The Cognitive Backyard

A Tale of Individualism

A colored umbrella among gray signifies individualism

In a lecture in summer this year, our fine professor, Dr. Amani Moazzam, asked us whether we believe that Pakistan is still a collectivist society. Some said yes, however, there were many who contested this idea. There were strong opinions made across the lecture room in favor of the view that we are increasingly individualistic. The professor suggested that there is a need to study the sociocultural changes in our society that we can only subjectively feel and state as of yet.

I, for one, took the suggestion to heart. And my mind simply hates it when it has to clean up the mess left behind by my heart. Continue with reading

Is Politics Good or Evil?

It is natural to think is politics good or evil?

“We hear about politics all the time, but is politics good or evil?” asked Dr. Amani Moazzam.

She is a bespectacled, studious looking professor with an aura of a headstrong woman which many of her students find intimidating initially. In reality, she is a sweet and kind at heart teacher whose concern for her students gradually manifests itself rather involuntarily. Continue with reading

Foreign Policy in a Changing World

In the arena of international relations, there is no such thing as equality. The perception of state’s power and national interests set the stage of how states interact with each other. Coincidently, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States coincided with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United Kingdom. The difference of reception of both leaders by their host countries is a classic example how states perceive other states and treat them accordingly.

Continue with reading

Why Russian Action Is Not the Solution?

One of my relatives, who takes keen interest in the developments in Syria, recently tagged me on Facebook to a link from a UK-based newspaper claiming Turkey has shot down a Russian jet. He often sends me links to news reports and asks my opinion on the future of the world. I told him that I cannot confirm this news because I do not possess any means to do that. Continue with reading

Thyroid Disease of American Foreign Policy

I have never been exactly very healthy. I am told that this is an acquired condition which I believe to mean that I was not born this way. I confess I have abused my body a little too much. I do not exactly remember the last time I have spent two nights in a row with a proper 8-hours sleep. I have spent my entire adult life so far staying up at night reading novels, smoking, and drinking tea, coffee and coca cola. Continue with reading

Clash of Civilisations: Is It Inevitable?

One of my friends has bipolar disorder. He suffers from it for a long time. There are moments when he is extremely reclusive, and then there are days that he does not want to go home. There are many who consider him a maniac and make fun of him both behind his back as well as in front of him. I find him as a very intelligent man whose ability to express himself is not at par with his mental prowess. Continue with reading

Why Germany Should Benefit from Refugees?

In a lecture on Social Research Methods at the University last week, we were discussing the possibility of testing a hypothesis how increased level of education among Pakistani women leads to fewer children per family. Dr. Syed Salman Hassan, our professor for the subject, was pointing out the fact that the hypothesis will naturally stand validated as women who pursue higher education tend to marry late resulting in decreased reproductive period in married life. Continue with reading

The Real Horror Is Not War

The image of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish shore has shocked the world. The innocence screaming in the picture touches even the most self-centered and the selfish. The gruesome reality of the horrors which imperial designs and unceasing wars have unleashed in the Middle East is just beginning to dawn upon the public opinion of the rest of the world. Continue with reading

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