Passage Of Time…

Gazing out the window, I observe the tempestuous motion of clouds in the sky. The chill of a wet breeze strikes my skin as I swing along with the rhythmic motion of the trees in my neighborhood, dancing to the progressive wind. Relaxing in the comforting solitude of my humble abode, my reflections render a view across time, allowing me to travel back, and revisit the nostalgic memories of the past that led me to my current life.

A journey that began in a small corner of the world, I awakened my dreams at the sight of the luminous lamps of fire that lit up the night sky of my hometown. Contemplating on the questions that beset my curiosity, I stumbled forward, on and on, desperate to seek answers. Soaring upon the wings of my ambitions, I ventured forward into the unknown, finding strength in the arms of three beings without whom I would not be the man I am today (Mom, Dad, Sis, I love you).

Bidding farewell to our last summer, I would pave my own path in life, meeting various personalities along the way, experiences with frequent beginnings, and ends. Reinventing myself over, and over, I eventually discovered my grounds in who I wished to be in the place of another’s heart, completing a journey that brought me full circle to the little bits of everything I found in her, and appreciated in life (Thank you, Leina).

Time waits for no one…and so I wish to fall briefly into the wrenching melancholic, and bittersweet nostalgia of all that has come to be in my life so far. To the friends, and family I have met, and who have supported me along the way I give you my deep-felt thanks. Though we may be distances apart, seeking our own ends in life, our memories together will forever remain in my heart.

Now, as the tides of time push me forward, I find my resolve in the joy of our times together, and remembering those happy days we shared. Embracing the present that is built upon those memories, I find my reason to smile, thankful for all that I have been given in life. Alighting on my 26th birthday, I look toward a new, and grand horizon of adventures to follow. Thus, I’m led forward by the me of tomorrow, who holds my hand, and filled with dreams of the future, but supported all the way, by the me of yesterday, who holds all of our memories together, and follows right along…in what has been my life, or rather a passage of time…

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Cherish the memories of the past, Embrace the present, and happily Anticipate the future…Time may progress inevitably, but it is our choice to make this life, a moment that transcends eternity…
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Brave New World – Book Review

It took me about a month, but I finally finished reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, completing my journey through a dystopian future set in London in the year 2540 A.D. BraveNewWorld_FirstEdition

‘The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray’

This quote sets the tone for Huxley’s novel, written in 1931, and published a year later in 1932. In the context of the history of the 20th century, the novel served as a unique, and menacing vision of the future during the interwar period between the end of the First World War (1914-1918), and the beginning of the Second World War (1939-1945).

Through his skillful prose, Huxley provides a prescient view of a future where he anticipates the development of various scientific ideas such as reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning. Human lives are controlled by a variety of forces including genetic engineering, indoctrination, and drugs. In fact, the concept of the individual is mired, and ultimately lost in the foundation of an “ideal” society where “everyone belongs to everyone else.”

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“…a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide…making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.”

Spontaneous human desires, and emotions are nullified by the anesthetizing public mantras, the messengers of the societal indoctrination that pervades Huxley’s world, but it doesn’t matter as “everybody’s happy nowadays.” The reader is provided entry into this bleak, but brave new world, through the daily lives, and attitudes of the major characters in the novel. Through their eyes, the reader is able to identify his/her critical opinions of a biased world where skepticism is in itself a crime, feared as an unnatural, and tainting element of the supposed balance expressed in the societal hierarchy.

Throughout the novel, Huxley borrows heavily from the works of his predecessors. In particular, he draws inspiration from much of Shakespeare’s works, providing several quotations from The Tempest, Troilus and Cressida, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth to name a few. The title of the novel is in fact from Miranda’s speech in The Tempest,

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“O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.”

– William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll.

While Huxley himself speaks of his work’s inspiration from the utopian novels of H.G. Wells, including A Modern Utopia (1905) and Men Like Gods (1923), he disavows Wells’ hopeful vision of the future in place of the darker presentation he provides in his novel. Huxley’s novel also serves as a counterpart to the George Orwell’s 1984. The two novels differentiate themselves in the prescient views they prescribe to the future. While Orwell’s fears are borne of a world that rejects knowledge, Huxley’s fears are beset upon a world that finds knowledge redundant, or rather irrelevant.

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“…most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”

In conclusion, I believe Huxley feared the loss of the complexities that make human culture unique in exchange for triviality. He expresses this fears through the cyclical, and largely indifferent activities that his characters engage in their daily lives. By reading the book, and finding the various allusions it provides to modern-day society, I was left exhilarated at the daunting responsibility for the future that the current generation faces amidst a rapidly changing world. The triviality that Huxley frequently alludes to in his work is evident in today’s society, dominated by social media, leaving us blind to an extent, and in much need of a reassessment of what may constitute the necessary discussions, decisions, and actions we must partake in, for the greater security of our world, and the human species as a whole.

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“Again the greatest use of a human was to be useful. Not to consume, not to watch, but to do something for someone else that improved their life, even for a few minutes.”
― Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King 

While Huxley may have realized his vision of such a brave new world several years ago, his work remains today as a warning, and as a reminder of the social responsibility every individual shares in the maintenance, and regulation of the world we live in.

Making A Difference

I’m fortunate enough to have been given the opportunities that I have had in my life. Thanks to my father’s employment in a prominent non-governmental organization (NGO) called PLAN International (a child rights organization that works with communities in many countries to alleviate child poverty), I, along with my family, have traveled to several countries around the world. We were modern-day nomads, traveling wherever my father’s work beckoned. Whenever possible, I joined my father on his daily adventures, allowing myself the opportunity to understand and learn the multifaceted nature of humanitarian service and development. It also helped that my father often brought his work home, leading to long-winded conversations on his day-to-day exploits.

Growing up, I tried to emulate my father. But as my future beckoned, I learned to find my own unique path, and destiny in life. Still, to this day, I carry the lessons I have learned in the presence of my father, most notably his compassion to his fellow human beings as well as his perseverance and commitment to his work. My father found great satisfaction in the simple act of helping others, and even more, in the happiness of his family. His efforts were largely directed to these objective. Thus, he made a big difference in my life, and of countless others. So it is not at all surprising that I too feel a strong calling toward contributing to the society and making a difference in the world.

Our world is riddled with doubt and confusion. The toils of war, civil unrest, corruption, racial and ethnic differences, climate change (along with an assortment of environmental issues), to name a few, are the great uncertainties of our time. These issues afflict our daily lives, standing as we are, mute and in the shadow of a persistent struggle to communicate and unite, as a species, toward a better and brighter future. At the crux of it all, we have allowed our fear and anger to dictate our choices and actions, leading the greater part of the world to be divided.

Take racism for instance, it manifests in many aspects of our social lives. It pervades modern-day societies and political systems; the basis of its strength is a volatile expression of pride, prejudice or aversion to others via discriminatory practices. Humanity has a deep history with racism, and its various forms including segregation, supremacism, xenophobia, nativism, hierarchical ranking, and other related social phenomena. Reaching back to the ancient societies of the past: Greeks, Romans, Indians, Arabs, and even further, to their predecessors, I find that racism was a by-product of our own vanity. Natural circumstances subscribed to humanity our beliefs in an expression of individuality, dividing and classifying us, into specific races. Racism is an institution, not an ideology, founded in capitalism and slave trade.

To me, racism is nothing more than a word that describes the highly- convoluted story that is human cooperation and communication. Is there a solution to this? I admit that many of the issues that plague modern society have great histories behind them, making it difficult to distinguish a unique solution in any case. Nevertheless, I believe we owe it to ourselves to iterate the necessity for action, particularly in recognition of alternatives that may provide the foundation for future solutions.

At one point in my life, I told my father that I would love to build a university. Finding inspiration in the Akademia of Plato, I modeled my university to be an institution that pioneered free thought. People could come and go, study what they must, openly discussing their thoughts with their peers, without fear or discrimination; a platform for reason and rational conversation. I still harbor this dream, though it is a work in progress (there remains more room for thought in the realization of such an institution, especially with regards to its structures and inner workings, but what matters to me is the message of such a concept). In knowledge, and in education, I found what I believed to be a solution towards the fractured communication of the human species. By educating ourselves, and our children in proactive and collaborative thinking we may slowly shear away towards a solution. By addressing our differences, openly and without fear, we may find unity. Of course, at this point, it becomes a question of how are we to do that? I find my answer again in what I proposed earlier. All of us are unique in our own ways, but it is in the same pride with which we define our individuality that we can also define our humanity. The hierarchical structures of knowledge and government weren’t constructed as a means to enslave our species, but as a medium to liberate ourselves in collective thought and action.

This will be the challenge of our time. Communication without fear, government without bias, education without limitations…While it may require an acceptance of short-term losses for the sake of long-term benefits, we must learn to recognize the importance of our world. While anger and fear may have allowed us to survive and evolve over the millennia, those very emotions can also fuel our motivation towards building a better world, not just for those who are alive now, but more importantly for those who follow us, our children, our legacy. Therein lies what may be a small part of the bigger picture, to learn to see ourselves as a global family rather than as select individuals.

My father had a bigger picture that motivated his own actions. It was his family. He found his strength in the happiness of his family, an emotion that he channeled into his work and in the lives of others whom he met and helped. Simply put, he made a difference. Just as much as ignorance can be bliss and can forestall change, anger can be proactive and enforce our will to action. I too want to make a difference, and though I have a long way to go, by expressing my anger, not to separate myself from others, but as a tool to define and communicate my knowledge, to help shape the world, I could one day just like everyone else, if they are willing to, be the difference that will become a brighter future.

Contemplating at Home…

Hi everyone, so here we are, already a month into 2017!

I’m now one week into my two-month vacation in Bangalore, India. Arriving on the wee hours of January 17th, my break got off to a rough start as I was sick for a week, not to mention the jet lag, and the time difference. Thankfully, I made a full recovery last weekend, and have been enjoying my time with my family.

Bangalore ain’t necessarily my hometown, which is actually further south at Madurai. 

Prior to my departure, I had worked my ass off content editing Agent X, a two-week challenge that left me fatigued, and deserving a brief hiatus from the computer screen. While falling sick didn’t necessarily make for a great experience, I can confidently say it did the job of keeping me away from my laptop for long enough that I’m now refreshed, and ready to continue.

Apart from the rudimentary rituals of daily life at home, I also had the chance to embark on a wild-life safari with my family where I visited my fellow animal friends in tigers, lions, zebras, bears, and many others from the crocodylidae, and aves families at the Bannerghata National Park.

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What are you looking at? 
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Too tired to give a damn.

But, amidst all the entertainment, I discovered occasional pockets of silence that helped me contemplate on the roller-coaster of a ride 2016 has been, both personally, and on the grander scale of events that have “rocked” the world.

While completing my second book has followed on the success of my Masters degree, I still found room for improvement in my life, and my ambitions for the future; a future that seems to be rapidly changing in concert with the events that have occurred in 2016. Though many such events did not affect me directly, I felt compelled to wage a healthy debate on said occurrences, and their direct implication for the future of the current generation of youngsters.

I’m referring to the recent establishment of a new leadership, the breaking of an alliance, the carnage of war, the mass exoduses, and the various other events that have displaced the state of the world extensively over the short duration of a single year. Buried among the various differences that set these events apart, there remains one lasting impression: the monotonous manner with which the various bureaucracies of the world, have monitored, and administered the lives of its citizens, and those of others; governments that have embezzled peoples’ beliefs, leading them along a misled, and deceptive path of life colored with extravagant rhetoric, but vacant promises.

Now in an age where we find limited invitations toward discussion, and recourse, there certainly are many youngsters, just like me, pondering their individual circumstances amid a changing world. A world filled with barriers, the least of which involves a great divide in communication. We either get bogged down in communication to the point where we are incapable of action, or vice-versa. But this inability of ours is also a daunting characteristic of human nature, and one which we must learn to overcome or make amends with if we are hoping

All of which brings me back to this pensive reverie, where I’d like to believe that by writing brief posts about the state of the world, my personal interests, and adventures that I may be contributing, at least a small bit, to a common desire of a generation that wishes its voice to be heard amid the swift tempest of the world. Now, I know this piece may have sounded quite out of sorts among the previous posts that I have uploaded on the blog, but it is a first step towards the greater plans I have in 2017 to branch out in the discussions I wish to provide in the blog. More specifically, it was just a play of words on the thoughts that came across my mind during my daily ruminations. Next up on the list, and certainly a tad different from the subject above, “Why is snow so bright?”

 

Let’s get the ball rolling!

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to provide a general update, before putting up my review on Chapter 1 of Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden.

I know it has been a long wait, and I apologize for the delay, but I’ve experienced quite a productive, and intense week. I was finally able to complete the content editing required on Agent X, and now have a first draft of the book. I hope to pursue further editing in the future before proceeding towards any plans to publication.

I had hoped for a wonderful beginning to 2017, and on the heels of this personal achievement, I can say my confidence is at an all-time high. Having just also traveled back to visit my family in India, I’m currently recovering from jet lag. Nevertheless, the wait is now over, and it is now time for me to get the ball rolling on my plans for the blog, but before that, I’d like to thank you all for your patience!!

Now, let’s do this!

Memories of a Forgotten Summer

Hi everyone,

Firstly, this post doesn’t pertain to any discussion On the Nature of Knowledge. I’m still piecing together my ideas for that post, and will post it later this week. I’m here today to simply talk about the fun I had this weekend revisiting old memories! Just this Saturday, I attended a series of events celebrating Indie Author Day at the Edmonton Public Library.

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The experience was a lot of fun, and was a motivational reminder on my aspirations to become a successful writer. Having attended a few sessions ranging from discussions on self-publishing, marketing, to friendly advice on just getting your stories heard, I was thoroughly enthused to get back on my writer’s bandwagon by the time I returned home. For those among my followers who may not know, I’m a self-published author. My first book was Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir detailing my experiences in Sudan where I completed my secondary education. The book is dedicated to my closest friends, in memory of our time together at Khartoum American School (K.A.S.), as well as my loving family.

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I started writing the book back in 2009, and it was published around the summer of 2013 after having undergone a tedious but highly enlightening process of editing, book binding, and marketing with the assistance of iUniverse, a self-publishing company. My original intentions were to continuously promote the book afterward and hopefully help in its sales. My earlier blog, ourlastsummer2013, was meant for this. But, life happened, and following the publication of the book, I became quite jaded about writing and myself. I was also enmeshed in my personal identity crisis. Consequently, my promotional efforts were cut short, and I took a break from writing.

Three years down the road, I found myself sitting in a room filled with Indie authors, spending a few hours re-reading the passages in my book, and revisiting many forgotten memories of my past. I had recovered from my identity crisis thanks to my friends, and family, and am now close to completing a second book that has been in the works for two years. By revisiting said memories of a forgotten summer, I was able to reassess my growth as an individual during the last seven years of my life, ever since I commenced my post-secondary education at the University of Alberta. I was also able to recognize the significant influence writing Our Last Summer had in my life, and felt sad that the book never got the personal recognition it deserved from its own author.

Ever since my childhood, I’ve been passionate about two things: learning and asking questions. These two attributes contribute to my personality as an autodidact and have been the main benefactors towards my motivation for higher studies, and academic pursuits in various fields from astrophysics, biophysics, plasma physics, and in the near future, robotics. My academic interests were also complemented by my love for writing, music, and art. Throughout my life, I’ve been able to engage and enhance my creativity and skills in these different subjects.

Having completed my Masters, and on the verge of finishing my second book, I’m now motivated to unite my interests toward a unique career. I have no idea what exactly it will be, but it certainly will have a mix of everything from being a scientist, writer, and an artist. It will be an infusion of the freedom and happiness I’ve found in my writing, engaging my imaginations and bringing them to fruition through my art and music, and sharing my comprehension of what I learn about the surrounding world to my friends, family, and to all of you! Part of that effort will now involve my dedication toward revamping the promotions on my first book  Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir. I will use The Pensive Reverie (and the Facebook group) along with my Twitter account to provide for promotional materials every now and then ranging from tidbits from the book, to free e-book passes, and reviews.

I sincerely ask all those who follow this blog to help and support my efforts by spreading the word as much as they can and getting others to tune in to the blog as well as my book. The book is available online (just Google it), as well as on popular bookstores (Chapters, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc.) I will provide more info, including some promo materials, and sneak peeks on Our Last Summer along with my next post On the Nature of Knowledge. 

 

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Until then, thanks so much everyone, and have a great day!