Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Egypt The Land Of Unfortunate Events

I had promised myself at one point that I will try and keep my blog light and breezy. That is why I try to stay clear from all unfortunate events that strike us here in Egypt. Yet, I am overwhelmed. It just seems that Egypt is no longer the land of mysteries, nor even the land of the pharaohs. It is the land of 'crisis'—or azma in Arabic.

But I just can't stand this any longer! Our life here in Egypt is just a series of unfortunate events! One 'crisis' after another: the 'black cloud' crisis, the lack of bread crisis (aka tabour el eish ), and of course the all-time star azemet elzebala: the 'garbage crisis'. Honest to God, what decent nation, in the twenty-first—no heck, even in the twentieth Century—could have a full blown garbage disposal SCANDAL with rubbish lying around everywhere?

But never mind that, let sleeping dogs lie. The last of the unfortunate events is the diesel 'crisis' causing line-ups in front of gas stations, and creating ever-more increasing traffic jams!! As if we needed that here! This 'crisis' shortly followed the Butane distribution shortage—in fact that was only two weeks ago. Well, things aren't going so well in the Petroleum ministry then!! And, as usual, don't expect any explanations or answers from any officials. The scenario goes as follows:

1. The responsible authorities deny the existence of the problem.

2. The media does not stop howling about the non-existence problem, and they coin some catchy 'crisis' term to it.

3. The government newspapers urge the president to personally intervene.

4. The problem disappears into thin air, and no one ever gives an explanation as to why this happened in the first place.

5. Conspiracy theorists have the time of their lives coming up with potential causes.

6. People try to catch their breath, and of course, prepare for the next crisis!!!

Personally, I've just about had it! What about you?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Only Fools Rush In: How To Find The Courage To Be

Yes, the wise men said it. Elvis said it. And everybody knows it: only fools rush in!

We are programmed as children, by our parents and our society, to avoid hastiness. We are always told to 'take our time' and to 'think about things carefully'. As we grow older schools, universities, and even our employers want us to assess and reassess every decision before we take it. We are asked to relentlessly think about our decisions. We are required to contemplate, ponder and ruminate lest we take a wrong decision or say something we shouldn't have.

You may wonder, what's the harm?

Well, let me quote my alter ego,  Hamlet, on this:

"And thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.

And enterprises of great pitch and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.—"

Dangers do lurk everywhere. It is our consciousness, our awareness of these dreads that makes us coward. When the ultimate indecisive tragic hero Hamlet says that our thoughts cast a 'sickly' shadow over our resolution, his wisdom does transcend the ages.

Please, try to humor me and forget for a second that he was actually contemplating suicide . Notice how resolution is referred to as 'native'. It is innate; we are resolute by nature. If an infant had dwelled over his first step, nobody would have walked the face of the earth!!!

Want another modern day example?

Brainstorming! The reason brainstorming is so effective in generating good, creative ideas is the way the process flows, without much interference from the conscious mind. You don't think, you just "do".

Inaction makes your life turn 'awry'.
Take my word on it, sometimes you need to rush in, just dive in and let what is meant to be happen. Over calculation sure makes life safer, but you risk being trapped in your own head, shackled by your own inertia while the rest of the world goes round.