Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
An interesting new blog / video on Integral Life:
Why We Desperately Need an Integral Islam, by Amir Ahmad Nasr
The Child of a Fragmented World Gone Slightly Mad
It was sometime around early 2009, and to most of my friends, I was a cheerful happy guy, but what they didn’t know is that deep inside, I had never felt more mentally and emotionally tormented.
In just two short years, growing up religiously dogmatic in childhood up to the late 90’s had given way to a new reality in which my relationship with Islam was in shambles.
Blogging and the open vastness of the Internet had a lot to do with it.
From war-torn Sudan to oil-rich Qatar, I had experienced living in traditional, religious, and conservative societies that honored their tribal roots and heritage.
We enjoyed the fruits of modernity–cars, communication technology, and medical drugs–but most of us didn’t necessarily embody it as a worldview. In many ways, our tribal, traditional and modern identities were in tension and lacking in harmony and reconciliation, let alone deep coherent integration.
It got a lot worse when my family moved to Malaysia in 1997 and I got enrolled into a British international school with a liberal and Westernized environment. I was almost 11 years old.
For my parents, the move had its challenges for sure. For my siblings and I, the cultural and linguistic ordeals we confronted were on a whole other level.
All of a sudden modernity and post-modernity came crashing on us, and challenged our identities and worldview in ways that we were not prepared for.
They challenged a worldview I had inherited but never really critically conceptualized on my own. A worldview that wasn’t truly mine throughout a short unexamined life that hadn’t gotten thoroughly examined until much later.
The result should have been obviously predicable: distress, confusion, and anxiety. Then puberty hit, and boy oh boy was that fun. I am of course being sarcastic.
So I did what I could do: repress, ignore and continue as if nothing worthy of resolution was really going on.
That is until I accidentally stumbled upon the liberal Arab blogosphere in early 2006. Continuing to sweep doubt under the rug seized to be an option. Heck, the rug disappeared, and now I had to confront the persistent question marks head on.
I can't imagine there will be much disagreement with the idea that Muhammedanism can and should migrate into integral styles. There may be some push back (I'm looking at YOU, Europeans!) on whether this is possible or feasible in general, but no one can deny its potential in individuals. I'll roughly restate the comments I made on IL Forum to the effect that 3 factors & 1 caveat are necessary in order to more than sentimental about Integral Islam.
1. A robust clarification of the actual differences between "healthy" and "unhealthy" forms at each level.
2. Clarity and willingness to enact a circumstantial alternation between (a) allowing and encouraging cultural and level-specific formats of religion (b) cultivating and enforcing bio-humanitaritarian ethics and smart-group protocols where needed... even in the face of strong pushback from local cultural zones. But of course this must be done with maximal intelligence and grace.
3. Engendering in individuals the relaxation, spiritual self-confidence and understanding necessary to really assimilate modern and post-modern experiences of their own faith.
And the caveat?
That the science/religion religion dichotomy holds this process back and is, in turn, predicated upon the outmoded and problematic conflation of religion with mythic-conformist cultural habits. That this is what the esoteric/exoteric notion hints at when transposed onto socio-cultural affairs.
Allahu Tayek, Allahu Tamam
(My Arabic is rusty... that should say, approximately: God is Okay, God is Pretty Good...)
"There may be some push back (I'm looking at YOU, Europeans!) on whether this is possible or feasible in general, but no one can deny its potential in individuals."
thats about correct. unfortunatly , from our european experience of the last 50 years of massive islamization,
a few gifted and intelligent individuals here and there ARE not enough .
this is what all europeans did hope ,like 50 years ago. but NOW we know better.
in any case good luck to that endevour and
i do agree it is sorely needed and better yesterday then tomorrow.
and who knows maybe its possible (although i as you know doubt it and on very real grounds)
and i do hope it is ,because otherwise
the outlook worldwide is truly dreadfull,
like in apocalyptic mess.
oh just got a piece of news :
on several islamist websites
the modern egyptian hamed abdel-samad , who has freed himself from islam , became a modern subject
and is one of the individuals who is advocating a secular islam in europe , a guy i like a lot , he is funny and a truly modern person :
against him has been issued a call for his murder by moslem brothers and salafists.
thats the problem with the exo and the eso in islam
if you want to really change the exo side of islam , make it more soft or eso ,
chances are that you won´t live long enough to do much,
thats the real bugger or the pink elephant in the room.
It is relatively easy to rejoice in the developmental deepening & spiritual blossoming of individuals from any cultural field or religious tradition. Everyone (around these parts) is in favor of such people, in favor of them multiplying, doing more, encouraging their kind of evolution wherever they can. We even want to add our own suggestions and energy to help this process along.
But, for a lot of folks, this runs up against the sense of large-scale feasibility.
Is it likely to happen fast enough and to enough people to become culturally dominant? Is it going to ward of atrocities of all kinds? This is like the ecological issue -- sure, it is good to recycle, sign petitions and purchase products from eco-ethical sources... but is that going to prevent an environmental holocaust? Is it happening at the velocity and scale needed to change the current trajectories?
From many angles, the answer is a pretty clear: No.
(Here's a mudra of Kali to assimilate!)
But on we go, ho ho! The apocalypse cannot hold back our cheer & productive efforts. We are... compelled...
here an article in the english section of the biggest and most influential PC left-green wing journal of germany : der spiegel .now if they have to admit that something ain´t as it seems with islam, it means it is really getting baaaad, otherwise they would schmooze it over as they have been doing for the last 20 years.
and again the report of the call to kill hamad abdel -samed also in the spiegel but only the german main section
they start to takethis sderious because he , samed , is one of the german intellectual immigrant elite by now.
On Facebook, Mark Foreman shared a relevant essay by Sam Harris today.
And here is a big difference between Harris and Bryant. Harris does the state training and knows the 'religious' experience. Like Bryant he condemns the misdirection of such experience toward out-group hatred but he does not throw the baby out with it. It does however make it all the more difficult to have an integral Islam when as he said the hatred is built right into its scripture, the good will and intention of kennilnguists notwithstanding. We all know with what the road to hell is paved?
Agreed, on all counts.
(I'm indeed surprised to hear that Sam has practiced zikr.)
well he did buddhist practises and why should he not do zikr , i mean i have done zikr too
when i was still wandering around.....
My thought was, Buddhism can be made amenable with an atheist worldview, whereas with Islam that is much harder. Perhaps he did zikr before he became an atheist, otherwise I wonder why he was doing it.
ah yeah , i guess he was researching for himself , whats what and who is who , the bee phase ...
i mean most westerners are not exactly born buddhists, or atheists, so i assume a process of looking into different
answers. i mean in the blog post link sam says the prayer call moves him by the sound of it and would it contain a different message........