The values defended during 1000 years by Christendom are now forgotten and Christendom has left place to national egoisms. This drift is in part due to an inappropriate response to the provocations of the Nomad and the fall is due to deviant intellectual representations proper to some countries constitutive of Christendom.
Historians have their noses glued to a multitude of events whose global significance escapes them.
Just as scientists, contemporary historians know more and more about less and less, understand very little and report the facts misleadingly. The events, as they happened and as historians relate them, are often very different. Louis XIV, who chose himself the Sun as his emblem, imprisoned in the Bastille a historian who claimed that the kings of France did not descent from Trojan princes (fig. 16.1 and 16.2).
Figure 16. 1. (left) Louis XIV, who ruled France from 1661 to 1715, is depicted on a horse as a Roman emperor. Figure 16.2.(right) Louis XIV is depicted as Jupiter.
His lucid contemporaries perceived the burlesque of these representations. La Bruyère (1646-1696) published “Les caractères” in 1688, wherein he compares the behavior of the king and his court, to their disadvantage, to that of the recently discovered North American Hurons and Iroquois. Nevertheless, Louis continued to reign until his death.
The story of the Napoleonic wars against Russia as related by Tolstoi in “War and Peace” and as described in French history books are different stories. The stupidity and vulgarity of Luther as reported by his commensals are squarely attributed by contemporary historians 1 to them, who have misunderstood and adulterated the wise utterances of the reformer. The NATO claimed that over 50,000 Muslim Kosovars were murdered in 1999, yet less than 4400 corpses have been discovered. There is good reason to believe that a sizeable number of these 4,400 corpses were Serbs killed by the Kosovar Liberation Army. The statistical analysis of the Kosovar exodus, taken as the reason and justification for the NATO attack, proves that the NATO attack, and not the reverse, provoked the exodus 2. I myself reported in book II that the Polynesians who had occupied Easter Island had multiplied beyond the capacity of the land to sustain them. This is now recognized to be an erroneous statement. What is the true story? The Polynesians landed on Easter Island around 1200 A.D. with rats, which they carried with them for animal proteins during their journeys on sea. On the island, the rats multiplied and ate the seeds of the trees, which slowly disappeared. This ecological disaster forced by no means a reduction in numbers of the inhabitants. They were killed by the European navigators. The genocide started with their very first landing, and went on to stop when the population was reduced to about 100 souls.
Distorted reports of facts and events are relentlessly instilled during our youth at school and every day during our adult life by constant amplification of the merits and successes and minimization or even concealment of the failures of our societies. A ferocious state-censorship imposes the alteration of the truth in the sense that most efficaciously glorifies the leadership of our nation. Historians apprehend the history of Christian Europe as a monism respectful for spiritual as well as material values. However, the nations that compose Europe are not all identical. The West is not a Christian monism, is not progressing as a unit toward civilization.
In the 17th century, the West took pride in its technological development and candidly linked progress in sciences with progress in civilization. A.Toynbee was confronted in his youth with the savagery of the German conquest of Belgium during the First World War 3. He was appalled by the mental dedifferentiation operated between soldiers and civilians and understood the naiveté of the Victorian belief in unending progress of civilization linked to technological progress. These progresses very often pave the road toward barbarity (fig. 16.3).
Figure 16.3. Death tolls again over Flanders (Weer klept de Dood over Vlaanderland). Aqua-forte, 1916. Cabinet des estampes, Brussels.
Belgium was invaded despite its neutrality, resisted throughout the war and suffered terribly from the battles engaged on its soil. The savagery of the destructions inflicted by the German army invading Belgium in 1914 was described by A. Toynbee.
Reproaches are currently made to the USA because it is unable to control Iraq whereas the Arabs, the Turks, the Mongols, the Iranians and Timberline easily conquered it. One forgets that, after their passage, no living soul remained in the burned-down conquered cities. In 1402, Timberline sent his warriors into Baghdad with the assignment to come back each with at least two heads. The US currently refuses to use its tremendous power of destruction, and disproves of torture despite strong incentives to do so. Fred Uhlman, born German, living in France, Spain and England, was incarcerated on the Isle of Man during WWI. He wrote:” if tolerance, goodness, political maturity and equity are the cornerstones of civilization, Great-Britain is the most civilized nation on earth”. Today, the Anglo-Saxon culture predominates throughout the world, Europe is a failure, France is in an advanced state of decomposition, Islamic countries dwell in poverty or use their mineral wealth to promote terrorism and destruction instead of development.
The fundamental cause of regression toward barbarity appears to be an inhumane understanding of reality. The West takes pride in the application of rational intelligence to the understanding of the world and the conduct of human affairs. This rational intelligence is inhumane and leads to the practice of torture and to contingency. A debilitating internal challenge toward humaneness is the absence of social consensus within a society, leading to civil war. The Vedic account of the creation of the human species is that gods created the human castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra) from the head, arms, thighs and feet of the cosmic being. All four castes have the same origin and the same worth, even if they are different of each other. This Vedic account of the creation of the human species is a statement of diversity within unity, also emphasized by Paul (1Co. 12:4-30). Social cohesion is an essential element of any performing human culture, be it nomadic or sedentary. There where it is lacking (the Arian Ostrogoths and Visigoths in Italy and Spain, the Frankish Carolingian Empire, the Muslims facing the British penetration in India, the Aztecs and the Inca opposing the Spaniards, Spain in 1936), resistance to internal and external challenges will prove difficult. The egalitarian societies of the world are dynamic not because they have natural resources but because they possess a thrifty human social capital (e.g. the Deutsche Hanse, the plebeian US democracy and also primitive Islam, despite the ultimately crippling evil aspects of this civilization).
The most dreadful man-made external challenge is invasion and war. These are not all of the same nature. Some invaders want to take part in the development of civilization, others bring with them the seeds of a superior civilization, and the intent of some others is to destroy civilization. The human element that has prompted Europe to take the road to savagery were the Frankish and Muslim aggressions. Physical and biological challenges impossible to meet also deserve consideration. During Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the alpine glaciers were almost inexistent, which allowed the invasion of Italy by Hannibal and by the Germanic, Hunnic and Magyar tribes. The cold that marked the reign of Carolus Magnus may explain the apparition of the Vikings. Thereafter, a clement weather lasted during 700 years, until Charles the fifth (1500), when cold closed the alpine passes. The possibility to easily cross the Brenner pass in the Austrian Alps allowed the transport of metals from Germany to Venice, which favored in a significant way its development. The closing of the pass in later times helped to spell the doom of Venice. The coldest temperature was reached during the reign of Louis XIV, around 1650 and cold struck the troops of Napoleon during their retreat from Russia in 1812. A reduction of temperature of one or two degrees is sufficient to induce famines by the loss of tons of cereals. Volcanic activity, tropical storms, typhoons and tsunami are frequent in some parts of the world and inflict damages that run in the billions of dollars, leaving nothing for development (fig. 16.4).
Figure 16.4. The flood of Saint Elisabeth, 1421. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam ca 1500. The flood immerged about 20 villages and covered 45,000 hectares land. The survivors flee on land and by boot.
Finally, there are epidemics, such as the black pest, which wipe out in one stroke half to two thirds of a population.