Saturday, July 31, 2010

Greed Equals Pain !!!

We come on this planet for a relatively short time. A hundred years is stretching it a little bit but let's just imagine that this figure is average. And what do we do while here? We create wars, wars and more wars everywhere. Why is this? Why do we kill others when death is inevitable? Why can't we enjoy our time here and be thankful and create a place where our experience here is never harrowing. But no!! Our leaders want to fight .. they want to acquire .... they want to shorten other people's lives .... they want to go down in history ..... and for what?

Of course, wars are a necessary evil to protect us from the enemy. But the enemy is something that we make ourselves. If we never bother about attacking and acquiring, then there will be no such thing as enemy and if there is no enemy then there isn't the need to protect and be protected. It all boils down to GREED !!!!

Greed is the devil!!! It is the curse of everyone and everything. It is that which brings about pain and suffering. It is that which blinds us to reality. It is that which makes us forget that we are not here forever. It is that which changes dynamics in small groups and societies. It is that which has replaced God (the gods) in our lives.

Why can't we realise that this has been happening since the Garden of Eden's times and its consequences were never positive. After all this time, do we believe that something good can come out of it? Not really. Why not work hard and create a better, safer, happier and fairer world for everyone? This buffles me!!

This picture was taken in Berlin (somewhere near the Berlin Wall)!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are Animals More Human ???

Sometimes you look at the creatures we call 'animals' and wonder if they are more human than we are. You hear of human cruelty that not even the wildest animal would ever do. Today, I was shocked as I learnt about the case of Khyra, a seven-year-old girl who was starved to death by her own mother and her partner. You just cannot help but wonder: what is this?

I have always said and believed that certain animals can really and truly teach us to be human. They live their lives out of values (we never grant them that but they do - their sense of fairness supersedes ours). They tend to overcome difficulties much faster than we do. They do not quite bother much with differences in species - and us - you're black, you're white, you're straight, you're gay, you're this and you're that. Still, we think that we are the pinnacle of creation. Why are we so arrogant to assume that? Why do we assume that animals do not have souls? My gosh, if animals don't have souls, I wonder who does !!

We say that we are rational and free to choose. Consequently, we are responsible for our actions. For this reason, our crimes (shortcomings) even worse. We cannot say that we are not to be blamed. We are not only animals but rational animals according to Aristotle and this is going to be our condemnation on Judgement Day. We were given reason, and yet we do not always use it as we should. Animals are innocent, we can never be !!! Is all this the result of or lack of a soul within?

The human in the picture is Felix: our family cat !!!!

The Universe (10.09.2004)

We are Lonely Beings
In this Universe
Which scares us Shitless
Because She has a Mind and a Heart
Of Her Own.

We believe that everything
Revolves around us.
But we revolve around everything.
We are the Object of the Universe’s Hatred!!!

She Drowns us when She wants to.
She Shakes us when She wants to.
She Flicks us when She wants to.
She Scorches us when She wants to.

And we are Helpless
And Thankful that it was Others
Who Perished and not Us
Yet petrified that the Day might come
When She decides to pay us an Unexpected Visit
And uses Her awesome Authority
Given to Her by the Almighty.

An Authority which we are
Too Weak and Pathetic
To fight against, even though
Some of us do believe that we are Indispensable.
The Universe can only not exist
Without Herself.

Gosh this is a bit of a bleak poem. I cannot quite remember what inspired me to write it but a catastrophe must have taken place back then. Maybe a Natural Disaster which stayed with me. Or it could have also been the case of some Politician giving the impression that the sun will never rise without his Consent. Actually, the latter sounds more like it !!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spirituality or Religion !!!

Something which has always fascinated me about these Islands is this question: are we religious or spiritual as a nation? In Malta and in Gozo, you cannot walk more than ten metres without bumping into some church or chapel. We are surrounded by them, so much so, that they have stopped having a deeper meaning other than they have become a part of our landscape. But is that the way it should be?

I find that we are much more devotional than spiritual. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this but to stop there is not what the spiritual life entails. I don't think that it is enough to go to Mass on Sundays, and kiss the holy pictures and statues before you sleep. That is not what I believe the spiritual life is all about. Of course, I cannot generalise here, but many people feel (right or wrong is for you to judge) that being devotional is going to secure a seat in heaven. I'm not so sure about that. I think knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus are not exactly the same thing (of course this can also be referring to God for the non-Christian). It's like knowing someone in pictures and knowing someone in real life. The latter is definitely more real and effective than the former.

I find that even though we boast of being a Christian nation, I don't quite see Christianity as much as is expected. Even simply driving on these roads testifies to what I'm trying to say. There is no 'others should come before me' mentality as Christianity professes, but it's all about me .... me ... me ... and me again. What is this? Who are we fooling? Not God for sure. There is no sense of selflessness!! Is it the case that the churches and chapels which surround us everywhere have been taken completely for granted? Are they the mountains which we do not have?

Malta is such a beautiful island. The Maltese are, generally speaking, wonderful people but what gets on my nerves is this hypocritical notion of religion. We need to wake up and realise that there is more than just kissing holy pictures and sleeping on a church bench every Sunday in order to go to heaven. We need to have a relationship with God and that relationship with God has to be the cornerstone of our every single human relationship. Of course, I'm mostly talking to me here ... but if I happen to be talking to you as well, then try and change as well. I'm going to give it a shot !!!! I took this picture in Mgarr last winter. It is one of my favourites as it smacks heavily of Malta and its culture.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Books (08.09.2004)

A Book
Is a printed Friend
… Close at hand

You can find yourself in it
You can read about yourself in it
You can understand yourself in it
You can plan your dreams in it

It teaches you
It guides you
It empowers you
It re-invents you

Explodes the power of your Imagination
Makes you Soul Sensitive
To the World around you
… Understand it better
… Deeper

Helps you escape
The World when it’s painful
… Enter a fancy World
Of Fairies and Hobbits
And their bloody funny feet!!!

Thank you Authors
For your books

As I said in my profile, reading is one of the greatest passions I have in my life. For this reason, I decided a long time ago to write a poem about them. Books are great friends and companions. They open windows ......... they broaden horizons.

What is Beauty?

I took this picture around two years ago. I remember it was a very cold day and yet the sunset was just spectacular. I had never seen such a deep orange sky aligned perfectly with deep black clouds. And I remember saying to myself: can all this beauty be accidental? Can all this beauty be contingent? Is it possible that there is an Artist somewhere out of our reach (or deep down inside us) who is creating all this beauty and perfection?

These moments are intensely spiritual. The body stops participating in time and for some reason or other, it just freezes and contemplates that which the eyes are perceiving. And then Plato came to mind: What is Beauty? How do we comprehend it? We never really see it walking down the street in a physical form and yet we understand it and recognise it when we are confronted by it. Is it the case that we are born with the IDEA BEAUTY? Is Beauty an objective truth which exists even if we do not perceive it? As human beings we do not evaluate things the same but still, we all seem to have the same measurements embedded deep within us. Where did these IDEAS come from? Are they ETERNAL? Are they CREATED? And if they were CREATED who CREATED them? Who brought them into existence?

On the other hand, what about those places/landscapes which are not as beautiful? Shall we say that there is no IDEA to match them? Or is it the case the they are the result of the IDEA BEAUTY's lack of participation? Could it also be the case that we just don't perceive it as beautiful but in actual fact it is because everything created is beautiful?

I don't know what the answers to these questions are or can be. I would appreciate some opinions for sure !!!

The Changelessness of Change !!!

Ah well it has to be admitted that time never stops and it is constantly changing that which it finds in its way. Every time I come across a gentleman like this one (I took this picture in Gozo last year at San Lawrenz), I just stop and think: gosh, this guy was a young child once so completely different from who he is today. Needless to say, it does not necessarily mean that he was better off because ultimately we can never tell where exactly people are in their own very souls. But it fascinates me how we change, how mortal we are, how transcient life is ... how nothing ever remains the same ..... and then of course, I took a good long look at myself and realised that the transformation I had pondered on is actually happening to me as well. The same speed !!! Maybe this guy entered the world before me but apart from that ... the process is the same.

How strange and yet fascinating it all is. We think that we are here forever. We believe that only other people can die but not us and our loved ones. And then ... it happens. Suddenly, we realise that we are all the same fishes (different shapes and colours) in the same ocean after all. And for this reason, life should never be taken for granted. A life taken for granted is death !!! At least that is how I see it. We need to be more awefilled, we need to be more childlike (not childish of course). We need to realise that due to the fact that we had a start, we must also admit that we also have a finish !!! We don't know exaclty when and how ... but there it is !!! It's just a question of more time, more aging, more changes !!!

Life is a precious gift ................. let's treat it so !!!

Life Is Like A River (09.09.2004)

Life is like a River
It always flows
Without ever stopping
… Down
… Down

Sometimes it’s Calm
Sometimes it’s Rough
But always in Motion nonetheless

Activity above it
Activity below it
Just like our Life
… External activity
… Internal activity

… Boats and Ships
… Fishes and Sharks
… Small things
… Big things
But Events nonetheless

Some are Insignificant
… Like Boats and Fishes
Some are Significant
… Like Ships and Sharks
Some are Harmless
Some are Harmful
But always moving down

Sometimes it’s Gray
Sometimes it’s Blue
Sometimes it’s Cold
Sometimes it’s Warm
But whatever
It’s always moving
And we can’t stop it.

Well, we can for a short while
But it’s Unnatural
… Boats and Ships are meant to move
… Fishes and Sharks are meant to swim
Not to stay put
That’s the way it is!!

Life is like a River
… Always moving
… Moving always
Without stopping
… Down
… Down

This is a poem I wrote a few years ago. Actually, I can't believe it has been that long!! I can still remember the emotion which compelled me to pen it down. The meaning of life has always been one of those things which interested me ever since I was a young child. I always felt that there is something beyond the present, beyond that which the senses can sense!! Of course, even to this day I am still trying to search for AN answer rather than THE answer, because I believe that there is the possibility of many!!

God's Beauty

When I look at this image one thing only comes to mind: God's beauty. There is something about nature which for me reflects the face of God. I took this shot last winter at Ghar Lapsi on a very windy day. Photography for me is not just about capturing and freezing precious moments, but it is also an opportunity to connect with the Divine. We are surrounded by God's beauty and yet for me it is the sea which speaks the loudest!! Either it's because I live here on this awesome island (Malta) but for some reason or other, the sea is God's stamp. I cannot be faraway from the sea for too long. I just feel like I am not actually living but existing when I am not able to see it for more than three or four days. It is so much a part of me. It gives me that which I need in order to feel the soul stirring within me. Unfortunately, it has claimed many lives and it will continue doing so, yet when I gaze at it, I just can't help but wonder about our coming into existence.

Charles Darwin's theory might be flawed in many ways, but that life was issued from the sea is definitely a definite truth. Nothing on this planet lives without water, even our cars need water to help them run. Water is that which keeps us going. Water is that which sustains us. Water is our Exodus.

Some people have a problem with the Evolution Theory. This is something which I never quite understood. They claim that it is atheistic. But how can it be so? At the end of the day, Someone had to set this process in motion ..... whether we were instantly created or not, does not in any way support the premise that God does not exist. The First Mover (as Aristotle calls this Supreme Being) is who sets everything in motion without having to be moved.

Isn't it a comforting feeling to know that nature is still in the process of evolution? Nature is stilll alive!! Nature is dynamic!! Nature is becoming!!

Children And Self-Determination !!!

It has been quite a demanding day on my brain today as I spent a good two-thirds of it reading on children and their rights. It's amazing how something so simple can in actual fact turn out to be an academic nightmare. We take it for granted that children should/not have certain rights but then when one is asked to defend such a thesis one finds that it is not as easy as expected. There are many different arguments why minors should/not have certain rights and when you read alot you end up not really knowing what the right decision is.

What stuck though is this: children should not be allowed to exercise self-determination so that they can appreciate its value when they become adults. Any thoughts on this?

Welcome !!

The idea behind this blog is to share thoughts and insights that might strike me as interesting or fascinating during the day about life in general and its meaning. As the name of this blog indicates, 'The Examined Life' is basically a collection of observations which might help me understand life and all that it contains a little bit better.

We are rational creatures and therefore, we are expected to use this faculty in order to come to comprehend higher and nobler truths. Our eyes can only see that which is physical but we all know that it is not only the physical which exists on this planet. There are other things which our eyes cannot see and yet exist nonetheless. Fingers crossed, this blog will enable me to come to see clearer and understand better those things which ultimately really matter !!!