Embrace the Tao

There is just one obstacle to full assimilation and integration between White Americans/Europeans on one hand, and Jews/Muslims on the other hand: strict monotheism. As a result of the latter group’s adherence to strict monotheism, the philosopher Hannah Arendt coined an expression called “Voluntary Separatism,” whereby a natural barrier exists between White folks on one hand and Jews/Muslims on the other hand. This natural barrier cannot be easily overcome, despite the deep attraction and the desire for assimilation and integration on the part of both parties. As a result, one side has to give or concede to the other when it comes to the true nature of God, and neither side seems to be able to budge easily. Thus, the divide which fosters virtually all the other divides between East and West is theological and eschatological in nature:

“Had there been in heaven or on earth any deities other than God, both those realms would surely have fallen into chaos, disarray, and ruin! But limitless in His glory is God, enthroned in His awesome almightiness, far above anything that men may devise by way of definition.” (Holy Quran, Chapter 21, Verse 22)

In Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” self-actualization is the apex or final need that man seeks to fulfill either consciously or subconsciously after all other needs have been fulfilled and met. The answer to the question of why we exist goes hand-in-hand with self-actualization. Less than one percent of the world’s adult population achieves self-actualization at any given point in time. Moreover, self-actualization in the Western humanist tradition equates to “Khilafat” in the Islamic tradition.

Self-actualization and thus “Khilafat” rest with those who are able to break the mold and affect the path-dependency of the system. As the late Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined non-conformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.” Machiavelli saw power as being manifested in one of either two ways: fear or love. While the system thrives off fear, those who question the system are best able to change it, as Gandhi did. According to Gandhi: “Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.”

And If you relate this quote from Gandhi to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” it makes all the more sense. After fulfilling the most basic needs (food and water), we move up the pyramid to security and shelter. After finding security and shelter, we seek a sense of belonging, community, and love with other people. The most intelligent people find a sense of belonging, community, and love with all of humanity rather than just a small group. Finally, after finding a sense of belonging, community, and love with others, we are compelled physiologically and psychologically to satisfy and complete the final need and the apex in the pyramid, namely, “self-actualization.” What “self-actualization” entails is the achievement of full functionality and the unleashing of one’s full potential.

But the stepping stone to “self-actualization” is a sense of belonging, community, and love. Moreover, less than one percent of the world’s population achieves self-actualization because love is such a rare commodity. Self-actualization is fostered best by two means, namely, freedom and solitude. These two things – namely, freedom and solitude – are sources of great power, if people only knew. “When you’re alone, you’re with God.” You really have to know and appreciate the value of these two conditions and qualities. Moreover, freedom and solitude are the proven recipes for self-development and personal growth. I can attest to this, because I’ve been living in a state of freedom and solitude ever since I finished grad school in August 2013. Only a greater source of power or a greater incentive can match the power and incentive of freedom and solitude and thus draw someone towards working for others or with others towards a particular objective or purpose.

Self-actualization translates into global governance, because only those who have self-actualized are fit to govern the world. And from a global governance standpoint, the final question is whether there is an alternative to the strategy of bribery, coercion, and censorship in the way of global governance. In other words, is there an alternative to Machiavelli as the philosophical underpinnings and strategy for global governance? I took a gamble over the course of the last eight years since I finished grad school in 2013, first as a book writer and then as a blogger by challenging the system and arguing yes, there is an alternative to bribery, coercion, and censorship and thus an alternative to Machiavelli as a philosophy and strategy for global governance.

The status quo of global governance is essentially three old white men espousing “Social Darwinism” as their worldview. I was introduced to the philosophy and theory of “Social Darwinism” in a ‘Constitutional Interpretation’ class during the Spring Semester of 2008 when I was a college student. Aside from Machiavelli, “Social Darwinism” is perhaps the one and only philosophy or theory that shapes and underpins Western and global economics, politics, and society even to this day. Although many people are beginning to disavow themselves of this philosophy and theory, “Social Darwinism” still has a huge impact on the way economics, politics, and social issues are shaped and manifested in international society. In a nutshell, “Social Darwinism” suggests that British hegemony over the world is justified because Anglo-Saxons are the superior race and Anglo-Saxons have evolved far more than any other race.

Thoughts shape one’s actions and speech; thus, in turn, thoughts shape our reality. But where do our thoughts come from? What is the origin or primary source of our thoughts? The answer: thoughts come from somewhere that is beyond human control or explanation. Yet, we are educated to challenge our thoughts through contemplation and education. When “ignorance is bliss,” why the need for philosophy, science, and religion? The answer? To foster the development of “The Complete Man” or “Universal Man” (“Insan al-Kamil”). But why the need for a “Complete Man” or “Universal Man”? To convey certainty and truth. And why the need for certainty and truth? To decipher and anticipate God’s plan and will.

Thus, the plan and will of “The Complete Man” or “Universal Man” is identical to God’s plan and will. In essence, the plan and will of “The Complete Man” or “Universal Man” is a manifestation or reflection of the divine plan or will, given that “The Complete Man” or “Universal Man” is essentially stripped of his own plan and will due to intensive contemplation and knowledge:

“To he who invokes the Names of my well Beloved, I reply;
I call, and Layla replies to my call.
It is thus because we are but one single spirit;
You call us two bodies, it is strange;
We are as one single person having two names and one single essence.
By whatever Name thou dost invoke the Essence, that is the Name which will visit thee. My essence is His essence, and my name is His Name.
My relation towards It, is that I am engulfed in the Union,
In Reality we are not two essences in a single being,
But the lover is himself the Beloved.”

Thus, philosophers, scientists, and religious folks are in pursuit of knowing what is in the mind of God. As the late Stephen Hawking wrote in a book titled “A Brief History of Time”:

“If we do discover a complete theory (for why human beings and the universe exist), it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we would know the mind of God.”

But when you deconstruct everything intellectually and philosophically down to the core — and especially when you take into account that humankind has gone through three major epochs in its history (nomadic, agricultural, and modern) and is now in its fourth and final epoch, everything comes down to power, with power being the ability to control or influence the thoughts and actions of others. There are two categories or sinews of power. On one hand, there is “hard power” — military might, money, and propaganda tools such as the mainstream media. On the other hand, there is “soft power” — food, culture, women, and aesthetics.

The modern period had its roots in “hard power” and thus the West dominated the international system. But now we are in the fourth and final period of human history — namely, the postmodern period — and as a result, “soft power” is now our basic currency of political and social interaction because taste is everything, and tastes have evolved due to globalization.

As a result, power is now shifting away from the West and towards the East, with the East being the original source of culinary arts, culture, femininity, and aesthetics from antiquity. Even from a financial standpoint, money is shifting eastward because of energy and productivity, in addition to the soft power dimension. Soon after World War ll, the United States wielded half of the world’s GDP. However, by 2024 or 2025, the United States’ share of global GDP will drop to 15%, with Europe wielding 20% and Asia wielding 40%. Russia, Qatar, and Iran alone possess half of the world’s natural gas supply.

But the power shift from West to East in the postmodern epoch is in its nascent stage because the postmodern period itself has just started. About 500 years ago, global power rested with the East. Now, after 500 years of Western domination over the international system, global power is going back to the East. Thus, the power shift is ongoing and will take time because it has started recently. Based on how your chronology and timeline goes, the postmodern age began either in 2007 with the advent of the most potent social media tools, or in 2014, which was the beginning of what is known as “The Cyborg Era” due to the obvious ubiquity of the internet and social media around the world.

Economic power is the impetus for military and propagandistic power. But it is energy that fosters economic power, and in turn economic power fosters military and propagandistic power. And energy has four dimensions: food, water, electricity/fuel, and reproductive capabilities. When these four dimensions of energy are intact, Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” guides everything else in terms of economic and social development. Thus, everything is about energy, and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. When you feel as though you need someone or something, it’s the energy that you’re in need of.

Currently, America leads the world on all fronts when one accounts for these aforementioned things on a country-to-country basis. But as mentioned before, energy is beginning to shift eastward, albeit slowly. The shift is in its early stage, and it is gradual. The shift won’t occur overnight. The question is whether the energy shift from West to East can be slowed down or stopped, and if so, how? What we can infer from everything that is going on, however, is that Tupac and Biggie Smalls’ “East versus West” divide goes beyond just the rap game.

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