Anger

I’ve been the recipient of much anger from Muslim people over the past years: in fact, it’s fair to say that I’ve never really knew anger before I engaged with Muslim people. From strangers, from acquaintances, from friends: if they are Muslim, they will become angered with me, given sufficient time.

In my recent reflections, I’ve identified the personal reasons why this anger caused me the level of anguish it did: because I desired the Muslim body, to make it my own (and thus fill an unifiable hole in my life).

But, on the opposite side, what’s the cause of this aggression? Can it be because they listened carefully to everything I said and wrote, intellectually, and reached a position of necessary opposition (and hence a necessarily aggressive stance toward me)? It can’t be just about ideas: the aggression runs deeper than words on paper.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the source of Muslim aggression is much deeper: it is a physical, pheromonal, genetic. Like white blood cells, the believer detects something foreign within me — intrusion, alien — and is instinctively drawn to anger, as a defense mechanism, a purification strategy, a form of wudu. Fundamentally, the survival instinct kicks in when it is understood that I am not of the same race.

The Muslim consistently opines “stop saying this” or “you’re not permitted to say that”, then assumes a position open to discussion, and then loses their temper. But none of this is intellectual: it’s all about genetics, instinct. There is nothing personal in the response, it’s automatic, it is natural, embodied policing, white blood cell response, that ensures their body is maintained over the cycles of time.

Like guard dogs, they can smell something about me that spells: unwelcome intruder.

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7 thoughts on “Anger

    1. Of course the Arabic for “Muslim” means “Submitter” — and if we were take “Submission” as equivalent to “Love” (as I have done in the past), the term “Muslim” could mean “Anyone who Loves”. Such a definition need not even involve God, in a “traditional” sense (though wouldn’t preclude it either) — anyone who Loves could be considered as Muslim.

      But that’s a very philosophical kind of Muslim — and really means most of humanity is Muslim. Such a definition obviously doesn’t fit with the piece I just wrote.

      By “Muslims” here I mean something precise: 1) a group who believes God has dictated/is dictating a morality of good and evil to us — and who attempts to embody this morality in their daily life 2) a group whose belief and embodiment stand in a (constantly evolving, potentially contradictory) lineage from father-to-son, spanning countries and centuries, back to the Prophet Muhammed himself.

      This is a group of people that I attempted to convert into, to befriend — and consequently experienced levels of anger like I never experienced before.

      Not just from fundamentalist strangers, but from close brothers, ostensibly very nice people. The anger is linked to points 1) and 2) in the definition: everything I have said over these years is, in summation, 1) a kind of anti-morality, and 2) an rupture of embodiment and lineage (though at the same time, fetishizing/hyper-realizing the real lineage).

  1. I think your mention of ‘fetishising’ is interesting here. I had to look up to see how ‘festish’ was defined, and was struck by this: “the attribution of religious or mystical qualities to inanimate objects”.

    What I see happening here is how ‘Islam’ has been transformed, over time, from being focused on an ineffable *being* (or ‘Being’ itself, if you prefer), seen as living, present, immediate, real… but also, in another sense, ‘other’; transcendent from the opinions and preoccupations of the believer… to being focused on cultural identity.

    By the definition offered above, it is impossible to ‘fetishize’ – to attribute religious or mystical qualities to – a being that is the very opposite of inanimate. One can only fetishize a dead, inanimate thing. And a ‘cultural identity’ – a set of beliefs, rituals, ways of speaking and dressing and treating others – as a means of defining *oneself* is a dead thing, a mere concept: an ‘inanimate object’.

    Therefore, if you treat something that someone else sees as their cultural property – the dumb servant of their sense of being a someone – as if it were a mysterious force, with its own life and being, demanding reverence, they will see you as trying to appropriate it. To reconceive it. To fetishize it.

    But you can only fetishize a dead god – a god that has become a cultural idol, into whose dumb mouth are put the sentiments of a manipulative priesthood. And – to those whose power base is the confidence that their God is not going to answer back, or contradict the commandments and interpretations and rulings they attribute to the divine – to suggest that there are other interpretations, interpretations that are based on love rather than power. is to expose their hypocrisy.

    No wonder, then, that they won’t listen, but instead put their fingers in their ears and shout you down with threats and curses.

    The irony is that – according to the Qur’an, which is the ultimate source of authority for these people – their authority – the ‘unbelievers’ did the same to all the prophets…

    1. To be more precise – it’s voice is the trace of a brilliant man’s fetishization of his own bodily context. That fetish is his being and lives, inasmuch as the drama of the revelation can be replayed and interpreted today, like any great work of art.

  2. No, I don’t think you can say that the voice is dead, because communication is by its nature always something living – even if it spans centuries and continents. But of course this depends on the reading: whether one hears a ‘speaker’, or whether one reads a set of anonymous commands and prohibitions – a kind of ‘keep off the grass’. In other words, is there a relationship there, or is it just a body of case law – an ancient contract, even – that the reader, like a lawyer, tries to interpret to his or her advantage, knowing that the original contractor, now deceased, will have no part in the proceedings.

    1. But that would apply to all communication that spans the centuries. Some communication is boring, some interesting. What is being communicated by this author over time? I don’t hear much in the way of commandments or law — certainly not in the Qur’an itself — but I do hear insecurities and paranoia, particularly of what people think about the author, and of precedent poems/revelations — as well as exaltation and humour. And … most importantly … a fetishization of his own culture and other people’s cultures that empowers him to write great things and enact an amazing revolution. What’s being communicated? His unique Divine madness — his ineffable fetish.

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