How Islam Saved Europe

How Islam Saved Europe

A Reminder Of The History Of Islam In Relations To The European Dark Age and Renaissance
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As we reflect back on the year thus far, we can notice a growing trend of regressive elements in the Western world. Whether it is the British exit from the European Union, election of Donald Trump in the United States, or any of the other far right wing nationalist movements that have had progress across Europe and the United States. This nationalistic fervor that is driving societies into isolation and Xenophobic and authoritarian tendencies is backlash for a perceived threat, multiculturalism. To these cultural fundamentalists, there is a concept of "cultural purity"; and that external cultures from certain regions of the world are polluting their pure system. Such threats being perceived is that of the cultures of Islam. Being a the second major religion with over a billion people, Islam spans many regions of the world and consists of numerous cultures and nationalities.

If we are honest in our assessment of history, this threat of Islamic culture somehow unraveling western civilization is very baseless. It is arguable even that the Islamic civilizations that inhabited north Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere saved Europe from the dark ages by preserving European knowledge and advancing in other fields. The following describes what events resulted in the dissent of western civilization into the dark age and how Islam resurrected it from the precipice.

When the Roman Catholic Church was established following the Council of Nicaea in 425 AD, it inherited the Roman military of the western empire; which it used to ensure its hegemony following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Religions in those days acted as states and governments, they are what we think of as culture and civilizations today. As institutions such as the Roman bureaucracy and state apparatus started to collapse and unravel in the western half of the empire, the hierarchical organization of the Roman Catholic Church superseded governmental institutions as decision maker. Feudalism evolved as a result.

From roughly it's on set in for 425 AD-800 AD The Catholic Church used the Roman military as a means of crashing all pagan groups and competitive and Christian groups such as the Gnostics in a literal genocidal campaign. Much of the works of these groups being exterminated were associated with the foundations of the scientific and mathematical knowledge of the era of antiquity. Groups like the Pythagoreans and Neoplatonists for example (followers of the mathematical group created by Pythagoras in Greece, and the philosophical order of new Platonists who are followers of Greek philosopher Plato) fled to the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. In North Africa the Islamic empires that were established (600s-800s timeframe) became a refuge for these Greco-Roman pagan works as well as gnostic Christian works within the empires due to the Islamic mystical sects and philosophical traditions. Others who sought refuge in the Middle East settled in the Islamic and Zoroastrian groups, molding and blending into philosophical orders such as the Rosicrucians. Those who settled in eastern European areas further away from Christendom (i.e. Western Europe under Roman Catholic hegemony) went on to form the Eastern Orthodox Church, which had schism-ed with the Catholic Church in 1054 AD.

The hegemonic order of Christendom in the west lasted roughly 800 A.D. to 1200 A.D. As the Catholic Church expanded out it's genocidal campaigns via the Crusades against non-European forces such as trying to reclaim the holy land of Jerusalem, against internal Christian "enemies" such as sacking Constantinople, and against the empires of Islam.

As the crusades occurred from the 1000s-1500s AD, Europeans not only plundered Islamic material goods like gold and luxury items; they started to stumble upon the long lost works of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, Lost Gospels of Thomas, Philip, Judas, Mary Magdalene, Jesus, and expanded versions of others, Egyptian philosophical and religious texts, Greco-Roman pagan philosophical and religious texts like those of Hermes Trismegistus, all the knowledge that had once existed in Europe prior to Catholic hegemony. Prior to the destruction of the archives, libraries, temples, and culture of the multicultural pagan Greco-Roman Egyptian Hellenistic world of antiquity.

Crusaders recognize the value of this knowledge, establishing philosophical military orders such as the Knights Templar. When Europeans became aware of these true treasures of knowledge, the floodgate of knowledge from Islamic civilization became a demand greater than material resources.

As these great works started returning to Europe, culture started to shift in certain regions. Gnostic revivals sprung up in numerous places, most notably the Cathars in France. A prosperous multi cultural region that was strongly egalitarian and was autonomous to Catholic dictation. The third Crusade resulted in 1189 A.D. which resulted in the Catholic Church leading a massive army to crush and exterminate the Cathars. The fourth Crusade occurred in 1198 AD, in which the previously mentioned plundering of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, resulted. The Byzantine Empire was the western half of the Roman empire that had been retained during the western's collapse and its dark age; but also a major Christian city that did not follow catholic hegemonic interpretation and dictation of Christianity. While Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire was technically part of Christendom, it was a multicultural city that did not purify its archives.

But nonetheless, because of the preservation, respect, and wisdom of the Islamic Golden Age, Europe was able to free itself from its own domination. The floodgate of knowledge once purged and branded as heretical asserted back into the European consciousness. Gnostic works, being a Christian group that interpret doctrine in a manner that was multicultural and symbiotic with pagan works; became the root philosophy that drove what became known as the Renaissance. The revival of Gnosticism was known as the Hermetic Movement, consisting of most of the great scientists such as Kepler, Copernicus, Newton, and the original martyr of the hermetic scientific movement Giordano Bruno. The Hermetic movement destabilized Catholic hegemony to the point that the Protestant Reformation was able to occur. The entire European Renaissance and all subsequent results of the renaissance, in terms of high civilization achieved by Europe and later North American civilizations such as our own; is largely thanks to the Islamic civilizations that inhabited North Africa and the Middle East.

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Diplomacy and Revolution

Creating A Federation With The Nation’s 19,505 Cities, Towns, and Villages, And Dissolving The 50 States Of The Union; Will Prevent The United States Of America From Balkanizing As Its Empire Declines.
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As it has become undeniable under the current administration of Donald Trump, the United States has entered its imperial decline as a global hegemonic force. The economic stability of the US dollar as a global currency is wavering and the military apparatus that spans the globe is starting to grind under its own contradictions as an occupying force. As these contradictions start to buckle under their own weight, the economic collapse and military retraction in the United States hegemony is an undeniable calculation. As this economic collapse occurs, the need to reorient economic priorities will be an imperative. As our global military network and apparatus starts to evolve and retract as an occupying force, it will require a new examination of what it means to provide the security of persons in the 21st-century. These questions will be placed in needed context, as external forces press the rapid advancement of these changes; as well as domestic forces trying to acclimate to this rapid transition. As we saw in the past with the Articles of Confederation in the late 18th century, the priorities of the states and their self interests and loyalty to wealth and power place the Federal Union of the United States under threat of internal instability and external pressures that will lead to an inevitable crisis unseen in the United States since the days of the Civil War. To avoid these destabilizing factors, the wise attempt to reconstruct the Federal structure of the United States must be applied.

To do this, we must recognize that our democracy is rooted in the diplomacy between various republics; forming the federation that established the Union of the United States of America under the pretext of the Constitution. Diplomacy must be re-oriented on the municipal level to deal with the shifts of modern communication and transportation advancement; so as to avoid Balkanization. We must keep in mind that Federalism, a federation, is a structure that offers the means of ensuring a formalized diplomatic structure between communities. The Iroquois Confederacy in which the United States Union was based off of focused on representation via tribes; this localized format must be present in any transitional new system. Coupled with a format of modern technological development, a federation of municipalities is perfectly plausible for the various communities throughout the entire United States thanks to current communication and transportation systems; with evolving transportation and communication systems increasing the feasibility and ease of such a networked systems.

We have (as of 2015 data) 19,505 cities, towns, and villages in the United States. As the American empire declines, the calculation that economic divisions will spark a disunity internally must be avoided at all cost via re-federalizing. It is perfectly plausible to create a federation out of the 19,505 communities using representation of each in a federal congress. We have sports stadiums that can house tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of spectators; it would be perfectly plausible create a federal congress using such scales of construction. It would also ensure management of sub regional, regional, and super-regional networks that are internal mechanisms used for unifying local and federal systems. Not only will this new federal system prevent Balkanization and disunity of the American people, it will also offer the potentiality for economic reconstruction with the emphasis on self sustainability and self-sufficiency for every community. Utilizing social contracts such as a Second Bill of Rights to provide things such as food, water, energy, infrastructure, knowledge, and productive abilities for every community and every individuals. Living up to the motto of the United States E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One; as well as ensuring life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in the 21st-century.

Our present is not the first time that the United States has risked division, as already mentioned the Articles of Confederation brought us to the edge of a complete breakdown of the Union, which was operating as only a mere confederation at the time. The slave master rebellion of 1861 that ignited what became known as the Civil War brought the United States further to the precipice of disunity. But as the Union has shown to withstand not only internal strife and division brought on by economic stratification, we have developed a federal system that has expanded its influence around the globe. As we wise up to the foolishness of attempting to assert hegemony over the peoples of the world; we will start to recognize that the survivability of our own systems will rely on a new unifying effort. One that will require nothing less than the declaration of a new Federation of the Peoples of America; guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that set forth to lay the foundations of the United States today. With the same mentality of transition between the Articles of Confederation to the Federal Constitution, and with the pretext of legal declaration such as the Emancipation Proclamation; we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the past through federalizing anew. And through a new Federation, finally creating the principles and ideals that we laid out in our past but have yet to live up to in the present; by becoming at true Union of Peoples.

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The Importance Of Empathy

How just meeting new people can make all the difference in your life
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Merriam Webster Dictionary describes “empathy” as, “The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

During such a time with increasing social, political, and societal divide, a better comprehension of empathy would do wonders to lessen this divide.

Attaining a better sense of empathy allows for one to build upon their perspective and have a better understanding of the people around them. While it may sound too cliche or rudimentary, the best way to build a strong sense of empathy is to explore new things and new people.

In high school I was involved with football, the TV show, the art department, the drama department, the spirit club, etc.. In the fall I attended community college, and now I attend the University of Southern California. I have been able to surround myself with people of different passions, socio-economic backgrounds, and perspectives. All of which makes up a lot of who I am today.

Then while I may have my own preconceived opinions and views, I have fostered some ability to understand the point of views and thought processes of the people around me. Whether it be an privileged high school athlete, or a low-income community college art student, I have been able to interact with people across the spectrum of perspectives.

Surrounding myself with such a variety of people shapes who I am and builds me a stronger sense of self. Then while all these people I have interacted may not be my best friends, nor may I even get along with them all, I at least know where they are coming from and look at them with more than one lens of thought.

From the high school students trying to do something new and build their resume, to the successful college student who just wants to meet some more people outside of their hometown, I cannot stress enough how much getting outside of one’s comfort zone and getting to know people you may have never even spoken to before.

Just by surrounding oneself with a variety of passionate and well-intentioned people, a strong sense of empathy can be fostered. With racial and socio-economic tensions flaring consistently, society would greatly benefit if people just grew better understandings of one another. Once everyone beings to appreciate and value all the different perspectives and point of views that make up this world, a lot could change for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Brown

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