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The Traditional Way

Muslims repeatedly claim that their faith Islam is such a code of life which delivers peace, inner and outward, following the order, to general humanity. But in the present times, when they often lean forward to justify their claims by referring to their glorious past and golden cultures, like of al-Andulus - they seem to be failing in convincing others. And, what is more a fabrication of truth than the suggestion that the mayhem they've brought to themselves and their environment is fault of a second or third party. Aren't these societal evils equal to mayhem - barbarism, injustice, religious animosity (not merely intolerance), wide-spread corruption, absolute illegality. What we actually need to recognize is to live in the Traditional way of life, and to tap the incentives it contains in its core which promise a life of well-being and harmony for humanity in general. Nasr makes the re-statement of this idea in this way, in his 'The Heart Of islam':

"Muslims must remind themselves again of their responsibilities to God, to human beings, and to the natural world and also of their basic rights, the most important of which is the right to be God's servant and vicegerent here on earth. They must extend their hand in friendship to followers of other religions as ordered by the Quran and to live and let live with regard to those who have moved away from the world of faith altogether. they must even extend their hand to those Christian and primarily Protestant evangelists who express ignorant, hurtful, and even malicious and egregious views about Islam. Muslims must in this case turn the other cheek and prove in their actions that for them also Christ is sent by God and his words revered."

What Seyyed Hossien Nasr, world's leading Islamicist and expert on East and West, wants to say is this:

Let me free so that like the Sun I shall wear a robe of fire,
And within that fire like a Sun to adorn the world.

Rumi

Poverty & Opulence

I observed a very peculiar but shocking difference between the life of luxury and the life of extreme poverty. That difference is rarely realized by those brought up in the lap of luxury, because for them the idea of total helplessness which issues out from an empty pocket doesn't exist. And they are justified for their insensitivity, as experience truly is a provider of wisdom. However, their lust for more never dies (exceptions are there); and poor man's helplessness fails, yet trying so hard to materialize itself.

Of Rationality

Umer: What is rationality?

Master Agha: Rationality is the feature of man which demands that man must use his mind to know about the cause, purpose of creation of his and the universe. This is the first step to know what 'iman (belief) is.

Turkish PM Speaks & Storms Out of a Debate on Gaza

Debate Forum: World Economic Forum Davos


I Confess...

Ishq, The Higher Form of Love

1. How do I know what is ishq and its historical roots, the higher form of love? I am unaware of the commotions and my thoughts are stagnant, more than any metaphor that can be applied to my situation. For that reason, Sir, I cannot ever analyze what is ishq, if the situation persists. So I tried to consult the poet-philosopher Iqbal. But his explanation of ishq can better be described as a part of a thought-system aimed at the unification of human personality and its self-realization.

1 (a). Self-realization (what's hidden in his or her breast, the initiative that is to be taken, ego-integrating and disintegrating factors and stuff like that, you know). It is difficult to realize the nature of it. Especially while taking naps frequently throughout the day. So where do I start from? Not self-actualization, rather ishq, the higher form of love.

1 (a1). Perhaps two or three times I repeated this phrase-cum-clause: ishq, the higher form of love. I should clarify it as to why 'why' is answerable in this particular domain. To Mr. Iqbal, Ishq "means the desire to assimilate, to absorb. Its highest form is the creation of values and ideals and the endeavour to realise them. Love individualises and the lover as well as the beloved." (Quoted by Dr. R.A. Nicholson, in The Secrets of the Self.) Rather than asserting importance on where to start from? I deem it better to let the flow freely flow and to be non-linear somehow.

2. Self if made strong...ego integrated and saved from disintegration...growth, development...The bargains...And...The heights...Visions from the top....Mar'fat...Knowledge of the nature of things...'Prayer as a form of knowledge'...Mar'fat...This is gonna be huge...

3. Sir this ishq, the higher form of ishq, and not the love of physical bodies, transcends my imagination, despite the lure of bar-gains. Even if I in some distant times become successful in imagining things a little better while writing, I surely can imagine that it is transcendent to my imagination: The love-meditation, a source of positive emotions; the songs you've to sing; miracles that ought to happen and the dwelling - hefty tasks. Here I fear to tramp!
When the self is made strong by love
Its power rules the whole world
I believed Iqbal to be an eccentric in the light of the verse I just quoted. I thought of giving up this so-called search for self-realization. I objected this notion of winning over the nature and world as ridiculous, pointing to the fact that isn't the world within man enough to be dominated? Now I wish to break the idols. To unfreeze them. Just for creativity and higher purposes I propose.

3 (a). Although I am a man of a weak will. Love will fortify it. Let me burn myself. Let me unite with my teacher, not Iqbal, neither his teacher, Rumi, the best-selling poet in America today, but love, but Iqbal and Rumi, thus.
By love it is made lasting
more living, more burning, more glory.

Self-Consciousness

'He's a control freak'.
'He forces everyone in his team to work according to his will'.
'Of which chakki's (wheat grinder) bread do you eat?'
'Stop asking questions you brain maniac'.
'Oh please! forgive our souls'.

Voices that are ought to haunt me. Of my friends they're, if you like. I do not doubt their intentions. Many of them are specialized food experts that's why he did not ask whether I am inclined towards eating crows (a common metaphor for excessive talkers) or not. I didn't believe any of them. Because I am a self-conscious being! I can see and visualise where do I stand in relation to these out-of-proportion projections. These voices should not haunt anyone. These words of Mr. Shrek rescued me and helped me harmonising my perceptions and subsequent behaviour:

"...Despite my obvious charming looks and wit, people thought I was a monster. And for a long time I believed them. But then you start to ignore what people call you and you start believing what you're..."

I started believing in what I knew of myself, and of what I didn't know about the tastelessness of Roman architecture in the Church of churches in Rome.

Give it a Funny Caption

Courtesy The New York Times

The Question

For centuries Eastern intellect 
have been absorbed in the question - 
Does God exist?
I propose to raise a new question 
- new, that is to say, for the East -
Does man exist?
- Poet-philosopher, Muhammad Iqbal.

Daily Reflections: Evil & Society

Umer: What is NATURAL?

Master: Strictly speaking, whatever is free of human artificial interference. "Artificial" word comes from "artifact" i.e. hand made, manufactured etc. Only human interference can make things "unnatural"... "Nature" may not always be beneficial. It is better to construct 'bands' along river banks near population. It may be better to try to find new breeds of wheat, may be in some 'artificial' way. Natural way for a wound may be to let it untreated. But medical treatment is better! But if humans make fun of nature like homosexuality etc. Or such things, then it becomes EVIL. Here natural construction, growth etc. is being blocked therefore it's evil.

There have been and still continue to exist self-made and so-called, or let's call them independent intellectuals who are solely driven by the notions of freedom (to do) and independence from all the norms and conventions, preserved and passed 'by generations over centuries'. Expect them (i.e., thought patterns, conventions, etc.) to be faulty and obsolete, eliminate them. That's growth. But I am often amazed, and it's a funny thing to hear from such quarters arguing in defense of unnatural and evil, not amoral, practices. A rational person always sees things in a broader perspective, strives to integrate all colors in the same canvas and thinks beyond his or her personal likings and impulses. If our society discourages homosexuality (even though it persists to exist), it does so on the ground of its being unnatural. In a welfare society people seek to protect themselves and others from the evils which, obviously, go against human nature and reason.

Divine Power

Everything is said and observed to follow a law or perhaps the law. Our physical existence; the trees and plants; the sun and the moon - what else isn't subject to its will than a conscious human mind?

What is that law, this eternal truth? I think of it as nothing but Divine Power.

A Mind-Boggling Challenge

My Master gave me the following quiz to stop me from exaggerating the scope of mind. So I present it you to prove that irrationality exists and doesn't know any boundries!

The Quiz:
"Try to resolve how could you know that earth is a sphere without having seen any space picture. And while considering that your senses can show you only flat surface."

Find a nice cave, and your time starts now. You may win Nobel Prize for it (I rationally think)!

The Philosophy of Life

Everyone is a seeker of truth. Besides physical and material needs there is a distinct and unique urge in everyone, a sort of 'hunger', to know the truth. That is, to find out the purpose and meaning in one's life. A person who is deviated from this higher purpose fails to find contentment and a sense of fulfillment out of the material possessions he or she comes to possess after so long enthusiastic struggling. But if such a person had given some time to know his or her purpose of life and the deep values their nature yearns for; if they had listened to that natural call which comes from the inside to find out the cause and purpose of his or her life and the universe around them, along with material things necessary to sustain life, they would not have failed to achieve their best state of humanity. A state of peace and rest.

Function of Intellect

'Shankar says, "The only function of aqal (intellect) is to interpret sacred scriptures."' He told me.

Parts & Wholes

He will bring another world into existence
A hundred words like this world of parts and wholes
Spring up, like roses, from the seed of his imagination.
He makes every raw nature ripe,
He puts the idols out of the sanctuary.

-Secrets of Self, M. Iqbal, The Poet.

Hypothesis:


A part is not equal to its whole, of which it is a part. And that scientifically and evidently, it is proven to be so, with or without going into the interior of substances which, as 'parts', form up a 'whole'.

Method/Evidences/Examples:

Construction of a whole and its deconstruction
 
Let's take a building and the 'thing(s)' that building is composed of, i.e., 'brick(s)'. We take those bricks and make a building out of them. What we are doing is making a whole out of those parts.

Suppose that now we deconstruct the building and lay its individual units (i.e., bricks) on the ground. My question to you is: Are those bricks individually equal to that building as a whole? Evidently not!

And
metaphysically, the same concept has been used to explain the individuality of Self by poet-philosopher Iqbal. He uses the analogy of water drop and sea. He says that our Self is like a drop of water which is a part of a sea of other drops. Although the 'drop' apparently annihilates its individuality by uniting with other drops and thereby forming a sea, it never, however, loses its individuality by merely uniting with infinity or a large finite sea!

Thus a final chemical 'composition' (as a whole), made up of some substances, is of different nature than the individual elements (or substances) which it is composed of. In chemistry you may have come to study reactions and reversible reactions. In a simple chemical reaction, more than two substances (or even one provided some other medium or condition is fulfilled) react and give a product utterly different in chemical nature from the initial substances. On the other hand, in a reversible chemical reaction the formed product goes into a reversal with the aid of some conditions or reactors, and gives us back its original components (or parts). All chemical properties which we know of the parts and whole are always hugely different from each other. Both, the parts and wholes, exhibit different behaviors, are of non-similar nature and so on and so forth.

Conclusion:

The unity of parts may be a necessary thing, but it is never prone to dissolve the individuality of the self, or part, into nothingness.

(Do you agree with my thoughts? If and if not, then why?)

Of Denial

CSI: Stupidville I

From the Argus (Burlington, Washington) police blotter: "A citizen reported that five dogs had charged at him in a menacing manner. A deputy reported questioning the dogs in the neighbourhood - they all denied involvement."
RUTH M. THOMAS,
Reader's Digest, Jan, 09.

Physics & Nature of Reality

Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Can Physics lead me to an understanding of the nature of physical reality?

Bertrand Russell: [in a small group discussion with the students following a lecture he had given at M.I.T, stated that] Physics does not concern itself with the nature of physical reality per se but with mathematical structures related to pointer readings.

Immediate Knowledge & Sense Experiences

Umer: What about knowledge of heart?

Master Khuram: Immediate knowledge of new, complicated concepts, poetic verses, or even new musical tunes is possible in all these ways (visualisation, speculation, etc) as well as through riazat, deep meditation, imagination or even in dreams. But in no way mind reaches to any reality which is totally independent of previous sense experiences. Mind realizes new concepts but any new concept has to be just a new arrangement of already known things. Suppose you conceive a new concept of "artificial consciousness ". May be it is a whole new concept but after all it is just a new arrangement of already known entities, i.e., 'artificial' and 'consciousness'.

(Do you agree with him? A question for you is: If we fail to understand an 'idea' or a 'thing' when we have no past 'knowledge' of it, or if 'in no way can we reach to any reality which is totally independent of previous sense-experiences,' then what do we already know of?)

My Belief in God

To deny God is to deny oneself and one's own nature. How? Because as God argues in the al-Qur'an: "Is there any doubt that Allah (God) is the Creator [and the Sustainer] of the heavens and earth?"

Obama to Close Foreign Prisons & Guantanamo Camp

"For a long time now there’s been too much secrecy in this city."
- PRESIDENT OBAMA, at a swearing-in ceremony for senior officials

Read more about it here.

Now

How dreadful seem to me the affairs of management and marketing (the later yet to study though). Afraid of repercussions. Will there be 'radiant repercussions' or catastrophic? The painful struggling for the purification.

I fear most being there at the helm of all affairs, dealing with the mothers of all messes, rather trying to be looking as if actually dealing. But when I think of myself. I am so faint-hearted. I cannot see blood-sucking injections injecting what? of course blood. I faint, almost always. The repercussions!

Office, work, stress, managing. Stress. Oh no! It's even more dreadful. It's harmful to my tissues, organs and brains. Where shall I go? They say that even intimate knowledge of stress becomes actual stress. But it shouldn't be this way, not now that I should feel stress. Fear of unknowns that has eaten up our independent scholars. What am I?

Its years away, the demons of work. I have more than six years at my disposal. They await me to be spent in the gracious gardens and legendary halls of universities and on and on and on. The burden of work; the burden of proof, why don't books trouble me now?

I cannot help myself shedding off the burden of proof as I sense the future being near, very near. I feel the moment it takes me to blink my eye that moment shall not last longer. The moment of leisure. Man is at the Loss side of the Income Statement and that is because he has time, which goes out somewhere in the apparent nothingness of space. Why I had to choose to write a 12-page Life Thinking Paper, in which I planned more than ten years ahead? Why couldn't I choose to invest that toil and visit the open green fields of my native village? Many friends of mine would have been more than eager to join me on those mild, cloudy and amorous fields. Why can't I now?

And the wild forests within me. The pugnacious animal. What of hedges? Worn out, rusty. What now, Sir? Now is life. And 'not now' is not life. [Hmm...] So that suggests, not contrary and not out of any uncertainty to the later proposition, which doesn't contradict the later suggestion to be stated to fulfill and enhance the scope of the former proposition and obviously not repellent to it in meaning, that active life is active consciousness. So what? For instance, I can put forward my own definition of life: Life is such a phenomenon (trying to be metaphilosophic) in which a Being experiences being in consciousness at now. I cannot be there, a point in time 10 years ahead of now. 

What now? I say let me live in now and dive in it so that I can behold it and surpass time.

Mid-day Break Reflections: Contemplation & Action

Time: Afternoon break between classes at university.

Action, the art of doing, is the sole capital for contemplations such that both are functions of each other. That is to say: contemplation without action is death; and action without contemplation is self-defeating. It is like paddle-wheel combination. When wheel moves, paddle moves and when paddle rotates the wheel rotates. None of them can act in isolation without affecting the other. The logical lesson for man in this analogy is ceaseless action coupled with eternal contemplation for refinement of the former and expansion of later.

Personalities & Intellectuals

1. No personality is identical to another, not necessarily in terms of rank or social order. History doesn't seem to be producing leaders that match in characteristics, style and personality traits. It is so mainly because of different life-stories every person has. We do not find a leadership model that can encompass all sorts of life-stories. There may be similarities in thought patterns or common values shared by a large number of such leaders. Yet there is no prototype, in this sense, one can follow and imitate and by the bliss of imitating whom, he can easily become like 'him'. At least not a purely earthly man can be such a prototype.

2. But on the other hand, the matter with intellectuals and scholars, broadly classified under the same Arabic term 'alim, is evidently different. We find no 'alim in the past ever greater than the one in the future. To me it is the nature that passes the baton of supremacy to every new alim according to it's will for the sake of goodness of general humanity. This again proves that we cannot have absolute education. If it were opposite to what is now, it would have been a situation which no man of impulses and curiosities could willingly accept. 

But 'What a piece of work is man!' (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

O Captain! My Captain

'O Captain! My Captain!' This is a highly moving poem by Whit Waltman on Lincoln. His captain. It is said to be one of his best poems. One of the striking feature of this poem is the mastery of poet in symbolising and encoding the whole true historical narrative, giving it another personality, allegorically. I am inspired by it. I search for my own captain. And I  can only have one such captain. It's likely he can be me, no duality of inside and outside as there is no inside and there is no outside. Here is the whole poem, unabridged.


O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
 
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won; 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: 
    But O heart! heart! heart!         
      O the bleeding drops of red, 
        Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
          Fallen cold and dead. 
 
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
 
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;  
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding; 
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; 
    Here Captain! dear father! 
      This arm beneath your head; 
        It is some dream that on the deck,  
          You’ve fallen cold and dead. 
  
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
 
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; 
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 
    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! 
      But I, with mournful tread, 
        Walk the deck my Captain lies, 
          Fallen cold and dead.

Islamic Conscience & Freedom

The highest aim of an intellectual in Islam is to free himself from the fetters of this worldly life through the acquisition of true knowledge. And to become free from all earthly fears. This freedom every soul can enjoy, the freedom to be, 'to experience pure existence', Nasr says - in other words, of Iqbal, it is 'The discovery of Man'.

Silence

Silence is the best strategy I can resort to. Do I need to be verbose in my words to tell what a red-light signal can just communicate non-verbally? Silence is the best strategy.

The Interpretation of History

"History is only interpretation of human motives; and, since we are liable to misinterpret the motives of our contemporaries and even of our intimate friends and associates in daily life, it must be far more difficult rightly to interpret the motives of those who lived centuries before us. The record of history, therefore, should be accepted with great caution."
Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-philosopher.


This led me to study human motivation, in a very ill-manner I am accustomed to. Which isn't complete yet. The beauty of reading 'human motivation' with the view of interpreting history is two-fold: one, that it becomes easy to understand the historical record accurately; and second, it leads one to focus more on human motivational factors than proaction. The later is a bit dangerous. Because when one comes to study mainstream leadership philosophies of post-modern world, he starts to blame more his conditioning and ignores the potential of free will, in whatever controlled form it exists in us. Refuting the power of free initiation I can take, which I must take, can result in self-declared liberation and independence from all sacred duties (there's no principle of division that I follow). Which is likely to deny my highest aim of saving my soul from the fire of hell. A reality very concrete to my mind.

How Israel is Losing this Carnage of Its?

Doctors like these...

World believes, that actually doesn't blame Israel for anything, that Iran's influence on Hamas is real. So much so 'real' and important that they think by crushing Hamas Iran will be pushed back and will automatically be weakened through military, hard power, action. This approach is discernible from the view of historian Micheal Oren, a press officer in the Israeli military, that "the operation against Hamas represents a unique chance to deal a strategic blow to Iranian expansionism."

But why are they wrong? And why their military offense is going to fail this time, which is more of a political failure? Vali Nasr answers in his respected work The Shia Revival that "Iran does not have tangible assets in Gaza or the Palestinian territories. It's misunderstanding to think of its strength in that way. Its real influence in the Arab world comes from its soft power, the reputation it has built as the defender of the great Arab cause of Palestine."

This is very true. As Fareed Zakria argues, "Hamas is not Iran's pawn. Recently, Hamas has been taking funds and weapons from Iran, but that does not mean it also takes orders from it." He further adds that its decisions to break "the ceasefire probably took place without direction Tehran."* I cannot say the mayhem Israelis have brought to Gaza victims is going to turn into a happily ever after fairy-tale situation. Israel's unjustified onslaught has broken the threads of friendship so-called moderate Arab states were weaving with Israel, although against the public opinion. I may sound here too cold-blooded. But that's not important. Even Iraqi prime minister has openly called Arab and Muslim states to "cancel their diplomatic relations and stop all contacts - public and private - with this murderous regime, which continues its painful aggression against peaceful, unarmed civilians."

For future that is to emerge from the ashes of today, a shift that is taking place away from Israel of world and most importantly Arabs is a good sign for Muslim world. This will help draw a cleavage line between those of good faith and of bad. The test of real and true faith of them is yet to come. The outcomes of which will be obvious then.

* From the article What Makes Ahmadinejad Smile, by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek.

Upward Celestial Continuity

Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

Horatio's farewell prayer for Hamlet.
Hamlet V, 2, 37.

The suggestion expressed in the 'title' of the post is not self-explanatory. Till now, I've only mentioned Horatio bidding farewell to the dead prince Hamlet. However, it becomes very clear if one just knows the whole context and events happening simultaneoulsy in the background.

The moment Hamlet dies Fortinbras immediately enters as a prince. Thus it 'marks a continuity between the dead prince and the living one', interprets M. Lings. The thing that I felt too very intuitively has been well put in the following sentence by M. Lings 'that Hamlet is mysteriously reborn in Fortinbras'. Lings doesn't see this alchemy as 'an earthly horizontal succession, but on an upward celestial continuity'. This isn't actually fully indicated by Shakespeare, yet of which the reader somehow becomes aware of. Of continuity. Of cycle of life!

Mad, Mad, Mad Writers

There are sentences of 125, 159 and 218 words. This the minimum one, of only 62 words. Can you decipher the esotericism the following sentence contains deep within its inner being? Here is a humble sample:

Notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained no partial surrender may be effected unless both the sum payable on the partial surrender and the total after the surrender of the Participating Sum Assured and the Related Bonuses thereon and of all Further Paricipating Sums Assured and Related Bonuses thereon exceed a minimum sum which the Society shall determine at the time of partial surrender.

In the policy documents of Equitable Life,
a U.K. based insurance company.

A Major Achievement

Sometimes it doesn't rain cats and dogs. You would be thinking that at such times, even, cats and dogs rush for a shelter, or that shoes shower from on high. But what Daddy Bush had got to reflect, apart from his quick reflexes, is even more ridiculous than the whole event of rain without cats and dogs. I listened to him in what is being labeled as Bush's biggest moment and what he says is his major achievement. Surely it is confidence that matters, not the way things are.

Bourgeois Values & American Culture

It doesn't imply that I share the views of N. Podhoretz, who is being quoted here. I only wished to share his view here.

"Our culture is ill-equipped to assert the bourgeois values which would be the salvation of the under-class, because we have lost those values ourselves."

Norman Podhoretz (b. 1930), U.S. editor, critic, essayist. quoted in Daily Mail (London, Nov. 10, 1989).


Turmoil after Turmoil for U.S. Banks

Citigroup Posts $8.29 Billion Loss and Will Split
Published: January 16, 2009

Citigroup on Friday reported a fourth-quarter net loss and
provided more details of an ongoing restructuring plan that
will divide the company, for management purposes, into two
separate businesses -- Citicorp and Citi Holdings.

Read More:

Arne Naess, Norwegian Philosopher, Dies at 96


(Note: The news came on 14 January and the following excerpt from a news article was also published on the same date.)

By WILLIAM GRIMES

Published: January 14, 2009

Arne Naess, a Norwegian philosopher whose ideas about promoting an intimate and all-embracing relationship between the earth and the human species inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world, died Monday. He was 96.

Father of Deep Ecology:

[Naess] threw himself into environmental work and developed a theory that he called deep ecology. Its central tenet is the belief that all living beings have their own value and therefore, as Mr. Naess once put it, “need protection against the destruction of billions of humans.”

Deep ecology, which called for population reduction, soft technology and non-interference in the natural world, was eagerly taken up by environmentalists impatient with shallow ecology — another of Mr. Naess’s coinages — which did not confront technology and economic growth.

- Read the rest of the article about Arne Naess, a glimpse of his life and philosophy, here.

Daily Reflections: The Phenomenon of Life

'[W]ell-being in this world and well-being in the hereafter' (Al-Qur'an). This is the sum-total and sole aim of all teachings of God Almighty's revealed word. Purification is the first step towards a life of well-being in both worlds. The beauty of Christianity, as Nasr appreciates, lies in its acceptance of God as a mystery, bowing before this mystery and believing in the unknown for He is beyond all perceptions. If faith is something we cannot ever shed off, as Rumi puts it, even then the importance of prayers cannot be negated, because without prayers there is no concept of well-being in man's life. A believer's life without prayer is like of a bird who sits all the day long in its nest and tires to touch the skies and feel the pleasure of flight, and in reality never flies. There is no way that nature has provided that bird to attain the mirth of flight other than by regular flapping and movement of its wings and organs, providing it the necessary thrust and lift to sustain its flight. 

Prayer is a function of a life of well-being as 'f' is a function of 'a' such that f(a)=b.

Global Distribution of Think-Tanks, 2008


In case you cannot read:
Red = Over 100
Pink = 11-100
Light Green = 1-10
Yellow = None

(Survey by Foregin Policy. Source.)

Place of Meditation in Attaining Positive Emotions

1. How many of us exercise throughout their lives, consistently, psoitive emotions, like of kindness, patience, love etc.,? Even Maslow's highly 'self-actualized' persons are not free from imperfection. They are highly expected to lose temper, become impatient and show irrational behavior. That is actually a fault of his theory, but our concern is something else. Firstly, we recognize that positive emotions are usually short-lived and fleeting on one hand; and less powerful and less intense on the other.

1 (a). Secondly, we recognize the importance of positive importance in the light of metaphysical and empirical research. We are much familiar with metaphysical assertions about positive emotions, which is very positive. To introduce the view-points of empirical research, I'd like to quote B. L. Fredrick et al., "Positive emotions contribute important downstream life outcomes, including friendship development (Waugh & Fredrickson, 2006), marital satisfaction (Harker & Keltner, 2001), higher incomes (Diever, Nickerson, Lucus, & Sandvik, 2002), and better physical health (Doyle, Gentile, & Cohen, 2006; Richman et al., 2005)." [Article reference is at the end of para 2 (a)]

2. A light study of a research article illuminated the need of meditation in gaining, not fleeting, but stronger, lasting and enduring positive emotions in one's life, to me. The abstract of the research paper goes on as:

"B.L. Fredrickson's (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions asserts that people's daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources. The authors test this build hypothesis in a field experiment with working adults (n=139), half of whom were randomly-assigned to begin a practice of loving-kindness meditation. Results showed that this meditation practice produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which in turn, produced a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support and decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms."*

2 (a). Rest of the article consists of some hypotheses, the testing, the scientific method carried on 139 people, mathematically calculated results, the pros and cons of research, and in the end, a generalized conclusion. All of which is truly in conformity with the title of the paper I'll mention here, which I feel is in itself self-explanatory, rather than pasting whole of the article (which is of course impossible!): *Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources. [Authors: Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kimberly A. Coffey & Jolynn Pek (University of North Carolina), Micheal A Cohen & Sandra M. Finkel (University of Michigen)]

(What is your opinion about the 'abstratct'? And, how do we enrich our lives with inducing 'poitive emotion'?)
________________________
Note:
- Article appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008, Vol. 95, No. 5, 1045-1062

News Flash: U.S. Economy

I cannot add more than this!

Memory of Feelings

Memories contain more than mental pictures, words, incidents and voices. Some memories can be without words, voices or any particular incident/event. It may simply be a scenery which contains a 'feeling' attached with either the environment, or issued by the 'beholder's eye', so much so fresh that whenever one recalls it, he feels it even though it's only a memory.

Gur - A Special Pakistani Sugar

Actually. South Asian. But you will never miss mention of gur if you know a Pakistani who is a Pakistani and not c or d. Gur is a very humble and simple desi treat. Everytime a child comes into consciousness in Pakistani society they overdose him or her with Gur. Lucky ones. We make it a wholesome sweet by adding a variety of dry fruits, and it accepts all of them and exalt them by its taste. Here is an introduction of Gur I found in The Encyclopedia of Pakistan, Oxford, 2006:

A home-made brown sugar used in South Asia. A variety made out of palm sap known as jaggery. It is produced out of sugar cane by boiling the syrup until it thickens. Gur is 65 per cent sucrose. The sugarcane is shredded and boiled in open cauldrons. When the syrup cools and solidifies, it is chopped into pieces. the losses in the home-made production of gur are 25 per cent more than in factory production. It generally takes a team of four people to prepare gur. There is no exact data on its pproduction because it is both produced and consumed within the peasant household. The estimated amount produced is 800-100,000 tons a year. In industrial areas and areas adjacent to sugar factories, over a third of farms growing sugarcane specialize in gur production. The main cantres of gur-making are Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal, Sargoda [city I belong to] (Punjab and Nawabshah (Sindh, province).

M. YU. MOROZOVA

Aristotle on Octopus

Aristotle wrote on octopus in these words: 'The octopus uses its tentacles [elongated flexible organs] both as feet and hands: it draws in food with the two that are placed over its mouth; and the last of its tentacles ... it uses for copulation.'

Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction, Jonathan Barnes.

Giclee Prints

These are all Giclee prints. Briefly it is: "The Giclee printing process delivers a fine stream of ink resulting in vivid, pure color and exceptional detail that is suitable for museum or gallery display. This art print is produced on a heavy 310 gsm, acid-free and watercolor textured paper." [Source] The following are just a few specimen.
 Some are highly subtle impressions of miserable life and complex emotions. Others may seem to be echoing bells of destitute and some purely abstract and non-representative, and some from deep within. Here they are.

"Old Man in Sorrow" by Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890)
"Return of the Prodigal Son" by Baroque artist, Rembrandt (1606 – 1669)
"Monk by the Sea" by David Friedrich
"Apple Tree with Red Fruit" by Paul Ranson (1864 – 1909)
"The Fox" by Franz Marc, 1913.
"Abbey in the Oakwood" by Gothic Romantic Caspar David Friedrich
Visit https://www.allposters.com/-st/Fine-Art-Giclee-Prints-Posters_c102906_.htm for many more works of art.

Rumi's View of Evolution



Nay, it isn't a comparison to the concrete-eyed other theories bearing same designation. Rather, it's more of quality and reality. I know you cannot wait, I must disclose it.
I died as mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was a Man.
The saga doesn't end here. Yes. The saga! Its the beginning of the end!
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones: 'To Him we shall return'.

Contemplation & Symbolism


1. A symbol is like a shadow. If one can decode the shadow, he actually detects the metacosm, i.e, the phenomenon of whose shadow he has interpreted, e.g, the microcosm and macrocosm being shadows of the metacosm. This is a subtle world. And, the elements of man are also very subtle. Take man's brain. His brain has a tendency to alter reality in order to preserve its survival. Therefore, there has to be some meaning in the world man lives for his guidance in day-to-day matters. Of meaning. Imperatively.

2. The need of symbolism is ever more greater. Because what lies in this world also corresponds to each element which lies in man, therefore it's important for the sake of his own welfare that he gets rational understanding through contemplation over the 'shadow', this world, a need he can barely avoid. As the Sufis say, 'The Universe is a great man, and man is a little Universe'. This statement approves the latter view. 'Under the veil of each particle is concealed the soul-refreshing beauty of the Face of the Beloved. To that one whose spirit lives in contemplation of the Vision of God, the whole world is the book of God Most High' (Shabistari, Reading from the Mystics of Islam, by M. Smith).

3. Noway could this presence of Being in nature better be expressed than by the following verse.
Being, with all its latent qualities,
Doth permeate all mundane entities,
Which, when they can receive them, show them forth
In the degrees of their capacities
Jami, 'Abd al-Rahman,
Lawa'ih.

Intuitive Analysis of Grammar

Very funny. Image Source

When intuition judges something not by its 'meaning', it does so by the 'form' and 'position' of it. This not to say that it does so with any subject under its consideration. But, this is very much the case with grammatical analysis of language. However, as they say that an argument triggers off another, so is what happens when we talk about analyzing language in terms of grammar: Which comes first - language or grammar? This can be a moot debatable point. Yet, it may have been already resolved in the already present ocean of knowledge. In fact, it owes to the ignorance of the writer and his plight that he has read so much so less that he is unable to commit: I don't know sir.

But. A definition of grammar: 'Grammar can be briefly described as a set of rules for constructing and for analysing sentences.' [G. Leech et al, 1982]

Then as per this definition of grammar, grammar is primarily a tool for constructing and analysing the language or sentences. It sees sentences as independent units which are made of up of different constituents or parts. We have the definitions of those constituents on which a sentence is constructed, and when analysed into its parts. And, when the analysis is done, it is usually done in a formal way by correlating the parts of the sentence with their actual 'meaning' already defined. For instance, in the sentence [(Mark) (is) (on) (a) (mission)] The square brackets show that it is a complete sentence (or an independent clause), whereas the round brackets contain the CONSTITUENTS. (Mark) is noun, (on) a preposition and so on. The question was how to parse or analyze the sentence. We did it on with help of definitions and their meaning that (Mark) is a noun because it satisfies the definition of a 'noun' and because knew the meaning of the noun. (I must caution you here that even having developed sets of constituents, yet the boundries of the grammatical terms are very much in fusion.)

This method is carried out at the basic and formal level in grammar studies in schools and colleges. But, there is another subtle and advance way of parsing or analysing sentences which goes beyond the meaning of words. For instance, when we do not know the meaning of the words, what do we do? How do we parse or analyse the sentence and find its grammatical components?

Take this silly poem Jabberwock by Lewis Carrol and one will come to fully appreciate the use of intuitive analysis, i.e, analysing the sentences with identifying the form and position of the'constituents', instead of analyzing the grammar in terms of meaning of the grammatical terms.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Toves and borogoves = nouns
Gyre, gimble, and outgrabe = verbs
Slithy and mimsy = adjectives

How did we know that? Obviously not on the basis of meaning! Instead, it was through identifying their 'position' and 'form', we reckoned it so. For instance, G. Leech and et al explain:
Borogoves is a noun because it ends in -s and because it follows the. (All mimsy were the borogoves,)
Slithy is an adjective because it comes between the and the plural noun toves. (...the slithy toves)
And, the rest you can at your own decode very easily, but by taking in view the form and position of the respective constituents. What it proves and shows is our intuitive skill in the analysis of grammar. And, also that intuition does not concern itself with rigorous findings of meaning. That is why it is more subtle and advanced. And, partially, it may also explain why we do not understand intuition fully, because of its independence from meaning.

* Quotes taken from the book by G. Leech et al, English Grammar for today.
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