Brother/Sister, Where Art Thou?

This is the study that I have prepared during my first stint as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution (July-December 2004). Though completed, the study was never published by Brookings, it was simply too whimsical to pass as a policy paper, and although I had permission to publish it elsewhere while acknowledging that it was prepared at Brookings, I got too caught up with the activities of the Tharwa Project and my the interrogations I faced upon my return to Syrian to follow up on this.  Continue reading

The Rich and the Poor

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

When it comes to the issue of poverty in the world, there are no lights at the end of the tunnel, although there is a need for lights to be present all through it.

We can easily assert today, and studies in this regard are too numerous to mention, that the majority of the peoples of Earth are not receiving their “fair and reasonable” share of the material benefits of globalization. Meanwhile people’s expectations regarding what constitutes this fair and reasonable share are being reshaped daily, making it ever harder for their attainment to take place and creating a condition of constant frustration as a consequence. 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

Democracy and Mimesis

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

Values are the result of individual and collective experiences. They are not products that can be exported or imported, or some contagious microbes that can be avoided or quarantined. Nor are they behavioral patterns per se so that they can be expected to spread by mimicry, or, to be more philosophical, mimesis. Indeed, the spread of values depends heavily on two things: education and experience, not imposition, contagion or mimesis. Continue reading

Few Secular Observations Regarding Islamic Reformation

A paper presented at a conference in Europe 

Abstract

The rise of Islamic Radicalism makes it more necessary than ever to come up with an equally Islamic alternative that can appeal to the Muslim peoples in the course of time. This alternative cannot be produced without reevaluating the very fundamentals of the Islamic faith, history and worldview, a process that will most likely assume the proportions of a full-fledged Reformation.

The argument here is that such a Reformation is indeed a must for the sake of salvaging the meager remains of Muslim identity and empowering the Muslim peoples to take a more active  part in drawing up their future destiny(ies). The desired reformation, nonetheless, will need to satisfy certain secular conditions first so as to prove viable on the long run. After all, its influence is bound to extend beyond the sphere of practicing and believing Muslims to involve all the peoples of the world, religious affiliations notwithstanding.   Continue reading