Posts Tagged ‘Degeneracy’

Why EGYPT DEGENERATED

August 4, 2013

Abstract: Before the Middle East sank into dictatorship and theocracy, it had been on a long term mental decline. This was well known in, but poorly resisted by, the Roman Republic. The decay of the Hellenistic regimes (Alexander and successors), and of Rome itself, was marked by a progressive adoption of fascist, theocratic and generally plutocratic features, much of them from the Orient.

The usual explanation (by the famous historian Fernand Braudel) is that the Middle East evolved in an “hydraulic dictatorship” mindset. True. But that does not explain why it did not have it earlier, nor why this oligarchic mindset infected Greece and Rome, so pervasively later. The explanation? Mindsets with lives of their own, can propagate like plagues. It is wiser and more pertinent to analyze (and denounce!) the religious intellectual fascism that amplified the “hydraulic dictatorship” mood, while it established an empire of its own.

Blocked By Zarathoustra

Blocked By Zarathoustra

If Zarathustra’s advanced philosophy had reigned over Egypt, and the Fertile Crescent, instead of primitive, nasty Abrahamism, with its blatant desire to kill and torture people, to please the sky-boss, on a cross or during jihad, the Middle East would have turned out differently (Achaemenid Persia took control of Egypt for only 125 years or so). This is the remark underlying many of my observations. And, I believe, an underlying, unconscious irritation with Abraham  underlays the “Arab Spring”. Many from Syria, Egypt to Morocco are taking a turn against the fascism hiding behind Abraham’s pathetic figure.

Oh, lest I be accused of racism, let me point out that, during the Sixth Century, Roman intellectuals had taken refuge among Persia’s Zoroasthrians, who defended them vigorously. Rome (also known as Constantinople nowadays) was using Abrahamism’s fanaticism to justify its fascist rule, and thus made the bed of Islam.

Increasingly inappropriate theocratic plutocracy is why Egypt went down.

This moody process took nearly two millennia of encroaching decerebration, until fanatic Christo-Islamism clamped down onto Egypt within its saurian jaws. (This is the first of two essays on Egypt. As usual the bottom line I foster is hard-edged realism: calling a croc a croc, and gods who masquerade as crocs, crocs and crooks.)

***

EGYPT DOMINATED FOR MORE THAN 2,000 YEARS:

In Roman times, Egypt was still perhaps the world’s richest region. So it had been ever since the Sahara got desiccated, and its dwellers retreated where there was still plenty of water (and sun, and alluvions).

The riches from the Nile Valley, and adjoining oases, attracted a lot of greedy invaders, and Egypt was frequently massively attacked and sometimes occupied for centuries (for example, the establishment of the New Kingdom after two centuries of invasion by the Semitic Hyksos).

Egypt had long been at the forefront of civilization. This speaks for the power of a centralized state: Egypt was the world’s largest, most centralized state for at least a millennium, when it intellectually dominated with its eight million inhabitants (a very large population for the times).

A lot of Greek mathematics originated in Egypt. Great pyramids were perfectly aligned on the north. Egypt, collaborating with Sumerian cities, elaborated, over millennia, the idea of an alphabet (then perfected by the Phoenicians).

One gets vertigo, contemplating Egypt’s history. A millennium after the pyramids went up, an innovative Pharaoh, Athekanen, invented, and imposed monotheism (that no doubt later morphed in Judaism/Abrahamism).

When Persian dictatorship tried to take the world over, the Athenian republic came to the help of the last honest to goodness Pharaohs. Memorable wars were fought.

By the time the Greco-Romans became dominant, Egypt had been at the forward edge of civilization for at least 3,000 years. Prior to Imperator Caesar arguing furiously with Pharaoh Cleopatra about who it was exactly that was culprit of the shameful burning of Alexandria’s library during military action (they settled their fight in bed; their child, Caesarion, was cowardly assassinated by Caesar’ great nephew, his heir, the despicable “Augustus”, founder of the Roman Principate, a parody of Republic, reminding us strangely of what we have today; RINO, Republic In Name Only).

***

WHY DID EGYPT DURABLY COLLAPSE?

It’s hard to describe 6,000 years of history in a few sentences. One impression I gather, having meditated over Egyptian history for decades, is that it was first about the military and police. When Egypt had its military and police just right, it was doing fine (although a spark was increasingly missing, that the Crete’s Minoans, and then the Greeks ended up providing).

How could the military and police go wrong? Either by being too strong, oppressive, dictatorial, or by being too weak. Too much calm could also lead to civil war, such as when 94 year old Pharaoh Pepy II died after a very long reign (that brought down the Old Kingdom).

The Egyptian military learned that to safeguard the homeland, it had to extend broadly around it. However, that was not enough: staying on top of military technology, and a preventive diplomacy was a must: at the end of the 13th (!) dynasty, the invading Hyksos showed up with a new weapon, the composite bow. The Hyksos attacked and occupied Egypt for 2 centuries in conjunction with their southern allies from Kush.

The New Kingdom threw the occupiers out when the rump Egyptian military counterattacked with that same weapon.

Similarly the Sea Peoples invasion of the entire Orient was caused by superior military technology, developed in the Aegean Sea (an area that the Minoan thalassocracy, Egypt’s ally, owned before it was wiped out by a volcano).

After Ramses IX or so, Egypt progressively fell to ravenous Libyans, whereas its eastern flank became the realm of various Israelites and Mesopotamians on a rampage. Egypt had lost the vital spark that made it superior. It was reduced to a rich valley.

Why? I would advance the following explanation: Egypt had become a philosophical backwaters. The rigid theocratic state of ancient Egypt, with its increasingly silly looking religion, was left behind by more advanced philosophies and polities. Others had grabbed ideas that had originated in Egypt, and ran further with them.

The earliest known set of laws, 5,000 year old, is Egyptian. Yet, the law was made the backbone of government authority in Babylon next door, 38 centuries ago (Code of Hammurabi). The government erected all around Babylonia formidable steles on which the laws were engraved in stone.

Or the civilization of Zarathustra in Iran, with its promotion of good, evil, and truth as the most important concepts (beats the man with the head of a hawk any day). Watch Israelites mixing Egyptian monotheism with Punic human sacrifices of the son.

The West adopted the formidable intensity of these new ideas with a flourish, but Egypt did not. It was a matter of degree: as I just said, all these system of ideas originated in Egypt. But Egypt failed to aggressively re-invent and amplify them. Egypt failed to metamorphosis. Instead it put Crete and then Greece, in charge of doing so.

What the West would do, though was to make those meta-ideas, law, science, absoluteness of empathy, which are central to the genus Homo, central to the emotional system it endowed its civilization with.

Pharaonic Egypt did not evolve mentally enough. And that made its military and its military-industrial complex, lag. Second best, in military matters, means extinction.

Weirdly the “Sea Peoples” invasion made the situation worse. Egypt was the only state that resisted it. But barely. Yet, it enslaved an enemy army. This both weakened and rigidified Egypt. The Sea Peoples rejuvenated many places they invaded.

For instance, the Etruscans, went on to grab the iron-rich province of Italy, ultimately enriching obscure indigenes called the Romans, Egypt stayed stuck in its elaborate, but by then sterile emotional and emotional systems. Soon it was unable to resist even Libyans. Then the Persians followed.

Once again, the military aspect comes to the fore. When I was a teenager, I was very anti-militaristic. I am still that way, but, ultimately, it’s always the military that enforces righteousness.

(Intriguingly the USA, France, the UK, and even Israel, are presently implementing changes to make their military more futuristic, while diverting more military missions to the… civilian sector, as spectacularly demonstrated by the NSA-Snowden scandal; methinks that they should collaborate more, and more openly.)

***

GREEK DRIVEN EGYPTIAN RENAISSANCE:

My thesis is that dynastic Egypt became a victim of intellectual fascism, generated on its own. An objection would be that, if the Egyptian civilization was roughly the same in 3,000 BCE and 1,000 BCE, how could it have become more fascist?

Fascism, as its name indicates, is about fasces, making many minds point all in the same direction. That’s excellent in combat, but miserable in imagination. However imagination leads to higher intelligence, hence greater combat capability. Thus fascism, being of one mind gives greater combat capability everything else being equal, but is also a lower common denominator, hence the necessity to lift the intellectual base from its opposite, when not in combat.

(Once again a military lesson in disguise, and this is why the French army is reducing its personnel by about 10%, and some conventional forces, while spending more getting ready for future wars; the Israelis talk of going through the same process and the Americans will probably follow… but for the pork barrel F35 program…)

If one looks at the Frankish empire 12 centuries ago, one sees the world’s most advanced political system (although primitive by the best Greco-Roman standards).

The church had been nationalized, forced to educate secularly, slavery was de facto outlawed, tolerance was the law (Christians were free to become Jews, and they did, massively; Muslims left stranded by the recessing invasions were free to be whatever). The Franks then proclaimed the Roman empire had been renovated. It took another ten centuries to throw out Abraham’s crazy, pedophobic god, and renovate the Roman Republic itself… minus the man is a wolf for man mentality.

What’s the picture? Constant change. The cathedrals gave a pretext to create massive iron architecture rendered possible by hydraulic hammers. But it was just a pretext. The reality was that singular change had become the new secularism.

In my thesis Egypt mentally froze, while the world it had given birth to, kept on changing. New dimensions opened, but Egyptian civilization ignored them . The dimensions the Egyptians had created progressively became a lower dimensional subset of the Orient. Egyptian civilization became increasingly intellectually fascist in a relative sense.

How come the Egyptians could not adapt? Well, they did, to some extent. Hence the New Kingdom, and monotheism (for a while). Also Egypt subcontracted the sea, and much culture to Crete and the Greeks. The Minoan thalassocracy centered on Crete blossomed as the most advanced civilization mostly with the help of its natural partner, Egypt.

Under the Greeks, and then the Romans, Egypt underwent a renaissance. For six centuries, Alexandria became the world’s most intellectually advanced place (although Athens had rebounded).

However, Abrahamist superstitious terror, starting in the Fourth Century, crashed civilization. Nowhere was the madness of men in black, the monks, as ferocious as in Egypt. Probably because nowhere else was the breath of theocracy as strong (from the latent mood of theocratic hydraulic dictatorship). The philosophers tried to resist. But secular Egypt was caught in a vice.

The fascist Roman state did not want an intellectually independent Egypt, so, when it was not in open conflict with the monks, it was allied to them. Intellectuals fled to Persia. The bishop of Alexandria created Arianism, which contradicted the “Catholic Orthodox” doctrine of the Trinity set-up by the self declared “13th apostle”, emperor Constantine. The simmering conflict with Constantinople went on until the Arab Muslims surged from the wastes of Arabia. Coptic Egypt, including Palestine, made peace with them. Until, three years later, it realized that the Muslims were even worse than Constantinople.

Egypt then fought Islam to death. And lost that second, desperate war. Ever since theocracy has reigned over Egypt, with few eclipses (one in the times of Saladin, when Frankish penetration was massive; one in the modern era, when European secularism was in control).

So here we are. Peaceniks believe that what was grabbed by military force will be surrendered peacefully. Well, the present Egyptian military begs to disagree. Correctly so, if one looks at history. Islam was not voted in. The Calif Omar just attacked and invaded.

***

FUNDAMENTAL CO-DEPENDENCY:

Meanwhile, al Zawahiri, the real brains of Al Qaeda, one of the principals, if not the principal, of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has resurfaced so mightily that, terrorized, the great Western powers closed their embassies in many countries. (Hey, Mr. Terrorist In Chief, what happened to your elimination of Bin Laden? Did not get enough data from it?)

What does this all mean? How come Egypt went back to theocracy after the Brits left? Well, precisely because, starting in 1945 on the cruiser Quincy with FDR, the USA played the Muslim Fundamentalist card, to get all the oil it wanted from a family, the Saudis, that took refuge behind theocracy to justify its rule.

That made the Saudis, and thus Washington, addicted to their enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood. Quite a bit like a junkie with heroin. Don’t like it, think one could stop, but never do.

In any case, as long as Egypt keeps on revering the mythical individual, Abraham, who was willing to bind and kill his son to please his boss, it will not be free of intellectual fascism of the worst kind. A religious frenzy that celebrates the mind of those who want to destroy children, the same exact frenzy that led to Carthage’s destruction. And one that ancient Egypt never got involved with.

So, when Egypt was the greatest, it did not view children as religious fodder. But, for more than 13 centuries, the greatest religious celebration has been a psychopath’s willingness to kill his son. How difficult is it to see that such a superstition is not viable, and that, in such a valley of tears, and fears, nothing very good can grow again?

***

Patrice Ayme


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