A cut-up reading:
A prolonged transcript:
Postscript: Some notes in response to the kind feedback I have been receiving from folk on the net and in RL.
First, I’d like to address the concerns some people have had with my relationship to the rather infamous journalist in the first “cut-up” clip.
Regarding the context of the cut-up … I didn’t actually realise who the journalist was (being a recent migrant to the UK): but I’ve been filled in on his importance (particularly to the assistance he gave the Tories in previous decades). Basically, his full position (edited out here) was that I should be out of a job and not allowed into the the UK in the first place. Nothing personal, so to speak, he believes in zero immigration (irrespective of whether they are academics or not, Muslim or not), with the argument that, while most are law abiding individuals, there is a real possibility that at least one might be a terrorist. He was arguing for a blanket ban on all immigrants — particularly to universities. But, in addition, I guess he kind of implied that he would be “happy” if I left the country, just because he isn’t a big fan of Muslims.
It was filmed just after Christmas so I saw his role as more of a kind of pantomime dame more than anything else. But some friends were quite upset that the BBC let him say that on TV — and, given I was invited only to speak about miracles, some thought I was trapped into it — something that certainly did not happen (I was invited before the underwear bomber, and would happily return to the same programme, having quite enjoyed the whole “1 min sound bite” challenge of getting a point across).
In general, however, my criticism is still leveled internally to the Body of the Ummah, rather than that which is on the Other Side.
I will say the following about anger, however. The journalist’s anger derives not from the fire of judgement (and, we might say, individuality). But, rather, it derives from the waters of Love, and the Southern dangers located therein. The danger of Love, its flipside (rather than its dialectic opposite) is Fear. His anger (justifiable or not) is fear of Islam in his home, fear of the immigrant.
Now, it is absolutely essential that we relate to all angry people appropriately — with adab: adab in the literal (“ordinary”) sense of good manners. The reason is not some prosaic understanding of diplomacy or promoting good relations with non-Muslims. The reason is cosmic: adab in relation to people — intersubjective adab — mirrors the deeper Fires of extra-subjective Adab that a seeker must cultivate in order to enter the Eternal Aeon of Light and become one of the higher generation. If we lose our decorum and manners in relation to others — irrespective of how they behave to us — then we lose ourselves in the Loving waters of Creation and suffer a real danger of finding ourselves drowning, like Pharoah or our right wing friend here. We will cease to be individual, and be only Water (“full fathoms five thy father lies … those were pearls that were his eyes”).
The Sufistic irony is that this man’s anger — like all anger — is not one of Hateful attachment to some ego — but, rather, it is a fearful loss of selfhood (a breakage of the “perfect mould” gifted to us by the Hand of the Craftsman) into Love. Imam Ali could handle such a fana. The rest of us cannot and are consumed by the Leviathan below: observe how this form of anger speaks — think about ourselves, when we have been really angry — it is like a flow of anger, a torrent of anger, there is no longer an indiviual human being speaking behind it.
We must cultivate, therefore, the Fires of Adab in our judgement through the mirror of personal adab: in this way, the Seas of Love will part for us and we will consume the flesh of the Leviathan in the next world.
A second point, concerning a few more details regarding reading the Book of Creation. This whole blog (and what will come from it) is essentially my understanding of what constitutes a “correct reading” of this Book.
In a nutshell, I believe that all things in the world (including us) are like theorems, and our lives/interactions are like proofs that “inhabit” these theorems (in the sense of constructive logic). The status of religious texts is that they are circular in the coinductive sense: they always refer to the way in which they can be “inhabited” by our reading. They are like books that refer to the way in which we read them (and, actually, to nothing else). They have the same circular, coinductive status as this painting.
Of course, even acknowledging that (which I grant is a stretch for many) is not a proof of God’s existence: but the acknowledgement is what I see as how the final judgement works …
Apologies, my esotericism is runs rampant given a rein freed from the constraint of the soundbite (which is the benefit of television such as this). I could simply say, as I did there, that a Muslim should perceive all ayat as communication acts from God, and the world as a text to be read as such.