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Author Topic: "An Ecology of Mind" and Islam  (Read 702 times)
Nature
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« on: Nov 14, 2012 12:35 AM »


Assalamualaikum everyone.

So I am massively excited because I'll be watching "An Ecology of Mind", a film by Nora Bateson about her father, the thinker Gregory Bateson. I actually spoke with Nora today, along with other students, as she is at our school! The ideas discussed were amazing - about the interconnection of everything, of all thought, about why do we measure success this way?

I am really rushed so I'll just leave a thought. While I was sitting there listening to this discussion I felt something a lot of Muslims feel - a fear of venturing into a knowledge ground that often has unIslamic ideas, a fear of studying, for example social anthropology because it may include something other than Islam teaches. And I suddenly thought that this fear of learning and of asserting our own ideas is wha is hindering Muslims - we all go into stuff like engineering and so no one is left to discuss stuff like this! Where have all the Muslim thinkers gone? We've reduced our religion to halal/haram and stopped thinking about it as a wider concept and way of life. For example we spoke about how everything is interconnected, all the subjects of learning - I think that Islam flourished because it ENCOURAGED thought, because Muslim scholars were able to see the importance of the interconnections that Bateson spoke of, that no type of knowledge was less useful because they're all connected. With Nora the students talked about, why o we define success as this, as money etc? And inside my head I was practically jumping up and down thinking about how for Muslims we're NEVER supposed to define success as earthly.

Argh I need to go but any ideas? I know my thoughts are. Jumbled mess but what do you think?
akhan
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 14, 2012 11:22 AM »

Confining everything to halal and haram was the old school mentality. The kind that our parents adhere to(mine certainly do). And the irony is that most of those things are just culturally halal/haram. With youngsters like you, there's definitely some hope that future scholars will address all kinds of issues without saying that its haram to even study that. But, I wonder though, whether the kind of expertise we had with islamic sciences will remain if we start addressing everything. Because, as we move forward in the future, there's a certainty that true knowledge will keep diminishing so will it be exacerbated because of this?
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 14, 2012 03:02 PM »

Quote
as we move forward in the future, there's a certainty that true knowledge will keep diminishing

Brother, what do you mean by "true knowledge" (as opposed to some other kind of knowledge?) and why will it be diminishing in the future?

I'm not trying to be contentious, I'm just curious.
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 14, 2012 03:07 PM »

Lol 'true' was a typo. I rewrote that sentence and forgot to delete that.

As we get closer to the Day of Judgment, isn't knowledge going to keep diminishing by means of the death of scholars? That's one of the signs right?
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 14, 2012 04:18 PM »

Walaikumassalaam,

This is quite an interesting topic and and I regret to have overlooked it all day.

I partly concur with br.akhan, but would like to add my reasoning.

I think we as Muslims should equip ourselves with recent knowledge and advances, so as to remain vigilant of possible threats that delving into such areas bring to Islam.
And when we fear of losing our iman,it is advised to study and arm ourselves with the basic concepts of our religion, so as to be firm in our beliefs, distinguish between right and wrong,to be ready to challenge and prevent the dilution of the 'true knowledge'  that we basically are  talking here about.
Nature
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 14, 2012 05:07 PM »

So akhan do you mean that as we learn more about "other" fields we risk not having as much expertise on Islam itself?

I guess I feel that we need to stop separating everything into " Islam" and everything else. Islam is our everything and thus we can see it in everything we study - I think that's why you hear of such amazing scholarship in the Golden Age of Islam, with people studying everything from history to poetry to astronomy to engineering, and rather than thinking of these subjects as outside "Islam" they were thought of as part of life and thus part of Islam.
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 14, 2012 05:10 PM »

P.S. The movie was so, so interesting. The ideas Gregory Bateson had were really cool and I loved seeing how I think of them and might apply them in my life and how they are seen in the world throughout. Watch "An Ecology of Mind" everyone! Don't feel a need to believe exactly everything, not even his daughter's opinions and his implied solutions, but do look and see the wider world meaning and how it relates to our ideas as Muslims.
akhan
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 14, 2012 05:46 PM »

So akhan do you mean that as we learn more about "other" fields we risk not having as much expertise on Islam itself?

I guess I feel that we need to stop separating everything into " Islam" and everything else. Islam is our everything and thus we can see it in everything we study - I think that's why you hear of such amazing scholarship in the Golden Age of Islam, with people studying everything from history to poetry to astronomy to engineering, and rather than thinking of these subjects as outside "Islam" they were thought of as part of life and thus part of Islam.
The Golden Age was the Golden Age because there were scholars who could deal with the dunya from an Islamic perspective. In this age, don't we see most of us going either this way or that. Very very few actually achieve perfection in both fields. We also have Sheikh Googles and Mufti Wikipedias and that trend is going anywhere but upward. The prophecy is going to come true without a doubt. The only question is when? With the kind of signs we see around, it won't be long I guess.

Btw, I'm not saying that we should stop everything else and just focus on Islam. It would be stupid to do that. I'm just saying that knowledge will disappear whether or not anyone likes it. You can't deny what has been decreed, right?
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