Nov 10, 2017

On Pain and Being Human

"Put your right hand in the box," she said.
Paul put his hand into the box. He felt first a sense of cold as the blackness closed around his hand, then slick metal against his fingers and a prickling as though his hand were asleep.
"I hold at your neck the gom jabbar," she said. "The gom jabbar, the high-handed enemy. It's a needle with a drop of poison on its tip. Ah-ah! Don't pull away or you'll feel that poison."
"A duke's son must know about poisons," she said. "It's the way of our times, eh? Musky, to be poisoned in your drink. Aumas, to be poisoned in your food. The quick ones and the slow ones and the ones in between. Here's a new one for you: the gom jabbar. It kills only animals."
Pride overcame Paul's fear. "You dare suggest a duke's son is an animal?" he demanded.
"Let us say I suggest you may be human," she said. "Steady! I warn you not to try jerking away. I am old, but my hand can drive this needle into your neck before you escape me."
"Good," she said. "You pass the first test. Now, here's the way of the rest of it: If you withdraw your hand from the box you die. This is the only rule. Keep your hand in the box and live. Withdraw it and die."
"Your mother survived this test. Now it's your turn. Be honored. We seldom administer this to men-children."
Curiosity reduced Paul's fear to a manageable level. He heard truth in the old woman's voice, no denying it. If his mother stood guard out there . . . if this were truly a test . . . And whatever it was, he knew himself caught in it, trapped by that hand at his neck: the gom jabbar. He recalled the response from the Litany against Fear as his mother had taught him out of the Bene Gesserit rite.
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain ."
He felt calmness return, said: "Get on with it, old woman."
"You will feel pain in this hand within the box. Pain. But! Withdraw the hand and I'll touch your neck with my gom jabbar - the death so swift it's like the fall of the headsman's axe. Withdraw your hand and the gom jabbar takes you. Understand?"
"What's in the box?"
He felt increased tingling in his hand, pressed his lips tightly together. How could this be a test? he wondered. The tingling became an itch.
The old woman said; "You've heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There's an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind."
The itch became the faintest burning. "Why are you doing this?" he demanded.
"To determine if you're human. Be silent."
Paul clenched his left hand into a fist as the burning sensation increased in the other hand. It mounted slowly: heat upon heat upon heat . . . upon heat. He felt the fingernails of his free hand biting the palm. He tried to flex the fingers of the burning hand, but couldn't move them.
"It burns," he whispered.
Pain throbbed up his arm. Sweat stood out on his forehead. Every fiber cried out to withdraw the hand from that burning pit . . . but . . . the gom jabbar. Without turning his head, he tried to move his eyes to see that terrible needle poised beside his neck. He sensed that he was breathing in gasps, tried to slow his breaths and couldn't.
His world emptied of everything except that hand immersed in agony, the ancient face inches away staring at him.
His lips were so dry he had difficulty separating them.
The burning! The burning!
He thought he could feel skin curling black on that agonized hand, the flesh crisping and dropping away until only charred bones remained.
It stopped!
As though a switch had been turned off, the pain stopped.
Paul felt his right arm trembling, felt sweat bathing his body.
"Enough," the old woman muttered. "Kull wahad! No woman child ever withstood that much. I must've wanted you to fail." She leaned back, withdrawing the gom jabbar from the side of his neck. "Take your hand from the box, young human, and look at it."
He fought down an aching shiver, stared at the lightless void where his hand seemed to remain of its own volition. Memory of pain inhibited every movement. Reason told him he would withdraw a blackened stump from that box.
"Do it!" she snapped.
He jerked his hand from the box, stared at it astonished. Not a mark. No sign of agony on the flesh. He held up the hand, turned it, flexed the fingers.
"Pain by nerve induction," she said. "Can't go around maiming potential humans. There're those who'd give a pretty for the secret of this box, though." She slipped it into the folds of her gown.
"But the pain - " he said.
"Pain," she sniffed. "A human can override any nerve in the body."
Paul felt his left hand aching, uncurled the clenched fingers, looked at four bloody marks where fingernails had bitten his palm. He dropped the hand to his side, looked at the old woman. "You did that to my mother once?"
"Ever sift sand through a screen?" she asked.
The tangential slash of her question shocked his mind into a higher awareness: Sand through a screen , he nodded.
"We Bene Gesserit sift people to find the humans."
He lifted his right hand, willing the memory of the pain. "And that's all there is to it - pain?"
"I observed you in pain, lad. Pain's merely the axis of the test. Your mother's told you about our ways of observing. I see the signs of her teaching in you. Our test is crisis and observation."
"Why do you test for humans?" he asked.
"To set you free."

I yet again find myself in the eye of a whirlpool of pain, the close ones around me right now, right here, ache with the leftovers of a pain not dealt with.

Everytime I listen to an other account, I can't help but remember somewhere in my head the test of the Gom Jabbar. It is unfortunate that I can't share this tale with its full resonance with them.

Because in the end, it is the tale of using the easy way out of pain, much like an animal using its reptilian mind directly to escape the pain.

It is a tale of lacking emotional intelligence to deal with pain the healthy way, and rather dealing with it on a physical response level and drowning its effect and noise in other people, in full-time commitment activities.

The close ones around me ached and are still paying the consequences of not embracing these shards: I see this incest in the sufferance and I see the ones dragged in it, unbeknownst to them. I see how being a pinnocchio instead of being a human is a choice, an easy one, and I see the anger at being qualified of such.

To stay on the safe beaches of the human experience to avoid a sudden pain that stroke too deep too early, without the proper tools at hands at that time to deal with it, this I can understand.

Now though, it is the moment where one can choose the hard choice and acquire the tools to properly deal with ones pains, untangle their hold over one's life, and dive in the sea of the human condition.

Nov 2, 2017


Dune again because I found it in the library and bought it yet again, and because humanity

“A duke’s son must know about poisons. . . . Here’s a new one for you: the gom jabbar. It kills only animals.”

Sep 16, 2017

I finally met him

Drained on the emotional scale.
To meet one half of my musical existence was nothing like I expected.
Susumu Hirasawa next and I will be ready to die.

Sep 7, 2017

CPGE Ces Annees revolues

Ces derniers jours, j'evoque les classes prepa enormement. Peut-etre parce que mon entourage actuel est compose d'etudiants en maths, peut-etre parce que mon prof d'equations differentielles partielles russe m'inspire et aiguise mon esprit, peut-etre parce que tout le monde n'arrete pas de me traiter comme une surdouee des maths qui connait et comprend tout (mais au meme temps, entre le systeme americain qui n'enseigne les nombres complexes que bien tard, et si necessaire, et le systeme Franco-marocain qui les debute au lycee hum XD)

Je n'arretais pas de chercher sur le net des photos de mes anciennes classes prepa, et je me dis autant les regrouper ici.

Sep 1, 2017

On Siam Lights

I made an oath not to write anything about Hirasawa's music, lest it is holy, lest it is to the extent of the pages I can type for the rest of the time I have.

I'm breaking this oath at this moment, for now, maybe I will remove this later, I don't know. This place is chaotic anyway.

There is an innocence to my heart that yearns to a place lost, I feel, to the pact of fully existing and being human in this world, this plane of existence. Thinking about it, I feel it already and my tears easily well up. If I focus enough, halcyon sensations come to me and I gather something back, then it's gone. It's very fleeting.

Then, there is this track. And it feels this innocence is somewhat lost within my heart, and it feels there is a maddening grief to it I yet have to unravel and be overwhelmed and utterly destroyed by it.

Hirasawa lost many of his friends along the years. The longing he conveyed on several tracks, the longing to another human being one connected once with, I felt it, I heard it without seeking a translation.

Siam Lights feels like the awareness of the loss is directed over an essence rather than a human, and unlike my feeling of yearning that has the hope of reconnecting in it, his is pure grief over an unrecoverable loss, doomed to be and keep on being, until one loses their mind over grief or choose to surrender completely and move on.

And the song holds me by the throat and freezes my soul. I feel my tears chocked up as the fatality of it all is consuming. What is the point of putting one foot next to the other? It's too otherworldly and has too much hold over me, and I don't know if it is yet a new level of embracing sufferance that I have to transcend to, or a notion of Hirasawa I can disagree with.

As usual, when I am at loss as to what to choose, I choose the hardest option.




巡る日が遠く島から ひとつだけ落ちてくる
知らないキミの夢から ひとつづつ落ちてくる


巡る日が遠く島から ひとつだけ落ちてくる
知らないキミの夢から ひとつづつ落ちてくる

巡る日が遠く島から ひとつだけ落ちてくる
知らないキミの夢から ひとつづつ落ちてくる

Hirasawa Susumu - "Siam Lights"

They say it blows from the direction of dreams,
This wind of burning color that comes
Still unable to remember all at once
Since when do you sleep here?

Open the window through which you can't see the sky
The sound I hear in the flickering of the stars
Ought to reach you immediately
But where do you, so distant, sleep?

From a faraway island, just one coming day falls down to me
From your unknown dream, the days come falling down one by one

If I turn the corner, I could meet you again
A person casting a shadow of burning color
Who sings an ancient song
Will take you away and ascend with you tomorrow

From a faraway island, just one coming day falls down to me
From your unknown dream, the days come falling down one by one

From a faraway island, just one coming day falls down to me
From your unknown dream, the days come falling down one by one

Jul 21, 2017

May you find peace Chester

No voice will replace yours.
And I doubt no one will ever write the pain of living the way you did, nor convey it its hold and the human sufferance as you did. Dear world, I am so sorry for your loss

Jun 26, 2017

A Song From Pi

Im dazzled and baffled by the outcome. This is beyond amazing!

Jun 6, 2017

Just found out about THIS. I am soooo going!
Ramadan helps when it comes to saving on food money XD
I think this will be my little escape right after the summer term


May 31, 2017

Comfort rewatching

Since I can't make plans outside the apartment that last more than three hours, and I'm exhausted and in need of some rest of mind in-between cleaning and feeding and caring, I've been on a comfort rewatch. I think the only new thing I have seen these past four weeks is the Silicon Valley series, which was more of a chuckle once and a while and a decent answer to some manufactured laughter than anything else.

Kitten Season

1. Kitten Season is a thing.
2. Shelters are typically overflowing with litters.
3. Foster homes and donations in forms of money and/or kitty formula are more in demand than ever.
4. Take a litter at your house, the medication and food and vet followups will be provided by the shelter. Just take a litter in.


5.Never trust a feral mom even though she has spent two weeks with you and is accepting treats and no longer hissing/biting/scratching your way.
6.Acknowledge that syringe-feeding 8 kitties of 2 weeks old is a handful and contact your shelter to get the help of another foster.
7.Especially during periods of high stress (let's say exams and projects) and when you know it will be the case for most of the time (because kitty care is a 2-hours interval care throughout the day)


8. Don't let the emotional strain and the "caring-for-kitties" syndrome get the best of you. Cry, but cry while sterilizing syringes and making sure the medication is available and cc-correct for the next time, and while studying as well, because somehow that was the first goal when coming here.
9. Don't waste eye serum. It squirts and is precious, so take great care understanding how the syringe works and ask the foster coordinator to show you.
10. Diarrhea phase is normal. NORMAL. Stop worrying. S-t-o-p c-r-y-i-n-g.
11. Don't take kitty cold too lightly.
12. Don't take kitty cold too heartedly . You can stop crying now.
13. Keep up with the eye and nose cleaning. As much as possible.
14. If kitty cold is too hard on kitty and you, fill the bathtub of hot water while keeping the bathroom closed and sit on your toilets with kitty on your lab pondering the innate sufferance that comes with life, the guilt over losing the mother, the purity of such small life beings that don't deserve to come to such a harsh world, the degree of insanity people must have to bring a child to this world let alone care for it. Loop until kitty sleeps soundly and his inhales are easy on his little lungs. Again, stop crying.
15. Not all of them will bury their pee and poop. Therefore, clean regularly and try to teach them to turn back and smell and bury, whenever possible.
16. Not all of them will go the distance all the way through in being independent without accident. Just wash the pee out of your hair and pillow without making it a problem.
17. Not all of them will wean easily. Don't give in the desire of young Eshelby to suckle, and let him figure out chewing through wet food.
18. It doesn't mean the kitty will understand. Stop crying and buy naked chicken wings. Give him some chicken and watch him unravel the marvel that is chewing.
19. Track their weight and stop freaking out if they lose 2 grams.
20. Trick them with treats during bath time so that they come to be indifferent to water (works 3/4 times and the 1/4 is not too much of a handful).


21.Look forward to the final step that is dry food and reaching 1kg of weight so they can be neutered, in optimal health and up for adoption.
22. Constantly miss them while out of town and gradually become annoyed with them when they don't let you type a word if you are around.
23. Again, don't give in the little Eshelby's pleas: no more syringe-feeding and milk for him. Either he laps from the bowl or stays hungry until he gives into option 1.
24. Stop crying.
25. Remember that it is all for the sake of bringing up healthy kittens that can be easily adopted and will hopefully find a forever home.
26. Leave it until you are done with these four to decide whether you will never ever do this again.

But then, I lost their mother. That was my fault. Maybe with a mother, it would have been easier.

Today, they are seven weeks old. Technically, once they are 8 weeks old, they should be up for adoption. But they should also weigh 1kg and be healthy. None of my artists is 1kg yet and they all have eye infection, and one is having the flu. Plus they are still nibbling on dry food rather than eating it, and one is still latching per default on any food offered.
From right to left: Mori, Cauchy, Eshelby and Zyshlaw.

May 23, 2017

Salt Lake City

I was there for few days to attend an enrichment seminar. Some of the conferences were amazing and the city turned out to be gorgeous.
My sole complain is the time spent visiting the olympic winter parc: I get that it may be a big deal here but as I have no interest in winter sports, let alone winter olympics, even less 2002 winter olympics, I would have used that afternoon for visiting the city more and going around in hikes, given how the architecture and nature were mesmerizing but that we weren't given any free time in the mornings and two hours at best in the afternoon, that I spent resting and working on my thesis anyway.
Gosh, everytime I intend to make the best out of my next seminar and everytime, I have unexpected circumstances to tackle or new destinations to go.
But hey, I wasn't paying and I'm thankful for the opportunity all in all.
Most of our conferences took place in this building, within the university of Utah

Incredible Hiking spots, almost reminded me of Czech Republic hills

Overview on the university, a hike ten minutes away from the university

Temple Square

Gala diner, in Capitol of Utah

Opening diner, Natural History Museum

Fulbright Pack for the week

Hehe, to my left was my friend from Ecuador, we seemed like the asocial ones lacking in networking and always on our laptops and thesis. Good times XD

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, my first crush during that seminar

 Tom Chi, my other crush from this seminar

 My heels were starting to kill me by this time.