Book Section: Preface on the Origins of the “Omar Khayyam’s Secret” Series and Its Introduction: The Enigmatic Omar Khayyam and the Impasse of Khayyami Studies — by Mohammad H. Tamdgidi

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Abstract

This book section includes the preface and and the introduction essays as described below.

The essay, titled “Preface to the Series: Origins of This Study,” is a common preface to the twelve-book series, Omar Khayyam’s Secret: Hermeneutics of the Robaiyat in Quantum Sociological Imagination, authored by Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, included in its first book subtitled New Khayyami Studies: Quantumizing the Newtonian Structures of C. Wright Mills’s Sociological Imagination for A New Hermeneutic Method. This preface serves to shed light on why the author launched this series on Omar Khayyam and how it is itself a moment in the trajectory of a broader research project. The origin of the series on Khayyam goes back to the Tamdgidi’s graduate doctoral research in sociology resulting in a dissertation titled “Mysticism and Utopia: Towards the Sociology of Self-Knowledge and Human Architecture (A Study in Marx, Gurdjieff, and Mannheim)” (2002). 

The more he explored the explanatory value of the overall thesis during his doctoral research, the more he found its echoes in Omar Khayyam’s life and works. If Marx, Gurdjieff, and Mannheim represented respectively the one-sided human efforts in utopian, mystical, and social scientific liberation, Khayyam increasingly represented to him an integrative effort at overcoming mutually alienating traditions of utopianism, mysticism, and science as described above. However, the exploration of such a three-fold representation required further research in the deep structures of Khayyam’s attributed texts amid wider Khayyami studies, one which he decided to undertake more systematically following his doctoral studies, resulting in the establishment of a research center in Khayyam’s name and its scholarly journal and publications. Following the publication of three books on Karl Marx (2007), G. I. Gurdjieff (2009), and a transdisciplinary study in Karl Mannheim and the sociology of scientific knowledge of the quantum enigma (2020), the author’s continuing interests in reinventing C. Wright Mills in favor of a quantum sociological imagination are explored in this series on Khayyam’s life and works, serving as both exploratory and applied contexts.

The essay, titled “Introduction to the Series: The Enigmatic Omar Khayyam and the Impasse of Khayyami Studies,” is a common introduction to the twelve-book series, Omar Khayyam’s Secret: Hermeneutics of the Robaiyat in Quantum Sociological Imagination, authored by Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, included in its first book subtitled New Khayyami Studies: Quantumizing the Newtonian Structures of C. Wright Mills’s Sociological Imagination for A New Hermeneutic Method. In the essay, the author argues that nearly a thousand years after his birth, the life and works of Omar Khayyam are still wrapped deeply in veil, major puzzles about him still abound, and modern Khayyami studies in Iran and abroad, after nearly two centuries of active research, have grounded nearly to a halt, reaching an impasse. 

Overviewing a series of paradoxes, puzzles, and questions still left unresolved about Omar Khayyam’s life and works, Tamdgidi invites readers to ask why they may not consider what they themselves already know about Khayyam to be based on one or another myth. Acknowledging that not only others’, but also our own, knowledges of Khayyam are myths—that they are socially and historically constructed stories about him—can be a good beginning in the true Khayyami spirit of the term founded on healthy skepticism. Doubting what we know about him in a radical way can be a helpful starting point about gaining and developing new understandings of his life, works, and legacy. It may be that we end up constructing new myths about him, but at least we would be doing so based on more reliable studies, being aware of the social constructedness of our own knowledges or myths about him, and based on efforts that do not pretend to contrast the presumed truths on our parts with lesser-valued myths constructed by others. 

So, it is not proper for us to regard existing knowledges about him to be uncontroversially authentic, factual, and official to start with. The very method we use to study him, let alone the substantive knowledges about him, are to be treated as variables, and not as taken-for-granted givens. Instead of starting with drawing on this or that scholar’s portrayals of who Khayyam was and what he wrote, we must start from the scratch with revisiting and rethinking the methodological grounds and frameworks we use in our Khayyami studies. So, in this book, Tamdgidi sets himself this task in order to let the exploration itself guide how the rest of this investigation in this and future books of the series will be organized and conducted.

Recommended Citation

Tamdgidi, Mohammad H. 2021. “Preface on the Origins of and Introduction to the Series: The Enigmatic Omar Khayyam and the Impasse of Khayyami Studies.” Pp. 1-26 in Omar Khayyam’s Secret: Hermeneutics of the Robaiyat in Quantum Sociological Imagination: Book 1: New Khayyami Studies: Quantumizing the Newtonian Structures of C. Wright Mills’s Sociological Imagination for A New Hermeneutic Method (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Vol. XIV, 2021. Tayyebeh Series in East-West Research and Translation.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press.

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