“Beirut Nightmares” by Ghada Samman

Oct 25, 2018 at Literature Essays

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In her book “Beirut Nightmares”, Ghada Samman reveals her views on different important philosophical subjects, one of which is time. She scrutinizes various manifestations of time influence on human life. One, and probably the most important, is the inevitable process of growing that always leads to dearth. “I pictured myself and my friends once we’d passed the age of seventy, our hair grown white, reminiscing about these bitter days. How distressing for old age to become one of our highest aspirations!” (Samman 9). The death is a rather frustrating way to end one’s existence. Nevertheless, man’s longing to become older is even worse. It seems to be so unnatural to hasten the life events because life always ends up in the same way. Only extreme situations, for instance, the time of war occupation described by the author, triggers human’s survival instincts. As a result, it makes people apprehend the importance to feel alive both mentally and physically.

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Samman emphasizes that time is the most powerful source of opportunities, which, as a rule, are wasted. “…half the sun’s life has already been spent, which means that it has only 4 billion years left before its fire goes out and the nuclear reactions in its core come to an end!” (156). The durability of the sun can be compared with human’s life span. In spite of the fact that the sun exists much longer, everyone comprehends that it will eventually die. What is more, in man’s perception, the sun is meant to give energy, but the question “what for?” is still unanswered. Probably, this energy should be used for mental and spiritual evolving, or at least for constant improvement of technological innovations. Nevertheless, people kill each other so easily and so often that it is hard to believe they truly realize the purpose of their life. What makes the things even worse is that one war can destroy the whole mankind. The possibility of self-destruction is quite real and it proves the meaningless existence of the thousands of human beings. Certainly, there is another reality, the one which exists separately from humankind and claims that the sun does not shine exclusively for people. This statement echoes the philosophical debates about death perception: man dies when the heart stops, or vice versa, the world dies for man. Considering the fact that it is human’s mind that expresses thoughts, evaluates each situation and scrutinizes different collected facts, the world exists as long as the mind is alive. This apprehension brings back the importance of meaningful subsistence.

The author supports the wasted time issue claiming, “In their mad preoccupation with the manufacture of ugliness and destruction, people have all but forgotten what holidays are.” (158). Apparently, talking about holidays, Samman implies the ability to relax and enjoy the life. What is more, she indicates how important it is for every individual to find time for other people displaying care and experiencing positive outcome thanks to their interaction. Among all philosophical categories, time is more likely to be the most constant and impossible thing to interfere with. Considering the fact that people cannot change anything about time fluency, it is essential to learn to use it for the best. “Life continues to be a marvel as long as the inquisitive child living inside you still knows how to laugh, sing and explore!” (168). This assertion contains several significant ideas of time manifestations, which the volumes of "Beirut Nightmares" present. People should take time fluency seriously and do their best to make the existence meaningful. The exterior world is important as long as there is a mind that perceives and evaluates it. Thus, it is crucial to work on mental and spiritual evolving in order to improve that process. It will eliminate meaningless existence of humans. The time will not be wasted in vain, but will be spent for the best of all humanity.

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