In order to understand this phenomenon, it is critical to keep in mind that for the totalitarian radical, experiencing any kind of joy means succumbing to the false consciousness that, in the utopian mindset, must be purged from the earth. Earthly joy distracts from the constant vigilance that is necessary to engage in revolutionary battle.
This is why Lenin refused to listen to music, since, as he explained, “it makes you want to say stupid, nice things and stroke the heads of people who could create such beauty while living in this vile hell.” For Lenin, violent revolution was the priority — a priority endangered by the emotions music could induce.
Sayyid Qutb, one of Islamism’s godfathers, could relate to this vision all too well — and he serves as a perfect example of Islam’s rejection of the joyous celebration of this world and this life. In his work Milestones, Qutb demonizes the pursuit of individual interests and sensual pleasures — but above all sexual pleasure — and of personal happiness and fulfillment. The word “desire” reverberates through Milestones as a diabolical entity.
Go read the rest.
(Additional hat tip to Michael)