Stuck in the Bottleneck

Tharwa Editorial / Also published in the Daily Star under the title: “Prepare for when the Arab bottle breaks.”

When you are stuck in the neck of a bottle, it doesn’t matter how far you are from the bottom, or how close you come to the edge of freedom. There are no points of no return. As you struggle to free yourself, you can as easily fail and fall as succeed and climb out of the top. For those stuck in the neck, though, the option of not doing anything, of accepting their bondage, seems like the safest bet. But what happens when they realize that an overwhelming force may threaten to break the bottle? What is the safest bet then? Continue reading

On the Pragmatic State!

In an ideological state, the ruling ideology is not important in itself but only inasmuch as it can serve as a mantra whose repetition is necessary to justify the continuing control of the corrupt ruling elite. For this reason, ideological states are almost always incapable of reinventing themselves. The best that can be achieved in them is implosion and disintegration.

The survival of a certain administrative core, in some cases, and the fight to maintain that survival, are not necessarily signs of (cultural and civilizational) vitality inasmuch as they are indications of the desperate activities of certain interest groups working hard to cut down their losses, on the one hand, and maximize their potential benefits from the breakdown, on the other. Continue reading

Class & Morality

Of all the barriers that separate people in the world, racial, ethnic, linguistic, religious, sectarian, etc., the barrier represented by one’s social class, however defined, seems to be, historically, one of the hardest to break through. In fact, the thing that often makes the other barriers so difficult to break through or maneuver around seems related in no small measure to the fact that, in time, they tend to acquire a social dimension as well, that is, they end up delineating social classes as well. Or should we say sociomoral classes, since each class tend to develop its own particular conception of morality? Continue reading

The Meaning of Civilizational Death

A Heretic’s Log: A series of philosophical essays written between September 20, 2002 and July 15, 2004. 

The rise and fall of civilizations, or to frame things in more dramatic terms, the birth and death of civilizations, is not, and has not never exactly been, a smooth and quiet affair. Indeed, there is much tumult involved in this, and the event is bound to have many repercussions for all concerned. Still, the implications for the people affected by this, and their neighbors, are not necessarily numerous as they are profound. Moreover, when the death under discussion is not that of a single civilization, such as the Islamic, Indian or Chinese Civilization, but that of an entire “civilizational complex,” namely the “East,” the implications are simply bound to be global and enduring (see in this regard the previous Log: The Imperium between East and West). Continue reading