It would have been easy to predict the socio-political effect of the rocket explosion on the terrain of a Gaza hospital on October 17.

As I tried to explain in Chronicle 785, the power of fundamentalist Islam lies in submission, and the bottom line of submission is that it obeys no principle of objective truth beyond that which serves its cause.

Hence in dealing with reports coming from Islamist sources—and the term “Islamist” cannot unfortunately be confined to a small group of fanatics or even to a movement like Hamas—one must assume that whatever is said is said for a political purpose, and that the truth is respected only when it serves that purpose. Thus even independently of any evidence that the rocket was fired by Islamic Jihad, the difference in competence between them and the Israelis is so clear that the idea that the latter would do something bound to inflame hostile passions while providing no military advantage, as opposed to supposing that a group of Islamist terrorists, even on the charitable assumption that they did not attack the hospital on purpose in order to produce the reactions we have seen, might demonstrate their incompetence in this manner, has a probability close to zero.

That the New York Times first showed a devastated building (NOT the hospital) on its front page while headlining Hamas’ claim: “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say”, although later photographs showed that there was no visible damage to the hospital building (the explosion took place in a parking lot) and the number killed was at least a degree of magnitude smaller, is a good example of how this religious asymmetry is echoed in the West’s realm of Wokeness. Once Hamas has been accorded victimary status as the defender of the ”colonized” Palestinians, the laws of this realm oblige the mainstream press not only to give its report, however improbable, the benefit of the doubt, but even to bolster its credibility with a wholly fictitious visual representation.

Thus whereas on October 7, Hamas openly broadcast the images of its terrorist atrocities, confident that its core audience would not condemn but rather appreciate them, and that this very confidence would intimidate any who might think to oppose them, this new “symmetrical” outrage, however biased its source and distorted its claim, could be attributed to the Israelis without any fear that the majority of those who accept either directly or by proxy the Islamic doctrine of submission will reject this attribution. For in Islamist epistemology there is no need to choose between deciding to accept this judgment and simply going along with the crowd: once one agrees to the principle of submission, the two modes of acceptance are indistinguishable.

What this example suggests is that, unless the three Abrahamic religions can agree fairly soon to pool their several advantages in the direction of modernity, Islamism is bound to triumph. For whatever the superiority of modern Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the domain of scientific and technological creativity, from an anthropological perspective, those of fundamentalist Islam remain… fundamental. As the jihadists like to say, and they’re not joking, you love life but we love death. Meaning that they are willing to sacrifice their lives without question, as moderns on the whole are not, in order that their community may prosper. Would you, or I, joyfully fly an airplane into a skyscraper?

And yet this act only expresses the basic point of GA: the survival of the human community is the end to which our sense of the sacred directs us. All the rest, including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” are merely supplementary incentives. What militant Islam sought to demonstrate to us on 9/11 is that humanity in its present state is technologically advanced enough to survive without the more problematic members of the Abrahamic community.

In Europe and the Middle East, at least, Islamism would provide the basis of a much more cohesive community. And by all signs Iran, the principal state sponsor of Islamist terrorism, finds itself perfectly compatible with the planet’s other totalitarian governments, from Russia to China and North Korea. Submission to the sacred is the most originary principle of human social organization, and unless the West can liberate itself from the epistemology of resentment that has come to dominate it, it will have no defense against the “intersectional” coalition of its purported victims, all of whom define their freedom by submission, whether to Allah or the “Party of the People.”

There is no doubt another path for submission: that it remain transcendental, or in theological terms, that we endeavor to do God’s will without submitting in advance to the judgment of religious authorities or scriptural texts, but by seeking to discover it through our own intuition. I am hardly qualified to judge to what extent this element is present in Sufism, but one cannot deny that the notion of submission can be understood as, detached from all expressed religious laws and traditions, my personal quest to learn what Allah commands me to do.

But, returning to reality, the worldly effect of Islamism at the present time is independent of any such transcendentalism; its bottom line is the perpetuation and aggrandizement of the Islamist Umma until it includes all of humanity. The West has held the advantage up to now. Yet for all the power derived from its cultivation of the highest qualities of individual minds in the most stimulating socio-economic context, having won the Cold War with Communism, the Judeo-Christian West is failing to meet the challenge posed by its Abrahamic rival.

The current resurgence of the “global South”—a concept less geographic than cultural, the North being imagined on top of the South in an obvious metaphor—makes the world’s future far less clear than it seemed in 1991. For at the time, the breakup of the USSR seemed indeed, from Francis Fukuyama’s Kojevian/Marxist version of the Hegelian perspective, like the End of History—however much an historical dialectic strikes us rather as analogous to an infinite series, as in Spengler’s view of the “Faustian.”

That the Western mind could even begin to entertain the idea that its history had reached its “end” was a sign not of victory but of the lassitude that is prelude to the abandonment of Western civilization’s transcendental historical program. Whether or not we dismiss as infantile Fukuyama’s picture of the “post-historical” boredom in which we would stagnate like so many Alexanders weeping for lack of new worlds to conquer, its obvious latent truth is not the West’s triumph but its Untergang.

For we cannot help but acknowledge that Islamism, in its own perspective the final perfection of the Abrahamic heritage, has recently been far more confident and energetic than the decadent West in spreading its message to the rest of humanity.

Nevertheless… provided that the West can awake in time from the victimary narcissism of Wokeness, the ultimate guarantee of the endless openness of human history will continue to reside in the paradoxical self-understanding born of the fusion of the Abrahamic with the Greek tradition, destined not to submit all humankind to the One God’s benevolence, but to engage with all of humanity’s cultures and traditions in an endlessly self-transcending synthesis—of which the originary hypothesis provides for our time the minimal principle of understanding.