Sunday, December 23, 2012
4 Ahau - 3 Kankin - another 13 Baktuns passed - and the vampires are marching in
Why this extreme interest in and fascination of the End of the World?
Of course the World does not end on this date, just as it did not end the last tine, 4 Ahau, 8 Cumku, 126.96.36.199.0 in the year 3113 BC, August 13.
Films and modern folk myth with more or less superstition have focused on the Baktun change in the Mayan calendar. Before that it was of course the Millennium change. And the whole 20th century has seen many expected endings of our World.
Good, bad or catastrofic films depict many scenarios of endings from floods to comets. Fortunately the Earth is often saved by American heroes!
Why this interest in the End? We saw another belief in an ending 1000 years ago in Europe and also around the birth of Christ in the Middle East. I think these anxieties are not simply caused by round dates in our or the Mayan calendar.
Rather such fears tend to occur around the birth of a new high culture or civilization. The Middle Eastern or Oriental civilization started at the time of the birth of Christ. Our civilization around 1000. Another example of such apocalyptic fears was in the beginning of the second Chinese civilization around 200 AD. See http://polybios2100.blogspot.dk/2012/10/civilizations.html?m=1
But such fears could also be a sign of the beginning stagnation and later decline of a civilization. That is what I assume is in the play now. The era of modern scientific thinking is the last stage of the peak of a civilization. The tendencies toward superstition and new religiosity are already clearly to see in the horizon. It is not so that all phases of a civilization or high culture are non-religious and non-mythic in thinking. That is only the case in the later centuries culminating in the around 3 centuries of the Modernity. Here mythos is effectively replaced by logos, the logical scientific thinking.
This phase has not in any of the older civilizations lasted forever. The extremely logical, all too clear thinking becomes insustainable. Superstition and religion or just mythical thinking begin to return. In our case this is evident in phenomena like role plays, the Gothic scene and the interest in the supernatural. Vampires fill films and song texts and are used by some as a religious substitute.
At the same time we may have a vague feeling of the approaching end of not just the era of logos, but also the 1000 year era of cultural explosive creativity.
And because of the return of mythos this vague knowledge manifests itself in the form of apocalyptic myths. The only thing that seems to prolong the era of logical thinking is the fantastic progress resulting from scientific thinking, not least in information technology.
But the myths are already creeping into the Internet....
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Middle East, Rome and the United States
As reaction to the observer status granted to Palestine by the UN, Israel has decided to establish another settlement. This will separate the Palestinian area on the West Bank in three parts: North, South and East Jerusalem, areas without direct connection. The parallel to the Bantustans of the Apartheid Regime could not be more clear.
Today I will point to clear parallels between on the one side Rome and the Middle East 2000 years ago and on the other side the United States and the Middle East today. The Middle East then and now hosts the same civilization, the one I term the Oriental-Arab. The Jews have changed their role between the two situations. Two thousand years ago they were an integral part of the Oriental Civilization and culture. Now they are a part of the Western Civilization.
At that time this Oriental Civilization was in naissance, now it is old and fighting for survival in the light of increasing Western dominance. Today parts of the populations have been culturally assimilated like the whole of China and India today, see http://polybios2100.blogspot.dk/2012/10/civilizations.html. This is the case for the middle class and city populations in more states in the Golf and North Africa and indeed Iran. But still considerable parts of the Middle East resist the West. Not only originally nomadic and backward rural populations like Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan’s North West, Sudan and Somalia, but also the rural and poor parts of the populations in countries like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and yes, Iran are still keeping up resistance. This can be seen on the support for president Morsi and the two Islamist parties in Egypt right now.
The resistance not only arises because another and different civilization is taking over militarily, politically and culturally. Also the fact that the West now is in its modernity, where the Middle East has left this phase 900 years ago. This distance in historical phase adds to the feeling on both sides of dissimilarity. In Roman times the Romans were in their modernity, while the Middle East was 700 years before its own.
Rome handled the Orientals in a very clumsy manner. Roman leaders, businessmen, publicans and sinners robbed the populations.
In 88 BC king Mithridates of Pontus in one day slaughtered 80.000 roman businessmen. This was aided by the local populations in the East. The attack on the World Trade Centre by Bin Laden is a clear symbolic equivalent. In both cases it expresses the contempt for a world power obsessed by the thirst for money.
Later the Jews stood for much of the resistance. The Macccabeans had thrown the Hellenistic "western" Seleucids out in 165 BC. But the westernization had continued in parts of the population in Jewish Palestine. Others opposed this like the Zealots. In the meanwhile the Romans entered.
Now the extreme of the Jews assumed the same role as the Islamic terrorists today. The merciless fight against the "western" Romans started. As the Jews were already widespread and became even more so, the fight engulfed large parts of the eastern Mediterranean. This continued and flared up again and again in the Jewish war in 66-70 and the Bar Kokhba revolt 132-136. And not least in the Diaspora revolt 115-117 AD. Hundreds of thousands of Romans were killed.
That the Jews were the front runners of the Middle Eastern or Oriental civilization might sound a bit odd today. But it is only because today the Jews are totally culturally assimilated in the West. Israel is with some right seen as a western occupation force in the heart of another civilization. Two thousand years ago the Jews were a part of the emerging civilization which I term the Oriental-Arab. Even though this civilization in the first 600 years in religious matters was dominated by Christianity and Parsism and then by Islam, it really is one cultural unity. The Jews has until the last couple of centuries been a part of this civilization too. Only with the dominance of our civilization have they become a part of the West.
As the Jews, so also Christianity was originally a part of the Oriental civilization and culture.
Beware America. Learn from the experience of the Romans. Too aggressive policies toward the opposition in the Middle East and especially support for the irresponsible Israeli government will just increase the opposition from the non-assimilated people in the Middle East and increase the support for these groups and thereby terrorists.
The Republicans must stop to like Netanyahu, just because he is no friend of Obama and because he is right wing just like us.
The invasion of Iraq was a fatal error. Saddam Hussein did not support Bin Laden, and he did not have weopons of mass destruction. Instead he stabilized the many different peoples in Iraq. And he was secular and thus a westerner! Now the anti-western extremists are loose. Syria will no doubt end the same place, when Assad falls. Afghanistan is not won by the west and cannot be. Rather if the USA and its allies leave, the Taliban will come back.
So to keep control over the terrorist threat, the USA will have to control Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely.
Yemen and North-western Pakistan is on the road in the same direction. Syria will sooner or later also have to be put under American control. And what about northern Mali? And later perhaps North Sudan or Somalia?.
America is by the fight against terrorism being forced to control all these states. They will be de facto American provinces. At the same time this will increase opposition from the not assimilated like the terrorists and even bring support for these people from the more westernized populations.
This development is hard to handle. The West cannot just let areas of the size of Europe become terrorist nests. But with a more balanced policy the USA can hope to keep the extreme anti-western sentiments from spreading to population segments which were about to become westernized. Disappointment over the chaos and lack of economic development after the Arab Spring can quickly cool the interest in westernization. Unwise American policies would add considerably to this.
Already alone the cultural influence from the west is inspiring opposition. There is no need to let wrong policies aggravate things further.
Roman history shows the extent of the possible resistance from the Oriental civilization. The only hope for the Americans of avoiding the same scale violence, is that the oriental civilization was then in the beginning about to rise. Today it is old. Therefore the resistance might fall more quickly. But one-sided and narrow minded American policies backing Israeli right wing governments can prolong the resistance from parts of the Middle East. This will inevitably lead to more terrorism.
So clumsy, oppressive and pro-Israeli polices will increase the resistance toward the West in the Middle East. Resistance will lead to internal state splitting and chaos and lead to more terrorism. This again will force the Americans to intervention and invasions, More and more countries will come under direct American control. Two thousand years ago Rome also had to occupy more and more countries because of rising chaos, whivh they had themselves contributed to. There was even that times version of Somali pirates operating from Asia Minor.
The occupation and direct control of opposing countries may seem good, but it will be controlled states with unwilling populations. It may be better with less direct control over culturally assimilated populations.
You do not want to figure as the publicans and sinners in a future Bible. Unless of course like some of those in the past you repent.