Model Pluralism

November 16, 2015

Much has been written and said about the latest terrorist attacks and consequent reactions. Many have tried to analyse the incidents and their roots and we are constantly arguing in favor or against the analyses. Each of the analysis is a “model” to make it simpler to understand what is going on in the world. However, every time I read an analysis, I remind myself some points:

  1. Borrowing the concepts from biology, human society is an ecosystem including actors and their relationships, and the environment surrounding the ecosystem. It is indeed a very complex and dynamic ecosystem. The actors are very diverse, take different roles and have conflicting interests (while sharing basic needs). The relationship between actors is very dynamic, has various attributes and change all the time. Environmental factors (natural resources, climate change, etc.) affects the ecosystem and make it even more complex.
  2. Human brain is constantly in search of “the pleasure of cognitive ease”. Digesting the complexity is very demanding and human brain is avoiding that unless there is a survival need for it. That’s why we love models. Simpler and more familiar the model, easier we can connect to and (most probably) we even feel it is more true. (There is evolutionary explanation for this, read chapter 5 of famous “Thinking: Fast and Slow” if you are interested).   
  3. In 1976 George Box argued that “all models are wrong… ”. (Unfortunately) there is no model that can completely represent the reality! There is no correct model! However, two years later he extended the claim by “… but some (models) are useful”. Recalling point no. 2  I need models, right? So, I should search for models that are more useful in explaining the reality!
  4. Considering all three mentioned points, I need models (analysis) that explain what are the roots of latest terrorist attacks. Without them it is impossible to understand and improve the situation. But everytime I see a model in media I warn myself:
    Is the model downgrading the complexity of the ecosystem to the interaction between very few actors? Then there is something wrong with the model, I should not advocate the model. Is the model ignoring the context that actors are interacting within, or the environment that ecosystem is interacting with? Then I should definitely not buy the model!
    Examples are obvious these days, we need to just open our facebook or twitter, they are there: “Terrorist attacks are result of opening borders to refugees”, “Do you really want to know who created ISIS? The answer is US”, “The terrorism problem lies within the religion”, “Terrorism is the result of West manipulations in Middle East”, “If we send Muslims back to their countries we won’t see similar attacks”, “Paris has discriminated immigrants for decades and now here are the results” and the list goes on. None of these models alone is correct, some of course are useful and has valid points but they alone cannot represents the reality, they are too simple! They just resemble one or two actors which are sitting behind a machine and pushing a button to manipulate the world which is way too far from the reality.
  5. The problem with these models and advocating them is not only that they are not correct! The bigger problem is that they polarize the human ecosystem! Blaming only one actor and putting all negative charges in the hand of one actor polarize the world. More importantly, it neglects the responsibility of other actors, it ignores the responsibility of ourselves as actors of this ecosystem.
  6. So, I need more holistic models which consider wider actors and more complex relationships. There is a limitation though: Many analysts and modelers (left or right, religious or secular, Western or Eastern) and their publication channels (media) are either consciously not interested in giving holistic models, because they benefit from narrow models and from more polarized ecosystem, or they are just unconsciously biased towards some models. A solution is to not advocate only one model, to be exposed to all models, to read analysis from all channels and make a more holistic puzzle with elements I perceive from each narrow model (the result is still a wrong picture but more useful). It is against cognitive ease and I am lazy and love simple models, but it is not impossible.


Source of image

Yeeeeey situation!

September 19, 2013


The above happiness model is my justifications to the famous quote “happiness is reality minus (or divided by) expectations” and its simple conclusion “to increase the happiness one should improve the reality and/or decrease her expectations”. I have found it very practical in the last five years of my life and by applying that I feel relatively happy most of the time.

To make it concrete I will look into my immigration example. I was unhappy when I was in my origin country. I tried to improve my reality to some extent. But after a while that I was still unhappy I found I cannot improve the reality anymore. The reality was a huge society, a complicated culture and my expectations didn’t fit to that reality (even decreased version of expectations). So I had two options. Either I should stay and decrease my expectations even more (which would kill my motivations and dreams), or changing the reality in term of changing my country. I chose the latter and it increased my happiness a lot.

But it was not all the story; as an immigrant integrating to the new society was not easy and it could affect my happiness. To increase my happiness I again started applying above model: I tried to and still am trying to improve my reality by learning my new country cultural aspects (I exposed myself to new taste of music, new taste of foods, drinks, new cultural norms, new language, new people, etc.) and in the same time I’m trying to decrease my expectations by accepting some facts and limitations: I cannot change the long winter (as a reality), I should accept it and instead try to learn ski to enjoy the long winter. I cannot change the people reluctance to be friend with me (a reality), instead I should be patient (decrease my expectations) and try to make them realized I can be a valuable friend for them (and it has worked to some extent).

Well, I think besides the society we are living, this model is applicable to most of other situations in our life too: our relationship with our partner or our parents or our children, our friendships, our job, etc. For example I have found that I cannot change the reality of my parents being conservative and traditional. I should accept that they are different human beings with different desires. To increase the happiness in my relationship with my parents, what I should do instead is to change the reality of my dependency to them and in the same time to decrease my expectations.

P.S: This model appreciates the dreamers and adventurous (but still realistic) people since they try to improve or change the reality (when it is possible). But being an idealistic is a source of unhappiness according to this model, because the only things it does is increasing the expectations.

Two related and highly recommend articles:

Panning in Shibuya!

April 11, 2013

Panning is a hypothetically simple photography technique to show the fast motion of a subject and bring out the subject from other elements. It can be achieved by rotating the camera horizontally and shooting with low exposure length.

What you should master in with trial and error is two things:

1-    Adjusting your exposure length (shutter speed) based on the speed of the subject, your distance from the subject, and your lens focal length.

2-    You should also adjust the camera rotation speed properly based on the same attributes. The suggestion here is to start moving your camera with the subject for a while to get synchronized withe the subject speed and then start shooting.

Applying the technique on fast steady subjects like a car or a bike or even a fast skier is not too difficult, because even with a short exposure length (e.g. 1/100 sec or higher speed) you can have a blurred background and a smooth moving subject. Here is one of the shots I have tried on a snowboarder:


The technique becomes more difficult when the subject moves slowly. In this case you need a longer exposure length (sometimes 1/10 sec or even lower speed) and the probability to get a jerky subject will be higher. In my recent trip to Japan, Shibuya scramlble crossing was an ideal lab to try panning on the slow and erratic moving subjects. It is literally the world busiest crossing and when the light gets green for pedestrian, hundreds of people start crossing in different directions. So with a friend we stayed almost 1.5 hour in the crossing and tried the panning technique. It was so much fun and of course among many shots I tried just some of them became acceptable. When I was targeting a person, suddenly he/she would go faster or if she was running suddenly would stop. So here you need the third criteria to take a good photo besides the two mentioned ones: Chance!

Here are some of the shots:




And definitely my favorite shot:


Fear of a Unique Identity

April 10, 2013


Of all the foals upon the tallest hill

With aching intent to walk

Who has the salt to stand of their own will?

With no consequence at all

[Fear of a unique identity]

To seal in stone inclusion with the pack

Where safety comes being one

Every move must be part of the act

And not overstep the mark

[Fear of a unique identity]

To stand alone is to be exposed

A shining light in a concrete world

A target sign for the legions and hordes

[Fear of a unique identity]

With fading I, the lie is born

Stealing minds from the vacant halls

Sold alive to the dominant law


February 16, 2013


There are some (or even lots of) moments in the life that we are in a situation not sure what could be the consequence of our actions, it could be awesome or awkward! A very simple example is when we are among some people and we want to make a funny complement but we are not sure whether it would be very funny and people laugh or it could be very tasteless (or sometimes even rude) and people dislike. And serious example is when we want to make a very important decision in our life (accepting a job, investment in a project, etc) and we don’t know the exact consequence and it would be very risky. Whatever the situation is people have different attitude in these moments. Some are very conservative and usually stick to the safe part, their life is very safe but maybe very routine or even boring in other people’s opinion. On the other extreme some people are very adventure, their life have more variety and excitement, but sometime they could be a big losers as well. In which part of this spectrum we are located depends on our personality and maybe we cannot change it too much, but what I want to point is that if we want to have more excitement, more variety, more adventure in our life we should not afraid of being imperfect, being a loser, being impolite, being wrong. Sometimes we should decrease our perfectionism, accept our mistakes and move on more courageously, then more new doors will be open. Back to the joke telling example; if we don’t afraid, among 10 times 8 times our jokes would be funny, and of course 2 times would be tasteless or rude. But no matter, most of the time we are a good humorist ; )

“…  it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”   Here says it is a quote by Marilyn Monroe!


February 6, 2013

Almost 3 years ago, when I was in the Netherlands, a friend of mine was helping me regarding my procrastination. She thought one of the roots could be in my “perfectionism”. So she gave me an assignment. I should write a list of those achievements that I had in my life either in my opinion or other people’s. The second part of the assignment was to prepare a list of what I want to reach in the future.

Today I found it in my email and it was interesting to read through the second list! Some items have been achieved and some not, but the more interesting part was the items that I don’t care about them any more. It is funny to see how you change in 3 years! For example I have written there that in the near future I want to: “Restart my non-education studies like philosophy or other related issues to find non-answered questions of my life” which made me smiling. Not because I’m not interested in philosophy topics anymore, rather because I’m not searching for answer of non-answered questions any more. Today I call them non-answerable questions and don’t care or think about them, simply because they are non-answerable and my time worths to be spent on more interesting hobbies : ) One of the hobbies still could be reading philosophy books, but just as a hobby in the same level of playing chess, not as a vision of my life.

I suggest you to write such a list, and some year later you can read it and see how you have changed.


P.S: Another place you can see your changes is your old blog posts. Who knows, some year later I may read this post and smile to some parts of it 😉


February 4, 2013

Yesterday in a ski resort, with a friend we were going up by a chair lift. In the right side there were some snow hills that ski jumpers were jumping over and doing some acrobatics. I asked my friend “can we do that some day?” He answered “if we practice we can, but generally it is not my style or interest to do such crazy things, so I don’t dream about that”.

And tonight, I was lucky to be in a seminar that two great documentary photographers of our time presented their jobs. What I was telling myself afterwards was that “I can’t even dream to do such courageous and glorious jobs. I can just appreciate them and be happy that I’m living in the same world that such great people live”.


Andrea Bruce (right), Erling Borgen (Middle) and Pep Bonet (left) in the Nikon Nordic seminar in Oslo – Feb 4, 2013

Andrea and Pep, both of them are documentary photographers for many years and working on human rights issues in many conflicting areas. Andrea which has worked for Washington Post and is working now for New York Times, was in Iraq war for 5 years, in Afghanistan for several years, in Gaza during the recent battle, in Bahrain during the failed revolution and many other risky places. Her enthusiasm for bringing attention to the people in war zones is unbelievable. Once in the QA part,  Erling asked “Andrea, how you can mentally survive after living in all of these disasters?” She answered that every time she comes back home (US), she hopes that her works can change people perception. But when she doesn’t see changes in people mind, she starts another project to do a better job and increase her success chance to change people view! That’s in my opinion truly why she has been recently the recipient of the first Chris Hondros Fund Award for the “commitment, willingness and sacrifice shown in her work.” Don’t loose the opportunity to see her great jobs in her website. She was used to write weekly in a blog in Washington Post about her shots and feelings in Iraq. You can find the archive here.

Pep, the other great photographer, which usually adds music to his photo presentations, has recently received the 1st prize for his first short movie in the World Press Photo Online Short 2013. He has worked on many long-term projects in Africa and South America. He has also launched a 3 years interesting reportage on the rock ‘n roll band Motörhead which is his favorite band. The result of his job is a 10 min multimedia work. Also his website includes his great portfolio, don’t miss it.

And now I’m in the train back to Trondheim. It was a very different evening. am feeling very great : )

عقده‌ي حقارت و نگاه حذفي رايج در ما ايراني‌ها

March 17, 2011

حتما در سال‌هاي اخير با ايميل‌ها و صفحات فيس‌بوكي با اين عناوين برخورد داشتيد:

–          ولنتاين غربي‌ است، اگر يك ايراني اصيل هستي سپندار مذگان را جشن بگير!

–          دعاي لحظه‌ي تحويل سال عربي است، اگر به نوروز پارسي پايبند هستي نيايش پارسي را زمزمه كن!

–          دين اصيل ما ايراني‌ها زرتشتي است، اگر يك آريايي اصيل هستي اسلام اين دين اجباري را كنار بگذار!

–          مولانا ايراني است، ترك نيست!

–          ابن سينا عرب نيست، ايراني است!

–          آذربايجان و بحرين مال ايران است و بايد به ايران بازگردانده شود!

–          …


1-      من نه چيزي از تاريخ مي‌دونم نه علت دقيق و جامعه‌شناسانه‌ي ظهور اين پديده‌ها در ايران رو مي‌دونم. اما احساس شخصي‌ام اينه كه پشت اين حركات كه برخي‌اشون از هيچ منطقي هم سرچشمه نمي‌گيرند (براي مثال استدلال مي‌كنيم كه محل زندگي و مرگ شخص مهم نيست، بلكه زبان آثار او مهمه و به همين دليل مولانا ترك نيست و ايراني است! اما از طرف ديگر ابن سينا كه اكثر آثار او به زبان عربي است رو ايراني مي‌دونيم چون محل سكونت سال‌هايي از زندگي و محل وفاتش در ايران فعلي است! دو منطق كاملا ناسازگار!) چيزي شبيه عقده‌ي حقارت و احساس كمبود پنهان شده! احساس مي‌كنم اگر امروز چيزي داشتيم كه بهش بباليم انقدر براي ابراز هويت به گذشته چنگ نمي‌زديم. حركات ما درست مثل اينه كه سوئدي‌ها به جاي اين كه به خاطر ولوو و ساب و اريكسون و كيفيت بالاي محصولاتشون، كيفيت بالاي زندگي‌اشون، امنيت اجتماعي‌اشون، رعايت حقوق فردي و وجود دموكراسي و آزادي  وبرابري نسبي جنسيتي (كه همه و همه مرهون تلاش‌اشون در همين صد سال گذشته بوده و ربطي به وايكينگ‌ها نداره!) به كشورشون ببالند، هر روز صفحه‌ي فيس‌بوك درست كنند كه نروژ جزيي از سوئد بوده آن را به ما پس بدهيد و فلان شخص دانماركي نيست و سوئدي است و …!


2-      مشكلي در مطرح شدن و تبليغ سپندارمذگان و نيايش فارسي لحظه‌ي تحويل سال و مسائلي ازين قبيل وجود نداره، هر كسي آزاده اون چيزي كه بهش علاقه داره رو ترويج كنه، اما مشكل از نظر من نگاه حذفي رايج در ماست! چه اشكالي داره بسته‌ي فرهنگي ولنتاين و بسته‌ي فرهنگي سپندارمذگان هر دو عرضه بشند و هر كس هر كدوم رو دوست داشت انتخاب كنه؟ چه اشكالي داره برخي‌امون دعاي عربي تحويل سال و برخي ديگه‌امون هم نيايش پارسي‌اش رو بپسنديم؟ بدون اين كه به هم‌ديگه برچسب وطن‌فروش و غيراصيل و غرب‌زده و … بزنيم!


روم ايتاليا

January 22, 2011

در بيشتر موارد با “مشت نمونه‌ي خرواره” موافق نيستم، مخصوصا اگه بخواد نتيجه‌گيري كلي در مورد يه كشور براساس چند روز مشاهده باشه. يه مثال نقض‌اش كه الان به ذهن‌ام مي‌رسه اينه كه توي دو سال و نيمي كه سوئد هستم هيچ‌وقت نبوده كه ببينم دستگاه عابربانكي خراب باشه يا به ندرت ديدم كه جاهاي خدماتي مثل بانك يا صرافي‌ها سيستم‌اشون قطع باشه! اما پارسال يه بار كه مي‌خواستم مقداري كرون رو به يورو تبديل كنم به يه صرافي مراجعه كردم كه ديدم به خاطر تعميرات بسته است. به صرافي بعدي كه سر زدم گفت سيستم‌اش مشكل داره و مستركارت قبول نمي‌كنه و بايد پول نقد به‌اش بدم. و وقتي به نزديك‌ترين عابربانك سر زدم ديدم خرابه! همون لحظه گفتم اگه توريستي بودم كه گذري به سوئد ميومدم و فقط يك روز مي‌موندم و همه‌ي اين اتفاقات همون يك روز برام مي‌افتاد احتمالا فكر مي‌كردم چه كشور درب و داغونيه! خلاصه اين مثال رو گفتم تا بگم چرا با “مشت نمونه‌ي خرواره” موافق نيستم!

جاتون خالي 4 تا 8 ژانويه با پنج تا از دوستان ايراني كه هر كدوم جايي از اروپا – از شمالي‌ترين نقاط سوئد تا سواحل مديترانه! – زندگي مي‌كنيم سفري به روم ايتاليا داشتيم. واقعا سفر دلچسبي بود! هم به خاطر هم‌سفران پايه و هم‌دل، هم به خاطر هواي خوب و مطبوع (وقتي دو ماه دماي بالاي صفر نديده باشي 10 درجه مطبوع حساب مي‌شه!) و هم به خاطر اماكن ديدني بسيار خوب شهر روم. اتفاقا از دوستاني كه تابستون به ايتاليا سفر كرده بودند خيلي بد شنيده بوديم و انتظار ديگه‌اي داشتم اما خوشبختانه همه چيز خوب بودو خوش گذشت.

خوب با وجود اين كه مخالف “مشت نمونه‌ي خرواره” هستم اما مشتي كه اين چهار روز برداشتم رو به صورت خلاصه مي‌گم، شما لطفا به خروار تعميم‌اش نديد!

–          رانندگي با سوئد متفاوت بود و براي مثال همون شب اول راننده‌ي اتوبوس فرودگاه چند بار توي خيابون‌هاي شهر از اين لاين به اون لاين رفت و ياد رانندگي ايران رو زنده كرد!

–          توي ايستگاه‌هاي اتوبوس از تابلوهاي ديجيتالي كه اعلام كنه اتوبوس بعدي كي مياد خبري نبود، وقتي هم اتوبوسي سر وكله‌اش پيدا مي‌شد اگر ايستگاه خلوت بود بايد براش دست تكون مي‌دادي وگرنه ممكن بود واي نسه!

–          خيابون بندي‌ها خيلي شبيه تهران بود و بعد از مدت‌ها پياده روهاي شبيه تهران ديديم! و خبري از جاده‌ي مخصوص عابر پياده و دوچرخه نبود!

–          برخورد بعضي مغازه‌دارها و فروشندگان مواد غذايي و گارسون‌هاي خيلي خوب بود و برخي هم بداخلاق بودن!

–          قيمت حمل و نقل خيلي كم‌تر از سوئد بود اما مواد غذايي تقريبا يكسان بود!

–          همون‌طور كه انتظار مي‌رفت بستني فوق‌العاده‌اي داشت و ما طي 4 روز سه بار بستني خورديم:دي

–          فقير به مراتب بيش‌تر از سوئد به چشم مي‌خورد كه قاعدتا ناشي از كاپيتاليستي بودن ايتالياست.

–          خيلي بهمون سپرده بودن مراقب جيب‌هامون باشيم، ما كه دزدي‌اي نديديم اما كيف يكي از بچه‌هاي هاستل رو زده بودند.

–          هواي روم اون چند روز شبيه زمستون‌هاي سواحل شمالي ايران بود حتي شايد يه مقدار گرم‌تر! با اين كه فاصله‌ي زيادي تا دريا نداشت اما بويي كه سواحل ايران به خاطر نزديكي با دريا دارن رو نداشت! حالا نمي‌دونم سواحل ايران دقيقا چه بويي مي‌دن، بوي ماهي، بوي شن ساحل، اما به هر حال يه بويي مي‌دن كه من بندر رو با اون بو مي‌شناسم:دي البته ازين بو توي گوتنبرگ سوئد هم خبري نيست و متاسفانه من احساس نمي‌كنم كه در يك شهر بندري زندگي مي‌كنم!

–          زوج‌هاي جوون مثل بقيه‌ي جاهاي اروپا در مكان‌هاي عمومي هم رو مي‌بوسيدند با اين تفاوت كه بوسيدن توي سوئد معمولا بي سروصداست اما توي روم صداي مالاچ و مولوچ زياد به گوش مي‌رسيد:دي


ديگه مشت ديگه‌اي يادم نمياد، اما كلهم اوصيكم بزياره روم علي الخصوص في فصل الزمستان كه هم هوا خوبه هم خلوته!


زندگي عشقي

December 9, 2010

از خرداد كه از دوران فوق ليسانس فارغ التحصيل شدم تا الان هم چنان دارم برا ورود به دوره ي دكترا تلاش مي كنم. ازون جا كه (به دلايل شخصي) فقط به چهار پنج تا از كشورهاي اروپايي گير دادم هنوز به نتيجه نرسيدم! با توجه به اين كه نمي شه بي پول زندگي رو گذروند هر از گاهي توي دانشگاه پروژه هاي كاري انجام مي دم كه علاوه بر اين كه براي رزومه ام خوبه حقوق‌اش هم خوشبختانه خيلي خوبه و يك ماه كه كار مي كنم خرج سه چهار ماهم تامين مي شه. خلاصه اين وضعيت باعث شده كه هر از گاهي كار كنم و هر از گاهي هم به كارهاي مورد علاقه ام برسم (كتاب بخونم، فيلم ببينم، سفر برم، عكاسي كنم،…). اسم اين نوع زندگي رو هم گذاشتم زندگي عشقي!

در واقع هميشه ايده ال ام براي زندگي همين زندگي عشقي بوده، يعني يه مدت كار پروژه اي (ترجيحا مورد علاقه ات) رو انجام بدي و يه مدت هم بيكار باشي و با پولي كه از كار در آوردي به علايق‌ غير حرفه ايت برسي. يه جورايي زندگي در لحظه ي حال! كليد لذت بردن ازين نوع زندگي هم اينه كه نگراني آينده رو از ذهنت پاك كني! تا سه ماه پيش خيلي نگران نتيجه ي دكترا و تمديد ويزا و پيدا كردن خونه و اتمام مهلت معافيت سربازي و تموم شدن پول بودم و يكي از سخت ترين دوران زندگي‌ام رو مي گذروندم. اما از وقتي به خودم اومدم و نگراني آينده رو حذف كردم كلا ورق برگشته و دارم بهترين دوران زندگي ام رو سپري مي كنم! جالبيه ماجرا اينه كه هيچ كدوم از عواملي كه سه ماه پيش نگراني ايجاد مي كردند حذف نشدند، اما به طرز عجيبي همه اشون دارن دقيقه ي نود حل مي شند. مثلا تا پولم مي خواد تموم شه يه پروژه ي جديد جور مي شه! يا ويزام ماه ديگه به اتمام مي رسه و هيچ كدوم از راه هاي نرمال براي تمديدش جواب نداد، اما استادم هفته ي پيش قبول كرد يه نامه بده تا ازون طريق بهم ويزا بدن. خونه هم همين طوري دقيقه ي آخر جور شد! و به همين ترتيب مطمئنم دكترا هم تا سال ديگه جور مي شه و شر سربازي تا مدتي از سرم باز مي شه.

حالا اين موارد رو خيلي سخت مي شه تعميم داد يا به صورت يه قانون قطعي ازشون صحبت كرد اما تجربه ي شخصي‌ام بهم ثابت كرده كه اگه در كنار تلاشي كه براي بهتر شدن آينده مي كنم نگراني رو حذف كنم و زياد منتظر آينده نباشم خودش جور مي شه!

پي نوشت: امروز خيلي روز فوق العاده اي بود. ديشب كلي برف جديد باريده بود و امروز هم آسمون صاف و آبي و آفتابي بود، ازون روزايي كه كم گير ميان. خلاصه نمي شد كارو نپيچوند و عكس نگرفت:دي