Pending the outcome of the continuing review of our current operations, all Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies programmes are suspended until further notice. In the interim, we have made the lectures freely available here on this site.

8a. Pathways to the understanding of reality

“…pathways to the understanding of reality must be restricted.”

We have previously observed that the annihilation of freedom is, in reality, the annihilation of the world. Modern man is held in an unprecedented state of total enslavement, whose complete effectiveness is due to the fact that he is existentially unaware of it, and language itself can no longer be relied upon as a means to contemplate his predicament. Nothing is what it appears to be and words have shifted their meanings: knowledge is information; money is credit; democracy is dictatorship; revolution is stasis; truth is science; want is need; hero is celebrity; trade is theft; liberty is slavery; useful is beneficial. The pathway of language has been subverted. All pathways to real understanding must be barred because in a situation where ignorance is so ‘useful’, knowledge by definition is harmful, i.e. ‘useless’. The criterion of ‘use’ is the very essence of the technological illusion. We present ourselves to the market in terms of the techniques/skills at our command, and which determine our value to the economy as a human resource. However, the concealment of the distinction between use and benefit blinds us to the fact that what we do, in reality, is to place ourselves willingly at the disposal of technique as its standing reserve, ready to challenge nature on every front.

8b. Pathways to the Understanding of Reality

The final and deepest precondition for the limitless fecundity of debt money is that the pathways to the understanding of reality must be barred, not because they are threatening but because they are useless. Thus, for example, Sufism is anathema to moderns not because of their allegation that it is an innovation but because it is useless and gets in the way of building a ‘state’ and making money, which are their only goals.

The criterion of ‘usefulness’ is the very essence of the thinking of technique. Things, and people, must have a use, must be forced into service to an end, must justify their existence and must be at hand as standing reserves.

We have lost the subtle distinction between being useful and being beneficial. Not all that is beneficial is useful and not everything that is useful is beneficial. Beauty and majesty must go, since they have no use and since by their very existence they threaten to overwhelm, and technical people don’t like that because they are here to overwhelm, not to be overwhelmed.

But a road is useful, and whereas a road must go straight from city to city and will, in the main, carry the traffic of commerce, the endless citizens hurtling to get somewhere, anywhere, and sometimes – more often of late – troops and weapons, a pathway may take its way through the forest and over the hills. Travelling it fully and doing justice to each moment and stopping place is as important as getting to its end.

And yet, how many men and women have taken pathways and have come back on to the main roads, reviving them and bringing life and knowledge that is really useful to the cities of men.