Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fear, Choice, Hope

If fear is the main factor behind excessive violence, then how can we approach our individual and collective fears? The antidote to fear is curiosity, inquiry. And yet, we have limited resources, specially time and attention, and at any point in time, we can only conduct a limited number of inquiries. If we decide to push ourselves toward being open and curious, the results will be the opposite. It increases our level of anxiety and may result in hidden violence. I suggest an alternative approach. We want to give ourselves the freedom, the option, to stay curious, open and calm. By consistently offering ourselves these "choices", we cultivate hope; hope as the orientation of the soul and the ability to stay witness.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Flex

Strike turned and noticed a boy of eleven or twelve standing there staring at Crunch, stick legs in wide-cut shorts, arms crossed high on his chest like an old-time comic-book weightlifter. The kid was giving Crunch the thousand-yard stare, testing himself, putting on his I-ain't-afraid-a-no-knocko face. Crunch, feeling the eyes, the attitude, stared right back. ``What's your problem?''
The skinny boy didn't answer, just kept starting, and Crunch went with it, staring back.
But Crunch couldn't hold it. He started laughing, and what happened next threw Strike completely. Strike expected the kid to go on staring or walk away triumphant, but when Crunch started laughing, the kid laughed too. The kid had play in him. The kid had flex, and flex was rare. Flex was intelligent, special, a good sign, like big paws on a puppy. For a minute Strike lost his anger, entranced by this kid, by possibilities. ---p. 15, Clockers, Richard Price

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love

I had forgotten you
all about you
for a long, long, time

but then
it is so simple

the rays of a dying sun
stretched inside my room
saturating everything with
a bright shade of yellow

if only for
a few precious minutes

2024 Stutters

It's difficult to not hate the man and not just because of his accomplishments, but because of these lines in the beginning of his book (that relate to when he was 20 years old or so):

... that's where I met Steve Bright, the director of SPDC, ... Steve was in his mid-thirties and had a passion and certainty that seemed the direct opposite of my ambivalence. ... He showed none of the disconnect between what he did and what he believed that I'd seen in so many of my law professors. --- p.5, Just Mercy
This ``disconnect" is what I sensed when I was forty something!

 What's bothering me the most is that I ``know'' a lot, I understand human psyche a lot better than almost every person, dead or alive, whom I have met in my life, but this ``knowing'' ... it's mostly intellectual. That's the problem, you see, as I need time for all this to sink deep. Only if I could survive the next 9-10 years, by the end of 2024, then, I will have been in a very different position. I'll be 55; I will not have achieved things that he has done now (he is 55) but ... I will be something different, something bright and shiny and powerful and formidable, a force! :)

I will be back in Iran, back to my birth place, Kerman, or my dad's, Mahan (a small town in the outskirts of Kerman). I will be a social reformist figure, not a mayor or governor, but with a similar level of influence. Most importantly, I will perfect the ``art of listening'' and take it to new heights still unknown to human kind!

What is the ``art of listening''?

Alan Robinowitch (link) has written the story of his childhood, in the children book, ``A boy and a Jaguar'' (link), as a stutterer [Wiki: In grade school, he was placed in a special education class due to a severe stutter; which often caused his body to twist and spasm when attempting to speak] who could, nevertheless, talk fluently to animals. Is ``stutter'' a problem of the speaker or the listener? Could it be that the internal listener, the one residing inside a stutterer, is judgemental and violent, and yet repressed, and fights the oppressor,  the conscious mind, with its own body? Voices inside us need, and fight constantly for, recognition and respect, and yet, most of them, most of the time, suffer from serious stuttering because we have not developed necessary listening skills. Stuttering voices, unheard and disrespected, make us, our bodies, twist and spasm and ultimately drive us into anger, resentment, depression and anxiety. Prevalent violence, often hidden in plain sight, is the reaction of all stuttering voices, inside every one of us, that strive to be heard and respected.

``Art of listening'' is the ultimate remedy of our most fundamental social problem: alienation and violence!

Clear Shallow Water

I started reading this novel, `` The Driver ,'' by Hart Hanson , and I did not like it much and decided to stop. But then I came ba...