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Old Friday, July 08, 2011
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All recorded history is contemporaneous

Outline;
Time and the creation science.
Creation of chronologies; experienced time and abstract time.
Time for Aristotle, Kant, Heidegger and other philosophers.
The making of modern time; clocks and calendars.
Industrialization and need for a standardized time.
Darwin’s degenerative evolutionary theory; a bias against Charles Lyle’s 'progressive evolution' .
Antiquarianism emergence as archaeology.
Division of history into ages by the archeologists with 'invasion theory'.
Concept of 'development ' and 'progress' against division on mere imaginary 'time line'.
Errors in the depiction of history.
'writing the history of the present' an answer by Foucault to the faulty historians.
Against revisionism of historical approach; three approaches.
'long duration' illustrated by environment changes etc.
'Social time' of group of people with socio-economic changes.
Individual time assessed as the ‘history of events'.
The complexity of time.
Time interweaves with the perception of the past.
Time is linked to space.
Rituals are a specific 'use' of time.
Time for people belonging to different phases of life.
Defining the other defines ourselves.
The vicious cycle created by the negative connotations attached to the definition of Orientals.
Making people primitive; western biasness.
Anthropologist’s use of time has been to distance those who are observed from the observer.
Primitive societies vs. typological past.
Ethnologists have begun to acknowledge 'primitive' societies are not fossils from 'the past', but in all respects contemporaneous.
Toelken’s elucidation of contemporaneity of time.
Mongolian steppes’ quintessential life style towards the contemporaneous time.
Folklore and time, a unique way of differentiating between ; a domestic time-scale measured in generations and a 'mythical time-scale' which is, paradoxically, timeless.
Though, historic representation seems to be progressive, yet it is just one factor in the space time model.



According to one interpretation of the Bible, the world has just celebrated its 6000th birthday. Back in the seventeenth century the Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher , deduced from Biblical evidence that the world was created in 4004 BC .To the significant number of fundamentalist followers of Biblical 'Creation Science', mostly in the USA, this is all that needs to be said about the timescale of the world and human society. Those of who do not believe in 'Creation Science' live within a more complex but just as fanciful concept of time. Modern world keeps on exploring concepts of time as chimeral as those of 'Creation Science'.
The creation of chronologies especially those based on absolute dates is of quite recent origin. The concept of time used in chronological studies needs to be differentiated between, the way time is marked by human experience and, on the other hand, how abstract time is measured. Abstract time consists of equal segments, endlessly repeated. Experienced time creates 'recurrent moments', which together comprise the relationship to the past which makes up the 'traditions' of a society.
There has been much philosophising about time. Aristotle thought of time as an attribute of the external world. Kant saw time and space not as an external medium within which people moved, but as an ordering device of the human mind. Subsequently Heidegger contended that time is not simply a mental ordering device, but an aspect of bodily involvement with the world. However, more recent thinkers such as Ricouer and Bourdieu have suggested that, however 'objective' time may at first appear, human perception and experience of time is story-like. From such narratives the identities of individuals and groups emerge.
In The making of modern time Europeans generally think of time as natural, real, moving, precise and accurate. Time is the basic 'unit' of clocks and calendars. Yet here lies a problem. Calendars have generally been based on celestial events but the units used to express the passage of time lead to variable and seemingly arbitrary results. European calendars attempt to correlate days and months with the seasonal year, as well as imposing a seven day week. But, as its known, it is not possible to relate lunar-based months with the solar cycle. As a result, calendars have needed almost continual readjustment – even the four-year cycle of 'leap years' needs the odd 'exception' to keep things precise.
The problems also arise at the 'smaller scale' of timekeeping relating to hours and minutes. Before mechanical clocks were invented, there was no reliable way of measuring short durations. The flowing of water, sand or mercury provided a measure of longer durations, but none could be kept moving at a suitably continuous and even pace to measure short durations. It was for the religious purpose in an endeavor to regulate prayer, which patronized the development of the mechanical clock, although the invention was soon taken up by the royal courts and then the bourgeoisie. But not until the wider processes of change in the nineteenth century did modern concepts of chronology come to the fore.
With the Industrial Age 'standard time' became part of everyday life. The advent of factories required adherence to formalised working hours. Above all, the spread of the railway network required a standard national time – previously there were numerous 'local times', which could differ by many minutes. To ensure railway passengers did not miss connections, the railways brought about a standardisation of time throughout Britain. By the mid-nineteenth century a formalised 'abstract time' had become intrinsic to most people's lives. Given the obsession with time now shown by Western culture, one should not forget that such habits are really still rather a novelty.
The broadest concepts of time were also being recreated in the nineteenth century. Newton had studied time as an attribute of physics. Linneaus's families of plants and animals implied a time-dimension although the evolutionary implications were only appreciated after Darwin. But Archbishop Usher 's chronology only began to be questioned with the work of pioneer geologists such as Sir Charles Leyell. His major work, The Principle of Geology appeared in 1830. Based on a remarkably astute pioneering scrutiny of the evidence from fossils and sequences of rock strata, Leyell showed that the rocks were a result of a sequence of events over a much longer timescale than anyone had previously considered. It is said that Leyell's work was a key influence on Charles Darwin, who set off on his famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands in 1831. It is worth noting that Darwin 's theory of evolution in the natural world was only mimicking the very strong bias towards 'progressive evolution' in contemporary politics and society.
By the time Darwin's On the Origin of Species appeared in 1859, antiquarianism was well-established. These mid-nineteenth century antiquarians were contempraneous not only with the heated debates about Darwinism but also with the establishing of standard time in factories and railways. It is inevitable that these same antiquarians began to adopt an 'evolutionary' approach to the development of human society. They initially distinguished broadly between the Romans and the 'British' who lived here before them, and the Anglo-Saxons who occupied the 'Dark Ages'.
Steadily antiquarianism evolved into archaeology. The pre-Roman era opened up into a vista of Iron Age, Bronze Age and Neolithic (new stone age) people preceded by Paleolithic (old stone age) people. Soon a Mesolithic (middle stone age) was interposed. By the 1930s archaeologists were considering that each of these cultures was the result of successive waves of 'invasions' from somewhere outside – usually to the east of Europe. Along with many other interpretations of the pioneer archaeologists of the twentieth century, the 'invasion theory' has been shown to be bunkum. Nevertheless, the process of creating and recreating ever-more finely differentiated epochs of prehistory continues to this day.
While antiquarians now appear as mere collectors, modern archaeology appears to have established a more searching investigation of the past. This is comforting as it suggests 'development ' and 'progress' in the discipline. As Barrett notes, such 'progress ' is a false premise based on Western ways of thinking about time. If one takes away the imaginary 'time line' then the implicit 'progress' is no longer there.
During the twentieth century historians also began to develop more sophisticated approaches to the past. It is all too easy for an historian to project present-day interests onto a past epoch. This error is often associated with claims that examples of interests in earlier times had something of their present-day significance.
Another error of historical analysis is really the other side of the same coin. This is the kind of history which finds the seed of some present interest at some distant point in the past and then shows how everything that happened in between is either part of this onward march, or is left in the backwaters. Everything is given a meaning and a place whether central or peripheral.
To overcome both these false approaches, Michel Foucault developed what he termed 'writing the history of the present'. Foucault and his followers explicitly begin their approach to a historical study with a diagnosis of the current situation. From this unabashed contemporary orientation they attempt to recognize where the particular aspect of interest first arose, how it took shape and gained importance. What the Foucaultian historian is avoiding is any projecting of current meaning back into history.
Important as this revisionism of historical approach has been, it does not require any great rethinking of the concept of time. In contrast, Fernand Braudel suggested that the past could be approached on three 'levels' – and each 'level' requires a different approach to the study of history.
At the lowest level is the 'long duration', which operates at the scale of environmental change, the history of civilizations; and stable world views. Braudel's middle level is 'social time', which deals with the history of particular groups of people perhaps the way most of us associate first with studies of social and economic history. It is also the shortest period of time which prehistorians can reliably study. The third level is that of individual time, which Braudel called 'the history of events'. Its scope is that of narrative and political history. Braudel's tripartite approach is generally known as the 'Annales school' and remains somewhat controversial among historians. Although a neat scheme of structuring, few archaeologists have attempted to apply the ideas to prehistory. One of the handful to do so is John Barrett in his Fragments from Antiquity: An Archaeology of Social Life in Britain. Reflecting on the discovery of the 'ice man' at Oetzal, Barrett observes: ‘... the death of a single mountain traveller around 3000*BC can do no more than exemplify the routines of a population whose activities were determined by structures of social economic organization operating within some given environmental context.’

Indeed, modern archaeological writing produces generalised histories, not of 'people ' but of ‘processes’. According to Barrett, this leads to a false dualism between a long-term 'structural' history and the short-term 'event'
Barrett also discusses different aspects of how time interweaves with our perception of the past. He notes that visitors to major prehistoric sites such as Avebury encounter the monuments through time ;the time it takes to walk around the site. This is quite different from the armchair experience where an archaeologist's textual description collapses the experience of the place into a plan which can be observed in a single moment.
The tourist also experiences the history of a place in an unnaturally compressed time depth. Major prehistoric monuments such as Avebury and Stonehenge were built up over hundreds, even thousands, of years. The same remark could be made of the older cathedrals of Europe. What we encounter today is devoid of any obvious time depth but has merely a 'simultaneous oldness'.
Indeed, the more one looks at 'archaeological time', the more complexities emerge. To collage together several ideas from disparate parts of Barrett's work: ‘Multi-period monuments are not a sequence of monument types as if constructed by placing one monument upon another. They arose as the consequences of reworking certain categories of space and architectural form.’

Time is linked to space. For instance, the distinction between 'home' and 'workplace' leads to an allocation of time to the movement between each locale.
Rituals are a specific 'use' of time. Rituals demark time, such as seasons or birth/death. Rituals carve out regions of time: space; they are bracketed off from other regions of social discourse by a structure which is primarily concerned with a social transformation between 'relatively fixed or stable conditions'.
Hunter/gathering societies have a different relationship to time than, say early agriculturalists. Even agricultural societies differ greatly between, say, 'long fallow' and 'short fallow' societies. '[T]o move from place to place is to move along the cycles of time [and is] in contrast to observers who watch the cyclical renewal of the seasons working themselves out upon that portion of the land to which they belong’.
It is perhaps inevitable that ethnographers emphasise the 'Otherness' of non-western societies. Yet, the same process also more clearly defines their own society. As Said has discussed at length, Europeans have a complex concept of the Orient. Indeed, the Orient is one of the West's deepest and most recurring images of the Other. Yet that last sentence also embodies one other aspect of the Orient however poorly defined the term, it is habitually used in contrast to 'The West '. No one from 'The Orient ' would normally refer to themselves as 'oriental'; rather they may consider themselves to be Japanese, Thai, Egyptian, etc. and more probably would label themselves in terms of ethnic or religious subgroups.
In creating the Orient a large number of writers as diverse as poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, administrators have accepted the underlying distinction between east and west as the starting point for epics, novels, elaborate theories, political narrative and whatever else. These writers implicitly 'define' the Orient in terms of dominant Western ideas. The cycle is a vicious one, as the underlying Western ideas then become reinforced by the constructed contrast with the Orient. By regarding the Orient as 'Other', orientalists of whatever endeavor implicitly help to define the West.
In a similar way 'temporal otherness' was emphasised by early ethnologists. They played down the on-going changes among 'primitive' societies and regarded them as almost 'outside' of time. This was followed by a scheme in which past cultures as well as living societies were placed along an evolutionary 'time line'. Fabian explicated ‘Civilization, evolution, development, acculturation, modernization (and their cousins, industrialization, urbanization) are all terms whose conceptual content derives, in ways that can be specified, from evolutionary Time. They all have an epistemological dimension apart from whatever ethical, or unethical, intentions they may express. A discourse employing terms such as primitive, savage (but also tribal, traditional, Third World, or whatever euphemism is current) does not think, or observe, or critically study, the 'primitive'; it thinks, observes, studies in terms of the primitive. Primitive being essentially a temporal concept, is a category, not an object, of Western thought.’

As with archaeology and history, the ways in which conceptualizations of time inform anthropological thought and discourse are enormously complicated. Anthropologists' use of time has been to distance those who are observed from the observer. Now and here contrast with the increasingly 'savage' there and then .
While objects dated at 2000*BC or events in AD*1865 are irrevocably past, it is not valid to place 'primitive' societies in a 'typological past'. Fabian considers this 'typological past' to be a commonly-held illusion. Instead, he distinguishes between events which are synchronous/simultaneous (sharing physical time); contemporary (sharing abstract time); and coeval (which covers both).
The field diaries of ethnographers often reveal a 'coevalness' but this is discarded in the published anthropological literature Since Fabian's book was published at least some ethnologists have begun to acknowledge that 'primitive' societies are not fossils from 'the past', but in all respects contemporaneous with our own. Indeed, rather than a linear conception of time, a few anthropologists are regarding time as complex – akin to maps which can be 'read' in many directions, not simply along one axis.
To elucidate it with some examples, there is a description of the Navaho native American craftswoman who according to Toelken ; ‘... instead of standing on a straight ribbon of time leading from the past to some future point, stands in the middle of a vortex of forces exerted in concentric circles upon her by her immediate family, her extended family, the clan, the tribe, and the whole living ecological system within which she lives and functions... Time surrounds her, as do the dwelling place, her family, her clan, her tribe, her habitat, her dances, her rituals.’

The second example is from the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian steppes who follow an annual cycle of pastures, requiring frequent changes of camp site. Nevertheless, these people have a strongly-developed sense of the centre but not a fixed 'place', rather wherever they halt to camp becomes the centre. It is thought of as the hearth in the tent, with its vertical column of smoke or the central tent pole supporting the roof. This axis mundi links to the deified sky – the power above all powers and the only deity regarded as eternal.
The way these Mongolians use their land means that time and space are interwoven – with time being experienced more as a 'spiral' as places are revisited each year. What is fascinating is that 'The time axis, which is universal, and thus locates each household at the centre of the cosmos, is the axis mundi.' This spatio-temporal axis mundi reappears frequently in the traditional European ways of thinking.
Indeed, ethnology is not just about 'primitive' societies. It also encompasses the study of the present culture and customs. And, if one is looking for different approaches to the idea of time, where better to look than the folklore.
As Robert Layton has outlined, folklore is an alternative way of representing space and time. This may involve such dramatic contrasts as between the mundane world and the Otherworld, or it may reflect different ways of approaching space and landscape. Most certainly, folklore is radically different from modern Western thinking when it comes to representing time and other 'processes'. Think of how prehistoric earthworks and burial monuments are given such anachronistic names as Grim 's Ditch and Devil's Dyke, or Giants' Graves and Wayland's Smithy. Early antiquarians bridge this process when they followed 'local customs' of referring to Iron Age hill forts as Roman or Viking camps.
More specifically, as Tolan-Smith notes, there seem to be two time-scales operating in traditional countries; a domestic time-scale measured in generations and a 'mythical time-scale' which is, paradoxically, timeless.
Most people recognise that things never stay the same. Greek philosophers were quite aware that society changed continuously. Heraclitus maintained that society was in constant flux, everything was always on the move. You can’t jump in the same river twice, he maintained. Philosophers and thinkers have, throughout time, believed that society moved according to immutable and unchanging laws, that there was a driving force that drove society onward. In modern times philosophers have looked towards the evolution of society as a progressive one. Humankind, as a result of the development of rational and scientific thinking, was not only conquering the world we live in but also looking to the stars. There was a common belief that despite all the trials and tribulations suffered throughout the world, there was a general movement towards human emancipation. It was felt that society moved on. There were blips in this movement, it was not smooth: wars and famines, natural and man-made disasters took place but these were usually overcome and all moved on. However, ‘paradoxical’ traditional ideas on time are, in fact, closest of all to the way modern physicists see time. For them, time is not an immutable forward progression but one factor in a space-time model of relativistic causality and determinism. Perhaps the cosmology of modern physics is close to mythological cosmology after all.
Tip; the following topics would have the same points as have been discussed in the essay.
'Time is an illusion..'
Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
'We do not tell time, time tells us'
Chumbawomba Anarchy album 1994
'There is no history without dates.'
Levi Strauss 1966
'What is time' If no one asks me about it, I know; if I want to explain it to the one who asks, I don't know.'
St Augustine, Confessions Book XI
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  #12  
Old Friday, July 08, 2011
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Default Frailty thy name is woman

Frailty thy name is woman
Outline
Form Hellenism to post modernism how Shakespearean depition followed women.
Ophelia, Gertrude, Lady Macbeth and Juliet.
Submission and obedience, wrong notions associated with them.
Scientific proofs; sexes are different but no one is superior.
Difference in morphology, physiology and the differences induced by them.
Plethora of testosterone in men.
God and holiness always referred to as ‘he’.
Orthodox Judeo-Christian attitude towards women.
Original sin and the curses upon women.
Islam, an edge given to men over women misinterpreted by the feeble minded.
Women in non-revealed religions; Buddhism, Hinduism
Superior pagan women deities, warriors, leader, queens.
Elevated position of women in Egypt
The infamous Cleopatra’s role in defining the attitudes in a whole new term.
Women pivotal to Greek literature.
Elizabeth 1 and her struggle with the set norms against women.
Racism, classism, homophobia, anti-islamization and weakening of womanhood.
Ray Burton against physical strength for establishing a criteria of supremacy of men over women.
African parliament realm of women, modern assertive female leaders.
Rebellious attitude of women towards the negative connotations attached with them.
Women in attire of house wives.
Women as fighters in wars and combats.
A study shows how men are subjugated by women in the significant fields of life.
Faulty upbringing adds fuel to this attitude towards ‘weaker sex’. Both men and women need to be taught the true equality of women





Hamlet’s cry in angst ‘frailty thy name is woman’, still echoes the norms and principles of post modern world. Women, organizations, countries have taken a strong stance to negate this notion yet the worsening plight of women in socio-political oppression, health and economic sectors, sexual exploitation in the attire of tradition or religion have become the major concern. One becomes intrigued how this negative connotation got associated with women on the first place. From Hellenism to post modernism how fragility of women became her frailty. With the hymns chanted, the sacrifices offered to the female deities, the Greek goddess worshiped, the musses called open, the pagan and the modern female rulers, women always enjoyed a certain place. The dark ages of the Europe had cast such a dark spell on the womanhood that it engulfed her prerogatives, enslaved her and demoralized her to such an extent that women had to put a fight to break the spell driven attitudes of the males as well as the society in general.

Shakespeare in Hamlet actually depicted one aspect of the society, the common one, symbolized as the dependent indecisive Ophelia and the incestuous mother Gertrude. Though in other plays, characters like Lady Macbeth or Juliet, women not only have central role but also illuminate other aspects of women hood such as their assertiveness, strong passions, willingness, extremism and above all achievement that somehow women don’t have much in them.

One wonders how feebleness was associated with the women on the first place. Men and women both have certain roles to play some duties to fulfill which should not label one inferior to other. However, what is of common observation is that house wife or a compromising female is in an instant labeled as the weak one. A wife's submission has nothing to do with being weak, inferior or unintelligent. Every person on earth has to submit to someone or some thing. Try having everyone do otherwise, and people will get anarchy on a massive scale. Men submit to their authorities. Women submit to theirs. As Mrs. Chancey asks in her blog, ‘If you're opposed to submission, then try disobeying all traffic lights tomorrow and see where it gets you’. So women usually do not obey out of fear or suppression, but just to maintain the status quo.

Scientific research has ruled out the strange believe, used as an argument, that women are stupid and weak because they have brain smaller then men. In general, male brains are slightly larger than female brains carrying more neurons but that’s because of their weight, although the two sexes perform equally well at IQ tests. The difference lies in the working of the brain not in the morphology. One example is that women's brains seem to have more neural connections between the hemispheres which may explain why they tend to make better recoveries from strokes than men
Other researchers go much further, however. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, a psychologist at Cambridge University, and author of The Essential Difference, is confident there are profound sexual differences between the human male and the female. An intrinsic difference is a product of the amount of testosterone produced by the fetus, he argues. Levels of the hormone in the amniotic fluid determine how much eye contact a child will make, or how quickly his or her language will develop. 'Biological factors are producing sex differences in the mind,' he says. The reason why females tend to focus on the words said and males on the figure uttering those words. So if women lack that power of testosterone and men have a plethora of that, that does not mean testosterone causes violence or its presence or absence makes one weak or strong, but it creates a certain potential that can be expressed in different ways. The only effective way to deal with the young men is to accept, control, and channel their behavior, not to pretend that it can be abolished or can to transferred to females to compete men’s harsh brutal nature.
The "father" of sociobiology, Edward O. Wilson, of Harvard University said that human females tend to be higher than males in empathy, verbal skills, social skills and security-seeking among other things due to their right cerebral cortex being more active. Men tend to be higher in independence, dominance, spatial and mathematical skills, rank-related aggression, and other characteristics caused by the left cerebral cortex which was found to be more active in the Einstein’s brain as well. Biologically though both sexes are different, yet none has superiority over the other.
The inclusion or suppression of women is most apparent through the portrayal of deities, holy trinities, and leadership. When referring to God, he is always referred to as "he" and never "she." This may be because men do not wish to reflect power and divinity upon females. By referring to a God as "she", it creates an automatic connection to feminism and alleviates the position of the females which the feminists think is deliberately denied to women.

Like wise, To the present day, orthodox Jewish men in their daily morning prayer recite "Blessed be God King of the universe that Thou has not made me a woman." Women are abhorred and oppressed by the men very frequently on religious pretext. The severe tone of St. Paul in the New Testament: "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I don't permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner" (I Timothy 2:11-14) has portrayed the image of Eve as temptress in the Bible, which has resulted in an extremely negative impact on women throughout the Judeao-Christian tradition. All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt and her guile. Consequently, they were all untrustworthy, morally inferior, and wicked. Pregnancy, and childbearing were considered the just punishment for the eternal guilt of the cursed female sex. Jewish Rabbis listed nine curses inflicted on women as a result of the Fall: "To the woman He gave nine curses and death: the burden of the blood of menstruation and the blood of virginity; the burden of pregnancy; the burden of childbirth; the burden of bringing up the children; her head is covered as one in mourning; she pierces her ear like a permanent slave or slave girl who serves her master; she is not to be believed as a witness; and after everything--death."
In Islam the edge men have over women has not only been misinterpreted by the non-muslims but by the muslims themselves who use it to oppress women to raise the low self esteem that had been demeaned by someone of the same sex. The one degree men are better in no way suggests that women are frail so they should misuse them oppress them and deny their rights to them. Men are the bred winners, the ones to toil and sweat, work day and night so that the family and wife should live leisurely, that does not make one superior and other inferiorly dependant.
In religious texts not only in the major religions but in others as well, women are portrayed as morally weaker than men and more susceptible to sin. Like in China Buddhism is patriarchal though in other places it is not. In Hinduism the sacred words of the Manusmriti women have role always inferior and subservient to men in either form of fathers, brothers, sons or husbands. For many centuries, women were burned alive with their husband's dead body at the funerals (this practice called "sati") an act contrary to the many female deities they worship.
Religions are usually infamous for its male dominated and male authoritative dictations and structure. Not every religion hinders feminism. Feminism in Pagan religions is very different . In Stregeria, an Italian Pagan religion, the main deity is Diana, she is believed to be the ‘creator of life ‘.Boudicca a Queen of the Iceni, a tribe in East England, led a rebellion against Roman occupation in about 60 C.E. Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh of Egypt, and the last of the Ptolemy dynasty of Egyptian rulers was led by Diana Lerman
"For Rome, who had never condescended to fear any nation or people, did in her time fear two human beings; one was Hannibal, and the other was a woman". And the woman was none other then Cleopatra. As she tried to keep power for her dynasty, she made famous or infamous connections with Roman rulers Julius Caesar and Marc Antony .chief wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the name Akhenaten, Nefertiti is portrayed in realistic art of Egypt's religious revolution initiated by her husband. Then Olympias the wife of Philip II of Macedonia, and the mother of Alexander the Great had a reputation both as sacred (a snake handler in a mystery cult) and violent. After Alexander's death, she seized power as regent for Alexander's posthumous son, and had many of her enemies killed. But she didn't rule long. Legendary warrior queen of Assyria, Semiramis is credited with building a new Babylon as well as conquest of neighboring states.
Diana Lerman in her article ‘Cleopatra: A Sign of the Times’ has elucidated some extremely important transition and evolution of attitudes towards women. That Octavian's propagandists "depict Cleopatra as an atavistic, amoral Queen driven by a voracious sexuality and a ruthless lust for power". A great emphasis was placed on sex and the differences between genders and how they should be marked and maintained was an issue. Foreign women like Cleopatra were threats to Octavian's authority and he "wanted to move away from the model of the powerful political woman-a model that nearly cost him his power" . Everything possible was done to mark Cleopatra as a woman, as evil and as incapable for rule. Cleopatra's political power is further reduced in the history of early modern Europe. Support of patriarchy and the need to control women's place in society makes it essential to characterize Cleopatra in a negative manner in order to set an example for the women of the time period. Cleopatra is shown having all of the opposite qualities or virtues of a "good" Roman and European woman: modesty, propriety, chastity, obedience, wisdom, honor, virtue, beauty and motherhood. Faithful to the ideals of his time, Boccaccio depicts Cleopatra as being dominated by strong unwanted female characteristics like power through sexuality and self-confidence. The changes in Cleopatra's story can be traced to the changes in society's expectations of women. Historians in the 17th and 18th century in the form of playwrights based their writing on the "myth of female fragility" in a time period when women's role was to be weak and helpless was Hallet’s finding . Based on this ideal "good women are, or should at least appear to be, weak, and…those whose energy and talents prevent them from conforming to the ideal of feminine feebleness are of necessity, 'false'-wily, self-serving and unchaste". Shakespeare's play, Anthony and Cleopatra, radically domesticated Cleopatra in ways that are appropriate for this time period and her image of an evil, seductive Queen is replaced with an image that shows a little more sympathy toward her.
The Greek giants be it Sophocles or Homer depicted women pivotal to their writings. So far so that Plato in Republic even discussed the equality of the sexes from birth to the old age, no discrimination what so ever. The most important Greek works and believes portray the goddesses, heroines and victims, and nymphs in their classical mythology. Aphrodite goddess of love, Gaea mother earth, Athena; the Patron goddess of Athens, the goddess of Wisdom, a warrior, Circe an evil cruelly quirky, sorceress who turned all of Odysseus' men into swine, then the infamous Helen of Troy; the reason behind the Trojan war, the muses; Zeus’s 9 daughters, the nymphys such as The Naiades; the nymphs of freshwater streams rivers and lakes, Sphinx; the riddler, half woman half monster and many many more are quintessential to what status women had back then.

Women are weak, frail, impatient, feeble and foolish...Queens are repugnant to nature', thus ranted John Knox in his  HYPERLINK "http://www.suite101.com/external_link.cfm?elink=http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/FirBlast.htm" \t "_blank" Blast of the Trumpet, a treatise published depicting the flourishing attitude towards women in 1558. Elizabeth 1 had to fight this trend during her reign as the first Queen of England. A letter from Pope Gregory saying ,’the guilty woman of England rules over two such noble kingdoms of Christendom ….. whosoever sends her out of the world with the pious intention of doing God service, not only does not sin but gains merit’ , illuminates what women were facing that time. The Queen with her prudence accepted the challenge and came victorious by declaring , ‘I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’. Thus, the time she ruled England flourished like it had never flourished before in its history.
Though the set perception is changing in the post modern world yet there are innumerable factors clinging to women to prove her physically, morally weak. ‘…no woman is subject to any form of oppression simply because she is a woman; which forms of oppression she is subject to depend on what "kind" of woman she is. In a world in which a woman might be subject to racism, classism, homophobia, anti-islamization, if she is not a subject of it, it is because of her race, class, religion, sexual orientation. So it can never be the case that the treatment of a woman has only to do with her gender and nothing to do with her class or race’, is the belief of Elizabeth Spelman voiced in ‘The Inessential Woman’. The antagonism between the Afro American and the White women in the west is a perfect example of how women of one race oppress the women of other.
Against criterion of physical strength Ray Burton asks vehemently, ‘do you find men that appreciate a physically strong woman? Do they exist?’ It seems everywhere in this society women are coerced into being "thin" and weak in order to attract men of low self esteem. As a result they get osteoporosis when are 60 and never live the lives they want because they are passive pushovers as a result of trying to be loved by these so called men. But a muscular woman would be no doubt not only a caricature of the woman hood but also unacceptable. Though Rape cases like that of Mukhtara mai or a girl being raped every second in America is not because of the fact that women are physically weak but because the laws and man dominated society still does not provide the promised security.
Though the set perception is changing in the post modern world yet there are innumerable factors clinging to women to forcefully prove her to be physically and morally weak. Though laws recently changed in Pakistan regarding women other countries like UAE, Saudia, Vatican City other problem like women suffrage is still an issue. Women are subjected to domestic violence, psychological, though laws are there to protect them but the moral obligations in the East dose not let them avail theses prerogatives.
In Africa, women have more parliamentary representation then men, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Haseena Sheikh of Bangladesh show women’s political prudence. If and when given the chance they have what it takes to rule a country. Sulatana Razia spoke against this perception of women by advocating that it’s just that the two sexes opted for different roles for obvious reasons where, women give birth, have more kindness then men, naturally they are inclined towards family upbringing that does not make them feeble minded, they are the shapers of the foundation of a society.
This unjust attitude has unleashed a rebellious attitude in women, anti-men , anti-marriage sentiments, unisex dressing, inter-sex marriages have become common. While misandric feminists like to portray men as having oppressed women by 'keeping them at home with the children', it is clear that both genders benefited hugely from the deal. The whole of society did. Further, what this deceitful and gullible group of women describes as 'oppression', was, in reality, men trooping out, day in, day out, to work, sometimes in the most awful jobs imaginable, in order for their families to survive as best as they could.
The belief that because women are weak, they have been oppressed throughout History is only true to the extent that every one was oppressed by somebody else. For example, for every miner who 'oppressed' his wife at home, there was another man, an employer or manager, who oppressed 100 miners in the pits. And the idea that women were the only oppressed 'victims' in all of this is ridiculous, and completely beyond belief.
Indeed, it is almost impossible to envisage a successful society ;a strong one, in which women do not have considerable power. The fact that, in the past, the women brought up the children, and, hence, the very next generation, gave them untold powers. Not only did they influence the values, beliefs and behaviors of the next generation, they also benefited hugely from the fact that their children, both sons and daughters, bonded very tightly to them, emotionally speaking. This was a tremendous 'investment' for their own futures which benefited them throughout their entire lives, well into old age and death - not only financially and emotionally, but in almost every possible way. This empowered them hugely. And the further fact that the fathers were so much engaged elsewhere, away from their families, gave the mothers at home even greater relative influence, power and advantage over the future generation. In fact, the men were often reduced to little more than slaves and wallets when it came to 'the family'.
Are women weak because they did not and still don’t combat in wars in most of the countries? In wars, the strongest male was simply the best person for the job in the antiquity, females could not successfully challenge the alpha male in combat, and moreover, they were too biologically valuable to risk losing, as they constituted the community’s ability to reproduce itself. Then being gentler and kind, they were not supposed to be the fuel of wars. Yet feminists fought for this role, Barbara Ehrenreich, a feminist herself captures some of the thoughts and reactions quite well ‘Secretly, I hoped that the presence of women in the U.S. army]would over time change the military, making it more respectful of other people and cultures, more capable of genuine peacekeeping. That’s what I thought, but I don’t think that anymore’. Women in police force in almost every country, now even taking equal footings with the terrorists show that they are not weak in any sense, they can be as brutal as men. Just that that had been performing some other role, if both male and female go in wars, die then what would become of their family and children.
Another study shows that the western men die some five years earlier than women. They suffer more from nearly every medical disease and ailment that there is. And yet, far more money is spent by governments on women's health than on men's health. Men are also nowadays educationally disadvantaged significantly compared to women; with the curriculum, the teaching methods and the resources being designed to cater far more for women and girls than for men and boys. Men make up 80% of the homeless. They are many times more likely to be wrongfully arrested, wrongfully imprisoned, mugged, assaulted or murdered. They are 5 times more likely to lose their children when families break down, 4 times more likely to lose their homes, 4 times more likely to commit suicide, 20 times more likely to be killed or injured at work, 20 times more likely to be imprisoned, and, probably, more than 100 times more likely to be demeaned, denigrated and ridiculed by the mainstream media. Men also pay much more in taxes.
Faulty upbringing as in Pride and Prejudice is one of the reason why such attitudes towards women flourish. Women put so much effort on their outward appearance that they forget their true strength. Solution is the fact like ‘Men are from Mars Women from Venus’, both need to understand the simple fact that both sexes are equally important , no one is superior or inferior to other. Both have their own spatial temporal place in the world. Both work in their own domain. Men shouldn’t throw their duties on women and women theirs on men as has been done in the West where every thing has become topsy turvy. After all, males and females differ only by one Y chromosome, but this makes a real impact upon the way they react to so many things including pain, hormones and situations. There has to be some kind of reconciliation between the two sexes. Not only the males but females are to be taught and educated that no one is superior and no one is weaker then other.
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Old Friday, July 08, 2011
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I dream therefore I exist

Outline;
Changing attitude towards dreams.
Three potions of human mind in relation to dreams.
The concealed nature of dreams.
‘Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream’ Anatole France.
Dreams for a sane and an insane person in relation to imagination, judgment and memory.
Dreams and the realms of known and unknown
The so very wide horizon, worlds and circumstances the dreams take a person through.
Theoretical explanation of the reason why humans dream.
Roman de la rose and medieval dream poetry.
Dream deferred
A dream so significant that it alters the fate of a nation.
Dreamers are a treasure that helps a nation win its revolution.
Dreams an allegorical tool for various genres. Lord Jim and Franz Kafka
Lord Byron's interpretation.
Trends in European novels in relation to dreams.
Dream to Elizabethans like Shakespeare a source of revelations and entertainment.
Dreams with their counseling effect.
Source of inspiration and education.
Creator writers artists and dreams
Romantic escapism and dreams
Quran, Bible, dreams and their importance.


"I dream, therefore I exist." Of J. August Strindberg's kept on changing its meaning over the centuries. In the medieval period narratives framed by the device of a dream are not airy, fantastical or highly personal extravaganzas, as they can be at times in the cultural worlds of the Romantics, the Victorians, or the post-Freud era. Medieval dream poetry is rooted in classical and biblical concepts of dream and vision that imbued dreaming with the potential for august, profound, even divine meaning. This is partly because, although dreams have always fascinated human cultural, scientific and poetic aspects, a dream is also a hope, a wish and an aspiration. People have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up and what they want their children’s future to be. Dream has been the subject, as it is well known, of studies belonging to many different disciplinary fields from the history of esoteric cultures to psychoanalysis. In the field of literary studies, in the past years many books and articles have been published which cater with this strange attribute of humans.

Thomas Paine's Essay on Dream 'has characterized the three great faculties of the mind; the imagination, judgment and memory. Every action of the mind comes under one or the other of these faculties according to him. In a state of wakefulness, as in the day-time, these three faculties are all active; but that is seldom the case in sleep, and never perfectly and this is the cause that the dreams are not as regular and rational as the waking thoughts. Complementing this theory are John Hardee’s words "While hollering and breathing so long so deep / Memory came on and dove down to my sleep / Dreaming this memory of space all around / Silence becomes breath becomes thought becomes sound."

And all the motions of a world, whatever is the generating cause, are external and visible. But with respect to the brain, the motions and movements of a dream have no ocular observation. All is mystery, all is darkness in that womb of thought. Whether the brain is a mass of matter in continual rest whether it has a vibrating pulsative motion or a heaving and falling motion like matter in fermentation, whether different parts of the brain have different motions according to the faculty that is employed, be it the imagination, the judgment, or the memory, man knows nothing of it. He knows not the cause of his own wit. His own brain conceals it from him.

Comparing invisible by visible things, as metaphysical can sometimes be compared to physical things, the operations of these distinct and several faculties have some resemblance to a watch. The main spring which puts all in motion corresponds to the imagination; the pendulum which corrects and regulates that motion, corresponds to the judgment; and the hand and dial, like the memory, record the operation. Now in proportion as these several faculties sleep, slumber, or keep awake, during the continuance of a dream, in that proportion the dream will be reasonable or frantic, remembered or forgotten. No matter how much nature of dreams is concealed from the humans "Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream." was rightly said by Anatole France.

If there is any faculty in mental man that never sleeps, it is that volatile thing; the imagination. The case is different with the judgment and memory. In an ordinary man, the sedate and sober constitution of the judgment easily disposes it to rest; and as to the memory, it records in silence and is active only when it is called upon. That the judgment soon goes to sleep may be perceived by our sometimes beginning to dream before we are fully asleep ourselves. Some random thought runs in the mind, and we start, as it were, into recollection that we are dreaming between sleeping and waking. If the judgment sleeps whilst the imagination keeps awake, the dream will be a riotous assemblage of misshapen images and ranting ideas, and the more active the imagination is the wilder the dream will be. The most inconsistent and the most impossible things will appear right; because that faculty whose province it is to keep order is in a state of absence. That’s how people imagine the impossible in their dreams.

"I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, a fleeting image in the moving water." was Eugène Ionesco’s depiction of dreams in relation to life. Dreams have an incredibly diverse nature offering complexity and difficulty to comprehend them and their working. An aspect of dreams is that if the memory sleeps, the person shall have no other knowledge of the dream than that he has dreamt, without knowing what it was about. In this case it is sensation rather than recollection that acts. The dream then has given us some sense of pain or delight, and we feel it as a hurt, pleasure, pain etc., rather than remember it as vision.

If the memory slumbers the person shall have a faint remembrance of the dream, and after a few minutes it will some times happen that the principal passages of the dream will occur more fully. The cause of this is that the memory will sometimes continue slumbering or sleeping after the person is awake, and that so fully, that it may and sometimes does happen that the person does not immediately recollect where he was, nor what he has been about, or has to do. But when the memory starts into wakefulness it brings the knowledge of these things back like a flood of light, and sometimes the dream with it. That’s how a few minutes later or in the evening suddenly the person recollects the dream he dreamt last night

But the most curious circumstance of the mind in a state of dream is the power it has to become the agent of every person, character and thing of which it dreams. It carries on conversation with several, asks questions, hears answers, gives and receives information, and it acts all these parts by itself.

Though, the imagination cannot supply the place of real memory, it has the wild faculty of counterfeiting memory. It dreams of persons it never knew, and talks to them as if it remembered them as old acquaintance. It relates circumstances that never happened, and tells them as if they had happened. It goes to places that never existed, and knows where all the streets and houses are, as if we had been there before. The scenes it creates are often as scenes remembered. It will sometimes act a dream within a dream, and, in the delusion of dreaming, tell a dream it never dreamed, and tell it as if it was from memory. It may also be remarked, that the imagination in a dream has no idea of time, as tune. It counts only by circumstances; and if a succession of circumstances passes in a dream that would require a great length of time to accomplish them, it will appear to the dreamer that a length of time equal there to has passed also.

As this is the state of the mind in a dream, it may rationally be said that every person is mad once in twenty-four hours, for were he to act in the day as he dreams in the night, he would be confined for a lunatic. In a state of wakefulness, those three faculties of imagination, judgment and memory being all active, and acting in unison, constitute the rational man. In dream it is otherwise, and, therefore, that state which is called insanity appears to be no other than a dismissal of those faculties, and a cessation of the judgment during wakefulness, that we so often experience during sleep; into which some persons have fallen, is that cessation of all the faculties of which we can be sensible when we happen to wake before our memory.

In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Carl Jung, shares "What does it mean that my father returns in dreams and that he seems so real?" It was an unforgettable experience and it forced him for the first time to think about life after death Thus, dreams do often pave way for some significant speculative questions. Like Arthur Miller in After the Fall gives a lesson ‘I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept on to my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it is my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible....but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms.’

The intriguing question is why people dream. Are they instructions from the spiritual world or just deep, hidden wishes that can be used to unlock the secrets of the unconscious mind? Nobody knows for sure. Out of numerous speculations, one theory that is prevalent today is that dreams result from the physiological "exercise" of the synapses of the brain. There is no proven fact on why a person dreams, which is why there are so many theories on the topic. There is Freud's theory that dreams carry our hidden desires and Jung’s theory that dreams carry meaning, although not always of desire, and that the dreamer can interpret these dreams. After these theories, others continued such as the Cayce theory in that dreams are our body’s means of building up of the mental, spiritual and physical well being. Then the argument between Evans' theory and the Crick and Mitchinson theory, where Evans states that dreaming is our body’s way of storing the vast array of information gained during the day, whereas Crick and Mitchinson say that this information is being dumped rather than stored. Whichever theory is true, one may never know, but they do illuminate dreams to be a very significant aspect of a human’s life.

A dream is a hope, a wish, and an aspiration. People have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up and what they want their children’s future to be. Not all of these dreams come true though. Even if you work really hard and put your heart into it, there is no guarantee that you will fulfill your dream. Even then like W.H.Auden said 'since he weighs nothing / Even the stoutest dreamer / Can fly without wings, one keeps dreaming as a survival tactic in this harsh world. George Bernard Shaw with the revolutionary ideas believed, "You see things and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were, and I say 'Why Not? With such aspiration people keep their dreams alive and ultimately make their dreams their goal, achieve it and make themselves proud.

“What happens to a dream deferred” Langston Hughes, author of the poem explains When something is deferred it is put off until a later date, in other words postponed. The cherry blossoms can be deferred due to a sudden freeze, and a surgery can be deferred because of complications. A deferred dream is put on the “back burner of life”, and it matures to its full potential, and is waiting when you are “ready to pursue it”. The important idea is that the deferred event, though later then hoped for, eventually comes true. Like many other works dreams are a significant component of A Raisin in the Sun where the word “dream” is used a total of fourteen times throughout the play. Mama in A Raisin in the Sun , experiences Hughes’ deferred dream which elucidates and reinforces the fact that dreams have always been a subject of great interest to people.

Prof. Remo Ceserani has pointed out another kind of dream, the kind of dream that alters the future of the whole nation. Such a dream was dreamt by the Afro-Americans, a dream for the abolishment of segregation and the outlaw of discrimination through out the world. Slavery had come to an end with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, ‘but one hundred years later, 'the Negro is still not free' is a slogan that can be heard every where and people believe that 'America has defaulted on this promissory note'. The African- Americans refused to accept the “bad check”. Martin Luther King, Jr. conveyed the “urgency” of the situation that had been sizzling for decades. 'There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights'. What happens to a dream deferred? If the dream is important enough to the dreamer, it burns like a fire until the deferred dream is accomplished. 'We cannot turn back' was the thought of the Afro-amercicans and is the aspiration behind life altering dreams. Later, the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1865) was introduced, which abolishes slavery and has been interpreted to include the abolishment of segregation and discrimination.

Tennessee Williams asks, 'What happens to a dream deferred?' If a mature dream is pursued by the ready and willing dreamer, it is likely that the dream will come true. Pakistan was dream of the great sages which ultimately came true by the zeal and zest of the followers of the dream who never gave up and stood against the innumerable hurdles. Camino Real was right when he said 'Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams', as the dreamers have brought innumerable changes to the socio political, economic as well as religious matters.

From a classic texts such as L'ame romantique et le reve by Albert Beguin to numerous essays on the interpretations of dream in the Quran and Bible or in classical texts, ancient and modern, dreams have always been an essential element in determining feelings emotions and helps to convey an allegorical divine message.

Likewise, in a bibliography that is at the same time huge and irreducible to a few simple references or a literary work like the one in Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, ‘a man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavor to do, he drowns', different genres take help of dreams to express themselves. Hence, dreams are often the subject of novels and the key to a character's deeper promptings, the means by which an author sets a tone or creates a theme underlying his or her fiction, or expresses an intangible poetic concept. Franz Kafka uses dream to crate an atmosphere of existentialist awe in Metamorphosis
‘When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. He was lying on his back as hard as armor plate, and when he lifted his head a little, he saw his vaulted brown belly, sectioned by arch-shaped ribs, to whose dome the cover, about to slide off completely, could barely cling. His many legs pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, were waving helplessly before his eyes. "What's happened to me?" he thought. IT WAS NO DREAM.’

Lord Byron’s poetic genius 'The Dream' beautifully unveils the mesmerizing nature of dreams. He depicts the essences of dreams and their working as, 'Our life is two-fold: Sleep hath it's own world /A boundary between the things misnamed / Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world / And a Wide realm of wild reality. / And dreams in their development have breath, / And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy; / They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts, / They take a weight from off our waking toils, / They do divide our being; they become / A portion of ourselves as of time, / And look like heralds of eternity; / They pass like spirits of the past, -- they speak / Like Sybils of the future; they have power / the tyranny of pleasure and of pain; / They make us what we were not what they will, / And shake us with the vision that's gone by, / The dread of vanish'd shadows Are they so? / Is not the past all shadow? -- What are they? / Creations of the mind? The mind can make / Substance, and people planets of its own / With beings brighter than have been, and give / A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.'

As a genre medieval dream poetry has an importance. The fact that in the thirteenth century a revolution happened, with the Roman de la rose, whereby this visionary and learned genre also became used for exploring the subject of human sexual passion, taking the experience of desire as a subject for serious literature in a serious genre. He not only widened the subject matter of dream poetry thereafter but raised questions about the place and value of passion, in Western society and Christian ideology, together with related questions about gender, interiority, emotionality, sexuality and the social mythologies and hence paved way for the modern diversified literature on dreams.

Literature as a representative of social changes records the changing human attitudes and later allows the people to compare and evaluate them. To analyze the dream as narrative micro-text in the European novel from 1890 to 1930 the two dates might seem at first rather arbitrary, yet they are consistent with the forty years in which the form of the novel has undergone a series of radical and traumatic modifications and Nineteenth-century fiction, its fundamental structures and procedures have been completely remodeled: characters have lost their marks of identity and fate; time has disintegrated; the thread of the story ,the "famous red thread" of which Musil spoke and which allowed the novelist to say with self-assurance "before that" or "after that" had vanished and was no longer re-traceable which involves also the way in which dreams had a place in the narrative universe. While up to that moment the context in which the various dreams were inserted was assigned an interpretative function, to start with the end of the Nineteenth-Century the connections between micro and macro-text are much weakened, become problematic, and the world of dreams very often assumes the character of an irresolvable enigma. To quote an image that can be found in the interpretation of dreams one could say that to literary dreams, similar in this to the real dreams studied by Freud, is appended an ‘umbilical cord, an obscure and unfathomable point which connects them with the unknown (Unbekanntes)’. Hence, Europe’s marked changes in dream depiction in literature are symbolic to how social changes alter the whole approach towards a concept.

Shakespeare is also interested in the actual workings of dreams, how events occur without explanation, time loses its normal sense of flow, and the impossible occurs as a matter of course; he seeks to recreate this environment in the plays through the intervention of dreams. Puck extends the idea of dreams to the audience in A Mid summer night’s Dream saying that, if they have been offended by the play, they should remember it as nothing more than a dream. This sense of illusion and gauzy fragility is crucial to the atmosphere the play as it helps render the play a fantastical experience rather than a heavy drama. His pithy remarks like 'We are such stuff as  HYPERLINK "http://www.associatedcontent.com/theme/872/dreams.html" \o "dreams" dreams are made of' In Tempest and then Hamlet's 'To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil', dreams are shown to have an irrevocable significance for the dramatist as well as humans concerning their every day lives. So dreams had been a source for the Elizabethans to rebuke, reveal, counsel, inspire and compel.

In some cases dreams take a person to a religious quest. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s dream in The Brothers Karamazov reveals the protagonist's spiritual antagonism, 'I sometimes dream of devils. Its night, I'm in my room, and suddenly there are devils everywhere. In all the corners and under the table, and they open doors, and behind the doors there are crowds of them, and they all want to come in and seize me. And they are already coming near and taking hold of me, But suddenly I cross myself and they draw back, they are afraid, only they don't go away, but stand near the door and in the corners, waiting. And then I'm suddenly overcome by a desire to begin cursing God in a loud voice, and I begin cursing him and they all rush at me again in a crowd, they're so pleased, and they're again about to lay hands on me and I cross myself again and they draw back at once. It's great fun. Oh, it takes my breath away’. A dream like this not only reinforces the spirituality of a person but also makes him aware of the eternal strife between the good and the evil.

Dreams have been a source of inspiration and education for many creative thinkers, artists, writers, scientists, and other human beings engaged in the voyage of discovery of 'Life'. ‘I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.’ were the catching words of Emily Bronte and also acknowledging the importance of dreams in the words ‘Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?’ was Leonardo da Vinci. Both creative artists belonging to different genres illuminate the significance of dreams.

‘Let us learn to dream, gentlemen, and then we may perhaps find the truth F.A. Keule, German chemist, who discovered the structure of benzene in a dream, was true to pay so much importance to dreams. There is a considerable evidence that creative work, answers to mind boggling questions and many problems have been solved while dreaming. Robert Louis Stevenson's, A Chapter on Dreams is a glimpse of that "I can but give an instance or so of what part is done sleeping and what part awake…and to do this I will first take…Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I had long been trying to write a story on this subject. For two days I went about wracking my brains for a plot of any sort, and on the second night I dreamed the scene at the window and a scene afterward split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime, took the powder and underwent the change in the presence of his pursuers. All the rest was made awake, and consciously'.

'It is Allah that takes the souls at death and those that die not during their sleep; Those on whom He has passed the decree of death, he keeps back, but the rest he sends(back to their bodies)'. Sleep and then dreams carry a special significance for the believer in relation to the Almighty Allah and the prophets, His messages, depiction, warnings etc. Kitab al-Ruya has plenty of evidence to show the significance of dreams for the Muslims. For a believer a dream carries a divine message in a particular condition. ‘Pleasing dreams’ may be defined as ‘those after which the person feels satisfied and refreshed, and can ‘feel’ that his or her soul itself does sense happiness’. Then there is another type of dreams i.e., ‘True dreams’ a stage higher, these the dreams which "know something of the future, since Allah Almighty has given, to the dreaming person, of His knowledge." These two types of dreams are confirmation, too, that the person concerned is on the right path, as far as Allah Almighty is concerned. A person can only have a true dream if he or she is spiritually very near to Allah Almighty. Joseph's dream of prophet hood, his dream interpretation for the king of Egypt, Abraham’s dream of sacrificing his son are just a few instances where this mysterious faculty of humans revealed itself. Abu Qabada reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying: "The good visions are from Allah and the evil dreams are from Satan. Revelations to Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H in dreams and Jacob’s dream in Bible illuminate a very unique side of the dreams where dreams help to make a connection with the celestial world.

No matter what the person is, despite the social surroundings or religious background, dreams do accompany one's mind while the person is asleep. They inspire, teach, warn and guide, at times materialize into fantasies and soothes human mind and yet when takes the charge of nations, dreams become the driving force to change a country's fate. Hence, human existence relies on this mysterious ability bestowed upon the humans for the sanity and calmness of the mind, body and soul.
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What source are you using to bring these essays here?
If these are copied from some website then you must mention the source.
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i myself wrote these essays ... i was supposed to get them published in a book but some how that couldn't happen .... i thought people should benefit form them through this site....
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M.Imtiaz Shahid was supposed to print and publish them in a new book 2 years ago..... I withdrew all his rights to publish any content from these essays.... if he as done so i'll be taking legal action against him. These essays are my personal property and i have decided to publish them as a free content on the internet.
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