Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Power of context

Living abroad let you discover many things other than wealth, which means it opens up opportunity for develop better understanding of human psychology, structures of societies and human motives behind actions and overall behavior. I am blessed that I have got this opportunity that help me broader my perspective.

Our thinking are like fishing nets, so broader the net means more fishes. Fishes are always there and they are infinitely many. It is the net that restrict us and local context of people around us that make us think that it is the maximum that we can have.

Yesterday I was reading pamphlet in Arabic that is about customer feedback, it hardly makes any sense to me, though I can read and may recognize few words in it. One of the words that I found was “Maqbool”. Maqbool is a word in Urdu being used in context of describing something which is very famous, popular and may be prestigious, it used in quite positive manner. This word was lend from Arabic as Urdu is comprised of words belong to different origins and languages.
Surprisingly in Arabic, “Maqbool” means the same however it application is totally different; it is used in terms to describing something which is average and known and accepted by population which barely satisfies them. It is no way means it is popular or famous or anyway near prestigious.

Just amazed, how a word taken from different language with it literal meaning almost the same, means totally different in two different societies and trigger different reactions. May the meanings of words are inside our minds, not in the words.

I just wonder reading books; history, literature, religion are suffice to deliver the message from one generation to another. I hardly think so. Without creating the context in mind about the people and the understanding of society they lived, it would be very difficult to get across the right message and intention behind it, and must impose great responsibility on us to understand it let alone make any inference based on the reconstructed thoughts and apply to current societies.

Rabi zidni ilma - My Lord increase my knowledge

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And thus did We show Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and that he might be of those who are sure. When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: "This is my Lord." But when it set, He said: "I love not those that set." When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: "This is my Lord." But when the moon set, He said: "unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray." When he saw the sun rising in splendour, he said: "This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all)." But when the sun set, he said: "O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah."