Mujalifah's mighty musings in mirth and magnanimity

Sunday, January 22, 2006

mujalifah's gone to

I'll no longer be posting here.

But I will be posting here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

sexuality, metaphor and metamorphosis

Rushdie says that the fear of women's sexuality is partly behind Islamic extremism. I infer from the article that this is how he explains the Western embrace of women's sexuality:

"The Western-Christian world view deals with the issues of guilt and salvation, a concept that is completely unimportant in the East because there is no original sin and no savior," he said

And what I get from this quote is that when we talk about women's sexuality, we're just talking about sexuality period.

And then there's this interesting bit on the notions of metaphor and metamorphosis from the philosopher Santayana's "Life of Reason". Apparently Greeks seldom if ever used metaphors, says Santayana.

"the classic mind could well conceive transformation, of which indeed nature is full; and in Greek fables anything might change its form, become something else, and display its plasticity, not by imperfectly being many things at once, but by being the perfection of many things in succession. While metaphor was thus unintelligible and confusing to the Greek, metamorphosis was perfectly familiar to him." (Chapter 6 of Reason in Religion)

Santayana goes on to say that this is why Christ's metaphor at his Last Supper was transformed into a doctrine and practice of metamorphosis. It was easier for the Greek-influenced mind to swallow metamorphosis than metaphor.

Monday, August 01, 2005

the holistic murmur: to grumble with grumbling tummies

On the changing use of the word "protest"

Geoffrey Nunberg gives a short overview of the historical use of the word protest - emphasizing that in recent years the word has lost the preposition that properly should be accompanying it. "I protested against you" became something like "I protested my mistreatment". What is of interest to me in the usage of the word in this way is the ambiguity that seems present in the identification of whom the protest is against. I'd argue that "Protesting against the government" isn't quite the same as "protesting the government". By this latter usage I could mean that I'm protesting against you for what the government does.

On coming back to the heart of protest, because it is all about you, all about you G-d

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?" Moses also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD." - Exodus 16:6-8

// Moses and Aaron do not feel that they are worthy of being the subject of protest - of Israel's grumbling. If the Lord's people grumble, it ought not to be against them, mere men, but rather against the Lord. It is because they grumble that their Lord will reveal his glory. They will see, because they grumble against him.

What’s more is that the grumbling is physical as much as it is ideologically. Their Lord freed them from Egypt, but they grumble because they feel captive in that freedom. And their stomachs grumble as they grumble. However, their Lord will answer their grumbling, showing them that leaving Egyptwas his will. He will answer their grumbling, giving them food. Only Aaron and Mosesbesoughtd them to recognize that their grumbling is against their Lord and not mere men.

"How dare they grumble against God?" someone might ask. "Does that not rob him of his glory?"
But grumbling against God is evidently affirmed here. They were right in their grumbling (wrong in their disobedience that followed). Moses even affirms it. He says it is better they grumble against their God than man. Aaron and Moses appear to consider it degrading of their Lord's honour that they as mere men be the victim of Israel's grumbling - a grumbling that is the product of those who have reconciled themselves with their need for food in their desire for life. Thus, they grumble against their Lord as their stomachs grumble against him. There grumbling against God is motivated by a desire for life. There appears to be nothing wrong here with that.

In this context, Romans 13:1-7 becomes interesting and may have a different hue of light shed upon it in lieu of the previous passage.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.
The usual mantra that I've been exposed to by those who identify 60's rebellism in today's pop culture, conclude that the system will only be replaced by another system. The rebel will only birth a new system by their rebellion against the system. Whether it is the Glorious Revolution of England or the French Revolution, there's a sense that rebels usually end up establishing a new system that is only as tyrannical if not more than the one before. While I'm interested in identifying the exceptions to that rule, it would seem in this passage that for a system to exist it must necessarily require God's blessing.

That "rulers hold no terror for those who do right" appears compatible with the passage from Exodus where Aaron and Moses say "Who are we, that you should grumble against us?" Their institution as leaders, would be futile and a disgrace to their God for the Israelites to challenge. If you feel (or more strongly know) you are in the right and blameless in God's sight, the message appears to be - take the protest to God not man.

Monday, July 04, 2005

tub, suit, self

Watch the video on zed. Wait for it. It doesn't stream.

Doing something on a Friday evening is what I really do prefer. We filmed this video one evening in May and it was very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the next one of these.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Song of the Spirits

To the deep, to the deep,
Down, down!
Through the shade of sleep,
Through the cloudy strife
Of Death and of Life;
Through the veil and the bar
Of things which seem and are
Even to the steps of the remotest throne,
Down, down!

While the sound whirls around,
Down, down!
As the fawn draws the hound,
As the lightning the vapour,
As a weak moth the taper;
Death, despair; love, sorrow;
Time both; to-day, to-morrow;
As steel obeys the spirit of the stone,
Down, down!

Through the gray, void abysm,
Down, down!
Where the air is no prism,
And the moon and stars are not,
And the cavern-crags wear not
The radiance of Heaven,
Nor the gloom to Earth given,
Where there is One pervading, One alone,
Down, down!
In the depth of the deep,
Down, down!
Like veiled lightning asleep,
Like the spark nursed in embers,
The last look Love remembers, Like a diamond, which shines
On the dark wealth of mines,
A spell is treasured but for thee alone.
Down, down!

We have bound thee, we guide thee;
Down, down!
With the bright form beside thee;
Resist not the weakness,
Such strength is in meekness
That the Eternal, the Immortal,

Most unloose through life's portal
The snake-like Doom coiled underneath his throne
By that alone.

[from PB Shelley's Prometheus Unbound]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

videoed conversations

"What does it mean to speak? The current view declares that speech is the activiation of the organs for sounding and hearing. Speech is the audible expression and communication of human feelings. These feelings are accompanied by thoughts. In such a characterization of language three points are taken for granted:

1) speaking is expression...
2) speech is regarded as an activity of man...
3) human expression is always a presentation and representation of the real and the unreal." - Mr. Heidegger.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


When something is threatened, it withdraws into itself. Dread, above all things, makes us draw into ourselves, makes us pale and lonely. Dread is vague; unlike fear it has no single clear-cut object. Its fog is all the more crippling for that; it can be so dense, so full of horror, that the ego sinks helplessly away. And it draws back into an inwardness devoid of ego, a lonely, contact-less realm, where all one expects is the next blow.

The man possessed by fear, however, still possess himself. There is an external object htere, against which he can pluck up courage. With his ego still (unlike with dread) undissipated, he is still able at least to assert ihmself against it, however down-trodden or weak-kneed he might be. And from fear can come murmuring: the sound which first distinguishes a man from the blinkered herd.

Ernst Bloch from Atheism in Christianity

20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

26Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:20-27

Who dares? for I would hear that curse again.
Ha, what an awful whisper rises up!
'Tis scarce like sound: it tingles through the frame
As lightning tingles, hovering ere it strike.
Speak, Spirit! from thine inorganic voice [1.135]
I only know that thou art moving near
And love. How cursed I him?

Prometheus speaks from PB Shelley's Prometheus Unbound