Have you ever wished to be called another name? Do names affect your personality or life?

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My name is Sahba. My family decided to call me this name because they are believed in ‘Hafez’ who is the greatest Iranian poet. ‘Divane-Hafez’ is a book that contains his poems and my name has got from it. Sahba originally means spiritual red wine which is awarded to exceptional human-beings. The number of people I have heard with the same name as I have in Iran was less than ten. Consequently, my name was unique for almost every one in Iran who met me for the first time and I always have been admired for my unique and meaningful name. Because of this occurrence in my life, I always have noticed people’s name and also have had a variety of open questions in mind like: why one Justin (Justin Cubilo) is an ELI teacher as well as a PhD student, while another Justin (Justin Timberlake) is a  famous singer? Would you be the same person with another name? would you be the US president if your name was Barack? Are really names irrelevant to our personalities, or they do have affect on our lives?

There is controversy amongst different people about whether our names can affect our personality or life. The proponents of the idea that names do not affect our personalities maintain that always our names are chosen by our parents. Consequently, our names reflect their taste not ours and as a result our names cannot affect our personalities. Further, they believe that our names are irrelevant to our personalities because we often see people with the identical names and different personalities. They believe that our personalities are based on many different inborn and external factors and our names are not among these factors.

Conversely, the proponents of the idea that name have definite influence on our personalities and lives express that the most important aspect of the personality influenced by names is the matter of self-concept. Self-concept starts developing as the newborn baby born and this self-concept is learned and build based on the verbal or non-verbal messages received from the most significant people of their lives. Parents are the most important message-senders, but, as children mature and become more and more independent, the messages other people like their friends, their teachers and so on all contribute to their developing concepts of self. In a sense, self-concept works as a kind of script for the way people act based on. If a boy has an image of himself as bad or as not capable of doing well in kindergarten or school, his behavior will probably reflect this image. He will tend to behave the way he thinks a “bad boy” is supposed to behave, or he will fail to learn as he should even though he might be pretty clever.

A human’s name has an impact on the process of building a self-concept as the name helps determine the messages other people send the child frequently. In each culture, it has been well proved through research that certain names are generally considered desirable and have positive feelings associated with them. It is also well established that other names are looked upon as being undesirable and carry negative associations and feeling. For example, in Iranian culture, Ali, ValaReza, Kourosh(Cyrus),  Niki, Khorshid are all considered desirable and positive, and Gholam, Sakine, Javad all provoke the opposite reaction. Because of this, people unconsciously, but nevertheless effectively, send positive and negative messages in keeping with positive and negative images.

Having all these ideas in mind, would you be another person if you called differently? Have your ever wished to be called another name? Which name and Why?

Share your wished names, attitudes, and experiences

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How Iraninas start dating, falling in love, and getting married? How much families are important in these issues?

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Marriage is one of the most important issues that happens for most of the people in the world and probably is the most important one!  Based on differences in cultures, histories, religions, societies and so on, the ways people start dating, fall in love, and marry differ in the countries all over the world. Also, the ways people celebrate marriage ceremonies are dissimilar in the countries based on those differences. Being in an English learning for international students class, I think (hope!) it would be interesting for the students as well as my teacher with dissimilar background to know that how Iranians start dating, falling in love, and getting married.

How Iranians start dating, and falling in love?

The way people start dating in Iran is highly dependent on the family they were born. Generally, we have two extreme categories for Iranian families. The fist category are ‘religions’ families who believed that their sons or daughters should not have any relationships before marriage.  Sometimes this category also is refereed to as ‘traditional’ family. Having this attitude in mind, a probable question coming to mind is that so how boys and girls in religions families meet each other for the first time while they should not have any relationships before marriage? To answer this question I should explain a custom which we called ‘Khastegari’. ‘Khastegari’ is a custom in which families of both girl and boy come to meet each other for the first time with or without knowing each other before and this time could be the first time the the boy and the girl meet each other. In this meeting, families as well as the boy and the girl talk to each for about 4-5 hours to get to know each other. Also, another custom that families talk about in ‘khastegari’ called as ‘Mehrieh’. ‘Mehrieh’ is an amount of money, usually a big money more than $100000 that if the couple divorced, the guy should give to his wife. It is really Ridiculous!!!!! is not it? After this meeting, if the families especially the boy and girl want to know each other more, a period starts we called ‘Namzadi’. In this period, the couple is officially in the relationship and try to know more each other. In this period the couple either falls in love with each other and decides to get married or understands they cannot get along with each other and break up.

The second category are those families we called ‘open-minded’ or ‘modern’ families. I think you are more familiar with these families than the previous category. These families allow their children to have relationships before they want to get married. The ways boys/girls in open-minded families start dating and meeting each other is more or less similar to here, US. They meet each other in parties, friends’ groups, universities, etc. and they continue dating until they falling in love with each other and getting married or break up the relationships and start another one. In these families, once a boy and a girl fall in love, they will still have ‘Khstegari’ and ‘Namzadi’ customs. For this category, ‘Khasteegari’ is just a formal request for marriage which is usually from the guy’s family. Conversely, for those religious families, ‘Khstegari’ is a formal request for starting a relationship. Also ‘Namzadi’ for the couple with open-minded families is usually shorter in comparison with the first category as the couple already know each other and fell in love with each other.

Although as a person who has grown up in an open-minded family, most of the Iranians I have seen and interacted with were belonged to the second category, the number of people who belonged to the first category is significant enough to be taken into account. It should be mentioned that most of the Iranians do fit in one these categories, however, there are many other families who were traditional but are moving toward being considered as a modern families. This situation mostly occurs when parents have traditional thoughts but the children do not want to follow what they parents tell. Such families are really difficult to interact with as they are in a transient state and even do not know how they should treat. The boys and girls in such families are the biggest victims in many situations especially for having serious relationships, dating, falling in love, and getting married. In these families, the way that boys and girls start dating or have relationships before the marriage is exactly similar to the boys and girls belonged to the modern families with one big difference and this difference is that usually one or both parents are not aware of these relationships. Further, concealing these relationships is not the only problem in these families. Another problem rises when the families decide to force their children to marry in a traditional way while these boys and girls have their own relationships and want to get marry in a different way with different person. Anyway, Once the children in these families want/forced to get married either in a traditional or modern way, they will still have ‘Khastegari’ and ‘Namzadi’ and these two customs are done usually in a way similar to the traditional families rather than modern families.

How Iranians get married?

After that the couple falls in love and decides to get married, they should celebrate their marriage ceremony. We have two steps for this ceremony. The first step is called ‘Patakhti’. In the ‘Patakhti’ ceremony usually the couple just invites the close people like close friends, brothers, sisters, their families, etc. In this ceremony the guests should give their gifts to the couple which usually are really worth a fortune. During this ceremony, the guests and the couple dance together and have a lot of fun and usually the ceremony end up with a dinner. The second step is marriage ceremony. In this ceremony, the couple invites almost all of their families for the ceremony and guests give their valuable gifts to the couple. The rest of the ceremony is pretty similar to the ‘Patakhti’ with a big difference that the ceremony is held in a big place. The way that the couple celebrate their marriage is also highly dependent on their families. These customs are almost the same for both traditional and modern families with one big difference. If the couple comes from a traditional families, the ceremony will be held in a place that men and women are separated. In the other words, all men go to one place and at the same night all women go to another place and men and women celebrate the marriage ceremony separately, But for the modern families these customs are normal and all people go to one place to celebrate the marriage ceremony. After the marriage ceremony the couple usually goes to a trip on their honeymoon and then start their new life.

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How these customs differ from your customs? Do the Iranian couples really get married or it is better to say that their families are getting married? Did you get shocked once you read this article?

share your shock, ideas, and customs !!!

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Is the future of Virtual Reality alluring or terrifying?

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What Virtual Reality is?

The term of Virtual Reality (VR) refers to computer simulated environment. Such an environment could be the one that exists in the real world or could be any other places that never existed at all. Most of the current virtual reality environments give the person just visual experiences, however, there are VR environments that also provide the person with an appropriate level of additional sensory information such as sound, smell, touch, etc. For sensing the VR environments, a person should use head-mounted display in which he/she sees the environment in either 2D or 3D. Having this head-mounted display and feeling to be in an environment, people can go wherever they want, introducing the concepts of telexistence or telepresence, or can go to the historical era they are interested in like renaissance etc. VR has found many applications in different aspects from virtual training of pilots, surgeons, soldiers to game industry, manufacturing, etc. Although currently you can go to wherever you want in VR environments, you still feel that your are in the virtual world not in the real one. The future of VR could be very terrifying as some scientists believe that it can considerably change the concepts of life, humanity, and existence.

Our Brain and Body

It may sound strange but our bodies are one of the most problematic matters we are born and always have challenge with. Our bodies have limitations of the physics law; are extremely fragile; and can be killed and injured easily instantaneously. Also, aging can greatly deteriorate our physical body. The bad news is that our brain die at the same time that our body does. Every human brain contains a great deal of experiences, memories, knowledge, and information. Every time a human brain dies, all of those unique experiences, knowledge, etc. dies with it and are lost forever. At the current time, we have no alternative for our lives and death. However, scientists anticipate that one day we will have the choice between living in the real life, or living inside of the computers and having immortal virtual  life.

Virtual vs. Real World

Real world has many limitations and constrains governed by physical laws which virtual world does not. For example, when we want to go to another place, our physical body should go and it has its own great limitations. Also, we are not able to be somewhere instantaneously and it takes considerable amount of time to move from one place to another. In other words, time and space are dependent and coupled in the real world. However, in a virtual world, you can go from one place to another in a moment without having to move your body. Having these concepts in mind, two challenging questions are what we have done so far for overcoming the real world limitations and what we will do in future?

What we have done so far for overcoming the real world limitations?

Many technologies have been developed so far to reduce or eliminate the limitations of our real world. For example, telephones give us the chance of talking to people that are in different place (space). Internet  also give us the ability of interacting and sharing our ideas with people, who are not in the same place as we are, in a 2D environment (screen of the PCs). Internet in its current state is just a flat experience of a virtual world, involving only 2D sight, and sound. Trends show that computers are going toward giving users 3D experiences of what they are watching which would be a great progress for more realistic interactions of human beings with each other. Last but not least, as it has been discussed, VR is the technology has been developed and proved to be very effective for eliminating such limitations.

what will we do in future?

human beings always have dreamed of immortality from mummification customs of ancient Egypt until now. The first step for being immortal is the complete dissolution of all the restrictions we were born with. Virtual Reality is a great tool to overcome all of the restrictions we are born with. The future will probably be giving human beings the opportunity of living in the virtual environment and feel as they are living in a real world that does not have limitations any more. Can you imagine? you will have an avatar that could be anything you like. Is it really possible to have such an avatar? “Vertebrane” will answer this interesting question.

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Vertebrane refers to the system for a brain-computer interface. The idea of this concept is to replace one of the upper vertebra of the human spine with this interface. Having this interface into the body, the brain can be completely disconnected from other parts of the body and interestingly be connected to the computer. Having this connection, your brain can be connected to the computer and you can enjoy the things in the virtual world as they are real. This happens because it is your brain that gives you the sense of joy, happiness, sadness and other feelings. In short, you will have two modes, one is your real mode, the other is your ‘game mode’. In your real mode, the Vertebrane is off and you live in the real world. In your game mode, the Vertebrane is on; the brain is disconnected from your real body and reconnected to your avatar in the virtual reality environment on your computer. Your brain will be capable of controlling the avatar in the imaginary world and give you the feel that you are in the real world that has no limitations. Your body in the virtual reality will be superhuman, powerful, and beautiful. you can choose its appearance and power. Even you can fly in the sky with other humans or even with the creatures you never seen before. you can die and reborn. Death will be a meaningless concept in the virtual reality environment. Your muscles will be perfect and can do any work you want. You can go to the moon instantly and be with your friends right after. You can go to the different universes in a moment and visit any time period you want. You will be as beautiful as you want, as wealthy as you wish, eat anything you like in any quantity, and be as happy as you dream of. In short, you can be anyone, in anywhere, in any time, with anything. Having all these concepts in mind, followings are fundamental and serious questions must be taken into account in our futures:

Are you real? How long have you existed? Are you a human or an Avatar? Are you in a real world or virtual world? Are you going to live in the real world any more?

Is this future alluring or terrifying?