Monday, 29 April 2013

2500 Years East-West conflict. Salamis, Marathon and Thermopylae reviewed

We forget that the East-West conflict is over 2500 years old.
In fact, the three most important battles in history are in my opinion Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis, where the Greek armies secured the civilisation of today – and here is why.

The overarching issue in this conflict was not the usual “I want more power, land, gold, trade routes, etc.”
The real and not so obvious issue was the firm belief amongst the Persian kings (Darius and his son Xerxes) that their power and their right to extend it were given to them by their super-god Ahuru Mazda. Therefore they had a divine right to imperial expansion that could not even be brought into dispute.

This assumption was in stark contrast to the Greek stance, that the state with its inherent culture and social structure was the result of an intelligent process, human logic and our ability freely to process information.

Surely, the Greek gods were involved, but merely as observing stakeholders and with their built-in human weaknesses as creators of intrigues and conflicts, but certainly not as designers.

Without the Greek victories the emerging, but still frail and undeveloped idea about democracy, would have been buried with Solon and Themistocles. Socrates, the father of observation, analysis, explanation and logical deduction, would not have had a chance to develop his ideas and the basis for our scientific methodology would never have seen the light of day. The Persian master-culture would unhindered have swallowed the rest of Europe. There would have been no Romans, no renaissance, no Beethoven and no Goethe.

Centuries of spiritual and religious darkness would have swept across Europe as the Greek barrier to slavery under the expanding Persian empire, with its suppression of the individual and total demand of submission to the king and his god, was swept away.

It may of course be argued, that the arrival of a later comparable desert religion, which is as totalitarian as the Persian one, might never have happened. It would already have been there and the need for its creation as an underpinning device for divine expansion and dominance would therefore be redundant.

It is awesome how many of the state- and culture forming processes that took place in the years between 500BC and 480BC can be found mirrored in today’s globalised world.

The political parties in the “West” are still embroiled in strife and contention despite the EU artifice – just as the Greek city states 2500 years ago. Some of the small cities amongst the 700 in Peloponnese and Attica tried their come-uppance much like small West European countries try their influencing manoeuvres against the 4 big countries today, ultimately leaving it to Athens and Sparta to sort everything out – comparable to Germany, France and Britain in the EU. The Greek culture, religion and gods were then, as today, a hodgepodge of beliefs, although some sort of a unified culture and a strong human, or secular, element can be identified in both cases. But today, as then, we are up against the ultimate in totalitarian demands for submission of the individual and abandonment of the secular state as we know it.

Most of the Greek city states either sat on their hands or the fence, or had already made the decision that resistance was in vain; rather give in to the barbarians than be subdued by Athens or Sparta.
Although some sort of unity was achieved at the Hellenion conference in Corinth, it was left to Sparta and Athens to sort things out. For most others a continued existence with the head buried in the sand, a continued parochial life awaiting the inevitable fate, seemed to be the only way forward, as the reflections of the sun in the spear heads of the Persian army began to show. Perhaps a life in the shade of the almighty king Xerxes, who in 480BC ruled over the largest empire the world had ever seen, wasn’t too bad after all?
Treat him well, i.e. with respect, and he would treat you well?

Today we are facing a paradigm shift in both religious and state terms.

Externally, an antiquated, obsolete desert religion requires us to drop our Socratic wisdom and individual taking responsibility for our lives and actions, submitting to yet another Ahuru Mazda with the threat of death if resisting to abandon our humanity and hard won freedoms.

Internally, a European super state has emerged, the EU, marketing eternal happiness and no wars while making us pay dearly for the bag of empty promises, reforms and relief from responsibility, that an unelected elite is pressing down over our heads.
In the economic and cultural turmoil that has arisen as a consequence of our greed and lack of learning from history, political parties are reviving dead donkeys like collectivism, Leninism and oligarch driven societies. University College of London students, for example, have posters all over the place calling for a re-emergence of Marxism 2013.
Are they mad?
Perhaps not - just ignorant in the best case - stupid in the worst.
20% of the Danish population support a party that wants to disband the police force, all military and the parliament, replacing it with "people councils".
Are they mad?
Perhaps not - just ignorant in the best case - stupid in the worst.
Sweden wants to open the borders, raising the population from 8mill to 40mill through non-western immigration before 2040.
Are they mad?
Perhaps not - just ignorant in the best case - stupid in the worst.

And You haven't seen the worst yet!!

Socrates wanted people to learn, to understand, at least to realise when they didn’t know, so they could seek new learning. So he was executed, allegedly depraving the youth.

How far have we really come in the 2500 years since the battle of Salamis and the experience from Marathon - a question we have to ask after the 2013 Boston Marathon?
How many people today actually know what Marathon represents?
One only needs to consider modern school systems that do what they can to eliminate national cultures and history while teaching the kids to play; the blinkered approach of creationism; and too many ultra-orthodox schools that prevent anything outside their own belief sphere to enter the brains of the young.

But worst of all: it is becoming a crime to protest this state of affairs.

We accept this as the blessing of a multi-cultural world, closing our eyes for the fact that it actually represents a misunderstood respect for stupidity and ignorance, while we excuse it by calling it the hall marks of “other people’s culture”.

Where are the Athens and the Sparta of 2013, who can save us?

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