Emir Abd El-Kader – The Reasons That Prevent The Mind From Knowing The World
Emir Abd El-Kader,
by Hocine Ziani
Today’s sharing from the blue House of Via-HYGEIA is the continuation of a text from Emir Abdelkader we published a while ago, excerpted from the forewords of his 1848 ‘Letter to the French People’ (Lettre aux Français), re-issued in 1977 by éditions Phébus/Libreto, with a new scholarly translation from the original Arabic manuscript by René Khawam. English translation is by Via-HYGEIA. More to come from this promptly- put-under-the-carpet-and-casted-into-oblivion treatise from another time, a dying time of chivalry, honor and wisdom that could have made a decisive difference in our world history but was quickly pushed aside as France and the other European countries were at the starting-blocks of the ruthless and dark age of colonialism where the moto was ‘get rich'(Guizot and the reckless ideology of capitalist liberalism) by blatantly pillaging, looting the ressources of the so-called ‘colonies’, kept as ‘children who needed to be educated and civilized’ and whose culture would be ‘integrated’ to make them lose their identities. All ‘candidate colonialist’ countries looked the other way, embarrassed by emblematic figures such as the defeated Emir pointing at respect, dialog and peaceful exchange between sovereign cultures and ultimately at world fraternization. Sadly, we all know that this is not what happened.
It is the same way with the mind, mirror where the images of all the objects of knowledge ought to reflect. But, some deprive themselves from the acquisition of science. If they tread upon this result, it is because of these five reasons: The first one may be due to an inherent weakness of the mind itself, for instance the mind of a child that his insufficient development prevents from correctly reflecting knowledge; the second has its origin as a darkening induced by dross that piles up in super-imposed layers upon the surface of the mind (Seeking to remove the veil that hide the reality of things, walk away from worries that prevent this search: such are the two operations that can prompt the sharpening of the mind and its purification); the third reason assumes that the orientation of the mind is in a direction other to the truth though after; The fourth reason is the existence of a veil between the mind and truth (Mind that has no clear ideas concerning the one truth among many, maybe he will not see it unveiling itself before him provided that a veil stands in between-veil that can be mistaken for a inherited belief, often during childhood, through imitative manner, and that would be accepted with a favorable presumption; such an obstacle intervenes between the mind and truth, preventing it to reach it and to receive something else that was already received by imitation; it is this thickness of the veil that prevents most of the people to reach truth, shrouded they are with adopted beliefs adopted by mimicry, beliefs anchored in their souls, and upon which their minds are frozen); the fifth reason is this ignorance of the direction where to go in order to seek what one is searching (In fact, the person who asks something can only acquire it by having in mind the rules of the sciences that lead to the object of his quest, so that the reminder and the ordering of these rules in his mind will allow, according to a well known process of the scientists, to find the direction where the thought-of object is placed, and to see arising in his mind the truth of this object).
The sciences to acquire, those which are not from divine inspiration, we only fish them with the nets of already acquired sciences, or rather each science is acquired from two older sciences that create a bonding of friendship between themselves, alike what happens with the coupling of the male and the female. Likewise the person who wants to breed only pure thoroughbred horses will not unite them with donkeys or camels, but with thoroughbred males and females of a special race of horses obtained by specially organized dedicated coupling, alike each science depends upon two others that give birth to it by coupling, engendering by their coupling the thought-of science. To ignore the breeders to chose and the mean to proceed to such a coupling, this is what can prevent the birth of a new science. Therefore, it is also the same with the examples we used earlier, where man ignores from which side of the mirror the image will appear; if he lifts it to have a glance of his neck in it, if he lifts it to place it in front of his face, the side where the neck cannot reflect on it, and the thought of image will not appear; if he lifts it to place it by his neck, the mirror is not in from of his eyes and he will see neither the mirror nor the image. Therefore, thinking of the idea of a second mirror he will place behind him, and placing the first one in front of his face, in order to see it clearly. Then he will make sure that the two mirrors are well adjusted in front of each other, so that the image of the neck is reflecting in the mirror placed in from f it, then that the image of the first mirror in turn reflects in the mirror that is place in front of the eyes of the man, he will perceive the desired image. It is the same when we engage on a hunt for sciences, when we want to know the truth of things: There is for that astonishing methods that used side-ways methods, methods even more surprising than everything we said about the mirrors.
Here they are, the reasons that prevent the mind to know the realities of the world. Outside of them, every mind-by the gift divine creation has placed inside each of us-is able to grasp such truths. Likewise the things that come to the sight of man are not perceived if he does not put into motion his eye pupils ceaselessly from right to left, likewise the spirit that does not jump from one concept to another will not fathom things in their deep truth. It is these very movements that we name thought, or vision of the intelligence. The seing eye can only perceive things when the light-bearing stars are rising, such as the Sun and those alike; hence, the mind can only perceive truth without errors when arise in him the lights of divine assistance and of almighty God’s will, indicating the right direction.
From the French