Reflections of Humanity
is one of Ali Shariati
's important lectures, which concerns the role of culture
in human life. It defines culture and barbarism
and how it is discussed in the light of the "Islamic Doctrine
". He defines Modernity
and its role in the vital issues confronting Western and, more importantly, Islamic nations
. He argues that modernity
has been imposed on non-European nations in the guise of civilization
by the west and that they have persisted in calling it "ideal". He begins by defining certain terms:
- Intellectual: "An intellectual is one who is conscious of his own 'humanistic status' in a specific social and historical time and place. His self-awareness lays upon him the burden of responsibility. He responsibly, self-consciously leads his people in scientific, social and revolutionary action."
- Assimilation: "This is at the root of all the troubles and constraints facing the non-Western and Muslim countries. Applies to the conduct of an individual who, intentionally or unintentionally, starts imitating the mannerisms of someone else. A person exhibiting this weakness forgets his own background, national character and culture or, if he remembers them at all, recalls them with contempt. Obsessively, and with no reservation, he denies himself in order to transform his identity. Hoping to attain the distinctions, and the grandeur, which he sees in another, the assimilator attempts to rid himself of perceived shameful associations with his original society and culture."
- Alienation: "The process of forgetting or becoming unfamiliar with or indifferent to one's self. That is, one loses the self and directs perceptions from within another person or thing. This grave social and spiritual illness manifests itself in many different shapes and forms and depends on many factors."