by azly rahman
Three pieces of thoughts dominate me after thinking about the Bersih 4 rally as a global phenomenon that might bring about radical change easily or might not at all. I read about the Birmingham Quran, about a newly-made movie on Prophet Muhammad, and what I think of God and consciousness as these might have shaped us. I am sharing these notes:
The Birmingham Quran
There is a story of a copy of the earliest Quran being kept in the library of Birmingham University. It is said to predate Muhammad. This is an interesting proposition that might change the grand narrative of the history of Islam, as an organised and institutionalised religion. But does it mean anything?
Texts are texts meant to be read logically hermeneutically as well based on the life and times of the text; texts, even the religious ones are to be read critically and questioned and not simply to be recited, held in awe of grandiosity, even treated like a living being, held in highest esteem on the highest pedestal in some temple or house or worship; texts want to be read, not worshiped nor be existing and breathing and living as texts as long as they are not questioned; the human mind is a powerful tool and instrument and a world of cybernetic complexity to be used every cellular-second of one’s life as an instrument of critical, creative and constructivist judgment so that what is read is not merely the text but the reader becomes the text and the text present itself as a context of shifting meaning, based on the idea of phenomenology and hermeneutics, and that Socratic-Platonic idea of constructivism in which even the text must be scrutinised of the nature of its authorship, rather than see it unquestionably as a set of ideas and concepts and injunctions handed down from the heavens.
But what do you think?
Muhammad: a new movie
There is news that the Iranian film-maker Mahid Majidi has produced a movie on Muhammad of Arabia; of the prophet’s childhood and growing up years. I hope to watch the movie and hope that many will be able to do that, too.
I have always been interested in stories of people; of the time before they arrive at ‘the gates of excellence’; stories of their childhood, of growing up and the cultural milieu they are in; fascinating are these early years of character-formation illustrating the human-ness of us all - be they the story of the childhood of Noah, Abraham, David, Moses, Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama, Kung Fu Tze, or of Muhammad. these are all human beings with important message of peace for humanity.
Gods are gods, they have their story; perhaps gods too have childhood and growing up years; and human beings are human beings - all with stories to tell.
Modern cinema can be of help in telling these stories - with great special effects, including the story of Muhammad of which i would love to know what he did as a child, how he talked, toys he played, friends he had, and the neighborhood he grew up in. all too human; we are all too human; as the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre would say.
And thank you to the Iranians for making this movie; you have great storytellers. my fellow Americans, I am sure, would welcome this story - better than being fed by Fox News and CNN’s epic on the Daesh (IS) or Boko Haram!
The CI3 - of consciousness, individuals, institutions, ideology that dominates
We live in a world demanding our understanding of the semiotics and cybernetics of the self; to understand how to read ourselves and the world within and outside of us; to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct our inner and outer worldviews; to see life as a complex process of authoring of the self and re-authoring our world that is constantly shifting; to have a sense of what the ‘core’ is if there is indeed one; to see linearity and multi-dimensionality of our invented realities as one; to see ourselves as an organic mechanism of a grand narrative with multiple subplots with no narrative structure and as a complex novel with no plot but a story begging to be told - of joys and suffering and meaning and meaninglessness; to see chaos as a beautiful pattern of randomness; to master the art of being a metaphysical anarchist that will use the sense of being to resist the hegemonising power individuals, institutions, and ideology to dominate and destroy the self; ... and much more ... essentially: ... live free - or die happy in the hands of the state and religious, cultural, or any ideology ... to LIVE, LOVE, LIBERATE and DIE LAUGHING at TYRANTS, TOTALITARIAN REGIMES, AND THEOCRACIES .
A brief thought on God
Fundamentally religion is a complex topic; understanding ‘what-where-how-why-and what next’ of ‘God’ is even more complex exercise in reasoning and feeling - a daunting psychological undertaking that can be taxing on the amateur human mind not trained in philosophy.
Hence instead of engaging in controversies surrounding this or that term that has evolved from time immemorial (from the time of Indus Valley and the Fertile crescent,) we ought to look at this idea from a phenomenological perspective. But what does this mean? What is a phenomenon and how does one engage in a phenomenological analysis the most sacred of all topics?
How might the ‘Creator’ be looked at from the historical, cultural, ideological, psychological, anthropological, or even scientific perspective before we engage in a ‘phenomenological’ dialogue of this concept.
We continue to argue over this and that term. This can be a futile engagement. We will be trapped in the prison-house of language and truth is embedded in the particularity of language; in the ‘Babel-ism’ of the tower human beings are incarcerated in.
Language mirrors reality. Language imitates reality. Language defines reality. Language alters reality. Language imprisons reality. Language is reality.
These are the cages humanity build, albeit language opens doors. This is the paradox of language; almost as if humanity is cursed for its ability to evolve as a language-producing specie.
Even more complex is the idea of the Creator and the multidimensional aspects of the sub-concepts this has produced. We cannot know the Ultimate Truth until our veil is lifted so that we may see Ultimate Reality. But then again, again and again, as in any circular argument we engage in, ‘reality’ is subjective - as subjective as the reality of the sadhus in the streets of Calcutta or the little Bernie Madoffs on Wall Street.
I suppose the statements above are meaningless; as soon as we put thoughts into language, we create realities that are confined to our own experience with the language we use to define, deconstruct, or even destroy our reality.