Archive for Marghdeen Learning Centre

The Original Conspiracy and the Two Nation Theory

1) The Original Conspiracy

The legend goes that human history is the record of an eternal battle between the Order of the Selfish Ones, and the Order of the Truth Seekers. Through the ages many Truth Seekers have embarked on the quest to unlock humanity’s true potential. But the Selfish Ones have slandered them, murdered them, and rewritten history, all to make humanity forget and stop believing.

- Systems, p.337

2) The Two Nation Theory

The Quran does not recognise the concept of majorities and minorities. It teaches that all humans are born equal on the basis of their having a common origin (4:1). It teaches that a true democracy rests not on the principle of simple majority rule (6:116) but rather on the principle of consensus (aiming for unanimity) by ‘mutual consultation’ (42:38). It also teaches that humans only differ by the type of deen [total civilisation: religion, politics, culture] that they follow; and that strictly speaking there are only two types of human society: one that lives by the universal spiritual principles of liberty, justice and solidarity, and the other that does not (5:56-7). This is the Quranic basis of the Two-Nation Theory. It has nothing to do with communalism, and everything to do with the active behaviour of a society that claims to be ‘good’. (2:148)

- Secular Jinnah & Pakistan, p.203 (Yes, I did consciously sneak the Cohesive Ethics Theorem into that passage at the time of writing the book.)

A one-time event?

A one-time event?

What we forgot

The above passages from my two books are basically talking about the came thing. I was recently having a conversation with a friend by email and something that came up there compelled me to write this post. These remarks from my email get straight to the point of what I want to share here:

“As an aside, you know the term “Original Conspiracy” of Systems is a corruption of the Christian [term] “Original Sin”, and that in any case the former [term] clears up the truth about the implications of the Adam story, aka the Two Nation Theory? And it also helps explain what Satan is – namely, the so-called dark side of free will, the selfish gene, human pride and arrogance, or intellect minus “love”? He is the original “other”, the bringer of the second choice, separation, and disagreement. … [The consensus/nationality principles] are timeless and have been taken up before … The Quran tells us that we have adopted them and forgotten them many times. “Satan has overcome them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah” (58:19). My “Conspiracy” is inspired from this idea of rewritten and forgotten history.”

Hanif Omar

Hanif Omar. Practical idealist.

The broad “implications of Adam’s story” (the Fall) mentioned in that email is what Systems is all about; and an individual historical case study of the Two Nation Theory is what SJ2 is all about. We are taught to believe that human potential has never been unlocked, that there has never been an ideal society – and that in fact it’s impossible anyway. Is this all really true, or have there just been enough slanders, murders and rewrites of history to make us forget?

“Some would say that what I have suggested is utopian, and moreover impossible. This is not so. As I see it, humanity cannot realise its true potential until we accept that an ideal society is not only possible, but absolutely mandatory.”

So says Prof. Hanif Omar in Systems. But does anyone share his belief in real life?

.

MA Jinnah. Another practical idealist.

MA Jinnah. Another practical idealist.

Words from a Truth Seeker

These are the words of MA Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, in Chittagong in 1948.

“It is natural for some to think only in terms of Government, but the sooner we realise and adjust ourselves to new forces, the sooner our mind’s eye is capable of piercing through the horizons to see the limitless possibilities of our State and our Nation, the better for Pakistan. Then and then alone it would be possible for each one of us to realise the great ideals of human progress, of social justice, of equality and of fraternity, which, on the one hand, constitute the basic causes of the birth of Pakistan and also the limitless possibilities of evolving an ideal social structure of our State. I reiterate most emphatically that Pakistan was made possible because of the danger of complete annihilation of the human soul in a society based on caste. Now that the soul is free to exist and to aspire, it must assert itself, galvanizing not only the State but also the Nation.”

Although this Truth Seeker was not murdered (despite what conspiracy theorists of another kind might think), after his death he has been certainly been slandered, and the history of Pakistan has been rewritten. It sounds far-fetched to some, which is understandable. Admittedly, I too might not have believed it, if I hadn’t discovered it for myself.

Choose Your Destiny

Below is a reproduction – with permission – of the first lesson of the present course (Creating with the Soul) at the Marghdeen Learning Centre. It’s such a brilliant and interesting take on Jinnah’s legacy that I positively had to share it here. [Images are taken from the original article as it appeared.]

On a separate note, both my books Systems and Secular Jinnah & Pakistan are part of the recommended reading for this particular course, which is about the destinies of nations starting with the Pakistan idea.

Enjoy! – SK


1.1 How to choose your destiny

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the new online course, and please allow me to start it without any further preludes :). So, there are three variables involved in each one of us choosing our destiny. They are: (a) the current of history; (b) the destiny of society; and (c) the will of the individual himself or herself.

This is because the current of history, which is always evolutionary, moderates the destiny of each society. The destiny of each society generates a menu of choices from which every individual can pick. Please allow me to explain this with an example.

Case Study

Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah had become one of the least influential political figures by 1932. He was a particularly unlucky man. Each time he achieved something big, it would be taken away from him. In 1916, he was hailed as “the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity”, but three years later he was being hooted down by Hindus and Muslims alike. He married for love in 1918, but it turned sour and ended in the separation and death of his wife in less than ten years.

 

By 1932, his public career seemed to have ended. He had left his homeland, and had taken abode in England. He was not even invited to the Third Round Table Conference of the Indian leaders held in London that year.

Fifty-six years old and not growing any younger, Barrister Jinnah was suffering at the hands of destiny. So, he decided to ask God for a new one. But how?

First, he looked up the destiny of his nation. Their “final destiny”, as recently revealed by Iqbal, was a consolidated Muslim state.

With this understanding, Jinnah picked up a new role for himself. It was to be the founder of that state. He got it. 

Hence, understanding the destiny of his nation empowered him to choose his own destiny. From being one of the least significant leaders in 1932, he became “the Great Leader” by 1938 and the founder of the largest Islamic state and the fifth largest of the world in 1947, so that posterity was eventually going to say:

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three.

The Catch

Jinnah was not the only one in the 1930s to be attempting stuff like altering the course of history, etc. Just as he became the “Quaid-i-Azam” of his people, Mussolini was “Il Duce” in Italy and Hitler was the “Fuehrer” in Germany (all titles approximately meaning the same thing). Yet, Jinnah alone made it to the finish. We need to understand this a bit more.

The hazards of ignoring the
“trends of modern times”:
Mussolini and his beloved
after their execution

By the time Jinnah achieved his goal, Italians had executed Mussolini and hung his corpse upside down. Hitler had shot himself and to follow his ideology is now a  criminal offence in his country. The legacy of Jinnah, on the other hand, is not only cherished by his own people but his name and his worldview is something which they show off to other nations in a bid for gaining more respect.

Apparently, this is because while other “great leaders” focused only on the interests of their own nations, Jinnah aligned his patriotic ambition with the principles commonly respected by humanity in those days. In addition to the spirit and destiny of his own nation, he also kept in mind the trends of modern times.

This is the third variable, i.e. the current of world history, but that is a theme for the next lesson. Before proceeding, let’s conclude what we observed today.

 

Conclusion

We fail to be in control of our destinies because we are taught that societies do not have destinies as such. Due to this presumption, we obviously do not attempt to gain any insight into the destiny of our society, and hence fail to meet the prerequisite for taking control of our own futures as individuals.

Question

  • What is one thing which you would like to gain from this course? Since this is the first lesson, please formulate a personal objective. It is recommended that you keep it to 100 words, but please use your discretion. Keep it specific and to the point. Please do not mind if I remove your comment from the blog this time, in case I feel that you can do better (and in that case I shall personally email you about to re-write it).
  • Please reply to some of the comments posted by others. It is important to interact. Every learner gains more if everybody in the course is engaged. It’s a virtual classroom, so let it be a “commonly adopted goal” that everybody is involved, probed for their input and learning together in a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

This time, I am more excited than usual to see what replies come forth. Please begin!


SK: The Marghdeen Learning Centre is an educational subsidiary body of Iqbal Academy that offers online courses on Iqbal’s philosophy. To learn more, and to sign up, visit www.marghdeen.com

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times – Releasing 8 May 2014

(Reproduced with minor edits from my mailing list message dated today, 5 May 2014). Pass it on!

—————————————————-

Iqbal: His Life and His Times

Hello Folks,

As an update to my previous message, the UK/US edition of Iqbal: His Life and Our Times is due for release on Thursday 8 May at 8 p.m. British time. If you purchase a copy directly from CreateSpace in the first 72 hours, you will get a discount of 15% off the price (follow the instructions on that page). This discount applies to the US price but you will save money even if you are purchasing from outside the US (including but not exclusively Canada, Australia, UK and elsewhere in Europe). Don’t miss out!

The general edition will be released in Pakistan soon – date to be confirmed. If you would like updates on the Pakistani release, let me know and I’ll put you on a temporary mailing list for the purpose.

In the meantime, below is the introduction to the book by the directors of the Iqbal Academy and the ECO Cultural Institute, as taken from the author’s (Khurram Ali Shafique) mailing list and blog at the Marghdeen Learning Centre.

All the Best, & Take Care Folks,

Saleena

 ———————-

Introduction
by
Muhammad Suheyl Umar, Director, Iqbal Academy Pakistan;
and Iftikhar Arif, Director, ECO Cultural Institute (ECI)

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) is the only poet and thinker in the history of world literature who has been credited with the birth of a new nation and a new state. It is therefore very befitting that a handbook about his life and thought should be brought out by an organization comprising of ten member states. The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Cultural Institute (ECI) is pleased to bring out this publication jointly with Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

In addition to his unique status in Pakistan, Iqbal also happens to be either a national poet or a household inspiration in several other countries including Iran, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and India. In Turkey, his symbolic grave stands in the compound of the mausoleum of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. In the universities of Heidelberg and Cambridge, there are chairs or fellowships in his name. Roads, buildings and monuments have been named after him in other countries too, including Mauritius.

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times fulfils the need for a simple and reliable introduction to the life and work of this unmatched genius, highlighting the practical relevance of his ideas for those who wish to consider them for implementation. The author, Khurram Ali Shafique, is well-known in the field of Iqbal Studies. The awards which he has received for his previous publications include the coveted Presidential Iqbal Award.

The present volume includes many findings that are the outcome of the author’s original research. Of special interest to the general readers as well as the experts would be the evidence, presented here for the first time, which establishes a historical connection between the political ideas of Iqbal, the American thinker Mary Parker Follett and the Bengali visionary C. R. Das.

We are hoping that this volume will offer much by way of looking at the present times from new avenues.

  • It is shown here that the views expressed by Iqbal in his poetry and prose formed a coherent system of thought, and the same was implemented by him through political and social action. This is to dispel the myth which has been preventing a deeper understanding of Iqbal’s thought until now, i.e. the false but widely perpetuated assumption that the ideas presented by Iqbal were either inconsistent with each other or they kept undergoing such perpetual changes throughout his life that they cannot be considered for implementation in any other time.
  • The system of his thought and its underlying principles are being presented here, perhaps for the first time. It is also being shown that in spite of its inner coherence, the system of Iqbal’s thought kept pace with the evolution of the collective life of his community.
  • This evolution can be studied by dividing the intellectual life of the poet-philosopher into three stages: inquiry, discovery and transcendence. The duration of each stage has been established here on the basis of biographical and textual evidence, and the book has been divided into three chapters accordingly.
  • Each of these three stages started in his mental life when his community adopted a new goal collectively. The goals, their relevance to the world and humanity, their implications for Iqbal, and his contribution towards achieving them are issues which are being discussed here in a fresh light. This may turn out be one of the most significant contributions which this book will make to the subject.

If the nations of the world desire to come closer in their hearts and minds, they cannot ignore to learn about the ideas, emotions and visions of each other. The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Cultural Institute (ECI), formed through a charter at the third summit meeting of the countries of ECO held at Islamabad in 1995, aims at fostering understanding and the preservation of the rich cultural heritage of its members through common projects in the fields of media, literature, art, philosophy, sport and education.

The present volume is being offered in line with this vision, and with the conviction that it is important for everybody to be informed about the ideas of Iqbal, since they may be counted among those cultural forces which have gone into shaping a significant part of our world.

This conviction is shared by Iqbal Academy Pakistan, a statutory body of the Government of Pakistan, originally established through an act of parliament in 1951 and reinforced through an ordinance in 1962. The aims and objectives of the Academy are to promote and disseminate the study and understanding of the works and teachings of Iqbal. The Academy has been translating its objectives into action and activity through a number of measures including publication programme, IT projects, outreach activities, Iqbal Award Programme, website, research and compilation, audio-video, multimedia, archive projects as well as exhibitions, conferences, seminars, projection abroad, research guidance, academic assistance, donations and library services.

We hope that the readers will benefit from the book which we are offering here jointly, and this will go a long way in achieving our common objectives.

Posted By Khurram Ali Shafique to Marghdeen at 5/05/2014 04:52:00 AM

Announcement: A Completely Different Book on Iqbal

(Reproduced with minor edits from my mailing list message dated today 21 April 2014). Feel free to pass it on!

—————————————————-

Hello Folks,
 

It’s been a while since I last sent out a message to this list, and to many of my friends, I have been completely out of touch for a long time (for reasons that are not important here). For that I apologise.

Today is the anniversary of Iqbal’s death, an annual day of remembering the poet-philosopher’s message and what it means not only for people in the Indian subcontinent but also humanity as a whole. Iqbal has been simultaneously been celebrated and misunderstood since the time he was alive, and numerous biographies have been written on him. I’m pleased to announce the imminent release of a new biography on Iqbal, of which Libredux Publishing is printing the UK/US edition.

But this book is unlike the standard biographies on Iqbal. For a start, its author is Khurram Ali Shafique, who is known by most of you as the man behind the Marghdeen Learning Centre, and whose previous biography on Iqbal won him the Presidential Iqbal Award. But to really explain why this book is different, I can do no better than to reproduce its blurb:

———
-
Iqbal: His Life and His Times
THE MIND OF GOETHE,
THE HEART OF RUMI,
THE SPLENDOUR OF TAJ MAHAL. *

 

This was the unparalleled legacy of the poet-philosopher credited with birthing a nation and a state, and at no other time has the world been more ready to embrace his ideas than it is right now.

The story of his mind, and what he taught, as told herein from a new and compelling angle, leads us on a trail of discovery towards a new way of life. You’re invited to approach this as a handbook for implementing his life-giving ideas.

Written by a foremost authority on the subject, this is a tribute to Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) by ten sovereign states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are members of the Economic Cooperation Organization, whose Cultural Institute (ECI) has published this book jointly with Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

JOIN US NOW AS IQBAL’S LEGACY CONTINUES TO UNFOLD THROUGH THE LIVES OF US ALL.

 

———

Release date is yet to be confirmed, but it will be in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for updates.
 
All the Best, & Take Care Folks,
 
Saleena

 

Postscript 26/Apr/2014 * Since the time of writing this, the line has been changed from The Splendour of Taj Mahal to The Message of the Quran.

 

Straight off the Wall

Mount Sinai.

Mount Sinai.

At the latest Marghdeen Learning Centre course (Thinking with the Soul) last week, the present (seventh) lesson is titled “Completion”. It’s focusing on this Iqbalian concept, summarized in the introduction of the lesson as follows:

The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something. In this effort, it develops the ambition to come into direct contact with the Ultimate Reality. One who stands unshaken in the Divine Presence is the one about whom it could be said that the person has achieved completion – by acquiring a more precise definition of one’s self, ‘which deepens the whole being of the ego, and sharpens its will with the creative assurance that the world is not something to be merely seen or known through concepts, but something to be made and re-made by continuous action’. Still, the journey doesn’t end, as life is one and continuous.

Put in Iqbal’s own words: “the world is not something to be merely seen or known through concepts, but something to be made and re-made by continuous action”.

The task for the lesson was to answer this “simple question”: Is that how you are feeling at the end of this lesson? Why, or why not? 

Every participant was expected to post his/her answer at the MLC forum (a blog set up as the online venue for the course).

AThe Peace Man: A true anarchist (though he doesn't like labels).

The Peace Man: A true anarchist (though he doesn’t like labels).

One of the participants, Abdul Aziz Khan, posted this brilliant reply (emphasis mine):

This last lesson is deep enough to be a course of its own. The idea discussed here can be expanded into so many realms, with so many repercussions that a total (and ongoing) reconstruction would be needed, not just of religious thought but legal, social and ethical principles. It calls for a constant breakdown and re-invention of everything until we reach “somewhere.” That “somewhere” is so big and so powerful that no ideology, philosophy or religious interpretation has been able to even give a name to it. Thus (for the sake of this discussion) let it remain un-named. 

What are my own feelings?

a) A distrust in inherited morals and cultural perceptions of right and wrong.
b) A distrust in reason for I am convinced that reason can only piece together data from five senses. Yet this course convinced me of something that I already knew all along. I am bigger than what I see, hear, taste, touch and smell.
c) Desire for an anarchy that I could call my own. No one else needs to own it for it will have no use for national labels and cultural insignia. It will be the start of a first step towards “somewhere” and the guiding principles for those steps are not to be understood. They lie above understanding as understanding itself is a rational sort of a thing.

This post almost perfectly describes the meaning of a line straight off the wall in the Peace Man’s room in Systems:

The Truth has no name.

——————————

The Marghdeen Learning Centre is an Iqbal Academy subsidiary body teaching the philosophy of Iqbal in straightforward terms. Anyone who enrolls at certain Marghdeen Learning Centre courses (including The Wisdom of Moses and Thinking with the Soul) courses gets an ebook copy of Systems for free in any format.

VSLE: An alternative economy model

In 2009, I was the co-writer of a ‘good news’ show called Deliver!, which aired on Venus TV in the UK. In the last show of the season, we covered an ‘alternative’ economy model called LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) that was helping communities across the planet to get through recession. We described it as something that takes money ‘out of the equation and rewrites the rules’. It’s still up at YouTube here:

Fast-forward a couple of years to 2011, when Dr. Imran Chaudhry at Pakistan First Research Institute, the research division of PakistanFirst, asked me to co-author a paper for an alternative economy. (I had worked with PakistanFirst once before in a consultative capacity, on a paper making recommendations for provincial reforms in Pakistan.) He was aware of the alternative economy model covered in our news show, and liked the idea enough that he wanted PakistanFirst to present a model specifically tailored for Pakistani rural communities and villages. The resulting paper offers a system based loosely on LETS. We’ve dubbed it VSLE (Value, Skill and Labour Exchange). Like LETS, it’s interest-free and works on the principle of cooperation (collective interest) instead of profit (self interest), but it also has some distinguishing features of its own.

Emergency Economy

The paper was completed a few weeks ago and it has just been published at Smashwords under the grand title, Emergency Economy (though it’s not necessarily a model just for periods of recession; and its comments apply beyond just microeconomy).

Click here to pick up a PDF copy of this paper for free. You don’t need an account to download it. The provincialism paper I mentioned is available for free as well.

Marghdeen Learning Centre participants: I’d be particularly interested to know your thoughts on this, in light of the fact that the next MLC course promises to contain something ‘practical’. Do you see any similarities – in principle – between this alternative economy model and the ‘Marghdeen’ that Iqbal envisioned? Even if you don’t read the paper, the above video should give you a good idea of what I’m getting at. And this recent post offers a clue as well.

First year anniversary of Systems: Welcome to the dark side

Systems front coverSystems back coverToday is the first year anniversary of the release of Systems, and to mark the occasion I’ve changed the colours at this blog to match the rear cover of the paperback … a lovely shade of dark blue/violet. Wild, I know!

A newly edited version of this title will be released in spring. A CD of the song My Fate will accompany the book – and the CD might contain a hidden track. I say no more.

I’m also tinkering with the idea of presenting the Cohesive Ethics Theorem in a creative way. I have put off writing a formal piece on it for a long time, for various reasons, but mainly because I don’t want to couch a simple concept in stuffy language. That was my primary reason for presenting it in a novel in the first place, to give the abstract some context to which everyone can relate. Even if some formal discussion proves to be unavoidable, at the end of the day the concept is for all people, and not just academics or oddballs like yours truly.

Whatever I end up doing, it will likely be made in the first instance for the Marghdeen Learning Centre. (As you know, the novel is already available as a free download to anyone who joins the Marghdeen Learning Centre courses on Iqbal.)

I should add one more thing: I have other plans for the theorem too. But I’ll leave that for a future post.

Finally, a big thank you to all who have read my novel and sent me your wonderful feedback.

Happy New Year 2013 and roundup of 2012

2012 has been an extremely eventful year for me. At the beginning of the year I published Systems and launched this blog soon afterwards (18 Jan). I thought I’d write the odd post here and there, but so much happened this year that I never got round to sharing some of the news here. So consider this post a roundup of 2012, with the previously untold news thrown in.

The Procrastinator reading Systems

The Procrastinator reading Systems

Systems

On 2 July, Systems (and its trailer) first became a part of a course (rather aptly, The Wisdom of Moses* course) at the Marghdeen Learning Centre, an associative educational body of Iqbal Academy Pakistan. By 11 October, with the commencement of the course on Biological Unity, Systems attained a permanent part of the reading material, alongside Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam and Khurram Shafique’s 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen (which was published by Libredux Publishing). Anyone who joins these courses gets a free copy of the novel.

And Systems also made a brief appearance on the big screen, with the airing of my brother Shahid Karim’s Terminator spoof titled The Procrastinator at the Bang! Short Film Festival in Nottingham on 24 November.

* In Systems, Prof. Omar is very loosely based on Moses. He is from Egypt, his son is named Aaron, and parts of the Systems story line allude to Moses’ exodus. And of course, E3 is based on the tyrants who were also Moses’ opponents in his time.


Lbredux logo

Libredux Publishing

Systems was published under the imprint name Libredux Publishing. I had no other plans for Libredux, but it also became the publisher of Khurram Shafique’s 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen on 14 August (Pakistan Independence Day) and also the co-publisher of two other titles shortly afterwards (below).

 

The Qur'anic System of Sustenance

Translation work

This year saw the release of two titles edited and translated by myself and my father Fazal Karim: The Qur’anic  System of Sustenance and Did Quaid-e-Azam Want to Make Pakistan a Secular State?, both authored by G.A. Parwez (1906-1985). Both titles were co-published by Tolu-e-Islam Trust and Libredux Publishing.

At present, The Qur’anic System of Sustenance is also being turned into an audio book. My brother Shahid is the narrator.

Other publications

On 23 March this year this article of mine appeared in the Pakistani newspaper’s Dawn Special Report on the Lahore Resolution of 1940.

Deliver! logo

This year I collaborated with the think tank PakistanFirst on a paper for an ‘alternative economy’, inspired by a model that was covered in Shahid’s news show Deliver! in 2009 (aired on Venus TV in the UK. See the clip from that show here). The paper is on the verge of release.

 

Visionary Fiction Alliance logo

Visionary Fiction Alliance

I and eleven other authors founded the Visionary Fiction Alliance (17 August), dedicated to promoting fiction of the kind that explores human potential. I’m now one of its admins. The story of how we came together can be found here.

TV appearance

Most of you won’t know that I have taken part in a documentary on Dr. Iqbal’s philosophy, produced by the Iqbal Academy, Pakistan. Parts of it were shot in Cambridge. The filming of my part took four hours in a very hot room (it was the middle of July) but quite enjoyable considering that I have a total (and I mean, total) fear of public speaking. You probably won’t catch me in front of a camera again. :D The documentary is still in production and it should be televised some time in 2013.

… And that’s just about everything.

Coming up in 2013

1) The re-release of Systems (re-edited, and with extras)

2) Hitoshi’s song My Fate from Systems to be recorded

3) The Cohesive Ethics Theorem should get a formal write-up, but with a twist

4) Re-making of The Way: My brother’s first ever film, which can be described as having a visionary story line, is being re-made this year. I was the composer of its original soundtrack, and I’ll be the composer again for the remake.

5) More to come. Watch this space.

 

Happy New Year 2013.

René Raison – rebirth of reason

Note: I accidentally titled this ‘Rebirth of Thought’ when it should have said ‘Reason (for) Rebirth’. Corrected now. I’m half asleep today!

Note (again): It was really bugging me why I had thought ‘raison’ meant thought, so I double-checked. Turns out that when I originally chose the word ‘raison’ (some years go), I picked it for its second meaning: reason, mind. So my memory wasn’t mixed up after all. Note to self: Never second-guess yourself during a migraine!


Dr Muhammad Iqbal

Dr Muhammad Iqbal – Courtesy allamaiqbal.com

I intended to put up an entirely different post today, but will leave that for later (though that one is important too). Just wanted to mention something that has come up at the Marghdeen Learning Centre’s present course, The Wisdom of Moses, where Systems also happens to be part of its required reading list.

This week’s question was asking about what is common between two seemingly unrelated passages written by Iqbal. They are quite long so I won’t reproduce them in full here, but in short both of them mention the passage in the Quran in which there is a reference to ‘resurrection’ or ‘rebirth’.

As Iqbal quotes it:

Your creation and resurrection are like the creation and resurrection of a single soul. (31:28)

Aside from a few who believe that this is literally a reference to reincarnation on earth (and yes, I used reincarnation as a metaphor in Systems), most understand that this is a comment on the recycling of the universe (including life), and it is also a statement on the birth and rebirth of humanity as a whole, treated as a ‘single soul’. In addition, it’s saying that the fate of human society rests equally on each and every one of us. So each of us is also society (or humanity), and what every one of us does will affect its evolution.

But there is a bit more to it than even that – from Iqbal’s viewpoint. He was interested in the method for reviving society. His comments from the two aforementioned passages are as follows:

First passage: Allahabad Address: Is it possible for you to achieve the organic wholeness of a unified will? Yes, it is. … Pass from matter to spirit. Matter is diversity; spirit is light, life and unity. … One of the profoundest verses in the Holy Quran teaches us that the birth and rebirth of the whole of humanity is like the birth and rebirth of a single individual. Why cannot you … as a people, … live and move and have your being as a single individual?

Second passage: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam: A living experience of the kind of biological unity, embodied in this verse [as cited above], requires today a method physiologically less violent and psychologically more suitable to a concrete type of mind.

Now this has caused a stir over at the course. What is biological unity? What is ‘rebirth’? How do we achieve it? What does Iqbal mean when he says about society: live and move and have your being as a single individual?

Brain, mind - Two-in-one

Brain, mind – Two-in-one

The question becomes easier to answer if it is reworded: How do we reboot the mind (of society)? Obviously, through re-education, or, in biological terms, by rewiring the brain. We know how difficult it is in science to differentiate between brain and mind anyway. (Now you also know why reincarnation and psychic ability – what Hitoshi called a ‘worldwide neuron network’ – appear together in Systems.) If a society can achieve this, it will also achieve unity of collective thought – and unity of purpose. This is what the theorem (and the Systems Experiment) in the novel highlights as well (Chapter 11). Oh, and it was something I mentioned a few times in SJ2 as well, though there it was phrased ‘intellectual unity’. ;)

In other words, this is all theorem stuff again. My favourite Iqbal line, the one I call the ‘muse’ for the theorem, speaks of rendering the three intangible ideals (equality, freedom, solidarity) as ‘space-time forces':

Muse line (Reconstruction): The essence of ‘Tauhid’ [Unity of God] as a working idea is equality, solidarity, and freedom. The State … is an endeavour to transform these ideal principles into space-time forces, an aspiration to realise them in a definite human organisation.

As far as I understand it, there is scant difference between this passage about the ‘state’ and the ones about ‘biological’ unity. Both are describing the meaning of true Unity. It’s just the subject that differs. One is the human being; the other the political state. In fact, the muse line technically mentions both ‘state’ and the human being (‘human organisation’).

René Descartes

René Descartes

Incidentally – more trivia for you – a key location (and a chapter) in Systems was quite deliberately named René Raison dam. It was a wink and a nod to René Descartes, the father of the dualist doctrine, as well as a phrase in French –  ignoring the bad grammar. :) Literal meaning is in the title of this article, and its implication is that we need to rethink what reality means. Is it split into spirit and matter, unseen and seen, thought and material, body and mind, space and time?

Or is it Unified?