The Central Concept of Struggle: Sayyid Qutb, Leo Strauss, Modernity and the Past
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Type of Work14 p.
DepartmentPolitical Science and International Relations
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All of us--whether we are students or professors, young or old, political or apathetic--are children of the liberal philosophy that "progress" is the inevitable path towards the "good." Think about our speech: if "things are progressing" they are moving toward some desired goal. Yet, the positive connotation of the word "progress" belies one very crucial fact: we do not know what the future holds. Should we assume it will be positive? What if, in truth, progress was a downward spiral-and the best state our society can achieve has already happened, long ago, in a far-off virtuous past? The influential thinkers Leo Strauss (1899-1973) and Sayyid Qutb (1906-66) challenged the common assumption that progress is to be celebrated. Perplexed by the disturbing events of the twentieth century, they sought the 'ideal' not through modern progress but in the origins of their respective religious traditions, Judaism and Islam.