Monthly Archives: May 2011

التهكم،السخرية، والتغيير

Arabic بالعربي.

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Filed under Arts, Literature, Social Organization

Ridiculing Ourselves…Sarcasm and Change

I have noticed that the there is an ongoing trend in Lebanese thought, literature, art, and general attitude: the “caricaturization” of our vices with a sarcastic and condescending tone of voice.

It seems everyone has something to say about how ridiculous Lebanon has become, politically and socially. Everyone is a critic with a sharp eye and rapier wit… Lebanese wit is definitely thriving!

I just have to stop and say this: it has become tiresome.  I don’t want to read another book or article or social media status, and I don’t want to listen to another song cleverly describing the following subjects:  The vanity of Lebanese women, The chaos of traffic, The corrupt officials, The night life, The plastic surgery, The treatment of domestic workers, The price of gas, The electricity, The slow internet, The deforestation and other environmental disasters, The hypocrisy, The decline of musical taste, etc…..

Mockery and cynicism seem to have become the communication outlet of choice:  Oh we are so smart, we see the problems and we tell them in a way that makes the reader or listener chuckle “a la Ziad Rehbani”.  But guess what? It ain’t funny anymore; it’s gone on for too long, we have taken a good look at ourselves in the proverbial social mirror and many times we don’t like what we see, and I believe it is a little dangerous to keep mocking ourselves and finding the humor in a bad situation. This can be counter productive and makes us less prone to find solutions, or to accept these changes as inevitable in the highly dynamic Lebanese environment.

One more thing:  Perspective is a very important thing.  To those writing so drolly about the vices of our society, I urge you to reconsider your perspective and your purpose.  Do you just want to amuse people by tormenting them with their weaknesses? Do you want to share your perspective for fame and profit?  Do you want to hold up a mirror to show people their true selves in order to initiate change?

We have serious problems, and I think we’ve ridiculed ourselves long enough about them, let’s either accept them as the reality of who we are, or find serious ways of eradicating them.

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Filed under Anthropology, Literature, Social Organization

Happy “Difficult or Compulsory Expenditure of Physical or Mental Activity” Day

Here are two definitions of labor by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Usually dictionary definitions tend to rely on the perception of the meaning of a word in its cultural and societal setting.

a : expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory.

b (1) : human activity that provides the goods or services in an economy (2) : the services performed by workers for wages as distinguished from those rendered by entrepreneurs for profits.

I wish they had just stuck to definition b(1), the other definitions of the word labor are unattractive and depressing: they carry some oppressive implications.  I guess definition b(2) implies that entrepreneurs don’t actually labor?

Everyone works for a living, even the most privileged of people do have to do some kind of work.  It is essential for humans to feel productive in some way, even if this productivity does not necessarily “provide goods or services in an economy”.

One’s work is very closely related to the definition of one’s identity in their surroundings, and so many people work or labor for something that does not really manifest their true self, therefore creating a sort of false identity.

Personally I am striving for productivity that does not entail “labor”; I want to enjoy what I do while it pays the bills. Although it has been a difficult journey, it has also been deeply satisfying on a personal and psychological level, if not on the fiscal level.  Learning not to compromise on what defines you as a person in both work and relationships is a very enlightening experience.  You priorities shift, and you discover the real intangible  value of your “work”: the real worth is not measured in economic return, but in personal mental, moral, and intellectual growth.

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Filed under Social Organization