Updates

Website

The content of the site was edited and reorganized to better explain the evolution and intent of tychiformation.  

Also, the site was initially conceived to allow interactive communication about global issues in democratic fashion as envisioned in my first book. Due to limited resources, this ambitious idea was abandoned. However, a link to communicate with me -below my photo on the top left- has been now provided for interested visitors who wish to participate in the discussion of the topics presented on the site. Links to social media, will be soon added as well to spread the word.

How come update now!? The site expresses views recognized as “progressive”. They promote globalization and working together to attain common goals. For some years we seemed to be moving in progressive directions. Alas however, the word “progressive” and what it denotes have recently fallen out of favor internationally, in the UK, the US, France and around the world, whereby sentiments are moving in an opposite conservative direction; for example, compare the Obama administration with the current administration of President Trump! In my view, this is happening due to several factors. Paramount among those is concerted action by conservatives, who on the whole tend to promote their egocentric agendas, but also, due to misunderstanding of progressive ideas. Therefore, I decided to do what I can to revive and restore the import of the progressive cause expressed on this site.        

Views

My views are literally ‘an open book’; since I have expressed them in four books that are available to all. I cannot deny them! However, following is a summary that affirms, clarifies, and modifies some of my stated positions.

Philosophical Position / Democracy

I am a relativist who believes that “my value judgments are subjective and potentially variable”. This statement itself reflects a value judgment. I could have alternatively opted to adopt: “my value judgments are objective and final”; a position that I dubbed “absolutism”. Thus, to be consistent, I elected way back to say “I now tend to believe that value judgments are subjective”. Today, I wish to confirm that for 50 years, I never found any reason to alter my belief in relativism.

My belief in relativism had certain consequences. Mainly, it affected the way I tended to express my views as my own, rather than claiming objective validity to my ideas. However, family and friends whom I ran my thoughts by invariably advised me to reduce the use of “I” in my writing: “do not say ’I believe we could do such and such’ in every statement, instead say ‘we should do such and such’”. Besides, their advice reflects the way discourse is generally presented and accepted. Well, I took their advice and relaxed my rigid rule of being philosophically consistent; which is evident in some of my writing. Here, and now, I ask that my work be construed as an expression of my own subjective views. This being said however, I stay firm in advocating the courses of action that I suggested, and am proud to have conceived them by earnestly applying my knowledge and expertise in a rational and systematic manner.

The proverbial philosopher king, if an absolutist, would think that he knows what is good and bad for his subjects and would act as he sees fit irrespective of how they felt. A relativist philosopher king on the other hand, would think: since I do not believe that it is possible for me to ascertain what is good or bad for my people, I might as well ask them about what they want. This reflects an argument in support of democracy that I expressed in my first book as clearly reflected in its title. My subsequent work proceeds from, and builds on the premises laid out in the book.    

Global Issues

My practice as an urban planner convinced me that a rigorous planning methodology is a powerful tool to solving problems. In my second book “Planning for Survival” I applied this methodology to address global issues. This resulted in recognizing that the most critical of global issues relate to insuring our collective survival and wellbeing.

Threats to survival and wellbeing are classified into two categories: a) natural, including aging and disease, and hazardous aspects of the natural environment, both relating to the dynamic nature of earth, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis, and those relating to cosmic occurrences such gamma ray bursts, the sun becoming a red giant, and the bombardment of earth by meteors and comets, and b) what I term “the hazardous aspects of human nature” such as aggression and greed. The natural threats to our survival are well documented, and efforts are underway to address them; albeit not to an extent commensurate with their ominous significance. On the other hand, addressing “the hazardous aspects of human nature” which affects both our survival and wellbeing has been relatively neglected.

Historically, religions, monotheist and otherwise, have attempted to address “the hazardous aspects of human nature” with some success. However, greed and aggression continue to prevail, and often, use religion itself as a vehicle of expression. Furthermore, greed and aggression have also relied on heightening nationalistic sentiments in a similar fashion. My unwavering position is that literal interpretation of scriptures and radical belief in any religion be it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism, together with nationalistic fervor lie at the roots of the most critical of global problems. This is evident, in particular, in contemporary developments in the USA and the Middle East over the past 50 years. Due to this conviction, my third book “For the People by the People” addresses relevant issues in the USA, and the fourth “The Crisis of Islamism” addresses pertinent issues in the Middle East.  

In all my work I made sure not to stop at the stages of analysis and identification of issues and proceeded by suggesting action to address identified issues. Generally, it is suggested to abandon nationalism and religious radicalism, and for the peoples of the world to work together and focus their attention on addressing the threats to human survival and wellbeing.

Here, I wish to clarify that, being fully cognizant of the deep rootedness of the issues I identified, I never thought for a moment that I am embarking on solving the problems of the world. I actually believe that addressing most critical issues could take one or two generations to bring about some tangible results; i.e. 50 to 100 years. Rather, my aim is to reduce the time it will take for what I consider as positive results to materialize. Furthermore, from day one, recognizing the magnitude of the efforts needed, I was convinced that others of similar views, as well as substantial financial resources are needed to bring about meaningful change. Therefore, I will continue to call for likeminded individuals and entities to step up to the task. 

One last clarification: in the introduction of “The Crisis of Islamism”, I blatantly praised the ‘coupe d’état’ in Egypt; otherwise referred to as ‘the second Egyptian revolution’. I was elated about this event because the reign of the Moslem Brotherhood, in my considered view, would have meant the end of any prospects for democracy in Egypt. Although they were elected to assume power, the Islamic scriptures which form the core of the beliefs of the Moslem Brotherhood promote rule by an oligarchy of imams -Moslem clerics- and not by the people! In fact, developments in Egypt were moving in this direction in a way similar to what transpired in Iran. Thus, I stand firm about my position regarding a second popular revolution in Egypt. However, it seems that my blatant support of a ‘coupe d’état’ -a no-no for many- seems to have put off many a progressive thinker from reading my book. I regret that.  

Author: Ismail Rifaat

Ismail Rifaat is an architect and urban planner with extensive international experience in architecture and city planning. He also served as planning expert on two United Nations assignments. He is the author of "Shaping the Future: For the People, By The People" and "Planning for Survival". Both titles are available on Amazon.com.

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