There are some who may resent the title, saying I am attacking or mocking Arab societies. To this I would answer: I am engaging in critique, not mere criticism. On the other hand, I am talking here about cultural and intellectual issues, about beliefs, opinions, and myths that have been dominating our societies ever since the mind and thinking were killed off when those who simply passed down the tradition took control of the mind and placed it beneath their feet. 


THE INHABITANTS OF OUR SOCIETIES have moved from one disaster and calamity to another at all levels of political, economic, cognitive, cultural, psychological and human life. The results of this are all around us and it does not need a genius to see it and observe it.

And I do not mean here at all any mental disability resulting from some physical-chemical-biological-neurological defect. Rather – specifically and precisely – I mean the system of beliefs and opinions which have dominated our societies and have programmed minds individually and collectively for centuries, and which still dominate these societies and gnaw at their soul.

Before embarking on any monitoring, deconstructing or analysing, I would like to put forward the following general hypotheses or premises:

Societies that do not have innovative and cognitively mobile minds or creative thinking tools for the way they read things as they really are, and where they stand in history, simply regurgitate the cultural orientations and heritage system passed down to them from their predecessors and ancestors. These orientations define their attitudes, values, and moral and material habits in the way they deal with all the vicissitudes of a reality that is new and constantly changing. Its members thus conceive and understand reality, or respond to its challenges with a broad sweeping brush using what has been stored in the mind of the individual or the group.

They simply regurgitate the cultural orientations and heritage system passed down to them from their predecessors

These responses form a stereotypical answer to all the questions and challenges posed, as if they were rehearsing the same wrong answer to the same question! Such a thing happens in groups and societies that are closed in on themselves, with curdled, calcified minds, and leading lives going round and round in circles on the same axis.

What gets poured into the minds of the young forms the grounding and basis for intellectual infrastructure in terms of its content and as its tool, entrenched deeply in early, middle and late childhood and consolidated by education and social incubators of all kinds. In societies with oppressive systems and structures, the following generation merely reproduces the mentality of its predecessor with its stock of memory and thinking tools. As the contents become stored in the subconscious and daily reinforced by society and its political, social, cultural, educational and media institutions, it becomes something familiar and sacred, and deviating from it becomes subject to punishment and ostracism.

The variety of inherited opinions and beliefs among peoples and societies is something commonly met with the world over and constitutes an important facet and occupies a large space in their imagination. But the difference between one people and another lies in one very important issue that manifests itself in two important dimensions.

The first dimension distinguishing these peoples is the extent of sweeping control over the collective consciousness and subconsciousness, the overwhelming interference in public affairs, and the way it fights against knowledge, science, thought, reflection and human freedom – on the grounds that it speaks the absolute truth, there being absolutely no other truth in existence. The greater the extent of this control, the more it will negate science and rationality and erect walls and ramparts around its adherents, so that any attempt to escape from its confines will be barred by the temple guardians of these beliefs, those who speak in the name of the metaphysical forces that control mankind via their priests and clerics. Here, during one’s lifetime, the culture of death becomes rooted, awaiting a salvation after that life has ended.

Any reading or analysis of prior assumptions in our Arab, Islamic societies highlights in its domain many aspects that kill off life and the man, kill off his activities, his mind and his knowledge, turning him into a being powerless to face the challenges of reality or interact with it, or alter its course and direction through the application of knowledge, science, reason, thought and will.

This has made our country and our homelands a theatrical stage for any and everyone who possesses this power, knowledge, science, thinking and will, so that all of these homelands have been transformed into the geostrategic projects of foreigners. These projects, through their research centres, orientalist scholars and researchers, have revealed all the secrets of our beliefs and opinions in our societies, beliefs and opinions that repeat the dominant Islamic vision and a nomad’s reading of Islam ever since the anti-intellectual, anti-knowledge, anti-science and anti-philosophy mindset took hold following the defeat and elimination of the Mu‘tazila[1] when the mind was trampled underfoot.

Here I make the following points:

Fighting against the mind and forcing it to justify the text without placing the text under the mind’s rule and control. Does this not constitute a disruption of the mind? Does this not result in a thought-process that acts against reality as it actually is, and to its challenges and changes?

Are not the concept of decreed fate and destiny and the Preserved Tablet[2] dependent upon reconciling heaven, earth and man – the supreme creation of God – through certain suppositions concerning the development of man and his life?

Prioritising restrictions in advance on the individual’s life and activities over the level of the good or evil that he does, by what has been written in advance, and then intimidating him with talk of heaven and the sacred – does this not undermine the idea of an absolute divine justice? The question here of course is a forbidden one, a taboo that has been inculcated day and night for centuries!

The doctrine of incitement and hatred for the divergence opinions in others – is this consistent with the philosophy of man’s being created in the image of God and His spirit? Beliefs, of course, cannot be explained or interpreted, and envelop the minds of their adherents within the sacred ramparts of mental dysfunction!

Doctrines of fear, intimidation, and threat – does God the Absolute Almighty, the Absolute Power, and the Absolute Whole, thus threaten His creation, of which He is a part?

Observations such as these are merely the tip of the iceberg.

[1] The rationalist Mu‘tazila school is an Islamic school of speculative theology which flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad during the 8th–10th centuries. See Glossary.

[2] Under the doctrine of Qadar – ‘fate’, ‘divinely ordained destiny’, God has written down in the Preserved Tablet (فِي لَوْحٍ مَحْفُوظٍ) [Qur’ān LXXXV, 21-22] all that has happened and will happen, which will come to pass as written.