Revolution: Russia’s Dark Age

This year marks the hundredth-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, which began as moderate and democratic, but which the Bolsheviks violently hijacked.

In fact, the original Russian Revolution was simply a democratic replacement of Czarist rule.

The background to this transition was Russia’s disastrous participation in the First World War. Of all the belligerents in that conflict, Russia had the largest army (twelve million men), but also one which was the poorest equipped and rather badly led. Casualty rates were terribly high.

Often neglected is the fact that the war killed off the generation of men who by and large were loyal to the old Russia of the Czars.

The younger generation that replaced them were by and large radicalized and had no such loyalty. Socialism, of one form or another, held their true allegiance. The untold suffering produced by the war only justified their socialist ideals.

Thus, by 1917, disgruntlement in the army was high, and the Czar was seen as the cause of all the misery, both at home and on the battlefields.

And these troubles did not inflict the army alone. The general population too was a casualty of the war, for there were severe food shortages – malnutrition was a major cause of death among civilians throughout Russia. Thus, the war highlighted Russia’s economic flaws (poor land management, unstable food distribution, and low wages).

Then, there was the war itself. By 1917, nearly two-and-half million soldiers were dead, and about 5 million wounded. Death by starvation among civilians numbered nearly a million.

Thus, about two percent of the entire Russian population perished in just three years (at the start of the war, Russia had 175 million people). War-fatigue infected everything.

As with all such discontent, a seemingly innocuous event became the catalyst for cataclysmic change.

On February 18, 1917, workers at the Putilov steel mill, in St. Petersburg, went on strike. They demanded an increase in wages to meet the rate of inflation. The factory-owners refused to negotiate and locked them all out (some 20,000 employees).

In protest and solidarity, workers at other factories also struck, and within a few days most factories in the city were shut down.

Then, on International Women’s Day (February 24), the women also poured into the streets and joined the strikers.

Suddenly, over half-a-million angry people were no longer clamoring for a fair living wage; they were demanding a completely new social order.

Czar Nicholas II ordered that the unrest be put down, by force, if necessary.

This was a serious misreading of the mood of the Russian population, because Nicholas was unaware of one important fact – the goodwill of the people towards his rule was gone.

Instead of driving off the workers and the women, the soldiers sent to quell the disturbances refused to fire on their own people, and in most cases, joined the protesters.

Within a week, unrest had changed into a full-blown revolution.

Then, entire regiments mutinied, and the protesters now became a well-organized, and professionally armed, insurrection.

Government buildings were attacked, police stations ransacked, and arsenals looted for arms. The police could do nothing and often joined the rebels.

Nicholas then listened to more bad advice from his panicked generals, who suggested that since he was perceived to be the problem, the best thing was for him to abdicate, which he did on March 2, 1917.

All this in less than two weeks.

The parliament (Duma) was hastily reconvened, and the various political factions and parties (mostly democrats, moderates, republicans, conservatives, Kadets, or constitutional democrats, as well as some communists) cobbled together a makeshift government to take over from the Czar.

Needless to say, no one was ready for such a quick transition.

Because this was a haphazard coalition, it was deemed temporary, and therefore labeled, the Provisional Government. A more permanent regime would be elected by the people, once things settled down and an election could be properly organized and implemented.

The legitimacy of this temporary government was accepted by the officer corps of the army, the middle class, and the majority of the population. No one yet imagined that their revolution would be co-opted by the communists.

In fact, the Provisional Government had much good-will behind it. But, in true tragic fashion, this good-will was quickly squandered.

The fact was the Russians did not want to live under communism. The tyranny of socialism was imposed upon them because the governments they trusted (first the Czar and then the Provisionals) did nothing to counter communist strategies of takeover.

The communists had not just been sitting idly by. They had been busy building up a solid power-base – by 1917, the rank-and-file of the army, the navy, and the factory workers were staunch communists.

Then, the Provisional Government showed its lack of preparedness and began to make crucial mistakes.

The first of these was the decision to remain in the war and continue fighting the Germans, along with the other allies.

Germany had hoped that with the change in government, Russia would withdraw from the conflict. Despite the mounting losses, Russia still fielded the largest army, which meant Germany had been fighting on two fronts.

Now the Germans began to plot against the Provisionals. They contacted the chef leaders of the communists, both of whom were in exile abroad – Lenin in Switzerland and Trotsky in New York.

The communists had always opposed the war as an imperialist venture. The Germans set out to exploit this viewpoint by helping the communists grab power because they promised to withdraw Russia from the war.

It is at this time that the famous train-ride took place, where Germany secretly fetched Lenin from Switzerland, put him on a train to Finland, from where he got to Petrograd (the new name for St. Petersburg).

The Germans also likely funded Lenin and his Bolsheviks to further their aims. This is the notorious “German gold” charge against Lenin.

Before long, Trotsky also joined Lenin, but only after he was detained for four-weeks in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The two men now began to plan a coup against the Provisional Government, and both understood that this could only be done by preparing their power-base for violent insurrection.

Was Lenin working for the Germans? There is much debate on the topic, but he was certainly furthering their aims, and he was certainly in Russia because of them. If they had not helped, he would have remained in Switzerland.

Within a few months, central councils, or soviets, were established in all the important cities. Their job was to foment unrest. This period of laying the groundwork for a Bolshevik Russia would become known as, “The July Days” in later Soviet lore.

Unlike the Provisionals, the communists were highly organized and therefore very effective in meeting their objectives. They had a power-base that was not only cohesive but extremely loyal.

The Provisionals, on the other hand, had no such cohesion, nor could they muster loyalty. They were really a hodgepodge group of factions, each with views that set them against each other. Even common consensus was a difficult thing, let alone concerted action.

None of them realized that they had one common enemy – the Bolshevists.

In fact, the very name, “provisional” seemed to sustain an ad hoc mentality, and thus there was always hesitation, and continual in-fighting.

The work of tending to the daily duties of good governance was neglected, which resulted in more mistakes, such as:

  • The inability to become the permanent government of Russia.
  • The loss of control over the army by not addressing the demands of the soldiers, the chief one being to drop out of the First World War.
  • The inability to address the issue of land redistribution, which the peasants demanded.
  • The inability to organize the proper distribution of food. People were starving.

If the Provisional Government had looked after just one of these dire problems, Russia’s future would have been democratic and republican, and far less murderous.

But nothing happened. The Provisionals decided that the war would go on, while the food problem remained unsolved, wages stayed low, and the land would not be redistributed any time soon.

Lenin, however, had the answers people demanded – he offered an alternative to the wretched status quo.

In a short space of time

  • His Bolsheviks had full control of the army. His famous “Order Number 1,” which permitted ordinary soldiers to keep their arms, while also excusing them from obeying the orders of officers when they were off-duty – was very popular among enlisted men. It also successfully drove a wedge between the officers and the ordinary soldiers.
  • He vowed to withdraw from the war immediately.
  • And he offered a comprehensive strategy for land redistribution and food distribution.

People who hated the communists now began to give them a second look, since they alone seemed interested in addressing the grievances of the common people. Lenin decided now was the time for a coup.

Through effective agitprop (Trotsky’s expertise), armed riots broke out, the most serious of them occurring on July 16, 1917, when armed sailors, soldiers and factory workers surged into the streets and demanded a change of government.

The Provisionals appeared powerless to act.

But the appetite for violence was non-existent among the people, and the riots petered out by July 19. People saw this as a coup-attempt, and everyone turned on Lenin and his Bolsheviks – ordinary citizens did not want communism to rule over them.

The Provisionals bestirred themselves into action and arrested Trotsky and some other Bolshevik leaders, but Lenin slipped away and escaped to Finland, from where he continued the fight.

Again, when more decisiveness was needed, there was only vacillation, which led to more bad decisions – again, the war would be continued, nothing was done about the land problem, the people continued to starve.

By August, the ill-will for the Bolsheviks was vanishing. Had not Lenin alone promised the changes that everyone so badly wanted?

And there was always the in-fighting among the Provisionals. This time General Kornilov declared that he would seize power and bring much-needed stability to Russia. This message resonated with the people.

In a panic, the Provisionals called upon all parties, including the Bolsheviks, to help quell the threat (labeled a right-wing conspiracy). Of them all, only the Bolsheviks were well-funded and extremely well-organized.

Lenin understood that this was the time to quickly spread throughout Russia and take control. The Provisional Government had handed him the coup he wanted.

Kornilov might well have succeeded had he been a bit more patient and a little less confused as to what he should precisely do. Basically, he was not the man for the job. His outrage at the endless inaction could not be translated into a viable course of action.

Besides, the majority of the soldiers were already Bolshevik, or certainly sympathetic, and it did not take much convincing to get them to desert Kornilov.

The railway workers also lent a hand and sabotaged the various railway lines that Kornilov would need in order to make his threats a real danger.

Everything fell apart quickly thereafter, and in less than a week, he was arrested. Such was the “Kornilov Affair.”

But the general would dramatically escape, gather a division of crack troops, and begin a campaign against the Bolsheviks, promising to burn half the country if need be to get rid of them. By this time, the Bolsheviks were the only real fighting unit that the Provisionals had.

Kornilov proved an effective campaigner as he fought the various Bolshevik regiments that now spanned across Russia, consolidating power, enabled by the Provisional Government, whose “henchmen” they legally were.

Regions and even cities were left to resist and fend for themselves, as they tried to fight free of Bolshevik control. Civil war had now begun.

Korniliv emerged a natural leader of the resistance, but he was killed in April of 1918, when a Bolshevik shell landed on the farmhouse where he was staying.

The Bolsheviks were now the most powerful faction in the country. They were well-funded, well-organized, and very well armed. The army, the navy, the factories, and the railway lines belonged to them.

During this time, Trotsky formed the infamous Red Guard, composed of armed factory workers, who were fanatically dedicated to fighting for the communist cause. Later this unit would become the Red Army.

On October 22, Lenin returned from Finland, and rather famously declared that “Russia was the freest country in the world.” He would soon all that. In fact, Russia under Provisional rule was indeed remarkably free, a freedom it would not see for the next seventy-plus years.

The Bolsheviks were now ready to take full control.

In the early morning hours of November 7, they seized railway stations, telephone and telegraph offices, bridges, electricity plants, and the state bank.

The next day, the battleship Aurora opened fire on the Winter Palace, where the Provisional Government was headquartered.

When the Red Guard stormed the Winter Palace, they found no one inside. The Provisional Government had fled, down to the last man. Tragically, they abandoned Russia to Lenin.

The only people of real importance, still left in Petrograd, were the ex-Czar’s family. There was no one from among the leaders.

In one of those misfortunes of histories, the royal children had come down with measles, and their mother thought they should not be moved.

Little did the Czarina realize that by not acting, she had sealed her own fate and the fate of all her children. It would have been far better to flee with sick children, because the deaths that awaited them all at the hands of the Bolsheviks would be nightmarish.

When the Red Guard arrived to arrest the royal family, there was no one around to protect them, except for a few guards who put up no resistance.

On the evening of November 8, Lenin gave a banal, but dire, speech, in which he declared that he would now “proceed to construct the socialist order.”

But this new order would first need a long bloody Civil War, the murderous Red Terror, Lenin’s infamous Hanging Order, the killing of rivals by Stalin, the great purges, the annihilation of men and women of undesirable classes – all those cruel components of a methodical class war that alone can establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

And yet Lenin’s rule would also be short-lived. The maelstrom of blood that he unleashed would burgeon beyond his control. He would be shot, survive, and then eventually die in 1924, likely “on the operating table,” a euphemism used at the time to describe political assassination.

His executioner would be one of his low-grade henchman by the name of Stalin. Many more millions would then die to continue building the “socialist order.” Stalin was fond of saying that he had great plans for Russia, but people kept getting in the way.

The terror Lenin unleashed would take many decades to wind down, and then finally disappear. The period from 1917 to Gorbachev’s perestroika of 1989 should really be seen as one long Dark Age for Russia.

It is only now that this nation is emerging into the hope and future that everyone imagined and hoped for, when the Czar abdicated and Russia became “the freest country in the world.”

Only now is this great land awaking to its promised Renaissance, which it has dearly purchased, with the blood of millions of its people.


The photo shows, “The Manifest of October 17, 1905,” by Ilya Repin, painted 1907-1911. 

The Triumph of History: The Death Of Globalism

Over the past two years, a new genre of nonfiction has emerged, published by earnest and deeply panicked individuals, who feel that they need to sound the alarm.

What about? The dire consequences if globalism is allowed to flicker out. For ease of reference, we can call it, “Panic Lit.”

Fear is juddering through globalist intellectuals like Francis Fukuyama, Moritz Schularick, Christian Welzel, Nouriel Roubini, Jeffrey Sachs, William Easterly, Paul Collier, Carmen Reinhart, and others. All of them are busy writing papers and books deploring the rise of nationalism, which they know will kill their brand of globalism.

Of course, their globalism has nothing to do with people living together in peace and harmony – their globalism is about technocratic elites that siphon off the wealth of nations and into the hands of the few.

Austerity has been the lie that they have fed us all, while they sit in their high palaces, enjoying the fruit of our labors.

But they are now finally understanding that people are staring to wake up to their tactics, and the gravy boat will soon run dry.

Panic Lit has one theme in common – if globalism is allowed to end, there will be utter bestiality – people will instantly be transformed into hate-filled, narrow-minded, warmongers, shouting (oh, the horror) for patriotism, free market, less government, and secure borders.

Nothing makes elitist globalists cringe more than the call for a strong nation-state.

For a very long time, this kleptocracy has busily been nurturing and inculcating the great One World Order.

Their minions have been preaching about it forever – via the tiresome pontificating spurted by the Media-Hollywood-Education-Publishing-Sports behemoth.

The message is unchanging – how happy the world shall be when we only serve the very few post-national overlords.

And yet, despite the billions squandered in brainwashing tactics, the common people still want nationalism?!

Cue the shrieks of horror, and then the usual rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth.

But, of course, a book will solve the problem! Writing as therapy, along with some coloring books and hugs. The book as a consolation prize does have its uses, it would seem.

The mindless misguided just need to be shown what awaits them in the great yonder that is the free world, and they shall come scampering back to the gilded cage, frightened and helpless. Redemption is still at hand – all you have to do is believe in globalism, and all will be forgiven. Yes, a book will shore up the crumbling walls of Utopia.

Of course, these elites now well realize that their Erewhon, their Shangri-La is a place no one wants to inhabit.

Only the stunted imaginations of university “intellectuals” can seek to transform the entire planet into one massive prison-system, where nothing but the State matters, whose will all must obey.

What these ivory-tower thinkers did not realize, despite all their conniving mechanisms (aka, propaganda), is something crucial – politics and politicians, Hollywood and universities (there’s no real difference between the two now), publishers and the media – can only exist, let alone function, if the lowly commoners actually go along with it all.

If that cooperation vanishes, all institutions, all mechanisms of control, all machinery of producing consent, all means of indoctrination – no matter how finely crafted, no matter how sophisticated – comes to a grinding halt.

Finally, and at long last, this cooperation is evaporating, and humans are engaged in a new revolution – one in which there is no room for the globalist elite whose destiny now is to embody that terrible judgment passed by another misguided revolutionary (Leon Trotsky) – that these elite now belong in the dustbin of history.

The time has come at last for the renaissance of the strong nation-state, where loudly is heard the thrilling cry – “Long live free humanity!”

But what is this nation-state? A country that not only determines its own economic sovereignty, but more importantly one that defines itself by its unique moral character.

The problem with these various globalist thinkers has been that they worked from a faulty assumption – that life is all about the money. Keep flashing the dough, and people will follow mindlessly along.

But people do not live solely for money. They live by, with, for their moral principles. And they are willing to sacrifice a lot for these principles. “Man does not live by bread alone.”

Hence Panic Lit, to which another already-effete volume has just been added, penned by Stephen D. King, entitled, Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History.

The title is important – and rather telling.

Of course, it’s a play on Aldoux Huxley’s book, Brave New World, which laid out the grim program of globalism. But for King, the Utopia of the “Brave New Globalized World” has become a dystopia of a “Grave New World.”

For him, a world without his globalism is grim and grave. This is reminiscent of Dr. Josef Goebbels who happily killed all his six children because he could not imagine how they might live in a world without Hitler.

Likewise, King cannot imagine a world without globalism, and he fears what will come next, now that the cooperation of the common folk is disappearing fast, whose cry is age-old: “There are more of us than there are of you!”

Babylon has fallen, and great shall be its fall.

The title of King’s book also points to a concept happily embraced by all globalists of his ilk, namely, the “end of history.”

This term was popularized by Francis Fukuyama, but he also misrepresented it. In fact, it was first coined by the French philosopher, Antoine Cournot, and then fully developed by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and his disciple, Gianni Vattimo.

In effect, the end of history does not mean that events will stop happening, or that the world will end.

Rather, the end of history means that future life will be lived without certainties, without truth, and therefore it will be forever predictable and forever knowable.

In other words, people will no longer have the sense that they are moving forward towards knowledge, but will exist forever in the right-now, as if caught in an unchanging web of nebulous associations.

Think of being trapped in an Eternal Now without any hope of getting out – a rather frightening prospect for humanity, and that unending present is called, “progress,” where the perfect state of existence has been reached, and nothing more can, o should, change, because all change has already happened, and all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the fruits produced by the machine of a well-organized state.

The very idea is revolting because such stasis means the end humanity – only a machine can exist in an Eternal Now, the same forever (hence the globalists’ love of technocracy).

The end of history only makes sense for the machine, which needs neither a past, nor a future – it just wants to get plugged in and hum along smoothly forever.

The State is the plug, which exists to keep machine-humans running and therefore being eternally useful to the elite.

Such is the horror of technocracy, where a human being is a nothing more than a mechanical bio-mass. Therefore, all globalists are technocrats, intent on zapping their version of Frankenstein into some sort of animation, which may be mistaken for “real” human existence.

Imagine a life bound purely to the senses, and you have the end of history – when you have only feelings and sensations, events have no significance, no meaning, because there is no truth to strive for. Things happen, but they are not worthy of being noticed – because to notice is to give events meaning. And there can be no meaning in the Eternal Now.

Meaning needs thoughts and ideas – but what good are ideas to a machine?

Thus in a globalist state, thoughts and ideas are dangerous, because they upset the grand paradigm of a mechanical life. This is why ideas must first be controlled so they can then be destroyed.

Individualism is dangerous, and collectivism is good, and this is why we now see a resurgence of communism. How often do we hear the opinion – “Real communism has never been tried.” Why has this become a talking-point?

To make a human being into a machine requires not only a grand strategy, but also a relentless will, which the globalists have demonstrated they have plenty of. Couple that with communism, and you have the perfect strategy of control – collectivization.

Thus, also the creation of the mechanized humanoids – sexless, sterile and fully controlled. It is the globalists’ dream – the end of humanity and the rise of “humanoidity.” A new type of life that can exist forever, because mechanical parts are easily replaced.

But not all may enter into this mechanized Elysium – only the few. Thus, the cant of “too many people on the planet,” “save the planet from humans,” the wilful worship of earth as mother, as Gaia, who shall consume her own young.

Hence, also the strong link of all “progessive” ideas with antenatalism – feminism, homosexuality, gender identity. Babies are the ultimate evil for progress.

This is all, of course, Neronian, in a way – that is, Nero burned down Rome so he could build himself a vast palace, called the Golden House.

The globalists have been wanting to undertake a similar burning away of excess humanity, in order to transform the planet into a Golden House of their own, where only a few humanoids will exist eternally, as robotic slaves.

Such is the grim world of the automaton. This is what is meant by “the end of history,” and that is why it is the chief goal of globalism – the end of natural human beings, and the rise of mechanical human beings.

This makes globalism, then, the fully ripened form of nihilism.

Thus, when King’s book links the demise of globalism with the rise of history – unwittingly he is saying that humanity has risen up and is refusing to be annihilated.

History is intensely human, because history is intensely moral. When we piece together events of the past, we are really constructing a moral memory-palace – what happened and how things happened lead to the question that people are far more interested in – why did it happen in the first place?

This is why progressivism hates history (the recent tearing of statues in the US).

Whenever we ask, “Why?” we are being moral, because we are seeking the truth which alone can satisfy our moral curiosity, which in turn is our search for a greater, ultimate truth, namely, God.

King’s book is nothing but a list of dire events (versions of economic collapse) that will come about if globalism is abandoned by the West. There is even the warning that without globalism democracy itself will fall apart.

Then, he issues the call for governments to “at least attempt to challenge the inconsistencies of those who seek to pursue policies of disintegration.” Such is the final whimper, “at least try” to stop humanity from wanting to be human, wanting a future (in which to create history).

“Disintegration” means the final collapse of globalism. King clearly recognizes this – and he has no clue what to do about it, which is telling. The machine cannot think. It can only follow predetermined patterns.

In the face of morality, globalism is empty nihilism. What man or woman wants to fall into a bottomless pit?

Rather, people want to be both mortal and moral. They want history. The human soul, the true moral compass of life, will always deny the machine, because it is far stronger.

Globalism is dead. Truth, morality and hope will always win, because all three make humans intensely human. It is this intensity of humanity that globalism cannot comprehend, let alone overpower, or even control.

Be strong my friends – the hour of our freedom is at hand! Strike down tyranny and live free! And don’t buy Panic Lit!


The photo shows, “Hip-Hip-Hurrah!” by Peder Severin Krøyer, painted in 1888.

Forgotten Tragedies: The Greeks Among The Turks

The Greek presence in Turkey and its islands has been continuous since at least the 8th century BC, if not earlier.

The legendary Greek poet, Homer, was from western Turkey, and with the division of the Roman Empire into western (Rome) and eastern (Byzantium) portions, Greek culture flowered in the region, with Constantinople (Istanbul), and the Church of Hagia Sophia, as the high watermarks of Christian Hellenic civilization.

Although Byzantium endured and flourished for many centuries, its death knell struck in 1453, when the Ottoman Turks, led by Mehmed II, invaded the region and toppled the eastern Roman Empire.

They captured Constantinople, and converted the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Thus was established the modern state of Turkey.

With the fall of Byzantium, the majority of the Greeks fled either to Greece, or westwards into Europe.

They took with them a vast amount of learning and knowledge, which would provide the incentive for the exuberance of the Renaissance.

However, a large number of Greeks also remained behind. Known as the Pontic, Anatolian, or Ottoman Greeks, they faced the brunt of the ethnic cleansing that the conquering Turks, who were Muslims, subjected non-Muslims.

Many were were forcibly converted to Islam, and huge swaths of the country were cleared of Greeks by slaughter. Before long, Byzantium, which was ethnically and linguistically Greek, became Turkish and Muslim.

Persecution of the surviving Greek minority continued through the ages; but in the early twentieth century, it became systematic extermination that came just after the Armenian Genocide, and also organized by the violent, fascist group known as the Young Turks, and the ensuing Greco-Turkish War of 1922.

This war ended with the Treaty of Lausanne when the two sides exchanged populations in 1923.

Thereafter, a mere 200,000 Greeks remained in Turkey. Because of continuous civil rights violations, the present Greek population in Turkey is only about 1500 people, who are concentrated around the Bosphorus.

The worst persecution was a pogrom during September 6-7, 1955. This outburst of violence was directed at the Greek community in Istanbul, with a great loss of personal and commercial property, and many instances of rape, beatings, and murder.

Many churches and schools were torched, houses and businesses looted, and Greek cemeteries desecrated, with some bodies of the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church exhumed and defiled. Also, countless relics were destroyed or thrown to the dogs.

In 1995, the US Senate passed a resolution that recognized this pogrom against the Greek community of Turkey, and called upon the president to declare September 6, 1955 a day of remembrance of the victims of this state-organized massacre.

In 1958-1959, Turkish students (a revival of the Young Turks) actively encouraged the public to boycott Greek businesses. In 1964, all Greek permanent residents of Istanbul (those who were born in the city, but held Greek citizenship) were expelled on a two-day notice.

The tiny Greek community that currently resides in Turkey is still relentlessly persecuted. It faces discrimination, intimidation, threats against its religious leaders, and an ongoing desecration of its holy places.

The persecution is immediately discernible in the treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is one of the oldest active institutions in Eastern Europe, having been established around 330 AD.

It is the spiritual center for Orthodox Christians worldwide, as the Vatican is for Roman Catholics. The Patriachate’s printing facilities have been shut down; and the Turkish government will not allow non-Turkish citizens to become bishops, and even the Patriarch must be a Turkish citizen.

This demand is next to impossible to meet, since there are very few Greeks left in Turkey, and the Turks themselves are Muslim.

Turkey also did not allow the Patriarchate to open a representative office in Brussels, Belgium in 1994, claiming that the Patriarchate was not a legal body, and thus there was no need for it to be represented in Brussels.

In 1995, the US Senate passed a resolution condemning the relentless persecution of the Patriarchate by the Turkish government, as it violates international treaties to which Turkey is a signatory.

As well, the Turkish government closed the Patriarchal Theological School of Chalke, which was the primary educational institute for the Patriarchate clergy; many Patriarchs throughout the world graduated from Chalke.

Despite requests from the Patriarchate, the Turkish government refuses to re-open the school. In its 1995 resolution, the US Senate also recognized the arbitrary closing of the School of Chalke.

Turkey also refuses to recognize the ecumenical nature of the Orthodox Church, and thus will not allow anyone who is not a Turkish citizen to participate in the Patriarchate’s affairs in Istanbul. This effectively bars most Patriarchs and clergy who are citizens of other countries.

Further, in 1986 Turkey revoked the right of ethnic Greeks to buy, sell, trade or inherit property. Thus, all property once held by Greeks in Turkey eventually passed into Turkish hands. Greek is not allowed to be taught at Greek schools, and many young people face discrimination because of their ethnicity.

There are Greek communities throughout Turkey, and these people have been completely disenfranchised. They live dual lives of sorts, in that they carry on as Turks in the wider society, but practice their Orthodox faith secretly; nor do they have a right to promulgate their language or culture.

There is also a drive towards “turkification,” especially of names. Therefore, the Orthodox Christians that live to the east of Istanbul cannot worship in Greek, nor can they claim to be Greek Orthodox in official documents, and must describe themselves as Turkish; thus even their ethnicity is denied them.

Further, the islands of Imvros and Tenedos have been aggressively made Turkish. School property was seized, the thriving meat export industry was shut down, and a large prison was established on Imvros.

The government also appropriated property that once belonged to Greeks and turned it over to Turkish settlers from the mainland.

Through a systematic policy of persecution, the ethnic Greek population of Turkey has been driven out, its property made over to the state, and its freedom to pursue its own culture, religion and language denied.

Ethnic cleansing of Greeks in Turkey continues – and no one wants to talk about it.


The photo shows, “After the Massacre at Somathrace,” by Auguste Vinchon, painted around 1827.

The Music Of Ancient Greece

The past comes to us fragmented and silent. We seek to reconstitute it in many ways – through collections in museums, through the uncovering of artifacts, through the preservation of manuscripts, and through individual curiosity and interest.

This is the grand ritual of history – to get beyond the inherent muteness of yesterday and of millennia – we the living must give voice to the dead that they might speak again, though briefly, though in faded whispers.

Lost is the noise of antiquity – the cadence and exuberance of conversation, the scurry and skitter of trade and industry, the jangle and din of ceremonies.

History truly is the great leveler, as Guiderius and Arviragus sing in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline:

Golden lads and girls all must
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust…
The sceptre, learning, physic must
All follow this and come to dust.

And yet an echo of this ancient noise can still be heard in the fragments of music that have survived from Greece of long ago. They are snatches of melodies that once soothed the spirit and delighted the ear.

Similar shreds of music remain also from the ancient Near, Middle and Far East; but by far the largest selection comes from Greece. We have sixty-one melodic pieces, and new ones continue to be found.

These are but remnants of a once grand musical tradition that pervaded much of the civilized world.

Understanding ancient Greek music is important, since so much of our own musical vocabulary and traditions stem from this antique period.

Essential words, such as, “music,” “rhythm,” “tone,” “melody,” “chord,” “scale,” “harmony,” and many technical ones (“chromatic,” “diatonic,” “enharmonic”) are all derived from Greek – as are our scale and tuning classifications, our consonance and dissonance structure, and our use of the octave modal scale.

The Greeks were great theorizers of music. They saw its obvious link to mathematics, and extended this connection to explain ideas of perfection, of morality and even of healing.

In fact, our notions of “musical therapy” are nothing than the rediscovery of their system of modes (or melodic behavior), each of which was seen to positively affect the emotional and spiritual make-up of a person.

There were fifteen such modes. For the ancient Greeks, sound was not something inert which we might receive or ignore without consequence – rather, sound was an active principle – even an entity – that entered our body and altered our interaction with reality.

Music for the Greeks was far more than entertainment (or worse, “relaxing” – an odious way to describe music) –it was a moral force – a process of civilization – a structure for goodness – an ideal of perfection.

The story of the recovery and then the decipherment and the ultimate performance of ancient Greek music is a fascinating one.

But how did it survive, and how are we able to read it? The sixty-one pieces, mentioned earlier, are found on two types of material – stone and papyrus, with papyrus comprising the majority.

But since this ancient form of paper is very fragile, all we really possess are torn bits and pieces on which are transcribed scores that we can work out as parts of melodies – only parts because the whole is lost.

Most of these shreds of papyrus come from Egypt, which is only fitting since the city of Alexandria once housed the famed library, in which the entire learning of the ancient world was said to be contained.

Sadly, the Arabs destroyed this library when they conquered Egypt in the seventh century AD. An eye witness account tells us that it took six months to burn all the books.

The fragments that we possess are those that escaped this conflagration because they had either been thrown onto garbage heaps, or even used as “stuffing” for mummies in the Ptolemaic Kingdom.

The most famous piece of music on papyrus is the Stasimon Chorus from Euripides’ play, Orestes. It’s a haunting melody, in the chromatic scale, of a chorus sung just after Orestes has killed his mother. This piece of music survives on a papyrus fragment that dates from about 200 BC.

These musical papyri are rustling whispers from an antique age.

Three pieces of music are also preserved in stone. There are two hymns to the god Apollo, inscribed onto a piece of the wall of the Athenian Treasury at the temple in Delphi. They were discovered in 1892 by the French archaeologist, Théophile Homolle. These hymns, though fragmented, preserve a substantial portion of the melodies, and they date from the second century BC.

The third piece is the Seikilos Epitaph, which is chiseled onto a marble gravestone. It’s a touching song of dedication by a man named Seikilos to his dead wife named, Euterpe.

The gravestone was discovered in 1883 by William Ramsay during excavation at the ancient city of Tralles (modern-day Aydin, in western Turkey). It’s now housed in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. All three are elegant echoes in stone.

We are able to read this ancient music because we know the notational system that the Greeks used – they had one set of symbols for voice and an entirely different one for instruments. We have gained this knowledge because we possess two remarkable documents.

One is a small fragment on which all two sets of symbols are inscribed and also explained. This is the Table of Alypius, a musician who lived in Alexandria, in the fourth century AD. We can rely on his information because he had access to the vast library in his city.

The other work is more extensive – it’s an entire book on Greek musical theory and practice written by Aristides Quintilianus, who lived in the second century AD. We have also fragments of a work by the fourth century BC philosopher Aristoxenus of Tarentum. These valuable documents have allowed us to return a little sound to antiquity.

The reason why we have these three valuable sources in the first is because of the efforts of one man (whose son would become both notorious in his time and later famous).

His name was Vincenzo Galilei (1520–1591) – the father of Galileo Galilei. Vincenzo was a renowned musician and intellectual of his time, and he was a member of the Florentine Camerata, which was a group of thinkers, philosophers, musicians and writers who met regularly at the house of their founder and patron, Giovanni de’ Bardi.

These men sought to veer music back to its classical roots, which they believed had been abandoned in their day. The result was the creation of musical drama, or what we now call, “opera.”

In 1581 Vincenzo published a few scores of ancient Greek music that he had deciphered. The scores consisted of three hymns to the Muses, to Nemesis, and to Helios (the sun god), which had been composed by Mesomedes of Crete (who lived sometime in the second century AD and who was the court musician of the Emperor Hadrian – he of the Wall in England)).

Vincenzo was the first to decode ancient Greek music by using the information given by Alypius, Aristides and Aristoxenus.

Vincenzo also effectively launched the field of study that now is known as “archaeomusicology” – or the study and reconstruction of ancient musical traditions.

A few decades later, Giovanni Battista Doni designed instruments that might properly play the music of Classical Greece. And in 1652, there appeared the extensive study of such music by the Danish historian Marcus Meibomius.

On the strength of this study, Meibomius was invited to the court of Queen Christina where he gave a concert of this music.

The concert ended badly, however, because in the middle of it, Meibomius struck Pierre Bourdelot, the Queen’s physician and favorite (who famously healed the Queen’s melancholia by making her laugh by reading Pietro Aretino’s satires and sonnets). Bourdelot was scoffing at what was being played and sung.

Meibomius beat a hasty retreat from the royal court and before long found gainful employment in Denmark.

In the Baroque era there appeared, in 1721, a study of ancient Greek melodies authored by Jean-Pierre Burette, physician, book-collector, and a man of great erudition.

Like Vincenzo Galilei, Burette again transcribed the three hymns by Mesomedes, to give them greater currency; and he even organized a concert in Paris for these three ancient pieces.

In the nineteenth century, musicians such as, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie and Camille Saint-Saëns, were involved in reviving ancient Greek music. Their interest was given impetus by the discovery in 1892 of the three Delphic Hymns, mentioned above.

These hymns were studied and transcribed by the polymath Théodore Reinach (who built the Villa Kerylos on the French Riviera) along with two other scholars (the classicists, Henri Weil and Otto Crusius).

Reinach also asked Gabriel Fauré to compose an accompaniment to one of the hymns; and this hymn and accompaniment were performed to much public acclaim in France, England, and the United States.

This hymn was also played at the very first meeting of the International Olympic Congress in June of 1894 (held at the Sorbonne in Paris). It’s said that upon hearing this ancient music the delegates at the Congress were filled with enthusiasm to create the modern Olympic Games.

This four hundred year old tradition of studying, decoding and playing ancient Greek tradition continued in the twentieth century with recordings by J. Murray Barbour, Fritz Kuttner, and Annie Bélis.

But what did this music sound like? To answer this question, let’s first take a look at the instruments that were popular in ancient Greece, and then we can move on to the pieces of music themselves.

There was the lyre, a version of the harp that consisted of seven strings. It was made of a wooden soundbox, two curving arms, and a crossbar. The strings were made either of gut or linen and were fixed to the crossbar by moveable pegs. It tended to be an instrument for amateur performance.

The larger version of the lyre was the kithara, from which our word, “guitar” ultimately descends. It had a larger soundbox, two sideboards and a crossbar. Seven gut strings were stretched over a bridge and wound on pegs fixed to the crossbar. The kithara was much louder than the lyre and was used as an accompaniment in public performance by professional singers.

The aulos was the main woodwind instrument of the Greek world and was made-up of two pipes (usually reed stems; later bronze). Each pipe had a double-reed that produced the sound.

Usually the aulos was tied to the mouth of the player by a leather strap tied at the back of the head (see painting above). This assisted in keeping the flow of air constant. Although it’s often called a “double-flute,” it really was much louder than the modern flute and sounded more like the chanter of the bagpipes. The aulos accompanied processions and dances.

There were also other instruments as well, such as, the syrinx (panpipes), the krotala (castanets), rattles, drums, and cymbals. The Greeks also invented the water-organ (the hydraulis).

Written records tell us that music was frequently heard not only at formal and informal dinner parties (like the symposia, where philosophers like Socrates worked out their ideas), but it was also an essential component in civic ceremonies, in religious worship, marriages and funerals.

And we have records of musical competitions in which prizes were awarded. We also know the pay-scales for professional musicians who belonged to guilds; and there were also choirs and choral competitions.

Concert halls were found in most cities, such as the Odeion built in Athens by Pericles in the fifth century BC. We have also found a few monuments erected to honor musicians.

The Greeks also invented drama; and this art form heavily relied on music (the members of Florentine Camarata based the structure of the opera on Greek drama).

We know also that all men in ancient Greece were educated in music and could play one or more instrument; and they were also taught to sing and dance.

On the philosophical level, music was regarded as the highest expression of individual, civic, and cosmic harmony – it was Pythagoras (he of the theorem) who first described the overtone series, for in it he found harmony and perfection, which he called beautiful.

Music, therefore, was beautiful – because it could only be expressed perfectly. One has only to fumble through a tune on an instrument to understand this. Music can only work when each note is perfectly played or sung.

The nature of the music that has survived tells us that the Greeks used the diatonic scale which has five whole notes and two half-tones in an octave, which together give seven pitches.

This led to the two octave scale, or the Greater Perfect System. And when the Greeks wrote their music and the writing of music expressed intervals on the Greater Perfect System.

The tradition started by Vincenzo Galilei continues in our day with great recordings of ancient Greek music being made by groups, such as, the Madrid Atrium Musicae, Ensemble Melpomen, the Ensemble De Organographia, and the marvelous Ensemble Kérylos (named after the magnificent villa built by Reinach mentioned above), which is led by erudite and imaginative Annie Bélis.

Some years backs, Dr. Jay Kennedy, a professor of philosophy at the University of Manchester, suggested in an intriguing study that Plato, the famed philosopher, embedded musical forms in his work by following the structure of the twelve-note scale.

This wonderfully connects with Plato’s notion that music is the experience of the soul, because music alone can cure the soul – and music then is the gift of the soul.

The more we study ancient Greek music, the more we learn and understand that we have forgotten so much. Music is always a mystery and a revelation.

The ancient Spartan poet, Alkman, says, “right against the steel is the sweet playing of the lyre.” This is a very concise view of ancient Greek music – music is life itself.



The photo shows, “The Vintage Festival,” painted in 1871, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

The Cathedral And The Icon: The Theology Of Light

Christian culture exists not only in modes of life and in the realm of ethics and morality, but it is also deeply intertwined with the artist expression of the West.

Whether that expression reifies Christian teachings, or even actively goes against it, the fact remains that the principle that informs western culture is Christianity.

One of the highest expressions of Christian culture occurred in the Gothic age, which is also known as the “Age of Cathedrals,” for it was in this era that most of Europe’s cathedrals were built.

Of course, cathedrals were not only grand buildings, they were also embodiments of faith, and places of sanctity wherein the divine mystery of God could be felt.

The prototype of the Gothic cathedral is the abbey church of St. Denis, just outside of Paris.

This monastery was under the direct control of the French kings and served as their burial place.

Around the middle of the twelfth-century, the abbot of St. Denis, Suger, undertook to rebuild the abbey. In effect, the Gothic cathedral is the invention of Abbot Suger.

Given their grandeur,  Gothic cathedrals came to dominate the medieval landscape.

The tall spires of the churches served as beacons to travelers and led them to the shrines enclosed within the church.

The bells rang out and regulated the lives of the people who lived within listening range. These same bells tolled for weddings and funerals, and announced the time of prayer and for work.

Thus, cathedrals were places where the divine was brought into presence, and as such, cathedrals shaped the destiny of the faithful.

Cathedrals were also places that brought together in a visible sense all that the earth provides and offers, from plants and animals, to saints and the intervention of God in history, through Jesus Christ.

Thus, primarily, cathedrals were places of iconographic representation. It is important therefore that the patron of the arts was the Virgin Mary, and each and every French cathedral therefore was dedicated to her; she was the Notre Dame (Our Lady).

The cathedral was not only a spiritual center, but also a geographical center for the faithful. This in turn was a reflection of the theology of the day, which placed God in the middle of all life, for nothing could exist outside of God.

Therefore, a cathedral is a mirror to nature, a mirror to instruction, a mirror to history, and a mirror to morality.

The mirror to nature is seen in the plant and animal forms that are represented in a comprehensive fashion.

Instruction is present in the personification of the seven liberal arts and the branches of learning taught in the universities of the day, often housed in churches and cathedrals.

History was found in the story of humanity from Adam and Eve to the Last Judgment.

And morality was seen in the figures depicting virtue and vice, the wise and foolish virgins, the saved and the damned in the Last Judgment, and in the hovering saints and angels and fleeing gargoyles and devils.

Here is the important point which is often neglected – the medieval mind was an allegorical mind (a way of thinking we have entirely lost in our literalist age).

The stress on representation in medieval art and architecture is on allegory, where all that is shown, created and depicted by human hands is read as great and vast examples of the redemptive qualities of God’s mercy.

Gothic interiors are also flooded with light streaming through the stained glass.

There is an important transformation taking place in this sacred environment: Ordinary light is transformed and changed into something miraculously colorful and sublime.

This mirrors the process that the soul itself follows, for it too is transformed by holiness into something miraculous.

As well, the flow of colored light makes the entire cathedral ethereal and otherworldly.

We must see these stained glass windows within the context of a world where such display was rare. It was only in a cathedral that people could see the magical transformation of light taking place.

More importantly, this play of light suggested the mystery of God in that the ordinary light of day became prismatic, revealing colors that are ordinarily never seen.

This transformed light activated and animated the interior space of a cathedral, making the voids and the empty spaces into holy displays. Ordinary sunlight becomes sacred light, the holy light of God, which fuses the material with the immaterial into a harmonious whole.

Just as the material body contains the immaterial soul, thus, the cathedral is like the body, and the holy light within it is the soul, or spirit, or even the emblem of the Holy Ghost.

This light therefore is mystical, an example of God’s divine light, which could change the mundane into the colorful and miraculous.

Further, stained glass offered patterns of pure color and geometrical designs, thus promoting the illusion of infinite space.

It is always a mistake to explain medieval stained glass windows as images for illiterate peasants to look at, since they could not read the Bible. This is simply “fake news” created in the nineteenth century. Nothing is further from the truth.

Stained glass has nothing to do with educating peasants, but everything to do with the medieval theology of light. Since no one seems to know about this theology anymore, it is always easier to talk about images educating illiterate peasants.

Therefore, in the Middle Ages, stained glass replaced the mosaics and mural paintings of the early Christian and Romanesque churches – so that space itself became sacred. Suddenly, light is given both shape and meaning. Light becomes the paint on the canvas of the sacred interior.

The purpose of this artistic expression was innately religious, of course. The stress on allegory in the Gothic cathedral allowed for the presence of God to be felt. It was the mystical place where the divine manifested itself to the worshipper.

Thus, the cathedral became a liturgy in stone, glass and light, which the faithful minutely and piously heeded for instruction and guidance.

Given that the medieval mind was allegorical, therefore it was also highly sophisticated. How else could it achieve the perfect symmetry of cathedrals?

This, of course, dismantles the common misconception that the people of the medieval era were superstitious, dark-minded buffoons.

That is simply the false, yet enduring, mislabeling done by the Enlightenment, which sought to claim for itself the role of bringing humanity into “enlightenment” from the supposed wretched ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The medieval world served as a convenient foil for the Enlightenment philosophers, so they could privilege their own views.

Needless to say, this was an attempt to represent the seventeenth-century as the most brilliant age the world had ever seen.

Thus, the Enlightenment philosophers made very poor historians, but sadly their caricature of the Middle Ages has stuck.

In actuality, the medieval world was sensible, sagacious, practical, subtle, rational, scientific, and well-balanced.

The cathedral embodied all these characteristic.

But the medieval world also had something we have lost – a deep understanding of mysticism – that wisdom which knows how to learn from the mysterious, since not everything can be accessible by way of rationality.

This loss in the west has led to the lure of the mystical in eastern religions, which are, in fact, rather poor exponents, despite popularity.

Life must be a balance of reason as well as that unique ability to simply say, “I don’t know,” which is faith.

The medieval world knew how to say, “I don’t know.” We unwisely think that we can find it all on Google.

Thus, the cathedral was not merely a building, nor a just house of worship. Rather it was the opening into God’s splendor, which could be viewed and used to better human life, and to better the soul.

Is this not the highest purpose of art? The betterment of the soul? But we have abandoned art to the ugliness of politics and its various agendas. We no longer even know what art is anymore, let alone what it is for.

By entering the cathedral the worshipper was reminded of the personification of the entire encyclopedia of God that was housed, and often hidden, in the world.

But there was also a very specific order to this revelation, for the Divine in a Gothic cathedral is a rational being, who was also Aristotle’s Prime Mover.

The cathedral was a place where God’s plan for the world could be demonstrated and made visible. And the best way to do this was by showing harmony, which was allegorically expressed as Eden.

Thus, each part of the cathedral, from the tower to the spire, from the apse to the nave, from the transept to the choir – each section had to be harmonious to the whole, had to be Edenic.

This was an essential part of theology as well, for God was complete and harmonious. He did not exist in chaos and disorder. And the Gothic cathedral reflected this eternal, perfect structure.

A Gothic cathedral therefore turns the faithful gaze to the incomprehensible, sets the mind to consider the transcendent, and briefly lets the veil slip that hides the mystery of eternity, which is the real home and destination of all human souls.

The cathedral bridged the gap between the spiritual and the material, between the mass and the void, the natural and the supernatural, inspiration and aspiration, the finite and the infinite.

Here there was a union of the external and the internal worlds in architecture, as the inner world and the outer world flowed together through the glass-curtained walls.

That proportion of pier and flying buttress paralleled the thrust and the counterthrust of the interior vaulting on the outside.

The sculptural embellishments of the exterior were repeated in the iconography of the glass in the interior.

Through the medium of stained glass light was endowed with meaning and became holy illumination.

Nothing was superfluous; everything was crucial to sustain the whole – just as each soul was crucial in the grand scheme of God’s redemption. Everything and everyone belonged. There could be no exclusion, except by human free will.

Is this why the gargoyles that hem the outside of cathedrals are so hideous, because they are allegories of free will misled from its true purpose, which is to understand its role in the grand plan of God?

This same process of transformation is also found in the icons that are housed in Orthodox churches.

Again, these representations are points of concentration, wherein the Divine is made visible so that the worshipper may comprehend the presence of God.

Just as a cathedral is a presencing of God, so an icon is a presencing of the transformational nature and quality of God.

It is in the icon that a worshipper may see the process that this transformation takes – from the mundane into the spiritual, from the physical to the metaphysical, from the ordinary to the mystical.

In one sense the icon may be seen as a parallel, though miniature, version of the cathedral, for the icon too seeks to make the ordinary extraordinary, and to give meaning to representation that lies in the realm of the divine.

The icon in itself is incomplete, for it needs the worshipper to fulfill it, to make it complete.

The worshipper is caught and swept up in the general stream of movement depicted in the icon.

The completion can only, however, be in the faithful imagination of the worshipper, since the icon requires that the worshipper arrive at the irrational (the Divine) by ingenious rationality (the depiction of images), and to achieve the utmost immateriality (the salvation of the soul) through material manifestations (the icon itself).

Was not light God’s very first creation? And thus it is light which is the truest architect of a cathedral, and also of the icon.

The medieval philosopher observed that light being the first creation was also therefore perfect, and therefore light is always associated with God.

That primeval separation of light and dark informs the entirety of human life – how we must bring the soul from darkness into light, from nothingness into eternal reality.

Is not the purpose of faith to understand? Faith and reason together are the basis of Christian art and architecture. Reason holds up the cathedral, faith illumines it. Reason delineates the contours of the image in an icon, faith makes it holy through meaning.

Both faith and reason are also properties of light, because without light all things are meaningless.


The photo shows the interior of the Church of St. Jeanne D’Arc, built in 1979, in Rouen, France. The stained glass windows date from the Renaissance (1520-1530) and originally illumined the twelfth-century Church of St. Vincent, which was destroyed in 1944, during an Allied bombing aid. However, the windows had been removed at the start of the war and were carefully preserved. They were installed, in 1979, in the present church, dedicated to St. Joan of Arc, who was burnt a short distance away, in the old market square of Rouen.

Language As Archaeology

Where do words come from?

This question then leads to a similar, but broader, question – where do languages come from?

The study of the origin of words forms a special category of history, namely, historical linguistics, which is best described as the archaeology of language.

The metaphor that defines the very essence of archaeology is “the dig,” wherein the earth is pierced and the layers of human existence it enfolds are revealed and read.

Thus, to dig is to go back, not necessarily to an origin, but certainly to a chronological reckoning of the human past.

The very root of the word “archaeology” points us this way; the Greek arkhaiologia means a “collection of ancient things;” by extension “antiquarian lore,” or “ancient history.” There is also logia, which is logos – that grand term of Greek philosophy which means, “word,” “speech,” “reason,” as well as “logic.”

More than anything, archaeology teaches us that material objects are fragments from a larger universe of a culture long vanished, which we can only partially know.

Indeed, wholeness and completeness are antithetical concepts to the science of archaeology – because it entirely depends upon fragments in order to read the past. To understand the past by way of brief remnants requires the highest sort of wisdom – that gained only by a well-disciplined imagination.

When archaeology begins to read the past by way of the fragment, it is broadening its scope to include more than shards, encrusted weapons, worn out coins, and bones.

In this way, archaeology comes to include the entirety of human culture, and what is more human than language?

As we dig objects from the earth, we lay them before us and seek to classify them, to fit them into broader patterns of human civilization.

This “fit” is determined by an associative process – if a shard displays a certain pattern, then it will fit into a category determined by pots and shards that carried similar patterns; and these patterns were used by such-and-such culture, which flourished at this or that time.

Thus, around the fragment we construct a narrative, a story, a history. And by way of this narrative, we make sense of all the ages that came before us.

In effect, archaeology provides the words which physical fragments lack. Ancient objects need to be returned to language so that they can become comprehensible again.

Now, if we shift gears a little bit and imagine language as ground, as a field, which we can dig into, just like soil, and extract historical artifacts, we are participating in linguistic archaeology.

This is more than mere “word origin” or etymology (which comes from the Greek etumologia, or “the true sense [of a word]”).

Digging into a language brings us to the very dawn of human culture – when humankind began to connect sounds that came from the larynx to the reality outside, as well as the reality of ideas.

Language can at once refer to both the material world, and the world of ideas.

Thus, when we speak of the archaeology of language, we mean all those things that are constructed by way of words and ideas.

And what are these things? Intellectual concepts, religion, ritual, mythology, folklore, poetry. These things leave a mark not on the earth, but on the ground of the human psyche.

This means that linguistic archaeology allows us to dig into human psychology itself – it allows us to construct the mindset of ancient humanity.

And it is this mindset which allows us to speak, as it were, with the past, and hear and learn its wisdom.

History is not a set of “lessons,” as commonly explained. Rather, history is humanity accessing the collective moral experience of lived moments.

What does this mean? Ancient artifacts are things to think with – they are aids to memory.

Here it is worthwhile to recall Plato’s explanation of where knowledge comes from – that knowledge is innate in our souls, because it was printed on it during our existence long before we assumed physical shape. Our search for truth, then, is our quest for dimly remembered eternal ideas.

Thus, studying the origin of languages is an imitation of this quest, for it is the search for truth long forgotten.

In his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein makes this observation: “…as to the essence of language, of propositions, of thought….they see in the essence, not something that already lies open to view and that becomes surveyable by a rearrangement, but something that lies beneath the surface. Something that lies within, which we see when we look into the thing, and which an analysis digs out.”

Each word carries an ancient history, a deep memory. Where do words come from? From such history and memory. Where do languages come from? From the experience of moral and physical reality within human memory.

To dig into words is to look upon the hidden soul of meaning, which is to say, the hidden history of the human past.



The photo shows, “Maiden Meditation,” painted in 1847, by Charles West Cope.

Luther, Father Of Secularism

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (which would later be called, Protestantism)).

This is when an obscure German monk decided that it was up to him to finally establish real Christianity in the world, because the faith had been hijacked by paganism embodied by Roman Catholicism. He was going to return Christianity to what Christ meant it to be.

Of course, he could never point out in history where he could find the first, original church.

This monk wanted a purer faith, a faith that was immediate, uncluttered by show and ceremony, freed of all superstition, mysticism and obscurantism.

Most important of all, he wanted a faith that had no need of authority of any kind, and so he preached that the true church lay inside the heart of each believing Christian. Therefore, anything other than faith was just nonsense, or worse, anything other than faith was a system designed to oppress and enslave and must be destroyed.

The name of this monk was Martin Luther (1483-1546), the man responsible for laying the foundation of the secular world.

There is no point in getting into the whys and wherefores of the entire Reformation and Luther’s rebellion – all those have been often told and many books have been written in the subject.

It is far more fruitful to look at the consequences of what Luther taught, and more importantly the kind of world that he created, which is his true legacy.

His most immediate contribution is the de-sacralization of the world, in that daily life is not connected to God, which means that the only real obligation that human beings have to God is to simply believe in Him – and everything else will be fine (this is the famous, “faith alone” doctrine).

What this means is that God is a personal choice because, as Luther explains, the true church is inside each of us, and we need to tend that inner church by personal meditation through Scripture and prayer.

This means that the institution of the church is not needed at all. This has always made the organized church itself very problematic for Protestants, and this has always caused questions as to whether a church building is actually needed or not. We have to keep in mind that in the early days, tearing down churches was a common activity among Protestants (the famous “Beeldenstorm“).

As well, Protestants were iconoclasts, and as such had a very negative view of the arts in general, especially music.

Given this problematic relationship to the institution, the arch-enemy was always the Roman Catholic Church, which maintained that it was the true, historical church, as founded by Christ, through his disciple Peter, the very first Bishop of Rome. Of course, it had history to back up this claim.

Luther denied this priority and in its place stressed the individual – who became his own priest. This is why in most Protestant traditions, there is no priesthood; there are only ministers, whose function is to teach and preach the Gospel.

To further this radical departure from the historical church, Luther also revamped the Bible by taking out books of the Old Testament that he deemed did not belong (this is now known as the Apocrypha). The logic behind this editing was that these books were corruptions introduced by the Roman Catholics. Here Luther was simply demonstrating his own ignorance.

This stress on the self also meant that each individual could construct his own parameters of morality, whatever those might be, as guided by his inner chuirch. In fact, Luther famously denied the Ten Commandments any kind of authority. For him, they were simply leftovers from a primitive understanding of God. This established the strain of anti-establishment that weaves throughout western culture.

As well, the strong propaganda against Catholicism that the Protestants engaged in, especially the groundless charge that since the Roman Catholic Church was essentially pagan, it had always conspired to keep the real truth of the Gospel from the people – gained prominence.

How this could possibly have happened, the Protestants never bothered to explain. It was simply enough to state this charge, and then repeat it often until it became fact. There are similar such baseless charges, and these collectively are known as the “Black Legend.”

Thus, the Protestants were the first conspiracy theorists, and the first creators of “fake news.” And, the tradition of conspiracy theories has had very, very long legs.

For example, the claim that Christmas is an old pagan sun festival which the Catholics adopted is a very old charge first invented by Protestants – and the Protestants always railed against celebrating the birthday of Jesus.

This narrative is repeated so often that it now passes off as true. Of course, no one bothers to look at why this cannot be true (as there is no historical evidence to back up any of it, other than a lot of opining).

Thus, the grand-old tradition of “concealed truth” remains a very powerful pastime and is so widely used that it has become a scholarly strategy of sorts.

This assertion then leads to another theme that runs throughout Protestantism, namely, that the Roman Catholic Church is illegitimate, corrupt, and pagan. These charges have had a very deep influence in the modern world, namely, the marginalization of Christianity in society, which is also known as secularism.

By denying that the church has any meaningful role to play in society (since the individual is his own priest and can perfectly look after his own spiritual needs), morality itself becomes fragmented – and this gives rise to a curious secular invention – the State-as-Church.

The state takes on all the privileges once retained by the church (especially the instruction in moral care of the self and of the world), and becomes the sole dispenser of what society might need – by way of legislation.

So, from the earliest days, Luther enabled the state to become far more powerful than it needed to be, because there were no real moral checks that could be placed upon it – since the individual cannot be an institution.

Since God was a private choice, the world could be managed perfectly well without Him. Al these assumptions, or “truths” are the hallmark of contemporary secularism.

As well, it is important to point out that a major component of secularism is atheism, and another likely unintended result of Luther’s ideas.

It is always easy to deny God’s existence when He is denied in the social sphere. Since all God wants is belief (faith), and He is not interested in people doing good works, then it is not all that difficult to say, “I don’t need to believe in God anymore.”

In other words, Luther makes the man-God relationship a very arbitrary one, and even a very casual one. He famously said that it was good to sin boldly, since actions had nothing to with salvation (which could easily be obtained by simply saying, “I believe”)

This may seem a harsh assessment, but it is important to look at the consequences of ideas, since ideas always have consequences.

And here, of course, Luther falls apart. Since ideas have consequences, then it is certainly not enough to simply believe and then carry on doing all kinds of nefarious and nasty things.

Here, the usual answer is that by believing in God, a person’s life is transformed for the better. That may well be, but the point remains, that the stress on faith alone cuts loose personal responsibility from action.

But this is where the state steps in with legislation. Since God neither rewards good deeds nor punishes bad ones, then it is the job of the state to do so. This is the basis of the famous separation of church and state.

Of course, Luther himself never really believed in this separation, because the church was an internal property and could never be manifested in the world. Thus, the state was all that existed in the world, and the state could act and behave like God.

Here, too, we have the germ of communism and socialism, which have had an appalling record when it comes to cruelty.

Given all this, what was the point of the Reformation? It was one man’s ego trip. Why? Simply look at the demise of the Protestant churches, with their graying members and empty pews, and the flight of youth from church buildings – and right into the arms of the state, which offers them heady ideas like social justice, human rights, and legislated free speech. And where do these ideas actually come from?

Who needs the church? This is the one question that Protestants have a very tough time answering, because each man is his own church. And therein lies Luther’s greatest contribution to the modern world – alienation and atomization which haunt us all.


The photo shows, “Luther Posting His 95 Theses,” by Ferdinand Pauwels, painted in 1872.



Why Multiculturalism?

Why multiculturalism? What has obligated western democracies to adopt this idea wholesale? The siren-song seems compelling enough: tolerance, inclusiveness, acceptance, and the cant of difference leading to social strength.

What can be wrong with an idea that promotes all these supposed worthy things? But in the myths of old, it was said the Siren-song was sweet in order to lure ships into treacherous waters, where they floundered and were lost. Is multiculturalism such a Siren-song? Is it luring the west to ultimate destruction?

For some reason the issue of multiculturalism is fraught with passions. Why should immigrants give up their culture? Why should they change? Why should they adopt to the ways of their new home? What about freedom?

And on the other side, if things were perfect back home, why not go back? Why leave your own country, come to the west, with all its opportunity, and then start demanding that the west become just like the country you could not wait to get out of?

The western world lives in prosperity, comfort and relative individual liberty. But our cultural consciousness has become entirely fragmented – we have convinced ourselves that we do indeed live in a global village, in which everybody wants more or less the same things that we do; that we should never presume to correct the failures and follies of other nations; that all religions are about peace and love at their very core; that the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness are biologically ingrained in each human being throughout the world.

Such are our myths, or perhaps, our values, which we think are shared by all and sundry.

And the finest expression of this unfounded laissez-faire attitude is multiculturalism. Of course, this is nothing but eager naivety, since the world is full of good and bad, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness. We need to recoup the courage to make judgments so we do not sink into the morass of relativism.

We need to rediscover, or build up, the courage to say, the west is the best, and all other cultures are abysmal failures.

We need to recover the muscular, masculine quality of western culture (what has made it the best), by dismantling the incessant feminization that now smothers the west.

But what exactly is multiculturalism? Why is it seen as the savior of the western world? What makes the entire west despise or toss away its own traditions, its own history – in order to espouse all the cultures that immigrants bring?

Is this reverse colonialism, or a form of social management? And do we really mean multiracialism when we say multiculturalism? These questions are vexing because they remain unanswered – and unaddressed – despite the fact that most western democracies have eagerly jumped on the multiculturalism bandwagon.

It is always far easier to fall back into the usual explanations – of oppressors and the oppressed.

The idea of many people existing cheek-by-jowl within the borders of one nation – and indeed coming to define the very nature of that nation – is nothing new in history.

The Roman Empire was multicultural, as was the Empire of Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, and more recently the British Empire.

There is little to be gained in the false and purely disingenuous excoriations that are cast upon the concept of “empire” and “colonialism” – it is an easy crutch used by nations that cannot solve the problems that they find themselves in – problems that have very little to do with the “evils of colonialism” and everything to do with greed and the usual appropriation of wealth and resources by the elite.

Therefore, multiculturalism, as such, is nothing new. People have always lived together, intermarried and been content and happy. But in doing so, these same people adhered to one culture – not many. And it was always the culture that provided the best results for everybody which everyone wanted.

People never clung to many cultures within one geographical location. Plurality is a euphemism for social chaos – because it destroys social cohesion.

No nation has ever exited that despised or destroyed its own culture and adopted everyone else’s – until now, that is, where the west is doing precisely that – destroying itself by promoting all the failed cultures of the world – failed, because none of them have contributed anything to modernity.

Why does the west cherish marginality, praise it, worship it? Marginality now defines our academic culture to such an extent that to critique it is to have burning coals heaped upon your head.

Critique of multiculturalism is the greatest heresy which must be destroyed by all means available. Multiculturalism is the state’s religion, to which every knee must bend, and to which every knee must not bend.

Such plurality is the very “bread-and-butter” of our education system, our culture, our politics – it is now the very defining character of the west. Why?

Multiculturalism is enshrined, advocated and defended as the perfect expression of an illumined mind, of liberal attitudes, of economic progress – with catch phrases such as, “We must learn to live together in order to survive.”

But is it not strange that multiculturalism exists only in the west – and nowhere else – nor will it ever exist anywhere else.

In order to establish multiculturalism as the “culture of the west,” we have had to negate and then eradicate history, by rewriting it.

What academic worth his/her salt not make a good living excoriating the west in lectures, articles, and books? Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

West-bashing is a thriving industry. But who funds it? And why is it so well funded?

We have had to expunge our values. We have had to destroy the very cohesion of our culture – and in the process we have actively taught people we consider to be oppressed the value of victimhood, thus training them to wax haughty, so we can admire and praise them when they yell and scream about how wretched we are, and how noble they are.

What is this penance for? For the loss of God?

Why is such blatant hatred being promoted? Why it is being tolerated by all of us?

What is the endgame here? Why has the west come to espouse guilt so completely that it is willing to kill itself over it?

Perhaps this is nothing other than naïve antinomianism – a misplaced rebellion against authority, a misguided view that our history is forever wrong and therefore must be nullified.

Most troubling is the fact that multiculturalism is actively promoted by governments – it is state sanctioned culture, which is a generous way of saying, multiculturalism is socialist tyranny.

But multiculturalism is also state-motherhood, in a western culture that largely abhors real motherhood as patriarchal oppression. This is where feminism has led us – sterility and moral bankruptcy. Think about it – there is no interest in the family. Why?

What has the west gained by adopting and promoting multiculturalism? In a word, nothing.

Although the west has economic clout, it has squandered its intellectual and spiritual capital by investing it in multiculturalism.

The west has stripped itself of all that it once had, and it now wanders about, soullessly, trying on different cultural postures, to see in which one it can best feel at home. We have entered a new Dark Ages – entirely naked.

But there are voices crying out in the wilderness. Time has come to recover the values of western democracy – which are rooted in Judeo-Christian humanism, namely, the marriage of faith and reason.

If we fail in this endeavor, we are truly lost.

We must abandon feminism, we must abandon the nanny state and its tyrannical nurturing, we must destroy the culture of sterility and moral bankruptcy being imposed upon us so relentlessly by our political class.

We must rise up at last, before we are all destroyed and made into atomized slaves to bloated elites who live in their mansions and preach “morality” to us all from on high.

When shall we finally reach moralizing-fatigue?

If we do nothing, there will be no second chance for a very, very long time, because the west will disappear. And remember, none of the cultures that are being promoted as replacements to the west have a good track record when it comes to creating a brilliant civilization.

For the sake of all our humanity, we must fight to win back our freedom. We truly have nothing to lose but our chains. (Marx did offer a few good lines).


The photo shows an updated version of Thomas Couture’s famous painting, “Romans During the Decadence,” which was painted in 1847.

Practical Wisdom, Not Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is simply a bad label for practical wisdom. What gets taught as “critical thinking” has nothing to with thinking, life, let alone wisdom.

In other words, “critical thinking” is simply an invention of the education-industry to further enslave students’ minds (but that’s another topic).

Wisdom is even buried in the very root of the word “critical,” which derives from the Greek verb krinein, “to decide,” or “to judge.” Neither process is possible without wisdom, which is knowledgeable discernment.

To have the ability to judge or decide is not a skill – it is process of reflection, which in its root sense means, “to turn back” one’s thoughts and consider closely.

Practical wisdom, then, is to turn back and rediscover the habit of looking for meaning, value and for truth. Since humans are social creatures, we already possess the ability to think this way.

Only ideology makes us forget to follow our proper and true mental inclinations.

But given the way the educational system functions, ideals are never emphasized.

Practical wisdom is also “humanistic thinking,” which is concerned with the moral improvement of the individual and then, by extension, of society.

How can we rediscover the habit of practical wisdom? We can do so, by focusing on those aspects of our cognition that skill denies, such as, doubt, questions, ideals, symbolic thinking, the imagination, harmony, and moral judgment.

When we look for meaning and value, we begin with doubt, with hesitation, with being unsure, because we have to decide between two or even more possibilities.

Doubt gives us pause, which we often need in order to think things though.

There are two important characteristics of doubt: skepticism, which is a state of disbelief but also an invitation to view an idea or proposition carefully; and wonder, for we ask, how can this be?

Doubt is the very beginning of reflection, of turning thoughts over in our minds, because doubt allows the mind to open up to possibilities unknown.

Doubt breaks down the barriers of assumptions and launches us into the process of building anew. We must be courageous doubters in order to search for value and meaning.

Once doubt pervades the mind, we begin to ask questions. Most people fear questions because nothing uncovers ignorance (a state of mindlessness) faster than a question.

When we ask questions, we are not looking for answers but seeking, inquiring after, the truth (which is faithfulness to reality, both material and ideal).

As a result, there is a strong link between questions and freedom, because only people who are truly free can ask questions; those enslaved in any sense cannot ask questions, because questions have the potential of destabilizing the status quo.

Thus, questions are a threat to those in power. And as for enslavement, it comes in many forms – the most pervasive in our culture is the avoidance of complexity. We want everything to be simple.

And here is a strange conundrum: we live in a world that is highly complex and the technology we use daily is highly complex – and yet we put this complexity to simpler and simpler uses, such as language pared down to is bare minimum, as in a text-message. We all have skill with technology – but we are therefore thinking less and less with language.

Here’s an important question to ask – does a good worker need to doubt and ask questions? Or does a good worker simply need to employ skill and expertise? If we cannot formulate questions, are we truly free?

If we accept that questions are an inquiry into truth, then we are led into asking a rather famous question – what is truth?

In effect, truth is an ideal. It is not a material thing, but it is something that humanity greatly values.

An ideal is an idea that possesses value and meaning. There is no human culture which does not value truth.

Of course, there have been many attacks on the notion of truth – that it is a cultural construct, or that it is closely connected to individuality (hence the term, “truth is relative”).

We’re all familiar with the usual dull arguments – since we all have different ideas of what truth is, there is no universal definition of truth; and so every culture in the world creates its own truth; my truth cannot be your truth – and some people even more radically suggest that there is no truth; or put more bluntly, truth is only a matter of personal opinion. So, if truth does not exist, why bother looking for it?

Ultimately, these are dead-end arguments since they do nothing to advance thinking, nor do they help us to understand why the search for truth is essential to practical wisdom.

Briefly, to say that there is no such thing as truth, or that truth is relative, is a contradiction since we are being told that both these statements are indeed true – and should be universally believed, which makes no sense at all. How can anyone suggest that there is no truth and then expect us to take this statement as the truth?

We have only to look at the world around us – and we find that humanity continues to conduct itself with the idea of truth – people in all cultures want to be right and not wrong, they want to be good and not bad.

Truth should not be confused with belief (which can be personal) – we may believe one thing at one time in our lives and then come to believe something completely different later on in our lives.

For example, Nazi Germany believed in murdering Jews. Modern Germany does not believe this. Beliefs change – truth does not, because it is an ideal. So, in our example, the truth remains the same – murder is wrong.

We may misunderstand an ideal or misinterpret it, but truth does not change. This unchanging quality makes it an ideal. Ideals help us to choose and decide how we want to live our lives.

Ideals are intangible structures, blueprints, with which we derive meaning and value. Why do we feel good when we do good things? And why are we riddled with guilt when we do bad things? Why do we want to love and be loved? Why are we sympathetic?

These are all questions of ideals, of truth, of value, of meaning. Through ideals, we become educated in our goodness. And the truth is – we want to be good. Think of it – all those things that we cherish (love, kindness, hope, goodness, decency, etc.) are ideals.

When we say ideals are examples, we have begun to think symbolically. What does this mean? Simply that we get into the habit of looking for ideals by way of symbols, that is, examples. Light is a symbol for truth and goodness; its opposite, darkness, is a symbol for falsehood and evil.

Symbols give us something concrete, something material, which we can use to start thinking of an ideal (value and meaning), which cannot take on physical form.

The world over, water is symbol of life – and is it any wonder, therefore, that scientists looking for life on Mars are looking for water? The search for life in outer space is both symbolic and ideal.

We know there is life on the planet earth; and since there are planets in our solar system and in space, we have made terrestrial life into an ideal, assuming that life requires certain properties in order to exist – and it is this ideal that scientists search for.

But to think symbolically also means that we have to be imaginative. Imagination is the ability to see relationships between things and between ideas.

To use the imagination is to see the underlying truth of things. Thus, for example, to want freedom is an imaginative act, because it is insight into what we really value and what gives us meaning.

Freedom is a particular kind of relationship between the individual and society. To want freedom means that we see the essential purpose of life – to have freedom is to live as we see fit – and it also means that we see the truth of what it means to be alive.

Symbolic thinking is the process of uniting ourselves with ideals. Freedom is an ideal – and we individually unite ourselves to this ideal way of living: We want to be free.

Closely allied to symbolic thinking is the concept of harmony, which is the ability to see relationships even in things and ideas that may seem at first to be diametrically opposed to one another.

In other words, it is the ability to see how things and ideas fit together. All too often thinking involves an agonistic attitude – ideas need to be “argued (demonstrated)” or even “attacked,” and “defended.”

To look for harmony is a crucial aspect of practical wisdom, since a habit of seeking convergence and relationships advances thought, which means that relationships engender newer ideas.

These various aspects of practical wisdom are dependent upon the reason why we need to think in the first place.

Practical wisdom is about forming moral judgments that provide us with value and meaning, both of which suggest that we want to understand how we ought to live and what we ought to do.

Practical wisdom is about educating our moral character, through which we can discover how we ought to live in order to be good in a good society, and what we must do to be good in a good society.

Thinking, therefore, is never done in a vacuum. Thinking is always about context – and humanity’s context is the world.

And what is the world? It is the construct in which we live our lives – and as such, it is ideas placed upon the physicality of the planet earth to make our lives happy and fulfilling and to allow each of us to understand what gives us meaning and value.

Let us now start the process of rediscovery and come to understand what we ought to do to gain and possess practical wisdom so that we may know how we ought to live and what we ought to do in the good society.


The photo shows, “Portrait of the Artist Alexander Sokolov,” painted by Osip Braz, in 1898.