of pure poetry is viewed as grotesque in the US culture.

The lyrical thinking of the 18th century was replaced by natural sciences. Thus, instead of explaining what is life, the scientist analyze the components of life and try to colonize nature. 

Chargaff states that what we comprehend is far remote from what we can do with science: the irreversible genetically altered genes in human and vegetables are very dangerous, scary and criminal.

The scientist of previous centuries used to dabble in the spiritual, but the little scientists of this century have No idea of the general context and are very indifferent.

Chargaff claims that science is interesting but should not be given too much importance: there should be no time limit imposed on any scientific discovery and thus, the less scientific institutions receive in grants the better for science and societies.

In the essential of progress we might still be as developed as the Neanderthal.

We do not need to have more superior musicians or philosophers in order to claim progress. The history of the world is a catalogue of violent acts and accidents, and beauty has no place in that history.

Nobody can teach us in the domain of literature and human sciences and we are on our own to conquer these fields.

Chargaff has religious sensibilities but he has no religion; he said that everyone should build his own chapel in order to defend his internal forces against the ambient impiety. It is dangerous that the sacred is vanishing from our culture and traditions.

Regis Debray said: “The Futurists are always wrong”.  

Debray is a French writer, philosopher, and political activist.  He was President Francois Mitterrand’s third world foreign affairs. He was a war correspondent in Venezuela and Bolivia and served three years prison term in Bolivia in the 60’s.

He published articles in “Les temps modernes” of Sartre and is the founder of the “mediology” and is more oriented toward the effects of religions in the secular domain.

He says that religion is linked to the idea of institutions and personified divinities, but the religious has no need of a God or of confession:

Communism, fascism and Nazism were religious secular atheist ideologies. 

Debray has coined this maxim “The less the secular authorities are spiritual the more the spiritual power is secular” and he gives as an example of the extensive secular meddling of the Russian Orthodox Church. (Actually, the more the public institutions support any religious movement, the less is the secularity of the State)

The source of cohesiveness in any community is founded on the sacred or faith in a final objective that guarantee its continuation. The sacred cannot be manipulated because it is not controlled by man.  

A community has to open up to transcendental values such as lost paradise, myths, or even a Constitution in order to keep its internal unity and has also to set boundaries. 

Thus, what attaches a group together is a certain faith, unlike individuals who may know, but not necessarily have faith.  The group or community may be specialized organizations that set up rules and regulations and programs as sacred rituals.

The marketing tendencies of setting political programs in the Western States, which are supposed to satisfy peoples wants and wishes, do not enhance the political will or rationality, but purely the cult of emotion.

And thus, the social and humanitarian aspects are replacing diplomacy at the expense of the ideal. 

Communication used by the media propagate information in the dimension of space, while transmission of knowledge and traditions propagate information along the time dimension. And thus, the transmission vehicles, which characterize human development, such as family, school, university, and organization for educating and preserving the heritage of our ancestors are losing ground.

Carlos Fuentes talked about “the Creole or mixed offspring or the Latin American drama and the future myths”.

Fuentes was born in Panama and is a Mexican writer, academic, politician and diplomat; he served a term at the UN in the section of international work and founded several literary magazines with Octavio Paz.

His publications are “Days of Carnival”, “The most limpid region”, “The death of Artemio Cruz”, “The songs of the blinds”, “New skin”, “Terra nostra”, “The old gringo”, and “The century of the eagle”.

Fuentes thinks that the 21st century will be marked by mass immigration from the South and East to Europe and the USA.

The poors in the Latin America will have no choice but to invade the USA, unless mass investment are allocated to that impoverished continent. 

He is saddened that the Greek tragic dramas have been replaced by Hollywood melodramas, where one party is right and the other is the bad:  tragical dramas are not necessarily unhappy and pathetic stories because the two protagonists are both right in their positions depending on your philosophy and focus in values.

He described Don Quixote as the book of uncertainty; the name, locations and even the author are not clearly defined.  The locus of novels should be the media of the doubt, of re-questioning the dogmas and the uncertainties in the world.

During the revolutions for independence from Spain in 1820, the (elite classes?) in Latin American States decided that they had enough of Spanish culture but they had to seek education and culture from Europe and France because the indigent Indian and black minorities could not be of any substitute. 

At that year, the USA issued the “Monroe doctrine” which stated that the USA reserve the right to intervene in Latin America and consequently, the population get their distance from acquiring knowledge and culture from this Calvinist and utilitarian State.

The Cuban Alejo Carpentier explained the Negro traditions, the Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias explained the Indian traditions, and the Argentinean Borges explained the Islamic and Jewish traditions; thus, the identity of Latin American took form in the 20th century.

Twilight of “Knowledge lovers”, Part 2

Posted on January 28, 2010

  • In: Book Review | engineering/research/experiments | Essays | philosophy | religion/history
  • In part 1, I exposed the theme that philosophy was the super-structure of the dominant class in any period of what is now called “Class Ideology”, and that the economical aspect was not included in the philosophical system of reasoning. (Just Not to open the eyes of the educated on the basic aspect of their conditions?)

Man has been asking questions; he has been cultivating doubts.

Every question generated many non-answered questions.  Every man is a philosopher once he starts jotting down coherent questions and then realizes that his “universe” is based on doubts.

Most of his questions have no satisfactory resolutions to constitute a perceived “structured comprehensive world” in his brain.

A philosopher sets out to devise a set of structural questions that he thinks are “logically deductive” in nature (it means that it would not be feasible to answer a previous question before resolving several basic questions). 

Thus, philosophers have been driven to accept a few fundamental “given” solutions, or “elemental facts,” or principles just to get going in their projects of building structured understanding of man and the universe.

Since Antiquity, philosophy (love of knowledge) was a catch-all term to represent all aspects of knowledge, including metaphysical concepts.  

Since sciences were barely founded on facts or empirical experiments (not appreciated within the dominant classes), except during the Islamic Golden Age (9th to 12th century), and after the “what is not measured should be measured” by Galileo in the 17th century, philosophers fundamentally based their structure on abstract premises and deductive logic.

This makes sense: Once knowledge is firmly grounded on empirical facts (assuming the design of the experiment is valid) then philosophy should take secondary place in rational societies.

Sure, the name and meaning of philosophy was lost in the absurd long gestation toward the advance of knowledge. 

The mathematician Descartes was the first European who tried to delimit boundaries between sciences and philosophy: Descartes differentiated between invariant primal impressions and secondary perceived variables. It was the period when sciences got ascendance over abstract philosophical structures.

Before the 16th century, Europe’s philosophical systems were towing sciences (principally natural sciences).

Descartes influence stems from differentiating between forms of realities/ “substances”.  The first kind of  substance is the mind which cannot be subdivided. Examples of such substances are the notions of time, space, and mass with which quantitative properties of an object can be measured. 

The second kind of substance or “extensions to the matter” represents the qualitative properties of an object such as color, smell, taste, and the like. 

Descartes division in forms and reality is being validated in equations: the right hand side and left hand side in any equation must be compatible with the same dimensions of time, space, and mass (what is known as compatibility in units of measurement). By the way, Descartes was a lousy philosopher but first-rate mathematician.

There are attempts at “refreshing” interest in philosophy by giving new names and labels to ancient philosophical schools and beginning with the prefix “neo-something”.  For example, we hear about neo-empiricism, neo-Marxism, neo-Darwinism, neo-materialism, neo-existentialism, analytical philosophy and so forth.

All these new lines of current philosophical structures have historical roots that reach to antiquity and pre-Socratic philosophers.

The new “refreshed” lines of thinking apply current scientific fields (such as anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, or sociology) to ancient philosophical systems to validate their contentions.

For example, current nuclear physicists are fundamentally pre-Socratic in their quest for the elemental matters; they want to be able to offer a satisfactory explanation of “what is matter?” This problem is thus a vital part of their “life’s philosophy”, the “essence” or an answer to the question “what is my nature”?

I conjecture that most universities have branches called “philosophy” or something related to logical processes: students need topics to write thesis and dissertations.

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, but every man think he is a philosopher: man can feel what’s wrong with a philosophical system, but he refrains to claim knowledge in sciences.

“Farewell Beirut” by late Mai Ghoussoub(book review, part 3)

Posted on December 4, 2008 (and written in Nov,16, 2008)

Note: Paragraphs in parentheses are my own interjections.

The third part of my review was hard and I delayed it too long because the demons that Mai is battling with are spread throughout the book.

I decided not to try to have a coherent or logical links among the different emotions that were troubling Mai, and I will leave it to the readers to do their own homework and reflections.

There are cases of transient insanity such as degraded human values, mocked tradition, and disobedience of State laws and rules.

For example, why we tend to be more lenient toward the rotten moral values of officials simply because they didn’t show rigidity in the mind? 

If we admit that “traitors” are the product of dictatorship and wars, and that this breed of people are present in locations fraught with danger (then most of us might have played the role of traitors under the right conditions).

People have the tendency to be more lenient with deficiency in morality than with extremist positions in ideologies and religious beliefs.

For example, burning witches is related to extreme social and religious dogmatism as a reaction for seeking consensus in an established social order. 

Heroes are not necessarily that honorable; take the case of this child who denounced his father, who helped a few Gulag prisoners to escape, to the soviet authorities and in return was awarded a medal of honor and much propaganda.

Take for example the French women who had sexual relationship with German officers during WWII and many of them begot offspring; they had their head shaven since hair is the most representative of female pride.

These head shaven ladies were the scapegoats to releasing the emotions of frustration and rage among the vanquished Parisians. The worst part is that the mothers brought their kids with them to watch this dishonoring ritual. The women watchers are badly dressed, which reflect a bad conscience in being part of the ceremony.

While the German used modern techniques to hide their genocide, the French “victors” adopted medieval means to humiliate and get revenge on the traitors and informers.

John Steinbeck said “We cannot take pictures of war, because war is fundamentally emotions“.

In our back head, we always have fears for the reaction of those we have persecuted.

The French star singer Arlettie reacted furiously and said “What! Are they also meddling in how we use our sex parts?”   Many women had to survive under siege and everyone according to his potentials and skills.

The Argentinean navy officer Adolfo Silingo said:

“I was responsible for killing 30 people with my own hands and I do not feel remorse or repentance because I was following orders, and I got used after the initial shock surprise. We knew that we were killing humans but we kept killing them!  The civilians were in a semi comatose state from torture and we threw them out of the airplane like puppy dolls.

Most of the navy contingents participated in these mass killings” Adolfo admitted. He is spending his life drunk on the streets trying to forget the “dirty war” during the dictatorship against his own people.

General Paul Tibits who dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima is not penitent.  These kinds of people were once considered heroes: how do you view them now?

Hannah Arendt would like to comprehend “Why these people did choose to stop thinking?

Brecht screamed in one of his plays “Woo to the nations that count too many heroes!

Simone Veil didn’t take it personal that she was incarcerated because she was Jew; she was interested to know “how people are propelled into a climate of condemning and defaming others

This question is pertinent “Is it legitimate to hide truth in order to secure social peace? How can we manage to forget, and yet not take chances, for the recurrence of the same sorts of atrocities?”

It is most difficult to find common denominators among the concepts of justice, moral values, and politics when judging cases of genocides.

Bertolt Brecht said: “Tragedies is about human suffering, expressed in less seriousness than comedies. The perpetrators of genocides are not great criminal politicians, but simple people who allowed horrifying political crimes to pass”

Note: The main theme in “Farewell Beirut” is “revenge” and the associated concepts of honor, genocides, nationalism, heroes, traitors, denouncers, martyrdom, punishment, hate, love and the fundamental human emotions that might be interpreted differently through the ages, and civilizations but where the moral values of wrong and right should not be left to personal matters of point of views.

Cases of “Historical Dialectics” of human and knowledge development

Posted on December 23, 2009

Dialectics is not only used to comprehend historical development of human/knowledge development but is basic in discussions and effective dialogues.

Hegel was first to introduce “dynamic logic” and used the term of historical dialectics as the interaction of an extreme opinion (thesis) that generates an opposite extreme counter opinion (antithesis) which results in a consensus (synthesis). 

Historical dialectics is a macro method for long range study and it does not explain the individual existential conditions (survival situations). 

Hegel offered dialectics as a method for explaining how human knowledge developed by constant struggle between contradictory concepts among philosophical groups. The purpose of his method was to demonstrate how the “universe of the spirit” or ideas managed to be raised in human consciousness.

Before I offer my version of knowledge development it might be useful to give a few examples of historical dialectics.

In Antiquity, the pre-Socratic philosophers were divided between the Eleatics or philosophers who claimed that change of primeval substances was impossible: we cannot rely on our senses. 

Heraclites reacted with his position that we can rely on our senses and that everything in the universe is in a state of flow and that no substance remains in its place.  

The synthesis came from Empedocles who claimed that we can rely on our senses but that what flow are the combination of substances, though the elementary particles do not change. 

The Sophists during Socrates were the paid teachers of the elite classes and tore down the mythological teaching of the period and focused on improving individual level of learning.

They were in effect in demand by a nascent City-State democracy of Athens that relied on a better educated society to participate in the political system.

Socrates reacted by proposing that there are fundamental truths, and that knowledge is Not an exercise in rhetorical discourse. The same dialectics worked between the world of ideas of Plato and the empirical method counterpoint of Aristotle.

In the Medieval period the Catholic Church set up a barrier or distance between God and man and forced people to believe that all knowledge emanates from God.  

The Renaissance man (wanting to be knowledgeable in many disciplines) reacted by promoting the concepts that God is in every element, that man is a complete microcosm of the universe, and that knowledge starts by observing nature and man.

Another example is the position of Descartes who established that rationalism was the main source for knowledge. 

David Hume responded by extending that empirical facts are generated from our senses that are the basis for knowledge.

Kant offered the synthesis that the senses are the primary sources for our impressions but it is our perceptual faculties that describe and view the world: there is a distinction between “matter” of knowledge or the “thing in itself” and “form” of knowledge or the “thing for me”. Kant became the point of departure for another chain of dialectical reflections.

Many philosophers used the dialectic methods to explaining other forms of development.  

Karl Marx wrote that Hegel used his method standing on its head instead of considering human material conditions. Marx claimed that “philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it”.

Thus, Marx defined three levels as basis of society: condition of production (mainly the geographic, natural resources, and climatic conditions), means of production (such as machineries and tools), and production relations (such as political institutions, division of labor, distribution of work and ownership).

Marx claimed that the main interactions are among the working class (the new slaving method of production) and the owners of the means of productions or the ruling class: it is this struggle that develop the spiritual progress

Another dialectical process is the extreme feminist political claims of equality between genders which brought about a consensus synthesis for a period.

My view of progress is based on the analogy of combination of two schemas:

The first schema is the coexistence of two strings of evolution (picture a DNA shape): the knowledge development (mainly technological) and the moral string (dominated mainly by religious ideologies).  

The second schema is represented by historical dialectic evolutions in the shape of helical cones. The time lengths of cycles for the two strings are not constant: the technological progress phase has shorter and shorter cycles while the moral string has longer cycles.

The two strings are intertwined and clashes frequently. 

When one string overshadow the other string in evolution then there are a slow counter-reaction culminating in stagnate status-quo phases between the two forces.

Technological or level of sustenance period has time length cycles that is shrinking at the top of the cone before the cone is inverted on its head so that the moral time length cycles start to increase and appears almost invariant (that what happened in the long Medieval period that stretched for over 11 centuries in Europe). Then the cone is reverted on its base for the next “rebirth” cycles (for example the Renaissance period that accelerated the knowledge string ascent).

Note 1: Currently, the technological progress is overwhelming and the mythological string is countering this vigorous cycle: Racism, apartheid, far-right exclusion organization and massive sanctions on entire people based on geopolitical antagonism…

The worst of time started when nature was considered a means to increase capitalism “profit” through massive exploitation of people and nature. Looks like the viability of Earth is on a trend of doom for most living species.

And technology is proven to be very limited in countering the weak moral trend of ignoring the foundation for our existence

Note 2: The Islamic empire that lasted 9 centuries also struggled between religious ideologies and rational thinking. This empire witnessed two short renaissance of the mind and generated countless scientific breakthrough that Medieval Europe tried hard to oppose and to translate.

Woodstock and May 68 (France): Any links?

Posted on October 8, 2010

Woodstock turned out to be the free musical event of the century and gathered a million of youth and young parents with their kids for three days:  It was organized in a nation of plenty and economic growth and a savage, genocidal war in Vietnam.  

The US was training astronauts to land on the moon and the war in Vietnam was harvesting 200 US soldiers every day.  

The youth in France, and particularly in Paris, took to the streets and occupied schools, universities, manufactures for an entire week.  France was in a State of plenty; and “Law and Order” policy was firmly established.  Transparency of the power system in both countries was lacking.

Youth and the newer generations were worried of carrying on their life as their parents did:  It seemed pretty boring and pointless to working for just acquiring consumers goods.  

Youth needed an alternative for their future and a way out of what to do of these internal conditions of plenty and security.  

In both events, youth motto was: “Love is everything.  We need to be free to love and be loved.  Yes for peace and no for war”  

In a sense, morality and law and order to the youth were no longer necessary.  They want to be liberated of  the shackles of the moral “value set” that society was chaining them in. That’s how they perceived the political and social situation then, and their feeling was on target:  Change and reforms were not being felt as technology was.

(Actually, the Beat generation a decade ago set the stage for this new phase)

Men, lawyers and investors, organized Woodstock; but it was the women who ran the show and kept the peace; marijuana and a few other drugs helped.

It was not supposed to rain in that summer event but it poured; people enjoyed sliding in the muddy inclines.  Many soldiers returning from the front in bad mental and physical conditions joined the party:  They were in states of shock and diminished as individuals. 

The mood at war was different from the mood of fraternity, compassion, respect for the other during the musical event:  They experienced extremes in mood swings.

People who purchased tickets, before the event turned free, could gather in front of the large stage. Most attending visitors parked on the hills surrounding the show:  They saw little ants singing and bouncing on the stage but they had their own music in the caravans and vans and tents.

They had their own supply of drugs and favorite music.  They could feel at peace alone even among million.  Masses were no longer of any threat; they could deal with their own internal demons in a gathering of like-minded association.

I lack statistics on the casualties during Woodstock such as injuries, sicknesses…but it is amazing that the event went on for three days in relative peace and very few official policing.  

Most of the youth had no plans of action for their future; they had not the slightest idea where the next location will be or how their life will unfold.  

Many converged to San Francisco, particularly to Ashbury Heights.  The young women had a better grasp of how their individual social stand could transform and empower family and community.

Transparency of the democratic system and reforms were very much in the mind of the newer generation but the detailed programs and future activities were not planned.  It was the real step forward in mankind history instead of the so-called “giant step” of Armstrong on the moon.

In the Paris revolt of May 68, women were the most vocal and most active in the organization and demonstrations:  They were revolting for serious freedom to womanhood in the customs and traditions of society.  Laws were to be more specific on gender equality in duties, rights, and responsibilities and opportunities in the workplace and be effectively applied.

At that age of seemingly confused plan of actions, many claimed that joining for music sake and this impulse of being there in the gathering of crowds was a show of unity of youth spirit around the world.

Youth refuses to miss a togetherness event.  It is this power of gathering that worried the power-to-be: The various interpretations of the meaning of these demonstrations were beside the point.

It was a big party with deep lucidity:  banners read “Run, comrade, run.  The old world is chasing after you.”  

Youth was taking a reprieve by running joyously, a week of total freedom, running as fast as he could, knowing that the old world will invariably catch up with him.   Karl Marx said:  “When history repeats its cycles, the next time around is a farce.”  

Spring of 68 was a sympathetic and spontaneous farce; it was an innovating and creative revolt with no arms.

It was a spring of movable fair, an all free-invited party.  It was a movable feast for sharing ideas and desires for justice, peace, liberty, and pleasure.

There were plenty of generosity and compassion:  Youth was feeling bored of the old world system of unjust order, capitalism, petrified ideologies and dogmas.  It was a humongous fair where affluent lifestyle in the western States of plenty hide the miseries of the lowest classes living in shantytowns.

It was in a period for the third world struggling to emerge from the slavery stage of colonialism.  Spring fairs in the western world spread to most nations where the partying lasted and lasted.

The virus of the movable feast reached countries with old systems destroyed by the colonial powers:  The newer power systems were unstable and mostly haphazard to come chasing after mass movable fairs. 

Spring of 68 crossed to Lebanon and lasted 5 years and emerged on a civil war that lasted 13 years and produced 300 thousand casualties (10% of the population!)

You don’ t need to have a unified purpose to ge together; just youth assembling.  

Large assembling of wolves is good enough a show of force to giving the best impulse to political parties for figuring out the major problems in the political structure ideology.  

The awareness of the problems, after the show of “peaceful force”, can make a difference even if the demonstration was not united behind a clear banner of intent for specific reforms.  

Invariably, a few reforms are imposed.  Getting on the streets beats sitting in isolation, eating our hearts out in bitterness and confusion.

The next phase of modernity began after this successful big party.  Moral values were reviewed and adapted to new realities because ancient fears changed qualitatively:  Laws of pure obedience were submitted to a new reflecting generation. 

Ethics of giving more weight to values than laws was supposed to be the normal extension to morality. The foundations were set for the remaining of this most violent century.

Though the trend for launching pre-emptive wars around the world were in the planning and executed with determination: Let blood reach the knees in the nascent underdeveloped States and south America.

Ariel Sharon’s case that lasted a decade

Posted on January 27, 2009

The topic of relentless medical attempts to keep a dying person physically alive, though technically brain dead, was exposed by Bernard Debre in his French book “Amorous dictionary of medicine“. 

The term relentless therapeutic is not appropriate because a therapy means hope to a healthy survival state of a patient, and the relentless endeavors connote a feasible resolution within a short limited duration.

Keeping an individual artificially alive is generally for political reason. 

In 1970, the Spanish dictator Franco was kept alive for a month in order for the Spanish to resolve a peaceful transition of power. 

The case of Ariel Sharon, Israel ex-PM is past a political transition of power since he has been in coma for over three years; (I am under the impression that the Zionist State is expecting the emergence of another “Biblical Prophet” before they decide to put Sharon to rest). 

I don’t know what happens to a person artificially living; is he seeing nightmares of Hell? In that case Sharon has done his well deserved punishment. 

Is the person experiencing heavenly dreams?  In that case Sharon is not entitled to such recompense.  Either way, Ariel Sharon has to go morally and ethically.

There are many kinds of “relentless therapies”. For example:

Therapies for the conscious terminally ills are interesting in their problematic.  The excuses for alleviating sufferings in euthanasia requests should be non-issues anymore, given medicine has a wide gamut of pain killers for every kind of suffering. But getting addicted to a painkiller and knowing it is of No use for any quality of life should be a matter of law cases.

The choice for the conscious terminal patient is whether he prefers to abridge his life with massive doses of pain killers or lengthen life a while longer with suffering. 

Ultimately, it is a matter of dying in dignity; especially when excretions are no longer voluntary acts and the support system is totally lacking for caring to a person who is no longer functional. 

Patients on pain killers die suddenly and generally with high morale because, after a while, they forget that they are terminally ill and live a euphoric period.

The great breakthrough in these cases is that lines of communications are open among the family members, the patient, the physicians, and most importantly, the nurses who are in frequent touch with the patient.

Opinions are shared and the last decision is for the patient if he is still conscious.

What is most needed are specialized centers or “units for the terminally ills” where the patient can live in a “normal facility” and supported by skilled nurses and personnel.

What was not natural is a pretty common occurrence: Elderly children walking as slowly as their parents.

Yes, this is my case: I could be considered an elder person when my parents died in their 93 and they were bedridden at home for many years and I had to cater for their hygiene.

Commencement address by Adrian Tan. Part 2.

Posted on April 21, 2012

Guest-of-honour at NTU convocation ceremony, Adrian Tan, author of The Teenage Textbook (1988), delivered this speech to the graduating class of 2008. I split the speech into two posts, the first part expands on “Don’t work”, “life is a mess” and “Don’t tell the truth”.

If you missed part 1: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/part-1-dont-work-dont-tell-the-truth-be-hated-commencement-address-by-adrian-tan/

Be hated. I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet, every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many.

That hatred is so strong that it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

You don’t have to be evil to be hated.

In fact, it’s often the case that you are hated precisely because you are trying to do right by your own convictions.

It is far too easy to be liked: One merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then, you will gravitate towards the center and settle into the average. That cannot be your role.

There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself.

Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

Fall in love with someone. The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false.

Modern society is anti-love.

We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It is far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise.

Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness.

In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. 

Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor.

Love grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

You will find that, when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart. (Provided that face and body are about normal? I find that having a good sense of humour is the main factor)

You will find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

Don’t work. Be hated. Love someone

“The Lightness of Being”

Posted on July 5, 2009

Almost any professional in communist Czechoslovakia before 1989 wanted a USA passport to be able to move freely around the world. The character of Jakub is a single psychiatrist of about 45 of age and had just received his passport to travel outside communist Czechoslovakia.

In his youth, Jakub was incarcerated for “counter revolutionary” ideology; he was accused by his best friend. This “friend” figured out that this behavior would constitute the best proof of his “orthodoxy” to the communist regime.

The friend ended up being executed 7 months later, leaving orphaned Olga, a daughter of 7 years old. Jakub was released and he kind of adopted the bright girl of his friend so that she could resume her education.

Jakub thought that he was a man of high moral standing, far above and different from the rest of his compatriotes, whom were all the same. They were, if not active assassins, then the victims were also assassins or would have behaved as assassins aiding to victimize the prisoners if asked to.

After being released from prison, Jakub asked for a lethal pill to hold on to so that he would have at least total control over his death.  His university male friend, gynecologist Skreta was willing to fabricate an alkaloid-based bleu pill and offered it to Jakub who kept it in his jacket for 15 years.

Jakub was detached of people and avoided friendships.  Skreta was one of the rare friends and Jakub visited him occasionally at a health resort. Dr. Skreta was from a poor family and an orphan; he believed that he was not into politics; he contributed to the real well being of society through research and science, but was indeed an essential part of the aparachic system. 

Skreta is the main physician in the health village where most of the customers are women staying for water cure.

Skreta has a very prominent nose; poor eye sight, and large mouth and he was inseminating his clients with his sperm; creating hundreds of “little Skreta” and making many “sterile” mothers worshiping this “miracle” physician.

The same Skreta would say “I cannot fathom why ugly parents have this urge to give birth to ugly kids.”  Skreta believed that he was living outside of justice: Justice is inhuman, blind, and cruel. 

Skreta said “I would never collaborate with this repugnant power of justice” simply because there was no control on physician practices through human rights demands.

There is this discussion on motherhood and babyhood. Jakub cannot believe that many men would marry a woman they do not love, simply because they impregnated her to share the responsibility of raising a baby.

He said that those men would behave as defeated fathers and would turn mean as any defeated person who would wish the same suffering for the rest of humanity. Jakub is explaining the reasons why he is against marriages for procreation reasons.

First, Jakub does not like maternity; childhood is no longer the age of innocence; maternity is the biggest tabou that handles the gravest of malediction because it chains kids and mother and guarantees the crulest of suffering when falling in love with other people.

Second, he said “I love the body of women and I get disgusted when it is disfigured after pregnancy”. 

Third, physicians and nurses treat women who miscarry very badly out of naturel reaction to the cult of procreation. 

Fourth, “to which world would I send my offspring? To schools that would stuff brains with conformist ideas? Or will I teach him my own ideas and led him to suffer the same consequences as mine?” resume Jakub. 

Fifth, in this country , offspring suffer from the malediction of the disobedience of their parents to State ideology.  Most parents accepted to be cowed down just to protect their kids from persecution.  Thus, if you need to conserve some liberty of action and opinion then you should refrain from procreating.

Sixth, if I give birth then I am sending the strong message that life is good and merit to be repeated; a conviction that I lean to the contrary.

Skreta replied “You don’t like life because you didn’t experience real life. You were too focused on politics. Politics is the least essencial and the least precious in human activities. Politics is the dirty foam on the surface of rivers where life is hidden in the profound depth. Scientists and practitioners did far more to real life and the transformation of man than politics did.”

Jakub answered “Politics has been the main scientific laboratory for studying human behavior as cobayes. Politics does not create value but it teaches about human condition and moral limitations.  You learn that if you want to go on, you must forget and forgive because you are no better than another person under the same situations.”

In Kundera’s novels, sexual relationships are no solutions for changing social status or behavior.  The “lightness of being” reduces man to be constantly an object and not the subject matter as propaganda would like people to believe.

Note: (My impression is that the theme of human “conscience” is religious based.  It is the infusion of the existence of a Creator governing our behavior and rewarding/punishing our deeds that constitute the main defensive line against man natural tendencies for criminal acts.

Without this infused concept of conscience, if you give man an arm that kills at distance and he would kill without much regret anyone in isolated and discreet locations. 

Man finds it very difficult to kill at close range (body contact) and looking his victim in the eyes; man would not kill with witnesses around because he would be the next target for assasination by the witnesses in a world void of conscious. 

Without conscience, law and order procedures would be completely inefficient.  If communism survived for so long after abolishing religious rituals and clergies it is because religious faith survived implicitly in society. Actually, communism was an alternative religion, structured as a religion)

“Fahrenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury

Posted on October 21, 2008 (And written in March 28, 2007?

The novel “Fahrenheit 451” is set in the USA, around the year 2450 as the “citizens” have given up on reading books, and reverted for instant audio-visual communication media, or at best, very abridged versions of the original work.

The firefighters’ job has changed into burning books, and people in their residences are doing their best to holding on to their private libraries. The trend is to substitute the “how to do things” for the “why things are done”.

And the historical processes, which led to the current lifestyle in the most advanced country, are relegated to seeking continuous fun and never caring for the consequences of these attitudes that are demanding only safety, comfort and peace of mind, and forgetting the responsibilities toward the neighbors or the under-developed countries.

 In order to bring his main idea into focus, the author Ray Bradbury loads his novel with quotations from famous writers.

The firefighter Captain Beatty has reached a desperate state and wanted to end his life. Thus, he pushed so hard the firefighter Guy Montag to react to his harassment and of burning his apartment, along with the few books that Guy stole while burning private libraries, which Guy had to burn with Beatty’s fire torch.

Before this event, Beatty is talking to Montag about a fictitious dream he had, and the dialogue between him, the Devil, and the righteous Montag.

Most of the dialogue are extracts from famous writers such as: “Sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge,” in contrast to “Words are like leaves; much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found

And  the following quotations: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; the shallow draughts of the Pierian spring intoxicate the brain, and drinking deeply and largely sober us again;”

Or “Knowledge is more than equivalent to force;” or “He is no wise man who will quit a certainty for an uncertainty;” or “Truth will come to light, murder will not be hid long;” or “The Devil can cite scripture for his purpose

Or “The dignity of truth is lost with much protesting;” or “A dwarf on a giant’s shoulders sees the farthest of the two” to be retorted by “The folly of mistaking a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself as an oracle, is inborn in us;” or “The terrible tyranny of the majority; the solid unmoving cattle of the majority who is the most dangerous enemy to truth and freedom.”

Latimer said to Nicholas Ridley, as they were being burnt alive at Oxford for heresy in 1555,  “Master Ridley, we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

Ray Bradbury had this outlandish notion, fifty years ago, that the visual memories of what we had read are stored intact, and a technique will be developed to retrieve the contents of books.

Consequently, the intellectuals who fled from the cities to the countryside, wandering like hobos along the old railroad track that is no longer used, have each of them specialized in memorizing a book or sections of books when the current Dark Age is over.

This new version has a coda by the author that focus on the new realities in book publishing, where the publishers are taking liberty to self-censuring sections and paragraphs that are deemed hurtful to the powerful minorities so that they might sell better and avoid group harassments.

For example, the supporters of dwarf, orangutan, dolphin, nuclear non-proliferation, environmentalist, Neo-Luddite, Unitarian, Irish, Italian, octogenarian, Buddhist, Women’s Lib, and so forth want to impose and interfere with aesthetics.

Consequently, books that focus mainly on a single gender or race or a nationality or use detailed descriptions on the diversity in culture and life style are vigorously classified as non-publishable.

Most of books are revisited and abridged for high school readers that render the style of all the books alike. For example, Twain read like Poe who read like Shakespeare who read like Dostoevsky.

Digressions which are the sunshine, the life, and the soul of reading are scraped in these abridged versions. Consequently, if we take-out philosophy away from Dante and Milton works, then what stays are dry bones.”

It is no wonder why every organized minority has as a priority to own its publishing business.

It is no wonder that I feel the US novels are all the same in style and composition and are no longer exciting if we are seeking variety, innovation, and contradiction.

Note: You may read current accounts on this topic in https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/who-is-controlling-the-present-controlled-the-past-is-set-to-control-the-future/


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2022
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 1,508,616 hits

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

Join 820 other followers
%d bloggers like this: