Poetry

I swear, since seeing Your face,

the whole world is fraud and fantasy

The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf

or blossom. The distracted birds

can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

A house of love with no limits,

a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,

a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

The Divani Shamsi Tabriz XV

I have had a hard time translating this poem as anything but a pure direct love poem addressed to someone in particular. The descriptions he uses are so in line as to what it may feel like when someone falls deeply in love with someone for the first time, that it is hard to think of it as anything else. So unsurprisingly, the theme of the poem is exactly that- love.

Starting the poem off by stating, “I swear” proves his seriousness on the topic. I have often heard it said that when one falls in love, the way one views the world completely changes. And that can also be said in respect to this poem. Rumi is definitely confused. A better way to phrase it may be that he is perplexed, he is perplexed by this feeling to a point where he has lost power of reasoning. He is so blinded by the beauty of this situation, he can no longer keep a firm grasp on reality and he states, and so he states, can’t the world around him. The way he views reality seems to have changed in a way beyond his understanding. He tries to compare the beauty to an object, and ultimately, he can come up with nothing. He inevitably states that it is a beauty far too great to be compared to anything in particular. A truly beautiful love poem indeed.

Part 2-

Honestly, I have no idea how to mimic Rumi’s style for a poem. So the poem that follows is a response and somewhat of an analysis to the one above. While borrowing themes about love from his poem, it also addresses some of the lines he mentioned in his own poem and looks into them in a bit more detail in depth. The poem also poses several questions to Rumi, and the readers of his poems, that in my opinion, every romanticist has faced.

Life without love,

Life without fantasy,

Hard to behold,

Isn’t it a mystery?

The world may indeed be fraud,

but is it because of love or because you are a romanticist?

we require the world to be broken to a degree

to see the beauty hidden in it’s trees,

Beauty hard to behold? True indeed

For where be the moon, and where be the stars?

all goes dark for a life without love.

 

– Raving Ranter

 

 

 

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One final time…..

Wealth easily corrupts! This is a saying that most of us easily take for granted. And why not? Seeing all that it has done to people throughout the ages, it’s a very simple correlation. Naturally, correlation does not mean causation (yay! psych!), but I would say it’s fairly safe to assume that the possibility for corruption is definitely a direct line to increasing wealth. I had always left this at that. A possibility. Nothing more, nothing less. What the wealthy do are not my concern, let those in charge of enforcing laws take care of what happens. Why should I bother? But that’s the thing. I never once stopped to apply the seemingly simple causal relationship to myself. The concept that I am of the richest percentile did not occur to me. Well it did, but I never took it seriously.

In that light, the problem takes on a very grave adverse effect. Not only does this problem now cease to be just another problem in the incredibly problematic world that we live in, but now it’s a problem that has been directly personalized to us. It’s no longer a problem that seems worlds apart, but it’s now a problem that is way too close to home. A bit too close for comfort. And I guess it’s safe to say, having just finished reading The Good Earth does not help to alleviate the gravity of the situation either.

As to what we should be doing about it, I have no idea. The concept of morality is subjective to culture and the essence of one’s true being. If that statement stands to be correct, will it ever be possible to reach a consensus as a global society? I don’t know, but I highly doubt it. The only other option is individual action, but in that respect, motivation is a key aspect that comes to mind. It’s funny how little solutions we truly have to these global problems, it just adds another layer of complexity to our perspective and broadens the depth of our understandings. And ultimately, all that is left to say is it’s a problem that we will struggle with for the rest of our lives. And whether we ever reach a conclusion or not, it’s implications depend solely on our and our lifestyle only. Sure it seems like a very cliche thing to say. And unfortunately, this can be attributed to almost everything that we deem complex, but as to whether there actually is a concrete solution or not, I do not know. If there is, everything you read in my blog is useless, if there isn’t, well I am out of ideas.

-Raving Ranter.

Morality and Judgement

Ok, I will be honest here, I have no clue on how to define morality. The official definition is the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. But my question has always been who? As in who decides what the principles regarding what is good and what is wrong is. I believe that maybe we are all born with a sense of innate right or wrong, but if so, how does culture affect that, and to what extent do our culture and society rewire or reinforce that?

At this point in time, I can say that our home culture constitutes most of what we define as right and wrong and what we consider moral versus what we consider immoral. The Good Earth is a very good example of this. While in today’s general culture we may consider the actions of Wang Lung immoral when he brings home a concubine, it was completely acceptable and even almost expected of people with power and money back in Wang Lung’s time in China. Ultimately, even if we are born with an innate sense of right and wrong, the truth stands that morality is a very shifty topic. There is no objectivity to morality. Morality is as subjective as anything can possibly get. It is imprinted by culture, conditioned by repercussions, formulated by emotions and constantly being modified through our day to day to experiences. Sure, most of us would agree on certain things as being definitely wrong or immoral while compared to others, but the truth is, we will never find people to be of equal depth of conviction when it comes to any topic. Morality can be generalized for everyone on broad topics, that too with difficulty, but any generalizations of people are bound to exclude or misrepresent the opinions of many multitudes. Ultimately, a persons set of morals represents who they are as a person, and since everyone is unique to their being, morals are also nothing but that.

So then the questions arise, when can we ever judge a culture to be immoral? How do we even define what is immoral? Are we trampling on human rights itself by creating a groundwork for what human rights should be? If so, should we remain indifferent to everything that’s going on? What can we actually do? Furthermore, what should we do? What authority do we have to do anything at all? And on what do we act?

I wish I knew the answer to these questions, and to be fairly honest, these are questions that most of us will have to wrestle with for the rest of our lives. And whatever we think right now, the answer may change in the future. With that in mind, my opinion is that it’s okay to judge cultures as long as it’s related to extreme violations of human rights, one where the majority of the world can agree to classify as immoral. But whether we can truly ever call the culture of another ‘immoral’, I am hesitant about answering. But I will choose to be optimistic here, maybe this course itself will provide answers to many of the questions I seek. In which case, I really could not be any more expectant as I am right now 😀

-Raving Ranter.