The Return of History by AATISH TASEER (NYT Opinion Page) http://nyti.ms/1Z2N6Pa
This excellent article brings into focus an idea I’ve been harping on for some time now i.e. the observation that when a belief system dies, it does so from within the collective imagination of its followers. Gone are the great monument builders, masterpieces, soaring symphonies, and transcendent poems, and in their place comes the hysterical hordes, the hateful rhetoric, the anti-intellectual looters hyped up on demagogic fear-mongering and race-baiting.
The once’ ‘mysterium tremendum et fascinans’ (Rudolf Otto, Aldous Huxley) no longer inspires awe, but collapses into a violent distopic nightmare of cruel judgment, punishment, hyper morality, and a maniacal obsession with women’s minds, hearts and reproductive organs.
In his NYT Opinion page, AATISH TASEER cites William McCants’ The ISIS Apocalypse,” where McCants explains ISIS’s obsession with the great Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, whose court reportedly inspired “One Thousand and One Nights.” This particular story may be one of the oldest ever preserved of the ancient oral storytelling traditions dating back to The Legend Far-li-mas — the ancient male precursor to Scherezade. (Parkinson: Tales that Transform, Campbell: Primitive Mythology). Taseer laughingly reminds us that the idolized Caliph, al-Rashid, was not just a powerful leader, but an extravagant hedonist and “lover of wine and men”.
I wonder how much of this regressive religious revisionism around the world is driven by information technology accelerating at such an alarming extent (Toffler’s Future Shock) it cannot help but render the unprepared mind helpless and irrelevant.
Rather than adapting and devising (or waiting for new models to be handed down) most people are doomed to repeat the old formulas over and over again expecting the same result, and ultimately find them powerless. In such frustrating circumstances what else is there to do but turn on your neighbor, your president, your country, and your founding principles, and become the actual fear itself?
The proverbial monsters long overdue on Maple Street.