C. S. Lewis wrote about this, and I’d like to find a standalone study, it would probably help make it more understandable to westerners than Sufi ideas
Look, someone agrees with Corbin’s historiography
So is it Aristotle that is the true supervillain of western history?
I’ve seen this study pop up several times over the years and I always have dismissed it, thinking “How could this possibly be useful for understanding the world?” and now I think I have a pretty good idea how to answer that
Do you get what I’m trying to hint at here though? This began way before Cromwell executed Charles.
Another side of this is that I’m trying to show you that many of the stereotypes we have of Islam arise from ignorance. You’re biased in favor of a decision made by Medieval Scholastics on the nature of God. Do you think that they were necessarily correct? This is still a hotly debated issue! It’s just not carried out in Medieval jargon. The status of the Great Chain of Being is still directly relevant to political issues today.
Let’s just cut through the lies for a second- everyone believes that it’s real. The question is what to do with the fact that it’s real.
Here is a brief run-down of those Medieval debates.
This is a profound statement
The link that certain peoples call “Allah” is not at the top of our chain of being over here. That’s what we’ve decided, for whatever reason. Do you think that’s a good idea, to not have the highest being at the top? I would call this a form of “theological affirmative action”. That’s first, and that precedes normally understood affirmative action.
This has been going on since the 1200s, it’s been a slow process
Can you relate to this? Even I can relate to this
[Aquinas] tried to think of such a new chain, made with strong links and, nevertheless, so great that (as Thomas More wrote): “From all places it is the same distance to heaven.”
Aquinas didn’t have any illusions about the impossibility of doing away with the chain of being altogether. I don’t think you can say the same for our liberals.
Thomas More and his pal Erasmus are just the culmination of these Medieval debates- that’s what “modernity” is when you look at it in this light. If you go south and look at Machiavelli he too was in a dispute with PLATO. Meanwhile who kept Plato’s thinking alive? The east, the Persian Shi’ists.
Whatever you want to think about the Great Chain of Being, it is there, it exists. It is reality. From that standpoint it seems right to say that the west lives in illusion and Iran lives in the truth. You can pretend it’s not a fact and it is- God is highest, then there are “angelic intelligences”, then there are humans, then there are animals, then there are plants, then there are rocks. If you deny this you will only slowly move toward the ontological nature of rocks rather than upward to that of angels and God.