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Author: Timothy Bowes (Page 54 of 65)

Surely God will replace it with something better

Inner idols

I have built another of those vast and complex and intricate edifices, which tower high above me. Now I must tear it down for the good of my soul, but it pains me. Yesterday I called in demolition, but halted deconstruction half way through. These towers of ego and desire are a work of art. But a yoke around my neck. The good within regrets engineering these great carbuncles, but soon the bad within will regret the act of dismemberment, and even now petitions me, “Stop!” Once more I have invested everything in this edifice. But either it falls, or I fall. These are the choices we set for ourselves. It is not a question of knowing what to do: that is easy. It is having the resolve to break every last brick, to walk away for good, to remove its foundations completely. It is the resolve to tear up the architect’s plans, to smash the intricate carvings, to bring it to nothing. It is the courage to write off an investment for the sake of one better than it. It is the courage to pull back from the brink. “Return” whispers my heart, but inside a war is raging. These are the battles of the soul. These are the inner idols.

Burning bridges again

Repeatedly I invest so much in that which is of no benefit to me until leaving it becomes the heaviest of burdens. Then when I finally convince myself to tear the flimsy construction down, it causes those regrets which in time will see its repetition all over again. So the cycle just repeats over and over again, as I oscillate between the reforming spirit and the rebellious. The reforming spirit speaks of the greater regrets to come, but the rebellious is a brilliant whisperer, ever able to convince of the rightness of yet another wrong. And so here I am once more, back where I started.

Image Search

We are finding out the hard way about the power of the web. As site/blog/twit owners we need learn and relearn the ethics of posting media that does not belong to us. It’s all too easy to google an image and treat the search results as a clip art gallery. Of course Google simply trawls all content for relevant media; it does not distinguish Copyright material from CreativeCommons.

But as individuals we also need to seriously consider the wisdom of posting media which *does* belong to us.

Some friends constantly post images of themselves and their children on Facebook, believing them safe from the Google robots. Well they might be, but they haven’t fixed their privacy settings to prevent a distant acquaintance like me from witnessing every visit to grandparents, every bout of sickness, each momentous first step.

It only takes one person to borrow your Selfie to illustrate an article on the web for the process of Google dissemination to begin. Combined with popular keywords – african american, hijab, Muslim, niqab – it will soon appear on multiple sites, reused and reused, and out of control.

We have learned the hard way about the dangers of publishing to public media sites like Flickr. Realising our errors, as we notice others cataloguing, favouriting, reusing our images, we attempt to back track, only to discover that it is too late. We no longer seem to own our images – or our text, artwork, videos – they have taken on a life of their own, sometimes landing in the hands of the most despicable.

Here again ample illustration that we need a legal and ethical guide to navigating the great world wide web. May we all take heed.

Action Plan

My two stage action plan.
First step: to stop being bad.
Second step: to start being good.

Forrest Gump meets the Internet

Have you heard it too: that enchanting, haunting hymn of crickets singing in the garden, slowed down to an unspecified speed, that has gone viral on the internet? It is beautiful, spellbinding. But alas, the first thing this soul asked himself on encountering it is what happens if you speed this track up again?

A little probing around carried me to an audio track entitled “Twisted Hair” by Robbie Robertson, which features the raw cricket choir for a while, uninterrupted by that recognisable insect chirping. If you were to take that raw sample and speed it up again, would you end up with the natural sound of crickets? Someone must be able to do that, and I’d really like to know the result.

Och, perhaps this Muslim has absorbed the science of Isnad too much into his life. Every time I come across these viral tales I end up asking too many questions. Is it real, who created it, when did they create it… on and on…

My area is in graphics, so adventures in Photoshop are easily analysed, be it a miracle in the clouds or a mysterious creature in a cave. But enter the world of audio or even video manipulation and I’m at a loss. If Forest Gump met Osama bin Laden today we would most certainly believe it. In an age of technological deception it is easy to be deceived.

Favour Culture

Dominic Grieve QC, the Attorney General, says ministers should “wake up” to the threat of corruption in public life, which he attributes to “minority communities” that operate a “favour culture”.

I agree. The Houses of Parliament are overwhelmed with minority communities operating a culture of favour: the Tories and Labour alike have been at it for years. Jeremy Hunt, Liam Fox, David Laws, John Butterfill, Derek Conway, Geoff Hoon, Stephen Byers, Richard Caborn…

No, alas, irony is lost on the Political Class.

To be shy and retiring

I wish I had the confidence to contribute something to the world. Whenever I share a thought, I take it back within minutes. Whenever I write anything, I soon turn my back on it and abandon it, dreading to reencounter it once more. I wish I knew if there is a place for me at the table, whether there is any place for what I have to say. Instead I turn away, shy and retiring.

Even angels ask

What horrific slaughter.

Even after

To remain steadfast after repentance is never easy. That moment of sincerity whilst falling down on your face in regret, resolving never to repeat those mistakes or return to them, is severely tested over the days that follow. It is too easy to become heedless of realities, returning to the norms that surround us. Video, photography, opinion pieces, radio, music — our senses are perpetually bombarded from every direction. The gentle teachings of our deen are easily ignored: listen not to vain talk, speak good or remain silent, lower your gazes, remember your Lord often. It is all too easy to return to wickedness even after that sincere resolve to reform. The battle with the nafs is perhaps the fiercest conflict of all.

Page 54 of 65

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