Wednesday, November 05, 2014

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Fight for your Culture or Watch It Die

(Belmont Club – Reformatting the World) Conquerors have long known that that one of the most effective tools of permanent suppression has been to destroy the symbol table of the defeated society.  They do this on purpose, so that they can overwrite it with their own.  It’s like reformatting a hard disk so that you can change its operating system.

One of the most interesting examples of this process is the Hagia Sophia, “a former Greek Orthodox churc), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum  in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.”

The destruction and superposition of cultural keys is an active process. Perhaps the only way to appreciate the stakes in the struggle over the symbology of the Temple Mount (in Jerusalem) is to realize that the loser will potentially be forgotten

…it is hard to argue with the fact that many ideas are really ‘within one generation of being persecuted’ somewhere.  However most people in the West don’t see things that way at all. For most of them, culture appears to be immutable.  The idea that someone may lose the keys to their own civilization would strike them as ludicrous.  Perhaps the biggest contribution of archaeology is it proves the keys of great civilizations are actually lost for keeps.  It not only happens, it happens all the time.

One of problems with the theory of multiculturalism is that it really ignores transmission loss. The multicultural milieu is not characterized by exact digital copying, but the exact opposite. It is a scene of intense signal competition, characterized by continuous filtering and boosting. Under these circumstances anything that fails to fight for its existence will eventually be extinguished or corrupted; it will become a stone circle in the desert whose purpose and meaning no one can explain because they have forgotten it.

But for some, culture is worth fighting for.

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