To someone who I once cared for, a new favorite poem by a new favorite poet:

أيا من سلوا عنا ومالوا إلى الغدر      وما لزموا أخلاق أهل الهوى العذري

وبعد حلاوات التواصل والهوى        جنوا مر طعم الهجر من علقم الصبر

إذا ما رجعتم عن محبتكم لنا            مشاة رجعنا عن محبتكم نجري

وإن كنتم في الجهر عنا صددتم        ففي سرنا عنكم نصد وفي الجهر

سكنتم فؤادي مرة ورحلتم               فأصبح منكم خالياً خالي السر

وقال لي العذال هل أنت راجع          إذا رجعوا عن غدرهم قلت لا أدري

شهاب الدين ابن الخيمي-

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A name/word is a loud cry for infinity, for immortality, for the soul.

Here are pieces from Gamal Al-Ghitany’s Rinn which is all about names/words. I also wrote a review earlier if you want to know more about this travel journal/philosophical journey.

لم يبقى مني إلا الأسم، ليس مني فقط، إنما من سائر الموجودات، جميع الطرق و المسالك، الجهات، ما ينبت و ما يولد، ما ينتهي و ما يرحل، ما يطل و ما ينزع، و بقدر قوة الإسم يكون التحقق و حل المشكل، و كذا تصور الممكن

or: “Only the name is what remains of me, not just of me but of all beings; all roads, paths and directions; all what is planted and what is born; all what ends and what departs; all what lingers and what is plucked out. All this is nothing but names, and the stronger the name, the stronger the certainty, the solutions and the imagining of possibilities.”

hieroglyphics

About Isis, he writes: “In her dissociation is my annihilation, and in her union is the completion of the name, which is my pursuit.”

How does the name giver know and understand that the name is complete? When is Isis united or whole? Isis says in one of her songs that

يوم أُفنى كُلَّ ما خلقت

يعودُ الوجود محيطاً بلا نهاية

وأعودُ كما كنتُ دوماً

أفعى

عصية على الأفهام

“The day I destroy all I have created,

Being will return an infinite ocean,

and I will return, as I always were,

a serpent

beyond the grasp of understanding.”

This means that realizing this process of completion must occur outside the realm of the mind! The pursuit doesn’t end there. A new road opens.

And the holy passage to this new road happens after all her creation is destroyed and when infinity reigns all understanding/Being.

She says “the day I destroy,” but it’s really the observer/seeker who destroys their own creations. This can only mean one thing: at the point of destruction the person and Isis are one.

Also the serpent she returns to afterwards is nothing new to her, but is new to the person because then and only then the serpent becomes beyond the person’s understanding. Some of what seemed understandable before, now ceases to be so.

The naming of names is the soul uncovering itself and Isis completing herself.

 

جاءت مُعذْبتي في غيهبِ الغسقِ                   كأنّها الكوكبُ الدّرى في الأفق

ِفقلتِ نورتني يا خير زائرةٍ                    أما خشْيتي مِنْ الحُراسِ في الطُرقِ

فجاوبتني و دمعُ العين يسبقُها                مَنْ يركبْ البحَر لا يخشَى مِنْ الغرقِ

 

لسان الدين الخطيب

 

I thought about it but no, I just can’t translate that.

This is a piece from the poem "A message from strange lands" by Ghada Al Samman in her "Letters of Nostalgia to Jasmine"  (رسائل  الحنين  إلى  الياسمين ) links:1, 2, 3 and my translation. As always, Ghada is too feminine for me but her imagery is simply brilliant.

 

لأنك تشبه الضباب، تخترقني،

وأمتلئ بك من حيث لا أدري..

لأنك تشبه الصاعقة،

أجهل متى تنشب فيَّ نارك أو ضوءك..

لأنك تشبه الأفق،

يستحيل احتضانك أو امتلاكك أو تسويرك..

لأنك تشبه الريح تخافك أجراسي..

لأنك تشبه الماء الجامح تهابك سدودي..

لأنك تشبه حمى الجنون تطلق هذياني..

ولأني أشبهك أخشاك، أحبك وأكرهك في آن،

وأحدّق في زلزال أمزجتك كمن يُحدّق في مرآة،

وأهمس لك داخل لحظة واحدة: أهلاً.. ووداعاً،

يا من يُسقيني عطشي، فـأرتوي

 

Because you are like fog you penetrate me

and I am filled with from I don’t know where ..

Because you are like the storm

I don’t know when your fire or light will get to me ..

Because you are like the horizon

it is impossible to hug, own, or fence you ..

Because you are like the wind my bells fear you ..

Because you are like the untamed water my dams dread you ..

Because you are like the fevers of madness you unleash my hallucinations ..

And because I am like you I fear you, I love and hate you at once,

I stare at the earthquakes of your whims like she who stares in a mirror

I whisper to you, hello and goodbye, at once,

You, who lets me drink my own thirst till I am fulfilled.


I wrote this piece with discovery/Aletheia in mind but in retrospect it reads like something on quantum physics. Leibniz is entangled inside my thoughts again. This is so messed up but here it is anyway.

 

163-490504956

 

Near yet far, clear yet blurry, one yet many.

Too many to count and too many to uncount.

How much light has gone by without an eye to see it? How much light will go by without an eye to see it?

I can almost touch you but then it is not you anymore. I can almost see you but then my eyes are not my eyes anymore.

I change you and you change me.

A glimpse is all I can know.

But what are all these glimpses and where do they come from?

A glimpse is all I can’t know.

A steady gaze is what I want. To be immersed in light. To be baptized in it. To be blinded by it.

To really see.

Then change wouldn’t be pure anymore because what’s pure doesn’t really change.

Then what’s near would be not far, what’s clear not blurry, and the one not many.

And time (and space) would be the pure illusion it seems.

A practical scientific find:

How to naturally reset your sleep cycle overnight

As I have been thinking much about evolution lately and about how its mechanisms guides some of our behavior as persons and as whole societies, I found the above result interesting.

I wonder if this has to do with Muslims fasting in Ramadan tending to stay up all night after they break their fast at sunset. Of course, they do so to have their “so7or” late at night, but do they become too awake and party late into the night because of the food clock taking over the regular daylight clock or is this simply a middle Eastern cultural phenomena? Some statistics would help.

For the past week, I have been reading and thinking about how to take the best photographs. Composition is what makes a photograph. So since a few friends are interested in this: I am sharing some nice online resources here.

A page that would make a great start is on Macteens: Simple introduction and the rule of thirds.

If you are a video person, Videojug is a must visit. Although I have seen better advice in other “rules of composition” pages, the whole array of photography-related topics presented there is satisfying.

Amateur Snapper is another very helpful resource, especially its rules page. I found its tips on taking portrait and architectural photography to be very concise and illuminating.  

The exposure basics at Picture Correct is a quick and to the point introduction. I haven’t explored the site much but you might find more nice things there.

Finally, there is also the Digital Photography School: whose 10 elements of composition show you a different take on things (here and here). Its portrait tips are just as unique while its 100 things I learned about Photography is fun to read.

The dPS has a weekly assignment forum which is a great idea for beginning photographers and it’s a great place to look at a variety of photos on the same subject taken by different people.

If you have the time, it might be a wonderful idea to start a photoblog, check out Cool Photoblogs for inspiration. 

My resolution is: shoot more and plan the shooting; compose more and crop less and shoot more portraits which capture the essence of the subject like this one:

3542

Happy shooting :)

Audrey Kawasaki is an artist originally from LA. I stumbled upon her work looking for “gaze” on google images but her artwork has amazed me. Her blog is definitely a bookmark I will revisit often. This kind of art makes doing science seem so so boring. Here is her popular “She Who Dares”:

uriajpg

And here are my picks from here February 08 exhibit which she posted all online.

karamari-ljjpg

“Karamari”

listen-ljjpg

“If Only You Were Here”

after-ljjpg

“After It’s Done”

tear-me-ljjpg1

“Tear me”

not-the-only-one-lj-clsjpg

“Not the Only One”

You could also call it “Knowledge and explanation through reason, faith, or feeling (the mind, the soul, or the heart) in space and time” but my editor wouldn’t like that too much.

Somewhere in the common space connecting philosophy, religion, science, and art lies an earnest search for a sensible worldview. There is a gaze.

On the most basic levels, there are two questions: What can we and do we know? How do we and can we explain what we know? This is MY post-structuralist summary of world thought:

Egypto-Judeo: You can’t explain everything outside yourself but you can know (through faith) what you cant explain.

Chinese: You don’t need an explanation for anything.

Indian: When you reach Nirvana, you will know again all you knew before. But you can’t explain any of  it to anyone else.

Greco-Latin: Before and while in the process of explaining, explain the process of explaining.

Explaining = Showing = Teaching.

realism__tiger__s_gaze_by_yayster

MY path forks in two here: Eastern and  Western:

Eastern.

Jesus: If you know love (God), He explains everything to you and makes everything perfect. Love is the ultimate knowledge and explanation. Pure beauty, pure theory.

(Some) Muslims: Knowledge is only from God. Explanation from us.

(Some) Sufis: All the knowledge and explanation you seek are in you. Look with your heart’s mind. Look with your soul, and not at it, and you will see the beautiful. I am the beautiful, therefore I am God.

gaze_2jpg

http://www.phantasmaphile.com/2007/07/kako-ueda.html

Western.

Vatican Theology: Let’s try to know and explain everything through God and God through everything.

Renaissance Art and Science: I am only sure I know myself (I know I exist) so let me see what else I can know?

David Hume: Knowledge is an illusion. Explanation, an illusion of an illusion.

eternal_gazejpg

Keirkegaard: “The individual is the category through which, in a religious aspect, this age, all history, the human race as a whole, must pass.” I should try to explain myself first. Since only God knows me, only He can explain me.

Nietzsche: There will be a man who can explain himself, the ubermunch. Man is an abyss.

Modernist: I know myself but can I explain myself? Let me be confused for a bit.

Wittgenstein and ordinary language philosophy:

The tools of explaining need to be examined. What we can’t explain, we must pass over in silence. (Original: “what we can’t speak of, we must pass over in silence.”)

“The world is all that is the case” : What is your collection of facts? What is your world?

Absurdist: Explain this!

Heiddeger: Even the simplest concept, Being, is an enigma.

We don’t know our tools of explaining well. Let’s deconstruct them; the pieces of language tell us more about history than philosophy. Only then the Truth (Aletheia) may unfold.

gazejpg

Post-Structuralist.

Foucault: Our languages tools hint at a changing underlying meta-system of thought. They carry within them the discourse between ideas which is the closest thing to the truth (one may hope for).

pomo: I know what my tools of explantation may tell me and I will try to find out what they have concealed. Many stories (expose) many systems of thought (hence) many explanations (hinting at) many knowledge (equals) many truths. This reminds me of the tower of Babel (Babylon).

Derrida: The language tools were not made for explaining. Their purpose was only socio-political/poetical: to construct a grand narrative. Do I want to deconstruct a grand narrative?

1-53-1440_3d_007

New age: Whoever you are, know with your heart and explain to me.

I know some of these might seem narrow-minded but that’s the price of compactness. Perhaps I will expand on this soon. If you feel there are essential links missing in this grand narrative of mine, let me know. I am often ready to see new perspectives.

Some people like Jean-Luc Godard say we live in a commercial age where the gaze have collapsed. Should we ask then: What is the next step in this path? What is your next step? What is mine?


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.