Sufi Mysticism & Prototypal Inheritance

Mani Nilchiani - 09.06.2017

👋 Oh hai!

  • I write code at Architizer
  • When not doing that, I make art and write tunes
  • I typically live in varying degrees of cluelessness regarding all of the above

About this talk

  • Not necessarily a JS talk.
  • A work-in-progress interdisciplinary comparative study between inheritance models in programming as solutions for object oriented world building and a lineage of theological and philosophical phenomenology

Why tho?

  • I am super into Persian poetry. (It has saved my life multiple times in the past. No joke)
  • This art form and its hermeneutics has, over centuries turned into a rich, universal vessel for philosophy, ethics, drama & theology and the manifestation of Iranian collective history

Hafez of Shiraz

Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمس‌‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی‎‎), known by his pen name Hafez (حافظ Ḥāfeẓ 'the memorizer; the (safe) keeper'; 1315-1390), was a Persian poet who "lauded the joys of love and wine but also targeted religious hypocrisy."
from Wikipedia

Hafez of Shiraz

Hafez of Shiraz

A sample verse

حافط خلوت نشین دوش به میخانه شد
از سر پیمان گذشت با سر پیمانه شد

Last night, Hafiz who spent his days in solitude, iving a sheltered life, made his way to the winehouse
Breaking his promise, he took a chalice of wine.


So he was doing a dry month but messed up, or maybe gave into peer pressure.
Quite possible.

Really tho?

Could there be another layer to this?
Also quite possible, and that's what we are discussing today.

Let's take a step back

In researching this, I realzed that the paradigms we use to describe and organize our code has deep roots in how have described and hypothesize our existence

  • Theology [Sufi Mysticism]
  • Philosophy [Plato's Theory of Form]
  • Psychoanalysis [Jung's Archetypes, inheritance and collective subconscious]
  • Metaphysics [Object Oriented Ontology]

Plato's theory of Form (~ 400 BC)

Plato's argument that non-physical (but substantial) forms (or ideas) represent the most accurate reality.

					                | Abstract   |
					                | Blueprint  |
					                | [Class]    |
					                |            |
					       |              |              |
					       v              v              v
					+------+-----+  +-----+-------+  +---+--------+
					|Solid       |  | Solid       |  | Solid      |
					|Instance    |  | Instance    |  | Instance   |
					|[Object]    |  | [Object]    |  | [Object]   |
					+------------+  +-------------+  +------------+

Plato's theory of Form contd.

  • Hierarchical (vertical)
  • Object Oriented
  • Abstract (Blueprint)
  • Phenomenological (Doesn't mingle much with theology)

Class Human {
  // Ideal implementation details

const Adam = new Human([...config]);
const Eve = new Human([...config]);

Philo of Alexandria (1st Century)

Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, towards hermeneutics in reading the biblical text

Philo of Alexandria (1st Century)

  • Intorduces hermeneutics & Object Oriented world view to Abrahamic theology
  • Describes two types of Human:
    • One prototype that exists in Heavens
    • One which inherits from that and exists on Earth
  • Object (Concrete, not Abstract)
  • Theological

Philo of Alexandria (1st Century) Contd.

			 |            |
			 |    GOD     |
			 |            |
			|             |
			| Prototypal  |
			| Man         |
			| [Heavens]   |
			|             |
			| Earthly     |
			| Man         |
			| [Object]    |

Philo of Alexandria (1st Century) Contd.

  // Invoked by God. Returns a singleton Object
  const Human = humanFactory();

  // create the rest of humanity from this human
  const person_1 = Object.create(Human);
  const person_n = Object.create(Human);

Muslim Sufi Mystics

Borrowing heavily from Jewish mysitcism, they continue on the tradition of the Human Prototype.

Muslim philosophers, Sufi mystics and their hermeneutics of Quran dismiss verbatim readings and orthodoxy. They reject the duality of the prototype proposed by Philo, and bring man and god one step closer. Sufi mystics "read between the lines", and derive a different narrative. They dismiss the eternal sin, believe that there was no sin to begin with, but rather a heroic act of bravery, and redefine the man-god relationship as a rather horizontal one: It is not a journey of repent and attonment, but one of passion, longing and a quest for a reunion. In their worldview, they elevate man from a sinner's place to a heroic explorer looking for their way back home.

Muslim Sufi Mystics

This belief system is farther removed from the verbatim Quranic text, and delves deeper into the realm of hermeneutics. It sees the prototype of Human at the highest elevations in heaven, since it was the only being curious and brave enough to do the unthinkable. In this scenario, man does not "fall" from heaven, but rather embarks upon a long journey that only he, the most gifted and brave of beings can handle (And so he must), and he will return home, because he is created from God himself, with no intermediary proxy objects.

وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِي

And I blew in him from my own soul

Quran, سورة ص

So, basically:

const God = { 
  eternalSecrets: { /* Implementation details */ },
  enlightenment() {
    /* Implementation detail */
  omniPresence() {
    /* Implementation detail */
const Adam = Object.create(God);
const Hafez = Object.create(Adam);
const Hallaj = Object.create(Adam);

No middleman, Adam borrows straight from the traits of God himself.

The playing field is leveled, if Human reaches enlightenment, he will find god within himself.

God impatiently waits until Human is aware of his prototype and reaches this realization & enlightenment.

|            |            +--------------+
|            |            |              |
|  GOD       +----------->|  Human       |
|            |            |              |
|            |            +--------------+
The deadly clash of Orthodoxy & Mysticism

نا الحق - I am the truth

Mansur al-Hallaj (Arabic: ابو المغيث الحسين بن منصور الحلاج‎‎ Abū 'l-Muġīṭ Al-Ḥusayn bin Manṣūr al-Ḥallāğ; Persian: منصور حلاج‎‎ Mansūr-e Ḥallāj) (c. 858 – 26 March 922) (Hijri c. 244 AH – 309 AH) was a Persian[5][6] mystic, poet and teacher of Sufism.[7]
Prototypal Concepts in Sufi Mysticism
  • Time
  • Place
  • Human
  • Journey
  • Winehouse
  • Pact, Promise
  • Wine
  • Other actors in this drama (Angles, etc.)

Sliding back and forth on the inheritance chain

  • Sufi Mystic believs that he re-lives and re-enacts the drama of Man / God. He sees himself not only as a 'descendant' of Adam, but rather Adam himself. His approach to Time is no different. Time is also prototypal in his view.
  • So, Hafez can both mean Hafez himself and Adam
  • And "Last Night" can very well mean just before the break of dawn of creation

// Singleton
const Time = eternalTimeFactory();
const time = Object.create(Time);
console.log(time.lastNight); // puts '0.0.0 0:0:0'
Let us revisit

حافط خلوت نشین دوش به میخانه شد
از سر پیمان گذشت با سر پیمانه شد

At the dawn of creation, Adam who spent his days in the garden of Eden,
set out for the turbulent path of love.
Breaking the eternal promise, he ate from the fruit of wisdom.

Thank you.