Monday, December 21, 2009

western education and brainwash

I'm afraid my admiration for the western education system has multiplied several fold of late. It is a very efficient system - it can make you forget your cultural roots and origins faster than the famed Soviet-era psychiatrists who removed your memory!

It has taken me more than 40 years to realise the simple fact - not even a theory, but a fact - that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was a military ruler. Ditto the Khalifa-i-Rashidun. Omawiyah was the author of the Muslim navy (the English word "admiral" comes from the Arabic "amir-al-bahr", Commander of the Sea). And every sultan and emir and khalifa since then has been a military ruler. Initially, of course there was no standing army - the citizen body itself was the army - just as there was no bureaucracy. Later, of course both army and bureaucracy developed together. Whoever had military power had civil power as well, and never the other way around.

In fact, al-Ghazali went so far as to defend despotism completely. He said that it was a religious duty never to overthrow a ruler "no matter how mad or bad". Ditto al-Mawardi. Take General Ershad: he was bad, I guess, with his harem of women and his corruption. But al-Ghazali would have forbidden us to overthrow him: "better twenty years of injustice than one hour of chaos". Therefore, what has been happening since the General was toppled would be construed by him as a product of sin - for treason and sin were synonymous for al-Ghazali. - all the rapes, the murders, the acid attacks, etc.

And all this time I have had to DEFEND military rule against my westernised friends and acquaintances who say it is barbaric - are they saying that Muslims, from the beginning, were barbaric? They must be! Are they saying that our entire civilization was barbaric - they must be? That leaves West Europeans as the CIVILISED race - and at this point I am reminded of what Gandhi said when he was asked," And what do you think of western civilization?" He replied: "That would be a good idea".

Western military might (= western civilization) and the spread of western ideas has gone hand in hand. Ibne-Khaldun, the Arab historian, observed 600 years ago that a race, once conquered, loses all self-respect, and tries to imitate its masters (the Mozarabs, Spanish Christians, back then).

This is what has happened to us - the rewards and penalties that emanate from the West have made us intellectual serfs.

It is fascinating how the education system selects even which WESTERN ideas we are to acquire. How many times have I heard some old idiot repeat what Churchill, the imperialist ("I will not preside over the dismantling of the British Empire") had said about democracy, or what John Locke (the slave-trader and philosopher) said about "civil society" and "tolerance" and man's "inalienable rights"; or what Jefferson (who sired numerous slave children through his slave-women) said about "the people".

I am yet to hear one educated person here repeat what Plato said about democracy ("the madness of the majority") or what Thucydides had to say about the viciousness of Athenian democracy ("the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must"); or what Socrates said about democracy: "If I had engaged in politics long ago, I would have been dead long ago".

If western education is so successful as to get us to parrot SELECTIVELY what their OWN civilization has produced, then think how successful it has been to get us to exclude aspects of OUR own civilization!

Nowadays we have the doctrine of "universal values" championed by the UN, Amnesty International and Amartya Sen (to name a few). That means there are no particular cultures. And universal values is what an anthropologist must deny: Stanley J. Tambiah, the Harvard anthropologist, true to his profession, denies the existence of universal values. Honest man - very rare!

So you have organisations like the UNESCO pushing "universal values" - and what happens to our culture?

There was another guy pushing universal values - his name was Karl Marx. EVERY society, he argued, follows universal principles of evolution. To counter Marx, Max Weber came up with the idea of "verstehende" - trying to understand each society on its own merits. I have met very few anthropologists or sociologists who are faithful to their discipline, like doctors breaking the Hippocratic oath. They usually work for donors like the UN or Action Aid to try and change our society.

And they are very successful - after all it took me 40 years to realise that our civilization is based on military rule and despotism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Which Al-Ghazali are you refering to Muhammad or Ahmad? The former was an expert on Islamic Jurisprudence and later renounced all that to write his Munqidh min al-Dalal (Deliverance from Error) where he states that he wrote and taught for the wrong reasons - 'for show'. He also wrote the book "Incoherence f the Philosophers" in which he vehemently attacks Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. He traveled to the Dome of the Rock, there in his deliverance from his self, and became a true Mystic upon which he wrote Munqidh and Ihya. At the Dome he goes from being master of words to master of states (Haal). He becomes real and in his own words, words are fake. His brother, Ahmad, a lot less known and prolific, also was a Sufi and versed in Islamic jurisprudence. True knowledge is within not without. Islam is in the heart, not on the streets. Safeguard the heart. The Quran is a love story for the heart. Rumi said that the Quran is like a woman, woo her and she will reveal herself. Pull at her clothes and she will show her vicious self. There is a lot of secret teachings of the Prophet not known by the masses, intentionally. There is Islam and then there is the Inner school.