choice, fate and the phoenix


The video I attach to this post I first came across on chocolate mints in a jar blog. It contrasts two myths, the cinderella myth vs the phoenix myth. Both myths deal with change, but cinderella requires some external fairy godmother to come along and ‘save us’ from whatever situation we are in. The phoenix on the other hand is within us, by picking apart what makes us ‘us’ by getting down to the nitty gritty, we get to the core of our being. We can rebuild our lives in the image that we want, away from the chains of society. We can decide what is important and what is not. This in turn opens up the channels of creativity, allowing for new ideas and such.

The Phoenix does not necessarily need to facilitate profound change in our lives or our achievements. But it can lead to greater fulfillment and happiness. I have have burned some of my phoenixes, boiled down my beliefs to their very essence, and as a result I know I chose to be Muslim for example.

I really connected with the speakers example of the ‘good girl’ who does everything according to ‘expectation’ and desires recognition for that by those who imposed the expectations on her, only to b badly burned and left feeling trapped and depressed.

This also reminds me of a friend of mine who truly is a victim of the fatalistic mentality. She is of the opinion that things will come to you. So, for example, even if you fell into a well (her example not mine) the man you will end up marrying will fall into that well with you. This total surrender to the whims of time and chance scare the living daylights out of me.

But I wonder, what false beliefs do I hold that may be holding me back from trying to achieve certain things in my life?


How un-racist is britain?

This year’s Celebrity Big Brother program, where a bunch of celebreties are chucked into a house and warched by the public whoo votes one of them out every week, has caused quite the international stir this year.

The main character’s at the centre of this crisis are britain’s Jade Goody, contestant in a previous non-celebrity version of big brother, and india’s Shilpa Shetty, Bollywood actress. Ms. Shetty has been the victim of serious racial bullying within the house, having touched the food some housemates were disgusted, with one of them declaring ‘you have no idea where those hands have been’, when she disposed of the chicken soup down the toilet, a housemate suggested that ‘pick the bones out with her teeth’, when she applied hair bleach to her face, they declared that is was because white women are considered more attractive in india, and that she was a ‘dog’, her perfect english was ridiculed, and they just wanted her to go ‘home’.

Shilpa Shetty

Throughout this all, Shilpa remained very dignified, classy and respectable, calmly telling the pig ignorant housemates to ‘take some eloqution and manners classes’.

In protest, 40, 000 complaints were recieved regarding the show, one of the shows sponsers withdrew their sponsorship, and The Perfume Shop removed Jade Goody’s perfume from their shelves, and Gordon Brown apologies profusely to the Indian public… India is the 2nd largest investor in London, which may explain the politicians’ decency.

Jade was eventually voted out with an amazing 80% of the public voting to get her out.

So, why should I care? Well, the media declares that this is a window unto the british people, and that is worrying. Even though I dont believe it, I have not really experienced such vile animosity, except once from a pig ignorant BNP person, British society is far more varied than the media is giving it credit for. However, the rise of the fascists is gaining momentum, with even the prime minister paying his respect to them with such statements as ‘…and if they dont like it, they should go home’. So I would say the events at the Big Brother house, even though not representative of the real Britain, is certainly a mirror unto the future IF nothing is done about it.

Victims of circumstance…

To surrender ourselves to circumstance may be liberating in that we lose the responsibility that comes with leading our lives, but with come some very serious side effects, namely a lack of self-motivation which entails major losses for the quality of our lives. We become bitter and envious when those we percieve to be less talented or less intelligent ourselves achieve more than us, and we lose control of our lives.

‘Do as little as you can get away with’ is some people;s philosophy, and then they put someone esle down for going the extra mile. To put down is easy, but to withstand that put down is not, so the laziness and bitterness has a tendency to propogate through people. Negativity breeds like a weed, and often requires a herculean effort to overcome it.

How often has societies expectations or presumptions steered us away from a certain path? How often have we undershot our goals so as it to keep within the community standards of achievement? We all know of the american class ‘nerd’ shunned by his peers, or the Arab ‘bookworm’ considered uncool? How about those who step out of the box to go the extra mile? Those who achieve that which we never tried to achieve, dont we find scenarios to detract from that person’s achievement, like we imagine they are well connected, had extra help with studies, was blessed with a foreign passport or fell upon a pot of gold?

I know, achievement is a mixture of opportunity, intellect, skill and sheer luck, but genius as they say is only 1% inspiration the rest is all blood and sweat. So whether this inspiration is in the form of intellect, skill or chance, to turn that into a success is mainly up to you, and we should not let anyone detract from that.

devotion to a cause

Palestine and Iraq are dwindling further into chaos and hardship. We, on the outside look on and cheer when they take a difficult yet dignified stand, even when they are starving. We, on the outside look on and scorn when those starving ‘beg’, and we accuse them of selling the cause for a crumb. We, on the outside, dont have a leg to stand on.

We live in the lap of luxury, with the convenience of fantastic health care, education and career choices. We are mostly free to be ourselves and determine whichever path to direct our lives. Do we really have any right to judge the Gazan, who has spent his life under occupation, who has had the house he built demolished, who has been burnt by white phosphorous, and who blew himself up on a bus of Israeli’s? Is it fair that we sit, bellies full, and minds rested, and say ‘that is immoral, that is not the islamic way’ when we do nothing to help this person in their plight?

The world looks on as the Palestinians implode upon themselves, and resort to extreme measures to free themselves from the shackles, and condemns them.

In Iraq, a country where women were strong, highly educated professionals and mothers, who now cannot leave the house without a male escort, for over 200 Iraqi women have been kidnapped and sold into the sex trade. Where many now live as refugees in neighbouring countries, and those who remain, deseperate for work to support their families are blown up at the job market by and unknown sadist.

We do nothing but look on and tut, we may give charity to help, we may include them in our prayers, some may even return to do humanitarian/charity work, but is that enough? To be able to truly help Palestine and Iraq, and in doing so save our dignity and thus our futire, requires self sacrifice, of the sort that those of us brought up in the pristine streets of the emirates cannot comprehend. The type of sacrifice that swallows you whole, where your personal desires cease to exist. This is where marriage and family life get thrown out the window, where careers get flushed away, and you become a robot of the cause. Then you will die, alone and misunderstood, demonised by the world, and turned on by your own people brainwahsed by those you sought to free them from.

Looking at the Middle East, any ‘solution’ will require the type of self sacrifice I mentioned above, the ending is a bit extreme, but when you devout yourself to a cause, you can no longer ‘connect’ with people, and therefore be viewed as weird or odd. It is the kind of devotion that pushes people to join Hamas or Hizbullah, even though it is a career death sentence, or a ‘life outside of struggle’ death sentence.

We look on, we tut and cheer as the whims take us, and at the end of the day… could we ever devout to the cause?