DEFINING THE PRESENT SITUATION OF MUSLIMS AND RE-ENACTING THE PROPHET’S GHAZWAS
The 9/11 Handbook - Annotated Translation and Interpretation of the Attackers' Spiritual Manual - Hans G. Kippenberg
Hans G. Kippenberg [+]
University of Erfurt
Knowing that the Spiritual Manual was in the hands and minds of the four attacking teams enables us to reconstruct how the attackers under- stood their action. In addressing this issue I would like to follow sociolo- gists who distinguish the motivations of an actor from the meaning of his/her action. Max Weber in particular emphasized the difference. According to Weber, ‘action (including intentional omission and acqui- escence) is always intelligible behaviour towards objects, behaviour whose “actual” or “intended” subjective meaning may be more or less clear to the actor, whether consciously noted or not’. Because any practical attitude towards the world is mediated by ‘meaning’, and because ‘meaning’ is often shaped by religious worldviews and ethics, ‘meaning’ is different from the personal motivation of the actor, although it is part of his subjective acting. To differentiate this type of meaning from personal motives, Weber coined the notion of ‘subjective meaning’. However, since the meaning of an action has to be recognized by others, an actor cannot invent it ad hoc but depends on a stock of available meanings applicable to action. Even if an actor is not able to explicate it, ‘meaning’ remains part of his/her social transactions and can be retrieved by tracing the historical genealogy of actions.