— As I like it.

Greening of Islam: Solar Mosque

For hundreds of years we have spent a good amount of our valuable resources to build places of worship. In Turkey, it is no big surprise to find mosques in small neighborhoods without proper sanitary systems.

So, how does a mosque function? Why do we insist on allocating our limited resources for their construction first, making them priority even over things that seem to be more crucial in physical survival? As a place of worship, the ways in which a mosque lives are no different from its brothers; churches, temples or synagogues:

1. Gather people in the same place so that they can connect and feel a little less alone,

2. Manifest a set of rules they can live by so that they feel the comfort of following a routine and not having to make decisions or judgments by themselves,

3. Feed them stories and sermons they can spin around so that they have something to live for.

These needs have always been there, but the tools that correspond to them have changed. As far as I see, gathering people and making them spend time together was why Greek forums had arcades and benches, and why malls today have foodcourts. Following the book of rules is getting harder, especially now that most ofwhat’s written is out of date – a fact that people tend to justify with the same old move: “They were just metaphors and most of what you are judging now are actually misunderstood because of the errors in translation”. This phony-baloney explanation (seriously, how hard can it be to translate one text in several hundreds of years?) and the acceptance of the need to find a new book brings us the new era: Osho and life coaches for everything personal, a legal system for everything public.

The search for the meaning of life is exactly what the quest of the Holy Grail is all about, and thanks to Freud, Jung, Campbell and Eliade we all know now what actually lied beneath that story, despite the desperate writings of Middle Age scholars. As much as we want to create the illusion that there is something sacred in our lives, in our ‘selves’, all that there is is profane; the last two centuries have seen the deconstruction of all meaning and modern science has testified against the existence of souls and selves.

But stories are always handy. People like telling stories – a catchy story may change shape over ages but it hardly dies out. So if I were a religion, knowing that we all have strong father issues, I would definitely act in the name of aprotective, loving god, since that is something we’ll always want and never get. Well, he can get super angry from time to time but hey, whose father doesn’t?

Wait, does it rain when he gets mad? Because if that’s the case, we could and should make some arrangements to deliberately play with his temper, because we didn’t get much rainfall last year and most of the crops died before harvest. With the upcoming climate crisis, unpredictable climate events are the biggest problem and if there is a way to control things, it would just save our lives.

Just rotate your thoughts a little. For it is time we cultivated our garden – for God’s sake.

Now meet a solar dish, a lovely device to convert solar energy into electricity:

Solar dish systems use a mirror array to reflect and concentrate incoming direct normal insolation to a receiver, in order to achieve the temperatures required to efficiently convert heat to work.

A reflective surface, metalized glass or plastic, reflects incident solar radiation to a small region called the focus. The receiver absorbs energy reflected by the concentrator and transfers it to the engine’s working fluid. The absorbing surface is usually placed behind the focus of the concentrator to reduce the flux intensity incident on it.

The engine in a dish/engine system converts heat to mechanical power in a manner similar to conventional engines, that is by compressing a working fluid when it is cold, heating the compressed working fluid, and then expanding it through a turbine or with a piston to produce work. The mechanical power is converted to electrical power by an electric generator or alternator.

And see for yourselves that, crazy as it may seem, it might actually work:

For details and references, see my portfolio at bilgekobas.com/index.php?/work/solar-mosque

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