My Study - Part I
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy
I was born in a house all walls of which were shelved; the study had book shelves, so did the bedrooms, the living room, the dining room, the kitchen and the bathrooms. And believe it or not, the pantry, too. When I was young, my favorite magazines were the Reader’s Digest and the National Geographic and my favorite subjects mythology, scriptures of any religion, fiction of any type, history and science. In fact, my father was a professor of comparative linguistics. Ah, I’ve forgotten to add to the list linguistics, too.
Being a book-worm was my choice. My parent never pushed me towards reading. I also never neglected having fun with my friends every now and then; ganging up for attacking my grandfather’s vine ranch to steal grapes or my uncle’s cucumber field to steal cucumber. Are-You-Afraid-Of-The-Dark story telling was my favorite. In a nut shell, I did not bury my face all the times in books. I had fun, too.But when I became an adult, the most important room in my house was ─ you guessed it ─ my study. It was the place where I could be the real me. It the place where I let my imagination run wild, or be with whom I choose to discus freely any topic.
Aand here, my two sons, Khaled and Hamzah, kick in.
Khaled wa 19 years old boy with an analytical mind. He won’t let things go before discerning them and retaing what is worthy. But Hamzah, who wa 18, years old boy, though less analytical, he wa more daring, willing to take the risk, despite sometimes his calculations were based on nothing but gut-feelings and mostly stubbornness, his mother said he inherited it from me. I liked Khaled’s analytical ability though sometimes it reached a point of irritating zeal, especially when discussion was bi-lateral; a brother-to-brother, thus lacking my guidance that carefully steered them ashore through reasoning. I also liked Hamzah’s spontaneous ability and determination. Both, sometimes, came to me asking for a second opinion. I would then analyze the case and in the process of we would embark on a journey to pinpoint the the flaws in their own conclusion. When the truth revealed itself, thanks to their desire for knowledge, their eyes would shined and they became totally filled with content and happiness so contagious that I found myself included by force.
“Then, if that is the case, dad, how can I tell the difference between Destiny and Fate?” with eyes filled with interest, Khaled asked me. Resting my hands on the arms of my comfortable chair and leaning backward, I paused for a while and deeply looked at Khaled’s curious face and said, “Son, destiny is an unchangeable constant; a record chiseled in stone, inescapable and its authorship propriety is solely owned by the writer. Son, the earth spins on its own axle and orbits the sun in total precision. That is destiny” Khaled then asked, “Couldn’t the unchangeable be, in the meantime, changeable, or in another word, could the unchangeable and changeable, constant and variable and running and stagnant fall together on the same one object?” .I could not resist my urge for teasing his intellect, so I smiled and asked him, “Have you heard of the moving-arrow case? It is a very ancient one”Khaled answered, “No, but I am all ears” I looked him and his brother in the eye for a while and said, “Well, If an arrow’s shot from point A to point and it reached point Z and stopped, and then if we divided the distance the arrow traveled into infinitesimal portions, wouldn’t the arrow, by force, be motionless at each infinitesimal portions?”Hamzah said, “That is right” but Khaled did not utter a word, so I went on saying, “But, on the other hand, if we add up the infinitesimal portions then their total will actually represent the arrow’s movement from point A to Point Z, hence I could say the arrow moved and at the same time I could also say the arrow did not move since at every infinitesimal portion it was motionless and by force the total of motionless portion is motionless” Thinking, Khaled was in deep state of silence for a while and then said, “In a different way, an analogy of what you have just said is a movie. The movie has motion; the totality of its single frames, but it is also motionless as if we add up the motionless single frames, we will have by force a total of frames which are motionless. Thus motion and motionless can both fall, at the same time, on the same object which is the movie” I said, “Maybe, what do you think?” Khaled then as though he has received a divine revelation, hit the side of his head with his open fist and burst out saying, “But, dad, we have been neglecting two important factors; the transition from one still frame to another and the occurrence of the alteration of the framesby the following frame. In fact, these factors are the movie integral glue that translates the movie into motion. Where by removal of the two factors, the frames will then be motionless portions of stagnant totality” Hamzah then jumped in and said, “Hence your arrow case analogy is a fallacy, dad. It is one of those deceitful things you throw at us when discussion is involving tough issues”I laughed but then inquired, “Why would I do that, Hamzah?” Hamzah said, “I guess, to forge our rhetoric abilities into the heat of logic” I challenged him saying, “Ok, Hamzah, use your Armour and block the following if you can” He curiously looked at me. “Apply what I have explained on your own life. There are points or frames which are the outcome of recorded destiny and others which are the outcome of streams altered by the human choice, Let us snowball the points or frames’ totality into a lump! Wouldn’t the snowball substance contain both constant and variable?” Hamzah said, “Ummm, well, I guess, maybe, but I think if you explain fate, then we may be able to understand” Khaled emphasized, “Yes, It will surely help” Isaid, “Fate is dynamic. It is changeable and its changeability is subject to our choice. Its infinite dynamics are yet controllable by factors such as laws of nature and our profound knowledge and awareness thereof” Khaled then asked, “You said fate is subject to choice. Could it also be subject to destiny?” I explained, “Definitely! Though fate is changeable, Destiny always prevails. In fact, both destiny and fate are integral parts and two sides of one and the same coin; life” Khaled wondered, “But some people say we can control the future if we write it” I said, “Metaphorically speaking, yes, but in actual fact, we will have then to face a very important question which is: Can we dictate the future?” Khaled asked, “Can’t we?” I looked at Khaled for a while ─ He’s still young, full of hopes and ambitions. So is his brother, Hamzah ─ I thought, remembering myself at the same age when I used to believe in categorical sayings the way they were until I found that there was a lot to learn, that the universe was full of puzzles that might take eons of human cycles to resolve. “Well, the three dimensions of time are: The past, the present and the future” I explained “We may be able to influence the future by mapping the present’s D.N.A. and by altering its Genomes in order to shape the future the way we like. But there’re a few difficulties. Mainly, the way the present is shaped is definitely caused by how the past had totally or partially been. Hence, for the future, which is the unborn child of the present, and the grandson of the past, to be altered, the past has to be re-written, hence the present, too. Also, alteration has to be based on overall knowledge and awareness of infinite probabilities housed by time and space; the former is still ambiguous and the later has not yet been totally explored” Khaled then persistently asked, “Can’t we alter the future to some degree?” I said, “To some degree, yes we can, because we are the whole of our self and the universe; time and space, Destiny and fate...remember the snow ball...but to become one day the masters of our destiny remains to be seen” I explained.
Interrupted by their mother’s announcement for dinner, Khaled and Hamzah stood up to leave. Khaled accidentally knocked his teacup off the coffee table. He apologized, but I asked him not to worry and before he disappeared with his brother in the living room, I yelled at him, “Khaled was that incident destiny, or fate?” He answered, “It was fate, dad. I could have been more careful” Hamzah then commented, “Yes, Khaled, if you were more careful, you would have had no impact on the streaming of the future events”
My wife’s voice softly hit my ears while I was still in my study, “Honey, are you having dinner with us?” I said, “Well, it depends” She wondered, “On what?” I said while emerging from my study and looking at my family sitting at the table, “On whether I’m hungry or not, the food is delicious or not, or if…oh, so many factors. Life isn’t only a matter of choice or a whole punch of personal decisions. Isn’t that right, boys?” I received no answer from them, but they both looked at me; eyes widely opened and mouths filled with food. I laughed and said, “When stomachs are empty and mouths busy chewing, minds will be absorbed in the chores at hand”
I then joined my family to enjoy a worm meal.