How can I be touched by something so traditional which is so alien to me? It touches me to an extent that I have no explanation for it. I have lived my whole life in a foreign country. Majority of my time I have spent outside my own people. My activities never represented any of our cultural elements. I never liked anything traditional. In that regard I have always praised the western way of living over ours. I liked their movies, I liked their music, I liked their way of thinking I admired them whole heartedly.
In short there is not much which binds me to my own roots. I can’t escape the colour of my skin nor my background. But emotionally and mentally I never had any strings attached to the country I was born in. I can’t even write my name in my language anymore. I have never been interested in what was happening there, I never followed any news or participated in any activities relevant or important to my country.
There was even time I used to say to people specially to girls that I was from Italy, I was ashamed of saying the truth.
Even the physical appearances of my country men I never liked. We are short, hairy, dark and with no characteristics which stand out compared to others.
In 30 years I have been back only 3 times and I have no intention of going back there.
Having said all this and yet there is nothing what touches my soul the way our folk music does, nothing brings me to deeper trance of tears then the simple words song in my mother language.
What I find most disturbing is the effort which is put in to disapproving each other with cunning arguments and weak facts.
In religious circle there is a trend to validate religion by scientific studies. It feels like religion has to find shelter under the umbrella of science to feel congruent with what religion is preaching. I find religion such an immense entity that no science need or can shelter it.
Yet in every religion there are very intelligent spokesman to defend the religion from “outsiders”. These people have extra ordinary knowledge, intelligence and power of persuasion. Spokesman can be important to clarify difficulties in misinterpretations and misunderstandings. There explanation most of the time do not add anything to the real message. The scary part is how they can twist and bend arguments to win their case. They have become so efficient in persuading us even before we had the chance to think about what is said.
My personal philosophy is that there are somethings which other people needs to teach us and there are some teachings which come from within. I need to learn mathematics from somebody but I do not need to learn how to love, that is inside me. Religion I hold also at that highest state where everything I need to understand is in me, nobody else need to explain anything to me.
The statements which are being made, that all the answer to science are hidden in the religious books, we just need to decode them and unlock the answers. This is what I mean by misleading arguments, we cannot deny them, because then we become sinners. If we accept them then we are not true to our self.
So what about the scientific community, what are they doing? Scientific community has an arrogance of knowing. For them everything is crystal clear it is just others can’t see it yet.
We feel this relationship with the one that is there. Science may prove it by evolution theory or by mathematics what/why/how we feel what we feel about religion. Despite all the explanations and arguments it will not change anything on that matter, because it is knowing from within. Religion is as much part of me as I am to myself, the one exists for me because I exists.
I have encountered many situations where I had to rethink what a good friendship means. Often we see friendships, like sinking ships. The arise, the promise to be Titanic, and they are destined to become Titanic. Great friendships require a great personality, friendship is an understanding among kings not the beggars.
There is a traditional way of thinking about friendship and there is modern way of thinking about friendship. Traditional way is idealistic of nature modern way of friendship is value oriented. Somehow instinctively we know when a friendship is a good friendship regardless of the area it is in.
Sometime friendship seems like a prostitutional contract between two “people”. During our life we meet many people, we leave and we forget those people. I love this saying in Dutch (uit het oog uit het hart) out of sight out of heart. It implies something about the human nature, and the nature of men is egoistic. If it is not of any use it is not of any interest.
What friendship is not for me, it is not a social club, it is not filling the empty gaps, it is not your psychiatrist, it is not your entertainment plan, it is not extension of your strength, it is not protection from the evil, it is not a door to success, and it is not your personal 911 number.
If I cannot define what friendship is how can I determine what a good friend is then? That is to say if we do not know the variable x we cannot search for the value of y in an equation.
What characterizes a good friend?
- He is authentic
- His actions are louder than his words
- He is trust worthy
- He does not keep a log file of his favours
- He will do anything for you yet he will feel he has not done enough
- He wishes the best for you
- He is a brother to you
- He will support you
- He will stop you
- He will listen to you
- He knows your strength
- He knows your weaknesses
- He is not jealous of you
- He loves you
What is a not a good friend?
- He is not authentic
- His actions are not louder than his words
- He is not trust worthy
- He keeps a log file of his favours
- He always feel that he has done more than enough for you
- He does not wishes the best for you
- He is not a brother to you
- He will not support you
- He will not stop you
- He will not listen to you
- He knows not your strength
- He knows not your weaknesses
- He is jealous of you
- He does not love you
Are there some guidelines which hinder us in creating good friendships?
- Real friendship requires a deep trust in each other and we don’t trust each other.
- Real friendship requires respect for each other and we don’t respect each other.
- Real friendship requires well wishes for each other and we often are jealous of each other.
- Real friendship is adding value we often want to distract value.
- Real friendship is understanding first we often give advice first.
- Real friendship is accepting ones flaws we like to judge our friends.
- Real friendship is sitting silently next to each other we feel awkward in silence.
- Real friendship is being there in need we often chose the fun moments.
- Real friendship requires a great investment first we want to cash out to soon.
- Real friendship is to be honest we often like to please.
Why we stop being good friends?
- We grow apart from each other.
- We develop different philosophies from each other.
- We do not see each other equal in friendship.
- We do not add value to friendship.
- We give more importance to our self then to other.
- We are not tolerant.
- We are lazy, great friendship requires high energy level, lazy people in my eyes cannot invest that energy in good friendships.
- Our ego is bigger than our friendship.
- Forcing the other to go against his will.
The question arises, am I a good friend?
- A person who is a friend to all is a friend to none.
- We all want to have the best friend but nobody is willing to become one.
I truly cannot answer for myself if I have been a good friend, all I can say of myself I am trying……..
Hypotheekvrij is a nice read written by a Dutch writer Gerhard Hormann. This book demystifies lot of claims made around the housing market. Claims like house is always a good investment, house is not a debt but an investment, people who are paying off their mortgage are thieves of their own pocket.
If we look around us we see lot of people as victims of those investments. People bought bigger houses then they could afford some even bought bigger second house. Everybody was living in the bubble, the sun was shining 24/7 and suddenly the sun stopped shining. After the burst of the big bubble, the whole housing market collapsed, the value of the houses dropped far below the mortgage value. That meant beside the house being an investment it was an extra debt on top of the mortgage.
Out of this book I was expecting to get a good understanding of the mortgage system and clever tricks to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible.
Instead Gerhard talks little about the technical side of mortgages. His main focus is on increasing ones financial IQ, changing ones way of thinking and the lifestyle one is living. Saving and minimalistic living are the key words in this book. The key strategy is to use the savings to get rid of the mortgages as soon as possible. Living without debt has not only financial benefits but brings in place an experience of authentic freedom. Gerhard argues, “when we live simply, our cost go down, less money is needed, work becomes less importan and our free time increases to enjoy our live”.
Those who are involved in software development projects, either are working or have heard of Agile/Scrum methodology. Traditionally software development was done through waterfall method. Waterfall method demands a detail definition of requirements. In majority of cases the details and obstacles of developing a software are not known in advance.
The agile method takes the uncertainty principle into consideration. It recognizes the uncertainty in the requirements/obstacles/insights which are not thoroughly thought through. With this agile thinking a new method (Scrum) was developed by Ken Schawber. Scrum divides the team in three roles, the product owner who wants something, the development team which creates that something and the scrum master, who make sure that everything goes well in the process of wanting and creating of that something.
In Scrum short sprint of 30 days are defined, in which certain work according to the priority of the product owner must be realized. After each sprint demonstration of the developed work has to be given to the product owner.
Advantage of Scrum are short lines between the product owner and development team. New functionalities are delivered in every sprint, after each sprint new decisions can be made according to the result, need and the situation at that moment.
Life is a serie of problems at very best challenges which needs to be encountered and solved.
We encounter problems in all shapes and forms. We may have to lose our loved ones, we may have to witness an incurable disease, everything we possess can be taken away from us. The most unconceivable which we never hoped for or never expected to be could happen.
One’s a friend asked me why God was doing all this to him, why he was testing him so severely to the extent that he was losing his fate in God. God can be or is a shelter against hopelessness, but I find introducing god is adding unnecessary complexity to the problem. We can eliminate god from the equation and approach every main problem as any undesirable situation which needs a fix. The better we become in solving problems the better the quality of our life will be.
We may be good at solving one type of problem but very poor at the other. We will be confronted over and over again with the same type of problems till we learn to solve them.
Solving a problem sometime means going through the wall sometime it means taking different direction and sometimes taking few steps aside is enough. A generalization about a good problem solvers is that they approach a situation with the right artillery, they use enough ammunition to kill the rabbit not to blow it away .
First important thing is a proper analysis of the problem. Describing the problem clearly is most of the time half of the solution.
Second we can experience problems as, drowning in the water or looking at the bowl of water. In the first metaphor we experience the problem as a victim in the second metaphor we experience the problem as an observer of an event.
Finally we should put the problem in the right perspective where we don’t make things bigger than they are.
The book is based around TED talks (ww.ted.com). TED was introduced in 1984, where pioneers from 3 disciplines (Technology, Entertainment and Design) were invited to share their thoughts, expertise or an idea worth spreading. This book takes you to a short journey in history of TED, how one event started in 1984 has spread, inspired and changed the life of millions of people around the world.
TED is becoming from a local phenomenon to a global one from an idea worth spreading to an idea worth doing.
This book builds on the power of ideas also described as memes. Meme is an idea a thought which reproduces, spreads and evolves like a gene. Memes do not have a biological evolution but they are evolving and are struggling for the survival of the fittest. Memes reproduce with each other and through process of natural selection are competing in the pool of other memes.
Memes of democracy are in competition with memes of communism, memes of religion are competing with memes of science.
Memes reproduce like viruses in other persons mind. If a particular meme is fitter for survival, it will copy itself as an idea in other persons mind. By doing so it will secure its survival in the process of evolution.
In the previous 35 years or so sins we came to Holland much has changed. We came here not because we were kings among people, but to find the promised paradise. We came here as second class citizens, that is how we felt and that is how we were treated.
What we saw! we saw beautiful streets, we saw spotless roads, we saw fairness and just in the society, we saw respect for life, we saw equal opportunities, we saw an organized state, law and order, we saw non corrupt government, we saw a great medical care, we saw freedom of thinking and speech, we saw independent women, we saw naked women on the beach, we even saw 2 men getting married, we saw people who did not believe in god, we saw nightclubs, we saw people drinking alcohol openly, we saw being direct was more important than being nice, we saw different ethnic groups living to gather, we saw how well the animals were treaded…
Our interpretation of opportunities, we saw opportunities in work, we saw a naive mentality, we saw our rights without the obligations, we saw possibilities to manipulate the system, we saw people getting money without working, we saw by lying we could get even more money out of the system.
What we achieved, as the time passed the children grew older, fathers became stricter especially to their daughters. Education was good as long it did not conflicted with our norms and values. The children grew the marriages were conducted from back home. The connection was stronger with back home than with here, here was just a means to get to our goal.
We achieved respect of a rich man back home, we constructed big houses back home by living poorly here. The ego was ever present among all of us, we bragged about everything we could put our hands on. We were the people who did not have normal sanitary facilities back home, we were the people still using wooden tablets to write on, we were the people still using wood to make fire. We came from a country which could not provide us of the facilities which we enjoyed here. With this poor mentality we still achieved to educate our children to a high degree. Our children started working in high positions, the new generation started losing touch with back home, they started marrying to their own liking. Norm and values from back home become less present among them, they started to become a copy of the original, but copy become blurry and lacked the authenticity of the original.
A brief history of our life’s.
Pir-E-Kamil is an Urdu novel. A good friend insisted that I should read this novel, that i would enjoy reading it, and i really did.
The story is about 2 main characters, Imama Hasim who is a very religious person converted from Ahmadiyya to Islam. Who is totally devoted to Islam and then there is Salar Sikander a highly intelligent person, who sees no meaning or purpose in anything…
I enjoyed the writing style of the writer, it’s exciting to read this novel. The writer plays with different perspective of different characters on the same situations in a non-chronological order. For instance she writes certain event from Imama’s perspective and the same situation from Salars’s perspective which gives you a full spectrum of feelings and thoughts present in a certain situation. In the beginning one cannot see the relationship between the main characters and why the writer is telling totally separate stories and how they relate to each other, but as the story progresses, you see the strong connection between the two.
The story is about search for meaning in life choosing ones on path despite the adversaries. It is about contemplation on the actions and repenting on the mistakes on has made. Finding meaning in something which is greater than one self. There is a moral teaching in the story, the story makes more sense if you have the background of Pakistani culture, lot of things will seem odd or strange to non-Pakistani reader.
The fate and the chance are given a fair trial in the story. How to people, meet each other in the strangest situations, how their path depart from each other’s life, how they hold each other responsible for their misery, how they become each other’s perfect mentors and how fate or chance brings them together again in an unusual way. Where hate has turned into love, anger has converted in understanding and selfishness has made place for others.
There is an evolution in the character of Salar Sikander from godless person to godly person, which really pulls you into the story.
Although the main emphasis of the writer is put on Islam through the whole story. In my opinion the story is not so much about believing in Islam but worshipping in general in something which is far greater than oneself. That could have been accomplished by any other means than religion and it would not have made any difference to the story.