Thursday, October 15, 2009

Literature

Why do we need to study Iqbal on his own terms? I am hoping that Ahmad Safi will post something on that issue soon (he usually answers this question with a more natural flow than I can). At the suggestion of Connie Nash, I am starting to offer my tentative definitions of the proposed key areas of Iqbal Sciences, beginning with literature.

Literature may be redefined as a demonstration of the life of the collective ego with the aid of language. This collective ego is what Sir Syed Ahmad Khan described as "the spirit of all human beings" in his short story 'Time Bygone'. Later, Iqbal stated in his paper 'The Muslim Community' that concepts like Zietgiest, collective consciousness, etc, are nothing more than faint and incomplete hints in guessing at this "collective ego" which is therefore different, and much bigger, than what is implied in any of the concepts of modern philosophy or psychology.

I hope to add more in this post. But basically I wanted to propose this definition for discussion (and it can be transferred to the SOIS Blog later): Literature is a demonstration of the life of the collective ego with the aid of language.

14 comments:

  1. "Literature may be redefined as a demonstration of the life of the collective ego with the aid of language." This phrase struck me upon first reading even before seeing the repeat at the end.

    I've never seen this put so well yet immediately recognize the truth so aptly distilled.

    Iqbal's "take" on Zietgiest, I am starting to understand, IS different, larger and also more helpful in our time than what is only vaguely indicated in our "modern" concepts of psychology and philosophy.

    Do continue this promising study.

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  2. When thinking about life of the collective ego, these questions came in my mind:
    1- Does it has some specific physical shape?
    2- If yes! then how does he/she(is it male or female? :p) live, eat, drink, feel, see etc

    According to this sentence, literature must have answers to the above questions

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  3. Shafique Sahib

    Did you mean by, "Colleactive Ego", the thinking, pshycology and philosphy of a group of people ???? Which may belong to a certain time or place???

    I always think of literature as ever shaping. It may change with time and may adopt or absorb the time differences and can change its shape.

    Did you mean that literature is a collection of philosphy, pshycology and thinking of so many different collection of people may present on that particular area on different time or era?

    hmm...ohh Allah... I am confused !

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  4. By "collective ego" I mean the collective existence of a group which is the same as the collective existence of humanity.

    It is more than thinking, psychology and philosophy of a group just as the existence of an individual is more than his or her thinking, psychology and philosophy.

    Sir Syed Ahmad Khan called it "the spirit of all human beings" ("tamam insanoon ki rooh"), and depicted it as a beautiful maiden in his short story or essay, 'Guzra Hua Zamana'. You may have read that at school: an oldman falls in love with that maiden and wakes up to realize that he was an adolescent dreaming about old age.

    In this manner when dying societies catch a glimpse of "the spirit of all human beings" and set their hearts on it, they rejuvenate. Not only life but also youth is given back to them.

    Syed asked his readers to fall in love with that "maiden" and Iqbal said the same in the Allahabad Address, where he delivered the concept of Pakistan. He ended that long explanation on a call for achieving "a real collective ego."

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  5. hmm... so you mean that in terms of IQBAL the literature is the awakening or waking up from the sleep.

    Ahh... but who gooing to kiss the princess to wake her up? :)

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  6. Literature is dream. Its interpretation is awakening or waking up from the sleep. Just as the King of Egypt dreamed about seven cows and his counsellors said that dreams don't have any deeper meaning nor can they be related to reality. They were in a state of sleep themselves, just like the King.

    Joseph interpreted the dream. By doing so, he came out of the prison, and also turned the country into an invincible organism which could survive even the threat of destiny itself. That was the awakening.

    Hence, answer to the question who will wake up the princess is: Joseph.

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  7. "My own age does not know secrets. My JOSEPH is not for this market." (IQBAL).

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  8. I am loving these literature discussions with Iqbal's great wisdom for our time...

    Will be back...meantime I left a comment in several other places including the first two posts here.

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  9. "Joseph interpreted the dream. By doing so, he came out of the prison, and also turned the country into an invincible organism which could survive even the threat of destiny itself. That was the awakening.

    Hence, answer to the question who will wake up the princess is: Joseph.

    "My own age does not know secrets. My JOSEPH is not for this market." (IQBAL).

    So what future day are we waiting to bring Joseph, Rumi, Igbal and our own inner "Josephs" into the Market of our time?

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  10. Joseph helped two people in dungeon and asked the one who would be the survival that whenever he made to King of Egypt tell him that Joseph is innocent.

    But than by the will of GOD that man forgot everything and it is after so many years when King of Egypt himself asked someone of that stamina to translate his dream to him, that man remembered Joseph.

    I think....we are waiting for our turn now.

    Waiting....until the forgotten one remember what promise they had made...hmmm...

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  11. @Shafique Sahib.....I think I had replied already but as my computer is out of order and working on its own terms if you found my reply twice please delete this one. Regards.

    Ahh...Dear Connie

    Your single line comment divert my attention towards that final CALL...from which our Muslim faith would be the last day of this universe.

    I hope this sound you mentioned is the one which is to just wake us up...not to take us away...hmm...

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  12. Yes, of course, just to "wake us up" and still I'm beginning to understand the LONG scheme of events as indicated prophetically by Iqbal. I do feel every day closer to the Muslim faith as Iqbal and many here interpret this and also closer to that of new friends from Pakistan and one in my own town, re-discovered.

    So now what feels missing is the "mini-signals" for humanity to collectively wake up - and how to sound our "little trumpets" rather than to be so stifled and powerless and basically disconnected despite facebook, etc. - within our little nation-ghettos?....Or are we all in Jail and Iqbal still in jail until that great last day?

    Someday, I promise, I shall discuss this with you in Urdu...:)

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  13. hmm... :) Thanks for the kind gesture...

    I will be waiting desprately for you to speak URDU...and it would be an honor to be your listener. However, I dont want to burden you.

    hmmm....

    But sometimes....I do....really...want to meet people I know even there is no need...just to assure one more time that we are alive and can be togehter...held hands...walk together...laugh...make silly jokes on each other....

    As I said..though we write whatever is in our heart almost everyday on our blog and make appearences in other loved ones blogs....even than....we left so many little details..which cant be written which cant be numbered....they just required to be watched...closely.

    hmmm.... My Maker...ALLAH is so generous that I have total faith that HE will spare us again like HE did so many times before.

    Yousuf...though was in dungeon but had his faith on his GOD and it was only his GOD WHO helped him out...hmmm...


    Dear Connie...thanks again.

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