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5. The Search for Community

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين وسلّم

Title: The Search for Community

Author: Uthman Ibrahim-Morrison FFAS

Publication date: 28th September 2013

Assalamu alaykum. Welcome to the Civilisation & Society Programme of the MFAS. This is the fifth of 12 sessions which make up the Society through Literature module. The entire session will last approximately 1 hour and comprise a lecture of around 40 minutes, followed by a 10 minute interval, and ending with a short question & answer period. You are encouraged to make a written note of any questions that may occur to you for clarification after the lecture. 


Modern, or perhaps post-modern, Western civilisation with its many moral, artistic, economic, ecological and political uncertainties and contradictions, is assailed by an increasing sense of pessimism and general decline. The principal aim of this lecture will be to present an opportunity to explore how this situation, and the consequent concern for the recovery of community, is reflected in relevant literature. The paper will aim to highlight how, from a literary vantage point which has emerged at the very core of European culture as the result of the contemporary encounter with Islam, a very real sense of urgency has arisen in contrast to the abundance of purely speculative, idealistic or imaginary constructs, and how it has given rise to fresh perspectives on the true value of the Western literary legacy.

Since literature is created by human beings, and human beings are essentially social by nature, it is almost inevitable that our writing and literature in the broadest sense we referred to in the first of these lectures, will reflect back to us, directly or indirectly, insights regarding the conditions of the communities we inhabit. Even before we come to look at the authors themselves or the quality and content of their work, the very fact that so much of our literature comes to us in the form of mass produced paperbacks, purchased on line or downloaded to e-readers such as Kindle, already says a great deal about the way we live and the kind of society we have developed. By the same token, as I mentioned in the opening lecture (Story and History), the fact that reading, for the most part, has become an activity that is carried out individually and in silence, also tells us something quite significant about the kind of communities we live in. These are communities where the mutually binding and affirmative activity of collective storytelling has been undermined and removed from the arena of localised social interaction and transposed into the modalities of modern mass communications such as cinema films; or appropriated into the formalised structures of mass education and academia. Looking at the plight of our literature in this way, and indeed the plight of literacy itself, it tells us in a somewhat oblique fashion something about society through literature which is certainly not to be dismissed lightly. However, we will be taking the more direct approach to the matter of what has become of our communities and the way we live, or should or shouldn’t live together, by going to the works of selected authors, looking at their lives and confronting what they reveal to us.

Before I proceed it is certainly worth reminding ourselves that there can be nothing ‘objective’ about our method. There can be no such thing as a balanced selection of material, or a balanced coverage of the world’s civilisations, or a fair representation of all literary cultures and experiences. My point of departure stems from the nature of my personal  exposure to certain kinds of literature, the selections I have made, my ability to convey my impressions convincingly and an underlying assumption that there is something inherently unbalanced about the society that has produced most of us, and whose legacy is a sense of constant tension (possibly a highly creative one for artists and philosophers) and a feeling of unease which I assume is likely to be shared by most, if not all of us, to a greater or lesser extent. In other words, this tension is an important part of our historical, cultural and social heritage, which deserves to be studied, contemplated and understood from every useful angle or perspective. For without this awareness and active consciousness with respect to this inheritance we do not understand ourselves, we suffer from a collective amnesia in which our cultural memory is cut short. This creates a space in which we imagine that anything is possible, that any story can be told, and in which any story may be lived – or in other words, in which any community might be created. It seems appropriate at this juncture to look briefly at the concepts of utopia and dystopia.

Utopia and Dystopia

According to the Concise OED the term Utopia is a Greek derivation signifying ‘not place’ (i.e., non-existent place) and first appears as the title of a book about the ideal governmental system of an imaginary island state written (in Latin) in 1516 by Sir Thomas More, the renowned Renaissance statesman who was a leading advisor and Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, who later had him executed for treason in 1532 for his refusal to condone Henry’s break with the Roman Church and his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. So much for Utopia in the face of Tudor Realpolitik! As for dystopia, it is understood as the opposite of utopia: an imaginary place or society in which everything is bad.

There are a great many well-known literary works, early and modern, which fall into the utopia/dystopia categories; the science and so called speculative fiction genres have been particularly productive. Hence, the almost ubiquitous influence of H.G. Wells (1866-1946), who apart from the science fiction classics for which he is most remembered today, is explicitly displayed in ‘semi-fictional’ writings such as A Modern Utopia 1905, where he sets out his proposals for social reform in an ambitious depiction of a world state. The novels, short stories, criticism and essays of his friend D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), whose lifelong preoccupation with the deleterious effect on humanity of the industrial revolution and its physical, psychological and emotional consequences, as reflected in writings such as Fantasia of the Unconscious 1923 and Education of the People 1918, have also had a significant impact. The following passage gives us the flavour of his interventions:

“Melt down all your guns of all sorts. Destroy all your explosives, save what bit you want for quarries and mines. Keep no explosive weapon in England bigger than a one-barrelled pistol, which may live for one year longer. At the end of one year no explosive weapon shall exist.

     The world at once starts afresh. […] League of Nations is all bilberry jam: bilge: and you know it. Put your guns in the fire and drown your explosives, and you’ve done your share of the League of Nations.

        But don’t pretend you’ve abolished war. Send your soldiers to Ireland, if you must send them, armed with swords and shields, but with no engines of war. Trust the Irish to come out with swords and shields as well: they’ll do it. And then have a rare old scrap, such as the heart can rejoice in. But in the name of human sanity, never point another cannon: never. And it lies with Britain to take the lead. Nobody else will.” [Education of the People in Lawrence on Education p.189]

To continue, however, we immediately associate both the ideas of utopia and dystopia, with a number of iconic examples: Plato (c. 428-348 BC) The Republic c. 380 BC in which he theorises the justly governed city-state; James Hilton (1900-1954) Lost Horizon 1933 which brought us ‘Shangri-La’; Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) Brave New World 1932; Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) The Glass Bead Game 1943; George Orwell (1903-1950) Nineteen Eighty-Four 1949, where the term Orwellian as a byword for oppressive government has entered the language together with Big Brother, thought police, doublethink and thoughtcrime; and finally Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) Fahrenheit 451 1953.

What all of these share in common, to a greater or lesser extent, are motivations that arise out of the following factors: a sense of societal malaise or threat; or the personal response to spiritual crisis in the pursuit of a higher plane of knowledge and existence; an endeavour to instruct or influence the behaviour of rulers or governments; escape from or denunciation of political corruption and oppression; the expression of either optimism or anxiety for the future of civilisation; or the attempt to envision future alternatives for society, however fantastical they may be, by speculating on the potentials of social and technological progression. 

So, we find Plato’s dramatic dialogue in The Republic is situated during the calamitous Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) between Athens and Sparta. Lost Horizon and Brave New World were both written during the extreme uncertainty of the interwar period as Europe sought recovery from the turmoil of the First World War and weathered the Great Depression of 1929. The Glass Bead Game (awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946) was written in the neutral refuge offered by Switzerland at least partially in response to the tensions created by Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. Set in the detached educational province of the imaginary Castalia, where the disciplines of meditation, music, philosophy and mathematics preserved and embodied the highest values of civilised humanity, the novel held great appeal for a German speaking world that longed for healing and a new order following the confusion and suffering of defeat in World War II. His writings would become world famous from the 1960’s onwards in response to the rejection of a world corrupted by materialism and the widespread desire for spiritual growth and self-knowledge. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four was the result of Orwell’s fear and conviction that unless Europe was saved by a socialist revolution, it would inevitably fall prey to the most extreme form of totalitarianism. Finally, in Fahrenheit 451, written in America during the infamous McCarthy era of state suppression of dissenting ideas and anti-communist hysteria, Bradbury creates a dystopian vision of a future time in which firefighters fulfil the special task of seeking out and burning books (451 degrees Fahrenheit being the temperature at which paper is said to spontaneously combust).

Coming right up to date it is probably true to say that as far as fictional writing is concerned, the post-apocalyptic scenario, whether predicated upon alien invasion of our planet or our own blind determination to destroy ourselves as a species spiralling unstoppably out of political, ecological and technological control, has become the leading vehicle for the expression of collective anxiety regarding our fate as communities of human beings. This has provided Hollywood with a steady stream of marketable film adaptations. Earlier this year, the Canadian speculative fiction writer and environmental activist Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) announced with the publication of MaddAddam, the completion of her acclaimed near-future dystopian trilogy in which humankind, having been wiped out by a man-made plague, has been replaced by groups of bio-engineered, human-like hybrids. Interviewed for BBC Radio last week she made the following observation:

“Each dystopia contains a little utopia, and certainly each utopia conceals a hidden dystopia. So, those two forms are joined at the hip, and they’re the Yin and Yang of each other.” [BBC Radio 4, Start the Week 9:00am 16th September 2013]

This is undoubtedly true, but rather than opposing Yin and Yang which represent the positive and dynamic interplay of essentially contrasting energies or qualities, I would say that in reality utopia and dystopia are both synthetic constructs that proceed from human imaginations locked inescapably within the cognitive, philosophical and cultural DNA of their shared historical setting, and are therefore unable to produce a genuine opposition or establish a truly independent or transcendent vantage point. Therefore, the mode of thinking which fashions the one also fashions the other, and rather than interacting as Yin and Yang, face each other as two blemished mirrors mutually reflecting their shared imperfections into an eternity of repetition. 

This pessimistic prospect, however, need not necessarily be the case. The Book of Strangers, written by Ian Dallas and dedicated to Shaykh Muhammad ibn-al Habib, his first teacher of traditional Islam, was first published in 1972 and is, like Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha (1922) and Steppenwolf (1927), a short semi-autobiographical novel of spiritual search and arrival, which seems to begin at the very end of time. It is certainly worth quoting its succinct and atmospheric prologue in full:

“… After a long silence, Si Hamoud placed his hand on my arm and spoke: ‘There is a story told about the end of the world – how it would be. The vast numbers of the planet’s population were sunk in ignorance and violence and frenzy. In one of the great mega-cities, throbbing with directionless, explosive activity, two withered, ancient women, forgotten, dying beggars, crouched in a corner watching the endless, terrible spectacle. One of the women turned to the other and said, ‘It is awful. Look at them. Look at us all. I understand nothing. Why? Why this vast creation, this planet, these millions of people in misery? What is the meaning? Did anyone ever know?

       “After a long silence, the other woman placed her hand on her companion’s arm and said, ‘I remember, when I was a young girl, a long, long time ago, a strange man came to our city, begging. He was in rags like us and he wore a pointed cap. I can still remember the peace in his eyes as he put his hand on my arm and whispered to me, La ilaha ill’ Allah.’”

Naturally, every Muslim will instantly recognise the words La ilaha ill’ Allah (There is no god but Allah) which in Arabic comprises the first part of the declaration of shahada by which one enters upon the path of Islam. It is the unspoken second part of the formula however, Muhammadun rasulu’llah (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) which here holds the key to the unfolding of the completely non-utopian, real and accessible blueprint for the life transaction first established and demonstrated in the illuminated city of Madina al Munawwara amongst the first generation of Muslims and countless times since by others who have followed their example down the centuries at different times and on different continents.

It is upon this same trajectory, albeit in a new place and a new age, that Ian Dallas, as Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, has taken command of a literary vantage point with respect to the Western inheritance to which he continues to contribute, and from which he has been able to indicate those elements that retain authentic traces of a mostly buried legacy of historically trustworthy cultural resources, and by drawing upon such resources throw genuine light onto the ongoing search for community in the gathering darkness of our times. Hence, we have been able to recognise in Manuel Venator, the protagonist of the apparently post-apocalyptic setting of the 1977 novel Eumeswil written by Ernst Jünger (1895-1998), the figure of the Anarch whose ability to maintain personal sovereignty in the midst of tyranny cuts through the closed utopian-dystopian dialectic (see recommended reading). However, it is not necessary to go into great detail here as the subject of Jünger’s contributions to our understanding of the age we live in as Muslims and what use we might make of them, will receive specific attention in lecture no.8 of this series - The Worker.

Reintroducing Richard Wagner et al.

We may leave aside as being beyond our present scope the reopening to essential literature from the Muslim tradition (e.g. Muwatta, Ibn Khaldun, various diwan, Nasiri Du’a, Shifa, etc.), but for over four decades, the inseparable spiritual and literary jihad that began with Ian Dallas and has continued with Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi in his search for community, has opened, or re-opened, the way to a revitalised, or revitalising, acquaintanceship with many of the pivotal figures from the ancient to the modern who provide us with access to what is best and worthy of preservation and admiration in the body of western thought and literature. These include Homer, Aeschylus, Plato, Tacitus, Lucan, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Wagner, Heidegger, Heisenberg, Schmitt, Jünger, Ibsen, Goethe, Rilke, Dostoevsky, Carlyle, Lawrence, Belloc, and others.

Of all of these I have chosen to focus attention on Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and there is no more appropriate way of doing so under the circumstances than directly through the writing of Ian Dallas/Shaykh Abdalqadir. But the point must first be made that the great importance of Wagner’s artistic, literary and active contribution to the European search for community, witnessed by his participation in the Dresden Uprising (1849), is commensurate with the effort devoted to obscuring and distracting from his profound critique of society.

Firstly, there are the clouds of controversy created by the association of his work with Nazism in general and Adolf Hitler in particular, who was clearly affected by the genius of Wagner’s capacity to communicate the authentic German spirit through his music. Every biographer, critic and commentator is obliged to explain, justify or otherwise take some position on the issue. As a result, the link is so firmly established in the common perception that one could be forgiven for not realising that Wagner died before Hitler was born and had been dead for half a century before the Nazi Party’s rise to political power. Hence, one is almost surprised to discover that Wagner and Hitler were not in the habit of going for long mountain walks together to discuss party strategy or to plan the order of the programme at Bayreuth!

Similarly, a constant obsession with the rumoured unpleasantness of his personality, his legendary womanising, his unpaid debts, selfishness, arrogance and worst of all, his anti-semitism, all call into question his essential moral integrity and by extension the value and integrity of his political thought and artistic merit. The end result is that Wagner appears to the world as a dubious, quasi-demonic figure who, in an age of quick consumption and limited attention spans, is made even more unapproachable by the dreaded complexity of his libretti, widespread prejudice against the German language and the great length of his music-dramas. The writing of Ian Dallas/SAQ takes us beyond the smokescreen:

“Thus, he saw us faced with a dual task. It was necessary to dismantle the societal system or superstructure which had imposed itself on previous ‘natural’ systems, and also to dismantle the self-system or infra-structure of the individual identity since it is that which licenses the world system to continue, and this due to that self’s robotic condition from which it must be freed before it can make the act of liberation which will in turn destroy the state system. The irrational function within the societal system which was the instrument which upheld tyrannical statism was usury. Destroy usury and you destroy the unjust structuralist state. But this cannot happen unless you demotivate man from robotic continuity. This can only be done by creating a free man. It is this theme that vibrates and evolves and is so profoundly meditated throughout the Ring, and aspects of it vibrate through all the Master’s works. As he unearthed the deep undertow of psychic forces which subverted historical growth and evolution he saw more clearly the true quality of civic harmony. In other words the psychic insights of Tristan allow the celebration of social well-being which illuminates his radiant Meistersinger.” [New Wagnerian p.15 - see recommended reading]


“Wagner, the revolutionary slowly evolved into an artist who meditated on the theme of transformation. He saw that the social change which superior men desired for the world, could only come about when man was himself liberated from the programming of the absolute state. He recognised that the problem was not one of structure, for in his time the communists had stolen, as had the ‘democrats and constitutionalists’ the name of that revolution which he and his companions longed for, as did Beethoven. In its name they were simply prepared to offer another tyrannical structure. What was required was a new man. This was the ultimate concern of Wagner and it is this theme which flows through all his works. Wagner had been the friend of Bakunin. It was Bakunin who split with Marx on the very issue of whether the revolution meant to conquer the state for new forces or dismantle it. Bakunin lost. The struggle passed from politics to art. Wagner, the radical, had to retreat into an uneasy, subsidised existence, supported by the very decadence he loathed. Yet as an artist he would never betray his beliefs, as courageous in his creativity as Bakunin at the barricades.” [ibid. p. 74] 

The Encounter with Islam

Returning to the theme of the encounter with Islam on a personal level, for the directors of MFAS and the majority of the lecturers who are participating in the Society through Literature series, the discovery of the deen at this historical and cultural juncture has thrown up a particular set of intellectual, spiritual and political questions and challenges which have added another dimension to the creative tension and sense of urgency I referred to earlier, particularly as it relates to the universally pressing questions that concern the whole of society: Where are we now as a civilisation? How did we get here? Where are we going (or where do we wish to go)? And how will we get there?

The unexpected meeting with Islam has been, in reality, nothing less than a convergence or re-convergence of narratives; just at that point where one begins to imagine that any new story can be told by anyone or everyone in order to provide a script for whatever kind of new life we choose to embark upon, instead one finds oneself arrested by a story grounded in humanity but mythical in its dimensions and epic in its scope. It harks back to the very dawn of time, driven forward by Divine revelation, ancient prophets, the repeated destruction of civilisations and the repeated recovery of humanity and community. The story itself is anything but new and the testimony to its irresistible appeal by those drawn to it has been heard a thousand times, indeed, countless times by the countless people who have entered into its deeply rooted narrative flow; a narrative with its own beginning, middle and end, and with its own past present and future. It makes its own claim to the dispensation that will define this latest and final human epoch.

So, what becomes of the stories that have conveyed us to this meeting point with the deen (Islam)? Perhaps it no longer matters because the imperative thrust of our times is fuelled by the momentum of progress, which by our common experience and shared indoctrination, has no need to look backwards unless to remind ourselves of what it is that we are impelled to escape from at all costs: the poverty, drudgery and ignorance of past peoples and societies; the imagined savagery of the stone age; the loss and ruin of the so called dark ages and the short, violent and diseased existence of the middle ages.

Therefore, we have rushed headlong into modernity; the age of democracy and common literacy; the age of information and technology; the era of global capitalism and consumerism; a new millennium of longer lives and the leisure and creativity to dream collective dreams of the end of history and the advent of postmodernity - or the waking nightmares of financial collapse, nuclear holocaust and ecological apocalypse projected at us through our digital news feeds and every kind of screen. Fact vies with fiction while we take refuge in the virtual realities available on line from the technological brutality of ubiquitous closed-circuit television, total government and corporate control and surveillance and remote-controlled assassination by unmanned drones. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Bladerunner) Or, as Morpheus tells Neo:

“You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth - nothing more.” [The Matrix 1999]

So, this metaphor, which has achieved cult status in our literature of film brings us face to face with the desire for truth and the choice of narrative – blue pill or red pill? Asleep or awake? Darkness or light? Knowledge or ignorance? Dreams or reality? Here in the West the millions who, in pursuit of the truth behind our existence in the world, stumbled onto the path offered by prophethood and revelation, believe that we are awake, or at least awakening; that we have opted for knowledge over ignorance; reality in preference to illusion. But where has this left us with respect to how we arrived at this point? After all, whatever new perspectives we are grappling with, we did not come to them out of a vacuum. And perhaps, this is one of the most significant discoveries that we have met with because we have had to re-educate ourselves as a matter of urgency as to the true nature and content of our historical and cultural heritage and identities in order to be able to go forward with clarity and confidence to grasp the opportunity for civic and spiritual recovery that has opened up to us and which we must share.

How many times have we heard the expression, and how true it is, that if you don’t know where you’ve come from, how can you know where you’re going? And at the same time we also come to realise that Islam is not, in and of itself, a culture. It does not confer a culture upon us, but is rather a filter for culture, so that whatever is poured through it is relieved of whatever strange and harmful elements it contains, leaving unimpeded the best that we have brought to it so that it can continue to nourish and supply us in the confidence that it will not weigh us down or hold us back, but rather, bring affirmation, a sense of direction and added vigour on the journey to renewal.

If we imagine that we are forced to leave all of our old ‘luggage’ behind before departure, or indeed, that we are somehow altogether bereft of cultural belongings, then we will rush to take hold of the first things that come to hand and before we know it, we have become second-hand Arabs, Pakistanis, Sudanese or Moroccans (of course, there are far worse things one could become in this world than any of these, but the point is that one can never truly become any of them). It is not unknown for new Muslims to go so far, out of naïve fervour or misguided rejection, as to even abandon their own native languages together with the rich legacies of learning, literature and oral tradition that relate to them!

Therefore, when it comes to the culturally intimate matter of examining our society through its literature and the quite specific question of the search for community reflected within it, what one brings to the undertaking first and foremost, is a perspective born out of a surprising rediscovery and a necessary reappraisal of the western tradition of thought, literature and artistic endeavour which, far from being useless or irrelevant baggage, has been lost from sight due to the drastic modification and alteration of the purposes and priorities of scholastic education throughout the course of the last century. State educational methods and the content of school curricula have developed towards fulfilling the imperatives of the modern workplace and amenability to state and corporate control. A more expansive survey of this process lies beyond the scope of the present paper, therefore it is strongly advised that students who wish to look further into this matter refer to the items I have listed for recommended or further reading. 

However, the process has certainly included the virtual elimination from school timetables of Greek and Latin and hence, the desire for direct access to the poets, playwrights and philosophers of classical antiquity; the effective removal of the study of history; the sanitisation of the liberal arts and humanities in general so as to avoid exposure to potentially transformative or ‘disruptive’ influences, so that for example, the study of D.H. Lawrence in school English classes as I remember them was limited to selections from Lady Chatterly’s Lover and one or two harmless short stories, whilst the man himself and his radical thinking and lifestyle remained unexamined. Likewise Shakespeare, where not avoided as being altogether too linguistically challenging, is reduced to a superficial treatment of the usual popular plays which students refer to as ‘doing’ rather than reading or studying. 

The process has also involved resorting to outright censorship or demonisation of certain subjects, so that for all the emphasis that is placed on the study of World War II nowhere is it possible, for example, to approach an understanding of the Nazi leadership in a non-hysterical fashion, and culturally significant figures such as Wagner, Nietszche, Pound and Heidegger, if they cannot be dismissed as mad or bad, come with such severe ‘health warnings’ that more often than not they end up confined, either wholly or in part, to the realms of specialist study – unsafe for general consumption!

In short, we have found that the encounter with Islam in the context of contemporary western society, rather than triggering a flight away into an alternative, perhaps even fantasy world of Arabic or eastern arts, values and customs, it has instead highlighted the sheer necessity as we go forward, of recovering the neglected assets of western historical and intellectual tradition as they recede further and further out of reach. Therefore, with regard to literature it has been a case of rescuing the baby from the bathwater that has been thrown out. 

I would like to end with a poem that I wrote some time ago while staying temporarily in the annex of the former residence of Shaykh Abdalqadir/Ian Dallas in the Constantia suburb of Cape Town since I know it to be the directly related to a number of the literary ‘rediscoveries’ that we have touched upon today.

In Cantray Forest

What happened to the course laid down before

By sovereign men engaging hand to hand?

Clear justice rooted firmly in their law

And chiefdom, clan and kingship in the land.

So mock-heroic now the art of war

The bankers' troops share up the spoils as planned

They trade all night when none but them can see

Their craft is death and theft by usury.

Discover Cantray Forest where you'll find

A man who'll tell you all you need to know

To leave your dark illusions far behind

And meet the One Who makes the woodlands grow

A poisonous dusk has chased away the day

Where men unmanned are fodder for the state

And desperate women throw themselves away

And hardened children feed on fear and hate 

The earth no longer home to those who pray.

Yet dark as it may be it's not too late -

The living, yes, have yielded to the dead

But death in turn will yield up life instead.

Deny the lack of hope that leads to fear

Serenity is never far away

The woodsman's song is all you need to hear

To taste the bliss of truth by night and day.

Reach for it beyond imagination

Your mind's eye will not find it anywhere 

Blindness hides the secret destination

A heart with piercing sight will take you there.

Disappear in pure annihilation

Where miracles abound beyond compare

Sweet indications show you how to learn

To speak the Name that makes the seasons turn.

You are the silent forest standing true

At ease beneath the moon or shining sun 

Come heat or snow; it's all the same to you

Untroubled in the presence of the One

Withdraw amongst the trees that sway unseen

To winds that sing the song of those who strive.

Emerge as heroes stoic and serene

Believing strangers longing to arrive

In clearings that converge amidst the green

Encounters of delight for man alive.

With eyes that gather beauty from the light

And hearts that see Allah by inner sight.

That brings us to the end of today’s lecture. Recommended further reading will be included in the transcript. The subject of our next lecture is Learning. Thank you for your attention. Assalamu alaykum.

Recommended Reading

Carnie, F., M. Large and M. Tasker (eds.) Freeing Education. Hawthorn Press UK, 1996

Dallas, I. The New Wagnerian

Goodall, R.A. Can One Learn without Teachers? MFAS lecture no.6 (05/10/13)

Jünger, E. Eumeswil (first pub. Germany, 1977). English - Marsilio Publishers, New York (trans. Joachim Neugroschel), 1993

Lawrence, D.H. – Fantasia of the Unconscious

  – Education of the People (see J. and R. Williams pp.120-194)

Tanner, M. Wagner. Flamingo London, 1997


Atwood, M. MaddAddam. Bloomsbury Publishing London, 2013

Bradbury, R. Fahrenheit 451 (1953). Simon & Schuster, 2012

Dallas, I.  The Book of Strangers (1972). SUNY Press New York, 1988

    The New Wagnerian. Freiburg Books Granada, 1990

Hesse, H. – Siddhartha (1922). Penguin Books (trans. Joachim Neugroschel), 2002

    Steppenwolf (1927). Picador (trans.  Basil Creighton), 2002

    The Glass Bead Game (1943). Picador (trans.  Richard and Clara Winston), 2002

Hilton, J. Lost Horizon (1933). Summersdale Publishers, 2005

Huxley, A. Brave New World (1932). Perennial, 1998

Jünger, E. Eumeswil (1977). Marsilio Publishers New York (trans. Joachim Neugroschel), 1993

Lawrence, D.H. – Education of the People (in J. and R. Williams eds. 1973)

  Fantasia of the Unconscious (1923). Penguin Books UK, 1971

  Lady Chatterly’s Lover (1928). Cambridge University Press, 1993

More, Thomas (Sir) Utopia (1516)

Orwell, G. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Penguin Classics, 2013

Plato, The Republic (c. 380 BC) Penguin Classics

Wells, H.G. A Modern Utopia (1905). General Books, 2009

Williams, J. and R. (eds.) Lawrence On Education. Penguin Education UK, 1973