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This has always been an interesting term that I couldn't nail a tight definition down on. It's 'fellaheen.' I first came across it in Spengler's Decline of the West.

It's from an Arabic word and literally means: people who don't own the land they are farming.

It's broader, cultural meaning is: a people who are operating in a culture and civilization that isn't their own.

So, the Jewish people, for instance, are fellaheen in Christian culture and civilization. Just as Christians were fellaheen in Islamic culture and civilization back after 700 AD.

There is more to it though. The term and meaning carries within it the fact that fellaheen peoples can't participate at the deep, foundational level of that culture and civilization. I.e. because they aren't inherently of that culture and civilization their acts within it are shallow.

An example from the pop film level: Woody Allen instinctively knows he is fellaheen compared to Ingmar Bergman. He was always saying Bergman is the real thing, I am a fake. A fellaheen like Woody Allen can really only copycat within our culture and civilization. Just like Jewish novelists can write blockbuster novels, but they can't write Don Quixote or Moby Dick. They can copy cat and write pastiche and similar things and styles, but nothing that comes from within the heart and soul of Christian culture and civilization.

Fellaheen peoples can be very successful and contribute major things, but ultimately their contribution will be artificial to the culture and civilization, and often poisonous (Marx, Freud). Einstein would be cited as a counter argument by people with an emotional dislike for the term, but Einstein operated within the flow of the western scientific enterprise and was educated in western, Christian universities and so on. And his contribution has a lot more fluff and dead end in it than the popular myth of Einstein would let on.

The term has been suppressed because of the treatment of Jews in Europe culminating in the Holocaust (not the Holocaust of Jewish Bolshevism against Christians in Europe, but the Holocaust of Germans and other Europeans against Jews).


Anonymous Chip Edwards said...

Hey, you might be interested in how Kerouac uses the word:

Interesting that he's happy about being "fellaheen." Hmm.

February 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Thanks, that's an interesting post. My response would be that I don't think Jack Kerouac could separate himself from his culture and civilization like he was thinking. It's kind of the "What you are screams so loud it doesn't matter what you say you are" thing.

February 3, 2013 at 3:43 AM  

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