Dreams vs. Targets

Many people have great dreams, and they stay as dreams in their minds.  These dreams may also die with their dreamers.  So what is the true benefit of a great dream in the end?  Dreams need to be “actuated”.  Otherwise, dreams will be like free balloons parked in mid-air – just beautiful to look at.

Dreams may become reality when they become “targets” in the minds of the dreamers.  A target is the visual of a finish line, of something to work towards, an end to meet, or an objective to achieve.

Martin Luther King did not lose his life over just a dream parked in mid-air, he lost it because he had civil rights thought and a plan; a target he dedicated his life to achieve.  He did not just have a passive dream.  

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(First published in August 2015).

In both the Quran and the Bible (Genesis) it is known that Pharaoh had a dream of 7 fat cows eaten by 7 thin cows. This was interpreted as 7 good years eaten by 7 bad years. Today’s New York economic cycle follows a similar pattern. You start a bubble, then you intentionally burst it at 7 years. It is like building a beautiful home, then you destroy it in 7 years, it is creative destructionism at its best. A bubble burst in 2001, add 7 years, you get the crash of 2008, add 7 years of Fed’s ZIRP policy, you end up with this month’s crash of 2015. A clear 7-Year period. You can go back to 1994, and 1987 (Period T=7 years, Same pattern).

Almost always, crashes happen in the last month in the Jewish Calendar, the month of Elul. This is August. See what’s happening now in August, or what happened in August 2008, etc. All debt needs to be wiped out before end of the Jewish Calendar year so the Lord is happy. The same applies to the end of the 7th year, all debt must go. It seems, after all, the money masters follow some religious guidelines, and you may benefit from this macro-level knowledge.


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In science, one learns about irreversibility, unavailability,  and entropy.  As students, irreversible processes are difficult to grasp. Young people see everything possible and reversible, it is part of their very “elastic” minds / brains. Once married with children, irreversible processes become easy to understand.  Just try to undo marriage and children, good luck! Very little recovery. An irreversible process.

Recovery is the important metric for reversibility/irreversibility concepts.

If you study math, and then decide to change to a biology major, you will have good recovery (credits applied, residual useful knowlege, etc.) There’s short-term and long-term recovery. Some math knowlege may come in handy in your future projects. This is the concept of “hysteresis” – how much recovery (net output) given the history of the input in effect. 

Now to terminally ill people. They’re not only ill, they also have a relatively short time to live.  Their sickness is irreversible.  News of such illness creates a shock wave.  This creates instant “disorder” in thinking (turbulence). The shock wave will dissipate after a short while,  and acceptance takes place.  The patient now understands she moved from the sublime to the ridiculous in no time (discontinuity point).

What to do in the few weeks left on earth?
What legacy (read net recovery) to leave for children and the world? 

If the person is an experienced professional,  transfer of knowledge and experience (book project) maybe a good rewarding activity, crowning the end of the patient’s life with an immortal gift that will benefit many others in the future.

Other end of life activities should be focused on immortality actions, things that have a purpose and leave net legacy for relatives and the world,  things of rememberance  (knowledge, wisdom, keepsakes,  etc.) Issues of estate transfer and allocation are appropriate activities during the acceptance period.

“هل أدلكم على شجرة الخلد وملك لا يبلى”

This verse in the Quran summarizes life drivers and in the correct order: (1) tree of immortality  (your children, your legacy, anything that ensures continuity), and (2) possessions (personal property,  wealth,  fame).

Death will render these drivers useless.

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Incense (العود / Oud) has been used to get rid of demons, jinn, and other evil spirits for thousands of years. Yet none can explain exactly why burning incense works. It is unfair to dismiss the claim that it works (absent immediate results and due to the invisibility of the target entities) given that this tradition was central to the life of Ancient Egyptians, Chinese Dynasties, Native Indians, Muslim Sufis, and many others.

Here’s a possible explanation that I put forward.  The best incense burns in blue color (e.g. blue Oud). Now remember that angels exist up there in the invisible ultra-violet portion of the frequency spectrum (blue sky/cloud association), while demons, jinn, the Devil, and evil spirits belong to the infra-red, the other end of the spectrum (underground). Burning blue incense is like exposing infra-red creatures to ultra-violet (blue) waves, and such exposure can drive these spirits from the exposure area. It is disruptive.  It is known that light of different wavelengths does not add or subtract frequency. The effect is not from interaction, but rather from exposure or existence of an unfavorable light (blue.)

It is possible instead of burning incense, based on this hypothesis, to use a blue light at home to drive evil spirits away. This also assumes that the aroma of burnt incense is irrelevant to the invisible entity and that it is more of a sensory need for humans to experience the magic of the event.  This is especially true that there’s no consensus on the smell of incense (sandalwood, myrrh, etc.) for effectiveness of evil spirit removal, suggesting a subjective human element.

This scientific explanation, while simple, it is coming to you over 5000 years too late 😉

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Difference is what creates a rate of change. No difference means no dynamics, and no life. This is why our eyes as they process images, they recognize change, identify patterns, and categorize the processed images. No difference means no pattern recognition. The same applies to hearing and the other senses. During pattern recognition, humans develop stereotypes based on categories such as race, color, ethnicity, nationalism, amongst other attributes that define “difference”. It is this difference that helps the person develop an identity, relative to others.  This difference “drives” behavior, and may cause prejudice.  This difference also produces competition.

The job of religion is to minimize this difference, it is to teach “impartiality” where recognized patterns of difference are downplayed by defining higher points of commonality (shared values.) This reduces the perceived rate of change, and results in peace – in theory.

In practice, religion, as a new pattern, in and by itself causes a new difference, this leads to additional labeling (Label Theory.) Muslim vs Christian, good vs evil labels, etc. In processing religious images and messages, humans always look for patterns of difference, to define “distinct” or different identity. Humans are not designed to look for points of commonality, otherwise less difference (less competition) is the result. Commonality is less exciting.

While all religions espouse impartiality and equality, in practice they produce partiality, bias, and injustice. More wars were fought in the name of religion than in any other attribute of difference.

Impartiality, coupled with force / power, leads to war and injustice, as powerful Impartiality imposes its position on others  (through media, war, etc.) The USA is case in point today.

The lesson here, impartiality is there by design, and balance of power between competing players is the only way to keep the peace. Defining global human values can help keep the difference in check. Otherwise,  strongly actuated difference have to be dealt with either by direct confrontation  (war/conflict), or implicit competition (cold war.) There will always be winners and losers. Welcome to difference, welcome to life on earth!


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Growth is always seen as a positive attribute until it reaches your own body. If I tell you, for example, I will grow your wallet or your bank account by a few thousand dollars,  this is seen as a good proposal. But if I tell you, grow your body bigger by 20%, this is seen as a negative proposal. Wallet fatter ok, waist line fatter, not OK. So what gives?

The difference, in short, is in the infrastructure.  You cannot build a Dodge Ram size vehicle on a Mini Cooper vehicle chassis. But if you do, you will overload and maybe break that Mini chassis. The same concept applies in the case of your body, since the infrastructure  (your chassis / skeleton / backbone) is “fixed”, any additional growth (beyond normal BMI) is seen as negative since such growth will strain your body and its organs (engine/heart overload, also auxiliary/organs overload). The only way adding pounds to your body will be seen as positive is when you can scale up your skeleton; add 1 foot of skeletal structure along your height, hypothetically, and add a few pounds, no problem whatsoever.

In the process of growing a business, operators forget to scale up their business quickly.  Your business grows by 50%, then you don’t keep the same business skeleton, you will need to hire more people, invest in new facilities,  or else you will strain your resources, and your best workers will leave you (or fail on you,  similar to body kidney failure with overload.)

When you get a bigger family, you will need to scale up; bigger home, hire maid service, etc. Absent that,  the system will not be sustainable, unhappiness ensues.

The lesson learnt; good growth is accompanied with commensurate infrastructural growth. This may seem like common sense, but it is most frequently ignored because of the immediate added cost to scale up the infrastructure.  The long-term cost of not adding it quickly is much higher.

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So which comes first? As young kids, we use Lego bricks to build structures and ideas- some designs of sorts. This is synthesis. Once you have the first completed structure,  you can do some analysis, then decide to reiterate on the design to improve it. Synthesis takes place again – as new ideas are synthesized / compounded. Your first Lego car design had no wheels, the 2nd one did as you discovered the first car didn’t roll. Synthesis first. Engineering is all about this continuous process of synthesis-analysis-synthesis. God does not need to do any of this, he creates things perfect, at first go – no iterative synthesis. We, on the other hand, err every step of the way. So synthesis is our way of saying we cannot see the optimal design right away, we have to work hard to understand things. All those corporate departments of research and development, analysis groups, etc are an acknowlegment of how little we know a priori.

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THINK, NOT SINK. “The multitude of books is making us ignorant.” Equally the same, the multitude of digital information sources is making us ignorant. True knowledge requires a sustained line of “thinking”. Today’s information has a source-sink relationship, like water going fast down the sink, down the drain, there’s not much time for the information to meet the brain, so some fiction becomes fact, absent critical thinking.

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Why Do People Continually Smoke Hookah / Shisha?

I have been observing hookah smokers for a long time. I compiled a list of the top reasons why people continually smoke it.  This extensive list is by no means meant to encourage smoking.

1. Primitive instinct.  Sucking on a hookah tip is reminiscent subconsciously of being breastfed (comforting action. )  Few years ago, I helped name an American disposable hookah hose brand the Puff Baby, based on this reason.

2. Yoga action.  End of the day,  with all of the stress of the day,  one becomes short-breathed and tired.  Smoking hookah will help the smoker relax through continual long duration inhalation and exhalation cycles.  This mimics some yoga exercising,  albeit with harmful smoke instead of fresh air. The filling-and-emptying exercise is undoubtedly relaxing.

3. Nicotine gets replenished in the blood for those addicted to smoking.  Within seconds there comes the adrenaline rush, a boost in energy (heart rate increase), followed by a boost in pleasure thanks to increased dopamine in the blood stream. This puts hookah tobacco closer to Psychoactive drugs.

4. Forbidden Fruit. Look this way, I’m smoking. How cool is that?

5. Hookah Lounge. Social life, hanging out,  showing off, expressing oneself. A night club alternative? Open till late night.

6. Malicious Exotic Fruit Association.  Strong realistic flavors mixed with tobacco. Orange hookah head, pineapple head,  watermelon head,  etc. It can’t get healthier than that! Or not?

This is part 1. I will discuss the harms of hookah smoking under a separate cover.

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There’s a lot of talk about the connection between verses in the Quran implicitly citing the frontal brain cortex as responsible for lying / wrong-doing, and recent academic research independently supporting this citation.

The direct verse: “No! If he does not stop, We will take him by the naseyah, a lying sinful naseyah” (Quran 96:15-16), where naseyah is generally explained as the front of head of human or animal.

The academic research is documented well – and is easily searchable – on the fact that the pre-frontal area is responsible for decision-making; e.g. lying vs telling the truth. 

I am adding to this today a system element,  which is that of the “controller” in a feedback loop system as shown in the attached diagram.

More than it being a processing unit, I think the naseyah is the controller only, it has the algorithm and filters that minimize the errors, relative to the individual’s ideals (level of faith.) The job of the controller ends with a signal that goes to the brain (processor) to trigger an action through the available body actuators  (hands,  legs, mouth, etc.) These actions maybe good or evil, depending on the controller and its logic.

Following the action, the sensors (eyes and ears) collect data about the output (response), and feed it back to the controller for additional revised (improved or worsened) control signals. For example,  to change mind about sth that was said or apologies about action, or take new action (walk away, say sth else, etc).

The controller is the most important part of a system because the logic in it defines the efficiency of the entire system.  If the person is educated (refined logic), the system (person) response will be more fine-tuned, more stable (less violent, no erratic response), and will reach his or her set target.

Controller logic means the different filters  (education,  faith, ethics, and other decision filters). In the frontal cortex, this is a complex highly non-linear algorithm.

In the first surah (chapter) of the Quran, it reads: “guide us to the straight path”, the straight path defined by God is a system target. How fast you can reach this target will depend on the controller algorithm  (again depends on education,  faith, ethics, etc.) A good efficient controller is one that takes you, fastest, in stable mode to the desired target.

Note also that the location of the brain controller is, by design, near the eyes, which is the primary sensor for efficient feedback and filtering.

The goal of this short article is to clarify what the job of the brain pre-frontal area (controller) is. The current conclusions following related academic research are attributing more to this controller than it actually does, it is only one part of the system; processing, actions, sensors have other complementary roles too.


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