بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

مرحبا بكم


Dec 24, 2011

Shakespeare’s sonnet number 116

I shall first start out with reading Shakespeare’s sonnet number 116:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove;
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken,
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

To embark upon knowledge by means of ignorance is to do the wrong deed for
the right reason. Let no one make and take and take again the very
preposterous discovery and then tell me all of a sudden that this sonnet is
great. For I know beforehand and, as a matter of fact, my concern is not to
testify to the greatness of this sonnet but rather to what sort of message
William Shakespeare feels like delivering to us on the cess of it. My aim, I
insist, is two-fold; Together with putting Shiller’s dictum into question by way
of criticism levelled against his ambivalent philosophical stance, I will show
how the theme of love has been treated from the renaissance period. The
renaissance period, in fact, did not have to wait for England so as to be
incepted. It started rather in Italy and Spain and it became henceforth a
widespread phenomenon thanks both to its flexible operational processes and
the accessibility and clarity of its ideas having to do with revival and at the
same time diremption of the past. I will start with this second tenant of my aim
and leave the first one to the second part so as to save my essay from
inaccurracy and barren formalism.

The renaissance era makes explicit the fact that Love stands out as an
indispensable feature of man’s desire not so much to exist but more
importantly to better exist. To exist without looking towards a better prospect
of life is simply to exist, though hesitatingly, like subalterns. To better exist
without looking backward is simply to live, though forcibly, like no one else.
What possible sense is to be obtained out of the first line and the first half of
the second in this sonnet? No obstacles, the speaker seems to say, should be
allowed to stand out against the marriage of true minds. True minds are
according to me evocative of those people whose better parts (their minds) are
personified and whose ultimate objective of life is unity and not division or
separation. John Donne, the supposedly metaphysical poet, is of some proper
help to us in this respect. He somewhere in his poems pointed out to the fact
that without love, we can have no way but falsehood to be true. But here
again, we must protest and say that the sonnet under consideration is referring
to true minds. We know that love is the output of our hearts.
True people, to justify the first idea mentioned above, do not fall or degenerate
into making the mistake of allowing conflictual relationships to be established
between their minds and hearts. If our hearts, to be more precise, are devoid of
love, then our minds are not likely going to become true nor will they really be
able to produce let alone to contribute to human knowledge.

People, at least those who know they have got minds, which scarcely happens
in these bleak times, will admit no impediments to the marriage of their minds.
But minds, after all, do not unify as Gary lane would have it. Minds see
differences not unities, they divide. There is then something of paramount
importance to be present for the marriage of true minds. Not all minds are true
and this is why there must exist a paradigm to see which minds are true and
which minds are not. To say the like but differently, people should set their
minds on things that are fundamental and vital for unity and peaceful
coexistence. If they cherish some love for one another, they will never find
themselves obliged to be indecent or accept to be divided. This is how it goes,
nobody wants to be cruel with people but sometimes they are and not the
circumstances they do need to be taken forcibly for the principal cause of his or
her behaviour at their expence. Let us but take for the sake of clarification and
illustration the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau who albeit feeling
so intensely for the unity of people when he wrote “The social contract” ended
up living in solitude with an almost chattered character. He refused to see
people or to even read what they wrote. “The reveries of a solitary stroller”, the
last book he wrote though, we regret to say, it remained unfinished due to his
tragic death, is expressive of this a great deal. He, after having purported to
establish some proper order upon society through the social contract, quickly
found himself lost and in an incomprehensible chaos at the end of his life.
‘Tiré je ne sais comment de l’ordre des choses, je me suis vu précipité dans un chaos
incompréhensible ou’ je n’aperçois rien du tout; et plus je pense à ma situation présente et
moins je puis comprendre ou’ je suis’.

Then, later in ‘The reveries of a solitary stroller’, he has got also at his disposal
this to say about the harm people did to him he the one who never wanted to
cause anyone any harm.

‘Avec le dédain qu’il m’ont inspiré leur commerce me serait insipide et même à charge, et je
suis cent fois plus heureux dans ma solitude que je ne pourrait l’etre en vivant avec eux . Ils
ont arraché de mon coeur toutes les douceurs de la société…et quoi qu’ils fassent, mes
contemporains ne seront jamais rien pour moi.

Friedrish Holderlin, Nietsczche’s but also Heidegger’s favourite poet or as the
latter likes to call him the ‘poet of poets’, never found one single reason for not
confessing his ultimate disenchantement towards those who treated him
unreasonably at the very time of his mental breakdown. There is no asking of
the question why he went insane for more than twenty years. He opted for
solitude so as to forget but then realized that people could not even remember
what he was trying to forget. He said: “Now I only understand man when I am
far away from him and living in solitude”. Mais qui sait aujourd’hui ce que
c’est que la solitude?

But then, Nietszche. What did he say when he finished up being sick of every
one and his sister and his mother were not to make the exception? He knew
that something must necessarily be at stake which he could not find out. So, he
opted obligingly for silence and kneeled down to a maxim of the past he the
one who hated maximes and proverbs in the deep recesses of his heart.
‘Ma philosophie me conseille de me taire et de ne pas pousser plus loin les questions; surtout
que, dans certains cas, comme l’indique le proverbe, on ne reste philosophe qu’en gardant le

The marriage of true minds then, to rivert back to the sonnet, will become
possible only when impediments, say obstacles, are kept away from its course.
It must not be forgotten that here the word “marriage” is extremely important
in that it is overloaded with sense and meaning because it refers to willed
commitment and constancy. But in order for this to have a longevity and
persistence there must be something upon which we can hinge and even call
upon to keep this motive activated. It must be pointed out that marriage is
never admired for its own sake. It is admired for the promise it is supposed to
hail for the sake of unity. Were it not for the fact that, so to speak, it aims at
stabilizing and ordering people’s lives and that it paves the very way for them
to live together peacefully and harmoniously, marriage would, more often than
not, find people themselves as impediments.

For want of a wider intelligibility with regard to our intention to work out a
closer appreciation of the sonnet, let it be made clear right from the onset that
no matter how far we seem to be from being able to come to terms with the
exacting message of the sonnet if we undertake and level one hasty reading of
it, we can, nevertheless, manage to say that it represnts what Friedrish
Holderlin calls “an extended metaphor” not so much of what cannot be said
directly but rather of that which whose aim is to reflect upon the nature of love
and establish a clear rapport between it and the reality it seeks to uplift and

‘La parole germinative’ of this sonnet is perhaps this one which prompted
Shakespeare to express it in six lines and a half:

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove;
O, no! It is an ever- fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken,
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

It is not here any business of ours to maintain that the form a Shakesperian
sonnet will take is one of three quatrins and a closing couplet. We are rather
and more importantly of the very insatiable desire to concern our selves with
the part of it that keeps the content of the sonnet brighter than therest do. Au
lieu de faire une vague allusion à la forme, il faut se demander quelle est sa
fonction comme sédimentation du contenu. Here, I assume, the substance is
found in these six lines and a half. I would not care so much if the remaining
parts of the sonnet were to get wiped off and disappear. Shakespeare himself,
were he to be told this, would pull himself together and help me in doing this.
Love is not love which changes with the time. If ever it changes, then let us be
in the apodectic certainty that it is anything but love. Love does not encourage
the remover of love to remove the object of love. It may encourage him to
remove obstacles like people for example but not to remove the very object of
love because otherwise it is lost and then we go back to the point we started
from which holds the view of Shakespeare that love should not change with the
time. Love is an ever-fixed mark. Love is the star to every wandering bark.
It is worth pointing out at this stage of our reading the distinction Shakespeare
wanted to make and did in fact about a fixed mark and the star which, to our
minds, they represent the two most important elements of the metaphoric
bearing they must have on love. Love is first a fixed mark.
Shakespeare wanted it to be indefinite when using the indefinite article ‘a’ in
order perhaps to mock people on earth who are changing all the time and then
keep on claiming that they are definite.

Shakespeare could have said for example that love is the fixed mark. The
reason behind his avoidance of that is perhaps this one: He does not want love
to be associated with anything because when using the definite article ‘the’ he
would necessarily find himself under the obligation of associating love with an
earthly claim. Then, by the same token, he held that love is the star feeling
thereby some sort of relief in escaping earthly objects and rising so high to the
skies which he does not know and yet insisted on using the definite article ‘the’
in order to mock people time and again by showing how he places his faith in
what is transcendental and how he assigns the definite to the indefinite and the
indefinite to the definite. This sonnet is not great yet.

Chokri Omri

Dec 20, 2011

Rolling down well-ridden roads

It's Bicycle rolling down well-ridden roads
And Wind coming, asking to fight.

The rider crouched down, with not half a frown,
Requesting the wind to abate.
“I'm too oft due east,” shot Wind, shunning peace,
“This year you'll be trapped and made late.”

The ducks flapping east soon flapped without cease;
Wind's gusts spun them 'round with a breeze.
The waves grew white teeth in ditches beneath,
And cans cartwheeled west just to tease.

As days carried on, the cyclist was worn,
But Bicycle would not relent.
Wind slammed to and fro, and Bike had to slow,
Some days down to thirty per cent.

“You do what you please, but hard or with ease
I'll best the flat provinces soon.
You can't stop me long,” said Bike, growing strong,
“(Though Brandon might be a lagoon.)”

I don't know if Bike defeated Wind's might
Or Wind forced him into a pond.
But when cries of “hell!” meet gusts near Qu'Apelle
I'll wager the battle's still on.

Dec 17, 2011

'Moments of Love and Fear' by Chokri Omri

Not down the wind

"The sacred texts, the ancient traditions and all philosophies of all ages tell us to look at and learn from Nature, its beauty and its cycles, and to the ephemeral and eternity. We know that we love, naturally, but they still teach us to love better, to love consciously and spiritually, and to learn to apprehend meaning in detachment. And we have to choose between the reserve of Kant and Nietzsche’s impetuosity, between the way of Buddha and that of Dionysus, between the love of God and the love of Desire. Between an idea of freedom and the management of needs, between independence and dependence, and between detachment and bondage. One does not choose to love but one can choose how to love."
Tariq Ramadan, LOVE AND DETACHMENT,(,10874.html)

It was not long ago that this was cropping up in my mind. But in truth,I did not want it to be or at best to end this way. It is not the kind of thing, I wish to make clear, I would accept in this life that is mine. I tried many a time to take it at once for an indecent idea because it is, indeed, one and by no means a decent one: To wait for others to offer you that which, had you worked upon it yourself, you would have made it come into being without their help. This is not so difficult a task to move through towards the light instead of remaining in the dark waiting and nobody around appears to care. It is just, I must say, within the limits of the possible to have your mind made up to it without any impalpability. But then, let me say it no more. I take responsibility for all of this and you take none. I have something to say to you while you have none. It has never before come to my notice that I know so little of you. I have wanted to come closer to you, to be with you, to see you,and then to stop listening to what others say about me and you. Take all the time you need but never ask me what difference there can be between wanting and obtaining. It is my conviction that of all those upon whom the sun shines,only those who help themselves will yearn for being helped. In the meantime,were anyone to take the liberty of asking me who would come to their help, I would perhaps say it is not any concern of mine. They are helping themselves.Do you not at all understand? They are helping themselves. God help them, please, and they are really helping themselves. They are not to be left wanting.They are looking for a way out of this extremely painful universe where things come and go and people never know. Have I said it to you? No. Then, have I wanted to say it to you? No. But then, have I gleaned it out of nothing just tosay it to you? No.I think I will let you know. There came few tears to my eyes when I saw that the reason behind this all is past finding out. It is my dignity that prevents me from knowing why. But at the same time, it is that which guides me into saying this to you: Never come back to me. I am not waiting for the unknown to be known. I am not waiting anymore. My way is still long; I am going to be the man who never trifles with time. I will say after Friederich Hölderlin:

“Let us live, oh you who are with me in sorrow, with me in faith
and heart and loyalty struggling for better times!
For such we are and if ever in the coming years they knew
of us two when the spirit matters again
They would say: lovers in those days, alone, they created
Their secret world that only God knew. For who
Cares only for things that will die, the earth will have them,
but Near the light, into the clarities come
Those keeping faith with the heart’s love and Holy Spirit who were
Hopeful, patient, still, and got the better of fate.”

They got the better of fate. It is not so beyond human understanding. They have never found themselves in a way in which they take advantage of others.There is this presence in their lives of what one calls faith. Faith in everything that bodes and portends with life, faith in human nature as far as it can really go, faith in all that is holy and divine the paucity of which generates as much pain and contrition as such that might be grasped in those who lost accordingly faith in themselves. There is no possible reason for them to do otherwise because they have succeeded in making radical distinctions between what is essential and what is trivial. Of course, to say la moindre des choses,there is yet another significant aspect that must be attributed to their lives. By this, I mean hard work. Faith and hard work when compacted will undoubtedly have their effect and meaning. Hard work, arduousness but also industry; these are things we should not cast out into oblivion if ever real life isto us a worthy endeavour. We all need to struggle for better times. Let us help ourselves for the sake of ourselves and hence for the sake of God.

“Love is often presented as the opposite of fear but true love is not opposite anything. True love is far more powerful than any negative emotions, as it is the environment in which all things arise. Negative emotions are like sharks swimming in the ocean of love. All things beautiful and fearful, ugly and kind, powerful and small, come into existence, do their thing, and disappear within the context of this great ocean. At the same time, they are made of the very love in which they swim and can never be separated. We are made of this love and live our whole lives at one with it, whether we know it or not.”

Courage still resides in our hearts. Courage and temperance are fundamental human attributes that must be at any cost foisted upon us. Agathy is never absent. It is never lost for fear. We are agathious from creation to the general doom. We only do not seem to be aware of that because of the film of familiarity which obscures from us the wonder of our being as Shelley would put it. There aremany rips in our lives. What do we do vis- à- vis them? It is really up to us to decide whether or not they are going to be mended. Or are they to be left unmended? It is up to us to mend these rips and walk through them to the light or remain forever in the dark. There is more enterprise in striving to repair some of the erroneous things in the world rather than to clench our hands over our foreheads and then foolishly shed tears over them. Let us make a terrestrial galaxy as the stars do in the sky. To put it, in short, and in as a few words as possible, let us create our secret world because the outside world is not doing very well. Why cannot we stop caring for the material and the sensual? Why cannot we stop caring for the things that will die? Let us feel for the spiritual. There is still much hope since, as I like to think and would like to put it, we have not learned enough despair so as not to hope. Despair and hope do not cause us to be ridiculous. To work arduously and then yearn for a better future is not to be found cloistered within the boundaries of idealism. It is altogether apparent the fact that our minds and hearts, for the time being, are not unfortunately set on the same arena of expectation. Our lives, to say perhaps the least, are shrouded in obscurity and by way of consequence not agood number of things are made clear.We are persistently catering for indeterminacy and eclecticism while being morceled and devoured by doubt or precisely nous sommes pris dans les supputations du doute as they say in french. Under the spell and delusion of amorality which contains a heavy dose of immorality we are celebrating the spirit of the age. Many are those who are coming in but few are those who feel like going out.

Look at how the world’s poor people are amazed At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gazed,Infusing them with dreadful prophecies.

Should we thus draw up our breath at these sad signs, and sigh again and exclaim on death? When the spirit starts mattering again, few, indeed, are those who will understand. After all, we have no one to blame and reprimand for this except ourselves. There are things of importance left behind which must operate again as they had done in the remote passing days. It is Eros, we believe, and not Priapos, we still believe, who wanted to move no further after the objective he gave his life to. It is his “restless expansive tendency” towards love as Sigmund Freud had put it which comes into sharp contrast and opposition with the “generally conservative nature of the drives” causing it hence to be threatened all the time. But then, Eros is inaccessible to those who lack love as well as spiritual insight. He is inaccessible to the profanum vulgus. “ Only he who himself turns to the other human being and opens himself to him receives the world in him. Only the being whose otherness, accepted by my being, lives and faces me in the whole compression of existence, brings the radiance of eternity to me”. Martin Buber is ultimately clear enough to be understood. When Adonis lived, it is not the sun and the sharp air which lurked like two thieves to rob him of his fair as Shakespeare maintained. Adonis does not blame it for the destiny. He must be held responsible for the loss of Cytherea. She was all in love forlorn. Had he loved her with a love so over-powering as she did, no sun,no sharp air, no whatever would have deprived him of her. It is love, say mutual love or any other , which alone brings things together. It is that which,I must say again, brings people together and makes an extraordinary galaxy out of them. We must struggle for the sake of it and stand in no comformity with their vulgarism and disparaging gestures. Most of all, we must put under question and not merely cleave to the values established by tradition. Patterned thinking will lead almost nowhere. Only by straying afield of our selves and of tradition innovation and accuracy as regards our lives will become possible.This is to be evidenced not only in ourselves but equally in the kind of knowledge we unfailingly continue to receive and accept without checking or verification. Michel Foucault’s prolific work in sociology but then in philosophy would not find the means and ploys to open up new avenues of research and enquiry in history and the social sciences if it remained imprisoned by tradition and atavism. Foucault’s sociological and philosophical output, Steven Connor makes clear, refused to stay within the established and precomprehended territories of theory and thereby succeeded remarkeably in adding and contributing to the over all human knowledge. ‘After all, what would be the value of the passion of knowledge if it resulted in a certainamount of knowledgeableness, and not, in one way or another and to the extent possible, in the knower’s straying afield of himself?’ Foucault would remind us in his essay on ‘ The use of pleasure’.‘The passion of knowledge’; It is interesting to see in it this astounding interaction and intermingling of both heart and mind. Passion with regard to knowledge. What offspring will there be if this passion of knowledge revamps into a love of knowledge? Let us think about love and feel it henceforth. To love means to act and not to just say empty words that would add more horror to life. Call it as you like but love is more than what people think. There is, this is it, more to love than what many people think. It is the most important thing in life. To love, J.Krishnamurti wrote, means to be sensitive. To be sensitive is to feel for people,for birds, for flowers, for trees_ not because they are ours, but just because we are awake to the extraordinary beauty of things. We are awake through love and knowledge and not through ignorance and fear.

Chokri Omri

Dec 14, 2011

The map of Makkah

“From whencesoever Thou startest forth, turn Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque; that is indeed the truth from the Lord. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do” (Qur'an 2:149–150).

“Qibla (or qiblah; Arabic: قبلة‎) is an Arabic word for the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during Salah, the Islamic practice of formal prayer, usually performed five times a day. Since 622 AD, that direction has been towards Kaaba (The Cube), a cube-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is the most sacred site in Islam. Muslim mosques are aligned with qibla, Muslims are buried with their faces in the direction of the qibla, and the fact that all Muslims pray towards the Kaaba is traditionally considered to be a symbol of the unity of all Muslims worldwide,” (Wikipedia, Qibla).