05 May 2009

Sectarianism: stone it to death

Those individuals who adopt fill in the blank because they need an identity will be condemned to wander the sectarian and factional hall of mirrors, constantly looking for the perfect group that will give them their desperately needed sense of specialness and superiority. ... People with confused identities are attracted to totalitarian solutions.

The original article filled the blank with "Islam", but as you can see if you throw "Marxism" in there it works just as well.

(Yes, there's been a lot of Islamic talk around here recently. My current personal work has reached the point where I feel the need for a religion again, and being bored with neo-paganism I'm exploring the Sufi tradition.)


  1. Wow. Your blog has basically articulated and synthesized a number of different strands I've been trying to put together for some time. If you hadn't come up with it already, I think I would have had to invent some version of Chaos Marxism myself.

    And Islam, especially the Sufi current, is very much compatible with a "Chaos Marxist" outlook....

  2. By the way, you might find this interesting---a Thai Muslim's account of the esoteric meaning of the shahada:

    "The meaning of Allah is broader than Illaha, which means 'idols', and La, which means 'no', or 'do not'. Most of the Muslims take Illaha to mean things like sculptures, trees and so on. But I think [the word] refers to the clinging to that very object in their heart. Those statues and trees are in themselves nothing sacred.

    But when people hold on to such things, they become objects of worship. If people do not hold on to them, they cannot be sacred. These things don't have their own power; it's the people who give them power. Therefore, illaha does not refer to those external objects, but to the clinging in human heart. So the sentence illaha ill-Allah means not to hold on to anything. Such is the state of Allah."
    Haji Prayoon VadanyakulI thought this kind of tied into what you were saying a few posts back about commodity fetishism/"idolatry".

    This was written by a Thai Muslim who was a close friend and student of the Theravada Buddhist master Ajahn Buddhadasa. Buddhadasa also articulated a political/spiritual concept which he called "Dhammic Socialism", which has more than a few parallels with Chaos Marxism as you're presenting it.

  3. Thank you so much for commenting, and for making it clear that I'm not as isolated as I sometimes think I am. I'll read your blog and hopefully offer useful comment soon.

    Yes, the compatibility between various currents of practice which (in theory) should be completely diametrically opposed is one of my major clues that I'm onto something right.

    Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the main current of Buddhism in Thailand is Mahayana, isn't it?

  4. Anytime. Believe me, I know what it's like to feel isolated in your thinking/praxis. Please keep writing, because you're one of the few people out here who's making any kind of sense.

    Re: Buddhism, actually the main current in Thailand and the rest of South/Southeast Asia is Theravada. Mahayana is more prevalent in North Asia (i.e. China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia, Tibet).