Of concepts, contexts, constructs… fragments of thoughts

“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.” – Gilles Deleuze

Concept and context are two very different words. Both are nouns with fairly extensive usage across all walks of life in daily conversation.

We have taken western concepts in healthcare, education and even local governance – areas that are intricately connected to our lives. By taking these concepts and applying them as they are, I feel that we could be doing ourselves more harm than good.

For example, I wonder how effective a non-Dhivehi-speaking psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor will be when working with Dhivehi-speaking patients. We seem to be overly fascinated with concepts without much thought to context.

Today I was watching a documentary on Curiosity Stream about homes. It is interesting to hear that the average American now spends about 23 hours of the day indoors. Wow! I didn’t realise that until today. Here in the Maldives, especially in the islands where we still have a lot of space and perfectly liveable outdoors, we are replicating the same concepts of houses. We dedicate a whole room for sitting. In Male where space is limited, we have living rooms that combine sitting, dining and cooking.

I often wonder why we have to have sitting or living rooms in houses on the islands. Why waste concrete and building material to replicate something that has no need? I know my wife will not like this…

One of the most inspirational contemporary architects from Asia in the recent past, Geoffrey Bawa, has a distinct style of building now commonly referred to as tropical modernist architecture. One of the defining features of this style is the openness of spaces and how the line between inside and outside is deliberately blurred to give the users or dwellers of that building ample reason to interact with nature. Interestingly this is exactly how some of our old buildings were built. I remember, as a child, standing on the veranda of Athelhege and seeing the outside even beyond the perimeter wall. The height of the perimeter wall and the elevation of the veranda and the house ensured that those looking out had uninterrupted views of the outside while passers-by could not see inside the house.

The concepts of well-being and happiness are often taken as things that we induce into ourselves. Ancient wisdom and faith traditions tell us otherwise. These are organically occurring states when we align our behaviour with nature and become biodynamic instead of trying to control everything around us.

About Hassan Saeed

I am a lifelong learner. I learn every day and I learn from everybody I interact with - I live with this simple philosophy. My goal is to help spread knowledge and information that helps people get better every day. Learning should fit into everyone's daily routine. Learning should empower individuals to achieve more and drive them towards excellence and perfection.
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3 Responses to Of concepts, contexts, constructs… fragments of thoughts

  1. Ahmed says:

    The concept of having a Dr in each island may be a good thought, but it has cost a lot to the nation without much use for the needed primary health care. Definitely we are missing something here.


    • Hassan Saeed says:

      Thanks Doc. We seem to be copying the west, replicating the same policies and MISTAKES instead of learning from them and avoiding them.


    • Hassan Saeed says:

      Thanks Doc, we seem to copy everything from the west and when we start from where they started, we are doing now what they did 40-50 years ago and we replicate the same mistakes instead of looking at where they are now and concentrating on the future. We have very different contexts here..


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