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Why Read and Think Hard?

 

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Most humans are banal in their everyday thinking. They lack originality and complexity required to understand the world.

The world is a big word. Let us just say, the everyday social and political issues.

For most of them, coming out of their rigid and singular frames is a process, and a difficult one indeed.

They do not appreciate when told that their ideas are base: based on passion and emotion rather than reason and experience, as the famous French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre describes in Anti-Semite and Jew.

Theorists Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski define frame as a “conceptual path shaping how people understand an issue and what ought to be done about it.”

Psychologists say it is primordial for humans to crave certainty or singular articulations. It is convenient for them to see the world into rigid categories and understand it as such.

Geography, race, ethnicity, religion and politics further embolden these categories. Hence, what are fundamentally social constructions become social realities.

For the individual to deconstruct and reconstruct these realities, alternative imaginations are needed.

The alternative imaginations come from a number of channels. Social and cultural interactions are one.

The most attainable and instrumental way to challenge the all too common perceptual rigidity is reading and critical thinking.

Most people have access to books in the world today. Some more so than others. But generally, books are available to many.

Reading has for good reasons changed my worldview. As a voracious reader and a thinking freak, I am still mazed but the experience is nonetheless liberating.

I feel confused and challenged but belonged to the larger world without boundaries.

I hope this post inspires you to do your bit in adding more meaning and clarity to the world ridden with tensions.

Defusing tensions are possible when we all disrupt our biased frames and connect with others through authenticity, empathy and dispassionate understanding.

 

Aslam Kakar      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be a Writer​ is to Build Little by Little

 

 

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It has been three weeks since the last post I wrote. I have never been busier in school and work.

Although I am still in the middle of a heavy workload, I guess I needed a break for this blog which I started with a lot of passion.

Let me use this opportunity and share my writing journey with you, very briefly. I am not a born writer. I am not even someone who had the privilege to know about writing.

I learned how to write on my own after years, at least a decade, of hard work.

Ten years ago, when I was twenty, I could hardly write a paragraph with meaning and coherence.

When I was fifteen, I hardly knew if there was such a thing as being or becoming a writer. All I knew were written words in books and newspapers, and that I had to complete my homework.

When I was younger than fifteen, forget it. Because I spent my teens in a small village in Pakistan, I did not have access to books and library.

My early twenties were when I began to feel interested in writing, but I still struggled with the basics. Grammar, clarity of ideas and sentence construction bothered me.

At the end of undergraduate studies in my mid-twenties, I commanded the basics of writing. Now I could write to convey my ideas but still not in the way I desired. My poor sentence structure, lack of vocabulary and lack of knowledge about writing disappointed me every time I sat to write.

Some younger college students in Lahore were better writers. In fact, I used to read their essays in the monthly publication again and again. They inspired me to write more and more.

The real progress in my writing has taken place in the past five years. I have read like never before. Books on writing, psychology, philosophy, politics and on life, in general, have helped me form my opinions.

During these years, I have been committed to writing. Other writers and bloggers have inspired me to write my own stories. I have keenly observed how they write, and how I can incorporate their style and choice of words in my writing.

I have learned that to be a writer is to build and improve little by little, every day. It takes time and belief in yourself. The more you write, the better you get at it. There is no magic wand to become a finer writer, as I know it.

 

Aslam Kakar   

 

 

 

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