Backgammon and shallow perception of the world

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
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One of the complicated matters, which have kept philosophers busy for years, is how men form convictions and ideas and formulate transforming or constant facts. Information is received by the brain and the issues one argues about are produced by a path that is relevant to the theory of knowledge.

Few days ago, I read an interesting chapter from the book “Arab mentality – violence is the master of judgments” for Fouad Ishaq al-Khoury, a Lebanese writer who takes keen interest in sociology.

In the chapter entitled “Playing and ideology,” he analyzes the Arab mentality via backgammon considering it is an Arabic game and because “the arrangement of the backgammon board reflects a general universal organization to play the game. However, some think it is related to the general universal system as the board with its squared and open shape is a symbol of the earth’s endless perfection.

The black and white bars carved in the wood are a symbol of night and day. The four angles which include the bars are a symbol of the four seasons while the 12 bars on each side represent the number of months a year.

Khoury thinks games like the board game backgammon and the card game basra follow the same flat brain while other games like volleyball, tennis, basketball and football follow the hierarchical structure. Playing influences the ideology and exposes the mentality and the role of imagination in producing the truth.

Wise men have been busy with the basic obviousness, which is considered the platform of formulating the truth, or the plurality of “paths of truth” as Martin Heidegger put it. Thus came philosophical concepts based on Aristotle’s logic and Greek ideas and on developed concept of wisdom in the East and of ideas that oppose myths from the 5th century until the 15th century.

The axis of philosophical and theoretical work, which is related to truth, is the specific definition of the logic of the latter (the truth)

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

Heidegger’s theory

There are influential philosophies by Edmund Husserl and his students Herbert Marcuse, Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Heidegger. Heidegger was the most influenced by Husserl despite the political differences between them. Heidegger acknowledged to his teacher that he triggered his questions about existence.

There are sharp differences between Heidegger’s theory in time and space and Husserl’s phenomenalism that aims to answer the basic question of “how can objectivity become subjective?”

This was clearly seen in his book “Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology.” It was also seen through his debates of other philosophers’ theories about the production of truth, such as in his book “Logical Investigations.” The book has three parts in which Husserl discusses the debate about truth and its sequence of production.

Husserl was armed with phenomenalism as he brought back the phenomena of awareness into the picture as they’re considered the mind’s activity and grace. To him, existence is what appears. Therefore, he went through previous philosophies and the roles which each philosopher assigned to his theory. He did so via logical research of the pure mind and by researching the obvious.

While discussing the extent of psychology’s independence from logic, he set necessary questions which he called the questions of traditional conflict that are linked to determining logic. These questions are: Is logic a theoretical art or a practical one, i.e. it’s an industry? Is it independent from other sciences such as psychology or metaphysics?

Is it a demonstrative and communal art? Or an inductive and empirical art? Despite the importance of these questions in the sequence of logic that will experiment truth, Husserl wittingly warns of being bias to traditional tendencies or of setting initial differences that influence them.

The axis of philosophical and theoretical work, which is related to truth, is the specific definition of the logic of the latter (the truth). Therefore, the collective perception of the truth destroys any potential individual outlook of the world. The main goal of philosophical differences is to establish the factors of contrast and virtues of difference especially that facts are many – as many as philosophies and more.

Defining facts have always obliterated the concept of “character” as Hegel puts it. The game – the backgammon, which Khoury mentioned – may be evidence to imagining existence and truth with its different paths and routes. And as Goethe put it: At the beginning no one is against anything as much as he’s against the errors he abandoned.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat,, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.

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