The Sources of Jumblat's Knowledge and Inspiration
The Sources of Jumblat’s Knowledge and Inspiration
Kamal Jumblat, was a unique person ; this amazing man has always puzzled people around him with his vast and abundant knowledge. He was a scholar in philosophy, ethics, sociology, economics, and many other fields. He wrote about almost everything in life synthesizing between the old and the new, the spiritual and the temporal, the ideal and the practical…etc. I’ve always wondered how he got this limitless knowledge, which leads me to believe that there were many factors to this; some of which I’ll discuss in this chapter. The rest would be hard to explain, and that will only reinforce my belief in reincarnation.
The sources of Jumblat’s knowledge are classified as such: His Library, his childhood, his school years, his knowledge of Greek philosophy, his religion-the Druze Faith, and his visits to China, Egypt, and India.
One thing was for sure; Jumblat had a passion for books and for reading. His library remains proof of this. It is extremely rich in all kinds of literatures in different languages. You could tell he had read every single book in it since his comments and notes are every where on the pages.
Jumblat’s first interest was to read, read and read.
There is a proverb, “Child is the father of man”, and throughout his childhood years, Jumblat encountered and experienced many influencing phenomena that shaped his personality later. Jumblat, as a child, received all the best care and held a prestigious title belonging to the Jumblat’s family. As an infant, he was trusted to a very faithful lady “Sharifa Hassan” who gave him affection and care more than anybody else. From the very beginning, Jumblat was influenced by her. As a baby, he responded to her smile and to her lullibies; the themes reflected the noble traditions and embodied a message about religion, culture and prayers revealing the collective mind. While Jumblat’s mother was a very busy lady engaged in political affairs, Sharifa’s relation to Jumblat was like mother and son. Miss Mary Salloum was another lady who had influenced Jumblat’s childhood and consequently, his personality. Mary Salloum was Jumblat’s tutor. He received from her his early education. Mary resided at Jumblat’s castle and made sure he was getting the basics of all areas of life. He was raised in the castle; therefore, he was exposed to all kinds of people and events. From the beginning, he got interested in the history of his family, and he wanted to learn more about his background. Mary Salloum had prepared Kamal Jumblat socially, culturally and academically to start his journey in life through his early development, and the overall atmosphere of his childhood years
Nature had also been an influential aspect in Jumblat’s childhood inspiring him by the beauty of the nature around him. Moukhtara El-Shouf, Jumblat’s village, is quite an inspiring place for the distinguished beautiful nature surrounding it from rivers to fields to mountains and to hills. At an early age, he admired nature and spent long hours in the fields. He would sit by the river, his feet in water and his eyes gazing in the limitless horizon forgetting to eat or drink and forged completely to this indescribable beauty which he became a part of. One of the authors described him saying, “He liked to sit alone in nature enjoying the solitude and being in complete silence.” (Sleem,1998,p.28)
Jumblat was always silent in the way he expressed his deep inspiration and feelings. In fact, his mother used to be concerned about him and about his quietness. Jumblat’s silence, as I see it, is the result of the way he lived; the work he achieved, and the self he realized.
Jumblat was influenced, not only by the nature or history of his village, but also by the beauty and history of the whole country. In one of his essays, he described Lebanon as:
“ This golden beautiful shore witnessed for thousands of years the evolution of the first civilization and the development and flourishing of the first national concept….this shore witnessed the first form of Democratic representative System before the dominance of Roman Justice on the world…this unique spot of the world where the mountain and the sea meet. The glorious climate with the pure and blue sky, air and light are an internal national consciousness that embodied the first independent movements…
Finally, Jumblat was definitely greatly influenced by the environment he lived in forming a unified relationship between him and his surrounding atmosphere. He said “The environment is double; the psychic moral, social and historical one versus the geographical climate, and both of them have great effect on the formation of the person whether socially, politically, morally, or psychologically; for there is a dialectical unity between the human being and the environment” (Jumblat, ¼ century..p.95).
His School Years:
Jumblat left to Aintoura-the boarder school in Lebanon-to face a new external atmosphere that met his potentials as a nine year old extraordinary child who wants to approach the essence of existence. In Aintoura, unlike other children, he insisted on attending the religious ceremonies in the church each Sunday and on listening to and following the advice of the bishops, admiring their attitude to an extent that he hoped to be one among them. Jumblat spent eleven years there growing in mind and spirit, identifying with the life of Jesus Christ and the deciples’ principles and ways of life which influenced his life and were revealed in most of his writings.
In his last high school year, he had the opportunity to take a general philosophy course introducing him to the main theories of the different schools of philosophy and ethics. Jumblat became very interested in these subjects, and wherever he went, he was always accompanied with books of a philosophical nature. He says after he had read Pascal, Blondel, Bergson, Ghandi, the Bibles, and the Books of Wisdom (the Books of his religion), he had reached the essence of his contemplation. He felt this way while he was still in high school ! All these philosophies and philosophers had a great impact again on his way of living and thinking.
In France, Jumblat had the opportunity to do a lot of reading while finishing his university studies. He was the typical student who adopted the method of permanent research of the truth. In France again, he fully experienced Christianity besides studying the spirituality and epistemology of the Greek and Indian Philosophy (whose influence will be discussed in details later in this chapter). He tried to compare and contrast the various western trends in philosophy with the eastern ones. He was influenced by Pascal, T. de Chardin, William James… among many others.
Jumblat’s universal journeys as an influence and source of inspiration
His journeys after the truth were mostly destined to India, China, and Egypt.