Confluence Festival 2019 Acknowledgement
As it happened, it was my birthday when Ken Spillman and I were in conversation at the festival in Mandurah. The question was “talk to us about love…” And so my love, that energy which we are all part of, goes out to the beautiful people from the JLF, those who came and joined us at our table. To this joining – in a kairos of oneness, I find the antidote to the current fast paced chronos of our humanity (hence also why I’m so late online). Thank you Sanjoy K Roy, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Christine Venn, Gilles Chuyen, Kritika Gupta, Melizarani T. Selva, Omar Sakr and Ankur Bhardwaj for making my birthday celebration a beautiful gathering. Reading Alladin, a translation by Yasmine Seale – much gratitude to Paulo Horta for the time spent talking and the book of a story I pretty much grew up with. Thanks to Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse for their soul stirring music and energy! I am listening to your incredible vibrations as I type!
But here is really what this was all about for it was not just a collection of writers talking about their words. At the conversation with Ken Spillman, I was asked a question from the audience that related to conflict. It was a good question but it was one of those question that really related to something else. And it kept lingering in my mind for a while after. It related not only to whether or not conflict can be resolved and in which ways but also to time, time we must create in this fast paced world, moments that allow us to envision, reflect, write, think and what not. Do the things that makes us feel whole from within. It stayed with me that I wrote down some words about time to my son – as part of the stories I’ve been writing to him from birth:
“…Which brings me to the subject of time – I believe we talk freely and honestly about this already. Yesterday, I spoke to you about how different people perceive time differently. The ancient Egyptians defined time as time that comes to us, differently from the time we create ourselves. Similarly the Greeks had the two words chronos and kairos, to distinguish between the same two notions of time. Chronos never stops, we have no control of it. The past and the future only exists in our mind. It cannot exist in Chronos for Chronos is sequential and relentless. Kairos is the time that we create from those moments we remember, even those we envision to occur. Kairos is the time of being, of being who you are, who I am. It is forever. The love we have endowed onto paper, shared in hugs and kisses and discovered in each other’s eyes, lives forever. Thus it is important for us to maintain an equilibrium between the good and the bad moments that we create. And we will create both, for there cannot be one without the other.
Zaki, you are born in a time where the pace of life has been greatly accelerated – and technology in particular has imposed this false need for speed – which also makes asking for the time to physically connect with other people feel as if you are merging onto a motorway. There are no stop lights at the moment. I need my otium, as opposed to the working chore hours of negotium – to write and read, to think and reflect. This is the time, the Kairos, in which I understand something about myself – and when I do so, I feel a strong sense of belonging in all the things that matter in my life. The love I feel for you, for my family and for all the people that have made me who I am, besides myself. What I come to understand in those moments of reflection, of Kairos, is that we are all connected. We are all one. But in order to create and discover within these moments, we must be aware of how important they are to our well being as human beings. Look after your time my son, don’t give it all away to the relentless master of sequential time, Chronos.
Look after your time my son, don’t give it all away to the relentless master of sequential time, Chronos.
Technology has great benign potential for your life but it is also strong enough to destroy your inner self. Without being fatalistic, it certainly has the potential of destroying the human mind – and with it – the love that characterises the beauty of humanity. You are born in a time Zaki, where we are witnessing the destruction of the environment we depend upon for our survival but perhaps this is in fact a reflection of the destruction of our inner worlds. We seem to be rushing along instead of stopping, instead of admitting that the only way we can change for the better is by understanding what we are doing to ourselves and the world around us. Life for most people, due to this technology, has speed up so much, that we have – unintentionally I believe – begun destroying that balance of time we undeniably need to feel whole – and find our inner peace. Do not part with this balance, for this will part your sense of self, sense of belonging and the space in which you slowly but surely discover, who you truly are…”
Words on Water 2019, the heart of Confluence Festival, was a gathering of internationally acclaimed writers, thinkers and change makers engaged in thoughtful debate and dialogue. This unique event was brought to Australia by the producers of the global literary phenomenon, the Jaipur Literary Festival.
Thank you for having me there. It was an absolute pleasure and thank you for all the love and wisdom shared. Morsi