Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Umayyad

The Sacred Practical Necessities; (October 25, 2009)

Cultural transformation is the byproduct of practical necessities: Struggling for life and fearing of death.  For example, by the time mankind got conscious of his ephemeral life (for many millennia, people didn’t get to live beyond the age of 30 at best) and that death is a certainty then, religion (the eminently among the sacred practical necessities) was created to cope with the consequences that resulted from that conscious fear, on the ground that, otherwise, no security or peace of mind could prevail within any organized society.

Religion might not have been invented right after we got conscious of our mortality, but necessarily as modern man realized that he is a special individuality.  Then modern man got wary of producing mass hand tools for the tribe and took special care for individual designs such as specialty carved symbols on the tools, particular color combinations, drawing and painting that reflected feelings and awe toward the environment and the forces of nature.  Painting, sculpting, and drawing symbols were the precursors for inventing a language as a practical necessity, first verbally and then, by written medium.

Death is chaos and life is a struggle to feed on death:  a constant semblance of restructuring spiritual cohesion.   Metaphysic, the precursor to religion, is but this longing to providing continuity between life and death so that our logical mind does not breakdown to smithereens: Sciences and technologies cannot provide definite and exact answers to everything.  Metaphysics must have been substantiated because many people experienced a few supernatural events and realized that what is being physically sensed is not the whole story.

I believe that institutionalized religions grew after verbal communication was feasible by means of languages to harangue communities against the other infidel tribes.  Religion, as a conscious culture, utilized the metaphysical potentials in man to codify its system of beliefs and then codifying a system of daily behavior, rules, and regulations.

Unfortunately, what was necessary at a period was utilized inevitably to dominate other tribes that believed or adopted different totems or sacred rites.  An irreversible trend was set in motion: practical necessities generate cultures with counter productive results (theorized as necessary) to our evolution.  That mental process is the foundation to our spiritual shortcomings to progress ethically and morally.

Religion and sciences have the same roots in the conscious and, though they evolved with different methodologies, they adopted the same procedure for impacting on the mind: They established consensus based on a few premises, struggled hard not change their system of beliefs and then, waited for a paradigm shift to transforming the traditional culture.  The revolution of Luther and Calvin against the concept of Papal infallibility left intact the core obscurantist culture of Catholicism and Christianity which is viewing knowledge with suspicion, and specifically scientific knowledge, as the work of the devil. In fact, Protestantism went as far as considering philosophy as compromising the human mind.

The fundamental revolution came when people realized that if the Pope is fallible then, religion is consequently fallible and the quest for answers to fill the void in knowledge was resurrected with sciences.  Cultural Revolution in Europe was made feasible because of three basic developments: the weakening of the central religious power in Rome, the invention of mass printing, and the focus on local languages such as German, French, and Italian instead of Latin (the language of central power). Hence, this frenzy in Europe of the 16th century Renaissance to translating the Islamic books (then the most advanced in sciences).

Historically, the Arab conquerors of the Near East region (that was part of the Byzantium Empire in Constantinople) relied on scholars in the Near East who wrote in the Greek language to re-translating the Greek classical work into Arabic and Syriac (also called Aramaic, the written language of the Land).  Aramaic was the spoken language of the people and of Jesus. Damascus was selected to be the first Capital of the Arabic Dynasty of the Umayyad and Damascus saved the Greek language from oblivion.

The scholars of the Renaissance in Europe mastered both the Greek and Latin languages and could eventually refer to the original Greek manuscripts.  Thus, the period of the Renaissance in Europe was a revolution against the failure of the Christian religion to satisfying the cultural transformation after the failure of the crusading campaigns to circumvent the essential trade routes (through Egypt) and the affinity of the Arabic/Islamic culture in Spain (from 800 to 1400 AC).

Most paradigm shifts could be classified as cultural transformations but a few could be conceived as cultural evolution; a qualitative jump in our knowledge of nature and man are related to concepts such as using symbols, verbal communications as a language, the written language, the concept that man and earth are not the center of the universe, that time is an intrinsic element of space such that no two events can be said to occur simultaneously, that man is not wholly master of his decisions, and that man is neither the crown of creation nor the peak of evolution.

Damascus saved the ancient Greek culture; (October 10, 2009)

 

            The German philosopher Heidegger stated: “Philosophy is purely Greek” and thus, the European love to believe that philosophy is purely a western conception. In “Aristotle at mount St. Michel”, the latest book of Sylvain Guggenheim, it is said in substance that Europe would not have needed the Arab civilization to accede to the Greek heritage in philosophy and sciences and that it is the Christian “Arabs” who introduced Hellenisms in the Islamic-Arab world. It goes on “As a religion, Islam didn’t offer anything to the European civilization, neither textual reference nor theological argument. It goes also in the legal and political domains.”

           

I got into thinking.

            The Islamic armies defeated the Byzantium forces of Heracles in Syria and the Persian Sassanide forces in Iraq and expanded into Egypt during the second Caliphate Omar Ibn Khattab.  Within five years, the Umayyad dynasty of Moawiyat decided on Damascus for Capital of the new Arab Empire.

            Damascus was the hotbed of most of the Orthodox Christian sects that paid allegiance to the center in Byzantium and they were learned in the Greek language along with the Aramaic popular language.  The “heretic” Christian sects had fled beyond the Euphrates River to the kingdom of Persia.

            The Arab Umayyad dynasty relied on the Orthodox Christian educated people to translate Greek philosophy, medicine, mathematics, and science manuscripts into the Arabic language; the Aramaic language was the root language for the spoken Arabic language in the Arabic Peninsula and thus it was easy for the Syrian to adopt Arabic and translate the Greek and Roman manuscripts.

            It is not that the Near East people just loved the ancient Greek manuscripts of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euripides, and Sophocles. It is more likely that most of the Greek schools of sciences, philosophy, and medicine were erected by Greek speaking scholars born on the Mediterranean shores from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey; those famous scholars span from Euclid, Thales, Heracles, Plotine, Zenon, Ptolemy, and passing by the great law givers and founders of the Roman Empire located in Beirut.

            If the new Islamic Empire failed to settle on Damascus as Capital and opted to stay in Medina then it is very likely that the Greek manuscripts and culture would have vanished during the hegemony of the Arabic Empire.

 

I got into thinking.

            If in the nick of time, the fourth Caliphate Ali ibn Abi Taleb decided not to defeat and pursue the army of Mouawiyat then the Capital of the Islamic Arab Empire would have been Koufa in Iraq.  The ancient culture of Persia would have been the civilization of the land from the confine of China to England.  What the European scholars love to label their race as Indo-European would have been a more fitting name: the Persian-Indian culture and civilization.

 

I got into thinking.

            If the Prophet Muhammad did not adopt the Jewish Bibles and the Christian New Testaments as integral part of Islam in an attempt of consolidating common denominators among these monotheist religions then what kind of Christianity Europe would be having today?

            Damascus saved the ancient Greek language. Damascus saved its culture.  Like it or not, the European should be proud of their real Near Eastern heritage along the eastern Mediterranean shores. (More on that topic in following posts).


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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