“But I had a problem. I did not know how to read philosophy. I did not know how to connect reasons to conclusions, track changes in voice, decipher nuance, evaluate arguments, or use the text to critique my own views. I knew how to read so as to extract information that I might be asked to regurgitate at some later point, but I didn’t know how to read as philosophers read… What follows is a top 10 list of the things I wish I had known when I started reading philosophy.”
Now I have some thoughts on this. But I’ll keep it brief: Continue reading
Watch Tariq Ramadan’s speech on ‘Faith in Politics’.
There are some very important topics raised. Ramadan’s points have been generally paraphrased. Sub-headings have been inserted for easy reference and our own occasional commentary has been added also.
Starting points – 3 things:
Faith, Politics and the Psychological Factor
- When trying to address the relationship between faith and politics, Muslims must first ‘deal with’ what he calls a “psychological problem”.
a) A defensive attitude when we feel we have to ‘knee-jerk’ a reaction/response to ‘the West’ since (we feel) the “dominant discourse is a secular discourse” as defined by the West. Muslims (inevitably) respond in 2 ways – both responses are wrong:
b) Either by (uncritically) accepting and parroting the dominant secular discourse, or
c) By doing the exact opposite (i.e. reject everything in toto).
Ramadan’s advice is:
“The first liberation on this is an intellectual liberation to say we are not now responding to something which is the ‘dominant discourse’ but trying to challenge from within a tradition, from within a specific history, and from within references, a framework, telling us in which way we have to deal with our reference, our principles and our objectives.” (3.26 – 3.55)
MODWESTMUSE: Very good point. Question: why must this be the first liberation? That is to say, upon what basis must we conceive of challenging this discourse in the manner Ramadan articulates? Perhaps either response b) or c) is more appropriate. Indeed, though this may be deemed ‘defensive’ perhaps that’s because Muslims are being ‘attacked’ (intellectually as well as militarily). To neglect this is to capitulate? Perhaps a way of justifying Ramadan’s perspective is to say there is a scale of responses we may take: from acting ‘defensively’ to ‘assertively’ to ‘offensively’. I guess being ‘defensive’ and ‘offensive’ is wrong as they are (extreme) emotion-based reactions. Being ‘assertive’ is the best course, being more rationally based. Perhaps Ramadan is merely opening up a way to think assertively.
This slideshow has been prepared to paraphrase the key ideas from John Taylor Gatto’s book “Dumbing us Down” about mainstream education. This will be useful for the inquisitive individual, parents and anyone in the field of education:
Problem with Modern Schooling