Only Philosophy Can Reverse Civilization Collapse

World population is presently exploding. How many human beings were there before dogs became in wide use? In 35,000 BCE, it is estimated that Earth had three million human beings. Before the rise of cities, in 10,000 BCE, world population had reached 15 million. The rise of civilization was enabled by a technological explosion, the discovery, invention and intense use intense use of science, technology, writing, genetic engineering (dogs, cattle, goats, chicken, cats, wheat, rye, millet, rice, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, etc.), irrigation, fuel, etc.

Civilizations rise when they find new technological tricks to dominate and exploit their environments, be it the human, and, or, natural, environments. Those tricks exhaust resources after a while, bringing stress, thus war (against people, and, or, nature). War activates the fascist instinct, bringing the rise of plutocracy (as observed nowadays), and complete cretinism (also known as theocracy). This makes the collapse worse. Civilization can be destroyed by fate. The most famous case is a civilization we owe so much to: Crete. It was devastated by one of the worst volcanic explosion in 25,000 years (as it tried to recover, it was hit by a “plague”, according to Greek historians). 

Cretan Girls Leaped Over Bulls In The Nude

Cretan Girls Leaped Over Bulls In The Nude

Crete is part of our cultural inheritance. Today, the status of women depends upon the breakthrough ancient paintings (from the Knossos Palace, above), some 40 centuries old, depict. The status of women was high in Crete. Women could be in authority, for 2,000 years. Women were then to be subjugated in Greece, for 3,500 years (yes, time flies, these are big numbers: civilizational setbacks can last millennia).

Europe is named after Crete, an acknowledgment. The goddess Europa was from Crete (and one of her sons was the famous king Minos, after whom Minoan Civilization is named).

An example of self-imploding collapse is the Maya. The Maya were, for millennia, an extremely advanced civilization which seemed to be on its way to accomplish on its own something similar to the ascending superiority of Middle Earth (my term for the Mediterranean plus Egypt-Middle East-Arabia plus India area).

However, a terrible century long drought starting in the Seventh Century struck the Maya who proved unable to manage the crisis, to which they added terrible wars (the worst involving a queen, in the leading role, not just the usual demonic males). All Maya cities were destroyed. When the Spaniards landed, eight centuries later, the Maya were just shadows of their former selves (yet, they proved to be tough customers).

As Jared Diamond (2005, in his book “Collapse”) wrote, one can only be struck by “the disappearance of between 90 and 99% of the Maya population after A.D. 800 …and the disappearance of kings, Long Count calendars, and other complex political and cultural institutions.” Not just that, but much more importantly, the giant irrigation system of the Maya, with its dams and canals, was one of the world’s largest, ever: it can still be seen from space. When that centuries old irrigation system was left in disrepair, civilization became history.

In the close-by very extensive highlands of central Mexico, many powerful states also rose to high levels of power and prosperity, only to rapidly collapse. Teotihuacan (the sixth largest city in the world in the Seventh Century) and Monte Alban among those to experience dramatic collapse, with populations decline of at least 20–25% from their peak within a couple of generations (Tainter, 1988).

Civilization collapses come in many guises. Egypt cycled through more than two dozen dynasties, and a couple of century long occupations, tweaking itself every time. However, in the end it was unable to stay an independent, original civilization, undergoing thereafter 2,000 years of subjugation. 

The present civilization was born from a near-collapse. And was born thanks to a philosophical reset.

Indeed, in the case of the Greco-Roman empire, full collapse was avoided. The Franks rebooted Greco-Roman civilization, with their own Germano-Christian sauce, by the early Fifth Century (defeat of Goths who were ejected from Gaul, 507 CE, thanks to the battle of Vouille’). This is completely clear, when one inspects known facts, battles, laws, and the Storia Francorum of bishop Gregory of Tours.

The truth of what happened was masked by severe setbacks which were endured in the Sixth Century, under (Constantinople based) Roman emperor Justinian: Christian madness made Greco-Roman intellectuals flee to Persia (!), while a terrible plague (“Justinian Plague”), and a mysterious cataclysm (asteroid, volcano?) struck Earth’s climate. (The reality of what happned under the Franks was also masked by French Revolutionary propaganda, which was anxious to put all and any “ancient regime” in a bad light, and the usual Anglo-Saxon propaganda, anxious to disparage its absurdly French origins in all and any way.)

Differently from the Maya, the Franks centered in, or around Paris, and the Romans in Constantinople, were able to adapt to the catastrophes of the Fourth (Christianization, Gothic invasion), Fifth (Germanic invasions of 406 CE; then, the Huns), Sixth (as related above), and Seventh Centuries (dramatic war with Persia, followed by the surprise attack of the god crazed Arabs).

Both then defeated in the Eight Century those fanatics of war who had attacked like carnivorous locusts.   

The official “Renovatio Imperii”, the Renovation of Rome, was made formal when Carlus Magnus (Charlemagne) was endowed with the sole “Imperator Romanorum” (Imperator of the Romans) title in 800 CE, an imperial tradition which went on with say Otton II in 962 CE, and for more than a millennium (formally, Napoleon I, as leader of Francia was entitled, the Roman way, to grab back the title for himself).

Greco-Roman civilization incorporated the Cretan, Egyptian-Sumerian, Phoenician civilizations (with more than a touch of Etruscan). Then other Middle Eastern elements were included (Mythra, Great Mother Cult, Judaism, etc.) Western civilization incorporated even more: the fierce love of freedom, and women, of the Germans, and the generalized tolerance and open mindedness of the Franks (by 600 CE all citizens were Franks, and, within a generation the slave trade was outlawed by the Imperium; that latter fact was a world’s first). Interestingly the Franco-Roman synthesis incorporated traits which Crete had, but that the Hellenes had lost (for example maximum sexual equality, in at least some respects: there were female Cretan matadors, playing with ferocious giant bulls).

Conclusion? Even in an horrendous situation (the decline of the Roman empire, under fascism, theocracy, barbarity, invasions, ecological collapse, plague, unfathomable impact of a giant explosion somewhere), fresh new ideas, arising from shock philosophy can turn things around. The Franks demonstrated this thoroughly. The Chinese also did, on a more modest scale… Until Mao came, and unleashed the Dark Side onto fossilized Chinese thought, habits, and a philosophy, Confucianism, which had ruled for 26 centuries, as the symbol of ultimate wisdom (which it was not).

To repeat slowly: the Franks introduced the following reforms, in rough chronological order:

  1. The rule of warriors bound to common sense and religious tolerance (in complete contradiction with the Catholic terror, just prior). This was illustrated by Clovis’ quip that, had his Franks been there, Christ would never have been crucified. On the surface, it’s as if Clovis had understood nothing of Christianity. Indeed it looks as if Clovis had not understood that God wanted to be crucified, just to visit a guilt complex on his followers, same as with the story of the snake and the apple. Most probably, Clovis understood all too well< and made a show that he was firmly intend to violate God’s law. In any case, under the Franks, Judaism, Paganism, etc were freely practiced. Christianism with a human, even Frankish face (to the Vatican’s rage).
  2. The implementation of a modern, much less sexist, non-discriminatory legal system, applying to all by 600 CE, the Lex Salica, on top of Justinian’s refurbishing of Roman law. By 600 CE, all citizens of the Imperium Francorum were Franks (in a dramatic contrast with the situation in Spain, where the Visigoths applied Visigothic law just to themselves; same in italy where the Lombards, another type of Germans, were above Roman law)
  3. The outlawing of slavery (starting around 650 CE).
  4. Nationalization  of the Catholic Church, constitution of the largest professional army since Republican Rome, to face the humongous Islamist invasions of 721-745 CE. Destruction of the army of the Arab Caliphate (which thus collapsed in 750 CE, crushing Bin Laden and other Islamists forever thereafter).    

All these reforms were of a philosophical nature: the Vatican discussed excommunicating Charles Martel, for expropriating the Church, but concluded it was safer not to debate with a Hammer. When the Franks formed, named, and made a bishop, within three weeks, from an illiterate Frankish warrior, they were sending a message to the Vatican about who was the boss: secularism, not superstition.

Civilization survived from smarts, not just swords.

Patrice Ayme’

 

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28 Responses to “Only Philosophy Can Reverse Civilization Collapse”

  1. Chris Snuggs Says:

    Philosophy has no money, tanks or planes.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Chris! This is a tweak on Stalin’s famous quip: “The Pope? How many divisions?”
      Stalin was a manipulator: he wanted the Americans to believe his 600 divisions where all what mattered. But he kept secret that he was left with less than 200 functioning tanks after the battle of Berlin in April 1945. Ultimately, one of the greatest factor in freeing Poland from Russian subjugation was Pope John Paul II (I don’t venerate popes, and that one less than say John XXIII, or Francis I)

      Nearly all and any invasion was driven by a new philosophy. Islam is exhibit number one. But even the Mongols of Genghis Khan had a significantly new philosophy (Nestorian Christian driven, probably). The USA, BTW, or even the Americas, these successful colononizations, were driven by new philosophies. Present USA society is driven by distinctly different philosophy, and so on.

      Anyway, cofusing tanks and philosophy is like confusing computer and software: no software, no operational computer. Given a computer, you have to equip it with a software. The concept of civilization does not go without its software, its own philosophy.

  2. indravaruna Says:

    The problem with Philosphy is that its audience is small and intellectual, there is no mystery why the jewish inspired Abrahamic faiths defeated Greek Philosophy, they talked to the unloved masses, Karl Marx came from a Rabbinical family and Marxism talked to the masses and became the biggest political inovation of the last couple of centuries, Fascism and National Socialism were a answer fo International Marxism.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      All and any civilization has an operative philosophy. So philosophy is ubiquitous. However, philosophical debate is not (indeed). Christianism was the operative philosophy of the European Middle Ages. It became rabid after 1095 CE, when the first crusade was launched. The rabid rabbis went east and killed other Jews, one could cynically observe (Jesus being a rabbi).

      International “Marxism” varied. Even today Putin’s monarchy is obviously more unbalanced and even more dangerous than the Communists in China (not to say all is fine with Xi, very far from it, the PRC could explode any day… But the PRC is more democratic than Putinistan.

      From my point of view, National-Socialism was a direct outgrowth of the Goth-style approach to civilization (racism, that’s why they lost Spain to the Muslims) and the Teutonic Knights approach to Prussia, and then Lithuania, etc… Hitler cynically appealed to the Commies and the like to get votes, he says this explicitly in Mein Kampf.

  3. EugenR Says:

    You are very right, on the long run certain ideas prevail and others not. Then these ideas are indestructible, while the tanks, soldiers and even divisions can be and are destroyed. Yet on the short run the divisions can bring victory.

  4. EugenR Says:

    I wrote to you in short comment, that on the short term can be won victories. But then I meditated on this and asked myself, can a short term one time event like a battle change the world history?
    The answer is not so obvious as it may seem. Let’s take some historical examples, and I will try to do it chronologically.
    The most important battle from the ancient times that comes to my mind is the battle of Kadesh, fought between Ramses the second and the King Muwatalli II of the Hittite Empire, dated between 1274-1290 b.c. The battle was the most important one fought between the two superpowers of the ancient world, and ended actually in draw. Thanks to this result, the young Egyptian pharaoh understood the limits ot military power, and agreed to sign peace treaty with the Hittites that lasted for the remainning of his whole long reign of at least 60. And still surprisingly nothing is writen about this battle, not in greek historical sources and not in bible, which is even more interesting, since in the bible is mentioned the name of Ramses as a city built by the Hebrews. Also according to the bible chronology, presumably the epoch of the judges is very close to the epoch of reign of Ramses, and Kadesh is very close to the northern borders of Israel. But i will rather not comment on the historical genuineness of the bible, which get it’s writen form about half millennium later.
    If not “Napoleon’s” egyptologists, nobody would remember the battle of Kadesh. So this is a historical event, that had no importance what so ever for the future historical developments.
    On the other hand the Greek victories upon the Persians at Marathon, did have a long term influance, seen even today. Why it is so? It definitely is not because this battle ended with clear victory of the Greeks against all the odds. I would say the reason this victory is so well remembered is due it becoming part of Clasical Greek epical memory, and its influence on human consciousness is profound. So not with the battle itself won the Greeks the war, but turning it to an iconic cultural event.
    There is an other example of different category, the battle of Hastings, in which William the conqueror won aganst Harold a relatively small battle, with less than 15,000 fighters all together, and changed the future of England and France. If not this battle, England would remain probably Saxon, without Norman influence and Norman Kings. Since the Normans rulled also parts of France, this victory paved the road to claim of English kings on French territories. It may sound strange, but the whole regional but also European history would be different, if this battle would end differently or would never happened.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Can a battle change world history? It depends which battle. But yes. Marathon is the obvious example.

      The battle of Kadesh is known in detail (Ramses saved the day, in the end, barely). However, frankly, I doubt it would have changed anything: Egyptians and Hittites were not dissimilar. The alphabet arose around Tyr, Phoenicia (a few minutes flight time from Kadesh). The People of the Sea wiped out the Hittites, but then they were defeated and enslaved by the Egyptians (once again, barely).

      Kadesh was mild plutocracy against mild plutocracy.

      Marathon was Direct Democracy (Athens) versus invasive giant plutocracy (Persia). The Persian defeat was crushing. Democracy gained nearly two centuries. I warn you against falling in the same sort of mood as Michel Foucault (the medium is the message, as the equally clueless Marcuse proposed, in a bleating echo of “French Theory”).

      The Normans did NOT rule part of France. Guillaume’s army was full of French barons. The Normans; had accepted the king of France as suzerain in the early tenth century. Claims of English kings on French territories never happened. It was more like claims of French on French. For example Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine married the king of France, had 3 daughters, then married the king of England, had 5 children, including 3 sons. One of those Richard Coeur de Lion (Lion Heart), is in front of Westminster (Whom his mother vastly improved). However, in his entire life, he spent less than 3 years in England. Richard was a French king, mostly.

      The Duchy of Aquitaine was bestowed originally as a division of the late Roman empire (before the Frankish Renovation)…. So its infeodation to Paris was not clear.

      Edward III of England (who launched the 100/485 years war between France and England) was the grandson of Philippe Le Bel. His mother, the queen of England, was also nicknamed the “SHE WOLF OF FRANCE”, and, legally speaking, OUGHT to have been made Queen of France.

      It’s flattering the Brits to call the wars with France the way they are usually called. Actually they were Franco-French wars.

      A little more on the period, my way:
      https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/joan-of-arc-roasted-too-late/

      • Kevin Berger Says:

        Re the Normans, and still degrading a larger topic by making it go through the prism of my obsessions and pet peeves, the Brits claiming to have been conquered by the Normans!!!, who were VIKINGS!!!, and NOT, certainly NOT by the French, is part and parcel of what I perceive as a culturally ingrained defence mechanism (exemplified by the the “Crecy!!! Azincourt!!! Waterloo!!!” Holy Trinity), that is illustrative of a larger “plasticity”.

        And it works, too, aside from the extreme examples (such as the occasional “France lost the 100 years war”), there’s this widespread, diffuse “notion” of France having been but one of the conquered lands, of the 100 years war being something of a Brit affair, with France as the hapless player.

        Great illustration of that pervasive, diffuse notion here, with the above “If not this battle, England would remain probably Saxon, without Norman influence and Norman Kings. Since the Normans ruled also parts of France, this victory paved the road to claim of English kings on French territories.”
        Shades of that UKIP buffoon mp tweeting about somehow reclaiming Calais.

        Does “narratives-shaping” count as a philosophy?
        Because, if it does, the plutocracy (IE the Anglo system gone fully global) does have its own, quite effective working philosophy, of which this tidbit is just a cute example.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Agreed pretty much to all.
          Indeed, the plutocracy has its philosophy, and it’s found in the Financial Times. Thus the danger of reading English (and my position as satanic worm in the fruit).
          There is the one about the French having exterminated the Jews, and the one about France having caused Nazism, etc.
          I wish I had the time to roll out one of these recent exchanges,,,

      • EugenR Says:

        Thanks for the addition information about the antiques. You are right that the people of sea destroyed the Egypto-Hittite world. Not Egypt and not the Levant will be the same after them. The Phoenician, the Hebrews, the Plistinians, the Greeks and many other nation apeared as a dominant nations after them. Most of the new nations were Semic, as contrary to the Egyptians and the Hittits, out of them the Assyrians came out as leading force, who subdued not only the Levant, Iraq and Persia, but also Egypt. The Persian empire was the direct continuation of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Interestingly Assyrians and the Babylonians were Semitic origin, the Persians were not. In a way they developed as a ” Nation”, in the edges of the region.
        Anyway to judge the rules and their identity in today’s terms like French, English etc., is absurd. These early medieval kings looked on themselves as family or clan members, first in the rank due to heritage rulls, who possess territories, on which live people, who are also their family possession. ( they even were not tribe leaders, like the Arab sheiks).
        The fact, that they all spoke French, did not make them French in the modern terms.
        The Vikings invided northen France and England from the 9 century. England they took over very soon, and if not Alfred the Great, probably would not be Saxons in England at all. Then in beginning of eleventh century Harald and then Canute the Great (great is my addition) created a new Viking dynasty, after Canute adapted English manners and Christianity. By the way, Vikings were ordinary pirates, who invided foreign countries to commit robbery. Then they discovered that noone can militarily oppose them, then why not rule a whole territory.
        In France the Vikings occupied Normandy and established there their kingdom. Against the Franks they were not successful, and later culturally integrated with them. By the way, William the conqueror is a direct descended from Rollo, the establisher of the Duchy of Normandy.
        The early middle age was more a Mafioso style territory then a statehood.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Got to run, just read an interview from a top mafioso who now studies philosophy and history. He reached the exact same conclusion… And that’s why I prefer to call them “PLUTOCRATS” rather than “nobles” or “aristocrats”, titles which are too good for them. Exactly as what the top mafioso is screaming as loudly as possible

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          I agree with lots of your early historical analysis, except:
          1) I did not know that Assyrians and Babylonians were “Semitic”
          2) I don’t know what a “Semite” is. Arabs sure are. Yet I read the Jews may have been originally from the Kurdish area… OK, there are “Semitic” languages (Arab, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc.)
          3) The Achaemenid Persian empire was truly plutocratic multi-ethnic. The Pars/Iranians had their own fortress to live in, the giant Persian Plateau a sort of low elevation Tibet…

          France as Francia existed and made sense. Then the Lingua Franca was actually degenerated Latin. Later the kindom of France, stricto sensu, was a tiny fraction of both Francia, and today’s France. History has shown that Francia’s territory is natural, but any smaller entity is not, and is unstable. Hence the EU, and the Euro. Amen.

  5. Juicy Planets | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] As I related, civilizations come and go, and one of the main mechanisms, if not the main mechanism, has to do with the entangled exhaustion of increasingly impotent technology and waning resources. This is fully in evidence now in our case: although not all resources are exhausted, yet, others are exhausting: the CO2 pollution, and similar, entangled crises, have reached the stage of a mass extinction. […]

  6. EugenR Says:

    You wrote
    1) I did not know that were “Semitic”
    2) I don’t know what a “Semite” is. Arabs sure are. Yet I read the Jews may have been originally from the Kurdish area… OK, there are “Semitic” languages (Arab, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc.)

    My answer is of course the Assyrians and Babylonians spoke Semitic languages as most of the people east of Egypt. Babylonians and the Assyrians spoke Aramaic and Akkad, as do the modern Assyrians. These are Semitic languages close to Hebrew and Arabic. The population of Mesopotamia and the Levant were originally Semitic, then the Hittite took over the region, Their origin was from modern Turkey or even north of it.They spoke Indo-European language as do the Persians. Semitic group of languages in the antics had many branches and dialects, even if not so much diversified as the Indo-European Languages. I am not a linguist, but to my judgement (i speak at least one language in each group), the similarity between Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic, is more like the similarity of the Slavic or German language group.

    I don’t know from where you got the information, that the Hebrews originate from the Kurdish region. If to take the Bible as the source, it clearly points to two cities. One from where Abraham originate, Ur-Kasdim, where he was born, and it is close to the region of delta of Euphrates, Ur was uncovered, and is close to modern Al Basra. Then before moving to Kennan, Abraham’s family moved to Haran, which is in modern Turkey, in the Kurdish area. Yet, according to the modern scholars and archaeological studies, the Hebrews were not outsiders to Israel, but the original Canaan population, who revolted against the aristocracy in their cities, like Hazor, Megido, etc. Then they left the fertile low lands and moved to the mountains of Judea and Sumeria, where they adopted a new religion, faith in one God. The story of Abraham is a mythology. There is no scientific evidence, that anything of this kind ever happened.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Another story I read is that Israel started as one of the fellow traveler tribes of the “People of the Sea”… Thus the enslavement by the Egyptians, and the plausible origin from the Kurdish area. But I am the first to admit that’s all on fumes. However, Egyptian monotheism, and the People of the Sea happened just prior to the apparition of Israel. And Egypt did not keep slaves which I know of, except after the People of the Sea capture.

      I believe we will know more in the future… For example now we have a fair idea of the origin of Chinese characters with the Chang empire, 3,600 years ago… Thanks to archaeology. Also a writing from the builder of the pyramids was recently discovered, giving us important data.

      • EugenR Says:

        This theory of connecting the people of the see to the Bible sounds very unreliable. The only thing we know about them is thatthey came from the sea and destroyed the civilized regions. The Hebrews were definitely inland people. Their mythology speaks about shepherds, living in mountainous regions on the edge of the dessert. Except of it the the sea people also attacked the Greek islands, and drawed the local population to the mountains. Nothing of this kind exists in the Hebrew mythology. The most probable candidate for the people of the sea, seem to me the Greeks. In Iliad and Odysea they definitely speak about invasion of Northen Turkey through the sea. Also the timing is perfect. And they also apeared in the region in the right time.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          The “People of the Sea” expression is an Egyptian artifact. Recent archaeology shows that the invasion involved many people, some extremely inland, all the way from the Kurdish area to… Greece. BTW, the Etruscans, one of the “Sea People” settled in Northern Syria, before shipping themselves to the iron area of northern Italy, and I doubt they were welcomed with open arms… Lots of Hollywood epics to be written…

          • EugenR Says:

            Yes, you are right. The difficulty to point on certain nation as the People of the Sea, directed the historians to conclusion that the Sea People were rather people of very low rank, probably slaves, who rouse up against the ruling elites. These could be people of many nationalities and enough of one authentic leader as it happen in case of Spartacus, to create a huge turmoil and destruction. The Egyptians successfully opposed them, but were impoverished and the total destruction of Hittite empire damaged them economically. In end of tenth century b.c. a new pharoah Shishik tried to conquer the Levant, caused a lot of destruction to the Keenan cities like Hazor, which the early archeologists interpreted as the invasion of the Israelites lead by Joshua. Modern archeologists dated the event to end of tenth century b.c.

            Maybe this revolt of suppressed people influenced also the Israelites, or the subordinated Keenan people, who rouse against their city elites, the kind of destruction found in archeological sites of the time points toward intentional destruction of this kind. Then, when the rebels were opposed by the army of the elites, they just moved to the mountain region on the edge of the desert sparsely populated, mainly by shepherds. Someone or somehow it became the epic story of exodus, that repeated itself several times. Exodus of Abraham from Haran, exodus of Jacob to Egypt and finally exodus of Moses from Egypt.

            As I wrote in the past, I strongly believe, nations are creation of their epical stories. This is why Jews in spite of all the annihilation they experienced in the past are still here, while the ancient Romans or Greeks are not after they abounded their unique epical stories and adopted instead Christianity. The Europeans in the last two centuries abandoned their epic, the Christianity, tried to adopt a new one, Communism and Nazism, with disastrous consequences, lately abandoned these also completely, and now are helpless against the Islamic people, who as contrary to them do have their epical story, that leads them in their acts and intentions. In the US tried in the fifties, sixties, seventies and even the eighties, until the collapse of USSR, to introduce new epic a modern scientifically based epic, (superman ), not successfully. I don’t know to much about movements like Scientology, etc. but seems to me, they are failed offerings of this kind of need.

            My question to you and anyone who may read me, can be created a rational epical story, that would supplement the old, not relevant anymore epical story of the Western Civilization?

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Dear Eugen: I edited your comment a bit for clarity: it’s “abandoned”, not “abounded”, etc.

              The perspective and question you had is very interesting. I actually had a fight with the Scientia Salon site just on that theme, a few weeks ago. They had told me a comment of mine was “irrelevant”, so refused to publish it. I was so discouraged, I did not return to the site. I also lost my comment, what’s too bad. It was along the lines you evoke: the story of stories.

              Remarks:
              1) I believe that Athenians and Romans lost their own stories of direct democracy by plutocracy overall, yet, for proximally different mechanisms: Athens was defeated by the students of Aristotle (Alexander, Antipater, Craterus):
              https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/aristotle-destroyed-democracy/

              Rome imploded under its own plutocracy, MORE than FOUR centuries before emperor Constantine imposed Christianism, and actually more than FIVE CENTURIES before general/emperor/Spaniard Theodosius transformed Rome into a ferocious theocracy (381 CE).

              So in my book, my epic, Christianism is more consequence than cause: I differ from Gibbons there.

              2) The West has somewhat lost its epic, because of a clash between Enlightenment and Empire. Mercantilism (Britain) instead won. That’s an enormous subject, not even on the radar of common intellectuals. Voltaire played a nefarious role, unbeknownst to philosophical critics…. Sade may… [comment to be continued…]

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Sade may have been much more subtle (Voltaire was boyfriend so to speak of Louis XV, and advised him not to save Canada, or go all out to win the Seventh Year War… or maybe that was also because an oligarchic plutocracy (UK) is more democratic, hence stronger than a monarchical plutocracy (Ancient Regime France); Sade was perhaps the most important personage of the French Revolution, tactically and strategically, short of Louis XVI himself; normal history ignores him totally: too embarrassing, Sade as Saint…).

              So yes, I agree with you, epics are important. Yet, the Franks’ epic, that of “EUROPE” (their concept) is alive and strong, see the UN Charter. And just defeated German hyper tribalism, on the question of the Euro… Greece has no intention of paying its debt (nor should it, because it’s not really “its” debt)
              PA

  7. EugenR Says:

    the Phoenician Qart-ḥadasht meaning “New City”.
    Aramaic: קרתא חדתא‎ Qarta Ḥdatha;
    Hebrew: קרת חדשה‎ Qeret Ḥadashah) or in modern Hebrew New City is Qiria Hadasha.

    The Romans completely twisted the name to Carthago.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Wow! Thanks for the information! The “New City” started as a plutocracy, but ended as a democracy. Naturally, destroying was significant enough a human sacrifice, enough of a holocaust, to be Roman plutocracy’s founding act.

      • EugenR Says:

        Patrice i added your comment to my blog. Thanks for correction, and sorry for the mistake. I wrote it in a hurry from a mobile
        One more thing on the subject. I wrote ……..”Jews in spite of all the annihilation they experienced in the past are still here, while the ancient Romans or Greeks had disappeared, after they abandoned their unique epical stories and adopted instead Christianity”.
        I must comment myself on this. The Greeks as a nation did not disappear, they are still here, but they are a different nation, even if they continue to speak the Greek language. They may learn about the Greek mythology but Achilles is not anymore their hero, and they are not praying to classical Gods and Goddesses. They may study Plato as anybody else, but it is not theirs more than it is ours.
        With the Jews it is very different. Even a secular Jew as me, feels and is strongly connected to the Jewish epics, which has many layers and is still continuing to created new stories and heroes, or anti heroes. Just one example, the Holocaust. This became very strongly a dominant layer of the Jewish epical story and culture. The Jewish epics is not only a well known, a well documented, and intellectually studied subject, but it is part of Jewish emotions and feelings, and by ceremonies and rituals, it became part of the everyday life.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Thanks Eugen.
          What you say about modern Greeks in general is true to a great extend: one has just to look at the empire of the Orthodox Church, a war machine which celebrates major criminals as saints (example: Constantine, killer at home just as on the battlefield, first Roman emperor). I mean criminals even more major than say, Saint Louis.

          However, if you contemplate France, many of the Gallic traditions of 3,000 years ago are still in evidence, for example state of superiority, not just hedonism. The Celts had the best (ocean going) ships. They had barrels, they had the world’s best metallurgy (they supplied the Roman army, from swords to helmets). Many Gallic mainstream behavior is still on line, just as the Romans described it.

          The same holds for China: the Chang invented the characters, 3,600 years ago, a visual, not phonetic, writing, which allowed hundreds of languages to communicate in writing. To this day. A success and continuity, if there ever was one.

          And for the Jews, well, there are the Jews of David (whom Charlemagne followed) and then the mushy submissive Jews Hitler walloped all over. American Jews, in particular, did not lift a finger for their brethren. Israel is now as David had it. And I think that’s better. Because when one can’t survive, one can’t even have values. Let alone defend them.

  8. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Comment on related theme on LfD.]
    Dear Paul: Trying my best to always be a nuisance, I must humbly admit that I am quite successful… Seriously, why to be popular? Is it more important than being right?

    Make no mistake: I am for the technological push, for transcendentalism. But I observe that the creation of ill-disguised, ruthless monopolies, from banking to Silicon Valley, is hindering progress, and making people’s brains all mushy inside.

  9. Nation is its epic | EugenR Lowy עוגן רודן Says:

    […] https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/only-philosophy-can-reverse-civilization-collapse/#comm&#8230; […]

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