Heretical Superstition!

No matter how powerful the impulse to resist putting it in words is, no matter how vain the claim I am about to make might sound, there is something out there, I just have to say it, that, for whatever reason in the world, seems to be  genuinely watching over me. How else can I understand my continuing ability to do what others deem impossible without the slightest harassment from our security apparatus? Or is it simply a matter of time, and I am simply deluding myself in the usual conceit of one who has always been lucky and has always managed to land on his feet in the face of his own folly and, perhaps even, unworthiness? Continue reading

Misreading the Sanctions Message

Special to The Daily Star

And so it finally happened. American sanctions against Syria are now official. Though everybody knows that America’s bark here was worse than its bite and that the sanctions have no real teeth, they do come both as a warning and as a potential prelude for a more serious assault on Syria’s regime and, perhaps, sovereignty. But, are the authorities in Damascus aware of this? More importantly, can they adapt? Continue reading

Democracy and Mimesis

A Heretic’s Log: A series of philosophical essays written between September 20, 2002 and July 15, 2004. 

Values are the result of individual and collective experiences. They are not products that can be exported or imported, or some contagious microbes that can be avoided or quarantined. Nor are they behavioral patterns per se so that they can be expected to spread by mimicry, or, to be more philosophical, mimesis. Indeed, the spread of values depends heavily on two things: education and experience, not imposition, contagion or mimesis. Continue reading

Words & Remembrance

Words are never accurate enough or sufficient to convey anything of what they are meant to convey. In this they are indeed like chopped-up memories and remembrances –  always divorced from their original context, always victims to the inadequacies and particularities of the one in which they are vouchsafed unto the world. Yet, words are all I have to tell you who I am. How can you ever really know me then?

Happiness & Fulfillment

Happiness and fulfillment are not things you work for, but things you stumble upon in your aimless wanderings through life. Even the illusion of having a purpose is not a guarantor of happiness. Our souls, it seems, are forever destined to be restless and will only find fulfillment in death. Will happiness be waiting for us there? Can anyone really tell?

The Dead Weight of History

What’s one to do with the dead weight of history and demographics? No, I am not about to embark here on some elitist complaint against the “ignorant masses,” or the “mob,” I am merely referring to the all-too real problem related, in part, to the confusion surrounding issues of identity and belonging, and, in other part, to the sheer pressure that population explosion exerts on the basic social services that a state should provide in order to survive in this world (its survival being of major importance to the well-being of, at least, the majority of its inhabitants, if not all). Continue reading