An Error That Lead To Murder

I had a funny dream today. I saw an error that lead to a murder. This is just a creative dream. I have actually forgotten some parts of it due to stress; but, I remember some parts. I have some stress in my life because I am slowly working to achieve three large projects. I really don’t know if this dream is true or not; but if it is, then don’t be surprised because I sometimes get dreams that actually come true. Okay! Let us check out my dream.

A family was driving towards some border of a country. The older son was driving. One of his family members had to get off because she was not going to this new place. The other family members kept yelling at this guy while he was on the phone. He eventually ended up complaining to them asking them to be quiet. So he drove through some very narrow roads; and, then he was very angry when he found out upon arrival that the border was now closed. He decided to drive back but he wanted to get to his destination. This time he placed his entire family inside a time traveling machine. The machine lifted off and it drove through the time warp. It would briefly come in touch with inanimate objects and bounce off them; but, it made no contact with other humans. They get off somewhere! There is a house and a bridge there. They look a bit different now almost like its a different family. Are these the progeny of the original family? Anyways, this family has two sons. One is younger and he runs around fast; he also exhibits healthy signs of independence despite being young. The second son has large shoulders with rather pointy bones. He is not that tall and yet he fights back pretty well! As the younger one runs on the bridge, a man catches him. This man has some sort of knife, which he uses on this child. The child screams in pain as blood rushes forward from his wounds; thus, his family runs towards him. One of his family members uses a weapon on this attacker and actually manages to hurt him almost chopping him in some places. The attacker now bleeds and cries for help. But, the older son hits him with his legs while ignoring his screams! The family is actually afraid that they are trapped with a murderer on a bridge and a place that they do not know about. There is no one around and they cannot reach out to the cops for help; they have been manipulated to do this in an attempt to escape. I strongly feel that this murder is somehow linked to the fact that the first family did not end up crossing the border on time. I recall there were some scenes in the middle, which would have shed some light into this matter; but, my dream recall is suffering a bit due to stress.

Now that I ponder further, my mind feels split. I feel that the murder is somehow caused due to the delay the driver suffered from. Yet another part of me is questioning if this is just a reminder that I need to start working on my mystery novel “Saryan“. I started writing this novel around 10 years ago; and, I couldn’t finish it due to the fact that I had zero classroom training in fiction writing. I wonder if my subconscious is just trying to remind me to finish the rest of my training so that I may be able to complete this novel!

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Types Of Eye Contact


I sometimes receive really solid stares by men—sometimes this happens at odd places like the bus and other time it happens in more usual places. I think its natural instincts though! Once, in Canada, this guy got into the bus; walked right up to me; removed his glasses; smiled at me; and, called me “Beautiful”. I smiled back and said thanks. We had a short conversation, which ended pretty wellI was a bit scared throughout this dialogue because I did not knew him at all. But, nothing happened! Gosh! I was very glad when all this was overI experience this discomfort only sometimes but not all the times.

There are some more such incidences! I am going to narrate three of these situations that took place in PakistanI was just a teenager back then. In one extreme event, the guy who was gawking at me fell in a gutter! This happened at a local wedding. I was walking down a road that lead to the place where the wedding feast was being held. One young guy was walking in the opposite direction. He saw me and could not stop gazing at me. Thus, he did not realize where he was headed and finally fell in the gutter. I noticed him glaring at me; and, then I checked him out again after he had fallen in the gutter. I did not stop to get him out because it was a very small gutter; and, he could have easily gotten out. Besides, his friends were with him and the night was too dark. You know what I mean! Fortunately, these weren’t dangerous guys at all; and, I am sure that some of them were pretty decent. Another time, a professional photographer wanted to take my photographs during a wedding. He actually got very excited when he saw me. So he tried to throw a real effort to photograph me properly. Therefore, he decided to climb a table with the camera in his hand. He was so absorbed with glaring at my photo through the camera that he did not notice his steps. He took a step back on the table to make sure that my pic is properly captured; and, he failed to notice that he had stepped off the table. Then the table just toppled and he fell down along with his best friend, his camera. The table cover fell on him toonow I think that this incidence was designed by God to cool him off. His team members could not save him in time. He was okay after all this though! I still remember laughing at this although I tried staying serious! In yet another incidence, the son of my tutor saw me while I was waiting outside in the night for my parents to come pick me up. The night was pretty dark but some artificial light was pouring a bit from somewhere. He was riding a motorcycle and he ended up driving right up to me and almost bumped into me. I had nausea that day so I was feeling pretty sick. So the second he bumped into me and stared pretty hard to see who was standing in his way, I started sobbing. He got worried and talked to me to figure out what was going on. Then, he went inside and sent his mom to help me. They took me back inside and fed me to relax me. My parents came soon afterwards to pick me up. And, I got home safely. The next time I went there, my tutor’s son came to see me. He gave me quite a look; and, I could see him blushing. Then, he gave me a card or was that a letter. I took it and did not open it because I got scared of all this! So I gave it to my mom and told her who gave it to me. She took it and never returned it. He never got back to me about this. Besides, his dad (my tutor) protects all the girls who receive tutoring from him pretty well. Now then, I don’t really know what was written in that card/letter and who exactly wrote it. But, the way he kept blushing while handing it to me told me that he wrote this. Jesus! Some men are so funny! Seriously! Even in the workplace setting, I have come across very moral men who can’t help but stare at me.

Today, in the bus, a rather handsome, tall, and muscular man was sitting right across me. His long legs were spread out as he leaned over and played with his cellphone and luggage. Every now and then, he would look up and stare at me. Throughout the ride, he gave me a couple of lengthy yet innocent boyish looks. I tried ignoring him a bit; but, because he seemed so keen about me that I felt compelled to make a little bit of eye contact. Of course! I smiled at him a little bit. But, I also made sure to look away and hoped that this would shake him off. But, he kept at it! As we approached the station, I realized that I had gotten a bit scared. Now, my head was a bit scattered; and, I was thinking all sorts of things. I was now clutching all my luggage, even the one that I had thrown on the seat when this ride started. I even thought to use a different door than the one he would use to get off the bus! LOL! I thought all this although I knew that the bus driver would notice if something went wrong. His staring was nerve-racking! Pretty soon, I realized that he was not going to harm me at all. Like me, he got off at the last stop. Just before he descended from the bus, he looked at me again and gave me that really cute puppy face. Yeah! I think he overdid the glancing thingperhaps, he really wanted to have a conversation with  me. Still, I somehow managed to muster a little smile. Then, he went ahead of me and got off the bus from the front door. This is when I realized that he was not trying to make me nervousif he wanted to scare me, he could have chosen to get off after me. Suddenly, I stopped feeling scared and got off from the front door as well. Hehehe!

When he reacted like this, it hit meonce againthat men who gaze at women they find pleasant somehow are just behaving due to biological responses. I find that noticing the types of stares is actually something women learn as they age. Over time, I have learned whom to ignore and whom to encourage just a little bit by saying hello, smiling, or conversingits tough for men to get me as date because I am an ENFP Empath. I feel its easier to read what some guys are thinking about me when they check me out. However, in some casesincluding those involving some rather warm menI have difficulty reading what exactly they are thinking.

When I got home, I thought about what happened today. Then, I found Mark Manson’s article, “The Levels of Eye Contact“. Thus, I found out that this interesting gentleman (from the last para) was giving me a Level 5 stare referred to as “THE GAZE”. I have learned from experience that its easy to notice that someone likes you if you receive this look. I am sure its a tactic that helps men get dates!

This is a captivating lesson for all of us, especially the writers and poets.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

How Acting Can Be Dangerous

I am a writer who likes to sometimes act in order to create written work. I was like this when I was a child and teenager; but, as an adult, I act less because I can get tired this way. Its a demanding struggle inside my mind because acting creates more creative content! Read blog post, “Act It All The Way Through“.

Once I read an online article somewhere that stated that true writers can present a more disintegrated and destroyed self, which helps to compose unique works. When I am creating my characters (while awake), I experience visualizations of my characters. I literally see them thinking, behaving, and reacting. They are very much alive inside my head! I know that great thinkers like Tesla and Carl Jung also received visualizations. When I had my first visualization of this sort while writing, I became very uncomfortable. I stopped writing and thinking! I stayed like this for several years! I was now writing anything else other than my first novel, “Saryan“.

To calm my shaken self, I slowly started hacking into what actually was going on. I found out that this is normal for me! I also found out that this links into how Telepaths can sometimes receive certain images since these images are actually out there;  I practiced Telepathy in real life for some time while working with abused women, making personal decisions, or simply taking a walk. It did not work out well when I was stressed or when I was not in the mood! I also found the link between these visualizations and lucid dreams. Apparently, creating a fantasy or daydream before falling asleep actually triggers my lucid dreams. Read “Daydreaming About Someone You Love Creates Stunning Lucid Dreams“. I have also experimented with some of my dream characters; to my surprise, I have found out that dream characters can evolve over time. One of the dream characters with whom I have interacted over a couple of dreams is a well-known American professor and writer. See complete list of my dream characters that are based on real people in blog post, “Dance of Heroes“. His character actually changed dramatically over time; and, in one dream he warned me about protecting a trapped woman. Read “Dream Characters that Appear Suddenly to Warn“. This is when I realized that there is nothing I can do about how characters appear in my mental eye while I am writing⁠—like my dream characters, they will most certainly evolve over time.

Saying all this, I have learned one vital thing⁠—I went on a real voyage to discover this answer because I am a real champion (article 1, article 2, article 3, article 4). All the above that I just described is not really acting! Acting is something that is similar to all the above but at the same time very different. My experiences have taught me that acting is more exhausting in nature than the rest of the methods! The fact that I am a Telepath (a very sensitive person) is also preventing me from acting too much since my smart mind is bent on preventing unnecessary fatigue. Article “Acting changes the brain: it’s how actors get lost in a role” discusses how actors might suffer from Post-Dramatic Stress Disorder where they can shift into some character. Frightening! I can fully see this fine line; but, Thank God, I have not yet crossed it. However, I am sure if someone adds really deep trauma in my life, I will somehow shift into one of my characters. I strongly recommend that writers should use acting as last resort and practice care while and after acting.

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Anger Of Artists Is A Blessing In Disguise

Anger is a very important ingredient that is vital for the creation of admirable works. I have experienced rage when I observe things like human rights related issues. Artists are creative folks who can channel their emotions including the most vile imaginations in writing and still leave a lesson.  “Writing Therapy” is a well-known technique among us! As a Lucid Dreamer and Telepath, I have experienced energies and vibes at an incredible level. Read Massive Energy Release. When you let out your negative emotions creatively, you have better chances of creating something conflictual and intricate because your positive emotions will keep flowing through as well. I have experienced this wicked mental state myself; and, I have found out that this expression is actually challenging to master. Its like fighting a very formidable version of myself, someone I know exists but someone I have not fully understood yet!

The above is actually a very broad subject and should be studied slowly. You should learn about this concept by learning about other artists. See article Expressing rage through angles and pie charts with Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim.

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Why I Think Writing Is The Best Way of Shunning Rapists And Rape Culture

I have spent some years of my life in Pakistan. When I was a teenager, I wrote a powerful piece in my personal diary; I was still sitting in my high school when I composed this. I wrote this to make sense out of my thoughts that had scattered after I read a news article about rape of some Pakistani woman. I jotted down my thoughts and shared this with my friends. Within minutes, a teacher came to me and forcibly took my diary from me. She made it look like that I had written something evil and negative by adding stigma in my mind as well as those who were watching or participating in this cruel act. I still feel shocked when I think about how I had this freaky experience when I was just learning to communicate. I guess I was in bad hands back then! Anyways, I stayed true to myself and my needs when I grew older. Here in Canada, I can share written content; but, I know that the Canadian women are not really free in many ways.

I believe writing is the most effective method for handling rapists and rape cultures because rape is a very sensitive issue and there is less support for victims.

  • The current Canadian justice system is filled with flaws; and, testimonies of the victims can be easily used against them or the cases can be deemed unfounded. This is true for several other countries.
  • Most of the abusers know their victims up close; and, rapists are usually masters of emotional blackmail. This is why it is easier for victims to leave the city and contacts of their abusers and start a new life.
  • Most rape victims find it very difficult to acknowledge what actually happened to them. Read article “Why most rape victims never acknowledge what happened”.
  • Some rape victims are actually victims of domestic abuse and attempting to throw a rapist in jail could mean jailing a family member as well.
  • Sometimes it takes several years for the rape victim to come to terms and learn about what actually happened. Not all rape victims are educated about things like “Stockholm Syndrome”.
  • Sometimes it is very tough to receive support from family members. This could daunt even the most independent type of women.

This is why you should use writing to channel your thoughts and trauma:

  • Writing thoughts and experiences can heal the trauma.
  • It is possible to hide critical details and publish the work as fiction.
  • It is possible to overcome issues that caused the actual rape through writing: for example, the victim was unemployed when she walked into the wrong hands.
  • It is possible to shed light on society’s ills that have caused the rape.
  • Whenever victim’s trauma returns, all one has to do to feel empowered is open the book he/she wrote and start reading.
  • Victims can share their experiences without fear that someone else would inject their toxic thoughts into their victimized mind.
  • Victims’ work will stay in responsible hands of those who seek knowledge even after the victims have passed away.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Daydreaming About Someone You Love Creates Stunning Lucid Dreams

I daydream often because it ties into my creativity and helps me sleep well. Read “I Daydream Often”.  Yesterday, I daydreamt about a relative of mine who is very close to me. He is very loving, forgiving, and creative in nature. I have always felt so close to him that I actually created a character for my novel “Land of Arwah” while thinking about him (blog post 1, blog post 2). This character, Alessio, is a very strong jinn who possesses the most precious magical objects in one of the kingdoms of Arwah. So yesterday, I recorded a small audio that will form a critical part of the plot. I daydreamt about this character and my relative; and, as I did so, I strongly felt my relative’s spirit particles dancing and mixing into this character—I have strong stereodepth and lucid dreaming vision that lets me visualize things like this.

Next day, I had a crazy precognitive dream, which had five meanings attached to it. I was in a car which this relative of mine was driving. I could not see myself but only feel myself. The car was on long curved highway. The highway rolled on both sides and there were two lanes in each road; there was an insignificant separation between these; and, there was some greenery on one side. My friend drove fast as the car cruised around this snaky road. I love going around in curves! The highway was designed in a way that permitted vehicles to go around the contours  pretty fast. First I thought we were just going around a curve but this shape continued for a while, which is how I realized that this was not a bend but a lengthy twisted highway. Just once, the car moved at such a high speed that we almost ended up on the opposite road; but, when that happened my vision blurred and I slowly saw us going back into the right lane. I was resting somewhere, perhaps I was in the front or back seat; I could not see myself but I could fully sense myself. My friend told me that we were about to park. We were in a place where there were some historic buildings that were made from stones—I did not see stones clearly but I have always associated historic places with “buildings made out of stones”. I did not receive a clear sense of the function of these buildings! As I gazed outside, I saw stunning buildings, some daylight, one guy on a bicycle, and lots of greenery. My friend asks me to help him park. So I put my hand on the gear, and put it in Reverse. Then he asked me to help move the car forward; so I put the gear in Drive mode. As he parked the car, I could see another car in the front and how exactly our car’s tires moved more tightly while we reversed for the last time. This felt like getting a driving lesson!

This dream had five meanings.

  • First, it shows a training ground where I learned driving; for example, the dream showed that if ones goes too fast on curved streets, then one’s car might go off the track.
  • Second meaning is much deeper. I actually went out with my family a couple of hours after I received this dream. The restaurant we visited was supposed to be a surprise so I was not told where we were going till the last minute. The roads were very curved exactly as I envisioned my dream.
  • Third meaning is very significant. The sibling I dreamt of being with was not with us on this trip. He was not with me and I was not with him! This is why I dreamt, “I could not see myself but only feel myself” with him. Sometimes things and people in a dream can get displaced in order to convey a vital meaning.
  • We went to a local resturant. Only 10 minutes away from here is the Billing Estate National Historic Site, which is an ancient heritage museum. My soul has superior function because it allows me to scan very large areas—I can also see certain things that will take place in America while sleeping in Canada. Yes! it is most definitely true that your soul moves away from your body while you sleep. It is interesting to note that only your eyes move during dreaming, which is how I believe the soul conveys information to the brain.
  • Fifth meaning is very intriguing. During my lucid encounter, “I did not receive a clear sense of the function of these buildings”. This is because the area I visualized during my dream is a hybrid area. In this part of the Dreamscape, both the restaurant and Billing Estate National Historic Site are blended together, which is something that does not really exist. This happened because it should take only around 10 minutes to travel from one site to another.

Did you notice that daydreaming about my favorite person easily triggered a complicated lucid dream? According to article “Daydreaming might actually be a good thing — here’s why” those who daydream have faster brains, better working memory, and increased creativity and focus.

I bet you would like to engage in this act for sure now!

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Why I Called Carl Jung My Main Guy For My Fantasy Novel “Land of Arwah”

I have a strong connection with the spirit of Carl Jung. I can smell him and his thoughts the second I open his book “The Red Book”; I have only been able to read just a couple of pages of “The Red Book”; and, I can feel my mind scattering owing to his creativity. What happens to me is pure mathematics! When I connect with Carl Jung, I always have very exciting or freaky dreams. But, these scary dreams are a form of protection, Carl Jung’s is offering me as a guardian spirit. For example, remember how I wrote on my blog that ever since I moved to Ottawa, I have received some dreams about rapes. Carl Jung was the first spirit who appeared to tell me about rape! I saw a large white man trying to forcibly sleep with me. I got frustrated and woke up. Because he used force, I took this as a signal and slowly allowed the signal to start opening in different ways until I became more aware of what really was going on. My next dream did not involve me but some young girl who went shopping. Read “Many Rapists Are Hiding In Ottawa“. I believe these dreams were a signal from him because most of the times I receive very pleasant dreams when I think about him. I believe his spirit is somehow guarding me.

What interests me more about all this is the fact that Carl Jung is an INFJ and I am an ENFP. INFJs are ENFPs’ ideal match! The connection between Carl and I is very strong because our personalities are designed for this intertwining. This is true for all the heroes/heroines listed in my blog post “Dance of Heroes“ since it is easier to bring those dream characters to you that are somehow connected to you.

To answer why I feel so unsettled when I read about Carl Jung, I reviewed article, “Jung’s Personality Type: INTP, INFJ, INTJ, or INFP?” This article clearly stated that Carl Jung thought that spirituality and religion would improve one’s health; symbols and archetypes are central to human spirituality; and, Arts, Religion, and Humanities were all important subjects and its not just Sciences that should dominate one’s world. According to Carl Jung’s book, “The Red Book”, Carl was busy studying the myth-creating functions of mind and fantasies. This sounds so funny because it feels like looking at my reflection. Read my blog carefully! I state everything that is already well-known about this legend:

  • I believe that spirituality and religion improve one’s health, which is why I prefer to  pray when dealing with ruthless enemies. The thing about praying is that it does not necessarily have to hurt one’s enemies because it might end up healing them instead while you are learning to be less reactive to traumatic events.
  • Something deep inside me has always reacted to symbols and archetypes, which is what Carl thinks is central to human spirituality. You can tell this is true about me because lucid dreamers are usually playing with symbols and archetypes.
  • Carl asserted that Arts, Religion, and Humanities were all important subjects and its not just the Sciences that should dominate one’s world. This makes a lot of sense to me. When I was studying at the University of Toronto, I started out by studying Sciences. However, I started feeling very queer and bad about studying only this particular subject. So I added Humanities (Linguistics, English, and Philosophy) and Mathematics courses to my schedule. As I matured further, I started using poetry (Arts) to convey myself.
  • Carl studying the myth-creating functions of mind and fantasies.  I have always been attracted to fantasies, myths, and fairy tales. Read blog post “My Mental Archetype: An Orchestra Of Fairy Tales And Wisdom“. I am reading some of Jung’s dreams and I feel it I should easy to construct fairy tales by dreaming like he does. This is why I am currently investigating “The Red Book” in detail. Watch video Video replay: Introduction to Jung and Fairy Tales to understand further.

And, Drrrummmmmm Rrrrolllll……

Best surprise is that both Carl Jung and I use lucid dreams to finish our works! Aaaaawesommmmmmme!

So can you see why Carl Jung and I are inherently connected. Although he was not that great when it came to having genuine relationships and he did get attached to some of his female patients, I still feel that there is a part of his psyche that is rich with interesting ideas and should be explored slowly. Here are some dreams where I connected with Carl Jung’s spirit.

Did I Meet Carl Jung?

Nature Of My Telepathic Connection With Carl Jung

Lucid Dream: The Three Skeletons and The Airport

Shadow Figures of Some Lucid Dreamers or Creatives

Telepathic Experiences Are Enhanced With The Help of Like-Minded People

Its clear to me that INFJs are a great match for me because they believe in protecting those who need help and my entire life’s quest has been to help others achieve their dreams.

ENFPs are sometimes referred to as Champion personalities because of their enthusiasm for helping others realize their dreams. Source: “ENFP: The Champion

I called Carl Jung the main guy for my fantasy novel, “Land of Arwah” because he gives me both scary and pleasant dreams, which is why it feels like that I exist in a different dimension altogether whenever I am reading his works or thinking about him.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Extending Line Of Logic

I wrote a joke earlier in blog post “About People Who Like Butterflies“.

This story is about people who like butterflies.

Once upon a time, a beautiful wide-winged butterfly came bouncing around and sat on a lover’s nose. Feeling surprised, he dared not move and dared not breathe for several seconds. Then the wise butterfly plucked one of the hair from his ugly nostrils and flew away. Soon it landed on a flower so that the hair fell on it. This is how some flowers have hair.

I thought about this today and realized that I can keeping adding the text by using the same line of thought. I believe this is how some interesting lines for fantasy or comedy works are written.

Here are two lines I thought of today:

Then the butterfly took hair from a rogue man’s moustache and from it came thorns of Cactus.

Then the butterfly took hair from an old sage’s long beard and from it came the Weeping Willow tree.

Sounds funny right!

Anyways, I took the text in quotes here and checked on I Write Like. It said I write like Stephen King. LOL!

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Nature of Socrates’ Opposition to Poetry

Note: The following question was assigned to me in one of my undergraduate Philosophy classes at the University of Toronto.

What is the nature of Socrates’ opposition to poetry? Does he succeed in convincing you that it builds up the wrong parts of the mind? Refer to the Allegory of the Cave.

Below is my response to this inquiry.

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite. – Paul Dirac (1902-1984)

Thus, Dirac stated that the exact nature of poetry is confusing in a sense that even though it discusses known phenomena, people are still unable to grasp the true meaning. This idea conforms to Plato’s discussions in Chapter 13 of “The Republic.” Socrates, Plato’s teacher, believed that representational poetry is merely a distorted representation of the reality, and thus it should be banned in his ideal community. By providing the analogy of the bed and the bed-maker, Socrates defined three types of creations and craftsmen. The Progenitor is the genuine creator and only the objects created by Him, like the bed, are genuine. He can thus create not only the only real objects but also the actual form of the objects, which is the underlying meaning that determines an object’s existence. The manufacturer or the joiner can make objects only after he has learned or understood this underlying idea of the true form—note that learning is not always equivalent to understanding. The objects thus created by the joiner are representations of the true form. Socrates referred to the third type of the craftsmen as “the representator of other’s creations.” This craftsman provides a representation of the objects that belong to the visible realm only. Since his work lacks the understanding of the true form, the truth is manifested in a distorted manner. In my opinion, not all representators lack the understanding of the true forms. For instance, a poet might have understood the true meaning of reality and then chose to describe this meaning through poetry. But, still the meaning of reality, as perceived by the poet, cannot be conveyed to the readers since poetry stirs imagination by providing multiple ways of interpretation. Yes, there are some poets who don’t understand the meaning and try to write about it, and thus they end up distorting the true form. And then there might be some poets who have actually understood the true form but were unable to describe it. The point I am trying to make here is that there is something about the way poetry is written that somehow distorts the meaning of the phenomena discussed. This has nothing to do with the fact that poetry involves metaphors or complicated literary devices; this has more to do with the fact that for every poet, there is a fundamental challenge to take the experience of the self and jot it down into a piece of paper.

Let’s go back to the Allegory of the Cave:

AND now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: –Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

I see.

And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.

You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.

Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?

True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?

And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows?

Yes, he said.

And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?

Very true.

And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow?

No question, he replied.

To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

That is certain.

And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled sudcavely to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive someone saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?

Far truer.

And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?

True, he now

And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he’s forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.

Not all in a moment, he said.

He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?

Certainly.

Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.

Certainly.

He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?

Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and then reason about him.

And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?

Certainly, he would.

And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer,

Better to be the poor servant of a poor master, – and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?

Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.

Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming sudcavely out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?

To be sure, he said.

And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the cave, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.

Source: Allegory of the Cave

Now, I am going to discuss my understanding of this allegory. The prisoners represent those individuals who cannot understand the truth. The people behind the wall are thus the painters or the joiners who haven’t understood the form but have only learned it or they may have some understanding of the true form. The puppets made by the poets are the “representations of the others’ creations” and thus can be regarded analogous to the poetry written by poets. But the puppets made by the joiners who reside in this area of the cave can be considered analogous to faulty objects made by bad manufactures. The shadows casted by the puppets are analogous to the distorted meaning conveyed by the poetry. The deficiency or the lack of understanding thus prevents these people from reaching the surface. They will remain there until the passionate part of the mind forces them to try to locate the source of the true form. The people at the surface are those joiners who have actually understood the form. The objects made by them are most nearer to the true form. And the Progenitor is the one who created them all—the visible realm including the objects and the people—and also created the true forms of every existing object— the intellectual realm. Thus, according to my interpretations of this particular allegory, the works of the poets or the bad joiners do not provide enough motivation to the people who can’t understand. Even, if these prisoners were able to see the surface while they were imprisoned, they still would have remained ignorant of the truth. The only motivation that can actually set the prisoners free can thus come if the Progenitor wills it so or if people from the surface come to their aid. Just simply viewing the truth can’t help one to understand the true form. You have to be actively involved in the process of learning to understand the true form. There are still some people who may choose to remain ignorant even after understanding.

According to Socrates, the painters and poets are representators of others’ creations and are thus two generations away from reality. Their work thus doesn’t lead to the understanding of the true form. It is only a manifestation of the appearance—the visible realm—and not that of the true form—the intellectual realm. Thus, Socrates categorized painting and poetry as that part of the visible realm that is made up of images and can be understood by conjecture. It should be noted here that he didn’t specifically say the poets or painters should be classified here. Thus one can safely conclude that some poets and painters might have some understanding of the truth, but their work can only represent the appearance of the objects and not the idea of the truth. Socrates is of the view that even the work of the joiners is not fully real. “…wrong to attribute full reality to a joiner’s or any artisan’s products, doesn’t it?” (597 a, pg. 346). Also note that Socrates decided to ban only representational poetry and not all poetry. Socrates’ implied view is that only representational poetry distorts the truth. But, I think that other types of poetry, those which do not distort the truth, still can’t convey the idea of the truth as effectively as other types of education can. According to Socrates, poetry doesn’t actually benefit any class of the community. He is implying that it is in reality a recreational tool and not an educational one. Even though some forms of poetry are good enough to be read, excluding representational poetry, the only purpose that can be served by them is psychological satisfaction. But this psychological satisfaction doesn’t turn the mind upward. Poetry, especially representational poetry, is only an illusion. It can satisfy only the desirous and thus the most rebellious part of the mind. It provides no education for the rational part of the mind and gives wrong education to the passionate part of the mind. Thus, the passionate part may become subservient to the desirous part of the mind. However, I tend to disagree with Socrates here as well. Proper representational poetry may stir the passionate part as well as the rational part of the mind. Originally, while studying Socrates I felt compelled to agree with him but today after writing poetry myself, I feel differently. I think representational poetry is a strong educational tool if used properly. True, poems about love and romance won’t do anyone any good, except for stirring some imagination. But deep poems like war poems are likely to motivate the readers to act in a beneficial manner. Yes, poetry is just another shadow of the cave where the prisoners are held, but it is strong enough to motivate them to struggle towards the light.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

How “One World Film Festival” Raises Awareness About Global Issues

Canadian youth and adults are challenged by a fast-paced system and a politically charged environment where many are aware about the need to promote awareness of relevant international and local issues. A film festival like One World Film Festival (OWFF) thus plays a pivotal role in shaping opinion by empowering citizens. People who are dwelling on Planet Earth in today’s world are pressured to absorb information fast, which is how the new generation is being shaped to work and think more quickly by retrieving data from various stimuli and resources.

One of the very first films that I watched—in grade 11, I think—to learn about issues surrounding mental and physical health was Tennessee William’s “The Glass Menagerie”. This fiction movie shares the story of Laura Wingfield, her brother Tom Wingfield, and their mother Amanda Wingfield. What struck me as stunning about this movie was the fact that Laura limped and was also mentally fragile; and, the use of a glass menagerie to symbolize Laura’s refuge in her imaginary world as well as her sensitive memory. I remember feeling very moved after watching this picture; and, I promised myself to keep learning through such expressive broadcasts. As I grew older, I became more familiar with the world around me; and, finally found a festival that helped me fulfill the promise I had made many years ago.

One World Film Festival (OWFF) is Ottawa’s longest-running documentary film festival that seeks to use media and performing arts to educate people about several global issues including women empowerment, identity, migration, indigenous rights, social justice, human rights, and environmental issues—specifically, it connects marginalized communities and Third World population with Canadians. Its a very historic event! Its interesting to see how One World Film Festival’s poster has changed over time. See Past Festivals – 1989 to 2016.

Nowadays, people have access to many learning platforms including social media, open learning services, and free libraries. So why would someone want to spend their money to watch films? My experiences with the world of movies have taught me that motion pictures teach faster because they offer multi-sensory and collective experiences where one may feel one’s emotions as well as those of the audience and movie characters; learning can be completed in an incognito and relaxed environment; and, it becomes possible to focus on multiple issues and literary techniques and not just one or two. Now imagine going to the One World Film Festival (OWFF) and being bombarded by many educational pictures!

Come join this memorable adventure! One World Film Festival (OWFF) is coming to Ottawa again this year. Don’t forget to support their 30th Anniversary by donating to their crowdfunding campaign. Hurry Up! Campaign ends on June 2nd—they have only 7 days left to raise funds.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.