Wednesday, March 3, 2010

a case of the wednesdays

sometimes one of those situations comes along that gives your mental state a big shake, like if a curious brobdingangian baby were to flick gulliver and unintentionally send him flying. its not like someone is trying to throw me off intentionally, but nonetheless I am feeling the effects of a situation that is playing out thousands of miles away. this is just an off week in a lot of ways, but I am doing my best not to let it get me down. I know everything will work out in the end, as it always does.

in other news, Arabic class is going well. today we had a discussion (in arabic of course) about life and what we consider the most important things are. Fatiha said that, in her experience from teaching, lots of students from different parts of Europe and the US don't usually describe family as being the most important thing to them, whereas she said in the Arabic world that family is the number one most important thing.

It's something I have noticed for myself in my time here. It makes me think about my own life and the things that are considered important in my country. During the first week in my family Assia, Farida's older sister, who also teaches Arabic at the center, was over for lunch. We were talking about differences between Morocco and the USA, and Assia said something that I think very aptly sums up pretty much everything. She said that the most important thing for a Moroccan is to be able to feed her family and give them a place to sleep. Basically as long as one's family eats well and has a roof over their head, then there is reason to be happy.

In her view of America, she thinks people exert too much energy trying to get a bigger house or buy another car or whatever else they think will make them happy. I have to admit that I agree with her. If we're talking about necessities, all that you really need in life is food, water, and a place to rest your head at night. Why do we constantly need more? More land, more square footage, more wheels, manifest destiny, take it! Because...well, because you can.

I was reading an elementary schoolmate's blog today (someone I have not seen in many years), and her words were very thoughtful and appealing to me. She writes that recently she has "grasped how Western philosophy of humans being separate from and dominant over nature is perhaps false." Its this disconnect, of our society and the way we do business, from the natural laws and limits of our world that I think is the root of most of our problems today.

Maybe if we could just be happy with a small house, with one car, with wearing more sweaters in the winter and turning the heat down (if you live in new england dont act like your house should be 75 and sunny!), maybe if we did more of these things and oriented our lives at least a little bit more with the governing laws of nature (rather than our government), well maybe we would not be in the situation we are in today. Maybe we wouldn't have, as Sara writes, a "lack of resources in some places and excess of resources in other places of the globe."


  1. Hey John,
    It's nice to hear from you! Thanks for your comments and citation, I feel so special, like a published author too :)
    I went to Morocco while I was studying in Spain. I stayed with a family in the Medina in Rabat. And my sister Tina lived there for a semester too. Such an amazing country...where are you living?
    Can't wait to read more of your musings.

  2. i like the part about how we always want more JD. i find myself feeling that, even as I am conscious of the sentiment that you're expressing here, and that I know I have enough, and i'm blessed, I still always want more. maybe it's just a cultural value of being american? which can be both a blessing and a curse. i guess that's sort of an easy answer, but it seems like as a nation we're very ambitious, and never satisfied, and that's almost something that's celebrated