Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Antiquity

Gilgamesh confronting the Storm

This mythic Face Off 

These Face off have been going on since antiquity in our region

Important note: This is a liberal translation of an epic poem by late Syrian poet Mohammad al Maghout.

It was written over 30 years ago; way before Desert Storm on Iraq in 1991, as if a premonition.

And No, the Eagle does not represent a symbol to any State or tribe, religion, or any culture.

Excellent poets perceive invariants in human history and rephrase them in indelible images.

 

Epic story of Storm attacking Old Eagle

Waiting for the storm to hit

How could anyone cope with a storm?

What could you do in a desert storm?

 

Where is the storm?

It is on the horizon, hesitating;

A tramp at the hotel entrance.

 

Old eagle, maybe the last of his species,

Lonely, quiet, waiting for the storm;

A chauffeur waiting for his master.

 

Old eagle is tired of tasting occasional serene clouds;

An old chef tasting the remains of a banquet.

 

Queen storm is taking her time in front of the mirror.

Old eagle is ready to chase out the storm up front.

 

What could he do with a worn out beak?

A Decrepit beak and deformed from frequent shattering to pieces on rocks.

How could old eagle hurry to meet the storm?

A tottering bicycle crossing river bed?

 

For years, the white feathers of Eagle have been dirty;

Dirtier than an old waiter’s apron.

 

A gentle breeze nudging old eagle from rock to rock,

From plain to plain;

A bored old soldier in a camp

Anxious for his last battle, confronting a fly.

 

A soothing breeze floated over old eagle;

He fluttered, a youth touched by the first girl.

Old eagle heaves a sigh; he is reminiscing youth

 

Strong wings spanning the valley, glittering with sweat.

Tiny birds, out of breath, trailing valiantly behind,

Mobs running after the King’s horse,

 

Chants hoarse, hallelujah feeble.

Old eagle is dozing, in the scorching sun;

Epoch stretching out.

 

Suddenly, the universe blackened;

The world is still;

So still that the silence created religions out of fear;

 

Old eagle’s tail is waving.

Old eagle is hopping in circle;

A baby lamb welcoming its mother.

 

The storm thundered and hastened;

An ice skater showing off.

 

Old eagle is whispering an old victory song;

An eagle fallen off mountain tops,

A bride with no pendants and no cries.

 

Old eagle opened his old beak and retreated

In respect of his old master and teacher.

 

Old eagle is spinning amid his broken plumes,

His shouts clacking like rifle bullets

A mass of blood proudly lecturing

On the art of thirsting and ripping apart enemies.

 

The storm danced around old eagle and sneaked away.

Old eagle is mad; he is jumping cat-like;

A frightened baby stumbling for the door knob;

A drunkard coming back in the bar

Kicked out a hundred times and coming back.

 

Old eagle is wailing like a baby.

The storm lost steam on the sea-shore,

Medals and crowns scattered.

The bludgeoned face of a boxer;

A drunk washing his face.

 

Mighty storm is aching:

It recollects that a tiny creature fought to death.

Mighty storm is sprawled on the beach:

A monstrous tent shrinking to a headgear;

Tears dropping in eagle’s shape.

Note: After approving another half a dozen of my poems I sent this unpoetic voice site the following poem: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/puny-avatar-why-in-the-name-of-god/

It was approved and then immediately the site “suspended” me without providing reasons.

It is to be noted that the site never presented any constraints beforehand for joining or the kind of poems “satisfactory” to their “ideology”.

Twilight of “Knowledge lovers”: Part 2

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.

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 accepting 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 Galileo in the 16th century “what is not measured should be measured”, 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 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 or “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 of 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.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2021
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