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Interview with author and essayist Pankaj Mishra "Secularisation has really created a void of understanding" Societies around the Interview essayist are in turmoil, with religious and social groups pitted against each other in many countries.
Examples include the Arab Spring, social revolt against oppressive regimes, the rise of IS, the call from some in Europe for Islam to reform, and the emergence of right-wing movements such as Pegida. Julis Koch spoke to Indian author and essayist Pankaj Mishra about the root causes of this tension and lack of understanding Mr Mishra, you have written about the processes of Western colonisation, imperialism and how the ruling elites of India, Pakistan and Tibet have partially appropriated elements of modern Western values and ideals, the most obvious of which is the establishment of nation-states.
What are the consequences of these transformations? Have values in countries such as Pakistan, India and Tibet changed as a result?
I think that the dominant value now is one of personal profit and private self-interest. This used to be a value that was only upheld in a small part of the world. Now it is a universal phenomenon that dominates all other social, religious and political traditions that have existed in these countries.
We are all now supposed to be entrepreneurs. We are supposed to put ourselves out there — whether it be in business or on social media, like Twitter and Facebook; we have to brand ourselves; we have to promote ourselves.
This is the primary value. This is essentially the internalisation of this capitalist ethic that has put pressure on a whole lot of solidarities: So we have moved away from ideas of collective welfare, which is what our countries were originally founded on: We have now set aside those collective projects and now it's basically individualism that is supposed to deliver and liberate all of us.
This must create quite a rupture in rural societies. What are the consequences of this development for the poor? They can neither simply hop on the train of individual entrepreneurship, nor do they want to abandon their social values and religious beliefs, which mean a lot to them.
At the same time, their livelihoods must be disrupted by this tremendous transformation. In his book "From the Ruins of Empires", Mishra recounts the events of colonisation and post-colonisation from a novel historical perspective. He describes the pathways and observations of Asian intellectuals and revolutionaries, many of whom are relatively unknown in the West: This is a very important point that very few people in Europe or America understand, partly because their own experience of such a situation happened years ago, when they made the transition from a rural and community-based life to the big, impersonal city, a life where individualism was the key value.
Hundreds of millions of people are undergoing this transition in India and Pakistan today.
For many of them, there is still security in family life. At the same time, many young people go for this promise of individual freedom.
There is a conservative backlash to all of this, sometimes from their own parents, their own fathers. This backlash goes in all kinds of directions: These are really very complex processes, but what we're looking at is this endless transition from social solidarities of the past to this modern world of impersonal relationships, of individual freedom, which for many people always remains something remote, something they will never reach.
Often out of frustration, they turn fundamentalist. Many of the profiles of people who join radical movements show people who are in limbo, disaffected, not able to connect to anyone, to any community of any kind.
They join these organisations simply to experience a sense of solidarity, a sense of community again. The relationship between Europe and religion has been extremely difficult for the past years. How do the conditions of secularisation and atheism influence the relationship between Europe and the Muslims living here?
Does a post-Christian Europe influence the European concept of Islam? It does to a great extent, because having lost a vital link to Christianity, which was really in many ways a kind of invisible basis of European unity down through centuries, I think the whole experience of what it is to be a religious person — to have one's horizons defined by a transcendental presence, by a being who is not visible, who is constantly watching over you — very few people who are secularised now, who have lost faith, who have lost religious faith, who are no longer Christians, to whom Christianity is only a name, have great difficulty understanding that for many people in the world today — not just Muslims — morality, a way of being in the world, can really only come from religion and from religious faith.
I think that is creating a big problem of understanding in large parts of Europe because Europe has lost that experience that very few people are religious in the old way in Europe and that secularisation has really created a void of understanding.
According to Pankaj Mishra, it "has put pressure on a whole lot of solidarities: Islam is understood by some to be intrinsically non-European.
Yet history has taught us that Islam and Judaism have very much shaped European history. Why do some politicians and influential personalities want to emphasise that Islam and "European culture" are fundamentally distinct from one another?Feb 26, · Essayist Breaks Free From Conventional Relationships In 'Because I Love You' Tim Kreider says the longest relationship of his adult life was with the stray cat.
He writes about that, his fling. For an interview coaching session, please apply here. After taking the standardized test, completing your essays, and finalizing your applications, all your hard work is finally coming to an end!
When Kimberly Harrington walks into Burlington's Citizen Cider for a chat with Kids VT — sporting red lipstick, a stylish shag haircut and a gray motorcycle jacket draped over her shoulders — she looks more like the front woman of an indie band than the writer of essays about motherhood..
Harrington is a rock star in her own right. The South Burlington mother of two is a copywriter and. Essays & Interviews Interviews Reminiscences About George C. Marshall – The collection consists of a number of reminiscences in the form of letters and memoirs about GCM written by his associates.
Jan 10, · Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article erroneously included a magazine among the publications for which the essayist Katie Roiphe has written. Ms. Roiphe’s work has not been published in Dissent magazine.
Interview: Video Essayist Kogonada Makes His ‘Columbus’ Feature Debut by Matt Warren Even if you don’t immediately recognize his distinctive mononym, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some of Kogonada’s work.