Values and Motivations of Islamic culture (Cover story, Time, Sept 13, 2004, Struggle for the soul of Islam)

Essay by coolchineseA-, January 2005

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What is the force, so strong yet so peremptory, that lurks behind the voluntary soul slavery of Islamic radicals? What makes the religious passion so superior as to flood, drown and suffocate human rationality? Questions like these can never be answered or analyzed by a five-page article; however, I will try to dig out the fragments of some possible explanations in light of the basic theories of value, motivation and culture.

In some sense, the self-pollination of Islamic culture, value and relevant motivations has incorporated the Muslim Fundamentalists the world-best "corporation", which works in a most efficient manner. This "corporation" has "upright" and specific goals; it also has charismatic leaders to lead the radical masses to those goals; it effectively motivates the obedient followers, who are willing to sacrifice for those goals, in a way no different from brainwash; it has abundant oil money to float the ship of "Jihad".

From a pure academic and organizational behavior perspective, this Islamic culture sediment represents some kind of uniqueness that is worth studying. However, if the characteristics of this sediment are to be analyzed, the current itself must be anatomized at the first place.

Historically, Islamic culture, through its principles, foundations, concepts and symbols, expresses the essence of the tolerant message of Islam as it opens up to the cultures of nations and peoples with which it is impregnated, assimilated and infused. Unique in human cultural history, this characteristic is the source of the wealth, strength and immunity of the Islamic culture, built on four pillars: moral constitution, aesthetic taste, scientific logic and craft.

What endows this culture with high osmosis is it's defined as "a set of moral characteristics and social values which the individual acquires since his/her birth as an initial capital within the milieu in which...