I think this question gets to the heart of a lot of the conflicts of today
The motivation for the strong repudiation of innovation is connected to a feature of Muhammad’s mission.
It’s our nature in the west to be strongly on Badiou’s side. It’s usually termed “technological progress” enthusiasm. It’s not only in the realm of science where we like innovation to occur, it’s pretty much everywhere. Everywhere except perhaps politics. And that’s one of the cognitive dissonances of “ours”.
It’s counter-intuitive to think like a Muslim in this regard. Plato admired the Egyptians because of their lack of innovation- nothing changed for centuries. People in the west instinctively think “Why would that be good?” Because if you get the right formula why would you want to deviate from it at all? Innovation in that case would only be deviating from the best, and that’s tautologically misguided. The Ancient Egyptians weren’t living in what we know as the first world so clearly they didn’t have the “best formula”, they were only the best for their time. Still, there’s a point here I don’t think many, myself included, on a first-nature level. That is that if nothing changes it’s a good thing. That sounds “boring” to us, we’re creatures of novelty. Theoretically, could you imagine if we had such a perfect formula that nothing had to change? That’s how we see the Constitution today anyway. And more importantly, that’s how people see the “unwritten constitution” which I’ve called the egregore, the sublime monument, etc. So is innovation necessarily a good thing in itself? I think it’s difficult for people to answer that question. We can also bring Prometheus and Satan into this- people’s belief that they are the devil presupposes that the perfect formula has been found and that innovation is not necessarily a good thing. I don’t think we have the perfect formula, it’s like being served the blandest meal everyday, no salt or spices, it’s just a mindless recipe that is never questioned.
It’s ironic how this Muhammaden’s book begins
Akhtar probably identifies with Muhammad in the following sense
Islam’s self-understanding is similar to the Talmudists’- that they understand the Old Testament better than what is directly written there. And of course Christianity sees itself as a fulfillment of that text as well.
This is why Bloom frequently mentions “J” in the same breath as Homer, Shakespeare, etc. J is obviously beyond both those writers in influence.
All political problems in the west today presuppose that no one is allowed to innovate beyond J. Usually this manifests in secular guises. Progs have the heart of Christ (and most deny it). Rightists who are uneasy when I harshly condemn certain groups of people also could be said to have this Christlike nature.
Being a pious western person don’t you love to imagine this
the emergence of an unprecedented Event ex nihilio—not novel or innovative, but free of the authority of any prior example
Beyond even innovation– we just love that.
Except! regarding politics.
We hear about how Muslims are strongly opposed to innovation and that’s natural to hear. When we hear that Jews and Christians are strongly opposed to it, there’s something alien about hearing that. It’s true, all three are opposed to innovation. Do I have to remind you I’m talking about secular people? Every country I study where Jews lived, they all seem the same as they are now!! Try it yourself, you’ll be amazed. I have no qualms calling the secular ones Jews. They don’t change, that’s who they are, they define the hatred of innovation. Even the Arabs have changed since the time of Moses. The closest parallel they have is what the Chinese call “living fossils”, the Hakka.
I propose we innovate and throw J in the garbage can, how about that? No, that’s too far, that’s like throwing Dante in the garbage can, which would be absurd. This is more challenging than you might think. Even if you threw the Old Testament away it would continue to exist, because that’s WHO the west IS. That’s why I am despised, because I decide to throw it away, because that’s not who I am.
As un-innovative as the typische leftist Frenchman Badiou is, once again we can use him for our own purposes. This is someone who has elaborately theorized about innovation itself, and I for one was floored by that Inaesthetics book of his, and thankfully people have written essays ON it
If you care about philosophy then you have to care about art, because “the people” don’t tend to grasp “Ideas”. Another way of stating that is that most are a “low Golden Dawn grade” and only art allows them to ascend to a higher grade. A lot of what goes for art these days keeps them at their low grade.
Even the highest grade probably needs art. It unlocks different ways of Knowing. Why do you think I’m constantly talking about Homer?
Now I want us to understand the Idea of innovation, because I have the “Satanic” dream of pulling a Milton and going beyond Homer and J. Is that possible? Ehh I still have the goal.
People are “offended” these days- know what offends ME?
I think this is necessary because creativity as art educators have theorized it has been hijacked by designer capital to produce a never-ending innovative array of fantasies for consumption.
Dis is how da cathedral woyks. Most artists go through the academy, almost all go through high school. And the teachers there have a particular idea of “creativity” in mind. This is why someone like Badiou is important, because he challenges our entrenched ideas about the meaning of that. Our educational institutions are “Muhammaden”, they are opposed to innovation.
Using these French fries against themselves
the current hegemonic position of the educational Imagination within what Deleuze (1995) called a “society of control;” that is, an information society where global capitalism and the ‘democratic state’ are intimately intertwined with one another
I can only hope you enjoy the constant irony like I do of reading an essay like this on creativity which isn’t creative at all in certain ways because it’s beholden to the egregore.
A “thoughtcrime cartoon”, I can’t even imagine it!
Implying you people are crazy Muslims, yes, I am doing that. You need to mature.
the general infantilization of individuals
I just realized something. Antisemitism corresponds to theology and racism corresponds to aesthetics. Not being allowed to rant about the Jews is equivalent to not being allowed to rant about standardly believed inaccuracies about the highest things. You’re not allowed to talk about Religion with a capital R. When you’re not allowed to rant about niggers it’s equivalent to not being allowed to rant about lowbrows. So they keep you on the level of popular religion in this way, and on the level of coarse aesthetics. You are forced to not innovate on religion or aesthetics, you are forced to accept a dim view of the divine and a crude form of taste. Everyperson is in a sense expected to be a coon in a do-rag working in a merchant stall. And a lot of the products people sell from those happen to be anti white male materials. They sell crudeness, they sell a dim view of divinity. Most of them seem simply to be incapable of innovation.