5 times a day

“People say that what we are seeking is the meaning of life. I don’t think that is what we are really seeking. I think what we are really seeking is an experience of being alive.”
Joseph Campbell
Today I had a philosophical discussion about religion with the language assistant attached to my platoon. Not that I particularly need to point this out, but he follows Islam – and I do not. Translation is finicky at best – when the subject of religion is added to the picture it becomes even more challenging. Watching those who live in a country whose politics are religion based is interesting to say the least. For those who are unaware, things come to a halt 5 times a day here in Kandahar province so that people can pray to Allah. The dedication to prayer is admirable, even if it leaves me slightly perplexed. I wonder, if I grew up in Afghanistan, what would be my perspective? I have happened upon a few chances to sit and drink chai with the women who live here and it would be an understatement to point out the fact that their lives are so different than my own. Anyone have their own experiences/viewpoints to offer on this one?


  1. Daniel says:

    I would say that we’re inevitably shaped by our experiences and heavily influenced by our up bringing. I think that applies the world over. Although there are examples albiet rare ones where people shed the bonds of a troubled childhood for example or make better of a bad situation left to them by their parents or just the people that have been around them all their lives. so, to answer your question ( rhetorical?) I’d say that your perspetive would have changed dramatically at some point in your life. (read: stubborn, independent, way too fun for this country )

    ‘Everything happens for a reason’ – ?

    Love you. – 38 days.


  2. aram says:

    Thanks for your thoughts and openness concerning your experience in Afghanistan. Once upon a time the culture we were born into made up the walls of our world, it defined reality. Today – for better or worse – those walls are breaking down through the process of globalization. We’re face to face with people and whole people groups who are radically different than we are. Our neighbors don’t just live next door anymore.
    I love the question you asked about who you would be and what you’d be like had you been born into an Islamic culture. I imagine that you’d still be very much you at the level of your heart, though it’s hard to tell what language you’d be using and stories you’d be telling to convey that heart of yours. I doubt that you’d be any less thoughtful and compassionate. What a great exercise in imagination… we should all engage such a question.
    There is a podcast that I listen to from time to time called ‘Speaking of Faith’. There is a recent episode in which several Muslims share about their experiences of Ramadan. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it may be a good chance to spend some time listening to the perspectives of our global neighbors. Kind of like sipping some chai while shooting the breeze… only that’s way way cooler!


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