Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 21st, 2009

Ideology: Not such a bad Concept before Ruling, (April 2, 2009)

 

I believe that personal reflection is the best alternative for discovering a set of values (most compatible with our passions) to guide our behavior.  However, there are many obstacles for any individual to access his own “ideology” or perception of life and the universe. 

First, the school system, family upbringing, community customs and traditions are as many diverse implicit ideologies that an individual has to comprehend and sort out.

Second, it presupposes that an individual has reached enough maturity to believe that his reflections can affect the course of events. 

Third, it presupposes that the governing institutional systems care about individual opinions and demands, and are ready to examine them seriously. 

Fourth, it presupposes that the individual has enough will, energy, education, and perseverance to discover his own set of values and ideological system.

 

An ideology basically transmits perceived habits and models for interpreting social and political conditions. To a lesser extent, an ideology communicates explanations and teaches to making choices for situations and events. It is my contention that every ideology or political party implicitly exhibits a philosophical line.

Since a philosophical construct is fundamentally a process of prioritizing our individual set of passions, that cannot be changed but re-ordered, and focused as a collectivity of like-minded association, then it is beneficial for any ideology to debate the philosophy that is most compatible to its priority of passions.

It is up to graduate philosophers to analyze the party line and extract the corresponding philosophy out of hundreds that the human mind has constructed.  An ideology that misses opportunities to seriously debate its underlying philosophy is bound to fail as a gathering of focused passions.

I am aware of a case where a fresh graduate in philosophy and a fresh member in a political party attempted to stick his personal philosophy to the ideology instead of objectively analyzing the underlying philosophy and allowing free discussion on the topic; it was an opportunity that was missed to debating a rough philosophy that had potentials to be fine tuned and accepted by the collectivity of members.

 

Most political ideologies loudly claim that the members are the subject matter, that the members are the driving force and the main concern of the ideology.  That line of thinking should be the purpose of syndicates because that is the reason for instituting syndicates and professional associations. Political parties should avoid the technical hypocrisy of proclaiming that their goals are the members’ benefit. 

Members in political ideologies are simple cogs of focused passions. Fresh members in political parties are willing to slave for free and accept all the nonsense, constraints, and abject humiliation on opinion restraints because “they need apprenticeship period” to comprehend and thoroughly learn the mystery behind an ideology, as if it was a cult.

Those individual cogs who regurgitate the political lines and memorize them by rot and spew them integrally are the one who accede to the higher echelons, and then reap the benefits and advantages: There are no rooms for divergence of opinions on ideological lines, otherwise, a new ideology is in the making. It is worth noting that those who accede to the higher echelons are invariably astute power grabbers, but very limited spiritually because they fail to invest energy and time on personal reflections.

Those limited minded “leaders” are imposed on society for needed reforms that invariably fail and leave tracks of long miseries and sufferings.

 

  Any ideology is inherently a cult with many super imposed constructs of myths and verbal testimonies of elders, which are added as the rank swells.  These abstract constructs are meant to increase the obscure notions and make the ideology more fascinating and enduring to the youth, simply because the ideology failed to adhere to an explicit philosophy of rational cohesion.

Fundamentally, schisms are implicitly divergences on priorities of passions to focus on which are interpreted as political differences.

Religions follow the same process as ideologies, and end up splitting and forming schisms and cults.  The core of religions and political ideologies are of abstract constructs with the same consequences on societies.  The main difference between religions and ideologies is that religions invariably end up adhering to a philosophy as guiding rod and are thus enduring in all levels of life for many centuries.

 

Ideologies, as religions, are necessary passages for individuals’ spiritual development:  they are the building blocs for getting aware and hopefully caring for human miseries and problems.  Ideologies are extensions to our spirit because we need the association of people to develop our soul.

 

Find me an individual who never joined a political ideology or at least cared in his youth to learn the ideologies of his time and I can forecast that this individual will specialize in his professional discipline and be a complete illiterate outside his field of specialty; he will end up a very narrow-minded person with no heart or soul to count on for change and social reforms. 

I would be uncomfortable dealing with an individual who joined an ideology in youth and never felt the need to re-examine his ideology: I simple cannot believe that a young person can be bright enough and wise enough to knowing his strongest passions before dealing with the real world and people.

 

In many moments in life we asked “what is the meaning and purpose in life?”   How about we start from the obvious?  We are a bunch of jumbled passions that drive our life and we ache to re-order our passions and discover the strongest passions that mean most to us. We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits but as thinking reflecting persons who have distinct set of passions that we managed to prioritize; we finally think that we know who we are and what drove our life.

We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.

Modern Batch of Banned Manuscripts (April 20, 2009)

 

            Censuring of books was not the sole domain of the Vatican or other religious sacerdotal castes; the State governments, special associations “for preserving morals”, and other politically oriented organizations shared in restricting freedom of opinions.  Private court cases are preponderant at this age for extorting royalty fees or any other excuses such as safeguarding privacy.

 

            Gustave Flaubert published “Madame Bovary” in 1856 and the novel was deemed the worst scandal in that half of century. The French government realized that the novel represented the end of romanticism and the advent of reality of life in the provinces. Emma was no longer satisfied with her quaint life and wanted to experiment with her passions. The French State prosecutor banned “Madame Bovary”, “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Baudelaire, and “Mysteres du People” by Eugene Sue.  In 2007, a poll survey of the Anglo-Americans showed that “Madame Bovary” came second after “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy.

            In 1863, the theologian Ernest Renan published “Life of Jesus”; it reconstructed the life of Jesus devoid of divine nature. It was an instant scandal and the manuscript was re-published 24 times before the end of 1864.  Renan was excommunicated after his death!

James Joyce published in 1918 “Ulysses”; it was an epic poem that recounts the peregrination of an Irish man, Leopold Bloom, in Dublin between 8 a.m. and 3 a.m.  One episode “Nausicaa” brought hell fire of censure from every corner.  Leopold courted a girl swimming nude during fire work and their orgasm coincided with the explosion of the “bouquet” of the fire work. The book “Ulysses” was persecuted by successive court orders for over ten years.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by David H. Lawrence was published in 1928.  It disturbed the social order of class structure because an aristocratic lady deigned to become in love of her employee.  Even thirty-two years later, Britain would prosecute an Italian version.

“Tropics of Cancer” by Henry Miller was published in 1934 in Paris. It is about the personal sexual adventures of the author in minute details. For over 30 years no US publishers would dare touch this manuscript for “obscenity”. Miller’s “Sexus” was even banned in France between the years 1950 to 1964.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine published “Bagatelles pour un massacre”in 1937.  It was labeled hostile to Jews.  It enjoyed many editions during Nazi occupation of France but was never re-edited after 1945 on the ground that his widowed, Lucette Destouches, the sole owner of rights, wanted to respect the author’s wishes!  Celine had published the famous “Voyage au bout de la nuit”.

Nikos Kazantzakis published in Athens “The Last Temptation of Christ” in 1954. It relates a dream that Christ had while crucified of how it would have been his life among his wife and children. Christ would wake up from the dream and then He shouted “Everything is accomplished”.  It was 34 years later when projected as a movie by Martin Scorsese that all hell broke loose; movie theaters were attacked and burned; 14 of movie watchers were injured.

Christian Bourgois was declined by 13 editors before his first novel “L’Epi Monstre” is published in 1961; Christian has 21 years of age and that wrote the manuscript in 10 days. Christian was a nurse with the French army during the Algerian Revolution.  The story is about a communist widower who had incestuous relations with his two girls; one commits suicide and the other is killed by her father. The ban will be lifted in 2002.  Bougois published “Jeanne la Pudeur” and was also banned

Vassili Grossman (1905-1964) wrote “Life and Destiny”; he was a reporter for the Bolshevik daily “The Red Star” during the Second World War and witnessed the horrors of the war and detention centers. Vassili took precautions to leaving two microfilms of his manuscript with Andrei Sakharov and Vladimir Dimitrijevic.  The KGB had confiscated the manuscript, the carbon copy, and the typewriter ribbons.  “Life and Destiny” was published in 1980; it is in the genre of “War and Peace” of 800 pages that uncovers the resemblance of totalitarianism, the rejection of to all kinds of submissions, and the communication with “little people”.  It demonstrates the tyranny of the “Good” and how it can become an epidemic worst than “Evil”

“The Archipelago of Gulag” by Alexander Soljenitsyne was published in 1973 in Paris; it is a vast essay of literary investigation into concentration camps and testimonies of 227 detainees (zeks).  Soljenitsyne was expulsed from the Soviet Union and he wrote the next two volumes in the USA; he received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1970 and then was received with full honor in Russia in 1994.  The manuscript was published in Russia in 1989.

During Nazi Germany occupation of France 714,000 books were burned in Paris.  The list of banned manuscripts started with 1060 and it kept climbing as Germany invaded Russia and then the US entered war.

Vladimir Nabokov published “Lolita” in 1955 in Paris for fear of being banned in the USA.  The manuscript had to wait until 1958 to be allowed to circulate in libraries. The story did not contain any pornographic descriptions and was recounted in Oxfordian exactitude about the love of a professor to his adoptive child after murdering her mother.

Before the latest wave of outcries for child molesting Tony Duvert published “Paysage de Fantaisie” in 1973 about his experience and inclinations for young boys and received the Medicis Prize for it.  Olivier Petre-Grenouilleau published “Traites Negrieres” where he claims that the Moslem’s Slave trades in Africa far outnumbered the European trade; he did the unpardonable commentary when he discriminated the suffering of the Jews during Nazi Germany and the suffering of the slaves.  In 2008, Sylvain Gouguenheim published “Aristote au mont Saint-Michel” where his researched led him to clarify that Aristotle’s philosophy was accepted in Europe as the Arab translated it; 56 philosophers and historians signed a petition proclaiming that the manuscript is not scientific.

WOMEN IN ISLAM: Polygamy (Part 4, April 20, 2009)

Polygamy in Islam is restricted and may be practiced theoretically only when certain strict conditions are met.

It is also the exception rather than the norm in Muslim societies throughout the World.

A World Health Organisation census has shown that less than 5% of Muslim men practice polygyny. This is in contrast to other groups in countries such as India, where 15.25% of men from tribal religious groups practice polygyny; 8% of Buddhists, 6.77% of Jains and 6% of Hindus have plural marriages.

The percentage of polygynous marriages in India is lowest among Muslims, at 5.7%. The fact that Islam permits a man to have more than one wife has been the cause of much ridicule and misinformation.

The fact is that the Mormons, “the pseudo Christian sect in Utah, USA) are still practicing polygamy and the blind eye of the State of Utah is functioning though a recent Federal Law has prohibited this practice.

Prior to the advent of Islam, women were treated as chattels and objects for the gratification of men; it was the same prejudice of the Jews in Judea and in poor agricultural lands. In the modern world, this practice continues under the guise of frequent divorces, affairs, mistresses and prostitution.

Women are left alone to fend for themselves and their children, whilst divorce is so common that there exist groups such as “Single Again“, which cater for people who have been divorced for the second (or subsequent) times.

Islam did not abolish polygyny, as it recognised that in some cases, polygyny would be necessary and even preferable to the alternatives of leaving unmarried widows. However, it strictly limited it, to a maximum of 4 wives at any one time; there are also stringent conditions to be met by a man who wishes to take a second wife.

The initial intention of this law was to bring some order to the people of Arabia and neighboring societies, who had been accustomed to unlimited numbers of wives, and to inaugurate a civil system that would take care of the needs of women. It sought to solve the problem of the existence of large numbers of widows and orphans who were left to fend for themselves after the many raids and warfare among the tribes.

In the sourat Al Nissa it is said: “If you fear that you will not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.”

Thus, any man who wishes to take a second wife has to meet the important condition of fair treatment of all his wives; he is commanded to treat wives equally, and anyone who is unable to do so should marry only one wife. Equal treatment includes all social, economical and physical needs.

It is very difficult for human beings to be completely fair, a fact which is recognized by the Koran In Al Nissa you read: “You are never able to be fair and just with even two women, even if it is your ardent desire: but turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air)” and “A man who marries more than one woman and then does not deal justly with them will be resurrected with half his faculties paralysed”.’

In the case of men who had more than four wives when they embraced Islam, such as Ghaylan ibn Umayyah al-Thaqafi, the Prophet asked them to keep four wives and to release the others. The topic of polygyny cannot be considered complete without some discussion on the Prophet’s Id practice and the historical context in which he and his wives lived.

This is a topic which has received much attention from the West, and about which many Muslims are confused. It should be noted that in seventh-century Arabia, adultery, rape and fornication were the norm. The Prophet remained chaste from the age of 25 when he married Khadijah , who was twice a widower and 40 years of age. Their marriage remained harmonious until Khadijah passed away some 25 years later.

The Prophet was 50 years of age and started his exile to yathreb (Medina) in 633. The Prophet’s second wife was Sawdah. She and her husband had been among the earliest converts to Islam. They suffered great hardship at the hands of Quraysh(inhabitants of Mecca), so the Prophet had instructed them to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). There, her husband passed away, and Sawdah suffered much hardship as a widow in a foreign land. The Prophet knew that he was responsible for the welfare of his followers, so he proposed marriage to Sawdah. This marriage brought relief, respect and status to her, and provided the Prophet with companionship and assistance in raising his children from his marriage to Khadijah.

At the time of her marriage to the Pronhet, Sawdah was around 55 vears old. In order to create blood ties and to show his love and respect to his closest Companions who had given up this world for the sake of Islam, the Prophet gave two of his daughters in marriage to Ali and ‘Uthman’; he also accepted in marriage Aishah,daughters of Abu Bakr  and Hafsah the daughters of  Umar.

His marriage to these two noble women not only enhanced his close ties with his Companions, but these women were later to offer deep insight into the Prophet’s life. They were responsible for narrating over half of the ahadith which now form the basis of the Islamic code of conduct. ‘A’ishah alone is known to have narrated over two thousand hadith.

Zaynab was a cousin of the Prophet. She had previously been married to Zayd , the freed slave and adopted son of the Prophet Hi. This marriage had been arranged by the Prophet , but the couple were never happy in their marriage and it became apparent that they were not compatible. At the Prophet’s insistence, they had stayed together for several years, but in the end Zayd could not tolerate it any longer, and decided to set Zaynab free from the marriage contract.

The fact that a former slave had divorced a woman of the noble Quraysh tribe became the subject of much gossip among the pagans and the weaker members of the Muslim community. Not surprisingly, Zaynab confined herself to her quarters and it fell to the Prophet to relieve her of her misery. He married her, and she was around 38 years of age at the time. This action achieved two ends.

One was to demonstrate that Islam makes no distinction between class, race or status, as the Qur’an teaches that the noblest person in the sight of Allah is the one who is most pious. The second was to indicate that adopted sons were not to be counted as blood relatives, as had previously been the custom in Arabia. It was the custom to have blood ties with the various large tribes for unification purposes. Hence some of the Prophet’s marriages were arranged to establish inter-tribal ties and to further the cause of unity.

The Prophet’s marriage to Juwayriyah led her tribe of Banu Mustaliq, who had been among the fiercest enemies of Islam, freeing all their Muslim prisoners. The whole tribe later entered into Islam. Maymunah came from the tribe of Najd, who had murdered the emissaries sent to them by the Prophet.

After his marriage to Maymunah, however, their attitude changed and Najd became favorable towards Islam. In all, the Prophet had eleven wives, of whom two – Khadijah and Zaynab – passed away in his own lifetime. After the ayah restricting the number of wives to four was revealed, he contracted no further marriages, but his nine remaining wives were regarded as “mothers of the faithful” and as no other man would be permitted to marry them if he divorced them he kept all his wives on the grounds of compassion. With the exception of ‘A’ishah, all of his wives were widows or divorcees.

His marriages were all for political reasons or were contracted in order to set an example of compassion, as in the cases of Zaynab and Sawdah.

His polygynous marriage all took place rather late in his life, from the age of 55. The prophet Muhammad was in a position of great political power to be choosy but he marry widowers and older women – a sure indication of his upright moral character and desire to set the highest example to his followers.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2009
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