Philosophy of Living Statement on London’s Attack

Philosophy of Living blog and its editor condemn the act of terror recently happened in London; taking the stance that there is no reason whatsoever justifies the use of violence against peaceful people regardless their nationality, religion, or opinions. The principle behind that stance is not something unique to our blog as it’s compliant with the teaching of all religions, including El-Eslam, and the true principles of humanity.

We take the same occassion to remind good people to remain representing the good model and not to be unawaringly taken by the heat of emotion and mistakenly practice collective hatred as this would assimilate the good people with terrorists themselves, since terrorist acts are fueled by collective hatred as well. As terrorists have no justification to hate specific race and kill them, everyone has no justification to hate specific race and emotionally kill them by hatred and discrimination.

And down to facts, remember that El-Eslam is a 1400 year old religion which in its prosperity had utmost authority and control over all Middle East countries up to South Europe and stretching to China for entire 8 centries (800 years from the 6th to the 13th), building the largest and most sophisticated empire in the world. If violence and ethnic cleansing were part of its principles, no one of those nations would have been into existence at the moment. The fact that the diversity of civilizations, cultures, Christianity, and Judaism continue to exist everywhere in these areas is a vivid testmonial that El-Eslam is a peaceful living religion that promoted Muslims living side by side to Christians and Jews. And we recommend those who doubt that to get back to history and to understand the dynamics of the current situation. Otherwise, all statements would be considered racist and hatred-fueled; holding its beholder in no distinguishable stance from those of terrorists, whose acts are fueled by hatred as well.

On the other side, we take the same opportunity to call for the Muslim community to stop being apologetic and theoretical regarding the true principles of El-Eslam in response to the world’s reactive public opinion to every terrorist act and to instead focus more on being exemplary to their religion in their daily lives and on translating its principles into action: to develop and build themselves into successful nations and communities who contribute to the positive development of the world; in trade, in business, in manufacturing, and the sciences. Institutions and governments should deploy projects for ambitious people aimed at delivering tangible results in all fields. Individuals must become living examples to true principles and to make something for these principles by choosing even one action to accomplish. Communities in the Western world should unit and deploy real life projects in all areas of life.

Hatred is the main characteristic of Terrorists. Don’t be one of them…

EgyptAir Flight MS804: In Public Eyes Which Are Defective (And how to correct it)

** This article is originally published in OpEd News Network with 72 hours exclusive **

It’s been almost 10 days now since EgyptAir’s flight MS804 came down into the Mediterranean sea. However, Egypt public interpretations have been 30 days old (i.e. more mature than the elapsed time in which experts are working on deciphering the incident). In fact, public interpretations have been flying over social networks before even a single wreckage was ever found.

Aviation experts says there are three main reasons behind airplanes fall: 1) Meteorological, 2) Technical, and 3) Terrorism – and they ruled out the Meteorological. This left us with only Technical and Terrorism. Well, this is aviation experts worldwide. What happened next is interesting.

Egyptian public interpretations, and sometimes remarkably confident conclusions, have started to formulate around these two categories depending on the previous mental background of each one. If the person is from the group who sees Egypt on the rise and that there is conspiracy to bring it behind, the person will be more inclined to Terrorism as the reason; saying that there was a bomb aboard and so on. The group would mostly be older generations Egyptians. If the person is from the group who sees that EVERY thing about Egypt is shit, then, the person will be more inclined to the Technical cause and will go further by adding that it’s induced by some careless on the pilot’s part or the company’s part. This group is mostly the younger generations Egyptians. And since statistically Egypt’s 78% of population is young age, it follows therefore that the majority of the Egyptian public is now blaming the company or the pilots for causing the crash.

Remarkably, members of each group have been talking confidently like experts. And this is a known mental illusion proven by Neuroscience: the brain constructs the perfect story from impressions formulated from appearances; then, gets that story endorsed by your analytical parts of the brain (thorough but lazy) based on what’s called Associative Memory – which makes available to you anything from the past memory that supports the impression at hand. When this procedure happens, what we call “Prejudice” appears. You become prejudiced about specific group or specific country or specific company.

To the prejudiced Egyptians of Group 2, I direct these questions and facts:

Haven’t the Egyptians suffered a lot from prejudiced opinions? Would you like to be denied your rights anywhere in the world because you are an Egyptian? Certainly you wouldn’t want that and for sure you are abhorring the suffer of prejudice against Egyptians or Muslims or Doctors. Then, why you are denying now the company’s right or the pilots’ rights by being prejudiced about the situation?

For instance, a hashtag in Twitter was created in Arabic, meaning #I_Will_Not_Fly_EgyptAir. Based on what? The leaked information you have from the sight, or from your ability to see the destiny, or based on the story your mind has told you in alignments with your own negative background on everything in Egypt…

If you are from those who are insulting EgyptAir (management or pilots), have an honest pause with yourself and ask yourself just this: based on what you have formulated your attack? And if your stand is based on information provided by others, ask yourself based on what they have formulated their attack? If you do this honestly, you will 100% find that your stand against the company is implausible and unfair. You will also find that those you grouped with are just imposing their own mental stories on you. They have no ground too.

The below are some pointers that should aid you in correcting your unfair stand; if you honestly care about not being unfair to someone so that no one becomes unfair to you someday:

A- Almost every airliner had incidents in its track record. For example, just last year Germanwings pilot who crashed his plane into the mountains for suicide. No one like you has commenced an attack calling for boycotting the airliner.

B- Be critical about it. No formal authority with hands-on the situation has said any conclusion. You should wait and only by the availability of the information you can start critically validating things and formulate your own conclusion. Even if a country like France came out and said Egyptians were fools, you shouldn’t take this at face value. Instead, you examine there premises on which they built their conclusion critically then see if it makes sense or not. Same with individuals. For example, some employees in the company or in the airport has said “Maintenance is shit and the plane is shit.” Question their stand. Are they experts? What the hell they know about planes and maintenance operations to make such statements? And if they do, where is this shit everywhere?

C- People makes blunt statements like experts because of two things: 1) it makes them feel good about themselves or 2) they are serving specific agenda. You should be careful and classify. A ground hostess in the airport or an office employee in EgyptAir who tweets that EgyptAir maintenance is shit is an example of group 1. She feels great about herself because this blunt conclusion gives her the illusionary satisfaction that she’s an important person in the company. Oh yeah, she’s there and knows everything. A specific country or a specific group may want to undermine your country people trust in their own national company. Don’t fall prey to these two types. As I speak here about the Egyptian public opinions; then, most of what you encountered so far is the first type: people feeding their own psychological problems by being smart ass. They are simply not because simply there are no proved information or data on which their forceful conclusions are based. Want to try? Ask any of them to present them; and you will find non-sense.

D- Remember any situation in your life when someone has judged you at face value without caring about facts or your defense. For example, one time when your direct supervisor has told the manager that your work is no good and the manager brought you for a performance meeting where you had to defend yourself to find him demanding improvements from you and blaming you. Or when your membership to a group has brought you pain or even jail without giving you the opportunity of a trial. Or when you found difficulty obtaining a visa to travel somewhere because you are an Egyptian. Remember these situations that happened to you when you were attacked or denied rights because of someone or some country or some group has made an upfront general conclusion against you like the “Will_Never_Fly_EgyptAir” you are supporting now.

E- Consider the big picture, 1) how many years EgyptAir has been operating in Egypt? 2) How many flights EgyptAir commences daily? 3) How many crash incidents in its track record?

F- Are are you judging things through black lens because you see everything in Egypt as shit? Admittedly, Egypt as a developing country having big share in chaos could not be the best place to live; however, your “valid” opinion about the country must be kept only for your conclusion about living in the country; however, never let it pollute your ability to judge things fairly. This would be a stigma chasing you throughout your life anywhere you would go. One might be hating everything about a country because it’s all shit, but when it comes to judging things, ONLY valid, correct, and fair mentality should be applied. This is your own wellbeing; do not pollute it because you live in a country you consider shitty.

G- If you are convinced or claim that your stand or analysis of the crash is based on logical reasoning, be careful, it’s your own Self fooling you.

There are only two forms of logical arguments: Induction and Deduction. Deductive reasoning starts with a general statement; then, follows with specifics, which all must be true in order for the conclusion to be true. An example of a deductive reasoning is: All men is mortal. Jack is man. Therefore, Jack is mortal. So, Mr. Logician, if your stand is based on this type of logical reasoning; then, your argument would be like this: All EgyptAir flights are doomed by carelessness-maintenance-stupidity-mistakes. Flight MS804 is EgyptAir. Therefore, Flight MS804 is doomed by carelessness-maintenance-stupidity-mistakes. In such case, your first premise is logically wrong; because not all EgyptAir flights got doomed (consider the first point). Inductive reasoning, on the other hand, starts with specifics that all must be true such that it ends up in a general statement that is logically true. Under such reasoning approach, your argument against the situation would be like this: Flight MS804 is flown by EgyptAir. The flight got doomed. Therefore, All EgyptAir flights are doomed. Again, a logically wrong argument.

I hope you can use the above pointers (and possibly add to them) in correcting your stand and remove prejudice. And always remember that anyone can judge you (and act upon your life) with the same quickness and with partial information as you are doing here. Same as you don’t want that to be done to you, take the correct route before judging situations and others.

21/12/2012

Are you prepared? Tomorrow is the end of world!

21st of December 2012 is believed to be the End of World, the doomsday where the world and everything will come to an end. If you watched John Cusack’ movie ‘2012’, you know what it is (Actually that movie is based on this prophecy).

While some might think this is a ridiculous joke, there are millions around the world were getting prepared to that day; packing food, candles, cloths…etc. There have been activists and established groups to help prepare for that day. There have been trainings being offered by skilled people to help get prepared for surviving that day. However, little people know the story of 21/12/2012. So let’s take a grip.

The 21st of Dec. 2012 root of prophecy dates back to 2000 B.C. At that time there was a civilization of people called the Maya, the Mayans inhabited a region in the Americas, called Mesoamerican, in an era referred to in history as the Pre-Columbian Era, which is the history of the Americas before the Spanish colonization led by Christopher Columbus. The Maya civilization is known for development in Writing Systems, Mathematics, Arts, Architecture, and Astronomy.

The Maya was using a calendar known as Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, which was the calendar system adopted at that time by culture. Now here is the source of the issue, so let’s spend some time discussing this calendar system, without me entering through more technicalities. Let me relate to our normal Georgian Calendar. In our calendar, a year can be considered a cycle and it is composed of 12 months, 365 days for common years and 366 for leap years. When we reach and exhaust the 12th month, we start all over again a new calendar. Alright, in Maya Long Count Calendar, the cycle is not 365 days but 144,000 day and is called Baktun (Which you might like to think of as conceptually equivalent to Year in our calendar). According to the Maya calendar, we are now living in the 13th Baktun. The end of this Baktun we are living in corresponds to 21 December 2012…Voila! Here it is the source of what’s happening…

The Mayan calendar for the 13th Baktun ends in 21/12/2012…Now why this was taken and publicized to be the end of the world? This is the 13th Baktun end day, meaning that we witnessed several end days like this one for the whole 12 Baktun passed. However, the source of making this Baktun end day special than the past ones is that year 2012 was tied to multiple astrological catastrophes. At this point, we can say then that 21/12/2012 throught as the doomsday is a compounded myth and not just a one-source hoax…It resulted from matching these catastrophes believed to happen in 2012 (which are wrong as I will explain) with the Mayan calendar end day. The result is: the Mayan has predicted that the world would end in 21/12/2012.

Modern Mayanist scholars have denied ancient Mayans doing such prediction. Top notch credible Maya history scholars confirmed that no inscription from the Maya culture holds any prediction that this day marks the end of the world. According to these scholars, this day is just an end of a Baktun. Alright, now this is the objection from the Mayan culture side. Now, for the natural catastrophes tied to 2012 that gave this false association with the Mayan calendar. In this regard, we refer to NASA. Speaks to us about this topic is David Morrison, NASA Senior Scientist. The story of linking Maya Long Count Calendar end day with doomsday start with predicting that there is a planet called Nibiru is heading towards the Earth and expected to hit it in 2012. NASA confirms that this is an internet hoax and there is no such planet called Nibiru hitting the Earth. In common sense language, if there is a planet heading toward the Earth; then, our scientists would have been definitely watching it at least over the past 10 years – who tries to convince us that we are not aware about how particles moves in the space that a planet would catch us by surprise. Even if we will try to convince ourselves that our scientists have failed to detect it all these years or if we will say that NASA lies to humanity to avoid the panic (Like what happened in the 2012 movie), if that planet impact would cause the world to end by 21/12/2012, then, everybody on Earth would have been able to see it in the sky with their naked eyes at least over the past week; it would be closer than the Moon to us – No fancy machines. No scientists are needed. Thus, it makes a logical sense that this planet is nothing by common sense.

Finally, I feel obliged to quote the NASA scientist because such myth hurts our mentalities: when asked how he feels toward such rumors about the 2012 end of the world, he says “Where is the science?” Where are the scientists? Where is the evidence?…There is none (evidence) and there is a science and hard working scientists that carry over their shoulders humanity’s responsibilities and the burden of making life better for humanity.

So, enjoy your night, you still got a new day tomorrow…The Doomsday is postponed.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink

An idiom emphasizing a role attempted by enlightened wise people. Efforts are exerted in putting facts, science, analysis, reflections, and thoughts…for the sake of humanity to be englightened. However, not a small amount of such people are putting an extra effort in attempts to sound the deaf. On top of the immersive mental efforts of thinkers, scientists, and principle-centered personalities, we seek and try hard to convince, teach, and change other personalities. We acknowledge that some are gifted to reach higher state of thinking and principles, nevertheless, we should also acknowledge the nature of this life; that amid all life seriousness and real values, there are some people who chose to live deaf. For this, to all thinkers, scientists, and real aware people mastering their lives truly: you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.

Call, SMS to Win…A Gambling?

It is noticeable the explosive wide spread notion of “Call to Win…” and “SMS to Win…” sort of contests envading the world; through TVs basically. While this could be normal or familiar to many cultures, it’s real core is somehow concealed in a culture like the Middle East due to many people’s ignorance. In the Middle East, people normally do not gamble for religious or cultural reasons yet you would see many of them participating in this sort of call/sms answer to a question (usually a silly one) to win a certain prize. I ask that person isn’t this a gambling? That person would answer surprisingly, of course it’s not! To this type of people, they have known gambling as a table, cards, and a rolling ball. But that’s not the only form of gambling. Let’s see what’s wrong with doing something while its core or reality is not realized; when you do and don’t think of the truth behind things.

Let’s start by a necessary foundation.

How Gambling Works:

There are many forms of gambling. The familiar form that we see a lot in movies and to which our minds mistakenly associate gambling is the table with those cards, coins, and a rotating wheel with numbers written on it where a ball is pushed to roll in the opposite direction of the rotating wheel. This famous image our minds use as a synonym for gambling is called Roullete and is spread in hotel places called Casino. This is just one game in the family of gambling, but gambling has many other forms and many other games. Another famous form of gambling is playing cards where there is no rotating wheel or balls; just cards. In this form of gamble, each card has a value of points. The player with cards worth highest points wins the game. Cards are withdrew from a deck of cards; that is, players are not sure what type of cards will come to them; and hence, like the other forms of gambling, players are unsure of what will come to them. A third famous form of gambling is Lottery. In lottery form of gambling, players buy a lottery with a certain number for an X amount of money; then, they remain in the hope that the number they have bought wins. This foundational illustrations are aimed at giving you a sense that gambling has many forms and gives a base now to talk about the main concepts behind all gambling games:

  1. Randomness.
  2. Uncertainity.
  3. Independence of results & Unpredictability.
  4. Something called, House Profit.

WhenI searched the different gambling games, I could enlist the above four concepts that are visibly common to all gambling games. The first concept pertains that a player’s win is based on some random events. Meaning that, when the ball rolls around a rotating wheel, each time the ball would fall on a random sequence of numbers. One time the player would get it on number 14, the next X amount of times, he probably won’t. This gets us through to concept two; where the player is uncertain whether he will get the ball on the X number or not. The probability of getting the number you are gambling on is 50/50; like the probability of tossing a coin. You have 50% of getting a head and 50% of getting a tail no matter how tosses you do; and even if you could win a head 6 times, still each time you will play, your chances of getting a head will remain 50/50. Concept three states that the gamble game is independent of any previous games. For example, a beginner gambler myth is that since the rolling ball falls on number 14 many times; then, placing your money on 14 would increase your chances of winning. Gambling is totally unpredictable no matter what strategies are employed in a pursuit of increasing chances of winning. Fourth concept is important here. House profit is the money the place hosting the gamble for you would make out of your playing. How a hotel casino would benefit from players? The amount of money the casino or the place offering you the gamble game would make is called House Profit; not only players win, the game provider must win as well. In a casino setting of gambling, the casino would usually charge players for placing a bid. For example, for you to bid on number X with X amount of money, you will have to pay the casino a factor X. This is not the only way for gambling houses to make profit; some place a charge per hour…etc.

With these main concepts enumerated and the different forms of gamble games examples I have provided above, it is worth noting that such games are also available online; players don’t have to go to Casinos to play. But this drives us to an important question; if players don’t have to go to gamble houses like a hotel casino, how can the house or the game provider make money? Well, online casinos make money the same way; players must credit them with the bid cost through their credit cards online…But there is another way for making the House Profit; that will be illustrated in the next section.

How Call/SMS to Win Works:

TV contests that pop up to you on TVs with a question for you: “Send your answer or call number XXXXXX and win XXXXX amount of money”. Depending on the country rules for this, usually the prize value must first be deposited in the legal channel that allows this contest. For example, if I to make such contest on TV for a prize of 3000, at the time I register this contest (at the designated legal authority) to be presented on TVs and I am given a phone number for players to call on, I have to give them that 3000 amount for their Under Hold. Legal authorities franchising those contests enforces this as a guarantee that the thing is real and that the prize will really be given to a person (the winner). And that winner is the one who goes to that place to cash out the prize once declared as the winner by the contest maker (me). Now, how those contest makers make money. Like the House profit, you pay for placing a bid. Your bid is your answer…and for you to place it, you have to call or send SMS. When you do so, who gets the price of your call or SMS. That service when given, the contest maker is given a special phone number and a special SMS number. You will be charged by calling this number or SMS to it. That’s the charge of your bid; that part of it goes to the contest maker and part of it goes to the legal authority that franchises this contest. The difference here is that in the Roullete, the event is unknown and unpredictable but with the question/answer model, you know that your answer is correct to the prize. This makes the Call/SMS to Win more like the Lottery. You place your answer and pay the money with your call/SMS charge just to have a number…and that number is like the one that get printed on the rotating wheel and the prize maker is the gamble dealer who pushes the metal ball. If the ball falls in your number (that you gained by answering the question right), you win the prize. The one last point, how these contest maker make sure that they profit the amount they need? If the maker is offering 3000 for answering a question, he has to receive 7000 through your calls or SMS. He gives you the 3000 prize, the legal authority takes 2000, and the maker finally profits 2000 net. That’s why you can notice that those contests give really silly and tediously easy questions so that everybody can answer them; it’s like it’s a very easy question that I can answer with a small call fee that might get me the large prize. In this sense, lots of people place calls that worth money more than the the offered prize while only one gets it and the rest goes to the beneficiaries.

It’s like a Lottery gamble that burns down to a Roullete at the end; it’s just the mean to that Roullete is misleadingly different. You answer the question and pay for placing that answer through your call/SMS. Now you reserved a seat on the Roullete table with a number. Your number now is like the numbers imprinted on the Roullete wheel among the other players; with your all answers placed, you become number on the Roullete wheel. Now, the gamble dealer (the contest maker) sits and pushes the rolling ball. If the ball falls in your number, you win…and the rest hard luck next time.

It’s very sad to see a culture, a religion, and a society who prohibit gambling yet finding their sons and daughters falling in this trap with ignorace to the reality of what they are getting themselves into. It’s a pitty to see it offered everywhere in TVs and Radios.

Call or SMS to win contests…It’s a gambling in its full corners. Give it a sense of mind, if you call yourself a disbeliever in gambling…Or else have no shame visiting a Casino. Better doing it in its nakedness than doing it and fooling yourself that you are not a gambler.

Why Philosophy?

I once had a friend of mine asking me “Why Philosophy?”. He was asking that question not underestimating Philosophy, but actually underestimating its role in our lives. He was convinced that Philosophy is a theoritical talking made by people who have luxury of mind and some time to spend working that machine to output whatever they do…At the end, this is called their Philosophy.

Imagine this life without you not understanding the reality of everything? Can you tolerate living this way? I doubt; because when a single event happens to you to which you couldn’t find any reason or truthful reality that explains it, you feel desperate and confused. That’s why in the dark age, people used to believe in supernatural power; when everything they used to attribute and explain as made by some high external force like ghosts and such. Why they did so? They did so because there were many phenomena to which scientific advancements could still explain

Computer Science…Is it a Science?

As Computer Science started to yield its own sons and daughters, computer scientists started to reflect on and ask whether it is basically a science. Over the past years, practitioner of CS and its educators were a collection of people coming from different majors that participate in the subject matter dealt with in CS. An obvious example of these is the engineering discipline. We didn’t start to have our professors as people holding a bachelor in CS until the past few years. Such shift is important because now we are more eager to think about the field itself rather than just its practice and work.

Some may ask: Why this question?; why they need to know if CS is a science or not?

What is Computer Science? What is a Computer Scientist? And more foundational, what is Science and the word ‘Science’?

—This is a snippet; if interested in reading more about these questions, please see my full article at the Philosophical Investigations society.