Sunday, 2 October 2011

Islam makes you stupid. The proof -- Sayyed Qutb


In addition to the cruelty, the tedium and the general malaise that accompany Mohammedanism wherever it goes, I noticed something in the writings of Sayyed Qutb that I had until then rarely found in such massive amounts: just plain stupidity. Sayyed Qutb frequently writes things that simply do not make sense.

I recall his feeble critique of mechanical inventiveness. He held a low opinion of the inventor’s craft, much like his contemporary the reactionary Spaniard Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (1864-1936), who famously snapped ”¡Que inventen ellos!” ("Let the other guys do the inventing!") But whereas Unamuno´s remark, while not reasonable, is at least witty, shows some esprit, Sayyed Qutb’s critique of inventiveness makes up in murkiness what it lacks in relevance. It’s not an actual remark, it’s merely the first draft of a remark. The sage limits himself to remarking “Inventing stuff! (snort! chuckle!) That reminds me of cavemen!” and lets it go at that. I have prima facie two objections to these notions of Sayyed Qutb´s. Firstly, when something reminds me of cavemen, I do not immediately drop the issue like a hot potato and change the subject matter of the conversation. Sayyed Qutb gives the impression that when something reminds him of cavemen, he dares speculate no further. Cavemen evidently represent some kind of taboo or alarm signal for Sayyed Qutb.
And the second idiosyncrasy in Sayyed Qutb´s meanderings is "Why on earth do inventors remind him of cavemen, of all things? Why not of craftsmen or scientists?”

Sayyed Qutb leaves implicit the chain of reasoning that reminds him of cavemen when he thinks about inventing. Do cavemen simply symbolize for Sayyed Qutb low-status people who can per se never constitute the subject of any coherent idea, but from which thought flees instinctively? Aversion to manual crafts? Scholarly hubris? Contempt for paupers?

Perhaps Egyptians understand the meaning intended. Perhaps they possess the cultural password that lets them follow Sayyed Qutb´s murky cogitations.

But I do not. If there is a hidden cultural message, then it should be spelt out. Any idea worth divulging is worth explaining to people from alien cultures. Sayyed Qutb´s ideas are not always clear, but the reason for their defects is never a secret: this clown's stupefying provinciality and vulgarity are amazing!

My attitude toward inchoate ideas that fail in their attempt to break out of their source cultural milieu is not sympathetic. It is the same isolation that Arabs undergo because fewer books are translated into Arabic each year than into Greek, which is spoken by one tenth the number of people that speak Arabic.

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