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Posts Tagged ‘man’

If you must keep the curl of the unbroken wave

I shall take the whole  ocean with their swells

with staccato rhythm of ships tossed back and forth-

In their desperate flailing

I see spirit of man still daring to steer clear

And that is much more than oceans can bear.

I am a man and nothing less than whole continent

Is my haven.

If you must give this hour and show its hustle

And bustle of senses touching heights

I shall rather settle for this moment’s grace

Where my spirit is put to its rest

By both heaven and the earth.

I am a man nothing less than this indivisible

wholeness shall keep hour and the continent

Past time’s injury.

benny

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Don’t be fooled to believe news media as true account of history. History is something else. Democracy after fall of Moammar was big news. Arab Spring gave way to something else and the situation in Libya is neither here nor there. Similarly in Egypt  those who wanted a decent life free from want and repression threw Mubarak regime. What did it bring but worse situation than before that the army had to step in. This cannot be history?

History is what people make despite what big money or grandiose Ideas throw about. Arab Spring and Friends of Syria trying to get their control over the Middle East have only created more mess. History is what people make from their needs and dream.

During the Crusades were ‘Jihadists’ or assassins organized by Old Man of the Mountains ( a classmate of Omar Khayyam). But Mongol invasion was a flood that cleared all. Where are they? We people are still here.

History can be compared to a mighty river of perennial supply into which the Crusades, Moslem empires, Mongol invasion,Black death are so many names or stones dropped. No sign of them. What of those great movers or shakers king of kings who carved their name in blood? They are all names written in water.

Water drops circulate between land and the air and keep the river running. History is movement of people and has nothing to do with ideas.

We need not be unduly concerned nor be impatient to change order of things either by violence or by thoughts of glory. Do not be concerned of violence that grips parts of the world. It isn’t history in itself but motion of peoples exerting to find their level.

It is foolhardy to think one can either by good intentions or force make history stop for him. Violence will be met with violence and peace shall keep peace neither realizing what other was all about.

We people shall make our homes as best and those who are cast out of their homes shall yet find their home. History clears way for us.

 

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Progress as a result of human endeavour is in direct context of nature. Man versus nature. Man controlling and shaping his environment to his manifold conveniences consequently creates many chains of events that require other species sharing the same environment to respond adequately. Natural selection warrants these to adapt for the changing environment or go bust. Has not man also created a similar situation for his species? Such risks many of which are caused by humans. Bio-terrosim for instance. From pandemics to Nuclear wars, human civilization thus had to face many challenges which are existential risks, that are less understood than the most obvious advantages we have derived from the march of progress.

There are some worrying features in human intelligence that may fuel the risks of his very existence. From anthropological findings it would seem humans embarked on the march of progress too early. His branching off from his ape cousins was an event and it would indicate it was undertaken before his brain was full developed. Its consequence can easily be set down from analogy of human child. Our ape ancestor was like modern human, as a baby, with its brain developing all the while till it reaches some 20 years. (A pliable head of the baby facilitates its exit at birth from womb which is biologically safe for the mother.) This necessitates from the child all the support system without let up counted in days, years and decades till the end of his adolescence. He needs rearing from his parents in order to achieve emotional intelligence he needs. Only difference was that our ape ancestor had no such back up from his peers. His brain was in the process of developing but without nurture of some role model*.
Biologists speak of ‘norms of reaction,’ which are patterned responses to environmental circumstances. For example, some male insects are more likely to guard their mates when there are fewer females in the population, hence fewer other mating opportunities. Natural selection didn’t just shape a fixed behavior, it shaped the norm of reaction — the nature of the response,”
In humans a bad idea when he can think rationally on it brings many advantages. Increasing his supply of food at the cost of one who is weaker is one way of doing it. Annexing a territory from a weak tyrant is worth the while of a chieftain if he has a superior force. He reckons that his success would silence others and make his position more secure. It must have come handy when others would take the same path to aggrandize themselves. It is a norm of reaction that suited well for the bandit kings of yore.
When circumstances could be shaped to justify it war must have seemed a fitness-enhancing behavior. Warring parties included all those who agreed with the idea and circumstances. Like success it sets off many others.
‘Just as compassion for your offspring increases your genes’ chance of survival, violent tendencies may have been similarly useful for some species’ observed biologist David Carrier, also of the University of Utah,” Humans certainly rank among the most violent of species.” In true nature-nurture fashion, though some kind of genetic preprogramming for violence, may exist in humans as a result of our evolution. Norms of behaviour as a result evolved in that along period of trial and error method.
 
 
As a result how he created a society in terms of families, clans, tribes were all flawed. It became in most cases patriarchal leaving women in the background. Creating wars as a manly sport, would leave women incapable what with her long period of gestation and nursing. Eventually it would stamp the role of women as secondary. This we witness even this day where some societies can kill women simply for ‘honour.’ Lack of sufficient role model man simply created a swath of experience in which his brain simply was inadequate to anticipate long range consequences.
(*There is no accurate picture what made our human ancestor diverge from other apes other than fossil evidences that our human ancestors could walk as well as climb trees. The oldest evidence for walking on two legs comes from one of the earliest humans known, Sahelanthropus 6 million years ago. By 4 million years ago early human species lived mostly near open areas and dense woods. Their bodies had become adapted to walk upright most of the time, but still climb trees.

“Apparently, there were multiple ways early human species had of moving around.” observed human origins expert Richard Potts of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, about a mystery species discovered in Ethiopia’s Afar region in 2009, the fossil forefoot bones, eight in all, from same era and same region of Africa as the famous ‘Lucy’ (1974).

Walking was a human characteristic before the development of oversized brains. The newly discovered foot-fossil gives us a clue why early human species might have moved around. By learning to walk upright they conceded forests hitherto their home to cousins better adapted for living in trees.)

If his brain was inadequate what could have been the overwhelming reason for him to strike out on his own? His tool making skills gave us stone age, iron age, bronze age and so on. His curiosity and cleverness of hand would develop into science and technology. His foresight in overcoming an inconvenience was not matched by foreseeing the consequences of his innovations. No more apt example we need seek than reasons for ushering in the Nuclear Age. America could stop the WWII speedily. The Allies however did not anticipate proliferation of the nuclear arsenal but soon they were in for a rude shock. Now in some sixty years we have come at a stage the nuclear secrets can be peddled at the click of a mouse. It is what AQ Khan achieved with the backing of his government.

Optimism of man is in terms of abstract than concrete. His abstract thinking has created the world as idea but in terms of its realization no two persons shall view an idea exactly as one and as a result these can only end in conflict. Workers’ paradise as envisaged by Lenin in the view of Stalin was transformed into Cult of Personality!
Bad experience of the past is such that technology and its progress can only be sustained by the systems an idea created along the line. The Crusades in the middle Ages were fought under the call of a Pope. Pope Urban II in 1095 invoked the Christian army of Europe to reclaim lands lost to Muslim invaders previously. It was on the matter of Ideology of clashing belief-systems of the West and East he could invoke them to fight under the sign of cross. Ideas keep evolving while experience remains in the bloodstream of the species. The war to end all wars as President Wilson qualified the WWI did exactly the opposite. If idea of war had achieved its goal the first war that primordial man waged would have been sufficient.Instead collateral consequences of war, misery,loss of prestige,material advantages are all such in collective experience that necessitates conflict ad infintum. Idea of war, belief-systems can only be settled with experience of humans proving its justness for all. It is inherent in the idea and man’s inability to see any other way than as idea. There are millions of ants to every man and by sheer numbers insects outnumber human population. Despite of being one among so many species we see the world in terms of ideas than for what really it is.

Over the past century we have discovered or created new existential risks: supervolcanoes were discovered in the early 1970s, and we should expect others to appear just as a nuclear holocaust is possible. The average mammalian species survives for about a million years. Hence, the background natural extinction rate is roughly one in a million per year. This is much lower than the nuclear-war risk, which after 70 years is still the biggest threat to our continued existence. (ack:the five biggest threats to Human existence/the Conversation-Anders Sandberg,29 May, 2014)

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Under The Dog-Star ©

 

The Army picked the youth from the video arcade.

“You can play virtual reality with the best shots in the country,” the major general with the glass eye said kindly. With his one good eye he had settled on him from the first day. He glanced past the unwashed and besotted set with which the youth hung out almost every night and he had learnt enough. It was time to get him on the side of the good.

Joachem Vanderbilt believed in certain things as gospel truth. He didn’t mind getting his hand dirty if he could pluck gold out of dirt. The boy’s reflexes were of first order. His tastes for art and culture faultless. His eye for art was excellent. He had in a month long operation found he even subscribed to world heritage foundation with his winnings at the pinball machine. ‘So he was good’. The major general was collecting his weapons to fight an Armageddon. Major General Joachem had a mission. He was to recruit for the Allies a special platoon. In high secrecy the Op HQ put the last touches to save the world from a Caliphate of Evil as the three star General, his boss had hinted in one of the top-level meetings.

Hendryk young as he was, only wanted to pass the time. But the Army had to give him an alternative.

Major-General Vanderbilt casually connected one evening and invited him over to the bar where it was cozy. The boy looked at the square chin and his battle scarred hands. It reminded in some curious way his father who was a farmer, an asparagus grower in Limburg. His hands also reminded vaguely of power and world- weariness. The general over a glass of Pils spoke short sentences just as his father. In his father it was to the point of tongue-tiedness. Drink or not.

“I have nothing to loose,” said the boy to himself. He drank a can and showed the older he was street smart when it suited him but could speak of Ming Art as fluently as Hellenic art if he wanted to. There was a rather studied nonchalance in the way he rolled a weed. The major general stopped him and the boy could not figure it out. He let himself leave it unlit. Did he want to please the elder? He didn’t know.  He went home that late evening just as he told in an authoritarian way. ‘It is late, son.’he said and the boy didn’t ask why. He was on the side of good, the elder decided.

Next time they met the old soldier was just as kindly. With one look showed he was a surrogate father. Just with the same breath he made the army as an extended family. He was a father to every soldier. Hendryk could see that himself in the days to come. The father with one good eye saw the same idea was instilled in his children too. ‘So this army of young men become fighting fit.” Hendryk  did not let the grass grow under his feet. He joined the army before the trial period was over.

He was sent to the boot camp to the south.

The new recruit did not let down the top brass. They found him most sharp. He had a promising career, said they all; so said the raw youths who were impressed and accepted him as one of them.  At the end of the training his instructor wrote highly of his qualities in his confidential report.

The boy found the oath of secrecy and carefully orchestrated rites of male bonding with which the Army cements their ranks a somewhat mystifying experience. In the real computer space the boy zipped past all other recruits. Insulated in a dust-free, temperature controlled cubicle, he could zap all the alien dots that flickered into his console. Thus he came out to face the reality of the cruel world, gone out of joint.

Their engagements followed none of the script that set Darius against Alexander or Rommel against Monty of Al Amein. The rag tag bands of muleteers and the riff raff who idled around the hamams were all toting rifles and quoting the prophet. Those who lived for pleasure and lived for the moment now were talking of their Christian faith and mission. Who was good or bad somewhere lost its shape. The Jihadists were in the city and morphed to merge with the cityscapes while Hendryk and his band became equally adept to make deserts their cover.

The long drawn out war kept them, both good and bad, shuffling like a deck of cards: Hendryk didn’t miss a thing and he never let his cool even in the thick of hand to hand combats. He was a battle-hardened vet not yet past thirty.

It was during an undeclared war against Iran that Hendryk was sent with a special mission. He and his unit were airdropped in a fiery furnace that made even the sand sound more like glass than gravel. The trigger-happy soldier was like a salamander and he scurried about the jagged cliffs and stretches of sand on a mission. The terrible arsenal that Technology could gather for him, lay hooked to his trigger finger! “Where is my enemy?’ he drawled lying in his lair cocooned by all that hardware. The stinger he hoisted on his shoulder strap was a lethal piece.

“A Deadly Toy”, he blanched as he stared at it. “I could blow a whole civilization and yet not be seen in the enemy screen!” he murmured feeling the gorge rising within. He was drunk by his awesome invincibility. In a trice he stood up under the brazen sky, his gossamer thin army uniform shimmering like many waves of light. Sweat broke out within and he could feel it coursing like a snake, slithering down his spine. It was a danger signal. The heat was killing as those scorpions that suddenly lurked in the wave of sand. Crunch, crunch, his boots gave his feet all the protection. He inched forward and scorpions lifted their tail loaded with venom. They knew defeat when he came closer.

dog-star ill

”Where is my enemy!” he asked even as his fingers involuntarily caressed the gleaming profile of his stinger.  ‘A Click’ was all that he needed to hear before melting the blurred landscape before him. Somewhere in his backpack he could hear the crackling sounds. “Perhaps the system is righting itself to the heat outside” he thought. He could hear his heart beat but it came as if it were continents away. He was like a man…. drunk. In that stupor of invincibility he felt divided into bits and pieces many times over, scattered all over the continents yet all wired by some tenuous filament to the Mission H.Q.

Beads of perspiration plumped on to the scorching sand while he moved under the weight of backpack, some 110 pounds heavy. His regulation out-fit somehow didn’t reckon for the task he was sent.

 

“Where is my enemy?” he didn’t see a thing. The enemy was out there. All around him. The pestilential air crackled about him. Isfahan was fated to melt before him. The livid scorcher of a sun was above him. He thought it didn’t blind him because he wore protection glasses that no needle prick of the blind sun could get at. “Where is my enemy?” he would have cried out, but his throat was now shut like a vice!

Before he could even think ‘ Oranje Boven,’ he fell forward, a victim of sunstroke.

benny 

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A merchant who exported exotic flowers to the Far East in the Eighties became very rich but a volcano in one part of the globe suddenly erupted. The ash from a volcano in Iceland ruined the merchant in Aleppo.
Al Ahmedia had three daughters. They were Razia and Nafeeza and Ayesha was the youngest.
Ayesha was also called Beauty.
The two elder sisters were counting on marrying some one who was rich and famous. Of course one thought Sultan of Borneo would be her ideal choice. The other wanted one from Saudi royal family. But their father’s sudden misfortune came in a most inconvenient time.
The world and hopes of Ayesha the youngest didn’t go beyond the four walls of her home. Her father was laid low by his reversal of fortunes and he needed all her attention.
Razia and Nafeeza the elder daughters set the trends in fashion and were the darlings of the society. At home they found Ayesha an easy target. So every day they sniped and made her look silly.
They showed her natural beauty at disadvantage, which was taken up by the press. Luckily Beauty had no time for anything else than keeping a home for her father and her sisters.
She was Beauty in looks and in deeds.
One fine morning word reached Hajji Al Ahmedia that he could get compensation from FEIECF (Far East Importer and Exporter Compensatory Funds) for losses he had incurred. He had to go to Malaysia. Before he left he asked his children what they wanted from Penang. Razia wanted a bird of paradise and Nafeeza, an urang utang. Beauty wanted just a rose. Al Ahmedia took the first plane and reached the office in Penang. He met the right people and they assured they would settle the matter. But the matter dragged on over some lacunae in the law of the land.
After days of fruitless discussion it was clear he was wasting his time. So one day he decided to return home. That evening he set out to his hotel. He took a short cut and lost his way.
While walking through winding pathways hedged by lush greenery of some tropical paradise he was straying farther into a wild part of the town. By night he came in front of a decrepit villa that was evidently the mad folly of rubber and tin baron. It was shuttered for some hundred years.
To his utter amazement as soon as he climbed the steps the villa came to life. The shutters opened by itself. The macaques and marmots that ran through the rotting timbers became men. As the tired merchant reached the top of the steps there were men to receive him.
It was as they had orders from high and they fell to their tasks
Instantly. The servants in their sarongs and with headbands entertained the guest with food and music. Silently they brought salvers of fruits and food steaming hot and they served him on banana leaves. While in the background musicians played musical intstruments to rest the weary soul of the merchant. Al Ahmedia thanked Allah for his beneficence and ate. He slept on a cot carved out of rosewood inlaid with mother of pearl and ivory.
Next morning he woke up and as he climbed down the steps he found his magnificent villa reverting to its former state.
He knew he had slept the night in an enchanted villa.
Thanking the most merciful Allah for preserving him from all danger he walked on. At the gate he saw a perfect rose peeping out from a nearby rosebush. He plucked it. Ah the flower started bleeding. From somewhere he heard a whisper angry and piteous. It soon became a low moan and steadily it grew in volume to become a shriek.
The rose went on dripping blood, human blood.
Suddenly the cry stopped and instead a voice asking,’ For my hospitality is this how you pay back?’
The merchant looked around. There was no one. He was still holding on to the rose and it dripped blood. The voice from nowhere said,’ Why kill me when there were millions of rose bushes nearby?’
The merchant stood up and saw it was indeed so.
The unknown host was right. He furiously wondered in what way he could make amends. But how with a dying rose in his hands? Blood was making a trickle along his hands and along the red dust.
‘If I die the curse will be on you and your descendents.’ The voice went on and the merchant heard footsteps coming closer. The Voice spoke, ’You did evil and you must make amends.’
He asked what he wanted him to do. ‘Your life!’
The merchant hesitated.
He heard the voice ask, ‘Do you have people at home?’
‘I have three daughters at home.’
The Voice asked if any one of them would in his stead come to his rescue. The merchant said perhaps his youngest daughter might take his place.
‘What is her name?’
‘Beauty’
The blood of the merchant went cold to hear to disembodied laughter. It was pure fear that hit him.
‘I am the Beast.’ said the Voice. He added, ‘Go in peace but bring Beauty to me.’
The merchant promised to try. Before he left the Voice said that he would be dying inch by inch and if he delayed beyond two weeks his curse would begin to work. The merchant quaked in his shoes.
Al Ahmedia went home and told his daughters of his fearful encounter with the Beast.
Beauty was willing to save her father and also the Beast. Within ten days the merchant took Beauty to the enchanted villa.
The Voice sounded relieved and permitted him to leave. The merchant was glad to have got out of the villa in one piece.
Beauty remained alone in the hall, and she heard footsteps. She turned and saw a man instead of a beast.
He sighed and said she was deceived to think he was normal like others, ‘I am the Beast’ While Beauty stood speechless he said,’ I am damned unless you can love me on your own free will.’
Beauty could not believe. She somehow felt right at home and in control of the situation. She felt pity and as she came closer.
It was the Beast who was in panic. He said, ‘don’t come near me. I am the Beast.’
She saw his eyes were in pain and in tears she felt as though he were a creature as she.
‘Oh Beast, you are crying.’
‘Shall not a beast cry?’
‘But your tears are like mine.’ She was surprised.
She heard him gasp.
‘Oh, you are in pain!’
The Beast nodded.
She asked him to repeat after her. ‘If I can feel pain I can also feel happiness.’ He did as was told. She said many things that they had in common and he obliged her repeating. In the end she said, ‘I am a woman.’
To this the Beast answered,’ And I am the Beast.’
She went closer to the beast. She felt his broad shoulders and saw that everything which, a man was expected to have was there. ‘You are a paragon of manhood’ she said very much relieved.


The Beast suddenly slouched over his seat and wept. He said, ‘Beauty you don’t understand. I have no heart. I am a beast.’
Beauty said, ‘Beast? I don’t understand what you mean. And I have a heart for the two of us.’
‘How do you know?’
I grew up, Love, among those had no hearts either. They were not called beasts’. She was sure that as far as she could see he was in no way worse than her sisters and other people with whom she had to live.
She drew him to her side and kissed his hand in reverence.
‘What is your name?’
‘The Beast.’
‘No it is not!’ she was emphatic.
He replied’ Sultan Razak al Bashir.’
Something snapped then and there.
Lo the whole enchanted villa became a mansion on stilts. The rot and rack of two hundred years of neglect had been erased. In its place stood a mansion meant to be made a home. Ayesha said,’Razak, you and I are going to live here and give a try to raise our children. In this very spot.’
Razak the Beast had a glint in his eye, ‘You make it sound as though it is possible.’
‘You don’t?’
‘Beauty, you make me also believe it is possible.’
They settled down to make a home straightaway.
benny

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For those who believe God as the creator an eccentric is the left handed image of God. The good side was engaged elsewhere, obviously. For those who think evolution has led us this far I can explain an eccentric as one who is an exception to the rule. In the gene pool of mankind eccentrics are copy of some aberration or mutations that are not as interesting as the manner they conduct their lives. In my school days I came to read of the father of Sir Antony Eden (of Suez Canal fame).Sir Anthony Eden’s father it is said,looked at the barometer that read sunny weather. Outside it was raining cats and dogs so he tore the barometer off the wall and threw it out saying,’See for yourself, fool!’ Ever since I thought England was noted for nobs and eccentrics. I looked to the east and what do I find but eccentrics, not to mention the similar motley crew of knaves,fools and mendicants. I found quite a few worth mentioning here..
Al-Mahdi of the Third Abbaside (775-785), father of Haroun al- Rashid
was as eccentric as the best in the West.
Al Mahdi was known for cutting the throats of all his carrier pigeons, making a man dine off marrow and sugar and having snow sent to him at Meccah, a distance of 700 miles.
Abd al-Malik, the seventh Ommiade (715-719) loved to eat. He died after eating at one sitting a lamb,six fowls,seventy pomegranates,and 11 ¼ pounds of currants. He was proud of his looks. He seemed to have said,’Mohammed was the Apostle and Abu Bakr witness to the Truth;Omar the Discriminator and Othman the Bashful,Mu’awiyah the Mild and Yazid the Patient;Abd a-Malik the Administrator and Walid the Tyrant;but I am the young King!’
But these are nothing compared to Omar bin Al-Khattáb (Caliph634-666) whom the Sunnis know as Al-Adil or the Just; whereas the Shi’ites hate his memory for usurping the position of Abu Bakr. He was known for his harshness and austerity. Because of his height the shi’ites have an expression,’This road never ends like the entrails of Omar’. He was the companion of Prophet Mohammed. In fact the Prophet had an expression,’All long men are fools save Omar, and all very short men are knaves save Ali’)
It is said that he laughed only once and wept once. The laugh was caused on recalling how he had inadvertently eaten the dough-gods* of the Hanifa tribe. He cried when he remembered how he buried alive his baby daughter who, while the grave was being dug, patted away dust from his beard and hair.
It is said he lost all his friends for speaking Truth. He was murdered by by Abu Lúlúah alias Fírúz, a slave of Al-Maghírah for denying him justice.
(Ack: Burton’s translation 1001 Nights/Vol.2 -footnote)
*dough gods are made from enucleated dates pressed together like cakes and cut into slices This cake is called ‘Ajwah..
I could go on but this list makes my head reel. Let me get some fresh air and look at my potted plants. It must straighten my spirits out. What do the plants need from you? They require a little sun, water, nutrients. They do not ask much; nor do they kill because of my religion. Sometimes I think I have read too much about whores, fools freaks who may be pointed out for elegance and looks, but these are nonetheless bad company.
Poor or rich I find them arrogant in their own way. Holy or profane do they mend their conduct to show their real worth in deeds others can understand. Oh no!
benny

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