Monday, October 29, 2012

Some details pertaining to my banning from the Eric Voegelin discussion forum

Voegelin's diagnosis of a "disease" in (Western) modernity pertains largely to what he saw as an enculturation of sophistry denying divine transcendence, often lurching into gnostic mutations and permutations; with sometimes disastrous results (as with, for example, Nazism and Communism and the mayhem and misery their "immanentized eschatons" wrought).

Ironically, this is -- as I intuited -- precisely what attracted that one Muslim member of the Voegelinian society (of whose discussion forum I too was a member for a while, as I mention in my essays Voegelinians and Islam, Part 1 and 2) to Voegelin.  I.e., this Muslim member saw in Voegelin a nice hefty piece of ammunition against the West -- on the basis of its supposed lack of spirituality; or even more juicily, its deformation of proper spirituality (which finds apposite resonance in the Koranic and generally Islamic view that Christians and Jews have cultivated a culture of "corruption" of the "Guidance" which Allah gave them, not only in the Scriptures they have "corrupted" but also in the false religions they have developed as consequences of that wicked "corruption").  Though this Oxonian Muslima never said so outright, one reasonably wonders whether this "deformed" Modern West did not, in her Islamic perspective, contrast unfavorably with Islamic culture and its purported cultivation of true spiritual values.

One reasonably wonders, and one ought to have the right, in the wake of 911, to demand (demand in its original meaning, "to ask") that any Muslim -- particularly one indulging in Voegelin's seeming excoriation of his own West -- do some 'splainin'.
My intuition in this regard was cut short, however, when I confronted (maturely and intelligently, not offensively) that Muslim member of the Voegelin discussion forum with a pointed question in this regard:  I was never given the opportunity to elicit an answer from her -- since the owner of the forum, Fritz Wagner banned me and accused me of trying to "bait" that Muslim colleague of his; and, of course, in the process, gave that Muslima a convenient escape hatch from the responsible obligation to respond.

My question to her, as I recall, was a rhetorical question meant to elicit some substantial recognition of her fundamental hypocrisy -- namely:  Isn't it interesting, I noted to her, that you seem so attracted to Voegelin who wrote so profoundly against the spiritual disease of his own West, and yet, can you show me just one Muslim philosopher who has written that extensively about any substantive problems (let alone pneumopathology) in Islam -- that is, without somehow ultimately blaming "the Jews" or the West, or America?  
And not only may we Westerners adduce a Voegelin in this regard, we could easily list hundreds of major (and minor) thinkers, artists, writers, politicians, educators, men of letters, essayists, celebrities and pundits over the last 300 years (if not, indeed, longer -- cf. Montaigne) who have subjected various facets and features of their own West -- including the whole Kit & Kaboodle -- to varying degrees of criticism, ranging from wryly amused, cynically caustic (think Mark Twain) to searing and radical, and everywhere in between.  
Where is the comparable culture of self-criticism among Muslims?  (Do crickets chirp in the desert...?)

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