|What do you (or organization) hope for in connection with a deep time perspective?|
I hope to (actually I WILL) make research in two general areas (& of course connecting them together):
1* Big History: Research the development of theological & political ideas, concepts, & interpretations throughout Big History – including non-popularized ideas that had been overshadowed by state- or army-power backed ideas. Along with connection patterns between the content of those ideas; the social-political-economic-environmental (i.e. holistic space & time) context in which those ideas were developed or interpreted; & the knowledge-base acquired by human societies at the time of their development.
2* Children’s Thoughts: Research human-intrinsic thinking patterns; problem solving skills; perception of self, others, & surroundings; imaginations scopes…etc. within babies’ & children’s minds, that are least affected by socialization influences (i.e. as their minds’ cognitive concepts represent the original innocent perception by the human mind of her/his existence & the universe around her/him, before they are meddled with by constructed theological, social, political…etc. ideas, rules, & bounded frameworks for thinking, “educated” to them by the various socialization agents, e.g. family, national education systems, media industries, theological institutions…etc.).
The purposes I want to reach by this research:
1* A Cosmic Purpose: Formulating/building a new philosophy or hypothetical purpose for the cosmic process; based on which the following could be formulated as well:
a) A Community Organizational Framework: Building a new organizational framework for both the narrowest communal setting & the wider global setting, as a historically-progressive alternative to the current outdated settings of the (historically Western-developed) nation-states & neo-imperialist inter-“national” system (I say historically outdated, because I believe, & this is only an opinion, that the development of the internet, with its provision of a potential instant communication between all humans around the world, has pushed the globalization process to its pinnacle, by annulling space & time within the global human society’s communication; & this consequently has to give birth to a parallely – politically, economically, etc. – progressive global-communal setting). Such a setting should strive to find solutions for the dire failures of the current nation-states & international system; failures that both exacerbate the unequal access to resources among humans, & threatens the survival of the human species & her/his environment.
b) Solutions from Children’s Thoughts: Developing solutions for current – political, theological, economic…etc. – dilemmas by resurrecting the (so-called innocent) human-intrinsic perceptions of individual, social, & environmental settings & interactions, that are expressed by human children’s minds. As well as tracking the Big History of those perceptions, & the various – cultural, theological, political…etc. – constructions that were built upon them by the different societies/civilizations across time (& connecting between those cultural constructions, their contexts, & their concurrent human-progress). And critiquing/destructing current long-standing social, cultural…etc. constructions that stand in the way of achieving global (equal) opportunities of prosperity & progress for humans, by separating between the intrinsic-human perceptions & the socially constructed ones, & sifting through what is advantageous or disadvantageous of those constructions to our current phase of history.
c) Finding Allah/God! Yes, I know this might seem rather unscientific according to current Western scientific paradigm rules. But it’s a sad thing for me to find that throughout history (at least what I know of) there’s always been a huge rift, or rather contradiction between science/logic & theology. So one of my purposes, within formulating a new hypothesis of a cosmic historical purpose, is to find a bridge to connect between science & theology, namely by trying to find proof of the existence of a High Purpose/Entity through science itself, rather than by old-narrated miracles & theological texts. My preliminary hypothesis is that the Universe itself & the Cosmic Process is Allah/God. And that this Cosmic Process is made like a jigsaw puzzle, we only have to study its history, make connections between everything, namely put the pieces of the puzzle together, & we would “know” Allah/God! No miracle needed!
2* Global Scientific Paradigm:Formulating/building a new global-perspective scientific paradigm, by merging/finding a common-ground between the paradigms of the different historical contributions of the various civilizations to human development. Natural sciences might not specifically intended by this, rather it is the social sciences that is in dire need of this, because the current domination of the Western (social) scientific paradigm is hindering, not only reaching much-needed effective solutions to our current global problems, but also fostering a new global human identity.
3* Thriving With, Instead of Educating, Children: Formulating/building a new “thriving” system for babies & children (as an alternative to current national “education” systems, whose philosophy/purpose on which they’re formulated should be challenged). This thriving system’s purpose would be based on the development of both adult and child through their two-way interaction, in place of the purpose of current education systems based on “teaching” children system-tailored curriculum in a one-way interaction from adult to child:
a) One way of this thriving system… involves protecting children’s minds from adopting any specific social/cultural/etc. constructed perceptions/ideas, namely by story-telling them the history of the emergence/collapse of all different cultural/political/theological/etc. ideas throughout history across different civilizations; encouraging them to preserve their own intrinsic perceptions; & to search for their own ideas/solutions independent of the covert cognitive coercion of socialization agents surrounding them… etc.
b) The other way of this thriving system… involves adults seeking the continuing of their mental & emotional development from children. Just as the human needs to keep in constant connection with nature, the adult human also needs to keep in constant connection with children, in order to keep a connection with her/his intrinsic innocent perceptions, & keep remembering the difference between what is humanly natural & what is socially manufactured.
4* A Cosmic Interpretation for the Quraan: Developing a re-interpretation of the Quraan based on or within the study of Big History. Since current interpretations of Islamic texts (& heritage) is very disappointing to me, & (in my opinion) doesn’t satisfy our current human & social progressive needs; & since, as a Muslim, I’m asked to constantly read the Quraan, & to believe that the Quraan is the final words of Allah/God that are preserved till the end of human life on earth, thus it contains the purpose of existence, if properly understood… That’s why the Quraan verses should be studied by exploring their scientific & historical connotations; connecting them with their context; & thus reviewing the validity of their eternal application. I’m personally more concerned with the Quraan than other religious texts, as part of my journey searching for Allah/God & exploring my independent relation with him vs. my Islamic heritage “taught” to me as a child within my surrounding social context.
P.S. (On the Ground):
I hope (so much) to get the chance to make this research by working/interacting/thriving with children in conflict areas (whether in an Islamic context, e.g.: Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, former Soviet Union regions, East & South Saharan Africa, South Philippines, the Balkans, Kashmir, Pakistan…etc.; or in a non-Islamic context, e.g.: within Latin America, Western & Southern Africa, India, China…etc.). Because I think (& this is an opinion of mine, as well as an idea I got by comparing my interaction with poor street children with children living in stable conditions here in Egypt) that children suffering from inadequate socioeconomic conditions & political/religious conflicts surrounding them, develop more independent & creative (imaginative) perceptions of their problematic & erratic surroundings & how to confront them.
But as I currently don’t have the financial means to travel to conflict areas, I’m working on starting this research with children here in Cairo, until I get the opportunity to travel there.
I know perhaps this looks a bit too much grandiose! (& maybe a little unrealistic?!) :-/ Nevertheless, I’m glad after 30 years of living in this chaotic painful life, I’ve finally reached what I could call my purpose in this life (what I really want to do from now on until I die), that I’m able to frame it in an organized clear way (the above), in order to work on it. Even if I didn’t reach the truth, or achieve the end, of all this research, when my end comes, I would be happy that I’ve kept trying against all the odds, & especially against dominating (adult) people’s frameworks of standards, possibilities, & rules…
|Short description of your (or organization's) current interest/work in an deep time perspective:|
My current subject-interests are:
Philosophy… Big History… International Relations – Political Science – Political Philosophy – Political Culture – Current (News) Affairs… Psychology – Child Psychology… Montessori – Cosmic Montessori… Theology – Islamic Theology – Islamic Philosophy.
Connecting with nature & children… Biking… Cooking… Watching movies (except culturally-dominating nonsense action/violence-filled movies)… Reading novels (especially horror, mystery, sci-fi, social-critique novels).
What do I currently do:
1* I just finished getting my Political Science Master’s degree (this year 2016). My thesis subject is about change in the political culture of Egyptians in relations with the 25th January 2011 revolution in Egypt. For my thesis I also conducted a field research on 3 groups of Egyptians (youth – elders – revolutionary political activists), comparing their political culture, to determine the extent of change in the political culture of youth, away from the more traditional political culture of elders, & toward the more civic political culture of activists.
2* I’m currently searching for a job (I quit my last one to finish my Master’s research), whether in Egypt or abroad. Even though I prefer finding a research-based job related to my above interests, based on my past (on others’) experiences in jobs here in Egypt, it’s very hard (if not impossible) to make a career of social research & earn a decent living from it here! So if I don’t find a research career opportunity abroad, I will try (hopefully) to divide my time here between working any job (that would earn me my bread), & doing my own research.
3* I’m also searching for a PhD scholarship abroad related to my above articulated research points. Even though my Bachelor’s & Master’s are specialized in Political Science, I want to do my PhD research within a much wider Big History perspective, as I only found out about Big History from the internet while finishing my Master’s research, because it’s a subject that is still unknown here in Egypt (even to college professors).
4* I’m talking with some people in an Egyptian charity organization called “Resala” to explore the possibility of “thriving with” poor children there, within the subject of Big History. Inside Resala, there’s a committee that gives poor children free education courses to better them in their school studies (because public school education quality is very low). They don’t teach children anything outside the “education system” curriculum, except for a course of miscellaneous basic skills, so it would be a new thing to introduce an outside-education-curriculum of Cosmic History there. I’m currently reading in Big History to be able to explore it with children, when I get Resala’s assent. I’m also planning to read in Montessori (& Cosmic Montessori), & take online courses in them, to be able to apply it with children.
– Resala website (Arabic): http://www.resala.org/
– About Resala in Wikipedia (English): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resala_Charity_Organization
|Background: Your bio if an individual, or description if an organization (Let us know who you are!):|
Briefly, my life is a journey of clashes:
1* I was raised up as a Salafi, in AlBukairia, a Bedouin town in Saudi Arabia, in the 1990s. There was a cultural clash between my behavior within our foreigners’ homing camp & in school.
2* I inherited a hobby from my family of reading English novels… So between learning Salafism at school, & reading American novels at home, I was raised up within a clash between two existentially exclusive cultures: Salafism & Americanization.
3* I traveled with my family briefly to the UK, France, Spain, & Morocco. But the voyage I love the most was pilgrimage with my father to Mecca; where we slept in tents amidst people from all around the world. That has inflamed my desire to save the Islamic Umma from its calamities. But still, I couldn’t resolve a clash between Saudis’ emphasis on a unifying Islamic identity, & their persecuting behavior toward non-Saudi Muslim residents (including myself).
4* In school, we developed indignation against the injustices committed against Muslim communities around the world. But the first event that I got emotionally mature enough to encompass was the Russian aggression on Chechnya in 1999. At the time, Aljazeera channel became widespread, & we got connected to the internet. So I started to follow news of Jihadists in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Palestine…etc. My Jihadist interest increased with the Western aggression on Iraq, Lebanon…etc. & the media propaganda of a “Clash Civilizations” between the West & the Muslim World.
5* We returned to Alexandria, Egypt in the 2000’s, & I pursued my college degree in Political Science in Cairo University. Our curriculum consisted of American textbooks, & we only studied Western political theories. Even though I admired many aspects of these theories, I couldn’t find a reconciliation ground with my previous education; especially finding that Western international policies were an opposite of the human values they preached.
6* When the revolution took place in Egypt in 2011, I spent most of my time for about three years in the streets; in protests, sit-ins, campaigns…etc. And a clash took place with my earlier Islamic tendencies for four reasons:
a) In the revolution I found myself fighting, not in defense of a religious/cultural cause, but for political & socioeconomic rights.
b) I followed the news of concurrent popular protests in other countries around the world demanding for freedoms & social justice. My perception of the spheres of conflict shifted from a “civilizations” conflict to an “elites-peoples” conflict.
c) I interacted with Muslim Brotherhood, & found how Islamists’ views differ from my own perception of an aspired-to society. So, sadly, I got involved in the split between Islamists & other so-called secular revolutionaries, which has led to the failure of our revolution, & the military regime securing its stronghold over the state.
d) Taking part in protests clashing with Islamists, who were calling us “infidels”; were a shock to my conceptions of life & death. I remember one day, I was standing with my bag of medical aid with other protesters, thinking: “Who’s really on Allah’s side?! If I get shot tonight, will I die as a martyr fighting for freedom, just like my heart tells me?! Or will I die as an infidel fighting against Islam, just like those Islamists are saying?!”
7* In 2013, I went on a few days journey on the Japanese Peace Boat, where I met two of the Japanese Hibakusha who had survived the Nagasaki nuclear bombing. Listening to their tragic stories, has contributed in widening my empathy for human suffering to break religious-identity limits.
8* Doing my field-research for Master’s in 2015 has affected me in three ways:
a) Talking with so many different people in the streets, especially with poor people living in shanty areas, has strengthened my empathy with the billions of marginalized people around the world. I got convinced that people suffering from socioeconomic & political conditions, should be considered as a changeable context, that could be reformed by breaking the culturalized perceptions of the people that serves the preservation of the status-quo.
b) Talking with political activists articulated my frustration toward the whirlpool into which Egypt’s, & other Arab, revolutions have fallen into; where the conflict became centered around military dictatorship & Islamist theocracy forces; while the non-ideological people, who started the uprisings, found themselves powerless in the face of a game of power interests.
c) Noticing how traditional theological perceptions negatively affect people’s views of surrounding political dilemmas; I became convinced that traditional theology is a socialization agent used by the elite to attract the focal points of societies’ conflicts toward fake perceptions of reality.
With all those identity & world-view clashes throughout my life, I cannot, & think that I would not ever, say that I have found a secure cushion on which to rest my mind & say that I finally found the “truth” from which I could deduce a personal identity refuge, a concrete understanding of existence, & a confirmed world-view creed… But after all, I say to myself, this is what Allah (if Allah exists) has created the human mind for… constantly exploring, testing, & searching for an elusive truth that may, & may not, exist; and such a mind in its pursuit, should give no chance for cultural, social, theological, or political constructions & axioms to exploit its need for identity security, communal conformity, & knowledge confirmation; that is by breaking all limits that could restrict its free pursuit of finding its purpose, if ever found…
|What are you (or organization) looking for from the Network?|
Actually I think I could answer both this Q & the one below with almost the same answer… I think as a group of open-minded people here in the Network, we have two blessings: On one side, we have a common deep desire to explore & search for the truth (if there is one) in the big history of our cosmos, our existence, & our human nature; on the other side, we have different experiences & backgrounds across our individual lives… It’s exactly the same as our living species, that on one side has a common single ancestor of a living biological cell deep within billions of years ago on our planet; & on the other side, our species evolved from this single cell into various creatures with different paths on the terrains of our planet… I expect that we would all share together the following:
1* Resources: Pool resources & materials to further our learning experiences, as well as the learning experiences of others who we pass the big history story to in our communities (especially children).
2* Experiences: Share our different life experiences & personal ideas/contributions in the pursuit of our journeys, to widen our view of the world. Even if many of us are physically restricted within our narrow communal settings, we could widen our perceptions & understandings by sharing our unique diversified experiences inside this global network.
3* Guidance: Guiding each other in our projects. When each is faced with a dilemma, & seeks different perspectives to how to deal with it, we could guide each other throughout our journeys here.
4* Friendship: Yes, that’s right J I kind of feel strange in the society I physically live amidst, which has led me to become a kind of a hermit! Even though I share language, traditions, socioeconomic pains in the head with people around here; my erratically meditating mind drags me away from ordinary people. I seek to find circles of friendship with similar erratically-minded people, J who don’t satisfy with marching along with the masses, accepting what “is”, or spending their lives away seeking the pursuit of material happiness or success by the standards of social promotion!
|What do you (or organization) bring to the Network?|
I would also say the above… But if I should add something, then perhaps I’d say, that I hope I would add a new different perspective to life, the world, our (common global) problems, even our death & afterlife…etc. to the pool of different individual perspectives shared together here…
Actually, It’s a bit hard for me to describe my strengths, gifts, & talents, because I always leave this for others to determine (I’m not someone to brag about how amazing I am – even though I may have bragged about myself in my bio above J )… But I’ll try to challenge myself & answer this Q anyway:
1* Skeptic: I put everything around me, especially ideas & behaviors adopted by the many, or considered as “givens” to doubt…
2* Innocent: I find myself attracted to simple, original, natural…etc. perspectives & behaviors, & try to emulate them, even if faced with cruel perplexing visions of reality… That’s why children & nature are the love of my life J
3* Idealist: Ok, so perhaps this is a gift & a curse at the same time! But I think that our ideas shape reality, & by putting limits to our vision of possibilities in reality, reality doesn’t stray away from the boundaries we draw for it…
4* Perfectionist: And that’s also a gift & a curse at the same time! I probe into details, seek perfection, organization, categorization in everything around me, at the expense of time, which has become my worst enemy!
5* Xenophile: I love those who are different, eccentric, march opposite to the masses, take the road less traveled by… That’s why I feel great empathy toward minorities, divergent subcultures, the handicapped, & people with mental problems (or gifts!).
6* Speculative: I think a lot… try to analyze everything around me from different stands. I guess my mind’s neuron web is shaped in a big “Why?”!
7* Imaginative: Well, that naturally comes with my hobby of reading novels & watching movies since I was a child J And since I think that reality is shaped by our ideas, imagination becomes a desired thinking method to stretch our visions (& therefore reality) to unexplored limitless spaces beyond the obstacles that confine our perspectives…
|Year became interested in a deep time evolutionary perspective:|
That was gradual throughout my whole life journey, but it was clearly articulated when I passed 30 years (2015), & found out about the Big History Project…
|Originally inspired to do this work by:|
Children (their innocent perspective of life) – My father Tarek Abbas (a radiotherapist who raised me up to criticize my surroundings) – Fred Spier (who introduced me to Big History) – Nadia Mostafa (an International Relations professor who taught us to submit ruling Western political norms to criticism & strive to create new civilizational – Islamic in her view – paradigms).
|Also inspired to do this work by:|
Assaad Taha (a journalist who produced the Hot Spot program on Aljazeera, traveling all around the Muslim World & beyond, & filming human suffering in a poetic passionate production) – Katarina (an atheist Russian girl who submitted all my perceived truths to questioning) – Stephen King (his lethargic deep imagination).
|Call this work:|
Big History, Universe Story/New Story/Journey of the Universe, Cosmic Evolution, Montessori Cosmic Education, Other
|If you call it something else, what do you call it?|
|Organizations involved with that have a Deep Time evolutionary perspective:|
I’m currently contacting Resala charity organization (refer to “What I currently do” in the Interests/Work Q above):
– Resala website (Arabic): http://www.resala.org/
– About Resala in Wikipedia (English): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resala_Charity_Organization
|Applying a Deep Time evolutionary perspective to what fields/issues:|
Education, Government/Law, Religion/Spirituality, Social Justice
|Favorite Quote Having to do With a Deep Time Evolutionary Perspective:|
This quote is presumably said by Allah/God to the mortal human (by Raymond Smullyan – Is God a Taoist? – The Mind’s I: Fantasies & Reflections on Self & Soul); I’ll never forget the night I read this chapter… I cried so much, & felt great deep fascinating love with Allah, in a way I’ve never felt before, even when in pilgrimage in Mecca or reading the Quraan:
***First of all it is inaccurate to speak of my role in the scheme of things. I “am” the scheme of things. Secondly, it is equally misleading to speak of my aiding the process of sentient beings attaining enlightenment. I “am” the process. The ancient Taoists were quite close when they said of me (whom they called “Tao”) that I do not “do” things, yet through me all things get done. In more modern terms, I am not the cause of Cosmic Process, I am Cosmic Process itself. I think the most accurate & fruitful definition of me which man can frame – at least in his present state of evolution – is that I am the very process of enlightenment. Those who wish to think of the devil (although I wish they wouldn’t!) might analogously define him as the unfortunate length of time the process takes. In this sense, the devil is necessary; the process simply does take an enormous length of time, & there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. But, I assure you, once the process is more correctly understood, the painful length of time will no longer be regarded as an essential limitation or an evil. It will be seen to be the very essence of the process itself. I know this is not completely consoling to you who are now in the finite sea of suffering, but the amazing thing is that once you grasp this fundamental attitude, your very finite suffering will begin to diminish – ultimately to the vanishing point…***
|Are you a teacher/professor?|
|Offer programs with a deep time evolutionary perspective:|
|Other kinds of programs:|
As I mentioned above (refer to “What I currently do” in the Interests/Work Q), I’m currently contacting Resala charity organization to introduce the idea of holding Big History (or Cosmic Montessori) programs with poor children there…
|Published Books/Movies/Other With a Deep Time Evolutionary Perspective:|
My published works are not specifically related to Big History (because I only found out about it about a year ago), but they are:
1* “Protests and Public Opinion Attitudes”, in: “My Umma in the World: Gaza Between Siege and Offensive (A Reading in Civilizational Indications)” (Arabic), published by Civilization Center for Political Studies, Cairo, 2010.
2* “2012 Elections Around the World” (Arabic) in: Democracy (a journal published by AlAhram media association), Cairo, 2012.
3* “Change in Egyptian Political Culture and January 2011 Revolution: A Field Study of Egyptian Youth”, Master’s Thesis, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, 2016.
|One line bio for display on the map and on your profile:|
~*~Philosophical, political, theological researcher… Searching for a Cosmic Purpose, for Allah… Thriving with children & nature…~*~
|Your other websites:|