Is Opinion Real?

People often feel the urge to express their opinion on a subject, on people. They often do this with a level of apparent conviction which is at odds with the “data set” from which they have drawn their opinion. Others rely on this dodgy thing called opinion. For example, there are loads of people discussing […]

Is Opinion Real?

When did we stop dancing?

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The world is on a survival mode; on a quiet survival mode, fighting an invisible enemy by being, paradoxically, locked down. Surviving this strange war requires different strategies including new habits.

Routines from all types have become the new survival kit. Practices and immunity strengthening foods and methods are the need of soldiers who we are now. This is also a paradox since strategy and routine don’t always fit in battles. Routines should be the preparation for battles. The pandemic was predicted but little did anyone listen or care. On the contrary, we built up to failure: human concentration and massive commuting, consuming and polluting, running in circles and stressing, producing more than selling. All this frenetic hyperactivity gave birth to a hyperobject, the pandemic. And it feels we are in a hyperreality as Baudrillard points out, different from what we have been through, from what caused our current struggling.

Remember back then, routine was synonymous to boredom. Remember back then, creativity was synonymous to a great life. Remember, in Nietzsche’s words, after playing the lion for a long time, we have gone backward and become the camel instead of being the joyful child. The world danced the dance of arrogance and not the dance of joy.

When did we stop dancing? We never really danced!

Covid19, the call for spirituality?

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Another year, another lockdown, another bad news, the ambiance is apocalyptic. With the outbreak of new variants and economical cataclysm, one can’t help asking what would come next. Oddly though, Covid19 being this unfortunate event, imposes spiritual practices.

It is a scientific truth now that the coronavirus spreads through sneezing and speaking droplets. If the world shuts up for fifteen days won’t we be able to win over the virus? Silence is a spiritual discipline.

Another scientific truth goes about social distancing, another wrong word for physical distancing. Learning to be alone is a spiritual discipline.

Lastly, we know that overeating leads to chronic diseases. Since the virus outbreak, food awareness was spread; less is more. Here is also the importance of fasting, known with the fancy word intermittent fasting or simply IF. Fasting has been around for thousands of years as a spiritual practice in all religions.

Being alone, quiet and in a fasted state is a meditative spiritual practice.

2020, the year of Biopolitics

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Biopolitics is made of bio meaning life in a vital sense and politics. The word politics comes from Greek polis, city or State. Combining these two words, biopolitics is the power of the State over people’s health as shown in public heath policies, sanitary strategies, awareness, ministries and so on. Biopolitics is an intersectional field between human biology and politics. It is a political wisdom taking into consideration the administration of life and a locality’s populations as its subject. To quote Michel Foucault, it is “to ensure, sustain, and multiply life, to put this life in order.”

2020 was by far the year of biopolitics since the outbreak of covid19 and the vaccines strategies and race between countries as a new type of international politics: whoever produced the most efficient vaccine wins internationally. In other words, a strong country is defined by a strong vaccine. Politicians have become the marketers. However, many people around the world are reluctant towards the vaccine; did anyone analyze this new phenomenon of global mistrust?

Furthermore, does anyone have answers about the origins of covid19? Once, the bat was blamed. Then, it is said it was man made. Then, it was about global warming and massive deforestation. Then… Then….

Should we expect from now on that wars and politics to be defined by pandemics?

The dictionary of 2020

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Words are revelations of the thinking process. A single word can speak thousands words about a new shift of mentality. Moreover, a single word can define an era, its challenges and its bright side. 2020 is no exception: it will always be remembered as the year of the pandemic as it is its main word. Let’s check the more important words of this year.

According to a quick google search, the list is very long and obviously some words can vary from one country to another depending on each country’s problems. However the common ones are:

Pandemic (which is an epidemic that has escalated to affect a large area and population) caused by the Coronavirus, later determined as Covid19 as a new generation of the coronavirus family.

Covid19 forced the world to be in quarantine (a state of enforced isolation designed to prevent the spread of disease) which gave us later the words lockdown and curfew as governmental ways to face the spread of the virus. Speaking of which the following words are direct results of the illness whether it is symptomatic or asymptomatic. For that sake, a PCR test have to be done to make sure if one has gotten the virus or not. For all these reasons, people have to wear masks and/or face shields, respect social distancing (which is more of a physical distancing) and hygiene instructions.

The direct consequence of the pandemic was shifting the way of life to adapt to the new worldwide situation. Therefore, work became work from home or remote work (and for that sake read my previous post about this subject Why does my food taste like emails? ), teaching online and selling online. Hence the frequent usage of words like Zoom call, Skype call, Video call.

To sum up 2020 in one concept, it is the year of Biopolitics like never before.

Why does my food taste like emails?

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As Christmas holidays are couple of days away, I can’t help but thinking about the phenomenon of life flipping and inverting spaces and time. Holidays are better spent away from home because home has become an office. Hence the title of this post.

Suddenly, a new wave of meanings and ideas are invading our lives, even to its private intimate core shelter that is home. Suddenly, many of us realize that we don’t have a work place in our houses. Basically, we work, eat and sleep in the same place; eyes glued to the screen and haven’t we all fell sometimes on the keyboard?

The utopian fantasy of creating a disciplined society, something history books witnessed in Nazism and Soviet Union, has never been better executed than these days worldwide. The scenery of lockdowns, social distancing and masks reminds us of science-fiction movies. However, on the inside, things are shaky. Being completely submissive to a monitoring system (or systems) is a wink to George Orwell’s 1984, where pasta can taste like emails. The utopia turned to a dystopia.

The name of the game is : biopolitics. Biopolitics is a concept invented by French philosopher Michel Foucault in which he explained how the State has power over our health, bodies, the social body and now through covid19 patients tracking apps, vaccine, climate change and so on.

On this Christmas eve, I really wish to all of us, less confusion and more clarity and peace to the soul.

Merry Christmas to all!

The 2nd wave of the lockdown

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Talking again about the lockdown is not a pleasant subject; what else can be said? What more advices can be given to overcome it? None of us saw the lockdown coming again.

The lockdown is in between fighting the pandemic and the full control of the State over people. Whilst the quarantine is necessary for saving people, it is at the same time a political act. So, it is health versus freedom.  According to a study done by the Kennedy Institute of Ethics of the Georgetown University in 2014:

 “Implementation of medical quarantines in America brings into conflict various legitimate arguments regarding who, if anyone, should have the authority to restrict movements of citizens.  Quarantines are not new, but they exist now in a world with new dangers and new opportunities for abuse”.

How to fight the pandemic without individual freedom restriction?

The full study is on link below:

2020 the Halloween year

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Worldwide, everyone is wearing a mask; even the Venetian carnival couldn’t imagine it. The eyes without a face syndrome had become synonymous to citizenship. By uncovering the failure of the world medical system, facing a pandemic is a confusion between a patronizing totalitarianism and medical emergency.

Until now, the origin of the pandemic is still unknown. However, what is clear now, it the fault of capitalism in its current form, at least for the last 10 years. When absolutely everything is salable, including people’s health and freedom, then Covid19 did us a great favour in spite of its ugliness. The virus demystified what we thought was the ultimate success. The “phantom of the opera” in its 2020 version.

2020 is the Halloween year: the US presidential elections anyone? The uprise of racism and fanaticism? Decapitation of a history teacher down the street? Corruption? Climate change and pollution?

Wearing masks helped unmasking the perverted political systems.

Back to lockdown!

Stillness captured a while ago!
An empty street in Jounieh, 20 Km north of Beirut

Due to the massive work of cleaning, sheltering, helping and rebuilding after the Beirut port explosion that happened on August 4th, unfortunately the covid19 cases skyrocketed. There are on average 500 new cases every day.  Therefore, the government decided  for a two weeks lockdown for the following reasons:

  • The explosion destroyed three major hospitals and patients were relocated in different hospitals. This leaves us with less hospital rooms/beds to treat covid19 cases. In addition, hospitals are already crowded with injured people and ill people. A big hospital that was slightly destroyed had to treat 700 injured people the day of the explosion!
  • The covid19 cases are spread out; the government couldn’t isolate some affected regions. However an exception was given to Beirut, precisely to the area of the blast, so work can still go on.
  • My personal opinion is that the government doesn’t want more protests down the streets.

With that being said, here we are again in quarantine. Although I was out and about on some occasions but following all restrictions of the covid19, the idea of being in lockdown again is hard to swallow. I am spending my time between working out, working online, some gardening and nature photography. I still visit some close friends.

2020 is definitely the year of change. Whoever is still clinging to the previous normal life, will find it hard to cope with what was referred to as “the new normal”, a post I wrote a while ago that you can check it here: The new normal

The fascination of bats

bat-albrecht-durer
painting by Albrecht Durer 

Bats are peculiar creatures, a strange hybrid between a mouse or a fox and a bird. The flying freak sleeps upside down during daytime and gets active during nighttime. There is no doubt this animal was, and stills the object of many fantasies. Therefore what are the main fantasies on bats?

In Biblical tradition, bats were believed to be messengers of Satan.  The Puritans believed that if a bat flew close to someone, somebody was trying to bewitch them. This is the reason why one might see bats sculptures on the outer walls of Gothic churches in Europe.

In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote his Gothic novel Dracula, introducing the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. Stoker was inspired by European myths about vampires and some types of bats that solely drink blood. Dracula inspired more fiction about bat behavior like vampires. The success perpetuated the fantasy and the fascination of bats.

Then in 1939, the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger created Batman, a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books. Originally named the “Bat-Man,” the character is also referred to as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Unlike Dracula and the common idea of bats, Batman is a hero fighting criminals and bringing justice to the world.

Just to name these examples among many others, bats became a narrative symbol in our subconscious mind, explaining both fear and fascination of these creatures. It pushed more and more people around the globe to approach bats, studying them, domesticating them, killing them or even eating them. To Chinese, bats are a symbol of happiness!

A bat is an infected animal but due to its immune system it can live with viruses. SARS, MERS, COVID19 are said to have been transferred to humans from bats because of human interactions with them.

A bat, like any other creature, is crucial to the environment equilibrium. We should save bats by letting them be in the wild. Don’t hug a bat, don’t kill it, don’t eat it, and don’t get close to it.

Can we leave bats alone?