CIVILIZATION ILLUSION: Shocking Arabophilia?

Who invented “Arabic” numerals? Well, actually not the Arabs. (Let me hasten to point out that if I have nothing against the Arabs, especially considering my personal history; quite the opposite, I want Arabia to be a beacon of civilization! But this starts with explaining that Arabia lost a grip on civilization, and why. But first one has to adjudicate the progress of civilization correctly.)

In truth, the Indians. Great civilizations invent great ideas, that’s why they are great. Some civilizations are great, others are small, too small to produce enough new ideas to survive. The “Pythagoras” theorem, that the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the side of a triangle, was known (at least in part) to Babylonians and Egyptians, a millennium earlier (and the Greeks got it from them). This means the latter two made great civilizations, and the roots of Greece.

I do believe that there is such a thing as a superior culture, incarnated by a superior society, causing superior civilization, organized as a superior state, defended with superior skills at war. All great civilizations shared in that primary certainty: the very ancient Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, the Franks… And the Europeans, up to a recent time.

This chain of superiority is not just a belief, it has to be a requirement: when the culture fails, so, in the end, does the society, crushed by plutocracy, and then so do military defenses. That argument was made by a Mongol general to the Caliph in Baghdad, shortly before crushing him, and his family, under a carpet, with horses.

Al-Khwarizmi In Bagdad’s House Of Wisdom, Yet Not An Arab

Al-Khwarizmi In Bagdad’s House Of Wisdom, Yet Not An Arab

Here I was, enjoying the company of three superbly French fluent American girls. For some reason I forgot, the conversation veered to the French and American educational systems. I said they used to be the best, and are now going down. (See the PISA, UNESCO ratings.)

OK, as usual my conversational skills are tuned to make a good situation bad, and a bad one, worse. Something about me loving to pierce deeply the human soul with thought torpedoes. Indeed those smart and bilingual girls are enrolled in the one and only public high school in a city viewed in many places as an apex of intellect.

I added somberly that this degeneracy is particularly striking in the case of France. After all, the Franks, and then the French, were at the apex of civilization for more than 15 centuries. Education was made mandatory by the Carolingians in mid-Eight Century (before Charlemagne… whose father was strangely derelict by not teaching him how to read; but that’s another plot.)

If I expected a favorable audience. A rude surprise came my way.

I was told: ”What are you talking about?”

Well, I insisted, you know, even the USA, in more than one way, descends directly from France. After all the Franks of “Francia” not only conquered most of Europe, including Britain. They imprinted their superior Frank civilization on all of Europe. You know, Charlemagne “renovated” the “Roman empire”…

Those nice, well educated, polite girls fell on me. I had not taken the appropriate classes. They just did. Europe, the Franks, etc., were not the superior civilization. The Arabs were. The Arabs were the superior civilization, they invented all what mattered, while Europe lived in savagery.

The Arabs “invented everything, all the mathematics, the science, even the numbers and the zero. We just learned it at school.”…

“Learned it at school?” I felt like asking them if one of their professors was called Osama bin Laden Junior.

As they already looked at me as if I were an unreconstructed racist loony just emerging from a swamp somewhere in the company of a few dinosaurs, I did not try the flippant side.

Instead I asked whether they knew that, under the Arabs all women lived in slavery, and the Caliphs were obsessive about marrying Greco-Roman princesses or slaves (presumably because Arab women, having been enslaves abused and mistreated from birth were of insufficient quality; one does not imagine European lords desperate to acquire Arab slaves to marry them! Yet, that’s exactly what Arab worthies were doing; a lot of the business of Venice consisted in ferrying slaves picked-up in what is now Ukraine, and sell them to Arabs; Frankish law did not forbid that trade).

I told those students that the Greeks invented the zero, and part of the numeral system we used today. However blocked by the arrogance of Euclid, contempt for traders (who used a part modernized numeral system), and increasing fascism, the nascent numeral system was exported to India, where it was fully developed.

It’s true that Constantinople theocratic fascism had led many Roman intellectuals and their books to flee to Zoroastrian Persia. When Persia fell to the ISLAMIC STATE (no kidding!), the invading Arabs found themselves in command of many intellectuals and books (plus tens of millions of Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews).

The Arab army conquered with unbelievable success and savagery (killing the wounded, and all military age men throughout Syria, which was very rich, and Roman Catholic). The parts of the world it had acquired possession of, Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, Persia, were, at the time, the richest (because of superior agricultural production, irrigation, and, well, civilization). Fundamentalist Islam was going to durably spoil the soup.

So did the “Arabs” invent lots of things during the Middle Ages?

Well, if you are ready to call Spaniards, North Africans, Persians, Kurds, Turks and Jews “Arabs”, they sure did.

Now, of course, if one goes to North Africa, many people call themselves “Arabs”. So it is, for example, in Algeria. However, genetic studies show that Algerians are European with 1% of Arab genes (one probably would get similar results in France… As France was partly occupied for decades in the Eight Century by the main armies from Arabia… Amusingly, because these armies were busy getting killed in France, they were NOT in North Africa…).

The girls objected that the Church killed all intellectuals in Europe. Was not Copernic killed? Was not Galileo killed, or put in jail, or something?

The truth is horrifying: Copernic was not only not killed by the Church, but he was an Abbot. He died in his bed, clutching his book, dedicated to… the Pope (that the book was plagiarized from Buridan, and that Copernic removed the thanks to Aristarchus of Samos for having invented the idea, were probably subtle maneuvers of Abbot Copernic to circumvent the crusade of the Church against the hyper genius Buridanus… Who had proven Aristotle wrong, thus was an enemy of the Church!)

Galileo Galilei was best friend to the Pope (from when they were kids). Yet they got into a tiff about the tides. Galileo was wrong, but he pulled rank, as a university professor, on the Pope, telling him he did not know what he was talking about. This goes a long way to explain why Galileo ended his life confined by law to his mansion.

Make no mistake: the Church assassinated a number of thinkers.

However, overall, intellectuals fared much worse under Islam.

You see, Muhammad was a bandit, a raider, a war chief, the head of state, a prophet, and the head of Islam all at the same time. His “successors” (“Caliphs”) were supposed to be the same: head of state, and head of the state at the same time.

The relationship of the Christian Church with the state was different in the West. First, for nearly three centuries, it was viewed as an enemy of the state (as Christian officers refused to take the military oath of obedience, and Christians had made the Church into secretive, paramilitary organization). Then Roman emperors, from Constantine to Theodosius saw they could use it to their advantage, and made “Orthodox Catholicism” into the official religion.

This led to disaster.

Basically, the problem of the Late Empire was barbarity, and plutocracy running out of control. Christianity, with its insistence on non-violence, and that this city was not worth saving, made the problem worse, and the plutocrats loved it.

In the end, after two centuries of this increasing mess, the Franks took control, and remade Christianity, and an armada of saints they invented, to reflect their own secular humanism, cynically founded as the shock part of the Roman army, ever since Constantine.

Yet Church and State became completely separated.

The Frankish state principles, freedom, tolerance, secularism, mitigated plutocracy, outlawing of slavery, became the founding principles of Western civilization.

How come none of this is taught?

And if the “Arabs” invented something, then, what is it?

Arabic numbers? Well not really. The first work in the West (meaning west of India) on the modern number system is Al-Khwarizmi‘s On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals (ca. 825).

The author, a famous thinker and mathematician was born in Eastern Greater Iran, now called Uzbekistan.

As I projected my flow of knowledge their way, far from being awed the little girls started to look at me as if they had met the Devil incarnate. One brandished Sumer.

Yes, Sumer. Sumerian cities (partly) invented many ideas at the root of civilization, including the bicameral system, and the alphabet (in collaboration with mathematically refined, inventive Egypt).

Yet, Sumerian cities have little to do with the nefarious ideology which has oppressed the Middle East for most of the last 14 centuries. Quite the opposite.

Meanwhile, in Canada, a university professor is in jail. French justice is after him for taking part in an act of terrorism which killed 4 people in Paris… 34 (thirty-four) years ago. Those people did not just happen to be Jewish, they were targeted, because they were Jewish (there is no prescription for Crimes Against Humanity; killing people because of whom they are, instead of what they did, is a Crime Against Humanity).

Canada agreed to extradite him to France. Canada, and the rest of the Anglosphere is becoming more aware of the vicious thought and mood system emanating from the (literally interpreted) Qur’an.

If no one is here to fight for civilization, it will die. It starts by calling the Barbarians barbarian, as the Greeks pointed out.

Teaching little girls that Francia was nothing and Arabia everything in the way of thinking, is uprooting their roots. It’s even uprooting the roots of civilization.

One can teach parrots French. One cannot teach parrots civilization. Time to treat young human beings with the dignity of truth, to help raise them above the status of parrots. It starts with the reality of history.

Great civilizations invent great ideas, that’s why they are great. It matters who invented what, and how deep: because it enables to find which civilizations were great. Great thinking doesn’t arise ex-nihilo. Egypt, Babylon, Sumer, Greece, were great because they were more open, smarter societies than their more close minded and brutish competitors. Open to new ideas, open to common sense, always beat brutes with their heads in the sand.

Patrice Ayme’

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19 Responses to “CIVILIZATION ILLUSION: Shocking Arabophilia?”

  1. johsh Says:

    “I do believe that there is such a thing as a superior culture, incarnated by a superior society, causing superior civilization, organized as a superior state, defended with superior skills at war.”

    Its the other way around, winners of wars accumulate wealth, which gives abundant resources for establishing a stable society, which gives rise to superior/advancing culture. Around ~1000AD islam got to this point. They had a golden period for a while.

    Then, starting ~1500 they got too complacent, lost their war fighting ways. Then, British picked up, started conquering around the world. They became wealthy -> stable society -> culture (inventions, science, growth), golden period, decline. US comes in to picture, golden period currently, we know the future.

    Rome had similar story…fight wars, accumulate kingdoms(wealth), golden period of some sort, downfall.

    Through out all this , only one thing is constant, the quest to make sense of existence. The concept of god, religion, larger than life contemplation. I would look there to see who had superior culture.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hmmm, Josh… What you say is true for Arabs. But it’s not for the Chinese, say. I added a little section to make clearer the Arab conquest… of the richest part of the world. Big dates is that the Arab army was actually ANNIHILATED fighting the Franks in France 721 CE to 750.
      In 750, military gutted, the strictly Arab-Syrian Caliphate fell to Persians. Arabs would never recover strict and total control (Saladin was a Kurd, Constantinople fell to Muslim Turks in 1453).


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      In 1100 CE, the Franks counter-attack, the First Crusade, conquered Antioch, Jerusalem. So much for ‘Arab’ military superiority.
      Something else: in 1500 CE, the Arabs were nowhere in control except some of the Yemen mountains bin Laden’s family is from. It is the TURKS who controlled everything. Turks came from Central Asia, and adopted Islam around 1000 CE.

      Rome, a sort of peasant republic dominated by puppet kings, became rich over centuries, then had to fight a liberation war to death with Tarquinus Superbus and his Etruscan masters. One can easily argue Roman wars were defensive, for many centuries (a Gallic king conquered Rome in the Fourth Century BCE; after paying him off, the Roman field army annihilated him and his soldiers; during the Second Punic war, Hellenistic dictatorship allied themselves with Carthage against the Republic… And so on.)

      Tibet long existed as a theocracy contemplating whatever. That made it super backwards… and self-satisfied, that way. It’s now in the process of disappearing.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Josh: When Genghis Khan decided to unleash his army against the Muslims’ advanced civilization/dictatorship to the west, it was not because he was on an existential quest. It had to do with the Muslims having cut the silk road, and then then having cut the throats of 200 Mongol traders and diplomats. In the purest Islamist State tradition of absolute terror, as found in the Qur’an.

      We actually have the correspondence between Genghis and the Muslim dictator. It finished by Genghis telling the crazed Muslim maniac that “After what you did, God will decide.”

      Similarly, Rome found itself attacked by Pyrrhus, a roaming Greek war king, in Southern Italy. Rome was searching for the survival of existence…


  2. johsh Says:

    arab technically limits islam to small area, Islam’s reach/conquer was much much larger (including genghis’s kins). As you say, they dont have state and religion separate.

    superior culture is not a given. Wars trigger change, new knowledge, stir the pot so to say. And winners write the history, so everything we are talking about is literally created by them.

    Even though rome’s wars were mostly defensive, the way they formed an empire is through winning several small wars/conquests in the beginning, similar to the story of every other “superior culture” to come later.

    Its like saying certain human is a “good man” or has “superior culture”. If a murderer slaughters him, then at later point in time, that “superior culture” is no-more, the murderer on the other hand, could have learned a valuable moral lesson, or the consequences for his actions, become a better man. Now, at this point in time, he will claim he is a good man, has superior-culture. No need for any claim, everybody else around him seeing the change-in-him will call him a good man. The history is written.

    Like i said “Winners of wars …”, moral or not, superior culture or not.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      That winners rewrite history is a well known first approximation of truth. Serious historians, and now archeologists, can correct propaganda. Archeology has seriously changed, in recent years the way the Roman Middle East is viewed: basically it was very prosperous until the calamitous war with Persia around 600 CE, which made the bed for the Arab conquest.

      In my particular case, I enjoy destroying lies, that’s my ideology, especially authoritarian lies…


      • johsh Says:

        history is more about narrative than some archaeology. Archaeology at best gives you clues, or corroborates something that’s already written (of course by victors).

        For example, the first thing islam did after conquering somebody or some state, is to burn their “culture” and “history” (scriptures, temples, way of life). Before 1900s, one’s culture is heavily influenced by religion, and islam would swallow all cultures that come in its path, and would make them distinctly islamic. Look at persia. iraq, egypt.

        No kind of archaeology can give you the full story or tell you the ideas of those cultures. The bias is written in to history.

        historians, serious or not, are even worse, they rely on the mercy of “surviving books/scriptures”. At least archaeology has a scientific process.

        By hook or crook, win the wars. You will get to decide and write what the future is. superior culture ? blah. Lot of cultures perished thinking they were superior … how idiotic of them.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Superiority is hard to maintain. By hook, or by crook, one has to determine reality, past, or present. Hence the interest of genetics, archeology, etc. Middle Eastern farming came into Europe through migration of Mesopotamians. That has just been determined recently (2014) from genetics.
          So we are all Mesopotamians, and invading there is just Reconquista, ha ha ha…


  3. pshakkottai Says:

    “superior culture ? blah. Lot of cultures perished thinking they were superior … how idiotic of them.”
    But not India. Its civilization has survived intact.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes, excellent point, Partha! India is indeed pretty much itself, yet improved, as Western Europe is: pretty much itself, yet improved. So is China. Japan is also somewhat itself. And so on.(Wait… OK, Vietnam…)

      Seems like the great civilizations are still around, yet improved: less sexism, slavery outlawed, education mandatory, religion subjugated: exactly the state of the Imperium Francorum in 650 CE plus or minus 100 years.

      By 750CE, contrarily to legend, civilization had been much improved relative to the Roman empire: it’s not just that the Franks defeated the Islamists (something Rome had been unable to do!), it’s that sexism was out big time, slavery had been outlawed, and the fanatical Christian Church, when not used as a piggy bank (nationalization in the 720s), and a mandatory secular education device, had been forced to tolerate all sorts of Jews, unbelievers, heathens, and Pagans…

      One can argue that the civilizations which deserved to survive, did. Indeed.

      All cultures have been elaborated through a process of superiority: all cultures are obtained by selecting what they view as the fittest traits, and think of themselves as superior, until they start dying. Yet, the top ones are indeed superior.


    • johsh Says:

      like human tribes, cultures invade too (by hook or by crook!).

      Western (american) culture has been slowly suffocating indian culture for last few decades, if not a century. Give it ~100-200 yrs (a generation or two).

      Currently, Indian youth are going through western cultural pains, like confused teens. I doubt anybody will wear saris in ~2100, for example. Being a 3rd world country is hard (lack of resources for law and order), I hope westernized/confused-india grows into a mature adult.

      anyways, I do think the indian culture produced some good ideas like buddhism and non-duality (advaita). But like any good ideas, they can perish too if not understood/exercised properly. There are no guarantees for human stupidity.


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Josh: I have seen a few times some Bollywood movies (i.e. Indian movies), and also Chinese movies, that left a more lasting impression than ALL Hollywood/American movies I have seen in the last ten years. So I don’t think India, or China, are losing the culture war.

        American culture is a reduced common denominator of European culture. It’s a sort of SAFE MODE, like in a degenerated computer. I don’t think it can swallow anything. Real European culture right now is that of a continent with 50 nations, or so. True it all (95%) descends from the Imperium Francorum, as far as the Common Core is concerned, although there are exceptions on the periphery (Georgia… Although Georgia and the Franks were Allies to reduce destroy the Caliphate in the Thirteenth Century (with the Mongols and Armenians…)

        Said Common Core (1789…) was adopted by the USA later (Secession War, MLK…)


        • johsh Says:

          china has hope, their language is in no danger for a long time to come.

          India, on the other hand, i wouldn’t be surprised if no body speaks any indian languages in another ~500 years time. Most of the university educated in india get their higher education in english, for example. Once one’s own language is gone, their culture is not too far out..though, some aspects of indian culture may linger.


          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Language is not the end all, be all. In the case of French and English, they are clearly two aspects of the same. There are actually three main languages in China (the third one is talked by around 50 million people)… My daughter is learning Mandarin, th language of the imperial Han (as it’s well known I love empires, ;-)).


  4. me adarayai Says:

    me adarayai

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