Check out my review of Ken Wilber's latest book Finding Radical Wholeness

Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joe CorbettJoe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at [email protected].


NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of Integral World (FV).

An Integral View of
Islamic Jihad and
World Revolution

Joe Corbett

I want to be clear from the out-set that the world revolutionary potential I see in Islamic Jihadism has nothing to do with the Islamic State, which is a revolutionary monstrosity straight from hell.

Recently declassified documents reveal that Osama bin Laden had an interesting stash of reading material on his bookshelf at the compound where he was killed.[1] Among the books found were two of Noam Chomsky's books, Manufacturing Consent and Hegemony or Survival, including books by Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Michael Scheuer, Imperial Hubris, William Blum, Rogue State, and Manly Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, among others. In other words, the attacks on 9-11 were probably more critically informed and inspired than by the juvenile fantasy of 72 virgins waiting in heaven.

Now, granted bin Laden had a western education based on his privileged wealth, and he by no means represents your average jihadist. But this does raise the interesting prospect of whether radical Islamic Jihadism could provide the militant force needed for a world revolution to overthrow capitalism and its client corporate-military-police-state. The attacks on 9-11 were, after all, masterfully targeted on the military and financial industrial-complex of global capitalism, a blatantly obvious fact almost completely ignored and lost by the entire corporate-media establishment who were quick and eager to make the attacks about nation, race, and religion.

Bin Ladin's Bookshelf
Check out the full content of
Bin Ladin's Bookshelf” in this PDF,
published by the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence.

I want to be clear from the out-set that the world revolutionary potential I see in Islamic Jihadism has nothing to do with the Islamic State, which is a revolutionary monstrosity straight from hell. Nevertheless, in the gruesome public executions they have broadcast to the world on the internet, who's to say that this wouldn't be an appropriate way to die for some of the worst offenders against humanity and the environment (predatory bankers, fossil fuel energy executives, military-industrial-complex profiteers) as a public record for all posterity to see what happens to enemies of life on this planet. And what's that you say? You too want to get rich off the misery and death of others? Well, then, step right up, for we have an internet viewing appointment for you too!

Seriously, the fight against the current regime of global capitalism based on the productive and consumptive growth of fossil fuel based products and processes is not a fight to save civilization as we know it, it is a fight for the very survival of our species. And the sooner we understand that simple fact, the sooner we will be able to take decisive action against the global leaders of the 1 percent, who are so deeply invested in the current regime, and seize the power of our own collective self-determination for survival and sustainable thriving.

Imperial Hubris
From the 2004 Salon review:
“U.S. leaders have failed to recognize that
bin Laden and his followers are not
the evil, apocalyptic terrorists the Bush
administration claims they are, but
practical warriors with a specific and
limited set of policy goals.” (FV)

Psychopaths have no conscience over their actions, they are incapable of empathic understanding of the consequences of their actions. So when we become trapped and cornered by a class-based group of psychopaths bent on world destruction for their own imagined self-interest, we must either kill them, or ourselves be killed by them. There is no way to pussy-foot around this. Make no mistake, we are now in a fight or flight situation, and as any psychoanalytically informed understanding will tell you, there is no time or use in persuasion, compromise, or negotiations with psychopaths hell-bent on narcissistic self-aggrandizement. And who among us sensitive bourgeois bleeding heart liberals is going to kill the psychopaths (much less even mention killing them) when we have been taught since infancy to admire and empathize with as ideal model citizens of modern success?

Here is where an alliance between Islamic Jihadists and progressive forces of political and social emancipation becomes necessary. On the one hand we have the discernment of what ails this world as the true threat to its existence, and on the other hand they (the jihadists) have the grit and balls to do the dirty work that turns our theory into praxis. Could it come to be that instead of killing journalists, aid workers, adulterers, infidels, and other would-be do-gooders, the jihadists could, as 9-11 demonstrated, direct their violence toward the global military-industrial-finance complex, and not at its institutional infrastructure where many innocent people could be killed, but at specific leaders of the 1 percent who lead the way and make possible the whole series of commands and orders that become the global regime of death and destruction?

Of course, this is no simple and easy solution. To begin with, much of the grit and balls of the jihadists is religiously based, and inspiring the same kind of passion and sacrifice to fight global capitalists may not be so forthcoming. But the ideological connections between global modernity (of which neoliberalism is the most recent expression) and the soul-deadening life of a brutal, spiritless, and disenchanting world are there to be made. Thus, the possibility of focusing holy hate and violence on the real culprits who threaten the future of all humanity, rather than all humanity who is not fundamentally Islamic, is at least something to hope for. It is one constructive direction in which to take the enormous passion that fuels jihadism and other militant fundamentalisms as well.

Forging an alliance between militant fundamentalism and a progressive world-centric view of diversity in harmony with each other and the planet may be our only hope in the fight for our survival. If one thing is certain, the psychopaths of the corporate-military-police-state are hell-bent on world destruction for their own narcissistic self-aggrandizement. And if we let them do it, we are all going to burn in hell, literally and fundamentally.


"Bin Ladin's Bookshelf", Office of the Director of National Intelligence, May 2015,

Comment Form is loading comments...