Explorations and envisionments of the future of human spirit.
Last night I attended a lecture by Laurent Mignon (Oxford Uni) at the Yunus Emre Centre in London on Ottoman Sci-fi.
He covered its history and historiography, as well as featuring a few utopic and dystopic examples. Towards the Tanzimat and late Ottoman periods such literature of the future gave writers and scholars access to a space to explore the technological and political reconfiguration of the world. Current sci-fi aficionados in Modern Turkey are cut off from pre Romanisation-of-alphabet literature of the genre they cultivate today.
Following humiliating defeat of the Balkans war in 1912-3 writers went into reflective mode, and sci fi used in a very Surah Kahfian way, with folks falling asleep and waking up later to worlds where political preoccupations had been resolved (Islamic World Bank, National Industrialisation et al.).
There's even a Maulana, Davudzadeh Mustafa Nazim, penning a novel where there comes into being an anti-western (speakers characterisation/translation not mine) anti-western union of Asian and African states, where 3d animated photos and snooping tech are pervasive.
One volume which I would dearly love to read is Jelan Nuri's 'History of the Future', where the land and seas are teeming with factories and smoke billows everywhere, and humans robotised until they are barely distinguishable from machines, and crucially nature lost, along with spirituality.
It is this spiritual territorialisation that I suppose Begum Rokeyya's Ladyland, Iqbal's Javid Nama, Khurram Ali Shafique's Republic of Rumi speak to.
Su-Fi already exists in the guise of teaching stories and self-serving hagiographies of pirs. Maybe the infamous RAND report is a work of Su-fi? Perhaps its all about Surah Kahf?
Su-Fi asserts a world in which the soul, its work and refinement are at centre stage, through politics, technological, conceptual or other transformations.
In these days of hOpening, embodiment and ensoulment, cultivating a few channels in this direction seems like a good idea from where I'm sitting.