Monday, September 17, 2012

Buddha in the Sanitarium of Running Rats

Reading "Declaration of Insanity" by Khudair Miri in 2008 was an experience that aided me to put myself in a place. In a place for those psychiatrists who didn't concentrate well in what they are studying. In a place of those psychiatrists who prefer to sleep in the noon rather than reading Michel Foucault, for example.
My trials to read Foucault failed. There were no braises in my eyes when I was reading Foucault, but there was a yawning cow who had ate enough grass.

I got some friends who read philosophy with enthusiasm. I declared to them frankly, over and over again, that I don't understand philosophy, and I suspect that philosophy is dead.

It was before days when I was in central Baghdad. 

 The scene in front of the Ministry of Health is the same since 2008. They started digging in an Iraqi trial to make a complex bridge. They are stealing money. They are lying. They don't belong. Buildings from the 60s or 70s are watching the bitter scene.

 In my bag their were two books. One by Henri Avon entitled: Buddhism, and the other was by Khudai Miri entitled: "The Desert of Buddha".

 Khdair Miri, who wrote the "Declaration of Insanity" about his experience as an inpatint in Al-Rashad (Al- Shammayia" hospital, writes an imagined biography about Buddha while he was walking in the desert. In page 95 of the book which was published by "Al Hadara Publications" Buddha is taken to a place called "The Sanitarium of Running Rats".
 The two books added to me much. I knew about Buddhism and get more close to Khudair Miri's writings.  And from the windows of the second store of the red bus I took many pictures including this below that shows the mosque of Al-Khulafa to the left, and the church of the Latin to the right.
It was just another day of reading and walking in Baghdad.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Artists of Existence

I know a little about Carl Justav Jung but I don't like him. All my irritations in front of those who are against any biological explanation of our mental life are projected on this Jung. I was not surprised to know about his unethical relationship with one of his patients that was documented dramatically in the movie "A Dangerous Method".
I was encouraged to buy that book written by D. T. Suzuki because its introduction was written by Erich Fromm, whom I respected since the very beginning.
After finishing Suzuki's book yesterday I find myself saying that it was Carl Gustav Jung who must had written the introduction and not Fromm. Suzuki talked about things like: metascience, antescience, cosmic unconscious, telepathy, the 6th sense and the rest of these eastern modes of thinking.
I live in the east and I know and "experience" how these melting non-structured concepts, when be taken for granted, be dangerous. Subjectivity Vs. Objectivity is not easily balanced only by a mature who had suffered enough seeking the truth. The eastern schools of philosophy or psychology can be easily taken by a lazy thinker and lit fires of evil. Goodness has masks, you know.
But I liked how Suzuki talked about the necessity of us being aware of our unconscious. But that didn't add a bit to what Freud had left us: these masterpieces, these writings that shine.
I liked Suzuki when he said in p. 54: "At the same time that we cannot wait to be all as scientists, nature had constructed us so as that we be artists… Not a spcial kind of artists like painters, or sculptors, or musicians, or poets, etc… but artists of life." I liked that. He continue saying that we can be artists by our behavior and by our production. I really like that. Our art is our production, our behavior, etc…
I liked that part of interview with Suzuki with Huston Smith when it goes like this:
Huston Smith (H. S.): you don't think that it's inevitable that man realizing that after 70, 80 years must die, is not necessary for him to think about his death and what happens thereafter?
D. T. Suzuki (S.): Exactly!
(H. S.): He doesn't have to?
(S.): No. 70, or 80, or 100 years that concerns "time". But when we are… Living itself is not in "Time."
(H. S.): It is not in "time?". The days come and go. There seem like time.
(S.): Yes, that's the way somebody thinks- somebody standing or imagining that somebody is outside time. But if we go on with time itself, there is no such question- "whether we survive?" or not. 

I now think that Erich Fromm had written the introduction to Suzuki's book because it is about existence. Existence and its arts.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Locus of Control Iraqia

For the first glance, it seems silly to discuss "The Art of Being" by Erich Fromm while living in Baghdad, Iraq. Almost daily we hear about somebody being killed by a gun and nothing more. The killers are always unknown.
Lack of security and of basic civilian services: electricity, good schooling, good medical care, etc… leaves us feeling entrapped in a narrow destiny.
Even the Iraqi who got an internal locus of control, according to Rotter's theory, will find his internal locus of control escaping like a frightened rabbit, or rat, when he would hear few bullets shots near him. His locus of control, his rabbit, or rat, is now external.
Freedom from the external restrains is difficult, if not fatal, in Iraq.
What is left for me to read in Fromm's book is that faint awareness of the necessity of freedom from internal restrains to be free from hatred, selfishness, and illusions, and to "Be" in love and compassion.
Another voice is telling me that it is the very best time that one should speak the truth and not respects power, titles, or fame. That it is time to declare that emperor is naked. Meanwhile, I will not listen very seriously to this second voice. I will just keep it in mind in my quotidian shallow affairs. I will only discuss such matters with friends whom I trust.  

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Non-Trivial Walking in Baghdad

The last lines of Freud lecture were: "If you wish life, be prepared for death". I respect Freud. I imagine him talking with a bitter expression on his face. I liked how he was pictured in the film "A Dangerous Method". I respect what he says. The very bitter truth. But don't you think that this new training shoes are sweet:

"Well it's one for the money, and 2 for the shoes, and 3 to get ready and go cat go but don't you, step on my red train shoes". When my father, in the bitter poor 90s of the previous century, realized bitterly that his economy did not support anymore anything extra but some food, and essential clothes, I stopped my piano lessons. I wanted guitar. I was always good at school and when succeeded in good marks in the 4th secondary class he decided to buy me a guitar. The first tune was played with a single string: a song of Fairouz, and the family was happily surprized. The second was the song "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman and the surprise became applauding. Then it was Elves Presley's "Blue Suede Shows".

"Fast Car" was my mother's favorite. I think she, like all of us, dreamed of leaving Iraq. 
One day I saw a caricature that I still don't believe in: an Iraqi who's roots are like a tree deep in the earth and showing: "We won't leave": 
Well, I think the truth is that , we all will leave if we have a respectful opportunity. Anyway. My friend, who's accompany is not trivial at all, offered me a walk in central Baghdad and we went walking fastely and taking photos and talking. He invited me to have lunch in a Kurdish restaurant: two sheesh of Kabab:
 Central old Baghdad is a very good place to walk in in Fridays. It is almost empty and very calm. And we walked. And we talked.

And I found a book by Erich Fromm entitled "The Art of Being". More modern than Freud but also bitter. He tried to write about the meaning of life, and the meaning of happiness and he wrote well but my concentration was not that intense in the reading and I was not taking notes postponing this to a second reading maybe till I reached the following lines: "The human being is like the Amazigh mythical hero Enti who charge himself from touching the earth who can only be killed by making him suspended in the air for a while"

 I remembered that Iraqi caricature of that man with his roots and shouting: "We won't leave!"
I remembered also Amin Maalouf's preferring  to use the word "origins" instead of "roots". I learned from Maalouf that we don't have roots, we have origins.
The talking with my friend was not trivial that day. My friend likes serious philosophical conversations and adds to me many insuring ideas, ideas that I suspected to be very subjective and non-speech-able but with my friend, Freud, and Erich Fromm, the existence is becoming clearer and less threatening, I hope.