RE: virus: Religion

Fri, 4 Jul 1997 14:21:59 -0700

From: Michael Moore[]
Sent: Friday, July 04, 1997 12:44 PM
> [snip] I find myself wanting to reply to every post. Since I tend to >
choose my words carefully, and it takes me forever to choose, the >
process could take all day so I ask myself, 'Do I really want to take all
> day doing this?'

I sure recognize that feeling! It's a big reason that I lurked for so long
rather than participated.


> The challenge for me - Become a Muslim. Step out of my
> world into something very opposite of what I believed myself
> to be.

> I have been working at this for three years now.

Wow. What a great experiment! I wonder how much you will be able to
communicate it to those who have not made the journey. I'd sure be
interested in hearing more about this.

>Occasionally, somebody will make a study of religion. [snip]
>If he really wants to understand a religion, he must get wet. [snip]
>There is no other way, but be warned, this is dangerous!
>Some memes do not play well with other memes. The danger
>is that you might change. This can be very upsetting to your
>friends and family.

No doubt!

This reminds me of _Lila_, where Pirsig talks about Anthropology and the
fallacy of trying to /objectively/ study culture. Unless one is /part/ of
the culture it is impossible to fully understand it.

There's a great description of this in a biography of Sir Richard Francis
Burton (by Byron Farwell). Burton disguises himself as a Muslim and travels
to Mecca and Medina at a time when a non-believer would be killed for even
entering the holy cities. Ultimately though he was saddened that he could
not really feel what the true believers felt.

(btw, this is a fantastic book. The movie _Mountains of the Moon_ was about
his exploration for the source of the Nile, but he had all sorts of equally
interesting adventures.)

>So, for a time we can walk in two worlds
>provided the ego, which prefers that you be a single integrated
>person for survival reasons, does not object too strenuously.

Good luck! This is the ultimate implementation of the "Discipline of
Translation" it seems to me. You are not just trying to empathize with or
emulate the Islamic meme complex but to actually install it and run it!

Great post!