There is something depressing about the so-called Arab intellectuals that we see turn up like bad pennies every so often. None is more depressing than Adonis, Syria's answer to Sari Nusseibeh and the symbol of everything quintessentially wrong with the Arab middle classes and their infatuation with "intellectualism". Like Nusseibeh, he did a PhD in Philosophy as well as doing a stint of research in France through a scholarship and he is fluent in the writings and mode of thinking of Western European intellectuals and philosophers, that is, in continental philosophy. As a result, the language he uses when he writes is flowery, vague and dramatic, which makes it easy to see why ignorant people would think of his thought as "deep". He is also, in fact, completely incoherent, as whatever he is talking about is only internally consistent when divorced from anything else at all, which is pretty much the case with his intellectual idols and peers, he is a symptom of the postmodern condition, and I say postmodern as a term which indicates the era after that period of Western historical development called "modernity", not as a universal term which a few hyperactive university students in the Middle East think applies to the entire world. Postmodernity is the bewildered cry of a people who have discovered that they have been following a false prophet after giving up everything they had for his nirvana.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Overall I have come to despise continental philosophy in its vapish incoherence, Western philosophy has lost the plot and has driven itself up an intellectual cul-de-sac where it slowly devours itself. Having cut off its own roots, it can no longer flower. Adonis and others of his class are angry about something but they don't know what it is. They use the only tools that they have been given, broken tools for a broken machine. Behind these clueless pied pipers are the trendy and rich children of the wealthy Arab establishment, what is left of it at least, devouring every mysterious word of wisdom that the angry musings of those lost intellectuals excrete.