Monday, April 09, 2012

Understanding Islam anthropologically

Someone recently noted in a Jihad Watch comments section a common phenomenon among Muslims:

Islam's inability to withstand criticism is damning and telling in the extreme.

That person then rhetorically asked

What is Islam afraid of?

The Western mind will never fully grasp the pathology of the Muslim mind, but we can certainly do better than to Occidentalize it (the sociopolitical equivalent of the anthropomorphization of God), which only tends to lead us further astray, even if it may comfort many among us who still retain residues of PC MC with the thought that, somehow, Muslims are more or less like us.

(A further tip to that commenter whose rhetorical question I quoted above would be to please try to avoid the habit of personifying Islam as though it were a human agent -- e.g. "What is Islam afraid of?" -- which only adds silly padding to insulate the questioner, and his audience, from the direct confrontation with Muslims which is the cogent point here.)

So, rather than scratch our heads and try, through psychology or common sense based on our experience, to fit the Muslim into the mold of the model of Western Man, we should pull out the theorization of our modern anthropologists. While, alas, the discipline of modern anthropology has been significantly corroded with the irrationality of PC MC as seen in the excessive neutrality and/or "respect" and even admiration for the various forms of backwardness among the primitive cultures its practitioners have been studying -- cf. that excellent study in this regard,
Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony -- nevertheless, there are a handful of more intelligent analysts among them (not all necessarily accepted in the proper pigeonhole of academic Anthropology) who did not tend to reduce the Other to the egophanic Western I.

First off, then, it will be helpful to note that Muslims are not recoiling from, and lashing out at, criticism of Islam on an ordinary mental level, but on the level of the pre-frontal-lobe sympathetic limbic system: the level at which the primitive polytheist shudders in the dark at the gods and demons in the shadows cast by fire in the night; the level at which he regards his totem or his fetish to be "sacred" or "taboo" and thus to be cordonned off from all "impurity".

Islam, Allah, Mohammed, the Koran (among other things) are thus in the Muslim psyche to be an inviolable circle of sacred objects to be protected from anything perceived to be negative, whether it's a physical attack or a critique or mockery, or even thoughts. Anything perceived this way is physicalized as an enemy, and the response is biochemical, pre-rational defense.

With Muslims and their Islam, we are thus not dealing with a rational mind here, but with the pre-rational mind.

Now, while other religions retain this pre-rational admiration and awe for the numinous -- see The Sacred and the Profane (Mircea Eliade), The Symbolism of Evil (Paul Ricoeur) and The Idea of the Holy (Rudolf Otto) -- they have also (par excellence, the West) long ago learned to integrate and develop noetic illumination of same, which opens up the mind and its wondrous capabilities to apply reason to pre-rational and para-rational experiences thus sublimated as "existentialism" and "mysticism".

An important by-product of reason in this regard is the evolution of mankind from being and behaving on the level of a ring of monkeys protecting their stone-&-mangoleaf shrine from Outside Attackers, to theologians and a well-educated laity (indoctrinated would be the proper, and deliciously incorrect term to use here for an intelligent religious pedagogy by which followers of a religion become relatively reasonable) who while suffering the pain of indignity at any mockery or attack on their religious symbolisms, nevertheless have learned to respond in an enlightened way -- at worst by dialing 911, at best by having pity and compassion on the mockers and praying for them.

This is why, incidentally, debates with Muslims are doomed -- unless their sole purpose is as demonstrations of exploitation of Muslim behavior by us as spectacles for the benefit of the non-Muslims among us who remain illiterate about the dangers of the fanatical and fundamentally primitive pathology of Islam. To take seriously a debate with any given Muslim would be like taking seriously a debate with a raging monkey protecting its Green Coconut God (which a Margaret Mead, Dian Fossey, or Jane Goodall would have lovingly encouraged).

The only point, and problem, of such debates, is to make sure the primate behavior of Muslims is coaxed to the surface so that the spectacle of the pathology of their sick society may have a better chance of getting through the dense skulls of our fellow Western idiots who persist in "respecting" the sick societies of non-Western culture -- with Islam being the #1 Poster Child of all Non-Western Cultures To Be Respected: if only because they are the most under the spotlight (because, of course, they keep calling attention to themselves by continuing to behead and explode).

For, perversely, according to the perverse logic of PC MC, the more the Muslims are held up for the criticism and ridicule (not to mention the condemnation) their Islam so richly and unquely among all other cultures deserves, the more our fellow Western idiots tend to resist the point of the pedagogical spectacle of such debates -- if only because such data the Muslims themselves exhibit through their words and deeds illuminated by our critiques is a force opposing the pull of the force of PC MC "respect"; and the PC MC in his increasing tensional discomfort tends to go into contortions and spasms of denial, and digs in to continue to defend the indefensible, even as the primary cause of the latter continues to metastasize all around him. 

I continue, nevertheless, to have hope (as threadbare as it seems to be getting) that enough exposure to Islam over time will have the effect of a slow stillicide to break through the irrationally thick heads of the PC MCs our our Western mainstream.


"PC MCs" include not only Leftists, but also the vast majority of Centrists, Conservatives, and the Comfortably Apolitical who abound in the modern West. Without these latter three significant proportions of the modern West's demographic, Leftists would have long ago been marginalized on this issue. And, closely related to this, the ethnicity of Muslims (however wondrously diverse it may be around the world with more colors and hues, including a couple of sticks of chalk white, than a jumbo pack of Crayola crayons) would long ago have been seen to be the irrelevant datum it is for the problems pertinent to Islam and to the seditious words and deadly deeds it generates from among too many of its followers all around the world.

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