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Showing posts from October, 2007

Waking up...

There are little feelings more beautiful than waking up with a smile and knowing that someone out there loves you.

Fire Always Burns?

It seems that only a philosopher can doubt that fire always burns*, and perhaps that's why a philosopher is most likely to get scalded by a flame. :)

* Referring to Ghazali's version of problem of Induction. In simple words: How can we be sure that fire always burns? Just because we have seen it happening in the past doesn't mean that it will happen in the future as well. A layman may laugh at this question, but philosophers are yet to come up with a satisfactory solution to this problem, which also tends to raise doubts about the integrity of science.

Depend

X: Why do i feel so lonely now? I never used to feel that before.

Y: Previously you were dependent on books for company; now you depend on people... and people are not always there.

Above all else...

My brother to me: "It seems to me that above all else you fear loneliness."

About You Now

"I know everything changes
For the cities and faces
But I know how I feel
About you

Can we bring yesterday
Back around
Cause I know how I feel
About you now
I was dumb I was wrong
I let you down
But I know how I feel
about you now"

Sugababes, About You Now

Meant For

Jonathan [to Clark (future Superman)]: You were meant for much more important things than winning football games.

Smallville, Episode # 103

People with greater talents are meant for greater goals, but often they frustrate themselves by running after lesser things that were never meant for them.

Beauty

"Beauty always comes with dark thoughts."

Nightwish, Wish I Had An Angel

Can't you see

Oh can't you see what love has done
Oh can't you see
Oh can't you see what love has done
What it's doing to me

I know I hurt you and I made you cry
Did everything but murder you and I
But love left a window in the skies
And to love I rhapsodize

Oh can't you see what love has done
To every broken heart
Oh can't you see what love has done
For every heart that cries

U2, Window in the Sky

False Security

"The worst thing you did was to let me lull myself in a sense of false security...
...Why did he lie to me? Did he think me incapable of standing up to the truth? Was he ashamed?"

Simone de Beauvoir,The Woman Destroyed

Novelist

Bertrand Russell writes about what happened after the divorce of his brother in his Autobiography:

"Elizabeth, in her turn, left him and wrote an intolerably cruel novel about him, called Vera. In this novel, Vera is already dead; she had been his wife, and he is supposed to be heartbroken at the loss of her. She died by falling out of one of the windows of the tower of Telegraph House. As the novel proceeds, the reader gradually gathers that her death was not an accident, but suicide brought on by my brother's cruelty. It was this that caused me to give my children an emphatic piece of advice: 'Do not marry a novelist.'"

Wounds

There are superficial wounds.
There are deep wounds.
There are wounds that heal slowly.
There are wounds that heal quickly.
There are wounds that never heal.
And there are wounds that kill you...

Perhaps love, too, is a wound.

Ashley... Awais

A close friend sent this extract from the novel Gone with the Winds by Margaret Mitchell, which is a description of a character named Ashley. According to her, even though she didn't quite agree with the context, the description sounded quite a lot like me. How much i really do resemble this description can be subject to debate, but it certainly raises some very interesting points of similarity:

"He was courteous always, but aloof, remote. No one could ever tell what he was thinking about, Scarlett least of all. In the neighbourhood where everyone said exactly what he thought as soon as he thought it, Ashley’s quality of reserve nature was exasperating.
He was as proficient as any of the other young men in the usual County diversions: but he differed from all the rest in that these pleasant activities were not the end and aim of life to him. And he stood alone in his interest in books and music and his fondness for writing poetry.

… So courteously aloof, so maddeningly boring wi…

LUMS

Image
That's me, during a visit to LUMS.

Live

"When one has lived so much for others it is quite hard to turn oneself back again - to live for oneself."

Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed

Achilles' Choice

Thetis: [to Achilles] If you stay in Larissa, you will find peace. You will find a wonderful woman, and you will have sons and daughters, who will have children. And they'll all love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten... If you go to Troy, glory will be yours. They will write stories about your victories in thousands of years! And the world will remember your name. But if you go to Troy, you will never come back... for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And I shall never see you again.

And Achilles chose Troy... but it seems it wasn't much of a choice:

Briseis: Why did you choose this life?
Achilles: What life?
Briseis: To be a great warrior.
Achilles:I chose nothing. I was born,and this is what I am.

From the movie Troy

Why does it rain?

Why does it rain?
Because
The dyes of earth
Dry and parched,
Like a voice sans mirth
Arid and barren
Like a scorching hearth
Wait for the heavenly drizzle
To paint the picture
Of fertility, of birth
In lovely water colours

Why does it rain?
Because
Like mortal men
In these transient spheres
Drops die.
Pierced by solar spears,
They ascend to heaven
And are reborn as tears

Why does it rain?
Because
The gods of war sitting above
Observing, watching men’s world
Jealous of the lovers’ love
Sprinkle water in their vain abuzz
To put out the sacred fire

Why does it rain?
Because
It is the wine that drops
Which the divine hands of Muses design
To refill the hearts of men
Which as empty ewers
Wait for this poet’s wine

M. Awais Aftab
Published in today's Poet's Corner in Us magazine

Poison

A character speaks in a play that has not yet been written... but might have been performed somewhere...

X: You wish to poison love? Poison it with guilt. It will it eat it out.

Floating...

Image
Photograph shows underwater view of a woman, wearing a long gown, floating in water.

Created by: Frissell, Toni, 1907-1988, photographer.
Taken from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Weeki_Wachee_spring_10079u.jpg

A Little Evil

Sybilla [to Balian]: There'll be a day when you will wish you had done a little evil to do a greater good.

Kingdom of Heaven

Sigh. But it takes strength to be cruel, and i am too weak for that...

Defines...

Bruce: Rachel, all of... all this... it's... it's not me. It's... inside, I am... I am more.
Rachel: Bruce, deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it's not who you are underneath... it's what you do that defines you.

Batman Begins

Promises

What are promises but words uttered at convenience and broken at convenience?

First and Foremost...

Helmer: First and foremost, you are a wife and mother.
Nora: That I don't believe any more. I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

This reveals the true spirit of feminism, and this is precisely what the traditionalists, especially the religious people, ignore when they talk of women rights. It is not enough to give rights to women in their roles of wife, mother, daughter and sister... what is needed is a decentralizing of the perspective: the role of women is not always to be defined in relation to men. Women are first women, just like men are first men, and not husband, father, son or brother. What the traditionalists need to realize is that they have to treat women as independant individuals. To say that, "Our religion/society gives great respect to mothers and wives" is simply not enough and misses the crux of women liberation.

My Eid

The maulvi's enchanting, enthusiastic, and certainly very entertaining khutba is the highest point of my Eid day... after that, it's a gradual decline. Lolz.

Ancient Wisdom

Mareez-e-Ishq per rehmat khuda ki
Marz barhta giya joon joon dua ki!

Ah, little that is said can surpass this gem of ancient wisdom! Lolz.

Can Evolution Explain Morality

The dichotomy that i expressed between the 'question of good' and the 'question of ought' previously has been expressed with remarkable clarity by John Kilcullen in his article "Can Evolution Explain Morality?" A highly recommended reading for those interested in evolutionary theory of morality and ethics.
Here is a relevant extract:

'I have been discussing the question whether evolutionary theory is able to
account for the existence in human beings of moral dispositions. The question of
"foundations" is different. This means, can evolutionary theory provide us with
a reason for being moral?... Perhaps morality has no foundation outside
itself... It seems pretty clear that an evolutionary explanation will not
provide a foundation for morality. An attempt would be to say that we
ought to observe morality because moral conduct enhances the survival chances of
our genes. But why should we care about that? We do care about it, perhaps, but
if we don't (or…

Over You

In the memory of October 10, here is a personal dedication:

"Well, I never saw it coming.
And I should've started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I'd doubt you,
I'm better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I'm slowly getting closure.
I guess it's really over.
I'm finally getting better.
And now I'm picking up the pieces.
From spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
'Cause the day I thought I'd never get through,
I got over you."

Chris Daughtry, Over You

Malevolent Theism

There is a rather peculiar form of theism (or atheism, if you prefer) in which the person loses his faith in a benovelent diety, and yet, he has been so accustomed to the idea of God that his mind is unable to reject his existence. As he result, he does believe in a God, but this is a God which is very malevolent... cruel, merciless, biased. Usually such a person likes to call himself an atheist, but it is obvious from his behaviour and thinking that he is incapable of disbelief. [I am reminded of something which Rushdie wrote: 'And was knocked forever into that middle place, unable to worship a God in whose existence he could not wholly disbelieve'] Such a conception of malevolent diety arises almost invariably through extreme suffering... when a person becomes victim to the bitter tragedies and great losses, he becomes disillusioned with the idea that God can be good. How can there be so much misery and pain in the world, if God is good? He asks, and since he cannot reject t…

Mock Me!

Salieri:

Go on. Mock me. Laugh!
That was not Mozart laughing, Father.
That was God.
That was God laughing at me through that obscene giggle.
Go on, Signore. Laugh.
Show my mediocrity for all to see.
One day I will laugh at you.
Before I leave this earth. . .
. . . I will laugh at you.

From the movie Amadeus

Ah, what a movie! I saw it last night and i am deeply touched! The tragedy is so immense, i am over-whelmed!

Artificial Love

Is it possible to design a computer program that mimics love, or to be precise, mimics romantic behaviour? Because after all, there is a certain recognizable pattern in the way people behave in love. If it is possible to design such a thing, perhaps it is also possible that someone might induced to fall in love with it.
Imagine yourself chatting with a new person on msn, and he/she behaves very nicely and flirts with such romantic precision that you find yourself developing feelings for him/her after a month or so... and then you discover to your consternation that the id you were talking to was a computer chatting program designed by a scientist researching on romantic behaviour!

I know, its too far-fetched to happen in reality [at least, at the moment]... but still, think about the core idea. How much validity does it have, if any?

Why??

"Why was I born with such contemporaries?"
Oscar Wilde

Hahaha! I guess it's a real tragedy being born at the wrong time, at the wrong place! :)

Posthumously

[Inspired by Nietzsche’s life]

The future-seeker:
In a world
That promotes the banal
He becomes the denizen
Of an alien world
Fated to be ignored and misunderstood
Ridiculed and Discriminated
But his eyes shine
With the light of tomorrow’s sun
And he smiles with resignation
Knowing that he was
Meant to be born
Posthumously

M. Awais Aftab
24.9.07

Delusion

"The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool."
Jane Wagner

An apparently funny quote that makes a serious, and probably valid, point.

Killat-e-khat-i-ulfat

Killat-e-khat-i-ulfat per na jao Ghalib,
Mehboob sharmeelay bhi tu hua kerte hain!

:) I said this once when a friend commented that i don't sms him very much. The shair is my own, of course, but i added Ghalib's name just to add the ta'asur (poetic effect) to it! Lolz.

Grandmother

Bertrand Russell writes about his grandmother:

"It was obvious from her conversation that she never came anywhere near to knowing what it feels like to be in love... she lamented that so much poetry should be concerned with so trivial a subject as love. But she made my grandfather a devoted wife, and never, so far as i have been able to discover, failed to perform what her very exacting standards represented as her duty."

Honesty and Obscurity

Beauvoir never pretended that her memoirs told the whole story. “There are many things which I firmly intend to leave in obscurity,” she warned... *

But... Three years after Beauvoir's death, her executrix, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, published Beauvoir's letters to Sartre, completely unedited, which revealed much of what Beauvoir had wished to leave in obscurity... and which, no wonder, anyone would have liked to have left burried. However, the question with which i am concerned is not what Beauvoir wanted to hide, but to what extent was she justified in keeping some portions of her life as secret, while flaunting others to the public, enjoying her status as a philosophical celebrity? Intellectual honesty is supposed to be one of the greatest virtues for a philosopher, and yet we find Sartre and Beauvoir, philosophers who preached concepts like 'bad faith' to the world, hiding facts about their lives... [though, perhaps i am being a bit too harsh. What they did reveal t…

Mona Lisa's Smile Decoded

Image
In late 2005, Dutch researchers from the University of Amsterdam ran the image of Mona Lisa through an "emotion recognition" computer software developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The software found the smile to be 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, 2% angry, less than 1% neutral, and 0% surprised. [http://www.livescience.com/history/ap_051215_mona_lisa.html]