Monday, November 9, 2015

'To return, though, to Houellebecq.

For him, self-becoming requires separation from bourgeois false consciousness, and only two such separations are currently available: Islam and idealistic hedonism. His option is for the latter, but only because the former is alien to him. But perhaps in that very alienness lies an authentic Otherness, an option which would enhance our free separation from the monoculture. Another Frenchman, Rene Guenon (1886-1951), who during the period portrayed by Proust had experimented with a range of alternative lifestyles, exercised his own freedom in favor of the Islamic Other. Guenon entered Islam at the hands of an Egyptian Sufi, and spent the remainder of his life writing and praying as a semirecluse in Cairo. [28] In his numerous books, which constitute an absolute apostasy from the modern doctrines of progress and humanism, he advocated Islam as the most appropriate religious choice for Westerners who seek freedom from the monoculture, both because Islam is radically unsecular, and because it is spiritually proximate to the Christian genius which the Enlightenment had suppressed. "This Islamic civilization," he wrote, "with its two aspects, esoteric and exoteric, and with the religious form which the latter is clothed in, comes nearest to being like what a traditional Western civilization would be." [29]
-Tim Winter, ‘Ishmael and the Enlightenment’s crise de coeur: a response to Koshul and Kepnes,’ in Basit Bilal Koshul and Stephen Kepnes (eds.), Scripture, Reason, and the contemporary Islam-West encounter: studying the ‘Other’, Understanding the ‘Self’ (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 158.

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