Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tariq Ramadan a Crypto-Pagan?

So says Spengler in AsianTimes. Article here.

He starts by dealing with Paul Berman's long article in The New Republic on Ramadan. Ramadan is the grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood Founder Hassan al Banna. Tariq is a controversial figure and Western writers are constantly asking whether he is a moderate bridge builder for Muslims in Europe or a closet proponent of Islamism.

Read more

But Spengler takes a very different tact. Spengler:
We find an intriguing solution to Berman's puzzle in the work of the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), who argued that pagan society everywhere always is "totalitarian" in character, and that Islam is a form of paganism masquerading as revealed religion. I put "totalitarian" in quotation marks because Rosenzweig's sociology of paganism predates this neologism. I summarized Rosenzweig's still highly controversial view of Islam in a 2003 review of a German-language volume on the subject.
Spengler then quotes Rosenzweig himself (my emphasis):
In fact, the individual human stands before society as a whole: he knows that he is only a part. These wholes, with respect to which he is only a part, these species, of which he is only a representative example, have absolute power over his ethical life, although they as such are hardly absolute, but are in fact themselves only examples of the species "State" or "People". For the isolated individual, his society is the society ...
Moreover, Banna began a cult of death and love of death (more than love of life). Again a symptom of paganism--a sense of the tragic nature of life and the biosphere/the whole over the individual (turned into a part).

And the love of death means a fight for all for this whole, "the land":
Pagans fight to the death for their land and culture, knowing that each fight might be the last, and one fight inevitably must be; for that reason all pagan culture exalts death. Parenthetically Nicholas Wade, in his recent book Before the Dawn, cites new research estimating a 40% attrition rate due to war of men in primitive society.
So if we back up historically we can see what is going on here--I argue through a basic sense of levels.

Red Islam is this paganism. Tribalism, the ummah over the individual. The love of the land (the biosphere still dominant over the noosphere) and the love of death. The connections between extremist Islamism and Fascism make sense as both red movements, pagan religions with modern weaponry. Also the mythicization of the hero-worship of say Bin Laden (the rich son who joins to the poor, kind to animals).

Blue Islam was the classical tradition which sought to unify the world under the rule of Islam--just as blue Christianity seeks/sought to do with Christianity.

This form of Islam was destroyed starting with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and culminating in the end of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. But it did not bring about an orange Islam. A breakdown not a breakthrough.

With the coming of orange leveling technology, the Islamic Reformation has begun. But that is actually leading to a re-energizing of this "pagan" (red) Islam.

The main paradigm (as both practice and worldview) in Islam is tawhid. Oneness. Oneness without manyness so says Spengler. Again holism in the worst sense. Totalitarian holism. Mythic holism where the whole/parts are mixed in all the wrong ways instead of differentiated and then re-integrated. Although mystically, what that means is clear (per the Sufis): only God is real. Everything essentially is Godhead.

In Sufism there is the distinction between al-Haqq ("The Truth") and al-Lah (the G/god). That means the Truth (Causal/Nondual) is not defined solely as The God (High Subtle). Same distinction as God/Godhead.

What Spengler does not cover is whether there could be an emergent leap within the religion. Stage-wise to orange I mean. Tawhid then has to be re-thought. It would require a theological breakthrough involving something like oneness in relation to the individual and the community.

Because otherwise tawhid alone leads to the dominance of the wholes: land, hero leader/dictator (Sunni Arab countries), or ummah.

With the rise of that level, would transcend (and end) the shame culture, tribal law, and the anti-scientific, xenophobia, conspiratorial thinking, and racism so rampant in large swaths of the Muslim and especially Arab world. (These negative patterns are inherent to the red meme. They were important but now outdated and even pathologically destructive in relation to the contemporary later levels.)


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