The Multipolar Revolution: Syncretic Perspectives – Part I

Small Logo By: Jafe Arnold

From the Indo-Europeans to the ‘New World’

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old-english-calligraphy-alphabet-the world’s diversity of cultures has successfully defied the “globalization” of the Atlanticist, Liberal, unipolar “End of History” scenario proclaimed in the 1990’s. It is increasingly recognized both de facto and de jure that we are in transition towards a multipolar world order. The historic drama of this process is not always appreciated for what it is: we are on the way towards a world order promising unprecedented cooperation between civilizations based on the refusal of  hegemony of any one state, ideology, and identity. From the point of view of international relations, political science, geopolitics, and indeed the history of civilizations, this is a revolution.

In the modern world, we also often forget to appreciate the original meaning of words. “Revolution” is usually etymologically traced back to Latin revolutio, or “the act of revolving”, meaning a radical change aimed at restoring an original position in a cycle. However, “revolution” as a word and concept can be pursued not only even further back to Greek verbs meaning “to wind around” or “to enfold,” but the Latin, Greek, and other Indo-European linguistic expressions of “revolution” all trace back to the original Proto-Indo-European root welh- or kʷel- literally meaning “to turn” or “to rotate” but more often than not connoting “surrounding.” The original Indo-European term encompasses the origins of the concept of “revolution” as it would be derived in all the complex understandings of the Indo-Europeans’ descendant languages and cultures, among which Greek and Latin are prominent European cases. [1]

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The Indo-European homeland and linguistic evolution a la Anthony

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Indo-European languages in 21st century Eurasia

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Global distribution of Indo-European languages by state

The original Proto-Indo-European set of terms that would yield “revolution” referred to the most important aspects of life for the original Indo-European people: war (the military maneuver of “surrounding” an enemy, which vanquishes a threat and therefore “returns” the cosmic balance), pastoral life (the cycle of herding and grazing livestock, the cattle cult sacrifice cycle in their cosmogony), and the celestial-divine (the gods “surrounding” men with powers, protection, tribulations, the celestial cycles, etc.). The Proto-Indo-European kʷel- is also the root for the word “wheel”, or kʷékʷlos, which was of supreme importance to the Proto-Indo-Europeans’ view of the cosmos and their historical movement: the wheel or circle of the cosmos and life is predominant in Indo-European mythologies and it was thanks to the Indo-Europeans’ domestication of the horse (another linguistic correspondence: h₁éḱwos) and their utilization of wheel and chariot technology that allowed them to spread across the globe, with which they left a primordially and still relatively similar cultural and linguistic sphere stretching from the European peninsula to the Indian sub-continent (hence the 19th century term “Indo-Europeans”). These are not merely intriguing linguistic observations: the Indo-European conceptual and linguistic roots of “revolution” have informed many of the earth’s cultures’ understanding of such complex concepts as radical change, “revolving order”, or “restoration.” That these roots or significations have been denied or lost does not mean that they do not exist. 

What does this have to do with multipolarity? Multipolarity, as a revolution, is of both the past and the future: it is a radical negation of Atlanticist, Liberal, unipolar modernity in favor of a new international system and it is a restoration of or return to the world’s natural diversity of civilizations, identities, and ideologies. Continue reading

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CSS defends Syria, builds multipolarity at international security conference

SealBy: Jafe Arnold (Special Projects Director) and Paul Antonopoulos (Research Fellow) 

CSS Research Fellow Paul Antonopoulos speaks at “Threats to Security in the 21st Century: Finding a Global Way Forward” in Lahore, Pakistan

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old-english-calligraphy-alphabet-the international conference, “Threats to Security in the 21st Century: Finding A Global Way Forward”, was held on May 5-6 and hosted by the School of Integrated Social Sciences at the University of Lahore, Pakistan. The Center of Syncretic Studies was represented at the conference, the first of its kind in Pakistan, by Research Fellow Paul Antonopoulos.

Continue reading

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Western ‘Anti-Imperialist’ Contradictions in Syria

A Sober View on the US-YPG Affair 

sealBy: Paul Antonopoulos – CSS research fellow 

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The following is a sample preview of a much larger article that will appear in the first issue of the Journal for Syncretic Studies (JSS). For those who wish to contribute an article to the first Issue of JSS, the deadline is May 15, 2018. Details can be found here

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old-english-calligraphy-alphabet-the most confusing aspect of the Syrian conflict has been the response from most of the Western Left and anti-imperialist organisations. Whereas most post-colonial states and their respective Leftist Parties, as well as former Soviet states, have supported the Syrian government from the onset of the war, the majority of Western Leftist groups, with the exception of a small number of non-Trotskyite communist organisations, have supported reactionary militant groups in Syria.

The Western Left look at the war in Syria as an internal revolution by progressive forces to overthrow a brutal dictatorship, while the majority of the Left in post-Colonial states recognise the external factors and imperial ambitions occurring in Syria. Whereas the Western Left masquerades as anti-imperialist, they refuse to acknowledge imperialistic designs on Syria from the United States, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. For this reason, it is only ample that they are referred to as the “Imperial Left”.

As most of the Imperial Left in the West do not have historical memories of being colonised by imperial powers, they generally view the world through the paradigm of only a class struggle between Capitalists and Workers. Therefore, with the eruption of the Syrian War, they failed to acknowledge the external factors at play and believed it to be a Workers’ struggle against a dictatorship that tolerated a bourgeois class. This simplistic view of not acknowledging external factors also meant the Imperial Left’s support for the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. It is through this simplistic mechanism that the Imperial Left apply their White Saviour Complex and view the post-colonial world as consisting of two types of people – dictators and victims. Continue reading

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The Eternal Return: Mircea Eliade’s Homo Religiosus and the Cognitive Science of Religion

CSS research fellow Jafe Arnold speaks at Amsterdam religious studies conference 

sealBy: Jafe Arnold

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On January 23rd, 2018 CSS research fellow Jafe Arnold delivered a presentation entitled “The Eternal Return: Mircea Eliade’s Homo Religiosus and the Cognitive Science of Religion” at the “Religionism and Historicism” mini-conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Organized by the University of Amsterdam’s Religious Studies and Western Esotericism Masters programs, in which Arnold is a student, the conference sought to address the theoretical and practical problems peculiar to the “religionist” and “historicist” approaches to the academic study of religious and esoteric currents.

Arnold’s talk focused on two case studies in this context that are relevant to the research of the Center for Syncretic Studies – the theories of the 20th century Romanian scholar of religion, Mircea Eliade, and the relatively new, interdisciplinary field of the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR). 

One of the Center for Syncretic Studies’ chief spheres of research is the relationship between different paradigms of understanding human religiosity, their reflections in intellectual discourse, and the possibilities of – as our mission statement says – “promoting an interdisciplinary approach which seeks to develop theory from unique combinations of ideas while also preserving space for and appreciating the utility of established orthodoxies.” As our Center’s name suggests, we are interested in syncretic perspectives on different schools of thought otherwise separated by time and ideological paradigms, especially in relation to the global “de-secularization” process which we believe is a pivotal, defining experience of the present era with profound implications for everything from scholarship to socio-political movements and geopolitics. The reconsideration of Eliade and the rise of CSR can be distinguished within this context of de-secularization.  Continue reading

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Populism from the Left and the Militarization of Europe

An Interview with Czech Communist Ideologist Josef Skala 

Small Logo By: Dr. Eduard Popov and Alexander Gegalchiy – translated by Jafe Arnold 

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502377n August 2016, the Center for Syncretic Studies had the honor to publish an exclusive interview with the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia’s deputy chairman for ideology and communications, Dr. Josef Skala, produced by the Center’s esteemed Russian colleagues, Dr. Eduard Popov (Fort Russ guest analyst, Europe Center for Public and Information Cooperation) and Alexander Gegalchiy (International Russian Award Foundation). We are pleased to continue this fruitful intellectual exchange with the following, latest interview with Dr. Skala conducted in early January 2018. This interview touches on a number of pressing topics ranging from the challenges facing the “post-socialist” left to “populism”, NATO expansion, and the possibility of a third Maidan in Ukraine. As such, it should serve as a case study in the transformation of the left in the 21st century in relation to geopolitical processes. – Jafe Arnold 

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Eduard Popov: Dr. Skala, how do you see left socialist and communist thought developing? Is any creative potential being demonstrated, i.e., anything “new”, or is the left clinging to unchanged positions?

Josef Skala: To this day the left remains the victim of the so-called “new” thinking invented by Gorbachev and his associates. This, of course, is a serious distortion of left thought. But many modern theoreticians are still under the pressure of the stereotypes propagated by this “new” thinking. After all, this thought was nothing new! On the contrary, it was a program for returning to the distant past. Nevertheless, new philosophical talents are emerging which have a good grasp of what happened with “Catastroika” and are advocating fresh ideas. In the Czech Republic, we have a group of young theoreticians capable of not only quite profoundly analyzing the tendencies of the development of modern capitalism, but also evaluating the dead ends and traps towards which capitalism is heading which Western elites are incapable of doing anything to avoid. Continue reading

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