Sufi Sheikhs

I read the following post on FB just then:

The importance of Shaykh sufi master, a mature murshid is not understood well. Sufism is a spiritual jourmey. A mature murshid Shaykh has experience of seeing everything and everyone as himself. This is a spiritual experience of truth not imaginary. This experience is because in truth there is no time and space. As such sufi shaykh looks and communicated with what is called “Ayni Sabita” This is the soul of one which is above the domain of heart. Sufi shaykh looks and interacts with this true self of his followers and feeds this soul like birds feed baby birds but the follower does not realize this. Connecting a true sufi master is everything in sufism.

My first reaction is that this is the perfect description of a clinical megalomaniac. What kind of a fucking lunatic projects himself onto a group of people and justifies what he does to them (good or bad) by claiming connection to one soul? Makes you question the motives behind the guy who programmed the “one soul” routine, huh?

But actually that’s a terribly western way of thinking about things – the Enlightenment and what followed has prejudiced us against the herd mentality, favoring individuation over the “one soul” routine (the routine set in place by His Satanic Majesty in order to con us into obedience).

Within the Sufic embodied tradition (like Asian martial arts), the master-discipline routine, and the one-soul/one-ummah routine were both part of a vital Islamic geo-political economics, from which this mysticism arose and then fed back very productively over centuries until recent times.

So of course what is written is true, within the soul of that economic system. A soul I have no connection to. Keep your soul to yourself, man!

Divine matrimony

A couple of years back at the height of my Sufic Muslim-hugger phase, I would have argued that the true meaning behind Prophetic narrations on the choice of “spouses” (for example, the advice that a spouse should be selected based on the desirable trait of affection towards a parent) to be a cross, the cross of the logos. The real marriage is one between Inseminatory Cosmic Prophecy married to Receptive Divine Feminine Text. And “affection for parents” is the way in which the relationship mirrors (one of bestowal and reception, breathing in and out) the transcendent primordial twin eyes of Allah: Chochma/Father/Wisdom and Binah/Mother/Understanding.

But now I must concede — this guy represents the true intent behind Islamic marriage guidance counselling: it’s “merely” about providing material and emotional stability and being a descent person, within the tribal habitus of Islam. There is a particular sense in which Islamic Divinity is implicated within Islamic marriage, of course: but the implication follows via adherence to particular modes of comportment towards God — a remembrance of God, even in the Muslim’s emotional state of marriage. Not mirroring God, remembering God. For example, the sheikh in the video speaks of jealousy/protectiveness as a desirable trait in a husband, because it will reinforce the Divine injunctions relating to modesty and chastity of the woman.

Not, importantly, because God is a jealous God and man mirrors God in jealousy (where “jealousy” is interpreted to mean condensation of the vapour of Love), as I would have claimed before.

The video is the epitome of the piety movement. It’s all about embodied modes of being, embodied modes of relating to God, in every action, even in the very emotions felt by the Muslim.

Here, God is the end goal for the desirable (constrained) forms of love, action, emotion. Whereas I prefer to say that God and his constraints are the (crystallized) byproduct of the overwhelming sea of love, the fire of action. God is an emotion (externalized).

Gayatri Mantra

May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the god:
So may he stimulate our prayer

The first line is an ascent into the orb of the sun. It occurs last. The second line is a descent from orb into supplication contained within the orb: it occurs first. Because the stimulation is the ascent.

But there’s no we and god, no division in love — only poetry in motion, above and below. And so, “we” attain: “he” stimulates. And so below attains above, via ouroboros routine, above stimulating below.

This is the nature of the Gayatri prayer: a closed loop, with no we and no god, no division in love, only poetry in motion, above and below.

Why I’m not a Muslim

You’d think it’s because I didn’t get on with fundamentalists or something like that. Actually it was because my fundamentalism — my colonial universalism — proved incompatible with the embodied, cultural specificity of Islam.

It’s put very well in this article:

While they differ over the character of their preferred “reformist Islam”, both Manji and the Islamists she castigates are on shared ground in assuming that the trouble lies in one interpretation of Islam and that the solution lies in another. But in fact the problem lies in framing this as a discussion about Islam as a religion to begin with, as happens in the never-ending debates about the compatibility of Islam with liberalism, democracy, or free speech. Such a framing puts the burden on a minority to prove its compatibility with the prejudices of a majority. This perpetuates the tendency, among both Muslims and non-Muslims, to think of Muslims as Muslims first and alone, rather than treating their concerns as those of any other citizen, for whom religion is one marker among many, including class and ethnicity.

 Religion is one marker among many, including class and ethnicity. This is a profound statement to make, given the pretensions of religious scripture. Islamophobia, therefore, is a reality — it occupies the same status as racism and class war.
For me to be a Muslim, I had to believe in the epistemic impossibility of Islamophobia. Which clearly isn’t sustainable — because clearly there are specific identity markers in place — and, as I’ve reflected often here recently — the Tailor (my westernized “mystical Muslim identity”) was the fetishization of these markers of identity (fetishization so as to make specific identity a diffuse universal).

Ridiculous religious nonsense

The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death. Osho

This is a pompous, ridiculous and redundant thing to say. And, despite its opening differentiation from religious concepts of life and death, its posture is inherently religious — because it is inherently valuative. This is an aesthetic judgement on my part.

All religious orders (exoteric or esoteric) gain power from three things:

  1. Positing the existence of a consumer: the ego/nafs/soul (to be saved or to be obliterated or to be enlightened, it doesn’t matter — the religious order cannot operate without consumers)
  2. A supplier: the God that supplies something to the consumer (Love, judgement, knowledge, salvation, obliteration etc).
  3. Constructing a capitalism of forms that regulate supply from 2 to 1 : states of being (life and afterlife) or states of knowledge (ignorance/blindness and understanding/sight) or states of awareness (intellectual/unemotional and empathic/connected to the Love).

That is, a religious order takes the Flesh of the Real, and cuts it, regulates it: so that there are consumers and there are Gods and there are forms of supply.

It’s the projection of the dialectic, of this capitalism onto the flesh of the human body. Both supplier and consumer are constructed after the image of the physical body. The consumer can, for example, be “awakened” or remain “asleep” — can be really “alive” or remain “in the grave” — can be “resurrected” and “burnt” or “taste fruits of paradise”. And that these states (forms of supply) can be obtained through engagement with the supplier. (The engagement may take any number of contractual permutations, from 1-1 prayer to indirect mirroring via a teacher/prophet/text.)

I am uninterested in the statement. This is for reasons of aesthetics and personal psychological experience. Who cares about the consumer/supplier configuration? You are free to believe you are a consumer and that there is no supplier but the supplier. But why limit yourself in such a way?

I’m more interested in freeing the exchange (the forms of supply) from the consumer-supplier complex. That is, ignoring the referents and so ensuring the exchange is purely derivative. It is a shift from religion to poetry.

The Mi’raj revisited

So successful has been my disconnect with Islam (!) that I forgot it was the Muslim anniversary of the Mi’raj and Isra over the weekend, until a Facebook post reminded of this movie I produced on the meaning of these events three years ago.

Rewatching, a few things occurred to me:

  • I have been unwavering in my psychoanalytic comportment to the world: throughout my journey, the Lacanian stance has been perennial (or at least seasonal). This is obvious to an external observer. But it wasn’t obvious at the time to me: it is the totems of 20th century psychoanalysis  that were my regulating functions, totems of a deeply repressed Reality (the Reality of “me”), repression following from my attempts to engage with the ancient traditions of Islam and Sufism. The film captures a moment at which this repressed  Reality emerged and intersected with the traditions and texts I had attempted to wear as my own garment — intersection of my Reality with the very texts I had worn to blanket that Reality — a moment, therefore, of rupture and pleasure.
  • This is the personal meaning of: “I can understand the timeless meaning of these texts through the framing device of Lacanian psychoanalysis.” That my conflation of psychoanalysis with sufism is, effectively, a phallic proxy for the Real itself, intruding upon my symbolic relationship with Islam, genealogy, genetics, the body. Of course, a native Muslim can chose to interpret the religion he embodies in the manner he sees fit — but for me, the dis-embodied Muslim, the genetic simulacrum — it’s not a question of interpretation (as it would be for a Muslim), it is a question of re-emergence of my personal psychological Reality (into my constructed identity, my iman-forgery). Therefore, not an interpretation, but a erection. The totem/phallus for my physical reality — this is what I refer to, what manifested itself, mysteriously, in my speech as the “Real”. My “Real/Symbolic” distinction is a proxy for the Real: it’s an ecstatic, totemic crystallization of something much bigger and badder than mere Names/Prophets of God.  I offer analogies, I say “the Prophets of Islam are symbolic manifestations of aspects of Lacan’s Real”. None of those words are important or interesting, per se: the interesting point is that my statement itself is a symbolic manifestation of aspects of my Real.
  • Normally this phallic intrusion would be castrative — according to classical psychoanalysis. But in this case it isn’t — it is an ecstatic, empowering crystallized manifestation. Effectively, the intrusion becomes the Body of Christ (versus the world it unifies), the Communist Party (versus the proletariat it represents) and the elitist, single-voiced Western Tailor (versus the democratic, discursive, Orientally multiplicitous Islamic tradition he claims to be the hafiz and vanguard for).
  • When the party’s over, the totem/statement becomes castrative, because of the Real mismatch, the physical incompatibility, between the tradition’s Reality and mine. The tradition’s symbolism: this I can speak of with fevour and passion. The totem for this greater reality emerges through my speech. But the tradition’s reality intrudes (or, more positively, the Reality of the Real/Symbolic as a totem, the Reality of the totemic nature of the proxy phallus intrudes): this time resulting in realisation and then castrative censorship (burning of the Satanic Verses, shooting of Danish cartoonists, the fall of the Soviet union, departure), followed by careful evasion and shifting grounds in a capitalist marketplace.  And a shift away from the inflamed phallic/totem — to the kind of libidinal negotiation with my Reality that I am describing right now, that must result from my (current) field of reference (no longer party to the proletariat, the tailor to an ummah or logos to the world), but instead an agent of capitalism, a trader who barters with the shards of the broken orbs of culture, language, genetics, sexuality.
  • The meaning of the 7 heavens, the meaning of the prophets as symbols: this had libidinal significance for me, at the point of this intersection. But that meaning is lost in translation, so to speak, as I shift from one life to another. The higher-order meaning I take from that experience is engendered and carried via reflection upon the intersection, upon significance, upon reflection.

The Reason

New song from yours truly, operating under the Dependent Product disco house vehicle as distinct from FoD rock.

Lyrics:

it’s your reason
it’s your fact
mind’s an object
sold it back

flesh to flesh
front to back
mind’s an object
want’s a lack

divided subject
land grab
want an object
have it back

tour the regions
tour the land
see destruction
core band