In this episode, we chat with Idris Martin. In addition to discussing the experience of being a queer Muslim, and youth mental health, we also set about inventing and pricing up a dash cam for cats. This episode was a non-stop ride of laughter, emotion, and insight. Read on for more details!
Mental Health, and Pet Social Media – Episode 2 with Idris
Idris Martin is a queer Muslim from Adelaide. Writing that sentence 15 years ago may have been considered cyber-bullying, but Idris believes that the ability to self-identify is at the core of his identity in both a religious, and sexual context. Read his account of going to Mecca here. Due to his background, his current work in a trade union in South Australia sees him championing the rights of the marginalised. Consequently, he strives for them to be comfortable with who they are, and be accepted for what they do. He believes good mental health is the mark of a healthy society.
Especially within his religious identity, Idris seeks to move away from the orthodoxy of conservative clerics, because they often misinterpret religious texts to further their own political agendas. This brought up a very interesting idea to start the episode!
The Encoding/Decoding Text Analyser
First of all, Idris proposed a project he wants to work on. Given the team and resources, Idris would like to mount a “decoding analysis” of the symbols present in the Qur’an – the holy text of Islam. The theory of encoding/decoding comes from Stuart Hall, and you can read more about it here (opens .pdf). Idris wants to use Stuart Hall’s theory to better understand symbols as they appear, and their meaning, rather than accepting the entire text as a literal work. It seems like this analysis would be immensely useful in places where there is limited access to discussion and knowledge around one’s holy texts, but can also be extrapolated for use in education. So, what uses can you think of for this?
The AI Diary for your Mental Health
Do you keep a diary or journal? I try to, but more often than not, I forget, or choose not to write anything down. I’ve been using Daylio, but one of my major issues is curating what information I provide, and this often leads to a degree of dishonesty. Therefore, what if your phone could prompt you to speak your day out loud? Or even to video-journal your day? Furthermore, linguistic/facial expression analysis on your entries could mean more detail being stored around what you care about. Such an app would allow someone to be able to reflect more honestly, and their innermost thoughts on a deeper level! Most of all, this would have an incredibly positive impact on mental health. How would you develop such an app? Does such a level of linguistic/facial expression analysis already exist? Let us know your thoughts
Dashcam for Cats
This one doesn’t need much explanation. As a dad to two cats, I would LOVE to be able to tune in to what my cats are up to! Has this been done before? Would you buy it? Tell us what you think! Furthermore, if you want a daily dose of cat pics, be sure to check out Toomas’s cats, Wally and Theo!
Scott Kugle – a Muslim convert, turned scholar
Amina Wadud – a wonderful female Muslim scholar
Among these ideas there were plenty more. Here are the main highlights to listen for:
- Idris Bio [0:35]
- Encoding and Decoding Theory [2:30]
- Background to the Qur’anic tradition [5:25]
- The Story of Sodom and Gamorrah [8:25]
- Modern Islam [9:30]
- Access to Information [10:18]
- Literature Analysis App [12:40]
- The AI Diary [13:00]
- Queer Mental Health [16:40]
- Muslim Mental Health [18:30]
- The Need for Communication [19:50]
- Facebook and Cameras [23:30]
- Dashcam for Cats [25:26]
- Cat Court [27:30]
- 5WordFrenzy [31:35]
- Icelandic Incest Prevention [32:22]
- Closing Remarks [38:42]
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