Marvellous powers

I came across this quote from the New Zealander mathematician and ‘lightning calculator’ A.C. Aitken, which seems germane to some of the recent discussion here.

I believe we are surrounded the whole time by marvellous powers, are immersed in them, closer than breathing, and I think that all great music, poetry, mathematics and real religion come from a world not distant but right in the midst of everything, permeating it. When I wish to do a feat of memory or calculation, or, sometimes, new mathematical discovery, I let slip some sort of cog and lie back in this world I speak of, not concentrating, but waiting in complete confidence for the thing desired to flow in.



Filed under The music of what happened

117 responses to “Marvellous powers

  1. Cymbeline

    A wonderful piece of writing. There is great modesty in it.

    The piece suggests that some people are more receptive to what A.C. Aitken calls marvellous powers, than others. I think that is true. I also think that all great ideas belong to humanity as a whole – not simply to one person, or to one racial group or to one nation. I think that this idea is part of what A.C. Aitken is saying.

    Talking about things flowing in – I see that adverts have flowed into your blog now. There is an advert for an MSc from Brunel. ‘The Latest Theory Applied to the Latest Technology.’

  2. Cymbeline

    Always liked the idea of a sculpture being already inside a piece of marble. The sculptor is simply a workman/receptor who knows how to chip the right pieces off.

  3. Hello Cymbeline. Your thoughts on this are much the same as mine. Many artists have talked in terms of something already ‘out there’ that needed to be found. I suppose an artist is good at finding it … at removing the barriers.

    I can’t see any advertisement.

  4. Hello Brendan and Cymbeline,


    I don’t know why, but you so often remind me things of Sofism. (Actually it’s called tasavvuf)

    I think I have mentioned before, there is a school in tasavvuf, called “Vahdet-ul vücud”.

    Vahdet = One, union
    Vücud = Existence

    Means (very very roughly) everything is a part of Him.

    (Sorry for repeating again), kufr (the root of the word kafir, sounds famailiar? 🙂 )in arabic means to cover up. Kind of implies, faith and the thing referred in your quote is inside everyone, one only covers (denies) it up.

    About being aware, receving, or hearing… You the “Sema” the whirling of the Dervishes. It was first performed by Cuneyd-i Bagdadi in copper bazaar. Upon hearing the noise of the beating hammers, he started to whirl. Saying that the divine music got him. Whirling like the atoms, like the solar systems….

    And he also said my favourite quote “You can’t find Him by searching. But the ones who have found are only the searchers.”

    And another Rumi quote:

    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

  5. Thanks very much, Levent. These comments from you are always brilliant and inspiring. I believe that truth, reality, is just one thing however it may be approached and whatever names may be given to it.

    When you hear the truth, the sensation is not of hearing something new but of remembering something you had forgotten.

    Unfortunately some people, instead of removing the barriers, spend their time erecting new ones.

    I was singing and playing the guitar in the pub last Friday night, and it probably didn’t go as well as usual … problems with microphones, amplification, some songs not seeming to ‘work’, etc.

    I discussed this with my wife the next day. She said ‘you should sing the songs you love to sing, not the ones you think people want to hear.’

    Good advice, I think … to your own self be true.

  6. “When you hear the truth, the sensation is not of hearing something new but of remembering something you had forgotten.”

    Spot on!

    But I think it has something to do with “tuning in” or reception as well. One has to be ready to receive, has to be in the correct “wave length”, I guess. To look and to see are different things, as they say.

  7. Yes, definitely, Levent.

  8. Cymbeline

    I have a very interesting book called ‘The Shorter Atlas of Western Civilization’ by F. Van der Meer and G. Lemmens. In this book, we are told that the Arabs saw the Christians of the east (Byzantine) as ‘Rumi’, and the Christians of the west as ‘Franki’.

    I believe that Rumi the poet came from a town that was founded by the Romans, hence his name.

    Interesting to see that many of Rumi’s ideas went against Islamic religious and political dogma. He was a man who enjoyed mixing with Christians and Jews, as well as with his fellow Muslims.

  9. Cymbeline

    Dancing, music, and poetry as a way of becoming closer to God. That is what Rumi thought.

  10. Cymbeline

    The sparkly shoe without the black cage.

  11. Cymbeline

    The Van der Meer book was written in 1964, so it is getting on a bit now. Nobody in Europe was concerned about militant Islam then. The book closes on this note :

    ‘What threatens the European heritage is neither the vastness of its field of expansion nor the decay through the age of the mother-countries, but the risk that the technical power possessed by its present heirs, instead of benefiting life may destroy it. Only those who recognize the well-balanced humanity – tempered by dignity and rejecting hybris – of ancient European civilization, and those who are prepared to defend its ideals, can remove this fear, both for themselves and for others.’

  12. Cymbeline

    I think that it is true that technical power can cut us off from ‘marvellous powers’.

  13. Cymbeline

    I also think that it is important to defend European ideals – they are worth defending.

  14. Technical power may tempt us to ‘play God’ through genetic engineering, and may allow us, for example, to literally read people’s minds. It may also allow us to obliterate life on the planet. These are the things that sometimes cause me to feel a little less sanguine.

  15. As for Islam … as both Duckham and Levent have pointed out, it has been a mosaic of great diversity. I don’t think it’s at all surprising that ‘many of Rumi’s ideas went against Islamic religious and political dogma’. I think people in the West are now being conditioned to see Islam in a stereotyped way … which, of course, suits the purposes of the worst elements within it.

  16. Cymbeline

    Yes, technical power wants watching.

    Duckham speaks about Indonesia. Indonesia is not Europe. Levent speaks about Turkey. Turkey is not Europe.

  17. 🙂 Good to see you in good form Cymbeline.

    Rum (pronounced as room) means Greek in Arabic. Anatolia was referred as diyar-ı Rum means land of Greek in the olden times.

    Rumi I guess means of the land of Greek.

    Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, is from a city which is Iran now, came to Konya which is in Anatolia hence Rumi.

    He said “I’m the dust of the feet of Muhammed, a leaf of his tree. He who claims the opposite is slandering me”

    As for Europe, it’s not easy (at least for me) to define what it stands for. In my opinion blessing the human being has gone too far, which bring the end of it or will lead to a transform.

    The civilisations defects remanined (or compansated) because plenty of wealth was “transferred” to the mainland. Now Europe is failing to continue to “transfer” the wealth. Now we will see what will happen.

  18. Cymbeline

    Merhaba Levent. I hope you are well.

    Thank you for the correction. I thought that Rumi the poet came from Persia, which was once part of the Roman Empire.

    If ‘Rum’ means ‘Greek’ in Arabic, how do you say ‘Roman’ in Arabic’?

  19. Hello Cymbeline,

    I’m fine, thank you. Hope you are too.

    I don’t know how they say Roman in Arabic.

    Incidentally Mevlana (as we call him) has lines saying something about the people who call him poet. 🙂

  20. Cymbeline

    I am mystified by your last sentence, Levent.

    Are you saying that Rumi did not want to be seen as a poet? Why not? Is there something wrong with being a poet?

  21. Cymbeline

    And what are the lines he says about people who call him a poet? I would be interested to know.

    • I can’t find it Cymbeline,

      Hard to describe, like love, Sofis see two faces of everything; divine and earthly.

      Aşk-ı mecazi and aşk-ı hakiki. Aşk means love, if love is not for Him, they call it aşk-ı mecazi which means “not real” or impersonating (or to lead to His love) and aşk-ı hakiki is real love.

      I think Mevlana was warning people who thought he was talking about aşk-ı mecazi when he said that about being poet.

      I don’t know if I could tell.

  22. That’s very interesting … thanks, Levent. But I’m a bit dizzy now (just kidding).

    I can understand how the whirling takes the dervishes out of their normal state of mind and train of thoughts and allows them to apprehend the reality from which those thoughts normally block us. At least I suppose that is how it works. In Buddhism and other traditions our thoughts are what imprison us, though of course our rational mind is necessary for living in this world.

    There’s an Irish traditional-music band called Dervish, incidentally.

  23. Cymbeline

    There seem to be similarities between those ideas and Platonism, Levent.

  24. Cymbeline

    The nineteenth century French poet Charles Baudelaire was very interested in Platonic ideas; the idea of earthly things being a reflection of a higher sphere.

    Perhaps you would be interested to read his poem ‘Correspondances’. Here is the poem in the original, along with several translations :


    La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
    Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
    L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
    Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.

    Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
    Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
    Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
    Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

    II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants,
    Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,
    — Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,

    Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies,
    Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens,
    Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens.

    — Charles Baudelaire


    Nature is a temple in which living pillars
    Sometimes give voice to confused words;
    Man passes there through forests of symbols
    Which look at him with understanding eyes.

    Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance
    In a deep and tenebrous unity,
    Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day,
    Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.

    There are perfumes as cool as the flesh of children,
    Sweet as oboes, green as meadows
    — And others are corrupt, and rich, triumphant,

    With power to expand into infinity,
    Like amber and incense, musk, benzoin,
    That sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses.

    — William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)


    Nature’s a temple where each living column,
    At times, gives forth vague words. There Man advances
    Through forest-groves of symbols, strange and solemn,
    Who follow him with their familiar glances.

    As long-drawn echoes mingle and transfuse
    Till in a deep, dark unison they swoon,
    Vast as the night or as the vault of noon —
    So are commingled perfumes, sounds, and hues.

    There can be perfumes cool as children’s flesh,
    Like fiddIes, sweet, like meadows greenly fresh.
    Rich, complex, and triumphant, others roll

    With the vast range of all non-finite things —
    Amber, musk, incense, benjamin, each sings
    The transports of the senses and the soul.

    — Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)


    All nature is one temple, the living aisles whereof
    Murmur in a soft language, half strange, half understood;
    Man wanders there as through a cabalistic wood,
    Aware of eyes that watch him in the leaves above.

    Like voices echoing in his senses from beyond
    Life’s watery source, and which into one voice unite,
    Vast as the turning planet clothed in darkness and light,
    So do all sounds and hues and fragrances correspond.

    Perfumes there are as sweet as the music of pipes and strings,
    As pure as the naked flesh of children, as full of peace
    As wide green prairies — and there are others, having the whole

    Corrupt proud all-pervasiveness of infinite things,
    Like frankincense, and musk, and myrrh, and ambergris,
    That cry of the ecstasy of the body and of the soul.

    — George Dillon, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)


    In Nature’s temple, living pillars rise,
    Speaking sometimes in words of abstruse sense;
    Man walks through woods of symbols, dark and dense,
    Which gaze at him with fond familiar eyes.
    Like distant echoes blent in the beyond
    In unity, in a deep darksome way,
    Vast as black night and vast as splendent day,
    Perfumes and sounds and colors correspond.

    Some scents are cool as children’s flesh is cool,
    Sweet as are oboes, green as meadowlands,
    And others rich, corrupt, triumphant, full,
    Expanding as infinity expands:
    Benzoin or musk or amber that incenses,
    Hymning the ecstasy of soul and senses.

    — Jacques LeClercq, Flowers of Evil (Mt Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1958)


    Nature’s a fane where down each corridor
    of living pillars, darkling whispers roll,
    — a symbol-forest every pilgrim soul
    must pierce, ‘neath gazing eyes it knew before.

    like echoes long that from afar rebound,
    merged till one deep low shadowy note is born,
    vast as the night or as the fires of morn,
    sound calls to fragrance, colour calls to sound.

    cool as an infant’s brow some perfumes are,
    softer than oboes, green as rainy leas;
    others, corrupt, exultant, rich, unbar

    wide infinities wherein we move at ease:
    — musk, ambergris, frankincense, benjamin
    chant all our soul or sense can revel in.

    — Lewis Piaget Shanks, Flowers of Evil (New York: Ives Washburn, 1931)


    Nature is a temple where living pillars
    Let sometimes emerge confused words;
    Man crosses it through forests of symbols
    Which watch him with intimate eyes.

    Like those deep echoes that meet from afar
    In a dark and profound harmony,
    As vast as night and clarity,
    So perfumes, colors, tones answer each other.

    There are perfumes fresh as children’s flesh,
    Soft as oboes, green as meadows,
    And others, corrupted, rich, triumphant,

    Possessing the diffusion of infinite things,
    Like amber, musk, incense and aromatic resin,
    Chanting the ecstasies of spirit and senses.

    — Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974) is a Supervert production • © 2010 • All rights reserved.

  25. Cymbeline

    Charles Baudelaire did not whirl though.

    Well, yes he did. He drank absinthe.

  26. Baudelaire’s symbols seem to be conscious, Cymbeline. Perhaps all life, or all energy, entails consciousness. Ours is currently encapsulated so that it might evolve.

    Drinking absinthe might have the same effect as whirling … of disrupting the inner dialogue and allowing something to move.

  27. Cymbeline


  28. Cymbeline

    I suppose that the advantage of absinthe is is that you can whirlk whilst being comfortably seated in a chair.

  29. Amazed you saw that before I corrected it, Cymbeline. 🙂

    Whirlking could be a noun … head whirler (no sexism intended).

    Or an Ulster Scots verb meaning ‘gleaning the rocks for molluscs’.

    Sorry, that was a bit shellfish of me.

  30. Cymbeline

    Everything whelks out in the end.

    Perhaps Rumi is called ‘the Greek’ in Arabic because of his Platonic ideas.

  31. Cymbeline

    No wonder the Turks prefer to call the chap ‘Mevlana’.

  32. I know nothing of Platonism, Cymbeline. Will look it up. Yes, it seems there are sort of similarities.

    Like you said last week, I also believe knowledge is a common possession of entire humanity. Not of one or some in particular. So there will of course be similarities.

    Also, it’s cheek of some people to claim the knowledge we own now is only work of ours. (I believe) it isn’t. God has taught at least some of it.

    His words were present from the day once, hence the common points in the faiths.

    Lastly, I just love when people pretend like to know something only by giving a name. Arrogant!

    Btw, chap eh? :))

  33. Cymbeline

    Hello again, Levent. Yes, knowledge and thought belong to everyone, and they are fluid.

  34. Cymbeline

    As for God – I am sure he expects us to make an effort. We can’t just sit there like puddings, expecting marvellous powers to flood in. Most of us are nowhere near as talented as A.C. Aitken.

    • 🙂
      I think depends on the situation.

      It’s a deep subject relating fate at the end, I guess
      In islam there are three kinds of prayers.
      The one by tongue. The one with action. The one by need. (very bad translation).

      I can give you a link if you are interested.

  35. Cymbeline

    Will check back on this. I have to go now. I have a second life as a taxi driver.

  36. Are you sure free will dispute fate Cymbeline? Maybe we can talk about it another time.

    Here is the link:

    (Fifth point to the end)

    Taxi driver? :))

  37. Having just driven to town to collect my son’s girlfriend, I feel like a taxi driver too.

    I’m not sure either that there’s a contradiction between free will and fate … perhaps just in our ways of thinking about them.

  38. Hello Levent. Thanks for the links. A little stodgy after the brilliance of Rumi. 🙂

    • 🙂
      Hmmm. About the difference. They say that Rumi views the universe through the window of ism-i Vedud (The One who loves, make the beings love each other).

      Whereas the book I quote mainly from the window Ism-i Hakim. (Sage?)

      This is the terminology about the classification of the people’s approach to Quran.

  39. Cymbeline

    Hello again, Levent. Yes, divine determining and the power of choice, as your article puts it. I agree that the idea of divine determining stops us from being too proud. This must not become an excuse to avoid personal responsibility though, as your article points out. I am not crazy about the supplication and subjugation ideas though.

    Just now, I was driving my taxi, and I put my seatbelt on. Power of choice, personal responsibility, but not necessarily a guarantee that I will not be killed in a crash.

    The idea of being aware that one is not in control of everything is very present in European thought too. This is the idea of ‘Deo Volonte’ or ‘God Willing’. There was an article on this in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago.

    Sometimes I think you think that European thought is bereft of spirituality. It isn’t. You might enjoy the Spanish mystic poets St John of the Cross, and St Theresa of Avila. Great literature. Gerard Manley Hopkins might interest you too. He taught in the university Brendano briefly frequented.

    • You are right, Cymbeline. When I think of Europe, two things firstly spring to my mind. One is enlightment (is this correct?).

      From my very shallow and definitely not informed view, Xtianity was politicized mainly in Europe, which took them down. And the scars it left is still effecting badly. Europe pushed religion out of the society and didn’t put something in the place of it.

      The reaction was way too much, in my opinion. Now they are loosing the ties of being a society.

      (East is not faultless of course, btw)

      You refer to some old poets (?). What about now. Look at arts of today. (They say arts are the mirrors of societies) Aren’t they too shallow, almost nothing beneath the skin? (Same here)

      Then again, these are the thoughts of an ignorant man therefore I could be wrong.

      • Cymbeline

        Hello again, Levent. Yes, The Enlightenment is very important in European thought. Europe believes that Islam needs an enlightenment.

        Yes, religion became too powerful in Europe, and people realized that religion needed to be controlled. Not all people want religion, and there are many religions. This is why people like to come to Europe – they are free to worship as they like, or not to worship at all. Unfortunately, many Muslims think that this is a vacuum. It is not. It is a form of European strength.

        I am interested in how Muslims see Europe – I am reading a book about how the Muslims see the Crusades for example. I am reading this book in French. It is by Maalouf.

        You say I refer to old poets. The Spanish mystic poets are more recent than Rumi. Gerard Manley Hopkins is far more recent.

        You are not an ignorant man. You are a good man.

  40. That is correct, Cymbeline. A rather strange man, Hopkins. He found the world a difficult place, like many artists. In Dublin, with its liking for strong characters, he more or less disappeared … he isn’t mentioned in any of the memoirs of the time.

    A couple of anecdotes on Hopkins in Ireland:

    While he lived in Dublin he was befriended by the McCabe family of Donnybrook, whom he often visited. One evening when taking his leave, he shook hands with Mr McCabe ‘and then held his hand out for the penny tram-fare’.

    It is said that while Hopkins was on a break in Monasterevin, in Ireland, ‘On a long walk he was given a lift by a man in a cart. After some time he asked if they were now near Monasterevin; the reply was “We’re not, then, but we’ll be coming into Portarlington presently”. Hopkins had not asked the man which way he was going, and they had been travelling in the opposite direction.

    Thanks for your interesting comment, by the way.

  41. I realize, of course, that the Irish don’t own Hopkins. 🙂

  42. Cymbeline

    Good anecdotes.

    Glad the Irish don’t think they own Hopkins. There is a Welsh connection too, as you know. He was at St Beuno’s, which is in my part of Wales. He taught himself Welsh, and Welsh influenced his poetry.

    I studied him for A level. Taped myself reading his poetry and listened to him on my walkman. In between Bowie.

  43. Cymbeline

    … and Dire Straits.

  44. I’m sure it sounded good … both you and Bowie.

    There was a chapter on Hopkins in a book I worked on. It refers to:

    an unintentionally amusing sermon he gave at supper in the community refectory in Wales. The gospel of the day had been the feeding of the five thousand, and Hopkins took as his text the sentence ‘Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down’ – White says that he must have seen its ordinariness as ‘a challenge to his powers of imaginative transformation and expansion’. According to White, ‘The sermon was not a success. After fifteen minutes … he had clarified neither argument nor purpose. He tried to rectify the situation by repeating the key phrase … Make the men sit down … Hopkins’s voice was inclined to become shrill and lose authority when raised. His ineffective dramatization proved too much for the audience, and he recorded: “People laughed at it prodigiously, I saw some of them roll on their chairs with laughter … The last paragraph, in which Make the men sit down is often repeated, made them roll more than ever.” The last five minutes of the sermon were not delivered.’

  45. I liked Dire Straits’ first few albums. Happy memories. Went to see them in Dublin in 1979.

  46. Cymbeline

    Very funny. The line would not have worked on the whirling dervishes either.

  47. Cymbeline

    I was given that Dire Straits tape for Christmas when I was 17. Gift from my boyfriend. I gave him some socks. He was very keen on music and had his own group. He took me to a The Who concert (or was it Status Quo?), and I said I couldn’t stand it, so we left. I didn’t like all the people and the headbanging. Poor lad.

  48. Cymbeline

    He was in school with Julian Lennon.

  49. It’s not easy being a teenager.

    I saw Dire Straits just before Christmas 79. A girl I shared a house with had two tickets and was supposed to go with her friend, but couldn’t make it, so I went with the friend. Didn’t realize till afterwards that the friend fancied me but had been too shy to ask, and it was all a set-up. Too dim to realize at the time.

  50. Cymbeline

    Poor girl. She must have felt totally humiliated.

    Reminds me of Cropper’s story.

  51. She came up to me at a party some time later and asked me if I was with anyone … I was. She was very attractive and I would certainly have been interested, but had probably thought she wouldn’t be … she was a medical student, from an affluent Dublin family, and I was a country bumpkin.

    I remember Cropper’s story (just about). He blurted out something about his feelings to a woman on the street.

  52. Cymbeline

    No. He didn’t blurt out anything. That is the crux of the story.

    Cropper worked in an office in London. He was a young clerk, wet behind the ears. The boss was an older married man who slept around and boasted about his conquests. One of his conquests was a pretty young secretary, for whom Cropper felt unrequited love.

    One day, after work, she was there standing on the street in the dusk, on her own. Cropper made a gentlemanly comment and carried on walking. She called after him, but he did not turn around. It never crossed his mind that she might have wanted him. She belonged to a different world.

    Today, he wonders what would have happened if he had turned around.

  53. I remember now. ‘Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell’ (DG Rossetti).

    I remember someone asking on MyT what people would do if they had their time again. I said, rather glibly, that I was happy with the road I’d taken as it had brought me to where I am now. True, but facile.

    In fact, I was thinking afterwards, I would have quite liked to be an academic at some university in New England or California.

  54. Cymbeline

    The road not taken.

    Naah. You belong to Europe, not to America.

  55. Europe is stuck with me now.

  56. Cymbeline

    I always wanted to be a lumberjack.

  57. Cymbeline

    Oh dear. Not the right one.

  58. Cymbeline

    All slow. Never mind.

  59. Evening (or is it afternoon there?) Cymbeline,

    Islam is not comparable with Xtianity. Never had an authority on muslims as papacy. Long subject. Needs enlightment, but not the way Europe had.

    You think “religious freedom” is one of the main reasons that make people go to Europe? I think you are wrong. Freedom in general, and higher life standards yes, but religious freedom might be for very few people.

    To control religion…. This is the enlightment mentality. Humanism you call it? This is the crux , the essence of the matter, I suppose. Europe is idolising humanity. This is a dilemma. Will we lean on the experience of humanity or will we accept a greater intellect? (science vs religion)

    To be perfectly honest, I *believe* the message of God was “corrupted”. The words of “saints” (not the word?) mixed in the words of God. So there are “flaws” which weakens the faith of people in Europe.

    Actually all these were told in the prophicies of our prophet (pbuh)

  60. And thank you for the kind words.

  61. Cymbeline

    Well, you are a bit of a religious nutter, Levent.

  62. Cymbeline

    You are welcome to the kind words. I do think that you are a good man.

  63. I propose a name change for your site Brendan:

    “Brendan’s” 🙂

    This is kind of an apology. (innocent angel emoticon) 🙂

  64. “Would you like it if I imposed my Christianity on you and told you that your religion was a heresy? I doubt it.”

    Try me Cymbeline.

    I already know you think this way. You asked I replied. Sorry if I offended. Didn’t mean to.

  65. Cymbeline

    You do not offend me, Levent.

  66. When you hear a good joke you want to share it. Same feeling about religion for me. Most of the time unintentionally, I love to share things that enlightened my life. It’s no way something like holier than thou kind of thing. I’m sorry if it sounded like that.

  67. Cymbeline

    Do not worry. I am in no danger of thinking that Muslims are holier than anyone else.

  68. I think I have to finish my words by saying Amen. :))))

    Thank you Cymbeline and Brendan.

    Off to bed. Good errrr day. 🙂

  69. And thank you for dropping by. A discussion between Cymbeline and you will always be interesting.

  70. Cymbeline

    Levent. You say this :

    “To control religion…. This is the enlightment mentality. Humanism you call it? This is the crux , the essence of the matter, I suppose. Europe is idolising humanity. This is a dilemma. Will we lean on the experience of humanity or will we accept a greater intellect? (science vs religion)”

    What would you like to see instead of the fruits of the European Enlightenment? Crusading Christianity, insisting that there must be Christianity in Europe, and Christianity alone? I doubt that the Muslims would like that very much. After all, the Muslims see Christianity as being flawed.

    Or would you like to see Europe become strictly and wholly Islamic? That is not going to happen; believe me. You may think that your religion is the only true one, but others do not think that. When this domineering Islamic ‘certitude’ affects their lives in their own countries, Europeans tend to become irritated.

    Do not forget that there are other religions in Europe too. There are also many people who do not wish to follow a religion. I am sure that you can see the problem of trying to impose religion on people.

    I speak of Europe because I am a European. I would not presume to give advice to Muslims in Muslim countries, and if I chose to live in a Muslim country, I would obey the laws and respect the ethos of that country.

  71. Hello again Cymbeline,

    Of course I don’t want to see a crusading Europe. But I don’t want to see a Europe which is abandoning faith and Christianity in particular. Also I didn’t say religion must be imposed on people.

    I have said before, I believe Europe will embrace true Christianity again. Returning of Jesus (pbuh) represents this.

    You personally do not give advice to muslims. But it’s the norm of west (and western arrogance) to give advice to muslim countries. When the advise is not heeded they make it listen by arms.

    Actually what happens in Europe would not be my bussiness if only they could mind their own bussiness, if only the actions of them didn’t effect us.

  72. I think you think that I see this xtianity and Islam thing like a competition. A means of donimation. No I do not.

    In my daily life, (as the principles I try obey advices) I stay clear of politics. Politics create sides, faith is and must be above all sides.

  73. When the Ottoman Sultan Selim “conquered” Meccah, as an Arab tradition, his title was written on somewhere “Hakim-i Mekke” (ruler of Meccah). When he saw he changed it to “Hadim-i Mekke” (servant of Meccah).

    Faith/religion does not require lawyers and people who speak on behalf of God. It requires models (and servants) who reflect it by his life.

  74. Oh I speak too much. I must smoke.

  75. I don’t think you speak too much. I think you smoke too much. 🙂

  76. 🙂 Thank you Brendan.

    As I have already ruined your blog, I’d like to have your and Cymbeline’s view on an article I just commented. I want to know how Turkey is seen from an outsider view.

    Hurriyet is an anti-Akp (ruling party) and a secularist (that means something else in Turkey than in Europe 🙂 )Turkish daily.

    The author (as far as I know) defines himself as liberal.

    I’d be glad to have your views if you have time and interest. Take a look at the comments as well.

  77. You haven’t ruined my blog, Levent … you and Cymbeline have vivified it.

    I’ll have a look at the article a bit later – thanks.

  78. OK, I’ve read the article, and found it very interesting. I agree completely with the author that a secular society should be neutral with regard to religion … not anti-religion.

    I have no problem with religious symbols and practices so long as they do not have a clearly detrimental effect on individuals and society … for example, I would certainly ban all forms of genital mutilation of children. I would also ban the wearing of the burqa in public places in Western society, as I think such complete coverage is inimical to the way our societies function, and would only cause resentment and friction. It is also incompatible with the rights and freedom of women, I feel (because it cannot be ‘freely’ chosen, in my view).

    • Thank you Brendan.

      I agree with most of what you say. However I was wondering something else. When I read the article, first I recalled Cymbeline’s words of yesterday about religious freedom in the west and secondly the image of Turkey in the minds some of the “friendly open-minded” fellow bloggers elsewhere. So I wondered how the artcile and the “debate” below the article sounded on your side as an outsider view.

  79. To me, it just seems like typical blog-style debate, as you would get in any country on issues that people feel strongly about.

    It’s interesting, but it wouldn’t give me any particular image of Turkey … I would just think, ah yes … familar argumentation. 🙂

    People are all the same, I suppose.

  80. Cymbeline

    Merhaba Levent. In 74, you speak of ‘true Christianity’. What is ‘true Christianity’ to you?

    Apart from that, and reading between the lines, I think that you dislike the excessive love of material things. So do I. I can feel great hostility towards those who care more about money and possessions than people.

    These thoughts do not belong to Islam alone.

    • Ah dear touchy Cymbeline (I recall the time I was being suspicous when you call my looks Byronic 🙂 )

      Of course those thoughts don’t belong to Islam alone, I repeat the source is the same.

      True Christianity is worshipping him alone. ie There is no god but Him.

  81. Tut tut. Very unhealty Cymbeline. 🙂
    Why go now, I was going to bore you to death.

    Perhaps I should hit bed at a decent time for a change.

    Thanks and bon apetite!

  82. Cymbeline

    Goodnight, dearest Levent.

  83. Cymbeline

    You never bore me.

  84. Cymbeline

    And I meant to ask if I was allowed a bit of telly and a bacon sarney in general. I was not speaking about this precise instant.

  85. Hi again Brendan, Now that I have decided to give MyT less of my time I think I will be visiting other bloggers blogsites more.

    This is an intersting quote. The first line is sometimes telling. Here it is:

    ‘I believe we are surrounded the whole time by marvellous powers… .’

    If it had been said:

    I believe we are surrounded the whole time by a marvellous power… .

    Would you have thought any less of it?

    My inference is that we are now talking about One rather than many. No subtle hints of pluralism here – but revelation any less appealing because of this?

  86. No, I wouldn’t have thought any less of it. I don’t necessarily see a contradiction between ‘one’ and ‘many’.

    As I was saying to Cymbeline recently, the Irish are known for being able to tolerate ambiguity. Most things are simple and complicated. 🙂

  87. Most things are what they are Brendan 🙂

  88. Yes, but we often don’t know what they are. We just think we do.

    The distinction between power and powers is only in the human mind. The powers don’t care, and nor do I.

  89. Incidentally Brendan, I do think the divine plural reference is significant to the writer and quite possibly to you too for that matter.

    Which is fine but plurality happens to be best represented by Hindu culture and there is very little ambiguity about that.

  90. I’m sure Aitken managed to open himself to the marvellous powers without becoming a Hindu, Nobby.

    For him it was a practical thing with an end result.

  91. I’m sure he did Brendan. But the plurality remains all the same 🙂

  92. Buenos Dias Brendano. I will look in when I can. A woman prisoner, some years ago at Christmas, drew me a Chrsitmas tree, addressed “to you, Mr Musician”. She wrote these words ‘a man who can use his hands is a good labourer; a man who can use his hands and his head is a good craftsman; a man who can use his hands and his head andn his hedart is a good artist; what would music mean without the good notes put into the air by the artist of the musician?’ She ended “thankyou and a merry Christmas.”

    I still have that piece of white paper with those words in pencil. I never knew who wrote it as she left it in the Chapel where I sat.

  93. shd read ‘a man who can use his hands and his head and his heart is a good artist’. My fingers still have learning to do!

  94. Hello, papaguinea … great to see you, and welcome to my blog!

    What a lovely message from the woman … no wonder you kept it, and thanks for sharing it. Later this morning I will be singing in the choir at the funeral of a former choir member … a sad occasion.

    I haven’t had much time to write new stuff for this blog in recent days, but will keep it going … thanks for dropping in. I hope you, your wife and Kojo are well.

  95. Brendano, we are well. I hope you find your ‘voice’ for the service and I hope your colleague finds harmony in the spheres. I shall try and dip in your old posts here – its good to see Cymbeline and Levine shedding light here!

  96. Thanks, pg. Cymbeline hasn’t been around for a few days, but I hope you’ll find something of interest in the old posts.

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