I have been thinking about COMPLEXITY. The conflicts in the Middle East is certainly a complex issue. But I am also thinking about another kind of complexity, of an enlightened kind, which has largely been absent in the Middle East. It could have prevented that conflicts from getting out of hand. I call this missing complexity MODERNITY.
MODERNITY is hugely complex. It is more complex than its opposite, the entrenched traditional cultures of the Muslim world. I think its absence is what has caused so much of the social upheaval in the Middle East. For the most part the Middle East has resisted the complexity of modernity in favour of old, outdated traditions. Modernity is about accepting change and progress, like accepting the emancipation of women and minorities, and open, pluralistic societies in which people are free to criticize authority and pursue self-interest. Its about human rights, which in itself is a tremendously complex issue. But that kind of complexity and advancement has generally been shunned in the Arab/Islamic world, hence the turmoil in the region. Culturally the Arab/Islamic world has tried to isolate itself from that kind of complexity. But resistance to it has been damaging and dangerous. A further problem has been that this region believed it could live in both worlds, leading to an untenable situation and causing the schism we are witnessing today.