From: Lawrence DeBivort (email@example.com)
Date: Sun 15 Dec 2002 - 05:10:22 GMT
I wish there was a clearer answer to this question...
An easy way to respond, I suppose, would be to mutter something about the
'inevitable' rise and fall of empires. Different people is the world find at different times something that works, something that provides them with special capabilities, for a while. Why did a renaissance start in northern Italy? Where do people like Francis Bacon and ibn Khaldun and Benjamin Franklin 'come from'? Is it luck? Is it that difficulty in a society gives rise to genius? If so, why didn't the Cathars fare better?
Many writers have tried to answer this question: e.g. Bernard Lewis, WHAT
WENT WRONG, 2002. Karen Armstrong, THE BATTLE FOR GOD, 2000. John Esposito,
THE ISLAMIC THREAT; Myth or Reality, 1999. Fouad Ajami, THE DREAM PALACE OF
THE ARABS, 1998. Benjamin Barber, JIHAD VS. MCWORLD, 1995 These are all
thoughtful books by knowledgeable experts, and present quite different
understandings. There is a plethora of good books on the Ottoman Empire and
its 'fall,' which I mention here because the fall of Islam preeminence can
be followed through the fortunes of the Ottoman Empire. But even here the
answers are elusive, for the Ottoman Empire had a shaky relationship to
Islam and the Arabs. There were times when the Ottoman Government viewed
itself as secular, at times European, and during many times, including at
the end, at war with Islamic and Arab entities.
I am left with this deep question: is Islamic fundamentalism (and in
particular its aggressive sub-forms) a cause of the incapacity that we find
within the Muslim and Arab world? Or is it a consequence, an effort by some
Muslims and Arabs to find a solution to the growing incapacity, in the same
way that secularism and 'modernism' and mysticism may be other efforts to do
the same thing?
We see in Judaism and Christianity similar strainings: these too have their
fundamentalists, and their extremists, their haters and their bigots.
Armstrong is persuasive is suggesting that members of all three religions
are experiencing similar tensions and fears. And all three have today their
visionaries, people who realize that a new kind of world is struggling to
emerge; all have their people of good-will, who have the energy and courage
to ask themselves the difficult questions and to probe equally difficult
So what 'happened' to the Muslim world? Are the Durants, and Gibbon, right?
Empires rise and fall, and it has nothing to do with Islam, per se?
I wish I could understand things well enough to know the answer.
Grant, you are a student of China. What is your sense of the comparable
question, posed of China?
Scott, Steve, Jeremy?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf
> Of Grant Callaghan
> Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2002 11:20 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: Examples of the Radical Islamicist Memeplex
> What's the answer to the second half of steve's question?
> >Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 23:10:53 -0500
> >Greetings, Steve,
> >I think the answer is fairly simple: what happened was Israel.
> > > When did the Muslim world change from one which sheltered the Jews in
> > > Middle East, in North Africa and in Spain till the late middle
> > > ages from the
> > > christians, to one where they are the personification of anti
> Muslim and
> > > evil? Assuming the Qu'ran has not changed too much why are jews
> > > 400 years ago and not now? These are questions that need looking at.
> > >
> > > Why did an advanced tolerant society skilled in science, medicine etc
> > > whilst we in the west struggled under the yoke of an ignorant church,
> > > such an advantage?
> > >
> > > Regards
> > >
> > > Steve
> >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> >see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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