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Tag: mind

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Q&A on storytelling and tradition...and The Tale of the Sands

30maro_slide05You are creating wonderful stories about what our heart is telling us, but today more than ever we fail to reconcile our heart and our mind. Why are they tugging us in different directions? What do you do when your mind shouts louder than your heart?

As you say, I am telling and creating stories, and that’s what’s so central here. Storytelling appeals to the default setting of mankind, the core programming that’s in-built within us. We don’t really know why, but culture is arranged around storytelling – revealing information, ideas, and entertainment through stories. We can’t help but retell experiences in this way because we are programmed to do it. And, bizarrely, most people have forgotten that humanity operates with stories as their language. I sometimes find myself wondering whether other animals, or even insects, do the same and tell stories as a matrix like we do.

At the same time as live to tell stories, we reside in a world that’s so incredibly at odds with the realm our ancestors knew. Yet, in this mad frenetic, frenzied stew of life, it’s the stories and the storytelling that present themselves as a recognizable thread – a kind of communal backbone to humanity. We grasp hold of stories whether they be in the form of a book, a Tweet, a blog entry, a TV commercial selling soap, a movie, or even in the guise of a video game.

You mention your father very often in your works. Would you say that your story is a sequel to his? To what extent are our hearts beating together with those of our ancestors’? Does our storytelling begin where theirs has stopped? Read more

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Inventions

I have already mentioned in passing a number of Arab inventions from the Golden Age. They include a wide range of medical, chemical and astronomical devices. But there are whole other areas in which the Arabs inventors excelled.

         Arab engineers learned from the Romans, Greeks and from their own scientists, and came up with creations that demonstrated their astonishing ingenuity. Some of these creations improved living conditions, while others were more whimsical.

         Engineers were hugely important. When the tenth century Persian engineer and polymath, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), reached Cairo, the Caliph himself went to the gates to greet him. He had been invited to regulate the flooding on the Nile. It soon dawned on him that he couldn’t solve the problem. The only way to save his neck was to feign madness and live for years under house arrest… biding his time until the Caliph’s own death.



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March 20, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

Effective

Nasrudin was throwing handfuls of bread crumbs around his house and waving a huge pink flag all about. His neighbour looked out of his window and asked:

   ‘Why are you doing that, Nasrudin?’
   The Mulla replied: ‘I’m keeping the tigers away!’
   ‘But there are no tigers around here.’
   ‘It’s effective, isn’t it?!’


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March 19, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

Questions

‘Baba, why do you always answer a question with another question?’

‘Do I?’ Nasrudin replied.
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March 18, 2009 Posted by tahir in Books

The Greatest Fool

The King asked Nasrudin to go and find the most stupid man in the world to come to court and be jester. The Mulla set off and travelled for days, weeks and months. Finally, he returned to the throne room where the King called to him.

‘Have you found the most stupid man in the world to be my jester?’ asked the monarch.
‘Yes, indeed I have, Your Majesty, but alas he is too busy searching for fools to take the job.’


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March 17, 2009 Posted by tahir in Books

Creeping Up On Himself

Bedar, the watchman, caught Nasrudin prising open the window of his own bedroom from the outside, in the depths of the night.

‘What are you doing, Mulla?’ he asked. ‘Are you locked out?’
‘Hush!’ snapped Nasrudin. ‘They say that I walk in my sleep and so I’m trying to surprise myself and find out!’


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March 16, 2009 Posted by tahir in Books

Only One Thing Wrong With it

Walking with a disciple one day, Mulla Nasrudin saw for the first time in his life a beautiful lakeland scene.

‘What a delight!’ he exclaimed. ‘But if only…’
‘If only what, Master?’
‘If only they had not put water on it.’


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March 15, 2009 Posted by tahir in Books

Light the Candle

Nasrudin was sitting, talking with a friend as dusk fell.

‘Light a candle,’ the man said, ‘because it is dark now. There is one just by your left side.’
How can I tell my left from my right in the dark, you fool?’ as the Mulla.


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March 14, 2009 Posted by tahir in Books

The Unsuspected Element

Two men were quarrelling outside Nasrudin’s window at dead of night. Nasrudin got up, wrapped his only blanket around himself, and ran out to try and stop the noise.

When he tried to reason with the drunks, one snatched his blanket and both ran away.
‘What were they arguing about?’ asked his wife when they went in.
‘It must have been the blanket. When they got that, the fight broke up.’


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March 13, 2009 Posted by tahir in Books

Nasrudin

A very good way of understanding a culture is through its folklore and the stories people tell. Rather in the same way that language contains clues to the way people of a certain place think, folklore does as well. It’s a kind of treasury of fragments, linked to everyone who has ever lived in the society. An excellent way of understanding how the Oriental world thinks, is by reading — or listening to — the tales. And there is perhaps no collection better than the teaching stories of Mulla Nasrudin. He’s found across the East, from Casablanca to Kabul, and can even be seen in Islamic China. He’s known in Greece as well, and in Albania, Kosovo, Sicily and in Andalucian Spain. In Afghanistan and Iran he’s known as Nasrudin, while in Morocco, Turkey and elsewhere he’s simply ‘Joha’. Whatever the name he goes by is insignificant, for Nasrudin is a towering giant of human folklore. My father wrote four books on the whacky and wonderful episodes of his life. Over the next few days I’m going to present some here. If you have the time, read the story once, and then a second time, and allow it to turn around your mind. You’ll find that, given the chance, it’ll take on a life of its own.



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