Dateline, France, early 21st century: If the brilliance of a Western thinker can be gauged by the penetrating insight arrived at through a historically aware type of respect for reality and an inner eye for the big picture – then the late Dr. Claude Levi-Strauss would have been the epitome of it. The Burqa as an orthopedic device, Islam as a religion of bodyguards (those guarding bodies), an inferiority complex masked by Arab garb of pride, jealousy, and heroism, the Islamic practice of ending all self-doubt by ending the lives of outsiders.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy described him as “one of the greatest ethnologists of all time”. This massive German-Jewish-French intellect was sufficiently eclectic to truly stand for the European Spirit; if there ever were such a thing – he was it. His writings inspired a major intellectual movement, and at least two of his books have already become classics of French literature. To his credit, he also passed on the offer to work for the New School for Social Research in New York (the Mecca of American Liberalism). Instead, after being rescued by the Rockefeller Foundation project to save intellectuals from the Nazis, he was given a post at the École Libre des Hautes Etudes de New York (a French institution of higher learning in America, a sister institution to the one at Sorbonne in France).
Those years helped him find the time to learn about anthropology leading to his masterpiece book “The Elementary Structures of Kinship” (in which he explained the conclusions about the institution of 3rd world marriage), a classic of French literature. His death in 2009 is a major loss for the struggling and fading European intelligentsia. There is a clear relation established by experience: the weaker the intelligentsia of the West, the stronger the Islamic encroachment. Eventually, during the course of his long life, he expressed a deep distaste for the leftist values of the contemporary civilization, and for the solipsism of modern philosophy.
As a student of natural symbolism, he became a structuralist in the body of ideas he carried, opposed feminism, and detested the student revolts of the 1960’s. Naturally, therefore, he also opposed the invasion of Islam as a body of foreign, anti-western and incompatible ideas whose prospect is one of eradication of Western thought.
As an example of his staunchness, Levi-Strauss defended his fellow writer, a controversial French writer Michel Houellebecq, who faced a trial in Paris in 2002, standing accused of inciting religious hatred and making racial insults against Muslims. The court put on trial his free right to free speech in the land of liberty, France! It was quite grotesque and insane for this to happen on behalf of Muslims in a Christian country of independent thinkers as France has been known for – but – the leftist phenomenon of liberalism as an attitude has been devouring the intelligentsia of Western Europe since the time of Hitler and the Spanish civil war, but ever since the intensification of 3rd World and Muslim immigration this trend has accelerated (due to the alliance between the Left and the almost unconscious agenda of Muslims).
In the French article translated below, one finds an important method by which Mr. Levi-Strauss encountered his intuitive basis for conclusions about Islam: the method of dipping oneself into a flowing current of certain foreign thought and tradition whereby to gauge its destiny. He transposed himself into the World of Islam only to find strange objects all around. His only guide on that dark journey was his science of symbolism with which he penetrated the structure of the Islamic body of ideas – and in doing so, Dr. Levi-Strauss, the grandson of the chief rabbi Levi of Strasbourg, proved himself to be a genuine structuralist and a defender of the West par excellence!
Claude Levi-Strauss: “I had to meet with Islam to gauge the peril threatening French thought”
Claude Levi-Strauss, anthropologist (1908-2009). Below are selected extracts from his book “Tropical Sadnesses”, Pocket Presse, pp. 475-490)
“The brief contacts I had with the Arab world inspired me with an ineradicable antipathy. I had to meet with Islam to gauge the peril that threatens French thought today. [We can only] find out how much France is becoming Muslim.
I had to meet with Islam to gauge the peril that threatens French thought today. I was obliged to see how France is becoming Muslim. In Islamic countries, as in our own country, I observe the same bookish attitude, the same utopian spirit, and this obstinate conviction that it is enough to settle the problems on paper and get rid of them immediately. Instead of just the legal and formalistic rationalism, we also construct an image of the world and of society in which all difficulties are justiciable by an artificial logic, and we do not realize that the universe no longer consists of the objects we are talking about.
Already Islam disconcerted me by an attitude towards history contradictory to ours, and contradictory in itself: its concern to found a [Muslim] tradition is accompanied by a destructive appetite for all previous traditions.
In the Muslim civilization, the rarest refinements – palaces of precious stones, fountains of rose water, dishes covered with gold leaf – serve as a cover for the rusticity of manners and the bigotry that permeates the moral and religious thought.
On the moral level, one faces a tolerance displayed in spite of a proselytizing whose compulsive character is evident. In fact, the contact with non-Muslims makes Muslims anxious about them [helped by the taboos against the non-Muslim].
All of Islam seems to be a method of developing insurmountable conflicts in the minds of believers, even if it means saving them by proposing solutions of a very great (but too great) simplicity. Do you worry about the virtue of your wives or your daughters? Nothing simpler, veil them and cloister them. This is how one comes to the modern burka, similar to an orthopedic device.
If we except the forts, The Muslims have built in India only temples and tombs. But the forts were inhabited palaces, while the tombs and temples were unoccupied palaces. Here again, one feels the difficulty for Islam to think of loneliness. For him, life is first a community, and the dead always settles within the framework of a community, devoid of participants.
Why does Muslim art collapse so completely after it ceased to be at its peak? It passes without transition from the palace to the bazaar. Is it not a consequence of the repudiation of images? The artist, deprived of all contact with the real, perpetuates a convention so bloodless that it can not be rejuvenated or fertilized. It is supported by gold, or it collapses.
If a body of guard could be religious, Islam would appear to be its ideal religion: strict observance of the regulations, detailed reviews and cleanliness, masculine promiscuity in the spiritual life as well as in the fulfillment of religious functions; And no women. (…) They compensate for the inferiority they feel by traditional forms of sublimation that have always been associated with the Arab soul: jealousy, pride, heroism.
This religion is founded less on the evidence of a revelation than on the impotence to forge links outside. In the face of the universal benevolence of Buddhism and the Christian desire for dialogue, Muslim intolerance adopts an unconscious form among those who are guilty of it. If they do not always seek, in a brutal way, the others to share with their truth, they are nevertheless unable to endure the existence of others as others. The only way for them to protect themselves from doubt and humiliation is through the “annihilation” of others.
Excerpts from “Tristes Tropiques”, Presses Pocket, Paris, p. 475-490) Kiosque.net
Claude Levi-Strauss declared in 2002:
“I said in my book ” Tristes Tropiques ” what I thought of Islam. Although in a more chastened language, it was not so far from what is being tried in Houellebecq. Such a trial would have been inconceivable half a century ago; It would not have come to anyone’s mind. We have the right to criticize religion. We have the right to say what we think. ”
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