Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
Unlike the fabricated “United We Stand” mantra of the Western hegemons which has today coercively united the Western public behind their respective governments in waging their manufactured “war on terror” upon Muslims and Islam while ostensibly being only against their own fabrication of “militant Islam”, this book and its Companion Reader on Modernity are dedicated to fostering both Muslim unity, and people unity, under accurate truth discovery. Western “imperial mobilization” primarily succeeds because of their vast intellectual capital invested in social engineering through universal deceit against which neither the Muslim public, nor the Western public, have any effective response. But as the Good Book says: “Yee shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”.
The intellectual capital generated by Project Humanbeingsfirst is that missing response to hectoring hegemons, of every era, including the past dynastic Muslim empires built from hijacking the religion of Islam and bequeathing to posterity, us, a crippled epistemology in the form of “Islamic literature” which legitimized their absolutist rule. The bread and butter of all empires, all primacy, and all predatory scholarship, is deception. But its Achilles' Heel is the public able to do simple arithmetic correctly and using their commonsense when two plus two is proclaimed to make five. Had this straightforward rational path of truth discovery been followed in the past fourteen centuries by the Muslim body politic by suppressing its fear of empire, narrow self-interests, and overcoming its crippled epistemology, or is done today, the religion of Islam would surely be spared the lament of the Prophet of Islam recorded in the Holy Qur'an for the Day of Accountability, of how the Muslims will have constricted and adulterated his teachings of the religion of Islam and the Holy Qur'an:
'Then the Messenger will say: “O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense.”' (Surah Al-Furqaan 25:30)
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
As George Orwell argued through the pen of Winston Smith in his famous fable Nineteen eighty-four, conveying through the mind of the beleaguered protagonist an important and timeless axiom:
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
Unfortunately, like any un-invested capital sitting idle and ignored, this straightforward antidote, the ability to do simple addition correctly, and be able to proclaim the result freely, also only gathers dust and continually loses in value for waging an effective and time-critical preemption to the worldwide social engineering before the public is handed a fait accompli. Afterward, it is only history and the new reality becomes irreversible due to time invariance which applies equally to physics and to societies.
Despite the creation of the aforementioned intellectual capital by Project Humanbeingsfirst though intellectual rigor and basic arithmetica as evidenced in this book, its author neither is, nor claims to be among those who are “firmly grounded in knowledge” as “Ar-Rasikhoon-fil-ilm” ( الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ), see verse 3:7 of the Holy Qur'an. Nor is he particularly bursting with great piety and/or self-purification as “al-mutaharoon” ( الْمُطَهَّرُونَ ), see verse 56:79, Ibid. Instead, he wears a battle-dress head to toe 24x7 (imagine Don Quixote of La Mancha if you must), marches to his own little drummer inside his head, fights hard to liberate his understanding from “truth's protective layers” (but is forever restrained by his own natural limits), uses cuss-words frequently (as any unpretentious ordinary plebeian), takes no prisoners, suffers no fools, bows before no turbans, holds those who claim for themselves the titles of “scholar”, “imam”, “Sheikh-ul-Islam”, etceteras, in considerable contempt, and really knows very little about any matter!
In fact, let's just gauge how much he actually knows and what presumption entitles him to proclaim the material in this book before the public. If he were to carefully read, just once, 10,000 books before his time was up, that averages to reading 4 books a week, 200 books a year, over say a 50 year period of productive life. Of those, if he were to diligently study a mere ten percent, say a 1000 books of his choice – where “study” entails more than a careful read, rather, an endeavor to master its contents – that amounts to studying 20 books a year over a 50 year period of productive lifetime. Given that there are in excess of 10 million books in existence in all human languages, he would still be 99.y percent ignorant of the already known human knowledge of the world, let alone of what is yet to be discovered in the future. Even if he were to strive his hardest his entire life to escape the natural paradigm of “ilm” explosion as man endeavors to discover its place in the universe, and as the wisdom of civilizations and its sages continue to accumulate, he would at best be relegated to remain somewhere between a superficial generalist and narrow-gauged specialist who is largely ignorant of the breadth and depth of human knowledge. How can a 99% ignorant fellow make any claims to being among the ( الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ) as is required to fully comprehend the message of the Holy Qur'an which is not even the expression of human knowledge ( تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ )?
What is therefore deemed to be accurate in this humble endeavor that you now hold in your hands, is only by the quirk of accident that the neurons in both halves of his brain fired correctly while he was wide awake. The rest may be entirely gibberish – like the random noise inherent in all electrical activity. If you can't however tell the difference between signal and noise, then the fundamental question of epistemology that you must grapple with is: how do you know that those claiming to be “scholars”, “intellectuals”, “ullemas”, “imams”, “ayatollahs”, “muftis”, “learned leaders”, bearing lofty titles, princely accolades, and even knighthood, fare any better?
As this book trenchantly demonstrates, the world is full of both clever supermen and useful idiots proudly adorning the mantle of scholarship, leadership, imammate. This is not just the vile invention of Machiavellian modernity; it is also the empirical fact of recorded history. The truth of these words is beyond doubt. It is in fact self-evident. From Plato's 2500 years old Simile of the Cave to modern perception management of the Mighty Wurlitzer, is a continuous endeavor for the control of the public mind by the superman. If you base your faith upon that pen of man, whether of notable scribes and wanna-be imams (leaders) of today, or of lauded scribes and glorified imams of history, you should at least know what to expect. Here is what the Good Book of the Muslims, the Holy Qur'an, has to say about it:
“One day We shall call together all human beings with their (respective) Imams” (Surah al-Israa' 17:71)
يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ
If you voluntarily follow others in this world making them your “imam”, you should know that you will also be held to account in their company involuntarily on the Day when all accounts are finally settled. The Arabic-English dictionary of the Holy Qur'an in the hands of this scribe defines the word “Imam” thusly: “Leader; President; Any object that is followed, whether a human being or a book or a highway”. If you followed any of them here voluntarily, you will have no choice but to also follow them to wherever is their ultimate destination post Accounting:
“(On the day) when those who were followed disown those who followed (them), and they behold the doom, and all their aims collapse with them. (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:166)
إِذْ تَبَرَّأَ الَّذِينَ اتُّبِعُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا وَرَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الْأَسْبَابُ
And those who were but followers will say: If a return were possible for us, we would disown them even as they have disowned us. Thus will Allah show them their own deeds as anguish for them, and they will not emerge from the Fire.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:167)
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَتَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا تَبَرَّءُوا مِنَّا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ حَسَرَاتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ وَمَا هُمْ بِخَارِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ
In the age of universal deceit, it is surely wise to follow one's own mind as one's imam first, as limited and as fallible as its vision might be, for one never really knows who is the marde-momin and who is the superman. Empiricism has shown that regardless of the merits of their claim, they both lead one to hell on earth while promising heaven elsewhere. And so does the feeble mind, the foolish mind, the dull mind that is unable to separate chaff from wheat, and who lives its socialization bias in absolute self righteousness. That is traditionally the Public Mind, encouraged to remain a perpetual follower so that it can be deftly shepherded wherever the shepherd fancies.
This book endeavors to sharpen that public mind on the grindstones of self-awareness, intellectual thought, and logical analysis. It is not intended to create followers, nor induce faith, nor reinforce faith, but rather to challenge you to a duel. A duel with yourself. To induce cognitive dissonance by getting you to challenge your own preconceptions, your own presuppositions, your own bloated sense of self-importance, your own state of contentment at your hubris that if you wear a turban, an imama, a fancy Western gown, are anointed with “sir”, “alim”, or “ayatollah”, that you know it all, let alone understand anything of substance beyond superficial generalist to narrow-gauge specialist and 99 percent ignorant! It is to sow the first seeds of discontentment in your mind by inducing the realization that one is in fact often at the mercy of a crippled epistemology bequeathed to every domain by narratives of power and its holy pens. And that, unless one becomes cognitively aware of this fact, one remains bounded by incestuously self-reinforced scholarship both due to socialization bias, as well as adept perception management by controllers of Plato's cave. It is impossible to escape this subliminal mind-force without making deliberate effort in the escape-direction. Like the force of gravity, it remains unseen, but very much there, and in order to escape its earthly grip, one has to reach escape velocity in the correct direction – up!
Meaning, the counter-force to crippled epistemology is a vector, not a scalar. Mastery of a 1000 books is still meaningless, and doctoral degrees and Nobel prizes only caricatures of “ilm”, if the vector is zero. Or, if wherewithal, insight, understanding, conception of the whole, are missing:
“Modern physics has taught us that the nature of any system cannot be discovered by dividing it into its component parts and studying each part by itself, since such a method often implies the loss of important properties of the system. We must keep our attention fixed on the whole and on the interconnection between the parts. ... The same is true of our intellectual life. It is impossible to make a clear cut between science, religion and art. The whole is never equal simply to the sum of its various parts.” (Max Planck, Partly cited in Critique of Western Philosophy and Social Theory By David Sprintzen, pg. 76)
This is why, what is important in the real world is not how much you know, or how many encyclopedias you can do instant recall from, or how much energy you can expend in blind perspiration, but how much you perceptively understand, and what can you actually do with the little that you do understand!
However, perceptive understanding principally relies on how effectively you can think and reason not simplistically, but with some wherewithal and commonsense. Human beings are not Mr. Spock. Our brain is not all logic-only brain overflowing with Intelligence Quotient. Human beings also possess subjectivity, intuition, love, hate, fear, needs, predilection, bent of mind, and let's just capture all that with the analogous term: Emotional Quotient, all of which remain beyond the pale of scientific empiricism and rational logic. While ordinary people are amply endowed with a physical brain, cognitive thinking is made subservient to, or is at least cradled in, the subconscious mind that is beholden to the latter human characteristics. Cognitive thinking is often colored by the undeniable artifacts of socialization, perception, prejudice, cultural assimilation, and other natural psychological tendencies specific to each individual and to her civilization, but of which she is often unconscious. This empirical statement of fact and its effect was ably captured by the British aristocrat philosopher-atheist well known for his antagonism towards all theistic religions, Lord Bertrand Russell:
“What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index to his desires – desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless [and at times even when] the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance with his instincts, he will accept it even on the slenderest evidence.” (Bertrand Russell, Proposed Roads to Freedom, 1919, pg. 147)
The parentheses extending Bertrand Russell's observation are this scribe's. Re-read that passage by replacing “instincts” with “worldview” and it will shock you! While the ability to harbor instincts is arguably innate, worldview is decidedly socialized and becomes the primary instinctual filter for how we relate to the world. Meaning, both nature and nurture conspire to lend intense subjectivity to man of which he himself is often unconscious. The atheist philosopher's empirical insight into this human failing underscores the import of Qur'anic verses which harken to the “cleansing of the heart” as a precondition for understanding the message of Islam: “That this is indeed a Qur'an Most Honourable, In a Book well-guarded, Which none shall touch but those who are clean (purified), A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.” (Surah Al-Waqia, 56:77-80); “In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:10); “Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Nay, on the hearts there are locks.” (Surah Muhammad 47:24).
What these admonishments: “In a Book well-guarded”, “none shall touch but those who are clean”, and “on the hearts there are locks” mean in the complete context of the Holy Qur'an, is man endeavoring to overcome those very artifacts of biases and prejudices which have become instinctualized and ingrained through socialization, self-interest, and crippled epistemology, before man can fully understand the Book's contents. In other words, the Book carries a Message from its Author to mankind but full access to its comprehension is restricted to those who approach it without preconceptions, presuppositions, bias, and prejudice. A cipher text whose decoding key is self-cleansing!
In the limit however, this “self-cleansing” is clearly a self-referential problem in which a mind can no more be wiped clean of its socialization and perception vestiges than one can perform brain surgery upon oneself under full anesthesia. In recognition of this fundamental self-referential limit in human beings to be completely free of subjectivity, a paradox really, that we find categorical directives in verses like Surah Al-Maeda, 5:44-48, teaching the foundational principle of multi-culturalism in Islam which culminate in the rather incredible advocacy to man in verse 5:48 (reproduced in full below): to compete “as in a race in all virtues” instead of in brinkmanship on beliefs. This principle of multi-culturalism is further underscored categorically in the verse: “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 2:256), teaching not to impose one's beliefs upon another regardless of how self-righteously held.
Why does such strange accommodating advice exist in the Holy Qur'an for a self-righteous religion which categorically claims to be: “A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.”, if not for the practical understanding of its Author who also claims to be man's Creator: “Surely We have created man from a small life-germ uniting (itself): We mean to try him, so We have made him hearing, seeing.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-insaan 76:2), that there is an inherent built-in subjectivity in how man is constructed in his basic composition. The appeal to the heart, and to reason, to BOTH (47:24), is to strive to overcome that inherent subjectivity as best as one can in order to objectively comprehend the Message of Islam! One will reach a common understanding among people on any matter only when one can objectively comprehend that matter. When subjectivity is the impediment, or self-interest, it must be removed. That endeavor, and to what extent, if at all, undertaken for the study of the Message of Islam in the Holy Qur'an, is left completely as a matter of personal choice. It is not the concern of any other: “Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” (Surah Al-insaan 76:3).
While the prescription of best effort, as best as one can, to overcome subjectivity may work well for one man's solo spiritual journey, and the prescription of competing on good works “as in a race in all virtues” rather than on beliefs, underscores the efficacy of that prescription in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religion society for harmonizing relationships, it is clearly not good enough when it comes to having two or more people come to a shared understanding on the journey of discovery of the physical world. And it is woefully inadequate for creating a community, a society, and least of all a nation, if none agree on the fundamentals. A veritable Pandora's box of dissonance and disharmony in any social setting of any appreciable size where different beliefs, worldviews, presuppositions, axioms, are self-righteously held! Which means, the ones with the biggest stick, the rulers, authority figures, get to impose their own axioms of faith upon everyone else. This is true of every discipline, every enterprise.
This is why science, in its drive to discover nature the way it actually is, winnows out from acceptable epistemology everything subjective, including insight and intuition, to reduce it to what is empirical, measurable, and confirmable by others, in order to lend some degree of objectivity to the discovery of what exists. What is not empirical or amenable to science is termed non-falsifiable. Science relies exclusively on falsifiability and falsifiable theories for its advancement. Without falsifiability, science stagnates. What falsifiability means is that a theory or notion or observation can be shown to be either true or false eventually. Non-falsifiable means the matter can never be proved either way. Therefore, for the well-known processes of science, which basically involve four recursive steps, or stages, any of which may be absent or combined in a given endeavor: (1) theorizing, hypothesizing, modeling; (2) testability (of the model), observability, reproducibility (by others); (3) measurability, quantifiability; and (4) predictability, anticipatability (based on the model); subjectivity borne of faith, belief and intuition as means or motivation, belong to the category of non-falsifiable theory whose reality can neither be proved nor disproved by the scientific method. But its immediate impact on all four processes of science also cannot be denied. The labor of love and persistence that results from faith or belief or special insight, often leads to advancement in understanding and to empiricism which is amenable to the scientific method. Science is only a set of methods, a means, by which to uncover what is, and not an end unto itself. Some things which are just as real as nature, and a creation in nature, are not always amenable to the reductionism of science, such as feelings, emotions, love, hate, spirituality, consciousness, awareness; domains that cannot always be reduced to material principles and natural laws (apart from biochemical reductionism) that wholly circumscribe the purview of science.
Often times it is the implicit trust factor in respectable authority figures that one chooses to accept their personal formulations based on their faith and their special insight, as the axiomatic presuppositions of truth, without seeking any empirical evidence or examination for oneself. The late physicist Richard Feynman's famous out of body experiment was easily accepted by others despite it being irreproducible (noted in this scribe's letter to biologist Richard Dawkins cited below). The abuse of such science, the science of authority figures, also called pseudo science, in making the public mind is of course among the best practices of Machiavelli. This is examined in “Disambiguating Religion, Science and Psychological Warfare Operations” (tinyurl.com/Religion-Science-Psyops) and “Reflections on Science in the Service of Empire” (tinyurl.com/Science-in-Service-of-Empire). But we stay for the moment with the innocent concept of initial non-falsifiability of personal axioms of faith driving reason and persistence, and eventually expressing themselves in a form that become amenable to the processes of science for others to reason and adjudicate as well.
This highly nuanced semantic difference is crucial to comprehend for the point at hand. That point being that we can reason about things despite having faith in them if we can understand how they each have a role to play in advancing our overall understanding of the matter such that the whole comes out greater than the sum of its parts. Max Planck's observation quoted above, “It is impossible to make a clear cut between science, religion and art. The whole is never equal simply to the sum of its various parts.” is not singular. Other stellar minds known for their scientific capacity and deep penetrating insights have ventured along the same path. Here is the late Pakistani physicist, Dr. Abdus Salam of Cambridge University, a Muslim, making the following perceptive observation in his speech at the Nobel Prize banquet for the 1979 Nobel prize in theoretical physics which he shared with two colleagues, a Christian: Sheldon Glashow, and a Jew: Steven Weinberg, the latter an atheist:
'On behalf of my colleagues, Professor Glashow and Weinberg, I thank the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Academy of Sciences for the great honour and the courtesies extended to us, including the courtesy to me of being addressed in my language Urdu.
Pakistan is deeply indebted to you for this.
The creation of Physics is the shared heritage of all mankind. East and West, North and South have equally participated in it. In the Holy Book of Islam, Allah says
“Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.” (The Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Mulk, 67:3-4)
This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.' (Dr. Abdus Salam, 1979 Nobel prize banquet speech, Stockholm, http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/salam-speech.html )
It should be obvious that it is principally the deeper understanding, penetrating insight, and uncanny intuition, and not the regurgitation, parroting, and mastery of immense encyclopedias and arcane data-sets, nor the momentous processes of science alone, limited as they are to the falsifiable, which are the cornerstone of wisdom. All wisdom! Including scientific wisdom which, at some deeper primordial level, is still driven by faith, insight, inspiration, and intuition. Forces which themselves remain beyond the pale of scientific measurement and quantification, but whose presence underwrites the endless perspiration of science.
The perceptive statement: “This in effect is, the faith of all physicists” by the Nobel prize winning physicist, speaks to the reality of a primemover natural force for doing great science: “faith”, non quantifiable, non measurable, but which impelled his own über scientific endeavors forward. Without faith, the belief that something is possible, or out there, or must be so, the super scientist pursuing Einstein's dream that has inspired generations of brilliant physicists in search of the grand unification of all natural forces, may well have given up. In other words, faith and reason co-habitat and co-construct human wisdom, and the two interplay with each other in non quantifiable ways most poorly understood today but also accepted as existential. This is also true of all great inventors, discoverers, explorers; indeed, faith is an essential motivating force for any striving that defies or transcends logic. The age-old banal response to the question: “why climb the mountain” (because it's there) is perhaps its most eloquent expression. Without this un measurable and un quantifiable primemover force which inspires, dunce people perspiring all day in their ardent labors cannot reach deeper understanding, be they scientists, or ordinary sons of the soil. The tragedy is that when a person of religious faith uses that un quantifiable factor for a spiritual journey as opposed to the scientific journey where it is evidently more acceptable, he is scoffed at by provincial minds bearing the lofty banner of secular humanism. They may even come with “scientist” prominently tattooed on their forehead (see this scribe's letter to biologist Richard Dawkins titled: “Error in The First Chapter of: The God Delusion(?)”, February 18, 2008, http://tinyurl.com/letter-dawkins-god-delusion ).
This same un quantifiable factor is especially true of political wisdom. A wisdom which is essential not just for developing the instincts for survival in the Darwinian jungle infested with the plague of “will to power”, but also for safe extraction from its jaws of deceit. Political wisdom is the primemover force which also underwrites the first “revolutionary act”: In the age of universal deceit to discover the truth is a revolutionary act. It is the first precondition to what the prescient novelist George Orwell had incompletely proclaimed; “In the age of universal deceit to tell the truth is a revolutionary act.” In order to tell the truth one has to discover it first. In the age of universal deceit, by definition that is not so straightforward.
It is only the perceptive understanding and intuitive comprehension of unseen manipulative forces – forces that largely remain hidden beneath the surface like the iceberg, and often reach several degrees of separation between their first-cause and visible effects leaving no direct receipt of their existence – more than academic degrees, more than titles of “Sir”, “Scholar”, “Ayatollah” and “Sheikh-ul-Islam”, which enable liberating oneself from Plato's cave of full spectrum mind control. The purpose of this mind control is mass behavior control. And the purpose of mass behavior control is to foster complete obedience of the public mind to authority. In that respect, the controllers outside of Plato's cave, the superman, identify with a characteristic of God: the demand of complete submission to his will. And the key to their constant success in every era of human civilization, from time immemorial, is in the superman's cunning ability to keep the understanding of the whole away from the public mind. Half-understanding wrapped in half-truths and outright lies enable the primacy of the superman. Its first hunting ground: the human mind.
Therefore, to be able to separate chaff from wheat in such an age of universal deception by forces unseen, requires immense sha-oor (wherewithal, deep insight), and not royally anointed pieces of parchment and medals which proclaim super-learnedness. It is for this very empirical reality that the Holy Qur'an, in Surah Aal-'Imran in verse 3:7, unequivocally commends only the men (and women) of understanding, أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ : “and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.”
This commendation in the Holy Qur'an which elevates the stature of “men of understanding” is as expected, for it is also based on clear commonsense that without understanding, the human mind is easy picking for the superman, in every domain. Religion being the first. In fact, this scribe is unaware of a similar commendation in the Holy Qur'an for its parroting, memorizing, and endless recitations without comprehension, a labor of love in which Muslims today, as yesterday, take great spiritual pride and spend a great deal of their free time. Whereas, time and again, the verses of the Holy Qur'an categorically enjoin deep understanding, deep comprehension, through deep reflection, and show the path to reach it through the journey of the “cleansed heart” as already explained. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that meaning of the Holy Qur'an was cleverly protected from public understanding by the rulers and their surrogate pulpits through this (mis)emphasis on spending time in its endless recitation instead of its diligent study. And the focus of the source of understanding of the religion of Islam cunningly shifted to what the anointed scribes have written instead of endeavoring to comprehend what the Good Book itself conveys.
Even today, in the most prestigious religious seminaries among all Muslim sects, the study of the Holy Qur'an is still rather tepid. The emphasis still remains on regurgitating what the holy scribes have written, or on jurisprudence (the legislation of Islamic Sharia). The latter is where all the easy livelihood (without expending a day's worth of honest toil), power, prestige, social control (legislating the “do” and the “don't” on behalf of Allah), are to be found. It is evidently the easiest profession in the world, second only to the oldest. While it is seen to be a safe haven for the feeblest minds of society who cannot make a dignified living elsewhere, it is principally where the most pernicious superman is often found lurking. Under the turban.
Unfortunately, the obvious and rather self-evident perspective that understanding trumps vast quantities of regurgitated knowledge (historians), voluminous research (scientists), loquacious speech (pulpits), and that authorship of a hundred books remain infertile if devoid of insights of the whole, is often sorely absent even in highly credentialed intellectuals who are intimately invested in their “American Dream”. This is of such practical as well as existential significance that it bears at least some evidencing from this scribe's own life. As this scribe wrote in the Foreword of his maiden 2003 book Prisoners of the Cave, penned in a most tearful state during the barbaric American bombing, invasion, occupation, subjugation, and total decimation of Iraq and its advanced society under the false pretext of WMD which was Orwellianly labeled in the Newspeak of empire as Operation Iraqi Freedom:
“How did I learn about these plans? I actually only uncovered PNAC, JV2020, and the Wolfowitz’s chauvinist doctrines of preemption that he had supposedly been pushing since 1990, after 911, when I started scratching my head at the inexplicability of it all the moment some 19 Muslim hijackers’ names were announced, and the public was informed that they had learnt flying on flight simulators and had told their instructors that they weren’t interested in learning how to land! If Bin Laden was so smart at having planned such an outrageous attack and counted on such brilliant executioners who did it so flawlessly after only learning to fly on simulators, he was pretty stupid at having enlisted idiots who would deliberately leave such a trail of evidence behind, including statements that they weren’t interested in landing – so that either they would risk being uncovered before the attack, or their attack foiled while in progress, or after a successful attack, America would know exactly whom to go bomb in retaliation!
Only one of these aspects could be true, either they were brilliant military tacticians and strategists, or nincompoops from a three stooges movie who succeeded despite themselves, but the incongruence could not exist simultaneously on this large scale military style invasion project, except in a Hollywood spoof.
Having already read Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard and Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations several years earlier, I immediately grasped the new pearl harbor concept the moment America deployed to bomb Afghanistan without adequately explaining or investigating any of the events of 911. ...
I started to reread Brzezinski and Huntington very carefully once again, then reread the entire voluminous Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and the Mein Kampf of Hitler. The similarities between the rising crescendo of WMDs and the propaganda that William Shirer had recorded as having transpired in the Third Reich, and the similarities between ZB’s and Hitler’s descriptions of their respective imperatives and how to get them, were ominous, except that ZB’s were more polished and more sophisticatedly put. I got really paranoid as many more light bulbs went on in my head which had not gone on when I had originally read them. I had just taken Brzezinski’s book as theoretical, as being from the pen of a Cold War warrior now retired and indulging in some arm chair warrior fantasies. I didn’t understand that hectoring hegemons never retire until they are six feet under. I had also dismissed Huntington’s book as an ignoramus's work not to be taken seriously, as it was replete with obvious disinformation and tortuous conclusions that were easy to spot by anyone who knew anything about the subject. Now both were being egregiously put into practice, and the latter book did not appear so silly anymore, but rather shrewd and calculated.
The first time I had read Huntington with the lens of ‘here is an interestingly titled book from a prominent Harvard professor, let me see what he has to say’; the second time I read it with the lens ‘let me understand how deception is created and its seeds planted in a free society that is not too knowledgeable about the rest of the world’. The second reading showed that the obviousness of his distortions, coming from a top branded American University like Harvard, had some deeper strategic thinking behind it. Huntington is also involved in national security and other strategic studies as a prominent professor and intellectual at Harvard, and couldn’t be just a simple moron like Harvard’s President, Lawrence Summers, who recently claimed women were inherently not as smart as men. I was wondering how people like that become president at prestigious American universities, until once again I uncovered during my research that the same Harvard President had also written how the industrialized nations should dump their waste in developing nations while he was at the World Bank in the 1990s. With Wolfowitz now as the head of the World Bank, it is only shortsightedness to underestimate the power of the dark side, or the people who wield it. Huntington’s theme from portions of his book relevant to the topic at hand is systematically dismantled in Chapter 9. Based on this new found respect of the doctrinal scholars for their craft, and realizing that we were entering a phase with the hastily approved Patriot Act I that could only lead to the Fourth Reich in America, I started attending antiwar teachins and protest marches with my family, and began talking to prominent Vietnam war dissenters about governmental lies.
And that is when I first heard about the PNAC – from antiwar teachins. Ordinary people like me, engagingly concerned about what was happening, had uncovered more material from public sources and the analysis of history, than the entire mainstream scholarship and media apparatus in the United States of America.” (Zahir Ebrahim, Foreword, Prisoners of the Cave, 2003, http://PrisonersoftheCave.org)
The story of this scribe's journey since the very day of September 11, 2001, is the systematic standing up to such experts' godly craftsmanship by a most ordinary plebeian simply doing his own due diligence. It has often been sufficient to demolish many false gods. Experts tend to fall to even simple forensic scrutiny just as easily as they have been propped up, at times by quackery, at other times by Machiavelli, and most foolishly, often by the childish innocence and unsophistication of their audiences themselves who naturally gravitate to “experts” rather than use their own head. Modernity, like antiquity, has produced many such experts in virtually every domain who have been imposed upon the public mind as celebrities and heroes. They are the cornerstone of the trillion dollar global advertising industry that harnesses everything from human insecurities to celebrity appeal to make the public mind in virtually every sphere of human existence – from marketing political agendas, religion, ideology, wars, peace, global warming, global war on terror, to baby diapers and condoms.
However, despite all this cognizance, the scribe has faced the constant dilemma which falls out of being fallible and all too human – how does one know that what one has learnt, understood, comprehended, is fully correct? Truth in virtually every domain, including religion, and especially religion, comes wrapped in so many layers upon layers of deceit, half truth, quarter truth, and self-serving interpretations and confabulations in respectable books, that how does one know that one has reached the kernel of truth despite all the unlayerings?
While the author remains acutely mindful of epistemology, and of his own fallibility in the pursuit of greater understanding, he cannot guarantee that he has any more license to arriving at the whole truth of any matter than any other mortal who endeavors to learn it, just because he has all the good and righteous intentions of learning it truthfully. One can also learn false things very truthfully. In fact, quite often, one dies holding on to many falsehoods most self-righteously as gospel truth. That is fallibility. A fallible mind cannot lead another and not be the recipient of the “burdens” forewarned in Surah An-Nahl:
Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear! (Surah An-Nahl 16:25)
لِيَحْمِلُوٓا۟ أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَآءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ
Only the inerrant and infallible can be exempt from the “burdens” of verse 16:25 – for indeed, only the inerrant cannot ever mislead anyone, including those foolish unthinking people without knowledge who follow blindly! The straightforward logic of this Qur'anic semantics suggests that it is only ever safe to follow the inerrant, which is why, in verse 6:90 of Surah Al An'aam, the Author of the Holy Qur'an also avers: “These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance.”
This errant author therefore has always disclaimed followers. The Holy Qur'an has itself emphatically admonished followers (as already noted above in Surah Al-Baqara 2:166, 167). But fools of course only follow – which is why Machiavelli always has such a rich harvest of fools. Few Muslim scholars, from antiquity to modernity, appear to be cognizant, never mind fearful, of these considerations as they self-righteously proclaim to be the heralders of “truth”; often treated as such by the myths that are carefully cultivated around their supposed holiness and special privileges.
Perhaps all these realizations, of humbleness and insignificance of an individual's endeavors on the one hand that can so easily mislead the public mind wont to blindly follow experts, and of self-empowerment by using one's own head and commonsense on the other, can induce an acute sense of discontentment. That, while most of us can actually know very little despite our presumptions to the contrary (and that includes experts), what we do know need not be insignificant for ourselves. We can still make important existential decisions, both for sensibly elevating and protecting ourselves in this life, and if we believe in some theology, for preparing ourselves for what comes afterward, without following supermen experts who often only lead us to hell on earth while promising heaven elsewhere. As the saying goes: “If necessity is the mother of invention then discontent is the father of progress.”
That discontentment, rationally induced among those so presumptuously wearing the multi-styled, multi-colored turbans preaching and sowing discords of self-righteousness, will surely bear some fruit. While they may be the presumed “experts” of religion, and they might well have memorized a 1000 books of antiquity often regurgitating them in dazzling oratory, they can also easily be trumped by the commonsense of ordinary people just thinking and studying for themselves. And their power to command followers straightforwardly taken away from them by the ordinary person simply refusing to follow them. As this incisive book is evidence, the scribe has acquired sufficient disdain of all “experts”, of both what they say, and what they carefully omit to say by way of silence, to hold them in strong contempt as propagandists. Wherever one turns, one sees only scoundrels telling half-truths and quarter truths at best, by cunningly lying by omission, by cleverly omitting to disclose facts to their audience that are inconvenient to their narratives. It makes for the most diabolical form of propaganda warfare, and Aldous Huxley captured its impact on the public mind most ably:
‘The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr. Churchill calls an “iron curtain” between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals. But silence is not enough. If persecution, liquidation and the other symptoms of social friction are to be avoided, the positive sides of propaganda must be made as effective as the negative.’ (Aldous Huxley, 1946 Preface to Brave New World, 1931, Harper, pg. 11)
If you don't like these statements of fact and empirical truths, good. It means you may already be experiencing some cognitive dissonance in relation to your existing world view and you haven't even opened chapter one yet! If you are lucky, you will go through several psychological state transitions that you might like to become aware of. The first one being your natural inclination to dismiss this work because it isn't written by an “expert” who comes suitably anointed with a turban and sajdah (mark of worship) stamped upon his forehead.
If you are fortunate enough to have some neurons that still function independently despite the tranquilizing sleep that the pursuit of American Dream often induces, and able to examine material without the customary appeal to “celebrity experts” that modern marketing and advertising has invented to not just sell consumer products, but also lifestyles, ideologies and mythologies, your next inclination to reject will be due to its substance going against your entrenched worldview. And if you are able to transcend even that aspect of the public mind, only then will you be in any position, from the enlightened heights of Mt. Fuji no less, to even reasonably adjudicate what is written here.
The upsetness you may feel may also have nothing to do with cognitive dissonance – and that is a more likely response if your favorite hero, scholar, leader, imam, shaykh, myth, false belief, or the kaaba before which you bow has been unmasked in this book. The contents of this book are too unorthodox to benefit from for the mind groomed in herds (and that includes mankind's finest scholars') which, although quite capable of thinking for itself, but either through sheer mental laziness, or lack of basic reasoning skills that never got developed despite acquiring a college degree, a Ph.D., or a turban, always relies on some “authority” to do the principal thinking for it.
The rational call of the times is to espouse some humility rather than self-righteousness in order to come together with others who also sail in the same boat of humanity on the same turbulent seas ruled by the same common predators. As counseled by the same common Book whose scholarship some blithely claim to be divine custodians of:
“If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.” (Surah Al-Maeda, 5:48)
وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
The Qur'an speaks to all people in the above verse: “If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people,”. Never mind the multitude of Muslim sects warring with each other to serve the interests of those who have perfected the art of divide and conquer, the Qur'anic prescription to all mankind to compete on doing good works as if “in a race in all virtues” instead of theological upmanship and triumphalism, is categorical in Surah Al-Maeda, 5:44-48. That pious platitude surpasses the Ten Commandments which are noble prescriptions of refrains, whereas Surah Al-Maeda, 5:44-48 are positive acts of commission to create amity and harmony. Understandably, neither system is put into practice by its respective adherents --- to the great rejoicing of hectoring hegemons who exploit religions and human nature with the skill of a surgeon to implant maladies and divides. This book is its humble antidote: fashioning a perspective from a deeper and accurate understanding of how Islam is hijacked by both self-interests, and by way of self-deception. Muslims don't need external enemies to subvert us. We do a pretty good job ourselves!
This book has a Companion Reader, The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity – Oligarchic Primacy for World Government, 2015, 9th Edition, which is a much larger compendium of essays, letters, and case studies focussed on deconstructing the diabolical techniques being employed in the surreptitious construction of one-world government. The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity is the pièce de résistance of Project Humanbeingsfirst. It cherry picks penetrating analysis of current affairs from over a decade of written scholarship as the student of truth, and not its master. The Companion Reader systematically unpeels “truth's protective layers” in several different domains of human endeavor to demonstrate that virtually nothing the public mind is led to believe about any matter is wholly true. In fact, what the public believes and responds to is often outright bunk. As The Poor-Man's Guide to Modernity demonstrates, in the age of Machiavelli and universal deceit, the ultimate revolutionary act is not just to discover truth in a sea of lies, nor just to tell it to the deaf and blind who can neither hear nor see, as morally courageous as both these endeavors are for the malcontent, but to act upon truth that one is so convinced of with the courage of one's convictions. In the age of universal deceit to live truth is a revolutionary act!
This is the principal teaching not just of the Holy Qur'an, not just of the Holy Bible, not just of the Vedas and the Gita, but of all noble human wisdom traditions from time immemorial. The quest for living in truth is as old as mankind, right alongside hegemony and primacy. Please read the Project Humanbeingsfirst.org Legal Disclaimer Notice (http://humanbeingsfirst.org/#Legal) before you hasten to do so based on what you read here. The Legal Disclaimer Notice is hereby incorporated into this book by reference. In précis: (1) you are responsible to verify what is presented here; for all you know, it could also be all myth like the rest of what you believe to be true. And (2): Project Humanbeingsfirst and this author have no affiliation with anyone; reference citation to sources is for scholarship purpose only.
Remember, your own mind is your first imam, and that first natural guide built into each one of us is itself under manipulation from all sides not just by the external perception managers who manufacture a synthetic reality for us, but also by self-serving natural inclinations which often remain rooted deeply in the unconscious mind and manufacture our own subjective reality of which we remain unaware of. A self-referential problem every seeker of objective reality must vigorously confront if honesty of purpose is their driving intent. Know thy self to know the world, so to speak. While self-evident, few labor in that prescription. The target audience of this book, socialized Muslims, especially remain oblivious to this ingrained socialization bias in their self-righteous indignation to any invitation to introspection. Shia Muslims fervently remain Shia, Sunni Muslims fervently remain Sunni, and each remains violently attached to their respective ethos, each understands their history somewhat differently, and consequently fall easy prey to all “us vs. them” emotional and theological separation schemes conjured up by every conquering hectoring hegemon throughout the ages.
Today, that age-old divide and conquer modus operandi has been convoluted and amplified by political science contortions such as the Hegelian Dialectic of “militant Islam” vs. “moderate Islam” vs. “revolutionary Islam”. The former two are derived from Sunni distortions of Islam, and the latter is derived from Shia distortions of Islam, all of which are just more attempts at seeding separation among people to fabricate internecine warfare under sophisticated political theories of statism to fashion a one-world global superstate. This book is intended to be the antidote shock therapy for Muslims. It can surely succeed but only if cognitively addressing the self-referential problem is made part of extending our understanding of the world. One has to diligently compensate for one's own natural subjectivity and perception biases before one can be analytical about any external matter. Once again, for emphasis, know thy self to know the world!
Since you have reached this far in this long Preface, welcome to the journey of discovering how much we are deceived by the fact that we are only human. But because we are primarily human, and not animal, howsoever we may have come about, we can do better than animals who are stuck in their nature and their habit. The beaver has been building dams for 5000 years, but in exactly the same way. The honey bee has been making honey for a lot longer, but also in exactly the same way. While man still cannot mimic what the natural world does so easily, man has something the natural world does not. We build a better dam each time around!
Socrates had surely summed up his own challenge to his audience thusly*:
‘Agree with me if I seem to you to speak the truth; or, if not, withstand me might and main that I may not deceive you as well as myself in my desire, and like the bee leave my sting in you before I die. And now let us proceed.’
About The Author
Please be advised that the author is not a scholar of Islam.
The author, an ordinary justice activist, formerly an ordinary engineer in Silicon Valley, California (see engineering patents at http://tinyurl.com/zahir-patents ), founded Project Humanbeingsfirst.org in the aftermath of 9/11. He was, mercifully, most imperfectly educated in the United States of America despite attending its elite schools on both coasts. This might perhaps explain how he could escape the fate of “likkha-parrha-jahils” (educated morons) mass produced in its technetronic society with all his neurons still intact and still firing on all cylinders. He is inspired by plain ordinary people rising to extraordinary challenges of their time more than by privileged and gifted people achieving extraordinary things. He chose his byline to reflect that motivation: The Plebeian Antidote to Hectoring Hegemons. Bio at http://zahirebrahim.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Verbatim reproduction license for all his work at http://humanbeingsfirst.org/#Copyright.
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Preface First Published February 10, 2013 | Updated for 2nd Edition April 17, 2015
Last Updated September 11, 2015 12:00 am 11718
Preface: Hijacking The Holy Qur'an And Its Religion Islam 2015 Second Edition 26/26