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Maintaining Control (Editorial - Issue 135)
May 1, 2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic has shaken much of the world to its core and caused many disruptions. Economies have been crippled, millions have been laid off, quarantine has forced us to stay at home for an extended period of time, and thousands have died. Control over our lives and society, it seems, has been lost for most of us.

Perhaps it is possible to, ironically, use what takes control away from us as a means to regain it. One should ponder this coronavirus disaster, why it has come to us, what we can learn from it, and how we can prevent it from happening again. This way, we can regain control through reflection, faith, and science in order to learn from our past mistakes to help ensure that such a crisis does not happen again. Otherwise, we could continue to lose control of our societies.

Our brains have a finite amount of resources but must be taken care of in order to ensure that our bodies can perform all of our necessary daily functions. We can strengthen our brains through long-term potentiation (LTP), which essentially means using it regularly in order to keep it fresh, strong, and up to date. It also explains how our brains change and adapt to different situations and scenarios we encounter, thus serve as a means for us to learn from our hardships and develop new strategies for survival and growth. How can we maintain control of our minds and bodies if we do not learn from our mistakes and continue to grow?

We can continue to find control and peace in anything that speaks to us on a personal or spiritual level. This can range from simple scraps of paper to eloquent forms of art, such as Ebru. Our authors delve into a wide range of topics that they are passionate about. Their arts and crafts, whether a canvas for art or a sheet of paper for writing, is their field where they are in complete control. Surely, we can maintain control in these hobbies or actions even when it seems that everything else around us is falling apart.

“The Orientalists” piece in this issue is providing an alternative perspective on some of the travelers to the East. The perception of the East in the Western mind has been much shaped by the extensive chronicles of these travelers who endured long and strenuous journeys across North Africa and all the way to India. Lawrence Brazier shares with us a panorama of some of the leading Orientalists many of whom, according to him, “were travelers who found the East, indeed, ‘other’ than what they experienced at home. Their quest was a personal enthusiasm for the Orient.”