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Cultural Schizophrenia: Islamic Societies Confronting the West (Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East) Paperback – 31 Dec 1997

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'This scholarly but accessible study is an analysis-from-within of the tearing apart of a whole people...Rigorous and courageous.'L'Express 'shows a rigorous approach, a radical lucidity and admirable honesty.' La Quinzaine Litteraire 'an intelligence and a clarity that are utterly convincing.'Le Nouvel Observateur --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Daryush Shayegan is ex-professor of Indian studies and comparative literature at Tehran University and ex-director of the Iranian Centre for the Study of Civilizations. The author of several works, including Hinduism and Sufism and What is a Religious Revolution?, he now lives in France. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Islamist schizophrenia 6 July 2010
By William Garrison Jr. - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Cultural Schizophrenia" Islamic Societies Confronting the West" by Daryush Shayegan (translated from the French by John Howe). (1997) Former professor of comparative philosophy and Indology at Tehran Univ., former director of the Institute for Ismai'li Studies in Paris. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Prof. Islamic Studies, George Washington Univ.): "He brilliantly sheds new light on a number of issues that have been superficially glossed over in much of the current literature." Given the title of the book, I thought that the book would discuss, well, you know, schizophrenia. I don't recall seeing the word appearing after the third page. I thought that the author would analyze the works of Psychologist A and compare thoughts with those of Psychologist B, C, & D... at least. But, NO. The author provides a couple of paragraphs of thoughts from about 50 or so philosophers, and other thinkers. You know, the usual: Jung, Kant, Nietzsche, Horkheimer, strong on Michel Foucault, a German or two, a Frenchman, some Brits, Chinese, Hindu, even someone from Peru (or was it Paraguay?). The author banters about concepts like the "Hemiplegic Outlook" and "Egocentric consciousness" in trying to bring together some joint-philosophy of modernism, which is alien to the stuck-in-the-mud Islamists. The author wrote: "Other thinkers, such as the Egyptian Abduh, the Syrian al-Kawakibi and the Indian Muhammad Iqbal (1876-1938), explored the themes of backwardness (ta'akhur) and inertia (jumud), opposing them with the ideas of evolution (tatawwur) and progress (taraqqi) acquired from the West. The idea of innovation (bid'a), condemned by Islam as `the worst of things', was re-evaluated; there was even talk of reopening the long-closed door of ijtihad (individual power of decision) [p. 52]. The author concluded: "The [Iranian] mullahs are putting their most unhinged fantasies into effect, giving free rein to their unbridled imagination, whipping the cult of martyrdom from frenzy to paroxysm, reducing timeless myths to their most flatly operational allude: and they are innovating in all directions. They have given concrete form to hallucinatory possibilities that once seethed harmlessly in the formless magma of our collective unconscious" [p. 174]. I believe the author could have condensed this 188-page book down to about 30 pages of relevancy. Not amongst the first books that I would grab to investigate the concept of Islamist schizophrenia.
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