7/19/2006

The Friction Between Christianity and Islam

In my last post I referred to Dan tdaxp's series Jesusism-Paulism, which described how Jesus and Paul defined the perfect fourth-generation warfare model of victory.

No, I'm not kidding. And if you read Dan's series you will move to a whole new level of understanding - of many things.

At the end of the last installment, Dan says: "Centuries later, Paul's creation would deform under the frictional heat of Islam."

But he never followed up.

Something tells me that understanding that friction is key to World Peace&trade. What could it be?

In his book "Crossing the Threshold of Hope", Pope John Paul II says:
"Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam, all the richness of God's self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside."
In favor of what?

Dan?


Let's play with models to see if they provide insight. If you read Jesusism-Paulism, you learned that the dangerous radical idea of Christianity was that everyone was equal in the eyes of God. The slave. The woman. All equal. The Roman Empire was exactly the opposite. Eventually, when the Empire wasn't strong enough to enforce inequality, it was forced to embrace the message of Jesus and Paul.

If Islam would rise and replace Christianity, what weakness would it exploit? MY natural reaction would be that the PISRR strength of Christianity would be countered by a rigid OODA loop of Islam.

Dan?



posted by Mike at 7:52 PM


14 Comments:

Blogger Dan tdaxp said...

Mike,

You're a brave man for taking this up!

I have been stopped because I can not get my thoughts clear, and I criticize what I come up with. So I have practice.

The Western Roman World that the Christians took over was doubtless destroyed by a centuries-long Muslim naval blockade, which began around the eigth century and lasted into the early days of the eighteenth. (One of the mysteries of history is how tha ttime could have Knights of Malta could have entered the century as a primier naval force against the blockade, and ended it limply against Napoleon).

Yet it's also clear that serious problems in the movements "phase IV operations" had already developed. The Muslims captured Egypt only because the Catholics and Coptics let them in, because the Greeks were opressing those faiths with, among other things, crucifiction. It would be like the Marines and the National Guard assisting al Qaeda in Iraq in taking Baghdad, in order to drive out the hated Army.

So we are dealing with at least two disasters -- perhaps it could be framed as the Empire's successful subversion of the Christians in the East combined with the economic torture of Christians in the West.

(Maybe this isn't so strange after all.. in Asia, we may be seeing a similar end to Communism. In China the difference between the 1990s CCP is resuming KMT policies from the 1930s, while North Korea is completely driven from the Core. Hmm...)

Perhaps Islam exploited two different types of differences: in the East, the collapse of moral cohension, and in the west, economic weakness.

PS: If one sees Christianity and Islam as two different ways, are they out of synch, leading to different strengths

9:55 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Dan,

I'm not that brave. I just figured if I threw you a soft pitch you'd hit one out the park!

Mike

10:28 AM  
Blogger fouro said...

Wow, I really need to eat my Wheaties before visiting Spook Central lately.

Hi, Dan. I too have really been enjoying your blog since Mike pointed me your way.

On the "what would Islam leverage?" question, maybe the answer's under our nose? I think it bears suggestion that what we're really talking about with Mohammed v. Carpenter is really the airtight nature of the fundamentalist, 1.0 wings of both Religions. If OODA is 1.0 in our minds, PISRR is 2.0. Apply the same overlay to the two theologies. Paulism is Leviathan, Jesusim is Sys-admin. Now flip them for Islam. Axial-age nascent Islam tended to Sys-admin in the sense of science, meidicine and such. But greater Mesopotamia couldn't get it's Leviathan on. So, Heraclius booted em out of Syria Egypt and Palestine for while. Then he went home to face his own christian sectarian hairpull (Was this your Cath/Copt thing, Dan? I'm fuzzy on the biits and pieces.)

I think while Carthage was deep in arguing its own newly burdensome sys-admin priorities and whether Jesus was God and a Man, or a god only, Mohammed pulled the tribes togehter and punched them in the nose, reclaiming the levant and pushing way out to France.

Is there a lesson there? What would Islam leverage? Who knows. Maybe a half-full/empty syndrome seizes cultures on the far slope of recent expansion and good fortune. Islam's 2.0 days are hazy relative to the west, but the west's stumbles were self-inflicted in the sense that they gave Islam an opening: Just as Mohammed was pulling their act together, The west was coming apart at the seams. Heraclius couldn't hold the the balance betweeen glass empty and full, 1.0 and 2.0. I dunno if 1.0 necessarily "won" at the time, but, to answer your question, *fear* of losing the gains and *ego* obsructing their wise apportionment led to the stumble. So, that would be my advice to an expansionist 21st C. Islam: Leverage the rosy retrospection of fundametal pasts agaisnt the scary Tsunami of a future coming on at speed and out of control.

Wait. Aren't two certain groups doing that already? Yeah, Qutb was selling the same thing James Dobson is.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Mark,

Judging by that response I guess you soaked your Wheaties in Mountain Dew MDX this morning! I really like the 1.0 vs 2.0 idea, though I'm not sure 7th century Islam qualifies as SysAdmin. Certainly the Caliphate a few centuries later qualified as such.

I found a comment by Larry Dunbar over at ZenPundit that had an interesting notion:

"Each religion represents two different flows of energy. If I look at how each move through the world, Islam, more or less, represents an OODA loop and Christianity, more or less, represents a PISRR loop. Of course the flow of energy (power) represents the flow of both potential energy and kinetic energy, so both religions have elements of both. Also because energy represents a natural flow, in the context of physics neither flow is “better” than the other, only different. It would be like saying that the flow of air is “better” than the flow of water.

Air moves between a high potential to a low potential. This is more or less an OODA loop. With an air mass, first a potential is formed, then the kinetic energy takes over and the result is the movement of air. An OODA starts with potential energy then moves towards a kinetic state.

Water also moves from a high potential to a low potential and gravity (potential energy) enables it to move. However, the fact that water (kinetic energy) is at the top of the hill is the significant factor in the movement of water. In this way water can be considered a PISRR movement, which starts with high kinetic energy and moves towards a high potential. In this way water and air, like Islam and Christianity, are mirror images of each other.

Both religions are resilient because of their ability to loop back to their bases. When Islam is under stress it seems to loop back to its fundamentalist teachings, which seems to say for its followers to become more kinetic.
When Christianity is under stress it behaves differently. Christianity Penetrates an area of conflict and converts the masses towards the teachings (potential energy) of its prophet."

Very interesting!

4:47 PM  
Blogger fouro said...

Heh, is there really an MDX? Octogen-based soft drinks, I love it.

Well, for 7thC Islam, I did say nascent--Gaul was a tad gloomy and Alexandria wasn't full of translated Saxon scrolls. Zenpundit's got an interesting thing going there but I might quibble a tad: Islam went from multi-loops, and a more vibrant, open, O-O sensiblity to a harsh pull-back coincident with the west's renaissance era climbing out of the hole. I get ZP's point, but maybe he gives his western DNA too much cred. Urban and later pals were hardly reharmonizers. Chrstianity of the paulist variety is 1.0 in my mind, with a very tall gate around Orient. Thre's not much to suggest that changed wholesale for Xtian doctrine and outreach very much until very recently.

Before I get caught in my knickers, I'll hit my point. Both are OODA, IMHO, and one is more tolerant of overlapping secular loops--not necesasarily out of design or choice but beacuse of the temporal power and attraction of those secular loops. (I'm thinking benefits re: economics and finance, physical sciences, etc). Either way, one weathers the feedback/forward that alloys it to modern governance and challenges more sturdily.

Now, if we wanted to get really impolitic, we could argue whether the Core is PISRR and the Gap is **DA, or whether both really are **DA and one just has Powerpoint. ;-)

8:09 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

My, what a big brain you have!

Yes, MDX is the Mountain Dew Energy drink!

I'll go with Core as PISRR, because economic ties tend to harmonize. But that's my TGIF simplistic thinking. ; )

Got that book done yet?

9:01 AM  
Blogger fouro said...

1. Ahh, get stuffed.

2. Gonna get me some MDX to compare to my usual nitro

3. Core it is. Still leaves Xtian in OODA-ville?

4. Just finished. we have a new model.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Larry Dunbar said...

Mike
“Let's play with models to see if they provide insight. If you read Jesusism-Paulism, you learned that the dangerous radical idea of Christianity was that everyone was equal in the eyes of God. The slave. The woman. All equal. The Roman Empire was exactly the opposite. Eventually, when the Empire wasn't strong enough to enforce inequality, it was forced to embrace the message of Jesus and Paul.

If Islam would rise and replace Christianity, what weakness would it exploit? MY natural reaction would be that the PISRR strength of Christianity would be countered by a rigid OODA loop of Islam.

Dan?”
Dan mentioned I might enjoy the conversation, so if I may: The first article that I read, by Mark Safranski (http://www.zenpundit.blogspot.com/), was in the old online “Rule set Reset” (http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/journals/Rule-SetResetFebruary2005.pdf) magazine. In it he gave a wonderful table that I still think is very true today.

The rows in his table were labeled Strong and Weak, up and down. The columns were labeled explicit and implicit, left to right. The columns actually represented cognitive loops at different levels of pressure. The one that was labeled Explicit was a PISRR movement. When the movement comes under pressure, the movement tends to become more totalitarian with stronger controls. When under pressure, the leader releases kinetic energy until the forces under the totalitarian rule lessen the pressure. When under less pressure, the movement becomes more individualistic, because of weaker controls.

The column that was labeled Implicit, to me, looks like an OODA loop. When the movement comes under pressure, the move is towards the strict communal laws. These strong communal implicit laws build pressure until there is action. The Act is the release of kinetic energy. A communal movement is a force (the potential energy of the group) building up for the release of energy (act).

The two columns could be labeled another way, on the left, instead of explicit we could write Christianity and on the right, instead of implicit we could write Islam. I am not saying one religion follows implicit or explicit laws; what I am saying is they seem to follow explicit and implicit cognitive loops. When Christianity needs strong rule-sets, when they feel threaten, the movement is more totalitarian (follow one master). When the movement comes under pressure it moves out in the world (penetrate), building relationships, until the pressure is relieved (re-harmonize to Christian way of thinking). When it finds itself under less stress, it becomes more individualistic.

Conversely, when Islam finds itself under pressure, the movement is for strong implicit laws (as defined by the religious leaders of Islam), in other words they become more communal, the people come together (they observe and orient themselves). As the forces build up, because of stronger controls on the implicit rules, the final outcome is action. When communes are under less pressure, communes tend towards Anarchy. At least if it is true that anarchic means less communal rule-sets and Individualist means less totalitarian rule-sets.

As far as force goes (which one can create the most energy) I think, because of their relationship with each other, the potential energy in each movement is the same. In other words, inside each society the force between individuals are the same, and the amount of stress dictates the strong control of the movement.

Because Christianity has a relationship with Caesar, there is added friction that is not apparent on Islam’s side. I suppose, there is a call to force (kinetic energy), when Caesar comes under pressure also. Both movements are not the same, each have different friction layers inside.

If Christianity exploits equality for all, then the equivalent thing to say would be that Islam exploits Brotherhood for all, which seems like a prevalent theme of today’s pop culture. Equality-for-all was mostly a 60’s thing.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry,

Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I hope you did enjoy the thread. I read Mark's 'Rules, Rule Sets, and Social Systems', and I really like your analogy of Christianity/Islam to Explicit/Implicit rule sets. I also think your corresponding argument about what happens in the case of weak enforcment is insighful.

One example from Mark's article seems particularly instructive to me. He discussed Japanese corporations' strong implicit rule sets regarding deference to age as trumping many of their explicit rule sets. That suggests to me a challenge to Islamic societies in integrating with others. I think it was Bernard Lewis who wrote about Islam's aversion to developing corporations (because of strict Islamic inheritance rules) as being a self-imposed barrier to economic development. Are there similar, but less obvious implicit rule sets that present similar or larger challenges?

Mike

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry,

Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I hope you did enjoy the thread. I read Mark's 'Rules, Rule Sets, and Social Systems', and I really like your analogy of Christianity/Islam to Explicit/Implicit rule sets. I also think your corresponding argument about what happens in the case of weak enforcment is insighful.

One example from Mark's article seems particularly instructive to me. He discussed Japanese corporations' strong implicit rule sets regarding deference to age as trumping many of their explicit rule sets. That suggests to me a challenge to Islamic societies in integrating with others. I think it was Bernard Lewis who wrote about Islam's aversion to developing corporations (because of strict Islamic inheritance rules) as being a self-imposed barrier to economic development. Are there similar, but less obvious implicit rule sets that present similar or larger challenges?

Mike

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Larry Dunbar said...

“Are there similar, but less obvious implicit rule sets that present similar or larger challenges?”

I really don’t know any Islamic implicit rules, I try to understand the movement, or how something moves. I am not trying to understand the forces inside.

Implicit rule sets, present challenges?

In the business world, I don’t think implicit rules present challenges, only opportunities. The business world loves implicit laws (they have only one: maximize profits); it’s the explicit laws they don’t handle well. While I don’t want to get into metaphors here, businesses use implicit laws (potential energy) to create power (kinetic energy). When new implicit laws are defined, there is a potential for the creation of power, where there was none before. It’s kind of like finding a new business model, that’s never been used before.

2:25 PM  
Blogger fouro said...

Well, I'm gonna wade back in and risk diasgreeing with somebody:

Mike, Implicit in those Japanese implicit rules (double jeopardy implication?) couldn't we find an underlying appreciation for the value of the concept of Wisdom and it's asian meta-implicits, harmony and balance, as things to experience and leverage? The Japanese seem to have taken what they admired of western tradition in their "opening" to our ideas ala Macarthur and Deming, while keeping their perspective intact regarding culturally resonant (and useful) centuries-old implicits like Kansei. Western explicits like GAAP and its twists according to prevailing Wall Street fashion do seem downright skittish and immature in some comparisons. Toyota thinks in 50 year chunks of time. Detroit laughs at that idea as they move at speed off of various cliffs.

Larry, I'm too dense to get the grace in your defs of spoken/unspoken and the conservation of energy. But surely it's respectable to argue that in a nation most full of corporate counsel, and with headlines shreiking their foibles, whether many laws are simply viewed as implicit, i.e., suggestions packed with wiggle room? I fear that ideology borne of some very odd implicit beliefs about the divinity of commerce writes those headlines. But that's just me. As I vaguely mentioned earlier, Sharia Law and the Quran seem to make incompatible for Islam the modern business conventions of usury, mortgage, and various other instruments. Supposedly, Allah's view on Labor and Capital implicitly and explicitly mandate a shared and equal risk on the part of borrower and lender. Awful mojo for a Citi or Capital One.

Finally, if our description of "new" Implicit Law jibes with what a Kant calls an Intrinsic Good like Love, Hope, Compassion, etc then I'm fully on board with that as the seed of (old, ancient) power used in an unexpected way and called a new business model.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Mark,

I like your points about the Japanese weaving useful Western ideas with their own unique cultural strengths. I recall Ohno saying that this concept inspired many of the design decisions of the Toyota Production System. I think it's also one of the reasons that TPS took so long to take hold in the West. All those Michael Moore types in Flint didn't have the same set of cultural models through which to appreciate the conmponents of TPS.

As for implicit rule sets, I expect that (in true Moonshots and Tsunamis fashion), the ones that stand the test of time are built on preserving and enhancing intrinsic goods. But many organizations build up intrinsic rules based on fear and intimidation for short term gain. Enron is a good example. I remember reading a story about how they set up fake trading floors for analyst tours. Did Ken Lay personally order each and every one of those shenanigans? No, but troops up and down the line quickly learn what the boss wants even if it isn't spelled out completely (to protect the guilty).

Mike

7:52 AM  
Blogger fouro said...

Great example about Ohno. I don't know the interview but it sounds quite sensible - wouldn't William James simply say they mated or made compatible our useful new truth to the sturdy but improvable old truths inherent in their implicit memebook? I think Barnett and Drucker would come to that advice for our erstwhile cowboys currently kicking hornets nests and formerly supportive Orkin men. To get meta, the alternative in societies that are told they are backward by outsiders, and inconsequential, except as mobs, by thier own elites is to offer meaning and mattering where before here was nothing - rather than a kick, exploring the "medicinal" qualities of "hornet venom" or the unique social structures and building rationales of those hornets gives them salience and valence in a prior barrenness. I dunno, call it enligtend *long*term self-interest on our part, benevolent intervention; sort of a Hawthorne Experiment applied to people who think we hate them. (Defense Science Board audit) Or, we could go on pretending structural costs and blowback don't matter to a global economy that need customers and trade stability.

Perhaps we're being myopic about PISRR - just as Dan wisely points out, the romanes didn't eunt domus, they came to Christianity. Implicit (hah) in Boyd's whole conception is a non-ideological requirement against sniffing your own fumes that the pentagon, and now the political arm has dificulty with. Our now-implicit manifest destiny™ has left us with a nasty case of not invented here and a very-innovation degrading bi-polarity that perhaps didn't need to be.

Along he lines of M&T, if I'm put in 24/7 survival mode at home (or office), constantly looking over my shoulder, micro-measuring and -grading my fellow human on their commitment to the Big, Ultimate loop, my energies are misapplied, wasted.

Somebody's done a poor job of leading and providing the proper context of esprit that allows me the security to be an excellent [insert here]. OODA: sometimes you use the tool, until you get sloppy/cocky and the tool uses you. PISRR: Keep your implicts universal, your mass to a minimum, your head on a swivel, and entertain new ideas--which will invariably reveal themselves to be old, basic and therefore sticky ideas.

Maybe Reorient and Reharmonize is just another way of saying that John Wayne started out in The Searchers ready to kill Natalie Wood in the cause of some unsustainable explicits of the time. His RR came about because the Implicits won the internal fight--the search took so long he forgot what he thought it was about and rediscovered Boyd's magical "Bond." Wayne's Ethan subdued and subverted himself and Natlie got a hug, not a bullet. The movement was his, not hers. Reorient eunt domus.

9:44 AM  

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