September 28, 2015
‘You want to know HOW and WHY ISIS is so successful in marketing it’s blend of terrorism. Well I can tell you there is nothing to know about ISIS…I don’t mean it to be a wide sweeping denigrating statement when I say….there is nothing!
I just mean – I have not be able to find anything that resembles such a thing as a school of thought or even a morsel of a state of mind that can supply a coherent understanding that perpetuates the movement. To me, it remains a truly a classical enigma.
Mind you I speak and write fluent Arabic. Granted with a Sudanese accent where the Jin is hyphenated which requires one to make a sound as if one is preparing to spit before certain words can be verbalize….but my point is I have the basis to know….and what disturbs me…is I do not know. Nor do I have the basis to know and this bafflement has the power to disturb – so when I say I don’t know anything about ISIS…or even what ideology, philosophy or beliefs perpetuate the movement…along with why or how it has managed to be the most successful terrorist organization in the history of mankind. I just don’t mean…I don’t know…it’s not an expression in the singular or personal sense…that is to say I don’t believe anyone in the world knows either. If they whoever they may be ranging from Mossad, CIA, M-15 and the Mickey Mouse club can supply coherent answers to the questions that I have just raised, then I would gladly eat my shoe with ketchup….but the fact of the matter no one knows beyond labeling them as an ultra violent insurgency group which is just code for ‘we know fuck all about them!’
It’s not like the rich tapestry of the Intifida where one can dwell into the history text stretching all the way back to the gilded Ottomon struggle and beyond to the crusades to draw whole disquisitions to reference Nasser, Sadat or Arafat to derive a graspable raison….to supply a coherent explanation why these people do what they do….to say, ‘aha, this is what they are fighting for!’
Not even the founder of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi knows what ISIS stands for, which has to be exceedingly peculiar when one considers how a movement that no one seems to know very much about beyond spouting a few anti western cliches can somehow exert such a destructive influence over the minds of so many young Muslims.
To date, twenty or so countries, have groups that claim to be part of IS. Many explanations have been forwarded as to how and why ISIS continues to exert such a disproportionate gravitational pull on the minds of young seemingly ordinary Muslims – the British say, it’s a failure to osmotically integrate the Muslim community into the Western ideal what life is all about. The French continue to insist it’s a backlash against trying to hard to integrate them. As for the Americans, they are none the wiser. My point is it’s horses for courses galore here!
So how did ISIS manage to successfully brand itself as the Lady Gaga of the terrorist genre. Fresh CIA analyst are often told by their lecturers, much of it has to do with how the US mismanaged the post Sadam period which led to the wholesale defranchisement and alienation of the Sunni’s. While the Shia’s assume the reins of power in post Sadam Iraq which only heightened the feelings of resentment in the Sunni community.
What is seldom mentioned is – there were many other piss offed Sunni insurgent movements which were far better funded and organized and most importantly diametrically different from ISIS, who would have been better place to exploit the collective resentment of the Sunnis.
For example, the remnants of the Baathists – had a wider tribal network and appeal to the masses. Most importantly they had a virtual monopoly on the skill of arms needed to prosecute a guerrilla campaign against the coalition forces. Even the fringe groups, such as Al Fadheyeen commanded much more respect and competence trust in the local post Sadam community. In 2011, the Free Syrian Army, which comprised of disgruntled former officers of the Assad regime, was a much more stable platform of leadership in Syria along with the extremist militia Jabhat-al-Nusra, who could leverage on a wide tribal network.
Perhaps there is a measure of truth in one version of popular reality that theorizes – these insurgents did not and could not consolidate their hold on power simply because they lacked funding from the Saudi and UAE intelligence services who much preferred to deal with the devil they’ve always known – al Qeada.
There is only one problem with that version of how things could have panned out….if only they backed the right horse – ISIS is not al Qeada. In the food chain of the terrorist world – al Qeada is like the Savoy Hotel or the Cafe Royale. There is sublime elegance to their ideology that is able to fuse the Arabic diaspora…struggle….Hadith…to the prevailing geo politics of our time that can only provoke derision for everything ISIS stands for. Al Qeada has a pedigree lineage that harks back to the glory days of the Mujahiddeens who jihaded against the evil soviet invasion of Afghanistan – it is the fabled library of Alexandria on why war must be waged against the Western Hemisphere. ISIS on the other hand is Hotel 81 with the roaches complete. There is no elegance…no intellectual rigor that can possibly appeal to the intelligentsia of the ustazhi and mullah class – hence Zarqawi and his total absence of ideologues and intellectualism inspired nothing except derision from the ranks of the al Qeada apparatchiks.
It’s interesting to note when Bin Laden was holed up in his cave in Tora Bora. He spent most of his time narrating his world view very much like a mythical guru to his followers – while all Zarqawi and his retinue seem to be interested in was very little else besides sawing off heads of westerners, posting them on Youtube while dabbling in pimping out sheltered Muslim girls in the West by offering them free one way tickets to visit ISIS.
Till to date, no coherent explanation has emerged from any known quarter as to how a once shambolic outfit comprising of wannabes has been able to successfully market themselves as the savior of the Muslim world…has been able to win ground against superior western funded proxy forces….and create the mesmerizing machinery of allure that continues to rapture the hearts and minds of so many aspiring young Muslims thru out the world…..as I said in the very beginning of this post….ISIS is truly an enigma…perhaps one that even goes beyond every known definition of that western cliche, an ‘unknown quantity’…and that by it’s own obscurantist merits surely has the power to disturb.’
(I have to stop now, but I will con’t again when I return from the field)
‘So far the war on terrorism has been focussed only on interdicting threats. By this I mean, if I type certain words like, Al Fadheyeen. Then somewhere in the greater geography of the digital atlas – that would send a clandestine program yelping like a distressed sheep dog that alerts a server in Langley Virginia and abracadabra…next thing you know someone in a faceless cubicle has been assigned to my blog…now how is this person?
Well if I had to plumb, it’s probably a someone who has a passable degree from the school of oriental studies who once did a forgettable dissertation on the analects of Sufism and probably believes Osama Bin Laden is just a confused CEO who commutes to work in a donkey and happens to live in a cave.
That if you must know is precisely the attitude that accounts for why islamic radicalism continues to proliferate thru out the world as it does – that is to say since time in memorial, the western attitude towards the islamic inspired insurgency movement has been top heavy on counter insurgency and woefully short on rebutting the operable school of thoughts and states of mind that fuels radicalism – as I said, so far it’s a game of cat and mouse and not really one where any cerebral component features to demolish the ideology of ISIS.
I will give you an illustration of this mentioned ‘lack.’ George Bush proclaims everyone craves democracy, that at least was his rallying cry in Gulf war 2. True. But what he didn’t reckon on was the version of democracy favored by the Iraqi’s was closer to an Iranian theoracy than anything he had ever envisioned – it’s certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with democracy in the Western conception and even less to do with secularism.
Here we have an almost comic rendering of what appears to be a highly complex problem with deep historical roots – it would not be wrong to say much of what comprised American policy in the Middle East during the Bush era amounted to a grand simplification that nourished islamic insurgency rather than palliate many of the fears and anxieties of the Arab psyche.
Bear in mind during Sadam’s reign – the borders of Syria and Iraq were relatively stable. Secular Arab nationalism albeit even with the obscurantist bent of the Batthist which didn’t always make sense to most Arabs did nonetheless create unifying conditions where the fractious divide between religious sects, tribal enmity etc etc was nominal as what managed to unite the religious lacunaes of Yezidhis, Shabaks, Kaka’is, Shias, Sunnis, Sufis and Christians was more than what could have divided them — my point is what cannot and should not be elided from the geo political accounting is these Balkanized groups for the most part in the Arab world did once upon a time live alongside one another in relative peace and harmony.
I stress this point only because much of what’s typically written about the Arab world these days is presentist and seems almost bent on eliding the social and cultural conditions BEFORE radicalism took hold.
Even the likes of Bin Laden found it ideologically uphill to successfully sow the seeds of Islamic radicalism in the Arab world before Gulf war 2.
Bin laden himself admitted this – he was constantly lamenting about the collective ambivalence of his target audience – the Arabs…he mentioned they were more interested in chasing the same materialistic empire of vapidness and nihilism as the Kaffirs who he meant to snuff out.
Wonder no more why the crèche of the prototypal Al Qeada movement as we know it today only acquired a distinctive outline in the West and not in the Arab world – in centrally heated ‘personal improvement’ talks sanctioned by the madrashas of New York, Birmingham and the affluent suburbs of Cairo – it remained largely a toffee nose elitist equivalent of the Mensa club that for the most part specifically excluded and alienated the average Muslim and appealed paradoxically much more to the Anglophile Arab – as to understand it first required the rigor of intellectualism. Compare this with the rise of the mullahs in Iran pre Pahvali period, when it was largely driven by the bazaaris who were petty traders peddling cottage loomed carpets and trinkets – what’s interesting to note – is from it’s very inception, Al Qeada has always been a beauracratic, hierarchical top down oligarchy, while the later was a grass root fueled movement.
Paradoxically, the rough outlines and tenets of Al Qeada as the West knows it today did not emerge from the Arab consciousness – when two commercial jetliners ploughed into the World Trade Center. The entire Arab world were spellbound and no one has ever heard of Osama Bin Laden before!
Rather Al Qaeda was first spotlighted and accorded prominence by Muslim academics in the West such as the late Edward Said just after the US embassy bombing in Lebanon in the 80’s – Prof Said had a penchant for satirizing the prevailing western attitude towards the Arab and Islamic world, in very corseted terms of what he termed, ‘imperialism’ ‘subjugation’ and ‘subterfuge’ – academia in the West being academia in the West remained wholly sympathetic and polite to Said’s seminal dichotomy of often framing the Arab struggle in terms of orientalism versus Christianity plus bits of the Jewish lobby and Halliburton. I strongly suspect no one worth his salt ever dared take issue with Said’s hyperbole simply because it’s desirable in the West for an academic to embody the ethos of an eighteen century aristocratic flanuer who regularly talks about things that he knows so little about providing he can regularly get his material published in the Atlantic – however, despite Said’s outward patina as the new age Omar Sharif of Muslim intellectualism – here was finally a heavy weight who could throw heavy punches as well as any Western thinker, the antithesis of Lawrence of Arabia – however, he was in every sense just a clever poseur who capitalized on the collective ignorance of the West when it came to the complication of power and politics in the Arab and Muslim world. Said first mention of al Qaeda was oblique as it was fatal to what I have always considered to be the one factor that militates against West understanding of Al Qeada. As since it all discussions concerning al Qeada along with its various splinter groups came encrusted with Said’s personal mythology the Arab and Western conflict could and must only be seen the context of an imperialistic struggle between orientalism and the western mind and very little else – this short sighted stereotyping had the effect of stifling all further attempts by the West to better understand the root causes for the rise of subsequent islamic insurgent movements such as ISIS along with setting into motion what I can only describe as an irreconcilable hubris that only exacerbates Arab anger against the west. But I digress!
Coming back to the point, today it’s no longer valid to refer to ISIS as a terrorist organization any longer – if anything it’s morphed into a prototypal version of the PLO circa 1985 or maybe closer to Hezbollah since it’s already dabbling in statecraft by running public services along with rent seeking in the territories it has seized presumably to bankroll it’s grand raison of world domination that no one can still figure out.
But the question still stands – is ISIS, al Qaeda? Or is Al Qaeda, ISIS. Or maybe Al Qaeda is just Al Qaeda and ISIS is just ISIS. Asking these sort of questions may smack of splitting hairs – but my point from the very beginning of this rambling post that seems to go everywhere only to return to where we started from merely to serves to illustrate poignantly how not knowing…for whatever reason accounts for why it’s so impossibly difficult for the West to defeat ISIS (or is it Al Qaeda) by formulating a counter ideology very much in the way democracy once defeated fascism and communism and that has to be problematic.’
September 27, 2015
‘Many people cannot understand. By this I mean they experience considerable difficulty understanding. But I can….yes, I can…I understand completely…some men are just dark.
Please! Don’t judge what I have just said. Better still refrain from forming an opinion…just understand what I have to share. Because as soon as you form an opinion, no matter how fleeting. Then you would have lost completely what I am trying to convey here. Worst of all your mind will run wild with all kinds of thoughts concerning my response to this subject of interest.
Only understand! It is YOU…who is running helter skelter with the power of imagination and NOT me. I for my part have simply said….some men are dark.
Now let those words sink into your mind like a heavy stone into still waters. No thoughts…no opinions…no judgement. That is not necessary, if you feel it’s requirement…again it’s NOT me who has imposed this on you…it’s you!
Like I said…I understand completely.
Some men are dark…very dark.’
September 26, 2015
When it comes to the power and politics of the haze. You could be forgiven for believing that you’re an extra, cast in the satorial movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray.
If you happen to suffer from that all too familiar sinking déjà vu feeling concerning officialdoms reaction towards the haze – where you’re reliving the same event over and over again….join the rest of the N95 club.
Every year just around this time of the year…when the dry season presages the haze. Politicians trade barbs across the Straits. The same culprits are fingered. Mask are handed out en masse and when the haze dissipates everyone forgets about it and life returns back to the way it used to be….only for the whole scene to renacted again same time next year.
I realized like the movie ground hog day, the haze is not merely black comedy. If anything, it probably qualifies as a very powerful allegory of how life can resemble art, specifically – and how comparisons between the themes of the movie and our reaction to the haze reveals many parallel features, albeit also reverse motives.
In both narrative people find themselves in a repetitive gyre, where at first they feel the compelling need to do something…anything. Yet at the same time, they seem resigned to the situation in the way the main protagonist in the movie Bill Murray trudges along. They perceive reality through a double deception. Often grasping at straws, not of real things….rather things that only appear real only because there is no graspable solution within reach. That perhaps accounts for why there seems to pretended reality whenever politicians from both side weigh in on the subject of the haze – they all resemble comic figures who only resemble reality. Yet
September 26, 2015
If a person can only grow mentally and spiritually complete thru external nourishment. Then this person is like a plant that always requires plenty of sunlight and rain. If there no rain or light for whatever reason, he or she will not grow at all. Worst, he or she will shrivel up and die.
But if a person has dedicated himself seriously to the study of how to lead a purpose driven life and is able to banish all worldly delusions. Then he would have the everlasting truth within him – this is a light that cannot be extinguished by rain clouds or even a 300 API haze.
Such a person is like a cactus when it comes to water requirement and very shade resistant.
‘One of the greatest travesties ever perpetrated by mankind is the ridiculous notion – for man to find meaning in his life. He must continually marinate himself in the company of other men and constantly seek their approval, blessing and respect.
As a result of this corrosive logic, most men today do not even know themselves – they seem to know everyone…except the most needful person…themselves.
Because most men are perfect strangers to themselves, they are by default no better than insecure children who look up to others for a sense of validation and approval.
That is why so many men are enslaved by the narcotic of what other people think about them – they need the constant approval, blessing and respect of others just to get by. Once this external stimuli is cut off – like the fabled drug addict, this man will begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms. First he experience the shakes. Then his world will begin to crumble from within.
This is the reason why when some men lose their jobs. They also lose their sense of place in society along with self respect – it’s as if so much of their being is invested in other people and when the center gives in there is little or nothing of substance to hold it all together within….so is it such a wonder when their world collapses.
This is the reason why you will have no difficulty whatsoever to seek out so many men who lack true confidence, conviction and a sense of oneness with themselves. Even those who appear seemingly confident are at best only in a deluded state. Because when you strip them of their status symbols, they too will crumble into nothingness.
This should prompt the perceptive reader to ask – where then is the right place to place for one to invest in and why?
True confidence…real strength of character and unshakeable belief in oneself can only come from investing in the self in the way a gardener tends to his orchard dutifully – because when one builds strength within the self thru character and wisdom….these things are within and not in the external world. So even should the world run amok – the center will never give in. It will remain solid and continue to support the infrastructure of the self.
To accomplish this remarkable feat.
All that a man needs to do is – cultivate the love of his own company. This may sound easy, but it is not. The perceptive reader would have noted this. As in the beginning I wrote….One of the greatest travesties ever perpetrated by mankind….So this seemingly simple process of getting to know yourself is hardly easy.
For one, the man who truly wants to draw nourishment from within and not from the world at large, must first learn to cast aside the great lie of the world that fills him with shame and fear when he tries to get to know himself better.
That is because so much of world considers such an endeavor, a form of incomprehensible madness.
Do you notice everyone writes books about how to make friends…how to not come across as a serial killer….how to influence other people. But no one ever writes a book about how to get to know yourself better!
So I want to be clear….we are venturing into terra incognito here! This is new territory. Because no one has ever shared this with you before.
This also means. The man who yearns to know himself, must first wordsmith a new narrative – where it’s possible to get to know himself in the way one gets to know another only for friendship, brotherhood and love to blossom.
You will find when you try to get better acquainted with yourself – your mind will turn against you…know it for what it is…it is a reflect action. You will suddenly feel the overpowering urge to reconnect with others as soon as you begin a conversation with yourself. You will SMS. You will call your fiends and ask them whether they are free. You will be very restless etc etc.
That is perfectly natural, as for so many years, you have been scripted and conditioned to believe – to be happy…complete..and whole, you must be a friend to everyone and above all a complete stranger to yourself.
Now you have throw that Bible out of the window and start a new book! So how can that possibly be easy? Let us be realistic.
Above all, no one has ever shared this with you before. That is why you will never ever find a man sitting all by himself in a crowded restaurant savoring his food and enjoying his own company.
But once you dedicate your mind, body and spirit to get to know yourself better. Once you go beyond the facade of the social taboo that says – being alone is just for losers and dysfunctional people. Once you get to know yourself so well that you can even laugh at your own idiosyncrasies and learn not take yourself too seriously – you will at some point reach a point of reconciliation where you will make peace with who you are along with where you stand in this world. All these things will be very clear to you. Because when one cultivates the newly reincarnated man in the temple of deep within the self. There is no short cutting – you can’t pat yourself on the back or exclaim ‘well done!’ Not when you know it’s not right up there with your expectation of quality, delivery reliability etc etc. So to cultivate the company of the self is really like having a conversation with the naked truth…there is no coloration or abberation of the truth. That is impossible in a deep spirited discourse with the self. That is only possible when one is in the company of many where one may indulge in manufacturing and even fashioning parochial, insular and twisted versions of the truth to serve specious ends…that is the brutality of cultivating your own company…the truth will always surface….and when those conditions are available only then is it possible for the man who is perfectly comfortable in his own skin to wake up from his deep slumber of darkness.
Before this man was just a child looking up at the world pleadingly for approval, validation, love and respect…now as the man who knows every aspect of himself that is all nonsense.’
September 25, 2015
Les oiseaux intermittents
Les champs toujours là en face
Les mots voltigent, reviennent
Le touchent, il tend la main
Et les pose doucement
Les uns à côté des autres
Ils disent des choses très simples
Comme la musique
L’eau est calme
L’ombre de l’oiseau surprend
Les jours sont longs
Comme au début de la vie
À partir d’un moment d’une extrême simpilicité
il ne faut plus espérer
September 25, 2015
Before his mind goes anywhere. The fully matured mind will always go inwards first – he will always go calmly into the nucleas of his being to seek what needs to be sought. That is the first protocol of a mature mind. It is the first preference.
Only then will the fully mature man respond.
However, the man who is yet to attain full maturity will never see the wisdom of seeking his own counsel first. Never! He will instead seek validation, approval and in certain cases even look around outside himself for answers to many of the questions bouncing around his head like a pinball.
When what appears to be the answer emerges from the outside (real or imagined)…..then the immature mind will be prompted to react. That is the first protocol of the immature mind – it is always looks outwards for answers…to others for confidence instead of the self, that is because the self is hollow and empty….so no answers can ever emerge from that empty room.
That is the defining difference between the mature and immature mind. The mature mind is like the great library, a temple of knowledge. As for the immature mind, it is a bare empty room.
The fully mature man knows – only when you know yourself, can you go anywhere else. As for the immature man, he will always be like a child and go wherever his mind takes him.
Research and study this well. Because if you follow an immature mind, you are likely to end up going round and round and ending up nowhere.’
September 23, 2015
No one ever said striving to be your own man was easy. How can it be easy when one has to run the risk of getting overrun and losing everything. That is why most men prefer to settle to be other people’s men – they rather seat it out and let others fight, the good fight. Or take cover in the shadow of seemingly stronger men…they seek safety in numbers…they even cultivate the art of betraying themselves by fashioning themselves into merchants of convenience….they go with the flow.
Only understand this clearly! When a man shies away from the prospects of being his own man – he can only disappear into oblivion like a drop of red dye in a beaker of clear water.
A point will surely come despite his best efforts all he would have accomplished is to fashion himself into the invisible man….that amorphorous being that takes it’s cue from the capricious wind, where he is everywhere, yet no where at the same time. Worst of all he would homeless.
As for the man who strives to be his own man – only he will be standing in the sea of hollow men.
You don’t have to like or even agree with what he stands for. Infact you can even despise such a man and wish him perpetual misfortune for the rest of his days. Or choose like the many other hollow men to take comfort and solace by taking your place somewhere along the line to see the back of him…..but even you cannot deny.
He never once bowed to anyone….for he was always his own man.
September 19, 2015
September 14, 2015
September 14, 2015
Ragu son of Arumugam. The fifth generation rubber tapper doubled as the curator of the plantation Kalimah temple. Standing before him that morning before the sun broke was the man in his trade mark bush jacket and sun glasses. Ragu turned to the night watch man who nodded his head as if both men knew what had to come thereafter.
Long before the stranger had made his appearance. The night watch man had woken up earlier than usual for the whole week to keep the tongue of light in the shrine burning – this was their only protection against the malevolent forces of darkness.
As a boy, Ragu had been innitiated into a sacred ritual by his father and the elders on the importance of placating malevolent forces, it had began with the grave words, “listen very carefully and do exactly what I tell you” – and now the mythical creature had appeared before them – Ragu steadied his nerves as he enacted the ritual that had been handed down to him by his father and his father before him. It was a ritual as old as the hills – a ritual that would never be allowed to see the light of day.
The night before. The villagers were told to keep their doors and panelled windows tightly shut till Ramu, the jet black, white footed noisy temple dog howled three times. Menstruating women and virgins were told not to bath, wear perfume and stay indoors. A vegetarian meal had even been prepared for all the villagers the night before. All this was done to ensure that the ritual of receiving the devil passed smoothly. And now as in successive generations – he had appeared as it was written.
As Ragu looked on at the man who stood motionlessly before the shrine. He shuddered slightly. At age 65, the curator of the Kalimah temple realized deep in his bones. This day would surely come. It was after all written in the annals of plantation history. As even both the Mahabratha and Ramayana bore witness to the existence of the devil – the unwritten chapters that is, the unseen chapters that no one ever read except those who knew the ancient ways.
And now that Ramu VIII, the 30th descendant of the noisiest pariah dog in the world who no one could ever silence in plantation history- not even the curator himself who fed him everyday had come to stand quietly and obediently beside the stranger – the curator of the temple and the night watch man both surmised – the man, the devil stood before them – it must be him.
This strange scene had been played out for generations – both the curator and the night watch man knew it as a ritual as old as the hills itself. If there was even a single deviation in the ritual – that whole year a curse would befall the villagers. There were after all omens and strange occurrences that had come to past before the arrival of the stranger. Just the other day when fresh milk was offered as alms to the naga shrine, it had curdled and soured almost as soon as burnt sandal wood was offered – followed by a sighting of a golden cobra in the temple grounds. This was preceded by elephant sightings and the reversing of the river that ran along the temple grounds. Even the elders who had seen the passing of more seasons than they cared to remember realized surely this must be the handiwork of the devil himself. During the evenings when the cicadas murmured along side the rustling of swaying palms – the curator had sat beneath the shade of the ficus trees and asked the village elders,
“How shall we deal with the devil when he appears.”
The village elders who knew the ancient way of the hills had merely sighed and mentioned,
“We will have to deal with him in the way our forefathers had dealt with him – he will not be denied entry into the temple grounds. He cannot be denied. He will have his quarter. Give him what he wants and he will bless us all.”
And now the man had appeared at dawn. Ragu had wore his black dothi instead of his traditional white prayer tunic – as for the night watch man, he had worn a white shirt. Both men as boys had once heard their fathers recount to them, be respectful to the devil and never deviate even as much as one hair breathe from the ritual – his bushjacket must always be hung on the highest post to the right on a copper nail. Never on a steel or iron nail. That may bring the whole roof down – he must never be offered blood offerings or there will be much mayhem – if the ritual goes well, he shall keep the covenant between man, land and the heavens in perfect harmony.
It was a ritual that was steeped in plantation tradition. A ritual that even the man who wore the bushjacket and sunglasses wondered how he had slipped into, in the way an actor suddenly stumbles on a script only for all to expect him to play his part – the man did not ask why or even how – he would play this role year after year unfailingly.
After the ritual when the naked stranger placed his ten fingers and on the kolam (rice paintings) and blessed the grounds – both the night watchman and the temple curator approached him to offer him a morsel of sweet coconut. The stranger took a mouthful and gave the remainder to the night watch man to be burnt as offerings to the Gods.
It was then that both the curator of the temple and night watch man breathe a sigh of relief. The ritual had come to an end – each step had been executed to true perfection with not even the slightest deviation – the great wheel of life would turn smoothly that year. The stranger smiled, dressed, shook the hand of the temple curator and disappeared into darkness.
Soon a new and beautiful day would unfurl.
‘To me superstition is the ability to provide a believable account of why the sea is filled with dead fish on a Monday in July. Or why birds are heading North instead of South the week before. Maybe even to make out how many evil spirits have been staying in a building that no one wants to spent the night in and most importantly which party is going to win in th next general elections.
And of course, if possible to have the uncanny ability afterwards to explain why it all didn’t or could never have happened at all.’
September 13, 2015
It is very difficult to remain a sane person in this age. Simply because everything in and of this modern world, does so very little to encourage that sort of balanced outlook in life.
There are so many crazy people around that most of the time we don’t even realize they have lost the plot completely…that is the paradox of our age. Mass insanity has now been successfully sold and marketed as normality.
Look around you! Everywhere 24/7 someone is always trying to plant a flag in your brain. Buy this! Be that person. Look at me! Do I have your attention! Sign on the dotted line. Get that package. Come on board. Live your dream!
Can you see how so much of the way of the modern world is premised on heightening our feelings of inadequacy and lack….sharpening our sense of imaginary wants and desires…..that steers us to live either in the past or future…but never in most needful place…which is NOW!
Do you notice. No one ever sells you NOW! Because if anyone ran a business marketing NOW! They would have absolutely nothing to sell you and most probably end up bankrupt. So the marketing manifesto is always the case of – you need this or that to complete your life and make you happy….you need a six pack….a car…or whatever.
The only way to deal with this avalanche of over stimulation is to be mindful of the pull of the past and the future – that is because the past is no more. As for the future…you are yet to cross that imaginary bridge. So it is also a none event for now at least.
That leaves only one question – how do I go about living in NOW!
Do I forget the past? Do I psycho myself into a self induced state of amnesia? What about the future? How do I stop thinking about it? Do I suspend my powers of imagination? Or would it be better if I keep distracting myself all the time, so that I don’t need to think about the future?
The perceptive reader will by now be aware I am making a big deal out of HOW to live in NOW!
That is because I have noticed no one ever teaches another HOW to live in NOW! They all say live your life in NOW….and it all begins and ends right there. That is a bit like saying…go fish. But how do you even begin, if you don’t even know how to tie a robust knot that doesn’t work it’s way loose only to lose the fish?
So I will teach you HOW to live in NOW.
It begins by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
It is simply, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witness, do not strain yourself to understand or to even judge, because the moment you form a train of thoughts…even an opinion, you have already put one foot into the river of the past or future and lost the NOW. The moment you say “this I like, that I dislike,” you have already broken the magic spell of NOW.
Do not expect instantaneous results. That is not realistic. If you do that – all you are doing is setting yourself up for the proverbial fall. That is because the moment you take the position of the witness. Your mind will begin to turn against you by prompting you to take a position….form a judgement…so be kind to yourself and be patient. As it takes a little time to create a gap between being witness and watching what flits in and out of your mind. But once, you create that distance between the watcher and what goes in and out of your mind.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time in your life a new creation – who truly lives instead of just exist.
‘The past is just not the past. They are like very strong tensioned springs that should you jump on them…you will bounce into the present and even into the future. That is why so many people bring their past hurts, anger and resentment into a new relationship, job or enterprise. And in this way, they sabotage their own happiness, confidence and instead instill fear into a new chapter of their life. So as you can see, when I use the phrase, you live in the past. This does not mean you are thinking about your teddy bear that you used to have as a kid. When I use that term, I am referring to the state of mind that sabotages your success and happiness.
The same holds true for the future as well, it is not just a place somewhere ahead of the timeline – rather it too can be a solvent that corrodes your will power, confidence and belief in yourself – there have been many occasions when I have found myself feeling small before other men who seem to have accomplished more than me…only to find myself questioning endlessly…why have I accomplished so little in life?….why can I not be a better provider…father…etc etc. Do you see it too has teeth.
I am simply saying once we become mindful of the dangers of the past and future and how they can both conspire to undo us – that is power.’
September 12, 2015
I can see so much of myself in my children….so very much.
September 12, 2015
Early this morning I came across a knot of villagers wielding sticks hell bent on teaching a boy a lesson of his life. I stopped my car , strode up to the mob and demanded in the authoritative voice of a landowner, ‘what is the meaning of this?’
Someone in the crowd shouted out, the boy needs to be taught a lesson as he has a habit of fibbing…others added, he was scaring people with his weird stories. Then an old man shuffled up to me, held on to my sleeve and whispered, ‘the boy claims to be able to talk to trees.’
I demanded the villagers to take me to the talking tree which was five minutes away. When I stood before the old Chingay tree, someone exclaimed, ‘this is the bloody tree that the boy claims can talk!’
I looked on quietly and impassively, when another man was about to say something….I flashed him a stern look of rebuke and told the rest to keep very silent…shhhhhhhhhh….I went on to add casually, it’s impossible to hear what the tree was saying with all the ruckus.
At first everyone exchanged dumbfounded looks. Then gradually a spell of silence fell over the mob and soon one by one they loosened their grip on their sticks and began to listen to what the tree had to say, that was when I noticed, the boy who looked scared just then was smiling at me.
I winked at him.
September 10, 2015
In the city. Everyone seems to be under extreme pressure to search out for that special someone who is supposed to complete that missing part of their life….they all believe in this idea unconditionally in the city.
City folk all believe, if they can only find this special person who can make them 100% whole and complete …then all of life will just pour into their boring mundane life in full technicolor and stereo sound blah blah blah.
Hence the perpetual quest…but despite their fervent yearning…they will never ever find this mythical being that will somehow complete them….because the true essential nature of every man and woman is to be found only in loneliness.
And even should this other person who can someone complete the incomplete person be discovered….there will always be loneliness even in togetherness.
One reason why we all seem to suffer from an automatic loathing of loneliness is because our scripting and conditioning informs us, loneliness is synonymous with suffering….but nothing can be further from the truth.
As a man and woman can really only attain maturity and wisdom thru an appreciation of loneliness. Once all the contours of loneliness are known like the lines in the palm of one’s hands – then the idea of solitude is born within the crèche of loneliness.
‘Man is the only creature on the surface of this planet who seems to regularly experience great difficulty in being man.
Don’t you think this is very odd?
Even monkeys, parrots, snakes, dogs, gold fish or for that matter any other species doesn’t suffer from the same affliction of man’s confused state about his elemental nature and being.
For example, you don’t see a cat behaving like a crocodile or a rabbit impersonating the dietary habits of a grizzly Alaskan bear.
In nature a monkey behaves like a monkey, just as a dog behaves like a dog…there is a natural order to the affairs of things.
But for man…because he always confused as to what his BEING should be or NATURE should rightly be – he is always in a perpetual state of identity crisis.
Hence his fixation in creating all kinds of social constructs to define who he is along with fleshing out his terms of engagement with the world.
That is why the dellima of man compels him to look everywhere for answers as to WHO he should be and HOW he should manage himself and others…he looks everywhere except in the most needful and resourceful place….deep within himself!
As a result the average person falls into a vicious cycle where gradually he is scripted and conditioned to only find his place in the world thru the superficiality of friendship, social role playing, political games, movies, pulp fiction, the meniality of work, religion and what I can only describe as shallow social associations or any other social construct where people are regularly falling over each other because they are all confused and lost!
But never forget…..understand this clearly! The main impetus, the engine, the primary motivation that compels all men to devote so much of their time and energy into this meaningless pursuit is simply because he suffers from a morbid fear of loneliness.
We are all trained and conditioned to perceived loneliness as suffering, a dark bottomless pit, a terrifying wasteland almost like death itself.
So to avoid this imaginary hell hole that our mind has constructed….man will always have the habit of looking for answers outside himself….in the company of others…thru conversations …he is always running out of himself…always not at home…the constant wanderer…always believing the answer is somewhere to be found elsewhere.
The main problem is that prevailing attitude where loneliness is so often equated with fear – this in my opinion is the worst possible basis for any relationship to be premised on, because bear in mind…in all likelihood, your partner is probably coming together with you out of fear as well!
Now instead of one fearful person….you have two!
And this unity of the fear of loneliness is what a reasonable man and woman these days is supposed to call love.
Can you see how crazy the world has become.
This is supposed to be their temple of spiritual flourishing..their sanctuary…their secret garden of harmony…and bliss and emancipation….do you see why it is doomed from the word go!
Do you see how this is the tap root of why so many relationships can only start off hot only to fizzle out or worst end up smashing into the rocks – as it is a relationship based fundamentally on all the wrong reasons and worst of all it is premised specifically on the fear of loneliness.
How can the fear of loneliness possibly be the basis of a solid relationship?
That is why only those who can love well are absolutely fearless of loneliness – this is why I often say, the nature of man is essentially loneliness! As only thru the deep study of loneliness can one discover solitude that is the skeleton key that opens up the door to the awakened mind.
It is like a restaurant that serves good food – the light is subdued, the sights and sounds are kept to a bare minimum…this like loneliness is not deprivation. Rather when all these distractions are cut away, then our senses is enhanced and comes alive to enjoy a work of art. In the same way to live well…we must never fear loneliness. As only in loneliness can a man really find himself and know his place in this world without the distractions of illusions. Rather allow loneliness to guide you….do not fear it…as it is a natural power to be sought after, not avoided and
East of all feared.’
September 10, 2015
September 10, 2015
The city is a Mecca for bullshitters of every conceivable variety and kind. Since I happen to be the only one who seems to be able to cobble together a believable account of why it continues to rain despite being an epic El Niño year….many leading businessmen have sought me out as some new age soothsayer…oracle….great all seeing eye.
Usually to perform this role admirably – all I have to do is stuff my mouth full of one Michelin star curry puff….look slightly perplex (like ten minutes after murdering someone and figuring out where to bury the corpse etc etc). Since I happen to have one of those dead serious, no nonsense and 100% assurance of impeccable trustworthy faces….most people who seek my opinion concerning El Niño read whatever they want to read out of the questions they ask me….most of the time providing I continue to stuff curry puff in my mouth and talk at the same time…some will even elect themselves as interpreters to offer an insight as to what I really mean to convey…most of the time, this is how it begins and ends with everyone muttering thereafter…he has such incredible foresight and insight!…..he’s so intelligent…he’s a lateral thinker etc etc…..this is how it is in the city….people will see what they want to see even when there is nothing really there!
September 7, 2015
This is a question that has vexed me no end for the whole of this year…finally the answer. It’s just a scrap. Not much. But it explains many things that has been bothering me….now all I have to do is work around this assumption.
A typical El Nino creates a low pressure system above the eastern equatorial Pacific bracketed by high pressure systems on either side that reduce rainfall over important crop production areas such as India, Southeast Asia and Australia.
However, due to the Modoki El Nino, there was a low pressure system over the central tropical Pacific and a high pressure system over the eastern equatorial Pacific.
When the water started warming in the eastern Pacific there was a failure in the low pressure system to develop because the Modoki event had already put a high pressure system over that water.
That disrupted the normal chain reaction of weather events.
Once you screw it up with Modoki you screw it up for the rest of the world and we can’t have the same level of abnormal weather.
The Modoki event has gradually died out over the past six to eight weeks giving rise to more traditional El Nino weather patterns but it is has already missed the growing season in many areas of the world.
September 6, 2015
I don’t blame people if they don’t have faith in me. It must be incredibly hard for them to make head or tail out of what I am doing…harder still for them to understand what’s it all for….or even whether it’s worth it.
There used to be a time not so very long ago, when I would feel the compelling felt to explain the why’s along with how – but these days, I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to do so any longer.
It’s not ambivalence or that I don’t care any longer that accounts for my militant refusal to supply an account…as in truth even for me I can’t really be cock sure any longer…there are no guarantees….no certainties….no promise that it may all end well…or that I will not reach the end of the road without regrets.
I don’t ever want to make promises I can never keep or sell a dream that I know will never materialize….truth is things are just darn uncertain…so murky that at times I can’t even be sure any longer.
So I keep quiet.
September 6, 2015
Going around in circles is all people seem to be doing these days with the spluttering economy and crappy price of commodities. Big and small circles.
Endless circles with no beginning or end. Just going round and round. Circles within circles. Sometimes it’s slow, at other times it speeds up, but it’s always the same when one is in the gyre.
I try not to think what the future may hold. I push that thought away by transforming myself in the the very shape and form that I find myself imprisoned in…a circle. A machine that keeps going round and round without any thought or rhyme.
Today I planted one sapling after another from dawn to dusk. The series of movements are all circular. I dig a circular hole, sprinkle some rock phosphate in a circular motion, remove the sapling carefully from the pot by edging my fingers to loosen it in a circular manner and after burying it, I press it all down into a tight circle to hold the plant straight to the light. Thereafter I push the wheelbarrow back to the house, fill it with more saplings, head out to the field and repeat the whole process again….a perfect circle within a circle.
There are no thoughts when one is in the flow of the gyre. No sense of time or for that matter place either….only the endless continuum…like the image of a water buffalo milling wheat by going round and round, turning a heavy mill stone to the faint sound of creaking timber…round and round.
From time to time I stop suddenly for a water or cigarette break.
Then very slowly like an ant that finds itself trapped in a circular vessel I begin to grow aware of my surroundings. I touch the texture of this circular surface with the hands of my mind….it’s smooth like porcelain, I murmur…there is no possible way to climb out of this shit hole without my mountaineering kit…then the terrible thoughts hits me.
I am in a circle.
September 4, 2015
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand completely and absolutely. Trust me, they do not. Instead they listen with the intention to cut in mid way during a conversation. Or to keep the conversation going on and on for the sake of responding aimlessly – this is because our scripting and conditioning of what is a good conversation leads us to believe, if we put in an effort to craft intelligent, witty and responsive replies, then we will be more engaging, impressive and interesting. But this assumption misleads terribly – as true communication first requires one to understand completely and absolutely….and this is only possible when one cultivates the habit of listening deeply and talking less.
‘Listen….listen…..listen very carefully to the sound of the voice…feel the texture of the words as they are formed. So many words can get lost or lose their meaning when the mind is distracted with the desire to reply for the sake of just replying….judging when judgement is not unnecessary….filling up the blanks because one is impatient to bear out the sentence to the very end. Do not feel pressured to reply or to impress others with you point of view…that is not necessary…instead allow the words to coil slowly around you like a vine. Feel the emotions in the words. Be mindful of their weight and where the conversation is going. Do not do anything else besides listening with every cell of your being. Do not be distracted by all other things. Never interrupt, just listen quietly and impassively and above all never ever break the magic spell….and soon everything will be so very clear and calm.’