The Arab Mind -Raphael Patai

Honour killing, human rights abuses of Muslims, poverty caused by Islam
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The Cat
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The Arab Mind -Raphael Patai

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The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai, anthropologist.1973
Hatherleigh Press; ISBN: 1-57826-117-1; Revised Edition, 2002.
A review of the book by George Mason.
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Emphases mine.
As I dug ever deeper into Islam after the events of 11 September 2001, I realized that my understanding of Islam needed something to supplement it, to make it more complete. Of course, I had needed to understand Islam itself. For this, I turned, among other places, to the books of Robert Spencer (Islam Unveiled and Onward Muslim Soldiers), Ibn Warraq (Why I Am Not a Muslim), and others. As valuable as these were, and they were, and are, magnificent, I needed something else, something qualitatively different. (...)

Dr. Patai wrote before the disease of "political correctness," spawned in the philosophical sewers of the 1960s and 1970s, had taken hold. Nowadays, he would be accused of racial stereotyping by writing about the Arab personality. However, he defined his subject and the boundaries of his examination. He asked, "What can be common to a group is a specific feature, or a set of specific features, that social psychologists and anthropologists have reference to when they talk about national character or modal personality?" He adds, "The basis of modal personality or national character studies is the observation that human beings who grow up in a common environment exhibit, beyond their individual differences, a strong common factor in their personality." (...)

Dr. Patai explains this exaggeration as the mental phenomenon "... in which the desired event is represented as an accomplished fact." This is pure primacy of consciousness epistemology which says something is so because I want it. Baghdad Bob was a shamelessly typical user of Arab exaggeration and overemphasis [in essence, "Pay no attention to those American tanks behind me. There are no Americans in Baghdad, and we have vanquished the infidels totally."]. He sounded comical to us, but Baghdad Bob was deadly serious. If we do not learn how Arabs think, we can never deal with them effectively.

Another predilection is for repetition. Listen to Arabs fluent in English and note how they cover the same material over and over in most of their statements. Furthermore, words do not have the same meaning as concepts to the Arab. Dr. Patai cites how our American economy of expression "...may sound weak and even doubtful to the Arabs who read it." In America, we joke when a hardhead wont take no for an answer by asking, "What part of 'no' don't you understand?" An Arab requires increasingly elaborate overstatement and repetition, with embellishment, before he accepts "No." "Yes" and "no" have indefinite meanings to Arabs.

Another characteristic of Arabs is how they substitute words for actions.(...) Think of what the pervasive belief in determinism does to anyone. Says Dr. Patai, "The smallest everyday event or activity is believed to be determined by His [Allah’s] personal decision." Another name for this is "fatalism." Allah provides, they say over and over so, why work? After all, nothing whatsoever is in your control (even whether you attain Paradise), and it doesn’t matter whether you want something, love something, or want to better yourself. Inshallah!

Add to this, improvidence. "For the tradition-bound Arab mind, there is even something sinful in engaging in long-range planning, because it seems to imply that one does not put ones trust in divine providence." Such a belief has been central to centuries of impoverishment.

Any deterministic belief "... inclines the Arab to abdicate responsibility for improving his lot or providing for his future." The Arab blames his foibles and that of his society on fate or the devil, or to imperialism. When castigated for passivity or corruption, he shrugs and claims that he is forced by uncontrollable forces to be and do as he does. This is one of the biggest reasons why self-responsibility is so lacking. (...) This is the mechanism by which Islam stifles and squanders human minds. Few seem to know that Islamists formally banned reason and philosophy by about 900 A.D. and forbade its citizens to think outside the Islamic box. (...)

The Arab mind, stuffed with its characteristic contents and processes, has never been able to adapt to the process of modernization represented by the West. "It has often been observed that the Arabs are willing and even eager to accept whatever the West offers them in the way of machinery and gadgetry. The problem arises in connection with the production aspects of technology. The foundations on which technology rests remain unexplored, and the making of machines and gadgets, as distinct from their use, remains alien." “ ... The traditional Arab disdain for manual labor constantly militates against such a course [of developing them]."

How a mind works depends on the ideas that feed it. Note how Saudi Arabia still depends on Westerners to get its oil out of its own ground and exported. By now, Saudis should have been able to manage all aspects of their own oil production. But, you are only as good as the ideas you hold. Arab societies are not called "the immovable East" for nothing.

Another such anti-Western element worth mentioning here is the Arab inclination to personalize problems. A Swiss Arabist remarks that this mental process causes Arab countries to harbor the view that the technical difficulties of learning and adopting elements of Western civilization, instead of being part of learning curves, result from human malevolence. As such, the "difficulties" constitute a humiliation [part of the honor-shame responses utterly controlling Arab minds]. How often have we heard this response? Even a defeat in elections results in such humiliation for the loser that he often takes up arms against the victor and the government, while allying himself with those who promise victory next time. "The intrusion of impersonal, objective factors into his world makes the Arab feel impotent in overcoming defeat, and diminishes his gratification from a success which now appears as not having been the result of his ability to overcome personal antagonists."

As we know, the Arab-Islamists look at their pitiful lot, and then project their guilt and hostility onto us. They blame us for everything, which absolves them of any responsibility and thus any ability to change. They feel that the very existence of the culture of Western civilization threatens Islam itself; it shakes these totally insecure people into fearing metaphysical oblivion. Their hatred for us is in direct proportion to their fear. (...) Once we know the Arab-Islamic mind, we can construct an effective remedy.

The Arab Mind, a summary:
1.-Overemphasis & repetition.
2.-Substitute words for action.
3.-Determinism up to fatalism.
4.-Improvidence leading to impoverishment.
5.-Abdication of any self-responsibility.
6.-Disdain for manual labor (construction, agriculture, etc)
7.-Personalizing problems and demonizing of the opponent.
8.-Changes reluctance perpetuating social stagnation.
9.-Incapacity to govern themselves without dictators.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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