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  • Seyran Maryam Khalili


One cannot eat well, dine well or read well when one's focus shifts from one spot to another, a sort of monkey thinking climbing from one limb to another. The Latin phrase “Mens sana in corpore sano”....

....point towards the ancient Greek wisdom spoken as “Kalos kai aghathos” - a target in balanced education of body and spirit - so now you are introduced to ancient wisdom in three languages!

Welcome to my world of futures - my name is Seyran Maryam Khalili. My profession takes place within a matrix of theory-based innovations in public service, leadership development and cross-cultural communication. Post-graduate alumna and associate from Kings College I’m well grounded with social science and have for a time felt a longing to fly back to “the carpets of Persia”, more accurate the mountains of Kurdistan, where my birth took place.

Perhaps not so surprising that my article is about balance between body and soul, and that I see this balance as the future path for Man?

Let’s get started

During this autumn I have been much engaged in books about spirituality, meditation and yoga. According to Cybele Tomlinson “Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted -- in body, mind, and heart -- and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves

Old myths about faith, focus, balance

Our lives begin to flow -- or we begin to flow more in myths about faith, focus, balance are still applied today, but somehow in another sense and fashion in the world of academia. If one tries to associate the phrases one could think of them as being used in the sense of the three knowledges about motivation, concentration and planning.

We are always reminded to be motivated to read, but somehow one is never reminded about why we have to study to gain our knowledge. Do we need the knowledge? For what purpose? Instead of being reminded about the core of science, students today are motivated towards other purposes or the old "pass your exam". Further on, having focus is shifted with the importance of concentration. I was amazed the first time I meditated, how unbelievably one can silence the mind and shift focus towards doing one thing at the time and indulge yourself in it. However, whenever someone tells me to concentrate, I get nearly nauseated by the thought of having to stare in a book for the next 3 hours.

Last but not least, in the notion of balance, the old myths remind us that we have to be in balance with the soul and our surrounding. Meaning that the outside world shouldnt get in away of having a balanced life with the self. In modern times this can be seen as the act of planning, strategy and procedure - every part of the process should be in total fit with the overall plan. We are only relaxed when up to some degree every part of the plan we lay out is in order and place - hopefully parts of it always does. After being introduced to these old myths, their knowledge has served me well about the spiritual part of live itself. How it confines with our perception and how we as individuals each serve a purpose in life while we also inhibit an entire universe placed inside us that gives us that purpose. Interestingly enough, I am again reminded that society and individuals live in a dynamic process, where the one is nothing without the other. 

Lost in the process of modernization?

Modernization has become a way of expression.

Its a known fact that today we can all choose between different lifestyles and how we wish to express our way of living. In this sense, the only way to live an inspired life is to completely surrender all the objects, people and inspirations that comes along the way. By the time I was 15 years old, I had already lived in 3 continents and spoke 4 languages. The backdrop of my early childhood were spent during the Islamic revolution and the Iran/Iraq war (first 3 years of my life), the refugee movement and United Nations refugee camp travelling from borders of Turkey to Norway were the next phase of my life (one year of my life, the age of 4), while at last ending up exploring the pop-culture and HipHop movement of the 90´s in Norway became the last formative years of my upbringing. 

I will call these phases of incarnation Rumi, Sartre and Tupac. Because of this journey, many whom have been introduced to modernity from a background of industrial/semi-modern lifestyles, can relate to the feeling of exploring the self, identity and the conceptualization of Home.' Who shall I be - here? ' is a question expressing many of the thoughts that come along this unique journey.

To live we need to die

This brings me to notes of the English classic novel “Odur of Chrysanthemums" by D.H. Lawrence. It was during my semester studying english literature at the University of Stavanger. The reason why I start out by recalling the first time I read it, is because I had to re-read the short story several times to really indulge on what the emphasis was about. The theme of the short story is in general an isolation of the human soul but also the nature of love. A passage I really loved was when Elizabeth, the protaganist of the story, sees her husband lying on the floor just passed away; She looked at his naked body and was ashamed, as if she had denied it. . . . She looked at his face, and she turned her own face to the wall. For his look was other than hers, his way was not her way. She had denied him what he was—she saw it now. She had refused him as himself. . . . She was grateful to death, which restored the truth. And she knew she was not dead.

To awake we need to be asleep

The reason why I brought up this specific short story, is because I have just finished Zygmunt Baumans book, "The Individualized Society". 

First it was Marx, then Durkheim then Bourdieu, then Bernstein - now its maybe Baumans time to impact sociology for a while until the next scholar comes and dashes him out? Anyhow - although Bauman is now becoming more and more read by scholars of social sciences, in my opinion he really has a good understanding of practical sociology in the modern era.  The community, sais Bauman, has for long lost its empowerment to give the people what is has claimed; security, stability and guidance.  Individuals seek security in an insecure world.

Bauman emphasized his thoughts of the missing community in his article. In this article he mentions how the impact of modern times give rise to voluntarily ghettos in communities, specifically in big cities. This is an upcoming trend where people seek security and identification rather than creation of the self  (- as opposition to Anthony Giddens thoughts of cultural reflexivity and disembedding of social norms). Security through homogeneity; trust in mutual thought and morals within the framework of their local communities. Could it be that we as individuals feel isolated and un-identified in the realm of the community? 

Chrysanthemums in literary terms usually symbolize death. This being said, just like it only occurred to Elizabeth on her husbands death bed that she had denied her husband to be what he was, are we also denied what we really are by the walls confided by our communities?

The beloved future hides within your esoteric heart

We keep looking for the right moment. The silver lining where you ascend to your dreams and you experience that burst of happiness.

When the indulgent moment you´ve been waiting for all your life flashes before your eyes. When that moment happens – and it doesn't turn out the way you wish it to be, your whole world is transformed. You realize the ground beneath you is shifted. Things are uncertain. And there's no turning back. The world around you is different now. Unrecognizable. And there's nothing you can do about it. You´re stuck. The future´s staring you in the face and there´s nothing you can do about it.

Why do we keep fighting for these unreal impressions and why not start embrace the real ones?

Beneath waves of emotions, our impressions are the ones close to our hearts. Its these impressions that bully us. Makes our hearts bounce and that keeps our spirit up. These fleeting moments in our minds keep pushing us to our ledge and as we ascend this stairway we keep looking back to see how far we´ve comed. Up here where it all floats, we thoss a dice and hope the future door will knock open as we stand infront of it.

Thank you for your attention my friend


Caption 1

Our lives begin to flow -- or we begin to flow more in myths about faith, focus and balance. These myths are still applied today, but somehow in another sense and fashion in the world of academia. If one tries to associate the phrases one could think of them as being used in the sense of the three knowledges; a space where motivation meets concentration and planning occurs as a result.

Caption 2

Modernisation has become a way of expression. Between the desire and the spasm, falls the scapegoat of modernism. First, the price we pay where value of humankind is equal to tech-savviness and second the all consuming powerful and worthy divine: nothingness - our new goddess. Observing the act of the scapegoat, we will se the full possibility of surrendering to nothingness, in hopes of achieving the greater good. Bridging the rigid division between purpose and achievement into flux , this means that a return to our core questions, lost in modernity boils down into what we witness….a continues reinvention, spinning the wheels around a broken framework. By leaving the myths, we received modernity - what did we loose in the midst of all this and what do we now reach towards?

Caption 3

Perhaps you have heard of the difference between the story and the isness? The angel of history was able to see history for what it is. The angel of history was propelled into the future by storm, naming this progress. The storm prohibited the angel from staring into the past any longer than necessary - launching him into the inevitable future. With inability of closing its wings and gaze back, this too became a foe for the angel was given too little time to reflect on the destruction caused in his wake.

We connect our story to a journey purposefully driven towards a direction. We comfortably understand time as linear, as a dimension presented to us providing the visual and abstract mediation we need to place ourselves in the here and now. Beyond this manifestation and understanding of self, is the second dimension: space. Perhaps beyond our imagination lies what what we can see as far as the horizons in the futures - but also from our past as reanimated in our present. Our past and the story we built is a progression into the future. We need reflection, and we need more than ever to stop the broken record of time to avoid mindless carrying our flaws into the present and future.


Wherever you are | Sami Yosuf


A dancing heart| Sami Yosuf


Take "the Other" to lunch | Elizabeth Lesser TEDTalk


The politics of fiction | Elif Shafak TEDTalk


How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division| Elif Shafak


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Duckworth


The White Tiger: A Novel| Aravind Adiga

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