08/19/16

In the wind

I stand alone!

Bellowing winds, drive me home

In agony, I cry for a dream forlorn 

To build a world that is free of form

A world where Truth can again be born

Of purest thought, of noble intention

A world so free from any contention 

Alas, my soul now must now take flight 

As darkness falls in a starless night 

I ride the winds to from whence I came 

A place were Light will always remain 

Where my dream can be reborn again 

09/15/15

Questions and speculations on Consciousness

I think, I am, I have a sense of self, and my observations shape reality. There is an apparent intentionality in my actions. I believe I possess the power rebel against existing order, tear it apart and construct a new one. I am a member of a lucky species that has attained a certain degree of consciousness.

But what is that thing we label consciousness. Is it simply and emergent phenomena of an advanced sensory system that is combined with the complex arrangement of neurons and synapses? Is it inevitable that conscious being such as humans should exist in the universe? Are we truly “At home in the Universe”, as Stuart Kauffman would put it?

Is the quality of consciousness intrinsically tied to being human? I am not so sure.

Is it a field that permeates space seeking a suitable medium to express itself? I am happier with that thought, though I have no way to prove it…yet!

We might one day set in motion a process that would create increasingly more advanced mediums of consciousness. We may one day surpass ourselves and hand the baton to nobler and superior beings. There should be joy in that; no fear or shame. It will be just then that we would have fulfilled the ultimate purpose of our species.

03/6/15

The Postmodern Man

Wondering through an old town
I saw a sight that made me frown
People running all over the place
With no purpose, but an angry face

Tearing houses in which they dwell
Barking words I can not tell
Breaking mirrors and shattering glass
What an awful fate this has come to pass

They smashed all that could glimmer
Their ugly faces it could mirror
I asked a man what is going on
To the beautiful city of a thousand songs

He stared at me in total confusion
Then said “We lost all truth for an illusion”
“At first it was truth that we were seeking
But lost all hope when we lost all meaning”

“Of many Gods we did create
Then we destroyed and declared their fate”
Of what is sacred we did not respect
Many noble meaning we did dissect ”

“We studied stars with microscopes
Viewed atoms with telescopes

“We uttered word we shouldn’t speak
Turned heaven’s gift into a freak
We’ve broken vows we shouldn’t break
Our existence became a funny mistake”

“Then our hearts turned to dust
Nothing left that we can trust
“God is dead” the man proclaimed
“Man is god, man is great”

“When man is god all is abstruse
What use to him, is now the truth
Of a murky mix he did evolve
In murky chaos he must now dissolve”

“All must be now undone
All hope is lost all meanings gone”
I walked away in disbelief
My heart now filled with so much grief

What tragic end could all this be
For men with eyes but could not see
What strange turns this world does take
When men are stung by a life-giving snake

Logic used to break man’s chains
From chains of logic it should break again
I weep for that post-modern man
Post-modern, postmortem and the world is bland

06/16/14

Reality’s Semblance

Layers of Lies marching in semblance
of an ugly and distorted “reality”

Lives wasted in transience
in false hopes of evidential existentiality

In fear of facing internal emptiness
they blind themselves to possibilities of … humanity

01/6/14

The gods they make

The gods they make capture their fears, their ignorance, and their desire to control.
Their gods share their grotesque outlook, yet they fully capture their aspirations.
Aspirations of dominance, control, and subjugation of others.
Aspirations of meek and mean-spirited human “beings”.
The wretches are blind to human potential!

12/8/13

You Fall!

You fall! You hit the water at high speed. Wet! Shocked! Refreshed! Disoriented!
You emerge! You quickly swim towards your board and get your sail up again.
You learn! The forces acting over you lead to an imbalance. Your actions were not properly calculated.
You  understand! Full control is a myth! The best you can do is make optimal use of the natural forces around to arrive to where to want to go.The direct path is often unfeasible. You can not fight the waves or wind head-on.
You read! The awesome forces that drive you forward and shape the planet; you body that is optimize through millennia for different purposes, but through will and determination you adapt it for totally different purposes.The power of the intellect is magnificent!
You realize! Harmony in flow, motion and action.
You think! You have achieved mastery…..you FALL again.

12/8/13

Real Stress

Taking a break on the approach to the summit, freezing winds howling fiercely, my youthful partner remarks “I am stressed!”. I shot back with some anger and exasperation “This is nothing! There are levels of stress you have yet to experience!”. My partner stares at me, his face ashen cold and with a pained expression asks “But what on earth could be more stressful than this?”. I answer “Watching a noble dream sublimate into nothingness… and digging deep for the will to live…and learning once more to hope again and to dream again”. We continue our accent…silently.

02/18/13

The praying machine

I watched as he prayed, listening those ancient utterances that had been handed down by the merciful God. 
Words that conjure a beautiful world, in my mind, bringing forth the noblest of human aspirations.
Living words that take on new meaning as I understand more about the universe and its laws, as I tread gently on a path of self discovery.
Words unbound, and unchained by literal views and historical precedents.
Words that animate matter and spirit and shapes reality in a creative act of seeing.

Foolishly I thought that such words bind us.
Foolishly I thought that we prayed to the same God.

The god he worshiped was of made of adulterated matter. Made of  fears, hopes and social constructs.  It was a dominating and dogmatic  god, like he was.
A useful god that cleared for him a road to power and domination over feeble and base minds that continue to worship the Nietzschean dead god of their illusions. The wretches!

Meanings of holy Words, copied from generation to the next without spiritual transubstantiation. Meanings that with time become confused for the Words of God. As cells proceed unto death by making copies, and then dying, those meaning having moved through generations making ever more erroneous copies in minds until DEATH!

Now I know that he is dead! His thoughtless utterances only affirm that he is a machine devoid of spirit.  Motivated by an evolutionary imperative to spread death and stasis in the minds of humanity. He replicated himself through a viral meme, mustering all the resources and powers in his path. What meme? You man ask? Well… he fashions pocket sized gods for the miserable and lost.

I turn to the Source, I reach out for the infinite, the uncontained, the unfathomable, the grandest mystery.  The spectacle of the praying-machine haunting me.

07/23/12

The trouble with our right brained revolution

In Ian McGilchrist’s master piece “The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World” a brilliant exposition is made of the functional divisions of the brain, but more importantly between two modes of experiencing the world that are often in conflict with each other. The right hemisphere with it focus on synthesis and connection on the broadest universal sense and the left hemisphere with its focus on breaking things up and narrow attention. That conflict is beautifully captured in a fable (attributed to Nietzsche) the goes

There was one a wise spiritual master, who was the ruler of a small but prosperous domain, and who was known for his selfless devotion to his people. As his people flourished and grew in number, the bounds of this small domain spread; and it with it the need to trust implicit the emissaries he sent to ensure the safety of it ever more distant parts. It was not just that it was impossible for him personally to order all that needed to be dealt with: as he wisely saw, he needed to keep his distance from, and remain ignorant of, such concerns. And so he nurtured and trained carefully his emissaries, in order that they could be trusted. Eventually, however, his cleverest and most ambitious vizier, the one he most trusted to do his work, began to see himself as the master, and used his position to advance his own wealth and influence. He saw his master’s temperance and forbearance as weakness, not wisdom, and on his mission on the the master’s behalf, adopted his mantle as his own – the emissary became contemptuous of his master. And so it came about that the master was usurped, the people were duped, the domain became a tyranny; and eventually it collapsed in ruins.

The master (right hemisphere) has been usurped by the emissary (left hemisphere), such has been the tragedy of our times. We live in “[a]n increasingly mechanistic, fragmented, decontextualised word, marked by unwarranted optimism mixed with paranoia and a feeling of emptiness”. It is a case of a “dysfunctional left hemisphere” dominating our experience of the world  

The impetus of the Egyptian revolution as I experienced it, was clearly of the right brained variety. There were no plan,  script, or grand idea that roused noble passions. It was, as McGilchrist would put it “essentially involv[ing] a certain disposition, the disposition to experience sorrow at the other’s misfortune… To be just is to be disturbed by injustice. Pain, suffering, and the loss of pleasure, then, sometimes constitute who we are and what we value. They are essentially woven into our deepest commitments. As reasons flow from our deepest commitments, we will sometimes have non-instrumental reason to suffer.”

It was the pain and suffering that we experienced during the revolution that made many of us feel  more human, more willing sacrifice our physical being for something with a touch of the divine. Something electrified our right hemispheres and awaken in us a fresh, yet somewhat latent, vision of reality. What that “something” is? Words fail at capturing it. It feels to me that the attempt to describe it would limit it, defile it, and cheapen it.  This is beautifully put by McGilchrist

Making things explicit is the equivalent of focusing on the workings, at the expense of the work, the medium at the expense of the message. Once opaque, the plane of attention is in the wrong place, as it we focused on the mechanics of the play, not on the substance of the play itself; or on the plane of the canvas, not what is seen there. 

Yes, we cried in Tahrir for “bread, freedom, and social justice”, but the words have since been prey to demagogic abuse and political manipulation. It was the process, the mechanism, the prime cause that gave rise to those words and a myriad of creative expressions in Tahrir we should have protected and preserved. We now seems to be chasing phantoms of that humanizing force. Mere shadows, distortions, and reflections and not the pure light itself.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the 23 July revolution. A purely left brained affair. Young officers planned, schemed, and calculated to maximize their personal self-interest. The young officers lacked little in terms of rational ability. They often fumbled, but their rational motives were always clear. Their drive to dominate was a purely selfish affair, no empathy, no love of other, and no altruism. The current ruling Junta (SCAF) are a byproduct of the earlier revolution. We rose against those mechanical men, who can only conceive of a world were people are spurs and gears in a diabolical machines of their construction. Devoid of creative abilities their machines jammed and broke down and yet they continue to fix them. They are prisoners of their hackneyed mental constructions.

Many who truly witnessed the revolution of 2011 still believe in their hearts that another world is possible. It was a world that they had a glimpse of in the 18 days following January 25, 2011. But it is also a world that they failed to protect. The rise of Islamists now represents yet an another manifestation of the lifeless and mechanical vision of the world. Yet, it is far more insidious. It makes appeals to that which gives meaning and beauty to the lives of many. In its ascent it will lay barren fertile fields of human values. Religion, like many things that are of crucial importance to our human existence

…cannot withstand being too closely attended to, since their nature is to be indirect or implicit. Forcing them into explicitness changes their nature completely, so that in such cases what we come to think we know ‘certainly’ is in fact not truly known at all. Too much self-awarness destroys not just spontaneity, but the quality that makes things live; …. religious devotion [can hence] become  mechanical, lifeless, and may grind to a half if we are too self-aware.

With each passing day, I feel the memory of the early days in Tahrir ebbing away. The sublime beauty of the experience is giving way self-doubt and disbelief. The noise of the immediate is becoming overbearing. A noise that captures the attention of the left brain. Through innumerable logical (yet mostly fake and self-serving) contraptions the limits of what is possible are being drawn. How will our right brained revolution survive as its pathos gradually slips away from mass consciousness? 

In the absence of truly inspired artists, all that will remain will be some slogans with continually diminishing potency, as smattering of confused ideological posturing, and dreams that can not “be make explicit” lost in the detritus of time.

I can only pray that the following statement will hold true: “The spirit grows, [and] strength is restored, by wounding”

Increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus
06/20/12

إين خط الدفاع عن الثورة المصرية؟

أشعر انه يتم استدراجنا الآن إلي معارك ليس لها علاقة بالثورة و أهدافها. الناتج من هذه المعارك هو تقسيم كعكة السلطة بين أطراف عندهم مصلحة في بقاء منظومة الاستبداد التي ثار لتحطيمها المصريون في يناير 2011. 
كان لهتاف “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام” في الثورة دلالات عميقة تتعدي تنحي حسني مبارك عن رئاسة الجمهورية. منظومة الاستبداد كانت ترتكز علي أربع دعائم هي:
  • عدم الشفافية: لم يكن يعلم الشعب ما يحدث في دهاليز السلطة حيث تحدد مصائره.
  • الانعزالية: كان هناك إحساس عام بالضعف و قلة الحيلة و عدم القدرة علي علي توصيل الآلام و المعانة و الأحلام ل”أولي الأمر”.
  • الهيمنة المطلقة: كانت النظام يسعي لأن يكون المتحكم الذي ليس له منازع في مصائر الخلق. كان هناك إحباط لمحاولات المبادرة الفردية أو الجماعية. حتي المؤسسات الغير حكومية كانت تعاني من تدخل سافر من الدولة في عملها و حرية حركتها.
  • تزييف الوعي: كان النظام يقوم بحملات منظمة لنشر أكاذيبه و إعطاء الإنطباع  انه يعمل من الأجل الشعب و مصالحه في مواجهة قوى خفية تريد الشر لمصر. كان أحد محفزات الثورة أن النظام فقد القدرة علي تطوير أدائه في ظل التطور الرهيب الذي حدث في سبل الاتصالات في العقد السابق.
 هذه الدعائم أدت بدورها لانتشار المحسوبية و الفساد لدرجة جعلت الحياة اليومية للمواطن العادي لا تطاق.  لهذا هتفنا “عيش، حرية، عدالة اجتماعية” في الثورة و نحن نعترض علي الناتج الطبيعي لهذه المنظومة.
 الآن نري جماعة الإخوان في أوج صراع عنيف من أجل السلطة و ليس من الغريب أن نري كثير من الثوار منحاز إلي الجماعة في هذا الصراع المحموم. العسكر هم من قتل و سحل و عري و عذب و أعتقل من بعد التنحي. الإخوان و إن كانوا تخلوا عن رفقائهم في الثورة  لم تلطخ أيديهم بالدماء (علي الأقل بالشكل المباشر).  قد يبدوا لكثيرون أنهم أولي بالتأيد في هذه اللحظة. هذا علي أساس انه يمكننا أن بعد نساعدهم في سحب كل مقاليد السلطة من العسكر أن نكمل صراعنا معهم كمدنيين أمثالنا.
 أرى في ذلك سقطة فكرية و منهجية شديدة. في قراءتي لأحداث ما بعد التنحي أري أن الإخوان هم شديدي الحرص علي الحفاظ علي الدعائم الأربعة السالف ذكرها. آري في تنظيم الإخوان الداخلي تكريس لهذه الدعائم و لهذا لا أستطيع أن أراهم محطمون لها. و إن كنت أرى في بعض شبابهم بصيص لبادرة أمل و لكن قياداتهم لا أمل فيهم و لا رجاء.
صراع القوى القائم اليوم بين الإخوان و العسكر ليس له علاقة بما أراه انه الهدف الرئيسي المستتر لقيام الثورة و هو:

بناء نظام سياسي و اقتصادي  بتميز بالشفافية و الانفتاح و يتيح لأفراد المجتمع كامل الحرية في اتخاذ المبادرات الإصلاحية و العمل لحل مشاكل الوطن بشكل جمعي. 

هذا الهدف يستحيل تحقيه طالما لم تهدم دعائم الاستبداد.  لا أري جدوي من إهدار الثوار لمجهوداتهم في “حروب رمزية” ضد المجلس العسكري أو أن يهبوا لمساعدة الإخوان طالما إن هناك غياب للرؤية في كيفية تحطيم هذا الدعائم. الأفضل هو استغلال اللحظة لرسم مسار لتحطيم هذه الدعائم العفنة و استبدالها بدعائم أكثر نبلاً و فاعلية لتحقيق أمال المصريين في إطلاق طاقاتهم الإبداعية و الإصلاحية. 
الهتاف في التحرير ضد النتائج الطبيعية لمنظومة الاستبداد لن يغير من الواقع شيئ طالما لم تصحبه رؤية واضحة لخلق نظام أفضل. المعركة الآن يجب أن تكون من أجل خلق  دعائم لنظام جديد و نشر التوافق عليه.