Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Songs and Poetry

When we look at different civilizations, one of the odd peculiarities is the universal human habit of singing and turning text information into rhymes. Although it seems a kind of irrational behavior, it can be observed in all known cultures all over the world and seems to have developed independently.
What is the reason that information is transmitted in such a strange way that defies reason and logic?

In fact the reason behind lyric, songs and poetry can be understood quite easily, if we look at early human history, or better prehistory. Prehistory is defined as the era before writing was invented. Knowledge could only be preserved to the next generation by oral tradition.
The main problem of oral tradition is accuracy of the reproduction. We all know how information can be altered by rumors. Facts are changed, exaggerated or misunderstood, each time they are retold. In order to improve accuracy of oral traditions, early humans used a clever trick. They put the spoken word into a certain rhythm and made the words rhyme. 
So whenever somebody retold a story, he had heard before and changed the text, the rhythm or the rhyme would be broken and the error would become obvious. The storyteller was therefore forced to use the exact same words to retell the story. Whenever he realized that the rhythm of the sentence got lost, he knew that he didn't reproduce it correctly and would check with the originator of the story what the correct wording of the story was. It was some kind of CRC-code (cyclic redundancy check) in the same way as it is used today when transmitting digital data. Some bits are reserved to check the accuracy of the others. If these bits don't correspond with the others, the entire data package is discarded. 
In the same way poets and songs once worked. If they lost their rhyme and rhythm, they were discarded as wrong reproduction of the original.
For this reason we can see that most ancient epics and myths that have been written down on clay tablets, have some sort of repeating internal structure that indicates that they were most likely some kind of songs. We know it for sure from the Edda and the Song of the Nibelungs.
We can also see how little the words have changed in different versions of the Sumerian Atrahasis Epic, although they were written down centuries apart. Of course they could have been copied one from another, but since there are some small changes, it is more likely that they have a common oral source.

By the use of lyric, prehistoric humans were able to preserve information and reports about historic events quite accurately and unchanged for centuries from a time far before the invention of writing. Therefore much of the ancient mythology might be far more authentic than historians assume, since they describe events before they could be recorded in a written form.

Songs and poetry have therefore not been so irrational as we might assume today. This practice was quite rational and efficient to store information in a non-written way. We should not underestimate its importance for early humans and their history records.
However songs and poetry have become obsolete with the invention of writing. We can now record information accurately in many ways, so that it lasts many generations without its content being changed.  In a time of written history there is no need for lyric. It is a relic from prehistorical times and without any use for rational people. Digital CRC-code has replaced rhymes far more efficiently. 
While human intellect develops further, the outdated practice of songs and poetry may one day disappear.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Politics V: Guns and Democracy

Democracy means rule of the people (= from Greek demokratia, demos = people, kratos = rule).
Ruling means to have the power to enforce one's will, if necessary against any resistance. So in a democracy the people is supposed to be able to enforce their will in the state against any resistance from a particular elite or the government.
While power was based on physical strength in a primitive society, today it is based on firepower. Those who have more firepower, have the power. There is no other power, which is not derived from control and ownership of weapons. Nothing else matters when one is faced with superior weapons. The one with the gun is the one with the power. He can decide not to use his gun and voluntarily take orders from an unarmed man, but this is only his decision. And his decision is the only one that counts. Whatever freedom he may have granted his unarmed opponent, he can take it away at any time. 

Now let's have a look at modern so called "democracies". Since they are supposed to be ruled by the people, we should be able to assume that it is the people who hold the superior firepower. In this case the people would have the power to make the ultimate decisions and remove and install governments at any time. 
We all know that this is far from true. There are strict regulations on the possession of firearms and only the government owns all significant modern weapons. Although these weapons are carried by individual soldiers and policemen, they are not their property and only issued to them under very restricted conditions for a limited time.
Therefore it is the government that rules the state, not the people. The word "democracy" is nothing but a lie. 
There is an odd ritual called "elections", in which the people are made to believe that they are asked for their opinions and are free to cast a vote and thereby exercise some kind of power. But the truth is that whatever the people vote, does not matter. The options that can be voted for are strictly limited. In practice this means that all established parties have exactly the same program. And no matter who wins the elections, everything stays the same. A typical example are the Democrats and the Republicans in the U.S. There is no real difference between these two parties. Membership in a particular party is independent from the political stance of a politician, and nothing in U.S. policy changes, whether a Democrat or a Republican is U.S. president.
In some rare occasions, when this system of limited options doesn't work just perfect yet, it can happen that the people votes for a candidate that is not in agreement with the ruling class. Such unfortunate cases are either solved by election fraud or the result of the elections is simply ignored. Because it is those who have the guns, not those who have the votes, who have the true power. Those with the guns can either decide to do what the majority voted for, if it is in agreement with their interests, or they simply don't do it. And there is nothing the voters can do against it.

This is not just a theoretical case, there are lots of examples in recent history, that election results are simply ignored, when the people with the guns don't agree with the outcome. The takeover of the Egyptian military was just the last example, although it might be disputed whether it reflects the will of the majority of the people or not. Other examples are Zimbabwe, where President Mugabe simply stayed in office after he lost the elections in 2008. Nobody cares about election results as long as he holds the weapons, because only weapons are power.

Power is based on weapons and only on weapons. In modern so called "democracies" unarmed people might have the impression that they are not oppressed, because the government does not interfere with their affairs. But the only reason for it  is that their interests don't conflict with the government's interests. It is a false freedom, because it is based on the condition that the opinion of the people coincides with the opinion of the government. This granted freedom can be taken away at any moment, if the government wants. The people are slaves to the whims of the government as long as they are outgunned by the government. Their opinion is irrelevant and they are totally powerless.
This situation has neither anything to do with freedom nor with democracy.

In a democracy, the people must have the ultimate power in the state. The citizens must have more and better guns than the police force. They must be able to force the government out of office by their superior firepower, not just by votes. Elections are no expression of power, they are only opinion polls to predict the outcome in case the weapons decide.
To establish a democratic state, the police needs to be disarmed as a first step. Perhaps they can be allowed to carry a revolver with six rounds for their self-defense. But automatic guns must only be owned by private citizens. If these automatic weapons should be carried around all the time is a different question. It is not the job of the police or government employees to threaten the citizens.
In these rare cases that more firepower is needed against a criminal gang, the police can ask the citizens for assistance and establish an armed militia of free citizens for this purpose. There is no need to keep a standing heavily armed police force. A policeman is not the superior of the citizen. His duty is to serve and protect. And nobody wants a servant who is better armed than himself.

A system of government is not defined by elections or other empty rituals or spurious words, it is only defined by the possession of weapons. Who has the weapons, rules the country. In a monarchy the king owns all the guns. In an oligarchy it is the upper class who has control over the weapons. And in a democracy, it must be the people who have the guns.
Using this criterion we can for example see that the United States of America is not a democracy. It is a monarchy. President is just a title of the monarch who controls all the weapons in the country for a period of 4 years and cannot be removed from power by the will of the people (only by the will of the oligarchy under certain circumstances).
If we want a democracy, all weapons must be taken away from the police and returned into the hands of the people.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What is Islam?

There is a profound misunderstanding about the term Islam. It is often by its members and outsiders likewise considered to be a religion. While there is no doubt that religion is part of it, it is not its primary feature. The current conflict between Islam and other cultures is not based on different beliefs, but on cultural characteristics, which have no religious justification and can neither be found in the holy scripture of Islam, the so called "quran", nor in the biographic anecdotes of its founder Mohammed, the so called "ahadith".
There is no "divine commandment" to grow a beard, to wear Arab-style clothes, to cover women in black coats, to speak Arabic or whatever else distinguishes the typical muslim from other human beings. Why would muslims pray towards Saudi Arabia knowing that their god doesn't actually live there, but is supposed to be omnipresent? All these characteristics of Islam are simply not of a religious nature.

Some quote the rejection of the divinity of Jesus and the concept of trinity as a proof of Islam being distinct from Christianity. But christian beliefs are not homogeneous. Many christians like Jehovah's Witnesses also reject these concepts. Muslims have far more in common with Catholicism than many other christian sects like the Church of the Latter Day Saints have with Catholicism. 
Muslims are christians. They are just one branch of it like Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Jehova's Witnesses, Nestorianism etc. Mohammed did not found a new religion, he brought Arian Christianity to Arabia. He was for Arabia, what was Saint Patrick was for Britain. Since he was illiterate he could not bring the original christian bible with him but had to retell episodes from it as he remembered them, which were later compiled into the "quran". Essentially the quran is a collection of bible comments. The book itself has no chronological structure and remains incomprehensible, if the reader has not read the bible before. Without knowledge of the bible stories, a reader of the quran would have no idea what its statements refer to. There is nothing new revealed in the quran, which could not already be found in the bible with small inaccuracies about details, where Mohammed's memory apparently failed (e.g. confusion of Ismael with Isaac).
However the conflict between Islam and the christian world is not about those religious details, it is about culture. It is about the role of women in society, about behavior code and laws, in short about the so called "shariah", the islamic code of laws. And laws are not a matter of religion, they are a matter of politics. Therefore the conflict between Islam and the rest of the world is a political one, not a religious one.
Many particularities of Islam like the pilgrimage to Mecca or the Arabic name "al-Lah" for their god were the result of a political compromise between Mohammed and Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraysh tribe that ruled Mecca in order to negotiate the surrender of the city. The Quraysh did not want to lose their income through pilgrims that visited the pagan shrine kaaba. So the Quraysh gave up all other gods apart from their supreme god al-Lah and forced Mohammed to include the kaaba into his state religion.

If Islam is no religion, so what is it?

Islam is definitely a culture. it is the Arab culture to be precise. The term "Islam" means submission and it refers to the submission under the rule of the Arab conquerors who submitted the entire Middle East in the 7th century. "Muslim" can be translated as "one who submits", and it means he submits to the Arab rule. Neither "Islam", nor "muslim" are religious terms. Arabs call their religion "deen"  Deen is sometimes wrongly translated as meaning any religion in general. But the term deen does not include Buddhism, Hinduism or Paganism. They are called "shirk", not "deen". Deen only refers to the religion of Mohammed. And this includes Christians and Jews, which are together with the muslims called "People of the Book". "Book" hereby refers to the bible, not to the quran. So Mohammed and his contemporaries were quite aware that they were part of the one christian religion. There is even a hadith (anedote from the life of Mohammed), where the pagan temple guard Sulami refers to the advancing muslim army as "christians" [Ishaq, 565]. Islam was only meant to be a political term referring to the subjugated peoples. When Mohammed's contemporaries referred to their religion, they called it "deen", when they referred to the political dominion of the Arab tribes they called it Islam.

Islam is Arab culture imperialism. It is the way how Arabs spread their hegemonic power over the world. The goal is submission to Arab supremacy. Muslims have to speak Arabic, to adopt Arab clothes, Arab customs.and Arab laws. They have to show reference to the homeland of Arabia during daily prayers and pay tribute to the principal shrine of the Arabs during a pilgrimage. It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of loyalty to Arabia. 
You become a muslim by swearing a loyalty oath to Mohammed, the first leader of the Arabs who united their tribes. This loyalty oath is called "shahadah". It is not sufficient to believe in al-Lah, who is considered to be the same as the christian and Jewish god. This only gives you the inferior "dhimmi" status, which means having to pay tribute to the Arab overlords and not being allowed to bear arms. Being a muslim is only a matter of loyalty. The faith does not count. If you don't swear the loyalty oath to the first Arab leader, you cannot be trusted in the eyes of the Arab imperialists.

Different Concepts of States

The Western world makes a huge mistake when categorizing Islam as a religion. It is something quite different. Its nature is political. It is not a religion, it is a nationality.
To understand the concept of muslim as nationality, we have to look at the history of our modern concept of a state. If we say "state" we mean a nation state. This is a concept that has come up with the "Westphalian System" in the 17th century after the 30-Years-War. A state became a territorial unit that included all human beings within its border. People were subject to the laws of the territory where they were. They became members of the state by birth in its territory (ius solis) or by being the off-spring of somebody born in its territory (ius sanguinis). The nation state is limited by its territory. It is a territorial state. A person travelling into the territory of another state doesn't take his laws with him. He becomes subject to the laws of the state in whose territory he is.
Before this concept of a nation state, there was a different concept of state, the "nation of personal loyalties" (German: Personenverbandsstaat). It is typical for tribal or feudal communities. A person belongs to a tribe or to his feudal lord, no matter in which territory his tribe moves. This kind of state does not include a particular territory, it includes people. As a member of this state, you remain always a subject of its laws, no matter where you go.
This is the concept of state that Islam as a nation is based on. A muslim is subject to islamic shariah law, no matter where he goes and in which nation state's territory he resides. Belonging to Islam as a nation supersedes all modern (Westphalian) concepts of nationality.
It needs to be understood that the nationality of a muslim cannot be French, American, Egyptian, Lebanese or whatever. His nationality is muslim. A muslim cannot have any other nationality, and he will only obey to the laws of his nation, the nation of Islam. The concept of "nations of personal loyalties" was common in the time when Islam as a nation was born. And Islam has not adjusted its understanding according to the Westphalian System. Islam remains a Personenverbandsstaat.
If we understand this, we will understand why muslims behave as they do, why apostasy is considered treason and why it is often incompatible and incomprehensible for outsiders. If we keep thinking of Islam as a religion instead of a nation, we will never understand the nature of the problem with Islam.

Practical Consequences

We have to understand that Islam is a nationality, not a religion. Muslims are christians but belong to the nation of Islam. Islam is not identical with a religion, but it has a state religion, which is a form of Arian Christianity.
Muslims cannot have any other citizenship but Islam. This means nobody can be a French Muslim or a Nigerian Muslim. He is either French, Nigerian or Muslim. 
Muslims are a state on their own and have their own laws, their own language, their own writing, and their own traditions. They will not obey to the laws of other nations. The islamic ummah (community of all muslimsshould organize in a way so they can issue their passports to their citizens. Other citizenships and passports need to be revoked. 
Since muslims take their laws with them and will not submit to national laws, this has to be taken into consideration when interacting with them. Since different sets of laws apply to citizens of nation states and citizens of "nations of personal loyalties", interactions become quite difficult. Rules for such interactions need to be established from case to case and otherwise must be avoided. A disengagement and segregation between citizens of these totally different concepts of states will be necessary. Muslims must be assigned certain zones where they can live according to their laws, but they should not be allowed to leave these zones as long as they don't become citizens of a nation state and formally resign their loyalty towards Islam (i.e. Arabia). Otherwise a conflict between incompatible sets of law cannot be avoided.
Muslims belong to the Arab nation under the definition of a "nation of personal loyalties" and they should be treated as such. Outside of Greater Arabia they are foreigners and should not be allowed to hold another passport.