Now you guys can stfu about “the west”
It’s the bias of the written — bias of what’s been preserved — that has perverted our understanding of the history of philosophy. However, the Middle-Eastern tradition (not all of who were Arabs or even Muslim) once revered the ancient Greeks as much as the West does. This fact has accounted for why, say, Greek manuscripts have survived (and the oldest extant that survive are only from the 9th-13th centuries A.D.), and why manuscripts of pre-Islamic Persia, or pre-monotheistic Mesopotamia that dealt with the same subjects have not.
Not to mention how much the ancient Greeks had as their basis the wisdom traditions, technology, engineering, astronomy, medicine, spirituality, and philosophy of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Phoenicians/Carthaginians, and the Scythians! — Oh but how the Western scholars warp their own research with these self-confirming biases, and pigeon-holes these “wisdom traditions” as unphilosophical because they are apparently too theological or spiritual? Or maybe because they’re too goddamn lazy to actually study what they’re talking about.
And yet, the Greek tradition itself is ubiquitous with, what? — Socrates, prophet of the Sun-God, anyone? Pythagoreans and their mathematical-mysticism Cult? Plato’s entire philosophy? Plotinus!? This Enlightenment rhetoric and its sycophants need to stop projecting their vision of some hyper-rational, atheistic, post-French Revolution, Western-European Academic understanding of street philosophy back to ancient Greece, and see it for what it obviously was — freethinking discourses that covered everything under the sun in unprecedented levels of diversity.
And, before you jump on the bandwagon of, “oh, Islamic philosophy was so this and that before the West”, don’t. All you’ll be doing is reinforcing a new pigeon-holing of what so-called “Islamic philosophy” was supposed to be — restricted and defined by a religion’s particular tradition. “Islamic” philosophy was hardly anything Islamic — Ibn al-Rawandi’s borderline atheism; al-Razi’s criticism of the prophetic tradition; al-Ma’arri’s harsh ridicule of divinely revealed truth. Not to mention the influence of the teachers of al-Farabi, ibn Sina, al-Khwarazmi and ibn al-Hazm, who were Christians, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, pagans, Zoroastrians, etc,etc. Call “Islamic philosophy” what it really was — philosophy that was done in the Medieval Middle-Eastern / Eastern Mediterranean.
It’s time to throw out these pigeon-holes like “Islamic”, “Western”, and “Middle-Eastern” philosophy — and look at the big picture of a great intellectual tradition that has been kindled within conditions unique to Afroeurasian Civilization — in particular, the Eastern Mediterranean to the Oxus-Jaxartes.These designations of “religious intellectual traditions” (“Islamic” philosophy, “Jewish” philosophy, “Christian philosophy”) are frivolous when you compare them to the rest of the world traditions. And the deep intellectual aspect of them all imitate each other. It’s literally like comparing Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer: every time one of them comes up with a new feature — say, tabbed browsing or (for religion) apophatic theology and Aniconism (Iconoclasts in the Protestant, Orthodox, Islamic, and Jewish traditions — why are we classifying them all so radically different?) — all of the other browsers (and religions) copy that, and make room for its features.
Why don’t we see these traditions for what they are in their organic, civilization-context? Why are we so caught up in the supreme arrogance of distinguishing ourselves from others with what is little more than words and symbols to designate our cool-kid-club from someone else’s cool-kid-club — when it’s actually just a small part of a greater intellectual tradition that has arisen under a narrow band of a certain threshold of Afroeurasian Civilization (*emphasis on Civilization, not so much Afroeurasia), which enables a diversity of permutations within that context of civilization?
Everybody read this I’m on my phone and can’t type out a proper response so I’m just nodding a lot.
Reading this on my phone whilst my uncle impersonates his clapped out fridge - so I’m nodding a lot and reminding myself to read it again.