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August 15, 2006


ghassan karam

A moral people will not undertake any action whatsoever based only on its effect on the present. All acts must also be assessed with regards to how they impact the future. Intergenerational equity is, unfortunately, a missing ingredient in our decision making process all over the globe but especially in the Arab world. Simply stated , any act that will benefit the present at the expense of the future is an act that does not meet the efficiency and sustainability criterion.Viewed through this prism, the current "divine victory" that HA and its supporters all throughout the Arab world are celebrating has robbed both the present and the future at the same time!!!!

Zenobia of the East and West

People only think about "intergenerational equity" ...and such astractions..... when first and foremost their immediate or short term desires, needs, goals are satisfied.
this maybe foolish, shortsighted, and a sign of social immaturity, but it is also human nature.

So those of you, or us, who seek to plan a popular movement for change...better take into account the human hierarchy of needs, but also just the simple nature of being alive.... that humans will always choose first what will bring immediate gratification. This is especially so when we are talking about very basic needs. As strange as it appears, it has been born out that such feelings of dignity and identity, and pride.....fall under basic needs...that are even more powerful than shelter sometimes. People will sacrifice and suffer a lot..... in order to retain a sense of dignity or something close to this (which oddly, may also appear to be an abstraction, but it is not...it is an ever present emotion).
Sacrificing and acting in accordance with future gratifications...or the betterment of the next generation... especially when grounded on a complicated theory of progress..... just doesn't hold water for the common people.
People may be convinced and persuaded of the rightness of a certain long term plan, but unless you can offer them short term satisfactions of pride and hopefullness.... collective strength... you are destined to fail in your efforts.


I sure hope that people are more concerned about the future than tou give them credit for. If we do not respect and abide by the principle that I cannot just borrow from the future then sadly this means that there will be no future for the human specie. That would be the height of irresponsibility and selfishness, apres moi le deluge!!!

Philip I


In Abu Ghreib, those who were stripped naked and abused wanted dignity above all else. Of course what you describe is human nature and human responses to adversity and humuliation. But surely the point that Ammar is making is that we, and our future, and our children's future, are being abused by our own leaders.


Sunday morning I was visiting a very young man in the hospital whose leukemia has relasped. It was an horrific morning. A kind of morning I have witnessed way more times than I would ever have imagined I would experience.

While I was there...I noticed a book somebody left laying around...it was called "The Tipping Point". The premise has long fascinated me and this guy has kind of organized it...the little I glanced anyhow.

The premise is an exploration of what causes a fad, or major change in culture, or any "behavioral epidemic". Seemed like cool stuff.

We bicker around from the perspective of our own tribes, more or less. To borrow from one of today's themes set by Zen, there is a "heirarchy"...he is probably borrowing from Maslov's heirarchy of needs. I am thinking of the hierarchy of humanity...it tends to go roughly
Extended Family

I think most people here, though we get stuck on some of the lower tribal ends of the spectrum, have a belief/hope that transcends such and touches on a shared humanity. That if Zen and I were both born in the brush of Kenya or something...we may have just enjoyed hunting elephant together and not been too concerned about the justice of the Golan situation.

We need Tipping Point where we can find a way to get all of us thinking much differently, much more transcendent...but it is tipping just the other way...meaning tribalism, nationalism etc.

I have thought about these things since I was a very young man. I have watched tribalism on an internation scale, and in local neighborhoods where kids die for wearning the wrong colors on the wrong street. We all have memories that justify our pain and resentment and anger and it usually leads to either a great desire for healing or a great desire to hurt back.

Maybe we can start a Tippping Point in places like this...


Indeed, Zenobia, people in general care most for immediate gratification, hence the importance of having leaders (political, social religious) that can look beyond. Our plight is that no such leaders exist. On contrary, our leaders tend to plan on our basic needs and fears to stay in power and gorge themselves on the wealth of our countries.

How can we turn this around? How can we produce the right leaders? How can we reach the Tipping Point, as Howie noted, these are the questions.


Since I got two emails this week recommending I read "the tipping point", and now Howie is also mentioning it ... I just downloaded it from Apple's store (Audio book)... I'll listen to it on the way to work.

But I have a suggestion Howie: How about convincing our own people (each his side) to go out of their way to make "our enemies" feel at ease with us. To spend our time listening to their needs and fears and to see what we can do to make their life better ... sounds silly, but there is no other tipping point I can think of in the Middle East.

As for the present-future focus, the population in the Middle East is young, and younger people did not yet develope the appreciation for planning for the future at the expense of short term pleasures, or gains or needs.

Zenobia's Hieracrchy (Maslow's) in this case tells us that when there is hunger and danger in Iraq and Lebanon and Palestine and Israel, today basic needs are the dominant ones... no place for the personal achievement type of needs... it is up to "our leaders", Ammar, to stop using force every day to prove points. And you know which leaders I include in this group... those who are making "the other side" think that you are after them and after their religion and after their lands ...


I have been saying for a long time that Israel only understand force ,their loss to Hizballa made them understand that they can not fight forever or winn all the time , I think now that Syria and Hzballa are victorius Syria should offer a final status negotiation between Israel on one side and Syria Hizballa and Hamas on the other side ,enough killing , Israel can not fight forever and the Arabs only want what is rightly theirs ,so let us have a deal and a compleet peace .Any takers.?present Gov in Lebanon was not able to provide peace for Israel ,Abbas could not provide safty to Israelies ,It is time for Syria to offer full peace.for full justice.



About Syria making a peace offer...did you hear the latest from Assad? Not a great starting point.

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