Mainstream conventional view informs and compels us to believe, especially in Malaysia, that differing even opposing perspectives – to push it further, ideologies – cannot be managed in one single platform. Thus democrats, Islamists, socialists or a combination of all three, in one association cannot be depended upon for the pursuit of our society’s well-being. I wish to say that not only is this untrue and deceiving, but an attack on the very values of justice, freedom and equality that we hold dearly.
Let us first begin by disclosing and clarifying some of our basic assumptions. Firstly is that the universal and the particular should not be seen as opposites. This dichotomy is unhelpful because it encourages us to think that the values we have in our society or community exclusively belong only to us. Philosophy is an example of something that is both universal and particular at the same time. Generally it is an exercise of critical and profound reflection, but at the same within itself there are various forms of philosophy, be it Greek philosophy, German Idealism, Islamic philosophy or Eastern philosophy. Secondly it is natural that in any free and democratic society or human association there will be diverse beliefs and traditions, even diverging systems of thought and practice. This is a common characteristic and expression of the human condition. Thirdly, the very idea of the modern concept of reason is; one, to know the limits of reason, and two, to know the limits of political rationality. Therefore the use and practice of reason is to restraint the excesses of reason and political rationality. (more…)