Old Abrahamic religious mindsets in new IT companies (part 9)
This series is an extended version of an article about Abrahamic religious nuances that I notice in some successful IT companies. I didn’t plan at all to make it so long, but it turned out to be surprisingly conducive to collateral explorations around these religions. I realize that this is made possible and spurred by the manner the ethos of these companies really takes in consideration a huge diachronic unknown. It is a psychological enabler that I realize I find for the first time in the current public life. There simply aren’t many other contemporary opportunities that I can think of conducive for immersing psychologically in such a diachronic environment.
I already had in mind much of what I wrote up to now and I was planning to write about that in series structured around a specific topic, like Abrahamic religions, Altaic mindset etc. The way the text flows here permits me to explore all kinds of angles that feel necessary to investigate and thus I also realize new things along the way. It may be about half things that I already knew, half things that I realize on the spot. Plus the possibility to mix topics that would have been too separated in the series revolving around a specific topic.
It also turned out into an inflation of musical examples, like in other series that I started up to this moment. I did not plan this either, but they are good exemplifications of what I mean in some fluid diachronic nuances. The idea of such examples originates from discovering the Japanese writing system when I was about 20 years old. It was like an intellectual discovery, since I did not grow up with that to take it for granted.
This writing system is a mixture of originally Chinese logograms and a few phonetical systems. Think of something like “8th” in English. “8” is a logogram, “th” is phonetical alphabet. English too has a few logograms, but Japanese is mostly written with a mixture like in “8th”. The logograms can have a surprising variety of pronunciations and nuances, it is not like there is a direct correspondence between a specific word and a specific logogram, like “eight” equals “8” and that’s it.
It can be an originally Japanese pronunciation, as well as an originally Chinese pronunciation. There can be more variants of Chinese pronunciations, depending on the specific historical era and historical region they were borrowed from. Plus even other sources for a variety of pronunciations. The perception of a logogram can be like the plurality of psychological threads in Naghsh e To of the (US-based) Iranian band Eendo.
This opened my mind to the idea of inserting parts in writing that don’t necessarily have a static linear correspondence, parts that can express more fluid diachronic angles. And in time I found such musical examples very useful in this sense. For a specific nuance, I tend to pick an example that I feel best and then go with it, to not complicate the text and my own mind too much. If you already know some of the recurring ones, you can take it as similar to learning a few dozen Japanese-style logograms.
Further on in this part of the series I will continue with a few snippets related to the meandered topics I explored up to this moment.
Let’s also give the example of a man who managed to live within an ecosystem of meaning while dabbling with the huge complexity beyond it, but still having some sense that he did not find “the ultimate truth”. Again appealing to the Latin American world, Mario Vargas Llosa fell in love with the significantly older Julia Urquidi and experienced a support to think fluidly while still not really stepping out of his psychological ecosystem to assume responsibilities about the abyssal unknown beyond. You can notice in his writings how he is able to think with a fluid diachronic plurality of thought threads, something like in the call to prayer of Sheikh Abdullah Al Zaili, but without much wonderment about how all that makes sense as in the Abrahamic perspective.
The novel Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter gives some idea about the development of a new masculinity inside the man in such circumstances, personified there by the eccentric Bolivian scriptwriter Pedro Camacho who immigrated from Bolivia at about the same time with Julia. A side of the man is the usual man, the other side is this new masculinity and the usual man has to figure out how to relate to it.
It looks like a sense of an ecosystem with a workable psychological fluidity in facing the abyssal unknown managed to make this situation not so daunting. Not with Muhammad’s pedophile solution, but by staying within the initial ecosystem of the family. In the first place, Julia became acquainted with him as an insider from the start, as a family member living with him (her older sister married one of his uncles). Later on, he married his first cousin Patricia. Only by the age of 80 he stepped out of this comfort zone. From what can be seen in the work produced by him, he did not experience a direct mental abyss about the complexity beyond the usual human ecosystem of meaning. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as he did not end up convinced he stumbled upon the ultimate truth. When you do not experience the full course of the diachronic psychology, you may end up under the impression that specific unexpected nuances you noticed through such fluid psychology are the ultimate truth.
As for the overall stance, Mario Vargas Llosa is not or did not end up as a person concerned about how all that psychological fluidity makes sense and how social life makes sense, to the point that he has to become utterly invested in doing something about it. The fact that Muhammad was like that was a good thing, but unfortunately many such people can also end up believing they have the ultimate truth, with all the senseless suffering ensuing from that.
This is also as an introduction to the Islamic propensity to marry very close relatives. There is no specific religious requirement in this sense, but, structurally, the way this religion is shaped invites you to marry a very close relative in order to keep the coziness of a psychological walled garden under impression it has the ultimate truth about the whole world. The consanguineous marriages are rare among humans, except for the Muslim countries.
It depends of whether a man with such a personal life trajectory creates an ideology out of it to engulf within it large masses of people. In Latin America there are propensities in this sense, given the way the women can sustain some psychological organization about the diachronic fluidity, and it appears often as cultural products (think also of One Hundred Years of Solitude of Gabriel García Márquez), but it did not turn into an organized ideology about it to engulf the population in general.
If you just go by with your life, you may not necessarily need to wonder more in depth what to do with this psychological opening created by women. If you pay more attention (which is likely to turn into valuable cultural and social products) you need to see what to do with this from the perspective of a psychological sense of organization. And if that turns into a successful ideology showing the people how to dabble with the diachronicity while continuing the concept of a bubble, then lots of people end up perceiving their sense of reality in this manner.
Regarding this topic of consanguineous marriages, Christianity is the utter opposite, given its ethos of “love that solves everything” by piercing people’s psychological bubbles. Especially the Catholic church was increasingly prohibiting such connections between people, even up to sixth level cousins. Some considers this to have a role in the growth of an increasing individualism and of a less propensity for conformism that led to the modernity (which, among other things, broke apart the spell of the Catholic church itself).
The Jews have a bit more consanguineous marriages than the Christians, but it is still a small percentage, about 1–2%, a far cry from the Muslim 30–60%. The Jews who lived for centuries in the Muslim countries have higher levels, but so the Christians from the Muslims countries too. The Jewish concept of bubble is not about a cozy psychological walled garden of self-centered “truth”, they are aware of the larger complexity beyond.
Notice also how Einstein, after having those breakthrough discoveries, found his cousin so interesting and divorced the woman he collaborated with up to that moment. Maybe those discoveries gave him the impression of a meaningful bubble of organization about the diachronicity. He was kind of reluctant to pay attention to more hardcore diachronicity, “God does not play dice with the universe”. There was in him a bit of that kind of person easily speaking in God’s name, as mentioned in the previous part. “God does not play dice with the universe” says more about the respective person who easily speaks in God’s name than about God itself.
In the first place, in my perception, it is not about playing dice, this is a self-centered sense of order. The concept of playing dice can be used, like in backgammon, but as a metaphor for the full-course gist of diachronicity. Backgammon is not so much about a self-centered sense of order bestowing meaning over the world. It takes in consideration a huge complexity and it rather aims at a self-recovery.
The concept of playing dice can be perceived as being in control of the situation and setting the world according to the unexpected results. But it can also be perceived as paying attention to the huge ramifications beyond the control of the situation, thus realizing how relevant and consequential they are and being immersed in the larger unfoldment.
Of course, it does not mean that every Jew would slide into a reaction like that of Einstein when having some unexpected practical breakthroughs regarding the diachronic complexity. There is no large scale pattern in this sense, but it is possible to slide into it considering also the impression that there is a core in classical masculinity that makes sense of the diachronicity. However, while there is such impression, there is also a genuine immersion in the gist of the diachronicity. The mainstream rabbinical Jewish perceptions around this issue are more like Ania Bukstein’s contemplation of the overall situation by the end of Af Echad. A more direct awareness of that likely keeps you away from an interest in consanguineous marriages. My impression around such situations is that the feeling of being present in the gist of the moment at the Mount Sinai can permit staying focused on the core issues and keep investigating, even when discovering crazily unsettling new angles.
Some nuances of the rabbinical Jewishness can show also possibilities to contemplate other existing approaches. The Jewel indoor garden of Changi Airport (Singapore) was designed by Moshe Safdie, but it has such a Muslim feeling, with a Jewish gaze upon it. The cozy simple clarity, the functionality of the otherwise huge diachronic unfoldment of nature in the proportions of a limited space that a classical human mind can work with, the central waterfall like a diachronic core that can sustain the diachronic gist of the space.
Moshe Safdie has Jewish background from Syria, with many generations living in a Muslim majority society. Maybe this is the inspiration. The concept of the Jewel looks interesting, as it is more like a contemplation of what it is about. Take the idea of flying by plane as an immersion in the huge complexity beyond one’s ecosystem, like the process from the aforementioned Yosef Hashem or like that Shema Yisrael.
If it is about waiting a bit before boarding the plane, sure, why not contemplate such a concept. It has such a refreshing clarity and functionality. The architectural arrangement of this airport expresses well an inner balance about these two perspectives. On the one hand, the Jewish one has a much more profound authenticity by taking the full-course gist in consideration, but it pulverizes the sense of self while it creates a new sense of organization that requires lots of relevant insights to do something practical with it beyond its potential. On the other hand, the Muslim one offers this interesting clarity to work with the diachronic fluidity in a more manageable space. But, if you really take this seriously, as I will get into more detail in the next part of this series, problems appear when employing it to work with the full-course diachronicity of the real life.