Friday, May 01, 2009

Why Does it Take a Saudi to Recognize the Value of Western Civilization?

Fjordman just sent us a tip about the MEMRI translation of an interview with a Saudi luminary, and included this commentary in his email:

Here is an interview with the Saudi intellectual (yes, really!) Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, who proclaims the value and importance of Western civilization. What is interesting about Mr. Al-Buleihi is that he confirms the historical fact that while Muslims did engage certain aspects of Greek thought, they always treated it as an alien intrusion into the body of Islam and ultimately rejected it. This was not the case with Christians, probably because Christianity did not regard Greek philosophy as equally hostile since at some level, Christianity was Greco-Roman in a sense that Islam never was, or could be.

So here we have a Muslim Arab who is more willing to defend the Western heritage than are many Western intellectuals.

In fact, a large number of prominent Westerners are unwilling to defend their own culture at all. They are more than eager to see it go down the tubes and be replaced by what they regard as a more “authentic” culture: that of Islam.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Saudi Intellectual: Western Civilization Has Liberated Mankind

“Western civilization is the only civilization that liberated man from his illusions and shackles; it recognized his individuality and provided him with capabilities and opportunities to cultivate himself and realize his aspirations. [Western civilization] humanized political authority and established mechanisms to guarantee relative equality and relative justice and to prevent injustice and to alleviate aggression. This does not mean that this is a flawless civilization; indeed, it is full of deficiencies. Yet it is the greatest which man has achieved throughout history. [Before the advent of Western civilization,] humanity was in the shackles of tyranny, impotence, poverty, injustice, disease, and wretchedness.
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“When we review the names of Muslim philosophers and scholars whose contribution to the West is pointed out by Western writers, such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Al-Haitham, Ibn Sina, Al-Farbi, Al-Razi, Al-Khwarizmi, and their likes, we find that all of them were disciples of the Greek culture and they were individuals who were outside the [Islamic] mainstream. They were and continue to be unrecognized in our culture. We even burned their books, harassed them, [and] warned against them, and we continue to look at them with suspicion and aversion. How can we then take pride in people from whom we kept our distance and whose thought we rejected?….these [achievements] are not of our own making, and those exceptional individuals were not the product of Arab culture, but rather Greek culture. They are outside our cultural mainstream and we treated them as though they were foreign elements. [Emphasis added] Therefore we don’t deserve to take pride in them, since we rejected them and fought their ideas. Conversely, when Europe learned from them it benefited from a body of knowledge which was originally its own because they were an extension of Greek culture, which is the source of the whole of Western civilization.”

Perhaps Mr. Al-Buleihi is looking ahead to the victory of Islam over the kuffar, and has realized how much he will miss us when we’re gone.


Czechmade said...

It is very logical. The Saudi has the leisure to read Western and Arabic sources at the same time and see the one-sided dependences. And he feels liberated by stating so.

The Western guy can keep dreaming without confronting the two worlds at all. Not to feel ugly he is unfree to find his culture superior. The Western guy feels also "liberated" - in an ugly way - no intellectual responsibility involved. Lack of non-freedom makes him probably gradually silly.

Profitsbeard said...

Theocratic tyranny never produces anything but methods to hide from it.

From auto-hypnotizing themselves with geometric arabesques to robotically memorizing a book in a language they don't understand, Muslims are endlessly fleeing from themselves, and avoiding critical thinking or any contact with hard truths.

Islam is too weak to stand the scrutiny.

So it piths the eyes, paralyzes the mind, and praises the sleepwalkers that result.

Islam is like a Zombie Mafia.Let the Saudi consider that.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly put Czechmade!

laine said...

Here is a lone Arab who has remained impervious to Islamic brainwashing and retains his ability to observe and reason, meaning his intellectual faculties. He tells the interviewer:

"you will notice that everything beautiful in our life has been produced by Western civilization: even the pen that you are holding in your hand, the recording instrument in front of you, the light in this room, and the journal in which you work, and many innumerable amenities, which are like miracles for the ancient civilizations.… If it were not for the accomplishments of the West, our lives would have been barren. I only look objectively and value justly what I see and express it honestly. Whoever does not admire great beauty is a person who lacks sensitivity, taste, and observation. Western civilization has reached the summit of science and technology. It has achieved knowledge, skills, and new discoveries, as no previous civilization before it. The accomplishments of Western civilization cover all areas of life: methods of organization, politics, ethics, economics, and human rights. It is our obligation to acknowledge its amazing excellence. Indeed, this is a civilization that deserves admiration. … The horrible backwardness in which some nations live is the inevitable result of their refusal to accept this [abundance of Western ideas and visions] while taking refuge in denial and arrogance."

In Western society, it is a diminishing minority that rebels against the totalitarian leftist brainwashing that commands us to despise our own accomplishments and aggrandize the primitive.

Czechmade said...

Our technology is the finest, but divorced from our souls.

Imagine a similar technology containing our happy souls like a good poem - containing versifying technology on the surface and other verbal devices plus the living soul reflexion code.

But maybe we are not too far from this concept. There is simply no stage to demonstrate it.

Our soul is the most entertaining theatre. Everything of any importance is contained within. I do not know why so many theatre-goers steadily run away from it. The ticket is quite cheap - little more patience than usual.

Free Hal said...

Hi Fjordman,

We can see a modern example of this tendency of muslim scientists to come from outside the mainstream, and for their work to be subjugated to the needs of religious politics, in the treatment of the Pakistani scienteist Abdul Salam.

Abdul Salam shared in the subsequently vindicated 'weak force' theory about sub-atomic particles (bosons). This proposition still prevails in the all-the-rage, and fascinating, quantum theory surrounding the CERN.

This Wikipedia summary:

"Abdus Salam[3] (Urdu: محمد عبد السلام) (January 29, 1926; Jhang Punjab – November 21, 1996; Oxford, England)[4] was a Pakistani theoretical physicist, astrophysicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his work in Electro-Weak Theory. Salam, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg shared the prize for this discovery. Salam holds the distinction of being the only Pakistani Nobel Laureate, and is the first Muslim Nobel Laureate in science. The validity of the theory was ascertained through experiments carried out at the Super Proton Synchrotron facility at CERN in Geneva, particularly, through the discovery of the W and Z Bosons. Today, Abdus Salam is considered to have been one of Pakistan's most influential scientists. While he was a devout Muslim his whole life, a law passed in 1984, by the Government of Pakistan,under General Zia-ul-Haq, called Ordinance XX[5]led to his grave stone being defaced, with the original "First Muslim Nobel Laureate" changed to read the non-sensical epitaph "First Nobel Laureate"."

Ordinance XX was a code designed to prevent "anti-Islamic activity" and prohibited Ahmadi muslims from calling themselves muslims.

Salam wasn't spared, and left Pakistan for London, partly in protest, but also to be able to continue his scientific work.

We can see the dim view which islamic societies such as Pakistan take of intellectual inquiry in two respects. First, that the religious prejudice against Ahmadis was so harsh that it couldn't resist defacing a gravestone. Second, that it couldn't spare the reputation of someone bringing so rare an honour to an Islamic country.

It is appropriate to speculate, from the fact that the religious authorities couldn't quietly ignore the affront, that the Islamic hierarchy was less than happy about his scientific work too.


mace said...

It's amazing how Moslems are impervious to the demonstration effect of Western technology,other cultures especially those in East Asia got the message that Western style industrialisation was the road to higher living standards. Islamic civilisation,such as it is,seems to be essentially a parasite on the West and destined to remain so.

Unknown said...

To be fair Christianity had its moment of doubt with regard to Greek philosophy, Tertullian was none too happy about it when he asked "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?"
But the supporters of using Greek philosophy as a tool to explain Christianity won out whereas in Islam they did not.