Journal Article — Exploring Pluriversal Paths Toward Transmodernity: From the Mind-Centered Egolatry of Colonial Modernity to Islam’s Epistemic Decolonization through the Heart — by Dustin Craun

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Abstract

This paper explores the intersections between the decoloniality/transmodernity school of thought and Islamic spirituality, popularly known as Sufism. Beginning with an in depth study of the egolatry of Western epistemology which places white Western man and the mind on a false god like pedestal, this work explores two modes of being. One that is centered in coloniality/modernity what is called here the pyramidal construction of man, versus a decolonial process centered in the seat of human perception/consciousness centered in the heart as understood in Islamic/Sufi epistemology, called here the pyramidal construction of the human. As these pyramids clearly demonstrate, needed is a shift from the ego/nafs/self at the top or center of Man’s onto-epistemological existence, to the ego/nafs/self being placed in a state of spiritual peace at the bottom of one’s existence where the ego/nafs/self is placed last. To make this shift in the geo-politics of knowledge in the context of Islam, he argues that what is needed is a shift away from Descartes and Western modernity’s centering of human consciousness in the mind, to a re-centering of consciousness in the spiritual heart (qalb). This in turn requires a shift back to a Tassawuf (Islamic Sufism) and thus a heart (qalb) centered understanding of Islam in relation to modernity. Since the Islamic spiritual science of Tassawuf has been de-centered and scapegoated in relation to Islamic discourses such as “modern revivalist Islam” (Wahabism/Salafism) and secular modernists, in this paper the author seeks to show that as it relates to the Muslim world, Islamic Sufism can make an important epistemological contribution to the perspective of decoloniality. Pulling from the decoloniality/transmodernity thinkers such as Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and Ramon Grosfoguel, this paper also engages the work of Fanon, Cesaire, Laura Perez, and the Muslim thinkers Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ibn Arabi, and Sherman Jackson.

Recommended Citation

Craun, Dustin. 2013. “Exploring Pluriversal Paths Toward Transmodernity: From the Mind-Centered Egolatry of Colonial Modernity to Islam’s Epistemic Decolonization through the Heart.” Pp. 91-113 in Conversations with Enrique Dussel on Anti-Cartesian Decoloniality & Pluriversal Transmodernity (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume XI, Issue 1, 2013.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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