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Showing posts from November, 2007

Over-acting

We were watching a drama on TV, and a group of 3 women was shrieking, giggling and gesticulating excitedly and wildly. I turned to my brother and said, "A person who doesn't know women very well would assume that they are over-acting." :)

Religion to the Rescue!

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The Box

At Lex's 12th birthday:
Lionel puts the present in Lex's hands. Lex opens it and pulls out a lead box.

Lex: (Unimpressed.) It's just an old box.
Lionel: No, no, it's much more than that. This box was formed from the armor of St. George.
Lex: (Surprised.) The dragon slayer?
Lionel: That's right. According to the legend, St. George was fighting a particularly fierce dragon. The battle between them had raged on for days, and St. George was losing his strength... and his faith. So he took a piece of broken armor, and he made it into this box. Inside it he put all his doubts and his fears, and then he went out to face the dragon again.
Lex: (Amazed.) Without any armor?
Lionel: Yeah. (Almost a whisper, telling the story with intensity.) But when the dragon saw St. George coming to do battle with him again, it hesitated and drew back, and in that moment, St. George plunged his sword into the dragon's heart, and it fell dead.
Lex smiles.
Lionel: So when people are cruel to yo…

David and Goliath

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David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio (1571-1610),

"There is a painting by Caravaggio, done late in his life. David with the Head of Goliath. In it, the young warrior holds at the end of his outstretched arm the head of Goliath, ravaged and old. But that is not the true sadness in the picture. It is assumed that the face of David is a portrait of the youthful Caravaggio and the head of Goliath is a portrait of him as an older man, how he looked when he did the painting. Youth judging age at the end of its out-stretched hand. The judging of one's own morality." Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Bertrand Russell

Will Durant writes about Bertrand Russell in The Story of Philosophy [Oh, how i long to be like a person of this description!] :

'All in all, a very lovable man: capable of the profoundest metaphysics and the subtlest mathematics, and yet speaking always simply, with the clarity which comes only to those who are sincere; a man addicted to fields of thought that usually dry up the springs of feeling, and yet warmed and illuminated with pity, full of an almost mystic tenderness for mankind. Not a courtier, but surely a scholar and a gentleman, and a better Christian than some who mouth the word.'

Hate

One of the countless fictitious dialogues swirling in my mind...

X: Why can't you just go away! You don't even let me hate you!

Hatred often gives a lot of strength to a person's mind, especially when it is directed towards the person who has hurted him/her. Imagine your inability to hate the person who has caused you pain... now that would be a tragedy.

Smallville: Funeral Scene

I don't know what it is it about funerals that attracts me so much... anyhow, this is me and my brother's favourite scene from Smallville Season 1... the funeral scene of Whitney's dad.

The Two Happinesses

The narrator observes a couple in a restuarant:

'... they are happy to be together, happy to be seen together.' (Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

I wonder how much of the latter contributes to their happiness. Would they be less happy if they couldn't afford to be seen together? Or maybe it doesn't make much difference? Or perhaps the former happiness is independant of the latter happiness... even if you don't have the latter one, it doesn't mean that the former should lose any of its value or charm.

Silent Victory

I have always been the intrigued by the idea of a silent victory; my efforts to appreciate this phenomenon have only been partially successful. There are so many things that the world never gets to know about; they remain hidden, either by choice or by necessity... but the person who is involved in them, how does he feel about it? What is the charm, if any, of a success or an achievement or a happiness that you cannot tell the world about?

Associated with the theme is the idea of a pseudonym... suppose you write a book under a pseudonym that becomes an international hit, but no one knows who really wrote it. What would your feelings be about it? Does the idea of public recognition also play a part in what that achievement means to you? I once read a novel when i was young, in which a child saves the world... but in the end, the child is too shy to admit that it was he who did it, and the world never comes to know who the saviour was. And i used to think about it: What would that child …

Love at First Sight

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Here are some excerpts from an article in this week's Dawn Review.

Love at First Sight

By James Randerson

Their eyes met across a crowded room. The party chatter ebbed away and the music slowed. That first lovers' glaze is the staple of the romantic novelist, and scientists believe they have now revealed the true nature of its real attractive power. According to new research, romance has very little do to with it. That “look” is all about sex and ego.

“People are attracted to people who are attracted to them, and that shows attractiveness is not just about physical beauty,” said Ben Jones in the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen.

He said the work challenges most previous studies of facial attractiveness that have focused on physical characteristics, such as a preference for symmetrical faces or masculine versus feminine features. Dr Jones and his colleagues say they have shown that attraction is based on social cues that say, “I'm interested in you”. The mo…

Guess

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Can anyone guess what this is? :) [See the comments for the answer.]

The Hugeness

Out of the memory scrapbook:

Saad: Do you even feel the hugeness of it? You have made a woman the happiest woman alive... and another, the unhappiest one... in one day!

Temptation

Gandalf: Sauron needs only this ring to cover all the lands of a second darkness... He is seeking it, seeking it; all his thought is bent on it. The ring yearns, above all else, to return to the hand of it's master. They are one, the Ring and the Dark Lord. Frodo, he must never find it...
Frodo: Take it Gandalf, take it! You must take it!
Gandalf: You cannot offer me this Ring...
Frodo: I am giving it to you!
Gandalf:Don't... tempt me, Frodo!I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand, Frodo, I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [The movie]

Part of fighting a temptation is not just having the strength to resist it, but also having the wisdom to stay away from it. :)

Warrior of Light and Love

One of my most favourite excerpts from Paulo Coelho's writings. [Thanks to Kishore for finding it for me!]:

For the warrior there is no such thing as an impossible love.

He is not intimidated by silence, indifference or rejection. He knows that, behind the ice mask that people wear, there beats a heart of fire.

This is why the warrior takes more risks than other people. He is constantly seeking the love of someone, even if that means often having to hear the word 'no', returning home defeated and feeling rejected in body and soul.

A warrior never gives in to fear when he is searching for what he needs. Without love, he is nothing.

Manual of the Warrior of Light

[See also my article on Paulo Coelho's life, works and thoughts, published in Us magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2007-weekly/us-14-12-2007/p22.htm#1]

Indifference

Dure: Maturity leads to partial indifference [of public opinion].

So speaks my precociously-mature little friend. :)

Believe

"But why, in any case, do we so readily accept the idea that the one thing you must do if you want to please God is believe in him? What's so special about believing? Isn't it just as likely that God would reward kindness, or generosity, or humility? Or sincerity? What if God is a scientist who regards honest seeking truth as the supreme virtue? Indeed, wouldn't the designer of the universe have to be a scientist?... Would you bet on God's valuing dishonestly faked belief (or even honest belief) over honest scepticism?"

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Page 104 [He is talking about Pascal's Wager]

Laws of Philosophy

Found this little piece of satire:

The First Law of Philosophy: For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher.
The Second Law of Philosophy: They're both wrong.

:D

Defined

A man is defined not just by the thoughts and temptations he has but also by how much he resists and limits them.

Jealousy n Salt

"Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening."
Maya Angelou

Hmmm. :)

Braveheart

This is my favourite scene from the movie Braveheart, in which Murron gives a thistle to William Wallace after the funeral of his father. Found it on YouTube after a lot of search. :) Enjoy.

Truth and Women

“Supposing truth is a woman—what then? Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women? That the gruesome seriousness, the clumsy obtrusiveness with which they have usually approached truth so far have been awkward and very improper methods for winning a woman’s heart?”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Genius and Most Genius

Bender: You made the cover of Fortune... again
Sol: Please note the use of the word "you", not "we."
Nash:[sees the magazine cover; his picture is there along with pictures of several other people] That was supposed to be just me.
Sol: Oh. [Laughs]
Nash: So not only do they rob me of the Field's Medal, now they put me on the cover of Fortune magazine with these hacks, these scholars of trivia.
Bender: John, exactly what's the difference between genius and most genius?
Nash: Quite a lot.

A Beautiful Mind

Claude Monet

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* "Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. To such an extent indeed that one day, finding myself at the deathbed of a woman who had been and still was very dear to me, I caught myself in the act of focusing on her temples and automatically analyzing the succession of appropriately graded colors which death was imposing on her motionless face."
* "Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."
Happy birthday to the French impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

Complete Explanation

"I do not envy people who think they have a complete explanation of the world, for the simple reason that they are obviously wrong."

Salman Rushdie

Smallville continues

* Martha: Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever saw him?
Clark: No.
Martha: He came to Metropolis U. to take a finance course and he was sitting by a fountain all denim and flannel eating an apple. And I asked to borrow his notes. He didn't know that I was the note-taker for the class. He still doesn't.
Clark: You were sly, Mom.
Martha: He was so cute. So I asked him for his notes and he just handed over his notebook without even asking my name and I said, "How can you be so sure I'll bring it back?" And he said, "I prefer to believe in people."
Clark: That sounds like Dad.
Martha: And I remember looking at him, completely embarrassed because I was thinking the dumbest thing. I was thinking God, I hope he marries me. I still think that. Every day there's part of me that says, God, I hope he marries me.

Episode # 115

* Lex: In his own way, he's just trying to give you something my father never gave me.
Clark: What's that?
Lex: Limitations. Al…

Commitment

What does commitment mean to you?

The realization that even if there is someone better than you out there, it is you alone whom i want to spend my life with.

Dis-Trust Us

Dis-Trust Us!
By Saad Javed and M. Awais Aftab

The day Trust Us was hijacked by a cranky humorist and a rogue skeptic!

See the cover-story published today in Us magazine:
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/nov2007-weekly/us-09-11-2007/p25.htm#1

Gracefully Insane

"Even so, I must admire your skill. You are so gracefully insane."

Anne Sexton, referring to Robert Lowell

Hehe. I wouldn't mind if someone said that to me. :)

Who's the brains behind this?

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This cartoon would certainly be a rare gem for Russell fans! Description: This cartoon from the Evening Standard refers to the week-long prison sentence served by Russell in September 1961, following his conviction on public order charges brought after a large central London peace demonstration in commemoration of Hiroshima Day (6 August).

Taken from The Bertrand Russell Gallery

What is the problem of induction?

Bertrand Russell writes in The Problems of Philosophy, Chapter 6, On Induction:

"We are all convinced that the sun will rise to-morrow. Why? Is this belief a mere blind outcome of past experience, or can it be justified as a reasonable belief?...

It is obvious that if we are asked why we believe it the sun will rise to-morrow, we shall naturally answer, 'Because it always has risen every day'. We have a firm belief that it will rise in the future, because it has risen in the past. If we are challenged as to why we believe that it will continue to rise as heretofore, we may appeal to the laws of motion: the earth, we shall say, is a freely rotating body, and such bodies do not cease to rotate unless something interferes from outside, and there is nothing outside to interfere with thee earth between now and to-morrow. Of course it might be doubted whether we are quite certain that there is nothing outside to interfere, but this is not the interesting doubt. The interesting do…

Is problem of induction actually a problem of language?

Alifar commented on the post "Fire Always Burns?" and he raised a very interesting point. He wrote:

'Fire, as an entity, has a certain property that (we implicitly assume) is inherent in it. And that property is heat. Remove heat from fire, and we will get a flame that does not burn. This will, in a way, do away with the problem of induction, pro tem.
Any phenomenon that we can classify, based on certain visible characteristics, under the broad hypernym of “fire” must necessarily, under certain arbitrarily set yet inflexible linguistic rules, possess the property of burning. That is, that which we call fire must necessarily burn or else we cannot call it by that name. For a layman, the argument runs as follows:

“If it ain’t burnin’, then it ain’t fire.” '

Apparently, it seems to provide a solution to the problem of Induction, but i believe that it only tries to hide the actual issue, like shoving it under the carpet. The problem of induction is not a problem of pure log…

Adiemus by Enya

My cousin Sana introduced me to this song, and i find it so enchanting and magical that i had to share it on my blog:



Thanks Sana!

7: 40 am

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Kemcol 2007, the annual magazine of King Edward Medical University is out!
My short story 7: 40 am has been published in it.


7: 40 a.m.


Muhammad Awais Aftab 2nd Year
The Intrigue of the Past, glimmers through tears, memories and dreams! Awais takes a closer look...
It was 7: 40 a.m. And it was raining. The digits flickered on my wrist-watch, which had the words “Water Resistant” stamped on its face. What was its purpose, if not sheer mockery? No amount of downpour can wash away the past; the scars that time leaves behind are indelible. As I stood in the rain beside my mother’s grave, just one day old, I felt myself being showered: not by rain droplets, but by memories. Memories damp, and memories cold. Once they had been warm, but no longer…

It was at 7: 40 every morning that my alarm used to wake me up with its shrill noise. As I would open my eyes, I would see these numerals flash at the dial of the table clock. After a few seconds, I would hear the firm, loud voice of my mother: “Sahil! Wa…

Bicharna...

Suno tum azam walay ho,
Bala ka zabt rakhtay ho,
Magar jisay tum choray jatay ho,
Usay tu theek say shaid,
Bicharna bhi nahi aata...

Anonymous

This little piece of awesome poetry has been roaming around on mobile networks as a forward sms. I have no idea who the author is. If someone knows, i'd appreciate if he/she can tell me too.

Wittgenstein

Russell writes about the early student days of Wittgenstein:

"At the end of his first term at Trinity, he came to me and said: 'Do you think I am an absolute idiot?' I said: 'Why do you want to know?' He replied: 'Because if I am I shall become an aeronaut, but if I am not I shall become a philosopher.' I said to him: 'My dear fellow, I don't know whether you are absolute idiot or not, but if you will write me an essay during the vacation upon any philosophical topic that interests you, I will read it and tell you.' He did so, and brought it to me at the beginning of the next term. As soon as I read the first sentence, I became persuaded that he was a man of genius, and assured him that he should on no account become an aeronaut.
... In early days, I once asked G.E.Moore what he thought of Wittgenstein. 'I think very well of him,' he said. I asked why, and he replied: 'Because at my lectures he looks puzzled, and nobody else ever look…

Unreal Tracks

Should i invent a dawn
To lessen the night's pain?
And fabricate a god
To keep me sound and sane?
Should i search for truth in life
To know that meaning it lacks?
Or make my heart my sole guide
To lead me on unreal tracks?

M. Awais Aftab
26 Oct 2005

Smallville

*Clark: Mom, if you could see anything, what would you do?
Martha: Learn to close my eyes.

Episode # 104

*Jonathan: I know. Metropolis, do you miss it?
Martha: Sometimes.
Jonathan: Yeah?
Martha: But I didn't move to Smallville for action and glamour. I moved because a certain man told me we'd never be rich or travel the world, but he'd always love me. How could I pass up an offer like that?

Episode # 108

*Lana: That's the thing about Clark Kent: he's not always there when you want him... but he's always there when you need him.

*Lana: The other night on the porch, I felt you were trying to tell me something.
Clark: I was... Nell's timing was impeccable as always.
Lana: She's not here now.
Clark: What I wanted to tell you was... what I wanted to say was... I would never do anything to hurt you.
Lana: I know that.
Clark: But if I said what I really wanted to say right now, that's what I'd do. I'd hurt you.

Episode # 110

The Decadence of Romance

An article by Munizeh Zuberi, 'Gone with the wind?' came in this week's The Review (of Dawn newspaper) about the decadence of romance in our society, and its replacement with a more physical version of relationships. It is an excellent article, and voices my own sentiments to a great degree as well.
You can read the complete article at this link:
http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/archive/071101/review1.htm

And here are some extracts:

"Romance needs time and thought, two things that most people do not seem to have enough of in this day and age of ‘attention deficit’. Just like young people are not afraid to change jobs every time they get a slightly better offer –– in fact it is said to raise their ‘market value’ –– they do not want to commit to a romantic relationship in case there is ‘something better out there’ waiting for them.

The sensitivities needed for romance are no longer present in the average person; to stop and smell the roses is an awkward, alien concept. For …

Being and Difference

[Kay]: My life would be rendered useless unless my being or not being with people makes a difference. :)

Very well said, my friend, well said.