Archive | June 2014

Is the Arabic Language dying?

Disclaimer:

Well… the disclaimer is just so I could write freely and not be bashed by poorly written comments. This is nothing but my opinion. If you disagree, you could have a nice comment discussion in the reply section, but if you wanna blurt things out to feel like you’re an honorable person, go do that on your room’s walls where someone would actually be happy about how awesome you are while hating on others, I’m sure you have your own reasons.

I am writing this for my own reasons, I enjoy exploring my thoughts. Truth is, after writing this article, Arabic is not dying at all.

Also, I would like to apologize for not writing in Arabic, as I just do not have the adequate command of the Arabic language to be able to get my point across the way I would like to.

 

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I guess that sways us into the next beat quite smoothly, eh?

It probably is quite the best way to start this post actually. I am a person who (in my own mind at least) has some interesting thoughts and ideas to discuss, and the best way I can do it is using the English language, despite being an Arab in and out.

But see that’s the thing. I was privileged with a wonderful, mind-opening education in school, and you can probably guess, that it was almost completely taught in English. And well lately, seeing people’s discussions online, I have not seen any intellectual Arabic comments. I do not know if the correlation is there, but in Amman (I do not know enough about other governorates) if someone does not talk English, she/he does not give the impression of being a well-read, intelligent person.

But, please, hear me out. I have met people who are extremely intelligent who do indeed speak and write mostly in Arabic, and they had an Arabic, public school education. But it is just a stigma I guess: People who speak “perfect English” sound more intelligent. And you will also see this in universities as well, the people who had great school education and speak fluent English just seem to give off a different impression. Probably because people who go to public schools don’t normally speak “perfect English”.

Well, whether you misunderstand me or not, and I bet you do. I think that the Arabic language is dying partially because of that idea. There is no deeper education in Arabic, it’s just seen as the basic knowledge thing, and nothing that stands out as a superior education. The English language is linked with having a good education.

This is of course not aided by the rise of technology in the Information Age (while thankfully, this is changing slowly). The benchmark for technological capabilities is the ability to read and write in English. But isn’t that pathetic? Germany is already having a huge number of articles in German on the internet, along with communities, forums, web-based companies, and user-friendly interface! The internet is a huge field just waiting to be used, it’s a canvas for almost every single company to use, and yet when you go on embassy websites, they are utterly misleading and poorly organized. Thank god there are people who contribute to Wikipedia and translation pages. There is also the fact that for some reason, viral pictures in Arabic are usually low-resolution and poorly-designed, but this too is changing, because with the realization of more methods of presentation, and the better education available for using design software, there is a higher chance of people putting more work into what they create, because they actually want to.

I guess what I’m actually trying to say, is the main reasons Arabic is dying is because of how poorly presented it was in the virtual realm, and how much more people seem to need the English language in work and even while dealing with others.

More things should be forced to be done in Arabic, develop it and make it evolve into something more scientific. It has to grow, and should not just be left behind in the days of people who “wrote well”.

Arabic is not even dying, it is about to catapult into being a bigger part of our technological culture. And that’s where we should start. Along with the urban stuff I rant about, Culture starts from language, and that, actually, is the real place where we create a basis of understanding. Education consistently moving with a physical environment to nurture it.

Let’s keep it going.

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Here I am, with a great education, yet I can not seem to bring myself to write in Arabic. Why? Why can I not write in Arabic? I can, yes and I would, but maybe at this point in my life it is more important to bring out my ideas in the most efficient ways possible, and due to my education, I am writing in English. While others who actually studied in Arabic get to change the culture and lives of people due to their being truthful to their roots. People like me are kind of part of what slowly kills Arabic.

It’s because it’s easier isn’t it? It’s just easier to think using the language that you were using more during “intellectual” subjects rather than just for “street talk”.

I can still help with my thoughts, right? Thoughts have no language.

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سلام

سعد

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“Our neighbor is a potential enemy, as long as we cannot avoid him – but maybe a friend, if the possibility of encounter is provided.”

Originally:

„Unser Nachbar ist potentieller Feind, solange wir ihm nicht ausweichen können – vielleicht aber Freund, wenn die Möglichkeit zur Begegnung zur Verfügung gestellt wird.“

– Herman Herzberger

 

This!

I think this is one of the prime problems with Jordan’s design; the lack of contact.

Also, this post contains a degree of generalizing by the way, nitpicks be warned.

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If you’ve read any of my previous urban-related work, you’ll know that I’m very much for encounters between people. I believe they really do cause the mending and shaping of culture. Change will only happen when people interact. And I’m sure there are Jordanians who would admit the fact that they do not know nor trust their neighbors, and that they would not talk to them unless they need to.

Furthermore, the ability to hide from people within the comfort of one’s home while being able to gain what they need for survival could further hurt the social fabric of a neighborhood. Kids do not play outside together as often as I remember. I recall the streets being ridden with kids playing with fireworks and football in certain times, and this decline in “kids playing outside” (very professional phrasing, I know) should not be allowed to go on, as kids do really make a lot of the neighborhood’s social fabric, especially when the parents are forced to meet for the sake of knowing who their kids are socializing with.

I think the government should know better and should be designing the city so as to force encounters to happen, and to force them to happen in public, so that they would not be life-threatening. Well this should all, of course, happen gradually while the education system is improved to push people away from violent solutions to problems. However, this “real” world encounter is what causes people’s opinions to change, as they are forced to improvise/react naturally.

Is it on their agenda? Possibly. Even if it were, they would not say, I think people would not like to mix that often, as they do not really trust each other as a people, except maybe in certain areas. But maybe that is why the gas prices are increasing, forcing people to walk to a bus stop more often and thus meeting more people and, hopefully, to interact.

I know this is very idealistic, but I think it’s a goal, and it can only happen when the people themselves resolve their problems so they would be able to get along, probably even creating a smoother economy and trust between people to serve better products; forcing local markets and shops to be more common and a better alternative for people than brand names and imports.

People have to have a general culture to go by that is not led by religion or tribalism or any sect whatsoever, but rather a culture created by the people. This is really why arts should be made and put out in the public realm rather than only in pubs and festivals; so they would become part of people’s everyday lives, and so they could express the streets (the public realm) more accurately.

Yes, I know, people have bigger concerns, but the government should know what to support in order to make things happen.

 

Whew… Let’s end it with a joke… Oh wait… I guess I already did. Low blow, I know. But I’m trying to hold any reader’s attention span by this point. Oh well.

 

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Cheers!

Saed

Artistic Disconnection

Are the artists disconnecting from the audience due to them being afraid for their own well-being, or is the audience pushing artists away by being too shy?

Are artists ruining art, or is it the audience?

“I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is: How do we make people pay for music? What if we started asking: How do we let people pay for music?”

-Amanda Palmer (The Art of Asking, TED talks)

 

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Well think about it like this, who would support innovation? Let’s use the metal music community, those who find innovation and the latest Opeth album as absolute trash because it’s not heavy and it does not have any harsh vocals. I guess it isn’t the best example because Mikael Akerfeldt is a genius, but I’m sure Opeth lost some fans and gained others with that album. See the thing is, I think that if the band is not constantly changing then it just becomes stale.

I sometimes record things for fun alone because I composed them and like to remind myself sometimes that I do have some ideas that work and well it just makes me happy. But anyway, my music taste has gained some different influences and sounds, and the stuff that I play and compose for myself sometimes are just completely different. I could say that I grew creatively and broadened my horizon, and well it’s just a beautiful process. Just like my writing grew with time an ended up not needing to resort to using curse words to make jokes (despite that being a @*^!$!% great idea sometimes, especially in text with censorship).

 

Point is, everything changes and grows, and the moment something is meant to stay put because something forced it to, or because it was a conscious ac, it can become stale. That’s not like saying “OH I’M FORCING MYSELF TO WORK ON THIS DRAWING, IT’S NOT MEANT TO BE” no, dude. No. Discipline to deliver is not passion to create.

I’m talking about the creative process.

This, by the way, really relates to the teaching methods in many architecture schools (well it at least applies to mine). The criticism we get is more of a “ew, what’s that, it’s silly” and “do this” rather than, “since you’re going for this, this might work, and this aspect contradicts your idea”.

If someone makes a decision to make a point, it should not be changed; but rather helped and discussed. Especially in artistic expression. Architecture has its standards, and you really should be aware of mistakes you make, but that should not make you bind your creativity with realism. Mistakes of concept do not necessarily bring in scoffs of “what’s this” as if you’re expected to not know better, followed by a series of “point-lost” conversation, but should rather be understood, and they do not indicate technical mistakes. While composition basics are there for a reason, the breaking and ruination of such basics is what makes a point. It just all has to reflect in the logical rules. So if you are trying to break it, you should do it as best you can.

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I pretty much did digress for a while, but having read (and maybe even experienced) all of that, the point might be clear to you. The artist should not be doing something forced for the audience, because while the art is for the people, its delivery of its message via its flawed artist’s ideology is what makes it personal and allows people to connect to it, not its creative method; nobody connects to whether it’s water colors or crayons, they might like the medium, but the personal connection is not done through it (with some different cases of course). If the artist is able to express joy with a wailing instrument to make joy contrast brightly against it, it is doing its job well. It is able to express it. Thus, the audience does not have a say on how it should be, unless the artist wills it. Thus, when money-making pushes how you create music, it hinders the innovation and growth of that art, and could force a compromise out of the artist. Thus, we, the people, should understand that we are disconnecting ourselves from the artists by only wishing things to be done our way when they change styles.

That lack of understanding roles can call for a disconnection between the artists. I guess it is only when people understand why the artist does something, and what their part in the art is, would we be able to support it well enough even without pushing it into a money-making trend.

I have totally lost myself in my thoughts, and I don’t quite know where I have ended up. But I would say it is this:

You make people pay by making what they want without you (as the artist) being involved personally with the product, and you let them pay by making something that you soulfully feel, and them being attracted to your honest expression.

It is pretty flawed as a statement, but I think the general idea kinda makes sense there.

“But Saed, I pirate music”… That is irrelevant.

“But Saed, I don’t pay for my music, nobody makes me”… Yeah because they sell it to the radio stations you hear it on and since you listen to it, you’re helping the radio make money so they could (yep) buy another hit song for you to hear.

Am I right? Well I don’t know I’m probably wrong, it happens. But I enjoy the exploration of the idea in theory so that it would lead to different ideas and strategies later.

 

…. Yeah I think that says what I want it to say. That is how we are disconnected from the artist. They are only seen as people architecting (yes, you can use it as a verb; “to architect” is a real verb) what we need for our clubs and summers and our “chill-outs”, when they actually cater to the death of individual and emotional relationship to music. Music that does not make its point extremely obvious, like classical music, has an openness to it that allows people to imagine something along with the soundscapes, thus putting themselves in that piece, and they get connected to it mentally by having a piece of themselves (poetically speaking) in it. Kind of like reading books and picturing the characters in your own way.

Whether it’s good or bad is for you to decide for yourself. But the disconnection by blunt and impersonal design is there.

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Whose fault is it? Well it is partially us, because we support what we want, and maybe the greed of “make the song in this formula for money” people. Meh.

I just think it’s good to let your brain connect rather than take the easy way out by taking what you’re given.

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Cheer,

WCH

A Sketch

Just thought I’d share this here, I thought it was pretty good. ^ – ^

Quick thought, why do so many artists sound dry when they post a drawing or something on their blog. It’s annoying, I mean at least be excited about it.
“Hey guys, here’s a new spray on piece of art. I called it Mary. It’s available on print or canvas.” Might as well go on and say, “but none of you will buy anything, because you’re all cheap and unappreciative.”

Anyway, that was me trying to be funny. So here’s the actual sketch (get it? Heh).

 

sketch 5

Human and Machine

What’s the difference between man and machine? The fact that we can think for ourselves? Our thoughts are from what happens around us, and just like a machine, we get programmed by what goes on. Then we start to deduce, and imitate, just like a machine can be programmed to do.

What is the difference then, between an uneducated person, who was not taught to think, but merely to follow, and a machine? Also, what is the difference between someone who googles any question he is asked and a machine?

If a machine is given the ability to google things, including emotions (which would probably contain the norm response and reactions of someone feeling the emotion), it would technically be able to feel, and even think.

Actually if you think about it, even feelings are kind of programmed into us as we are young. That’s why people have a different sense of humor; as a child, some people laugh when they see others laughing, because they deduce that something is funny, just like some people deduce that getting hurt is bad, or that certain sounds are funny, or that some things out of the “ordinary” are funny or scary. Our feelings are kind of just reactions after all.

Then we gain a sense of self by what happens around us by further deduction. Is that the fine line between man and machine? Hmmm… Well a sense of self is also something gained via environments and society. That’s why abuse is so horrible, because it can lead someone to disbelieve and devalue him/herself, which could actually lead someone to being more of a machine, in that he/she deduces that he/she is useless and disposable, and it would be fine and ordinary. That feeling is communicated to him/her via the expression of the abuser, the tone, the image, the sound.

 

“But Saed that’s so insensitive…!”

Yeah, I know it sounds that way, but it’s just an angle of looking at things, kinda like bringing it down a notch from all the “advanced” psychology to simpler, more raw terms that regular people deal with on a daily basis. It really makes you think in a different way. People like to think that they have no responsibility in their world, but people are so reactive that they really should be at least handled with care.

Obviously, not all emotions are reactive, but they way we function as a society does mold feelings into reactions and a form of communication, rather than expression; that is, the emotions become a two-way communication method with the development of socializing, rather than a one-way road of a top-down, order-based relationship

Actually after saying that, does that make digital communication a step back? Is it hindering the truth of reactions and the raw emotion that can be communicated? Sure emoticons are there to better bridge the broken communication, but there is still that easy way of escaping and avoiding contact and facing repercussions. People can’t see directly how their words are affecting who they talk to, nor can they understand the emotion and responsibility involved with people and relationship. There is a much lighter weight for human contact I guess, it’s just… well, taken lightly I guess.

I know it might sound stupid, but I think we’re closer to machines than we think.

Well I had fun just writing that.

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I guess,

Saed

Heroism

The world does not need heroes, it wants them.

The easy way out, that one person to come, change the world, fight everyone, make it on his own with his great will and determination, and make the world better for those around him. He would “save” them from the world that was, and fix it, as they would merely watch and wait for things to get better, believing in others rather than themselves, believing that they are too weak to change anything, that they are unable to make a leap of faith (in themselves), when it is only their wish of security that stops them from leaping. Albeit them understanding what is right and what would be the right thing to do, they would not do it.

Responsibilities, security, the future, livelihood, family…

They are all either strengths that push us to fix, yet they can be the anvils on our backs if we do not see clearly. Do we dare, or do we sit back and hope for change; hope for a hero.

Someone to toss away all that we could not, someone to do what he thinks is right, without having to deal with said “weights”. And through our daily stories of heroes, none are born without a great loss, as if it were a sacrifice to propel the hero forward, such that she/he has nothing to lose, and that this lack of connection is what creates heroes, rather than the will. Perhaps it is the joy of being with loved ones that prevents people from being “heroic” and doing the right thing, and only when the comfort is shaken would the hero rise for vengeance.

It is never presented to be a will to fix, a wish to create, or a collective choice that creates a hero. But it is loss, and the lowest point that squeezes one out of the depths of one’s self.

I ask, however, of the true value of these story’s beauty. Is that true? Is that what a hero is meant to be? Do people only do what is right when they are forced to? Do we only wish to protect others when we lose our own people to protect?

It seems as though that is the image that is around when it comes to heroes. Maybe it has become more realistic lately, after the demise of the Hollywood heroes and those who have everything, into the weaker being who rises to the occasion, giving people hope in their defiance of a harsh fate. When it seems resistance is futile, the hero rises and resists what others could not resist, as they do not have the gut to risk others’ well-being in order to do what is “right”. Because people’s lives tend to depend on others’, and the only people who you cannot fight (even if they do something bad to you), are those who give you the well-being you wish to keep.

 

Just some thoughts really, I know it was probably spoken before, but I ended up writing all this down so… Yeah

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I guess,

 

Saed

Existence

I kind of see a bit of beauty in it. I don’t know if you could call it spiritual or just luck, but I get a warm feeling sometimes knowing that at some point in time, two people randomly look up the same thing, decide to make a comment, they end up replying, discussing some things, unusually in a positive and civil manner, and there you go. A positive “encounter” that just makes both people feel better, learn something, or get something off their chest, and then they walk away.

I find such encounters one of the most beautiful things about the internet. It might be a porn dump/scam-riddled place, but within the normal places, you do get to meet some interesting people. It is, however, sad that people used to meet people in places such as pubs, cafes, buses, festivals, concerts, and now they just meet for a bit then disappear out of each others’ lives.

I don’t know if anyone else agrees with this, but I think the older generation of people are much more social and warm to talk to. Sure we all do talk and “mingle” (hate that word), but I don’t think we have the same charm or ability as people who were socializing all the time instead of playing games alone or whatever.

Yeah it’s just a generalization but I just thought I might as well put it out there. But yeah, the internet is a nice place sometimes, even though I am getting bored of it quite a bit lately. I guess it’s because of the pressure of “adulthood” dawning on me, I just have the constant pressure over my head to do something with my life, mind you, that pressure is from myself, not society. I really don’t like just sitting around the whole time, but until I get a job it’s just going to be boredom, and nothing to discuss when I see people because my life is about as empty as a flying plastic bag.

Might also explain why I’m kind of on edge; not doing anything is horrible for your confidence. Seriously. Maybe it’s due to the pressure of society and people all around you doing things in their lives, but hey, it’s just how it is, you don’t like feeling useless either.

So here I am I guess, on the blog that was not supposed to be personal but rather just creative, but I guess an outlet is an outlet, and writing is a bit of a creative process, too, right? The working class hippie is just unemployed, with a band on the side, trying to do something with his life and find his meaning, trying to balance out his priorities when everyone else seems to have it quite easy.

Anyway, I guess this was just a rant/filler post. We’ll see how everything goes from now on.

Go with the flow, am I right?

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I guess,

Saed