Friday, 27 June 2014

Why Isn’t Messy Education System In News?

What is news today?  What constitutes the  headlines in today’s newspaper? What is the focus of today’s morning or evening show on TV? With what are we bombarded day in and day out by news channels? Let us ask this question to likes of Marx and we will understand why and how news is made and what makes it sellable.
 Let’s minimize the focus on education sector and raise  a question about how much this sector should be in news and how much attention does it get in reality. Let’s question the absence of this beat from the media products. Let’s question our level of responsibility and conscience, if we claim that we care. And finally, let’s suggest means to highlight follies in education system and make this field newsworthy.
Universities students are unhappy over nonexistence of academic culture in their respective institution. Only an insignificant percentage of students is really motivated to learn-rest study by compulsion. Caged they feel most of the times while listening to lectures forcibly as teachers too seem to be teaching under compulsion. Preferably, the teachers would be happy as administrators or professionals in some other discipline, but not in teaching.
Classrooms scare the students and that is why they celebrate news about a picnic or about strikes. On a serious note, there are many factors that have turned the classrooms into ‘confinement cells’. These include censoring the right to ask questions, teachers resorting to regurgitation of copied notes or book content rather than stimulating critical thinking, rote or memorization of notes without understanding  is norm among students while creative means to evaluate students in exams are discouraged.
These are few problems which effectively are leading our education system towards destruction. The utilitarian instrumental understanding of education divorced from its moral, spiritual founts, selling of wisdom to make money in private schools and confining education for the purpose of attaining just a job is what our education system has been restricted to nowadays. Banishing of philosophical orientation in any discipline from our academic institutions and reducing the subjects to ‘lifeless’ commodities   is another aspect that hampers the growth of our education system.
Ironically, students love everything except book reading while as teachers are unwilling to update their knowledge and skill set, thus they failing to handle or entertain the inquisitive students. There are so many problems that force us to argue whether it is education imparted in our institutions or if it is destruction.
Moreover, teaching aids like latest technology is never put to use to help the students. While rest of the world has turned into a global village after using the internet, Why  are our schools shying away from travelling on the information superhighway. If not in villages, why aren’t the City or town schools connected to the internet where the sea of knowledge is just a click away.
Online lectures delivered by experts and studded with Audio-Visual aid are available either free or for a nominal fee. Such facilities aren’t provided to students. If this isn’t possible, a teacher can prepare presentations in a beautiful format that appealing both the senses and intellect and will encourage the classroom culture.
What purpose Bachelors or Masters degree in Education serve if such things aren’t not ensured? What is the need of inspection committees in the Directorates if they don’t facilitate and encourage such teaching aids? Why is the focus of Directorate of Education only on transfers and promotions while ignoring fundamentals of education?
How many seminars have been organized to refresh or orient the teaching competence towards a better change, why aren’t e-classes a reality, why do we see dearth of knowledge oriented infrastructure?  Why do we fail to produce thinkers or intellectuals? There are so many questions but no answers.
In such a chaos, complaining about leadership, employers, employees, bureaucrats, corruption seems immature when we are aware that fault lies with the education system- a system which differentiates a human being from an animal.
I have serious reservations with schemes like  Rehber-e-Taleem. Compromises were made on qualifications of a nation builder just to ensure employment of few.
Having discussed all these issues, I am forced to ask that why isn’t our education system in news. If media considers such issues trivial then doesn’t it act as an instrument of the ideology that is fundamentally exploitative or class linked?

Mathematics Literacy in Kashmir

Have we ever wondered that God chose to imprint knowledge of basic mathematical truths in our heart and we know them without even learning?
There are so few a people in Kashmir whom one could discuss philosophy with, and fewer with whom one could learn on philosophy of science, especially philosophy of mathematics. There are intellectuals who are informed on many things but hardly any who have such an insight into the spirit of the times that requires taking deep cognizance of  assumptions informing the World of Science. There are a lot of political analysts and columnists in Kashmir but only very rarely can we spot one who is gifted with objectivity of a scientist – not just a social scientist – in his brilliant analyses. Kashmir has many good doctors, engineers, other professionals but very few good mathematicians and even fewer mathematicians who can explain to a lay audience art and science of it and introduce its wonder and beauty in such a scintillating fashion.  We don’t have many examples  in our locality whom we can present to elite intellectual international audience to present our case in eloquent terms, to engage in a fruitful dialogue  with say a community of Nobel laureates who may visit us for promoting knowledge economy. We have very few clear and focused minds who can help us maneuver the challenge of knowledge economy today and unleash our he potential for research. Today we discuss  this personality who qualifies as the one on all accounts mentioned above and with whom we should be privileged to learn regarding the world of mathematics and how integral it  is to understanding our own place in the world and larger question of culture. I mean Prof. Muhammad Amin Sofi. I begin with a note on his key passion, Mathematics
Have we ever wondered that God chose to imprint knowledge of basic mathematical truths in our heart and we know them without even learning? One proof of intellects’ priority and universality and divinity is its mathematical intuitions.
How mathematics qualifies as a sacred science and why its knowledge may well be required for proper pursuit of philosophy or wisdom is understood by taking a look at it in the Greek world? Simeone Weil and others have argued it.
If contemplation is our greatest work or joy and God’s only work today as Aristotle argued and mathematics is best understood in terms of this contemplative activity we can appreciate how this science is the gift of God. Some of the most difficult theological and metaphysical conceptions are best approached in mathematical analogies shows a deeper connection between science and other divine sciences.
Isn’t the text or code of our universe written in the language of mathematics? Is not God a kind of mathematician? Doesn’t God ever geometrize as Plato put it? Isn’t mathematics exemplary instance of universal eternal truths to which physics has to conform and biological systems necessarily appropriate? Mathematics as an art form, as a symbolic science, as an expression of harmony of soul and universe is part of the Book of Self that all must read in certain sense. We must be Mathematics Literates or we miss another aspect of beauty of life.
Given all this and many more points that Prof. Sofi has been often highlighting in his columns in this newspaper, I wonder how come we, as a community choose to ignore Mathematics and Mathematicians  and thus the strange and terrible beauty of the adventure of Ideas. What discipline mathematics brings into personality and approach may be illustrated by looking at Prof Muhammad Amin Sofi’s life and career. How nicely crafted are his columns and unimpeachable is the logical thread that connects his arguments. Not only analysis but also vision and power of synthesis we find in him. As evidence one can cite his  pieces on crisis of intellectual culture, question of excellence and on visionary vice chancellor.
Credentials of a researcher can be got from looking at what he or she chooses to be his or her key area of work. So few choose pharmacology, for instance in medicine and so few choose mathematics in humanities. So few are equally gripped by the love of physics and mathematics. Prof. Sofi chose both physics and mathematics during a brief period in his Masters programme but then the charms of Mathematics made him a  lifelong devotee of it. We have so few aashiqan-i- riyazi in Kashmir. No wonder we don’t have good culture for science. We, as a community lack scientific methodology and respect for objectivity. Our alienation from Mathematics is one of the culprits for this.
Mathematics is central to history of human knowledge and in fact the best proof that we have implanted intuition of mathematical truths is the proof that  we are born to engage with mathematics in certain way. It is perhaps the spirit of no nonsense approach to academics that we have not heard Prof. Sofi parrot ghost speeches in seminars he was required to preside in different administrative capacities. I have generally found inaugurals boring but when the likes of Prof. Sofi speak, we are presented with intellectual feast. His recent address on Iqbal day shows how he chooses to think differently and argue his case very well. There must be clarity of vision and consistent methodological commitment that should dictate one’s  every action. I found Prof. Sofi generally illustrating this.
Having had the good fortune to work the best authorities internationally available on his chosen research area thanks to premier institutions in India and Germany, working for some time in what was more prestigious those days – AMU  – and becoming the youngest professor at 36 in the whole region, Prof. Sofi has lived upto to his reputation as a tough guy who maintained certain high standards. How painful it is to note that we are losing Prof. Amin on 31st May as he retires. I hope he chooses to serve Kashmir and go for brief visits only to outside. Today he feels he couldn’t be so productive as he could have been in Germany or elsewhere where he had the opportunity to be but I still think that serving one’s own community may be better choice nevertheless.
He inherited Qazi Ghulam Muhammad’s passion for mathematics and discipline of mind and soul. He devoted himself to mathematics and could not afford the wine and ecstasy of poetry that his illustrious predecessor could.   I have enjoyed rigourous discussion on a range of issues from contemporary politics, malaise of the Muslim world, mediocrity in academic institutions, possibility of excellence for Kashmiri students, clash of fundamentalism, occultists and other mystifying ideologies.
Today it is international exposure that is required to sharpen one’s vision and refine one’ approach in a fast changing world. Prof. Sofi had this in ample measure.
Retirement of some professors really hurts; I will miss him in the intellectual culture of KU.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Malevolence of Family Conflicts

Life in Kashmir is difficult. Every family seems at war within, a war between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, between the daughter-in-law and groom’s sisters and between the husband and his wife, as an aftereffect.There are tragic stories to narrate in almost every house. Only exceptionally, will there be a Hash (Mother in Law) blessing the Nosh (Daughter-in-law) and vice versa.Divorces are increasing. Parents are often the worst victims of this conflict and there is pressure on limited resources for accommodating new houses.Individualism is the ‘cancer’ of the soul that is eating the vitals of our society. There is universal mistrust about groom’s family. Brides don’t feel that new house belongs to them. They think only their husbands or children are really theirs.
Enormous popularity of Soap Opera culture and perception regarding black magic attributed to either party is seemingly becoming a norm.Explanations and counter-explanations from either side are such confusing and ineffective that it makes possible truth and reconciliation impossible. We talk of State level or national level or international level dialogues on various issues but miserably fail in intra-family dialogue. Evil is within us.And everywhere we see reflections of this evil of mistrust. Fundamentally all conflicts, especially intra-family conflict may be traceable to ego tussles. However for contemplating any solution to seemingly irresolvable conflicts between perceptions of house vs home, mine vs others, we need to dig deeper.
Let’s try to get some facts right. Simon de Beouvaire in her famous book Second Sex discusses psychological change in Hash (Mother in Law) immediately after she gets a bride. Mistrust is unconscious if not conscious as well. Even if we don’t consider Freudian argument for jealousy between same sexes we can easily conceive strong psychological and other grounds that lead to certain distrust. There is no question that love does get divided after marriage. Previously parents were the sole object and now there is wife and then children and all kinds of pressures to settle in life. And the deep drive for separate individuality and family in the bride further complicates the problem.
We often curse the Western society for such institutions as old age homes. Fair enough! But what about the huge neglect that overtly or covertly our parents are subject to, generally speaking? The Western solution has been embracing total autonomy. Our dilemma is we are neither able to embrace values of extended family nor autonomy of nuclear family. It seems there is not going to be any easy going solution in given conditions. Perhaps we don’t need simple social engineering or legalistic approach. How tricky and problematic can be mere legalistic view is evidenced by the following anecdote recently narrated by one of the most respected muftis of the Valley:
A woman with her husband came to Mufti sahib and asked where in the Qur’an it is mention that daughter-in-law should serve her mother-in-law. He replied nowhere. Then she said why my husband doesn’t understand this point. The husband had nothing to say. The Mufti requested the husband to have separate audience with his wife for few minutes to discuss a point. He was allowed and he told the woman that his husband is legally entitled for a second wife and he may do it for serving his mother that you are refusing to and it is nowhere in the Quran written that you can stop him. The woman was speechless and told him that she will continue to serve her mother-in-law as my husband requires but he should not marry another woman to serve his mother. And immediately the couple went reconciled.
It speaks both of wisdom of Mufti Sahib and fragility of purely legalistic paradigm and need to invoke principle of ethics, of Ihsan to run the family.
It has all been said that a mother’s love prepares 2.5 billion breakfasts everyday for children. If there is love there is no need to ask for reward, for recompense. There is no blame. There is no strain. One can serve, as saints do, even strangers, not to speak of husband’s mother. The question is how we teach people wisdom? Wisdom is love applied.
Philosophers and saints agree that no man or woman is willfully bad. If one really knows what is good for one’s soul one will never harm it. So if we teach people philosophy and ethics and help them to know their own selves, it demands nothing but love and are sustained only by love we solve the problem of Hash Nosh conflict and other similar conflicts.
The question is how do we propose to teach people what is really good for them as sermons don’t prove to be effective these days? I propose making philosophy essential at every level in education. That is time tested mechanism. Ordinary education is not helpful . Lesser educated rural women are reported to be more loyal and ethically  better in these kinds of issues. Those who read Plato or Lao Tzu or Confucius or Ibn Arabi or Nagarjuna can’t ask for reward for virtue. They know virtue is its own reward.

Art Literacy in Kashmir

Art Works and Art Criticism of Wasim Mushtaq Wani
Most of us are unfortunately blind to the world of art, and it means virtually blind to an aspect of experience. It means we don’t live or enjoy life, or understand expressions of divine life fully. Our education is faulty. We don’t teach or cultivate the faculty for art in ourselves. Granted almost universal alienation implying our inability to devote ourselves to what we have been compelled to do and thus failure to make things beautifully (that is the real definition of art) we could at least try to understand what beauty of art world lies before us or survives in certain forms today in the work of contemporary artists.  Seeing the works of great art is such an important part of education and if we fail to provide to our children it means our fees spent on education is not well spent. We produce colour blind, form blind children. Ask any student around to name 5 great artists and their works and you will be greeted, generally speaking, with silence. Like some dose of philosophy, art should be medium to teach and integral part of everyone’s education. When will our educationists and policy makers try to address this issue?  How tragic that here ordinarily a student completes education and neither knows history, nor art, nor literature nor philosophy nor love of books nor passion for life long education. Nothing humanizes better than introduction to or orientation to art, literature and philosophy.  The fact that relatively unknown, marginalized and neglected is the College of Fine Arts in Kashmir (very few know where it is) is  a sad comment on bureaucratic apathy. Modern Kashmiris are largely uneducated or uncultured according to the standards accepted in theory by almost all educationists.
Wasim Mushtaq is amongst the most well read young scholars of art. He is not only an artist who deserves to be better known especially for inspiring new generation but also an art critic. His credentials as an art critic can best be assessed by reading his work on modern Kashmiri art. He echoes great stylists in postmodern world in his dense scholarly and captivating pieces of art criticism. There are very few scholars in Kashmir whom you can access on art history and philosophy, on the latest works of Derrida and Focault, on Pamuk and Eco and a host of postmodern writers.  Wasim is difficult to appreciate because he is engaging with the tradition that is difficult for average person. He is difficult because the mess to which he responds and in which he locates himself is an issue that defies simple clear articulation. Evoking and invoking certain modern/postmodern thinkers from Freud and Lacan to Zizek, Derrida and Baudrillard, amongst many others, he expresses fragility of identity, failure of communication, impossibility or travesty of justice, failure of ideologies or violence in certain metanarratives. He invites many interpretations and questions meaning closure.  Wasim gives voice to a Question and summons all of us for a response that can be one of horror, cynicism and occasionally hope and insight that flows from “tragic wisdom.”  
Wasim has received some attention at national level in various exhibitions but few know him back home. Where is the culture for art today in our land?
Wasim is conscious of his own artistic tradition though I would always find him insufficiently interested in its great Masters – he is more comfortable with or cognizant of modern or postmodern theory than masters of traditional theory from Abhinavgupta to  Ananad Coomaraswamy and Titus Burckhardt. He is not quite critical of the dominant art trends that see no problem is elitism, in making virtue of difficulty, in failing to speak to man in the street and taking note of such traditional theses as “Everyman is an Artists” “ Art is making things well” ( and not another autonomus language game accessible to specialists and needs to be exhibited or can be for sale).  
Having said this, I must conclude on the note that Wasim is one of the few artists and art scholars and  art critics whom newer generation could get inspiration from. The writer in Wasim fuses with the painter in him to give us not only food for thought but sometimes also delight to soul that comes from vision and making sense of the mess. I wish I were better qualified in modern art theory and history to better understand the complex world that Wasim presents in his works. I do, however, see how he ingeniously plays on his name or its initial letter W to capture the elusive and disintegrating postmodern self or identity, how he appropriates Marx and Derrida in the same breath, how he digs into the unconscious of postmodern psyche ( though the spirit is sometimes a casualty as he gets steeped into Freudian-Lacanian and Zizekian canon that finds no signifiers of the Noumenal World), how he invokes Taoist logic of polarities where binaries of white and black are transcended, and do appreciate his attempt at impossible “synthesis” of desperate things or experiences that defy comprehension in his engagement with collage. In “Artist as Beggar” he mourns the modern world and alienation of artist in it. How innovative and creative he is can be gleaned from numerous permutations of words, lines and colours to express something new. The fact that collage is much used by him shows postmodern artist attempting to mirror heterogenity rather than impose some order from without.
 I hope Wasim lets the Word – the wordless word and “absent” but nevertheless vivifying Transcendence – speak that announces itself through every traditional art work  that the post-Nietzschean world and its artists find only in impoverished fragmentary images. However one point that Wasim may be driving home is that of immersion in the ugly world of (post)modern art is the dark night of the soul, the descent into hell, the purgatory or baptism by fire. Wasim’s work, as a species of postmodern art,  invites us to silence at the heart of being, to Void that gazes us at the end of every quest, to ironical vision that seems corrosive at times as he presents brutalities and contradictions but purifiying or uplifting in its own way.  In terms of sensibility and command over the form in his chosen medium and rendezvous with suffering and solitude, he reminds me of  Agha Shahid  Ali whom he appropriates here and there.  One can find echoes of both Sufi poets and postmodern artists in him. If he fails to communicate properly that may be either because of our inability to care about art education or his that strange predicament of modern artist who is, as Beckett put it, an artist of failure.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New Book of Mine on Critical Appraisal of New Age Spirituality

Perennial Philosophy in the Postmodern World

This book is an attempt to respond to the mess in which modern man finds himself by exploring resources from perennial philosophy and its postmodern adaptation in Osho's postmetaphysical and nontraditional mystical thought. It attempts to present his reading/misreading of the tradition, highlight some of his unique features as an expositor of mysticism for an audience moulded or influenced by the modern and postmodern thought currents, make a comparative study of some of his ideas and make "sense" of his apparently nonsenscial worldview. It critically situates him in the context of the world community of sages and saints of whom he seeks to be an interpreter. It discusses his originality, his radicalism, his invaluable insights, his strengths and his limitations and his proposed manifesto for creating the new man and supraformal religiosity. 

Monday, 16 June 2014

A Communalist Democracy?

I am aware that everything against democracy sounds a species of heresy. I am also aware of Amryta Sen and some other thinkers who claim that every fight for rights or justice can be fought in the name of democracy and thus the democracy remains an Absolute. But let us not forget that any form of democracy would warrant an analysis or possible critique if we are true to the spirit behind democracy which is collective welfare based on justice. Many religious thinkers, especially modernists, Muslim modernists have invoked democracy but let us call it theodemocracy and that makes a huge difference. We know the Left has always been critical of so-called democracy serving the class interests. One can invoke Hebermasian idea of Ideal Speech Community so brilliantly illustrated in a film Twelve Angry Men to emphasize the need for more informed and articulate public for better success of democracy in delivering public goods. One must also consider the argument that the best of ancients – kings I mean when Aristocracy and not democracy reigned  theoretically and often practically attempted to rule through justice and achieved much more than what has been achieved the best of current democracies.  We hardly note universal slavery practised or legalized under another name in the modern democracies. I mean the presence of alienated labour to which not only factory workers but public servants and in fact most of workers are subject to in the interests of Capital/State. Almost all jobs, for most of people, in private or public sector are alienating.
Today  let me appropriate the best of criticism from the  Left and the Right to make few related points here and illustrate them by quoting William Stoddart, a perceptive perennialist writer, on the question of communalism.
1)      Communalism that is currently in ascendency in democratic avatar in India as the Indian State faces tremendous crisis on many fronts and needs a ghost to beat to let the Capital move more firmly to enslave all of us including Capitalis – their souls are in danger as their idol is profit, is logical corollary of democracy as it is currently practised. A democracy that needs campastigns and money power and party politics can’t be by the people or for the people. Communalism can serves this  democracy to destroy both religion and country.
2)      There are all kinds of critics of Hindutva or Modi. But there is hardly a serious analysis of essential connection between modern form of democracy and communalism. A democracy can allow a Modi to become the Prime Minister. And it can also allow a communal majority to impose a communalist agenda through democratic means.
William Stoddart in Remembering in the World of Forgetting writes:
"Communalism, in the form of inter-religious conflict, has today become a world-wide epidemic. But do we know its exact nature? It is the rivalry, to the death, of two neighboring religious nationalisms."
We are witnesses to the war between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, and to the war between Roman Catholic Croats and Eastern Orthodox Serbs. (Each of these rival ethnicities has contributed cruelly to the tragic destruction of largely Muslim Bosnia, and particularly the historic cities of Sarajevo and Mostar). In Sri Lanka the communal rivalry is between Buddhists and Hindus, in the Panjab between Hindus and Sikhs, in Ayodhyâ and elsewhere in India it is between Muslims and Hindus, in Cyprus between Greeks and Turks, and in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants. Each grouping adheres to its denomination and its culture in a passionate but nevertheless superficial and formalistic way, and in a manner which lethally challenges a neighboring and equally superficial and formalistic cultural loyalty.These groupings are often called fundamentalist, but in their ideology they are invariably modern, progressivist, and collectivist.
Communalism has been well described as “collective egoism”. The last thing that one expects to find in these fanatical groupings is spirituality or piety. Not the Inward, but the outward in its most brutal and superficial mode, is their concern. They defend the form while killing the essence; they will kill for the husk, while trampling on the life-giving kernel. They kill not only their putative religious rival: they have already killed themselves. Communalism, like all shallow—but consuming—passion, is suicidal.
If ignorant people or if communalists are allowed to vote, if believe not qualified to understand difference between faith and belief,  and between Absolute and personal God run movements, inculcate hatred on the religious Other, they will elect a communalist which happens to be necessarily capitalist in Indian scenario. So one cheer for communalism and one cheer for democracy and two cheers for Corporates who manage all these cheers.

Religion and Evolution Debate

I think the best approach is to let the great traditional authorities say what exactly is the religious position with regard to evolution

Is there a way for untangling confusions and controversies on the question of Religion and Evolution? Let us ask those who are best informed on religious position – traditionalist scholars – today.
There are all kinds of theses like Islam accepts evolutionary account or is silent about it or categorically rejects it. Even big names take one of the theses and students can’t be faulted for confusion. From Harun Yaha to Zakir Naik, there is an opposition based on theological reading and from Iqbal to Azad and amongst the more recent Western scholars often quoted by Muslims, Maurice Boucaille there is certain  degree of acceptance of mainstream evolutionary thesis. I think the best approach is to let the great traditional authorities say what exactly is the religious position with regard to it. But unfortunately such authorities use difficult language not because they want to impress the reader but because every science has its own technical language that needs to be mastered for properly understanding or discussing it. Amongst the best known traditional authorities are traditionalist scholars like Rene Guenon, Frithjof Schuon, Ananda Coomaraswamy. Let us read Coomaraswamy today and try to understand him and if we don’t try that we don’t have moral and intellectual right to issue fatwas one or the other way on evolution. One can quote verses for or against one’s position on evolution as we see different scholars doing? So what is the scriptural position? As intellectual content of religion is described as metaphysics, we must ask a metaphysician to clarify the meaning of religious statements or doctrines.  As quantum mechanics or cybernetics or molecular biology have their own technical language that one needs to understand to really comprehend the issue at stake, so have religion, theology and metaphysics.
Have we ever asked ourselves what does it mean that God created the world or different species? Did He do it instantly or gradually? Does he do anything without mediation, as if by magic? Is God to be understood as some carpenter or engineer in heavens? Is God a being in the first place who needs to think, to calculate, plan, to design as humans do? Do the terms cosmos, heavens, or life as terms used by scripture mean what we ordinarily mean by them? What do Amr or Kun mean? I don’t intend to indulge in any controversy or elaborate a new thesis today but just refer to those who are best qualified to explain traditional religious point of view in proper terms that modern mind may understand.
Perennialists though uncompromising critics of Darwinism as an ideology (as they are critical of philosophical and not methodological naturalism) also ask us to drop insisting on literalist theological view which in fact had been the target of evolutionists. Interpreting the story of creation metaphysically though foregrounding the supernatural dimension in the narrative avoids the historical/literalist reading that clashes with the data that evolutionary biology has gathered. Metaphysical conception of God is not an entity who encounters the world as other, a capricious power acts whimsically and as if from a distance. According to perennialists the story of genesis need not be literally interpreted. At the level of mediate causes evolutionary theses need not be questioned on religious grounds, special creation and evolution are not irreconcilable alternatives if the doctrine of special creation is metaphysically read and as interpreted by Christian and other traditional philosophers. The two concepts of special creation and evolution are incompatible only if mythical account is historically interpreted and theologians defending special creation have usually defended it historically. We need to distinguish between the First Cause and mediate Causes. As Coomaraswamy explains in an essay in What is Civilization?:
The First Cause whether philosophically absolute or ‘mythically personified,’ is the direct cause of being of things but only indirectly of the manner of their being. The manner of their being is determined by the Mediate Causes. The category of Mediate Causes doesn’t exclude any of those forces or tendencies or determining accidents on which the evolutionist relies as explanations of the observed series; if he differs from the philosopher in ignoring the First Cause it is because he is not discussing the origin of life but only its variety.
This is how the data describing the variability in species is explainable from its approach:
In traditional doctrine of evolution, every one of the forms, every phenomenon, represents one of the ‘possibilities of manifestation’ of an ‘ever productive nature’ which may be called either the God, the Spirit, Natura Naturans or, as in the present context, the ‘Life’ according to which we speak of the forms of life as ‘living.’ This Life is the First Cause of lives, but the forms which these lives take  is actually determined by the ‘Second’ or ‘Mediate Causes.’ That are nowadays often called ‘forces’ or ‘laws’ notably that of heredity. No difficulty is presented here by the variability of the species; the shape that appears at any given time or place in the history of a ‘genus’, ‘species’, or ‘individuals is always changing. All the definitions of these categories are really, like ‘round numbers’ indefinite, because the reference is to ‘things’ that are always becoming and never stop to be, and can only be called ‘things’ that are always becoming and never stop to be, and that can only be called ‘things’ by a generalization that ignores their variation over some longer or shorter, but always relatively short ‘present.’
Another passage further clarifies:
‘Life’ being one of the names of God, according to his ‘ever productive nature’ seeks ‘experience.’ Outward the Self existent pierced the eyes, therefore creatures see, which is to say that eyes have ‘evolved’ because the immanent Life desired to see, and so for all other powers of sensation, thought and action, which are all the names of his acts, rather than ‘ours.’
The following metaphysical claims can’t be contested by evolutionists and thus conflict is avoided. Scientists as scientists can bypass such metaphysical roots of empirically observable entities in their investigations. “Every one of these transient forms of species and individuals reflects an archetypal possibility or pattern (pater, father) subsistent in what is called the ‘intelligible’ as distinguished from our ‘sensible’ world or locus (Skr. Loka) of compossibles.”For him what Gradation states sub species aeterntatis, the Myth relates sub species aeviternitatis, and History sub species temporis. For him creation “is apprehended by ourselves as a temporal sequence and as if cause and effect could be separated from one another by sensible periods The phrase in the beginning” in the genesis is logical rather than temporal priority.”