Among the Dangers to Historianship: Getting the Wrong Phantasy
by Bodwyn, Sirdar Wook, ‘abd al-‘Abru
PERSPECTIVE Is a function of time.
In the long beat of western History, it is clear from the repeated cycles of conflict and trade, not least in ideas, that indeed muslims with their unitarian view like ourselves, in the rest of the West (pace Baroness Thatcher), are born horizon seekers. Islam, like Christianity less completely before it, both anticipates our contemporary science and alludes to yet further vistas.
Thus, the re-newed warfare between us is a foul and awful tragedy.
The present phantasy of a ‘clash of cultures’ that is to blame for much of this is as well a hideously bad joke, and the bleak bad comedy in it is because it is erroneous in at least three ways:
THE Ascription to this particular episode in History of a spurious uniqueness; the consequent and deliberate-seeming ignorance of the vaster gulf between the whole of the West and the Far East; and, not least, as an effective means of luring support for Israel outside of constitutionally compromised neo-conservative circles.
THIS Last can ultimately do Israel no good that she cannot manage to do for herself.
Otherwise, the real question of a true perception of China and confucian culture goes begging, and meanwhile we are in a real danger of being distracted by the dangerous emotional messiness of this present bitter row across South-West Asia and the Mediterranean.
It is to-day a three-way vendetta of murder amongst cousins (both our jewish and arab moral and historical relatives, I mean, and ourselves!) and our propinquity at bottom is, like it or not, religious as well as philosophical, historical and indeed in the fullest sense scientific.
Objectively — and that coolness of view itself is a gift of that same innate scientific-mindedness that was fostered first by monotheism — we together compose the one sprawling and no-end untidy culture in the World that nevertheless actively seeks, despite the endless-seeming storms of stupidity, the Future.
And so it comes down to this, that to send droves if need be of our comelier young mums ‘on benefit’, so fine and pink and fit like piglets, to all the hareems of West Asia, an it should but open up the even freer discourse between us, would be in the service of the whole future of the West only the smallest of sacrifices to make.
YOU Do not need to fear Hannibal, oh Romans, it is your own ‘victory’, as it seems now, that will bring you low in the end.
[Bodwyn Wook all rights reserved 8 July 2009]