Sati – Aporia in the Anthill

I am extremely delighted! Would you ever imagine, sir, that eating a dish consisting of the fried Asian noodles, called sati, may bring us closer to the real, nirvanic Sati? You look confused by my words. I must admit your reaction is my deliberate intention, sir! Another meaning of “sati” must be put forward, the last one I know and the last one you are not yet aware of. I am not a cultural anthropologist, you are wrong at this point – my specialist knowledge in this matter stems from the city university having a decent library. Knowing this you must be aware that I cannot guarantee I have fulfilled the set of possible meanings of “sati”. Besides, don’t we have the infinite number of possible meanings? Who cares. Well, in spite of all this, the meaning I have in mind right now doesn’t come from Sanskrit. It comes from the language of Pali, which was once used mainly by the Buddhists. On the eight-step path towards enlightenment, sati is said to be the seventh, penultimate level before reaching the everlasting joy. Sati, when reached through meditations, gives you a constant disposition. It allows you to concentrate and see through things  without even the slightest effort. It may be described as a non dispersing concentration on its way to see the emptiness of things; the emptiness towards which we all tend, and which is our origin. You will never know, sir, how delighted I am that thanks to your presence, we can together meditate on sati by this river, while eating it from this disposable paper box. Look out for the hot sauce!

Imagine you are slowly walking down the promenade in an ages old Dutch town, contemplating the mild warmth of summer. Imagine that you suddenly happen to overhear an extremely weird talk taking place between two gentlemen sitting on the bench in the front of the river. One of them, seemingly a plain citizen with an air of foreign accent in his voice tries to convince the tall, grey haired and noble featured man to his own views. The rattle of the town prevents you from hearing the old man, as his voice is silent and tends to cease so that you can only imply the meaning of his words from the loud answers uttered by his disputant. Nevertheless, you can feel that something sparking happens between these two- the discussion between a domesticated foreigner and an old man is suddenly rushing towards  seemingly absurd conclusions. The foreigner occurs to be an entomologist with a peculiar psychological disorder, that makes him treat societies as anthills. The old man in turn, once a university professor, offers a  counterword of Socratic passion of the non reducible humanism. The former claims he can predict the future of the Western society on the basis of his own research, whereas the latter is deeply melancholic about both his disputant and the world that changes too fast.

Now please look at these magnificent elevations, there, far away on the other side of the river. Can you see them? Now, turn you head around and take a glimpse at the stylish passages, where one can buy everything; don’t you feel overflowing with pride when looking at these vast university buildings, great cubes of hospitals which are all together working, day by day, to ensure our sanity and prosperity? We constructed computers – their development is already fueled by its own inner pace – we constructed the European greenhouse and adjusted our lives to its microclimate. Meanwhile, we invited to our neighborhoods foreign guests,  who are organically at odds with our temperatures, who do not seem to tolerate them. Oddly enough, this fact did not prevent them from nesting under the greenhouse’s roof. Why? Because their sacred books or at least their understanding for the present days are mentally stuck somewhere on the vast steppes, somewhere amidst desert sands, where the risk of sudden death is imprinted into every joyful birth. Yes, they were brought up by the desert, not by the greenhouse. The cover their women with veils as they got used to treating women as a scarce good on the reproductive market; by hiding them from the other Beduin males, they minimize possible rivalry. They react with violence to their own failures, to their evolutional failures in the non Beduin society, as they are taught that even dunes can recede when treated with the appropriate amount of shovels. They do react with force because their sacred books advice them to do so, because Muhammad himself was reacting with violence, beheading pagans regardless of age and sex. Truly – the Prophet’s sword didn’t know mercy. No mercy – even for the poets and writers – don’t we have testimonies that their decapitated heads, together with the freshly bleeding and still writhing cervical vertebrae, were brought to Muhammad, just like John the baptist’s head was laid before King Herod? Religion as a source of oppression? Well – try to speak out loud about this! Any volunteers? There are none – just because the cellular coherence of the throat tissue is valued more by our fat and well fed artists, than some kind of dim social mission to be undertaken in the name of civilizing the people of the desert.

New barbarians in the womb of our civilization – they themselves constitute your mission. Spend the last vital powers to make them cultured, to convince the barbarians  to accept your values. Do all this just to return to dust at the end, if – by chance – your technology does not save you. But be consoled, if you can – the far state of Israel, the eastern rampart of the West is also having problems with the non integrating minority. There is one difference, however: the Israeli Arabs want to have their own state, the European Arabs already have their states – France, Germany and Netherlands, for instance. That’s the deadlock, the checkmate of the West. You will never sustain the systemic stability of Europe without the help of perky Arabs, hard working, ant-like and ready to sacrifice. They became the fundament of the European social structure, with sacrifice being their alchemic key to operate history.

Evidence? Have you read “Brave New World”? Everyone read it, sir. And do you remember where did Huxley take the title from? From the classics – Miranda, a character from one of the last Shakespeare’s plays, “The Tempest”, shouted “Oh brave new world, that has such people in it” when she saw the ship arriving to her island, crowded with the newcomers, who were said to save her. With the similar enthusiasm shouted once Europe, accepting the rivers of immigrants, with no awareness as to alien religion carrying within the seeds of incomprehensible societal norms. And now, what happened? You, tolerant Dutch, you treat them as a curse, you are extremely afraid of them, you are hostile! Your artists try to soften their habits, yet with the blush of shyness spilling over and over, since they once found the sinister piece of paper stabbed into the guts of Teo van Gogh. Bold man, wasn’t he? Bold, even if he wanted to do something quite intuitive: trying to protest against the violence towards women in the Muslim families, he painted a few verses from Koran on the model’s back. Deadly sin! What a shame, what a shame, fear is always the same – the edge of knife thrust from the anonymous crowd is stabbing the living flesh even easier than it cuts through the greasy meat utilized to make kebab.  Some circles decided that poor Teo should receive the deadly warning to shut up the other potential provocateurs with fear – and the discussion on tolerance was over. Islam locutus, causa finita. Discipline and punish. Discipline and punish. Is not religion a barbarism?