Why did we fall behind? – Iskender Öksüz

My friend and boss, İbrahim Kiras, in his article dated May 7, asks: Why did we fall behind?

I’m making a little cut on the “meal” in the line above, because “Why Did We Fall Back?” the name of a book of mine. I think I spent years and years trying to find the answer to this question. So should we all, until the question is cleared.


That’s not the title of Kiras’ article, but he still asked that question and provided a valuable analysis. He asks if Islam is an obstacle to progress, since all Muslim countries are backward, and rejects this explanation. The starting point is the following couplet from Ziya Pasha’s Terkib-i Bend: Pabendi progress to the state if it was Islam/ Evvel yogidi This rumor has just come out. Pabendi progress, a hindrance to progress… You can find the whole poem at this link: Be sure to find and read. You’ll see, it’s up to date even two centuries later. It is so current that they may try to take Ziya Pasha into custody! Look what he says in the same poem – maazallah:

The circus multiplied and the lafz-i fidelity was fashioned.

The honor has been completed, the hamiyyat has just come out.

(Theft increased and the word of loyalty became fashionable.


Sentence regulation, which is announced with documents,

Terfîh-i ra’iyyet with Elfâz has just come out.

(All edits are on the written pages. [belgelerle] It is announced / The promotion of his entourage by word has just been released.)

And many more…


“Why did we fall behind?” on these pages. I wanted to contribute a little to the answer to your question. While searching for the answer, my first finding was this: We are not behind. West has gone. You know, when you are waiting at the train station or bus station, you look at the train-bus next to you and get the feeling that you are going backwards; whereas you are not going back, the vehicle next to you is moving forward. This is the first mistake we made. At the end of the adventure of the West, or rather Western Europe, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, it is their leap forward. Relative to the West, the rest is not only the Muslim world, but the whole world. If you try to measure the progress of the West, you will see that instead of the verb “going”, “leap” or even “explosion” is a more realistic expression.

The historian Ian Morris published such a measurement in 2010. “Why the West rules-for now?” he did in his book. His book Alpha Publishing, Why the West Dominates the World in 2017 (For Now) It was published in Turkish with the title. Morris measures civilization or development with an index consisting of three parameters and monitors it over time. Its time also dates back to the end of the last ice age, 14.000 years ago and reaches today. Of course, history is not enough to provide such a time perspective, archeology also comes into play. Morris’ index consists of the following components: 1) Energy consumed per capita, 2) Urbanization (the size of the largest city’s population), 3) War capacity.


If you plot the index of the East and the West on the same graph, you see that an East and a West have come forward in the 14,000-year-old adventure. Medes and ebbs… During the Median times, as cities grew and prosperity increased, especially two of the four horsemen of the apocalypse hit the top of the ascendant:

1) Epidemics that come with dense population.

2) Invasion of “barbarians” whose welfare looks out from the outside.

This latter is also a component of Ibn Khaldun’s mechanism. Accordingly, there is a ceiling above civilization. Each rising rises up to this ceiling, then crashes there and falls back.

until when? Here it is, until the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. There is something happening in mathematics that we call “singularity,” or explosion, and it only happens in Western Europe. According to the 14,000-year scale, a “sudden” exit begins and does not end. The ceiling of ancient civilizations is being punctured in an instant. The graph is almost steep in these centuries. It’s like when you divide a number by zero and it climbs to infinity.

Of course, this situation is “for now” as Morris has brought to our attention. A new world has been established, it’s true. But as before, gah from the West, from the East; The East learns from the West and takes over the supremacy. After one jump, another follows. The whole question is how quickly the new information that caused the leap, what the new behavior is, will be discovered by those left behind. In the age of knowledge, it will be quick; it happens quickly.

So, the right question is “Why did we fall behind?” not “Why did they go forward?” is the question. Or for the last 5-6 centuries, “What did they have but not the rest of the world?” is to ask…

We must seek the answer to this.


* I mean information, not knowledge on purpose. ‘Knowledge’ is a mistranslation. “Information” is information, not information. Information is the processed and organized form of information. Data => Knowledge => Knowledge => Wisdom!

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