#Idea – Islam / “The Devil Can Cite Scripture For His Purpose” / 12.03.17

These days, many label Muslims who choose not to interpret Islam in the politically correct manner as ‘Islamists’.
Perhaps to get around the sensitive issue that they are still Muslims
Just interpreting the Quran in a different way

Interpretation is the issue here
Most every extreme stance an ‘Islamist’ takes
Or extreme act that they commit
Can be justified by what is written in the Quran.
i.e: most of the time they aren’t making this stuff up,
There is an ayah (‘verse’) that can be interpreted in favour of the massacre
(…and quite often another ayah that contradicts it)
Don’t believe me? Take a look in the book yourself.

Perhaps it is worth considering
When the entire basis of a belief system
Stems from what parts
Of a single archaic and self contradictory text
You choose to interpret
Who or what can be said to be ‘right’?

article critical of islam - mosque black and white
Disregard doctrine, acquire aesthetics

It is a simple matter of justification
And as long as it is written down there somewhere
You can justify it
Just ignore the contrary passages and plough on
(…and people do)

This brings up another point,
You can’t really practice Islam or Christianity by the book
Because the book fucking contradicts itself.
This is perhaps why we call it a ‘belief system’
Instead of a ‘reality system’.

And this is the problem with any cause (i.e religion)
That argues from an infallible position
Refusing to examine itself critically
Yes, an old cliche
But this inability to entertain or practice self doubt
Is the difference between science and fanaticism
Put another way, if you ‘know’ you’re right
What’s the point in second guessing your actions?
You’re right, after all.

Is reform an answer?
I don’t know
I am not an expert on theological law, nor a Muslim.
If Islam reforms itself to better a fit an inclusive, post global worldview – will/can it still be Islam?
Islam means ‘submission’.
It is full of verses that remind its followers to spread the faith by any means
Any means
Yes, you can be a moderate Muslim and ignore these verses
But this, by its very definition, isn’t practicing Islam ‘by the book’
So, really, to change this, you’d have to literally have to throw out the book
(…disregarding the my point above it is impossible to follow something with total fidelity that contradicts itself)

article critical of islam - quran in black and white
Image Credit: Pexels

Think about this word, ‘fundamentalist’
You cannot be a fundamentalist without fundamentals
And, whatever you think about the ‘Islamist’ fundamentalists, they are NOT hypocrites
Sure, we may not agree with them
(…I know I don’t)
But they’re just doing what it says in the book
(…or should I say, in some parts of the book)

Will such a worldview as it is now even survive in the long term?
Who knows?
…what does history teach us?

Cover Image Credit: Thinhan

#Idea – Copywriting vs Relativism vs Pedantry

When you think of it, what a lot of copywriters and ‘unofficial’ grammar nazis do is basically enforce consensus.

They are the police for what is the currently accepted ‘correct’ way to write.

But…

The laws of language are not a ‘real’, natural law. They’re a kind of consensus law, an agreement.

Unlike the law of gravity, which exists whether we believe in it or not, the laws of grammar are an abstraction that exist because we adhere to them.

Consider – for some reason, at some point, and for one reason or another, we decided that we would use commas, hyphens, capital letters (etc) in a certain way.

This was all written down somewhere (usually in dictionaries and accepted style guides). From then on, this was seen as the ‘correct’ way of communicating in the written format.

…and certain people, for one reason or another, were appointed as/appointed themselves the experts of this medium.

But…

Language (as a part of culture) is a fluid and adaptive thing that evolves as people use it.

black and white bird photo
Image Credit: ThomasWolter

We have laws to enforce certain consistency and ‘best practice’ in how we write and speak…

But no one person or organisation can hope to control how that works.

Much of the slang that ’the kids’ are using will later be added to the dictionary – a sign of validation if ever there was one. Still, you could think of the OED as a late adopter in this case – these words were already alive, in use and evolving, long before the dictionary gave them its stamp of approval.

So, in a way, you could think of us writers, copywriters, editors (etc) as ‘shepherds’ of the words – guiding, but not entirely controlling, how words are used, and how they progress.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”LEWIS CARROLL (Charles L. Dodgson), Through the Looking-Glass, chapter 6, p. 205 (1934)

Photo by Georgie Pauwels

#Idea – Post Factual Media Landscape / 17.12.16

Thinking about much of the media in this ‘post fact landscape’ we find ourselves in.
The need to be first is more important than the need to be true.
Or – as thespian-philosopher-mensch Densel Washington once said in an interview
“Read the news and you’re misinformed – don’t read the news and you’re uninformed”

What are we to do?

 

Photo by Christian Schirrmacher

#Idea – On people who try to convert others

Religious proselytism may come from a good place
In the sense that you believe you can help/save people by signing them up to your belief system
But at its core – it is fundamentally arrogant
To think that you have the answer to what is arguably the most important question
And that everybody else is wrong
That everybody needs your help

And, get this
Even if you don’t make a conscious effort to convert people
And you still hold this belief inside you
Well
This belief takes up space where some spiritual humility could be
Because, as with everything
You could be right, and you could be wrong…

 

Photo by zbigphotography (1M+ views)

#Idea – Stop Being Offended AKA Arguments Against Taking Things Personally

When you take offence, you have abdicated your power to choose how you feel to another person.
You have allowed them, consciously or not, to press your buttons.
.
And besides
Since your ‘person’ is, on one level, optional
(i.e a persona – a mask you wear and an idea you have created about yourself)
There’s no need to take anything ‘personally’
Unless you want to
.
But why would you want to?

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

#Idea – Fulfilment is a con but it helps

Fulfilment always seems to come in the future
And the overarching narrative is present day denial.
.
Don’t eat – be slim one day
Don’t slack – be successful one day
Obviously, this has its benefits
The thing is; when you become thin or you sell the company
The elation only lasts so long
Then the dissastifaction sets in
And off you go – chasing the next thing
.
So it follows
Maybe it is wise to enjoy the chase
And realise it for what it is, a chase

Because the catch won’t satisfy you for very long 

You are not guaranteed of the ends
But if you enjoy the means
Even if your desired ends do not materialise
You have enjoyed them all the same…

Photo by Antonia Foy