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A poem sung by Fairouz a long time ago: 

ذاكر يا ترى طورنا الأخضر            حيث كانت تفئ الطيور

يومها حبنا كان في حينا               قصة الورد لحن الزهور

ذاكر يا ترى شعري الأشقر           والشريطة والشال الحرير

حين خبئت في سمعي المرهف         همة الريح كفيض العبير

و بعد ترى من حكايا

وأثقل روض السمر

تحدث عنه الصبايا

يجئ  إليه  القمر

ذاكر يا ترى وعدك المقمر               بالرجوع و قطف الورود

أم تراه مضى حبنا و أنقضى            موسما مفردا لا يعود

and my translation:

Do you remember, I wonder, our green mountain to where the birds returned?

That day our love was, to everyone, the story of flowers and melody of roses.

Do you remember, I wonder, my blond hair, my ribbon, and my silk shawl,

When you hid in my ears the whisper of the wind like a flood of aroma?

And still, I find those who copied me and burdened the night-talk gardens,

The girls talk of them, and the moon comes to them.

Do you remember, I wonder, your moon-lit promise of return and of picking roses?

Or do you think our love has gone and ended, one lone season not to return?


Sorry for the unavoidable translation of Samar into night-talk, but it is what it is.

I don’t know who the author is but would like to. Anyone?

Thanks to Mary for giving me the song, now I can’t get it out of my head. (She talks about the song’s circumstances here).

And finally a7eb ashkor Google Translate wel magma3 al la3’awe we ma3hom al mo3gam al wageez for letting me stay up an extra 30 minutes past 5 am.

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News of Bush’s post-presidential career in a hardware store is all that is needed to make anyone feel better about their career choices.

He sets the bar high. Probably no one will be able to keep up with this guy.

Let’s go on a trip together.

ha-2

 

To the silent universe
doing what it does without asking
without questions
without purpose
with blackholes to take in all the absurdities,
with physics to describe but never explain what is happening on a basic level,
with art to throw the importance of the basic level out of the window.
 
Let’s go with one goal in mind,
to see.
 

The universe never asks.
It never tells us why too.
It is simply there, all bare, almost all
like the desert.
 
It goes on and on
we only take snapshots of it
 you with a camera
 me with data
 or a word or two.
 We see what we want to see.
But is what we see real?
 

You are a living piece of art.
Art is choice,
to pick what you like
but what you like
is not necessarily real.
Art is madness.
“The instant of decision is madness,”
so says Kierkegaard.

Our reality is always partial reality.
So we choose to include other bits by doing art.
Why do I write?
So that my writing may lead
to seas of dream
to oceans of imagination
to the unreal
to another nearly real
to the untouched
and untouchable.
For there to be a desert, there must be an artist.
Its silence powers her imagination.
 

The desert says “this is me,”
I have nothing to say about myself.
Hear the silence and the wind
and listen.
To me.
There is nothing but me.

For now,
For here,
I am me.

 

ha-1

 

 

After reading two pieces about love by Mary and Koty, which should be linked soon, I was reminded of a basic characteristic of love and it was so shocking to me, and more shocking to remember how I used to view it earlier in my life, and this is: 

Love can’t be bought.

It also can’t be sold. Even if you try to sell your love, you can’t.

Therefore, it can’t be negotiated. There is no economy and there is no measure of love. Like St. Augustine used to say: “the only measure of love is to love without measure.”

It is also not a gift. A gift of love is pity. Charity is not love in my dictionary which is not the case for some Catholics.

It is almost forced on the lover. It is the neon light photons that a fly can’t help but be attracted to to meet its end in their source.

Does this mean love has an element of blindness to it? Must it have an element of blindness?

It is the connection between the lovers. And the blindness is perhaps the imperfection of communication? Or perhaps the effect of the lovers being always inside their love, and never observing it from the outside?

Can anyone observe their love from the outside? I think not.

Love is an enclosure. It’s also a liberation.

Love is an exile. Love is freedom.

A liberation from what? From which prison? And freedom to where? I would love to hear what everyone who reads this thinks love liberates or frees them from and where it leads them.

Thought of the day or for the end of days:

ستفتش عنها يا ولدي في كل مكان

وستسأل عنها موج البحر وستسأل فيروز الشطآن

وتجوب بحاراً وبحارا .. وتفيض دموعك أنهارا

وسيكبر حزنك حتى يصبح أشجارا

وسترجع يوماً يا ولدي

مهزوماً مكسور الوجدان

وستعرف بعد رحيل العمر

بأنك كنت تطارد خيط دخان

من قارئة الفنجان – نزار قباني

Here is a mediocre English translation of the whole poem.

Update: I couldn’t help but translate the whole poem. Right now I can’t find a nice online database for translated poems. So here it is:

The Fortune Teller -by Nazar Qabani

She sat, with fear in her eyes,
contemplating my flipped coffee cup,
she said: don’t be sorrowful, my son.
Love is your destiny.

My son, he who has died for love
has died a martyr.

I have told fortunes many times, my son,
but I never saw a cup like yours

I have told fortunes many times, my son,
but I never found a sorrow like yours

You can live forever in the sea of love without sail
and all your life can be a book of tears
and you can remain a prisoner amid water and fire.

For despite all its fires,
despite all its history,
despite the sadness in us, day and night,
despite the wind, and despite the raining weather and the hurricane,
love will remain the sweetest destiny, my son.

In your life, my son, a woman.
Her eyes, praise Whom we worship.
Her lips, drawn like a grape cluster.
Her laugh, melodies and flowers,
and her mad gypsy hair
travels the whole world.

She might become, my son, a woman
that the heart loves;
she might become the world.

But your sky is raining
and your path is blocked, blocked.

Because the love of your heart, my son,
is sleeping in a monitored palace.
Who enters her room, who wants to marry her,
who nears her garden, who tries to undo her braids,
my son, is lost, lost.

You will look for her everywhere, my son
you will ask the waves of the sea about her
and the Turquoise stones of the shores,
you will roam oceans and oceans
and your tears will overflow into rivers
and your sorrow will grow into trees.

Then you will return one day, my son
defeated with a broken spirit
and you will know, after your days have gone,
that you have been chasing a trace of smoke.

The love of your heart, my son,
has no land, no country, no address,
and how hard it is, my son, to love a woman
without an address.

Updated: Feb 10.

Beautiful expression of thought in “Piece of Truth” by Mary Shenouda.

Before you keep reading, go read it first. Otherwise you would be doing injustice to the following comment on it and possibly to Mary’s blogpost as well.

I am not sure if the following comments represent my mind’s idea of what truth is and how to get it, but they represent a closely related idea to say the least. This is a path many times branching into a question (or two or three or infinity), many times blurry, and many times simply still and unmoved under construction. It’s something like a backbone of (my) Philosophy. All I can say is ‘this is one way to look at what  Mary wrote.’ I hope you enjoy both pieces of writing. I can safely say that this is probably my best piece of writing, and perhaps thinking, to-date.

Beautiful Sophia:

450px-efez_celsus_library_3_rb

First, an idea:

Truth is good.

“Ever since one opens their eyes in the morning, and the small rays of light penetrate the depth of darkness from the night before, a small piece of truth appears … truth can only exist in light”

Search for truth:

“As soon as one starts on their morning rituals – prayers, meditations or any other form of liturgy – one stumbles cross another piece of truth … the presence of something beyond the perceived world.”

1. Religion and ascribing to its dogma of the supernatural.

“Going out into the street, one looks around to see much happiness and misery in the world … the truth of pain and happiness are revealed”

2. The primality (as in both importance and precedence) of feelings. If it was up to me, I would have switched 1 and 2. A person has to perceive the world first and then think about something beyond her perception, but then again in religion many things are upside down.

“Heading off to work or study reveals a lot more truths … all those equations and technologies are small simple manifestations of the invisible science rules which govern our everyday lives.”

3. Science and its hidden mechanisms. Science is not invisible though, it’s only the hard to see. And some think that science is the only and most visible “thing”. 

“Eating reveals even more secrets and more truths … the amazing machine inside each of our simple-looking bodies which have the capacity to turn food into energy … turn the visible food into invisible energy.”

4. More machines: the machines in us.

“Talking shows one another side of the truth… the relative side of perspective … when one talk contradicts another talk.”

5. What is not a machine? Looking for the not-machine. Some find the soul. I find the individual subject and sometimes the possible impossibility of universality.

“Laughing is a magical activity that reveals some hidden truths … the deepest inner capacities to enjoy life are never as crystal clear as when someone’s laughing from the heart.”

6. The simplicity of wisdom and the love of life. Is this really looking for another not-machine? I think this is much more than a not-machine.

“But everyone goes through everyday life, goes through all these experiences, but hardly ever re-looks into what they call the TRUTH.”

7. The truth is so strong to come back from being forgotten. It’s like a phoenix that comes back to life younger only after going through a holy fire. Or it’s like “what they call the TRUTH” as in they never look into their own notion of truth. 

“I wonder if there can really be anything except ONE TRUTH”

8. The question of God, the unity in all truth, the unity of all truth, the unity supervening upon all things. Nice use of capitals. I wonder too.

“and we all are simple observers of little pieces of it which we stumble across on our way.”

9. Our participation as observers and higher-knowledge. I love how “stumble across” is used here. Great choice of word. Higher knowledge as accidental! It can’t be planned, this I am sure of and I totally agree to.

“I wonder if the only way to collect the dispersed pieces of truth is in fact for all humans to speak out their own pieces so the picture could be complete!……”

10. The communion of knowledge:

The communication of these truths is impossible or at the least very hard. Otherwise all-knowledge would be simple, but complex is more than simple. If it is less, if it is only simple then picture wouldn’t be needing any completion anyway.

Is the quest for completion a correct path? What is it a path to? Is this the person finding the stumbling across troublesome? Is this greed for and in “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”? Is this confusion, a mixing of ideas from different realms/contexts (the mathematical and the actual)? (I will have a post about my idea of what a realm is soon). What does Completeness mean?

I shall leave this last question for a future post. I have to say that Mary’s direction towards the end was a little too platonic for my taste.

Wow! The number comes out to be exactly ten! Is this a sign? :) 

Am I reading too much into this?

A distant friend reminded me of this re-encounter with Nietzsche  a month and half ago:

A glimpse of light has sparkled across my mind in regards to the world’s sad state of affairs after re-reading the Four Great Errors in Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols (full text).  He reminded me that I must be what I am, I must leave the upper reaches of reason to live with myself. I must forget cause and effect, forget the spirit, forget the inner “me” and simply be me. There is no “essence” to things, only essence to me. There is no final theory of basics which “explain” things, definitely not capture them. Back to the problem of Initial Conditions… Will it have a solution? Can the question ever be real?

He even took the concept of being from the concept of the ego; he interpreted “things” as “being” in accordance with his concept of the ego as a cause.

Nietzsche, here as in my imagination, speaks in red. What’s more: a clear conscience is already there. I don’t have to do anything to win it.

All that is good is instinctive — and hence easy, necessary, uninhibited. Effort is a failing: the god is typically different from the hero. (In my language: light feet are the first attribute of divinity.)

I have thought that people aren’t free doing what they do and this is why I forgave them, tolerated it. I regarded them as prisoners who can’t just go outside their courses of action but prisoners who having been imprisoned all their lives don’t even know what lies behind the walls of themselves let alone imagine the strangeness outside.

 What alone can be our doctrine? That no one gives a man his qualities — neither God, nor society, nor his parents and ancestors, nor he himself. (The nonsense of the last idea was taught as “intelligible freedom” by Kant — and perhaps by Plato.) No one is responsible for a man’s being here at all, for his being such-and-such, or for his being in these circumstances or in this environment. The fatality of his existence is not to be disentangled from the fatality of all that has been and will be. Human beings are not the effect of some special purpose, or will, or end; nor are they a medium through which society can realize an “ideal of humanity” or an “ideal of happiness” or an “ideal of morality.” It is absurd to wish to devolve one’s essence on some end or other. We have invented the concept of “end”: in reality there is no end.

It is true that I have always looked for an end. I have hurt myself greatly in doing so. Why have an ideal society? To abolish pain is my answer. But is this goal worth going after with a requirement of sacrificing the honesty of the quest for truth?

Is it worth going after at all if indeed in reality there is no end? Am I simply and unknowingly trying to create a very stable system, am I thinking about bettering the system, a system which has no reason to exist in the first place? Why do I care about it? Perhaps it is because it’s all I know, perhaps because I am part of it. I seek an ideal, that’s true. Why not settle for what’s available or even possible?  

Nietzsche already asked me to stop trying to answer: no one gives me my qualities, not even me. An “end” is also Physics’s goal  – the problem of Initial Conditions. Maybe the solution to it is that we must abolish the problem itself: there is no beginning nor end. Furthermore, perhaps there is no basic formulas and basic constituents of matter too, only everything at once and nothing at all at once too.

I was reminded that this was too much aimed towards too little. A change of direction is what it signaled.

I will write here again.

I’ve been writing for the Daily News Egypt for the past few months and have been ignoring this space.

But I am once more ready to share new ideas and new writing experiments.