History is not about the knowledge of the events, it is about the ability to recognise the continuum of the resulting influences on our consciousness, carried through to the present day.
I have been reading a book, Civilised to death, recommended by my good friend, Mary and it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the bible considered not as god speak but as a response to a changing a world. Consider the garden of Eden as the natural habitat of the first humans where they lived as hunters and gathers and the fall as the beginning of agriculture.
The many wars are not really about god’s chosen ones but intertribal wars over land and watering points.
The book of kings can then be seen as state formation with their rigid rules and demands. For example taxes and all. In this way, the author of kings is not writing about things to come but things already experienced.
Jesus, then represents the archetype of the socialist or anarchist opposed to big government (here I kid) but you see where this is going.
I think Schopenhauer, that pessimistic philosopher, already tried to give the bible a very generous reading. Devoid of the claims of god inspiration and what nots, the bible begins to make sense as a response of those living in the crescent to the changes in lifestyle from hunters ad gatherers to farming and all.
What are your thoughts? Am i making any sense?
Mark Twain, through the mad philosopher tells us
Morally, it is the evil passions repressed, the level of conduct raised; spiritually, idols cast down, God enthroned; materially, bread and fair treatment for the greatest number.
Then he says of his (our) civilization, and here he seems to be speaking as a prophet, unless the conditions of 1900s reflect those of the present age. He writes
Our civilization is wonderful, in certain spectacular and meretricious ways; wonderful in scientific marvels and inventive miracles; wonderful in material inflation, which it calls advancement, progress, and other pet names; wonderful in its spying-out of the deep secrets of Nature and its vanquishment of her stubborn laws; wonderful in its extraordinary financial and commercial achievements; wonderful in its hunger for money, and in its indifference as to how it is acquired; wonderful in the hitherto undreamed-of magnitude of its private fortunes and the prodigal fashion in which they are given away to institutions devoted to the public culture; wonderful in its exhibitions of poverty; wonderful in the surprises which it gets out of that great new birth, Organization, the latest and most potent creation and miracle-worker of the commercialized intellect, as applied in transportation systems, in manufactures, in systems of communication, in news-gathering, book-publishing, journalism; in protecting labor; in oppressing labor; in herding the national parties and keeping the sheep docile and usable; in closing the public service against brains and character; in electing purchasable legislatures, blatherskite Congresses, and city governments which rob the town and sell municipal protection to gamblers, thieves, prostitutes, and professional seducers for cash. It is a civilization which has destroyed the simplicity and repose of life; replaced its contentment, its poetry, its soft romance-dreams and visions with the money-fever, sordid ideals, vulgar ambitions, and the sleep, which does not refresh; it has invented a thousand useless luxuries, and turned them into necessities; it has created a thousand vicious appetites and satisfies none of them; it has dethroned God and set up a shekel in His place.
Myth or Reality by Cheikh Anta Diop, a review.
I promised to do this at the earliest opportunity and so here we are. For the purposes of this review, we will not dwell on whether the Egyptians were a “black White people”, a “reddish brown white” or whatever other shade of white you can think of. All we will mention here that they depicted their god, Osiris, as black.
Diop argues that the only place or rather to the only people that circumcision/ excision made any sense were those of ancient Egypt. He argues, to these ancients, just as their gods were hermaphrodite, babies too were. So by removing a small part from the male or female organ, these children became male or female. Before circumcision, they were all like gods.
He says the evidence available to us shows the Egyptians were to pray to their gods at minimum 7 times a day. In this respect, the Mohammedians only sought to reduce the burden of the people by making the minimum number of prayer times 5.
He argues because of their settled lifestyle as a result of abundant food supplies along the Nile valley, they had the luxury to worship gods. He also argues these societies were matriarchal. And that patriarchy started with the nomads, that is, almost everyone else except the Egyptians.
From his works, one can arrive at the conclusion that the Bible/ Torah is legend based on the stories the Jews had heard laced with creative imagination.
It’s an easy to read book. Well written. He has attempted to provide documentary support for his many claims from Egyptian frescoes to statements from those who interacted with Ancient Egypt such as Herodotus. It’s a book I would recommend to anyone.
In his book, the Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain, devotes a paragraph to war. He has Philip Traum – Satan, say
There has never been a just one, never an honorable one on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful, as usual, will shout for the war. The pulpit will, warily and cautiously, object at first ; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war and will say earnestly and indignantly “it is unjust and dishonourable and there is no necessity for it.”
Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen,and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them and presently the antiwar audience will thin out and lose popularity.
…next the statesmen will invent cheap lies,putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience soothing falsities and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war was just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self deception.
Iraq war anyone?
Elsewhere in the same book, he has Philip Traum talk of human civilization. He says
You perceive that you have made continual progress. Chain did his murder with a club; the Hebrews did their murders with javelins and swords; the Greeks and Romans added protective armor and the fine arts of military organisation and generalship; the Christian has added guns and gunpowder; a few centuries from now he will have so greatly improved the deadly effectiveness of his weapons of slaughter that all men will confess that without Christian civilization war must have remained a poor trifling thing to the end of time.
He continues to say
[…]they all did their best, to kill being the chiefest ambition of the human race and the earliest incident in its history – but only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognised that all the competent killers are Christians; then the pagan world will go to school to the Christian – not to acquire his religion, but his guns. The Turk and the Chinaman will buy those to kill the missionaries and converts with.
Fellow sufferers, what do you think could have happened to human civilization had the barbarians [Persians so to speak] overrun Athens and stayed there to lord it over the Greeks?
Once you finish to think about it, let us be grateful for those few men and women who stood up for freedom and who would rather die than be slaves!
And that my friends is the end of this long post 😛