The complex ideological battleground globally today is not defined by national boundaries of citizenship, but by religious and cultural mindsets: Originalism vs. Contextualism. Is this so: That those in the US who are Originalists, who take a limited view of textual interpretation in religion and governance; are similar to those in the Middle East who also are Originalists as to their own culture and religious texts. Definition of Originalism, definition of Contextualism: important for assessing a difficult, boundary-crossing area.
- In the US, religious power has evolved as theoretically severable from governance, thus providing some modicum of protection for non-Originalists; but that protection is new. Non-Originalists outliers from, and reformers of, the religious and cultural institutions in Western history, have indeed been mortally persecuted.
- In the Middle East, the religious power is more apt to be also the governance, to a higher degree, with non-Originalists at risk also to a higher degree.
- The mindsets, the goals of each in power Middle East and West are the same:. Unchanging power structure, from what was in effect at a time that benefited them.
- As to US governance issues, cf the earlier principle, strict constructionism, and the debate as to similarities, http://parablemania.ektopos.com/archives/2005/10/why_originalism.html
A. Originalism (o-rij'i nel izm) n.
1. a principle of analysis holding that the meaning and intent of a text (the Work) shall be subject only to the chosen interpretation of a chosen authority, regardless of context or other possible interpretations then or at time of implementation. Inquiry into meaning is limited by the "four corners" of the document as defined by the chosen interpreting authority. New works and ideas as to those origins are not the proper subject of debate, and not worthy of incorporation in governance religious and secular, or in individual life.
2. a tool for perpetuating power interests in effect at the time of the Work: including by compelling conformity of behavior to support such interests, including exclusion, devaluation, punishment and even death of those seeking autonomy or representing other interests.
B. Contextualism (ken teks'choo el izm) n.
1. a principle of analysis holding that an original text carries great weight, but is subject to interpretation based on multiple other sources, including linguistics, form criticism, and originality in applying such to context at the time of the text, and at the time of implementation of intent. Inquiry into meaning is not limited by the "four corners" of the document, but include noting changes in community that were not or could not be foreseen, and evolution of meanings of words and disagreements in translations. New works and ideas are the proper subject for both enjoyment and debate, with some eligible for incorporation in governance religious and secular, and in individual life.
2. a tool for calibrating and recalibrating power interests, to meet the broad needs of a common good in opportunity, basic sustenance, mobility, healthcare, with minimal forced conformity. This tool fosters those who invent, create, and/or apply independent, individual, fresh, new approaches and expression in art, literature, process, concept, religious and cultural ideas and insights, governance procedures, methods of operation, discovery, principles, whether or not protected in copyright as original works.
What? Contextualism is a swamp of unending discussion with outcomes unpredictable and against what I want for me, shouts an Originalist, and stalks off to caucus in certain chambers. Contextualists glance resignedly at the camera, shrug, and amble off, each choosing among many open doors.
D. Application of Universal Principles
1. Religious ideas, once affixed in brain and heart, are difficult to uproot. Accordingly, strive to fix the religious idea when the populace is illiterate, or not paying attention, or by means tending to show that the interests of the populace lie with (lie?) with the persuader.
2. Religious ideas spread faster when forced, rather than relying on mere voluntariness and modeling. See persecution of deemed heretics East and West, histories of crusades and other religion-power based expansion efforts, inquisitions and their equivalents.
3. Political actors like religion because they can morph the religious ideas into political control, a weaponizing of religion. See #1. With an idea fixed, it can be tapped.
4. Major religions, once successful politically, may verbalize against violent techniques when used by others, but do not and will not renounce and make restitution for their own use of such techniques on the way up, and the financial and other gains so made.
- Beheadings are historically accepted by People of the Book (Let the praises of God be in your throat and a two-edged sword in your hand, to execute vengeance upon the nations and punishments among the peoples. From Psalm 149, The Book, verses 6-7), from John the Baptist beheaded by Herod, Paul beheaded (wasn't he?) by Nero, Charlemagne record-holder beheading 4,500 Saxon prisoners of war at Verden in 872 or so; French guillotines mechanizing beheadings, and some blades indeed misdropped; as are
- Burnings. See http://www.cathar.info/1211b_martyrdom.htm, research histories and timelines of western violence and be not thrilled.
6. The only containment that works long term for weaponized religion is information, education and vetting available to an educated populace in safety. This ground, to slow down a movement, contain it and set the stage for support to fall away if possible, may be the only realizable goal.
7. Force works to help contain weaponized religion only as a temporary measure to give a population time to breathe, rethink, regroup, redecide as they choose. See #6.
8. Weaponized religious interests are served by forced illiteracy, lack of mobility, inattention to health and sustenance. Is that why a common core of learning standards is resisted? That the power people want an ignorant workforce, ignorant non-voters, girls perpetually pregnant as the deity intended (what??) like in feudal times?
9. East and West foster weaponized religion. Each has its Originalists that force conformity.
10. East and West justify their own religious-political interpretation of early religious texts as Originalism, and so neither will compromise anywhere.
E. What conditions foster Originalism?
a. Religious originalist ideas persist even after a horrendous initiation through initial force, convert or die, where: the new ideas fit sufficiently with a believer's experience, mindset and desires as for self-worth, even where disregarding others' similar experience, mindset and desires. See Mein Kampf, Chapter 6, propaganda techniques.
b. Initial claims of religious truth and inspiration, even if later seen as false, may be disregarded as a needed step to a worthwhile conversion (there are benefits to some that indeed emerge later), and so falsehoods become acceptable.
- Apparent compliance in the population may be deceptive.
- It may take centuries for a rival belief system to rebound, but ideas get transmitted below the institutional radar despite punishments and death aimed at eradicating the idea.
- Convert or die may result in compliance for the nonce, but over time, may well erode.
Consider a western heresy timeline.
F. The West asks, disregarding its own Originalism and excesses protecting its own powerful, who will bell the ISIL cat?
The cat will indeed remain free to predate if unbelled, but all is not lost. Indeed, if the mice did succeed in affixing the bell warning, then this cat could not eat, and would leave, and the predatory opening filled by another cat or more cats. No gain. And no cat or group of cats will eat the entire community, else the food supply goes. So, protect your own family, be sensible, contain as you can, but live with the knowledge that some will indeed die. Enjoy this translation from Middle English (scroll down) Piers Plowman, Middle English trans. William Langland; and The Parliament of the Rats)
Lawrence in Arabia notes the power of ideas, the indestructibility of movements, the panicked efforts at Europeans to contain and exploit a perceived drive for Arab autonomy (the Ottoman version was already faltering). Who could have stopped the sects from their rivalries, the force. Their roots are deep in Western corporate-oil interventions combined with cultural clashes among the indigenous.
G. Can we still or will we learn from the clear statement of cause and effect by Osama bin Laden (read letter of Osama bin Laden re 9/11 and try to find where his analysis is wrong as to Western exploitation, see http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/nov/24/theobserve). Originalists say the inquiry ended with the deaths. Contextualists say, not so fast. There is much to be learned here that will aid us in the future. Is that so?
Tool to protect the power interests in place. Originalism does that by excluding information, keeping populations ignorant, receiving only the given concepts of the authority. What cat needs to be belled now?
* Webster's New World College Dictionary. 4th ed, 2005 Wiley Publishing, includes no Originalism: only Origen, origin, original, originality, originally, original sin, originate, orinasal, O-ring, etc. Originalism as in 1 and 2, is itself a new idea. The concept cannot be explained except with a new form. The irony of it all. Originalism itself is not Originalist. It does not appear in my big 2005 dictionary of 1716 pages.