History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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A modernizing radical Islamic Reformation with a sufi core?

September 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Looking at the riots over the anti-Muslim film, my reaction is, what a waste of revolutionary energy. The materialist outlook of the West’s leftists has lost an immense asset at a time when a crisis looms.
Antimodern reaction is exhausting Islam: it should be a modernist force, at a time of crisis. Thus there could just as well be a revolutionary, modern Islam able to withstand capitalist globalization, and environmental destruction. Note that much of the reactionary politics now operative is a creation of the USA, which then likes to fight wars against terror. What a swindle. A modernist Islam was gestating in the nineteenth century. And a potentially modernist leadership already exists in the hidden core.
One might ruminate out loud here, well aware that the question is, no doubt, hopeless, but still, the realization is emerging that the best revolt against the west is via a version of modernism. And a religious Reformation is an eminently good candidate.
Let me repeat the point: much of the cultural reaction in Islamic countries is a creation of the West’s politicians.
We discussed sufism here yesterday: http://darwiniana.com/2012/09/24/92238/
I am not a sufi, have no place in any sufi assembly, so I can’t speak directly to the case. But I can say that a modernist Islam already exists, almost.
Using Moslems as experimental labs for the USA’s drones, wars, and hitech toys, and as a playing ground for covert agency games has gone on long enough. Small wonder at the monumental gestating fury.

Here’s an article at the Smithsonian mag:

All of this is fair enough, but I detect the smell of the State Department trying to promote, and no doubt fund, sugar-coated sufism as a tactic against radical fundamentalism. Good way to destroy sufism, undoubtedly. Sufi dancing, cute.
There is a covert agency todo here, sadly: promoting sufism against political Islam.
For what it is worth, let me dissent here: the fundamentalists should renounce politics, while the sufis should radicalize as a left revolutionary group, socialist or communist, in an Islamic context. That’s hopeless. The sufis have long been taken over, like the Tibetan Buddhists, by reactionary formations, witness the Gurdjieff legacy. But Gurdjieff shows a side that tried also to modernize.
A blend of sufism and the communist left (and this was anticipated in a strange way by J.G. Bennett) could help to rescue the Islamic world from the confusions of anti-modernist counterrevolution.
A semi-sufi like J.G. Bennett was hypermodern, steeped in religious legacies, and then suddendly realized that there a hidden esoteric ‘hyper left’ trying to survive the muddled and violent regimes of religious reaction. We can discuss this some other time. But a revolutionary Reformation of a modernizing Islam with radical revolutionary Sufi leadership could lead the way toward a response to the out of control sequence of capitalist destruction.

Enough for now, the CIA is probably listening. So, pour that into your thinking cap and turn the crank.

I have had my say for today.

Sufism is not a sect, like Shiism or Sunnism, but rather the mystical side of Islam—a personal, experiential approach to Allah, which contrasts with the prescriptive, doctrinal approach of fundamentalists like the Taliban. It exists throughout the Muslim world (perhaps most visibly in Turkey, where whirling dervishes represent a strain of Sufism), and its millions of followers generally embrace Islam as a religious experience, not a social or political one. Sufis represent the strongest indigenous force against Islamic fundamentalism. Yet Western countries have tended to underestimate their importance even as the West has spent, since 2001, millions of dollars on interfaith dialogues, public diplomacy campaigns and other initiatives to counter extremism. Sufis are particularly significant in Pakistan, where Taliban-inspired gangs threaten the prevailing social, political and religious order.

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