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Autonomie des Menschen im muslimischen Gedankengut

Die zweite Sitzung der Study Group on „Human Autonomy in Muslim Thought“ fand am 12. März 2009 an der ISMC-AKU in London statt. Professor Modjtaba Sadria, Moderator der Study Group, lenkte die Aufmerksamkeit auf das Ziel der Gruppe, nämlich diejenigen Grundelemente bzw. Eigenschaften aufzudecken, welche im Autonomiebegriff des muslimischen Gedankenguts enthalten sind.

Prof. Sadria sprach von zwei Prämissen, um das muslimische Gedankengut zu erforschen. Die erste beruht auf der Idee, dass ‚multiple modernities‘ möglich sind, während die zweite darauf hinweist, dass Elemente von Autonomie im muslimischen Gedankengut zwar existieren, aber nicht in einer artikulierten, kohärenten Form. Das Ziel der Gruppe ist es, diese Elemente der Autonomie des Menschen zu explorieren, analysieren und diskutieren, und zwar durch einen Blick auf menschliche Interaktionen, und die Beziehungen zwischen Mensch und Umgebung bzw. Gott.

Um sich an das Problem heranzutasten schlug Prof. Sadria vor, dass die Study Group einen exklusiven Fokus auf den Autonomiebegriff des westlichen Gedankenguts meidet, da dieser schon in der Gesellschaft artikuliert und integriert ist, und sich einer kohärenten, kompakten und essentialistischen Definition von menschlicher Autonomie gefügt hat. Es wurde stattdessen vorgeschlagen, dass das Hauptanliegen der Gruppe eher ein Studium der sich wandelnden Dynamiken westlichen Gedankenguts sein könnte, und den Autonomiebegriff als ein embryonales Konzept in einem Prozess der Formation zu behandeln, um diesen somit für Konfrontation und Auseinandersetzung zu öffnen.

Es wurde eingebracht, dass DenkerInnen über verschiedene muslimische Zusammenhänge hinweg, durch Literatur, Poesie, Kunst und Philosophie, Themen in Bezug zu Autonomie diskutiert haben. Während dieses Diskussionslevel einige Elemente und Aspekte der Autonomie artikuliert hat, wurde noch kein Diskussionslevel erreicht, in dem Autonomie als definiertes und realisierbares Konzept ausgedrückt wird. Auf diesen Debatten aufbauend könnte es möglich sein, ein artikuliertes Konzept der Autonomie zu entwickeln, welches endogen ist vor dem Hintergrund der verschiedenen muslimischen Kontexten. Zudem könnte dadurch auch eine Diskussion in Gang gebracht werden, über Möglichkeiten des gesellschaftlichen Erkennens eben dieser Autonomie.

Im Anschluss daran referierte Ghulam Abbas über die skripuralen Perspektiven der Autonomie des Menschen. Er konzentrierte sich auf die Dimensionen des Qur‘anischen Diskurses, der menschliche intellektuelle Autonomie unterstützt, in dem er zum Denken und zur Reflexion ermutigt. Ghulam Abbas erörterte, dass wenigstens acht Level des Qur‘ans menschliche Vernunft anregen, und dies als Aspekte der menschlichen Autonomie bezeichnet werden könnte.

Es wurde ebenso hervorgehoben dass der Qur‘an verschiedenartige Ansätze zu individueller Vernunft des Menschen hat. Somit wird eine vielzahl an Diskursen gefüttert, die manchmal den Anschein haben, im Konflikt zueinander zu stehen, und somit paradox oder sogar widersprüchlich in Bezug auf das Ermutigen bzw. Entmudigen menschlichen Denkens und Reflexion erscheinen. Das kann als einer der Gründe bezeichnet werden, dass der Qur‘an die Quelle der Inspiration für alle Orientierungskategorien ist, angefangen bei radikal-traditionalistischen bis hin zu modernen intellektuellen Tradionen. Diese Erwägungen öffnen Wege, um die Autonomie des Menschen hinsichtlich der semantischen und hermeneutischen Ansätze der Qur‘anischen Diskurse zu untersuchen. In dieser Beziehung wurden auch die Begriffe des Denkens und des Aq‘al (Intellekt) mit in die Überlegungen mit eingebracht.

Die Sitzung fand ihren Abschluss in der Betonung auf die Entdeckung des intellektuellen Autonomiebegriffs, während die ergiebigen Diskurse des Qur‘ans im Blick gehalten wurde.

Externalität und Wandel

Ein Beitrag von Yideyoshi TABUCHI

Today I’d like to have a talk with you about the externality. The
externality is always a great issue to those who are conscious of it. The
consciousness over the externality, however, does not guarantee that we can avoid the danger of excluding people. To the contrary, the more we are conscious of it, the more we feel that we are fatally excluding people
Today, I would like to tell you my own story concerning to the externality
issue..

I guess some of you know that I have started to work as a newsboy a couple of months ago. From the beginning, this challenge was deeply related to the sense of “lack of externality,” especially when I work for my research topic. As a researcher, I am working for the limitations and possibilities of subjectivity in the capitalistic society. For this purpose, I intentionally talk about the marginalized. People who are forced to work in a worse condition, the housewives whose “labor” haven’t been estimated enough, the aged who have been determined as if they were less productive to the society, and the youth excluded from the regular employment, etc, etc. But when I talk about them, I am always wondering whether I am really speaking THEIR language. I always feel that I’m speaking quite distant words to them.

Whenever researchers research on anything, they inevitably objectify their subject of research, and, at the same time, privilege themselves as “a man of observing.” If, as Jean-Paul Sartre says, our consciousness is always “a consciousness of something,” a consciousness is inevitably to stand outside of the very things that the consciousness is conscious of. Therefore, for researchers, being together with their subject of research even when they are talking about them is always one of the most difficult tasks.

Thus, the very motive of my “engagement” was a sense of duty to know the life of my research target, which I ought to have been well versed in.This way, my newsboy life started. Now, I think I’d better describe the daily work of newsboy. We start working from 1:00 in the morning, and finish around 5:00, and that means we work almost 4 hours a day. All through the 4 hours, we have to carry almost 300 of newspapers. And it is really hard work. In addition, we have NO weekly holiday. Needless to say, before I finally came to manage to get my work done in 4 hours after three months and half of “discipline,” it took me 5-6 hours a day!!.

Anyway, describing the toughness of news delivery is not today’s story. But the story goes along with my internal fluctuation about the toughness. Going through my field note, I can trace my interpretations of this work. So now, let me trace back my filed note for a while.

October 4th, a week after the first day, I already observed a serious
shortage of communication. I wrote that in the office even the daily
greetings were rarely exchanged. This has been, and remains to be, one of
the most important concerns for me. According to my note, people working for the news delivery not “do not exchange greetings,” but they are not expected to do so. This, of course, means they are not expected to be human. This kind of interpretation of mine surely belongs to the genealogy of Marx. In October 29th, my note was about one colleague who had just left off. I wrote how few things I knew about him. I didn’t know his name, I didn’t know what he did, I didn’t know where he lived, and I didn’t know why he quitted.
Actually, there was even no announcement when he left. Suddenly, one
faceless man didn’t come, and a few days after, anther faceless man started
to work. I wrote there is no function as human, but only human as function.

My field note went on and on in the same tone. Then, something had happened. I don’t know what exactly had happened to me, but my tone gradually started to change. Firstly, I started to show my confusion about always criticizing the news delivery. And then I ended up being unable to write anything. I knew that this happened along with the process that I had been “becoming” newsboy. I got skilled, I came to understand the system, I started to speak jargon, and above all, I came to know the people. I could have analyzed my colleagues claiming that, for example, their humanities were alienated. But when I got to know them personally, I found myself in the relation of the very humanities. And more than everything, I couldn’t call them “they,” for now “they” became “we.”

If I can describe the situation, my feeing was like, “how I could conclude
that ‘they’ were alienated, while I knew that ‘we’ are such living. How
could I give myself the authority to declare that they were this, not that.”
In short, I lost my words.

I think there were at least two aspects behind the change. I was changed on the one hand, and I changed on the other. Several experiences made me ”within” the field, and I was changed from “a man of observing” to “a man of observed.” Moreover, I also changed the field. The very existence of myself inevitably operated the field, and somehow changed it. Therefore, the people I saw was no more the people I had seen before. Indeed, I came to feel that the communication in the office started to increase, and I knew that I myself, my talkative character, played not small role for that. This was really, I say really, magnificent experience. Strangely, while I lost my language for criticism, I felt like I got the externality within my body.

It doesn’t mean, however, that my criticisms in the field note lost its
legitimacy. NO! To the contrary, it does have legitimacy, though partly it
may be. Actually, I knew that my sense of criticism was right even when I
was loosing my words. The criticisms of my field note have been legitimate, even to the present day, the day I lost my words on the issue. Moreover, I do not intend to say “stop talking.” I can’t stop talking. And I won’t stop talking. Maybe I am on my way to go further. On the process to find more appropriate words, talked in more appropriate way.

Anyway, something I can say at this stage is this. However important
critical sensibilities and criticisms are, sometimes the point where
critical sensibilities are rooted, and criticisms cease is more important.
There, we can absorb the externality, and assimilate it to the very bodies
of ourselves.

This was the end of first half of my presentation. Now I want to talk about
small interview to my parents, about how they change after I started working as a newsboy.

First of all, both of my parents told me that they had no interest in news
delivery before I became newsboy. Both of them emphasized that my decision had a strong impact on their daily thoughts. But, there were also very interesting differences between my father and mother.

My father, who was the manager of major Japanese company and now retired, honestly confessed me that he had a negative image on news delivery. He said that he thought it “the bottom.” My father was born in a very countryside of Okayama prefecture, and went to Tokyo when he entered the university. Like many other young men from countryside at that time, my father also hated the ”backwardness” of where he came from. I believe that it may influence his favor to white-collars, and his soft and reserved prejudice against blue-collars.

Therefore, I can easily imagine a small typhoon hitting him when I went home and said, “by the way, I started news delivery.” So it was no surprise to me that he thought news delivery was the bottom work. What really surprised me was, that he said he now tried to say “thank you” to them as much as possible. My mother smilingly said “your father now has a chat with delivery boys.”

My father was still insisting that his “bottom image” of news delivery did
not change. But he also admitted that he now came to concern working
condition issue. He said he unconsciously checked the news that he had
passed through before. “Now whether forecast is the most important news for me, ’cause rain might be the biggest enemy for newsboys,” he said and
laughed.

My mother’s case was bit different. My mother didn’t go to university, but
she was very sensible woman. I’ve heard that she was one of the top-level
students of the top-level high school. She could have gone to university,
but the time did not allow her.

My mother told that she did not have a negative image on news delivery. She said she always had a feeling of gratitude to them. In her case, change was brought in her intellectual interests. She was now interested in news
delivery as a vocation. How is the working condition, how much do they earn, how many days off do they take, who do pay for the gas, and are all these fair?

Anyway, the common feature for them is, that now they see newsboys in front of them, not in somewhere of this society. They see the continuity between their life and news delivery. And all these things could not happen before I started news delivery.

Here, we see strange phenomenon. While I lost my words for criticisms, my parents got the words for the externality. While I thought I lost the way to speak up for the externality, I was successful more than ever in telling my parents about the externality of newsboys.

Now, let me tentatively conclude that I got the externality, and I could
also hand it down to my parents, and all that happened at the point where I lost my critical words.”