THE ISLANDERS (part 2 of 3)
Sep 24, 2003 01:41 PM
by Morten Nymann Olesen
HI all of you,
Here is an interesting piece of teaching.
It is taken partly from Idries Shah's book - the bestselling "The Sufis" (1964)
- This is the first chapter of the book !!!
I have cut size - so it runs three emails.
Part 2 of 3
The new gospel was welcomed on all sides as one of liberation.
Man had discovered that he was already mature! He felt, for the
time at least, as if he had been released from responsibility.
Most other ways of thinking were soon swamped by the simplicity
and comfort of the revolutionary concept. Soon it was considered to
be a basic fact which had never been challenged by any rational per-
son. Rational, of course, meant anyone who harmonized with the
general theory itself, upon which society was now based.
Ideas which opposed the new one were easily called irrational.
Anything irrational was bad. Thereafter, even if he had doubts, the
individual had to suppress them or divert them, because he must at
all costs be thought rational.
It was not difficult to be rational. One had only to adhere to
the values of society. Further, evidence of the truth of rationality
abounded - providing that one did not think beyond the life of the
Society had now temporarily equilibrated itself within the is-
land, and seemed to provide a plausible completeness, if viewed by
means of itself. It was based upon reason plus emotion, making both
seem plausible. Cannibalism, for instance, was permitted on rational
grounds. The human body was found to be edible. Edibility was a
characteristic of food. Therefore the human body was food. In order
to compensate for the shortcomings of this reasoning, a makeshift
was arranged. Cannibalism was controlled, in the interests of society.
Compromise was the trademark of temporary balance. Every now
and again someone pointed out a new compromise, and the struggle
between reason, ambition and community produced some fresh so-
Since the skills of boatbuilding had no obvious application within
this society, the effort could easily be considered absurd. Boats were
not needed - there was nowhere to go. The consequences of certain
assumptions can be made to "prove" those assumptions. This is what
is called pseudocertainty, the substitute for real certainty. It is what
we deal in every day, when we assume that we will live another day.
But our islanders applied it to everything.
Two entries in the great Island Universal Encyclopaedia show us
how the process worked. Distilling their wisdom from the only men-
tal nutrition available to them, the island's savants produced, in all
honesty, this kind of truth:
SHIP: Displeasing. An imaginary vehicle in which imposters
and deceivers have claimed it possible to "cross the water," now
scientifically established as an absurdity. No materials impermeable
to water are known on the Island, from which such a "ship"
might be constructed, quite apart from the question of there
being a destination beyond the Island. Preaching "shipbuilding"
is a major crime under Law XVII of the Penal Code,
subsection J, The Protection of the Credulous. SHIPBUILDING
MANIA is an extreme form of mental escapism, a symptom
of maladjustment. All citizens are under a constitutional
obligation to notify the health authorities if they suspect the
existence of this tragic condition in any individual.
See: Swimming; Mental aberrations, Crime (Major).
Reading: Smith, J., Why "Ships" Cannot be Built, Island
University Monograph No. 1151.
SWIMMING: Unpleasant. Supposedly a method of propelling
the body through the water without drowning, generally for the
purpose of "reaching a place outside the Island." The "student"
of this unpleasant art had to submit himself to a grotesque ritual.
In the first lesson, he had to prostrate himself on the ground,
and move his arms and legs in response to the commands
of an "instructor." The entire concept is based upon the desire
of the self-styled "instructors" to dominate the credulous
in barbaric times. More recently the cult has taken the form of
See: Ship; Heresies; Pseudoarts.
Readings: Brown, W., The Great "Swimming" Madness, 7
Vols., Institute of Social Lucidity.
The words "displeasing" and "unpleasant" were used on the island
to indicate anything which conflicted with the new gospel,
which was itself know as "Please." The idea behind this was that
people would now please themselves, within the general need to
please the State. The State was taken to mean all people.
It is hardly surprising that from quite early times the very thought
of leaving the island filled most people with terror. Similarly, very
real fear is to be seen in long-term prisoners who are about to be
released. "Outside" the place of captivity is a vague, unknown,
The island was not a prison. But it was a cage with invisible bars,
more effective than obvious ones ever could be.
end part 2 of 3
M. Sufilight with peace and love...
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