Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why "From Beirut to Jupiter?"

I woke up this morning - well, this afternoon - feeling well-rested for the first time in quite awhile. Strange, because it was an interrupted sleep peppered with nightmares. In the first I had been kidnapped by some murderer who wanted me to be his assistant. I escaped into New York's Union Station (that's what it was in the dream), which had been turned into the New York Times' building. In the second dream I went to Atlantic City with my family, which was located on the mouth of a river and the ocean. Somewhere down the river toxic chemicals had been dumped and human beings weren't supposed to use those beaches, but my mother ignored the warnings. Meanwhile, my youngest sister and I decided to go to the clean ocean beaches, but a wicked storm came and I had a tough time convincing her to stay inside. There was something on TV about Bono being pissed about not being allowed to play at the concert hall that was located along the river. When I checked an actual map of Atlantic City this morning, I was stunned to see that it is, indeed, located along bodies of water arranged just like in my dream.

Anyway, back to being well-rested. I decided to try to write a blog about everything as opposed to a single topic as I did in Church of Baseball or Travellingrox. I simply woke up and felt like writing. I created this blog quite awhile ago that was supposed to be about civil society in Lebanon, where I was living and working at the time, but I never quite got that off the ground. Then it was supposed to be about media development, a field in which I was employed. But we started an organizational blog about that topic, and I couldn't maintain two blogs on the same subject. So it sat. This blog is a companion to Twitter and Tumblr accounts of the same name. And why the name? Why Beirut? Why Jupiter?

Ah love for Beirut is a curiosity, the same curiosity that is experienced by most Westerners who dare to venture to this land of contradictions, where beauty and ugliness, enchantment and apathy, and good and evil mingle. I've written about my love for Beirut many times, but perhaps this post sums it up best. It is a place that feels like home to me, where all my idiosyncrasies and eccentricities fit right in.

And why Jupiter? Quite simply, Jupiter is Zeus, the highest form of being of the Romans and Greeks, the god of the gods, for whom a temple was built in Baalbek, Lebanon atop the site of a temple to the sun god Baal, the highest form of being of the Phoenicians and the Babylonians, the god of the gods. Ba'al is a Semitic word for "lord" or "master." If people who claimed to be of one religion would learn a thing or two about religious history, they'd realize how similar are all religions, how they all come from the same ancient stories. Quite frankly, I'm tired of people clinging to their bibles and guns because they are afraid of the boogeyman beneath the earth. And so, Jupiter, the largest of the planets in our solar system, a tiny speck in our infinitely expanding universe. If people want answers to existence, they should look to space, look to mathematics, look to the chemical makeup of our bodies and our brains, leave the wars and religious conflicts behind and look to the promise of the future, go from Beirut to Jupiter.

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