Friday, November 21, 2008

Helia, don't let them judge us...*


I have been presenting a lot lately…my research results, that is!

But it was not only my work related research results. Three out of four were, three weeks in November, in different conferences. Then there was one, which was very personal, sort of a personal vow.

You see, I had a favorite Persian author in recent years. I had read most of his books, watched the only movie which was shown from him, and had hiked alongside of him and my father in my early youth years; when hiking with Mr. Alchemist had not started yet! He was a true master of Persian words. There was even a funny story about him, when he was a university student, he had written a text in the old Persian style, and had convinced his teachers that he had actually found this text on a piece of paper inside a book in the library. Everyone was fooled by his strong style of writing and had believed the story.

I loved his books, his characters and his words. So when he passed away – strangely, because of a brain tumor which made him unable to write or even to speak – I felt responsible inside to give a talk about him, and I did.

But this was not the whole story. This made me think about something else. While I was going through his books after a long time again to prepare for my presentation, I found out that I have changed, and so now I have some contradictions with his ideas. The same ideas which 10 years ago while reading his pieces made me nod and think to myself: “Yeah! Right… I know what you mean…Exactly…”; now seemed different. I couldn’t accept some of them. They made me object inside.

I know this is certainly because I am not the same person as 10 years ago, but then I thought, am I allowed to think about this person’s beliefs as well? I mean, he was a writer; a strong story teller. Now that I love his stories, do I have to judge his beliefs and thoughts too?

There are so many of these examples out there. The amazing poet who doesn’t have a good reputation in his relationships with women, the great singer who supports this or that political party which are not in parallel with our beliefs, or the perfect scientist who is not successful in his marriage. Are we allowed to judge them?
There is another side to this story, which I have also seen very often: those who are good/great in one subject and think that this makes them eligible to make speeches and theories about everything else in life. Like the mathematics/physics/chemistry genius who thinks everyone should hear/consider his opinions about politics, or the classic example, the elderly who think just because of their age, they are eligible not only to advise the right life style, but also for royalty respect!

All what I mean is, I don’t think doing well in one aspect of life, makes us equally well in other aspects. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s fair to judge people not concentrating on their specialties, but considering a general figure. Although I know it’s very difficult to get to this stage, believe me…

But whatever his beliefs were, I’ll always remember his stories, and some of his quotes, “Happiness, is not the lack of sadness. It’s having the sadness in life, and dominating it.”



*PS: The title is another quote, from one of his books. One of the most romantic books I have ever read in persian.

21 comments:

Behi said...

I've always had this question about those who are engage in the field of science, especially the very successful ones. That's one brain with the same logic and attitude that seems it's working and leading so efficiently that has made the scientific results just brilliant but how that very same person's personal (like his/her marriage) life is not as brilliant as it's expected to be? I know there is one person but there are different sides in that one person which makes the whole matter more complicated that can be fitted in one question but for the person that his strong logic is his language, I think it's a logical expectation to see "the sensibility" in other important matters of his life. I liked this post by the way :).

Daisy said...

I've always thought about this too. The main reason I was never able to have a role model was this fact. There isn't such a thing as a perfect person. It's impossible to find someone who is truly successful in all aspect of their lives. I simply try to admire people for their specialities, the one brilliant idea they have, their voice, or etc.

While I enjoyed this post and I thought you made a very insightful point, I didn't understand why we need to judge people.

Anonymous said...

I DO agree with you!As you said, doing well in one aspect of life, does not make us equally well in other aspects and it’s not fair to judge people not concentrating on their specialties, but considering a general figure; I have been precticing it for a long time; But I am not sure if I have achieved it yet!
BTW, Nader Ebrahimi is one of my most favorite authores! I love his books and " Once again, the city I loved..." is the best romantic book I have ever read in persian.
Thank you so much for reminding me of his lovely quotes!

cuckoo said...

I agree with "judging" part, and I kind of like this quote:
Love people not ideas
Judge ideas not people

I also agree that being good in one field does not give you credit to talk about everything

but, i am appreciating the role of "experience" in life more and more: nothing compares to learning from someone who knows his trade well ... therefore, these days i try to listen to elder people more carefully and not discount their experiences

Esfand` said...

Aahhh!! :)
pinches me at the right places!
Well said, well thought!
True, its no use judging people (or may be ordinary people)... and I agree with Cuckoo, judging ideas can be useful.
But I dont know what to say about, this aspect of making speeches and giving theories about almost everything else even though one is not a specialist. I mean, after all there are some polymaths.. right? :D So can an evolutionary biologist tell us about god or weather he exists or not... hmmm... dont know whats right or wrong but every one must have a chance moreover a right to say what one wishes to. Of course the general audience will shun all nonsense and useless things out, and only the widely accepted ideas might get adopted, like take Noam Chomsky for example. A linguist by specialization still startles me with his political theories. Don't know if right or wrong, but I guess the guy is worth listening to.
So why stop from expressing or critique even if one is not an expert on something.
Yes, a psychoanalyst might relate everything to stuff that is deemed a bit too personal otherwise... but then that is how it is I guess. A piece of art, like writings it self cannnot be judged without prying a bit into the personal life of the particular writer, same goes for paintings and other forms of arts. Picaso's paintings cant be crtiqued without looking into the mans life, similarly Shirin Nishat's work cannot be appreciated without a lil insight into her life.
I am not sure, but I guess at times one does loose ones right to privacy, and I think that happens when we express something for a wider audience, by either writing a book, or may be drawing a picture (and may be in near future by blogging). Then giving theories or novel ideas is something totally different.
So even if you would have expressed you own ideas about your favorite author or his beliefs, I dont think that would have been some thing totally inappropriate.

And its true, being good in one particular thing doesn't guarantee being awesome at just everything else. This is just how life is....

Have a great week my Alchemist!

Anonymous said...

Alchemist, what do you suggest for people who cannot stand not being the center of attention?

Nava said...

Hi Behi,
Touche! I have seen so many scientists with not successful lives as well. The thing is, sometimes it seems the more you are "soaked" in one aspect of life, the farther you get from the other aspects. So sometimes family matters become either less important from science, or the pride doesn't let them see their shortcomes and weaknesses. It is one person, but you know the brain better than me. It certainly is not just "one" brain. Even in the appearence, it's two "half-brains"!
Thanks for coming by!

Nava said...

Hi Daisy!
The best role models are the ones which are made of pieces of here and there, I'm in the same boat!
Mind you, that then this "creature" will be very difficult to get similar to!
I don't think we "need" to judge people. For some reason, in all relationships, we sooner or later do. Depending on how close we get together and how often we are in the relationship, judgment shows itself some time, some where...

Nava said...

Hi Parinaz!
It feels so good to find people of different places and backgrounds knowing your favorite author and liking them. It is like belonging to the same club.
It's such a shame missing him...

Nava said...

Hi cuckoo!
First of all, how I wish I could have get to that two little verses!
I mean, it is honestly very difficult for me to love the person who thinks or beliefs my exact opposite...I can at most tolerate them!
About the elderly and the experience, I agree with you. I am also someone who loves them and can sit with them and listen to them for hours and hours. But I still have a difficult time dealing with those who think the only way in life is theirs...
Thanks for visiting!

Nava said...

Hi Esfand!
Right! I mean, look at me myself! Dealing with biochemistry and biomacromolecules all day long, and writing speeches about my opinions! But talking about your opinions, even publishing them (and not necessarily expecting the people to agree with you and/or follow you) is one thing, giving ideas absolutely far from your specialty and knowledge and thinking that "I am a genious, what do these idiots know?!" is something else. I meant this latter one!
You have a great week as well!

Nava said...

Hi dear anonymous!
Oh boy! Tell me about them.
Hmmm...let's see. For them? Look around folks. The world does not orbit around you!
For the audience? Depending on if they are "family" and you are stuck with them, or if they are friends and you have more degree of freedom in continuing relationship with them, or if they are total strnagers in some crowed, you will have a range of tolerating them (and just closing your selective eyes and ears) to... discontinuing the relationship with them.
Generaly? Not giving them what they want: attention. If they don't drive you crazy, it'll be fun watching them struggling for that...
Thanks for visiting.

Mommy Homeopath: said...

Hi Nava,
While I personally disagree full force with the act of “Judgment”( as is understood in the society)…. it always is a tempting subject for me to think about: “the fine line between the act of Judgment and stating one’s opinion”….

I mean everyone is entitle to have an opinion and even state that…it is OK to disagree with others choices in life as long as we respect their choice for them at that moment in their life…and keep the most important reality of life in mind: ALL OF US WILL CHANGE SOONER OR LATER!

As a possibility your beloved author might have not agreed himself with things that he wrote or even believed 20 years prior to his death. After all life in its most glorious shape is an ongoing change and evolution….

I think somewhere down the line, Judgment got the negative connotation attached to it…maybe thanks to our organized mono theist religions and the famous concept of “the last judgment”…..
Be well

Hiva said...

Hi Nava, Long time no post, where are youuuuuuu :)))

Behi said...

I came here to write the same question that Hiva asked :) Hope every thing is fine with you.

Nava said...

Dear Hive and Behi,
Thanks for being so kind.
I'm in motherland right now (jaye hameye shoma khali), and hopefully will continue writing when I get back, in a couple of weeks.
You guys have a good winter...

Hiva said...

Oh ,That's greatttttt, have wonderfull timee... khoshbehlaettttt inja -15 darajeat :))

Anonymous said...

hooray! finally! i've lost your internet address since i formatted my laptop! and i find you again. welcome there sis!!
;)

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