The problem in the Arab world is that it was more concerned with modernization than with modernity. This is because the introduction of the latest Western inventions and technologies has only led to a formal modernization that has not been accompanied by any change in the Arab man’s attitude towards the universe and the world. The great consumption of our technology has not been associated with the consumption and reproduction of the rational model of thinking and life.
Therefore, if modernity and modernization in the Western world can establish a break with the traditional culture in that world, and establish society, politics and culture on new foundations, then Arab modernity cannot establish such a rupture. Therefore, we suggest that modernity and modernization in the Arab and Islamic world reinterpret traditional culture in the direction of transforming it into a modern culture, without the occurrence of cracks and discontinuities between the structure of modernization and the structure of tradition. Arab societies oscillate between tradition and modernity, between fracture and coexistence, which justifies giving them a special and distinct status from their European neighbors.
Here, we can present a critique of the “stereotype” of the traditional Arab society, which is based on the fact that it is a society of one opinion, absolute domination and attachment to the past, which can be used as factors that help in the transformation and change of society. The cultivation of modernity in our reality and our culture is a complex and complex process at the same time. Today, the greater role must be given to the awareness of the structure of Arab society more than the awareness of the characteristics of modernity. This means paying attention to the reasons that were not allowed to be deduced by that modernity and not awareness of the characteristics of modernity and its definitions
The most important obstacles to “Arab modernity” are the absence of democracy, the old educational curricula, and the ineffectiveness of the culture of dialogue in our societies. Without facing these obstacles by research, analysis, and disclosure of their backgrounds, Arab modernity cannot see the light.
If we raise the issue of education as a field for implementing the reform that we are calling for, we find that education has an effective role in consolidating the values of democracy and dialogue, consecrating the love of knowledge and seeking knowledge, and with the diversity and interaction of the cultural and intellectual tributaries of our historical Arab character. This means that education can manage and do that cultural and social diversity as a basic condition for cultural and intellectual exchanges between members of the same society and between different societies. Therefore, it is better for everyone to submit that diversity to the rule of dialogue and tolerance, otherwise it turns into a violent intellectual conflict.
Here, we can refer to the concept of “debate ethics” of the German thinker Jürgen Habermas. In this context, translation appears as a means of dialogue also between two different cultures and languages, while preserving the specificity of each culture. Today we do not need to discover similarities, so much as we need to contemplate differences.
In this context, we cannot forget the global and major role of universities and researchers in the development of society, especially in educational, cultural, and social issues. The university is the great platform that must prepare the people of society to assume their responsibilities and make them aware, for greater integration and adaptation to emerging issues. The university must not fall into the narrow educational role in which it imprisons itself; This is unfortunate, which we often find in a number of our Arab universities
Dr Rashid Hajj Saleh