July 17, 2010

The Extreme Abjection of the Muslim before His God

The following discussion, another one I don't want to disappear unnoticed in the blog bilges, is based on a blog entry Kennedys? Their only curse is Evil with a capital "E"! Commenter fpb replies directly to this header:
fpb said...

Actually, their curse is the curse of Ireland: drinking, machismo and power politics.


The_Editrix said...

When I was in my late teens, young twenties, I used to be a lot in Ireland because of the horses. Had I had a daughter, I wouldn't have let her do the same, so your point is well taken. But even the lecherousness of the average Irish male, bad as it may be, is harmless compared with that of the Kennedys.

Off topic: I wonder why Polish men, who have an alcohol problem as well, are not more lecherous than the average male is anyway. ;-) And although they are very Catholic as well, different from the Irish, I have never heard them curse in a blasphemous way, as the Irish are so fond of doing ("Jesus Chroist foock me off...") and that when they are the worst swearers on earth.


fpb said...

The background of the historical trauma of Ireland is too long and too dreadful a story to cover here. But to put it as briefly as I can, Ireland is a nation that has systematically been deprived of every layer of its aristocracy and societal leadership. When it reconstructed itself in the Fenian period, it did so starting, essentially, from a lower-class without a middle and upper class - unrefined, unpolished, and traumatized by a series of horrendous abuses and tragedies going back centuries. What is more, this proletarian society was further atomized by massive immigration, that left only the skeletal remains of families at home, often isolated in half-abandoned farmhouses where the national proclivity for drink had free range. Poland suffered some similar abuses, but except for the 1939-1945 period, nothing really comparable. The Polish aristocracy and the merchant and intellectual classes were not systematically extirpated or denaturated over centuries; centres of Polish education were not silenced or driven abroad; the country declined, but it was not reduced to its own ghost. Also, the sufferings of Poland began with the Partitions, in the 1770s; they were pretty much over by 1989, and in fact one may say that even Communist Poland was not comparable with the centuries of systematic English destruction of Ireland - it was still a Polish state governed by a Polish elite and with a Polish culture and institutions. The sufferings of Ireland, by contrast, began in the early fifteen hundreds and were not over until 1922. Everything that went bad about Poland went incomparably worse in Ireland. No wonder that popular culture was debased to the level of drink and machismo; machismo, in particular, is clearly a false psychological compensation for an essential sense of powerlessness, isolation and lack of control.

This is an incredibly abbreviated sketch of what I think is the matter with modern Ireland. I might post a longer version on my LJ, but I have too many other things to do at present.


The_Editrix said...

Machismo as a psychological compensation for a sense of powerlessness... what a fascinating thought. (I wonder whether we can extrapolate that concept and apply it to Muslim cultures!)

I got a LJ ID and I'm looking forward to further thoughts on that matter there.


fpb said...

I think it can be shown by a multitude of examples. To mention the most extreme, think of the swagger of "gangsta rap". This is the performing art - I would not quite say the music, because it is as much acting and chanting as singing - of a social sub-group that feels itself cut out of the normal paths to achievement and success, in a society where achievement and success are very highly valued. Do we doubt that the extreme arrogance, the penis-centredness, and the abuse of women - at best as pornographic fantasy, at worst as slaves - is directly related to this? As for Muslim attitudes, I would say that you have to take in mind the extreme abjection of the Muslim before his God, very unlike the Catholic Christian view of, say, Michelangelo. Michelangelo's God is mirrored in the man he has just created, and man is indeed lower than God in power and knowledge, but visibly His equal in being free. Or as Dante said two centuries before Michelangelo -
Lo maggior don che Dio per sua larghezza
Fesse creando, e a la sua bontate
Più conformato, e quel ch'e' più apprezza,
Fu de la volontà la libertate!

"The greatest gift that God gave in His greatness
And closest to His shape of goodness still,
And that in His creation pleased Him best -
It is the freedom of the thinking Will!"
Muslims do not have this, or at least they do not have it unless they acquired it privately, as the best of them do, and then ascribed it to their religion. And that being the case, those who are not blessed with natural humility - and that is a rare gift - must surely look for a compensation for their status of helplessness before God, I would suggest.

My thanks go to fpb for this excellent summary and food for further thought.

3 comments:

bruce-church said...

Interestingly, the Polish saved the Irish peace process. In the peace agreements, it was specified that x percent of N Ireland policemen had to be Catholic, but N Ireland residents (Scottish descent, mainly) would never settle for having Irish Catholic policemen, so enter the Poles who were looking for work after Communism fell.

I think the main reason for Ireland's drinking problem is Britain didn't allow Ireland to industrialize, and otherwise kept Ireland poor. Many Irish were tenant farmers with an acre or two to farm. Without industrialization and many idle hours, people will turn to drink, especially in cooler climates where drink warms you up without making one too hot and uncomfortable. Of course, when drinking and relaxing are part of the culture, that culture is carried wherever Irish emigrate to, but it is mitigated by surrounding cultures. Here's an excerpt:

http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/Controversies/1114796842.html

excerpt: While drunkenness was still an accepted part of life in the eighteenth century (Austin, 1985, p. xxv), the nineteenth century would bring a change in attitudes as a result of increasing industrialization and the need for a reliable and punctual work force (Porter, 1990, p. xii). Self-discipline was needed in place of self-expression, and task orientation had to replace relaxed conviviality. Drunkenness would come to be defined as a threat to industrial efficiency and growth.

The_Editrix said...

I used to work for a pharmaceutical company in the mid Eighties to early Nineties and I was told that they bitterly regretted having built a factory in Ireland because the workforce preferred to go fishing if the weather was nice. I know this only from hearsay, so it may have been paternalistic arrogance. I always felt that a lot of the considerable German enthusiasm for Ireland and the Irish was or is based on some sort of condescension towards those "natives with their quaint, picturesque customs". However, it seems that in the meantime Ireland has caught up a lot with the rest of Europe, which is good.

bruce-church said...

Ireland was booming a while ago, but now it's economy is hurting. Thus, the pharmaceutical company might find its workers more industrious than before.

When times are nice, the unions make extravagant demands. A GM plant in Wisconsin wanted everyone to have two weeks of vacation around Thanksgiving for deer hunting "up north," and two weeks for Christmas, and that's on top of personal vacation days. GM workers were nearly the only workers in America who had vacation time approaching that of Europeans.