Deconstructing the Western Tradition, Part II

Small Logo By: J.V Capone

Part II: Mode of Production Distortions on Historical Chronology

In Part I of our series, we looked at the particular case of the alleged antiquity historian ‘Herodotus’ and we were able to trace the extended works to the Renaissance in Italy, about 1,900 consensus dating (hereafter ‘c.d’) years after the claimed date of production.

In that article we made reference, without elaboration, to two particular mechanisms of historical distortion.  At the time we wrote:

_le-crimean-warWithout delving into the subject too much here, these need to be understood within the context the ‘Great Game’ and the English Empires war against the Ottoman Empire.  A large part of this war was a ‘cultural’ war.  In many cases artifacts of Byzantine Empire and it’s eastern successor Seljuk Rum     ( i.e “Rome”, later called Ottoman) Empire were appropriated by the English, stripped of their more recent Greco-Anatolian or Hyeksos-Egyptian heritage, and placed in a distant quasi-mythical past dated vaguely in a world spanning as far back as the alleged 15th century BC, and as ‘recently’ as the 4th century BC.  The English then superimposed over this their own trajectory as being the true inheritor and progeny of this newly constructed ‘western heritage’.

In this article, we will explore more upon this theme and in so doing, will develop upon the mechanisms which can help the reader better understand how the economic base (with its legal and cultural superstructures) existed at the time, leading to historical distortions within chronology.  In doing so we will develop upon a variant of Marxian historiography with regard to ‘historical materialism’.  We also wrote:

When the Piccolomini family encountered another powerful family, and the claim over disputed Fiefs had to be argued before a Magistrate, Mr. Valla would  ’discover’ documents that were allegedly hundreds of years old which ‘inserted’ another patriarch or two of the Piccolomini family line. This process when repeated a few times alone added about 100 years to ‘Italian’ history. Many families did this, all had their own court historians, and ‘renaissance’ Italian history was thus expanded several hundreds of years artificially.

In looking at these two examples, we actually encounter two mechanisms by which we can rationally understand the impetus or motive to distort the historical record.  The first is macrocosmic in scale, the second microcosmic.

Mechanism I: Macrocosm, Imperial Legacy Distortion on Chronology

In the first example we are looking at societies of scale, in particular an Empire which has an understandable need to buttress their legacy and future claims by extending and glorifying its own history.  This much should not require further explanation.  One method of doing this beyond adding a false chronology of past great leaders and events, is to appropriate the combination of real and synthesized histories and legacies of another great empire, painting themselves not just as the legitimate successor to the first, but by re-engineering the history of the first into their own.

Within the first case within the context of “the Great Game” we can observe multiple phenomenon interacting simultaneously.  The English (British) Empire begins culturally with the development of the Northern and English Enlightenment starting in the 16th century and carrying through to the 17th century, informing and running parallel to the gb_emp-lReformation.  In simple terms we are accurate to demarcate this Imperial period as beginning with the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  The cultural and historical legacy of this English Empire as representative of some maximum point or pinnacle in human history is premised upon the concept of the Renaissance.  In this narrative, the power of the Papacy and the Italian Kingdoms and their interaction and interdependence with and on German Kingdoms is based upon the ideology of the genesis of the Renaissance as reclaiming a glory and tradition of an antiquity era dating, conventionally, back about 1,900 years to the 5th century BC (c.d).  Hence the term is ‘Renaissance’ rather than ‘Naissance’.  To do this required first a neglect and later of dismissal and vulgarization of the real Roman, aka ‘Byzantine’ history which in fact was a, conventionally dated, medieval phenomenon.

Byzantine studies did not emerge in a serious way until the very late period of the 1970’s, and by this time there had already been over six-hundred years of developing the ‘Western Tradition’ out of Renaissance Italian Humanism and then the Northern Renaissance, Reformation, then Continental and English Enlightenment.  This is a very real part of the present problem.

The Italian Kingdoms, which together with the German, Greek and Balkan kingdoms together called themselves the ‘Romans’, took their origins from the 10th through 13th centuries AD (c.d).  The Italian kingdoms moved forward with appropriating the superior and more established legacy of its eastern (Greek, Balkan, Anatolian) parts during the Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries AD (c.d) and essentially erased from the record the Greek, Balkan and Anatolian Roman history.

The term ‘Byzantine’ to replace ‘Roman’ was introduced by the 17th century AD (c.d) French historians in order to give a name to the entity reigning within a known region without simultaneously acknowledging its primary Roman identity.  Byzantine studies, as Byzantine_Greek_Alexander_Manuscript_Cataphract_(cropped)the history Roman Empire continuing through the medieval period (c.d) was not a serious pursuit until the later quarter of the 20th century (c.d).  French thinkers and philosophers such as Voltaire held the Byzantines in utter contempt, and the dominant view of the period of the late Renaissance through Enlightenment was that the Byzantines were a backwards, essentially barbaric ‘Dark Ages’ formation par excellence.  Such is the extent that the very word ‘Byzantine’ today also means devious.  All of this buttressed the Italian Renaissance claims of sudden greatness, entirely concealing the gradual rise by increments of late medieval Greek, Anatolian and Balkan civilization into the later Italian on the basis of a clear continuum.

The ‘Byzantine’ Roman history was appropriated by the Italian Renaissance clergy and humanists together, and this history of several hundred years was then hurled back in time by an order of more than 1,700 years.

In 1453, the Ottoman ‘Seljuks’ of Rome took Constantinople.  Islam was held by the Far alosisWest as an Oriental phenomenon, and the Hellenic roots of the Ottomans as well as the Roman legal basis by which the Seljuks and Ottomans traced their lineage and made claim to Anatolian, Greek, and Balkan holdings was largely ignored.  Rather than understanding the Ottomans as a successor Roman power involving people native to Anatolia, Greece, and the Balkans; the ‘Turkish invasion’ paralleling the ‘Mongol invasion’ narrative was adopted to explain away a power that was simultaneously Roman and Islamic as being ‘Turkic’ and ‘Mongol’ instead.

The ‘loss’ of Constantinople from the perspective of the Western Tradition was an extraordinary one, and was another reason why from an imperial legacy perspective, the west was inclined to treat that part of the world at that time and the centuries preceding as not being part of this synthetic, newly created idea of the ‘Western Tradition’.  They were, of course, confronted with tomes of documentation that the Roman Empire was rooted in Anatolia, Greece, and the Balkans.  Their recourse, as stated above, was to push these far back in history by about 1,700 years and disconnect both the existing and recently destroyed powers from that legacy.  Then by way of vague allusions to tradition, mere assertion, and abuse of persisting and various chauvinisms, position themselves in Italy as the inheritors of the ‘Greco’-Roman tradition.

The ‘loss’ Constantinople thus was reduced in significance, and the legacy and history of the city of Rome in Italy was increased both in significance and given a much older date.  The ‘Byzantines’ were not viewed at all, and when viewed were cast in a negative light, or at least one which preclude the likelihood as being the close in time predecessors to the Italian project.

From this imperial legacy perspective we are able to discern both a motive and operation by which the Italian Renaissance humanists and clergy fabricated peninsular Italy into the heart and engine of a vast Greco-Roman Empire of a fictitious antiquity.  Conversely, we are confronted with a rational explanation, to be elaborated in a forthcoming edition, which places Constantinople as the primary city of the Roman Empire.

The Constantinople of antiquity rather was founded and existed in the late so-called ‘dark ages’ or early medieval period, and the city of Rome in Italy being established as a second capital out of a smaller settlement by fleeing Roman marines after a defeat during the Crusades sometime in the high to late medieval period, or around the 13th or 14th century (c.d); being chronologically aligned with the rise of the Roman Seljuk, later called Ottoman (True Eastern Roman Empire) successor state in the east and their successful incursions into Greece and the Balkans “Central” Roman Empire (conventionally called Eastern Roman Empire).

This process should be better understand as part of the narrative of the well documented civil wars and disputes between synarchs or the tetrarchy, and various regional rulers of the different diocese who took sides.  This presents us with an interesting question regarding the subjectivity of ‘Empire’ narratives from antiquity – the real or actual degree to which alleged empires were top-down centralized leviathans or horizontal federations of ‘kingdoms’ i.e governorships or diocese.  It strikes the observant as rather subjective the variations of historical narratives which portray some struggles as civil wars or secessionist movements (or contested claims) and others as ostensible ‘clashes of civilizations’.

Here we return then to the English Empire and its strategy of ‘full spectrum dominance’ which involves of course that historical period’s version of the ‘information war’: religion and history.  This suspect process of Renaissance period Italian chronology was picked up by the English variant of the same, as the Renaissance moved north.  In that northward ideological movement, the same Italian strategy was then utilized by the English.

The English positioned themselves as the pinnacle of civilization, and that civilization itself as a Western and European phenomenon, debasing actual history from both its Mediterranean and Near-Eastern genesis.  This requires no conspiracy of any sort, but is an emergent phenomenon and one expected based upon the continuing academic process of bibliogenesis and its flawed epistemology.

From this we are able to discern an absolutely rational basis by which the ‘Western Heritage’ ideology is a construct based upon cultural-historical appropriation and involves an understandable mechanism.

Mechanism II: Microcosm, Familial Wealth and Mode of Production Distortion

Karl Marx explains that the ruling ideology, i.e. the dominant paradigm,  of a given historical epoch is the ideology of the ruling class.  From Marx we can also understand that each historical paradigm reflects the distortions of which this ideology necessitates onto their understanding of reality.  In “The German Ideology”, 1845, Marx is clear:

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at 45808_141594255875792_2937468_nthe same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch. For instance, in an age and in a country where royal power, aristocracy, and bourgeoisie are contending for mastery and where, therefore, mastery is shared, the doctrine of the separation of powers proves to be the dominant idea and is expressed as an “eternal law.”

In the present capitalist mode of production there are any number of distortions upon the conception of reality which are perpetuated.  Primarily these revolve around conceptions of value as being primarily exchange value.  Under the present conditions in the west of “post-modernity” we understand that the speculative element of finance capital is grossly pronounced, and subsumes industrial capital itself.  This theme is explored in more detail by V.I Lenin in his 1916 work “Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism“.

ref1

Distortion of Speculation on Exchange Value

As ‘value’ is the primary basis of ‘capitalism’, we see how late capitalism distorts the ‘value’ 360px-Fractional-reserve_banking_with_varying_reserve_requirements of capital through the stock market’s (and related) basis in speculation.  This creates speculative bubbles which theoretically later experience ‘market correction’ but in actual fact are maintained through any number of government interventions and fiat based fictions.  The primary methods today of the Atlanticist regime, whose economic system is late capitalism, are the twin giants of the multi-media holograph and the military.  These are what are used to enforce the spectre-like speculative economy.  The evolution from  fractional reserve banking, to ‘no’ reserve banking now exists in its final and malignant form.

spec_bubble

Speculative Bubble Causal Loop Diagram

This raises the question pertinent to our hypothesis, quintessential to this exploration of Mechanism II, of the distorting effect on the conception of reality requisite to the Feudal mode of production.

The primary basis of the Feudal mode of production was arable land; the product of which simultaneously sustained cities through import but also the exportation of standing armies for both defensive and expansionist aims.  Outside of conquest in the raw, the primary basis within the realm of ‘civilized activity’ by which the Feudal Aristocracy was able to accrete and maintain its feudal holding, in a manner which maintained the peace and was therefore commensurate with law, was through the land claim.  The land claim is primarily demonstrated through lines of inheritance; these in return require an established line of succession.  The more historically established a given aristocratic family was, the greater its claim to a given feudal holding.  When contested before a magistrate, the length of time – expressed through generations – that a given aristocratic family could trace its line of succession relevant to the land claim was the critical piece of evidence required to prevail in such a legal contest.

800px-Habsburg-bourbon-parma-2siciliesX

From this we can connect these dots with relative ease.  Just as the capitalist mode of production has had profound distortions upon exchange value, the feudal mode of production had hitherto uncontemplated distortion upon length of history, as expressed through familial generations.  In Part I we explored the case of Lorenzo Valla who was involved in the creation of history at the level of Macrocosm, and how his credentials in this area were used to buttress aristocratic claims within the Renaissance era Italian legal system at the level of Microcosm.  The interplay between these two levels then should not be overlooked.  It would also be a serious error to limit the period of distortion to the Renaissance, but more properly should be applied to the entire Feudal (Medieval) period wherein the economic motivation to conjure distant relatives would exist.

Computations of distortions upon the length of history at the level of microcosm alone can perhaps account for as much as the doubling of the length of time accounting for the previous Medieval period, whence-from these Renaissance Italian dynasties were founded. A serious case study of land claim disputes, and the resulting court findings, from existing Medieval period archives would be required in order to give a more precise figure.  This data would need to be placed into a matrix from which a statistical accounting could be given.

Absent that, we can only give conservative estimations based upon some assumed premises.  If for example a major contest between aristocratic families which required the fabrication of a preceding family patriarch occurred every fifty years, and the lifespan of this patriarch was fifty years, then from this we can extrapolate a doubling of the length of the feudal mode.  Periodization fallacy notwithstanding,  the  Medieval (500-1500 AD, c.d) through Renaissance (1500-1600 AD, c.d) period is officially about 1100 years, roughly five or six hundred of which would be fictions of legal creation.

The preceding two mechanisms alone, however, do not sufficiently account for the entire scope of erroneous chronology which we today encounter.

Mechanism III: Compromise of Narratives, Demythologization and Remythologization

In Boris Nad’s piece ‘Return of the Myth‘ we are familiarized with the Jüngerian concept of demythologization and remythologization.  The Renaissance Humanists and emerging ernst jungerJesuit Clergy were confronted with several forms of medieval history, the forms depending on the considerations most important to the author.  Roughly these can be divided into two forms, materialist and chronological on the one hand, and religious/thematic and mythical on the other.  Both ‘accounts’ referred to the same phenomenon, the first historicized and quantified these and the second gave them a theme or an existential meaning .

In the materialist, chronological accounts which have their origin in the Xenophanean and Thucydidean methodology, history is given a ‘rational’ and material foundation; and explanations for events and personalities based in religious, thematic, and mythical reasoning are absent.

In the mythical accounts, which in the stages of modernity (including pre and post) have been relegated to pure fantasy and superstition, we have an opposing narrative of the same phenomenon.  Here the actors are larger than life, descended from the Gods themselves, and the exact dates are absent.  An important proviso to include here is the reality that in most all of the primary source documents which support the claims of the mainstream consensus dating, dating is in fact absent.  The motives of these actors are of heavenly proportions, and even some of the motivations or reasons are really beyond the scope of human understanding; where they touch upon reason and understanding we are humored by gods with human emotions – jealousy, rage, insolence, revenge, clemency, sympathy etc.  Where they capture the human imagination, the deal in prophecy, fate, and eschatology.

220px-Joseph_Justus_Scaliger_2

Joseph Justus Scaliger

The accounts of myth and history existed in the Renaissance period both in their academic and ecclesiastical forms.  A tendency of anti-clerical humanists wanted a pure history of chronology and reason, those of the ‘New Learning’.  Other humanists wanted to reconcile the ecclesiastical with the chronological.  A tendency of the clergy wanted an account which reconciled the mythological with the ecclesiastical; and yet another faction of the clergy wanted an account which divorced the mythological ‘pagan’ from the ecclesiastical.

A compromise of sorts was arrived at, sometimes overt, other times tacit in that both forms of accounting were officially permitted side by side.  By the time of Joseph Scaliger, the necessary task of reconciling these two base narrative forms reached, and also of reconciling the often contradictory and ‘nearer to the present’ histories of Persia, Babylon, and Egypt.

To summarize, the same phenomenon were historicized in the following way:

The mythological and pagan was left alone as legend and myth, only to later be assigned to the 15th-10th century BC(c.d) by the English and French academy of the 19th century, called ‘Homeric’.

The rational, materialist, and enlightened was assigned the 5th century BC through 4th century AD (c.d) covering both the periods covered by Herodotus, Thucydides et al, on through the pre-Justinian era.

The purely ecclesiastic was assigned to the 5th through 9th century AD (c.d) and called ‘The Dark Ages’.

The compromise history involving both the ecclesiastic and materialist (Scholastic, late Neoplatonic etc.), taking place during what we know understand as the ‘actual time’ – the high medieval period covering the crusades and the final schism of the empire and church, from the 10th century AD (c.d) through middle 14th century AD (c.d).

The periods of the New Learning, Renaissance Humanism, and the Reformation were then the present, and the ‘history’ of the preceding several hundred years was not to be understood as ‘history’ in the meaningful sense, but rather tended to be represented more as a classification of various events and bureaucratic or governmental decrees and personages from 1400 AD (c.d) onward through the middle 17th century AD, i.e., the ‘then’ present.

Conclusion

Many themes and ideas in this article require further elaboration and justification, but the general foundation and framework for understanding the many problems in mainstream chronology has been established.  We explored three mechanisms which, each taken alone, would go along ways in explaining errors in the material today presented as ‘history’.

History is an important subject not only for existential or even abstract reasons, but because how we understand history informs our future actions.  This is very simple to understand; in practical terms our interpretation of the failures and successes in the past are the primary method by which we make decisions about the future.  The present Atlanticist ruling class has inherited a very confused and essentially erroneous tradition, based upon fallacies which are in their control to fix today but not in their interest to change.

Another reason that the Atlanticists will not fix their accounting of history is that their power to control the future is primarily a presently existing power expressed by controlling the narrative of the past.  This is ‘soft power’ taken to an ultimate dimension. By NATOclaiming, for example, that monolithic empires (and not federations) existed for upwards of a thousand years (instead of hundreds) sets the precedence for convincing themselves and the public at large that they too can create such a behemoth.

Additionally the Atlanticists method of acquiring and developing knowledge itself is through an academic process inherited from both Jesuits and Renaissance Humanists, in addition to the later naive English Empiricism which sees its hubristic pinnacle in Popper. While there are many great contributions to found in those elements, they also present a list of limitations.  The five sense-based foundation in understanding ‘evidence’, in addition to the logical fallacy of ‘argument by authority’, forms the basis of pre through post modern academia.  This places an irreconcilable cleavage between truth and knowledge in the post-modern era.

What separates the methodology of the Center for Syncretic Studies from the mainstream academia is that they are locked into a limited process of bibliogenesis while we on the other hand continue to approach matters afresh without the baggage of adherence to outmoded methods of knowledge creation.  In short, uur difference is at the epistemological and ontological basis.  While the mainstream academia mirrors the mainstream media in its impotency in both origin and utility, our principled commitment to understand the world without prejudice forms the solid foundation of our inquiries.

 

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2 Responses to Deconstructing the Western Tradition, Part II

  1. Pingback: Great Minds Of The Western Intellectual Tradition

  2. zaidpub says:

    Reblogged this on zaidpub and commented:
    A Wonderful and well constructed Revision

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