The washiongton post published an idea from France about calling “isis” by a different name. It seems like a sort of “trend” given that other people have some ideas of re-calling isis by some other terms. eg UnIslamicState (U IS??)..
It seems rather curious to interesting that the idea of name and re-naming the stuff seems so very important. As if the name conjours a reality into being.. While at 1st I was like:
wtf this is kind of lol.
It dawned on me that, for example, in the context of Palestine, in my terminology, Israel has not life.. (..or not much of it..) Hence, perhaps for me too the reality of terms and words makes up a sort of magick linguistic leap into a being. If the stuff formerly known as state of israel is the zionist occupied palestine, that whole being of israeliness might have a different sort of life, no?
Perhaps this is the same process in the minds of islamic people? Perhaps.. And if so, maybe my personal difficulties with re-calling the isis as uis, or da’ash, or what-ever is based on a perception that since islam/religion is a constant interpertations of beleifs mediated by brut powers of family/community/state/etc. – while the “isis” might be a minority in islam, and indeed offer a seeming interpretive oxymoron in islamic thought – the caliphate can be headed by a descendant of mohamed only, or something to that effect – the fact that isis people do interprate stuff from islamic rather than hindu or other religion’s culture, makes isis islamic. (..even if most muslims regard isis as utterly un-represtative, and indeed MisRepresentative..)
Moreover, isis, as much as I am against them, and people even remotely like them -
eg the iranian the current turkish religious regime, whabist saudy arabia, the hinduisic india, the gazan regime of fear & intimidation by poor excuses, the militaristic regime of egypt, the deadly authoritarian and pseudo fascistic regimes of china and russia, as well as the plutocratic-ally fascist regimes in the uk and usa -
isis is an organisation that, like other states, use brutality and financial power to establish itself onto a land and people in it. (eg the provision of social care for people who’s religious practices isis approves of, etc..). Also, like other state based/oriented organisations, isis fights others that seem to threaten its interests. Sure, there is a bit of a difference between isis and the uk or feance in the sense that the brutality in the latters is less arbitrary and rooted in a set of arguable and evolving laws. However, I think we should not confuse a sense of evolving or even “open” brutality – with a lack of imposition and intimidation by power over the powerless and the ultimate abuse of power to keep itself in, err, powerful mode..
The other strange thing about the calls for re-naming references to isis is that such calls carry within them a sense of power and brutality which, in some way – i think – reminiscent of precisely the organisation who’s activities are “un islamic”. ie, if i am to use name calling as a way to re-assert my power as, for example, a religious authority, then am foregoing peaceful means for the sake of violent authority. (if 1 was to call on a dialogue with the people who call isis “isis”, to question, for example, the religious authenticity of the organisation, then perhaps their way would be civil?)
However, perhaps my interpretations of these occurrences is limited by a view that emphasises operations. ie if i call isis a cat while it actually Operates as a dog, am not going to make it do many miauuws – even if everyone in the world will call it a cat.
Or perhaps the example is wrong. Perhaps the materiality and operations of a dog are too limited to allow it being a cat as much as we might scream and shout. However, what about a gallery? or a restaurant? say there is a restaurant that cooks and serves its food and another that doesn’t cook, but still serves food. What of a restaurant that doesn’t cook, but sells food Not to be eaten in the premises, can we call it a shop? What might be the differences between such a restaurant and a place to buy food? Is there? Perhaps then we get into magic of naming?
A magic that allows conjuring realities via verbal utterances? Just sounds?
Assuming that since an operation like a religion requires language to Be, not just as a singular category – eg category plants, category chemicals, etc. – but a distinct kind of animal/being/set, then perhaps language is an element of reasonable focus from a religious point of view.
Indeed, if we keep the lingo focus, then it seems strange to suspect and peculiar, that despite the fact religions are based on interpretations, the scholars who bash isis, regard isis’s violence to be a “wrong interpretation” – hence not of that religion. This is kind of strange because the very perceptions that there is a correct interpretation and that indeed there might even be a correct “islami” or other religion – viable violence – is in itself a part of of cultural violent process. If my culture is made of violence, or that I cultivate violence in my culture, then surely, I should expect people to cultivate it in various ways – some of which, differenct to my own interpretation.
Also, the peculiarity arises since we are talking about language, and linguistic meanings – unlike signals – are of ranges and evolving as such – rather than particulars. eg “red” might reffer to a feeling, a sensation, a colour, a state, and so on – in a language. In a sign system such as traffic signs, red is very particular and singular.
Are religions parts of languages or sign systems?
OK.. Here’s something else about language’s creative magic that isn’t religion: schools.
The british public school – is it public or, err, private school system?
How about the “free schools”? Do we have Free schools in england? Free schools in brooklyn? (Notice the end note where it indicates an initial confusion to do with the english “free schools”.)
Are these examples of the interpertative range of “free schools”? Of “freedom”? Of a conflation between “freedom” and “independence”? (eg, can it be argued that the english version has more to do with the independence of the schools from central authorities, than the schools being free? (though that independence is dependent upon generous financial support, no?)
Perhaps the range of freedom’s sequences when they hook up with the ones of independence?
On a personal note, I think its interesting to realise that it was easier to critique religious figures insistence upon their interpretations until I bumped into the educative elements which hit more home chords for me… I had to teach myself that perhaps the interpretations I did not “like”, are still within the sequence range of the terms I use.. And indeed, if they weren’t initially, I have to agree that other people should be able to play with the ranges as they see fit – else am going into a power politics range. (eg, who’s interpretation should rule..) Which is by its nature counter productive because if I care for a certain interpretation, I should strengthen – mistake, not strengthen but ENERGISE – it from within, to perhaps realise its own non interpretative range.
(ie a distinct category, its own radical self – if indeed it has one.. eg red as a term that stems from a colour that has certain properties and can be interpreted in various ways is distinct from road that has other, similar qualities, but none of them is the colour based..)
So perhaps calling a dog a cat will not turn it into a miauew uttering creature, however, it can depict a certain dog’s personality, or someone’s idea of a certain dog’s personality. But as many people as they might come, will not utter enough a “cat” calling unto that dog that will turn the woof into a miauew..
Yet, if these people turned and called the marriage process “doggy” – then it might well catch on and in a few years time many more people might propose to one another to get a bit doggy for a while – before they break into a miauew..
While this might sound very similar to John Searle’s ideas of social construction of reality, I think it might be worth while to indicate that in my mind the implications/trajectories are probably different.
* I do not think these element construct reality, but are simply parts/elements of various sequences and rhythms. In that sense, am considering here the sequences of language usage rather than focusing on using it for gaining power and creating social realities.
* I think the materiality of language allows for questions that can be addressed and directed to specificity of its operations. Hence the focus on kind of utterances.
* Indeed, I doubt the creation by a word requires Social. It can be an individual calling X “blue”. For them, the X might be blue regardless of the social acceptance or otherwise of the usage of blue.