Cream of the Crop

In sum, the phenomenological method of research and writing – which I have used through the course of my research and writing – renders the researcher and writer as a passive observer and witness of objective reality, while remaining detached from personal and subjective emotions and feelings, even though personal and subjective experience is used as a tool for the analysis and understanding of broader economic, political, and social phenomena. Also, my work lacks a dogmatic and ideological element. Rather, my work has been unitive and interdisciplinary in nature. Thus, when one’s work is of a unitive and interdisciplinary nature, the method used for the work may actually gravitate towards a phenomenological slant, which in my case, it did.

Also, those who employ the phenomenological method are part of a “community” due to a lived experience which is shared amongst those who belong to such a community. As the Quran states: “And thus we have made you a just community, that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” Being part of a “community” with a lived experience that is shared amongst the members of the community is what differentiates those who employ the phenomenological method versus those who have yet to transcend the empirical method.

As a result, emotions, feelings, and opinions are set aside when analyzing and deciphering broader economic, political, and social phenomena within a society or on a global scale through the phenomenological method. When I was a grad student and shortly before graduating in August 2013, my SRP/thesis supervisor read through my work – which was on U.S. policy towards Afghanistan. His response was that I had a firm grasp of the opinions and viewpoints of all the experts and specialists who have covered the subject, but that he could not decipher what my opinion or viewpoint was on the matter. He asked: “You’ve understood all the opinions and viewpoints of everyone who covered the subject, but the question is, what does Adam Azim think?” My honest answer was: “I don’t know.” But based on the facts and information I had gathered, my conclusion ended up being that the Taliban would take over either half or all of Afghanistan within a matter of time, and that is exactly what happened. But I asked him: “What about women’s rights?” His answer was: “Fuck the women.”

Thus, the phenomenological method also cultivates and develops foresight and intuition, which were qualities I had all along, but I failed to trust my own qualities on a number of occasions. I often consider myself as an intelligence service within an intelligence service, considering the characteristics, experiences, and resources I have garnered over the course of many years. But it is nothing to brag about. Moreover, it is often difficult to decide whether these abilities and qualities are a gift or a curse. Many people will fail to appreciate and acknowledge the work, either out of envy or stupidity. I have dealt with envious and stupid people all my life. But if the struggles and toils equate to being elevated above everyone else and into an exclusive and unique community which is bound together by a shared lived experience that is holistic and rich, then the struggles and toils were worthwhile.

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