Enlightened Conflict

makbul and maktul … the burning space in one letter

July 11th, 2013


“The burning space between one letter and the next …” –Edmund Jabesburning space book of questions



I don’t know why … but I am always a little surprised when I am reminded that really small changes can make monumental differences.

And nowhere are we reminded more clearly than in languages and words … where one letter can make a big difference.


Makbul  is “the Favorite.”

Maktul is the Executed.”

<makbul and maktul is of Arabic origin and is Turkish>.


Here is a prime example I discovered in a fabulous book by Roger Crowley on the siege of Malta and the Battle of Lepanto called Contest for the Center of the World <Ottomans & Christians in late 1500’s>.

Makbul Ibrahim Pasha (“the Favorite”), which later changed into Maktul Ibrahim Pasha (“the Executed”) after his execution in the Topkapı Palace, was the first Grand Vizier in the Ottoman Empire appointed by Suleiman the Magnificent.


Which makes me think about morality and mortality.


And wield and yield.

burning space little_changeExercising authority or influencing versus giving up or relinquishing.




I call it the burning space between one letter and the next.

An incredibly small space which can burn with meaning … in Life <and business>.



I know I am misusing the quote.


Kind of.

Edmund Jabes used the quote in the Book of Questions <a meditative narrative of Jewish Experience and man’s relation to the world> and if you like thinking … this is your kind of book.

If you want answers look elsewhere … this book is solely about questions.

Solely about the quest for answers … and offering few answers.


I like that because the quest for answers is often found in something so small … something so seemingly inconsequential … it can be overlooked.

“nothing that small could have been the cause of that.”



One letter.

The favorite … the executed.


I imagine this thought of the importance of one letter can make you ask a lot of questions … where the answers are monumental in comparison to the one letter.

Truth can be found in the empty space as one letter deconstructs an entire thought and meaning … only to be reconstructed as something entirely new … with the addition of a new letter.

On such a fine line … small change … many things hang in balance.


It is a reminder of many things.

We often think of the difference between doing what is right … and wrong … as a deep clear cut crevasse.

Well … often it is not.

Often that crevasse is simply a faintly drawn line in the dirt which you could step over blindfolded.

And yet … on the difference … that faint line … that inconsequential letter … hangs the balance of something big.

On such small things … a small gesture … a small decision … such things like morality and mortality hang.


The favorite and the executed.


Within the burning space between letters resides the fate of many things.

It is that small critical moment when the road taken can lead to somewhere completely unforeseen.burning space bitter


Life can turn on such a small thing.

Aggravatingly so.

I say aggravatingly … because we want the big things to be foreshadowed by some big consequential moment or decision or whatever. And yet the balance of Life often resides in that burning space between the letters.

The seemingly inconsequential moment where one letter is replaced by another.


And business?

Well. I know I am guilty of forgetting this in the business world. You seek answers in big consequential moments and decisions … seeking epiphanies in big words, big decisions and big, or lack of, ideas. And yet too often the answers reside in the seemingly inconsequential small space, small words, small decisions or seemingly small ideas.





The favorite.fate loves the fearless

The executed.





One letter.


In such inconsequential things life can turn.

In such inconsequential things … well … are the echoes in eternity.


Oh … but remember … fate loves the fearless.


One Coment

  • manifo.com says on: July 12, 2013 at 10:51 am


    With thanks! Good information.

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Enlightened Conflict