While visiting home last summer, my dad told me “Be careful of the mind, it is often our greatest enemy.” His words still echo, like an unresolved equation. Coming form an intellect, thinker, and retired professor of Physics, such an equation might take me years equal or greater than his age. The catch is, using the mind to accuse the mind.
I have always admired people who did that. People who communicated on a “root” level, without branching out and rallying with “leaves”. To me, they are immortal. An example close to heart is a math professor who taught me in high school. I could not figure out why he was teaching us brats, until I fell in love with math.
He never answered my questions except with a seemingly irrelative question. It always worked. Unplugging many channels in my brain, and filling me with the desire to kneel to his genius. He didn’t answer to all students the same way. He gave some of them straightforward answers. A genius teacher. I wonder where I would be today, if I had more teachers like him.
It took graduating out of high school, finishing up college, for me to admit this:
I am intimidated by details. Details scare me. Little issues scare me. Small talks scare me. History scares me. Dates. Country names. Cities. Family trees. Terms. Linguistics. Biology. Names. Rabbit breeding that occurs within families you haven’t seen for too long, and requires you to catch up on all those names, birthdates, and “who belongs to who”.
Details stalk me. They corner me. Bully me. Make me feel dependent on outer sources that are capable of betrayal. The friends I still have are still talking to me because our conversation can smoothly transition from the detail to the general. From the story to the philosophy and wisdom behind it.
I was reminded by all of that when my younger brother sent me a message, “What’s the worst thing one can do to a friend?”
“Depends on what type of a friend they are.” I wrote back.
“A normal friend.” He prompted.
“There’s no such thing as normal. People are just different in their expectation and their chemistry.”
Giving up, he sent a big smile and a request for me to befriend Aristotle.
While I tend to be inspired and guided by the doubt, many are assured and comforted by the knowing. This has lead me many times to go back and read “The Cow” story in the Quran (chapter 2, verse 67-71), finding it hard to be so judgmental over the people who asked so many questions before slaughtering the cow…