So I found this one lying around in my drafts, and I really do believe in its idea in one way or another, but I’ll just disrespectfully agree with whatever you think, if that’s what your mind likes. Sadly it has been writer’s block this week (especially since I get some nice and beefy poetic ideas, but then forget to write them down somewhere) so I just tossed myself into previous half-done pieces. It was that bad.
Anyway, I hope it’s thought-provoking and interesting to you as it was for me while I was tip-tapping it away on my keyboard. Have fun.
This essay does not support any political side – because politics are games of apes using “civilized” tools -, it merely points out facts and theories to be held over our society as a magnifying glass for an up-down planner’s view of our current situation, and those to come. The purpose is for better-understanding, and critical, deeper thinking before bearing sticks and phones for a demonstration.
After going through a “rough break-up” and the colonization, the Arab world has seen a range of scenes and historical moments in the last century that many other cultures/regions have witnessed over a course of centuries. Perhaps we lagged on a global scale due to our materialistic detachment from the fleeting, rough, yet constant land, or our attachment (emotionally and even physically) to our tribes, or perhaps it is due to our stability in the Islamic times, but we have managed to catch up industrially, again on a global (foreign) scale. Although we had a previous safe and booming nation, our technologies were not technologies as they are thought of in our time. Looking back at our marvels as an Islamic nation, we had green local technologies which worked for us and a society with its own mind and body, almost like a fantasy novel or the eco-friendly, peaceful elf tribe with a grand, majestic leader. But alas, this is being written with a foreign language, using foreign technologies; our ways were not up to par with other, more “advanced” societies. The mud and stone buildings might have been interesting but they were neither slick nor fast enough for the others. Inter-cultural communication was non-existent as most cultures were similar, and we were the second (after the Native Americans) to face the almost-peaceful takeover. The balance in the nation was disturbed, and while that was inevitable, the breakup of the country led to a large difference in resource availability, leading to inter-Levant communications as different powers with different agenda, political interventions, and foreign aids with different agenda. “Are we driven or driving?” is not the question, as we were driven into another direction. Just as ideas spill over each other to create new perceptions and ideas, as well as open and closed doors, being driven has turned our world around and has resulted in many good and bad results.
We were driven by the earth’s humble environment into our current situation, the earth was driven by the sun, the sun was driven… well, then we reach a line where people argue who put what where, so in that sense, it is something out of our reach, so it is out of question, but we are driven by default. However, even as humans, one can say that we are driven by our god or sub-consciousness, again, a “who put what where” situation. That is why, the only things we are (almost) sure of being in control of are our actions, due to our conscious act in most of them. Even though our environment has put our thoughts in our head, we do still have control over what we do with those results.
The thing about our culture (and many religions and regions, as it played a huge part of creating it), however, is that we accept the fact that we are not completely in control. Islam literally means, surrendering control. “Is it a good or bad thing” is up for debate. Then again since the appearance of democracy, or rather “Hollywood democracy”, through globalization we are no longer accepting the fact that we are driven. It is not an easy thing to accept, as we do believe that we are all loved by each of our gods. Nevertheless, breaking away from our culture or from religion in general, while driven by yearning for freedom (as it is fed to us in its glorious box) is seen as a relatively bad deed, as people without religion are seen as people lacking morals. Beliefs are not enough to hold people accountable or trust them as before, people are not becoming more honest about their faith (or lack of it) as we slowly open up to American ideas of freedom. To some it breaks our social fabric into cogs and screws which have no life but only work for a production machine, while to others, the fabric already is restraining, and the democracy brings freedom. One can safely say that the spilling of the idea of democracy is surely to shift the balance, and whole movement of globalization is shifting our scales, we are currently amidst a spill and mix of cultures, and it will take time for the mix to happen. The spill is driven by one side driving into the other, and it has its causes to do so; it is driven to do so by political agendas.
We are all being driven into each other and spilling, and the constant spilling is what gives us the meaning of existence; we are seeking to find the balance born of the war between ideas; to bring the present-at-hand to a ready-at-hand. It was once done with wars and now it is done with propaganda and ideas. We are all units, atoms, that help to make the whole a reality; indicators for the planners of our fate, the drivers of our city. Criminals are suspended so as not to throw the system out of control, the numbers of people and statistics are studied to know how to deal with the change of situation, the residents are provided with “food” and things to keep them motivated. It does seem negative, yet it is the nature of a city, it is even the natural behavior of mammals to stick together and members do their “jobs”. It sounds brutal to the observer, but it is only for allowing certain human tendencies to take control; while we like belonging to something, we also like to be individuals. This contradicts the contemporary products and media which push for special people who save the world and celebrities who have money and live the beautiful life. It motivates people, and the products help make people feel special, but what about the cold truth that we are part of a collective and only contribute simple parts that many can do?
The individuality aspect that people yearn for shines through art and special commodities to display publicly. For the more fortunate it is custom-made objects that give meaning, while for poor people it is art (theoretically). Take Europe for example, where the most renowned renaissance personalities are poor and did their art in the streets or by barely getting by and having support, furthermore, they truly lived the city as a bourgeois never could; they were the “derive” of their time. In our region, collectivity is superior, and those seeking individuality are outcasts; like those with long hair or special fancy cars. The derive are marked as “nawar”. However, the nawar are low-class people with many of their ability hindered by their living situations. Back in the renaissance people could go by, and would not have that many expectations, such as “be a doctor/engineer/architect”. Jordan’s derive have no ability to express themselves, and must do what they can to help the collective and survive. The rest of the country’s classes benefit from having people lower than them to add drama to their lives and anecdotes for colleagues while they live their educated lives travelling in their boxes and avoiding confrontation. However there is the middle class who is currently creating life in the art scene and expressing themselves. While the people in the lower class can make a choice to create art, they are not given the push to create it; they are driven into the circumstances which force them to choose survival over art. Another possible situation that they are driven into is the fact that they do not quite know how to create art, nor do their families see art as something worthwhile as a way to bring food to the table or to maintain a shelter.
Maybe it is all planned, since it is possible due to much psychological, sociological, and scientific advancement. We do have a choice of controlling the drivers below us in the hierarchy, and working on that, we are able to do so. Although it is governed by a “higher power”, we do have a degree of control and responsibility in our positions. We are a system that works together, and we can use our knowledge to fix and add at the right spots in order to make a move in our system. Those who wish for change and those who hold the opposite opinion are two forces we need to keep a pulse fluctuating in the system. The lack of understanding creates a misinterpretation of people and their motives, our renaissance is now, but the mix of contemporary needs for survival and inclusion into society is preventing many generations in certain parts to be left out. The freedom/bohemian feel that we can use to our advantage at our artistic peak is where a huge investment should be put to put people on the same level, before we move into architectural terms to unite our beautiful mix.