Friday, December 01, 2006

islam and violence con't.

Some more thoughts on violence/Islam.

Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity emerged at the same time (2nd century BCE-2nd century CE) in the same area: under Roman occupation.

Judaism (and Jewish forms of Christianity) by preventing the inclusion of Gentiles lead to a insular ethnic focus--partly by choice, partly by eventual suppression/ghettoization. Judaism then was off on its historical trajectory towards being separate, prejudiced, and eventually genocidally murdered. Judaism managed in the horror of the Holocaust through the United States and the creation of the Israeli state to enter a modern (orange) phase.

Christianity by proselytizing the Gentiles sought to co-opt the Roman system from within which it finally did in the fourth century which the conversion of the Empire to Christianity. But the seeds were sown early towards what would eventaully emerge as secularism in Western Christianity due to the rise of the Papacy/monasteries as outside the control of Western powers as well as the religious fervor of the Middle Ages & Reformation towards the creation on earth of heaven (forming the basis of both capitalist and communist dreams of elimiation of poverty, pain, dis-ease).

Islam emerged in the absence of imperial power. It arose under Tribal fighting. And the Muslim community was threatened by an actual enemy not an imperial regime (which the Christians and Jews could never fight and the ones who did in the Jewish Wars were eliminated).

The Muslims had no imperial power it could seek protection from. It had only its own resources. The mythic blue meme is a brutal system in many regards. The Christians had the Crusades. But the fact that the early followers had to take up arms for themselves did set a precendent that probably has added fuel to the fire.

Only I would say as the evolutionary movement has made leaps into worldcentric forms of governance and discourse. Prior to that Islam was the greatest empire in the world (along with the Chinese I suppose).

Islam in the 13th century was brutally attacked by a red meme tribal warlord group of Mongols. The Mongols would famoulsly stack the skulls and bones of murdered victims after killing every inhabitant of a town in order to frighten the populace of nearby places to surrender.

But even after the horrible destruction of Baghdad in the 1200s and the burning of the great phase of Arab Islamic Empire, Islam still managed to absorb the Mongols and conver them to a blue imperial regime. This led to the flowering of the second great phase of Islamic imperialism--the Turkic and Eastern phase. Islam's great cultural and religious centers moved to Turkey, Central Asia, India, and yes even Afghanistan (Mahmud of Ghazna), particularly the Ottoman Empire.

Again though blue meme empires had nothing approaching equality before the law as in modern societies. Orthodox Christians were made to grovel before their Turkic overlords to make requests. In Spain after the Reconquista, all Muslims were either expelled, forced to convert (and be forver harassed by the Inquisition and never accepted as true Christians) or were executed.

So there are plenty of pieces of evidence of the "myth of Islamic tolerance" in the pre-modern world. Tolerance as compared to modern and postmodern secular regimes. But as compared to other mythic imperial regimes--which is the real comparison--they came out overall much better than the Christian West.

It was with the European colonial period which destroyed the Islamic blue empire and left only a parasitic orange overlay. The Islamic world experienced break down (red) not breakthrough (to orange).

And with the introduction of oil which allowed petro-politics and non-marketization of the economy or political sphere, the spiral is stopped in its tracks. Then globalization comes in and further frgaments and makes obvious the disparity in wealth (satellite TVs for the poor in the ME), rainy day economies that in no way invest in infrastructure, education, etc.

So what we have with the common discourse on Islam, from both Muslim and non-Muslim alikes is two basic camps. One: Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance; Islamic terrorism is an extremist cause not true Islam. Two: Islam is a warrior religion which has always been about the conquering of the world and therefore will always be a threat to Western civilization.

And note that elements from both within Islam and out accept these two narratives.

--bin Laden agrees with many right-wing American commentators who say that Islam is about the conquering of the world. That every Muslim youth is a walking bomb for Allah.

--Progressive Muslims and multiculturalist (other secular) Westerners hold the same story about Islam.

In the Western non-Muslim worldview, the first position never really recognizes any of the great cultural and religious achievements of Islam. They were many and there are many elements of deep religious wisdom in Islamic revelation.

The second position does not, for a variety of reasons, allow for recognition of the dark sides inherent to the Islamic morphogenetic stream. The argument is to simply compare medieval Muslim brutality to say Christian West medieval brutality (as I did above). That is true so far as it goes, but it is incomplete.

In an evolutionary worldview, orange (and higher) has superseded blue. It becomes a pressure on individuals to evolve. This is not to call for the abolition of blue, as if that were possible.

What neither point of view understands--without a dialectic of progress, nor a both/and interpretative view--is that Islam must enter modernity/orange. Why do we think we are having these conversations at all if not Eros is pushing the Islamic world. Do we think the influence only goes one way with globalization bringing us jet planes into buildings and not globalization into Islamic (esp. Arab) households?

Recall that the Western world, which did enter the modern-orange realm, failed sadly in its leap. The differentiation of the value spheres (spirit, art, morals, science) led to the disenchantment/disintegration/fragmentation and eventual colonilization of the lifeworld (i/we) by science/it realm. [The differentiation into secularity does have its genesis in the words of Jesus: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's].

Islam does not want this broken-ness.

Though the Western world is not Christian any longer, secularism is sourced in Western Christianity. [Eastern Christians held to the traditional imperial mold and the Christian West abandoned them to the Turks].

So it is not a clash of civilizations (because of the multitude of stages beyond blue in the West) but Islam and Christianity are the two largest religions in the world and will only grow in the next century.

And they represent in a sense, two different visions of the role of religion and politics. Islam can (and will I believe) move into orange but it will not be esay. Only a both/and interpretative reconstruction (for both Muslim and non-Muslim alike) is going to make this transition possible.

Islam will have to answer from within its own canons with its own emergent leap, how to keep the key Islamic vision (stream) of the communal and the fusion of the political with the Islamic ideals while at the same time answering the main calls (dignity) of modernity: freedom of religious expression, impartial justice, free exchange of ideas/markets, and the ultimacy moving from the conquering of the world for imperial gains (children sacrificed to that idol) to the flowreing of human potential (education).

What Iraq showed was the arrogance of trying to impose the Anglo-American version of orange onto Islam. What pullout and abandon the ME measures, neo-realistic re-entrech autocracies (whether from the left or right) is the forgetting of the need for the transformation to occur.


At 1:10 AM, Blogger Jean said...

I have a question regarding Islam and violence which I ask/explore at my blog. Would appreciate any comments or insight you might have.

Thanks, Jean


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