“Religion and Arab Culture” WP Lang



My lecture notes from long ago for the benefit of those who have discovered water shortages as a source of ME culture.  pl

Download Islamic Religion and Arab Culture

This entry was posted in Middle East, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to “Religion and Arab Culture” WP Lang

  1. JiuJitsuMMA says:

    Thanks, Colonel.. excellent points you nade that dovetails with anthropologist Dr. Marvin Harri’s award-winning book about how desert environments that are lacking in fresh water/food evolve cultures & religions that are more controlling, anti-sexual cultures (Judiasm, Bible/Christianity, Islam/Quran) because more sex means more babies that put more strain on the tribles limited water/food supplies
    temperate to tropical cultures with plenty of freshwater & food evolve more open, pro-sexual cultures & religions (Taoism, original Confucius, Tantric Buddhisn, pagan Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic religions, etc)
    I repeat it here since most people will miss it since it was on some post after #218 from about 3 days ago ) https://www.amazon.com/Our-Kind-Where-Came-Going/dp/0060919906

  2. turcopolier says:

    You just don’t get it. you don’t lecture me about this. I thought you might figure that out. I made “excellent points?” What an arrogant man you are. pl

  3. JiuJitsuMMA says:

    I wasn’t trying to lecture you -I was sharing information with the other readers on the forum. “Excellent points” was a compliment to you. My intent has always been to share information & more data points on the forum.

  4. SoCal Rhino says:

    Thank you. I’ve picked up a lot of that by reading posts and comments, seeing in one place helps solidify it.

  5. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Col. Lang,
    Everyone who presumes to be a “social scientist” should be required to read these notes.
    These notes make for an excellent bookend to the link posted by “Jack” some days ago: http://www.salientpartners.com/epsilon-theory/when-narratives-go-bad/
    The objection that I raised to the argument offered by the author of the article is that it is not obvious when the narrative has gone “bad.” The author presumes, like many members of my tribe, that there is some point when narratives go so obviously bad, at which time the secret Yankee inside everyone is bound to come out. Were that the case, we’d have to wait a really long time for the secret Yankee inside my Louisianan SWMBO (or at least the nearest approximation thereof). The really powerful narratives, formed over centuries of history and having weathered countless multitudes of challenges, just don’t go that “bad” easily.

  6. turcopolier says:

    Which narratives are you talking about here? pl

  7. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I’m talking about the kind of truisms about the world and people that different groups take for granted as being “self-evident” (in some form or another) for no “clear” reason: the cultural perspectives, worldviews, and general sense of how the world works–and how a “normal” person should behave within.
    The view that inside every human is a secret Yankee eager to break free, then, is itself a “narrative.” It is so “obvious” and “self evident” to so many Western elites that they will have trouble breaking free of this thought pattern even in face of evidence seemingly to the contrary. The patterns of thoughts and behavior among the Middle Easterns that you have described, while very different in substance, also exist on the same plane: it is how they think, how they act, how and what they believe, and they will not change, especially not under short term pressure.

  8. Sam Peralta says:

    why this hard-on for being a “scientist” among those in the social studies field? Is it to justify their wacko theories that would otherwise be dismissed by the application of common sense?
    As I responded to the “karate man” with the nordic “model” wife on his claim that since the “empirical” evidence supports his “scientific” argument that such argument must be correct.
    “One problem with empirical studies especially relating to human behavior is that correlation does not equate with causation. This where most empirical studies fail in attributing causes.
    Those that claim “scientific method” superiority don’t get that some of most trenchant observers of humanity were philosophers, historians and writers.
    Hiding behind your scientific training does not necessarily improve your argument on matters relating to social issues like mass psychology, culture, economics and other areas of human behavior.”

  9. The Beaver says:

    Looks like there is something going on in Turkey.
    Curfew in Ankara and road blocks in IST ( as per scuttlebutts on Twitter- different sources)

  10. turcopolier says:

    Perhaps? At long last … pl

  11. kao_hsien_chih says:

    You are mistaken if you believe I am trying to assert my own view of how the world works. I am not trying to “improve” my argument in the sense of trying to convince anyone what they don’t already believe.
    What I am trying to do is to “improve” my own understanding of how the world works, and solicit input from those who would offer their thoughts. I am far more fascinated by those who subscribe to “scientism” than those who allegedly behave “irrationally.” Personally, I am more curious about why people like “karate man” (as you call him) insist on thinking like he does than why my people in Louisiana think as they do, because, quite frankly because people who think like “karate man” have undue influence on how policy gets made nowadays and have potential to kill us along the way by causing worldwide disasters if they screw up. I suppose, in a way, I am hoping to find some means of convincing THEM to think differently in a language that makes sense to them.
    I don’t think philosophers, historians, and writers, collectively, make for a good guide in today’s universe, not because they were “wrong,” but because they said too many things. The distinguishing characteristic of a “science” is that it oversimplifies and, in so doing, is wrong, not that it is right. Science advances by understanding how wrong different stages of oversimplification is, not by insisting on how right the oversimplified picture is.

  12. Istanbul Guy says:

    Just wanted to let you all know before they cut our internet…
    bridges are closed, army on the streets…. jets flying over head….they are doing it 100% , even in smaller towns in rural Turkey…

  13. Croesus says:

    Is it fair to say that zionism correlates more closely with the ISIS-driven quest to re-establish the caliphate on its ancient territory, rather than with wahabbism, which I understand as a fundamentalist expression of Islam?
    Also — is Sharia a tribal or political emanation of Islam or is it more essentially linked to the religious traditions of Islam, i.e. something accumulated based on the accumulated teachings of the marja at-taqliid ? Basically the question I have is, What is Sharia?

  14. turcopolier says:

    Istanbul Guy
    Bosphorus bridge cut? If the center of the coup is in Ankara they would do that to prevent 1st Army in Thrace From moving to Anatolia. pl

  15. The Beaver says:

    This twitter account is giving updates and video :

  16. Liza says:

    Russia Today: Turkish PM says part of military attempting couple; military jets and helicopters flying low over Ankara; shooting heard.

  17. Jack says:

    Istanbul Guy
    Although I have no dog in this fight since it is an internal matter for the Turkish people and while in general I never support military coups, in this case I am rooting for those attempting to rout Erdogan. I hope they succeed and get Turkey out of arming and supporting the jihadists.
    Please keep us posted as long as the Internet is working. And please keep safe!

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If true, a sad day for the idea of Representative Government everywhere, especially in the Lands of Islam.

  19. turcopolier says:

    Hitler was elected. Sometimes democracy bears poisoned fruit. pl

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, but I know how this is going to be understood; Muslims are not fit for Democracy.
    And Erdogan and AKP were not Hitlerites.

  21. turcopolier says:

    I don’t care. I want to see Turkey remain a secular Western oriented state with full human rights, not an Islamist pro-jihadi country. pl

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is fine, but the cost would be bayonet “secularism”; in my opinion.

  23. turcopolier says:

    The Turkish republic and constitution were created with the bayonet against the will of people like Erdogsn. IMO that was a price worth paying. pl

  24. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Col, Thanks for republishing this.
    Looking at slides #25, 35, 38, 39 makes me deeply pessimistic:
    #25, a religion that does not rely on bureaucracy or large organizational structures, in which ‘the leader’ or group is seen to define what is right/wrong suggests to me that someone like Al-Baghdadi (?sp?) has inordinate sway within such a ‘fractured’ group.
    # 35 argues that Western social sciences is inadequate in dealing with zealots (a view with which I happen to concur). This suggests that well-educated Westerners are the least capable of grasping the dynamics of what is happening today.
    Layer onto those dismal points the notion that, the ME view is a ‘zero sum’ perspective (#38), and compromise is seen as ‘caving’ (failure) (#39), and these look like a collection of ominous ‘data points’.
    The constellation of ideas in these slides better helps me grasp how anyone could drive a truck down a road full of holiday celebrants — and their children! — than anything else that I’ve encountered.
    (FWIW, I spent several years teaching in an Alaskan native village, so I tend to think that we middle class Westerners are the most inept people on the planet in grasping the nature of the relationships and motives of people whose customs, languages, beliefs, cultures are different from our own. We do not understand tribalism; it is a concept so foreign to our experience that if one does not encounter it, it is not something you grasp by reading books.)
    Because of my background, I have an avid interest in adult illiteracy, the origins of alphabetic writing, as well as the neurology of reading. I’ve worked with a number of very smart, very capable illiterates, so I do not mean ‘illiterate’ as a slam by any stretch of the imagination. (When I have read your descriptions of Yemeni tribesmen, I sensed that you also recognize that although an individual may be functionally illiterate — they still often have plenty of ‘smarts’.)
    I assume that for most of Islamic history, rote was the primary pedagogy in teaching the Quran, despite the use of alphabets in Arabic and related languages.
    Rote produces very poor outcomes for reasons that I will not bore you with on this thread, other than to say that when I attempted to root it out of a native village school, the entire village came unglued because they thought that as long as their kids could parrot what they’d learned by rote, the kids were ‘educated’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their learning is very superficial, and IMVHO it does not serve students well when they encounter novel problems.
    However, rote would be the easiest possible method for teaching something that is ‘faith based’. A teacher invoking rote would also be the cheapest kind of ‘schooling’ the Saudis could possibly have bankrolled, over the short term. IIRC, at some point, FB Ali mentioned the overall deplorable level of education in Pakistan over recent decades, and I strongly suspect that rote was involved.
    On a related note, godspeed to the SST readers in Turkey.

  25. turcopolier says:

    “that well-educated Westerners are the least capable of grasping the dynamics of what is happening today” I consider myself to be a well educated Westerner and I understand their religion and culture very well, but then unlike you I accept their right to be different from us. BTW there is noting “discouraging” about my PPT unless you are hopelessly ethnocentric, which almost all Americans are. They are so much like that that they can not conceive of anything other than the idiot idea that inside every Wog there is an American trying to get out. I spent my government life trying to say this to the bosses. Understandably, I was not popular. Poor me. pl

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think you meant “well-credentialed” but not necessary well-educated; which seems to have been lost when the Colonial Office was closed.

  27. Tel says:

    Turcopolier can be a difficult man to agree with.
    When he says that social science is contaminated with Marxism and therefore wrong (s35), I find myself agreeing 100% !

  28. jld says:

    Amusingly the Archdruid once again comes up with a very relevant analysis:
    “Scientific Education as a Cause of Political Stupidity”

  29. jld says:

    Shame, shame, Representative Government is no True Islam®
    Or, am I mistaken?

  30. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I have twofold reactions.
    One one hand, the Archdruid is right that “doing politics” “scientifically” is impossible, although perhaps for slightly different set of reasons (or maybe not really different) reasons than he proposes. In practice of politics, powerful people care not especially for the “truth,” but justifications for what they want that others will accept as valid. The prestige of “science” and its trappings mean that, if their excuses look sufficiently “scientific,” they can more easily convince their audiences to support what they want. This is, in practice, downright antiscientific, rather than science: the conclusions are preordatined, as dictated by the political masters, and the pretense of scientific process fraudulent, as it exists only as window dressing. The focus is always on how “right” this alleged “science” is, with little or no attention on how wrong–even though, every “scientific” theory, as an oversimplification, is bound to be wrong at least some of the time.
    At the same time, even if the absurd pretense that politics can be “done scientifically” can be discarded, I think a “scientific attitude” towards politics is useful and can serve as an important counter, in fact, to this pseudoscientific attitude. “Real” science consists of “constructive” skepticism, of demanding reasonable explanations and evidence and willingness to evaluate them with an open mind, not “believing in the right answers.” A creationist who is open to evidence for evolution and willing to evaluate it earnestly and fairly, even if he does not ultimately “believer it” is a better scientist than a devout believer in evolution, for example. Political discourse can be greatly enriched if politicians actually have to explain things logically rather than repeat conclusions in so many different ways and insist that they are right because “scientists” say so.

  31. jld says:

    Yes, of course the Archdruid is almost always only partially right because, though extremely smart he is too smug for his own good and still a “druid”, which smells a bit funny when arguing about science.

  32. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Col. Without doubt, you are well-educated, in many senses of that word.
    Sorry to think myself ‘hopelessly ethnocentric’. However, I certainly understand the frustrations of trying to tell people things that they do not wish to hear.

  33. turcopolier says:

    Well, you don’t seem to understand that people have a right to be “other than what you are.” Is that not ethno-centric? pl

  34. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Perhaps. It is an interesting conundrum.
    What I think may be a ‘right’ seems irrelevant on several levels; they are what they are, and it interests me to try and understand perspectives different from my own. If that is ethno-centric, then I’ve found myself on some strange, intellectual Mobius strip: things begin as one thing, and before you know it, turn into something else.

  35. turcopolier says:

    “What I think may be a ‘right’ seems irrelevant on several levels; they are what they are…” what you think is right must guide your behavior. pl

  36. Chris Chuba says:

    Thank you Col, this is post that I have book marked.
    I have a question about Taqiyya. One extreme interpretation favored by many in the west is that this is an open license for devout Muslims to lie to Infidels, pretty much under any circumstances. On the other end of the spectrum, I read that it was only permissible to conceal one’s identity when their life was at stake and was mostly used by the Shiites when confronted by Sunni who consider them apostates. I don’t know what to think, I’d like a knowledgable view on the subject.

  37. turcopolier says:

    Chris Chuba
    Like everything else in Islam the interpretation of Takkiya is subject to individual and group consensus. pl

  38. Chris Chuba says:

    Thanks, I did pick up on you PPT that Islam is non hierarchical and as I recall, even local communities will infuse their own traditions. I don’t know if I am representing your presentation correctly. As I alluded to earlier, I am going to have to re-read it a few times over the course of weeks. I tend to pick up different details that I missed before. It’s just the way my mind works.
    The 700 club types just reduce it to ‘Muslims lie to us, it’s in their religion’. I get the sense that it is more complicated than that.

  39. turcopolier says:

    Chris Chuba
    It is true that at the village or tribal level people tend to introduce customary law and practice into the practice of religion but my PPT is about the high culture of Islam, not that. pl

Comments are closed.