Friday, May 30, 2003

Knowledge vs. Ignorance and bitterest misery!

Jamak, one of our readers, in his comment for my post regarding Knowledge and Uncertainty quoted this famous idiom that “ Ignorance is a bliss”, though I do not know why he did not agree with me, I think Herodotus the Father of History said this fact in a short sentence:
Of all men's miseries the bitterest is this: to know so much and to have control over nothing.
(posted by Iman)

Islam and Woman: different perspective

One of Iranian anthropologist that I have read her articles and some chapters of her books is Dr. Ziba Mir Hosseini. She is the author of "Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law in Iran and Morocco", "Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran" and "Feminism and the Islamic Republic: Dialogues with the Ulema". She has also produced with Kim Longinotto, two feature-length documentaries on contemporary issues in Iran: "Divorce Iranian Style" (1998) and "Runaway" (2001). I think that people who like to know more about Iranian women and their current situation in Iran, they may find the answer of their questions in her books. Here I quote some parts of the preface to the second edition of “ Marriage On Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law.
I was concerned and often dismayed by a dominant approach in the literature of the 1980s on women in Muslim societies, mostly produced by women from Muslim backgrounds writing in English or French. These writers seemed to share - and thus helped to reproduce - the essentialist and Orientalist assumptions purveyed by many of their Islamist antagonists about gender in Islam, as divinely ordained and immutable, rather than (as I had experienced it) as changing and thus open to negotiation and modification. Like the Islamists, it seemed to me, these writers were selective in their arguments, had an ahistorical understanding of Islam and gender, resorted to the same kinds of sophistry, and resisted readings of Islamic law which treated it like any other system of law, disguising their resistance by obfuscation and misrepresentation. Both, in other words, had a strongly ideological approach; and in the final analysis they read what they wanted into Islam, though in pursuit of different agendas, the one Islamist and the other western-orientated feminist.
In Marriage on Trial, I tried to shift the debate on the relation between Islamic law and women to a different level. Instead of condemning the Shari‘a as responsible for all women’s problems, I sought to understand how it operates and in what ways it is relevant to today’s Muslim societies; how individuals, both men and women, make sense of the religious precepts that underlie every piece of legislation regulating their marriages. I also tried to shift the focus away from the ways in which Islamic rules oppress women to the ways in which women can find the contradictions embedded in these rules empowering. In the court cases I had witnessed in Iran and Morocco, I noticed how many women were aware of these contradictions and manipulated them in order to renegotiate, and at times to rewrite, the terms of their marriages. In so doing, they sometimes turned the most patriarchal elements of Shari‘a law to their advantage in order to achieve their personal and marital aims. I was sensitive to this in part because it was exactly what I had managed to do myself some years earlier when my own marriage broke down.
(posted by Iman)

Good Judgment and Clinical experience!

Good judgment comes from clinical experience but Clinical experience comes from bad judgment (Ian Thompson, MD)

(posted by Iman)

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Doubt, Knowledge: Uncertainty vs. Certainty

Sir Francis Bacon said,
"If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient with them, we shall end with certainties"

I think even we begin with doubt, and are patient, we will end with uncertainty. However, this time we are aware of this fact that we do not know many things. I believe that knowing about our ignorance is an important part of our knowledge and the most ignorant one is a person who does not know that she/ he is does not know many things!

(posted by Iman)


Dave , your question caused me to write about this sooner than I intended ,
but I’ll try to give a summary of what I hope to write in more details later.
Unfortunately the common look to death is what you said, that death is a
sad and unwelcome event and dealing with it causes pain and depression.
Refusing to acknowledge death may bring temporary comfort, but sooner
or later imminence of it, if suppressed throughout our lives, can begin to
undermine the joy we might otherwise enjoy and replace it with misery. It
can happen in all of us by growing old and in many of us by experiencing
a hard illness. And though it happens once for us, seeing our friends and
family and other people going through it makes it an issue that is happening
hundreds of times in one’s life.
There are different reasons that this view prevails, but being common doesn’t
mean that this is the correct look to the matter. Popular arts turn death into
an unreality by their life-affirming attitude. As Nancy Krum says : “ Death,
particularly of a major character is almost unheard of in the daily[comic]
strips-an art form with an implicit promise of amusement.” It’s a very important
point Iman has said in his comment, but I want to go one step further and
say that not only we should cope the fear of it, but we should turn it to a
pleasing one. You can feel with what degree of joy Rumi and Kahlil Gibran
were anticipating it in their lives when you read the quotes I posted under
numbers 5 and 13 of these series.And how can it be a depressing issue if we
are supposed to spend each day as it is our last day and live them happily
while having the thought of this impending death with us all the time. On the
other hand, I don’t agree with Albert Camus in Iman’s last post. He didn’t believe
in any kind of ulterior meaning in life, but this is not the reason that I disagree
with him here, rather I think philosophy cannot decide for or has any effect on
someone’s suicide.
(posted by Farid)

Wednesday, May 28, 2003


There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest--whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories--comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. Albert Camus

(posted by Iman)

For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind?
And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.

(Kahlil Gibran)
(posted by Farid)

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


There is proof that one scripture is completely intact, and perfectly preserved. Unlike other known scriptures, this one still exists in its original, untranslated language-just as it was revealed 1400 years ago. It is known to be complete, with no loss of any of the original revelation.
Western access to this scripture has been limited by the fact that the people to whom it was originally delivered have all but buried it with their cultural tradition. They believe that it is the basis of their religious belief, when in fact, what they practice generally goes contrary to its teachings. This scripture is the Quran.
In a recent translation of the Quran, the translator emphasizes the role of the number nineteen as an authenticating code for the Quran. In 1968, through computer decoding, and totally independent of the work of Rabbi Judah the Pious, Dr. Rashad Khalifa discovered that an extremely intricate 19-based numerical structure encodes and guards every aspect of the Quran.
In the second edition of his translation QURAN: THE FINAL TESTAMENT (Islamic Productions, 1989), Khalifa refers to Rabbi Judah's work, and suggests that nineteen represents God's own signature on everything He created. He also provides the first plausible explanation for the prominence of the 19-based mathematical pattern throughout the scriptures, as well as the universe. In his appendix entitled "19: The Creator's Signature" (Ibid., p. 709) Khalifa writes:

The scriptures are not the only mathematically composed creations of God where the number 19 is the common denominator. It is profound indeed that Galileo made his famous statement: "Mathematics is the language with which God created the universe." A plethora of scientific findings have now shown that the number 19 represents God's signature upon certain creations. This divine stamp appears throughout the universe in much the same manner as the signatures of Michelangelo and Picasso identify their works.

(posted by Farid)

Death (12)

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
(Isaac Asimov)
(posted by Farid)

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Death (11)

Socrates' quote under previous post on death
brought this Cranberries song to my mind :

Dying Inside
The Cranberries
(Wake Up And Smell)

Terrible thing
It was a terrible thing to see her dying
It was a terrible thing
It was a terrible thing to see her dying inside
To see her dying
Won't you come out
And play the games we played
Won't you speak out
And say the things you'd say

The lady loved her gold
The lady lost her soul

It was a terrible thing
It was a terrible thing to see her dying
It was a terrible thing
It was a terrible thing to see her dying inside
To see her dying
Do you remember the things we used to do?
Do you remember the way it was for you?

The lady loved her gold
The lady lost her soul

It was a terrible thing
It was a terrible thing to see her dying
It was a terrible thing
It was a terrible thing to see her dying inside
To see her die

(posted by Farid)

Friday, May 23, 2003

Iran is not only Tehran
For a long time I was thinking about this matter that many people in the world have misunderstanding about current situation in Iran. What they know about Iran, in fact it is about Tehran. It has several reasons. One of them is that many Iranian immigrants have the same misunderstanding! since majority of Iranians who immigrated to other countries used to live in Tehran. Some of them are first generation and the rest are second generation whose parents were not born in Tehran. In fact, it is difficult to say that Tehran is a homogenous city. People have come there from other parts of country since all ministries and administrations are placed in Tehran.
Anyway, when you see somewhere that Iranian girls dress like this or Iranian boys do that, you should read Tehrani girls dress like this or Tehrani boys do that. Another important fact is that majority of Iranian bloggers especially who write in English live in Tehran and in terms of socio-economic class, they are rich enough to have Internet access. So when an Iranian blogger says something, it is better to be cautious when you want to interpret or quote what she or he says. In contrast to what many westerners think this society still has a patriarchal structure (though it is the most developed society in the Middle East. There is a long path to pave for democracy and secular system!

( posted by Iman)

PS: when you read this post, please keep in mind that the population in Tehran is more than 10 millions or about one sixth of the country population. Though it can be a good source of what is going on there, like many other things it is not all the story!.

Animal Liberation(6)

To me it's very obvious that those who turn a blind eye to such experiments
consider animals more as statistics than sentient beings capable of feeling
pain. Of course in this view, there is nothing to warrant consideration.
In the first part of these series of posts I concluded that we cannot discriminate
against animals based on the reason that we are different or superior to them,
and that it’s wrong to think that it entitles us to exploit them. But the fact is
that such experiments are commonly being done every day and vivisection is
a very normal routine. Students very soon are forced to fight their initial feelings
for animals and consider those feelings as mere sentiment. The opponent to
this argument may ask: Are we prepared to lose lots of lives if they could be
saved by experimenting on animals? and : Can we give up the future of medicine
in finding more cures for many other killing diseases? In answer to these questions
I pose another question: Why don’t we do the experiments on human volunteers?
Evidently we cannot find as many subjects as we could before, but we can make
up for part of this loss by designing more precise experiments and performing them
in a more efficient way. After all, experimenting on animals still leaves the scientists
in need of doing them on humans for the final result, so why not doing them on
humans from the start? The fact that a certain chemical can even have different
effects on different humans, tells us how much we can rely on the results of the
experiments on animals. I think many of these experiments are dispensable and
can be done without them.
(posted by Farid)


The discovery of numerical structures within the scriptures and the divinely instituted liturgies have resulted in a number of important conclusions. Some of these conclusions appear in STUDIES IN JEWISH MYSTICISM (Ibid., p. 92):

(1) No change can be tolerated in the text of the prayers, not even a minute one, because every change-even of one letter-would destroy the numerical harmony inherent in the text....
(2) The liturgy received new importance and new meaning within the framework of religious practice. A completely new dimension was added in this way to the daily prayer service; it stopped being just a reciting of requests and praises of God in ancient formulas, and became a vehicle for becoming a participant in a mystical, divine harmony. The prayers suddenly received a new depth of meaning and importance, which was undreamed of in the thousand years that had passed since they were formulated.
The divinely instituted liturgies, in their original, unaltered words, are so numerically composed that they can be compared to the combination of a locked safe; we need to dial that specific combination to establish contact with our creator. This is probably why the daily prayers were called in Aramic and Hebrew SLA and in Arabic SALA which means "contact" or "connection."
The idea of mathematically composing a literary work is certainly novel to human thinking, and unique to the scriptures. The numerical pattern serves both as an authenticating tool and as a guard to protect and preserve the scripture. Obviously, finding original, unaltered scripture is of crucial importance. The slightest change in the text of a mathematically coded literary work would disrupt or utterly destroy such a code;

(posted by Farid)

Thursday, May 22, 2003


Do not take thought for your persons or your properties, but first and chiefly
to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that the virtue
is not given by money, but that from vitue come money and every other good
of man, public as well as private... The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding
death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.
posted by Farid


This is the first post of a series of posts I will have on this topic.
Summarizing what I have read in my posts and writing my thoughts
about them helps me to organize my readings and continue them
in a more systematic and orderly way.Also if you are interested, it
saves you the formidable task of reading all the material on this
_which is really colossal_by breaking it to small parts and summarizing it
and making it more interesting by taking time to discuss about it .I also hope
I can get more incentive and energy from the interest you show with leaving
your thoughts and knowledge as comments. I try to keep each part in a
reasonable size, so I can enjoy the company of more readers

You can find the detailed text which this summary comes from here

An intricate mathematical code, far beyond the ability of human intelligence, has been discovered imbedded in the fabric of the scripture.
This code was deciphered by computers.
…the original scripture was mathematically composed in a way that encodes and guards every single one of its parameters. If the scripture were tampered with, the code would be broken.
The first indication of this mathematical composition was in the 11th century by Rabbi Judah the Pious
Even the specific, nineteen-based, numerical system of the scripture was reported by Rabbi Judah:

The people [Jews] in France made it a custom to add [in the morning prayer] the words: " 'Ashrei temimei derekh [blessed are those who walk the righteous way]," and our Rabbi, the Pious, of blessed memory, wrote that they were completely and utterly wrong. It is all gross falsehood, because there are only nineteen times that the Holy Name is mentioned [in that portion of the morning prayer] ...and similarly you find the word 'Elohim nineteen times in the pericope of Ve-'elleh shemot.... Similarly, you find that Israel is called "sons" nineteen times, and there are many other examples. All these sets of nineteen are intricately intertwined, and they contain many secrets and esoteric meanings, which are contained in more than eight large volumes. Therefore, anyone who has the fear of God in him will not listen to the words of the Frenchmen who add the verse "'Ashrei temimei derekh," and blessed are the righteous who walk in the paths of God's Torah, for according to their additions the Holy Name is mentioned twenty times...and this is a great mistake.

(posted by Farid)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

two more funny thing:

This is about the dying man with a final request: “I’d like a piece of Mother’s apple strudel.”
His son’s response is : “Ma says you can’t have any, Its for after the funeral.”

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying.
(Woody Allen)
(posted by Farid)

Hooman and me

Sunday afternoon, I met with Hooman in Montreal. It was interesting. I knew him through his writings in Hooman's Scribbles and we have not seen each other before. It was a great meeting. He was real! and as I guessed, he was smart. We talked about different topics. I realized that we have common opinion about many things. The issue that both us have written some thing in our blogs was diversity of Iranian society and this fact that Iranian weblogs cannot be the real representative of this diversity. Indeed, western readers (in larger scale in Media) usually overemphasize those parts that they like. I recall during US- Iraq war, I discussed with some American bloggers about the possibility of democracy in Iraq after war. They believed that it would be possible and referred me to some American conservative politicians, blogger, journalists and also an Iraqi blogger (if I am not mistaken, Raed).

As Rumi said
Each one of them had their own reasons for befriending me...
but none asking my heart my secret tried comprehending me.
I hope Hooman will be successful in his life. I send my best wishes to him and his family.

(posted by Iman)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Religious Experience(3)

"Types of Religious experience"

The Argument from Religious Experience
There are many different ways of categorising religious experience. Swinburne distinguishes between public and private religious experience which he then further sub-divides.

Public experiences

1. An individual sees God or God's action in a public object or scene. However, an explanation can easily be given on other grounds. For example, whilst a believer may see the work of God, a non-believer may just see a beautiful sunset.
2. Very unusual public events occur which involve a breach in natural law. For example, the transition of water into wine. There is less emphasis upon personal interpretation here, although the sceptic may say that although something inexplicable has happened, it is not necessarily the work of God. A video camera may have seemed miraculous a hundred years ago but today it is not.

Private experiences

By their very nature, these are less easily verified that public experiences:
1. Experiences that can be described by an individual using normal language. For example, Jacob's vision of a ladder going up to heaven. There is always a problem with interpreting dreams, and many would look for a psychological rather than divine explanation.
2. Experiences which cannot be described in normal language but which are nevertheless very real to those experiencing them.
3. In this case, there is no specific experience, but the individual feels that God is acting in his or her life. Looking back on past events an individual may say, "God's hand guided me," although if pressed they would have to admit that no specific evidence exists.

(posted by Farid)

Monday, May 19, 2003

Religious Experience(2)

Feuerbach’s Religious Illusion

These are some excerpts from the first half of this page:

According to the Hebrew scriptures, humans were made in the image and likeness of God. But the perceived kinship between deity and humanity lends itself only too readily to the possibility of inversion. What if the gods are human creations, fashioned after the image and likeness of humanity?
But in the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) the privileging of Christian discourse and the distinction between vulgar religion and rational theism both dissolve, and all talk of God is unmasked as the product of human invention. "Some day," he predicted, "it will be universally recognized that the objects of Christian religion, like the pagan gods, were mere imagination." And he had no interest in saving the "utterly superfluous, unnecessary God," whose activity adds nothing to the law-governed processes of nature.
Can religion be plausibly explained without the assumption that "God" denotes a being of a higher ontological rank than the mundane objects of our daily experience?

"Man—this is the mystery of religion—projects his being into objectivity, and then again makes himself an object to this projected image of himself thus converted into a subject." What the devout mind worships as God is accordingly nothing but the idea of the human species imagined as a perfect individual.

But taken at face value, they are alienating insofar as they betray us into placing our own possibilities outside of us as attributes of God and not of humanity, viewing ourselves as unworthy objects of a projected image of our own essential nature

(posted by Farid)

Religious Experience(1)

Iman’s question on the nature of experience prophets had gone through is also one of my favourite topics; so instead of giving my thoughts on the matter, I’d rather have a series of posts on this and spend more time researching and pondering .

Feuerbach, Ludwig (Andreas)

(b. July 28, 1804, Landshut, Bavaria [now in Germany]--d. Sept. 13, 1872, Rechenberg, Ger.), German philosopher and moralist remembered for his influence on Karl Marx and for his humanistic theologising.
The fourth son of the eminent jurist Paul von Feuerbach, Ludwig Feuerbach abandoned theological studies to become a student of philosophy under G.W.F. Hegel for two years at Berlin. In 1828 he went to Erlangen to study natural science, and two years later his first book, Gedanken über Tod und Unsterblichkeit ("Thoughts on Death and Immortality"), was published anonymously. In this work Feuerbach attacked the concept of personal immortality and proposed a type of immortality by which human qualities are reabsorbed into nature. His Abälard und Heloise (1834) and Pierre Bayle (1838) were followed by Über Philosophie und Christentum (1839; "On Philosophy and Christianity"), in which he claimed "that Christianity has in fact long vanished not only from the reason but from the life of mankind, that it is nothing more than a fixed idea." Continuing this view in his most important work, Das Wesen des Christentums (1841; The Essence of Christianity), Feuerbach posited the notion that man is to himself his own object of thought and religion nothing more than a consciousness of the infinite. The result of this view is the notion that God is merely the outward projection of man's inward nature. In the first part of his book, which strongly influenced Marx, Feuerbach analysed the "true or anthropological essence of religion." Discussing God's aspects "as a being of the understanding," "as a moral being or law," "as love," and others, he argued that they correspond to different needs in human nature. In the second section he analysed the "false or theological essence of religion," contending that the view that God has an existence independent of human existence leads to a belief in revelation and sacraments, which are items of an undesirable religious materialism.
Although Feuerbach denied that he was an atheist, he nevertheless contended that the God of Christianity is an illusion. As he expanded his discussion to other disciplines, including philosophy, he came to see Hegel's principles as quasi-religious and embraced instead a form of materialism that Marx subsequently criticized in his Thesen über Feuerbach (written 1845). Attacking religious orthodoxy during the politically turbulent years of 1848-49, Feuerbach was seen as a hero by many of the revolutionaries. His influence was greatest on such anti-Christian publicists as David Friedrich Strauss, author of the sceptical Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet (1835-36; The Life of Jesus Critically Examined), and Bruno Bauer, who, like Feuerbach, had abandoned Hegelianism for naturalism. Extremists in the struggle between church and state in Germany later endorsed some of Feuerbach’s views and by those who, like Marx, led the revolt of labour against capitalism. Among his other works are Theogonie (1857) and Gottheit, Freiheit, und Unsterblichkeit (1866; "God, Freedom, and Immortality").

(posted by Farid)

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Death (8)

If I want to choose one song from my favorite works of Stevie Nicks , it will be “Nightbird”;
I remember that I listened to it over and over for several days when I first came to it.
For an interpretion of the lyrics click here


And the summer became the fall
I was not ready for the winter
It makes no difference at all
'Cause I wear boots all summer long

My eye make up is dark and it's careless
Some circles around my eyes
Sometimes the real color of my skin
Is my eyes without any shadow

And when I call
Will you walk gently
Thru my shadow
The ones who sing at night
The ones who sing at night
The ones you dream of
The ones who walk away
Capes pulled around them tight
Cryin' for the night
Cry for the nightbird tonite

And so the winter is really here now
And the blankets that I love
I am surrounded sometimes
By too much love

And when I call
Will you walk gently
Thru my shadow
The ones who sing at night
The ones who sing at night
The ones you dream of
The ones who walk away
Capes pulled around them tight
Cryin' for the night
Cry for the nightbird tonite

And the darkened eyes
Thru the net of the lace
In the darkness
It's hard to see her face
Pulls back the net
And you feel the touch
Of her fingers
And you see she turns the eyes
And you see the eyes of a nightbird
The ones you dream of
Finally the nightbird
Finally the nightbird
(posted by Farid)


The father came back from the funeral rites. His boy of seven stood at the window,
with eyes wide open and a golden amulet hanging from his neck, full of thoughts too
difficult for his age.
His father took him in his arms and the boy asked him, "Where is mother?"
"In heaven," answered his father, pointing to the sky.
The boy raised his eyes to the sky and long gazed in silence. His bewildered mind
sent abroad into the night the question, "Where is heaven?"
No answer came: and the stars seemed like the burning tears of that
ignorant darkness
(posted by Farid)

Questions for religious people

What is the difference between our beliefs and superstition? If there is any difference, where is its border? How we can say that our belief in God and any other spiritual beliefs are not hallucination or delusion? What is difference between people who claim that they are prophet and we treat them as schizophrenic patients and real prophets as we believe?

These are some questions that may come in our mind and religious people should answer them (at least I think if they do not answer them, it means that they ignore it, a defence mechanism!).

(posted by Iman)

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Iranian woman wins Freedom to publish prize
 Farkhondeh Hajizadeh
Farkhondeh Hajizadeh has been named the winner of the Association of American Publishers' (AAP) inaugural Jeri Laber International Freedom to Publish Award, PEN American Center announced .

(posted by Iman)

Nationalism (2)

There are many subjective matters that are man-made. Tribes or nation only exists in our mind. We have learned them. We did not choose them. Historically, people needed these issues because they need other people’s help and support. Family and tribe were small communities that enabled people to support each other to survive. In other words, they were safe if they could live under the shelter of their tribe. So this idea that we need a tribe and in a larger scale, nation has become an inseparable part of our thought. I think this issue mostly belongs to Old World. In modern life or say thought, we do not need the support of our tribe. However, this thought still exists. As you see many people are proud of their nation or country. It may have some benefits. But there is a worth considering drawback that every nation may think, say believe that they are better than other nations. They are smarter and more developed. It is not limited to the nationality. You can find this logic in other issues like better religion, skin color, city, race and so on as well.
I think this thought is ridiculous! A simple reason is that we have not chosen our nationality, place we were born, our parents, race. Even it can be said that majority of people did not choose their religion!!
Some may say that even though we did not choose our nations or race, this is a fact that we have more developed societies. I would say that even if your country is more industrialized in compare to other third world countries, it does not mean that all of those people have hand in this development. It is not difficult to imagine what they would do, if they were born in one of the poorest countries in the world. Certainly, they would not have the same situation. If your father is poor and you live a remote area, you cannot become an educated person. If one wants to do such a thing, you have to try hundred times more than others who live in an industrialized country and enjoy all alternatives for better life.

(posted by Iman)

Friday, May 16, 2003

Death (6)

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep,so life well used brings happy death.

(Leonardo DaVinci )
(posted by Farid)

The Golden Mean(1)

Some months ago, my cousin asked me about the application of the golden rule or the place of the mean point in cases like telling the truth; that according to this rule we should find what is between lying and telling the truth and tell that. I had read about it but didn’t have my book here with me, like lots of others that I left behind in Iran. I borrowed the same book some days ago from library, so here it is from “The Story of Philosophy” of Will Durant:

The chief condition of happiness, then, barring certain physical pre-requisites, is the life of reason—the specific glory and power of man. Virtue, or rather excellence, will depend on clear judgment, self-control, symmetry of desire, artistry of means, it is not the possession of the simple man, nor the gift of innocent intent, but the achievement of experience in the fully developed man. Yet there is a road to it, a guide to excellence, which may save many detours and delays: it is the middle way, the golden mean. The qualities of character can be arranged in triads, in each of which the first and last qualities will be extremes and vices, and the middle quality a virtue or an excellence. So between cowardice and rashness is courage; between stinginess and extravagance is liberality; between sloth and greed is ambition; between humility and pride is modesty, between secrecy and loquacity, honesty; between moroseness and buffoonery, good humor; between quarrelsomeness and flattery, friendship; between Hamlet’s indecisiveness and Quixote’s impulsiveness is self-control.
“Right,” then in ethics or conduct, is not different from “right” in mathematics or engineering; it means correct, fit, what works bet to the best result.

(Posted by Farid)

Thursday, May 15, 2003


I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegatativeness I died and became animal,
I died from animality and became man.
Why, then, fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels --
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.
(Mevlana Jelalu'ddin Rumi)
(posted by Farid)


I had one of those migraine attacks that made me have to turn off everything
and sleep at 10:30 pm, I woke up at 12, alleviated a little bit , but still couldn’t
get up all through Oprah . It was about transgenderism. Some husbands and
fathers who had gone through this, and a case of a girl who had decided to
become a boy. Several years ago I encountered the first and the only of such
a case I ever have when I was in Iran , when a guy I knew well, did this.
The first time I saw her after it, was one of the first days of her new appearance,
when in a gathering she came and sat right next to me. I didn’t have to worry
about how to open the conversation with her, since she did it quickly and so I
felt relaxed about it. According to the lady in the show, there are about 30 to 40
thousands of such cases now in America. Plastic surgery on bottom (famous to
Jalo surgery) and lips to make them look better were two new things I heard on
TV tonight.
(posted by Farid)

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Death (4)

Fear no more the heat o' the sun
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finish'd joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

(William Shakespeare)
(emphasis by me)

This poem is sung by Loreena McKennitt under the name Cymbeline in the album The Visit , and in my opinion it's one of her best works among lots of other great ones.

(posted by Farid

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Animal Liberation(part 5)

It was a long time ago that I stopped writing about this topic, because of being busy at that time. Iman asked me about the issue of medical experiments then, and I promised him to address this . I write about two experiments here and ask for your judgment:

O.S. Ray and R.J. Barrett of Pittsburgh gave electric shocks to the feet of 1,042 mice. They then caused convulsions by giving more intense shocks through cup-shaped electrodes applied to the animals’ eyes or through pressure spring clips attached to their ears. Unfortunately some or the mice who “successfully completed Day One training were found sick or dead prior to testing on Day Two.”[Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 1969,vol. 67, pp. 110-116]

At the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, w., Feldberg and S.L. Sherwood injected chemicals into the brains of cats-“with a number of widely different substances, recurrent patterns of reaction were obtained, Retching, vomiting, defaecation, increased salvation and greatly accelerated respiration leading to panting were common features.”…
The injection into the brain of a large dose of Tubocuraine caused the cat to jump “from the table to the floor and then straight into its cage, where it started calling more and more noisily whilst moving about restlessly and jerkily…finally the cat fell with legs and neck flexed , jerking in rapid clonic movements , the condition being that of a major [epileptic]convulsion… within a few seconds the cat got up, ran for a few yards at high speed and fell in another fit. The whole process was repeated several times within the next ten minutes, during which the at lost faeces and foamed at the mouth.” This animal finally died thirty-five minutes after the brain injection[Journal of Physiology, 1954,vol.123,pp. 148-167]

Do you think we can bring any argument to justify this?
(posted by Farid)


Every soul shall taste of death.
(Koran)(Ale Omran, 185)

There are some points I notice here. Tasting something means to fully
comprehend how something is. In order to feel something, one has
to be conscious, so it’s indirectly saying that death doesn’t encompass
the soul, but soul will be present and alive to taste it. Also, tasting
something takes some time, so there are two possibilities. Either there
is a time period, though very short, that death happens in that, maybe
a fraction of a second. The other possibility is that, death is a period,
part of it observed by those in this world, but it continues in the world
to come, though the second one cannot be measured by our way of
measuring time. (posted by Farid)

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Death (2)

some funny quotes:

Do you believe in the life to come?Mine was always that.
(Samuel Beckett)

I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be around when it happens.
(Woody Allen)
(Posted by Farid)

I don’t know the exact number, but more than thirty times I listened to this song today,
what a wonderful tune , they should have given her five more Grammy just for this .

Come Away With Me

Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song

Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can't tempt us
With their lies

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won't you try to come

Come away with me and we'll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I'll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I'm safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night
Come away with me
(Norah Jones)
(Posted by Farid)

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Question of death has occupied my mind for years among other things. As my habit in reading is to read small pieces first and think about them, I will keep the same in these posts, but unlike other similar posts I had before, I will spend a great deal of it, especially of the first posts, on quotes and lyrics I have liked and big relevant examples throughout the history. I won’t follow an order of thought in these quotes, but will postpone it to when I will write my own words about the issue.

No life that breathes with human breath has ever truly longed for death.
(posted by Farid)

Friday, May 09, 2003

Nationalism 1

One of the issues I have discussed here and somewhere else is nationalism. Generally speaking, I think nationalism like many other entities is a subjective matter. In fact, we learn to consider it as a fact.So many of us cannot live without it. In underdeveloped communities, we can find similar issue like tribe. In David's blog, in the comment section of his post on Friday May 2, we discussed about this matter whether Iranians will resist, if the US invades Iran. I think one the possibility is that Iranians won't resist or even celebrate. Of course, they do not like that any country attack them. They did not forget 8 years Iran-Iraq war. However, it does not mean that they will resist. Also it does not mean that they are not brave or they are coward. This is complicated matter. In the history, Iranians have resisted against any foreign force and the only exception is Iran-Iraq war (though Iraq eventually defeated Iran by means of chemical weapons and support of western counteries like Germany, France, Britain and states). When Arabs invaded Iran in the beginning of Islam or coalition forces temporarily occupied Iran when Reza Shah was overthrown. In the latter case, Iranian soldiers did not resist even for an hour. I can give you other examples in the Middle East. Afghanistan, Iraq. Whey did not they resist? Why did they celebrate? Nobody was ready to die for those regimens. Why? Of course they like their country but they do not resist. This is a good question. The above opinion may be offensive for some Iranian nationalists or chauvinists. Many ordinary people talk about the US' next step in the region, though many Iranians who live abroad were against war in Iraq.
I think the entity of nation has some value when people think that they can change their political system and the way they like to live (freedom), otherwise it would be meaningless even with its common meaning. Everybody who likes to predict Iranians' reaction should answer this question why Iranians have not resisted in the history.
For more information read A Brief History of Iran and Iran Iraq war.

Update: Read Hooman's opinion about this matter.
(posted by Iman)

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Moment at hand

" It is not hard to live through a day if you can live through a moment - what creates despair is the imagination which pretends there is a future and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains that you cannot live the moment at hand."

Andres Dubois

(posted by Iman)

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Countries we live: Statistics

Here are some statistics about Health in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and the United states. I think all of them are obvious. Some people are lucky that they were born in a rich country, though they did not choose it. So what is the meaning of nationalism, chauvinism, and racism? How is it possible that we are proud of something that we did not make it? Race, nation,.. Are they really objective matters or like many other things are subject? How can human beings kill each other for such a nonsense things? I cannot understand!!
Anyway, You can find the statistics of your country in WHO website .

Total population: 22,473,000
GDP per capita (Intl $): 820
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 41.1/43.7
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 31.1/35.7
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 252/249
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 527/418
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $): 9
Total health expenditure as % of GDP: 1.0
Total population: 71,368,000
GDP per capita (Intl $): 6,120
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 66.4/71.1
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 55.5/57.9
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 45/39
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 209/137
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $): 336
Total health expenditure as % of GDP: 5.5
Total population: 23,583,000
GDP per capita (Intl $): 2,809
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 58.7/62.9
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 47.7/53.3
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 122/111
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 258/180
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $): 573
Total health expenditure as % of GDP: 3.7
The United States
Total population: 285,925,000
GDP per capita (Intl $): 34,637
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 74.3/79.5
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 66.4/68.8
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 9/7
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 144/83
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $): 4,499
Total health expenditure as % of GDP: 13.0

(posted by Iman)

Monday, May 05, 2003

Hatred is the vice of narrow souls; they feed it with all their littlenesses, and make it the pretexts of base tyrannies.(Honore' De Balzac)
(posted by Iman)

I am concerned
These days, papers,TV programs in the world talk about SARS. Some Iranian bloggers are concerned about this contagious disease. However, I think Media exaggerate this matter. We usually forget how many people die every day because of malnutrition, AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other infectious diseases in the third world. I am really concerned about young people in Iran who do not know how they should prevent sexual transmitted diseases (STD) like AIDS. I am concerned about Iranian girls who do not know any thing about birth control, Iranian women who do not receive any education about breast cancer because of this silly reason that government cannot talk about this part of body in television and other public media. I am concerned…

(posted by Iman)

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Where are you from?

I would like to know the meaning of this phrase. It means where you live Or it means where you were couple of minutes ago Or it is a question about your origin. When I was in Iran, when I was asked where I am from, it was difficult to answer. Since I have lived in different parts of Iran. I do not know what immigrants say if they have lived in a country for a long time. It would be more interesting to know their children's answer if they cannot speak in their parent's mother tongue. I know a guy who immigrated to Norway 17 years ago. Two years ago, he wanted to travel to Australia. He went to their embassy in Oslo and applied for visa. An Australian officer asked him " where are you from?" He said, " I am Norwegian" and showed his passport. The officer said, " I mean where you are originally from" He said "From Iran". Officer said " I am sorry we can not issue visa for Iranians". He said" But I have Norwegian nationality" the officer replied" No way!" Then he applied through their website and use his Norwegian ID number. They sent his visa within two days!
Anyway, let me know what it means. " Where are from?"

(posted by Iman)

Shia in Iran and Iraq, religion and state

I have read an article in Newsweek. I have found some worth noticing facts regarding history, religion and political groups in Iraq. I quote some important parts of it here. As an Iranian who used to live in the South of Iran, I know some things about Arabic culture. Aauthors quote what Abdullah, an Iraqi who had been living in Iran for 23 years, says about Iranians.
The Iranians are racist. They don't respect Arabs.
Unfortunately, I have to say YES! They are. You may find Iranians somehow racist. Iranians usually don't respect Arabs or even Afghanis. It may have some reasons. So people believe that it is because of Arabs' attack on Iran. (Maybe yes or not. I do not care. Racism is racism and regardless of its reason it is not acceptable). But this is not all the story. Arabs hate Iranians too even more and it has some tribal reasons. I remember after revolution in Iran, because of domestic ethic unrest in Khozestan in the southwest of Iran, there were so many Arab casualties in Khoramshahr hospital (Iranian army suppressed the separatists' uprising). When my parents went there to donate their blood, a group of Arabs did not allow them to enter the hospital and told them we do not need your unclean blood since you are Persian. Though generalizability is not possible since we do not have any survey in this regard or it may be said it was because of critical situation, as a personal experience I think it is right and may give you a general picture about Iranians and Iraqis' attitude toward each other.
The last thing he wants for his five children is an Iranian-style Islamic government. "There are many problems in Iranian society," he says. "The people don't have the freedom to express themselves.
This is a challenging thought. Islamic government is not like a liberal, democratic or republic government. It has own values and laws. How is it possible that we have an Islamic (or any other religion) government wit h Islamic judiciary, economy and laws and still have freedom to express ourselves. It is not enough that you have freedom to talk about your idea. The problem is that you cannot practice what you think or believe. Why? In Islamic government the important rule is that the system should be keep by any means. So you cannot have any free election and other minorities do not have the equal rights. This is a paradoxical matter. I think when ordinary people talk about Islamic government they are talking about their wishes and dreams. However, when politicians talk about such a system they are not honest.
No one knows where the tectonic shifts will end. Before they're done, however, Iran's almighty Shiite clerics are more than likely to find that their religious authority has slipped away to Iraq, where it originated more than 12 centuries ago,Even without a drastic overhaul of strategic alliances, the impending moral, religious and political upheaval is phenomenal. Its explanation begins, as so many Middle Eastern stories do, many centuries ago, in a violent succession battle that erupted following the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632. One faction believed that the Prophet's son-in-law, Ali, should inherit his religious authority; the descendants of those Muslims are today's Shiites. The other faction said the mantle should pass to four caliphs who were chosen by Muhammad's disciples; their descendants became the Sunnis. The bitterness that separates the two groups began when Ali was murdered as he prayed in the great mosque at Al Kufah, beside the Euphrates. His body was entombed in Najaf, which would become the holiest Shiite city. Ali's son, Hussein, was next to die, surrounded and vastly out-numbered by his enemies at Karbala and abandoned by all but a handful of loyal followers. The annual festival of Arbaeen, observed last week in Karbala for the first time in many years, commemorates the 40th day after Hussein's death with an outpouring of guilt and self-flagellation. The holy city of Karbala rose from the bloody battlefield.
I agree with authors that
Many people wrongly imagine that Iran is the center of Shiism. The mistake is only encouraged by chauvinistic Iranians, who tend to view Tehran as the intellectual and cultural capital of the Middle East. But Iran became a bastion of Shiism only as a refuge from the merciless persecution of Iraq's Shiite majority under the Sunni-dominated regime of Saddam Hussein. No shrine in Iran can equal the sanctity of Najaf and Karbala, and to this day Najaf remains the capital of Shiite learning the bulwark of scholarship that defines and interprets Islamic law.
an important problem is that Shia clerics mostly are conservative and do not like to involve any political affairs. Clerics like Ayatollah sistani in Najaf prefer to be a spiritual leader rather than politician. The only thing that they want is that government respect Islamic rules even if they do not have Islamic jurisdiction and law. They are suspicious about western style democratic governments. Maybe it has different meaning for them like sexual freedom, selling alcohol in shops and the like. History shows that they have had better relationship with dictator kings in compare to elected government like Mohammad Mossadegh's nationalist and democratic government.

(posted by Iman)

Friday, May 02, 2003

New links!

I have added new links to the link section. Because of my travel to Canada I could not add them before. Hooman's Scribbles by Hooman in Canada, Smile at me by David in the US, Take one by Reza in Iran and Me and Sassan by Sassan in Canada. I also updated some old addresses.

(posted by Iman)

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Billy Joel
We Didn't Start the Fire

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser aand Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy hn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodsto, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire....

in these links you can find a link for each historical even mentioned in this song with a brief description of that , 1, 2, 3
(posted by Farid)

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation
of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a
stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is good as dead.

(Albert Einstein)
(posted by Farid)

Happy or Honourable

"It is not necessary that whilst I live
I live happily;
but it is necessary that so long as I live
I should live honourably."

Quote from Emmanuel Kant

(posted by Iman)