Arab News reports that Naif Al-Mutawa, creator of ‘The 99′ comic book series, gave the keynote speech at Effat University yesterday. In his remarks, he noted how Muslim society had somehow come to see thinking as dangerous, instead preferring to take on received knowledge. Mankind, he said, shares a commonality of values, he said, though it appears some try to disguise this. Arab and Muslim societies do need to develop critical thinking skills. This is not to create a world of doubt, but to ensure that they are doing the best they can to confront challenges unknown in the 7th C. CE.
Society needs diversity to be healthy, says Al-Mutawa
ROGER HARRISON | ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, originator of the series of superhero comics and films “The 99” gave a sparkling presentation at Effat University in Jeddah on Wednesday of the origins and thinking behind his creation.
The presentation came as a keynote speech at the two-day eighth Social Media Symposium, which reviews and analyzes the impact of digital social media channels on society and newsgathering.
Demonstrating with practical examples that a viewer’s culture defined his perception of beauty, he told the audience that when art became another branch of religion it took away an individual’s ability to think and form an independent opinion.
Al-Mutawa, a practicing medical psychologist, referred to the rapid expansion of access to art and ideas in the early European renaissance and the invention of the printing press, saying that as a result they were no longer the province of the extant church from whom opinions of beauty and worth stemmed.
“It was the end of the age of recitation over reason. Henry VIII spent a lot of his life trying to reverse that, but he failed,” he opined. “Our culture tells us that if you think too much you will go to hell. We need to make up a new word for think.”