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Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Facing Ismail Zain, at Fergana Art Space, Whiteaways George Town, Penang.

Some of us have their 'Phantom of the Opera', some 'The Phantom Menace', while some others 'The Phantom'. I have my "Phantom F4". 

I went to Fergana Art Space last Saturday, and again yesterday, to revisit and face Ismail Zain's digital collages. I have to give Jaafar Ismail (the 'gardener' of Fergana) one 'tabik spring' for bringing these works that are so dear to me to Penang. Ismail Zain's works are included in the show with works by few other well-known local artists. 

Frankly, I feel that the digital collages would be best served and honored on their own. It can be a specially-curated show, providing an in-depth look at his early experimentations with digital technology. But then, that will be my rock 'kapak leleh' or sentimental take on this special person. I can't help but to reminisce a show where I placed his whole digital collage series in one special room as a homage in the First Electronic Art Show back in 1997, that I co-curated with Niranjan Rajah. Would be interesting to see how the present generation of young new media artists and curators read this visionary icon. 

I have reflected upon my personal encounters with Ismail Zain in several blog entries before. I hope I'm not repeating myself here, since I have a tendency to 'melalut ke laut' (get off tangent). I will also try not to repeat what other writers have written about him. 

Ismail Zain used to be one of my lecturers (guru) during my final year drawing class at UiTM in 1988. Well, actually he was a guest lecturer, brought in by Fauzan Omar who was then the Head of Fine Art Programme. His drawing class for me, was a masterclass. Ya, I know I'm bragging. But one can always cross-check my sentiment with his other ex-students who were blessed to be in his drawing class back then. I will share few insights on his class in other blog entries, insyaAllah. Meanwhile, one may refer to this book called 'Between Generations' (2007, I co-edited with Beverly Young) that contains few reflections on Ismail (and Nirmala Shanmughalinggam).  

I have to note here, that my encounters with him even went beyond the classroom, including hanging out and sleeping over at his house to see his 'digital' and wet studio, serving as one of his minions to construct his digitally-designed set for Noodin Hassan's 'Cindai', or just playing the role of willing punching bags for his witty and intelligent jabs, thrown to wake, tease and make our lazy brains work a bit, mostly at Centrestage Performing Arts in a rented bungalow at Bangsar (Malaysian Bangsar then, before it was 'internationalized' or 'gooblelized'). Ismail Zain had stirred and opened up several special paths within my own 'neural innernet', a gift that I will cherish forever. He had left a massive lingering impact towards my own personal growth. I hope I can leave similar impact to my students, but sadly I doubt it. Most have probably been frightened by my incomprehensible quantum ramblings, they ran away.

For now, lets focus on one of his digital collages, my favourite, "Phantom F4", dot matrix print on paper, 1988.

Im recalling a special lecture he gave on his then new series of digital collages, back in 1988, at the Gallery KSSR, School of Art & Design, UiTM. It was only for his final year drawing class students. He was visibly excited to share, not unlike a small kid I guess. Yet, we were naively dumbfounded about his small A4 size prints. Whats so special 'sangat'? Most of us thought they were etchings, nothing really significant. We can learn that in Ponirin Amin's printmaking class.

In his own 'Kedahan' way, he teased us with semiotics, structuralist, post-structuralist, global village, medium is the message, Marshall Mcluhan and other big big names with fancy theories and terms. Of course, we just 'oohhh, ahhhhh, hmmmmm, ok, ok, rite, rite,' punctuated by occassional 'wauu' to please him. 

The closest to any 'post' for us then was 'pos opis' (post-office), the fastest was 'pos laju', while most of us thought that he was referring to jeans when he mentioned Strauss (structural anthropologist). Yet he was cool, even abled to deploy his usual Kedahan wittiness to bring his high end theories into common sense everyday understanding. I'll try to emulate that here, but no promise, k.

Back in 1988, Ismail Zain, like a 'tukang tilik' (seer), was already abled to foresee the incoming waves and consequences of globalization (or gooblelization, globalukasi and globalubasi, my fancy terms) brought about by information implosion. He was responding to how such implosion, such inter-connectivity (inter-textuality in 'canggih' clever-clever term), or simply such massive influx of information exchange may bombard our collective consciousness, our brain or our mind. Our tastes, our sentiments, our values, our realities and sense of identities, may not be naively mono anymore, but more likely a collage, mental and emotional collages. 

These amalgamations of tastes, of sentiments, values, realities and identities may reside, co-exist side by side or hybridized in many odd combinations within our collective consciousness (I call it neural innernet). Some may even contradict each other, having no logical relationship whatsoever, as epitomized or shown through his work above. 

Ismail even deployed Malay 'pantun' (rhymes) to explain how the combination of unrelated images were then becoming more and more common in the mediascape. He used the unrelated combination between 'pembayang maksud' (forebearer of meaning) and 'maksud' (meaning) in Malay pantun as an example of collage practice. Thats typical Ismail Zain, who could make a synapse leap from one source to another like no one's business.

Such odd combination was referred to as juxtaposition, a term used by another mahaguru, Krishen Jit. He used it to explain Ismail's juxtaposition of unrelated images, each with its own already-given meaning, but unveil new readings when placed together or juxtaposed. 

The practice is usually referred to by heavy-headed theorists as 'inter-textuality' of 'textual materials' taken or appropriated from diverse open sources to be juxtaposed together to create new readings. (I used to 'layan' these when I was young-young!).

Imagine (back then, before instagram, twitter or facebook), us flipping between two concurrent TV channels, one a National Geographic documentary on fighter jets, another a local RTM news coverage on the plight of local kampung farmers to survive in the 'global' market. Two different languages, 'ways of explaining, of talking about, of communicating and making meanings/senses' (or 'discourse', to sound smart and hip), co-exist on air or on our mediascape. If we flip fast and many times, both may converge in our minds or consciousness. We may find ourselves conversing in two discourses concurrently, like talking to a jet fighter engineer about their weaponary system and itenaries whilst conversing with few local farmers about their 'temu lawak, terung, cili, bendi, petai, jering', etc. As we are listing Mk 84 GP bomb for the jet itenary, we are also seeing a 'terung' (eggplant)!

The combination between these two sets of textual materials, each with its own 'discourse' or  'discursive' logic, creates a 'hybrid' discourse, surreal, comical or odd it may be. Our collective consciousness may not be 'in harmony' all the time anymore, but conflicting and contradictory, full with paradoxes and ironies. 

Of course, sometimes (or many times for some), we may feel as if our collective mind is in conflict with itself, attacking its own conscience. Today, in some intances, we have witnessed how such confluence of conflicting readings or interpretations (due to hyper-intertextuality of conflicting discourses and meaning making) have surfaced or been highlighted in the social media. We even surf in a highly-densed conflicting information landscape full of reactions towards reactions to other reactions perhaps like a chain reaction in a nuclear fusion.

Few would hypothesize that Ismail was also making a veiled statement about neo-imperialism, or the might of advanced weaponaries and war technologies by global superpowers (USA the main culprit of course) as an extention of power and instrument of global domination against weaker countries who rely heavily on their poor argriculture-based economy. Personally, knowing 'Pak Mail', I don't think he was interested in purposely making a political statement or commentary, not to mention one that desperately seeking attention to itself to induce political awareness or mobilisation. He was too much a thinker to commit to such endeavour. But I might be wrong here, dont take my reading here literally. 

'Phantom F4' for me, is an epitome of Ismail's wittiness in anticipating and reading the imperatives and inevitable outcomes of globalization and information implosion, way ahead of his peers. 

So, there you go, my 'ciput' (little) reflection on Ismail Zain's 'Phantom F4'. I hope we have gained some sensible insights on him from this reflection. If not, blame it on me, and just throw this aside. 

As a Muslim, I send 'Pak Mail' my 'doa' and 'Al-Fatihah'. Rest in peace, my dear guru.

My lame quantum spin of recent re-encounter with Ismail Zain. Balanced and full of lasting love.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


The following is an article by Arjun Walia on consciousness and water, sourced from the internet. Enjoy.

If Human Thought Can Do This To Water – Just Imagine What It Can Do To Us

December 1, 2013 
by Arjun Walia. 

10 years ago, if you told somebody that human consciousness alone can have a direct effect on our physical world they would probably look at you like you’re crazy. Today, however, is a different story. Within the past few years mainstream science is catching on to the fact that yes, consciousness is correlated and can have a direct effect on what we call our physical material world.

Experiments over the past four decades have investigated whether human intention alone affects the properties of water.(1) This question has been of interest to alternative medicine research, because the human body is made up of approximately 70% water. Interest in this topic has been rekindled recently by multiple researchers suggesting that intentionally influenced water can be detected by examining ice crystals formed from samples of that water. Scientists have hypothesized and shown that water influenced by intention can indeed influence the physical formation of the observed ice crystals from that water. Consistent results commonly point to the idea that positive intentions tend to produce symmetric, well-formed, aesthetically pleasing crystals, and negative intentions tend to produce asymmetric, poorly formed and unattractive crystals.

The experiment I’m using in this article was conducted by Dean Radin, Ph.D., who is the Chief Scientist at IONS and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University.(1) The experiment was done to measure how intention alone affects water crystal formation. Co-Investigators were Masaru Emoto, a Japanese energy scholar and author along with a few other researchers and scientists.

The experiment tested the hypothesis that water exposed to distant intentions affects the aesthetic rating of ice crystals formed from that water. Basically, it tested whether intentions could influence the physical structure of water (as mentioned earlier). Over a period of three days, approximately 2000 people in Austria and Germany focused their intentions towards water samples that were placed inside an electromagnetically shielded room in California. Other samples were located outside of the shielded room so that they could act as a distant control. Ice drops formed from multiple samples of water in different treatment conditions were photographed by a technician. Each image was assessed for aesthetic beauty by over 2,500 independent judges and the results of the data were analyzed by individuals who were blind with respect to the treatment conditions.

Results showed that the test was consistent with a number of previous studies suggesting that intention may be able to influence the structure of water.

One of the previously mentioned studies was conducted in the 90’s, by Masaru Emoto, co-participant in the study used in this article. He came up with the idea to freeze water and observe it with a microscope. At first, he observed crystals of tap water, river water and lake water. From the tap water he could not get any aesthetically pleasing crystals that were unique in design, not even from rivers or lakes that surrounded big cities. However water from rivers and lakes away from development, produced crystals in which each had its own uniqueness, and were very aesthetically pleasing.

The results from this earlier study (among others) also showed that the shape and physical structure of water crystals changed after giving good words, playing good music and showing, playing or offering pure prayer to the water. Disfigured crystals were also observed when creating the opposite situation. You can request photos and even view some of them here.

Below is a clip from the film What The Bleep Do We Know, a 2004 film that combines a number of factors that posits a connection between quantum physics and consciousness. The film features a number of prominent scientists, researchers and more and has won several independent film awards. In the film, intentions changing the structure of water is mentioned using Emoto’s research.

If thoughts can do this to water, imagine what they can do to us? Our bodies are primarily of made up of water, approximately 70 percent. If positive emotions, words and feelings can change the physical structure of water, that means that ‘self-talk’ has a direct affect on the biology of your being. Numerous studies beyond this one show how our thoughts, feelings and emotions, the things we can’t see, are primary drivers of our biological systems. The Institute of Heartmath, along with many others have proved this time and time again. Even in quantum physics, matter at its smallest observable level is simply pockets of energy, vibrating at a certain frequency. All we are is beings of energy, frequency and vibration. In order to change physical structure using consciousness, we have to understand that our thoughts, emotions and feelings are directly correlated with the frequency that matter (our being) vibrates at. If you change the vibrational frequency of matter, you change physical reality.

“If you want to know the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration” – Nikola Tesla

“If you knew how powerful your thoughts were, you would never think a bad thought” – Unknown

So next time you are feeling negative emotions, or feeling negative thoughts, just remember that you are having a physical impact on your biological system. Your cells, everything that makes up your physical body is always responding to you. So be nice to yourself, give yourself some love.

Unfortunately, science within this realm receives very little emphasis and attention in the mainstream world. In recent history, it received plenty within the world of secrecy, but that’s a separate topic in itself, especially with the recent first ever public disclosure of the black budget. You can read more about that, as well as other examples of how consciousness correlates with physical reality here. If you’re interested in furthering your research on the subject, that article and its sources are a good way to start off your exploration.



Kebun Jiwa Halus (2015) 

Saturday, 24 January 2015


I submit. "Gerak Melindung & Mengasihi" (Loving Protector Motion). These are two composites inspired by a motion-captured image by Nur Zaidi. Nur Zaidi is currently doing his Phd in mapping 'abjad' or Arabic letters through 'gerak' or body movements in a traditional Malay martial art called Silat Titi Sebatang. The lines in the composites were actually traced from moving points (placed on a silat performer body) in space. They were motion captured using multiple cameras. As the points (titik) moved, and viewed from top, they appeared  to form the Arabic letter 'ba' (near enclosed eliptical shape like an ear or a kidney or a seed). 'Ba' is the first letter in the opening of Al-Fatihah, the 'heart' of the Quran. The lines amazingly fit perfectly with the profile contour of a pregnant women. They also appear to envelop and protect a baby as shown below.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Those with an attention span deficit, please be warned. This is going to be another long entry. Those interested to get 'high' whilst getting 'real' simultaneously, are welcomed to proceed, with an open mind and loving heart hopefully. 

Bismillah, and a deep slow breath.


Recently, x-student Zaidi dropped by at my little Kebun Rupa. He showed me a copy of a book on cosmology (Awang & Kadir: 1997). I haven't read it before. I extend my gratitude. Thank you brader!

I've been interested (and sometimes made fun of by close friends) in geeky subjects with fancy incomprehensible terms since early 1990s, ya, since the last century (to make it sound important). They include quantum physics, quantum visualization, inner space, neural innernet, connectivity, multi-dimensional time-space and so on. If you felt intimidated by the jargon, don't worry, I do too. You know la, 'clever-clever' people like to churn out fancy words. Not so clever people like me sometimes use them to show off. Yet, and beyond jargon, these subjects have always intrigued me. 

Interestingly, most of the materials on these subjects seemed to 'come' to me, instead of me looking for them. That has been my experience with the 'law of attraction'. Sometimes, they fell literally onto my lap, such as books unexpectedly given to me as gifts by close friends. They came or 'manifested' at the right time and circumstances too. 

All the gifts have contributed significantly to a growing collection of Kebun Rupa (resource space). Syukran. Kebun Rupa previously occupied an empty x-squash court building behind MGTF (Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah) USM, until it was instructed to 'move out' from the premise. The building is currently empty, I suspect.

The books are now stationed in my own small rented terrace house. They have become a part of my little 'Baitulhikmah'.

Recent book 'donors' of Kebun Rupa include x-boss and x-VC of USM Tan Sri Dzul, x-master's student Stella Chong, and friend Ch'ng Huck Teng. Jazakallah. 

Complimentary to a series of books that seemingly fell onto my lap and Kebun Rupa, Zaidi also brought few literature on 'seeing' and visualizing hidden 'abjad' (letters or signs) and 'kalimah' (phrases). They are said to be embedded in the cosmic field, including within human physical forms or 'gerak' (body movements). Sounds a bit esoteric? Perhaps yes if we held on to some common perceptions on certain obscured traditions.

Yet, 'gerak' or body language, beyond the cosmological discourses on 'silat' or traditional martial art, has been scientifically studied through the subject of NLP or neuro-linguistic programming. It basically explains the neurosciences behind both micro and macro body movements or 'gerak'. Different postures resonate and transmit different signals or frequencies, yielding different energy fields within and around the transmitter. 'Gerak' in silat can thus can experienced as receiving and transmitting desired magnetic force or resonance field that influences 'circumstances'. Perhaps, similar resonance field can also be traced during 'solat' or prayer (for Muslims).

Training oneself to practice certain 'gerak' is not only instrumental in conditioning or fine tuning one's mental and emotional states, but also one's physical state and overall 'angin' or 'semangat' or 'chi' or 'prana' or whatever one wants to call it. 

Plus, this is where it gets interesting, the 'angin' is non-local or quantum. It means that it exists as a qwiff (quantum wave function) or quantum signal that can connect with like-wise 'angin' across multiple dimensions, across time and space at the speed of light. This of course includes speaking to and influencing the surrounding 'angin' especially those (human and other living subjects as well as things) in the immediate surrounding environment. Positive 'gerak' yields positive angin yields positive environment yields positive circumstances. As mentioned before, 'gerak' becomes a form of 'receiver' and 'transmitter ' of natural cosmic energy. Certainly not really exotic or too esoteric anymore. 

Check out the following link.

Establishing a presence before a "Kebun Jiwa Halus' session at The Kabin, Kuala Selangor, 2014.
Embracing the Universe. In front of Allahyarham Mohd Fadzil's 'string-based work.
"Mendiri", (2010), mixed-media on plywood.
"Mohon" (2010), mixed-media on plywood.

What do our postures transmit? And consequently receive? What type of energy signal that we really want to send and receive?

What makes Zaidi's materials on 'abjad' in 'gerak' more enticing for me is that other than sources related to traditional cosmology, I've also studied and personally applied, tested and even shared few tips from NLP in several different situations, including in re-branding MGTF USM. It worked, depending strongly on the power and persistence of intention that is in harmony with 'the Will of the universe' or cosmic energy flow. Collective intention is stronger and works faster. This explains why 'solat jemaah' or 'mass  prayer' is stressed in Islam.

The power of intention or 'niat' itself, has been scientifically studied in neurosciences, including in the growing literature on mindfulness. Even the healing effect of 'compassion' and empathy have also been studied, using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and other forms of higher energy scanning. I can quote several studies here but you may just google them.

It has to be noted though that neurosciences as a discipline of research, is not immune to problems related to interpretations of data churned out by high end machines.


My point here is that it appears as if recent trajectories of scientific frontiers such as NLP and neurosciences are not only shifting paradigm, but also simultaneously returning back to many forms of previously esoteric knowledge that have manifested more than 2000 years ago in many spiritual traditions. 

In the case of Islam as practiced by Muslims like the person who is writing this, the knowledge and more importantly the wisdom (kearifan), as embedded in the holy Quran, had been embodied and passed on through the recorded sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Earlier civilizations across the world have left a legacy of tangible objects and rich resources to explore, study and compare, including for examples the Vedas and Upanishad to I-Ching, the Torah, the Bible to the Quran.

The so-called golden period of Islamic Civilization is another example of rich repository of knowledge generated within its very rich cross-cultural and trans-disciplinary cosmopolitan settings. This enlightened age historically took place during a period interestingly referred to or framed as the 'dark age' of Western world by traditional Western historians. 

As we shift, we also return.

The 'shift' from what few scholars have referred to as an increasingly 'defunct' modernism (that includes 'modern art') to the new quantum frontiers of post-postmodernism, can also paradoxically be taken as a 'return' to traditions. It entices reproaching traditions, including Eastern cosmology, not anymore through the traditional lens of anthropology, history and modern art (mostly, Western-centric of course), but through contemporary languages such as of new media, quantum physics, mathematics and geometry (have to note here that I managed to maintain a constant F for the last three subjects when I was in school!).

I fancy the term 'shifting-return' as I am also exploring it for my Phd. Ya, Phd at this ripe age. Go ahead, smile. 

Here is also where Zaidi's current endeavour came into the picture with similar reproach towards Eastern cosmology, specifically Islamic cosmology.


Zaidi is also doing his Phd at USM, researching on the use of multiple motion capture cameras as means to unveil 'abjad' formed through traces of moving points (placed on several key body parts of a silat exponent) in a particular 'gerak' or body movement/language.

The resulting images unveil what can be hypothesized as 'energy flow'. They also display interesting intersecting lines in various curvatures, as if mapping and visualizing the flow of inner energy transmitted and unleashed within a 'gerak'. One can also relate the flow of his resulting images to Islamic calligraphy or 'khat', especially of the 'khat Diwan' type. 

I refer to such images (and khat) as examples of quantum visualization, which basically means the act of visualizing (made tangible or manifest) the normally veiled or obscured energy patterns created naturally by the flow of cosmic energy (chi in Chinese tradition). The commonly-heard phrase is 'go with the flow', or allowing the cosmic energy to 'show us the path'. I may sound like Yoda here, but the language of physics speaks almost in the same way too. Theoretical physicists would tell us that energy or 'light traveling through different media always follows the path that takes the least energy', referred to as minimization. It is also referred to as a preferred state (Tung Yau & Nadis: 2010, p.49). I can quote a hadis (saying of the Prophet) that relates to this (on moderation), but my 'mat rock' persona would say that I better leave that to a more qualified candidate to do so. The 'path' in Islam, is provided through 'syariat'.

Of course one can go anywhere in interpreting Zaidi's images. Nonetheless, he is referring to Islamic cosmology as the theoretical and conceptual framework to interpret his findings. Good luck brader!

The diagram above is a topographical view of moving points in a form of intersecting curved lines as motion-captured from the opening 'gerak' (movement) of a silat Titi Sebatang performer. 

Below is a perspective view of similar 'gerak'.

Picture below is a blown-up image of a khat (Islamic calligraphy), focusing on the letter 'lam' and 'alif' in a single movement or 'gerak'. It appears like a knot. I took the picture in Galeri Khat Yayasan Islam Pulau Pinang, at Lebuh Acheh, George Town. Its a small gallery that vibrates with lots of healthy energy through many exhibited samples of quantum visualizations. George Town is increasingly becoming a 'happening' city, but don't let me start bragging.

Below the khat is Zaidi's motion-captured image as a comparison. He pointed to me similar 'knot' in the image.

'Lam' and 'alif' in combination creates the sound 'La' (means 'no'), an important utterance in the proclamation of 'syahadah' (witnessing).


Now, here I have to divert a bit from cosmology and quantum visualizations. Lets 'get high' for a while. 

What I'm about to share is very important since it is the pillar of Islamic cosmology. I know I don't have a 'serban' or 'kopiah' on my head since I don't think I deserve to wear one yet, but I will try my best to share. I'm also recalling what I've learned from my guru and late father Saidon Pandak Noh, Al-fatihah for him.

'Syahadah', is the proclamation of 'Tauhid', meaning 'making One'. It induces the utterer to detach from any form of mental and emotional identifications (or getting attached to thoughts and feelings), proclaiming and affirming that NOTHING really exists, except Allah. 

For a science-minded person, that sounds close to the way Einstein used to describe physical reality as a stubborn or 'persistent' illusion.

Again, 'syahadah' affirms everything is just an illusion, or shadow, much like images that fall on a screen from a film projector. 

'Syahadah' allows the utterer to BE the WITNESS of the illusions, or specifically, witnessing the illusive conjuring of mind - our thoughts and feelings, instead of attaching to or being trapped in them, or worse, totally identify one's sense of self and being (identity) through them. 

Using the film projector again as a metaphor, 'syahadah' allows one to 'step out' and 'see the light', instead of getting caught in the mental and emotional roller-coasters of the images on the screen. 

Mind that conjures thoughts and feelings is an 'instrument' or 'too' bestowed upon humans as a precious gift to be used wisely as a test. Using similar metaphor, mind is like the lens of a projector, not the 'seer'. 

Humans are meant to deploy the gift of mind to fully enjoy the experience thoughts and feelings (images on the screen), of 'living' by bringing forth 'peace and happiness' or in a short Malay term, 'kesejahteraan'. 

Yet, thoughts and feelings can become thick veils (like getting caught up in the 'film screen', saying its the only reality). They can occupy the mind, influencing the mind (the lens) to pretend to be the 'seer'. The mind then creates a false sense of self, that most of us refer to as 'ego'. 

'Syahadah' renders ego powerless and transparent. Mind, thoughts and feelings (ego) are still there, yet they can't pretend to be the true seer or Self once they are being 'witnessed' or 'observed'. 

'Syahadah' allows one to be FREE from the veils of the mind, the noises of thoughts and feelings, the black spots or cracks of the lense. It frees us from the trapping and slavery of ego, which are the roots of 'misery' or 'duka', or to be more direct without icings, the home of 'evil'. 

True freedom, unlike what has been popularly propagated by the global media, is freedom from the slavery of ego, individually and collectively. Acts of terror (killing, torturing, abducting, etc), insulting, hurting, demeaning or ridiculing fellow humans are slavery of ego, that feeds and gets gratification through these acts. They are not freedom in its truest sense! 

'Syahadah' allows one to be the non-judgmental 'silent witness' who observes the ebbs and flows of thoughts and feelings with pure, unconditional and infinite love, joy, compassion, empathy, tolerance, happiness and gratitude.

Once all thoughts and feelings have been rendered transparent, or all false sense of self (ego) have lost its illusive forms (hilang bentuk), the root of misery, the home of evil, have been rendered powerless. They cant slave us anymore, we are free (to return and be in our natural state - unconditional love, joy, compassion, empathy, tolerance, happiness and gratitude.) A natural state (fitrah) induces 'gerak' or actions that heal, while ego slaves us and brings 'duka' (all sorts of miseries and stresses).

The apex of 'syahadah' is to return to the Source of all experiences (again using the film projector, the Source of all the sights and sounds on the screen). 'Syahadah' allows one to return Allah, to the Source of 'Light' so-to-speak, the Solace or Abode of peace, to 'wake up', to B 'enlightened'.

I invite you my beloved readers to 'connect' (our brain cells are healthy when they make connections or synapses) what I have written above with materials that can be read in literature on mindfulness, meditative and contemplative sciences, the power of now, law of attraction, knowledge of self, the healing power of compassion and empathy etc. I hope it can give a glimpse of insight that will yield a more compassionate understanding and appreciation of Islam and its cosmological paradigm.


Now, back to our illusive and shadowy reality. Back to Zaidi's motion-capture image and another blown-up image of a khat (bottom part of letter 'wau' and 'ha', which can also be 'ba'). Both display almost similar curvy flow of energy. This time I leave it to you to contemplate on it. Everything is our teacher if we open our mind and see with our heart.

It would be unwise to prematurely interpret Zaidi's findings since he is still finalizing his Phd. Yet I could not retain my excitement in anticipating the potentials of using motion-capture and new media technology in reproaching traditional cosmology. 

While browsing the materials that Zaidi had brought over, one particular essay stood out.

Amjad (1997) provides appendixes that include a comparative table in three columns. It summarizes in a rather helpful way my previous notion of 'shifting-return' paradigm, a shift from the classical, Newtonian and highly linear model of reality to a post-classical or what Amjad refers to as post-Einstein paradigm. He points out the similarity between traditional paradigm with post-Einstein's, provided that we can skip the increasingly defunct (for some, decadent) 'classical' reading. This also brings me back to my late guru Ismail Zain's proposition to use the language of physics in reproaching traditions and what he refers to as sacred experience. Reading the comparison below may take a while, but its worth it.

Amjad uses the term 'modern', which I think is rather misleading. Modern and modernity (including modern art) should be in the middle column along the 'classical canons', while post-postmodern is on the right column. Yet even the term post post-modern can also be problematic, rather too mouthful if not 'tired'. Terminologies aside, more important is the concept, the 'shifting-return paradigm'.

Interestingly, I had also came up (around 2003/4 if I'm not mistaken) with a comparative table in one of my essays (without referring to Amjad of course, but an amalgamation of sources quoted from several literature/authors). Since then, I have been updating and using the table several times through successive essays that I have published, presented, lectured, blogged or simply shared and rambled with students and friends during lectures and 'teh tarik' sessions. Some have been littered throughout several blog entries under the 'light, mind, quantum physics and transformation' section of this Jiwa Halus blog. I'm too lazy to list all the links here, sorry. But you may start here.

Initially, I called it transforming and paradigmatic shifts. I have even deployed and tested it, intensively during my 7 years of 'gardening' the Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTF) USM. I would like to think, based on both KPI (Key Performance Indicators) data and KIP (Key Intangible Performance) feedback, that the paradigmatic shifts worked and showed desired results. But that would be my 'prasan' and 'masuk bakul' (self-glorification), so no need to go further.

Back to Amjad, he also provides several diagrams that explain his reading of Islamic cosmology. I also relate to these diagrams as quantum visualizations. One may stumble upon such visualizations in nature, and in many forms of traditional arts such as Hindu, Buddhist and Tibetan mandalas, Islamic arabesques and Chinese geomancy. 

I like to experience quantum visualizations as a form of zikr or repeated positive affirmations, or invocations of cosmic energy (chi). 

In many 'new age' literature, they are said to aid in healing, alligning, rejuvenating, synchronizing and harmonizing the micro and macro, the mind-body-spirit, the IQ(mental intelligence), EQ(emotional intelligence) and SQ(spiritual intelligence), the left and right brain, the arts and sciences, the intellect (akal) and the heart (kalbu), Masculine and Feminine principles, Shiva and Shakti, Ying and Yang, AsSham and AlHillal in a complimentary gathering or embrace of opposites. 

Zikr in the form of quantum visualizations also relates to a state of presence, higher awareness of one's own thinking and feeling, as taught in mindfulness practices. I like to relate this to 'syahadah', as I have explained before. Several studies have shown the tangible benefits of mindfulness, including in dealing with stress. 

The 'balance' gathering or convergence of opposites as mentioned above has also been mapped by Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (2014), my x-Boss at USM. The terms are in Malay, so I have to translate here. 'Berkala' : periodical or temporal, with 'berkekalan' : permanent or eternal. 'Setempat': local, with 'global'. 'Ketara': tangible with 'tak ketara': intangible. 'Luaran': external with 'dalaman': internal. Experiencing these 'gathering of opposites' are four domains or dimensions : intelek (intellect), emosi (emotion), jasmani (physical) and rohani (spiritual).

He explicates the imperative of shifting from the 'classical' (purely material, positivist, empirical and 'scientific') model of learning to a return to tradition, in this case, Islamic model of nurturing a balanced 'insan' (human), fine tuning both the intellect and the heart or 'kalbu' and other opposites as visualized in his diagram above. He basically re-itterates Al-Ghazali's explication on the roles of 'akal' (mind), 'mata hati' (eyes of the heart) and 'pandangan batin' (spiritual insights) in 'Miskat Cahaya'. His writing also reminds me of the term 'terang hati' (enlightened heart) that my mother and late father used to utter so many times, instead of 'cerdik' and 'banyak akal', both refering to mischievious character. 

At the center of the diagram above is 'Ad-Din', meaning 'way of life' that brings forth a balanced and harmonious human being, and consequently, a peaceful society.

I would also like to share another diagram taken from "Alami II Puncak : Post Science-inspired Arts Camp Exhibition" (2002). It maps out the shift-return to awareness of self or 'kesedaran insan', now made popular by increasing interest in mindfulness and meditative science. I have in some ways, deployed these models in my little Kebun Jiwa Halus initiatives. 

In the spirit of reproaching Eastern cosmology and quantum visualizations, I would like to share here several examples sourced from Amjad's essay, my own, youtube and few other books. I have used few images in my previous blog entries.

Lets begin with the following link to detoxify us from the residues of modernist (perhaps also, modern art) paradigm. We can come back to this writing after this detox. Hit the link now.


The following link provides my understanding of Islamic cosmology and quantum visualizations. It can serve as an appetizer. Check it out. 

Now, lets check out the following example of quantum visualization - 'open lotus flower' that can be traced in several forms of Buddhist art, and later adapted as a traditional motif in several forms of Malay traditional art.

The following is another example, from Iran, of Persian tradition. The mandala, as the reflection of the cosmic process, beginning with unity and back with unity. Center of Ardabil carpet, Tabriz, Iran, c.1540. (Source: Laleh Bakhtiar, "SUFI, Expression of the Mystic Quest").

Multiple views or points in modular patterns of Islamic art for example, implies a quantum state, a state of fluid, organic and inter-connected whole.  It is an art in which the ‘moment of observation’ is chosen democratically by the audience. It signals a break from the classical tradition of linear, mechanistic, deterministic observation and description of the world around us, as epitomized by Newtonian physics. It is about ‘getting high’, and in a mystical context, about ascending.

(Note : On the other hand, in Newtonian physics, an outcome of a particular event can be predicted correctly – much like a linear perspective system in which all the receding lines converge on a single vanishing point. In this system, all suspended potentialities are reduced into a single point of view, thus a fixed or single way of looking and observing a picture or object. The view is frozen and determined or given and undemocratically decided for the audience. This is about getting real, and in a mystical context, descending.)  

The pictures below are sourced from one of Tony Buzan's famous mind-mapping books, in this case, images of a diatom with beautiful radiating patterns or energy flow. (Can someone tell me what the heck is diatom?)

The picture below shows similar radiating pattern, this time taken by myself from under the dome of Ubuddiah mosque in Kuala Kangsar. Beautiful.

Another 'radiant', reminding one of radiating galaxies. Its the floor carpet of the same Ubuddiah mosque.

Amjad's schematic descriptions of cosmology.

Quantum visualizations of the cosmology. 

The picture below is another natural radiant pattern, sourced from Tony Buzan's.

Radiant pattern of natural architecture, leaf of saw palmetto plant. See hidden patterns or order, not just forms. Nature is also a mathematical expression of the Creative Force of the Universe. Eastern forms of traditional art mostly employ patterns to return us back to our 'nature', to order, to be a part of the Creative Force of the Universe. They are not merely 'decorations' as stigmatized by some dominant discourses of modern art derived from the Western-centric reading. Eastern forms of traditional art and heritage reflect a quantum reading of the universe, not classical. They focus on synchronizing the spirit, mind-emotion and the body/form; not just merely replicating forms.  (Source: Tony Buzan Barry Buzan, "The Mind Map".)

Check out the following similar pattern in Malay traditional architecture.

The 'tebar layar' or gable ends of a typical Malay house, serve to direct wind into the house to cool the roofing space. Many have beautiful carvings and allow light into the house. The 'tumpal' structure or triangular shape relates to the Malay-Islamic cosmology, as epitomized by 'pohon hayat'. It signifies the balance symbiosis between the ontological (vertical ascend) relationship between humans and their Creator (habluminallah); as well as the epistemological (diagonal and horizontal descend) relationship between humans (habluminannas). It is 'getting high and getting real' in action. The radiant pattern found in some design can be related to 'radiant thinking' (check Tony Buzan's); as well as many patterns found in Nature (Source: Lim Jee Yuan, "The Malay House : Rediscovering Malaysia's Indigenous Shelter System.")

Nakula's interpretation of the different hierarchical stages (maqam) of the cosmos as embodied by a house.

My note, a rather crude simplification of similar stages or 'maqam'. 

In this schematic description of the 'maqam' or stages, and in most literature on Islamic cosmology, the 'soul' is placed between the mind and spirit. 

The mind also encompasses two stages - the lower consciousness and higher consciousness. The higher consciousness is also referred to in learning theory, mindfulness practice and meditative science as meta consciousness/cognition. It is a state of total presence or acute awareness of one's thinking and emotion as they emerge, transpire and submerge or expire, as mentioned earlier. Remember the 'syahadah', of witnessing (aku naik saksi).

The following are again my personal notes and schematic drawings of the cosmology. Basically the diagrams show that all experiences originate from a single Source of origin, the eternal and infinite solace of peace, a point of return.

Diagram abobe : All experiences of 'alami' are embodied within the holy Al-Quran' Al-Fatihah as a 'surah' or chapter, is taken as the embodiment or the heart of the holy Quran, while 'Bismillah hirrahman nirahhim' is embodiment of the Al'Fatihah.'Ba' is the beginning letter of 'Bismillah...' with the single dot under its shape as a point of return, a singularity. 
All basic elements of design begin and return to 'a point'. 
(From top) All the myriads of forms and shapes, different, distinctive/isolated/separated, are interconnected and came from the same source or point of origin.

Below is another example of quantum visualization, found mostly in traditional textile design (batik) in South East Asia. 

The following is another schematic explanation of Islamic cosmology, sourced from Amjad's.


So there you go, my small reflection on reproaching Islamic cosmology and quantum visualization. Trash it if u don't like, correct it if you care and share it if you think its worth your precious time. 

Another note:
Notwithstanding the popular global media assault and demonization of Islam and Muslims, fueled by skewed as well as literal interpretations of the Quran by fanatics and extremists to justify killings of fellow humans and other acts of terror (remember, collective ego), I pray in silence that the world and humanity at large, especially the young and future generations, are able to fully understand, appreciate, enjoy and benefit from the beautiful cross-cultural legacies of Islamic cosmology, especially its relation to other traditions and more interestingly, to current scientific frontiers. With an open mind and loving heart, one can experience the joy of discovery in exploring and reproaching Islamic cosmology.  

In reproaching, I also hope that we can bypass the veils of narrow chauvinism fueled by greedy ethnocentric and partisan agendas that will only veil and cloud our inner eyes. Again I reiterate here that the root of evil is in the slavery of our souls by 'ego' that likes to pretend to be us. This evil can hide unnoticed deep within everyone of us, regardless of who we are and how we define ourselves. While hiding in us, it conveniently points at the 'others' as evil. We have to be careful not to get caught in the 'shadow-play' of clashing egos that are constantly being 'screened' and bombarding our consciousness in a global scale.

So lets WAKE UP, lets shine the 'light' to our mind, now, and every now so that the slavery of ego will end, and humanity will really be FREE in its truest sense.

Salam and lots of luv.