Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘introspection

Why don’t you share my belief system?

You must belong to one of these 3 categories of people:

1. I tend to assume that you are ignorant.

You surely lack the necessary information and facts.

Political activists, particularly the ideologues, think this way: Through enlightenment, I’ll win you over to my cause and positions.

2. I tend to assume that you are an idiot.

You have the necessary information, pieces of intelligence… but your mind is underdeveloped.

You lack the capability to draw the “obvious” conclusions.

Bureaucrats who want to protect stupid consumers from idiocy.

3. Most probably, you are a malicious person.

You comprehend the debate… but are deliberately confrontational.

You have evil intentions.

Religious leaders and believers treat the disbelievers are malicious servants of the devil.

If you have written your introspection “autobiography” before you became an important personality and a celebrity, you readily fabricate 2 dangers:

1. Introspection illusion that creates inaccurate prediction of future mental states by over trusting your “internal” observations

2. We tend to believe that our introspection is far more reliable than the external observers.

This phenomenon is a twin sister to the False-Consensus effect or the myth of like-Mindedness.

If we passionately love something, such as music of a period, literature of a period, a social cause, a political cause… we tend to think that the vast majority feel the same.

We categorize the falsely perceived minority of people as abnormal.

Doubters are less “sexy” than confident people in their capacity and belief system.

How can you become your own toughest critic?

 

Moment of reckoning: Pseudo-State in Lebanon at a cross-road

If you need credible statistics on Lebanon, the best institution with a comprehensive power and knowledge is the Finance Ministry.

Currently, the pseudo-State in Lebanon has to support 180,000 public servants, constituting 16% of the total work force. You have to add 20,000 public servants camouflage under private companies, their chairmen and managers appointed by the government such as Casino du Liban, the Middle-East airline, Intra financial institution…

The ratio of public servants was 10% five years ago.

The cost amount to $5 bn or 12% of Lebanon GNP

The government has also to service a public debt that reached 135% of the GNP, and subsidize the public electricity with $2 bn a year…

It is no surprise that Lebanon Central Bank has desisted in producing yearly balance sheet since 2002. Why?

Most of the credits are being borrowed internally from local banks that are growing richer and more omnipotent in every economical sector: The banks own most of the wealth in Lebanon, alongside the religious real estates…

The economy of Lebanon has not increased in the last 2 years.

What a pseudo-State, run by oligarchic confessional powers and financed by banks, can do to reform the inevitable structural financial and economic calamities?

So far, the pseudo-State has lavished wage increases and bonuses on particular institutions (like the officers in the army and internal security agencies, the institutions directly linked to the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the Parliament and the President of the Republic…) and denied any cost of living increases to most public institution in the last 20 years.

In the last 20 years, special “Black Boxes” were allocated to the Prime Ministers (Calamity Box) and reconstruction of downtown Beirut(starting with late Rafic Hariri), Chairman of the Parliament Nabih Berry (South Box), Walid Jumblatt (Relocation of refugees Box)…

Many wage increases are on books but have never been disbursed…

The vast majority of public servants such as the public school teachers (60,000) are demonstrating for a reform of their chain of ranks and salaries that didn’t change in the last 20 years. They refuse to correct the public exams until the government signs on what has been agreed on a year ago…

The government is solvable, but it has been bled to death by the oligarchy since 1993.

In 1983, the dollar was worth 3 Lebanese pounds and suddenly the financial system collapsed and the dollar was worth 3,000 LB.  The currency went to hell and the citizens became slaves to the warlords militia (still receiving foreign money) in order to survive. The dollar is currently worth 1,500 LB…

This selective hiring of unqualified public servants, allocated to the confessional political leaders, has driven the government to the wall. The two main consequences are:

1. The private sector is no longer able to support the growing needs of the government to satisfy decisions not related to fundamental economic and financial policies. Actually, the government has been increasing direct and indirect taxes on every service and commodities for the past 7 years.

2. The public servants potential salary increase demands are not sustainable for the medium-term. The short-term policies do not match the capabilities for satisfying frequent demands, which are fair, but not possible within this political/social structure.

The government and the political system are sending the strong message that they are impotent to resolving any single trouble ravaging Lebanon.

Every clerics with a hundred followers thinks that he has the right to block the entrance to major cities for political demands that are of no concern to the citizens. The self-appointed Sunni cleric Al Assir (extradited by England) has been blocking for a month the main highway to the third city of Saida. His installed his tents and is preaching the dismantlement of the military branch of Hezbollah… The government and the local leaders didn’t show any resolve to break off this “civil disobedience”. Why? Al Assir is being funded and supported by foreign powers (Saudi Arabia and Qatar…)

North of Lebanon is fast becoming a “liberated area” for the Syrian insurgents to come and exit at will. The army didn’t receive any order to close off the borders and control the flux of the refugees, reaching 30,000 so far.  The most dangerous climate is that many of these Syrian insurgents in Lebanon have been engaged in kidnapping for ransom and had committed crimes before “fleeing” to Lebanon. The government is claiming that it didn’t spend a dime on caring for the refugees, that Denmark and the UN are funding the relocations of these refugees…

Turkey and Jordan totally control their borders with Syria. Not a single Syrian can return to Syria without proper approved papers, and not a single piece of arm can enter Syria without the approval of the State government…

The army in Lebanon is asked to play the internal security function with archaic arms and equipments. And the internal security forces (well armed, well paid and well fed) are to be private guards to the hundreds of oligarchs…

About 3,000 temporary contract workers have been investing the main headquarter, for over a month, of the public electricity, blocking streets, open sit-in, occupying the administrative building, waging strikes, marches, harassing the public employees…cutting electricity and preventing the normal functioning of the public servants for entering any institution related to power generation and distribution. Why?

The political oligarchy has created pseudo private companies to “facilitate the job” of the Ministry of Electricity and Water. These companies are mainly financed by the government under contracts and their managers and directors appointed by the oligarchs. The temporary workers were assigned by the oligarchs. The government is short on liquidity and these pseudo companies want to unload of surplus temp. workers and want the government to hire them as public servants on fixed jobs…

Most of these temp. workers have been hired less than three years ago and most of them have no qualifications as public servants. The Chairman of the Parliament Nabih Berry, Samir Geaja (Lebanese Forces), and the Hariri clan have been supporting the movement of these temp.workers “for their well-earned rights”… against all odds and regulations…

Signs and banners by the daily contract workers state: “We are Lebanese not for sale”; “The gift of fanaticism and sectarianism to the Lebanese”…

Why the government has to absorb these workers?

For the last 20 years, the oligarchs planned to privatize the public electricity for a dime, and refused to fund any programs and projects meant to make this institution profitable…

In 2010, the government was forced to vote on a comprehensive plan for delivering electricity 24 hours a day by the year 2016, but all programs were halted for “lack of budget” and all kinds of excuses….

Lebanon is fast drifting to the moment of reckoning: Either a vast and successful civil disobedience movement intent on changing the political system or facing another looming civil war with the same basic political conditions, as the previous one in 1975, forming and gaining strength.

The army, if it is meant to stay unified, must be financed by the civil disobedience movement and not expect to be at beck of the oligarchy and confessional system, and keeping dialogue and communication opened with the movement.

The movement should start collecting taxes directly from the citizens and disbursing the fund to the most critical institutions for smooth running of the country.

Note 1: Information on the public servants in Lebanon was taken from an article by Jihad Zein, published in the daily Al Nahar.

Note 2: Lebanon “economy” is based on three sectors: Banking, Real Estates, and all kinds of trafficking that are raking most of the revenues and barely pay taxes. The political system refuses to tax these sectors and prefers to target the hard working and producing sectors that are barely standing and not getting any state support or assistance.

The banks in Lebanon have increased their initial share of $146 million in 1993 to $15 bn in the last 2 decades and making 1.5 bn in profit every year. The banks in Lebanon reap 4.5 times more profit what the banks in the Western States generate, and refuse to increase their share in taxation from 5 to 7%.

The Real Estates developers are generating $10 bn a year in revenue and pay no taxes.

People in Lebanon are surviving on expatriate generosity.

“I am already cleansing my dead body”: Introspection

The Swedish author, August Strindberg, in the introduction of his book “Confession of a madman” wrote:  “This is a terrible book and I am the first to confirm it.  I wrote the book to cleanse my dead body before it is confined for eternity.”

In general, mankind decided to cleanse the dead bodies before they are buried.  I wish that at least a cat or a dog would lick clean my dead body before it is devoured and my carcass rot, far from any community of man. 

How about you start the cleansing of your body by introspection?  Do you want people to interpret your life and feelings without your input after you die?

Many young people flee their community:  They have this deep feeling that the community will never give them any reprieve for knowing themselves, their limitations, potentials, and grand desires.  Leaving the community early is a sane endeavor before we lack the energy and the will to executing our decision.

The problem remains:  After leaving the community that sheltered the young person and cared for him, how many young people remembered, in the mad race for survival, to invest time on knowing themselves? 

Most probably, young people joined the herd of sheep under the illusion of conserving their personality without making the effort of comprehending their individuality.

Recognition of individuality is an acquired job of will; it does not come cheap just working haphazardly for survival.  Are you sure you did an excellent serious job of introspection?  Why then are you hanging on in your community?  So much effort spent for earning your freedom and none left to getting out!

The world has varied specimen of idiosyncracies, moral value sets, ethical conducts: How about you get on the march mingling with the others “savage” communities of mankind?  

You will be surprised how little you know “who I am”.  You have barely scratched the surface if you decline the call of the wide world of the other communities.

Begin cleansing your body and soul:  As you die, you had done a superior job, the hardest and most essential job of all: Baring to everyone who cares to know a special specimen of mankind’s life.

I guess that I bared my soul several years before I read what Strindberg wrote: I have a large ego that was frustrated in childhood and got lost and obscured in the process.  I am glad I lived long enough to catching up with my individuality. At least, I leave records so that no one would dare misinterpret my life unilaterally:  I am the accused and the defendant.

Epictetus, the Greek philosopher of antiquity wrote: “When people stop supporting your state of survival then, they are opening the door to stepping out to the place you were born, to things that resemble to you, to the elements.  Come, there is no need for fear.”  

Strange, in the last 6 months I lived without a nickel in my pockets.  The extended family and community stopped supporting me:  I stopped asking.  They might feel uncomfortable:  I have never felt better.

I want to live:  I am still expecting to fall in love.  If my love is shared and reciprocated that would be the greatest bliss in my entire life:  I vow never to desire anything else.

 

Nude dancers

I had my first experience with nude bars, where beauties danced completely naked on stage, at the age of 26.

The dancers got entirely naked in phases, on the second or third song (sort of strip teasing further after each song).  Walter Mitty bar was around the corner of my dorm that was reserved mostly for foreign students.  My friend Ramez was the RA of the dorm and he was studying History of Sciences, simply because the university library possessed a few very ancient manuscripts on Arabic sciences.

There was this lovely brunette of Maria.  I sent a letter to my cousin Jihad telling him that Maria looked like his wife Nada.  I am not sure how Jihad took it.  Nada should have appreciated it; shouldn’t she?  I know that many years later, Jihad reminded me of receiving this letter.  Eight years later, I returned to Norman for a PhD and Maria was still living in Norman. She was working at the university Power Plant and wearing regulation yellow helmet.  Nude dancing is far harder than even fashion modelling:  In no time you are put to pasture.

I told Maria that I liked her when she used to dance totally naked; she appreciated that I still recalled her.  We had a date and she showed up wearing high-healed, long boots, and very tight Jeans.  She took my arm when strolling and she didn’t attempt to fool around with men in the bars we made the round of.

Maria showed me her apartment a few days later, and I met her sister (maybe half sister who didn’t resemble Maria at all). I also visited Maria at the hospital after her surgery for infected uterus; she was wearing regulation hospital long shirt showing her buttocks.

As Maria returned home she invited me to her apartment and asked me if I liked to share a joint of marijuana.  I never learn from my experiences or anything from life:  I told her how marijuana affects me after just two puffs.  Maria told me that it would be pointless to get any further dates.

There was this tall, skinny, and blond girl dancing nude in 1976.  She used to set fire to her shaved cunt every night.  Obviously, she had no pubis hair and I would never be able to confirm if her white blond hair was original.

I once asked her to leave together after work.  I think that she said “Yes”.  I waited till the bar closed and she had left.  I was a very shy guy and I wished that the rules would be that she would sit by my side, take my arm and drag me out.  I still don’t know the rule of asking a nude dancer to actually leave with me: if you truelly do know, please forward it.

Worst of all, patronizing this nude dancing bar exposed me to my first cigarette smoking.  I was 26 of age and had never smoked before.  I am now nicotine addicted.

I recall the first time I smoked a joint.

I was in a convertible Alfa Romeo with two Lebanese university students. We were heading toward the lake on a lovely, moonlit summer night (do you recall Shakespear of mid-summer night?) .  My friends were having a great time, speeding and listening to “Leila”, a guitar song played by Eric Clapton. On the way back, we had a bite and coffee at a diner; they laughed a lot at my expense because I had a hell of problems keeping the lids of my red eyes open.

I twice experienced smoking a joint in groups, never alone, to “train myself for a better fit among marijuana smokers”.

Once, we were in our apartment and half a dozen friends left to see a movie and dance; they decided to leave me behind, since I was “stoned all right” on the couch. When they returned 4 hours later, I was still lying on the sofa, my eyes closed shut, listening to music, trying to differentiate the timbers among the different musical instruments:  I had no idea about instruments anyway, but I thought this might be my chance or never to appreciating tones and half tones.

The third instance was in a park, close by my  apartment; I was enjoying an afternoon of open concert in a beautiful summer day. I woke up and the park was empty and dark already. I walked my bike home.

Walter Mitty was still around the corner when I returned in 1985 for still a higher degree.

I patronized it with my friend Boubker.  Boubker was already a professor teaching operations research.  Girls have changed, but the system never changed.  We mostly had a pitcher during happy hours, between 4 to 6pm.

It is swell to have these kinds of quiet and cool businesses.  I wish it was possible just to touching those sweaty firm flesh!

Choose: Truth or conscious? (Feb. 6, 2010)

In many moments in life we ask “what is the meaning of life?” and “what is the purpose in life?” Two questions that are not similar except for those who confuse meaning with definite purpose attached to it; sort of feeling obliged to act on life and the universe simply because mankind species is very particular. How about we start from the obvious?

We are a bunch of jumbled passions that we all share at different degrees of power and interest: they drive our life.  We ache by reflection to re-order our passions and sort out the strongest passions that mean most to us. We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits, but as thinking people who have distinct set of strong passions. A few of us find time for introspective reflections: we want to manage their priority and hopefully focus on; we finally think that we know who we are and what passions drove our life. We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.

When we claim that we are in an introspection phase then we are explicitly finding time to sort out the driving passions that we realized were predictive of our life path.  We all have strong passions that no outside processes can change or transform unless we consciously act on them to redirect our focus and purpose in life.  Introspections are highly useful conscious periods in our life to comprehend the strongest of our passions and set priority for future activities.

Basically, we are adopting a philosophy to life that is compatible with our strongest passions.  That is what we constantly do: we are addicted to constructing models because we are spiritual designers.  We want to categorize our passions intellectually, by our volition and labor of reflection.

Most religions have to erect an ideology and sometimes slightly update it to face changes; the sacerdotal castes main job is to pressure you to accept their set values and morals as the best that characterize you.  In fact, religions do not want you to exercise introspection and learn your own characteristics; they want to “save you that hassle” and show you the proper way; they want you to be the man among all same men with preferred set of passions instead of realizing your individuality.  Only those following the preferred “type” are selected in heaven as on earth; the black sheep of strong individuality are not recognized in heaven because only the mediocre, the humble, the naïve, the simple-minded can be saved.

That was a good starting lead to answering the meaning of life for religions.  I have a question: if you were to choose between knowing the “truth” or safeguarding and preserving your conscious then what would you decide? I know that you will try to circumvent this basic query by returning a question with another one such as “Isn’t conscious linked to truth searching?” or “Isn’t knowledge an illusion?”  Let’s not get sidetracked; knowledge of nature and human behaviors is necessary for the ultimate knowledge of knowing your own passions and trend in life: introspection requires some degree of factual knowledge and the ability to discriminate among concepts.

Scientific facts should be recognized as statistical facts because uncontrolled observations have the tendency to show up occasionally and need to be categorized, understood, and then modeled.  If laws are voted on, by majority for a period of validity, then what is right and wrong in behavior is valid for particular period in human social development.  If justice is fundamentally a consensus agreement among the jury then why do we cling so staunchly to truth or “absolute fact”?

If “truth” is not reachable, if we know that any predictive model can be altered by surprised “chance” observations; if it is proven at every moment in our life that uncertainty is king (it loves to convince you at the most critical catastrophic events) then, why fight for truth and spread disorder for an illusion?  Our scientific and rational mind is fighting the good fight and is persistent in its endeavor because it refuses impositions of religious abstract notions that have no foundations or convincing premises. Our scientific mind is not fighting “faith” but fighting the sacerdotal castes’ value systems and ideologies.

What about conscious? We can define conscious by its consequences on our nerves, its wrenching battle through sleepless nights, and through nightmares.  Conscious is the constant fighting between imposed religious set values and your strong valid passions that define your individuality.  We are battling to preserve our rightful individuality in a manner that would not shock the community as “crazy behaviors”.  Most of the time we define conscious as how the community expect us to act and decide because religious belief system is enduring and hard to conciliate with.

You always have to choose: truth or conscious? These two values are valid values and should not represent a value judgment on good or evil attitudes. They are not compatible: they are the two poles that define the limits of your struggle in life.  No, it is not difference in opinions that drive people to fight one another: it is your choice of the moment of truth or conscience.  In general, it is what society force upon you as the set of values that represents your association or the characteristics of your “Nation”.

Choosing is a necessary conscious decision to defining your personality of the moment.  The selection is necessary for a free man but not sufficient for an “honorable” man. Did you decide to be the “idiot of the village” or the sane member of the community? Would you agree on piece-wise reforms or adopt intransigent attitudes? Would you go with tide or take a stand at the peril of your life?

This dichotomy is not to vanish any time soon and you will have to select differently at many moments. This critical choice is our daily battle and our constant struggle to find meaning to our life.  You keep choosing and act on your decision and then die as a man. You fail to choose and you die a pet dog.

By God, I hope that the set values imposed on me is the correct one.  I would hate after death to be condemned for laziness in the mind or condemned for not acting according to my own labor of reflection. Justice is ultimately an individual case and what the community believed is totally irrelevant and redundant for supporting clemency. Do you believe that the purpose of life is living? How to live life is the main problem.

Note: In a previous essay “Ideology: Not such a bad Concept before Ruling” I dealt with the notions of ideologies, philosophies, and religions: their purposes and structures.

Sex for a Sufi, (Nov. 16, 2009)

Sexual harassment is highest among women enjoying positions of supervisors or in management staff.

These findings were known for mankind before they stepped off trees. Sexual intercourse for man is very weakly correlated with sexual pleasures: it is a power status.

Unfortunately, older men tend to be forgetful, and younger ones still are ignorant that their female partners are far more proficient in the power games.

Intercourse for women has mixed correlations with sexual pleasures. It can be almost nil for virgins and almost 100% for practiced women who experienced with a few “compatible partners“.

Warning! Invariably, once you had intercourse with a woman, if she digs you, then you are demanded to becoming her slave, “love slave” along with and many other varied tasks.

Are you waiting for explanation? 

Discussing details in writing interest me; verbal discussion does not: I am not verbally intelligent. We have two hands; one is more sensitive, functional, and dexter than the other; not for manual work but for relieving your emotional anger and passions.

You will discover that this maneuver quickly re-adjust your set of priorities. For how long?  It is up to you to experiment with your potentials. Man must learn and be encouraged using his professional hand as often as his rational mind desires to focus on important matters.

Man is not endowed to experiencing sexual pleasures: they just want to get natural relief, like pissing or shitting without getting their hands dirty.

In fact, women have focused so much on their well deserved sexual endowment for pleasure that man deduced that women are less fit for rational reasoning.

In fact, women learned that luring man to sexual desires is the quickest and most effective mean for satisfying their wishes and wants; they did abuse it to such an extent that man banished women from rational functions, such as governing soberly and equitably among all people.

Consequently, wise men banished women from “statesmanship” and leadership jobs.

Sexual desires are not sins; how could they be sins if they are natural?

Sexual desire is the main enemy for both genders if the mind is to be considered the most valued part in man.

Mystics and Sufis, of both genders, comprehended this dialectic: You cannot vanquish your enemy (sexual desires) if you fail to know the enemy completely.

Mystics and Sufis dissected sexual desire in all its forms, shapes, and varieties; they explained sexual desire in the minute details, pornography, physiologically, anatomically, and psychologically and left us scientific manuscripts in that field with accurate terminologies.

Mystics and Sufis achieved the highest level of serenity in personal victories after mastering the characteristics of the enemy in order to defeat it: they said that they finally faced it boldly. I am not convinced; they must have been getting worn out.

They say that they lost many battles but their purpose was to keeping the struggle.  Steadfastness in the struggle for the victory of rational thinking is the discipline of the courageous and strong men and women.

Practiced women Sufis should have far more value than men: they should be elected representatives of the UN to promoting rational thinking, instead of models and actresses!

All religions approached sexual desire as the most disturbing factors for social stability. 

A few religions attacked sexual desire as sins attached to various myths; they have woven fantastic tales to demonstrate their premises and applied drastic punishments and ordained stupid conditions to overpower the most natural of instincts.

Other religions defined sexual desire as the enemy for rational thinking, and for equitable functioning in society; they faced that enemy rationally and didn’t run away from rational temptations or hide from natural facts.

Unfortunately, rational thinking require studying, application, follow-up, and training; rational thinking is not endowed to vanquish natural inclinations when society is lazy; especially, if a government is not intelligent and bold to disseminate literacy and permit freedom of speech, opinion, publishing, and gathering.

Virgin ladies abuse sex seduction more frequently than the staunchest nymphomaniac experienced ladies.

Sex decoying is independent from sexual practices; in fact, the less practiced the virgin the most experienced she is in seduction; women learn that skill since childhood, directly and indirectly. They already mastered that domain before puberty.

Contrary to man; man needs years of practice and continuing education for sexual baiting, after he realized that there is more than one function for the pissing ridiculous projection.

I am interested in serious sexual proposals; I have strict terms and will set detailed conditions, more rigorous than financial or marriage deals.

I’ll have sex, take times off, extend the cuddling phase, spend hours on foreplay, and even have intercourse for pleasuring my friendly partner who genuinely is in need of companionship.

In almost all religions, particularly in Islam, women have rights to dictate conditions and clauses for marriage.  That they fail to exercise their rights is not simply a matter of lack of character. In most instances it is illiteracy, pressures of deviant traditions, and ignorance of THEIR RIGHTS.

Sakina, the grand-daughter of Caliph Ali, Aicha Bint Talhat, and Hababa imposed their conditions to the astonishment of the Moslem society in the 7th century; those intelligent and ambitious women refused to wear the veil and keep silent in gathering; they behaved as they imposed the clauses that suit their life style and got it.

Remember, man does not get sexual pleasures; he works to make life and the world goes on.

Man, when you are surprised by sexual lure, remember that you have got a professional hand to get in control if your terms are denied.

This post is not on love: that would be a different ball game.

It is not on feelings.

This post is on sexual desires. Reading sex tales interest me; discussing fictitious love proposals does not.  Discussing actual sex propositions interest me; performing actual intercourse does not; though I am functional.

I tend to occasionally cling on day-dreaming sex: maybe I am not there for being considered a Master Sufi; I never considered that honor; I am confined to it.

Let your comments not mix love with sexual desires. I suggest you read this post in two dispositions: serious and funny. You might understand it in two perspectives. That is my style.

You need references? You need qualifications?  Good luck in your research.  I am reflecting loudly on personal experiences.  Take my reflection or leave it. (You may read a few of my addendum in “Introspection”)

You can now live very long: what are your plans for old age? (February 14, 2009)

            With the current progress in the medical field you can prolong your life 150 years.  If you can afford it then there are no major barriers to live very old and functional too with a basic sane body.  The gene for longevity was discovered in 1998; the cell was extracted from a bacterium that can withstand massive doses of irradiation, heat, cold and then can reconstruct its ADN. 

After fifty the outer membrane of your eye is no longer supple; then you can replace it; it is a very common operation. At the age of 110 the aorta has to be replaced; it is done frequently.  At the age of 150 your skin is totally useless; then collagen is injected; actually you don’t have to wait that long; the injections are performed in young bodies.  Like an old car, new organs (or spare parts) are transplanted; it is done already with countless organs and even produced in laboratory from cell stumps.

There are on the market many hormones targeted for longevity such as growth hormone EPO, melatonin, Viagra, and the hormone DHEA for longevity; all of these hormones are secreted by the glands but they can be artificially produced to supplement the aging body.

I would be curious to know the variety of alternatives for padding your spare time when you grow old, functional and relatively sane, bodily and mentally. Send me your plans; let them be imaginative.  Your plans don’t have to be so damned practical to correspond to our current conditions of aging since the remedies are already available.

I wish in my old age to have a team of helpers visit me once a week, all the team on the same day so that I might reserve the week for my activities and reflections in solitude. This team should bring all the essential provision for a week, just enough to survive because I need to feel short on provision by the end of the week and keep struggling with the survival process; that is a sure way of keeping alive and balanced.  This team will maintain and repair the house and do paperwork or administrative tasks.  I guess all elder people are not to be bothered with driving and hitting the various administrations; they have done their share of stupid slave work.

In my old age, all that I want to do during the week is be able to see; read, write, and publish; I don’t mind having good hearing: that would be a blessed bonus. I would also follow the news and see movies on cables.  It would be nice to have my relatives, nieces, and nephews to visit me occasionally when they need a listening ear: it is always great to recollect the troubles of youth and their struggle for life.  I would like to be invited for a swim or to a skiing resort so that I can refresh my visuals of the newer activities of youth.

Bi-Weekly Report (#25) on Lebanon and the Middle East (June 8, 2009)

 

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Election Day in Lebanon

 

I got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday June 7, 2009; it is Election Day for the Parliament in Lebanon.  I wrote and published the post “I have a position: I am voting today”.  As my parents were ready we drove around 8:15 to one of the three election centers in the town of Beit-Chabab. Our center was located in the previous private school that the municipality has purchased five years ago and didn’t move in yet.  This is the first time in Lebanon that election is done in one day: Parliamentary elections were performed in two successive Sundays until the last election proved that parties with heavier financial muscles could regroup, focus, and swing elections to their advantages by chastising parties that didn’t stick to the alliance terms in the previous Election Sunday. 

I was shocked by the long line that did not move. The army was positioned outside the perimeter and the internal security forces within the enclosed place.  You had first to exhibit your ID to enter the only entrance/exit “door”.  You wait for a security officer to call on a range of numbers corresponding to your family civil record.   The elder people were given priority and my parents voted within half an hour.  The urn assigned to my category was very slow in processing voters. I sat and ate a loaf of “mankoush bi zaatar” that one party was distributing. I asked my parents to hitchhike home.  I waited for an hour and a half and the line never budged. I lost any hope for my turn to come in the morning. I returned home hoping to come back after lunch for the line to get moving.  Those who arrived at 7 a.m. made it nicely. My brother-in-law, a retired military officer, voted for the first time as well as one of his eligible daughters.

  I retuned at 1:30 after lunch to the voting urns and had to wait another hour before I managed to vote.  There were too many voters for the reduced number of urns (kalam ektira3); citizens complained that they lined up as if they were receiving rations “i3ashi”.  General Michel Aoun of the Tayyar Party has warned a couple of months ago on the strong possibility of this problem and had suggested that election be resumed on two successive days.

The opposition claimed that the slow process was intentional to discourage their voters from exercising patience.  Apparently, the slow processing of voter lines is due mainly, in addition to the first reason, to the decrease in numbers of urns because of shortage in personnel.  By law, any voter within the enclosed voting area was eligible to vote after 7 p.m.  Dozens of election monitoring groups from around the world were gathered in Lebanon to take notes of the proceedings; the groups of ex-US President Jimmy Carter, the European Union, and the Arab League were present weeks before that well “observed” and critical day.

News are that over 100 thousands Lebanese immigrants flew in to participate in the election process.

 

Monday Morning, June 8, 2009

                       

            I got up at 4 a.m. and watched TV for any crumbs of news on the election results and removed to my study to read.  Official results will not be in before noon but I got a good idea of the trend.   Our neighborhood and the districts of Metn and Kesrouan are very calm and not because people are not up.  The government coalition parties that usually are the loudest and the most trouble makers have lost the election in these two districts.

            Unofficial results indicate that the government allies received a majority of 67 deputies to 57 for the opposition.  Actually, the results were already known before midnight.  The minister of the interior Ziad Baroud had announced previously not to expect any official results before late afternoon.  My contention is that, in addition to waiting for formal arrival of evidences, the minister of the interior was asked to delay official results for 18 hours.  The purpose of that delay is first, to permit negotiations for swapping deputies from losers to winners as the implicit entente of the Dawha agreement demanded so that the main leaders represented there will re-enter Parliament and second, so that the difference between opposition and government coalition deputies would not exceed more than 5 deputies.

            The opposition coalition major defeats were in the districts of Betroun, Koura, Zahle, and Ashrafieh (Beirut 1).  The government coalition lost Baabda and Zghorta districts.

            The main leaders on both sides are winners; Saad Hariri, Michel Aoun, Walid Jumblat, and Hezbollah. Thus, any government has to be formed of the three major blocks representing the three main religious sects (Maronite, Shiaa, and Sunni) with practically even power politically in the parliament. 

            Basically, the Tayyar of Michel Aoun has increased the number of its deputies from 20 to over 27; the Tayyar gained the leader Suleiman Frangieh of Zghorta and lost Skaf of Zahle.  Michel Aoun strengthened his unchallenged Maronite leadership in Mount Lebanon (the district of Jubeil, Kesrouan, Metn, Baabda, and Jezzine). The block of General Michel Aoun represents two third of the Maronite deputies and 50% of the Christian deputies and an overwhelming popular support in all Lebanon.

            Hezbollah gained the strategic district of Baabda because it is an extension to its headquarters in south Beirut.  Consequently, the resistance had secured internal political backing of all Mount Lebanon to the southern borders. Obviously, Hezbollah prevails militarily and Lebanon policy of defense cannot circumvent Hezbollah’s concerns for its internal security. 

             

            Saad Hariri emerged as the unchallenged leader of the Sunni sect in Beirut, Saida, North Lebanon, and the central Bekaa Valley.  Fouad Seniora PM got a seat in Saida.

            The main losers are the President of the Republic, Michel Suleiman, because the opposition coalition badly defeated the President’s implicit list of candidates in the district of Jubeil. The Maronite Patriarch lost because he can no longer claim any political weight in Mount Lebanon since he publicly supported the parties challenging Michel Aoun.  Thus, Michel Aoun is practically the political leader of the Maronite sect according to Lebanon’s caste system.

            One fact stands out in this tough election: it is my contention that the sacerdotal caste of the Christian Greek Orthodox did its best to challenge Michel Aoun as the pre-eminent representative of all the Christians in Lebanon.  The Greek Orthodox clergy played politics big time by defeating the Tayyar in Koura, Betroun, and Ashrafieh.  I am not worried about this positioning at this phase because the Greek Orthodox citizens are the staunchest Lebanese patriots against our main enemy Israel; most of the secular and national founders of political parties were Greek Orthodox.  Michel Aoun will have to temper his zeal and negotiate with this Christian sect as an equal.  In any event, Saad Hariri will owe the Christian Orthodox big time for the next four years otherwise he is doomed to lose the majority in next Parliamentary election. 

            The Christian Armenians could swing victory only in the Metn district because they failed in Ashrafieh and Zahle to make any difference facing the outnumbered Sunni voters. 

            Actually, the 4,000 Sunni voters in Koura reversed a sure win for the opposition to a defeat by less than one thousand votes. The opposition lost the district of Zahle because the government hads transferred the registration of over 25 thousands of Sunnis to Zahle in preparation for this election. This election was an exacerbation of Sunni confessional rallying cry as the other religious sects were distancing from confessional rhetoric.  Saudi Arabia monarchy is deeply immersed in an ugly and dirty confessional battle.

 

Monday Evening

 

            Ziad Baroud returned partial official results of 15 out of 26 districts (kada2) by noon and a full declaration by 6 p.m. The trick that there were discussions going on for swapping deputies did not take off in Lebanon’s archaic confessional political system.  For example, I considered that at least two losing traditional deputies in Zahle would be declared winners in return for two traditional losers in the Metn District.  Lebanon election experienced high turn out averaging over 60%.

            Hassan Nasr Allah of Hezbollah delivered a speech by 8:30 p.m. He reminded the citizens of the lies of the government coalition leaders who used scare tactics claiming that the resistance would use its military power to affect election procedures and results.  In any case, if the new political power sharing is to take off then any discussion of Hezbollah military reality should be restricted to the special conference table on defense strategies.

 

            Iran is having its Presidential election on June 12, 2009.  The candidates Ahmadinajad and Mossawi faced off in a television debate.  Moussawi suckered to the public opinion of the western nations’ demands: he is speaking as a foreign affairs minister and not a candidate to win the presidency.  The attitude of appeasing the western public opinions is considered very disgusting in Iran and not the characteristic of a vast “Empire”.

            The largest, widest, and lengthiest military exercise conducted by Israel for 5 days and which started on May 31 faltered and was a failure.  The Israeli citizens did not respond as expected and went on to their daily routine as if nothing is happening, regardless of the loud and frequent siren alarms.  Those five days were a holiday and not of any serious exigencies.  The Israelis on the Lebanese borders were the least concerned.  The message was clear and louder than the siren alarms “Governments of Israel, we want peace.  We no longer believe than security should take priority over peace treaty.  For 61 years you have driven us hard to countless pre-emptive and expansionist wars. Enough is enough.  We paid dearly for mindless and losing priorities and we want your policy to do the right thing.  We want peace, period”

 

            President Barak Obama has to deliver something tangible in the Middle East and very soon, and not six months from now as he is planning. Periods of sweet talking with nothing tangible in return are gone.  The Palestinian Statehood is due now!  The return of the Golan Heights to Syria is due now!  Direct negotiations with Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon Hezbollah are due now!  Stabilizing Pakistan is due now!  The return of the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba to Lebanon is due now!  A specific schedule for the return of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to Palestine is due now!

 

            Why my urgency to resolving decades of roadblocks in the Middle East? Simple: the Middle East has been steadily catching on to extremist confessional attitudes as the absolution of Israel’s horrors and genocides has been the trade mark of the western nations.  Lebanon is catching on quickly to isolationist confessional extremism and if Lebanon is no longer a viable experiment for democracy then the USA and Europe will have no one to blame but themselves for laxity in executing and enforcing what is the right thing to do in this region.

What is the Meaning of Life?  (April 6, 2009)

 

In a previous essay “Ideology: Not such a bad Concept before Ruling” I dealt with the notions of ideologies, philosophies, and religions: their purposes and structures. I ended the essay with the following paragraph:

“In many moments in life we ask “what is the meaning of and purpose in life?”   How about we start from the obvious?  We are a bunch of jumbled passions that we all share and that drive our life; we ache by reflection to re-order our passions and sort out the strongest passions that mean most to us. We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits but as thinking reflecting persons that have distinct set of strong passions that we manage to prioritize and focus; we finally think that we know who we are and what passions drove our life. We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.”

When we claim that we are in an introspection phase then we are explicitly finding time to sort out the driving passions that were predictive of our life path.  We all have the same passions at various degrees of power and interest that no outside processes can change or transform unless we consciously act on them to redirect our focus.  Introspections are highly useful conscious periods in our life to comprehend the strongest of our passions and set priority for future activities.  Basically, we are adopting a philosophy to life that is compatible with our strongest passions.  That is what we constantly do: we are addicted to constructing models because we are spiritual designers.  We want to categorize our passions intellectually, by our volition and labor of reflection.

Most religions have to erect an ideology and sometimes slightly update it to face changes; the sacerdotal castes main job is to pressure you to accept their set of values and morals as the best that characterize you.  In fact, religions do not want you to exercise introspection and learn your own characteristics; they want to “save you that hassle” and show you the proper way; they want you to be the man, among all same men, with preferred set of passions instead of realizing your individuality.  Only those following the preferred “type” are selected in heaven as on earth; the black sheep of strong individuality are not recognized in heaven because only the mediocre, the humble, the naïve, the simple-minded can be saved.

 

That was a good starting lead to answering the meaning of life.  I have a question: if you were to choose between knowing the “truth” or safeguarding and preserving your conscious then what would you decide?   I know that you will try to circumvent this basic query by returning a question with another one such as “Isn’t conscious linked to truth searching?” or “Isn’t knowledge an illusion?”

If even scientific facts should be recognized as statistical facts because uncontrolled observations have the tendency to show up occasionally and need to be categorized, understood, and then modeled.  If justice is fundamentally a consensus agreement among the jury then why do we cling so staunchly to truth or “absolute fact”? 

If “truth” is not reachable, if we know that any predictive model can be altered by surprised “chance” observations, if it is proven at every moment in our life that uncertainty is king and it loves to convince you at the most critical events, then why fight for truth and spread disorder for an illusion? 

Our scientific and rational mind is fighting the good fight and is persistent in its endeavor because it refuses impositions of religious abstract notions that have no foundations or convincing premises. Our scientific mind is not fighting “faith” but fighting the sacerdotal castes’ value systems and ideologies.

What about conscious? We can define conscious by its consequences on our nerves, its wrenching battle through sleepless nights, and through nightmares.  Conscious is the constant fighting between imposed religious set values and your strong valid passions that define your individuality.  We are battling to preserve our rightful individuality in a manner that would not shock the community as “crazy behaviors”. 

Most of the time we define conscious as how the community expect us to act and decide because religious belief system is enduring and hard to conciliate with.

 

You always have a choice: truth or conscious; and this dichotomy is not to vanish any time soon and you will have to select differently at many moments. This critical choice is our daily battle and our constant struggle to find meaning to our life.

 

By God, I hope that the set values imposed on me is the correct one.  I would hate after death to face up a reality that is not compatible with what I cowardly submitted to.  I would hate to be condemned for laziness in the mind or condemned for not acting according to my own labor of reflection. Justice is ultimately an individual case and what the community believed is totally irrelevant and redundant for supporting supposed clemency.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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