In this week’s podcast Jeff explores the Muslim/Western fault lines exposed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, where twelve people were killed in an attack on the satirical magazine by Muslim extremists who were offended by their depictions of Muhammad. In the 2nd half of the show, Jeff is joined by special guest Amir Ahmad Nasr, author of The Future of Islam In the Age of New Media, and My [email protected]: How Fundamentalism Stole My Mind–And Doubt Freed My Soul.
Remember, this season we are offering not just the full podcast (in the player at the bottom of this post), but also an edited written transcript, as well as some bite-sized excerpts.
EXCERPT 1 AN ASSAULT ON MODERNITY
JEFF: “From an evolutionary perspective, Charlie Hebdois less a story about the crazy, violent elements in our society, and more a story of how small a part of our world the crazy violent elements have become.”
“I think of it as the pain-versus-gain ratio. As we develop (as cultures and individuals), it takes less and less pain to give us more and more gain. Last week I talked about how Nazi Germany conducted an industrial genocide of six million people, one of the most horrific events in human history. Today, Germany is one of the most civilized, intelligent, pacified, industrious nations on earth, as well as officially the most admired nation on earth. Just seventy years later — it’s astonishing!
“Did the historic horror create the present peace and prosperity? I’d say yes. One of the engines of evolution is the realization of the painful consequences of one’s own actions. We realized that there is a better way forward. That there is new insight, new wisdom, and an ever larger circle of compassion available to us. This is built into our development.”
EXCERPT 2 INTERVIEW WITH AMIR AHMAD NASR
AMIR: “Something big that’s really emerging [in Muslim culture] is the change in the media landscape that has happened over the past two decades. I’m not just talking about the internet and social media, I’m also talking about satellite TV because that’s how it started. Take for instance the series Friends. Friends is subtitled in Arabic and is extremely popular in the Arab world.
“You had certain episodes in which Russ and Monica would express their Jewish faith. For some viewers, it’s like, ‘Wait a second. They’re Jewish characters…how interesting;’ but then you just go along and laugh. When American pop culture started being broadcast a lot of people started asking questions like, ‘Why do they get to live like that? Why do they get to do these things? Ooh,let’s tune in.’
“People began to just understand the world differently. And they see that they have a certain kind of individuality that they can express, and they want to express it. And then comes the social media, and now it’s a two-way conversation. It’s not just information being broadcasted at you. You can go and seek information. Saudi Arabia is where you will find the highest consumption of YouTube per capita in the world, often young women educating themselves.”
FULL PODCAST BELOW INCLUDES BOTH EXCERPTS PLUS FURTHER COMMENTARY ON:
- How Integral thinking helps us hold multiple perspectives
- How the pre-modern Muslim mind is wired for magic, not logic
- How myth conquers and organizes magic to support more complex consciousness
- The spirit of blasphemy and it’s place in the ascent of humanity
- Am I Charlie Hebdo? Yes, as long as I remember I am everybody else as well