Abandoned. Pushed away. Cornered. All alone. Betrayed. Away from home… these are very familiar human feelings, things we've all experienced at various points in our lives. The most grievous of these experiences is perhaps being all by yourself when it seems there are thousands and thousands of other people around you. People are physically there, but there are gaps between you and them. Sometimes these gaps are invisible, and sometimes, though they seem narrow, they are really wide as oceans. Your language is incomprehensible. Your words do not reach them; the gap is impassable. It is like being the "white crow," the one who is rejected by his flock, which are all black. The lead article of this issue speaks on behalf of uniquely exceptional individuals or groups which have been treated by their own communities as outcasts. "Forlorn ones are the ones whose societies do not understand them. They are considered odd and scrutinized by those around them. A forlorn one's supreme ideals and transcendent thoughts are considered strange." Being forlorn is almost always the destiny of the giants of human history – from Abraham to Jesus, from Noah to Muhammad, peace be upon them, the great messengers of God were forced to flee their homelands, jailed, mocked, and tortured by their own people. Gülen's article is a tribute to them while reminding us of the example they set, determination in pursuit of a good cause.
Ibn 'Arabi was such a determined one. He is a strong milestone in the history of mysticism. His heritage goes beyond Muslim identity and encompasses a following from diverse traditions. In this issue, Brenda Pletcher explores Ibn 'Arabi's mystical legacy as a firm foundation for interreligious dialogue. For Pletcher, Ibn 'Arabi's philosophy of "diversity within unity," as symbolized by his vision of a Universal Tree surrounded by four mystical birds, reveals dialogues "of life, of study, of prayer, and of spirituality, all of which, if followed in an atmosphere of mutuality, will have the potential to facilitate people toward the dialogue of action—an action bringing forth a vision of justice for all."
Just as these great messengers enrich our spirits, so do fruits enrich our bodies.. We love their taste and smell, and are aware of their health benefits. However, a great majority of us do not consume fruits when we should – we are not even aware of when we should. "When To Eat Fruits" explains reasons why fruits should not be consumed right after a meal, and why we should eat them at least an hour before the main course, or two hours after. It is a very useful read on the right consumption of one of the most important components of our daily diet, which we wrongfully substitute with industrially processed juices.
Like eating well, recycling has become integral to our daily lives. We collect the food remains in our kitchen and the leaves in our backyard. We separate paper from plastic, all in the hopes of making our planet's body healthier.. But were you aware that recycling has always been a part of our body's survival mechanisms? Abdullah Acar says there are recycling centers in our cells which "have the duty to help with the digestion of cellular trash (i.e. damaged cellular organelles, misfolded proteins, toxic loads) so that energy can be generated and raw material obtained for the construction of new cellular units." Named autophagy (i.e. self-eating), this recycling phenomenon "is primarily activated or enhanced via fasting or food deprivation."
The Fountain is bringing scholars from different disciplines and traditions together in Istanbul on November 5-7 for a three-day workshop to have "Conversations on Life, Knowledge, and Belief." The purpose is to pave the way for The Fountain to be a platform of thoughtful discussions on cross-cultural dialogue, scientific thought, faith, and philosophy. We will keep you posted about the event.