You may have noticed that I’m making a few changes to the site. Let me explain why. A year or so ago, I was invited to be interviewed by a website focusing on the esoteric, among other subjects. I was reluctant because it seemed a little out there, with interviews on UFOs as well as some vague conspiracy stuff. But, I later saw a couple of respectable esoteric authors interviewed for this site (which shall remain nameless), and so I decided there was no harm in it. I was wrong.
From the morning after it went online, for about the next six weeks, I was bombarded with hate-filled emails (with a couple of veiled threats) from conspiracy theorists whose politics were, with one or two exceptions, on the extreme-Right. Although “Islamophobia” is a word often used very flippantly, it’s clear that the vast majority of the people who emailed me do in fact hate Islam and anyone associate with it. They also hate Freemasonry, “race mixing,” and a whole host of other things. In fact, the majority seem to hate everything.
My book, The Crescent and The Compass, looks at a very wide range of subjects within the broad spectrum of Islam and the West — Rene Guenon’s conversion to Islam and his influence on Islamic scholarship in the West; Ayatollah Khomeini and his lifelong interest in Islamic mysticism; Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, his joining the Masonic fraternity in Cairo, and his political activity and ideas (which gave birth to pan-Islamism); etc.
I explore this subject from different perspectives, but not ideologically. I substantially disagree with probably every person whose life I explore in the book. I might even oppose much of what they said or did. But I explore them with respect and write about what I find interesting and even remarkable. I think this is one of the differences between a historian (or serious researcher) and a conspiracy theorist or ideologue. Certainly, it is the difference between someone genuinely seeking to understand and someone that has closed themselves off.
Life is short. And with so much ugliness expressed in the world today (more than I had thought), and with politics more and more depressing, it’s important to me to focus on the positive. As such, while it has been both eye-opening and depressing to receive hate-filled messages about the world each day, it, like so many negative things, has also had an upside. When we see what we don’t want, and don’t want to be like, and don’t want to contribute to (e.g., hate), we can see all the more clearly what we do want.
I will keep up with my own studies in Islamic mysticism, and intend to focus on writing on the spiritual in general. I’ve decided to post only news and updates on this site. I will be posting about upcoming talks, books, and so on, but that means that posts will be somewhat infrequent. If you’re interested in reading my blog posts, I will be publishing articles on self-development and spirituality at Phalanx.
Thanks very much.