Part 1: al-Farabi

872 CE: There came an important Islamic Philosopher by the name of Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Farabi. A Turk, he was born in Turkestan and was an avid reader, reading Aristotle’s works literally hundreds of times. He studied Philosophical logic under Christian teachers in the city of Baghdad. He later adopted the look & lifestyle of a Sufi of his time (Sufism being an esoteric/spiritual Islamic sect). Uncaring about the material things, al-Farabi (as he is known as today) was said to have lived off of four dirhems (roughly $2.00) each & every day. He, throughout his life, was a prolific writer.  Thirty-nine of his works have survived & so give us a detailed look into his ideas, though others were not able to last the test of time. He discussed a broad variety of topics ranging from music to metaphysics & politics to chemistry. Al-Farabi was possibly the first Muslim to document a tackling of the “First Cause” issue, though he had admittedly failed. As with many Muslim Philosophers of his time (and later Christians such as the famous Aquinas), al-Farabi was heavily influenced by the thoughts of Aristotle & Plato.

One of al-Farabi’s greatest works was known as “Al-Medinah al-Fadilah” (roughly meaning: The Ideal City) and was his version of Plato’s “Republic”. The two works, of course, have many differences, representing culture, theological & personal concepts. But what is of interest is the work’s beginning.

Al-Farabi states the natural law of ‘survival of the fittest’ (to also be explained later by Thomas Hobbes; born 1588) which explains that each organism is pinned against every other in a fight for survival. He continues, saying, that an organism’s sight is a perpetual tunnel-vision, looking at other organisms as a means to its own survival (‘a world of selfishness’ if I may say). However, it is not al-Farabi’s ideas which stirred to pot (per-say). Rather, it was others who expounded the concept on the human scale during his lifetime.

Cynics (those of a Philosophical school from ancient Greece) argued that this concept was likewise to be found in the human species. However, their thought not in the way one would think; it’s not in the sense of one with muscles being the fittest, not a bunch of strong-arming Samsons ruling the world over. They weren’t talking about the chaos of natural war; cheetah against rabbit. Rather, they were pulling on the ‘tunnel-vision’ idea. They felt that indeed a certain type of person was the most fit & capable in life. That type, they said, was the “wise man”. The Cynics sternly expressed that the wise man was most capable to bend other people to his own Will; to most fully reach his own wishes & desires. They explained that the wise man, through deception and cunning intelligence, could make people see the world as they want & make people accomplish their goals for them. In this sense the wise man is a slave-master. This idea was most famously seen during the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969. Charles Manson, as a sly man of unaccredited intelligence, had the ability (with the aid of narcotics – LSD) to mold ‘lost-souls’ into his self-dominated sphere of existence. Murder was his goal and, like pawns on the chess board, they accomplished his mission and sacrificed themselves for the cause: him. Through this concept, the wise man was a god on earth, a central foundation upholding his sphere of control like a King & his Kingdom. Indeed was Charles Manson seen as a god by his followers (The “Family”). However, Cynics were not the only ones distorting or evolving al-Farabi’s views.

Muslim ‘Nietzcheans’ (per-say) also put their hand into the cookie jar during al-Farabi’s life (so called ‘wise-men’ sucking off his wisdom like leeches). They also expounded al-Farabi’s ideas on human society paired with his ideas on nature. They, unlike the Cynics, looked at the ‘strongman’ aspect of survival of the fittest. The natural order of survival was power, stability & wealth. They saw war as both inevitable & as a natural force that was needed for the order of existence. They said that the survival of a state had to include expansion, expansion by war; a Nazi-like takeover of everyone. (One could say these ideas stem straight from the Quran itself, but I am not personally saying that.) Of course, at the time the Islamic Empire this idea was loved; the King (Caliph) being the dominate force, especially seeming that their means of growth was war again & again. No surprise that al-Farabi was declared a heretic seeming that he didn’t agree with the Nietzcheans. They called for power, conflict & egotism while al-Farabi wanted logic, devotion & love to be the moving factors. To quote William Durant from his work “The Age of Faith” (written in 1950), the Nietzcheans’ natural law was to be summarized by the powerful phrase of “the only right is might”.

Al-Farabi’s law of love, the Cynic law of control & the Nietzchean law of war all spread their influence into Kabbalah (to differing extents of course). These influences in Kabbalah in-turn brought the ideas into Freemasonry, Thelema, the Hippie days (1960’s America) & elsewhere. Its entrance into Kabbalah was subtle, a ‘leaking-in’ if you will. However, when it hit the later pseudo-religions, it was a powerful blast, a rush of flood waters, permeating their ideas. Its entrance into Kabbalah is actually so subtle that most would think that the ideas skipped them right over.

(The above portion was originally written & published in November of 2010 under a pen name.)