The Center of the Universe

Thus, the biggest turnoff from a social perspective is the fact and the realization that the “mental representations” of the liberal mind and the basic thought behind a decades-long and costly whole-of-government policy amounts to an absurd attempt at discrediting a book. But the ultimate reckoning with this absurdity which is on full display for people to witness may have political and social benefits either in the short run or the long run. As Albert Camus said: “Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.”

Furthermore, an absurd decades-long attempt at discrediting a book through the employment of money, military force, and propaganda demonstrates a deficiency in knowledge and a deficiency in the methods used by the liberal mind towards the acquisition of authentic and viable knowledge. As the late Edward Said noted in what is perhaps the most important work on liberal discourse, titled “Orientalism”: “Since Islam has never easily been encompassed by the West politically – and certainly since World War II Arab nationalism has been a movement openly declaring its hostility to Western imperialism – the desire to assert intellectually satisfying things about Islam in retaliation increases.” Nor is there a genuine effort on the part of the liberal mind to learn or acquire viable knowledge, given that the overriding concern for the liberal mind is merely control, domination, and the erasure of non-European identities. As Wael Hallaq wrote:

“The subject matter of Orientalism, always the object, was by definition not European, although the enterprise itself was conducted by Europeans for Europeans, and mostly for the exercise of their sovereign domination over the Orient. An instrumental building block of colonialism, the enterprise was an essential part of constructing modernity that initially – but undoubtedly – reconstituted the life values and worldview of Europeans. They came to inhabit that modernity, the only world they recognized as having full and autonomous ontological, epistemological, and cultural status, and thus legitimacy.”

But fundamentally, the main difference between liberal discourse and “Oriental” discourse is the rift between the two discourses in regards to “the teleology of humanity and of the subject, and their place in the world.” Essentially, liberal discourse sees the European as constituting the center of the universe per se, whereas the Orient sees God as the focal point of human life. In turn, these discursive orientations and their differences are derived primarily from experience. And as Mao Zedong said: “All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.” In turn, this deficiency in knowledge and the impulse to erase the pluralistic nature of knowledge and identity also carries over into the liberal relationship with art, culture, and literature. As Mao said: “There is in fact no such thing as art for art’s sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics.” Thus, the deficiencies and the proneness to failure in acquiring authentic knowledge ended up carrying over into a decades-long effort to discredit a book through egregious borrowing and spending, excessive and outrageous military force, and shallow propaganda. And the backdrop for all of this was a culture defined by book-burning and censorship. And as Mao said: “An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.”

And in a broader or perhaps a structural sense, there is a class of people who have no shame in employing taxpayer money, egregious military force, and shallow propaganda for a decades-long “crusade” aimed at discrediting a book on one hand. And on the other hand, there is a class of people overwhelmed by anger and frustration due to their inability to comprehend such absurdity. As Mao said: “Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history; such is the history of civilization for thousands of years.” Therefore, winning an election that the opposing class sees as wholly lacking credibility and legitimacy can only provide respite and reprieve for a limited period of time.

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