New Slaves


Although he has been living in Dubai for more than a year, his beautiful apartment that overlooks the sea is sparsely furnished. It has only one small bed in the room he sleeps in, the room he knows better than any other rooms of his apartment, as he does not have enough time to explore them. When I commented on the lack of furniture, he told me that he could not find an appropriate time for the furniture to be delivered, although he paid for it more than a year ago. The nature of his profession required him to be available for work throughout the day, and sometimes at night, making it difficult to plan ahead.



Many people like him think that hard and exhausting work is a medal to hang around one’s neck, or a golden reward to be won, not recognizing that they live just like the slaves of the Pharaohs’ days. Everyone involved in building the pyramids should have felt glorious and proud to participate in building the greatest monument in human history. Yet, they were all well aware that they were no more than slaves.



Whenever I returned from work late—being one of those slaves—my son would say, “Dad do not go to work again.” At work, whenever I recall his words, I am certain that I am wasting the most beautiful days of his life and those of mine. Most employees spend their lives focused on work, but this rarely has a positive impact on them. Perhaps we need to know what the reality of work is, or more essentially, what the reality of life is.



Most of those employed are used to drinking bitter, black coffee every morning, not because they are diabetics, but perhaps because they know that, one day, they will inevitably be diabetic! They drink such bitter, black coffee to refresh their failing memories while trying to remember who they are or what they are. Look at them, so proud of speaking English, and only English. Even if you stole a look at their notes during the long meetings, you would find that they take notes in English. Their attitude reminds of the raven that tries to emulate the way the other birds walk, then not only fails, but also forgets the way the ravens walk.



When technology became part of our life, everyone was optimistic and the experts bet that it would take us from misery to happiness, as everything would be possible by a click of a button. No one had ever expected that these buttons would control our life and our death.



A successful employee has become doomed to carry his ‘BlackBerry’ and keep checking his e-mail. When travelling, he is forced, ‘voluntarily’, to make sure that his room has an access to the Internet. Some employees do not even travel on a plane that does not have an Internet connection. What they all have in common is their tendency to stay in their offices after the official working hours, simply because they feel that there is nowhere else to go, and if they could rent rooms adjacent to their offices, they would jump at the opportunity to always be close to their offices.



Some time ago, I suffered from fluctuation in my blood pressure. It started suddenly to go down and then up for no known reason—just as stock markets. The only difference is that I lose in both cases, as when my blood pressure goes down I feel that my soul is taken out of my body, and when it goes up, my body starts trembling as if electrified.



I immediately flew to Singapore, for treatment. Of course, I confirmed before booking that the hotel room had access to the Internet. After the check up and many tests, the doctor told me that my body was healthy and did not suffer from any ailment, and that my problem was in my work. He said, “If you think that you work to live, you have to know that you are now working to die.” He advised me to read some books on the management of work pressure.



We all have our own reasons for desperate overworking. The US Centre for Work-Life Policy conducted a study, citing five major reasons for tendency to overwork: 1) overcoming the challenges at work; 2) taking work as a source of inspiration and enthusiasm; 3) the high rewards and income; 4) the love for colleagues, and the great desire to be with them as long as possible; and 5) seeking self-realization through the fulfillment of work responsibilities. Yet, whatever the reasons may be for each one of us, they lead to removing the boundaries between work and personal life and to a greater involvement in work, whereby work will eventually start controlling all aspects of one’s life.



The real goal of life—in my opinion—is happiness. We even worship for the sense of self-satisfaction we experience. We worship Allah, the Almighty, in hope to be given access to his paradise, and thus gain the ultimate happiness, and we perform all religious duties to live in tranquility, to have peace of mind and to live in inner peace—in other words, to achieve happiness.



If everything we do in our life is geared towards achieving happiness, why do we struggle at work? It is supposed to bring us happiness, and instead it makes us more miserable with each passing day. Whenever I remember this truth, I say to myself, “I will dedicate myself to my children and spend more time with them as soon as I get promoted.” I had promotion after promotion, only to be more detached from my family, and even from myself. Right now, I know neither who I am, nor what I want to achieve in my short life.



Few years ago, IBM allocated $ 50 million to launch programmes that would promote balance between the employees’ lives and their jobs. One of these programmes adopted appraisal based on performance indicators and achievement. Thus, it was no longer essential for an employee to be available in the office, as long as all their work was completed on time. Consequently, more than 40% of IBM employees presently work remotely.

Similar initiative was launched by American Century Investments, whereby a budget was allocated for purchasing home sport equipment for all its employees, with the aim to help them maintain physical fitness and live healthily.



The two companies, after implementing these programmes to bring balance between employees’ lives and their jobs, started to get better results and their productivity has increased.



If you stay in the office long after official working hours, if you keep thinking of the daily events of your work when you go to bed, or if one of your best friends is one of your colleagues at work, then, you are, without a doubt, one of the new slaves. The difference between new slaves and enslaved people of the past is that the latter were forced to obey their masters and accept their orders, while the new slaves chose their predicament willingly.



Men of Fire, Others of Light


In his long, exhausting search of what makes nations and peoples happy, Plato often wrote about the community and its members. He tried to address their problems in various aspects; political, social, economic and others. His philosophy was said to set the basis of European philosophy, to the extent that it made some say that

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Are Our Choices Real?


He sat down, placing two magazines on the coffee table in front of him, adding a ‘BlackBerry’, an ‘iPhone’, and his ‘iPad’. He then turned on his laptop and began surfing the Internet while sipping his coffee. He was moving between his four devices very quickly; then he hastily went through one of the magazines.

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Food or Philosophy?


Two thousand and five hundred years ago, the Persian Empire’s ambition of expansion surpassed its vast area. The empire considered cities, such as Sparta and Athens, as disloyal, and that they must return to the empire’s rule. Ancient Persian armies began marching towards the young cities of the West. The rulers of those two cities,

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